MPPL's staff blog about books, movies, music and the talent behind them.
“So it was that we soaped ourselves in sadness and we rinsed ourselves with hope, and for all that we believed almost every rumor we heard, almost all of us refused to believe that our nation was dead.”
In other media, award winners are often easily predicted. Not so in literature. More often than not, even insiders are surprised by those given top honors in any given year, and rarely does it reflect sales or popularity. That changes upon announcement, as the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, debut novel The Sympathizer, leapt in Amazon overall sales rankings from 27,587 to 88 overnight, even enjoying temporary status as #1 in Spies and Political Thrillers.
Viet Thanh Nguyen has penned a fascinating book of intrigue that examines the Vietnam War and its aftermath from the perspective of a double agent, and the author himself has said “my book has something to offend everyone.” It is a meaty, uncompromising story with moments of tenderness and even hilarity, and its new status as a Pulitzer winner may help earn the attention and audience it deserves.
Edited to add: This week The Sympathizer was announced as winner of Best First Novel from the Edgar Awards, one of the top mystery and suspense honors. Few books can boast this crossover!
In response to Beyoncé’s latest visual album premiere “Lemonade,” Fusion writer Nichole Perkins noted how much “Lemonade” is steeped in black feminist literature in her article, “What to Read After Watching Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’” offering up a variety of reading suggestions based on black womanhood, the supernatural, and black relationships. Make sure to read the article to see how Beyoncé expands on these themes!
Below are a few of the books the Library own that Perkins suggests. Interested in one we don’t own? Call the Library and we will see how we can get your hands on that book.
Walker presents a collection of short fiction loosely based on her own life, including “To My Young Husband,” which describes life amid the turbulence of the Deep South at the dawn of the civil rights movement.
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it means to be of color and female in the 20th century.
On the island of Willow Springs, the powers of healer Mama Day are tested by her great niece, Cocoa, a stubbornly emancipated woman endangered by the island’s darker forces. A powerful generational saga at once tender and suspenseful, overflowing with magic and common sense.
by Maryse Conde
This wild and entertaining novel expands on the true story of the West Indian slave Tituba, who was accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, arrested in 1692, and forgotten in jail until the general amnesty for witches two years later.
J. California Cooper
Jeffrey Foucalt intertwines country and blues in his newest album, Salt as Wolves. The twelve songs are all sung by Foucalt and his even-toned voice, which mixed with repetitive lyrics culminates into a soothing exploration of life, death, and relationships. This 2015 album feels like the listener is stepping into a one way conversation, as Foucalt’s songs address various people and moments in his life: his mom in regards to their relationship falling apart, his friend on a death, and even the listener to say, “everything is going to work out.”
Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois is a thriller set in alternative history in 1972, after the Cuban missile crisis ended in a full-blown war. A journalist reporting on an unremarkable homicide discovers a conspiracy of amazing proportions involving the events of ten years earlier.
Have April showers whetted your appetite for books with rain boots on the cover?
Pull on your wellies and choose a new springtime read from this quirky group:
Marisa de los Santos
Out of the Rain