Brainerd Memorial Library
920 SAYBROOK ROAD, HADDAM, CT 06438     P:860.345.2204

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Book Club Reading Lists

Brainerd Book Club

Meets the 4th Wednesday of each month at 6:30pm

Join us for discussion, refreshments, and sharing as we meet each month to discuss our latest book selection.  Originally founded by beloved librarian Pat Coleman, this book club seeks to carry on her love of reading.  Members take turns suggesting books.

All are welcome to join. The library orders books in advance which can be checked out as needed. A zoom option is generally available as well.

For more info contact Brainerd Library at

Wednesday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m.

West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge

An emotional, rousing novel inspired by the incredible true story of 2 giraffes who made headlines and won the hearts of Depression-era America. “Few true friends have I known and two were giraffes…”

Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave.

It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in 2 giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a 12-day road trip to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life with fiction, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates. Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, the novel explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, kindness of strangers, passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late.

March Wednesday March 22

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow 

A winner of the National Book Award described as “the Great American Novel” this is the story of a parentless and penniless boy growing up in pre- and post-Depression Chicago.  Will we love it or hate it?  Amazon reviews go both ways.

Much of the book takes place during the Great Depression, but far from being a chronicle of deprivation, the first of Saul Bellow’s masterpieces testifies to the explosive richness of life when it is lived at high risk and in tumultuous social circumstances.

In a brawling Chicago of crooks, con artists, second-story men, extravagant dreamers, snappy dressers, and cold-eyed pragmatists, Augie March undergoes his sentimental education—though imbued with reality, will take him into realms progressively stranger, more marvelous, more filled with indecipherable meaning. “Adventures” is the product of an elegant and skeptical mind on which nothing is lost, and an appetite for the look and feel of things both enormous and passionate. The result of these varying felicities is a novel that is immediate, strikingly unpredictable, authentic, and convincing.

Brainerd’s Culinary Club: 2nd Wednesdays! 6:30pm

Do you like to cook? Read cookbooks? Do the pictures make your mouth water and you want to try the recipes? Then join us at BML as we cook and gather to discuss and taste our recipes!  The themes for our next get together are below. The Library supplies the plates, utensils, and beverages.

February 8th, March 8, April 12, May 10, June 14

Feb. 8th Non-Chocolate for Your Sweetheart- recipes without chocolate
Mar. 8th What can you do with fruit?
Apr. 12th Spring Tonic (non- alcoholic)- as Spring arrives, prepare a dish to give us a feeling of well-being.
May 10th Thinking of Mom – a recipe that reminds you of Mom or a loved one.
June 14th From Crook to Cook- BML will provide cookbooks for celebrity chefs that have been in prison; eg. Snoop Dog. If you have any questions, contact Laurie at We will meet in the History Room.  Please register here.