Category Archives: Collections Highlight

What to Read this Month: June

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy!


The Allure of the Multiverse: Extra Dimensions, Other Worlds, and Parallel Universes by Paul Halpern. Our books, our movies–our imaginations–are obsessed with extra dimensions, alternate timelines, and the sense that all we see might not be all there is. In short, we can’t stop thinking about the multiverse. As it turns out, physicists are similarly captivated. In The Allure of the Multiverse, physicist Paul Halpern tells the epic story of how science became besotted with the multiverse, and the controversies that ensued. The questions that brought scientists to this point are big and deep: Is reality such that anything can happen, must happen? How does quantum mechanics “choose” the outcomes of its apparently random processes? And why is the universe habitable? Each question quickly leads to the multiverse. Drawing on centuries of disputation and deep vision, from luminaries like Nietzsche, Einstein, and the creators of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Halpern reveals the multiplicity of multiverses that scientists have imagined to make sense of our reality. To learn more check out this Wall Street Journal review or watch an interview with the author.


Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett. When mysterious faeries from other realms appear at her university, curmudgeonly professor Emily Wilde must uncover their secrets before it’s too late, in this heartwarming, enchanting second installment of the Emily Wilde series. Emily Wilde is a genius scholar of faerie folklore who just wrote the world’s first comprehensive encyclopaedia of faeries. She’s learned many of the secrets of the Hidden Ones on her adventures . . . and also from her fellow scholar and former rival Wendell Bambleby. Because Bambleby is more than infuriatingly charming. He’s an exiled faerie king on the run from his murderous mother and in search of a door back to his realm. And despite Emily’s feelings for Bambleby, she’s not ready to accept his proposal of marriage: Loving one of the Fair Folk comes with secrets and dangers. With new relationships for the prickly Emily to navigate and dangerous Folk lurking in every forest and hollow, Emily must unravel the mysterious workings of faerie doors and of her own heart. To learn more about this book and the series, you can read several reviews.


Uncertain: The Wisdom and Wonder of Being Unsure by Maggie Jackson. In an era of terrifying unpredictability, we race to address complex crises with quick, sure algorithms, bullet points, and tweets. How could we find the clarity and vision so urgently needed today by being unsure? Uncertain is about the triumph of doing just that. A scientific adventure tale set on the front lines of a volatile era, this epiphany of a book by award-winning author Maggie Jackson shows us how to skillfully confront the unexpected and the unknown, and how to harness not-knowing in the service of wisdom, invention, mutual understanding, and resilience. In laboratories, political campaigns, and on the frontiers of artificial intelligence, Jackson meets the pioneers decoding the surprising gifts of being unsure. Each chapter examines a mode of uncertainty-in-action, from creative reverie to the dissent that spurs team success. Step by step, the art and science of uncertainty reveal being unsure as a skill set for incisive thinking and day-to-day flourishing. You might enjoy this NPR interview.


Your Absence is Darkness by Jón Kalman Stefánsson ; translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton. A spellbinding saga about the inhabitants and inheritors of one rural community, by one of Iceland’s most beloved novelists. A man comes to awareness in a cold church in the Icelandic countryside, not knowing who he is, why he’s there or how he arrived, with a stranger staring mockingly from a few pews back. Startled by the man’s cryptic questions, he leaves–and plunges into a history spanning centuries, a past pressed into his genes that sinks him closer to some knowledge of himself. A city girl is drawn to the fjords by the memory of a blue-eyed gaze, and a generation earlier, a farmer’s wife writes an essay about earthworms that changes the course of lives. A pastor who writes letters to dead poets falls in love with a faraway stranger, and a rock musician, plagued by cosmic loneliness, discovers that his past has been a lie. Faced with the violence of fate and the effects of choices, made and avoided, that cascade between them, each discovers the cost of following the magnetic needle of the heart. Check out this NYT review or this Washington Post review.


I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition by Lucy Sante. An iconic writer’s lapidary memoir of a life spent pursuing a dream of artistic truth while evading the truth of her own gender identity, until, finally, she turned to face who she really was. For a long time, Lucy Sante felt unsure of her place. Born in Belgium, the only child of conservative working-class Catholic parents who transplanted their little family to the United States, she felt at home only when she moved to New York City in the early 1970s and found her people among a band of fellow bohemians. Some would die young, to drugs and AIDS, and some would become jarringly famous. Sante flirted with both fates, on her way to building an estimable career as a writer. But she still felt like her life a performance. She was presenting a façade, even to herself. Sante’s memoir braids together two threads of personal narrative: the arc of her life, and her recent step-by-step transition to a place of inner and outer alignment. To find out more, see this NYT review or this NPR interview.

What to Read this Month: May

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Since many people will soon be taking their summer vacations, I’m focusing on some audiobook examples this month!


Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her by Robin Gerber. Barbie and Ruth is the remarkable true story of the world’s most famous toy and the woman who created her. It is a fascinating account of how one visionary woman and her product changed an industry and sparked a lasting debate about women’s roles. At once a business book, a colorful portrait of an extraordinary female entrepreneur, and a breathtaking look at a cultural phenomenon, Barbie and Ruth is a must read for anyone who ever owned a Barbie doll. This is the entwined tale of two exceptional women. One was a voluptuous eleven-inch-tall beauty who debuted at the 1959 Toy Fair in New York City and quickly became the treasure of 9 out of 10 American girls and their counterparts in 150 countries. She went on to compete as an Olympic athlete, serve as an air force pilot, work as a boutique owner, run as a presidential candidate, and ignite a cultural firestorm. The other was Ruth Handler, the tenth child of Polish Jewish immigrants. A brilliant, creative, ruthless, and passionately competitive visionary, Ruth was a mother and wife who wanted it all—a masterful entrepreneur who, together with her curvaceous plastic creation, changed American business and culture forever. Narrated by Karen Gundersen.


A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher. “Mom seems off.” Her brother’s words echo in Sam Montgomery’s ear as she turns onto the quiet North Carolina street where their mother lives alone. She brushes the thought away as she climbs the front steps. Sam’s excited for this rare extended visit, and looking forward to nights with just the two of them, drinking boxed wine, watching murder mystery shows, and guessing who the killer is long before the characters figure it out. But stepping inside, she quickly realizes home isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the warm, cluttered charm her mom is known for; now the walls are painted a sterile white. Her mom jumps at the smallest noises and looks over her shoulder even when she’s the only person in the room. And when Sam steps out back to clear her head, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath the magazine-worthy rose bushes, and vultures are circling the garden from above. To find out what’s got her mom so frightened in her own home, Sam will go digging for the truth. But some secrets are better left buried. Author Mary Robinette Kowal narrates!


Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout. With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic. As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea. Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love. Narrated by Kimberly Farr.


The World’s Worst Assistant by Sona Movsesian. From Conan O’Brien’s longtime assistant and cohost of his podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, a completely hilarious and irreverent how-to guide for becoming a terrible, yet unfireable employee, spilling her trade secrets for minimizing effort while maximizing the rewards. Sona Movsesian didn’t wake up one day and decide to become the World’s Worst Assistant. Achieving such greatness is a gradual process—one that starts with long hours and hard work before it eventually descends into sneaking low-dosage edibles into your lunch and napping on your boss’s couch. With a forward from Conan O’Brien, The World’s Worst Assistant is a mixture of how-tos (like How to Nap at Work and How to Watch TV at Your Desk), tips for becoming untouchable (like memorizing social security and credit card numbers and endearing yourself to friends and family), and incredible personal stories from Sona’s twelve years spent working for Conan that put their adorable closeness and professional dysfunction on display. In this audiobook, Sona will explain her descent from eager, hard-working, ambitious, detail-orientated assistant to self-awarded title-holder for the worst in history.


Erasure by Percival Everett. Percival Everett’s blistering satire about race and publishing, now as the Oscar-nominated film, American Fiction, directed by Cord Jefferson and starring Jeffrey Wright and Tracee Ellis Ross. Thelonious “Monk” Ellison’s writing career has bottomed out: his latest manuscript has been rejected by seventeen publishers, which stings all the more because his previous novels have been “critically acclaimed.” He seethes on the sidelines of the literary establishment as he watches the meteoric success of We’s Lives in Da Ghetto, a first novel by a woman who once visited “some relatives in Harlem for a couple of days.” Meanwhile, Monk struggles with real family tragedies-his aged mother is fast succumbing to Alzheimer’s, and he still grapples with the reverberations of his father’s suicide seven years before. In his rage and despair, Monk dashes off a novel meant to be an indictment of Juanita Mae Jenkins’s bestseller. He doesn’t intend for My Pafology to be published, let alone taken seriously, but it is-under the pseudonym Stagg R. Leigh-and soon it becomes the Next Big Thing. How Monk deals with the personal and professional fallout galvanizes this audacious, hysterical, and quietly devastating novel. Narrated by Sean Crisden.

What to Read This Month: April

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy!

The Ascent by Adam Plantinga. When a high security prison fails, a down-on-his luck cop and the governor’s daughter are going to have to team up if they’re going to escape in this “jaw-dropping, authentic, and absolutely gripping” (Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author) thriller. Kurt Argento, an ex-Detroit street cop, can’t let injustice go–and he has the fighting skills to back up his idealism. If he sees a young girl being dragged into an alley, he’s going to rescue her and cause some damage. When he does just that in a small corrupt Missouri town, he’s brutally beaten and thrown into a maximum-security prison. Julie Wakefield, a grad student who happens to be the governor’s daughter, is about to take a tour of the prison. But when a malfunction in the security system releases a horde of prisoners, a fierce struggle for survival ensues. Argento must help a small band of staff and civilians, including Julie and her two state trooper handlers, make their way from the bottom floor to the roof to safety. All that stands in their way are six floors of the most dangerous convicts in Missouri. Watch this interview with the author on YouTube.

Company: Stories by Shannon Sanders. A brilliantly woven collection of stories about the lives and lore of one Black family. Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2023, Shannon Sanders brings us into the company of the Collins family and their acquaintances. Moving from Atlantic City to New York to DC, from the 1960s to the 2000s, from law students to drag performers to violinists to matriarchs, Company tells a multifaceted, multigenerational saga in thirteen stories. Each piece includes a moment when a guest arrives at someone’s home. In “The Good, Good Men,” two brothers reunite to oust a “deadbeat” boyfriend from their mother’s house. In “The Everest Society,” the brothers’ sister anxiously prepares for a home visit from a social worker before adopting a child. In “Birds of Paradise,” their aunt, newly promoted to university provost, navigates a minefield of microaggressions at her own welcome party. And in the haunting title story, the provost’s sister finds her solitary life disrupted when her late sister’s daughter comes calling.  Buoyant, somber, and sharp, this collection announces a remarkable new voice in fiction. See what The Washington Post has to say about this richly detailed debut.

End Times by Rebecca Priestley. In the late 1980s, two teenage girls found refuge from a world of cozy conformity, sexism and the nuclear arms race in protest and punk. Then, drawn in by a promise of meaning and purpose, they cast off their punk outfits and became born-again Christians. Unsure which fate would come first – nuclear annihilation or the Second Coming of Jesus – they sought answers from end-times evangelists, scrutinizing friends and family for signs of demon possession and identifying EFTPOS and barcodes as signs of a looming apocalypse. Fast forward to 2021, and Rebecca and Maz – now a science historian and an engineer – are on a road trip to the West Coast. Their journey, though full of laughter and conversation and hot pies, is haunted by the threats of climate change, conspiracy theories, and a massive overdue earthquake. Read an excerpt from the book.

How To Hug a Porcupine: Easy Ways to Love the Difficult People in Your Life by Dr. Debbie Joffe Ellis. Most of us know someone who, for whatever reason, always seems to cause problems, irritate others, or incite conflict. Often, these people are a part of our daily lives. The truth is that these troublemakers haven’t necessarily asked to be this way. Sometimes we need to learn new approaches to deal with people who are harder to get along with or love. How to Hug a Porcupine explains that making peace with others isn’t as tough or terrible as we think it is—especially when you can use an adorable animal analogy and apply it to real-life problems. Whether you want to calm the quills of parents, children, siblings, coworkers, friends, or strangers, How to Hug a Porcupine provides valuable strategies for your encounters with “prickly” people, such as three easy ways to end an argument, how to spot the porcupine in others, and how to spot the porcupine in ourselves. Be sure to check out this Apple Books review.

The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan. A National Bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club Pic! Vanessa Chan weaves the spellbinding story of an ordinary housewife who becomes an unlikely spy.  Malaya, 1945. Cecily Alcantara’s family is in terrible danger: her fifteen-year-old son, Abel, has disappeared, and her youngest daughter, Jasmin, is confined in a basement to prevent being pressed into service at the comfort stations. Her eldest daughter Jujube, who works at a tea house frequented by drunk Japanese soldiers, becomes angrier by the day. Cecily knows two things: this is all her fault and her family must never learn her dark secret. A decade prior, Cecily was desperate to be more than a housewife to a low-level bureaucrat in British-colonized Malaya. A chance meeting with the charismatic General Fujiwara lured her into a life of espionage, pursuing dreams of an “Asia for Asians.” Instead, Cecily helped usher in an even more brutal occupation by the Japanese. Ten years later as the war reaches its apex, her actions have caught up with her. Now her family is on the brink of destruction–and she will do anything to save them. Told from the perspectives of four unforgettable characters, The Storm We Made is “a searing historical novel.”–The Washington Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Read This Month: February

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy!

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward. From two-time National Book Award winner and MacArthur Fellow Jesmyn Ward comes a haunting masterpiece–a reimagining of American slavery that takes the reader on a journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the fearsome heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation. Sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, Annis struggles through the miles-long march and seeks comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with spirits: of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take.  Shortlisted for the 2024 Carnegie Medal for Excellence, Let Us Descend leads readers through Annis’s descent in a story of rebirth and reclamation. Don’t miss NPR‘s review and Barnes & Noble’s Poured Over Podcast interview with Jesmyn Ward.

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon. From the New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia and Code Name Hélène comes a gripping historical mystery inspired by the life and diary of Martha Ballard, a renowned 18th-century midwife who defied the legal system and wrote herself into American history. Maine, 1789: When the Kennebec River freezes, entombing a man in the ice, Martha Ballard is summoned to examine the body and determine cause of death. As a midwife and healer, she is privy to much of what goes on behind closed doors in Hallowell. Her diary is a record of every birth and death, crime and debacle that unfolds in the close-knit community. Months earlier, Martha documented the details of an alleged rape committed by two of the town’s most respected gentlemen–one of whom has now been found dead in the ice. But when a local physician undermines her conclusion, declaring the death to be an accident, Martha is forced to investigate the shocking murder on her own. Clever, layered, and subversive, Ariel Lawhon’s newest offering introduces an unsung heroine who refused to accept anything less than justice at a time when women were considered best seen and not heard. The Frozen River is a thrilling, tense story about a remarkable woman who left an unparalleled legacy yet remains nearly forgotten to this day. “Fans of Outlander’s Claire Fraser will enjoy Lawhon’s Martha, who is brave and outspoken when it comes to protecting the innocent. . . impressive.” —The Washington Post. See what NPR had to say about this masterfully woven novel.

The Status Revolution: The Improbable Story of How the Lowbrow Became the Highbrow by Chuck Thompson. How did rescue dogs become status symbols? Why are luxury brands losing their cachet? What’s made F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous observations obsolete? The answers are part of a new revolution that’s radically reorganizing the way we view ourselves and others, that “will be hard for pop-culture readers to put down” (Booklist). Status was once easy to identify–fast cars, fancy shoes, sprawling estates, elite brands. But in place of Louboutins and Lamborghinis, the relevance of the rich, famous, and gauche is waning and a riveting revolution is underfoot. Chuck Thompson–dubbed “savagely funny” by The New York Times and “wickedly entertaining” by the San Francisco Chronicle–sets out to determine what “status” means today and learns that what was once considered the low life has become the high life. Thompson tours the new world of status from a small community in British Columbia where an indigenous artist uses wood carving to restore communal status; to a Washington, DC, meeting of the “Patriotic Millionaires,” a club of high-earners who are begging the government to tax them; to a luxury auto factory in the south of Italy where making beautiful cars is as much about bringing dignity to a low-earning region than it is about flash and indulgence; to a London lab where the neural secrets of status are being unlocked. With his signature wit and irreverence, Thompson explains why everything we know about status is changing, upends centuries of conventional wisdom, and shows how the new status revolution reflects our place in contemporary society. Check out what Kirkus Reviews has to say about this thought-provoking read.

Judas Goat: Poems by Gabrielle Bates.  Gabrielle Bates’s riveting debut collection Judas Goat plumbs the depths of intimate relationships, and as the Chicago Review of Books hails, “Bates wields brevity so sharp it leaves one breathless, with layers of meaning appearing like invisible ink under a lightbulb with each re-reading.” The book’s eponymous animal is used to lead sheep to slaughter while its own life is spared, and its harrowing existence echoes through this spellbinding collection of forty poems, which wrestle with betrayal and forced obedience, violence and young womanhood, and the “forbidden felt language” of sexual and sacred love. These poems conjure encounters with figures from scriptures, domesticated animals eyeing the wild, and mothering as a shapeshifting, spectral force; they question what it means to love another person and how to exorcise childhood fears. All the while, the Deep South haunts, and no matter how far away the speaker moves, the South always draws her back home. With Judas Goat, Bates establishes herself as an unflinching witness to the risks that desire necessitates. Learn more about this electrifying debut collection in a discussion with the author on Keep the Channel Open podcast.

Tomb Sweeping: Stories by Alexandra Chang. From the award-winning writer of Days of Distraction comes this playful and deeply affective short story collection about the histories, technologies, and generational divides that shape our relationships. With her debut story collection, Chang further establishes herself as “a writer to watch” (New York Times Book Review). Set across the US and Asia, Alexandra Chang immerses us in the lives of immigrant families, grocery store employees, expecting parents, and guileless lab assistants. A woman known only to her neighbors as “the Asian recycling lady” collects bottles from the streets she calls home… a young college grad ponders the void left from a broken friendship…. an unfulfilled housewife in Shanghai finds a secret outlet for her ambitions in an undercover gambling den…. two strangers become something more through the bond of mistaken identity. Tomb Sweeping brims with remarkable skill and talent, keeping a definitive pulse on loss, community, and what it means to feel fully alive. Read the USA Today review.

What to Read this Month: January

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy!


The Cat’s Meow: How Cats Evolved from the Savanna to Your Sofa by Jonathan B. Losos. The domestic cat– your cat–has, from its evolutionary origins in Africa, been transformed in comparatively little time into one of the most successful and diverse species on the planet. Jonathan Losos, writing as both a scientist and a cat lover, explores how researchers today are unraveling the secrets of the cat, past and present, using all the tools of modern technology, from GPS tracking (you’d be amazed where those backyard cats roam) and genomics (what is your so-called Siamese cat . . . really?) to forensic archaeology. In addition to solving the mysteries of your cat’s past, it gives us a cat’s-eye view of today’s habitats, including meeting wild cousins around the world whose habits your sweet house cat sometimes eerily parallels. Humans are transforming cats, and they in turn are transforming the world around them. This charming and intelligent book suggests what the future may hold for both Felis catus and Homo sapiens. To learn more, check out this Washington Post review or watch this interesting presentation he did for The Schwarzman Animal Medical Center.


Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer. ASSISTANT WANTED: Notorious, high-ranking villain seeks loyal, levelheaded assistant for unspecified office duties, supporting staff for random mayhem, terror, and other Dark Things In General. Discretion a must. Excellent benefits. With ailing family to support, Evie Sage’s employment status isn’t just important, it’s vital. So when a mishap with Rennedawn’s most infamous Villain results in a job offer—naturally, she says yes. No job is perfect, of course, but even less so when you develop a teeny crush on your terrifying, temperamental, and undeniably hot boss. Don’t find evil so attractive, Evie. But just when she’s getting used to severed heads suspended from the ceiling and the odd squish of an errant eyeball beneath her heel, Evie suspects this dungeon has a huge rat…and not just the literal kind. Because something rotten is growing in the kingdom of Rennedawn, and someone wants to take the Villain—and his entire nefarious empire—out. Now Evie must not only resist drooling over her boss but also figure out exactly who is sabotaging his work…and ensure he makes them pay. After all, a good job is hard to find. If you haven’t already discovered this story on TikTok, you can read a review on Reactor Magazine.


A History of Fake Things on the Internet by Walter J. Scheirer. Computer scientist Walter J. Scheirer takes a deep dive into the origins of fake news, conspiracy theories, reports of the paranormal, and other deviations from reality that have become part of mainstream culture, from image manipulation in the nineteenth-century darkroom to the literary stylings of large language models like ChatGPT. Scheirer investigates the origins of Internet fakes, from early hoaxes that traversed the globe via Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs), USENET, and a new messaging technology called email, to today’s hyperrealistic, AI-generated Deepfakes. An expert in machine learning and recognition, Scheirer breaks down the technical advances that made new developments in digital deception possible, and shares behind-the-screens details of early Internet-era pranks that have become touchstones of hacker lore. His story introduces us to the visionaries and mischief-makers who first deployed digital fakery and continue to influence how digital manipulation works–and doesn’t–today: computer hackers, digital artists, media forensics specialists, and AI researchers. Ultimately, Scheirer argues that problems associated with fake content are not intrinsic properties of the content itself, but rather stem from human behavior, demonstrating our capacity for both creativity and destruction. To learn more you can read a review in the Washington Post or in The New Yorker.


The Absent Moon: A Memoir of a Short Childhood and a Long Depression by Luiz Schwarcz (translated by Eric M.B. Becker). A literary sensation in Brazil, Luiz Schwarcz’s brave and tender memoir interrogates his ordeal of bipolar disorder in the context of a family story of murder, dispossession, and silence–the long echo of the Holocaust across generations. When Luiz Schwarcz was a child, he was told little about his grandfather and namesake, Láios–“Luiz” in Hungarian. Only later in life did he learn that his grandfather, a devout Hungarian Jew, had defied his country’s Nazi occupiers by holding secret religious services in his home. After being put on a train to a German death camp with his son André, Láios ordered André to leap from the train to freedom at a rail crossing, while Láios himself was carried on to his death. What Luiz did know was that his father André, who had emigrated to Brazil, was an unhappy and silent man. Young Luiz assumed responsibility for his parents’ comfort, as many children of trauma do, and for a time he seemed to be succeeding: he blossomed into the family prodigy, eventually growing into a groundbreaking literary publisher in São Paulo. He found a home in the family silence–a home that he filled with books and with reading. But then, at a high point of outward success, Luiz was brought low by a devastating mental breakdown. The Absent Moon is the story of his journey to that point and of his journey back from it, as Luiz learned to forge a more honest relationship with his own mind, with his family, and with their shared past. Check out this NYT review or this Forward review for more details.


Investing in the Era of Climate Change by Bruce Usher. A climate catastrophe can be avoided, but only with a rapid and sustained investment in companies and projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To the surprise of many, this has already begun. Investors are abandoning fossil-fuel companies and other polluting industries and financing businesses offering climate solutions. Rising risks, evolving social norms, government policies, and technological innovation are all accelerating this movement of capital. Bruce Usher offers an indispensable guide to the risks and opportunities for investors as the world faces climate change. He explores the role that investment plays in reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, detailing how to finance the winners and avoid the losers in a transforming global economy. Usher argues that careful examination of climate solutions will offer investors a new and necessary lens on the future for their own financial benefit and for the greater good. Companies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions will create great wealth, and, more importantly, they will provide a lifeline for humanity. You can find out more in this Publisher’s Weekly review or this Author Talks.

What to Read this Month: December

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Since many people will soon be traveling, this month we are focusing on audiobooks.


Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo is the second in a series (see the first one). Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory—even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale. Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.


The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival. One June day, an old book arrives on Simon’s doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned—always on July 24, which is only weeks away. As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. You can listen to an excerpt here.


Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen. Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home—she’s built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava’s world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn’t been used in years, and her toddler’s tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point. Enter Winnie Fang, Ava’s enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business—someone who’d never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences. To learn more, you can read this NYT review or this Asia Media website review.


Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin. The seven houses in these seven stories are strange. A person is missing, or a truth, or memory; some rooms are enticing, some unmoored, others empty. But in Samanta Schweblin’s tense, visionary tales, something always creeps back inside: a ghost, a fight, trespassers, a list of things to do before you die, a child’s first encounter with darkness or the fallibility of parents. In each story, twists and turns will unnerve and surprise: Schweblin never takes the expected path and instead digs under the skin, revealing surreal truths about our sense of home, of belonging, and of the fragility of our connections with others. Find out more at Harvard Review or by reading this NYT review.


Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

What’s Streaming at Duke Libraries: Native American Culture and History

Duke Libraries’ streaming video offerings have been growing by leaps and bounds. Today we’re featuring Native American films, available from a variety of streaming platforms that the Libraries provide to the Duke community. We hope these works will surprise, delight and enlighten you. Check them out using your Duke NetID and password!

Lakota Nation vs. United States
(dirs.  Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli, 2022)

Streaming on AVON

Movie poster, Lakota Nation

A provocative, visually stunning testament to a land and a people who have survived removal, exploitation and genocide – and whose best days are yet to come.  The film “interleaves interviews of Lakota activists and elders with striking images of the Black Hills and its wildlife, historical documents and news reports, clips from old movies and other archival footage to extraordinary effect, demonstrating not only the physical and cultural violence inflicted on the Lakota but also their deep connection to the Black Hills, the area where Mount Rushmore was erected.” —New York Times, 7-13-2023.


 

Being Thunder (dir. Stéphanie Lamorré, 2021)Movie poster, Being Thunder
streaming on PROJECTR

At the annual regional powwow of New England tribes, there is no formal rule to prohibit Two Spirit Genderqueer people from competing in a category different from their birth gender. Sherenté dances with joy and beauty, but is blindsided by ongoing dishonesty and insensitive behavior by judges and tribal leaders. Sherenté’s enduring courage and dignity are ultimately met with an outpouring of support from family, powwow attendees, and fellow competitors.


 

Inhabitants: Indigenous Perspectives on Restoring Our World 
(dirs. Anna Palmer & Costa Boutsikaris, 2021)

streaming on DOCUSEEK

Film poster, Inhabitants

Inhabitants follows five Native American communities as they restore their traditional land management practices in the face of a changing climate. The five stories include sustaining traditions of Hopi dryland farming in Arizona; restoring buffalo to the Blackfeet reservation in Montana; maintaining sustainable forestry on the Menominee reservation in Wisconsin; reviving native food forests in Hawai’i; and returning prescribed fire to the landscape by the Karuk Tribe of California. As the climate crisis escalates, these time-tested practices of North America’s original inhabitants are becoming increasingly essential in a rapidly changing world.


 

Once Upon a River (dir. Haroula Rose, 2019)
Streaming on Kanopy

Movie poster, Once Upon a River

Based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell, Once Upon a River is the story of Native American teenager Margo Crane in 1970s rural Michigan. After enduring a series of traumas and tragedies, Margo sets out on an odyssey on the Stark River in search of her estranged mother. On the water, Margo encounters friends, foes, wonders, and dangers; navigating life on her own, she comes to understand her potential, all while healing the wounds of her past.


 

The Warrior Tradition (PBS series,  2019)
Streaming on Films on Demand

Movie poster, Warrior Tradition
The astonishing, heartbreaking, inspiring, and largely-untold story of Native Americans in the United States military. This program chronicles the accounts of Native American warriors  and explores the complicated ways the culture and traditions of Native Americans have impacted their participation in the United States military.

Movie poster, Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals 
(dir. Chris Eyre, 1998)

Streaming on Swank Digital Campus

Smoke Signals is recognized as being the first feature-length film written, directed, and produced by Native Americans to reach a wide audience both in the US and abroad.
With a screenplay by Sherman Alexie, based on his short stories, this coming-of-age story with a light, comedic heart, was added to the National Film Registry in 2018 for its cultural significance to film history.


Powwow Highway 
(dir. Jonathan Wacks, 1989)
Streaming on Kanopy
Movie poster, Powwow Highway

Two Cheyenne Indian friends with very different outlooks on life set off on a road trip. Philbert Bono is a spiritual seeker trying to find the answers to life’s questions; his pal, Buddy Red Bow, is a realist who sees the world in black-and-white terms. Filming was done on location on Native American reservations in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.


 

The Exiles (dir.  Ken Mackenzie, 1961)
Streaming on AVON

DVD cover, The Exiles

The Exiles (1961) is an incredible feature film by Kent Mackenzie chronicling a day in the life of a group of twenty-something Native Americans who left reservation life in the 1950s to live in the district of Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, California. The structure of the film is that of a narrative feature, the script pieced together from interviews with the documentary subjects. Despite (or because of) the fact that no other films at the time were (and still very few now are) depicting Native American peoples (aside from the overblown stereotypes in Westerns) let alone urban Native Americans, The Exiles could not find a distributor willing to risk putting it out theatrically, and so over the years it fell into obscurity, known and loved by cinephiles and admired for its originality and honesty. Selected  by the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2009, Milestone Films first premiered The Exiles in theaters in 2008, and critics and audiences were stunned by the film’s harsh beauty and honesty.

 

 

What to Read this Month: November

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Living Resistance: An Indigenous Vision for Seeking Wholeness Every Day by Kaitlin B. Curtice. In an era in which “resistance” has become tokenized, Indigenous author Kaitlin Curtice reclaims it as a basic human calling. We each have a role to play in the world right where we are, and our everyday acts of resistance hold us all together. Curtice shows that we can learn to practice embodied ways of belonging and connection to ourselves and one another through everyday practices, such as getting more in touch with our bodies, resting, and remembering our ancestors. She explores four “realms of resistance”–the personal, the communal, the ancestral, and the integral–and shows how these realms overlap and why all are needed for our liberation. Readers will be empowered to seek wholeness in whatever spheres of influence they inhabit. To learn more about Curtice’s work, you might want to watch this Reader Meet Writer video from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.


Bad Cree by Jessica Johns. In this gripping, horror-laced debut, a young Cree woman’s dreams lead her on a perilous journey of self-discovery that ultimately forces her to confront the toll of a legacy of violence on her family, her community and the land they call home.
Night after night, Mackenzie’s dreams return her to a memory from before her sister Sabrina’s untimely death: a weekend at the family’s lakefront campsite, long obscured by a fog of guilt. But when the waking world starts closing in, too—a murder of crows stalks her every move around the city, she wakes up from a dream of drowning throwing up water, and gets threatening text messages from someone claiming to be Sabrina—Mackenzie knows this is more than she can handle alone. What really happened that night at the lake, and what did it have to do with Sabrina’s death? Only a bad Cree would put their family at risk, but what if whatever has been calling Mackenzie home was already inside?  To learn more check out this excerpt from CBC, or this BookPage review.


The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History by Ned Blackhawk. The most enduring feature of U.S. history is the presence of Native Americans, yet most histories focus on Europeans and their descendants. This long practice of ignoring Indigenous history is changing, however, with a new generation of scholars insists that any full American history address the struggle, survival, and resurgence of American Indian nations. Indigenous history is essential to understanding the evolution of modern America. Ned Blackhawk interweaves five centuries of Native and non‑Native histories, from Spanish colonial exploration to the rise of Native American self-determination in the late twentieth century. Blackhawk’s retelling of U.S. history acknowledges the enduring power, agency, and survival of Indigenous peoples, yielding a truer account of the United States and revealing anew the varied meanings of America. Ned Blackhawk just won the National Book Award for nonfiction!


A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt. In the stark expanse of Northern Alberta, a queer Indigenous doctoral student steps away from his dissertation to write a novel, informed by a series of poignant encounters: a heart-to-heart with fellow doctoral student River over the mounting pressure placed on marginalized scholars; a meeting with Michael, a closeted man from his hometown whose vulnerability and loneliness punctuate the realities of queer life on the fringe. Woven throughout these conversations are memories of Jack, a cousin caught in the cycle of police violence, drugs, and survival. Jack’s life parallels the narrator’s own; the possibilities of escape and imprisonment are left to chance with colonialism stacking the odds. A Minor Chorus introduces a dazzling new literary voice whose vision and fearlessness shine much-needed light on the realities of Indigenous survival. To learn more, check out this excerpt from CBC, or this review from Colorado Review.


Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones. December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones. Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho. To learn more, check out this review from Tor, or this interview in Esquire.

What to Read this Month: October

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Against Technoableism is a manifesto exploding what we think we know about disability, and arguing that disabled people are the real experts when it comes to technology and disability. When bioethicist and professor Ashley Shew became a self-described “hard-of-hearing chemobrained amputee with Crohn’s disease and tinnitus,” there was no returning to “normal.” Suddenly well-meaning people called her an “inspiration” while grocery shopping, or viewed her as a needy recipient of technological wizardry. Most disabled people don’t want what the abled assume they want—nor are they generally asked. Why do abled people frame disability as an individual problem that calls for technological solutions, rather than a social one? In a warm, feisty, opinionated voice and vibrant prose, Shew shows how we can create better narratives and more accessible futures by drawing from the insights of the cross-disability community. To learn more, you might want to read this NYT review or this excerpt published in Wired.


When British poet Amy Key was growing up, she envisioned a life shaped by love–and Joni Mitchell’s album Blue was her inspiration. ” Blue became part of my language of intimacy,” she writes, recalling the dozens of times she played the record as a teen, “an intimacy of disclosure, vulnerability, unadorned feeling that I thought I’d eventually share with a romantic other.” As the years ticked by, she held on to this very specific idea of romance like a bottle of wine saved for a special occasion. But what happens when the romance we are all told will give life meaning never presents itself??Now single in her forties, Key explores in Arrangements in Blue : Notes on Loving and Living Alone the sweeping scales of romantic feeling as she has encountered them, using the album Blue as an expressive anchor: from the low notes of loss and unfulfilled desire–punctuated by sharp, discordant feelings of jealousy and regret–to the deep harmony of friendship, and the crescendos of sexual attraction and self-realization. You can read reviews in New City Lit and Chicago Review of Books.


Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa (and translated by by Eric Ozawa) is about a young woman who loses everything but finds herself–a tale of new beginnings, romantic and family relationships, and the comfort that can be found in books. Twenty-five-year-old Takako has enjoyed a relatively easy existence–until the day her boyfriend Hideaki, the man she expected to wed, casually announces he’s been cheating on her and is marrying the other woman. Suddenly, Takako’s life is in freefall. She loses her job, her friends, and her acquaintances, and spirals into a deep depression. In the depths of her despair, she receives a call from her distant uncle Satoru. To learn more, there’s an NPR review.


The automobile was one of the most miraculous inventions of the 20th century. It promised freedom, style, and utility. But sometimes, rather than improving our lives, technology just makes everything worse. Over the past century, cars have filled the air with toxic pollutants and fueled climate change. Cars have stolen public space and made our cities uglier, dirtier, less useful, and more unequal. Cars have caused tens of millions of deaths and injuries. They have wasted our time and our money. In Carmageddon, journalist Daniel Knowles outlines the rise of the automobile and the costs we all bear as a result. Weaving together history, economics, and reportage, he traces the forces and decisions that normalized cars and cemented our reliance on them. Knowles takes readers around the world to show the ways car use has impacted people’s lives–from Nairobi, where few people own a car but the city is still cloaked in smog, to Houston, where the Katy Freeway has a mind-boggling 26 lanes and there are 30 parking spaces for every resident, enough land to fit Paris ten times. With these negatives, Knowles shows that there are better ways to live, looking at Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Tokyo, and New York City. To learn more, you can read this Washington Post review or this Climate Pod recording with the author.


The Ramirez women of Staten Island orbit around absence. When thirteen‑year‑old middle child Ruthy disappeared after track practice without a trace, it left the family scarred and scrambling. One night, twelve years later, oldest sister Jessica spots a woman on her TV screen in Catfight, a raunchy reality show. She rushes to tell her younger sister, Nina: This woman’s hair is dyed red, and she calls herself Ruby, but the beauty mark under her left eye is instantly recognizable. Could it be Ruthy, after all this time? What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez is a vivid family portrait, in all its shattered reality, exploring the familial bonds between women and cycles of generational violence, colonialism, race, and silence, replete with snark, resentment, tenderness, and, of course, love. To learn more, you can read this review from Latinx In Publishing or this article from Shondaland about the book and the author’s journey to get it published.

Lilly Collection Spotlight: Bad Houses

Movie still from Amityville Horror

GUEST POST BY STEPHEN CONRAD

Duke Libraries’ resident aficionado of off-beat and oft-frightening films is back to cast a horror-ful look at houses both embodying and encasing evil. Enjoy this spine-tingling Lilly Library Collection Spotlight, curated every Halloween by Stephen Conrad, Team Lead of Monographic Acquisitions (and most importantly–movies), and enter his warped world of BAD HOUSES!

DVD cover of Old Dark House

The Old Dark House – This pre-code chiller from director James Whale (‘Frankenstein’, ‘Invisible Man’ etc.) is a startling and also chuckling early-talkies take on the scary house theme. Five motorists seek shelter from a deluge in the titular Old Dark House, occupied by the cranky and bizarre Femm family. Boris Karloff gets his first top billing playing the servant Morgan, a brutish and hirsute drunk prone to rages. But beware, the biggest threat might be locked away upstairs…

 

DVD cover, The Innocents

The Innocents – Truman Capote co-wrote the screenplay for this 1961 adaptation of Henry James’s ‘Turn of the Screw’, directed by Jack Clayton. Deborah Kerr plays a young governess hired to take care of two young charges in a spooky and sprawling country estate. There is a haunting afoot though, with the house playing no small part in the mood and atmosphere. Brilliant cinematography by Freddie Francis really sets off the black & white scene, with truly effective use of candles and shadows.

 

DVD cover, The Sentinel

The Sentinel – You’ll be gobsmacked by the stellar cast but then utterly horrified by the proceedings in this frightening 1977 evil house terror from Michael Winner. A young fashion model named Alison moves into a brownstone (at 10 Montague Place, in Brooklyn Heights, btw) also occupied by a blind priest. Soon after moving in things turn very strange and sinister for Alison, and her presence there is more intentional than expected, for “there is evil everywhere and the Sentinel is the only hope”.

 

DVD cover, Hausu (House)

House (Hausu) – For sheer, nightmarish, what-the-what-ness, there may not be a better movie than Nobuhiko Ôbayashi’s 1977 Hausu. A schoolgirl takes six of her classmates on a summer trip to her Aunt’s country house which is, yes, haunted. One by one they vanish, in an utterly brilliant, wacky and deranged series of happenings and scenarios. Some of the wildest and weirdest effects possible are employed, including hyper-wild uses of colors. Watch and discover that it is possible to view something slack-jawed while laughing and also being freaked out and thoroughly amazed.

 

Dvd cover, House of the Devil

House of the Devil – An early directorial effort from modern genre master Ti West, this 2009 throwback shocker is set in the ‘80s (complete with ample Walkman usage). A college student takes a strange babysitting gig at a large house on the outskirts of town on a lunar eclipse (tip: DON’T do that) and all hell breaks loose. The slow burn leads to a gruesome and graphic final chapter, making hash of whatever nerves you had left. Could it be…..Satan?

Dancing skeletons

Do you recognize the movie that’s pictured at the top of this post? Test your trivia skills and see if you can Name that Film.

Bone-chilling postscript: the Libraries offer hundreds of streaming movies to watch (with Duke netid/password authentication) from platforms like Swank Digital Campus (“Horror” category), Projectr (“Haunted Arthouse” category), Films on Demand World Cinema (check out Roger Corman’s Bucket of Blood) and Kanopy (Horror & Thriller category) plus DVDs to borrow along with external DVD drives to play them. Very scary! External dvd drive with dvd displayed in open slot

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Through a Streaming Lens

The Libraries provides access to thousands of streaming films to the Duke community, through multiple platforms. For Hispanic Heritage Month this year, take a look at our newest offering: PROJECTR. Projectr curates an ever-expanding collection of acclaimed movies, archival restorations, award-winning documentaries and artist-made works from around the world. Projectr offers over a hundred works exploring the Latinx and Latin American experience. You can browse this rich collection by Subject or Country, and get recommendations from independent filmmakers.

Here is a small selection that Projectr presents, with descriptions they provide. Explore and enjoy! 

Fruits of Labor (dir. Emily Cohen Ibañez)Woman's face with butterflies and flowers over her
A Mexican-American teenage farmworker dreams of graduating high school when ICE raids in her community threaten to separate her family and force her to become her family’s breadwinner. Fruits of Labor is a lyrical, coming-of-age documentary about adolescence, nature, and how ancestors paved the way for us. 

La Flor (dir. Mariano Llinás)
T.V. series still of women pointing gunsLa Flor is an eight-part film, a decade in the making. It is an epic adventure in scale and imagination, a wildly entertaining ode to the power of storytelling. Filmed around the world, it is composed of six distinct episodes over eight parts, each starting the same four actresses. It redefines the concept of binge viewing. 

Dry Ground Burning (dirs. Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós)Film still with two characters looking into the distance,

An electrifying portrait of Brazil’s dystopian contemporary moment that blends documentary with narrative fiction and genre elements. “A politically incendiary ethnographic sci-fi…In Dry Ground Burning, the future isn’t just female: it is Black, lesbian, profoundly matriarchal.” —Sight and Sound

A River Below (dir. Mark Grieco)
Movie posterA captivating documentary about the ethics of activism in the modern media age. A River Below examines the efforts of two conservationists in the Amazon. One is a marine biologist and the other an animal activist and host of a popular National Geographic t.v. show. Their methods to save the pink river dolphin from extinction triggers unforeseen consequences.

Cuatro Paredes (dir. Matt Porterfield)
Film posterA luminous short film by Matt Porterfield (SOLLERS POINT, PUTTY HILL) featuring rising star Barbara Lopez, CUATRO PAREDES follows Karla, recently arrived in Tijuana, Mexico to stay at her estranged aunt’s house a year after her father’s death. In this moment of solitude and calm, she looks up, down, inward and outward through the transpositional alchemy of text and is reminded that speaking to oneself feels like a vital human practice.

 

 

 

 

What to Read this Month: September

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Murder your Employer: the McMasters Guide to Homicide by Rupert Holmes. Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like if a person who is the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death. The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college–its location unknown to even those who study there–is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate…and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live. To learn more, you may enjoy this Barnes & Noble sponsored conversation between the author and Neil Patrick Harris.


Jezebel by Megan Barnard. Jezebel. You’ve heard the name. But you’ve never heard her story. “Historical fiction at its finest,” (Louisa Morgan) this propulsive novel is a stunning reimagining of the story of a fierce princess from Tyre and her infamous legacy. Jezebel was born into the world howling. She intends to leave it the same way. When Jezebel learns she can’t be a king like her father simply because she’s a girl, she vows never to become someone’s decorative wife, nameless and lost to history. At fifteen she’s married off, despite her protests, to Prince Ahab of Israel. There, she does what she must to gain power and remake the dry and distant kingdom in the image of her beloved, prosperous seaside homeland of Tyre, beginning by building temples to the gods she grew up worshipping. As her initiatives usher in an era of prosperity for Israel, her new subjects love her, and her name rings through the land. Then Elijah, the prophet of Yahweh and her former lover, begins to speak out against her. Bitter at having been abandoned by Jezebel, he lashes out, calling her a slut. Harlot. Witch. And the people, revering their prophet’s message, turn on her. A stunning revision of a notorious queen’s story, Jezebel is a thrilling lyrical debut about a fierce woman who refuses to be forgotten. Check out this essay “Why the Rise of Morally Gray Women In Fiction Is Good For All of Us” by the author.


The Darkness Manifesto: On Light Pollution, Night Ecology, and the Ancient Rhythms that Sustain Life by Johan Eklöf. How much light is too much light? Satellite pictures show our planet as a brightly glowing orb, and in our era of constant illumination, light pollution has become a major issue. The world’s flora and fauna have evolved to operate in the natural cycle of day and night. But in the last 150 years, we have extended our day–and in doing so have forced out the inhabitants of the night and disrupted the circadian rhythms necessary to sustain all living things, including ourselves. Swedish conservationist Johan Eklöf urges us to appreciate natural darkness, its creatures, and its unique benefits. He ponders the beauties of the night sky, traces the errant paths of light-drunk moths and the swift dives of keen-eyed owls, and shows us the bioluminescent creatures of the deepest oceans. As a devoted friend of the night, Eklöf reveals the startling domino effect of diminishing darkness: insects, dumbfounded by streetlamps, failing to reproduce; birds blinded and bewildered by artificial lights; and bats starving as they wait in vain for insects that only come out in the dark. Here’s a NYT review and a review from the Geographical Magazine.


American Mermaid by Julia Langbein. Broke English teacher Penelope Schleeman is as surprised as anyone when her feminist, eco-warrior novel American Mermaid becomes a best-seller. But when Hollywood insists she convert her fierce, androgynous protagonist into to a teen sex object in a clamshell bra, strange things start to happen. Is Penelope losing her mind, or has her fictional mermaid come to life, enacting revenge against society’s limited view of what a woman can and should be? American Mermaid follows a young woman braving the casual slights and cruel calculations of a winner-take-all society and discovering a beating heart in her own fiction: a new kind of hero who fights to keep her voice and choose her place. A hilarious story about deep things, American Mermaid asks how far we’ll go to protect the parts of ourselves that are not for sale. You can read a review in the Chicago Review of Books or this blog post by The Bossy Bookworm.


Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain Food and People by Erica Abrams Locklear. When her mother passed along a cookbook made and assembled by her grandmother, Erica Abrams Locklear thought she knew what to expect. But rather than finding a homemade cookbook full of apple stack cake, leather britches, pickled watermelon, or other “traditional” mountain recipes, Locklear discovered recipes for devil’s food cake with coconut icing, grape catsup, and fig pickles. Some recipes even relied on food products like Bisquick, Swans Down flour, and Calumet baking powder. Where, Locklear wondered, did her Appalachian food script come from? And what implicit judgments had she made about her grandmother based on the foods she imagined she would have been interested in cooking? Appalachia on the Table argues, in part, that since the conception of Appalachia as a distinctly different region from the rest of the South and the United States, the foods associated with the region and its people have often been used to socially categorize and stigmatize mountain people.  The question at the core of Locklear’s analysis asks, How did the dominant culinary narrative of the region come into existence and what consequences has that narrative had for people in the mountains? To learn more, check out this review from the Southern Review of Books.






What to Read this Month: August

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Swipe Up for More! Inside the Unfiltered Lives of Influencers by Stephanie McNeal. If you’re anything like journalist Stephanie McNeal—aka, a millennial woman—you spend hours every day indulging in Instagram’s infinite scroll. The influencers on the platform aren’t just providing eye candy; these tastemakers impact how we cook, consume, parent, decorate, think, and live. But what exactly is going on behind the curtain of the perfectly curated Instagram grids we obsess over the most? Through intimate, funny, and vulnerable reporting, McNeal takes us through the looking glass and into the secretive real world of three major influencers: fashion and lifestyle juggernaut Caitlin Covington of Southern Curls & Pearls, runner and advocate Mirna Valerio, and OG “mommy blogger” Shannon Bird.  This audiobook is narrated by the author, and you can read an excerpt on Glamour.


American Inheritance: Liberty and Slavery in the Birth of a Nation, 1765-1795 by Edward J. Larson. New attention from historians and journalists is raising pointed questions about the founding period: was the American revolution waged to preserve slavery, and was the Constitution a pact with slavery or a landmark in the antislavery movement? Leaders of the founding who called for American liberty are scrutinized for enslaving Black people themselves: George Washington consistently refused to recognize the freedom of those who escaped his Mount Vernon plantation. And we have long needed a history of the founding that fully includes Black Americans in the Revolutionary protests, the war, and the debates over slavery and freedom that followed. We now have that history in Edward J. Larson’s insightful synthesis of the founding. To find out more, read this NYT review or watch this discussion with the author hosted by the National Archives.


This Bird has Flown by Susanna Hoffs. Jane Start is thirty-three, broke, and recently single. Ten years prior, she had a hit song–written by world-famous superstar Jonesy–but Jane hasn’t had a breakout since. Now she’s living out of four garbage bags at her parents’ house, reduced to performing to Karaoke tracks in Las Vegas. Rock bottom. But when her longtime manager Pippa sends Jane to London to regroup, she’s seated next to an intriguing stranger on the flight–the other Tom Hardy, an elegantly handsome Oxford professor of literature. Jane is instantly smitten by Tom, and soon, truly inspired. But it’s not Jane’s past alone that haunts her second chance at stardom, and at love. Is Tom all that he seems? And can Jane emerge from the shadow of Jonesy’s earlier hit, and into the light of her own? In turns deeply sexy, riotously funny, and utterly joyful, This Bird Has Flown explores love, passion, and the ghosts of our past, and offers a glimpse inside the music business that could only come from beloved songwriter and Bangles co-founder Susanna Hoffs. You can read this NPR review or this Los Angeles Times review.


Fire Weather: A  True Story from a Hotter World by John Vaillant. In May 2016, Fort McMurray, the hub of Canada’s oil industry and America’s biggest foreign supplier, was overrun by wildfire. The multi-billion-dollar disaster melted vehicles, turned entire neighborhoods into firebombs, and drove 88,000 people from their homes in a single afternoon. Through the lens of this apocalyptic conflagration–the wildfire equivalent of Hurricane Katrina–John Vaillant warns that this was not a unique event, but a shocking preview of what we must prepare for in a hotter, more flammable world. With masterly prose and a cinematic eye, Vaillant takes us on a riveting journey through the intertwined histories of North America’s oil industry and the birth of climate science, to the unprecedented devastation wrought by modern forest fires, and into lives forever changed by these disasters. John Vaillant’s urgent work is a book for–and from–our new century of fire, which has only just begun. You can find out more with this Washington Post review or this Guardian review.


Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs. In this spellbinding debut novel, two estranged half-sisters tasked with guarding their family’s library of magical books must work together to unravel a deadly secret at the heart of their collection–a tale of familial loyalty and betrayal, and the pursuit of magic and power. For generations, the Kalotay family has guarded a collection of ancient and rare books. Books that let a person walk through walls or manipulate the elements–books of magic that half-sisters Joanna and Esther have been raised to revere and protect. All magic comes with a price, though, and for years the sisters have been separated. Esther has fled to a remote base in Antarctica to escape the fate that killed her own mother, and Joanna’s isolated herself in their family home in Vermont, devoting her life to the study of these cherished volumes. But after their father dies suddenly while reading a book Joanna has never seen before, the sisters must reunite to preserve their family legacy. In the process, they’ll uncover a world of magic far bigger and more dangerous than they ever imagined, and all the secrets their parents kept hidden; secrets that span centuries, continents, and even other libraries. Read an interview with the author or read this review to learn more.






What to Read this Month: July

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


An Admirable Point: A Brief History of the Exclamation Mark! by Florence Hazrat. Few punctuation marks elicit quite as much love or hate as the exclamation mark. It’s bubbly and exuberant, an emotional amplifier whose flamboyantly dramatic gesture lets the reader know: here be feelings! Scott Fitzgerald famously stated exclamation marks are like laughing at your own joke; Terry Pratchett had a character say that multiple !!! are a ‘sure sign of a diseased mind’. So what’s the deal with ! ? Whether you think it’s over-used, or enthusiastically sprinkle your writing with it, ! is inescapable. An Admirable Point recuperates the exclamation mark from its much maligned place at the bottom of the punctuation hierarchy. It explores how ! came about in the first place some six hundred years ago, and uncovers the many ways in which ! has left its mark on art, literature, (pop) culture, and just about any sphere of human activity–from Beowulf to spam emails, ee cummings to neuroscience. You may enjoy this Word Processing podcast interview with the author!


You are Here by Karin Lin-Greenberg. The inhabitants of a small town have long found that their lives intersect at one focal point: the local shopping mall. But business is down, stores are closing, and as the institution breathes its last gasp, the people inside it dream of something different, something more. In its pages, You Are Here brings this diverse group of characters vividly to life–flawed, real, lovable strangers who are wonderful company and prove unforgettable even after the last store has closed. Exploring how the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are inextricably bound to the places we call home, You Are Here is a keenly perceptive and deeply humane portrait of a community in transition, ultimately illuminating the magical connections that can bloom from the ordinary wonder of our everyday lives. You can read reviews in the Asian Review of Books and Publisher’s Weekly.


Death of a Dancing Queen by Kimberly G. Giarratano. A female Jewish P.I finds herself involved in a deadly gang war while looking for a murder suspect in this new own voices crime novel. After her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Billie Levine revamped her grandfather’s private investigation firm and set up shop in the corner booth of her favourite North Jersey deli hoping the free pickles and flexible hours would allow her to take care of her mom and pay the bills. So when Tommy Russo, a rich kid with a nasty drug habit, offers her a stack of cash to find his missing girlfriend, how can she refuse? At first, Billie thinks this will be easy earnings, but then her missing person’s case turns into a murder investigation and Russo is the detective bureau’s number one suspect. Suddenly Billie is embroiled in a deadly gang war that’s connected to the decades-old disappearance of a famous cabaret dancer with ties to both an infamous Jewish mob and a skinhead group. Toss in the reappearance of Billie’s hunky ex-boyfriend with his own rap sheet, and she is regretting every decision that got her to this point. Becoming a P.I. was supposed to solve her problems. But if Billie doesn’t crack this case, the next body the police dredge out of the Hudson River will be hers. Read a review in Foreword or at Crime Fiction Lover.


Number One is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions by Steve Martin with drawings by Harry Bliss. An illustrated memoir of Steve Martin’s legendary acting career, with stories from his most popular films and artwork by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss. He has never written about his career in the movies before. In Number One Is Walking , he shares anecdotes from the sets of his beloved films– Father of the Bride, Roxanne, The Jerk, Three Amigos, and many more–bringing readers directly into his world. He shares charming tales of antics, moments of inspiration, and exploits with the likes of Paul McCartney, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, and Chevy Chase. Martin details his forty years in the movie biz, as well as his stand-up comedy, banjo playing, writing, and cartooning, all with his unparalleled wit.


My Nemesis by Charmaine Craig. Tessa is a successful writer who develops a friendship, first by correspondence and then in person, with Charlie, a ruggedly handsome philosopher and scholar based in Los Angeles. Sparks fly as they exchange ideas about Camus and masculine desire, and their intellectual connection promises more–but there are obstacles to this burgeoning relationship. While Tessa’s husband Milton enjoys Charlie’s company on his visits to the East Coast, Charlie’s wife Wah is a different case, and she proves to be both adversary and conundrum to Tessa. Wah’s traditional femininity and subservience to her husband strike Tessa as weaknesses, and she scoffs at the sacrifices Wah makes as adoptive mother to a Burmese girl, Htet, once homeless on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. But Wah has a kind of power too, especially over Charlie, and the conflict between the two women leads to a martini-fueled declaration by Tessa that Wah is “an insult to womankind.” As Tessa is forced to deal with the consequences of her outburst and considers how much she is limited by her own perceptions, she wonders if Wah is really as weak as she has seemed, or if she might have a different kind of strength altogether. For more details, check out this NYT review and this review in the Boston Globe.






What to Read this Month: June

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Pageboy by Elliot Page. With Juno’s massive success, Elliot became one of the world’s most beloved actors. His dreams were coming true, but the pressure to perform suffocated him. He was forced to play the part of the glossy young starlet, a role that made his skin crawl, on and off set. The career that had been an escape out of his reality and into a world of imagination was suddenly a nightmare. As he navigated criticism and abuse from some of the most powerful people in Hollywood, a past that snapped at his heels, and a society dead set on forcing him into a binary, Elliot often stayed silent, unsure of what to do, until enough was enough. Full of behind the scenes details and intimate interrogations on sex, love, trauma, and Hollywood, Pageboy is the story of a life pushed to the brink. But at its core, this beautifully written, winding journey of what it means to untangle ourselves from the expectations of others is an ode to stepping into who we truly are with defiance, strength, and joy. Read The New York Times Book Review to learn more.


Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters. Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby–and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it–Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form an unconventional family–and raise the baby together? This provocative debut concerns what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us with a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel. Read this The New Yorker book review to learn more.


Couplets: A Love Story by Maggie Millner. A dazzling love story in poems about one woman’s coming-out, coming-of-age, and coming undone. A woman lives an ordinary life in Brooklyn. She has a boyfriend. They share a cat. She writes poems in the prevailing style. She also has dreams: of being seduced by a throng of older women, of kissing a friend in a dorm-room closet. But the dreams are private, not real. One night, she meets another woman at a bar, and an escape hatch swings open in the floor of her life. She falls into a consuming affair–into queerness, polyamory, kink, power and loss, humiliation and freedom, and an enormous surge of desire that lets her leave herself behind. Maggie Millner’s captivating, seductive debut is a love story in poems that explores obsession, gender, identity, and the art and act of literary transformation. In rhyming couplets and prose vignettes, Couplets chronicles the strictures, structures, and pitfalls of relationships–the mirroring, the pleasing, the small jealousies and disappointments–and how the people we love can show us who we truly are. Learn more in this book review by The Washington Post.


The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying, and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister. Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris, tracking down her estranged daughter, who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finally grapples with how AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness amid disaster. “A page turner . . . An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis.” –The New York Times Book Review. Read more about this historical novel in the Los Angeles Review of Books.


Real Life by Brandon Taylor. A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice. Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he works uneasily toward a biochem degree. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his circle of friends–some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But throughout a late-summer weekend, a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with an ostensibly straight, white classmate, conspire to fracture his defenses while exposing long-hidden currents of hostility and desire within their community. Real Life is a novel of profound and lacerating power, a story that asks if it’s ever really possible to overcome our private wounds and at what cost. Read The Guardian Book Review to learn more.


 






5 Titles: Voices from the Rural United States

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection, featuring topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and/or highlighting authors’ work from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to briefly sample titles rather than provide a comprehensive topic overview. Ira King, First-Year Experience and Disability Studies Librarian selected this month’s titles, and he writes, “According to the 2020 Census, around 80% of the United States population lives in urban areas, a large increase from 64% in 1950. The United Nations estimates this number will rise to 89% by 2050. As America becomes an increasingly urbanized nation, how do we visualize our rural areas and those living there? Media depictions of rural America tend to homogenize and stereotype the people who live there regardless of whether the intended depiction is positive or negative. Although rural areas are often considered a contemporary political signifier for an idealized “way things used to be” that never truly existed, rural America is becoming more diverse. As a rural Missourian who has since moved to an urban area, I’ve heard people ask many variations of “Why would anyone want to live there” or “Why don’t people just move to cities.” This line of thinking disregards the material circumstances of many rural Americans and ignores the strong ties and history people have with their communities, families, land, and natural spaces. Although you could likely spend the rest of your life exclusively researching the rural United States, these books and films provide a starting range of voices and viewpoints that highlight the complexity of the rural United States.”


