Staff Picks by Tag

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The Deep Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534439863
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - November 5th, 2019

This novella is a moving and necessary addition to every bookshelf.  Not only is it a brief and captivating aquatic fantasy (well-suited for a first time dip into the genre), but it's an artistic collaboration; a poignant song that gets stuck in your head and shifts your attention. Within the significant and beautifully dangerous ocean, Solomon shines a light on the joint horror and growth that comes from remembering the people and actions of the past. Only through this is the necessity of moving towards the future as a community realized. (Make sure to listen to the Clipping album of the same name for the full experience). 

Review by Katelynn

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Deacon King Kong: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735216723
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Riverhead Books - March 3rd, 2020

It's September, 1969, int he Brooklyn projects, The Cause, where poverty consumes the residents and rarely spits them out. Five Ends Baptist Church is a strong force within this community. One of its deacons, a kindhearted by drunken 71 year-old known as Sportcoat, shoots a young drug dealer in broad daylight before many witnesses. Stumbling off toward the rest of his day, Sportcoat eludes the law and claims not to remember a thing about shooting Deems. From this point on the spicy dialogues swirl before the reader, as people react to this unexpected act of violence. Sportcoat's reputation weighs in heavily, making clear the loyalty that poverty generates. McBride's brilliant portrait of these connected souls underline the power of words!

Review by Jane

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316453691
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 10th, 2020

It's staggering to see all this history compiled into one book for the simple fact alone that it makes it impossible not to notice the patterns. Of the behavior, thoughts, ideals, and motivations of white people in positions of power finding ways to undermine black people throughout America's history. I learned more from this single book than any history class I took in school. So, please read this book immediately, but I also say we commission Jason Reynolds to write every history book from now until forever.

Review by Claire

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Everywhere You Don't Belong Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616208790
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Algonquin Books - February 4th, 2020

Bump writes from his own childhood experience on the South Side of Chicago. It’s a heartfelt story with familiar themes of family, love, and growing up, but from a completely unique voice – one that will endear you to main character Claude McKay and one that needs to be heard.

 Pair it with Margo Jefferson’s Negroland a memoir, also about growing up, decades earlier and in another part of Chicago, as an affluent African-American. Two illuminating and unforgettable portrayals of race in the U.S.

Review by Elisabeth

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Not So Pure and Simple Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062349194
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Quill Tree Books - January 21st, 2020

What The Hate U Give did for opening up a conversation about police brutality and racial profiling, Not So Pure and Simple does for toxic masculinity. Giles is able to paint the normalcy of toxic masculinity in all its minute idiosyncrasies without it feeling like a beat-you-over-the-head-I’m-trying-to-teach-you-something story. It's hilarious, honest, and more necessary than I know how to put into words. If this book is any indication of what 2020 look like, we have every reason to be excited about the future. 

Review by Claire

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The Nickel Boys: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345804341
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Anchor - June 30th, 2020

Whitehead lined up the plot of this novel as meticulously as dominos and then with a flick tore everything down in moments.

I sobbed at the end. Read it read it read it.

Review by Allie

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Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062941206
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Avon - November 5th, 2019

GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN is a hate-to-love romantic comedy with more depth than the adorable cover suggests. Strong, smart-mouthed Chloe challenges herself to live more fully after a near-death experience breaks the monotony of managing severe fibromyalgia. She has made a list, of course, but struggles to check off more than the first item: move out of parent's house. Enter Red, her new (rather grouchy) apartment caretaker. They strike a deal to help Chloe with items on her list in exchange for an artist website. Adventures commence: motorbike rides, a drunken night out, camping in the woods. Not on the list? Falling in love.

A hilarious and charming romance with wickedly sexy scenes and believable emotional stakes grounded in familiar anxieties and traumas. 

Review by Danielle

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A Lucky Man: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555978433
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Graywolf Press - June 4th, 2019

A Lucky Man was one of the best books of fiction I read, and then some, in the year of its debut. Brinkley can illuminate and expose seemingly any corner of humanity, with equal compassion and precision. His writing is so powerful and graceful at once that it feels balletic, with a dancer's way of making an incredible feat seem simple and easy.

Review by Christina

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The Gone Dead: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062490698
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Ecco - June 25th, 2019

I appreciate books that entertain me and require me to think hard about the world we live in. This book did both. Billie James has inherited a small cabin in the Mississippi Delta and a little money along with the mystery of how her famous poet/civil rights activist father died thirty years before. Soon after she and her dog arrive at the cabin, she becomes entangled in her own (lost) memories and begins asking questions that uncover dangerous small town secrets about race, family, and justice. Chanelle Benz writes the Mississippi Delta as a character to be reckoned with in the way Walter Mosley writes about Los Angeles and Attica Locke writes about Texas. If you like mysteries, books set in the south with a Southern Gothic feel, and great writing, this will satisfy your need for a great summer read.

Review by Dana

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Everything Inside: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525521273
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Knopf - August 27th, 2019

The epigraph of Edwidge Danticat's new story collection generously claims that everyone experiences diaspora, as we are exiled from our mother's body as soon as we are born. What follows are stories that strive to prove its' universality with equal attention to tenderness and brutality. In this collection that lingers on family and death, she has tapped directly into the core of human experience. This book will make you cry, probably in public, so prepare accordingly.

Review by Kitri