Month: February 2021

Check It Out Blog

Theme Reading: 24-Hour Stories

24 hour stories

Sometimes all a story needs is 24 hours. 24 hours could be packed full of adventure, wit, thrills, chills, and more! All the books listed here take place within only a handful of hours in the lives of the characters. What might your story look like in 24 hours?

The Gretchen Question book cover

The Gretchen Question by Jessica Treadway

A single mother torn between protecting her only child or revealing herself fully to the people she loves most, Roberta finds herself at war with conflicting loyalties, the increasing betrayal by her own body, the confused love she feels for her oldest friend, and a trauma from her past that casts a deep and possibly permanent shadow not only over her own life, but over the legacy she will bestow upon her son.

Haunting; Thought-provoking

One Night Two Souls Went Walking book cover

One Night Two Souls Went Walking by Ellen Cooney

A young interfaith chaplain is joined on her hospital rounds one night by an unusual companion: a rough-and-ready dog who may or may not be a ghost. As she tends to the souls of her patients – young and old, living last moments or navigating fundamentally altered lives – their stories provide unexpected healing for her own heartbreak.

Hopeful; Moving

Amnesty book cover

Amnesty by Aravind Adiga

A young illegal immigrant in Sydney, Australia is forced to choose between risking deportation and reporting the murder of a female client.

Intricately Plotted; Witty

A Room Called Earth book cover

A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan

Attending a party under the full moon in Melbourne, a young woman on the autism spectrum makes magical, extraordinary connections with the people she encounters, including a man with whom she pursues a rare intimate encounter.

Engaging; Character-driven

After Dark book cover

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

Two sisters–Eri, a fashion model sleeping her way to oblivion, and Mari, a young student–form the center of a novel that documents a series of encounters in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn.

Reflective; Mystical

The Loop book cover

The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

A biotech experiment gone wrong renders a small western Oregon tourist town the epicenter of an inexplicable outbreak that causes infected patients to turn murderous, challenging a small group of outcasts to survive a violent night.

Science Fiction; Horror; Darkly Humorous

Ordinary Hazards book cover

Ordinary Hazards by Anna Bruno

An award-winning debut finds a powerhouse businesswoman settling down with a motley crew of locals at a hometown bar where a series of decisions over the course of a single night changes their lives forever.

Introspective; Lyrical 

Summerwater book cover

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

A series of vignettes offer the idle thoughts of a group of strangers vacationing in a Scottish holiday park during a very rainy day, lost in their own little worlds, until a shocking event unites them.

Atmospheric; Suspenseful 

The Sun is Also a Star book cover

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha, whose family is hours away from being deported, and Daniel, a first generation Korean American who strives to live up to his parents’ expectations, unexpectedly fall in love and must determine which path they will choose in order to be together.

Realistic Fiction; Romantic

Black History Month: Black Family Stories

Black Family Stories

“The Black Family” is this year’s Black History Month theme. It is brought to us by the organization that founded Black History Month, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. For more information on the association and to browse past themes, click here. Collected below are some fictional stories to enjoy all year round that embrace this year’s theme on the Black family.

The Travelers book cover

The Travelers by Regina Porter

A first novel by an award-winning playwright follows the experiences of two American families, one black and one white, against a backdrop of historical events from the 1950s through the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

It's Not All Downhill from Here book cover

It’s Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan

Confident that her best days are still ahead, a successful businesswoman relies on close friends and her resourcefulness when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down.


No One is Coming to Save Us book cover

No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

A tale inspired by The Great Gatsby is set in the contemporary South and follows the difficulties endured by an extended black family with colliding visions of the American dream.

Cover of The Turner House

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Learning after a half-century of family life that their house on Detroit’s East Side is worth only a fraction of its mortgage, the members of the Turner family gather to reckon with their pasts and decide the house’s fate.

Red at the Bone book cover

Red At The Bone by Jaqueline Woodson

As Melody celebrates a coming of age ceremony at her grandparents’ house in 2001 Brooklyn, her family remembers 1985, when Melody’s own mother prepared for a similar party that never took place in this novel about different social classes.

An American Marriage book cover

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

When her new husband is arrested and imprisoned for a crime she knows he did not commit, a rising artist takes comfort in a longtime friendship, only to encounter unexpected challenges in resuming her life when her husband’s sentence is suddenly overturned.

Kind of Freedom book cover

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through the story of three generations of an African American family in New Orleans.

Homegoing book cover

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana and experience profoundly different lives and legacies throughout subsequent generations marked by wealth, slavery, war, coal mining, the Great Migration and the realities of 20th-century Harlem.

Black History Month: Must See Black Cinema

Must See Black Cinema

In honor of Black History Month, we gathered some of the best-reviewed recent Black films for you to enjoy all year round. Featuring a wide array of thrills, drama, and great story, all of which have garnered applause, there’s something for every viewer. Find your match below, or contact us for a personalized suggestion.

Sorry to Bother You DVD cover

Sorry To Bother You

When telemarketer Cassius Green discovers the key to professional success, he finds his life at work becoming more and more bizarre.

Tangerine DVD cover

Tangerine

It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.

Fast Color DVD cover

Fast Color

Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman with supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers are discovered. With nowhere else to go, she flees back to her family and the farmhouse she abandoned long ago. There, while being pursued by the local sheriff, she begins to mend the broken relationships with her mother and daughter.

Us DVD cover

Us

Haunted by trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway: doppelgängers of themselves.

Harriet DVD cover

Harriet 

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, the movie tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Pariah DVD cover

Pariah

Alike is a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry, and is a good student at her local high school. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity–sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.

Queen & Slim DVD cover

Queen & Slim

While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman, are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly becomes a symbol of trauma.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco DVD cover

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation.

If Beale Street Could Talk DVD cover

If Beale Street Could Talk

A timeless love story set in early 1970s Harlem involving newly engaged nineteen-year-old Tish and her fiancé Fonny who have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream.