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Lift book cover
Lift book cover

Lift

Minh Lê

jE Le
Read Woke, Diverse Characters, Picture Books, Graphic Novels

From the award-winning and bestselling creators of Drawn Together comes the fantastic tale of a magical elevator that will lift your spirits--and press all the right buttons! Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it's time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she's pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own. But when she's forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all. Using their dynamic comics-inspired storytelling, acclaimed author Minh Lê and Caldecott Medal-winning artist Dan Santat carry readers on a journey of ups, downs, and twists and turns that will send hearts--and imaginations--soaring.

Casey's picture

DING! ---Looking for a lift?--- -Casey

Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America book cover
Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America book cover

Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America

Tommy Jenkins

324.62 /Jenkins
Graphic Novels, Political, History

"Coinciding with the 2020 US presidential election, Drawing the Vote, an original graphic novel, looks at the history of voting rights in the United States, and how it has affected the way we vote today. Author Tommy Jenkins traces this history from the earliest steps toward democracy during the American Revolution, to the upheaval caused by the Civil War, the fight for women's suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, the election of an African American president, and the control by a Republican majority. Along the way, Jenkins identifies events and trends that led to the unprecedented results of the 2016 presidential election that left Americans wondering, "how did this happen?" To balance these complex ideas and statistics, Kati Lacker's clean artistic style makes the book both beautiful and accessible. At a time when many citizens are experiencing apathy about voting and skepticism concerning our bitterly divided political parties, Drawing the Vote seeks to offer some explanation for how we got here and how every American can take action to make their vote count"--

Anne M's picture

After seeing the students in his college classes become cynical about voting, Tommy Jenkins wanted to show the hard fight in expanding voting rights in our country. This fun, accessible history comic is the result. But the fight isn't over. Jenkins explains new methods, as well as the tried-and-true restrictions, cropping up to limit who can vote and when. -Anne M

A burning book cover
A burning book cover

A burning

Megha Majumdar

FICTION Majumdar Megha
Literary Fiction, Fiction, Suspense

"After a fiery attack on a train leaves 104 people dead, the fates of three people become inextricably entangled. Jivan, a bright, striving woman from the slums looking for a way out of poverty, is wrongly accused of planning the attack because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir, a slippery gym teacher from Jivan's former high school, has hitched his aspirations to a rising right wing party, and his own ascent becomes increasingly linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely, a spirited, impoverished, relentlessly optimistic hjira, who harbors dreams of becoming a Bollywood star, can provide the alibi that would set Jivan free--but her appearance in court will have unexpected consequences that will change the course of all of their lives. A novel about fate, power, opportunity, and class; about innocence and guilt, betrayal and love, and the corrosive media cycle that manufactures falsehoods masquerading as truths--A Burning is a debut novel of exceptional power and urgency, haunting and beautiful, brutal, vibrant, impossible to forget"--

Anne M's picture

Megha Majumdar's terrifying novel shows us that those we know don't always come through when we need them, especially if there is something to gain if they throw us over. This book serves as an allegory about society without sacrificing well-developed, carefully crafted, individual characters. -Anne M

Exit strategy book cover
Exit strategy book cover

Exit strategy

Martha Wells

SCIENCE FICTION Wells Martha
Science Fiction

"Martha Wells's Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Murderbot Diaries, comes to a thrilling conclusion in Exit Strategy. Murderbot wasn't programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right? Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah--its former owner (protector? friend?)--submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit. But who's going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue? And what will become of it when it's caught?"--Provided by publisher.

Brian's picture

Sometimes when I'm reading a series, I wonder if I need to share the later titles. There are series that drop off in quality or that you lose interest in. That is not the case with Martha Well's Murderbot Diaries. If anything, these books are getting better. So, if you haven't started "All Systems Red," I highly encourage you to give it a try. This is fun, Sci-Fi adventure with a cranky, but loveable, cyborg that I can't recommend enough. -Brian

Mexican Gothic book cover
Mexican Gothic book cover

Mexican Gothic

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

eAUDIO
Read Woke, Historical Fiction, Horror, Suspense

"The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico"--

Casey's picture

Lovecraft, Machado, Hitchcock, Burroughs, Shelley, and Poe fans will delight in this slow-burn horror. Leave the lights on afterward, they may help with the lingering ghosts. -Casey

Boy, snow, bird book cover
Boy, snow, bird book cover

Boy, snow, bird

Helen Oyeyemi

FICTION Oyeyemi Helen
Fiction, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

"A reimagining of the Snow White story set in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s"--

Anne M's picture

Set in the 1950's, Boy flees her abusive home in New York City to a bucolic town in Massachusetts, settles in, and eventually marries into a well-established, respected family. The birth of Boy's daughter threatens this stability. Her husband's family was "passing" as white since they moved to the town from the South. Oyeyemi skillfully shows the surrealism of a society that determines who you are by what you look like. -Anne M

The mercies : a novel book cover
The mercies : a novel book cover

The mercies : a novel

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

FICTION Hargrave Kiran
Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Forty fishermen, including Maren Magnusdatter's brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. The women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves. Three years later Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. His young Norwegian wife, Ursa, sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil. Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, but Absalom's iron rule threatening Vardø's very existence. -- adapted from jacket

Becky's picture

“The Mercies” is a stimulating account of life in a small Norwegian fishing village in the early 1600's. Kiran Hargrave cleverly weaves together historical elements of gender roles, religion, and witchcraft with a narrative strongly rooted in its setting and characters. -Becky

Recipe for persuasion : A Novel book cover
Recipe for persuasion : A Novel book cover

Recipe for persuasion : A Novel

Sonali Dev

eBOOK
Fiction, Romance

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? Rico Silva, that’s what. Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.

Melody's picture

Sonali Dev is one of my new favorite authors! Loving both this book and her previous book in this series, Pride, Prejudice, and other flavors. Will definitely be looking for her other books soon. -Melody

Dirt : adventures in Lyon as a chef in training, father, and sleuth looking for the secret of French cooking book cover
Dirt : adventures in Lyon as a chef in training, father, and sleuth looking for the secret of French cooking book cover

Dirt : adventures in Lyon as a chef in training, father, and sleuth looking for the secret of French cooking

Bill Buford

641.5092 /Buford
Nonfiction, Memoir

"Bill Buford turns his inimitable attention from Italian cuisine to the food of France. Baffled by the language, but convinced that he can master the art of French cooking - or at least get to the bottom of why it is so revered - he begins what becomes a five-year odyssey by shadowing the esteemed French chef, Michel Richard, in Washington, D.C. But when Buford (quickly) realizes that a stage in France is necessary, he goes--this time with his wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow--to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Studying at Institut Bocuse, cooking at the storied, Michelin-starred Mère Brazier, enduring the endless hours and exacting "rigeur" of the kitchen, Buford becomes a man obsessed with proving himself on the line, proving that he is worthy of the gastronomic secrets he's learning, proving that French cooking actually derives from (mon dieu!) the Italian. With his signature humor, sense of adventure, and masterful ability to immerse himself, and us, in his surroundings, Bill Buford has written what is sure to be the food-lover's book of the year"--

