Chat with a Librarian
Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods, an unlikely pair, originally launched Ear Hustle as a podcast in 2017. Poor, a visual artist, and Woods, an inmate at the time, produced the podcast entirely within the confines of California’s San Quentin State Prison.
Now, they’ve created a book that presents new narratives of the incarcerated, relives past stories, and reveals what led each of them to become a co-creator of the original podcast. Note that the stories touch on serious and tough topics that not everyone may appreciate.
If you were a fan of the podcast, then the audiobook version (available via the Libby app) is highly recommended, as Poor and Woods narrate their book.
Henri Haltiwanger, also called Halti, seems to have it all. He’s one of the most popular students at the prestigious FATE school in New York, is a trusted dog walker for his wealthy neighbors, and can charm just about anyone. Anyone that is, except for his classmate Corrine Troy. When Corrine discovers that Henri’s dog walking business isn’t exactly what his customers think it is she blackmails him into helping her revamp her image at school. As the two spend more time together a friendship, and maybe something else, quickly develops. This light, but heartfelt, romance is sure to charm many readers.
- Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon,
- To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
In 1917, there were many things that women in the United States couldn’t do like vote or serve in the armed forces. But, when World War I was raging in Europe times were changing and many women answered the call to serve their country in whatever way they could. Discover the story of Grace Banker and her telephone operators who served in France alongside the US army. Through their service in carrying military orders, secret messages, and connecting soldiers on many different battlefields they supported the army to victory.
- The leaf detective : how Margaret Lowman uncovered secrets in the rainforest by Heather Lang illustrated by Jana Christy,
- 50 things you should know about the first World War by Jim Eldridge
Experience the joy, pain, beauty, and wonder in life through this collection of poetry by renowned performance poet Sophia Thakur. In four parts Thakur brilliantly describes the process of finding yourself, who you are, and who you want to be. This critically acclaimed book is perfect for devoted poetry fans, fans of coming of age stories, and reluctant readers.
- G'Morning G'Night by Lin Manuel Miranda,
- Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth,
- For Everyone by Jason Reynolds
Follow along with beautiful illustrations as you learn all about Selena’s early years from singing Blue Moon in her family’s living room to her rise to the top of the billboard charts and international stardom. With quotes from Selena herself as well as from people who knew her this book shows how anyone can achieve their dreams. This biography about the Selena Quintanilla’s life and career not only teaches children about the singer and her legacy but also educates readers on Tejano music and culture and the importance of believing in yourself to achieve your dreams.
- Selena Quintanilla-Pérez by Katlin Sarantou,
- The life of Selena: La vida de Selena a bilingual picture book biography by Patty Rodriguez & Ariana Stein
In the far distant future humans and androids live together on the crowded streets of New Beijing. A plague has ravaged the earth and the Lunar people of space are watching the devastation and waiting to make their move. The fate of the Earth rests on one girl, Cinder, who feels both the hatred of her by her step-mother and sisters, and the prejudice she faces as an android in a human’s world. Can she find the strength to save herself and everyone else? The first book in The Lunar Chronicles is a retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella and will have readers on the edge of their seats. Perfect for fans of fairytales, strong female leads, and science-fiction adventure.
- The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White, ,
- Red Hood by Elena K. Arnold,
- Straight on till Morning by Liz Brazwell
Based on the popular Youtube channel of the same name; cake artist Yolanda Gamp instructs readers how to make fantastic, mind-boggling cakes. The book begins by covering the basics of how to mix, bake, level, and ice cakes and from there provides different recipes based on skill levels. All the recipes have a complete list of tools and ingredients, clear and concise directions, photos, and an estimation of the time it will take to complete each cake. This book gives you all the information you need to create incredible edible works of art.
- Baking All Year Round by Rosanna Pansino,
- Geek Sweets: An Adventurer’s guide to Baking Wizardry by Jenny Burgesse,
- Sweet revenge: passive-aggressive desserts for your exes & enemies by Heather Kim
I love this 2020 picture book title. This beautifully illustrated book describes what children are. A child is a non-stop ball of energy. A child is a force of nature. A child is also a tight hug. Every child is worthy of success. Many of the pictures depict African American boys. Find a child you are proud of and read this book together. Share this book with a child who needs to hear that he or she is worthy to be loved. Read this book to yourself. Read it again and again.
This title available in print and as a ebook.
