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LATE MIGRATIONS

One of our recommended books for 2019 is Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl

From New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family—and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world.

Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents—her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father—and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child’s transition to caregiver.

And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home.

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THE LAST ENGLISHMEN

One of our recommended books for 2019 is The Last Englishmen by Deborah Baker

John Auden was a pioneering geologist of the Himalaya. Michael Spender was the first to draw a detailed map of the North Face of Mount Everest. While their younger brothers—W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender—achieved literary fame, they vied to be included on an expedition that would deliver Everest’s summit to an Englishman, a quest that had become a metaphor for Britain’s struggle to maintain power over India. To this rivalry was added another: in the summer of 1938 both men fell in love with a painter named Nancy Sharp. Her choice would determine where each man’s wartime loyalties would lie.

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THE HELLO GIRLS

One of our recommended books for 2019 is The Hello Girls by Elizabeth Cobbs

In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France at General Pershing’s explicit request. They were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. While suffragettes picketed the White House and President Wilson struggled to persuade a segregationist Congress to give women of all races the vote, these courageous young women swore the army oath and settled into their new roles. Elizabeth Cobbs reveals the challenges they faced in a war zone where male soldiers wooed, mocked, and ultimately celebrated them.

The army discharged the last Hello Girls in 1920, the year Congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment.

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DEFENDING THE PUBLIC’S ENEMY

One of our recommended books for 2019 is Defending the Public's Enemy

What led a former United States Attorney General to become one of the world’s most notorious defenders of the despised? Defending the Public’s Enemy examines Clark’s enigmatic life and career in a quest to answer this perplexing question.

The culmination of ten years of research and interviews, Lonnie T. Brown, Jr. explores how Clark evolved from our government’s chief lawyer to a strident advocate for some of America’s most vilified enemies. Clark’s early career was enmeshed with seminally important people and events of the 1960s: Martin Luther King, Jr., Watts Riots, Selma-to-Montgomery March, Black Panthers, Vietnam.

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FEAST OF ASHES

One of our recommended books for 2019 is Feast of Ashes by Sato Moughalian

Along the cobbled streets and golden walls of Jerusalem, brilliantly glazed tiles catch the light and beckon the eye. These colorful wares—known as Armenian ceramics—are iconic features of the Holy City. Silently, these works of ceramic art represent a riveting story of resilience and survival.

Feast of Ashes tells the story of David Ohannessian, the renowned ceramicist who in 1919 founded the art of Armenian pottery in Jerusalem, where his work and that of his followers is now celebrated as a local treasure. Ohannessian’s life encompassed some of the most tumultuous upheavals of the modern Middle East.

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READING BEHIND BARS

One of our recommended books for 2019 is Reading Behind Bars by Jill Grunenwald.

A must-read prisoner memoir for fans of Orange is the New Black.

In December 2008, twentysomething Jill Grunenwald graduated with her master’s degree in library science, ready to start living her dream of becoming a librarian. But the economy had a different idea. As the Great Recession reared its ugly head, jobs were scarce. After some searching, however, Jill was lucky enough to snag one of the few librarian gigs left in her home state of Ohio. The catch? The job was behind bars as the prison librarian at a men’s minimum-security prison. Talk about baptism by fire.

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