Anne M's picture

Buford takes on French cooking in this follow up to Heat. It is funny and a celebration of cooking. A small way to travel to the restaurants of Lyon and the villages in the Alps just by turning the pages. -Anne M

Fry bread : A Native American Family Story book cover
Fry bread : A Native American Family Story book cover

Fry bread : A Native American Family Story

Kevin Noble Maillard

eBOOK
Read Woke, Picture Books

Casey's picture

This one has it all! Fabulous rhyming text, wonderful illustrations, and a wealth of backmatter make this a perfect book for sharing in groups or one on one. -Casey

The book of eels : our enduring fascination with the most mysterious creature in the natural world book cover
The book of eels : our enduring fascination with the most mysterious creature in the natural world book cover

The book of eels : our enduring fascination with the most mysterious creature in the natural world

Patrik Svensson

597.43 /Svensson
Nature, Nonfiction

"Part H Is for Hawk, part The Soul of an Octopus, The Book of Eels is both a meditation on the world's most elusive fish-the eel-and a reflection on the human condition. Remarkably little is known about the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. So little, in fact, that scientists and philosophers have, for centuries, been obsessed with what has become known as the "eel question": Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don't understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. They remain a mystery. Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. In The Book of Eels, we meet renowned historical thinkers, from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Rachel Carson, for whom the eel was a singular obsession. And we meet the scientists who spearheaded the search for the eel's point of origin, including Danish marine biologist Johannes Schmidt, who led research efforts in the early twentieth century, catching thousands upon thousands of eels, in the hopes of proving their birthing grounds in the Sargasso Sea. Blending memoir and nature writing at its best, Svensson's journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping and slippery narrative that will surprise and enchant."--

Anne M's picture

Part natural history, part philosophy, and part eulogy for his father, Svensson writes beautifully about the mysteries of the eel, an animal that has beguiled scientists from ancient times to the present. -Anne M

Three hours in Paris book cover
Three hours in Paris book cover

Three hours in Paris

Cara Black

FICTION Black, Cara
Fiction, Adventure, Historical Fiction

"Three Hours in Paris is the story of Kate Rees, the young American markswoman who has been recruited by British intelligence to drop into Paris on the dangerous business of trying to assassinate the Fuhrer. A country girl from rural Oregon - a grieving widow with no spy training but a vendetta and a lot of gumption - now has the state of the entire war in her hands. When the hit goes badly wrong, Kate is on the run for her life - all the time wrestling with the suspicion that the whole operation was a set-up."--Provided by publisher.

Anne M's picture

If you are looking for that fast-paced, keeps-your-attention, end-of-summer read, consider "Three Hours in Paris." Cara Black, stepping away from her usual mystery genre, takes on the World War II spy thriller. -Anne M

Preaching to the chickens : the story of young John Lewis book cover
Preaching to the chickens : the story of young John Lewis book cover

Preaching to the chickens : the story of young John Lewis

Jabari Asim

jE Asim
Black Lives Matter, Black History, Read Woke, Picture Books, Biographies

Casey's picture

John Lewis's early life is chronicled here and it is beautifully done. If you haven't read about how he used to preach to his flock, I can't imagine a more poignant time. -Casey

Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city book cover
Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city book cover

Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city

Wes Moore

305.896 /Moore
Nonfiction, Political

Baltimore When Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing an 'illegal knife' in April 2015, he was, by eyewitness accounts that video evidence later confirmed, treated 'roughly' as police loaded him into a vehicle. By the end of his trip in the police van, Gray was in a coma he would never recover from. This killing led to a week of protests and then five days described alternately as a riot or an uprising that set the entire city on edge, and caught the nation's attention. Moore attended Gray's funeral, and saw every strata of the city come together, all looking to comfort each other, but also looking for answers. Through shifting points of view, Moore and Green create an engrossing account of the deep causes of the violence-- and the small seeds of hope planted in its aftermath. -- adapted from jacket

Anne M's picture

Wes Moore and Erica Green take us through Baltimore's reckoning with systemic racism, crippling poverty, and police brutality after Freddie Gray's murder in police custody. Focusing on the five days after Gray's death, they show us Baltimore through the individuals that lived events of that week, from a protest organizer, a police officer, and an owner of the Baltimore Orioles. Moore and Green slow those days down and tell us what happened. It is a powerful book, gives interesting context on the city's history, and individualizes life in America. -Anne M

Mudlark : in search of London's past along the River Thames book cover
Mudlark : in search of London's past along the River Thames book cover

Mudlark : in search of London's past along the River Thames

Lara Maiklem

942.1 /Maiklem
History

Long heralded as a city treasure herself, expert “mudlarker” Lara Maiklem is uniquely trained in the art of seeking. Tirelessly trekking across miles of the Thames’ muddy shores, where others only see the detritus of city life, Maiklem unearths evidence of England’s captivating, if sometimes murky, history—with some objects dating back to 43 AD, when London was but an outpost of the Roman Empire. From medieval mail worn by warriors on English battlefields to nineteenth-century glass marbles mass-produced for the nation’s first soda bottles, Maiklem deduces the historical significance of these artifacts with the quirky enthusiasm and sharp-sightedness of a twenty-first century Sherlock Holmes.

Anne M's picture

Explore the history of England through its discarded objects, the ones reclaimed by Lara Maiklem from the river. Lara is a 'mudlark,' or someone who scavenges the Thames for lost objects dating from pre-Roman times to the Victorian era. It is a fascinating read. -Anne M

Joy at work : organizing your professional life book cover
Joy at work : organizing your professional life book cover

Joy at work : organizing your professional life

Marie Kondō

650.1 /Kondo
Nonfiction, Business, Self Help

"The workplace is a magnet for clutter and mess. Who hasn't felt drained by wasteful meetings, disorganized papers, endless emails, and unnecessary tasks? These are the modern-day hazards of working, and they can slowly drain the joy from work, limit our chances of career progress, and undermine our well-being. There is another way. In Joy at Work, bestselling author and Netflix star Marie Kondo and Rice University business professor Scott Sonenshein offer stories, studies, and strategies to help you eliminate clutter and make space for work that really matters. Using the world-renowned KonMari Method and cutting-edge research, Joy at Work will help you overcome the challenges of workplace mess and enjoy the productivity, success, and happiness that come with a tidy desk and mind."--Amazon.