- My People by Langston Hughes illustrated by Charles R Smith Jr. ,
- Girls can do anything by Caryl Hart,
- I am enough by Grace Byers
This new J fiction book features Maggie. Maggie is eleven years old and has one older brother and one younger brother. Maybe you know how Maggie feels. She just wants to be noticed, she just wants to be looked at with admiration for something she has accomplished. But Maggie knows in her society the eldest is always the one who gets noticed! What can she do, she wonders to get noticed. Maggie doesn't really want to break the rules but if she can become a hero in doing so maybe just maybe it will be okay.
Meanwhile, we meet Una, a wanderer whose father is sick and not getting better. How can she help her father but maintain their way of life?
I do not normally enjoy the fantasy genre but the author, Kirsty Applebaum drew me into the story early and I was hooked. I wanted to know if Maggie would feel appreciated even as a "middler" child. I wanted to know what happens to all the eldest children when they go off to camp. And what about Una and her father, would he get better? Would they stay wanderers forever? If your curiosity is piqued, maybe you’d like to check this book out from the Youth Services area of our Vigo County Public Library.
The library has one print copy of this title. You can listen to this title on Hoopla as an audiobook.
- Peace Maker by Malorie Blackman, a dyslexia friendly title,
- The longest night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge,
- The unlikely story of a pig in the city by Jodi Kendall.
If you want to be inspired to start releasing creative work, this book is -- and isn’t -- for you. It’s inspiring, sure, but one of the key messages in the book is “Don’t wait for inspiration.” Instead, Godin says that you should develop a practice of creating, then trust that the practice is worth doing. Inspiration isn’t something to wait for. It’s the people who continue their practice without waiting for inspiration that ultimately are inspired. Famous authors, sculptors, architects, and other artists are often the ones who sit down and create. People who sit and try to figure out the perfect next move are just fooling themselves, hiding behind their fear of failure, and never get anything of consequence shipped.
“Show us your hour spent on the practice and we’ll show you your creative path. You already know what to do to be creative. And you already know how to do it. You’ve done it before, at least once. At least once you’ve said or done something insightful, generous, and original. At least once you’ve solved a problem or given someone a hand by shining a light. The practice simply asks you to do it more than once, to do it often enough that it becomes your practice.”
Early in the book, Godin describes art as being an “act of doing something that might not work, something generous, something that will make a difference. The emotional act of doing personal, self-directed work to make a change that we can be proud of.” For most of the remainder of the book, he walks through each bit of this definition, showing how each facet results in high quality creative work that is worth doing. When a thing is worth doing, he says, the outcome isn’t the important part. The practice is.
Camino Rios loves the summer. That’s when her father comes to visit her in the Dominican Republic. This year though when she gets to the airport she isn’t greeted by her father’s smile. Instead she’s greeted by the crowds of crying people. In New York, Yahaira Rios is in the principal’s office listening to her mother telling her that her father has died in a plane crash. As the girls are forced to face the loss of their father and the reality of life without him they discover each other. This novel in verse tells the story of two sisters, separated by an ocean and decades of Papi’s secrets, supporting each other through their grief and finding out what having a sister means to them.
- With the Fire on High ,
- I am not your perfect Mexican Daughter ,
- The Sun is Also a Star
A reluctant king, a shut-in queen, a mad monk, and a rebellion on the rise. The fall of the Russian empire is famously shrouded in myth and mystery. How did Czar Nicholas manage to lose the trust and adoration of the Russian people? Was the monk Rasputin really a holy man or a con-artist trying to steal the crown? Did Princess Annastasia survive the massacre that killed the rest of the royal family? Through thorough research and thoughtful writing Candace Fleming answers all these questions and more. Using diary entries and letters from the last rulers of the Russian Empire the author brings to life the people behind the stories. Perfect for history buffs and fans of royal intrigue.
- Bomb ,
- Samuari Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune
A Gumiho is a fox, specifically a fox with 9 tails that hunts people and eats their livers. They are demons known in many cultures as monsters that can disguise themselves as beautiful women to seduce and capture their prey. But is it really that simple? Gu Miyong is a Gumiho but she doesn’t rip her victims apart, and she preys upon only the most heinous criminal. She hates that she has to kill to live but such is the life of a Gumiho. She knows humans will never trust her if they ever find out what she truly is, or at least that’s what she has been told. She trusts no one except her mother, has no one that she considers a friend, and wants to keep it that way. Everything changes in an instant when a charming slacker named Jihoon stumbles upon her secret. Cho does a fantastic job of world building. Fans of folklore and the paranormal, romance, and K-Dramas will love this book and its sequel Vicious Spirits.
