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Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

Homeland Elegies defies genres. Calling it a novel implies it’s not true, but I’ve never read anything more brutally honest, relevant, or personal. Akhtar may be known as an author and a playwright, but this book reads like an opera with recurring choruses, haunting variations on a theme, dramatic tension, characters that are larger than life, sex scenes, death scenes, and cliff hangers. And all along you know that you too play a part, because this is all actually happening right now on the world stage. This is not a novel about immigration and integration. This is an elegy, a poem of serious reflection, a lament, about home. — Jenny

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ISBN: 9780316496421
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Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 15th, 2020

Becoming Muhammad Ali Written by James Patterson & Kwame Alexander Illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

“Boxing was his way out and his way up.” This biographical novel focuses on the early years of the famous boxer Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali. The story is told in prose by Cassius’s “best friend” Lucky and supported by the boxer’s own voice in poetic form. Strong family values, Black pride, and the determination to never give up are all themes effectively displayed. Sensitive and fast-paced, this book is engaging for even the most reluctant reader. — Noreen

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ISBN: 9780316498166
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Published: jimmy patterson - October 5th, 2020

Sugar in Milk Written by Thrity Umrigar Illustrated by Khoa Le

A young immigrant girl arrives in the home of her aunt and uncle in the States, where everything she experiences, including the language, is unfamiliar. Bereft of her culture and homeland, the girl listens as her aunt recounts a Persian folktale about a king who felt he had no room for foreigners until one of them offered sugar for the king’s milk. The story changes the girl’s perspective as she realizes that kindness toward others changes everything. A beautiful book! — Noreen

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By Thrity Umrigar, Khoa Le (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780762495191
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Running Press Kids - October 6th, 2020

x + y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender by Eugenia Cheng

If, like me, memories of math tests make you want to cry, know that this book will interest even the most math-adverse, humanities- oriented of brains. Cheng uses principles from her studies of high-level theoretical math to imagine a new, ungendered world, based on character rather than on arbitrary feminine or masculine traits. A must-read for STEM majors and feminists looking for perspectives outside of the humanities. — Celeste

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ISBN: 9781541646506
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Published: Basic Books - August 25th, 2020

Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch

Bea Koch, coproprietor of LA’s The Ripped Bodice, uses the lens of romance to focus on the entertaining microhistory of the under-known royalty, artists, mistresses, and scientists, who, white and black, straight and queer—and more—shaped the culture and history of the British Regency. Koch gives delicious tastes of these women’s complex lives and historical context, and includes lists of further (factual and fictional) reading and viewing. A great read for any armchair historian, especially those also denizens of Romancelandia. — Jocelyn

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ISBN: 9781538701010
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Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 1st, 2020

Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema by Lindy West

Like many of us, Lindy West loves pointing out plot holes and picking movies apart almost as much as she loves watching them. Unlike many of us, West used to be a professional film critic, lending merit to her commentary. Each chapter focuses on a different classic and often beloved film, summarizing the plot while also pointing out everything that’s wrong with it. This might sound like a bit of a negative premise, but it’s all in good fun and West makes some truly hilarious observations. The book isn’t groundbreaking but it will make you laugh A LOT. — Jade

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ISBN: 9780316449823
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Hachette Books - October 20th, 2020

Stakes Is High by Mychal Denzel Smith

The honest and intelligent exploration of American identity in Stakes Is High couldn’t be more timely. Mychal Denzel Smith shines light on the American Dream and the idea that working hard and holding purpose can lead to success and stability. He shows the schisms in that dream, focusing on Black lives in history and the institutional oppression and racism that are such a part of America’s mythical promises and of Trump and the current political climate. Smith helps us see where change is possible in this important read. — S.M.C.

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ISBN: 9781568588735
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Published: Bold Type Books - September 15th, 2020

The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman

It takes an incredibly special book to become an instant classic: this is such a book. Author of Magicians, Grossman’s first foray into children’s literature is a magical success, creating a world where children discover the importance of challenging work and perseverance while learning about endangered animals. If you love animals—especially talking animals—magic, trains, and adventure, you’re sure to be captivated by this book. A great read-aloud to share with someone you love! —Kathy

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ISBN: 9780316539531
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Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 1st, 2020

Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms by Maya Schenwar & Victoria Law

As the nation revolts in protest to the police’s extrajudicial execution of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, and sleeping Black woman, Breonna Taylor, police and prisons are being challenged. In Prison by Any Other Name, Schenwar and Law call for abolishing prisons. Using lived experiences and well-researched statistics, they illuminate how “alternatives” to mass incarceration, like parole and mandatory treatment, expand the state’s power to incarcerate in our everyday lives. A must-read to understand what it means to destroy the ever-expanding cages threatening us all!   —Citlalli

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ISBN: 9781620973103
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Published: New Press - July 21st, 2020

A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington

Washington does a deep dive into not only the physical effects of environmental racism, but the mental ones. Contaminants such as lead can have detrimental effects on brain development. This book is at once a look into the horror of our treatment of people of color in this country as well as a hopeful look into just how easy it can be to change. —MJ

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ISBN: 9780316509442
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Published: Little, Brown Spark - August 4th, 2020


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