Sweetwater: Black Women and Narratives of Resilience by Robin M. Boylorn. In Sweetwater, Boylorn, a professor of Communication Studies at the University of Alabama and member of the Crunk Feminist Collective, writes of her childhood growing up in a small rural community in North Carolina. Described by the author as black girl autoethnography, Boylorn shares her own lived experiences and narratives from black women in her community, including multiple generations of women in her family. Boylorn writes, “In the face of adversity, tragedy, violence, discrimination, and oppression, I examine our lives, over generations, to determine how black women use narratives to cope and communicate about their experiences and as acts of social resistance.” The author emphasizes the resilience at the core of the stories of rural black womanhood contained in her book. Narrative chapters are interspersed with poems by Mary E. Weems. Sweetwater highlights the importance of centering lived experiences and black feminism, especially from underrepresented communities.


Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America by Colin R. Johnson. Although many works of gay and lesbian history focus on urban areas, Colin R. Johnson’s book argues that rural and small-town America was much more queer in the early twentieth century than previously assumed. A gay man who grew up in a small town in Illinois who is now a professor of gender studies at Indiana University-Bloomington, Johnson explores this argument from several angles. One chapter looks at the same-sex intimacy that occurred in various non-metropolitan parts of the United States, including male farm laborers in the Heartland and timber workers in the Pacific Northwest. Another delves into the archetype of the eccentric small-town lifelong bachelor or bachelorette. The final chapter examines rural women and female masculinity by analyzing photographs taken during the 1930s. If you’re looking for a read on contemporary LGBTQ Americans in this vein, you may also want to check out Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from the Red States by Samantha Allen. In this book, Allen, an award-winning journalist and transgender woman, goes on a road trip exploring queer life across America.


The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham. In this memoir, Lanham, a poet, ornithologist, and Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University, writes of his experience as a Black man growing up in rural South Carolina on a small family farm. In the book’s opening paragraph, Lanham writes, “I am a man in love with nature. I am an eco-addict, consuming everything the outdoors offers in its all-you-can-sense seasonal buffet. I am a wilding, born of forests and field and more comfortable on unpaved back roads and winding woodland paths than in any place where concrete, asphalt, and crowds prevail.” Lanham lyrically explores his passion for nature and conservation while examining the legacy of slavery and segregation in the American South and its effect on African-Americans’ relationship to land and nature. In the chapter “Birding While Black,” the author describes what it’s like to be Black in spaces where non-white people are “a rare sighting.” Lanham argues for the inclusion of more Black people in natural spaces, both as hobbyists and as professional biologists and conservationists.


Minari dir. Isaac Lee Chung. A semi-autobiographical film from writer-director Issac Lee Chung, Minari follows a family of South Korean immigrants who move to rural Arkansas in the 1980s. The film begins with the father, Jacob (played by Steven Yeun), showing his family the newly purchased plot of Ozark farmland where they’ll be living and starting a Korean produce farm. The mother, Monica (played by Han Ye-ri in her Hollywood debut), is skeptical about their move to Arkansas and worried about her young son, David (played by an excellent Alan Kim), who has a heart condition. The film explores the tension between the father’s hopes and dreams and the material challenges and familial and social worries that occur in their new home. Primarily shot near Tulsa, Oklahoma, on a ranch (technically not in the Ozarks, but close enough for this former resident), the film features beautiful scenery and captures the joy and frustrations of living off the land.


Hale County This Morning, This Evening dir. RaMell Ross. This experimental documentary features people and images from Hale County, a rural area in Alabama’s Black Belt. The film loosely follows two young men, Quincy and Daniel, who the director met while teaching photography and coaching basketball in the area. Director RaMell Ross challenges the common stereotyping and framing of young Black men that occurs across popular media. Regarding his decision to start filming in this area, Ross speaks in an interview of his “sadness about the generalized inability to see communities like this one from the inside.” He asks, “Where do these communities see themselves represented and celebrated in the world?” Filmed over a period of 5 years and edited from 1300 hours of footage to a 76-minute documentary, Ross captures both mundane and dynamic moments in the lives of residents of Hale County.


 






What to Read this Month: May

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty. Blandine isn’t like the other residents of her building. An online obituary writer. A young mother with a dark secret. A woman waging a solo campaign against rodents — neighbors, separated only by the thin walls of a low-cost housing complex in the once bustling industrial center of Vacca Vale, Indiana. Welcome to the Rabbit Hutch. Ethereally beautiful and formidably intelligent, Blandine shares her apartment with three teenage boys she neither likes nor understands, all, like her, now aged out of the state foster care system that has repeatedly failed them, all searching for meaning in their lives. Set over one sweltering week in July and culminating in a bizarre act of violence that finally changes everything, The Rabbit Hutch is a savagely beautiful and bitingly funny snapshot of contemporary America, a gorgeous and provocative tale of loneliness and longing, entrapment and, ultimately, freedom. Learn more about this National Book Award Winner in The New York Times Book Review.


Yellowface by R.F. Kuang. Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena’s a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts impulsively: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I. So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her work? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller is? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree. But June can’t escape Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves. With its immersive first-person voice, Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, cultural appropriation, and the terrifying alienation of social media.


The Measure by Nikki Erlick. Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice. It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out. But today, when you open your front door, a small wooden box is waiting for you. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise? As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge? The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another. Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, and invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest. Read more in The New York Times Book Review. This intriguing novel was selected as this year’s reading for first-year students Duke Common Experience.


The Forgotten Girls: A Memoir of Friendship and Promise in Rural America by Monica Potts. Growing up gifted and working-class poor in the foothills of the Ozarks, Monica and Darci became fast friends. The girls bonded over a shared love of reading and learning, even as they navigated the challenges of their tumultuous family lives and declining town. Monica left Clinton for college and fulfilled her dreams, but Darci and many in their circle of friends did not. Years later, working as a journalist covering poverty, Potts discovered what she already intuitively knew about the women in Arkansas: Their life expectancy had dropped steeply—the sharpest such fall in a century. This decline has been attributed to “deaths of despair”—suicide, alcoholism, and drug overdoses—but Potts knew their causes were too complex to identify in a sociological study.  In this narrative, Potts deftly pinpoints the choices that sent her and Darci on such different paths and then widens the lens to explain why those choices are so limited. Learn more in this All Things Considered NPR interview.


Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati. A stunning debut follows Clytemnestra, the ancient world’s most notorious villainess, and the events that forged her into the legendary queen. As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best…You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts. Because this was not the first offense against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot. But when your husband returns triumphantly, you become a woman with a choice. Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods’ hands into the game of retribution. A blazing novel set in Ancient Greece, this is a thrilling tale of power, prophecies, hatred, love, and an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt death to those who wronged her.


 






What to Read this Month: April

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


The Skin and Its Girl by Sarah Cypher. In a Pacific Northwest hospital far from the Rummani family’s ancestral home in Palestine, the heart of a stillborn baby begins to beat, and her skin turns vibrantly, permanently cobalt blue. On the same day, the Rummanis’ centuries-old soap factory in Nablus is destroyed in an air strike. The family matriarch and keeper of their lore, Aunt Nuha, believes that the blue girl embodies their sacred history, harkening back to when the Rummanis were among the wealthiest soap makers and their blue soap was a symbol of legendary love. Decades later, Betty returns to Aunt Nuha’s gravestone, faced with a difficult decision: Should she stay in the only country she’s ever known, or should she follow her heart and the woman she loves, perpetuating her family’s cycle of exile? Betty finds her answer in partially translated notebooks that reveal her aunt’s complex life and struggle with her sexuality, which Nuha hid to help the family immigrate to the United States. But, as Betty soon discovers, her aunt hid much more than that.


Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton. A landslide has closed the Korowai Pass on New Zealand’s South Island, cutting off the town of Thorndike and leaving a sizable farm abandoned. The disaster presents an opportunity for Birnam Wood, an undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic guerrilla gardening collective that plants crops wherever no one will notice. For years, the group has struggled to break even. To occupy the farm at Thorndike would mean a shot at solvency at last. But the enigmatic American billionaire Robert Lemoine also has an interest in the place: he has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker, or so he tells Birnam’s founder, Mira, when he catches her on the property. A gripping psychological thriller from the Booker Prize–winning author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its drama, Austenian in its wit, and, like both influences, fascinated by what makes us who we are. Learn more about this novel in The New York Times Book Review.


The Trackers by Charles Frazier. Hurtling past the downtrodden communities of Depression-era America, painter Val Welch travels westward to the rural town of Dawes, Wyoming. Through a stroke of luck, he’s landed a New Deal assignment to create a mural representing the region for their new Post Office. A wealthy art lover named John Long and his wife Eve have agreed to host Val at their sprawling ranch. Rumors and intrigue surround the couple: Eve left behind an itinerant life riding the rails and singing in a Western swing band. Long holds shady political aspirations but was once a WWI sniper—and his right hand is a mysterious elder cowboy, a vestige of the violent old west. Val quickly finds himself entranced by their lives. One day, Eve flees home with a valuable painting in tow, and Long recruits Val to hit the road to track her down. American writer Charles Frazier conjures up the lives of everyday people during an extraordinary period of history that bears an uncanny resemblance to our own. Read The Washington Post book review to learn more!


The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda. A decade ago, two vans filled with high school seniors on a school service trip crashed into a Tennessee ravine—a tragedy that claimed the lives of multiple classmates and teachers. The nine students who managed to escape the river that night were irrevocably changed. A year later, after one of the survivors dies by suicide on the anniversary of the crash, the rest make a pact: to come together each year to commemorate that terrible night. Their annual meeting place, a house on the Outer Banks, has long been a refuge. But by the tenth anniversary, Cassidy Bent has worked to distance herself from the tragedy and the other survivors. This year, she is determined to finally break ties once and for all. But on the reunion day, she receives a text with an obituary attached: another survivor is gone. Now they are seven—and Cassidy finds herself hurling back toward the group, wild with grief—and suspicion. A propulsive and chilling locked-box mystery filled with the dazzling hairpin twists that are the author’s signature.


A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung. Nicole couldn’t hightail it out of her overwhelmingly white Oregon hometown fast enough. As a scholarship student at a private university on the East Coast, no longer the only Korean she knew, she found community and a path to the life she’d long wanted. But the middle-class world she begins to raise a family in – where there are big homes, college funds, and nice vacations – looks very different from the middle-class world she thought she grew up in. When her father dies at only sixty-seven, killed by diabetes and kidney disease, Nicole feels deep grief and rage, knowing that years of precarity and lack of access to healthcare contributed to his early death. Exploring the enduring strength of family bonds in the face of hardship and tragedy, A Living Remedy examines what it takes to reconcile the distance between one life, one home, and another – and sheds needed light on some of the most persistent and grievous inequalities in American society. Listen to Nicole discuss her work in this Fresh Air NPR interview!


 






Lilly Library Presents: March Musical Movie Madness!!!

It’s time for Round 3: 4/4 Time!

Collage of 4 movie postersVOTE HERE

While Duke’s March dance of 2023 has come to an end, Lilly Library brings you its own March Madness with 16 contrapuntal contenders. All of the movies competing in Lilly’s March Musical Movie Madness are available to watch online, with access brought to you by Duke Libraries and the Swank Digital Campus  streaming platform. Contestants will be entered in a raffle, and Duke staff are eligible to win an electronic book plate in the online catalog record for the musical movie of their choosing. It’s shaping up to be a thrilling March at Lilly Library!

Lilly’s resident bracketologist, Nathaniel Brown, and film “reserves” aficionado, David Felton, will bring you all the highlights of this exciting competition. Watch their play-by-play videos highlighting each exciting round.

These Golden OldiesSingin’ in the Rain (1952), The Wiz (1978), Hairspray (1988) and Fame (1980) —will dance into your hearts.
Soundscapes of La La Land (2016), Into the Woods (2014), Pitch Perfect (2012) and In the Heights (2021) vie for the top spot.
The Soloists perform in Selena (1997), Rocketman (2019), Respect (2021) and Elvis (2022).
And the Melodious Medleys of Hedwig & the Angry Inch (2001), Dancer in the Dark (2000), A Star is Born (2018) and Get on Up (2014)
round out this year’s competition. Vote for your favorite Musical Movies to help crown the winner.

VOTE HERE

Four rounds of voting will open at 9am the first day of each round and close at 8pm the last day:
Sounds of 16: 3/20-3/22
Eighth Notes: 3/23-3/27
4/4 Time: 3/28-3/29
Dynamic Duet: 3/30-4/2
Finale (winner announced): 4/3.

Voting dates and updates will be posted on Lilly’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts as well as in our blog, Latest@Lilly.






What to Read this Month: March

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult by Michelle Dowd. A moving, heartbreaking, and inspiring true story of the author’s escape from an apocalyptic cult. Michelle grew up on a mountain in the Angeles National Forest, born into an ultra-religious cult—the Field, as members called it—run by her grandfather, who believed that his chosen followers must prepare themselves to survive doomsday. Bound by the group’s patriarchal rules and literal interpretation of the Bible, Michelle, and her siblings lived a life of deprivation, isolated from Outsiders and starved for love and food. She was forced to learn the skills necessary to battle hunger, thirst, and cold; she learned to trust animals more than humans; and, most importantly, she learned how to survive by foraging for what she needed. With haunting and stark language, Forager is a fierce and empowering coming-of-age story and a timely meditation on the ways in which harnessing nature’s gifts can lead to our freedom. Read more in this Salon interview with Dowd.


We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, And Child Removal in America by Roxanna Asgarian. On March 26, 2018, rescue workers discovered a crumpled SUV and the bodies of two women and several children at the bottom of a cliff beside the Pacific Coast Highway. Investigators soon concluded that the crash was a murder-suicide, but there was more to the story: Jennifer and Sarah Hart, it turned out, were a white married couple who had adopted the six Black children from two different Texas families in 2006 and 2008. Behind the family’s loving facade was a pattern of abuse and neglect. As a journalist in Houston, Asgarian became the first reporter to put the children’s birth families at the story’s center. Her reporting uncovers persistent racial biases and corruption as children of color are separated from birth parents without proper cause. The result is a riveting narrative and a deeply reported indictment of a system that continues to fail America’s most vulnerable children. Read more in a book review by The Washington Post.


Stash: My Life in Hiding by Laura Cathcart Robbins. A propulsive and vivid memoir about the journey to sobriety and self-love amidst addiction, privilege, racism, and self-sabotage from the host of the popular podcast The Only One in the Room. After years of hiding her addiction from everyone—from stockpiling pills in her Louboutins to elaborately scheduling withdrawals between PTA meetings, baby showers, and tennis matches—Robbins settles into a complicated purgatory. She learns the hard way that privilege doesn’t protect you from pain. Facing divorce, the possibility of a grueling custody battle, and internalized racism, Robbins wonders just how much more she can take. Robbins harrowingly illustrates taking down the wall she built around herself and what it means to be Black in a startingly white world. With its raw, finely crafted, and engaging prose, Stash is the story of how badly the facade she created had to shatter before Robbins could reconnect to her true self. Robbins discusses her story in an interview with Thoughts from a Page Podcast.


The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff. Five years ago, Geeta lost her no-good husband. As in, she lost him–he walked out on her, and she has no idea where he is. But in her remote village in India, rumor has it that Geeta killed him. And it’s a rumor that just won’t die. It turns out that is known as a “self-made” widow comes with some perks. No one messes with her, harasses her, or tries to control ( ahem, marry) her. It’s even been good for business; no one dares to not buy her jewelry. Freedom must look good on Geeta because now other women are asking for her “expertise,” making her an unwitting consultant for husband disposal. With Geeta’s dangerous reputation becoming a double-edged sword, she has to find a way to protect the life she’s built–but even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry. Filled with clever criminals, second chances, and wry and witty women, Shroff’s The Bandit Queens is a razor-sharp debut of humor and heart that readers won’t soon forget. Read The New York Times Book Review to learn more!


Victory City by Salman Rushdie. In the wake of an unimportant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in fourteenth-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history. After witnessing her mother’s death, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for a goddess, who begins to speak out of the girl’s mouth. Granting her powers beyond Pampa Kampana’s comprehension, the goddess tells her that she will be instrumental in the rise of a great city called Bisnaga–“victory city”–the world’s wonder. Over the next 250 years, Pampa Kampana’s life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga’s, from its literal sowing from a bag of magic seeds to its tragic ruination in the most human ways: the hubris of those in power. As years pass, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances shift, the very fabric of Bisnaga becomes an ever more complex tapestry–with Pampa Kampana at its center. Brilliantly styled as a translation of an ancient epic, Victory City is a saga of love, adventure, and myth that is a testament to storytelling’s power. Read The New York Times Book Review to learn more!






5 Titles: Diversity in Gaming

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection, featuring topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and/or highlighting authors’ work from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to briefly sample titles rather than provide a comprehensive topic overview. This month the five titles have been selected by Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Humanities and Social Sciences Department Head and Librarian for Literature, and Haley Walton, Librarian for Education and Open Scholarship. Video games are among the most influential media of the twenty-first century: a multi-billion-dollar global industry that weaves playable stories of otherworldly adventure, pulse-pumping action, and sweeping emotional depth into our daily lives through our computers, consoles, and phones. From Candy Crush to The Last of Us, games can appeal to players from any age group or socio-cultural background, yet the stereotype of the cisgender, white male “gamer” persists. This month’s five titles reinforce that gaming is and has always been for everyone by exploring how race, gender, queerness, and disability in gaming and game development impact how we, the players, see ourselves and our societies.


Cooperative Gaming: Diversity in the Games Industry and How to Cultivate Inclusion by Alyna M. Cole and Jessica Zammit. Brief, readable, and impactful, this book sets the stage for diversity issues in games and the game industry using survey data collected by the International Game Developers Association, and the authors’ not-for-profit organization Queerly Represent Me. In a culture that can be hostile toward mere mentions of adding diverse characters and themes to video games, the authors address the challenges marginalized groups face trying to develop games that represent their experiences, to push back against abusive opposition to their inclusion in the business of gaming and play itself, and to offer their voices to ensure they are accurately portrayed in the games they love. The five chapters provide context and usable resources for cultivating inclusion in workplace culture, game development, and larger gaming-centric events. With many years of combined experience in the pitfalls and bright points of the game industry, Cole and Zammit call out the problems but also lay the groundwork for cultivating a more diverse future for games and gamers.


Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games edited by Jennifer Malkowski and Treaandrea M. Russworm. This scholarly collection of essays examines portrayals of race, gender, and sexuality in a wide range of video games spanning casual games, indie games, and mainstream AAA games. It is part of a more recent wave of scholarly criticism that examines issues of identity and representation in video games, moving away from past scholarship that focused on the relationship between narratology and ludology. The editors and contributors aim to look at how elements like images, sound, and plot can create a sense of identity for players and how this can be expressed through the code and software itself. The book also examines how games have been impacted by movements like #gamergate, #BlackLivesMatter, and #INeedDiverseGames. It is divided into three sections: Part One – Gender Bodies, Spaces; Part Two – Race, Identity, Nation; Part Three – Queerness, Play, Subversion. Readers of this book will better understand how video game players see themselves (or don’t see themselves) in their games.


Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming by Kishonna L. Gray. In this book, Kishonna L. Gray interrogates Blackness in gaming at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and (dis)ability. She uses theories and methods from many disciplines, such as feminism, critical race theory, media studies, and anthropology. She is particularly interested in how marginalized players interact with games and creates fan content. As she notes in the introduction, “given the continual valuing of whiteness and masculinity in digital spaces, it is necessary to explore the often unstable relationship that develops between the user and technology, highlighting institutional, communal, and individual barriers that impede full inclusion of marginalized users” (3). A particular highlight of this book is how she provides narratives and snippets of text messages and conversations gathered from group and individual interviews she has conducted over the last decade, providing real-life grounding to the theoretical points she makes in each chapter. Bonus: the book begins with a foreword by Anita Sarkeesian, creator of Feminist Frequency.


The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LBGTQ Game Makers are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games by Bonnie Ruberg. “Queer people are the avant-garde of video games because we’re willing to do things other people aren’t,” states Naomi Clark at the start of this exciting collection of essays by creators and gamers working on queering video games (e.g., creating games that reflect queer stories and culture). The eponymous movement is composed of queer experience-centric “‘indie’ games developed largely outside the traditional funding and publishing structures of the games industry” that “are scrappy and zine-like,” rather than the sleek AAA titles with teams of hundreds and millions of dollars behind them. While the big-budget game industry has been trying to include more diverse voices, it can still be considered a cautious approach. The gamemakers whose voices comprise this volume are producing games by, about, and for queer players to tell the stories they want to see right now—no waiting for the industry to catch up. Queer people have always been a part of video gaming; in Ruberg’s volume, over twenty creators share their essential progress toward queering video games.


Gaming Disability: Disability Perspectives on Contemporary Video Games, edited by Katie Ellis, Tama Leaver, and Mike Kent. A collaboration between scholars of disability and game studies, this newly released volume addresses the challenges and opportunities people with disability experience in video gaming culture and communities—and with representation in the games themselves. Developers, activists, and educators offer their perspectives in 19 chapters covering topics from the history of disabled character representation in video games, gaming with blindness, how scars affect characterization in Bioware’s sci-fi epic Mass Effect 2, and how playing a physical movement-based game like Pokémon Go forces us to confront the (in)accessibility of our urban environments. There is no question that people with disabilities are often excluded from games and game culture through interfaces that assume a normative body. This book emphasizes that “disabled gamers do not accept this exclusion and have become active agents of change.” The authors challenge us to explore the perspectives of people with disabilities and to create a more inclusive space inside games and the gaming community.


 






What to Read this Month: February

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Dyscalculia: A Love Story of Epic Miscalculation, by Camonghne Felix. When Felix goes through a monumental breakup, culminating in a hospital stay, everything—from her early childhood trauma and mental health to her relationship with mathematics—shows up in the tapestry of her healing. In this exquisite and raw reflection, Felix repossesses herself through the exploration of history she’d left behind, using her childhood “dyscalculia”—a disorder that makes it difficult to learn math—as a metaphor for the consequences of her miscalculations in love. Through reckoning with this breakup and other adult gambles in intimacy, Felix asks the question: Who gets to assert their right to pain? “Black girls get to write about benign heartbreak too,” she writes. Dyscalculia negotiates the misalignments of perception and reality, love and harm, and the politics of heartbreak, both romantic and familial.


Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens. In 1473, fourteen-year-old Blanca dies in a hilltop monastery in Mallorca. Nearly four hundred years later, when George Sand, her two children, and her lover Frederic Chopin arrive in the village, Blanca is still there: a spirited, funny, righteous ghost, she’s been hanging around the monastery since her accidental death, spying on the monks and the townspeople and keeping track of her descendants. Blanca is enchanted the moment she sees George, and the magical novel unfolds as a story of deeply felt, unrequited longing–a teenage ghost pining for a woman who can’t see her and doesn’t know she exists. As George and Chopin, who wear their unconventionality, in George’s case, literally on their sleeves, find themselves in deepening trouble with the provincial, 19th-century villagers, Blanca watches helplessly. She reflects on the circumstances of her own death (which involved an ill-advised love affair with a monk-in-training). From NPR, “Nell Stevens’ debut novel Briefly, A Delicious Life is a curious mashup of historical fiction, a ghost story, and a queer love story.”


Heartbroke: Stories by Chelsea Bieker. From the acclaimed author of Godshot and “a pitch-perfect ventriloquist of extraordinary talent and ferocity” (T Kira Madden) comes a defining book of Californian stories where everyone is seeking or sabotaging love United by the stark and sprawling landscapes of California’s Central Valley, the characters of Heartbroke boil with reckless desire. A woman steals a baby from a shelter in an attempt to recoup her own lost motherhood. A phone-sex operator sees divine opportunity when a lavender-eyed cowboy walks into her life. A mother and a son selling dream catchers along a highway that leads to a toxic beach manifest two young documentary filmmakers into their realm. And two teenage girls play a dangerous online game with destiny. Heartbroke brims over with each character’s attempt to salvage grace where they can find it. Told in bright, snapping prose that reveals a world of loss and love underneath, Chelsea Bieker brilliantly illuminates a golden yet gothic world of longing and abandonment under an unrelenting California sun. Learn more about this title in the Los Angeles Times book review here.


Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters.


The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon. As Archduke Franz Ferdinand arrives in Sarajevo one June day in 1914, Rafael Pinto is busy crushing herbs and grinding tablets behind the counter at the pharmacy he inherited from his estimable father. It’s not quite the life he had expected during his poetry-filled student days in libertine Vienna. And then the world explodes. In the trenches in Galicia, fantasies fall flat. Heroism gets a man killed quickly. War devours all that they have known, and the only thing Pinto has to live for is the attention of Osman, a fellow soldier, a man of action to complement Pinto’s introspective, poetic soul; a charismatic storyteller; Pinto’s protector and lover. Together, Pinto and Osman will escape the trenches, survive near-certain death, and tangle with spies and Bolsheviks. Read what The New York Times has to say about this novel here!


 






5 Titles: Five Black Artists You Should Know

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection, featuring topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and/or highlighting authors’ work from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to briefly sample titles rather than provide a comprehensive topic overview. This month, Librarian for Visual Studies and Dance, Lee Sorensen, has selected five titles focusing on Five Black Artists that we should know. Check out Lilly Library’s Current Exhibition Catalog section to discover additional established Black artists and emerging BIPOC artists.


Beauford Delaney: A Retrospective (1978). Delaney is the finest example of an early, crucial Black artist noticed by great writers of his time. James Baldwin and Henry Miller discuss his work, and Delaney was a friend of Georgia O’Keefe. This edition is a catalog from the Studio Museum in Harlem, one of the earliest venues where Black artists could be shown. Delaney painted in Harlem in the 1930s and 1940s but moved to Greenwich Village, partially to hide from his ethnic community that he was gay. Poor and introverted his whole life, he died a year after this show.


Howardena Pindell: Rope/Fire/Water. Howarden Pindell is one of the principal Black abstract expressionist painters. This book is a catalog of a German exhibition of her work, located in the Current Exhibition Catalogs section of the Lilly. Pindell’s multimedia exhibition includes a film mentioned in the catalog; she says, “I wanted the title to be a clear and obvious reference to what takes place in the film. Rope represents being hung during a lynching. Fire represents lynching where a flammable substance is applied to the body, such as coal, tar, oil, and the victim is burned alive. … Water represents the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas of kidnapped and enslaved African men, women and children. Indigenous people were also kidnapped and sent to Europe to be sold.” The ‘Rope/Fire/Water’ catalog is in English.


Rashid Johnson: Message to our Folks (2012).  Rashid Johnson is a multi-media artist best known for his paintings and conceptual drawings.  His technique is powerful brush strokes (“slashes”) on larger canvases giving a feeling of immediacy to his work.  However, in 2008, Johnson produced a series of clean-line metal sculptures of giant gun sights. Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos (2008) is at the Whitney (and an even larger one at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond). Gun sights have been a constant theme of Johnson’s work, but this larger-than-life sculpture makes it possible to see anything through the crosshairs of a gun. “Johnson explores the complexities and contradictions of black identity in the United States, incorporating commonplace objects from his childhood in a process he describes as “hijacking the domestic” and transforming materials such as wood, mirrors, tiles, rugs, CB radios, shea butter and plants into conceptually loaded and visually compelling works that shatter assumptions about the homogeneity of black subjecthood.”


McArthur Binion: Re:Mine (2015). Binion lived at the edge of art fame for most of his 74 years before becoming iconic–his name appears in nearly every survey of art by Artists of Color–he worked steadily. Taking his inspiration from machines, i.e., geometric forms, Binion returns them to the humanness of hand painting. Stand back from the paintings; they seem to be color field work, move in closer, and see micro and macro simultaneously. “Influenced equally by music, storytelling, and individual history, McArthur Binion has described his approach to painting from the position of a “rural Modernist” and one through which he “bridges the lyricism of colour with a Black rural sensibility.” Binion’s paintings, predominantly composed of oil paint stick and paper on board, form the nexus of place and history, from Binion’s childhood in the South to his time in New York in the early 1970s and his current home of Chicago.”


Beverly McIver: Full Circle (2021). Duke faculty member Beverly McIver’s work is some of the most powerful paintings of any era. Her themes include the Black clown (based on learning that the circus didn’t hire Black people as clowns) and the painter’s layers of Black identity. Commissioned to paint the portrait of retiring NC Museum of Art Director Larry Wheeler, she painted him in blackface and red high heels. “From early self-portraits in clown makeup to more recent works featuring her father, dolls, Beverly’s experiences during COVID-19, and portraits of others, Full Circle illuminates the arc of Beverly McIver’s artistic career while also touching on her personal journey. McIver’s self-portraits explore expressions of individuality, stereotypes, and ways of masking identity; portraits of family provide glimpses into intimate moments, in good times as well as in illness and death.”







What to Read this Month: December

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender by Kit Heyam. Today’s narratives about trans people tend to feature individuals with stable gender identities that fit neatly into the categories of male or female. Those stories, while important, fail to account for the complex realities of many trans people’s lives.  Before We Were Trans illuminates the stories of people across the globe, from antiquity to the present, whose experiences of gender have defied binary categories. Blending historical analysis with sharp cultural criticism, trans historian and activist Heyam offers a new, radically inclusive trans history, chronicling expressions of trans experience that are often overlooked, like gender-nonconforming fashion and wartime stage performance. Before We Were Trans transports us from Renaissance Venice to seventeenth-century Angola, from Edo Japan to early America, and looks to the past to uncover new horizons for possible trans futures. Read this The New York Times review to learn more.


