BOOK CLUB PICKS

july Book Selections

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Contemporary Fiction

Little Family  by Ishmael Beah

A powerful novel about young people in a conflict-scarred land, struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created together.

Hidden away from a harsh outside world, five young people have improvised a home in an abandoned airplane, a relic of their country’s chaos. Elimane, the bookworm, is as street-smart as he is wise. Clever Khoudiemata maneuvers to keep the younger kids—athletic, pragmatic Ndevui; thoughtful Kpindi; and especially their newest member, Namsa—safe and fed. When Elimane makes himself of service to the shadowy William Handkerchief, it seems as if the little family may be able to keep the world at bay and their household intact. But when Khoudi comes under the spell of the “beautiful people”—the fortunate sons and daughters of the powerful—the desire to resume an interrupted coming of age and follow her own destiny proves impossible to resist.

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Nonfiction

This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope  by Shayla Lawson

 

The essays in This is Major ask questions like: Why are black women invisible to AI? What is “black girl magic”? Or: Am I one viral tweet away from becoming Twitter famous? And: How much magic does it take to land a Tinder date?

With a unique mix of personal stories, pop culture observations, and insights into politics and history, Lawson sheds light on these questions, as well as the many ways black women and girls have influenced mainstream culture—from their style, to their language, and even their art—and how “major” they really are.

Timely, enlightening, and wickedly sharp, This Is Major places black women at the center—no longer silenced, no longer the minority.

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Classic Fiction

Sugar by Bernice McFadden

Sugar brings a Southern African-American town vividly to life, with its flowering magnolia trees, lingering scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and white picket fences that keep strangers out--but ignorance and superstition in. To read this novel is to take a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.  McFadden is the author of the novels Gathering of Waters, Glorious, and This Bitter Earth.

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Long-Term Read

The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

 

In this outstanding cultural biography, the author of the New York Times bestseller A Slave in the White House chronicles a critical yet overlooked chapter in American history: the inspiring rise and calculated fall of the black elite, from Emancipation through Reconstruction to the Jim Crow Era—embodied in the experiences of an influential figure of the time, academic, entrepreneur, and political activist and black history pioneer Daniel Murray.

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