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi,
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas,
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotouge
Through poems, prose, interviews, and art the women in this collection share their stories of what it’s like to be an indigenous woman in today’s world. From outsiders antiquated pictures of Native Americans, to just plain racism, these women shed light on their experiences and the experiences of their peers. A fantastic book for anyone wanting to learn more about Indigenous American experiences today.
- The Heartbeat at Wounded Knee by David Treuer,
- An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,
- Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell,
- Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
When Allie’s crayon broke while coloring, she became an angry furious red anger monster. As she stomps around and throws a tantrum, her brother shows her ways to manage her anger, which sometimes can be overwhelming and tough for children. Allie All Along is a great read-aloud exploring simple ways kids can center themselves in the face of overwhelming emotions.
- Ravi's Roar by Tom Percival,
- The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld,
- Mad, Mad Bear! by Kimberly Gee,
- Breathe Like Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime by Kira Willey
The absorbing story of a widowed woman from a marriage mixed in both race and religion. Streeter addresses with honest experience and humor the topics of mixed marriage, death and funerals, as well as the continuation of adoption proceedings after the unexpected death of her husband. Streeter struggled to honor her husband's beliefs and wishes while also keeping her own beliefs and identity as she planned his funeral. She tells of her struggles as she dealt with her husband's death trying to move on with her life while working through issues of avoidance, overeating and drinking and depression. These issues are approached in an honest, heartbreaking and sometimes humorous way. Her struggles with disappointment, loss of faith and making difficult life altering choices are a few of the issues she faced. Included in her story is learning how to tell her two year old son about his father's death. This touching, often humorous and heartfelt story deals honestly with the difficult topics of racism, grief, friendship and family bonds.
- The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs,
- Blue Nights by Joan Didion,
- Epilogue: a Memoir by Roiphe, Anne Richardson,
- Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sandberg, Sheryl
In an alternate universe a “Spontaneous Anthropomorphic Event” occurrs in the United Kingdom that transforms rabbits and other animals into human-sized, talking, walking, reading and thinking creatures. Peter Knox is a single father who works for the Rabbit Compliance Taskforce where he searches for rabbits engaged in illegal activities. When old college friend Constance Rabbit moves into the cozy town of Much Hemlock with her family, Peter’s world is quickly turned upside down. Rabbits everywhere suddenly find themselves pariahs who are not only mocked and surveilled, but banned from reading certain books and even prevented from attending the university. The ruling political party, known as the UK Anti-Rabbit Party, offers to alleviate their plight with “a humane solution” by rehoming rabbits to a MegaWarren located in Wales. Peter and his daughter, Pippa, soon find themselves questioning everything they believed about their friends, their country and their species. The hare-raising climax is both dramatic and unpredictable, yet indelibly perfect.
Jasper Fforde offers a witty yet poignant political satire which comments upon systemic injustice, racism, discrimination and bias in this darkly humorous and thought provoking novel.
- Animal Farm,
- Brave New World,
- Adjustment Day,
- Gulliver's Travels
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
In the news today, there is much information about racial discrimination. I wonder about my own biases in everyday life. The main character in Prairie Lotus is Hanna, a fourteen year old girl who is travelling by wagon with her father across Dakota Territory in the spring of 1880. Hanna experiences racism firsthand in their newly adopted town of LaForge. She tries to avoid “trouble” with the white settlers, but prejudice finds her regardless. I enjoyed reading about Hanna and her family; their struggles and their triumphs. I was amazed at all the tasks Hanna is responsible for in 1880 at age fourteen. Had I lived then, would I have been successful in those tasks when I was fourteen?
The hardcover book, Prairie Lotus, can be found among the new chapter books in the Youth Services Department.
At this time VCPL does not own an eBook or audio copy of this title.
- From the desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks.,
- Indian no more by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell.,
- Efrén divided :a novel by Ernesto Cisneros.,
- Show me a sign by Ann Clare LeZotte
Alphabet Squadron is a Star Wars story set in the times after the Return of the Jedi movie, when the Empire is divided, and the New Republic (the Rebels from the original Star Wars trilogy) is beginning to gain power.
