“One theory here: the deanery is annoyed with our requests for parity and, weary of waiting for us to retire, has decided to kill us. Let the academic year begin!”

dear-committee-members-coverShowing our good taste and our knack for predicting literary accolades, the Brown Baggers discussed Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members shortly after it won the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Notably, Schumacher was the first woman to win the award. The impressive field of nominees also included Roz Chast and Annabelle Gurwitch. Continue reading

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”


Myth and memory: by all the accounts the last meeting of the Brown Baggers was certainly the stuff of legend, but these concepts were very specific to September’s selection, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  

While opinions on the book were mixed, a few readers admitted a growing appreciation after the group discussion. Many readers appreciated the examination of power, especially within families and experienced as a child. Continue reading

“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