Amanda's picture

I’m a big fan of the KonMari method, and this book broadened my understanding of how it can be applied to work life as well. This is a great follow-up to her Tidying Up title, and a worthy place to Spark Joy! -Amanda

The resisters : a novel book cover
The resisters : a novel book cover

The resisters : a novel

Gish Jen

FICTION Jen Gish
Dystopian

An audacious wonder of a novel about baseball and a future America, from the always inventive and exciting author of The Love Wife and Who's Irish. The time: Some thirty-five years hence. The place: AutoAmerica--governed by "Aunt Nettie," an iBurrito of AI algorithms and the internet, in a land half under water. The people: Divided into the angelfair "Netted," whose fate it is to have jobs and live on high ground, and the mostly coppertoned "Surplus," whose jobs have been stripped and whose sole duty now is to consume, living in plastic houses that talk and multi-colored houseboats at the water's edge. Neither group is happy. The story: A Surplus family--he was once a professor, she is still a lawyer--has a girl child, Gwen, who's born with a golden arm. By two she can throw her toy animals straight to the same spot every time. When AutoAmerica and ChinRussia decide to revive the Olympics, suddenly Gwen, who's been playing in the Resisters League her parents have organized, is in great demand. Soon she's at angelfair university, Net U, falling in love with her baseball coach and facing questions of "crossing over," while her mother and her "group" are bringing charges before the botjudge about Surplus rights. An amazing story of a world that looks only too possible, and a family struggling to maintain its humanity in circumstances that daily threaten their every value as well as their very existence.

Frannie's picture

A perfect book for the return to baseball! Gish Jen's new book tells of a Dystopian future where the Internet of things has taken over our lives and society is divided into producers and consumers and America is half under water because of rising sea levels. Wait, I thought this was about baseball? It is! The national past time is much different in the future and in this book a young girl gets her opportunity to move up in the class hierarchy due to her talent on the field. Come for the sports, stay for the nuanced description of a world that seems just around the corner... -Frannie

Clean getaway book cover
Clean getaway book cover

Clean getaway

Nic Stone

eBOOK
Black Lives Matter, Read Woke, Adventure, Black History, Travel

"For the life of him, William "Scoob" Lamar can't seem to stay out of trouble--and now the run-ins at school have led to lockdown at home. So when G'ma, Scoob's favorite person on Earth, asks him to go on an impromptu road trip, he's in the RV faster than he can say FREEDOM. With G'ma's old maps and a strange pamphlet called the 'Travelers' Green Book' at their side, the pair takes off on a journey down G'ma's memory lane. But adventure quickly turns to uncertainty: G'ma keeps changing the license plate, dodging Scoob's questions, and refusing to check Dad's voice mails. And the farther they go, the more Scoob realizes that the world hasn't always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren't always what they seem--G'ma included."--Jacket flap.

Casey's picture

A clandestine road trip, The Green Book, and a rad G'Ma--Nic Stone's first middle grade novel is perfection! -Casey

The nickel boys : a novel book cover
The nickel boys : a novel book cover

The nickel boys : a novel

Colson Whitehead

eAUDIO
Black Lives Matter

Becky's picture

This was my first read by Colson Whitehead, but will certainly not be my last. “The Nickel Boys” is a fictionalized account based on an actual reform school in Florida, set during the Jim Crow era. It follows Elwood Curtis, a hardworking teenage boy, inspired by the ideals upheld by Dr. Martin Luther King. Elwood was on track to attend a local black college, but one innocent misstep sends him to a segregated juvenile reform school, where violence, brutality and abuse alter his life forever. A poignant and important read that exposes unjust political and social structures. -Becky

The ballad of songbirds and snakes book cover
The ballad of songbirds and snakes book cover

The ballad of songbirds and snakes

Suzanne Collins

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Collins Suzanne
Young Adult

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined, every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute, and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

Becky's picture

Fans of the Hunger Games will not be disappointed with this intimate account of a teenage Coriolanus Snow, future president of Panem. -Becky

Laura dean keeps breaking up with me book cover
Laura dean keeps breaking up with me book cover

Laura dean keeps breaking up with me

Mariko Tamaki

eBOOK
Read Woke, LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Diverse Characters

Casey's picture

Touching and beautifully rendered in grayscale with occasional splashes of pink, this is a love story for everyone. If you have yet to be kicked to the curb by Laura Dean, it might be time to get dumped. -Casey

Toil & trouble : 15 tales of women & witchcraft book cover
Toil & trouble : 15 tales of women & witchcraft book cover

Toil & trouble : 15 tales of women & witchcraft

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Toil
Young Adult, Read Woke, Short Story, LGBTQ+, Fantasy

"History is filled with stories of women accused of witchcraft, of fearsome girls with arcane knowledge. Toil & Trouble features fifteen stories of girls embracing their power, reclaiming their destinies and using their magic to create, to curse, to cure--and to kill...This collection reveals a universal truth: there's nothing more powerful than a teenage girl who believes in herself"--Publisher.

Casey's picture

This collection of short stories , some by YA superstars, casts a charm firm and good. Look for culturally, and LGBTQIA+ diverse characters, strong women, and some worlds you won't want to leave. -Casey

Flush book cover
Flush book cover

Flush

Carl Hiaasen

eBOOK
Kids

Noah’s dad is in jail for sinking a local gambling boat, which he believes has been emptying its onboard toilets straight into the waters around their Florida Keys home. The trouble is, so far there’s no proof. Noah needs to solve this environmental mystery so his dad can be released from jail. Also, this isn’t the first time his dad has taken the law into his own hands when it comes to stopping local polluters, and his mom is fed up and talking about divorce. Noah hatches a plan to expose the environmental crime with the help of some eccentric local characters.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Indian no more book cover
Indian no more book cover

Indian no more

Charlene Willing McManis

jFICTION McManis, Charlene
Kids

When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.

Angie's picture

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis's own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian, American, or both? And will she and her family ever be okay? -Angie

Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars book cover
Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars book cover

Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars

Nathalia Holt

629.4 /Holt
Nonfiction, History

During World War Il, when the brand-new minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate jet velocities and plot missile trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women--known as "computers"--who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design and helped bring about America's first ballistic missiles. But they were never interested in developing weapons--their hearts lay in the dream of space exploration. So when JPL became part of a new agency called NASA, the computers worked on the first probes to the moon, Venus, Mars, and beyond. Later, as digital computers largely replaced human ones, JPL was unique in training and retaining its brilliant pool of women. They became the first computer programmers and engineers, and through their efforts, we launched the ships that showed us the contours of our solar system. For the first time, this book tells the stories of these women who charted a course not only for the future of space exploration but also for the prospects of female scientists. Based on extensive research and interviews with the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science, illuminating both where we've been and the far reaches of where we're heading.--Adapted from dust jacket.