Those who were part of the Imperial military attempt to make a violent display of the strength that they still have, attacking a number of worlds, destroying civilizations in the name of preventing the New Republic from using the resources from those planets. During one of these raids, a highly-skilled TIE-fighter pilot comes to the realization that this Empire that she had been committed to is not the force of Good that she had previously believed. She defects from her squadron, getting shot down in the process, and is captured by people in New Republic Intelligence. Over the course of the story, she is thrown together with several other misfit pilots, trying to ultimately stop the Imperial squadron of which she was originally a part. Overall, it's a fun and quick read, that will be a fun addition to the greater Star Wars story.
- Star Wars: Shadowfall
Atlas of the National Parks focuses in-depth on 33 National Parks based on criteria derived from the spirit of the 1918 directive to “seek out scenery or features so extraordinary as to be of national importance, ‘exemplifying the highest accomplishment of stream erosion… the oldest rock forms… and the luxuriance of deciduous forests.’” Within the pages about these 33 parks, the reader will discover the historical reasons for the formations of these parks, both ecological and human-created, as well as some of the current day issues the parks face. Near the end, 28 other parks each get a single page briefly highlighting their creation.
Not a travel guide, this book is more for those who seek to appreciate the formation, creation, and beauty of the National Parks. Filled with wonderful images and maps, a history lover or a lover of National Parks in general, will surely enjoy this oversized book.
- A thinking person's guide to America's National Parks by Robert Manning, et al,
- National Geographic the National Parks: an illustrated history by Kim Heacox
Lissa is a home healthcare nurse in London, England. She witnesses a hit-and-run killing a boy she knows and suffers PTSD from the incident. Cormac is a home healthcare nurse and army veteran who lives in Kirrinfief, Scotland 500 miles from London. Lissa's supervisor arranges for a work exchange between the two to give Lissa a few months in a less demanding job so that she can recover. Each finds living and working in the other person's environment difficult at first and sharing texts about patients and situations helps them to adjust. After some time they begin to find aspects of the other's world that they enjoy. Both feel a connection to the other and would like to meet. Things don't go as planned as they face the challenges of being 500 miles apart but the tragedy that first brought them together helps them to finally meet face to face. Finding peace and healing from traumatic circumstances is a theme in this book.
- The Flat Share by Beth O'Leary,
- What We Find by Robyn Carr,
- The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans
What is it like to move from a big city to a small rural town? Ben Hardy is going to find out in My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner when his family moves from Los Angeles, California to South Fork, Idaho. Ben doesn’t even like potatoes but he now finds himself in the “Potato Capital of the World”! What will it be like trying to make new friends and fit in in the middle of seventh grade? How does Ben end up as the school’s mascot, Steve the Spud, and why doesn’t he want anyone to know? Read this Youth Services chapter book to find out.
Available in hardcover, eBook or AudioBook
- Hold the pickles [electronic resource] / Vicki Grant ,
- Worst mascot ever / James Preller ,
- Middle school bites / by Steven Banks ,
- Brave like that / Lindsey Stoddard
Mr. Pig has a garden but he also has a problem, a happy chatty neighbor. What do you do when someone wants to talk to you when you do not want to talk? What do you do when someone wants to help but you do not want help? See what happens in Mr. Pig’s Big Wall written by Glenn Hernández. You can find this Picture Book in Youth Services in the New Book Area.
- If you plant a seed by Kadir Nelson,
- The day you begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Dannie has every step of her life planned. She is in the career she loves. She is living with the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Everything in her life is going as planned, until she has a dream of her life in five years in an apartment she's never seen and with a man she has never met. Dannie's best friend Bella is nothing like her, wild and carefree she lives for the moment and never follows a plan. Bella lives life to the fullest. This is a unique love story, not at all the traditional romance and its twists and turns will keep you reading to the very end to find out what will happen in five years with Dannie and Bella.
- One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid,
- The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver,
- I Almost Forgot About You by Terriy McMillan
Read about everyday life from the unique perspective of "Aliens" on a strange planet. This graphic novel is LOL funny beginning with the dedication, "To Taylor: you remove the air from my lungs." Each section focuses on a different aspect of daily life. A great little book to share with family and friends. Based on a popular Instagram posts.
- Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson,
- Cyanide & Happiness by Kris Wilson
Reader's who enjoy reading exciting Christian Fiction such as the Left Behind series will enjoy this novel on the topic of end times. Uniquely written with the prophetic Bible passages noted at the end of each chapter the author tells the story of several people who experience the disappearance of people close to them as well as millions around the world. The disappearances trigger civil unrest and rioting throughout the world, governmental changes and wars. This intriguing story leaves you wanting more. Print and ebook versions available.
- The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn,
- Black by Ted Dekker,
- The Left Behind (series) by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins,
- Blood of Heaven by Bill Myers
Erin and Ben Napier, the stars of HGTV's Home Town tell about their experiences growing up and events leading them to their careers and television. Not a typical television personality story this book reads more like the story of the kids who live down the street. It is a surprisingly touching story of two nice people who found each other and have built a life together while discovering their individual talents along the way. Family love and support is presented through good and bad times. You will laugh, cry and cheer for them as you read this book.
- The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines, with Mark Dagostino,
- The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman,
- Friends by Angela Bassett
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live through a disaster? Ranger is a golden retriever with some search and rescue training but more importantly, he can travel back in time! In this juvenile chapter book, Ranger finds himself inside the Twin Towers just as a plane crashes into the building. Will Ranger be able to help fifth-graders Risha and Max reach safety? At the end of her novel author, Kate Messner includes facts about the events that took place on September 11, 2001. Where were you on 9/11/2001? Were you in school? Maybe you were not born yet. If you enjoy this story, there are several others in the Ranger in Time series.
This title is available as a print book. Lexile level: 570L
- I survived the Children's Blizzard, 1888 by Lauren Tarshis ,
- Nuts to you by Lynne Rae Perkins ,
- Hurricane heroes in Texas by Mary Pope Osborne,
- I survived the sinking of the Titanic, 1912 adapted by Georgia Ball with art by Haus Studio ,
- Zane and the hurricane : a story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick
Layla is a thoughtful seven-year-old girl who shows readers what happiness is to her. Happiness for Layla includes looking into her kaleidoscope with her mom and chasing her friend Juan. What does happiness look like to you and your family? Read this picture book written by Mariahadessa Tallie to find out more about Layla and what brings her happiness.
- Black is a rainbow color by Angela Joy,
- I've got an elephant by Anne Ginkel,
- I got the rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
Love Bridget Jones Diaries? Meet Laurie Watkinson, 36, a up and coming lawyer in the British law firm, Salter and Rowson. She loves her career and believes her 18 year relationship with fellow lawyer, Dan Price, to be solid and is rocked when he abruptly ends things. Enter Jamie Carter, another lawyer in their firm, who needs Laurie’s help to move up in firm. Can they fake a relationship to save her from office humiliation while advancing Jamie’s career? Author Mhairi McFarlane provides readers with likable characters and contemporary issues in this fast paced read.
This title is available in print, ebook and eaudiobook from VCPL.
- Chose the wrong guy, gave him the wrong finger by Beth Harbison,
- The Hating Game by Sally Thorne,
- The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory,
- The Bachelor by Carly Phillips,
- Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
Classic mystery fans will recognize Agatha Christie as the whodunit author that crafts mysteries where everyone has a motive and readers have to wait until the last chapter for all the pieces to fall into place. The Mysterious Affair at Styles is the first book where Christie introduces readers to the eccentric detective, Hercule Poirot, and his friend, Arthur Hastings. While visiting a sprawling country house, a family friend is murdered and Hastings and Poirot set out to solve the mystery surrounding the death. Poirot follows clues and interviews guests while Hastings tries to help the readers put the clues together. Readers who enjoy classic English mysteries will love the series and can continue the enjoyment to several film and television adaptions of Christie’ famed Hercule Poirot.
This title is available in print, audiobook and in digital formats on Libby & hoopla!
- Still Life by Louise Penny,
- The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah,
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley,
- Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan
When a massive solar flare causes a worldwide blackout, an Amish community in rural Pennsylvania is not immediately affected. Their lives, purposefully simple, do not involve a lot of computers or other modern technological conveniences, so the disruption of electronics don’t change their day to day activities. But when the English – their name for those outside the Amish circles – have their lives shattered by this catastrophe, this quiet community can’t stay separate for long.
When the English Fall is told from the perspective of a man named Jacob, in the form of journal entries, written from before this world-shattering event until a few months after. It details the struggles of this peace-loving man, as his desire to keep his family safe contrasts with his deeply-held belief that he needs to help the hurting and act with love to all mankind.