Becoming Eve: my journey from ultra-Orthodox rabbi to transgender woman by Abby Stein. The powerful coming-of-age story of an ultra-Orthodox child who was born to become a rabbinic leader and instead became a woman. Abby was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe, speaking only Yiddish and Hebrew and shunning modern life. Stein was born as the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews. But Abby felt certain at a young age that she was a girl. She suppressed her desire for a new body while looking for answers wherever she could find them, from forbidden religious texts to smuggled secular examinations of faith. Finally, she orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity-a radical choice that forced her to leave her home, her family, and her way of life. Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be? Learn more in this review by The Humanist.


Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan. Fairest is a memoir about a precocious boy with albinism, a “sun child” from a rural Philippine village, who would grow up to become a woman in America. Coping with the strain of parental neglect and the elusive promise of U.S. citizenship, Talusan found childhood comfort from her devoted grandmother, a grounding force as others treated her with special preference or public curiosity. As an immigrant to the United States, Talusan came to be perceived as white. An academic scholarship to Harvard provided access to elite circles of privilege but required Talusan to navigate the complex spheres of race, class, sexuality, and her place within the gay community. She emerged as an artist and an activist questioning the boundaries of gender. Talusan realized she did not want to be confined to a prescribed role as a man and transitioned to become a woman, despite the risk of losing a man she deeply loved. Throughout her journey, Talusan shares poignant and powerful episodes of desirability and love that will remind readers of works such as Call Me By Your Name and Giovanni’s Room. Learn more about Talusan’s memoir in a review from The New York Times.


Sorted Growing up, Coming Out, and Finding My Place: A Transgender Memoir by Jackson Bird. When Jackson was twenty-five, he came out as transgender to his friends, family, and anyone with an internet connection. Assigned female at birth and raised as a girl, he often wondered if he should have been born a boy. Growing up in Texas in the 1990s, he had no transgender role models. In this “soulful and heartfelt coming-of-age story” (Jamia Wilson, director, and publisher of the Feminist Press), Jackson chronicles the ups and downs of growing up gender-confused. With warmth and wit, Jackson recounts how he navigated the many obstacles and quirks of his transition–like figuring out how to have a chest binder delivered to his NYU dorm room and having an emotional breakdown at a Harry Potter fan convention. From his first shot of testosterone to his eventual top surgery, Jackson lets you in on every part of his journey, explaining trans terminology and little-known facts about gender and identity along the way. Sorted demonstrates the power and beauty in being yourself, even when you’re not sure who “yourself” is. Learn more in this LGBTQ Reads guest post by Bird.


The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara. A gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene of the 1980s and ’90s, inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning. It’s 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city’s glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning to help create a family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone. Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit. Learn more here.


 






5 Titles: Stories as Medicine

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection, featuring topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and/or highlighting authors’ work from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to briefly sample titles rather than provide a comprehensive topic overview. This month, the five titles have been selected by Librarian for Philosophy and Religious Studies, Cheryl Thomas. The “Love Medicine” stories of writer Louise Erdrich are an example of the ways in which fiction can be a catalyst for sharing the stories of marginalized communities and informing readers through the lyricism of prose about unfamiliar worlds and cultures. Erdrich’s stories introduce us to the lived experience of Native American Indians, drawing ley lines between the past and present, telling stories of loss, fragmentation, community, and a searing quest for identity in the face of deliberate erasure. Edrich is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. She opened Birchbark Books in her hometown of Minneapolis in 2001 to birth a space where Native American Voices could be discovered. Her bookstore features a robust collection of current and emerging Native Voices. Begin your introduction to Erdrich’s writings with the “Love Medicine Series.”


Set on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, Love Medicine is an epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter of this stunning novel draws on various voices to lighten its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses with the drama of life. Erdrich has written a multigenerational portrait of strong men and women caught in an unforgettable whirlwind of anger, desire, and the healing power of love medicine.

The Beet Queen covers the years from 1932 to 1972 and takes place primarily in the fictional town of Argus, North Dakota. One of the story threads centers on Russell, a war hero, highlighting the presence of Native Americans in the US Military, their sacrifice, and the grudging acceptance they found there. In November 2020, the National Native American Veterans Memorial opened in Washington, D.C., dedicated to the Native heroes and their distinguished service to the US military.

Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance—yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender. Tracks expose the tension – a thread throughout Erdrich’s novels – of traditional Indigenous culture and beliefs and Catholicism’s role in forcing assimilation and how the “old ways,” for some Native Indians, were abandoned to survive in a white Christian colonial society. Tracks characters also tell the stories of two significant epidemics that decimated the Ojibwe tribe; smallpox and tuberculosis. 

The Bingo Palace was written shortly after the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. At its essence, this story is about postcolonial capitalism, the gains and losses for the Indigenous community, and the complexities of casinos on reservation land. It is also a tale of spiritual death and reawakening; of money, desperate love, wild hope; and the enduring power of cherished dreams.

The final novel in the “Love Medicine Series” The Last Report on the Miracles of Little No Horse, centers on Father Damien Modeste, who has served his beloved Native American tribe, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse, for over fifty years. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. Deftly Erdrich weaves a story through the lens of a gender-fluid priest who questions the very roots of his belief system; sent to the reservation to convert, he finds within Indigenous spirituality acceptance unavailable within Catholicism while also being honored by that very system for his “good” work with the Ojibwe people.






What to Read this Month: November

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng. Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old. Our Missing Hearts is an old story about how supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact. Learn more here, The New York Times Book Review.


Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is a story of a boy born to a teenage single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damage to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion and, above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Read more in The Washington Post’s book review.


Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld. As a homeless teenager writing college essays in her rusty Toyota Corolla, Emi Nietfeld was convinced that the Ivy League was the only escape from her dysfunctional childhood. But upward mobility required crafting the perfect resilience narrative. She had to prove that she was an “overcomer,” made stronger by all she had endured. The truth was more complicated. Emi’s mom was a charming hoarder who had her put on antipsychotics but believed in her daughter’s brilliance—unlike the Minnesotan foster family who banned her “pornographic” art history flashcards (of Michelangelo’s David). Emi’s other parent vanished shortly after coming out as trans, a situation few understood in the mid-2000s. Both a chronicle of the American Dream and an indictment of it, this searing debut exposes the price of trading a troubled past for the promise of a bright future. Told with a ribbon of dark humor, Acceptance challenges our ideas of what it means to overcome. Read this NPR review to learn more.


Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land by Toni Jensen. Jensen is a Métis woman, and she is no stranger to the violence enacted on Indigenous women’s bodies on Indigenous land. In Carry, Jensen maps her personal experience onto the historical, exploring how history is lived in the body and redefining the language used to speak about violence in America. In the title chapter, Jensen connects the trauma of school shootings with her experiences of racism and sexual assault on college campuses. “The Worry Line” explores the gun and gang violence in her neighborhood the year her daughter was born. “At the Workshop” focuses on her graduate school years, during which a workshop classmate repeatedly killed off thinly veiled versions of her in his stories. In prose at once forensic and deeply emotional, Toni Jensen shows herself to be a brave new voice and a fearless witness to her own difficult history–as well as to the violent cultural landscape in which she finds her coordinates. Read more about Jensen’s debut book here and an interview with Clemson University here.


Dog Flowers: A Memoir by Danielle Geller. A daughter returns home to the Navajo reservation to retrace her mother’s life in a memoir that is both a narrative and an archive of one family’s troubled history. When Geller’s mother dies of alcohol withdrawal while attempting to get sober, Geller returns to Florida and finds her mother’s life packed into eight suitcases. Most were filled with clothes, except for the last one, which contained diaries, photos, letters, a few undeveloped disposable cameras, dried sage, jewelry, and the bandana her mother wore on days she skipped a hair wash. Geller, an archivist and a writer uses these pieces of her mother’s life to try and understand her mother’s relationship to home and their shared need to leave it. Geller embarks on a journey that will end at her mother’s home: the Navajo reservation. Dog Flowers is an arresting, photo-lingual memoir that masterfully weaves together images and text to examine mothers and mothering, sisters and caretaking, and colonized bodies. Read more about this story in the Southern Review of Books.







What to Read this Month: October 2022

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi. This winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize and national bestseller is “an innovative reimagining of the family saga.” In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families, their losses and loves, unspool beautifully against a backdrop of a rapidly changing Oman, a country evolving from a traditional, slave-owning society into its complex present. Through the sisters, we glimpse a society in all its degrees, from the very poorest of the local slave families to those making money through the advent of new wealth. The first novel originally written in Arabic to ever win the Man Booker International Prize, and the first book by a female Omani author to be translated into English. Read more about this striking novel in a thoughtful review by The New Yorker.


Crying in the Bathroom: A Memoir by Erika L. Sánchez. From the New York Times bestselling author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, an utterly original memoir-in-essays that is as deeply moving as it is hilarious. Growing up as the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Chicago in the nineties, Erika was a self-described pariah, misfit, and disappointment–a foul-mouthed, melancholic rabble-rouser who painted her nails black but also loved comedy, often laughing so hard with her friends that she had to leave her school classroom. Twenty-five years later, she’s now an award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, but she’s still got an irrepressible laugh, an acerbic wit, and singular powers of perception about the world around her. Raunchy, insightful, unapologetic, and brutally honest, Crying in the Bathroom is Sánchez at her best–a book that will make you feel that post-confessional high that comes from talking for hours with your best friend. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Erika’s poignant memoir, and listen to her interview with NPR to learn more.


I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy. A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life. In I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette recounts all this in unflinching detail—just as she chronicles what happens when the dream finally comes true. Cast in a new Nickelodeon series called iCarly, she is thrust into fame. Jennette is riddled with anxiety, shame, and self-loathing. These issues only get worse when, soon after taking the lead in the iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, her mother dies of cancer. Finally, after discovering therapy and quitting acting, Jennette embarks on recovery and decides for the first time in her life what she really wants. Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair. Read more in this review by The Atlantic.


The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison. Here is the Nobel Prize winner in her own words: a rich gathering of her most important essays and speeches, spanning four decades that “speaks to today’s social and political moment as directly as this morning’s headlines” (NPR). These pages give us her searing prayer for the dead of 9/11, her Nobel lecture on the power of language, her searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., her heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. She looks deeply into the fault lines of culture and freedom: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” human rights, the artist in society, the Afro-American presence in American literature. And she turns her incisive critical eye to her own work and that of others. An essential collection from an essential writer, The Source of Self-Regard shines with the literary elegance, intellectual prowess, spiritual depth, and moral compass that have made Toni Morrison our most cherished and enduring voice. Learn more in Morrison’s candid interview with Bitch Media.


The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings. Reminiscent of the works of Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, and Octavia Butler–a piercing dystopian novel about the unbreakable bond between a young woman and her mysterious mother. Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother’s disappearance. That she was kidnapped. Murdered. That she took on a new identity to start a new family. That she was a witch. This is the most worrying charge because in a world where witches are real, peculiar behavior raises suspicions and a woman–especially a Black woman–can find herself on trial for witchcraft. But fourteen years have passed since her mother’s disappearance, and now Jo is finally ready to let go of the past. Yet her future is in doubt. The State mandates that all women marry by the age of 30–or enroll in a registry that allows them to be monitored, effectively forfeiting their autonomy. At 28, Jo is ambivalent about marriage. When she’s offered the opportunity to honor one last request from her mother’s will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time. Read the LA Times Book Review to learn more.






5 Titles: Disability Justice

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to briefly sample titles rather than provide a comprehensive topic overview. This month, the five titles have been selected by Graduate Humanities Intern Rebekah Cowell.

Audre Lorde wrote, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Discussing social justice issues without including disability justice and its intersections with race, sexuality, gender, and socioeconomic class is impossible. According to 2015-2016 data from the U.S. Department of Education, over 19 percent of all enrolled undergraduate students and 11.9 percent of post-baccalaureate students self-identified as having a disability. In higher education, disability justice is another access point to achieving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Disability at Duke is a robust student and faculty collaboration bringing disability justice and pedagogy together. These five titles selected for consideration come from Duke University Libraries and feature the lived experiences of activists who have fought and continue to fight for disability justice.


Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong. In Chinese culture, the tiger is deeply revered for its confidence, passion, ambition, and ferocity. Drawing on a collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, and more, Alice uses her unique talent to share an impressionistic scrapbook of her life as an Asian American disabled activist, community organizer, media maker, and dreamer. From her love of food and pop culture to her unwavering commitment to dismantling systemic ableism, Alice shares her thoughts on creativity, access, power, care, the pandemic, mortality, and the future. As a self-described disabled oracle, Alice traces her origins, tells her story, and creates a space for disabled people to be in conversation with one another and the world. Alice is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project and the editor of the acclaimed anthology Disability Visibility.


Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. A personal collection about creating spaces by and for sick and disabled queer people of colour and creative “collective access” — access not as a chore but as a collective responsibility and pleasure — in our communities and political movements. They write, “When we do disability justice work, it becomes impossible to look at disability and not examine how colonialism created it. It becomes a priority to look at Indigenous ways of perceiving and understanding disability…” Bringing their survival skills and knowledge from years of cultural and activist work, she explores everything from the economics of queer femme emotional labor to suicide in queer and trans communities to the nitty-gritty of touring as a sick and disabled queer artist of colour. Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of colour are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a toolkit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind.


Exile and Pride by Eli Clare. Exile and Pride is essential to the history and future of disability politics. With a poet’s devotion to truth and an activist’s demand for justice, Clare deftly unspools the multiple histories from which our ever-evolving sense of self unfolds. His essays weave together memoir, history, and political thinking to explore meanings and experiences of home: home as place, community, bodies, identity, and activism. Here readers will find an intersectional framework for understanding how we actually live with the daily hydraulics of oppression, power, and resistance. At the root of Clare’s exploration of environmental destruction and capitalism, sexuality and institutional violence, gender and the body politic, is a call for social justice movements that are truly accessible to everyone. With heart and hammer, Exile and Pride pries open a window onto a world where our whole selves, in all their complexity, can be realized, loved, and embraced.

 


Haben: The Deafblind Woman that Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma. Haben is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. She believes disability is an opportunity for innovation and teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion. Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn’t see and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents’ harrowing experiences during Eritrea’s thirty-year war with Ethiopia. Their refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned non-visual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles, graduated from Harvard Law, and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities.


Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann. One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human. A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn’t built for all of us and of one woman’s activism–from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington– Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann’s lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society. Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judy’s struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her paralysis, Judy’s actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people. As a young woman, Judy rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco as a leader of the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a governmental building in US history. Working with a community of over 150 disabled activists and allies, Judy successfully pressured the Carter administration to implement protections for disabled peoples’ rights, sparking a national movement and leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.






What to Read this Month: September 2022

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!


The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan. Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Until Frida has a very bad day. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion. Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good. An “intense” ( Oprah Daily ) page-turner that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of “perfect” upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love. Using dark wit to explore the pains and joys of the deepest ties that bind us, Chan has written a modern literary classic. Watch Chan discuss her novel on the Today Show and listen to her on the Lit Hub Radio podcast.


Nuclear Family by Joseph Han. Things are looking up for Mr. and Mrs. Cho. Their daughter, Grace, is busy finishing her senior year of college and working for her parents, while her older brother, Jacob, just moved to Seoul to teach English. But when a viral video shows Jacob trying—and failing—to cross the Korean demilitarized zone, nothing can protect the family from suspicion and the restaurant from waning sales. Struggling with what they don’t know about themselves and one another, the Chos must confront the separations that have endured in their family for decades. Set in the months leading up to the 2018 false missile alert in Hawaiʻi, Joseph Han’s profoundly funny and strikingly beautiful debut novel is an offering that aches with histories inherited and reunions missed, asking how we heal in the face of what we forget and who we remember. Learn more in The New York Times Book Review and NPR’s Book of the Day podcast interview with Han.


Tell Me Everything by Erika Krouse is the mesmerizing story of a landmark sexual assault investigation and the female private investigator who helped crack it open. In the fall of 2002, Erika accepts a new contract job investigating lawsuits as a private investigator. Erika knows she should turn the assignment down. Her own history with sexual violence makes it all too personal. But she takes the job anyway. Over the next five years, Erika learns everything she can about P. I. technique, tracking down witnesses and investigating a culture of sexual assault and harassment ingrained in the university’s football program. But as the investigation grows into a national scandal and a historic civil rights case, Erika becomes increasingly consumed. When the case and her life both implode simultaneously, Erika must figure out how to help win the case without losing herself. Read The Washington Post review and listen to her Colorado Public Radio interview to learn more.

 


We should have known the end was near. So begins Imbolo Mbue’s powerful second novel, How Beautiful We Were. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells of a people living in fear amid environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Told from the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community’s determination to hold on to its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom. This New York Review of Books article asks the hard questions about oil extraction, climate change, and the intersectionalities in Mbue’s visionary novel.


Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after a tragedy. In twelve striking, luminescent stories, a boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family’s unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s projects the past onto her grandson; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs. Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of an Indigenous community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction. Listen to Talty, a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation discuss how these stories came to be in his NPR interview.






What to Read this Month: August 2022

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here are a selection of books you will find in these collections!


Carolina Built by Kianna Alexander. Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own, and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams. As the demands of life pull Josephine’s attention- deepening her marriage, mothering her daughters, supporting her grandmother- she struggles to balance her real estate aspirations with the realities of keeping life going every day. She teaches herself to be a business woman, to manage her finances, and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. But with each passing year, it grows more difficult to focus on building her legacy from the ground up. Moving and inspiring, Josephine Leary’s untold story speaks to the part of us that dares to dream bigger, tear down whatever stands in our way, and build something better for the loved ones we leave behind. If you’d like to learn more about Josephine N. Leary’s life, we have some of her papers in the Rubenstein Library.


Sticker by Henry Hoke. Stickers adorn our first memories, dot our notebooks and our walls, are stuck annoyingly on fruit, and accompany us into adulthood to announce our beliefs from car bumpers. They hold surprising power in their ability to define and provoke, and hold a strange steadfast presence in our age of fading physical media. Henry Hoke employs a constellation of stickers to explore queer boyhood, parental disability, and ancestral violence. A memoir in 20 stickers, Sticker is set against the backdrop of the encroaching neo-fascist presence in Hoke’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, which results in the fatal terrorist attack of August 12th and its national aftermath. We have other books in the Object Lessons series, if you are interested in exploring the cultural context of everyday objects.


In The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of our World, Riley Black walks readers through what happened in the days, the years, the centuries, and the million years after the impact, tracking the sweeping disruptions that overtook this one spot, and imagining what might have been happening elsewhere on the globe. Life’s losses were sharp and deeply-felt, but the hope carried by the beings that survived sets the stage for the world as we know it now. Picture yourself in the Cretaceous period. It’s a sunny afternoon in the Hell Creek of ancient Montana 66 million years ago. A Triceratops horridus ambles along the edge of the forest. In a matter of hours, everything here will be wiped away. Lush verdure will be replaced with fire. Tyrannosaurus rex will be toppled from their throne, along with every other species of non-avian dinosaur no matter their size, diet, or disposition. They just don’t know it yet. Check out this New Scientist book review to learn more.


Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde. In the bustling streets and cloistered homes of Lagos, a cast of vivid characters–some haunted, some defiant–navigate danger, demons, and love in a quest to lead true lives. As in Nigeria, vagabonds are those whose existence is literally outlawed: the queer, the poor, the displaced, the footloose and rogue spirits. They are those who inhabit transient spaces, who make their paths and move invisibly, who embrace apparitions, old vengeances and alternative realities. Eloghosa Osunde’s brave, fiercely inventive novel traces a wild array of characters for whom life itself is a form of resistance: a driver for a debauched politician with the power to command life and death; a legendary fashion designer who gives birth to a grown daughter; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their experience with underground sex work; a wife and mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her world. As their lives intertwine–in bustling markets and underground clubs, churches and hotel rooms–vagabonds are seized and challenged by spirits who command the city’s dark energy. Whether running from danger, meeting with secret lovers, finding their identities, or vanquishing their shadowselves, Osunde’s characters confront and support one another, before converging for the once-in-a-lifetime gathering that gives the book its unexpectedly joyous conclusion. To learn more, you can read an NYT review and a Guardian review.


Pandora: A Novel in Three Parts by Susan Stokes-Chapman. A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle. But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realize that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason. Here’s a review from the Guardian.  You might also enjoy this YouTube video where the author discusses the Greek mythology that inspired this book.






A New Addition to Duke’s Uyghur-Language Collection

This post was co-authored by Sean Swanick, Librarian for Middle East, North Africa, and Islamic Studies, Luo Zhou, Chinese Studies Librarian, and Ernest Zitser, Librarian for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies.

Many people in the West have heard about the sad fate of the Uyghurs, the Turkic-Muslim minority group that is being systematically persecuted by the Communist government of the People’s Republic of China. However, very few people know the backstory of this slowly unfolding genocide. And fewer still have access to relevant research materials, especially ones published in Uyghur (ئۇيغۇرچە‎), a Turkic language written primarily in a Perso-Arabic script (though Cyrillic and Latin scripts are also used by Uyghurs who reside in the countries of former Soviet Central Asia).

“Map of the Western and Southern Parts of Kashgariia” from B. L. Grondchevskii, Otchet o poezdke v Kashgar i iuzhnuiu Kashgariiu … (Margilan [Uzbekistan], 1888). Source: Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection, Swedish Research Institute.
 

The reason for this information gap is the colonialist past of the area of the world inhabited by the Uyghurs, who live on territories that stretch across the boundaries of different countries, primarily along the ancient Silk Road leading from China to Central Asia, and then heading west to the Middle East and Europe, and south to India and South Asia. For millennia, this region has been the epicenter of a global struggle between different colonial empires (most recently Russia/USSR, Britain, and China).  And the Uyghurs have been among their primary victims.  Since it is the victors who tend to write history, and to do so in their own language, it is not surprising that works in Uyghur are rarely represented in the library collections of imperial metropoles.

In order to redress this imbalance, and to contribute to the global effort to de-colonize the library collections of former (and current) imperial powers, the librarians of Duke’s International and Area Studies Department have been collaborating on acquiring materials about this part of the world in general, and the Uyghurs in particular.  This blog post is about one recent example of such cross-regional collaboration: the joint purchase of a rare*, early 20th-century Uyghur language book by Luo Zhou, Chinese Studies Librarian and Sean Swanick, Librarian for Middle East, North Africa, and Islamic studies.

Title page and colophon of A Sequel to the ABC Books. Second Part (Kashgar: S. M. F. [Printing Office of the Swedish Mission], 1922). Source: Duke University Libraries. Photo by Johnny Shanahan.
 

This new library acquisition is a 111-page Uyghur-language manual called A Sequel to the ABC Books (ا ب کتسبى نينک تدريچى ايكنجى جز / a-b kita:bïnïղ tεdri:ʤi ikinʤi ʤůzε). It was published in 1922 by the Printing Office of the Swedish Mission in Kashgar, a city situated in what is today known as China’s Xianjiang Province.  As the title page indicates, the book is the “Second Part” of a primer first published in 1920 by the Missionary Press, which operated between 1901 and 1938.  As one would expect, the main focus of the Missionary Press was to disseminate translations of the Bible in an effort to convert Kashgaris and, more broadly, all the people of the region (including the Uyghurs) to Christianity. In order to accomplish this task, the Missionary Board in Stockholm sent a printing press and related printing equipment to Kashgar soon after the Swedes arrived in town, in 1894. The print shop contained the necessary equipment along with metal-type in Arabic, Cyrillic, and Latin.

“The City of Kashgar,” 1915. Source: Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes photograph album, Duke University Libraries.

Although the Swedish Missionary Press was the first printing press in Kashgar, A Sequel to the ABC Books was itself part of a long tradition of Turkic-language instruction in the region.  In fact, one of the earliest such manuals, a comprehensive dictionary of the Turkic languages known as Compendium of the Languages of the Turks (Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk), was written as far back as the 11th century by Mahmud ibn Husayn ibn Muhammed al-Kashgari, an influential Kara-Khanid scholar and lexicographer from Kashgar.  As in other parts of the Muslim world, most instruction was conducted on a one-on-one basis, between a religious teacher and a cohort of young pupils, such as those pictured in this black-and-white photograph of a “Kashgar School.”

“A Kashgar School,” 1915. Source: Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes photograph album, Duke University Libraries.

This photograph comes from the early 20th-century album of Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes (1867-1945), illustrating the British officer’s travels through “Chinese Turkestan, the Russian Pamirs, and Osh,” between April and November 1915.  Sykes’ photo album was acquired last year by Duke University Libraries to complement its growing collection of Uyghur materials, including a few language manuals. Now Sykes’ photos of the city of Kashgar and its school serve as a primary source for understanding the historical context, and for visualizing the possible original users of the recently purchased copy of A Sequel to the ABC Books. Such cross-referencing is not only the product of thoughtful collection development and description.  It is also a concrete example of the way that the intervention of area studies librarians can help contemporary researchers read the imperial archive against the grain and, thereby, restore the humanity of marginalized indigenous groups who have been, or like the Uyghurs, are in danger of being erased from the historical record.

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*As far as we know, the only other existing copy of A Sequel to the ABC Books is held in the Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection and has been digitized by the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Turkey.

Further readings:

 






What to Read this Month: July 2022

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy!


Activities of Daily Living by Lisa Hsiao Chen. How do we take stock of a life–by what means, and by what measure? This is the question that preoccupies Alice, a Taiwanese immigrant in her late thirties. In the off-hours from her day job, Alice struggles to create a project about the enigmatic downtown performance artist Tehching Hsieh and his monumental, yearlong 1980s performance pieces. Meanwhile, she becomes the caretaker for her aging stepfather, a Vietnam vet whose dream of making traditional Chinese furniture dissolved in alcoholism and dementia. As Alice roots deeper into Hsieh’s radical use of time–in one piece, the artist confined himself to a cell for a year; in the next, he punched a time clock every hour, on the hour, for a year–and his mysterious disappearance from the art world, her project starts metabolizing events from her own life. Moving between present-day and 1980s New York City, with detours to Silicon Valley and the Venice Biennale, this vivid debut announces Lisa Hsiao Chen as an audacious new talent. To learn more, check out this San Francisco Chronicle review and this NYT review.


Noisy Autumn: Sculpture and Works on Paper by Christy Rupp. Christy Rupp emerged as an American artist and activist in Manhattan in the late 1970s, using commodified materials to construct three-dimensional, sculptural works imbued with a dynamic sense of life. Noisy Autumn contains her recent sculptures and works on paper anticipating the dawn of late capitalism, and the Anthropocene. Rupp is primarily concerned with humans’ perceptions of nature: where do the borders of the “natural” emerge? The work aims to deconstruct harsh divisions that separate humans from our environment, while addressing the intersection of geopolitics, culture, and economics, as they impact the vulnerabilities of ecosystems. Her sculptures and works on paper alike leave readers pondering human engagement with the natural world amid rampant consumption–and how they may take action. Check out her website to learn more about Christy Rupp.


Don’t Cry for Me by Daniel Black. As Jacob lies dying, he begins to write a letter to his only son, Isaac. They have not met or spoken in many years, and there are things that Isaac must know. Stories about his ancestral legacy in rural Arkansas that extend back to slavery. Secrets from Jacob’s tumultuous relationship with Isaac’s mother and the shame he carries from the dissolution of their family. Tragedies that informed Jacob’s role as a father and his reaction to Isaac’s being gay. But most of all, Jacob must share with Isaac the unspoken truths that reside in his heart. He must give voice to the trauma that Isaac has inherited. And he must create a space for the two to find peace. With piercing insight and profound empathy, acclaimed author Daniel Black illuminates the lived experiences of Black fathers and queer sons, offering an authentic and ultimately hopeful portrait of reckoning and reconciliation.  There’s an interesting review in Southern Review of Books. You might also be interested in this video from the Georgia Center for the Book that shows a conversation between Daniel Black and Julian Winters.


Unprotected: A Memoir by Billy Porter. “This is not a coming-out story. It’s not a down-low story either. I never could have passed for straight, even if I’d wanted to, and so I never had the dubious luxury of living a lie.” From the incomparable Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award winner, a powerful and revealing autobiography about race, sexuality, art, and healing It’s easy to be yourself when who and what you are is in vogue. But growing up Black and gay in America has never been easy. Before Billy Porter was slaying red carpets and giving an iconic Emmy-winning performance in the celebrated TV show Pose; before he was the groundbreaking Tony and Grammy Award–winning star of Broadway’s Kinky Boots; and before he was an acclaimed recording artist, actor, playwright, director, and all-around legend, Porter was a young boy in Pittsburgh who was seen as different, who didn’t fit in. At five years old, Porter was sent to therapy to “fix” his effeminacy. He was endlessly bullied at school, sexually abused by his stepfather, and criticized at his church. Porter came of age in a world where simply being himself was a constant struggle. Billy Porter’s Unprotected is the life story of a singular artist and survivor in his own words. This audiobook is also narrated by Billy Porter himself!


The Invisible Kingdom : Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke.  Drawing on her own medical experience as well as fifteen years of interviews with doctors, patients, researchers, and public health experts, O’Rourke’s incisive new work speaks to an urgent subject: the epidemic scale of autoimmune disease in America (even greater with the advent of ‘Long Covid’) and where we go from here. O’Rourke reveals crucial, subtle complexities about the American struggle with chronic illness and autoimmune conditions, and offers new reasons for hope, as well as a new framework for thinking about infectious disease and autoimmune response going forward. You can read reviews in Slate and the Los Angeles Times.






What to Read this Month: June 2022

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy!


