A short collection of fiction:
March / Geraldine Brooks
In a story inspired by the father character in “Little Women” and drawn from the journals and letters of Louisa May Alcott’s father, a man leaves behind his family to serve in the Civil War and finds his beliefs challenged by his experiences.
Amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay / Michael Chabon
In 1939 New York City, Joe Kavalier, a refugee from Hitler’s Prague, joins forces with his Brooklyn-born cousin, Sammy Clay, to create comic-book superheroes inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams. (Also available in Large Print, Audio Book/CD and as an ebook on Libby/OverDrive.)
The hours / Michael Cunningham
In a novel of love, family inheritance, and desperation, the author offers a fictional account of Virginia Woolf’s last days and her friendship with a poet living in his mother’s shadow.
The brief and wondrous life of Oscar Wao / Junot DiazLiving with an old-world mother and rebellious sister, an urban New Jersey misfit dreams of becoming the next J. R. R. Tolkien and believes that a long-standing family curse is thwarting his efforts to find love and happiness. (Also available in Large Print and Audio Book/CD)
All the light we cannot see / Anthony Doerr
A blind French girl on the run from the German occupation and a German orphan-turned-Resistance tracker struggle with respective beliefs after meeting on the Brittany coast.(Also available in Large Print and Audio Book/CD)
A visit from the Goon Squad / Jennifer Egan
Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs confront their pasts in this powerful story about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn, and how art and music have the power to redeem.
A short collection of history:
The race beat : the press, the civil rights struggle, and the awakening of a nation / Gene Roberts
Analyzes how the news stories, editorials, and photographs in the American press–as well as the journalists responsible for them–helped transform the nation’s attitude toward civil rights in the South during the 1950s and 1960s.
Encounters at the heart of the world : a history of the mandan people / Elizabeth A. Fenn
Draws on important discoveries in a range of disciplines to chronicle the history of the Mandan Native Americans while sharing perspectives about their thriving commercial and agricultural practices before European diseases decimated their culture.
Sweet taste of liberty : a true story of slavery and restitution in America / W. Caleb McDaniel
Chronicles the unforgettable saga of one enslaved woman’s fight for justice—and reparations.
Original meanings : politics and ideas in the making of the Constitution / Jack N. Rakove
Reassessing the original intentions of the ratifiers of the U.S. Constitution, the author examines debates over ratification, the political issues of the era, and the roles of Madison and others.
Summer for the gods : the Scopes trial and America’s continuing debate over science and religion / Edward J. Larson
With a wealth of never-before-published material, this volume provides a modern perspective on the legal and historical influence of the 1925 Scopes Trial, the landmark case about teaching evolution in the classroom.
Blood in the water : the Attica prison uprising of 1971 and its legacy / Heather Ann Thompson
An all-encompassing account of the infamous 1971 Attica prison uprising, the state’s violent response and the victims’ decades-long quest for justice draws on previously unreleased information while detailing how the event has influenced civil rights practices in the criminal justice system.
A short list of biographical books:
The Pope and Mussolini : the secret history of Pius XI and the rise of Fascism in Europe / David I. Kertzer
Analyzes the relationship between Pius XI and the notorious Italian dictator, tracing how after coming into power in the same year they forged covert ties to one another to consolidate power and pursue political goals.
The return : fathers, sons, and the land in between / Hisham Matar
The award-winning author of Anatomy of a Disappearance describes his journey home to Libya after a 30-year absence due to his family’s political exile and his father’s kidnapping in Cairo, and his inextinguishable hopes that his father will be found alive.
Eden’s outcasts : the story of Louisa May Alcott and her father / John Matteson
An evaluation of the complicated relationship between the classic author and her idealistic father considers how Louisa’s exuberant personality often challenged Bronson’s intricate child-rearing philosophies, describes his failed Fruitlands utopia, and considers how Louisa eventually came to support her family through writing.
Angela’s ashes : a memoir / Frank McCourt
The author recounts his childhood in Depression-era Brooklyn as the child of Irish immigrants who decide to return to worse poverty in Ireland when his infant sister dies. that inspired such classics as “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
The Black Count : glory, revolution, betrayal, and the real Count of Monte Cristo / Tom Reiss
Traces the story of the mixed-race swordsman and father of novelist Alexandre Dumas, discussing his rise to the French aristocracy, his military triumphs ,and the adventures.
BIO ADAMS JOHN
John Adams / David McCullough
Chronicles the life of America’s second president, including his youth, his career as a Massachusetts farmer and lawyer, his marriage to Abigail, his rivalry with Thomas Jefferson, and his influence on the birth of the United States.
A short list of poetry titles:
Half-light : collected poems 1965-2016 / Frank Bidart
The collected poems of the award winning American poet Frank Bidart.
Practical gods / Carl Dennis
Poems explore the divine in the ordinary and attempt to translate pagan and biblical perspectives into secular terms.
Delights & shadows : poems / Ted Kooser
Ted Kooser, who served as United States Poet Laureate (2004–2006), is a poet who works toward clarity and accessibility, so that each distinctive poem appears to be as fresh and bright and spontaneous as a good watercolor painting. He is a haiku-like imagist who imbues his poems with “tender wisdom,” and draws inspiration from the overlooked details of daily life.
The shadow of Sirius / W.S. Merwin
Presents a collection of poems reflecting the author’s life.
The best of it : new and selected poems / Kay Ryan
Presents a selection of more than two hundred poems from his previous works along with a collection of new poems.
Blizzard of one : poems / Mark Strand
Strand’s poems occupy a place that exists between abstraction and the sensuous particulars of experience. It is a place created by a voice that moves with unerring ease between the commonplace and the sublime. The poems are filled with ‘the weather of leavetaking,’ but they are also unexpectedly fuuny.
A short list of general non-fiction:
Guns, germs, and steel : the fates of human societies / Jared Diamond
Jacket Dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors he feels are responsible for history’s broadest patterns.
Slavery by another name : the re-enslavement of Black people in America from the Civil War to World War II / Douglas A. Blackmon
Reveals how, from the late 1870s through the mid-twentieth century, thousands of African-American men were arrested and forced to work off outrageous fines by serving as unpaid labor to businesses and provincial farmers.
BLA 339.4609 DES
Evicted : poverty and profit in the American city / Matthew Desmond
A Harvard sociologist examines the challenge of eviction as a formidable cause of poverty in America, revealing how millions of people are wrongly forced from their homes and reduced to cycles of extreme disadvantage that are reinforced by dysfunctional legal systems.
Amity and Prosperity : one family and the fracturing of America / Eliza Griswold
Explores the costs of fracking as demonstrated by the volatile personalities and politics of a rural Allegheny town where an unlikely whistle-blower tried to investigate the sources of mysterious local illnesses.
Locking up our own : crime and punishment in black America / James Forman, Jr.
Examines the debates surrounding the criminal justice system and its activities involving mass incarceration, aggressive police tactics, and their impact on at-risk people of color and beleaguered law-enforcement officers.
Gulag : a history / Anne Applebaum
Chronicles the history of the Soviet concentration camp system from its start after the Russian Revolution to its collapse, discussing its creation and the way of life for those who lived there.