Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, recommended by Tracie
Hiram is stuck between the wealthy plantation owners and the slaves. If Hiram had been born white, like his father, his life would have been better and his father’s expectations of him an easy burden to carry. Since his mother is a slave, he is treated as such by many. Hiram is given an education but still has those expectations of his father as a burden. Hiram is also given a magical gift by his mother which makes him special in both worlds.
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb, recommended by Dennis
The Violin Conspiracy is the story of a poor, talented black violinist who is given his great grandfather’s fiddle. He saves money by playing local gigs with the beat-up violin until he saves enough to have it repaired and eventually restored. The restoration reveals the violin is a rare violin from the 17th century worth 10 million dollars. The story tells of his trials in becoming a soloist in the classical music world, his family’s lawsuit to take the violin away from him and a lawsuit from the slave holder’s family that owned his great-grandfather, who claim to have brought the violin with them from Italy. Desperate to keep the violin, he makes a deal. To make matters worse, the violin is stolen prior to him competing in the international Tchaikovsky violin competition. He must pay 5 million dollars if he wants it back.
The world of classical music, a multimillion dollar violin theft, family tensions, lawsuits, deals, racism and an underdog hero — what more do you need in a book?
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, recommended by Meg
Our main character, Noemi, receives a strange letter from her cousin, Catalina. Noemi subsequently rushes to her aid, but upon her arrival she discovers the small town is full of secrets and resentment towards the Doyles, Catalina’s new family and their house in the hills. As Noemi tries to untangle the weave of lies and secrets within the walls of the house she begins to have dreams about strange and compelling dreams, but are they just dreams? Moreno-Garcia does a wonderful job at weaving psychological and paranormal themes into her novella as well as incorporating the conversation of colonialism, eugenics, and race as part of the horror within. I enjoyed Noemi’s flighty and outspoken nature as well; she’s easy to root for as she is a powerful protagonist. This story unsettled me in all the best ways and is a superb work of postcolonial gothic literature!
Cocoa Bombs by Eric Torres-Garcia, recommended by Megan C. & Leah
This book is the bomb! If you’ve ever heard of cocoa bombs or wanted to try them, don’t hesitate! Written by the TikTok sensation who invented the cocoa bomb, Eric Torres-Garcia, this book is the definitive guide to innovating your beverages. If you’re looking for a cozy night in or a fun recipe to create with the family, check out Cocoa Bombs and indulge in over 40 creative recipes. We even used this book for our library cooking show Biblio Bites!
The Push by Ashley Audrain, recommended by Pam
When I tell you this book is about motherhood, you’ll think you know the title’s meaning—but you’re wrong. A fast-paced, heart-wrenching, and edge of your seat read, we’ll need to pull The Push out of your hands.
Women in the Picture: What Culture Does with Female Bodies by Catherine McCormack, recommended by Megan S.
Think of a fine art gallery or world-class museum – now think of the paintings on the walls. Chances are many of the paintings you thought of are of women, embodying the various roles women have taken in society for thousands of years: maiden, Venus, mother… and monster. In this book, Catherine McCormack discusses each of these roles and the way they restrict and bind women to archetypes. She also introduces us to the artists who don’t follow these conventions, and how their art contributes to amplifying women’s voices. I really enjoyed all of the examples in these books and the way that Dr. McCormack communicates about art.
Faye, Faraway by Helen Fisher, recommended by Megan C.
If you’re looking to get into the Sci-Fi genre Faye, Faraway is a great place to start. Not only does this book ease readers into fantasy and Sci-Fi, but Helen Fisher does so in a way that isn’t too unbelievable or arresting, while still sparking our imaginations. A happily married mother, Faye, unexpectedly finds herself traveling back in time to reconnect with the mother she never knew. Along the way she questions her own identity and priorities as she’s faced with choices that could impact her present and future. Great for those wanting to read about mother-daughter relationships, Faye, Faraway discusses the tensions between mothers and daughters, and the toughness of losing a parent while becoming one yourself. Fans of The Midnight Library and The Time Traveler’s Wife will enjoy this debut novel. Find it on Libby or cloudLibrary.