Amanda's picture

This was a delightful and fascinating read! We follow a few key women throughout the decades, following the progression of the space program and the role of women in the sciences. The author throws in some fun anecdotes, like when a couple of the women decided it was acceptable to finally wear pant suits, along with the struggles many of these women had in the early days of getting married, getting pregnant, and facing the choice of leaving a job you loved or attempt the fine balancing act of being a working mother. Just enough science is covered to give the reader an idea of what's going on in the profession without being overwhelming. Great companion read with Hidden Figures! -Amanda

Dear Committee Members book cover
Dear Committee Members book cover

Dear Committee Members

Julie Schumacher

FICTION Schumacher, Julie
Fiction, Literary Fiction

Finally, a novel that puts the "pissed" back into "epistolary." Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can't catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work Accountant in a Bordello, based on Melville's Bartleby. In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. We recommend Dear Committee Members to you in the strongest possible terms.

Amanda's picture

Having experienced grad school, I found so much humor in all of this. You follow a curmudgeonly English professor as he crafts numerous letters of recommendation (LORs) for his students - some he knows better than others - and frequently inserts his own opinions and politics in them because he's reached a point of tenure where he just doesn't care. Highly recommended if you are in academia (especially English!), or are at least acquainted with the trials and tribulations of being a middle-of-the-road college professor. -Amanda

Landline book cover
Landline book cover

Landline

Rainbow Rowell

FICTION Rowell Rainbow
Fiction, Humor

"In New York Times bestselling author Rainbow Rowell's Landline, Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it's been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply -- but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point.Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She's a TV writer, and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her -- Neal is always a little upset with Georgie -- but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it. If she's ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. Is that what she's supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?"--

Amanda's picture

I couldn't put this book down. It was like her YA novels in pace and spirit, but with older adults as the main characters. I fell in love with all of these characters for all their quirks. I rooted for Georgie, knowing she had to face a lot of "between a rock and a hard place" choices. Georgie's life is a fine balancing act, and you don't want her to drop anything. I loved the premise of the book, and how it reveals Georgie to herself. -Amanda

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street : a novel book cover
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street : a novel book cover

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street : a novel

Susan Jane Gilman

FICTION Gilman Susan
Fiction, Historical Fiction

In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street. Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, "The Ice Cream Queen" -- doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality. Lillian's rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.

Amanda's picture

Loved this book! Highly entertaining story surrounding a highly entertaining lady. She's like a more endearing Scarlett O'Hara of the 20th century. We follow her rags-to-riches story, learn of her scrapes and sorrows, her triumphs and bouts of luck. This woman has chutzpah and I love it. She's an antihero, but entirely loveable. Plus, it's shades of Forrest Gump, as this woman claims her touch on many small points of American history. Definitely give it a whirl! -Amanda

The animals at Lockwood Manor book cover
The animals at Lockwood Manor book cover

The animals at Lockwood Manor

Jane Healey

FICTION Healey Jane
Historical Fiction, Suspense

"A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection"--

Anne M's picture

Set during World War II, Hetty Cartwright works for a natural history museum in London and is tasked to oversee the move and storage of the mammal collection (and some birds) to a country manor house. The house is as those houses were during the middle of the 20th century. It is in disrepair and has a limited number of servants trying to keep up the property as best they can. There is the lord of the manor, Major Lockwood, who is a little mean and scary and used to getting his way. Although he signs up to house the collection, he isn't happy having his space invaded and overseen by a woman. There is also Major Lockwood's daughter, who is beautiful and kind. She captivates Hetty's imagination. The house has secrets. At least something isn't right. Hetty tries to ignore it until it starts affecting her work--and herself. If you liked "Jane Eyre" or "The Little Stranger" or "Rebecca," this would be a good summer read for you. -Anne M

Twilight hauntings : Enchanter's Child Series book cover
Twilight hauntings : Enchanter's Child Series book cover

Twilight hauntings : Enchanter's Child Series

Angie Sage

eBOOK
Kids

Alex has a set of Enchanted cards. When she flutters her fingers above them, something magical happens: the cards come alive and create moving pictures of what is now and what is yet to come. But Enchantment is illegal in the city of Luma, and those who practice it are imprisoned forever in the Vaults—dark dungeons deep below the city. When Alex is betrayed by her foster sister Zerra, she knows she is in great danger. With the help of her little foster brother, Louie, she makes a daring escape. But Alex discovers she is not safe outside Luma either. Here lurk deadly Hauntings that seek out those who practice magic: Enchanters and their children. The Hauntings take many forms and Alex is hunted by a giant bird of prey, the Hawke, a murderous Night Wraith called the Grey Walker, and the eerie Xin. But why do the Hauntings haunt Alex? Alex doesn’t believe she’s an Enchanter’s Child, but she has no idea who her parents are. Her precious Enchanted cards are her only clue to her true identity, and she becomes determined to find out who she is. And, while she is at it, to get rid of the deadly Twilight Hauntings forever.

Paul's picture

A richly developed world packed with engaging detail and a multitude of well developed characters I can hardly wait until the next volume is published to see where the often unpredictable action leads. -Paul

The Penderwicks : a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy book cover
The Penderwicks : a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy book cover

The Penderwicks : a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy

Jeanne Birdsall

eBOOK
Kids

While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.

Anne W's picture

The perfect book for the whole family to enjoy together, either as a family read-aloud or audiobook. Everything turns out all right in the end, with good, wholesome messages about courage, loyalty, creativity, and girls unapologetically claiming their intelligence. This is also a National Book Award winner. -Anne W

Cog book cover
Cog book cover

Cog

Greg Van Eekhout

jFICTION Vaneekho Greg
Kids

"Cog looks like a normal twelve-year-old boy. But his name is short for 'cognitive development,' and he was built to learn. But after an accident leaves him damaged, Cog wakes up in an unknown lab--and Gina, the scientist who created and cared for him, is nowhere to be found. Surrounded by scientists who want to study him and remove his brain, Cog recruits four robot accomplices for a mission to find her. Cog, ADA, Proto, Trashbot, and Car's journey will likely involve much cognitive development in the form of mistakes, but Cog is willing to risk everything to find his way back to Gina."--Goodreads.

Angie's picture

This is a great, fast-paced, funny story about five robots trying to run from the sinister and evil uniMIND. Fans of the Wild Robot by Peter Brown will love this book! -Angie

To Night Owl from Dogfish book cover
To Night Owl from Dogfish book cover

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Holly Goldberg Sloan

eBOOK
Kids

Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, Bett and Avery, eleven, eventually begin scheming to get the couple back together after a break-up. Told entirely through emails.

