We were saddened to hear of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg over the weekend. RBG was a massively successful and influential figure, serving as the second female justice and first Jewish woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. She advocated for gender equality and woman’s rights throughout her years of service, and is extremely well known for fighting against gender discrimination.
To celebrate her life and achievements, here are some materials that Sargent Memorial Library has for you to check out about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Do you find yourself in love with a certain genre but not sure what authors to look for? Sometimes it can be overwhelming when there are so many books and so little time! We’ve pulled together some authors who write (mostly) within a specific genre to help you narrow your search.
Here at Sargent Memorial Library we strive to provide diverse perspectives and promote newer or lesser known authors for patrons to check out, rather than the first options which pop up on Google. Adding a few pictures of books to look into to get you started, but some of these authors have a lot of options to choose from!
Each authors name listed is a link that will bring you directly to a search on the CWMars Catalog for that author.
Are you looking for a new horror book to sink your teeth into (or have its teeth sink into you)? Our Information Services Librarian, Meghan, loves all things horror and has been quickly devouring some new titles. Hope you find something to catch your interest and spook your soul.
The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson
Taking place in the deep South, the bayous of Arkansas, this book follows the story of a young woman scraping through life by working mad preacher. Ever since her father’s death when she was child, she was pushed into this life in order to protect an old witch and a secret child. The book combines supernatural and folklore elements with modern, real life horrors – murder and greed. I was surprised it was not as overtly supernatural as I had expected it to be. The story revolves much more around character development, the characters’ pasts and present. The chapters rotate through different character perspectives, and it is done in a way that does not disrupt the narrative but adds so much more to the story. The folklore elements at times are disturbing to the characters, but not in a way that this seems too much out of their norm. Although not fully explored, I think the world within the story is one where these folklore elements are frequent so they doesn’t surprise the characters as much as someone being introduced to them for the first time. I would classify The Boatman’s Daughter as a dark fairy tale, so if you are interested in horror fantasy this is for you!
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
While the book cover is extremely eye catching, that title always gets me tongue tied. When I first heard about this book earlier in the year I was so excited. As an avid fan of True Blood and Charlaine Harris’ The Sookie Stackhouse Novels, the mystery series upon which the television show was based, anything involving vampires has me hooked (except The Twilight series). The book did not disappoint, it was full of mystery and intrigue. The main character, Patricia, is convinced something evil is amiss in her suburban neighborhood, but no one believes her. The book is filled with subtext surrounding sexism, racism, and wealth inequity – adding to not only a supernatural horror Patricia is facing but also issues which are all too real and seemingly unavoidable within her environment. Pick up The Southern Book Club’s Guide if you are looking for a horror that will keep you on your toes and guessing at what’s to come next.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
This has been one of the most anticipated horror books of 2020 and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I realized very quickly it is not my usual style and took me longer to read than I had expected. It is beautifully told in Jones’ very literary writing style, albeit a horrifying tale of revenge. What I most appreciated about this book was how it integrated a lot of Native American culture and storytelling into a contemporary setting. Throughout the novel all of the characters in one way or another reflect upon their Native American heritage and how it has shaped them and influenced their lives. This book is definitely not light reading, both in structure and content, but I would suggest it for something different as I found it very unique within the horror genre.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I could not put this book down! It was so atmospheric and creepy, I really felt like I was living in the decaying, old mansion and the fog surrounding it was pulling me in more. If you are a fan of Gothic horror this is a must read. The story takes place in 1950s Mexico and centers around Noemí Taboada, a strong willed, young socialite from Mexico City. This felt like a nice shift from classic Gothic horrors which usually take place in Europe and center primarily around white characters. Noemí must leave the comforts of her city life to check on her unwell cousin at the mansion High Place in the Mexican countryside. Little does she know that she is stepping into a world of dark secrets, which will soon envelop her and she will find herself fighting for her life. Aside from the vivid visual descriptions throughout the book, there is an overwhelming sense of dread and uncertainty which comes from Moreno-Garcia’s writing. Throughout I felt fully engaged with the environment she created, and even had dreams (nightmares?) where I was within this world. Not only is the environment unsettling, but so are the cast of characters living within High Place that the protagonist is introduced to. Mexican Gothic incorporates many feminist elements, creating a compelling heroine to this deeply disturbing story.
Final Note from Meghan
Out of these four new books my favorite has been Mexican Gothic. It’s still been lingering in my mind for weeks and one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. It led me to read the short story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman from 1892, which I’ve read was inspiration for Mexican Gothic. I will defintely be looking for more books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, as well as Gothic horror stories.
Stream Queen here! I am a big fan of indie cinema and I want to educate a little here about what it can mean when I use that term. Indie cinema comes from independent film making, though many indie films are not really independently produced but still have a similar style to independent films. Director Noah Baumbach creates films which straddle the line of what is considered independent cinema. He has the indie film making style, but is not truly an independent film maker as his films are financed by larger production companies.