The roving bands of survivalists, so common in other post-apocalyptic stories, are present here too, violently raiding Jacob and his neighbors’ farms for supplies. National Guard forces requisition the food that the community had been saving for the winter, to be used to feed those in nearby cities. English friends arrive, trying to find refuge from the crowded urban sprawl.
At its heart, while this narrative has a post-apocalyptic setting, it is a story about the human condition – about the value of human life, and about the struggle to keep one’s convictions and ideals in the midst of tragic circumstances.
A raucous behind-the-scenes look at the life of the dictionary. Readers who never thought they would read that sentence will be entertainingly enlightened by Kory Stamper’s Word by Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries. It’s a light-hearted yet sincere look at a job most people give little thought to. To many, the dictionary is a hallowed tome “of truth and wisdom as infallible as God.” To others, it’s something they have because adults should own a dictionary. Most people don’t realize that the dictionary is an organic document, constantly being reviewed, revised, and updated by “actual, living, awkward people.”
We are taught that language is a science, rigidly classifiable, when in fact it is an art, and a messy one at that: “Two lexicographers,” Stamper writes, “with the same training can look at the same sentence, refer to the same grammars, tear out the same amount of hair,” yet place a word in two different parts of speech. Modern English grammar, it turns out, is based on rules for Latin, another (ancient) language altogether. As a result, schoolchildren learn to grudge grammar because teachers insist that English be shoehorned into grammatical rules that don’t apply to it.
Stamper’s language isn’t nearly as bemusingly perplexing as the culture she describes. Her writing flourishes with an easy air, yet it’s candid and down to earth. Her anecdotes about language history and the process of defining words are educational and, perhaps as importantly, quite a bit of fun.
A dangerous book for schoolchildren, and should not be read by those who won’t end sentences with prepositions.
- The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary: A Memoir,
- The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,
- Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages
For those who miss sports, live for March Madness, and always root for the underdog: this book is for you.
The author, a Duke University alum, isn't as much of a homer for them as one would expect. He often skewers the one-and-done schools, most predictably, University of Kentucky. His focus for The Back Roads to March is the mid-majors, most of it along the East Coast and New England. The tie that binds is the lead-up to the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Within that framework, the reader will relive some epic moments that remind us why college basketball's mid-majors deserve respect: George Mason's run to the Final Four and UMBC's win for the ages.
With good research and humor, Feinstein showcases the aspects of college basketball we don't often see, unless we've lived it.
- Raise the Roof by Pat Summitt,
- Wooden: A Coach's Life by Seth Davis,
- The Legends Club by John Feinstein
Not just about King’s killer, this thoughtful read revisits important moments in King’s life, beginning with the time he was stabbed in the chest with a letter opener at a book signing, and the choice he made to stay a public figure instead of focusing on his own safety. A little simplistic in its telling, but still emotionally moving.
While it appears a hefty book, approximately one third is notes and supplemental information, and interspersed throughout the story are excellently chosen historical images. Short chapters make this a quick read. A great book for both adults and young adults.
Bryan Stevenson weaves numerous tales of injustice around the thread of his own coming of age as a lawyer and the case of Walter McMillian. Stevenson was a young lawyer when he first founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice that assists those, like McMillian, who find themselves accused of a crime, lacking funds and proper legal counsel.
The audacity in the actions of the officials trusted to ensure safety is both mesmerizing and horrifying. That these occurrences have happened within this reader’s lifetime, and not in some remote time stolen from a history book is even more alarming. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the topics of equality, justice, or the death penalty.
- The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton,
- Beneath a Ruthless Sun by Gilbert King,
- Charged by Emily Bazelon
As one of the lieutenants that rode with Hinton to the county jail explained, “I can give you five reasons why they are going to convict you. Do you want to know what they are… Number one, you’re black. Number two, a white man gonna say you shot him. Number three, you’re gonna have a white district attorney. Number four, you’re gonna have a white judge. And number five, you’re gonna have an all-white jury.”
Making friends with a former KKK member. Watching a woman walk to the death chamber. Smelling the burning flesh of those friends you’ve made by chance on death row. Hinton also shines a light on what a “right to an attorney” actually gets you if you are poor. As his defense attorney so eloquently told him, “‘They’re only paying me $1,000 for this, and hell, I eat $1,000 for breakfast.’ He laughed.” This was Hinton’s life for 30 years. And somehow he survives.