Paul's picture

Rich with a wide cast of characters who populate the story as it progresses, with each getting enough individual development to spark even more interest, there are also plenty of ups and downs and twist and turns, some fairly predictable, some not at all, to engage the reader in following along with how these two grow as they share experiences while apart and together. -Paul

Al Capone does my shirts book cover
Al Capone does my shirts book cover

Al Capone does my shirts

Gennifer Choldenko

eBOOK
Kids

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.

Anne W's picture

Set in 1935, this book tells the story of Moose Flanagan and his family. His father gets a job as a prison guard on Alcatraz, so his family goes to live on the prison island alongside the other workers. Moose cares for his teenage sister Natalie, who nowadays would be diagnosed with autism, and deals with the warden’s shady daughter, who tries to involve Moose in her schemes. Notorious gangster Al Capone is imprisoned there, and is the target of much speculation and lore. -Anne W

A ceiling made of eggshells book cover
A ceiling made of eggshells book cover

A ceiling made of eggshells

Gail Carson Levine

eBOOK
Kids

From age seven, Loma relishes traveling with her beloved grandfather across fifteenth-century Spain, working to keep the Jews safe, but soon realizes she must also make sacrifices to help her people. Includes historical notes, recipe, glossary, and a link to a bibliography.

Paul's picture

Loaded with all kinds of historical details this story provides a window into the Jewish experience leading up to the expulsion from their homes after 1000 years of faithful service to their beloved country. -Paul

The prince and the dressmaker book cover
The prince and the dressmaker book cover

The prince and the dressmaker

Jen Wang

eBOOK
Graphic Novels

Prince Sebastian hides from his parents his secret life of dressing up as the the hottest fashion icon in Paris, the fabulous Lady Crystallia, while his friend Frances the dressmaker strives to keep her friend's secret.

Anne W's picture

This graphic novel is technically part of the adult collection, but my whole family, from my 10-year-old daughter to my teenage daughter to my husband to myself has read and loved it. The artwork is beautiful and the story is adorable. A prince hires a “lowly” dressmaker/designer to help him become who he really is inside, and after some ups and downs, this is a tale of acceptance, friendship, and love. It’s set in Paris at the dawn of the last century and characters ride around in carriages, but speak in modern language, using expressions like “this is crazy” and “cool,” a choice I found interesting. -Anne W

A long walk to water : based on a true story book cover
A long walk to water : based on a true story book cover

A long walk to water : based on a true story

Linda Sue Park

eAUDIO
Kids

When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

Becky's picture

Linda Sue Park was inspired by historical documents and an interview with Salva in the creation of this short novel. I highly recommend the audiobook for young, mature audiences. It’s only about 3 hours long, extremely powerful, and features the voices of the author and Salva at the conclusion. -Becky

The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers book cover
The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers book cover

The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers

Ben Kissel

ON ORDER BOOK
True Crime, Humor

"An equal parts haunting and hilarious deep-dive review of history's most notorious and cold-blooded serial killers, from the creators of the award-winning Last Podcast on the Left"--

Shawna's picture

As a fan of Last Podcast on the Left, I knew I'd love this book. The information presented is interesting and terrifying, but broken up with dark comedy and unique illustrations. -Shawna

The long way to a small, angry planet book cover
The long way to a small, angry planet book cover

The long way to a small, angry planet

Becky Chambers

SCIENCE FICTION Chambers Becky
Science Fiction

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star. Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain. Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

Brian's picture

This is some feel-good space opera. Seriously, it's filled with warm fuzzies, but in space. I kept thinking of it being a cross between Firefly and Star Trek. I dug it. I dug it a lot. -Brian

Upside-down magic book cover
Upside-down magic book cover

Upside-down magic

Sarah Mlynowski

eAUDIO
Kids, Fantasy

With their magic being unpredictable, Nory, Elliott, Andres, and Bax are sent to the upside-down magic room at Dunwiddle Magic School.

Anne W's picture

Fantasy isn’t usually my genre, but I listened to this with my kids as an audiobook in the car, and it was super cute and fun. This series is very popular with kids, and I can see why. Also I love the protagonist’s first name, Nory. So cute! Anyway, Nory can do magic, but it never goes how it’s supposed to and she ends up messing things up a lot. So she is sent by her high-achieving magic family to a special school for kids whose magic is “upside down.” There, she is finally accepted, makes loyal friends, and learns to accept herself and value her special talents. -Anne W

Jaws book cover
Jaws book cover

Jaws

DVD MOVIE SF/HORROR Jaws
Horror

The story of a killer shark that has taken over the waters near a seaside community, and the three men who set out to kill it.

Shawna's picture

One of my favorite movies to watch over and over. With so many memorable lines, an iconic soundtrack, and such great costuming and imagery, it never feels like Summer until I've watched Jaws. -Shawna

Stepping stones book cover
Stepping stones book cover

Stepping stones

Lucy Knisley

eBOOK
Kids

Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom’s new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad. Most of all, Jen did not want to get new “sisters,” Andy and Reese. As if learning new chores on Peapod Farm wasn’t hard enough, having to deal with perfect-at-everything Andy might be the last straw for Jen. Besides cleaning the chicken coop, trying to keep up with the customers at the local farmers’ market, and missing her old life, Jen has to deal with her own insecurities about this new family . . . and where she fits in.

Paul's picture

This humorous and all too true graphic novel follows Jen (not Jennifer!) as she deals with her parents divorce and moving with her mom from the city to the country. To cope, Jen works on her cartoons, but eventually as all three get to know each other better and have a few adventures together, things mostly get better. -Paul

The remains of the day book cover
The remains of the day book cover

The remains of the day

Kazuo Ishiguro

FICTION Ishiguro, Kazuo
Fiction, Historical Fiction

The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

Amanda's picture

The writing is superb, and for those who enjoy Downton Abbey this book provides a comfortable amount of upstairs/downstairs intrigue. I did enjoy the main character's development over his car trip, reflecting on his life and coming to recognize the faults in choices he made. This is an excellent choice for those interested in midcentury Britain. -Amanda

Ghost book cover
Ghost book cover

Ghost

Jason Reynolds

eAUDIO
Kids

"Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential"--

Becky's picture

This is a story that will have you thinking about circumstance, opportunity and the value of mentoring influences. -Becky

You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington book cover
You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington book cover