Now the indie style. An independent filmmaker usually has more creative control on their film, since they are not being backed by a large production company who has stakes in the project. As indie cinema has gained popularity, certain filmmakers such as Baumbach tell their stories outside of the Hollywood, big budget blockbuster style. Indie style films tend to be more human/character focused, smaller scale production, with use of natural locations and lighting. If you consider films like The Avengers, compared to films such as those made by Baumbach, there is a vast difference in story, use of special effects, budget, and marketing. Indie cinema is more about the story and the art, not necessarily profit (although of course that is hoped for) versus what I would consider more of a commodity like Marvel movies or films with a very well known actor like Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt.
I do love Noah Baumbach and regardless of whether or not he is considered an independent filmmaker in the literal definition of the term. His films embody what I am trying to explain as contemporary indie cinema. Check out his film While We’re Young on Kanopy. It is a cross-generational story about love, marriage, success, aging, and growth, with equal parks humor and drama. Stars include: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, and Amanda Seyfried.
The second edition of Staff Picks from Authors of Color, enjoy!
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Anne-Marie, Technical Services Librarian
“I heard an interview with Isabel Wilkerson talking about her book The Warmth of Other Suns. It reminded me what a great book it is. The book is a compelling account of the the Great Migration of 6 million African Americans to northern cities in the 20th century. It was written in 2010 and still resonates with current discussions on topics such as systemic racism, immigration, slavery and the American dream. Her new book, Caste : The Origins of Our Discontents is due out August 20.”
August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones
Anne-Marie, Technical Services Librarian
“On a lighter note, Stephen Mack Jones’ August Snow series features a former cop turned private detective investigating cases in Detroit. Snow is a Black/Mexican working class guy battling urban crime. He is a larger than life personality and the books deal with serious issues – Human trafficking, immigration, smuggling – with lots of Detroit flavor.”
Books in series: first book: August Snow, second book: Lives Laid Away, third title in series due out in 2021
Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang
Peishan, Library Director
“If you associate “science fiction” with only space battles or galaxy explorations, do try Ted Chiang’s short story collections, the newest one is Exhalation: Stories, and prepare to have your horizon expanded. None of Chiang’s stories are alike. They vary in tone, form, convention, and central ideas. They can happen in our past, in our future, or in a world utterly foreign. Each of them showcase Chiang’s ingenuity and inventiveness. Each of them leaves you something to think about and chew on. Be it the impact of recording technology to our collective consciousness, or the notion of free will. The beauty of science fiction is in the genre’s ability to ask “what if”? To break the boundary and limits of our reality and challenge our conceptions. Ted Chiang’s stories do just that.”
Dread Nation and Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland
Heather, Youth Services Librarian
“This YA duology explores an alternate history of the Civil War with…zombies? It sounds silly, but the intense action, complex characters, and epic journeys through the Old West are sure to pull the reader in. When zombies rose in the middle of the Civil War, slavery was immediately ended, but replaced with a system that forced BIPOC teenagers into schools where they’re trained to kill the undead. The most prestigious of these are schools for girls who will become Attendants, a mix between a servant and bodyguard for rich white women. Jane is one of the top students at her school, but she’s about to uncover a conspiracy so deep and dangerous that the walking dead become the least dangerous thing she’s faced.”
Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Heather, Youth Services Librarian
“Another alternate history, this one for adults. Whitehead’s lyrical novel depicts a country where the Underground Railroad is a literal description. It’s not a meditation on the true/not-true and legend/not-legend duality of history (especially the history of black people in America), but it draws that meditation out of the reader. It’s an engaging story with fascinating characters and excellent twists, but for me, the best thing about this book is the things that float around the story. The writing forces the reader to consider things outside the book, without those things ever having been directly mentioned.”
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Heather, Youth Services Librarian
“A stunning magical realism story that explores what happens when a society thinks that its monsters have been eradicated. Jam loves her family and her best friend, and would do anything to keep them safe. Her resolve is tested when she accidentally summons a terrifying angel who tells her that someone she loves is threatened by a monster. Jam and the angel must defeat the monster before it’s too late, but how do you hunt monsters when they look like everyone else?”
This is a film I saw years ago but has stuck with me because it’s iconic song and dance scene, video below. BUT I still advise you to watch the entire film!
The Skeleton Twins stars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as estranged twins who reunite after both cheat death on the same day. The film is a dark comedy, dealing with themes of suicide, mental illness, and complicated familial relationships. The casting of Hader and Wiig is incredible, both are usually found in more goofy comedies (both are Saturday Night Live alums), but they seamlessly portray the troubled twins and have a wonderful chemistry that makes their relationship and characters feel believable. The film follows both twins as they navigate their personal issues and realize how important it may be to mend their relationship with each other.
With the weekend being the Fourth of July, I’d like to recommend some summertime movies that would be appropriate for you to enjoy on the holiday weekend!
This time I’m going to give recommendations from a few categories so viewers can select based on what kind of story they are looking to watch. Are you in the mood for…
Black Orpheus directed by Marcel Camus
Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday directed by Jacques Tati
The Paperboy directed by Lee Daniels
Stranger by the Lake directed by Alain Guiraudie
Coming of age?