The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America by Deepa Purushothaman. A deeply personal call to action for women of color to find power from within and to join together in community, advocating for a new corporate environment where we all belong—and are accepted—on our own terms. Women of color comprise one of the fastest-growing segments in the corporate workforce, yet often we are underrepresented—among the first, few, or only ones in a department or company. For too long, corporate structures, social zeitgeist, and cultural conditioning have left us feeling exhausted and downtrodden, believing that in order to “fit in” and be successful, we must hide or change who we are.  Deepa Purushothaman  met with hundreds of other women of color across industries and cultural backgrounds, eager to hear about their unique and shared experiences. In doing so, she has come to understand our collective setbacks—and the path forward in achieving our goals. To learn more, watch this interview or read this article outlining five key insights.


Taste: My Life through Food by Stanley Tucci. From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about his growing up in Westchester, New York; preparing for and shooting the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia ; falling in love over dinner; and teaming up with his wife to create meals for a multitude of children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burned dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last. You can read reviews here and here.


The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird by Jack E. Davis. The bald eagle is regal but fearless, a bird you’re not inclined to argue with. For centuries, Americans have celebrated it as “majestic” and “noble,” yet savaged the living bird behind their national symbol as a malicious predator of livestock and, falsely, a snatcher of babies. Taking us from before the nation’s founding through inconceivable resurgences of this enduring all-American species, Jack E. Davis contrasts the age when native peoples lived beside it peacefully with that when others, whether through hunting bounties or DDT pesticides, twice pushed Haliaeetus leucocephalus to the brink of extinction. This book is a cultural and natural history that demonstrates how this bird’s wondrous journey may provide inspiration today, as we grapple with environmental peril on a larger scale. You can learn more through this review and and this review.


The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections: A Novel by Eva Jurczyk. A stunning debut following a librarian whose quiet life is turned upside down when a priceless manuscript goes missing. Soon she has to ask: what holds more secrets in the library–the ancient books shelved in the stacks, or the people who preserve them? Liesl Weiss long ago learned to be content working behind the scenes in the distinguished rare books department of a large university, managing details and working behind the scenes to make the head of the department look good. But when her boss has a stroke and she’s left to run things, she discovers that the library’s most prized manuscript is missing. Liesl tries to sound the alarm and inform the police about the missing priceless book, but is told repeatedly to keep quiet, to keep the doors open and the donors happy. What Liesl discovers about the dusty manuscripts she has worked among for so long–and about the people who care for and revere them–shakes the very foundation on which she has built her life. If you want to visit a real-life rare books and special collections, make sure to check out our Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.


Joan is Okay: A Novel by Weike Wangoan. Joan is a thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural and social expectations. Once Joan and her brother, Fang, were established in their careers, her parents moved back to China, hoping to spend the rest of their lives in their homeland. But when Joan’s father suddenly dies and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone just as her hospital, her city, and the world are forced to reckon with a health crisis more devastating than anyone could have imagined.  You can read an interview here and a review here.






5 Titles: What Is It Like to Be an International Student?

Stephanie FordThe 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by Evening Research Services Librarian Stephanie Fordand they all relate to the experiences of international students in higher education.


What Do International Students Think and Feel?: Adapting to U.S. College  Life and Culture (Michigan Teacher Training (Paperback)): Gebhard, Jerry  G.: 9780472034062: BooksWhat Do International Students Think and Feel? Adapting to U.S. College Life and Culture by Jerry G. Gebhard (2010). This collection gathers personal stories from international students studying at schools throughout the United States. Students write about their cultural adaptation, including their challenges, problems, and accomplishments. Topics include the experience of the U.S. classroom (the comparative informality of it, customs around class participation, and even eating/drinking inside the classroom as accepted practices); student residential life; making friends with students who do not share their culture or language; encountering prejudice; and strategies for adapting to one’s new environment.


Succeeding as an International Student in the United States and Canada,  Lipson, GoodmanSucceeding as an International Student in the United States and Canada by Charles Lipson (2008). This is an American professor’s how-to guide designed to help international students make the most of their study abroad experience. It offers practical advice on how to secure a visa, what to pack and what to leave behind, how to secure housing, the first ten things to do upon arrival in a host country, and useful guidance on how to succeed academically in classrooms in the U.S. and Canada. Some of the advice seems geared toward wealthier international students, as it directs incoming international students to bring $2,000.00 in traveler’s checks, and some of the references (to bringing a Blackberry and an iPod) date the volume’s advice to technology of yesteryear.


Cross-Cultural Narratives: Stories and Experiences of International Students  by Ravichandran Ammigan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®Cross-Cultural Narratives: Stories and Experiences of International Students, edited by Ravichandran Ammigan (2021). This book features international student stories from the University of Delaware, including a graduate student from Ghana who appreciates the mentorship from her professors and the organization and quality of equipment in the lab where she conducts research, but is shocked by how brazenly undergraduates “talk back” to professors who teach them. Other stories describe the difficulty of acclimating to American food, including a German student’s surprise at the taste of American bread purchased from Walmart and the challenge of understanding colloquial English, as a Russian student encounters with her American roommate.


Amazon - Understanding the International Student Experience (Universities  into the 21st Century): Montgomery, Catherine: 9781403986191: BooksUnderstanding the International Student Experience by Catherine Montgomery (2010). This book aims to help those who work in higher education, or those who study higher education, to understand the “social and academic experience” of international students. The author studies the social networks of international students in the UK and the impact of the social network on their learning experience. The author concludes that international students build strong social groups in their host country and (concurrently) demonstrate fierce independence, breaking away from these groups at times to travel solo and even to form different social groups at will. The international students she studies also perceive themselves to be more mature than the students they encounter in their host country; this comparison, along with incidents of prejudice in the host country, sometimes impedes the formation of friendships between international students and students living in the host country.


Improving Library Services in Support of International Students and English  as a Second Language Learners – ACRL InsiderImproving Library Services in Support of International Students and English as a Second Language Learners, edited by Leila June Rod-Welch (2019). This is a collection of individual articles by different authors on subjects pertaining to library services as they relate to international students and ESL students. Each article stresses a different theme. In “Talking about the ‘Culture Bump’: Using Student Voices to Increase Cultural Sensitivity of Library and University Staff,” authors Olga Hart and Carol Olauson describe a panel presentation by international students, educating library staff about the difficulties and prejudices they have encountered. Other essays include “Let’s Travel the World Together via the Library”; “The Diversity and Global Engagement Exposition”; and “Libraries as Cultural Crossroads.”


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






What to Read this Month: April 2022

Congratulations on making it through another academic year! Now that we’re just about done with final exams, why not catch up on some reading? As always, our New & Noteworthy and Overdrive collections are waiting for you!

On a somewhat sadder note, this will be my final What to Read post, as I will be leaving Duke next week. I’ve had such a fun time curating this series for the past couple of years, so I’ve decided to leave you with some of my favorite titles I’ve selected for this series. Enjoy, and have a great summer! What to Read will be back soon with a new author.


My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir | IndieBound.orgMy Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland. In this genre-bending memoir (not a biography, though it contains elements of one), Shapland comes to understand facets of her own life as a queer and chronically ill person while studying the life of Carson McCullers, the renowned 20th-century Southern Gothic novelist, and herself a queer and chronically ill person. McCullers, perhaps best known for her novels The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and The Member of the Wedding, empathetically wrote of outsiders in her fairly short lifetime, drawing on a personal experience that Shapland finds to have been largely overlooked by her biographers. Her experience with McCullers begins with an internship at the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, an archive in which she discovers a number of McCullers’ love letters to another woman. What follows is a strong investigation into McCullers’ life as a lesbian in the mid-twentieth century, interspersed with Shapland’s personal anecdotes about coming to terms with her own sexuality. Throughout this intense discussion of McCullers’ life, Shapland readily questions her own perception of the author, and her personal identification with her, making for an engaging and self-aware read. You can read reviews here and here.


The State Must Provide: Why America's Colleges Have Always Been  Unequal--and How to Set Them Right: Harris, Adam: 9780062976482:  Amazon.com: BooksThe State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal–and How to Set Them Right by Adam Harris. In this book, Atlantic staff writer Harris takes an incisive look at the resource-related disparities that often exist between historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly white institutions, focusing particularly on the policy decisions–historical and current–that underpin them. Harris reveals that so many HBCUs were essentially set up to fail from their inception, with federal and state governments working to maintain segregation in American higher education while also deliberately underfunding predominantly Black institutions. These issues of chronic underfunding persist to this day, leaving many HBCUs egregiously lacking in resources. In chronicling this history, Harris also provides compelling portraits of the many Black scholars across generations who have worked to rectify these imbalances, and also weighs the benefits of many potential solutions to this systemic problem. You can read a review here and listen to an interview with Harris here.


The Disaster Tourist: A Novel: Ko-Eun, Yun, Buehler, Lizzie: 9781640094161:  Amazon.com: BooksThe Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun (translated by Lizzie Buehler). In this dark satire of late-stage capitalism, originally published in South Korea in 2013 but published in English for the first time in 2020, Yun tells the story of Yona, an employee at a travel company that specializes in disaster tourism, arranging tours to locales devastated by all kinds of momentous crises for the perceived moral betterment of their customers. Yona has worked for the company for 10 years, coordinating tours and assessing what locations would bring in the most clients, but is on the brink of quitting after facing the sexual harassment of her boss and getting demoted for no clear reason. In a last-ditch effort to keep her in the company, she is directed to travel to an island called Mui, the company’s least popular destination. There, Yona discovers a seemingly ludicrous plot being carried out by the company: to bring in more clients, the company will create a disaster on the island, one that will surely kill a significant number of its inhabitants. From here, Yona must make some critical decisions, and Yun portrays her subsequent period on the island in a terrifying and yet darkly humorous way. You can read reviews here and here.


Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner: 9780525657743 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: BooksCrying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. In this memoir Zauner, founder of the band Japanese Breakfast, depicts her often complicated relationship with her mother Chongmi, as well as her grief following Chongmi’s death from cancer in 2014. Though Zauner describes a childhood and adolescence in which she attempts to distance herself from her and Chongmi’s Korean heritage (Zauner’s father Joel is white American), she finds that her ties to her mother always remain in some form, and often hinge upon their shared love of Korean cuisine. Just when Zauner begins to increasingly reconnect with her mother in her twenties, Chongmi is diagnosed with cancer. Zauner describes the futility of the treatments and her mother’s slow death, and spends the rest of the book depicting the ways in which her intense grief shaped her life and musical work. In describing these emotionally wrought events, the memoir serves as a unique meditation on the relationship between food and identity, as well as grief. You can read reviews here and here.


Chouette: Oshetsky, Claire: 9780063066670: Amazon.com: BooksChouette by Claire Oshetsky. Oshetsky’s debut novel tells the otherworldly story of Tiny, a cellist living with her reliable–if somewhat boring–husband, who inexplicably has an affair with a female owl and even more inexplicably becomes pregnant with a hybrid owl-human baby, the eponymous Chouette. Despite the child’s obvious strangeness, which isolates Tiny from others in her life and evokes dire warnings from nearly every doctor who sees her, her mother immediately loves her unconditionally. She is fully supportive of Chouette and seeks not to change her, even as she is forced to give up her career and even as Chouette’s undeniably owl-like behavior completely upends all normalcy in her life. She faces a tough battle in this determination as her husband seeks exactly the opposite, pursuing “cures” for Chouette at every turn. In tracing Tiny’s pregnancy, Chouette’s early childhood, and her later independence, Oshetsky, who is herself autistic and a mother, offers a unique meditation on the nature of neurodivergence, pregnancy, and motherhood, the fantastic elements of her story providing a unique lens through which to view and understand these massive topics. You can read reviews here and here.






Greetings from Egypt! أهلاً في مصر

International and Area Studies at Duke University Libraries

Greetings from Egypt! أهلاً في مصر

Egypt, known in Arabic by its sobriquet “Mother of the World” (Umm al-dunya, أم الدنيا), remains the most important and -studied country and culture in the South-West Asian/North African region. A recently acquired collection of 163 postcards (dating from the 1880s to the 1930s) provides an immersive overview of some of the wonders and joys of Egypt, from the north of the country in cities like Port Said and Alexandria to iconographic places like Cairo and Luxor along one of the most important waterways in the world, the Nile River.

Cairo

Cairo (القاهرة- al-Qāhirah), the capital of Egypt, is a megacity, with a current population of more than 20 million people, or about one fifth of the country’s total population.  This panoramic view of Cairo (French: Le Caire: Vue panoramique) depicts the city’s Citadel complex. Originally built in the 9th century, it has had many additions throughout its history. In the 12th century, Saladin (Salah al-Din, 1171-1193), the Kurdish-born sultan of Egypt and Syria, fortified the complex to stave off the attacks of the Crusaders. Successive Muslim rulers have since then added to the Citadel. The large alabaster mosque in the upper-right corner of this image is named after Muhammad Ali Pasha, an Albanian-born Ottoman governor and the de facto ruler of Egypt from 1805 to 1848, who is considered the founder of modern Egypt. He is also credited with the development of the Bulaq (Bulak) Press, one of the most important printing press operations in the Middle East.

The Mogamaʻ (مجمع)

This striking image is a photograph of the Mujamaʻ, or Mogamaʻ in Egyptian dialect (مجمع التحرير).  The Mogamaʻ stands over Maydan al-Taḥrīr (ميدان التحرير) in the bureaucratic centre of Cairo. The building was constructed on the orders of King Farouk and was designed by Muḥammad Kamal Ismāʻil, an Egyptian engineer and architect to be a government building—see this map for an overview of different offices. Ismāʻil also designed the expansion of the Great Mosque of Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. The Mogamaʻ was completed in 1952 shortly before the ‘Free Officers’ coup and the rise to power of Gamal Abdel Nasser. It stands at 14 storeys as a towering figure over Taḥrīr square, its architecture garners many debates from those who consider it magnificent and those who object to its utilitarianism. For better or worse, the Mogamaʻ recently closed, in part due to its dilapidated state. It is now being refurbished and remodeled into a luxury hotel.

Maydan al-Taḥrīr, from where the Egyptian revolution of 2011 took place is in the foreground of the photo and to the right of the Mogamaʻ is the Omar Makram Mosque. Omar Makram was a political leader of the late 18th century, his mosque was designed by the Italian architect, Mario Rossi. Rossi designed or helped design several important mosques in Egypt.

The Nile

Cairo sits on the headwaters of the Nile River, which has provided the water for not only the capital but also the entire country from time immemorial.  The importance of water and the Nile is apparent in the following postcard, which references to one of the historically more important jobs, that of the water bearer (saqa, سَقى). Water bearers, a profession dating back to ancient times were generally young, healthy men who, according to this al-yawm al-sābiʻ article had to prove their endurance and strength by carrying a 67-pound bag of sand for 3 days and nights without sitting or sleeping. Once passing this test, a saqa delivered fresh drinking water to the public water fountains (sabil, سبيل) for locals to drink freely. The profession no longer exists, at least in the traditional form due in large part to the founding of the Egyptian water company in 1865.

Qahwah (قهوة)-Kahve (Turkish)-Coffee

 The fascinating history of coffee has been condensed by the rappers Omar Offendum & Thanks Joey suggest in this YouTube video, the Story of Qahwah ☕️ is the story not only of Egypt, but the entire Middle East.

This postcard depicts a typical Cairo street scene, showing men playing backgammon next to a large coffee stand manned by a young barista. The coffee stand includes a representation of a Turkish coffee pot (Turkish: cezve, Arabic: جذوة), a small, long-handled pot with a pouring lip designed specifically to make Turkish, Arab, or Greek style coffee. It is traditionally made of brass or copper, occasionally also silver or gold.

Duke University Libraries’ Egyptian Postcard Collection: https://archives.lib.duke.edu/catalog/egyptpostcards includes many more fascinating images. For more information about the collection, contact Sean Swanick, Librarian for Middle East, North Africa, and Islamic Studies.

 

 






5 Titles: American Foodways

Jodi PsoterThe 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by Librarian for Chemistry and Statistical Science Jodi Psoter.

Food and flavor connect us to a place, telling a story of where we come from. For the south and ultimately the entire United States, the influence of enslaved Africans shaped the region’s food. Food and people continued their impact as different waves of immigration influenced the culinary history and culture of the United States. Learn about this significant impact with these five titles that celebrate American foodways. The titles explore food’s significance and its impact in a historic context on capitalism, in culture, on economics, and within gender studies.


The Routledge History of American Foodways - 1st Edition - Michael D.The Routledge History of American Foodways, edited by Michael D. Wise and Jennifer Jensen Wallach (2016). A collection of essays from leading scholars, The Routledge History of American Foodways celebrates food’s journey to and within the Americas. Spanning the pre-colonial era to the present day, the writers combine history with research in food studies to tell food stories. These “twenty-five essays analyze not only how American foodways have changed over the last five centuries, but also how narratives about food in the past continue to shape our present-day food cultures and controversies.” A common theme unites each section of the work. The first section, “Cooking Times,” explores historic foodways during specific eras such as food’s journey during the precolonial period. Key ingredients such as grains and sugars, their arrival in the US, and their impact on how we eat today, are the theme of section two. Section three, “Recipes,” connects the food we eat to its presentation by discussing culture, holidays, tourism, and restaurants. Finally, “Appetites” looks at food in relation to immigration, race, gender, and regionalism. The textbook-style resource can be read cover to cover or on the individual chapter level.


High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America: Jessica B.  Harris, Maya Angelou: 9781608194506: Amazon.com: BooksHigh on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris (2011; also available as an ebook). Professor and author of twelve cookbooks, Harris’s work focuses on foods “originating all over the African continent.” Her research and teaching make her an expert in African American foods, foodways, and their influence on how we eat in the United States. In High on the Hog, Harris shifts her writing style, “construct[ing] an elegant narrative history that connects the culinary experiences of the African and American continents to show how African Americans shaped the country around them.” Written chronologically in chapter form, each chapter is themed and written in three parts. The first part of each chapter is Harris telling a personal story. Part two is really the subject of the chapter: “a topical analysis of African American contributions to American society and culture.” Each chapter ends with a look at a specific food related to the chapter’s theme and time. In 2021, Jessica Harris appeared on Time 100 – the list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Ten years after publication, Harris’s work continues to teach, now as a food docuseries available on Netflix. Interested in reading more? Search the TRLN libraries to borrow other books by Jessica B. Harris.


Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original: Franklin, Sara B.:  9781469638553: Amazon.com: BooksEdna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, edited by Sara B. Franklin (2018). In this collection of stories, the reader meets Edna Lewis (1916-2006), dressmaker, chef, activist, and one of five chefs whose portrait was featured on a stamp in the US Postal Service’s 2014 “Celebrity Chef Series.” Lewis was also a female, an African American, and a cookbook writer who focused on regional cooking. She cooked seasonally and locally, writing stories to capture memories that describe her childhood and document where she came from. This book is a collection of essays about Lewis written by family, friends, and food world celebrities. They talk of meeting Lewis, their impressions of her, as well as her impact and legacy in food, culture, and women’s history. The resurgence of Edna Lewis as a chef began in 2017 when her cookbook was rereleased on what would have been her one-hundredth birthday, and the television show Top Chef featured a challenge to have the contestants cook a dish inspired by Lewis’ cooking. This tribute to Lewis, viewed by millions, introduced her to a new generation. Lewis’s 1976 cookbook, The Taste of Country Cooking, was published at the same time that another famous female culinary star, Alice Waters, was promoting the farm-to-table movement on the west coast. As you read Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, look for Alice Waters’s “menu to celebrate the anniversary of Edna Lewis’s birth.”


The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the  Old South: Twitty, Michael W.: 9780062379290: Amazon.com: BooksThe Cooking Gene: A Journey through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty (2017). Awarded the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book of the Year award, The Cooking Gene has been described as “a culinary Roots.” Twitty, a Black, gay, Jewish, culinary historian, seeks to know himself and his own history through the lens of food. This first person narrative focuses on African-American foodways and influence of slavery on southern cooking; an influence described in terms of the mixing of food traditions as cultures and genetics mix. To accomplish this, Twitty “traces [his] ancestry through food and genetic testing.” He writes that his genealogical research “…trace[s] my ancestry to Africa and follow[s] its lineages across the Southern map into the present day. Author of Afroculinaria, a food blog exploring the culinary traditions of Africa, African Americans, and the African diaspora, Twitty not only explores his heritages but also lives it by cooking in costume over a wood fire at historical plantation sites. He writes, “They call this a costume but it is my transformative historical drag; I wear a dusting of pot rust, red clay and the ghost smells of meals past.” Through his heritage, Twitty shines a new light on the traumatic and complicated history of foodways in the South.


Amazon.com: Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in  America: 9781324004516: Sen, Mayukh: BooksTaste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America by Mayukh Sen (2022). Mayukh Sen, self-described as a queer person of color and a child of Bengali immigrants, chooses to write about women to give voices to people our “culture skews away from.” In this well-researched and well-documented text, Sen introduces the reader, through biographical chapters, to seven immigrant women whose cooking and writing have influenced the “food establishment.” Spanning the period of World War II to the present, the taste makers include: Chao Yang Buwei and her 1945 book How To Cook and Eat in Chinese, Elena Zeleyeta, a Mexican chef who continued to work after losing her eyesight, and French chef Madeleine Kamman, a contemporary of Julia Child. The second part of the book shares the stories of Italian immigrant Marcella Hazan, author of The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking (1973), “The Indian Culinary Authority” in the United States, Julie Shani, Iran’s Najmieh Batmanglij, who writes cookbooks “adapting authentic Persian recipes to tastes and techniques in the West,” and Jamaican chef Norma Shirley. By describing their journey and that of the food of their homeland, Sen shows how the women “used food to construct an identity outside their own country.” As described in the NY Times Book Review, Taste Makers “…embeds these themes within intimate, individual stories as a way to unravel how his subjects’ achievements — and struggles — have contributed to what and how we eat in America today.”


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






What to Read this Month: March 2022

Hello again from the library! I know what you’re probably thinking: it’s getting close to the weekend, and you’ve got absolutely nothing scheduled,  so now’s the perfect time to pick up a new book (what do you mean, there’s a huge game this weekend???). If that’s you–or even if you do have plans to watch something this weekend–I’ve come to help with some suggestions! I’ve personally been on a memoir kick, as you’ll see with these titles I’ve picked out, but if that’s not your thing, never fear. All of these titles come from either the Libraries’ Overdrive ebook collection, or the New & Noteworthy collection. These collections contain all sorts of popular reading, so do check them out! I can guarantee you’ll find something that grabs your interest.


Admissions: A Memoir of Surviving Boarding School: James, Kendra:  9781538753484: Amazon.com: BooksAdmissions: A Memoir of Surviving Boarding School by Kendra James. In this memoir, writer James recounts her time at the Taft School, an elite Connecticut boarding school. Despite graduating in 2006, James was the school’s first Black legacy student (her father attended the school and was a trustee during her time there), and much of her account details her experiences as one of the school’s only Black students in the early to mid-2000s. James describes an institution with near-countless opportunities for scholarly enrichment and connections to prestigious colleges and universities, but despite these features, she struggles socially due to the racism of her primarily white peers, despite arriving at the school eager to form lasting ties. Although the experiences she describes are markedly difficult, James frequently punctuates her account with humor, and thoughtfully examines the ways her time at Taft has shaped her present-day life. You can read reviews here and here.


Lost & Found: A Memoir: Schulz, Kathryn: 9780525512462: Amazon.com: BooksLost & Found: A Memoir by Kathryn Schulz. In this memoir, journalist Schulz recounts two major personal events that have impacted the trajectory of her life over the past decade: the death of her father and the formation of her relationship with her current partner. Although Schulz’s account of this former event is often fittingly sober and steeped in grief, it is also quietly hopeful and grateful in its contemplative tone; Schulz notes that her father was largely able to live a happy and intellectually stimulating life, as he so wished. She also meditates on the ways his life influenced her own, and finds solace in the fact that her relationship with him was both healthy and very much mutually beneficial. Shortly before her father’s death, Schulz met the woman who would become her partner, and the beginnings of this relationship form the backbone of the memoir’s second half. Here, Schulz discusses the serendipity of meeting her partner, and marvels at the chance circumstances under which the two were able to build such a meaningful relationship. You can read reviews here and here.


Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia: Catte, Elizabeth:  9781948742733: Amazon.com: BooksPure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia by Elizabeth Catte. In this book, author Catte traces the often obscured history of the eugenics movement in Virginia, contextualizing it within the broader history of eugenics in the United States, and centering a number of historical events and locations throughout the state, from which she hails. Writing that eugenics “is everywhere and nowhere,” Catte focuses both on the 20th-century initiatives undertaken by the state with directly pro-eugenics motives–including the history of Western State Hospital in Staunton, in which many disabled Virginians were forcibly confined, as well as the Virginia-based US Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, which sanctioned involuntary sterilization throughout the United States–and events that had indirectly eugenicist outcomes, including the forced uprooting of Appalachian families during the formation of Shenandoah National Park, and Charlottesville’s destruction of its most prominent historically Black neighborhood. Importantly, Catte also emphasizes the dangerous systematic erasure of these events, and calls on her readers to learn from the fraught history she discusses. You can read a review here and read an interview with Catte here.


The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness: O'Rourke, Meghan:  9781594633799: Amazon.com: BooksThe Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke. In this book, writer O’Rourke makes the case for a radical reframing of chronic illness in both the medical profession and broader American culture, centering her argument in both extensive research and an account of her own experiences with chronic illness. Developing an unnamed autoimmune condition in her adulthood, O’Rourke painstakingly chronicles a near decade-long search for a medical practitioner who can accurately diagnose and address the complicated and troubling array of debilitating symptoms she faces, with many dismissing her outright when the tests she takes are repeatedly inconclusive in their results. O’Rourke likens this period of inadequately addressed suffering to being invisible, and she details how this experience of invisibility is distressingly common, with many chronically ill people taking, on average, several years to receive a correct diagnosis. Although O’Rourke eventually does receive the treatment she needs, she notes that she is still not completely well, and she urges her readers to understand the everyday complications of existing with chronic illness. You can read reviews here and here.


Amazon.com: Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful  Recommendations on How to Become American: 9780393867978: Ali, Wajahat:  BooksGo Back to Where You Came From and Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become an American by Wajahat Ali. In this memoir, author Ali recounts both his coming-of-age as a child of Pakistani immigrants, and his complex reckoning with American identity as an adult. Growing up in California’s Bay Area, Ali describes a 1980s-90s childhood in which he bears witness to his family and other members of the area’s Pakistani immigrant community as they chase the American dream, which Ali closely aligns with typical markers of whiteness. Ali more directly confronts his own racial and national identity in college after 9/11 happens, an event which, as illustrated by Ali’s observations, drastically changed white American society’s perception of Middle Eastern and South Asian people, particularly Muslims. Faced with a sudden swell of islamophobia, Ali feels driven to artistically make sense of his complicated feelings, but struggles until his college mentor, renowned playwright Ishmael Reed, encourages him to write a play. In the rest of the memoir, Ali discusses how his eventual work, The Domestic Crusaders, both launched his eventual writing career and assisted in his understanding of identity in the face of bigotry. You can read reviews here and here.






What to Read this Month: February 2022

We hope you all had a good February! While we at the library know full well that this is a busy time in the semester, we also realize that you might want to spend your limited free time in the company of a good book, or maybe pick up a new title just in time for spring break. If that describes you, then look no further! Here are some interesting titles from our New & Noteworthy collection. On the off chance none of these titles grab your attention, however, then don’t worry. We’re always adding new popular titles to both our New & Noteworthy and Overdrive ebook collections, so we encourage you to take a look at both of them. Happy reading!


Amazon.com: The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Oprah's Book Club Novel  (Oprahs Book Club 2.0): 9780062942937: Jeffers, Honoree Fanonne: BooksThe Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. This debut novel by poet Jeffers, nominated for last year’s National Book Award for fiction, chronicles the multigenerational and multicultural history of the African American Garfield family, anchored by the late 20th century events surrounding its protagonist, Ailey Garfield. Interspersed with the main narrative thread of Ailey’s educational experiences and family research, in which she divides her time between an unnamed city and her family’s ancestral hometown in rural Georgia, are segments, referred to as songs, that delve into the histories of her individual ancestors of African, Creek, and Scottish origin. As Ailey learns more about these ancestors, so too does she come to understand her present-day family. As the title suggests, too, the works of W.E.B. Du Bois play a prominent role, informing both the content of the novel as well as its very structure. You can read reviews here and here.


Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes: Phillips, Barnaby: 9781786079350:  Amazon.com: BooksLoot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes by Barnaby Phillips. In this book, journalist Phillips offers a comprehensive and compelling history of the Benin Bronzes, metal plaques and ivory artworks dating from the 13th through 18th centuries in the Edo Kingdom, located in what is now southern Nigeria. Prior to 1897, most of the bronzes were kept in the royal palace of Benin City for the kingdom’s rulers, but this changed when British forces invaded, an act that ultimately led to the downfall of the Edo Kingdom and the establishment of the British Southern Nigeria Protectorate. During the invasion, the bronzes were sacked by the British and taken back to England as loot, where many remain today. Although Phillips notes that the Nigerian government has repeatedly called for the repatriation of the bronzes since 1974, this has largely been ignored. Today, most remain in Europe (specifically the UK), with still others scattered across Canada and the United States. In addition to relaying this fraught history, Phillips also makes his own case for repatriation and delves into the mindset of many of the institutions still possessing the bronzes in Europe. You can read more here and here.


Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch: A Novel: Galchen, Rivka:  9780374280468: Amazon.com: BooksEveryone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen. This novel, Galchen’s second, tells the story of Katharina, a German woman accused of witchcraft in 1615. Based on historic events–several hundred women were executed for alleged witchcraft throughout the Holy Roman Empire in the seventeenth century–Katharina finds herself the object of suspicion in her small town for a confluence of seemingly ridiculous reasons: she is a widow, perceived to be too independent by those around her, and is not particularly well-liked. Most importantly, she has been accused of poisoning a local woman. Though the accusation itself is baseless, Katharina finds that many people in her community are all too eager to testify against her, seemingly determined to portray her as a malicious witch bent causing harm to anyone and everyone. Though the novel is peppered with dark humor (often in the form of Katharina’s dry mental observations about those around her), the subject matter, and the course of the story, prove to be rather harrowing. You can read reviews here and here.


How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across  America: Smith, Clint: 9780316492935: Amazon.com: BooksHow the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith. In this book, Atlantic staff writer Smith studies the way the history and legacy of slavery in the United States has been dealt with at nine historic sites (eight in the US, and one abroad). As Smith observes, each site reckons with the subject quite differently—he contrasts, for example, the centering of enslaved people’s lives at Louisiana’s Whitney Plantation with the glorification of the Confederacy at Virginia’s Blandford Cemetery—reflecting the contradictory and tumultuous understanding of slavery present in American culture at large. Smith’s depiction of these sites is multi-faceted and richly described, in no small part because he interviews such a wide range of people, including tourists and tour guides, historians and other experts, and formerly incarcerated people. In presenting such a complex picture of historical reception in the contemporary United States, Smith offers a compelling and extremely relevant read. You can read reviews here and here.


Amazon.com: I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness: A Novel: 9780593330210:  Watkins, Claire Vaye: BooksI Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins. This novel, Watkins’ second, traces the story of one fictional writer named Claire Vaye Watkins as she travels away from her husband and newborn child in Michigan for a book event in Nevada (despite the character having the same name and a number of characteristics as Watkins, the novel is fictional). In the throes of postpartum depression, Claire finds herself in crisis, and she takes the time away from her orderly life in Michigan as an opportunity to reassess the decisions she has made, to confront a variety of personal issues she has been avoiding, and, more unfortunately, to unravel somewhat. Having grown up in the west, her travels reunite her with several relics from her past, including a group of living college friends as well as a dead ex-partner. As Claire grapples with her own grief and reckons with her own life, she acts a witness towards those around her who are struggling with similar issues. Though the novel is often disorienting, it remains a cogent examination of grief, depression, poverty, drug addiction, and a host of other themes. You can read reviews here and here.






5 Titles: Native American Women Anthropologists

Linda DanielThe 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by Librarian for Sociology and Cultural Anthropology Linda Daniel. Linda is also the head of the Social Sciences Section within the Libraries’ RIS department.

Native American women anthropologists have a rich history of analyzing and writing about ethnographic field work in their own communities. In addition to the challenges of academic scholarship, they face the complexities of how to be an anthropologist and also, as noted Native American anthropologist Beatrice Medicine wrote in 1978, remain “Native” and “a student in [their] own culture.”

These five titles highlight women anthropologists who have masterfully navigated these challenges and write about economic sovereignty, nationalism and nation building, urban communities, and everyday life faced by Native Americans. While differing in format and focus, they each provide a deeper understanding of the histories of these Native American cultures and how they are evolving.


Sovereign Entrepreneurs: Cherokee Small-Business Owners and the Making of Economic Sovereignty (Critical Indigeneities): Lewis, Courtney: 9781469648590: Amazon.com: BooksSovereign Entrepreneurs: Cherokee Small-Business Owners and the Making of Economic Sovereignty by Courtney Lewis (2019). Lewis’s research tells the compelling story of how skilled Native American small business owners thrived through the Great Recession and economic downturn of 2009. Her work follows the personal experiences of contemporary Eastern Band business owners, located on the Qualla Boundary, homeland to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. This ethnographic study provides stories, like that of Charla’s and Zena’s “Cherokee by Design” enterprise, that reveal the importance of their support networks and the difficulties that these American Indian small-business owners encounter as they work to remain financially stable. Lewis’s research reveals situations specific to Native Nations and Native American business owners. She focuses on economic sovereignty and self-determination as a way that these small businesses can reduce their precarious economic situations and support their community’s economic stability. In doing so, this demonstration of indigenous agency shows how these small businesses can provide their nation with cultural, economic, and political strength.

Dr. Lewis will join Duke’s Cultural Anthropology Department in fall 2022.


Colonial Entanglement: Constituting a Twenty-First-Century Osage Nation ( First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies (University of North Carolina Press Paperback)): Dennison: 9780807872901: Amazon.com: BooksColonial Entanglement: Constituting a Twenty First-Century Osage Nation by Jean Dennison (2012). Dennison, noted Osage anthropologist, focuses on the 2004-2006 constitutional reform process in the Osage Nation of Oklahoma and writes about the debates that ensued about biology, culture, natural resources, and sovereignty. It’s a fascinating account of the tension between the colonial entanglements of the Osage and their nationhood, and how indigenous sovereignty and self-determination offer a framework to understand how positive action can emerge out of Osage history that doesn’t mirror its colonial oppression. Dennison provides the reader with clear historical context for the entanglements, discusses what should determine citizenship for the Osage, and whether traditional patterns of governance should influence current policies. Dennison’s ethnographic research provides a compelling account of how indigenous sovereignty, history, identity, and politics interacted in this governmental reform of the Osage nation.


Waterlily: Deloria, Ella Cara, Gardner, Susan, DeMallie, Raymond J.: 9780803219045: Amazon.com: BooksWaterlily by Ella Cara Deloria (1988). Deloria, born in 1889 on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, was a specialist in American Indian ethnology and linguistics. Her work resulted in several books: Dakota Texts, Dakota Grammar, and Speaking of Indians. By the 1940s, Deloria was considered a leading authority on Sioux culture and language. Waterlily gives a portrait of 19th-century Sioux life and is unique as it is told from women’s perspectives. The story focuses on Waterlily, her mother, and her grandmother and provides a view of Sioux social life – the kinship system, the structure of society, and its daily responsibilities. The writing is based upon the ethnographic materials Deloria gathered over years of scholarly work. Deloria chose to write this work as narrative fiction as she wanted to share this culture with a wide audience. It provides an important personal record of the complexities and richness of Sioux life.


Choctaw Nation: A Story of American Indian Resurgence (North American Indian Prose Award): Lambert, Valerie: 9780803224902: Amazon.com: BooksChoctaw Nation: A Story of American Indian Resurgence by Valerie Lambert (2007). Lambert documents one of the most important eras in the history of the Choctaw Nation – the building of a new order with the 1983 ratification of the tribe’s constitution. She places this creation of tribal nation building in the context of her tribe’s history, the economic and political implications of the tribe’s location in southeastern Oklahoma, and the unique personalities of the leaders involved in this movement. Each of these elements influenced the rebuilding of Choctaw nationalism. Lambert’s ethnographic analysis examines specific events to reveal the rearrangement of power in the new order and the importance of tribal sovereignty. She describes the tribal election of a Choctaw chief to expose the diverse ideas of citizenship that define the tribe. She explores the building of a small, rural tribal economic development project to understand the links between Choctaws, non-Indians in the community, and the local tribal government. She analyzes the 2001 water-rights claim that the Choctaws own all the water in southeastern Oklahoma to document the conflicts between the tribal government, the US government, and the Oklahoma state government. These events show how the Choctaw have negotiated their sovereign rights and built new political structures that reflect their tribal identity and empowerment.


Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond - Kindle edition by Ramirez, Renya K.. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond by Renya K. Ramirez (2007). Ramirez’s ethnographic work focuses on indigenous people who live in urban areas, specifically in the San Francisco Bay area, where thousands of Native Americans were federally relocated since the 1950s. This research has significance as the US census shows that the majority of Native Americans now live in cities. Ramirez focuses on female interviews in her book as a response to writings about Native Americans that have kept women’s voices silent and to demonstrate the importance of their full membership in discussions about tribal sovereignty and nationalism. Ramirez uses the concept of “hubs,” geographic and psychological sites that bring people together, to show how identities of indigenous people can be created and sustained in locations apart from their tribal homelands. These hubs allow Native Americans to maintain a connection between their urban and tribal homes, provide a sense of belonging, and may increase political power. Ramirez’s work reinforces the concept of unity of tribal communities that span across geographic distances as a way to strengthen identity.


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






Lilly Streams: Documentary Films for Black History Month

Post by Danette Pachtner, Duke Libraries’ Librarian for Film, Video & Digital Media and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies

Black History Month is dedicated to the histories and stories of Black Americans and the African diaspora who have systemically been sidelined for centuries. Duke Libraries’ film collection has a treasure trove of titles to view and explore.

The Docuseek African-American Studies Collection is an interdisciplinary streaming video collection of over 80 award-winning films, featuring popular and classic films plus dynamic new releases, focused on social, political and cultural history and contemporary issues that are ideal resources for Black History Month.

Duke Libraries provides access to these streaming videos in The Docuseek Complete Collection, with Duke NetId/password authentication.

John Lewis
John Lewis: Get in the Way | dir. Kathleen Dowdey | 2020

John Lewis: Get in the Way tells the gripping tale of Lewis’s role in the vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement through never-before-seen interviews shot over 20 years.

Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution details the history of how Medicare was leveraged to desegregate hospitals. Before Medicare, fewer than half the nation’s hospitals served black and white patients equally, and in the South, 1/3 of hospitals would not admit African-Americans even for emergencies.
Power to Heal illustrates how Movement leaders and grass-roots volunteers pressed and worked with the federal government to achieve a greater measure of justice and fairness for African-Americans.

Film poster
Horror Noire: a History of Black Horror | dir. Xavier Burgin | 2019

Horror Noire traces the extensive history of Black horror films. Delving into a century of genre films that by turns utilized, caricatured, exploited, sidelined, and finally embraced them, Horror Noire traces a secret history of Black Americans in Hollywood through their connection to the horror genre.

Al Helm follows an African American Christian choir’s journey to the Palestinian National Theater to put on a play about Martin Luther King, Jr. A rousing portrait of the changes unfolding in the Middle East as a nonviolent movement grows in Palestine, this dynamic and complex work is born of a brilliantly simple and potent idea: what would happen if African American Christians—the same group who served as exemplars of the Civil Rights Movement—could witness firsthand the plight of Palestinians today?

Still of Lovings
The Loving Story | dir. Nancy Buirski | 2011

Film Poster
A Crime on the Bayou | dir. Nancy Buirski | 2020

The classic documentary film, The Loving Story, from Nancy Buirski’s trilogy profiling brave individuals who fought for justice in and around the Civil Rights era, is a heart-rending story of the Lovings and the ground-breaking court case that legalized marriage between interracial couples. A Crime on the Bayou, is the final film in Buirski’s trilogy, which outlines the extraordinary story of Gary Duncan, arrested for touching a white boy’s arm, whose civil rights case in Louisiana went all the way to the Supreme Court in the late 1960s.

River City Drumbeat chronicles Edward “Nardie” White’s instruction of ancestral Pan-African culture and drumming in Louisville, Kentucky. For three decades, Edward “Nardie” White has been leading the River City Drum Corps in order to instill a foundation of purposeful resilience within his neighborhood youth. Against the backdrop of the American South, Mr. White’s drumline and its multi-generational network of support has been a lifeline for many young African Americans. In his final year as director he trains his successor Albert Shumake, a young artist whose troubled life was transformed by the drumline and Mr. White’s mentorship when he was a teen. During this transitional year, Mr. White and Albert reflect on the tragedies and triumphs in their lives and the legacy of the drum corps.

Father’s Kingdom depicts the untold story of the remarkable civil rights pioneer Father Divine. Once a celebrity who was decades ahead of his time fighting for civil rights, he has largely been written out of history because of the audacity of his religious claims, Father’s revolutionary ideas on race and identity still resonate today.

Film still
Black Girl in Suburbia | dir. Melissa Lowery | 2016

Black Girl in Suburbia takes a look at the suburbs of America from the perspective of women of color. Through conversations with her own daughters, with teachers and scholars who are experts in the personal impacts of growing up a person of color in a predominately white place, this film explores the conflicts that many Black girls in homogeneous hometowns have in relating to both white and Black communities.

New Docuseek releases include Stateless, a film that reveals the dark and deadly history of institutionalized oppression of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, and Oliver Tambo, about the man responsible for the release of Nelson Mandela and who helped to end the apartheid in South Africa.

If you would like to explore more streaming video brought to you by Duke Libraries, browse titles in Kanopy, Swank Digital Campus, Films on Demand World Cinema and Feature Films for Education as well as the Academic Video Online collections.

 

 

 

 






What to Read this Month: January 2022

Welcome back! As we’re beginning to settle into a new semester, we at the library wanted to recommend yet another set of titles from our Overdrive and New & Noteworthy collections. These collections are excellent places to look if you’re trying to find a new read, and these five books represent only a tiny fraction of all that you’ll find there. So by all means, if any of the below highlights don’t grab your attention, click either of the above links. You’ll be sure to find something!


Intimacies: A Novel: Kitamura, Katie: 9780399576164: Amazon.com: BooksIntimacies by Katie Kitamura. This novel, Kitamura’s fourth, tells the story of an unnamed woman who travels from the US to The Hague shortly after the death of her father. There, she works as an interpreter for the International Criminal Court, developing a strange yet compelling dynamic with an accused war criminal in her professional life and a series of confusing relationships with some of the city’s inhabitants in her personal life. She forms an unsatisfying romantic attachment with Adriaan, a man midway through a divorce, as well as a complicated friendship with art historian Eline and her brother, Anton. The titular intimacies refer to these inscrutable relationships, as well as the intimacy inherent in the protagonist’s work as an interpreter. Ultimately, though often puzzling and mysterious, the novel deftly tackles a bevy of complex themes, ranging from interpersonal relationships to neocolonialism. You can read reviews here and here.


The State Must Provide: Why America's Colleges Have Always Been  Unequal--and How to Set Them Right: Harris, Adam: 9780062976482:  Amazon.com: BooksThe State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal–and How to Set Them Right by Adam Harris. In this book, Atlantic staff writer Harris takes an incisive look at the resource-related disparities that often exist between historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly white institutions, focusing particularly on the policy decisions–historical and current–that underpin them. Harris reveals that so many HBCUs were essentially set up to fail from their inception, with federal and state governments working to maintain segregation in American higher education while also deliberately underfunding predominantly Black institutions. These issues of chronic underfunding persist to this day, leaving many HBCUs egregiously lacking in resources. In chronicling this history, Harris also provides compelling portraits of the many Black scholars across generations who have worked to rectify these imbalances, and also weighs the benefits of many potential solutions to this systemic problem. You can read a review here and listen to an interview with Harris here.


Velvet Was the Night: Moreno-Garcia, Silvia: 9780593356821: Amazon.com:  BooksVelvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This noir adventure, set in the midst of the Mexican Dirty War, centers on Maite, a young Mexico City secretary who unexpectedly stumbles into intrigue after her neighbor Leonora goes missing. Though an enthusiast of wild and romantic stories, Maite herself is not a natural investigator, and she only embarks on the case because she had been cat-sitting for Leonora and wants to get paid for her efforts. The reader learns very early on that Maite is not the only one looking for Leonora; so is Elvis, a 21-year-old member of a paramilitary group targeting leftist university students and journalists throughout the city. Moreno-Garcia tells the story from both of their perspectives, and things ultimately come to a head when Maite and Elvis finally cross paths. You can read reviews here and here.


Doomed Romance: Broken Hearts, Lost Souls, and Sexual Tumult in  Nineteenth-Century America: Heyrman, Christine Leigh: 9780525655572:  Amazon.com: BooksDoomed Romance: Broken Hearts, Lost Souls, and Sexual Tumult in Nineteenth-Century America by Christine Leigh Heyrman. In this book, Heyrman documents a unique episode in the history of American evangelicalism, telling the story of Martha Parker. A young woman in 1820s New England, Parker ignited a series of tensions between prominent members of the local evangelical community, despite harboring an earnest desire to serve as a Christian missionary abroad. Fatefully Parker, in pursuit of her dream, broke her engagement to her influential second cousin, Thomas Tenney, to accept the proposal of missionary Elnathan Gridley. Heyrman chronicles Tenney’s subsequent efforts to ruin Parker’s name, including enlisting the help of another one of her former suitors and inciting an investigation into her character by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Ultimately, Tenney’s handiwork leads to the dissolution of Parker’s new engagement, and she eventually agrees to set aside her missionary ambitions and marry him. In relaying this sordid tale, Heyrman makes several cogent connections to the history of gender relations in evangelicalism, connecting this seemingly isolated event to much larger, more systemic problems within the movement. You can read reviews here and here.


Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith: 9780812993325 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: BooksBuild Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith. In this debut novel, Kupersmith fashions a mysterious and supernatural tale anchored in the experiences and eventual disappearance of Winnie, a young American woman who travels to Saigon in 2010 in order to teach English and better understand her Vietnamese roots. Winnie’s time in Saigon is exceedingly difficult for her; her general unhappiness is exacerbated by her inability to form meaningful connections with those around her, and her work suffers. Eventually, she forms a relationship, predicated more on mutual survival than romance, with Long, who works at the same school as she does. It is Long who initially discovers that Winnie is missing, and the subsequent events in the novel adopt a grotesque and often fantastical path, one that connects Winnie’s story to the stories of seeming strangers in Saigon, spanning the days and years leading up to and following her disappearance. You can read reviews here and here.






5 Titles: Pioneering Women in STEM

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by RIS intern Mikayla Brooks.

The science, technology, education, mathematics (STEM) field is full of breakthroughs and notorious accomplishments; big names like Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Stephen Hawking immediately come to mind. The gentlemen have contributed notable achievements in the field and have had a lasting impact on history. But scientific history is about the women who also made incredible advances in STEM. Some of the names you might know and some you might not. But nevertheless, their contributions and advancements aided in understanding our world and making it a better place to live.

The 5 Titles are selected from Duke University Libraries; they reflect the stories of these women, their personal lives, and their struggles. These women had society’s expectations thrust upon them, in addition to overcoming personal, professional, and mental strife to do the work they did. The selected titles recognize five women, Rosalind Franklin, Hedy Lamarr, Kathrine Johnson, Jane Goodall, and Lise Meitner for their pioneering research and lasting contributions.


Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA: Maddox, Brenda: 9780060184070: Amazon.com: BooksRosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox (2002). Rosalind Franklin, called “our dark lady” by her colleagues, was all but airbrushed out of the picture. During her 27 months’ work at King’s College London, she was able to capture photographs of crystallized DNA. These photographs, shared with Watson and Crick without her permission, helped piece together the puzzle of the double-helix. Maddox’s book takes a critical look at the triumphs and tribulations in Rosalind Franklin’s life. “She paints a portrait of a complex, contradictory, fiercely passionate, and passionately fierce woman whose proper place in scientific history is still debated.”


Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World: Rhodes, Richard: 9780307742957: Amazon.com: BooksHedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes (2011). Hedy Lamarr was born in 1913 to a Jewish family in Vienna as Hedwig Kiesler. Her natural beauty became apparent as a teenager and she soon started to appeared in German films. The first of her six husbands, a wealthy arms merchant, “was a man who entertained German and Austrian weapons developers. No one in their social circle was able to appreciate that Lamarr could keep up and contribute in “their conversations about submarine torpedoes and remote-control devices.” When her husband tried to make her give up acting, she divorced him. Kiesler moved to Hollywood, became Hedy Lamarr, and was soon a beautiful starlet in films. “But, Hedy Lamarr was always much more than just a Hollywood starlet.” The Austrian-American actress was also a tech-head, taking inspiration from the self-playing ‘player piano’ to create various inventions, like the frequency-hopping technology that became a precursor to the secure wi-fi, GPS and Bluetooth now used by billions of people around the world. Richard Rhodes’s biography, Hedy’s Folly, gives this side of her story its due, as previous works published have barely any (in some cases almost no) accounts of her work as an inventor.


My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir: Johnson, Katherine, Hylick, Joylette, Moore, Katherine: 9780062897664: Amazon.com: BooksMy Remarkable Journey: A Memoir by Katherine Johnson with Joylette Hylick, Katherine Moore, and Lisa Frazier Page (2021). Katherine Johnson was turned into an international star by the book (and then movie) Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. Her story — rising from anonymity and discrimination to become a research mathematician whose precise calculations helped many vital projects, including John Glenn’s 1962 orbit of Earth — has inspired many. My Remarkable Journey was written with her daughters Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore and completed after Johnson’s death. The memoir offers a more personal perspective with Johnson discussing some of the disparities between her life and what we saw on screen. “This book focuses on Johnson’s personal life, including many experiences that reveal insight into the United States’ tumultuous race relations in the 20th century. My Remarkable Journey showcases examples of relentless determination in the face of adversity that linger with the reader, showing what truly makes Johnson’s journey remarkable.”


Amazon.com: Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man eBook : Peterson, Dale: Kindle StoreJane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man by Dale Peterson (2006). “The iconic image is imprinted in our minds – the willowy young British woman with the blonde ponytail. She’s standing in the forest with a wild chimpanzee sitting by her side, a hairy hand tentatively reaching out to touch her khaki shorts.” Jane Goodall is a figure we all know and love; her notoriety and image has been splashed across magazines and articles alike. The draw of Goodall’s status does not lie in her being a movie star, politician, or influencer, but by working hard at issues she believes in. “In Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man, Dale Peterson provides an exhaustive chronology of her life to date.” This biography illustrates the complicated and fascinating woman in equal measures with the pioneering researcher. Dale Peterson created a work that provides a remarkable account of what a person can accomplish through courage and self-sacrifice — a reminder of what can be accomplished with commitment.


Amazon.com: Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics (Volume 11): 9780520208605: Sime, Ruth Lewin: BooksLise Meitner: A Life in Physics by Ruth Lewin Sime (1996). Lise Meitner and other scientific trailblazers were able to unlock the science of existence at the very make-up of the physical level; their understanding of the atom and achievements made remain astonishing. All scientific pioneers must deal with obstacles, but for Lise Meitner, there were added personal factors. “As a woman in the early twentieth century, she struggled to be taken seriously as a scientist. In her later years, when categorized as a “non-Aryan,” she would become keenly aware that as humanity drew nearer to an understanding of the building blocks of our world, we were ever more imperiled by our capacity for destruction.” Ruth Sime presents an account of Lise Meitner’s life and scientific career from her formative years to the implications of war and the Third Reich on her personal and professional life. With expertise and finesse, Sime explains the value of Meitner’s research, and writes about the publicized and private aspects of Lise Meitner’s life and the ongoing work she did.


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






What to Read this Month: December 2021

As the semester begins to wind down, we at the library hope you’ll have some time to rest and potentially cross some books off your list! If you’re looking for new books to add to your reading list, look no further. One of these five titles, from our New & Noteworthy and Overdrive collections, just might do the trick! If not, though, don’t worry; new titles are being added to these collections all the time, so you’re guaranteed to find something that catches your eye. Have a happy and restful winter break!


The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story: Hannah-Jones, Nikole, The New York Times Magazine, Roper, Caitlin, Silverman, Ilena, Silverstein, Jake: 9780593230572: Amazon.com: BooksThe 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones. In the two years since Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project first appeared in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, it has become a household name, praised by numerous historians for its compelling and thorough reframing of the United States’ origin story while also igniting a vitriolic backlash among rightwing figures both within the US and beyond. This first book edition of the project includes the content of its original New York Times appearance while also expanding upon its aims with the inclusion of more details, notes, and seven additional essays. Although the Project was always sweeping and comprehensive in its examination of several centuries of American history, this edition builds on that, resulting in the fullest and most vivid iteration of the Project to date. You can read reviews here and here.


Amazon.com: Alec: A Novel: 9780374102609: Canzio, William di: BooksAlec by William di Canzio. Di Canzio’s novel is both a reworking and a continuation of E. M. Forster’s Maurice, which was originally written in the 1910s but remained unpublished until 1971 owing largely to the happy ending Forster provides to his gay protagonist, Maurice Hall. In this original novel, Maurice, a member of the English upper-class, ultimately finds himself able to forge a successful romantic relationship with the gamekeeper Alec Scudder, despite the rampant homophobia and classism permeating English society during this period. Di Canzio expands on Forster’s story in two major ways: first, he retells the events of Maurice from Alec’s point-of-view, which differs significantly from Maurice’s, and secondly, he confronts Forster’s original ending with the realities of World War I: in this telling, Maurice and Alec’s relationship is threatened when the two, now soldiers, are stationed apart from each other across Europe. With the addition of Alec’s perspective and these new events, di Canzio’s novel is an excellent complement to Forster’s. You can read reviews here and here.


Amazon.com: How Beautiful We Were: A Novel: 9780593132425: Mbue, Imbolo: BooksHow Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue. Mbue’s second novel, which was recently named by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of the year, focuses on Kosawa, a village in an unnamed West African country that has long been beset with troubles inflicted by Pexton, a massive American oil corporation. The year is 1980, and although Pexton has repeatedly attempted to placate Kosawa’s residents with periodic, unproductive visits by their representatives, it remains obvious that their operations in the area have caused the egregious levels of pollution and illness to which they are subjected. Things come to a head when, over the course of the corporation’s latest visit, the residents decide to take the Pexton delegates hostage, spurred on by Konga, who is known as the local madman. Witnessing these events is a young girl, Thula, on whom the novel eventually focuses. As Thula grows, she becomes determined to seek justice for her community, and her journey eventually takes her to the US, where she gains undergraduate and graduate degrees. Upon her eventual return to Kosawa, she seeks to mobilize her peers into fighting Pexton and the dictatorship leading her country, facing numerous barriers along the way. You can read reviews here and here.


Amazon.com: Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath eBook : Clark, Heather L. : Kindle StoreRed Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark. Clark’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated biography of Sylvia Plath recounts her life and legacy with both details and a level of care that have hitherto not been seen in the many previous accounts of the poet’s life. A lot of the work she undertakes in relaying the events of her life involves dismantling the mythologization surrounding Plath and her death, offering a fresh reexamination of her poetry, her mental health, and the numerous figures that influenced her, ranging from her parents to mentors to friends. All of these details contribute to one of the most exhaustive portraits of Plath published to date, one that appears astonishingly unscathed by the longstanding, often prurient public fascination with her personal life and death, making it an exceedingly satisfying and sensitive read. You can read reviews here and here.


Chouette: Oshetsky, Claire: 9780063066670: Amazon.com: BooksChouette by Claire Oshetsky. Oshetsky’s debut novel tells the otherworldly story of Tiny, a cellist living with her reliable–if somewhat boring–husband, who inexplicably has an affair with a female owl and even more inexplicably becomes pregnant with a hybrid owl-human baby, the eponymous Chouette. Despite the child’s obvious strangeness, which isolates Tiny from others in her life and evokes dire warnings from nearly every doctor who sees her, her mother immediately loves her unconditionally. She is fully supportive of Chouette and seeks not to change her, even as she is forced to give up her career and even as Chouette’s undeniably owl-like behavior completely upends all normalcy in her life. She faces a tough battle in this determination as her husband seeks exactly the opposite, pursuing “cures” for Chouette at every turn. In tracing Tiny’s pregnancy, Chouette’s early childhood, and her later independence, Oshetsky, who is herself autistic and a mother, offers a unique meditation on the nature of neurodivergence, pregnancy, and motherhood, the fantastic elements of her story providing a unique lens through which to view and understand these massive topics. You can read reviews here and here.






5 Titles: Military Women

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by RIS intern Emily Arnsberg.

Women have served in the military in various capacities for over 200 years. However, women in the United States were not given the option to serve as full-fledged military personnel until 1948, when President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law, officially allowing women to serve as full, permanent members of all branches of the Armed Forces. Even though women could serve as military members in all branches, they were still not allowed to serve in combat. It was not until 2013 that then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the ban on women in combat would be lifted entirely, and that female service members would be allowed to serve in ground combat roles. “In 2015, hundreds of thousands of jobs were opened to women, and ensured that as long as female service members completed the necessary training and requirements, they could now serve in almost any role in the U.S. military.” Though the U.S. military has taken strides to move towards a more equitable future, worldwide, women are up against roadblocks, harsh laws and cultural stereotypes that prevent them from playing a more active role in today’s military.

With the recent military withdrawal in Afghanistan, and with Veteran’s Day coming up (November 11th), we wanted to not only highlight the tremendous impact of women in the United States military, but those also fighting for military equality in other nations, specifically in places like Afghanistan and Syria. The following five titles illustrate various women fighting to gain an equal footing among their male soldier counterparts, from becoming a Special Operations warrior during the conflict in Afghanistan to an Afghan pilot searching for her place among the Afghan Air Force.


Amazon.com: Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield eBook : Lemmon, Gayle Tzemach: Kindle StoreAshley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (2015). Lemmon’s work chronicles the story of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command pilot program, called Cultural Support Teams (CSTs), which allowed elite women soldiers the chance to fight alongside Green Berets and Army Rangers in Afghanistan. The program, which began in 2010, was the first program to put women in special operations. It brought together a hand-picked group of women from the Army and National Guard, including 1st Lt. Ashley White, the first CST member killed in action. The job of these elite women was to “be the softer side of the harshest side of war;” to work with one of the largest populations in Afghan culture that was previously out of reach to male military members: Afghan women.