You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington

Alexis Coe

BIOGRAPHY Washington, George
Nonfiction, Biographies, History

"In a genre overdue for a shakeup, Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first--and finds he's not quite the man we remember Young George Washington was raised by a struggling single mother, demanded military promotions, chased rich young women, caused an international incident, and never backed down--even when his dysentery got so bad he had to ride with a cushion on his saddle. But after he married Martha, everything changed. Washington became the kind of man who named his dog Sweetlips and hated to leave home. He took up arms against the British only when there was no other way, though he lost more battles than he won. Coe focuses on his activities off the battlefield--like espionage and propaganda. After an unlikely victory in the Revolutionary War, Washington once again shocked the world by giving up power, only to learn his compatriots wouldn't allow it. The founders pressured him into the presidency--twice. He established enduring norms but left office heartbroken over the partisan nightmare his backstabbing cabinet had created. Back on his plantation, the man who fought for liberty finally confronted his greatest hypocrisy--what to do with the hundreds of men, women, and children he owned--before succumbing to a brutal death. Alexis Coe combines rigorous research and unsentimental storytelling, finally separating the man from the legend."--

Amanda's picture

This is the first biography of Washington I’ve read since grade school, and was refreshing in its stories of Washington’s relationship to the women in his life and other human foibles that frequently get brushed over. Of course, everything involving the Founders these days gets colored through the lens of Hamilton the Musical, so being able to make those connections was also enjoyable. If you’re looking for a solid biography of Washington that doesn't intimidate, this is a great pick. -Amanda

Beverly, right here book cover
Beverly, right here book cover

Beverly, right here

Kate DiCamillo

eBOOK
Kids

Resolved to leave her home for good, young runaway Beverly is determined not to depend on anyone else, but as she settles in her new home and job, she forms connections with the people around her that alter her perspectives about life and herself.

Karen's picture

This is a beautifully touching and funny book to add to your reading list, and since it’s part of a trilogy, you can look forward to triple the reading enjoyment. -Karen

Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel book cover
Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel book cover

Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel

Taylor Jenkins Reid

FICTION Reid Taylor
Fiction, Historical Fiction

"Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it's the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she's twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she's pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice"--

Amanda's picture

This, to me, was a pretty great portrayal of a band and its musicians during the classic rock period. What really got me into the book was the oral history aspect of it - that it’s the band and those around them reminiscing years later. Their memories differ. They’ve had a couple of decades change their perspective. I enjoyed these characters and their personalities. I could almost hear their music as I read the story and see them interact on stage. If you are a fan of Behind the Music, this is a book you have to try! -Amanda

An American marriage book cover
An American marriage book cover

An American marriage

Tayari Jones

eAUDIO
Fiction

"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"--

Becky's picture

“An American Marriage” will have you thinking about the effects of incarceration and the messiness of human relationships. -Becky

Tight book cover
Tight book cover

Tight

Torrey Maldonado

eBOOK
Kids

After his quick-tempered father gets in a fight and is sent back to jail, sixth-grader Bryan, known for being quiet and thoughtful, snaps and follows new friend Mike into trouble.

Paul's picture

Written in a voice true to the story’s setting and local culture, this engaging and multi-leveled tale captures quite well how difficult it can be to survive and more or less successfully navigate through life and stay true to yourself and those you respect most. I often found myself reflecting on my own not so dissimilar experiences as a sixth grader as I followed Bryan through his triumphs and travails. A very highly recommended read. -Paul

The African Americans collection. book cover
The African Americans collection. book cover

The African Americans collection.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY
Documentary

Written and presented by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., director of W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, this six-hour series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed -- forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, the series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to the present -- when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. By highlighting the tragedies, triumphs and contradictions of the black experience, the series reveals to viewers that the African-American community has never been a uniform entity, and that its members have been actively debating their differences from their first days in this country. Throughout the course of the series, viewers will see that the road to freedom for black people in America has not been linear, but more like the course of a river, full of loops and eddies, slowing, and occasionally reversing the current of progress.

Bond's picture

Added by Bond

Eyes on the prize : America's Civil Rights years. book cover
Eyes on the prize : America's Civil Rights years. book cover

Eyes on the prize : America's Civil Rights years.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY
Documentary

Produced by Blackside, Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Winner of numerous Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, an International Documentary Award, and a Television Critics Association Award, Eyes on the Prize is the most critically acclaimed documentary on civil rights in America. Eyes on the Prize recounts the fight to end decades of discrimination and segregation. It is the story of the people -- young and old, male and female, northern and southern -- who, compelled by a meeting of conscience and circumstance, worked to eradicate a world where whites and blacks could not go to the same school, ride the same bus, vote in the same election, or participate equally in society. It was a world in which peaceful demonstrators were met with resistance and brutality -- in short, a reality that is now nearly incomprehensible to many young Americans. Through contemporary interviews and historical footage, Eyes on the Prize traces the civil rights movement from the Montgomery bus boycott to the Voting Rights Act; from early acts of individual courage through the flowering of a mass movement and its eventual split into factions. Julian Bond, political leader and civil rights activist, narrates. The driving force behind Eyes on the Prize and Blackside, Henry Hampton (1940-1998) won numerous awards for this landmark series including the duPont-Columbia Gold Baton, the Peabody Award, and Academy Award nominations. He set out to share his vision of what he called "the remarkable human drama that was the Civil Rights Movement" through the Eyes on the Prize documentary and a book of the same title by Juan Williams. In recent years, a number of key figures who appear in the films (including the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, a leader of the Montgomery bus boycott; Coretta Scott King, wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, and an activist in her own right; Kwame Ture, also known as Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; and George Wallace, the 1960s Alabama governor who resisted integration) have died, making this record of their testimony all the more valuable.

Bond's picture

Added by Bond

The hate u give book cover
The hate u give book cover

The hate u give

Angie Thomas

eAUDIO
Young Adult

After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

Becky's picture

“The Hate U Give” had been on my must-read list for a while, and I finally was able to listen to the captivating audio version. Such a powerful and poignant read, and a story that I continue to think about well after its close. -Becky

The night diary book cover
The night diary book cover

The night diary

Veera Hiranandani

eBOOK
Kids

Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

Anne W's picture

The Night Diary tells the harrowing story of Nisha and her family as they attempt to flee their home in India. Nisha must flee the only home she’s ever known, making a dangerous journey hundreds of miles on foot to safety. -Anne W

Denmark Vesey's garden : slavery and memory in the cradle of the Confederacy book cover
Denmark Vesey's garden : slavery and memory in the cradle of the Confederacy book cover

Denmark Vesey's garden : slavery and memory in the cradle of the Confederacy

Ethan J. Kytle

975.703 /Kytle
Nonfiction, History

A book that strikes at the heart of the recent flare-ups over Confederate symbols in Charlottesville, New Orleans, and elsewhere, Denmark Vesey's Garden reveals the deep roots of these controversies and traces them to the heart of slavery in the United States: Charleston, South Carolina, where almost half of the U.S. slave population stepped onto our shores, where the first shot at Fort Sumter began the Civil War, and where Dylann Roof shot nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the congregation of Denmark Vesey, a black revolutionary who plotted a massive slave insurrection in 1822. As early as 1865, former slaveholders and their descendants began working to preserve a romanticized memory of the antebellum South. In contrast, former slaves, their descendants, and some white allies have worked to preserve an honest, unvarnished account of slavery as the cruel system it was. Examining public rituals, controversial monuments, and whitewashed historical tourism, Denmark Vesey's Garden tracks these two rival memories from the Civil War all the way to contemporary times, where two segregated tourism industries still reflect these opposing impressions of the past, exposing a hidden dimension of America's deep racial divide. Denmark Vesey's Garden joins the small bookshelf of major, paradigm-shifting new interpretations of slavery's enduring legacy in the United States. --inside jacket.