It Felt Like Love directed by Eliza Hittman
Princess Cyd directed by Stephen Cone
Southside With You directed by Richard Tanne
Summer with Monika directed by Ingmar Bergman
Stream Queen’s Ultimate Summer Movie!
Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing(1989) is what I would call the ultimate summertime flick. The film takes place in a black neighborhood in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year. As the temperature rises, so do the racial tensions as residents become enraged with the increasingly disrespectful and hostile behavior of the Italian pizza shop owners in the neighborhood. Do the Right Thing is an incredible social commentary where the heat of the sun and the anger of the residents can be felt radiating off the screen. It is not available for streaming through Kanopy or Hoopla, but we currently have a copy on order so it will be available to check out from the library soon! Let us know if you want to borrow it.
Do you have a favorite summertime movie? Let us know in the comments!
The staff at Sargent Memorial picked some book suggestions written by Authors of Color. We hope this inspires you to check some of them out!
Heather, Youth Services Librarian
“She writes beautiful, lyrical books for kids, teens, and adults. For younger readers, I love her picture book Show Way which shows how eight generations of a family used quilts and stories to inspire bravery and reach toward freedom. Older kids will like Brown Girl Dreaming, which is Woodson’s autobiography told through poems about living in North Carolina and New York in the 60s, and which expresses her joy in finding writing as a way to express herself. Teens may also love Brown Girl Dreaming if they’re poetry lovers, but those who like realistic fiction and novels will find a lot to love in Harbor Me. It’s about six teens who have to meet once a week to talk to one another without adults listening in, they soon learn that ARTT (A Room To Talk) is a safe place to discuss the fears they face every day, and to become braver. And last but not least, Red at the Bone is a lyrical and poignant novel for adults that explores the ramifications of teenage pregnancy on two families: one rich and one poor.”
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Barbara, Library Assistant
“The story follows two female cousins, giving a fascinating glimpse of Indian culture, showing how that culture defines and grounds but also restrains and limits the lives of women.”
A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
Meghan, Information Services Librarian
“A Deadly Inside Scoop caught my eye because the cover was so cute, who doesn’t want a mystery with ice cream and a cat?! It is the first book in a new cozy mystery series by Abby Collette. The cozy mystery genre is dominated by white authors, so it is refreshing to see a new face (this is Collette’s first novel!) and hear from a different perspective within the genre. Another Black cozy mystery writer is V.M. Burns if you are looking for more suggestions. I haven’t finished quite yet, I’m about halfway through, but I have been having a hard time putting it down and can’t wait to find out what happens. I look forward to more from Collette, as her second Ice Cream Parlor mystery A Game of Cones is already announced for March 2021.”
Peishan, Library Director
“If you are a Science Fiction and Fantasy reader, you must know N.K. Jemisin. I first read her The Hundred Thousand Kingdom series years ago, and it was like no other fantasy series that I have ever read. Ten years and another well reviewed series later (The Broken Earth), N.K. Jeminsin brought us back to the world as we know it in The City We Became. The “City” in this case is New York City. The “We” are five people, diverse in every way, tasked to protect this city that they love. Although it is a fantasy, and there are monsters and magics, the evil and destructive powers of racism and bigotry used by the enemy are all too real. The book is vibrant and full of energy. It is a fun wild ride, but it also challenges and makes you uncomfortable. I can’t wait for book 2 to come out.”
Since I was silent last week for Stream Queen I am going to recommend a movie pairing from Kanopy. The two films I suggest are Moonlight and Tongues Untied, two films to reflect Black Lives Matter and Pride month. Both films center around gay black men, but are of completely different forms. Moonlight, many may know due to it being the 2016 Best Picture winner and it has a Hollywood style linear narrative form. Tongues Untied is an experimental documentary film from 1989 by Marlon Riggs and was extremely controversial at its release. Both of these films emphasize the intersectionality of race, sexuality, and masculinity in very different and meaningful ways.
These films are very important due to their subject matter and perspectives, those which are still quite hard to come by in mainstream cinema. Moonlight is one of the few more mainstream films dealing with these topics to receive such recognition which is why I think it is important to note films which came before and may be lesser known. In Tongues Untied, there is a lot of emphasis on silence within both the black and gay communities, something we are still seeing today even 30 years after its release. Marlon Riggs is known for his provocative work, bringing up issues related to race and sexuality in the United States. He has some other films available through Kanopy, such as Ethnic Notions and Color Adjustment – A History of African American Portrayal on Television.
I am a huge advocate for expanding horizons when it comes to the media we consume, something which stems from my education. Both of these films are very powerful and deserve recognition, and I hope to see more intersectional films like Moonlight in the future (and I will be posting about more)!
The Netflix documentary 13th directed by Ava DuVernay is available to watch for free on Youtube. This documentary explores racial inequity in the United States by focusing on the mass incarceration of Black Americans. It is a must watch!