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

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Book Club Reading List

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.

They meet on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 6:30pm at a member’s home while the renovations are taking place. Email Marijean for the location at

Wednesday, January 24th at 6:30pm

A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in the 18th book in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny’s beloved series.

It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. As the villagers prepare for celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman reappear in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. They were children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them shattered. Now they’ve arrived in Three Pines. But to what end?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. The man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room in the village. When the room is found, the villagers discover a world of curiosities. There are puzzles and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge. In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.

Wednesday, February 28th at 6:30pm

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

This bestselling author reveals the story of a brilliant woman scientist only remembered for her beauty.

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans and understood more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.

But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis and revolutionize modern communication…if anyone would listen to her.

This powerful book, based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist, celebrates the many women in science that history has overlooked.


Wednesday, March 27th at 6:30pm

Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz

NYT BESTSELLER • The knockdown, drag-out, untold story of the other scandal that rocked Nixon’s White House, and reset the rules for crooked presidents to come—that expands on Rachel Maddow’s Peabody Award–nominated podcast.

Is it possible for a sitting vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody’s paying attention? And for that scandal to be forgotten decades later?

In 1973, Spiro T. Agnew, ex-governor of Maryland, was Nixon’s VP. Long on rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when—at the height of Watergate—3 young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down, before Nixon’s downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. The “counterpuncher” vice president did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a “witch hunt,” riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy; scheming to obstruct justice in order to survive.

The authors detail the investigation, the attempts at a cover-up—which involved future president George H. W. Bush—and backroom bargain that forced Agnew’s resignation and spared him years in prison. Bag Man deepens the story of Agnew’s scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, media, and understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House.

Wednesday, April 24th at 6:30pm

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

An instant #1 New York Times bestseller, from the author of A Man Called Ove is a “quirky, big-hearted novel….Wry, wise and often laugh-out-loud funny, it’s a wholly original story that delivers pure pleasure”

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree. Add to the mix an 87 year-old woman who is not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world


Wednesday, May 22nd at 6:30pm

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Mark Twain created the memorable characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn drawing from the experiences of boys he grew up with in Missouri. Set by the Mississippi River in the 1840’s, this tale is a follow-up to his original book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Huckleberry takes off on a raft down the Mississippi with Jim, a slave seeking his freedom. They run into two con artists, the Duke and the King, as they drift southward, and Huck reunites with Tom Sawyer near the end of the book. The book exposes attitudes prevalent at the times, especially racism, and includes coarse language.


Wednesday, June 26th at 6:30pm

James by Percival Everett

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A brilliant, action-packed reimagining of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, both harrowing and darkly humorous, told from the enslaved Jim’s point of view

“Genius” The Atlantic “A masterpiece that will help redefine one of the classics of American literature, while also being a major achievement on its own.”Chicago Tribune “A provocative, enlightening literary work of art.”The Boston Globe “Everett’s most thrilling novel, but also his most soulful.”The New York Times

When the enslaved Jim overhears that he is about to be sold to a man in New Orleans, separated from his wife and daughter forever, he decides to hide on nearby Jackson Island until he can formulate a plan. Meanwhile, Huck Finn has faked his own death to escape his violent father, recently returned to town. As all readers of American literature know, thus begins the dangerous and transcendent journey by raft down the Mississippi River toward the elusive and too-often-unreliable promise of the Free States and beyond.