Amanda's picture

Though this is an excellent read for a Charleston lover like me, it also makes for a microcosm of slavery, Lost Cause mythology, and racism in the South in general. The book traces the many filters the question of slavery has been put through over the past few centuries, and how it's evolved and been remembered. Highly recommend for the history buff! -Amanda

Bedtime bonnet book cover
Bedtime bonnet book cover

Bedtime bonnet

Nancy Amanda Redd

ON ORDER BOOK
Picture Books, Black Lives Matter, Diverse Characters

As family members braid, brush, twirl, roll, and tighten their hair before bedtime, putting on kerchiefs, wave caps, and other protective items, the little sister cannot find her bonnet.

Casey's picture

I can't wait to see this one when it gets in! -Casey

Rust & stardust book cover
Rust & stardust book cover

Rust & stardust

T. (Tammy) Greenwood

FICTION Greenwoo T
Fiction, Historical Fiction

Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth's, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he's an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute, unless she does as he says. This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way. Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner and her captor, whose story shocked the nation and inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write his controversial and iconic Lolita, this heart-pounding story by award-winning author T. Greenwood at last gives a voice to Sally herself.

Amanda's picture

The author handled this story well, not giving graphic detail of Sally’s ordeal but giving enough for the reader to understand how horrible it was and how frightened Sally was of her captor. I loved the portrayal of all the other people affected by Sally’s kidnapping getting their perspective told. That added an element to the story as a whole that made the entirety of it more relatable. Maybe not a story for everyone, but certainly a well-done story of a resilient young woman who faced a despicable situation. -Amanda

The diary of a bookseller book cover
The diary of a bookseller book cover

The diary of a bookseller

Shaun Bythell

BIOGRAPHY Bythell, Shaun
Nonfiction, Biographies

When Bythell first thought of taking over the bookstore in the remote Scottish village of Wigtown, it seemed like a book-lover's paradise. Here he details his experiences at the helm of The Book Shop, Scotland's largest second hand bookstore: the delightfully unusual staff members, eccentric customers, odd townsfolk and surreal buying trips to old estates and auctions. As he struggled to build his business-- and be polite-- he is seduced by the charm of small-town life, and the peculiar characters he meets. -- adapted from jacket

Amanda's picture

Being a former bookseller I could relate to a lot of this, and found the author’s observations on his co-workers and customers acerbic and amusing. And since it’s a diary, it’s a very easy book to pick up and put down as necessary, and no matter where you are in it you’ll find something delightful to chuckle at. -Amanda

All rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook book cover
All rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook book cover

All rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Leslie Connor

eBOOK
Kids

"Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth--and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home. When Perry moves to the "outside" world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from .. but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?" --From Amazon.com.

Anne W's picture

This is a cute, heartwarming book, if a little implausible, about a boy named Perry, who grows up inside a minimum-security, coed prison with his mother Jessica, an inmate, in the tiny town of Surprise, Nebraska. This book, if somewhat predictable and far-fetched, nonetheless does a good job of humanizing incarcerated individuals and stressing how one mistake does not make someone a bad person. Perry collects stories from prison inmates and shares them as part of a school project, as well as sharing how the inmates have collectively raised him and how they maintain bonds with their own families and their own better natures. -Anne W

Nat enough : Nat Enough Series, Book 1 book cover
Nat enough : Nat Enough Series, Book 1 book cover

Nat enough : Nat Enough Series, Book 1

Maria Scrivan

eBOOK
Kids

Natalie has never felt that she's enough -- athletic enough, stylish enough, or talented enough. And on the first day of middle school, Natalie discovers that things are worse than she thought -- now she's not even cool enough for her best friend, Lily! As Natalie tries to get her best friend back, she learns more about her true self and natural talents. If Natalie can focus on who she is rather than who she isn't, then she might realize she's more than enough, just the way she is.

Paul's picture

The story of Natalie, as told in pictures, and how she navigates entering middle school along with a bunch of kids from other grade schools, the loss of her best friend (who’s turned into a really “mean girl”), the making of new, truly good friends, and finding out what she’s good at doing. Of course there’s a lot of anxiety, self doubt, and missteps along the way but Nat survives, spectacularly, in this sweet and humorous tale. -Paul

How to survive a summer book cover
How to survive a summer book cover

How to survive a summer

Nick White

FICTION White Nick
Fiction, LGBTQ+

"A debut novel centering around a gay conversion camp in Mississippi, and a man's reckoning with the trauma he faced there as a teen"--

Amanda's picture

The character of Will reminds me of a few young men I've known, and his journey in this book intrigued me, baffled me, impressed me, and comforted me. There's hints of Southern Gothic, to give you a taste and keep you guessing. Each layer of the story got me more invested, and by the near end I was literally at the edge of my seat, anxious to know what would happen next, and I seemed to feel what the characters were feeling as it all came out. I feel like this is a book and a story that some LGBTQ youth may find engaging enough to help them muddle through complex emotions and their own journeys of self discovery. -Amanda

The tiger rising book cover
The tiger rising book cover

The tiger rising

Kate DiCamillo

eBOOK
Kids

Rob, who passes the time in his rural Florida community by wood carving, is drawn by his spunky but angry friend Sistine into a plan to free a caged tiger.

Karen's picture

Will they free the tiger? Will freeing the tiger free them from the grief they are feeling? You’ll have to read the book to find out, and, believe me, you’ll be glad you did. -Karen

Brisingr, or, The seven promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular book cover
Brisingr, or, The seven promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular book cover

Brisingr, or, The seven promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular

Christopher Paolini

eBOOK
Fantasy

The further adventures of Eragon and his dragon Saphira as they continue to aid the Varden in the struggle against the evil king, Galbatorix.

