“I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t an outcast. I was everywhere with everybody, and at the same time I was all by myself.”

bornacrimeThe Brown Baggers met on Thursday, July 18 to discuss Trevor Noah’s autobiography Born a Crime.

In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah recounts his childhood in South Africa under the apartheid government and the first few years of democratic rule by the nation’s black majority. His is the story of a disobedient young boy who had to hide from the world during the early years of his life since the government could take him from his mother if they were discovered. Noah tells stories from his childhood and high school years with a humorous twist. He describes visiting three churches every Sunday with his mother, being pushed out of a moving car, and navigating high school. Noah writes about how he struggled to fit in and how he always felt like an outsider.

The Brown Baggers loved this book and the discussion was full of laughter as members recounted their favorite parts of the book. Many felt that it was incredible how Noah was able to learn so many languages and become such an international star, when he had so little growing up and faced numerous challenges. Some Brown Baggers thought his success was due to his mother’s influence, who was such a strong person, and really pushed him to learn.

Some members said that they learned more about South Africa in general and about apartheid after reading this autobiography. They felt that Noah used humor to cope with everything that happened in his life and thought it was amazing that he was so observant, especially when he was so young. Others mentioned that this was a great story of survival.

Mentioned:
Documentary: You Laugh But It’s True
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Kitchen House by Kathleeen Grissom
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer
Nelson Mandela

The Brown Baggers will discuss A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza on Thursday, August 15 at noon in the Central Library and newcomers are always welcome.

“It was easier to lie when you believed the lie.”

boyerasedBooks on Tap read Boy Erased by Garrard Conley at Champion Brewery on June 6, a memoir of Conley’s time in the Love in Action gay conversion therapy center after his first year of college. Conley describes being raised in a religious bubble with a larger-than-life father who is leading his own church when Conley is outed by his rapist. 

We acknowledged that we were probably not Conley’s intended audience but we were taken by the painful choice he lays out between being true to his religion and family expectations or actually being himself. Conley skips between time periods, which we found confusing and we would have liked more explanation of the institute he was enrolled in and an epilogue to bridge the end of the book with his much different current life. We were most taken by the author’s relationship to his parents. His mother genuinely likes him while his father seems afraid that he’ll fall off the right path. Conely is sympathetic to the ways in which his grandfather’s alcoholism and abuse color his own father’s view on life and parenthood. In fact, it was the realization that he didn’t hate his father that helped Conley leave Love in Action with his mother’s support. 

We would recommend this memoir to teens and parents of teens who are coming out. Below is a list of books that contained similarities. 

More Information:
About the author 
About the book
Author’s podcast 
Movie adaptation 

Related Titles:
We the Animals by Justin Torres
Educated by Tara Westover 
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak 
Celebrating the Third Place 

 Books on Tap Information:

  • July 4 No meeting

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Still Time for the Summer Challenge

The JMRL Summer Challenge ends on August 31, so you still have time to turn in your challenge sheets (and be entered to win the grand prize!).

There will be grand prizes at each of the branches. The grand prize for children will be a gift card to Barnes and Noble (or another local bookstore- check with your local branch). The grand prize for teen will be an Amazon gift card, and the adult grand prize will be a Kindle. The drawings will be held after the program ends on August 31.

One of the challenges for Sheet 3 (also available in Spanish) is to download an eBook or audiobook. JMRL has several digital collections located in the eLibrary, one of the most popular is OverDrive.

To get started using OverDrive you’ll need to set up an account using your library card number. If you want to read or listen to a book on your tablet or phone, it’s best if you download the Libby app from OverDrive through the app store or play store. There are also videos and tutorials linked on the eLibrary page that can take you through the process. If you’re going to read or listen to a book on your computer, you’ll just need to go to the OverDrive website and login to your account.

There are thousands of titles available, both fiction and nonfiction, for all ages. There are bestsellers, classics, test prep books and travel guides- something for every reader!

Follow these steps to use the Libby app:     libby

STEP 1
Install the Libby app from your device’s app store.

STEP 2
In Libby, follow the prompts to find your library and sign in with a valid library card (we are part of the Southwest Virginia Public Libraries).

STEP 3
Browse JMRL’s collection and borrow a title.

STEP 4
Borrowed titles appear on your Shelf and download to the app automatically when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, so you can read them when you’re offline.

From your Shelf, you can:
Tap Open Book, Open Audiobook, or Open Magazine to start reading or listening to a title. Tap Manage Loan to see options like Renew, Return, or Send to Device to send a book to Kindle

If you have questions, you can always call the Central Reference department at 434-979-7151 ext. 4 or email us. You can also stop by any library with your device and ask for help with downloading (some branches require an appointment- so call ahead)!