2023 Book Club List
The Personal Librarian
Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene -- J. P. Moran's personal librarian -- who became one of the most power women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept. An African American of lighter complexion, Greene preserves her "white" identity to make her dreams come true in a racist world.
What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing
Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” It is an approach to trauma that allows us to understand our pasts in order to clear a path to our future.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.
Nomad Century: How Climate Migration Will Reshape Our World
Not enough of us are confronting one of climate change's biggest and most present consequences: a total reshaping of the earth's human geography. As Vince points out, global migration has doubled in the past decade, on track to see literal billions displaced in the coming decades. She tells us how the changes already in play will transform our food, our cities, our politics, and much more. Her findings are answers we all need, now more than ever.
Octavia E. Butler
Dana, a modern Black woman, is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time is more dangerous, until it is uncertain whether Dana's life will end.
South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
This is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. She renders Southerners from all walks of life with sensitivity and honesty, sharing her thoughts about a troubling history and the ritual humiliations and joys that characterize so much of Southern life. Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Imani Perry crafts a tapestry unlike any other.
As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock
Through the unique lens of "Indigenized environmental justice," Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and protection of sacred sites, while highlighting the important leadership of Indigenous women in this centuries-long struggle. The Standing Rock protest put a national spotlight on Indigenous activists. Ultimately, she argues, modern environmentalists must look to the history of Indigenous resistance for wisdom and inspiration in our common fight for a just and sustainable future.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity.
The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times
Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams
In a world that seems so troubled, how do we hold on to hope? In The Book of Hope, Jane focuses on her “Four Reasons for Hope”: The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, and The Indomitable Human Spirit. Filled with engaging dialogue and pictures from Jane’s storied career, The Book of Hope is a deeply personal conversation with one of the most beloved figures in today’s world.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. When Li-yan has a baby out of wedlock she leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city. Her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.
The Island of Sea Women
Set on the Korean island of Jeju, The Island of Sea Women follow Mi-ja and Young-sook as they work in the sea with their village's all-female diving collective. Over many decades, including the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, and the Korean War, forces outsides their control push their relationship to the breaking point.
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
Patrick Radden Keefe
The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions: Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing OxyContin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis. Empire of Pain is a compelling masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing.