“Though the captives’ resistance was dangerous, through such acts, dignity was preserved, and through dignity, life itself.”

UnbrokenIn stark contrast to last month’s comic novel, the gripping narrative of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption was the focus of the Brown Baggers’ August meeting. Many group members reported that it was a difficult read, in terms of a taxing subject matter, but still hard to put down. 

We kicked off the discussion by discussing Hillenbrand’s style, bit of biographical information, and the intriguing intersection of the two. As a writer of narrative nonfiction, Hillenbrand uses facts gathered from thousands of hours of interviews and research. Continue reading

“Mr Wooster, miss” he said “is, perhaps, mentally somewhat negligible but he has a heart of gold.”

Thank You, JeevesWhat ho! I say, the Brown Baggers had a dashed jolly time discussing Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. Summer discussions often call for a different sort of book altogether, as light yet satisfying as an Eton mess — and okay, the clumsy attempts at Wodehousian language stop here. Even so, this book proved a delight for most group members.

Only a small minority of readers had read any Wodehouse before, but most all the Brown Baggers enjoyed the book thoroughly. Many enjoyed sharing which plot points or quick turns of phrase they found especially amusing. While the plot points could be considered objectively absurd, the quick, witty language made the prose flow smoothly, from farce to farce. In Wodehouse’s capable hands, the reader just goes along for the ride. Continue reading

“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”

We Were Liars book coverAs the longer days of summer started to stretch out, the Brown Baggers visited a private island near Martha’s Vineyard by reading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. The choice was a bit of a departure for the group, as it is generally classified as a Young Adult book. This point started off our discussion, as some group members wondered about the subject matter and how appropriate it is for teenagers. As the group contains a number of librarians, both retired and current, there was a valiant defense in favor of a wide range of YA content. This did lead to an absorbing tangent about fiction classification, especially for books that have a wide appeal across age groups. Continue reading