Anthony Ray Hinton tells his story in a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching way. The reader will experience the emotions of Hinton throughout – from despair to exaltation to anxiety. Definitely worth a read.
- The Master Plan by Chris Wilson,
- Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor,
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander,
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Anna has agoraphobia. She hasn’t left her house in ten months. Anything she needs, she has delivered: medications, wine, food, a therapist. She helps others with agoraphobia via an online forum and plays chess via a different forum. Stuck in her house, she spends ample time watching her neighbors. When a few new neighbors start coming by, she finds herself surprised, but also enjoying their company. Then one night, she witnesses something happen to one of those new neighbors – swears she saw it – but what did she really see?
This title is also available in ebook and eaudiobook formats.
- Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney,
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins,
- Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
With her children preparing to leave the nest, and her beloved running pal, Lucy, passed away, Cara Achterberg decides to take on a new challenge: foster dog mom. Fluctuating between humor and heartbreak, the reader may find herself cheering for a “foster fail.” (Meaning that the dog is kept by the author.) There is also quite a bit to learn about fostering animals, and the author occasionally references what makes a good rescue group.
Dog lovers are sure to enjoy this story about puppy antics! A center section includes a variety of color pictures from the many foster dogs that have stayed at the Achterberg home.
- Rescue Road by Peter Zheutlin,
- The Dogs Who Found Me by Ken Foster,
- A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home by Sue Halpern
"He had come so far, but what struck me then and for many years afterward was how little I had done for him. I don’t mean this in the way of false modesty. I mean that it frightens me that so little was required for him to develop intellectually – a quiet room, a pile of books, and some adult guidance. And yet these things were rarely supplied."
Reading with Patrick is one teacher’s journey into the Delta, a poor, rural community, and the impact she hopes to make, the guilt she feels when leaving, and the pull she feels back to her previous students. Focusing on what becomes a friendship between herself and a former student, this non-fiction selection is a commentary on the social injustices and inequality found among US schools.
This title is available as both a print book and an audiobook on Overdrive: https://idm.overdrive.com/media/2830214
- The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore,
- Shakespeare Saved My Life by Laura Bates
Every new mom wants to be perfect. It’s even harder when you surround yourself with other seemingly perfect moms every week. The May Mothers is a group of women whose babies were born in the same month. The new moms think they know each other- but do they really? What is supposed to be a much-needed girls’ night out turns into a media circus that exposes secrets and challenges these new friendships.
The Perfect Mother is a fast-paced thriller that keeps the reader guessing until the very end.
This book is also available in ebook and eaudiobook.
- I Will Never Leave You by S.M. Thayer,
- The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani,
- The Other Mother by Carol Goodman
Wyatt has no idea what’s in store for him when he travels to Washington DC with his class. Typical kid hijinks as well as more unrealistic shenanigans ensue when Wyatt’s best friend immediately makes enemies with some suspicious characters on the airplane. A contemporary fiction selection that may have your younger ones asking, “Did that really happen?”
Dave Barry’s humorous style is one that the whole family will enjoy. This title is a perfect audiobook for a road trip.
Beautifully written, with an easy rhythm, this non-fiction picture book is great for reading aloud. The story takes the reader through the life of Dr. Patricia Bath, the inventor of the Laserphaco Probe, which is used in cataract treatment. As a woman of color, Dr. Bath broke through many barriers to become a doctor and was the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology. All of this information is written in fun, kid-friendly, and easy-to-understand language.
This YA fiction title is a twisted tale of a small child who murdered a baby. Allegedly. When the reader meets this child, she’s now a teen, stuck in a group home. Her mom visits, just like clockwork, every other Sunday at the exact same time after church. Life is fairly predictable; the chaos and violence of the group home is expected. And then an unexpected surprise causes Mary to finally search for her voice and fight for a different future.
A little dark, Allegedly is a fast-paced read. The reader slowly learns what happened the night Alyssa died: through Mary’s memories, interview transcripts, and newspaper clippings. Both teens and adults are sure to be enthralled by this suspenseful murder mystery.
This title is available in print and electronic formats.
- Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds,
- Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh
“I will live to leave this place. I will walk out a free man. If there is a hell, I will see these murderers burn in it.” Such are the thoughts of Lale, the titular character.