Ashley’s War illustrates a different perspective of combat – women on the battlefield. While women were “technically” banned from serving in combat positions, these CST members accompanied Special Operations forces into the heart of battle, on night raids, and in the middle of gunfire. The author conveys an underlying tension among the CST members as they prepare for nightly missions. Will the male soldiers embrace the CST members as one of their own teammates? Is it possible for men and women to coexist in battle? This book challenges your previous assumptions of war, as you witness it through the fresh eyes of women who have never experienced combat. These courageous soldiers play a critical role in advancing the conversation about women in combat, a discussion that is still under debate and talked about in the current military landscape. Ashley’s War is currently being developed into a major motion picture at Universal Studios with Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea producing.


Open Skies: My Life as Afghanistan's First Female Pilot, Rahmani, Niloofar, Sikes, Adam, eBook - Amazon.comOpen Skies: My Life as Afghanistan’s First Female Pilot by Niloofar Rahmani and Adam Sikes (2021). This timely book illustrates another perspective of women in the military, through the eyes of an Afghan woman struggling to serve her country. Rahmani tells her story as the first female-fixed wing Air Force aviator in Afghanistan’s history and the first female pilot in the Afghan Air Force since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. She weaves her “personal history into a broader review of Afghanistan’s past, detailing the years of war her family experienced. Her father was conscripted by the Soviets; the family fled the Taliban and fled in exile; then, after her return, the American invasion brought both concern and cautious optimism.” Rahmani skillfully describes the perils of life for Afghan women as they are forced to live within an oppressive, hostile, and dismissive culture. Her work shines light on another perspective that is rarely delved into depth, the experience of women in Afghanistan. It also highlights the many roadblocks and stereotypes of women in the military, especially for a woman fighting against harsh rules and limits in modern-day Afghanistan.


Amazon.com: Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War: 9781451668117: Thorpe, Helen: BooksSoldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe (2014). Thorpe’s narrative, spanning 12 years, follows three women from enlistment in the Indiana National Guard, through deployment, and back home again. These three women thought that in joining the National Guard their attendance and work would be minimal, occasionally attending training. In exchange, they would be given the best chances available for them to better themselves: by attending college, having a steady paycheck, and engaging in something bigger than themselves. However, in the aftermath of 9/11, these women found themselves in combat zones in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Similar to Ashley’s War, Thorpe illustrates the impact of war and how it changes women, a subject that is often focused on the male perspective. This book also details an important aspect of American history, discussing the cultural failings, resilience, and progress of the American way of life. In its chapters about the women’s return to civilian life, Thorpe illuminates the realities of being female and poor in this country. As one passage illustrates, being in a Target triggers an emotional moment for one of the women, as looking for toilet paper seems so superfluous and wasteful. Thorpe spent four years interviewing these three women; what she learned offers a moving portrait of both of the toll that wartime military life takes and the realities of civilian life when returning from war.


Amazon.com: Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience: 9781501162541: Bhagwati, Anuradha: BooksUnbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience by Anuradha Bhagwati (2019). Bhagwati’s memoir offers a distinctive lens on her service in the Marines, tackling various issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sexual violence, misogyny, and racism, among many others. Born an obedient daughter of Indian immigrants, Unbecoming tells the story of Bhagwati enlisting in the Marines after graduating Yale, to her later creation of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN). Unlike the other books in this blog post, Bhagwati takes a deep dive into the politics of supporting women in the military. She takes her fight to Congress, illustrating her triumphs and struggles in dealing with politicians, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and California representative Jackie Speier. Her candid memoir shows her view of misogyny and gender segregation in the military, and her fight to make an impact on the gender equality issues of our time.


The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice: Lemmon, Gayle Tzemach: 9780525560685: Amazon.com: BooksThe Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (2021). Lemmon’s most recent title delves into the conflict in Syria and the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS). An all-female protection unit of Syrian Kurdish Fighters, known as the YPJ, fast became the face of the war against ISIS and gained a reputation as fierce and effective fighters. Through the stories of four female soldiers, Lemmon paints a picture of their combat against ISIS and their fight for women’s equality in the battle for the city of Kobani. Aided by U.S. intelligence and airstrikes, these women and the many other Women’s Protection Units helped to retake the city from ISIS. Lemmon, using the stories of these four women as a backdrop, elucidates the complex history of the region and the fight for equality among women who are performing the same tasks beside their male counterparts. Recently, this title was optioned by HiddenLight Productions as a future film adaption.


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






Native American Heritage: What’s Streaming at Duke Libraries

For Native American History Month, one of Duke Libraries’ streaming video platforms,  Docuseek, is highlighting a number of films about and made by Indigenous Peoples.  Docuseek presents an excellent collection of documentary films about Native Americans,  including National Film Board of Canada’s First Nations films, Women Make Movies, and distributors Bullfrog Films and Icarus Films.

These selections trace Indigenous activism, movement-building, politics, art, culture, language, astronomy, restorative-justice systems, and the fight to protect water and sacred lands.

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As Nutayuneaan (dir. Anne Makepeace, 2011)

 

As Nutayuneaan (We Still Live Here) 
Tells the amazing story of the return of the Wampanoag language, a language that was silenced for more than a century.
(Bullfrog Films; streaming with Duke netid/password)

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Conscience Point (dir. Treva Wurmfeld, 2021)


Conscience Point
Unearths a deep clash of values between the Shinnecock Indian Nation and their elite Hamptons neighbors, who have made sacred land their playground. (Women Make Movies; streaming with Duke netid/password)

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Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (dir. Alanis Obomsawin, 2015)

 

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance
Examines the historic confrontation between the Mohawks, Québec police, and the Canadian army that propelled Native issues into the international spotlight and into the Canadian conscience.
(National Film Board of Canada; streaming with Duke netid/password)

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The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, dir. Anna Sofaer, 2015)

The Mystery of Chaco Canyon
Unveils the ancient astronomy of southwestern Pueblo Indians.
(Bullfrog Films; streaming with Duke netid/password)

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Skydancer (dir. Katja Esson, 2021)

Skydancer
Academy Award-nominated director Katja Esson explores the colorful and at times tragic history of the Mohawk skywalkers, men who leave their families on the reservation to travel to NYC to work construction jobs.
(Women Make Movies; streaming with Duke netid/password)

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Standing on Sacred Ground (dir. Christopher McLeod, 2015)

Standing on Sacred Ground
In this four-part documentary series from the producer of In the Light of Reverence, native people share ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence while battling a utilitarian view of land in the form of government megaprojects, consumer culture, and resource extraction as well as competing religions and climate change.
(Bullfrog Films; streaming with Duke netid/password)

Native Cinema Showcase 2021

If these titles whet your appetite for more great movies, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Cinema Showcase is coming up later this month. An annual celebration of the best in Native film, this year’s showcase is online  and runs from November 12-18, 2021. And Women Make Movies is screening online a selection of films by and about Native American women from November 19-30th; sign up here to receive more info.






What to Read this Month: October 2021

As the leaves are finally changing and the temperatures are finally resembling those of autumn, you might find yourself looking for a new book to read with your PSL or otherwise seasonally appropriate hot beverage. Well, look no further! Here’s a quick sampling of some recently added titles in our Overdrive and New & Noteworthy collections. Remember, we are always adding new titles to both of these collections, so be sure to frequently check back with each of them!


The Wrong End of the Telescope: Alameddine, Rabih: 9780802157805: Amazon.com: BooksThe Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine. Alameddine’s sixth novel tells the story of Mina Simpson, a middle-aged Lebanese-American physician who volunteers to treat migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos in the midst of a refugee crisis. The experience is very emotionally taxing for Mina, in no small part because her patients and their lives remind her so much of her painful childhood growing up in Beirut, clashing with the conservative culture in which she was raised—along with her abusive parents—before eventually attending Harvard, becoming a doctor in Chicago, undergoing gender transitioning, and adopting her current name. While dealing with these connections, she serves as a vivid narrator of all the people she encounters, painting detailed portraits of her patients to an unnamed Lebanese writer, and wryly criticizing the Western journalists and others who have come to Lesbos to gawk at the crisis as it unfolds. Indeed, the novel offers a thorough examination of Western attitudes toward the Middle East and the refugee crisis in particular, as Mina and the writer contemplate how her stories might be received in the United States. You can read reviews here and here.


Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence: Hill, Anita: 9780593298299: Amazon.com: BooksBelieving: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence by Anita Hill. In this book, Brandeis law professor Anita Hill discusses the current state of gender-based violence in the contemporary United States, describing its general pervasiveness and inextricable connection to other forms of bigotry, including racism and transphobia. Reflecting on her own allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and her subsequent testimony against him during his confirmation hearings thirty years ago, Hill remarks upon how little the myriad difficulties facing people alleging gender-based violence against those in power have changed, comparing her experience with that of Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged sexual assault by, and testified against, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, as well as that of Tara Reade, who alleged that now-President Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. In describing all these events, as well as several others, Hill focuses primarily on the numerous barriers facing those who experience gender-based violence, as well as the way this violence affects everyone all of ages, races, and social classes. With its informative—though often difficult—details, Hill’s book is a compelling read. You can read reviews here and here.


My Monticello: Fiction: Johnson, Jocelyn Nicole: 9781250807151: Amazon.com: BooksMy Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson. In this debut collection, Johnson tells numerous stories, most of which feature Black characters in contemporary Virginia (Johnson’s home state) reckoning with experiences of racism and their own racial identities, with the heavy history and culture of the state serving as a kind of omnipresent backdrop. The titular novella of the collection, which takes up the most space in the book and also arrives at the very end of the collection, sets itself in a near-future Charlottesville undergoing organized racial violence perpetrated by white supremacist militias (with Johnson’s imagery heavily alluding to the events of the 2017 Unite the Right rally that took place in the city). In this story, UVA student Da’Naisha leads a group of fleeing Black and brown Charlottesville residents (including her own grandmother) to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation located just outside the city; having previously interned there, Da’Naisha knows it to be a potentially effective hideout. As the characters hide there, they are continuously confronted with the links between the plantation’s history and their current circumstances as refugees from racial violence. For Da’Naisha, this link is particularly acute, as she reveals to her grandmother that they are both descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. You can read reviews here and here.


Americanon by Jess McHugh: 9781524746636 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: BooksAmericanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in Thirteen Bestselling Books by Jess McHugh. In this nonfiction debut, journalist McHugh traces the history of common cultural values and ideas of success in American society by examining thirteen bestselling books, all of which serve as instructional texts of some kind (with many resembling modern-day self-help books, despite preceding the advent of the formal genre). Ranging from The Old Farmer’s Almanac to Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, McHugh offers up a comprehensive overview of each title, explaining the varying cultural contexts and publication histories surrounding them. In so doing, she creates a fascinating work on the ways commonplace American values have changed—and not changed—over the past three centuries, and also offers a thorough examination of whose voices and values have been (and currently are) the most present and privileged in the popular market of didactic books. You can read reviews here and here.


Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery Book 1) - Kindle edition  by Manansala, Mia P.. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @  Amazon.com.Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala. Manansala’s debut, the first entry in a new mystery series, tells the story of Lila Macapagal, a young woman who has moved back to her Illinois hometown following the emotionally-wrought breakup of her engagement. While she intends simply to assist her aunt in the running of her Filipino restaurant, Tita Rosie’s Kitchen, things quickly take a turn when her embittered ex-boyfriend from high school, restaurant reviewer Derek Winter, abruptly dies in the middle of a meal there. While these circumstances are enough to cast suspicion on Lila, making matters worse is the fact that Derek was dining with his stepfather, the restaurant’s landlord with whom Lila’s aunt had been having financial difficulties. Lila is quickly pinned as the primary suspect in Derek’s apparent murder, leaving her no recourse but to try to clear her name, which she does with the assistance of her friend Adeena and Adeena’s brother Amir, an attorney who also serves as Lila’s love interest. Though this mystery deals with a number of dark elements, the tone remains generally light throughout, and the events of the novel are brightened by Manansala’s detailed descriptions of food and the many ways it figures into the lives of the book’s characters. You can read reviews here and here.






5 Titles: Horror Films from African American Directors

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by Stephen Conrad, Team Lead for Western Languages in the Monograph Acquisitions Department.

With Halloween upon us, it seems like a fitting time to showcase five horror films from Black directors. The recent attention garnered by Jordan Peele’s films, and even more recently Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, is certainly warranted, but we’re here to take a dive into some older and perhaps overlooked spooky films lurking in the stacks.


Ganja & Hess - WikipediaGanja & Hessdirected by Bill Gunn (1973). A/K/A Blood Couple, a vampiric story of an old dagger’s germs infecting a couple with an insatiable taste for blood. Bill Gunn’s psychedelic, experimental and surreal saga eclipses all bounds of genre and form and has rightfully come to be acknowledged as a masterpiece. Playing the lead role of the anthropologist Hess Green is none other than Duane Jones, who was the iconic and tragi-heroic lead character in George Romero’s classic 1968 Night of the Living Dead. To quote critic James Monaco: “If Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is Native Son, Ganja and Hess is Invisible Man.” Also to note, it was remade by Spike Lee in 2014 with the title Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.


Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde - WikipediaDr. Black, Mr. Hyde, directed by William Crain (1976). In mid-70s Los Angeles. Dr Henry Pride (Bernie Casey) is a successful doctor who develops a formula to cure liver ailments, but with disastrous side effects, especially when he begins experimenting on himself. Once injected, the doctor becomes a murderous white-skinned monster, turning his evil intentions specifically upon pimps and sex workers. The director of 1972’s Blacula crafted his second Blaxploitation horror classic with this take on the Stevenson tale, updated for the streets of Watts. One of the coolest features is extensive inclusion of the Watts Towers towards the end, where Pride/Hyde meets his demise.


Def by Temptation - WikipediaDef by Temptationdirected by James Bond III (1990). A minister-to-be travels from North Carolina to New York City where he encounters a deeply evil succubus prowling on Black men, including his brother, in a swank bar. James Bond III’s only directorial effort, this Troma Films production features a cast that includes Kadeem Hardison, Bill Nunn, Melba Moore, Samuel L Jackson and Freddie Jackson. The neon-strewn sets, inclusion of the comedic and terrific period soundtrack elevate this above the typical Troma schlock fare. But don’t get it twisted, this is still bizarrely gory and gloriously off-kilter. And, it seems like an entire dissertation could be built on the cultural ramifications of Dwayne Wayne, in 1990, being consumed and regurgitated a-la-Cronenberg by a television set that has a cartoonish bust of Ronald Reagan sitting on top of it.


Tales from the Hood - WikipediaTales from the Hooddirected by Rusty Cundieff (1995). Four ultra-violent horror vignettes hosted by a Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III) in his funeral home as he gives a tour and tells tales to three hoods in search of stashed drugs. Director Rusty Cundieff (also at the helm of the riotous 1993 hip hop docu-spoof Fear of a Black Hat) unleashes the stories in classic Tales from the Crypt fashion but with a definite moral bent. Perhaps best of all is the one starring Corbin Bernsen as a flag-clutching racist politician named Duke, who is beset by a foul end at the hands of small dolls in his mansion that was formerly a plantation owner’s house. The segment even manages to tie in media manipulation, reparations, and ancestral folklore. Bonus points for an excellent soundtrack featuring the likes of Wu-Tang Clan and Gravediggaz.


Amazon.com: Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror : Jordan Peele, Rusty Cundieff, Ernest Dickerson, Tony Todd, Xavier Burgin: Movies & TVHorror Noire: The History of Black Horrordirected by Xavier Burgin (2019). A documentary survey through the history of Black horror films and the African American role in the genre from Birth of a Nation through the present day. This is a film version of the book by Robin Means Coleman, Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present. A terrific introduction that will surely leave the viewer wanting to watch and know much more.


If you’re looking for more horror films this Halloween, be sure to check out Lilly Library’s current collection spotlight on scary movies, also curated by Stephen Conrad!


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






Lilly Collection Spotlight: Scary Movies for a Horror-ful Halloween

Scary Movies for a Horror-ful Halloween

“Who are we gonna call” when we order films for Duke Libraries’ film collections? For Lilly Library, it’s not Ghostbusters but our guest curator, Stephen Conrad, that’s who! Stephen is Duke Libraries’ Team Lead for Western Languages in Monographic Acquisitions.  One of the hats he wears is “orders person” for new DVDs. Because of Stephen’s knowledge and interest in film, we invited him to curate (and order) new titles to give our horror collection a jolt! Enjoy Stephen’s horror-ful Halloween picks … if you dare!

Good Manners aka As Boas Maneiras

As Boas Maneiras Lilly DVD 34167
Translated into English as Good Manners, this is a Brazilian werewolf tale set in São Paulo, from directors Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra. A mysterious and wealthy woman hires a housekeeper/nanny for her unborn child. The two grow close but there are complications, to put it mildly. Part fairy tale, part musical, this beyond-genre experience is truly a wild one. (2017)

The Mutilator aka Fall Break

Mutilator  Lilly DVD 34199
Also known as Fall Break,  this North Carolina produced teen slasher was the first and only effort from director Buddy Cooper. Low in budget and high in gore, the picture is of particular interest for visitors to the NC coast, as large portions were filmed around the Crystal Coast locales of Morehead City and Atlantic Beach.

Season of the Witch Lilly DVD 34156

Season of the Witch  Lilly DVD 34156
One of George A. Romero’s earlier films, the retitled Hungry Wives is the tale of a suburban Pittsburgh housewife turning to witchcraft as an escape from her doldrums. Perhaps more social commentary than true horror, Romero is still a master and conjures dread and seediness from both roomfuls of shag carpet and boorish husbands.

House of the Devil Lilly DVD 34155

House of the Devil  Lilly DVD 34155
A truly creepy and terrifying evil-house movie, from 2009 but set in the horror/slasher epoch of 1983. Director Ti West continually ratchets up the fright as a cash-strapped college student takes a babysitting gig at a big old house outside of town. But, there are no kids. And it’s a full lunar eclipse. Oh yeah, and Satan’s in the house.

Messiah of Evil Lilly DVD 34200

Messiah of Evil  Lilly DVD 34200
1973. Quasi-zombies.  Art.  A bright Ralph’s supermarket at night.  ‘Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.’  JOY BANG! Suspended bed.  Proto Blue-Man-Group.  The director of ‘Howard the Duck’.  More art.  Fires on the beach. Undead Cult.  Point Dune.  Second Coming.  Electronic score.  Blood moon.  ELISHA COOK, JR.!

Without Name Lilly DVD 34171

Without Name  Lilly DVD 34171
Modern Irish eco-horror by director Lorcan Finnegan. A land surveyor and his assistant are sent on a job into a forest outside of Dublin, only for things to go eerily and dreadfully awry. The sound design is most notable, and to paraphrase the lead character: “I could say it is a doorway or frequency or dream….it is like those things, but not.”


Films and their descriptions curated by Stephen Conrad.  For another window into our horror collection, check out his companion post, 5 Titles: Horror from African American Directors

A Halloween Bonus Treat!
Seeking additional thrills and chills?
If you’re feeling brave, take a peek at our online
Screaming  videos!
Access these frightful films with
your Duke netid/password.

 


 






Powerful Documentary Films Honoring Indigenous Peoples

The Docuseek streaming video platform  provides a window into subjects and content from around the world and across disciplines. Here is a selection of titles that examine indigenous peoples of North America. Available through Duke Libraries with netid/password authentication, explore new cultures and topics through the lens of award-winning filmmakers.

Ama  Stream Online
A powerful look at the untold story of the involuntary sterilization of Native American women conducted by the Indian Health Service and lasting  well into the 1970s.
(Bullfrog Films, 2019, dir. Lorna Tucker)

 

Awake : a dream from Standing Rock Stream Online or Lilly DVD 31281
Moving from summer 2016, when demonstrations over the Dakota Access Pipeline’s demolishing of sacred Native burial grounds began, the film documents the story of Native-led  fight for clean water and the  environment. The film is a collaboration between indigenous filmmakers: Director Myron Dewey and Executive Producer Doug Good Feather; and environmental Oscar-nominated filmmakers Josh Fox and James Spione.

nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up Stream Online
The story of the killing of young Cree man Colten Boushie and his family’s pursuit of justice weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption. (National Film Board of Canada, 2020, dir. Tasha Hubbard)


Paulette
Stream Online
Follows the historic campaign of Paulette Jordan, the first Native American candidate — as well as the first woman — to win the Idaho Primary for Governor. (Women Make Movies, 2020, dir. Heather Rae)


Sisters Rising Stream Online
Native American survivors of sexual assault fight to restore personal and tribal sovereignty against the backdrop of an ongoing legacy of violent colonization. (Woman Make Movies, 2021, dir. Willow O’Feral)


Tribal Justice Stream Online

Anne Makepeace documents an effective criminal justice reform movement in America: the efforts of tribal courts to return to traditional, community-healing concepts of justice. (Bullfrog Films, 2017, dir. Anne Makepeace)


Without a Whisper Stream online

The untold story of the profound influence of Indigenous women on the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the United States. (Women Make Movies, 2020, dir. Katsitsionni Fox)

 






What to Read this Month: September 2021

Hello again! We at the library hope your semester has gotten off to a good start, and that you’re enjoying the great weather we’ve been having lately. I myself have been so excited about the apparent start of fall (we’ll see if it sticks this time) that I’ve nearly forgotten to recommend some great new reads for the month. Whoops! Fortunately, since our New & Noteworthy and Overdrive collections are adding new titles all the time, it’s easy to find something new to read, even on short notice. Here are just a few of these new selections!


Amazon.com: Harlem Shuffle: A Novel: 9780385545136: Whitehead, Colson: BooksHarlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. In this latest novel by Whitehead, winner of last year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, furniture salesman Ray Carney finds himself at the center of a heist gone wrong in early 1960s Harlem. Specifically covering the years 1959 to 1964, the reader watches as Ray attempts to balance his slightly doubled life as an upstanding entrepreneur who occasionally fences stolen goods for thieves, a balance that is slowly unraveled by a heist at the locally renowned Hotel Theresa perpetuated by his cousin Freddie in the first act. Freddie, who is far more of a career criminal than Ray, arranges for him to fence the products of the heist, and this intrusion into his work has consequences that run the course of the book. Along the way, Ray also plans revenge against an unscrupulous banker, and this act brings with it its own host of various and sundry characters and events. As the story takes shape, too, it meaningfully engages with the contemporary history of Harlem, all the while maintaining its humor and gentle parody of 20th century crime fiction. You can read reviews here and here.


Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America: Washington, Kate:  9780807011508: Amazon.com: BooksAlready Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America by Kate Washington. In this book, Washington chronicles her own experiences of caregiving from 2016 to 2018 while linking them to the extensive, collective struggle of unpaid family caregivers in the contemporary United States. With often devastating detail, she describes the way in which her husband Brad’s sudden lymphoma diagnosis completely upended the lives of herself and her family, his rare illness repeatedly evading treatment and requiring Washington to devote all her time to learning how to care for him at the expense of her career and relationships, including with Brad himself. Washington deftly contextualizes these experiences by discussing how systemic barriers play out in caregiving situations, noting, among other things, how unpaid caregivers—who are disproportionately women—are routinely denied any kind of meaningful support in modern-day American society. Though she ends her account by discussing Brad’s general improvement after a stem-cell transplant (which it is by no means a full recovery), she uses her experience to call for increased structural support for caregivers. You can read a review here and listen to an interview with Washington here.


Afterparties: Stories: So, Anthony Veasna: 9780063049901: Amazon.com: BooksAfterparties by Anthony Veasna So. This short story collection, So’s posthumous debut (he died in December 2020 at the age of 28), tells the stories of numerous Cambodian-American characters, young and old alike, in California’s Central Valley. The stories primarily concern themselves with generational and cultural differences between the characters as they each reckon with their Cambodian identity in various ways. At a donut shop, a wedding, a car repair shop, and still many other settings, So’s characters interact and clash over what this identity should mean and how it manifests in their lives. In all, the stories touch on themes of sexuality, the cultural importance of food, generational ties, and the enduring legacy of the Cambodian genocide, among other topics. You can read reviews here and here.


Craft: An American History: Adamson, Glenn: 9781635574586: Amazon.com: BooksCraft: An American History by Glenn Adamson. In this exhaustive survey, stretching some four centuries, curator Adamson covers the importance of craft in American history, emphasizing its universal presence in all the cultures that form the modern-day United States. In defining craft as “whenever a skilled person makes something with their hands,” too, Adamson’s reach is quite broad, studying everything from the effect of the industrial revolution on American craft to the much more recent impact of e-commerce and social media. Throughout this lengthy discussion, Adamson is quick to discuss the long and fraught relationship between craft and capitalism, noting the repeated tendency of American culture to characterize craft as unserious and lacking in value, and to characterize crafters—particularly those of marginalized identity—in exploitative, demeaning, and fetishistic ways. In all, the book is a nuanced and fascinating read. You can read reviews here and here.


The Disaster Tourist: A Novel: Ko-Eun, Yun, Buehler, Lizzie: 9781640094161:  Amazon.com: BooksThe Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun (translated by Lizzie Buehler). In this dark satire of late-stage capitalism, originally published in South Korea in 2013 but published in English for the first time last year, Yun tells the story of Yona, an employee at a travel company that specializes in disaster tourism, arranging tours to locales devastated by all kinds of momentous crises for the perceived moral betterment of their customers. Yona has worked for the company for 10 years, coordinating tours and assessing what locations would bring in the most clients, but is on the brink of quitting after facing the sexual harassment of her boss and getting demoted for no clear reason. In a last-ditch effort to keep her in the company, she is directed to travel to an island called Mui, the company’s least popular destination. There, Yona discovers a seemingly ludicrous plot being carried out by the company: to bring in more clients, the company will create a disaster on the island, one that will surely kill a significant number of its inhabitants. From here, Yona must make some critical decisions, and Yun portrays her subsequent period on the island in a terrifying and yet darkly humorous way. You can read reviews here and here.






2021 Banned Books Week

This post was written by Sydney Adams, current practicum student in the Research and Instructional Services department at Duke and second year graduate student in the School of Information and Library Science at UN Chapel-Hill.

This week (September 26th-October 2nd, 2021) is Banned Books Week, which is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. The theme for Banned Books Week this year is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” While censorship creates barriers between us, sharing stories allows us to forge connections with one another.

This year, we have compiled a collection of commonly banned and challenged books for Mystery Date with a Banned Book. Below is a list of books that were either banned or challenged during 2020, but instead of telling you the book titles, we’ve provided a summary of each book and the reason(s) why it was banned or challenged. If any of these books sound interesting to you, click on the “Mystery Book” link to check out that book from Duke University Libraries.

  • Mystery Book 1: In this novel, two teens—one Black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
  • Mystery Book 2: Japanese animation is more popular than ever following the 2002 Academy Award given to Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. It confirmed that anime is more than just children’s cartoons, often portraying important social and cultural themes. This book will be the authoritative source on anime for an exploding market of viewers who want to know more.
    • Reasons: Challenged because it includes pornographic content in a chapter that explores the subject of bodies in hentai, a sub-genre of anime.
  • Mystery Book 3: This is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove—a Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others—who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
  • Mystery Book 4: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.
    • Reasons: Challenged in North Carolina for being “anti-Christian” and on the grounds that the school’s use of the novel violates constitutional safeguards against government endorsement of religion.
  • Mystery Book 5: This autobiography charts the author’s journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.
    • Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content.
  • Mystery Book 6: The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons their love, their sacrifices, and their lies.
    • Reasons: This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
  • Mystery Book 7: Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas—and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.

Summaries courtesy of Syndetic Solutions, Inc. Reasons for ban or challenge courtesy of the American Library Association and the Office for Intellectual Freedom.






5 Titles: Environmental Justice

Janil MillerThe 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by Janil Miller, Librarian for Marine Science and Coordinator, Pearse Memorial Library at Duke Marine Laboratory, and Brittany Wofford, Librarian for the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Brittany WoffordBlack Americans and other minority populations have long been disproportionately affected by toxic chemicals in the workplace and communities. Multiple studies have found that race is a major factor in siting hazardous waste facilities. In fact, activists and scholars often identify 1982 as the start of the modern environmental justice movement when the residents of Warren County, North Carolina protested against the siting of the Warren County PCB Landfill in their county. Afterwards, organizers and activists moved so-called mainstream environmental organizations to include environmental justice as a priority and worked within the government to create the EPA’s Office of Environmental Equity, now known as the Office of Environmental Justice. Today, the environmental justice movement encompasses many issues that most strongly burden communities of color, including water access, sanitation, exposure to toxins, air quality, displacement and climate change.

These titles range from foundational texts to works by a new generation of activists, researchers and filmmakers. While different in format and focus, they all highlight the power of community activism in the fight against environmental racism and moving toward a more just future.


Dumping In Dixie: Race, Class, And Environmental Quality, Third Edition:  Bullard, Robert D.: 9780813367927: Amazon.com: BooksDumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality by Robert D. Bullard (1990). Bullard’s work is a foundational text in environmental justice literature, identifying a shift in the environmental movement, which had previously focused on wildlife conservation and pollution abatement. Focusing on the efforts of five Black communities, he details the social and psychological impacts associated with the siting of polluting facilities and the mobilization of those communities, empowered by the civil rights movement, to fight against those injustices. In doing so, he situates environmentalism as a key social justice issue. Bullard is currently a Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University, having previously served as Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. In 2020, he was honored with the UN Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award.


There's Something In The Water | Columbia University PressThere’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities by Ingrid R. G. Waldron (2018). In this work, Waldron, an associate professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University and the Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project, details the efforts of Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotians fighting racism and environmental hazards in their communities. Using settler colonialism as an overarching theory, Waldron unpacks how environmental racism “operates as a mechanism of erasure enabled by the intersecting dynamics of white supremacy, power, state-sanctioned racial violence, neoliberalism and racial capitalism in white settler societies.” This work is unique in its exploration of intersectionality and calls attention to the ways race can be excluded or downplayed in environmental justice work and narratives.


