Brown Baggers’ Book Picks

openbook_218939077The Brown Baggers Book Group skipped their usual discussion in December and instead spent the hour deciding what titles the group will read in the upcoming months (and eating delicious snacks).

Many current and classic titles were suggested by members, but after several rounds of voting we had some clear winners. Upcoming titles that the group will read include both fiction and nonfiction books as well as some award winners.

Here are the upcoming titles for June 2017 through May 2018:

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

1984 by George Orwell

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer

If you would like to join the Brown Baggers Book Group, you’re welcome to come to the Central Library on the third Thursday of the month from 12-1pm and participate in our lively discussion. You can call us at 434.979.7151 ext. 4 for more information or send us an email. Also, check out JMRL’s wiki for the books that weren’t picked this time as well as book club selections from previous years.


Last-Minute DIY Gifts

xmasgiftsYou probably don’t need another reminder that the holidays are around the corner, but everyone needs to be reminded from time to time that some of the best gifts are those crafted specially for you by someone you care about. This year, get into the spirit of giving by making special, handcrafted gifts for your friends and family.

These books, which are available from your local library, are here to help:

100 Little Christmas Gifts to Make by Search Press Studio – This book covers a wide variety of crafts including papercraft, sewing, knitting, crochet, sugarcraft, felt decorations, jewelry making, cross stitch, mosaic making, decoupage, polymer clay decorations and needlepoint. All projects are simple enough for experienced beginners and will also appeal to seasoned crafters.

Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen by Georgeanne Brennan – Highlighted with color photos, this book will help readers indulge in the holidays with a collection of recipes–including candied grapefruit peel, lemon-spice olives, and chocolate-marshmallow fudge–as well as plenty of ideas for creative gift packaging.

Knitted Gifts: Irresistible Projects to Make & Give by Ann Budd – Offering more than 30 projects for any occasion, this collection focuses on small knitting projects that can be completed in a relatively short period of time, perfect for knitters looking for small projects to keep or give away.

DIY Mason Jar Crafts by Lauren Elise Donaldson – Provides instructions for transforming Mason jars into a variety of home decor items and gifts, including a lamp, clock, terrarium, cake stand, piggy bank, and ornaments.

Origami Jewelry Motifs: Fold and Wear Your Own Earrings, Bracelets, Necklaces and More! by Julian Laboy-Rodriguez – With this book, you’ll learn to fold more than 30 charming origami models, from animals and flowers to shapes and figures. Mix-and-match the jewelry-sized motifs with headbands, necklaces, rings, and more to create your own custom jewelry.

Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small by Mollie Johanson – Collects 25 sewing projects that feature animal designs and beginner-friendly embroidery patterns, including a hedgehog stroller quilt, a dachshund keyboard wrist rest, and a possum hanging sachet.

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson – A collection of thirty knitted patterns that can be completed in a minimum of time features instructions for creating such classic gifts as mittens and hats, as well as newer ideas including a seed-stitch bracelet and pyramid-shaped sachets.

The Crafter’s Book of Clever Ideas by Andrea & Cliff Currie – Offers his and hers variations on 25 gift and party crafts that employ a range of techniques and materials.

Geographical Noir

Pick a location, any location – and then read a collection of short stories set there.

Baltimore Noir edited by Laura Lippman


Beirut Noir
edited by Iman Humaydan


Boston Noir
edited by Dennis Lehane


Brooklyn Noir
edited by Tim McLoughlin


Buffalo Noir
edited by Ed Park and Brigid Hughes


Haiti Noir
edited by Edwidge Danticat


Manhattan Noir
edited by Lawrence Block


Marseille Noir edited by Cédric Fabre


Memphis Noir edited by Laureen Cantwell and Leonard Gill


New Jersey Noir edited by Joyce Carol Oates


New Orleans Noir edited by Julie Smith


Tel Aviv Noir
edited by Etgar Keret and Assaf Gavron