Lale leaves his family behind, with the hopes that by proactively volunteering to work for the German government as requested, that the rest of his family would be left alone. Unfortunately, the reader knows that is not how history unfolded in the 1940s.
The bulk of the story takes place during Lale’s time in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps. His care-taking, risk-taking, potentially deadly choices rushes the reader through the story. The reader sees through Lale’s account the heartbreaking sights that are burned into his memory. And yet, a romance begins.
A fictional tale based on the true life of Lale Sokolov, this story was originally written as a screenplay. The author, Heather Morris, wonderfully handles the incongruences between the atrocities committed and the love that bloomed between Lale and Gita.
- We were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter,
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Rahi, an only child, reveals to his parents the truth of his sexual orientation and is met with silence and is subsequently cut off from his family. After an unexpected phone call, Pival is informed by her husband that Rahi is dead, a sudden death. She never quite believes him, but has no evidence to the contrary.
Pival’s appeal draws in the reader from the very beginning. She is at once independent and helpless; isolated in a place crowded with her husband’s relatives. The story arc follows the widow’s travels, from India to America, as she enlists the help of a tour guide company to travel the country that took her son.
While not narrated directly by the individuals themselves, each chapter is viewed from the perspective of a specific person. The text is well written and the characters are likable, but realistic. The story has a colorful cast of secondary characters, some of whom are charming, even as they are trying too hard. “[B]ut when you are being in Rome, as it were, you pay Roman fees” warned the tour company owner about the custom of tipping in America.
This title is also available as an eaudiobook on hoopla here: https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12126524
Inspired by a letter to Professor P.V. Glob author of the book "The Bog People" from a group of school girls. "Meet Me at the Museum" is the story of the correspondence of one of the girls, written to Professor Glob many years later and the reply from the current museum curator. The story, written in letter form is the "meeting" and growing friendship between English farm wife, Tina and the Danish museum curator, Anders. Both Tina and Anders are fascinated by the Tollund Man, the subject of the book, "The Bog People" by professor Glob. Both are dealing with grief and loss and find that they have more in common than expected. By sharing their thoughts and feelings, joys and heartbreak they become close friends although they have never met. This meditative and inspiring book looks at choices people make and hope renewed through friendship.
- Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schafer,
- The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The “Marsh Girl,” as she is commonly known, is the subject of rumor and gossip in the small town of Barkley Cove in North Carolina. Other times they call her marsh trash. Abandoned since age 10, Kya’s ingenuity helps her survive. However, the rumors and gossip become even worse as she occasionally dreams of what it would be like to join "polite" society. Will she ever escape her isolation?
Set in the 1950s and 60s, this first novel by Delia Owens will draw the reader in from the very beginning. It is an intriguing mix of romance and murder mystery, although a little "fluffy," but otherwise enjoyable.
- Clock Dance by Anne Tyler,
- Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison
Not too much in the way of romance for this book stamped with a romance label. I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos is a contemporary fiction novel that is part mystery with a hint of romance.
The alternating narrators, Clare and Edith, are revealing their stories piece by piece, each from their own lifetime. Edith is based mostly in the 1950s, while Clare, who mentions texting and Facebooking, is clearly present day.
As with many fiction selections, oftentimes the reader knows exactly where the story leads, hence why the term “foreshadow” exists. However, in I’ll Be Your Blue Sky, there are a few surprises in store that the reader won’t see until right in the moment that it happens.
- The Violets of March by Sarah Jio,
- As You Wish by Jude Deveraux,
- Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis,
- Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
If you like camping, vintage camping trailers, restoration or all things vintage this beautiful book is one you will want to pick up. This book is just short of 200 pages of photographs and stories of vintage camper enthusiasts and their experiences with finding, restoring and camping in vintage trailers. Learn about a whole community of people from diverse backgrounds who form groups across the country. These groups host rallys and attend events together forming families of friends who share memories. For some this is a creative outlet, others it is a way to bond as a family or re-visit happy childhood memories and for many it has become a business and a way of life. The stories are short and interesting, the pictures are wonderful. This is a nice book to pick up and enjoy as you are relaxing.
- Tin Can Homestead: The Art of Airstream Living by Natasha Lawyer and Brett Bashaw,
- Glamping with MaryJane: Glamour and Camping by MaryJane Butters