Lauren's picture

In the third installment of the Inheritance Cycle, I was still enthralled by Christopher Paolini’s dedication to the intricate construction of this fantasy world. The kingdom of Alagaesia is as familiar as an old friend by the time you reach the end of the third book. I was also impressed by the wide range of characters, readers become invested in the battle campaign of the Varden as they learn about many of those involved. As I read about Eragon and the Varden slowly advancing towards Uru’Baen to confront Galbatroix, I was expecting to be impatient with the endless battle scenes. However, there is variety in the character perspectives, plot twists, and settings which made the campaigning portion of this series enjoyable. Throughout the series, there are many subtle quests and mysteries built into the larger storyline. This continues in the third book, much to my delight. Keep your eyes peeled for when events of seemingly small significance reappear later in the storyline. -Lauren

The evolution of Calpurnia Tate book cover
The evolution of Calpurnia Tate book cover

The evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Jacqueline Kelly

eBOOK
Kids

In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee Tate is instructed to be a lady by her mother, learns about love from the older three of her six brothers, and studies the natural world with her grandfather, the latter of which leads to an important discovery.

Anne W's picture

Calpurnia has to deal with breaking the mold for girls in her place and time and come to terms with growing up. The chapters are a series of vignettes in her life with six brothers in a small Texas town on the cusp of the 20th century. The writing is clever, funny, and beautiful. -Anne W

The birchbark house book cover
The birchbark house book cover

The birchbark house

Louise Erdrich

eAUDIO
Kids

This is a vital and dramatic novel of a year in the life of a young Ojibwa girl in the mid-1800s.

Becky's picture

Birchbark is a great parallel for readers who enjoy the Little House books. Louise Erdrich provides a unique perspective into Ojibwa daily life during the nineteenth-century. The story is divided into the four seasons and told through the eyes of 7-year-old, Omakayas. Readers learn about a Native American family’s daily life, traditions, and connection with nature. Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwa, was able to weave in her research, observations, and conversations with Ojibwa elders into a narrative that is accessible to middle-grade children. -Becky

Vegan with a vengeance : over 150 delicious, cheap, animal-free recipes that rock book cover
Vegan with a vengeance : over 150 delicious, cheap, animal-free recipes that rock book cover

Vegan with a vengeance : over 150 delicious, cheap, animal-free recipes that rock

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

eBOOK
Nonfiction, Cookbooks

Melody's picture

One thing I dream about in my imagined post-quarantine life is visiting Isa Chandra Moskowitz's restaurant Modern Love in Omaha, Nebraska. I am a big fan of her cookbooks. I've never met a recipe of hers that I didn't like. We have more of her cookbooks in print at ICPL, but I'll take this e-book while I wait to be able to hold her books with my own, garlic-scented fingers. -Melody

Anne of Green Gables book cover
Anne of Green Gables book cover

Anne of Green Gables

L. M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery

eBOOK
Kids, Fiction

Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.

Anne W's picture

Someone gifted me a box set of the Anne of the Green Gables books when I was ten or so, since plucky orphan Anne Shirley and I share a first name, and I never read them. They sat on my bookcase through the whole remainder of my childhood without ever being touched. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading Anne of Green Gables, I’m totally kicking myself for what I’ve been missing all these years. Who knew the humor in a book published in 1908 could hold up so well? I laughed out loud several times. Anne is a delightful character and her bold, dramatic dialogue is fun to read. To quote from the book itself, this book is one full of “tang and zest.” -Anne W

The old truck book cover
The old truck book cover

The old truck

Jarrett Pumphrey

eBOOK
Kids, Picture Books

"On a small family farm, an old truck falls into disrepair and lies nearly forgotten, except by the family's daughter. The truck is been part of her daydreams as she grows up and develops strength and independence. As an industrious young woman, she pulls the rusted and overgrown vehicle from its almost-grave and restores it"--

Casey's picture

I love this title about making something old new again, and again, and again. Simultaneously about loving family and respecting items through time, this is one for all the menders and antiquers out there! -Casey

The screaming staircase book cover
The screaming staircase book cover

The screaming staircase

Jonathan Stroud

eBOOK
Kids

Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.

Paul's picture

I have become totally hooked on this series and very much recommend it for older tweens. I plan to continue enjoying my way through each volume even after the current quarantine/shut down is lifted! -Paul

The familiars book cover
The familiars book cover

The familiars

Adam Jay Epstein

eBOOK
Kids

When a scrappy alley cat named Aldwyn passes himself off as a magical animal companion to Jack, a young wizard in training, Aldwyn and his fellow "familiars," a know-it-all blue jay and bumbling tree frog, must save the kingdom after the evil queen of Vastia kidnaps Jack and two other wizards.

Becky's picture

A cat AND magic?! I think this is a book that I would have loved as a child. First in a series, “The Familiars” follows a seemingly ordinary cat named Aldwyn who is mistaken for an animal with magical abilities. He is paired up to assist Jack, a young wizard in training. When Jack and other wizard apprentices are captured, Aldwyn pairs up with a magical blue-jay and a tree frog on a quest to save them. Their quest is full of adventure, magic, humor, secrets and self-discovery. -Becky

The mighty heart of Sunny St. James book cover
The mighty heart of Sunny St. James book cover

The mighty heart of Sunny St. James

Ashley Herring Blake

eBOOK
Kids

"Twelve-year-old Sunny St. James must navigate heart surgery, reconnections with a lost mother, the betrayal of a former best friend, first kisses, and emerging feelings for another girl"--

Anne W's picture

This is a nuanced exploration of LGBT+ identity from an adolescent perspective, and Sunny wrestles with her feelings, sometimes helped or hindered by family, friends, and society, to find out who she really is. -Anne W

Theft by finding : diaries 1977-2002 book cover
Theft by finding : diaries 1977-2002 book cover

Theft by finding : diaries 1977-2002

David Sedaris

eAUDIO
Humor, Memoir, Literary Nonfiction, LGBTQ+

Shares the author's favorite diary entries, providing a look into the mind of a comic genius.

Heidi K's picture

Nobody really needs me to suggest David Sedaris. But having read all his other books which blend essay, humor, autobiography, and scathing social critique, I thought this compilation of writing pulled from his diaries would seem a little old hat - sort of a "for fans only" affair. Well, I am a fan, but Theft by Finding has passages so biting and original and weird that I gasped several times while listening to the eAudio on walks during quarantine. Trademark humor is still there, but there are also parts of Theft by Finding that grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and shook me. -Heidi K

Big magic : creative living beyond fear book cover
Big magic : creative living beyond fear book cover

Big magic : creative living beyond fear

Elizabeth Gilbert

eAUDIO
Nonfiction, Self Help

"Coming September 22nd From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you've dreamed of. Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the "strange jewels" that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy"--

Heidi K's picture

If you're feeling in a rut, this book might offer the push you need. It's not preachy and it's full of good stories about the creative process. It was good on eAudio - read by the author. -Heidi K