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RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...
In the follow up to his essential Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi has given us another indispensable book in How to Be an Antiracist. Blending personal memoir with history, social science, law, and social justice, Kendi continues to reframe and redefine what it means to be “antiracist” in the world today. Accessibly written and constantly engaging, How to Be an Antiracist is a perfect book for our historical moment and one that I hope will continue to reshape my own and others’ thinking.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi ($27.00*, One World), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.
This is a story I think many teens will relate to. There is so much pressure to achieve and succeed now for kids, and it starts so early. In addition, one in three Americans is personally affected by addiction. On top of that, every family has its own secrets and challenges. And then you think about how much harder it is to achieve when you start life as a person of color in an incredibly prejudiced and segregated society. Birdie's story is complex, but when you boil it down, it's the normal story of a present-day girl trying to grow up in America.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert ($17.99*, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.
WOW! I think the last few times I have read Karin's new books I think they are the best yet. This book is no exception to that pattern. The plot of an epidemic is incredibly real and the continued unfolding of Will and Sara's relationship during extreme duress is spellbinding. The focus on things, like domestic terrorism, that are sometimes swept under the rug are front and center in this book. I have a hard time imagining how much research was involved to reach the level of detail in so any complex medical and scientific situations in this book. The pace is fast and if you skip a page you will miss something important. There are perfect examples of evil hiding in plain sight, but also wonderful examples of sacrifice and heroism. Don't miss this journey with Will and Sara.
The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter ($27.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.
A crazy thrill-ride from the first page, I was so absorbed that I read the entire book in a day. Every time I thought I had everything figured out Herron threw in another twist I was not expecting. Her detailed knowledge of 911 dispatch gave this book a layer of realism that a lot of thrillers don't have, and the mother/daughter relationship at its heart filled me to the brim with all the feels. In a crowded field, this is not a debut to miss!
Stolen Things by R. H. Heron ($26.00*, Dutton), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.
Is Friday Night Lights meets Ottessa Moshfegh a thing? Because this collection is kind of like that: unafraid of being dark or weird or gross, and set within the wandering, vacant emptiness of Texas, or anyplace far enough away for you to feel like there's no one else around. These are my favorite kinds of stories, with sharp, surprising sentences and characters full of wanting and loneliness, resourcefulness and humor.
Black Light by Kimberly King Parsons ($15.00*, Vintage), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.
I feel blessed having read Geoffrey Orr's memoir The Blessing. I was captivated by his opening confession that he feels blessed by a family tragedy. He avoids the usual cliches by not mythologizing the death of his brother and his struggle to regain his place in the world. The book lacks the "look at me" quality of many "overcoming adversity" memoirs and instead steps readers through the scenes building to and following the loss. His "big reveal" of how writing saved him is more of a soft landing on the far side of disaster. It carries the scars of the tragedy into a new place that is, obviously, a blessing.
The Blessing: A Memoir by Gregory Orr ($15.00*, Milkweed Editions), recommended by Book No Further, Roanoke, VA.
Sr. Helen Prejean's memoir of her spiritual life prior to Dead Man Walking has an engaging conversational tone which makes her journey accessible and interesting--particularly to those interested in the intersection of faith and social justice. Of special interest to Catholics will be the chapters on Vatican II and how the changes affected the life of nuns in convents, but this is highly recommended to people of all faith traditions.
River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey by Sister Helen Prejean ($27.00*, Random House), recommended by Wordsworth Books, Little Rock, AR.