A NEW YORK TIMES AND WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK A 2018 BEST OF THE YEAR SELECTION OF NPR * TIME * BUSTLE * O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE * THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS * AMAZON.COM OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB 2018 SELECTION LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION "A moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple." --Barack Obama "Haunting . . . Beautifully written." --The New York Times Book Review "Brilliant and heartbreaking . . . Unforgettable." --USA Today "A tense and timely love story . . . Packed with brave questions about race and class." --People "Compelling." --The Washington Post "Epic . . . Transcendent . . . Triumphant." --Elle Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Call Number: PS3573 .A425 C6 1992 (2 copies)
Publication Date: 1992
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that tells the story of two sisters through their correspondence. With a new Preface by the author.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Call Number: PS3551 .N464 Z466 1971
Publication Date: 1971
An autobiography from famed poet Maya Angelou.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; Charles Johnson (Preface by)
Call Number: PS3555 .L625 I5 1994
Publication Date: 1994
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time * Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood," and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Call Number: New Book Shelf - 2nd Floor PS3573.H4768 N53 2019
Publication Date: 2019
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood's only salvation is his friendship with fellow "delinquent" Turner, which deepens despite Turner's conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers and "should further cement Whitehead as one of his generation's best" (Entertainment Weekly). WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR Time, Esquire, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Slate, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Vox, Variety, Christian Science Monitor, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, Literary Hub, BuzzFeed, The New York Public Library NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 10 BEST FICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION 2020
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Call Number: PS3552.E19 S45 2015
Publication Date: 2015
Winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction Named one of the best books of 2015 byTheNew York Times Book Reviewand theWall Street Journal A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty'sThe Selloutshowcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality--the black Chinese restaurant. Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens--on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles--the narrator ofThe Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral. Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident--the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins--he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Call Number: PS3623.A7323 S56 2017
Publication Date: 2017
*WINNER of the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD for FICTION *A TIME MAGAZINE BEST NOVEL OF THE YEAR and A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 OF 2017 *Finalist for the Kirkus Prize *Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal *Finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize *Publishers Weekly Top 10 of 2017 *Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award A finalist for the Kirkus Prize, Andrew Carnegie Medal, Aspen Words Literary Prize, and a New York Times bestseller, this majestic, stirring, and widely praised novel from two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, the story of a family on a journey through rural Mississippi, is a "tour de force" (O, The Oprah Magazine) and a timeless work of fiction that is destined to become a classic. In Jesmyn Ward's first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi's past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power--and limitations--of family bonds. Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn't lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won't acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager. His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister's lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children's father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances. When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love. Rich with Ward's distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an unforgettable family story.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Call Number: PR9387.9 .A3 T5 1959
Publication Date: 1959
"[A] classic narrative about Africa's cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent." (https://www.amazon.com/Things-Fall-Apart-Chinua-Achebe/dp/0385474547)
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Call Number: PS3602.E66444 V36 2020
Publication Date: 2020
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick "Bennett's tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it's especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison's 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye." --Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal "A story of absolute, universal timelessness ...For any era, it's an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it's piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be...." - Entertainment Weekly From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Call Number: PS3603.O17 W38 2019
Publication Date: 2019
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK * From the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom. "This potent book about America's most disgraceful sin establishes [Ta-Nehisi Coates] as a first-rate novelist."--San Francisco Chronicle NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD * NAMED ONE OF PASTE'S BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time * NPR * The Washington Post * Chicago Tribune * Vanity Fair * Esquire * Good Housekeeping * Paste * Town & Country * The New York Public Library * Kirkus Reviews * Library Journal "Nearly every paragraph is laced through with dense, gorgeously evocative descriptions of a vanished world and steeped in its own vivid vocabulary."--Entertainment Weekly Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her--but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he's ever known. So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia's proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he's enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram's resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures. This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children--the violent and capricious separation of families--and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today's most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen. Praise for The Water Dancer "Ta-Nehisi Coates is the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race with his 2015 memoir, Between the World and Me. So naturally his debut novel comes with slightly unrealistic expectations--and then proceeds to exceed them. The Water Dancer . . . is a work of both staggering imagination and rich historical significance. . . . What's most powerful is the way Coates enlists his notions of the fantastic, as well as his fluid prose, to probe a wound that never seems to heal. . . . Timeless and instantly canon-worthy."--Rolling Stone
The World Doesn't Require You by Rion Amilcar Scott
Call Number: PS3619.C6833 A6 2018
Publication Date: 2019
Established by the leaders of the country's only successful slave revolt in the mid-nineteenth century, Cross River still evokes the fierce rhythms of its founding. In lyrical prose and singular dialect, a saga beats forward that echoes the fables carried down for generations--like the screecher birds who swoop down for their periodic sacrifice, and the water women who lure men to wet deaths.Among its residents--wildly spanning decades, perspectives, and species--are David Sherman, a struggling musician who just happens to be God's last son; Tyrone, a ruthless PhD candidate, whose dissertation about a childhood game ignites mayhem in the neighboring, once-segregated town of Port Yooga; and Jim, an all-too-obedient robot who serves his Master. As the book builds to its finish with Special Topics in Loneliness Studies, a fully-realized novella, two unhinged professors grapple with hugely different ambitions, and the reader comes to appreciate the intricacy of the world Scott has created--one where fantasy and reality are eternally at war.Contemporary and essential, The World Doesn't Require You is a "leap into a blazing new level of brilliance" (Lauren Groff) that affirms Rion Amilcar Scott as a writer whose storytelling gifts the world very much requires.