Check It Out!

MPPL's staff blog about books, movies, music and the talent behind them.

Winner of Both the Pulitzer Prize and the Edgar Award: The Sympathizer

Sympathizer book cover“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 Sympathizerleapt 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!

Books: You’ve Watched Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”… Now What?

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.

The Way Forward Is With a Broken Heart book coverThe Way Forward is With a Broken Heart
Alice Walker
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.
In mid 19th-century New Orleans, Marie Laveau was the notorious queen of voodoo. Voodoo Dreams reimagines the woman behind this legend, a mesmerizing combination of history and storytelling.


for colored girls who have considered suicide book cover For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide
Ntozake Shange
Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it means to be of color and female in the 20th century.
Mama Day book coverMama Day
Gloria Naylor
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.


I, Titube, Black Witch of Salem book coverI, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem
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.
Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime book cover Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime (Large Type)
J. California Cooper
Ten stories on black women sorting out their lives including” Yellow House Road” where a mother with 13 children finally leaves her no-good husband and experiences the thrill of having made the right choice and “Sure is a Shame” which is about sisters who made the wrong choice.

New Music Spotlight: Salt as Wolves by Jeffrey Foucalt

Salt as Wolves album coverJeffrey 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.”

Staff Pick: Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois

Picture of LarryResurrection 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.

We’ve Got You Covered: Books and Rain Boots

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:

Belong to Me book coverBelong to Me
Marisa de los Santos
My Best Friend's Girl book cover


Everyone She Loved book coverEveryone She Loved
Sheila Curran

Out of the Rain book coverOut of the Rain
Debbie Macomber

Racing Savannah book coverRacing Savannah
Miranda Kenneally


Nowhere Carolina book coverNowhere Carolina
Tamara Leigh
Second Sister book cover
 The Second Sister
Marie Bostwick