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VOLUNTEERS

One of our recommended books is Volunteers by Jerad W. Alexander

As a child, Jerad Alexander lay in bed listening to the fighter jets take off outside his window and was desperate to be airborne. As a teenager at an American base in Japan, he immersed himself in war games, war movies, and pulpy novels about Vietnam. Obsessed with all things military, he grew up playing with guns, joined the Civil Air Patrol for the uniform, and reveled in the closed and safe life “inside the castle,” within the embrace of the armed forces, the only world he knew or could imagine. Most of all, he dreamed of enlisting—like his mother,

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THE REDEMPTION OF BOBBY LOVE

One of our recommended books is The Redemption of Bobby Love by Bobby and Cheryl Love

The inspiring, dramatic, and heartwarming true account of an escaped convict and his wife of thirty-five plus years who never knew his secret, which captured the imaginations of millions on Humans of New York.

Bobby and Cheryl Love were living in Brooklyn, happily married for decades, when the FBI and NYPD appeared at their door and demanded to know from Bobby, in front of his shocked wife and children: “What is your name? No, what’s your real name?”

Bobby’s thirty-eight-year secret was out. As a Black child in the Jim Crow South,

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DISTANT FATHERS

One of our recommended books is Distant Fathers by Marina Jarre

This singular autobiography unfurls from author Marina Jarre’s native Latvia during the 1920s and ’30s and expands southward to the Italian countryside. In distinctive writing as poetic as it is precise, Jarre depicts an exceptionally multinational and complicated family: her elusive, handsome father—a Jew who perished in the Holocaust; her severe, cultured mother—an Italian Lutheran who translated Russian literature; and her sister and Latvian grandparents. Jarre tells of her passage from childhood to adolescence, first as a linguistic minority in a Baltic nation and then in traumatic exile to Italy after her parents’ divorce. Jarre lives with her maternal grandparents,

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DANCING WITH THE OCTOPUS

One of our recommended books is Dancing with the Octopus by Debora Harding

Named one of the Best True Crime Books by Marie Claire, Dancing with the Octopus is a harrowing, redemptive and profoundly inspiring memoir of childhood trauma and its long reach into adulthood.

One Omaha winter day in November 1978, when Debora Harding was just fourteen, she was abducted at knifepoint from a church parking lot. She was thrown into a van, assaulted, held for ransom, and then left to die as an ice storm descended over the city.

Debora survived. She identified her attacker to the police and then returned to her teenage life in a dysfunctional home where she was expected to simply move on.

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GICHIGAMI HEARTS

One of our recommended books is Gichigami Hearts by Linda Legrade Grover

Long before there was a Duluth, Minnesota, the massive outcropping that divides the city emerged from the ridge of gabbro rock running along the westward shore of Lake Superior. A great westward migration carried the Ojibwe people to this place, the Point of Rocks. Against this backdrop—Misaabekong, the place of the giants—the lives chronicled in Linda LeGarde Grover’s book unfold, some in myth, some in long-ago times, some in an imagined present, and some in the author’s family history, all with a deep, tenacious bond to the land, one another, and the Ojibwe culture. Within the larger history, Grover tells the story of her ancestors’ arrival in Duluth over two hundred years ago.

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WE ARE NOT BROKEN

One of our recommended books is We Are Not Broken by George M. Johnson

George M. Johnson, activist and bestselling author of All Boys Aren’t Blue, returns with a striking memoir that celebrates Black boyhood and brotherhood in all its glory.

This is the vibrant story of George, Garrett, Rall, and Rasul — four children raised by Nanny, their fiercely devoted grandmother. The boys hold one another close through early brushes with racism, memorable experiences at the family barbershop, and first loves and losses. And with Nanny at their center, they are never broken.

George M. Johnson captures the unique experience of growing up as a Black boy in America,

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