Waste: One Woman's Fight Against America's Dirty Secret: Flowers, Catherine  Coleman, Stevenson, Bryan: 9781620976081: Amazon.com: BooksWaste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret by Catherine Coleman Flowers (2020). Catherine Coleman Flowers is an extraordinary woman with a powerful story to tell. The book details the varied life experiences that shaped her into a tireless champion for the far-too-numerous poor Americans across this country that suffer from inadequate sanitation. Ms. Flowers’ story begins in the Black Belt of Alabama, a region that played a pivotal role in the fight for civil and voting rights in the mid-1960s. This struggle was deeply personalized through the witness of her parents’ commitment to and support of these social justice movements. Her activism and advocacy blossomed early and continued to grow organically out of persistent exposure to a wide spectrum of injustices. In 2008, she met and accepted support in her fight to reduce disparities in the healthcare system from Bryan Stevenson and his Equal Justice Initiative in nearby Montgomery. While her life’s work has exposed her to celebrities and numerous advocates, she keeps her focus on those whose daily struggle is safe and proper sanitation. Inspired by powerful role models like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bryan Stevenson, Ms. Flowers is surely inspiring the next generation in their quest for social justice.


Docuseek | Global Environmental Justice CollectionGEJ: Global Environmental Justice Documentaries. This platform is an academic streaming source for the best in social issue and documentary film, with hundreds of titles in all major disciplines. In browsing the titles, films newest to the platform are clearly highlighted. Films can be discovered through the subject index while advance search allows for limiting results by keyword, film length, language, awards, appropriate audience, etc. Guides associated with many films provide additional details, selected excerpts if time for viewing is limited, discussion questions and supplementary information. Two included works are:

    • People of the Feather (2011), directed by Joel Heath with the community of Sanikiluaq inhabitants of the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay. This film looks at the many changes to their way of life as upstream dams/hydro-energy facilities release warm, fresh water in the winter season, changing the sea-ice nature and currents.
    • Tar Creek (2012), directed by Matt Meyers. This film is “the story of the worst environmental disaster you’ve never heard of in northeastern Oklahoma,” the far, far reaching consequences of the transformation of the Quapaw Tribe’s reservation “into one of the largest lead and zinc mines on the planet.”

The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice (Routledge International  Handbooks): Holifield, Ryan, Chakraborty, Jayajit, Walker, Gordon:  9781138932821: Amazon.com: BooksThe Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice, edited by Ryan Holifield, Jayajit Chakraborty and Gordon Walker (2018). This volume “presents an extensive and cutting-edge introduction to the diverse, rapidly growing body of research on pressing issues of environmental justice and injustice. With wide-ranging discussion of current debates, controversies, and questions in the history, theory, and methods of environmental justice research, contributed by over 90 leading social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and scholars from professional disciplines from six continents, it is an essential resource both for newcomers to this research and for experienced scholars and practitioners.” The 51 chapters are divided into four broad sections: (1) “Situating, analyzing, and theorizing environmental justice,” (2) “Methods in environmental justice research;” (3) “Substantive issues” and (4) “Global and regional dimensions.” The online book allows for keyword searching; results can be further refined by selecting subject or geographic filters. The chapters are easily navigated by menu, are well referenced, and available as PDFs.

Chapter 30, Urkidi, Leire and Mariana Walter’s, “Environmental justice and large-scale mining,” looks at environmental justice in the climate of expanding global demand and rapid growth in the resource extraction industry. It is arranged in three broad areas: the biophysical characteristics of large-scale mining; the distribution of burden/benefits; and lastly a granular look at social “struggles, movements, and discourses” surrounding the industry.


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






What to Read this Month: August 2021

Welcome to the fall semester! We at the library know that this is a busy time for everyone at Duke (including ourselves), but if you have time to read, here are some new recommendations from our New & Noteworthy and Overdrive collections! The titles below represent only a tiny fraction of these collections, so be sure to follow those links to explore them in more depth. For the first time in a long time, too, you can visit our New & Noteworthy collection on the first floor of Perkins, inside the lobby by the Perk. Just be sure to wear a mask!


Amazon.com: The Aeneid: 9781984854100: Vergil, Virgil, Bartsch, Shadi: BooksThe Aeneid by Vergil, translated by Shadi Bartsch. Though there are numerous English translations of Vergil’s epic, Bartsch’s, which was published in the US earlier this year, sets itself apart by striving to be as close to the original Latin as possible in its content and presentation. Unlike most English translations, Bartsch largely preserves Vergil’s rhythm, resulting in often clipped English that starkly contrasts with other high-profile translations of the poem. Accompanying the translation is her introduction, in which she discusses the Aeneid’s continuing political resonance today, over 2000 years after it was originally written. In all, this new translation offers an innovative look at the poem, one that keeps close to Vergil while also rendering the poem accessible to modern-day readers. You can read a review here and an excerpt here.


How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across  America: Smith, Clint: 9780316492935: Amazon.com: BooksHow the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith. In this book, Atlantic staff writer Smith studies the way the history and legacy of slavery in the United States has been dealt with at nine historic sites (eight in the US, and one abroad). As Smith observes, each site reckons with the subject quite differently—he contrasts, for example, the centering of enslaved people’s lives at Louisiana’s Whitney Plantation with the glorification of the Confederacy at Virginia’s Blandford Cemetery—reflecting the contradictory and tumultuous understanding of slavery present in American culture at large. Smith’s depiction of these sites is multi-faceted and richly described, in no small part because he interviews such a wide range of people, including tourists and tour guides, historians and other experts, and formerly incarcerated people. In presenting such a complex picture of historical reception in the contemporary United States, Smith offers a compelling and extremely relevant read. You can read reviews here and here.


Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner: 9780525657743 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: BooksCrying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. In this memoir Zauner, founder of the band Japanese Breakfast, depicts her often complicated relationship with her mother Chongmi, as well as her grief following Chongmi’s death from cancer in 2014. Though Zauner describes a childhood and adolescence in which she attempts to distance herself from her and Chongmi’s Korean heritage (Zauner’s father Joel is white American), she finds that her ties to her mother always remain in some form, and often hinge upon their shared love of Korean cuisine. Just when Zauner begins to increasingly reconnect with her mother in her twenties, Chongmi is diagnosed with cancer. Zauner describes the futility of the treatments and her mother’s slow death, and spends the rest of the book depicting the ways in which her intense grief shaped her life and musical work. In describing these emotionally wrought events, the memoir serves as a unique meditation on the relationship between food and identity, as well as grief. You can read reviews here and here.


Amazon.com: Hearing Homer's Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman  Parry: 9780525520948: Kanigel, Robert: BooksHearing Homer’s Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman Parry by Robert Kanigel. In this biography, Kanigel tackles the life of classicist Milman Parry, who died young but proved to be monumentally influential on the field of Classical studies. Though some previous Classical scholars had proposed the idea that Homer, legendary author of the Iliad and Odyssey, was not in fact a real person, it was Parry who first fully fleshed out the idea that the epics were the products of generations of storytelling by countless performers. Kanigel discusses at length how Parry came to this conclusion, including his pointed observations about language and meter in Homer’s poems, as well as his travels to Yugoslavia, where he closely studied the oral traditions of the region’s singers and performers. In the midst of this discussion, Kanigel talks about the often difficult circumstances of Parry’s personal life, including his dysfunctional marriage and untimely death: Parry shot himself at the age of 33 in 1935, but whether this was a suicide, an accident, or a murder at the hands of his wife remains unclear. You can read reviews here and here.


Revival Season: A Novel: West, Monica: 9781982133306: Amazon.com: BooksRevival Season by Monica West. In this novel, West tells the story of teenager Miriam Horton as she accompanies her family on a summer-long tour of Baptist revivals in the South. Her father Samuel, once an exceptionally popular preacher and faith healer on the revival circuit, finds his audience evaporating as word gets out about his physically assaulting a pregnant teenager during the previous summer. This disappointment heightens preexisting tensions between the volatile Samuel and his family, but things get even more complicated for Miriam when she discovers that, unlike her father, she has a genuine ability to heal others. What follows is Miriam’s gradual coming-of-age, and the discovery of her individual spirituality, as she navigates her relationships with her father, mother, sister, and various others. In bringing Miriam’s story to life, West offers a thoughtful and enjoyable—though sometimes intense—meditation on African-American evangelicalism, patriarchy, and general spirituality. You can read reviews here and here.






What to Read this Month: July 2021

Looking for something new to read?   Check out our New and Noteworthy, Overdrive, and Current Literature collections for some good reads to enjoy!


Chatter: The Voice in our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross. Tell a stranger that you talk to yourself, and you’re likely to get written off as eccentric. But the truth is that we all have a voice in our head. When we talk to ourselves, we often hope to tap into our inner coach but find our inner critic instead. When we’re facing a tough task, our inner coach can buoy us up: Focus–you can do this. But, just as often, our inner critic sinks us entirely: I’m going to fail. They’ll all laugh at me. What’s the use? Ethan Kross explores the silent conversations we have with ourselves. Interweaving groundbreaking behavioral and brain research from his own lab with real-world case studies–from a pitcher who forgets how to pitch, to a Harvard undergrad negotiating her double life as a spy–Kross explains how these conversations shape our lives, work, and relationships. You can read reviews here, here, and here.


The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix, author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. Lynette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece. But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up. Read a review here, and an interview here.


How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones. In the tradition of Zadie Smith and Marlon James, a brilliant Caribbean writer delivers a powerful story about four people each desperate to escape their legacy of violence in a so-called “paradise.” In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister. It’s a cautionary tale, about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers and go into the Baxter’s Tunnels. When she’s grown, Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. The book is an intimate and visceral portrayal of interconnected lives, across race and class, in a rapidly changing resort town, told by an astonishing new author of literary fiction. You can read reviews here and here.


I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way through the TV Revolution by Emily Nussbaum. From The New Yorker ‘s fiercely original, Pulitzer Prize-winning culture critic, a provocative collection of new and previously published essays arguing that we are what we watch. In this collection, including two never-before-published essays, Nussbaum writes about her passion for television, beginning with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show that set her on a fresh intellectual path. She explores the rise of the female screw-up, how fans warp the shows they love, the messy power of sexual violence on TV, and the year that jokes helped elect a reality-television president. More than a collection of reviews, the book makes a case for toppling the status anxiety that has long haunted the “idiot box,” even as it transformed. Through it all, Nussbaum recounts her fervent search, over fifteen years, for a new kind of criticism, one that resists the false hierarchy that elevates one kind of culture (violent, dramatic, gritty) over another (joyful, funny, stylized). It’s a book that celebrates television as television, even as each year warps the definition of just what that might mean.


The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights by Dorothy Wickenden. In the 1850s, Harriet Tubman, strategically brilliant and uncannily prescient, rescued some seventy enslaved people from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and shepherded them north along the underground railroad. One of her regular stops was Auburn, New York, where she entrusted passengers to Martha Coffin Wright, a Quaker mother of seven, and Frances A. Seward, the wife of William H. Seward, who served over the years as governor, senator, and secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln.  Through richly detailed letters from the time and exhaustive research, Wickenden traces the second American revolution these women fought to bring about, the toll it took on their families, and its lasting effects on the country. Riveting and profoundly relevant to our own time, The Agitators brings a vibrant, original voice to this transformative period in our history. You can read review here, and the US National Archives has a video (starts at about the 10 minute mark) of a virtual book discussion with the author.






5 Titles: Unsung Black Women in the Olympics

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by RIS intern Tashiana Scott-Cochran.

When one thinks of Black women in the Olympics, we might immediately reflect on the celebrity, acolytes, achievements, and athletic prowess of tennis prodigies Venus and Serena Williams. However, dating back to 1936, many Black women have competed and won in their respective sports. Tennessee State University, under the tutelage of Coach Ed Temple, has the distinction of being home to the first Black Women’s Track team. It is no coincidence that several Black women in the Olympics, including Wilma Rudolph and Wyomia Tyus both featured in this month’s 5 Titles selections, achieved the milestone due to Temple’s legendary coaching.

The 5 Titles selected from the Duke University Libraries reflect the stories of Black women who mitigated their race, class, gender, sexuality, and their expectation of White America, Black America, and the world at large. These women — Alice Coachman, Theodora “Tidye” Pickett, Wilma Rudolph, Wyomia Tyus, and Althea Gibson, among others — have made significant contributions in their respective sports without receiving their just due.


Before Jackie Robinson: The Transcendent Role of Black Sporting Pioneers:  Gems, Gerald R.: 9780803266797: Amazon.com: BooksBefore Jackie Robinson: The Transcendent Role of Black Sporting Pioneers, edited and with an introduction by Gerald R. Gems (2017). This volume, edited by Gerald R. Gems, is an important introduction to Black athletes. The title provides pertinent information on athletes, who, in many instances, have not received the treatment of full-length scholarly biographies. Gems’ work highlights the impact of African American athletes on US black-white relations from the 1890s to the 1940s. Robert Pruter, author of one chapter, examines the life of Theodora “Tidye” Pickett, one of the first African American women to participate in the Olympic games and a track and field star in the 1930s. Tidye Pickett is considered the first woman to compete in the Olympic games in 1932 in Los Angeles and one of two Black women (Louise Stokes the other) who competed in the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany.


Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story: Tyus, Wyomia, Terzakis, Elizabeth:  9781617756580: Amazon.com: BooksTigerbelle: the Wyomia Tyus Story by Wyomia Tyus and Elizabeth Terzakis, with a foreword by Joy Reid (2018). Worthy of examination of her overlooked monumental accomplishments, Tyus is the first person to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals, setting a new world record in both the 1964 and 1968 Olympics for the 100-meter track and field event. Tyus’ life speaks to growing up in Georgia during Jim Crow, to social activism, gender equity, and inclusiveness. A finalist for the Track and Field Writers of America’s 2018 Armory Foundation Book Award and A Women’s National Book Association selection for the National Reading Group Month Great Group Reads for 2018, it is clear why this book has been a contender for many accolades and awards. In the decorated imagery, for example, the readers can “see” Tyus loosening up, “shaking it off”, and dancing in preparation for a competition. The author establishes Tyus as a dominating presence, a graceful sprinter who possessed the focus and accuracy of a mercenary.


A Spectacular Leap: Black Women Athletes in Twentieth-Century America:  Lansbury, Jennifer H.: 9781557286581: Amazon.com: BooksA Spectacular Leap: Black Women Athletes in Twentieth-Century America by Jennifer H. Lansbury (2014). Jennifer H. Lansbury studies the experiences of six Black women who participated in competitive sports in the twentieth century through the lens of race and gender. “Lansbury places the biographical narrative of each woman in the social context and describes the increasing role of women in sport.” She aptly notes that these Black women, while breaking racial barriers, were simultaneously facing criticisms about their sexuality and femininity. In the 1940s, Alice Coachman participated in integrated meets while confirming her sexuality in an era when women in track and field faced concerns about being a tomboy or were described as mannish. This is a shared experience for Wilma Rudolph, whose coach Ed Temple implored her and her teammates to be “young track ladies first and track girls second” so that they would be “foxes” not “oxes” (pp. 132-33).


Amazon.com: Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History  (9781501137105): Schiot, Molly: BooksGame Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History by Molly Schiot (2016). Before the term “instafamous” and the immediate, instant gratification society we have become accustomed to, there have been many Black women who have made contributions to their chosen sport that have been unnoticed. This is the impetus for Schiot’s work. Her two-year endeavor is a full-length text consisting of extravagant illustrations and summaries, varying in length and depth. Her work is a conversation piece that does not dismiss the cultural context for these Black female athletes in lieu of twenty-first century revisionist perspectives of race, gender, and athleticism. Ironically, these Black women Olympians, women such as Ora Mae Washington, Wyomia Tyus, Wilma Rudolph, and Althea Gibson, would have continued to remain obscure were it not for the reach of social media.


Passing the Baton: Black Women Track Stars and American Identity (Sport and  Society): Ariail, Cat M.: 9780252043482: Amazon.com: BooksPassing the Baton: Black Women Track Stars and American Identity by Cat M. Ariail (2020). Cat M. Ariail’s work, as described by the University of Illinois Press blog, looks at how “black American women track athletes used the Olympic stage to insert blackness and femaleness into the image of Americanness.” It is in that vein that Ariail situates the pivotal role played by these unsung Black women, who shattered boundaries and created records, yet found themselves rendered invisible, with their contributions and sacrifices rendered null. In her work on Black female athletes, Ariail lifts many Black women Olympians’ names out of obscurity, thereby making their lived experience of race, gender, sexism and their athletic achievements inextricably bound to one another.


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






Lilly Collection Spotlight: Films to Help Fortify and Fight Back

April 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). To commemorate the anniversary, we’re highlighting powerful films in Lilly Library’s collection that illuminate and interrogate this urgent, essential issue.

scene from documentary film, "On the Record"
On the Record (2020, dirs. Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering)

On the Record (2020, dirs. Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering)
streaming video | Duke netid/password required
On the Record presents the haunting story of former A&R executive Drew Dixon, whose career and personal life were upended by the alleged abuse she faced from her high-profile male bosses. The documentary follows Dixon as she grapples with her decision to become one of the first women of color, in the wake of #MeToo, to come forward to publicly accuse hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct.

film still from "Primas"
Primas (2018, dir. Laura Bari)

Primas (2018, dir. Laura Bari) Lilly DVD 32294
Primas
is an evocative and poetic portrait of two Argentine teenage cousins who come of age together as they overcome the heinous acts of violence that interrupted their childhoods.

Image from documentary film, "The Bystander Moment"
The Bystander Moment (2018, dir. Jackson Katz)

The Bystander Moment: Transforming Rape Culture  at its Roots  (2018, dir. Jeremy Earp)
streaming video | Duke netid/password required
The #MeToo movement has shined much-needed light on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and abuse and created unprecedented demand for gender violence prevention models that actually work. The Bystander Moment tells the story of one of the most prominent and proven of these models – the innovative bystander approach developed by pioneering scholar and activist Jackson Katz and his colleagues at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society in the 1990s. Check out this and other films on gender violence prevention in the Media Education Foundation collection. 

Graphic from "Breaking Silence: a Film"
Breaking Silence: a Film (2017, dir. Nadya Ali)

Breaking Silence: a Film (2017, dir. Nadya Ali) Lilly DVD 31056
In Breaking Silence: a Film, Three Muslim women share their stories of sexual assault–and, in a deeply personal way, they challenge the stigma that has long suppressed the voice of survivors. Throughout America, many Muslim communities persist in stigmatizing all discussion of sex-related subjects. This documentary takes a radical and humanizing approach to the emotional scars of sexual assault, giving women the space to share their voices without shame.

Film still from "Sisters Rising"
Sisters Rising (2020, dirs. Willow O’Feral & Brack Heck)

And coming soon to Lilly’s film collection: SISTERS RISING, a powerful feature documentary about six Native American women reclaiming personal and tribal sovereignty. Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women, federal studies have shown, with one in three Native women reporting having been raped during her lifetime. Their stories shine an unflinching light on righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.






5 Titles: Southern African American Outsider Artists

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by RIS intern Megan Koslofsky.

This month’s 5 Titles highlights the visual art of African American outsider artists who lived and worked in the American South. These artists, working with traditional or unconventional materials, documented and commented on the world around them during the Jim Crow era and beyond. Their work visually preserves the stories and experiences of African Americans living in the American South contributing to a deeper and more inclusive understanding of our nation’s shared history.


Souls Grown Deep, Vol. 1: African American Vernacular Art of the South: The  Tree Gave the Dove a Leaf: Paul Arnett, William S. Arnett: 9780965376600:  Amazon.com: BooksSouls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South, edited by Paul Arnett and William Arnett (2001). This title is a comprehensive overview of forty African American artists living and working in the American South. The book includes 800 color photographs and autobiographical accounts of their lives and works. Essays by scholars, civil rights leaders, and individuals working in the art profession examine the importance of these artists and their works. No longer neglected or diminished as primitive, unschooled or folk art, the book places these artists and their work firmly in the pantheon of 20th century American art. You can find out more about the Souls Grown Deep Foundation here.


Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor: Umberger, Leslie, Marshall, Kerry  James, Stebich, Stephanie: 9780691182674: Amazon.com: BooksBetween Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor by Leslie Umberger with an introduction by Kerry James Marshall (2018). Bill Traylor, born into slavery in 1853, spent the majority of his post-emancipated life as a sharecropper near Selma, Alabama. Eventually moving to segregated Montgomery at the age of 85 in 1938, he began painting and drawing scenes of urban life during Jim Crow and remembered scenes of rural life, ultimately creating more than one thousand works. While his work received limited attention during his life, it was not until thirty years after his death, in 1949, that his work was no longer marginalized and received the consideration it deserved. This exhibition catalog of the retrospective of his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2018 includes 204 color plates. The introduction by artist Kerry James Marshall considers Traylor’s marginalization as an African American self-taught artist and curator Leslie Umberger’s essay explores Traylor’s veiled and coded commentary on issues of race and class.


Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Art: Shiver, Art, Whitehead, Tom:  9780807148785: Amazon.com: BooksClementine Hunter: Her Life and Art by Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead (2012). Born in Louisiana in late 1886 or early 1887 at Hidden Hill Plantation, Clementine Hunter, at fifteen, left to work as a sharecropper with her family at Melrose Plantation. It was at Melrose Plantation in the 1930’s, using the leftover paints of a visiting artist, that Hunter began to paint her experiences of plantation life as a field laborer and domestic servant and documenting the culture of the local African American community. After the death of her husband, Hunter began to sell her work. Living to the age of 101, she had achieved significant acclaim with museum shows and honors. This book includes reproductions of her work, photographs of the artist and her process, and extensive biographical information. This book confirms her rightful place in the canon of American art. You can learn more about Clementine Hunter here and here.


Amazon.com: Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial (9783791350585): Cubbs,  Joanne, Metcalf, Eugene W.: BooksHard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, edited by Joanne Cubbs and Eugene W. Metcalf with essays by Joanne Cubbs, David C. Driskell, and Greg Tate (2011). Thornton Dial, born in 1928 on a former cotton plantation in Alabama, gained prominence in the early 21st century with his monumental works inspired by the rural American South which have been showcased in numerous museum shows and collections. In the 1980’s, Dial committed himself to making large scale paintings, drawings, sculptures and assemblages utilizing found materials after the Pullman factory he worked at closed. Dial’s work explores themes of racism, class, war, poverty, and civil rights. This exhibition catalog, for a show featuring Dial’s work at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2011, features seventy of Dial’s works and includes essays by scholars of African American art. You can learn more about Dial’s works here and here.


Gee's Bend: The Women and Their Quilts: Arnett, William, Wardlaw, Alvia,  Livingston, Jane, Beardsley, John: 9780971910409: Amazon.com: BooksGee’s Bend: The Women and Their Quilts by John Beardsley (2002). Located in the bend of the Alabama River, the area known as Gee’s Bend was settled in 1816 as a cotton plantation. The artists featured in this title are former sharecroppers and descendants of the enslaved Africans originally brought to the plantation. Working in isolation, the women created quilts reusing fabrics and designing their own patterns. This title, published in conjunction of the exhibition of the quilts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, includes 350 color illustrations. The traveling exhibit brought these artists to national attention, while the quilts, with their vibrant colors and abstract designs, established a uniquely American art form born from the experiences of their African American female creators.


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






5 Titles: Beyond Lucky Charms

Ciara HealyThe 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by Ciara Healy, Librarian for psychology & neuroscience, mathematics, and physics.

The Irish are a diasporic culture, though colonized by their nearest neighbors, the British, for almost 800 years. The urge to resist British rule lasted all of those years. Ireland became self-governing with the establishment of the Irish Free State on December 6, 1922. Prior to the establishment of the Free State, the Potato Famine led to the deaths of 1 million Irish, 12.5% of the country’s population. In the years after – 1845 to 1855 – 1.5 million Irish emigrated, many of them to the United States, forming one of the largest émigré populations in the US. Difficult times, colonialism, lack of industrialization, violence, and indifference to the health and welfare of the Irish by the British contributed to the diasporic dreams of the Irish. In the titles below, both Irish fiction and nonfiction, emigration, travel, violence, oppression and family are common themes. The 5 titles below include these themes across a diverse variety of fiction, nonfiction/research, and a current podcast.


How the Irish Became White: Ignatiev, Noel: 9780415963091: Amazon.com: BooksHow the Irish Became White by Noel Ignatiev (2009). “A Frenchman named Gustave de Beaumont traveled the country in the 1830s and wrote about his travels. He compared the conditions of the Irish to those of “the Indian in his forest and the Negro in chains. . . . In all countries, . . . paupers may be discovered, but an entire nation of paupers is what was never seen until it was shown in Ireland.” Initially, upon arriving to the U.S., the Irish were not considered white. Signs offering work read, “Irish need not apply.” Spoiler: How the Irish Became White is not a heroic coming to terms with their class, race or ethnicity.


Milkman: Burns, Anna: 9781644450000: Amazon.com: BooksMilkman by Clare Burns (2018). A novel set in Northern Ireland during “The Troubles” (1968-1998), the narrator is a nameless young woman coming of age in a claustrophobic house in the violent, politicized city of Belfast. She unwittingly captures the attention of a man called the Milkman, putting herself and her family in danger. Her attempts to avoid all contact with the Milkman and the Troubles is thwarted by her frequent walking around town while reading. This mild eccentricity draws attention and puts her and all of her relationships in danger. The book details how deeply The Troubles insinuated itself into every aspect of life, with nothing left untouched by repression, violence and dread. Milkman is saved from being entirely ominous by the narrator’s insight and dark humor. There is some echo of our own current, divisive political situation. Burns’ book won the 2018 Man Booker Prize and the 2018 Nation Book Critics Circle award.


City of Bohane: A Novel: Barry, Kevin: 9781555976453: Amazon.com: BooksCity of Bohane by Kevin Barry (2011). A speculative fiction novel set in 2053 in a Western city in Ireland is beset by violence, horrible fog, rival gangs and excellent descriptions of what everyone is wearing to the fight. This is a particularly delightful book to listen to via audiobook, read by the author. Surreal, stylized violence runs through almost every aspect of the novel. The action is fast paced and complex, with double-crossing, paranoia, rifts, grudges, treachery, murder and revenge.

 


Pints of MaltPints of Malt, a podcast (March 2019 to present). There has been a wave of Nigerian immigration to Ireland beginning in 2002-2006, and this podcast turns the diasporic Irish emigration narrative inward by discussing immigrants in Ireland and their Irish identity, among other topics such as race, popular culture, and growing up Black in Ireland. Per the Apple Podcasts description, “Pints of Malt Podcast is brought to you by four Nigerian/Irish lads. They share their experiences growing up and living in Ireland. The podcast is full of laughs from the get go: from childhood memories to day-to-day shenanigans, there’s never a dull moment on the podcast with Femi, Kenny, Charlie and Jibbz”.


Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics by Nancy Scheper-Hughes - Paperback - University of California PressSaints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland by Nancy Scheper-Hughes (2001). As the Journal Ethnography describes, “When Saints, Scholars and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland was published some 20 years ago, it was promptly made a classic of psychological and medical anthropology by academics in the United States and simultaneously broadly and heatedly criticized in the Irish press as an egregious violation of community and cultural privacy, a debate that has blown hot and cold over the intervening decades. Following a recent return to `Ballybran’ in the summer of 1999 which ended in her expulsion from the village, Nancy Scheper-Hughes recounts her attempts to reconcile her responsibility to honest ethnography with respect for the people who once shared their homes and their secrets with her, thereby offering candid and vivid reflections on balancing the ethics and the micropolitics of anthropological work.”


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






Announcement! Covid-19 Web archive is now live.

Earlier today, the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation announced the launch of a brand-new, web archive project entitled, “Global Social Responses to Covid-19 Web Archive (Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation).”

(Image: Shadi Ghanim, The National 9 August 2020.)

From the announcement:

“Created in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic — and curated by 29 librarians throughout the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation and beyond — the Archive documents regional, social responses to the pandemic, which are critical in understanding the scope of the pandemic’s humanitarian, socioeconomic, and cultural impact. With an emphasis on websites produced by underrepresented ethnicities and stateless groups, the Archive covers (but is not limited to): sites published by non-governmental organizations that focus on public health, humanitarian relief, and education; sites published by established and amateur artists in any realm of cultural production; sites published by local news sources; sites published by civil society actors and representatives; and relevant blogs and social media pages. At the time of its launch, the Archive featured over 2,000 websites from over 80 countries in over 50 languages.”

This is the largest and most diverse Ivy Plus web archiving project ever created under the auspices of the thirteen-member library confederation. The Covid-19 web archive contains a multitude of materials—most of which are born digital—in all fields of research. The task of preserving such materialsis essential for future researchers. That is why the task has been assumed by the subject specialists of numerous research libraries, including here at Duke University.  Four librarians from the International & Area Studies Department of Duke University Libraries are taking part in this digital initiative: Heather Martin, Miree Ku, Luo Zhou, and Sean Swanick. Each librarian also helped curate a subject guide hosted by Princeton University. The guide is divided by region and includes further information about the project and Ivy Plus Web Archiving.

Unfortunately, until the pandemic is over and some semblance of normalcy returns, this Ivy Plus web archiving project will continue to grow. If you have recommendations please send them along via this form.






5 Titles: Memoirs by African American Men

headshot of Kim DuckettThe 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by RIS head Kim Duckett.

This month’s 5 Titles highlights a variety of memoirs by African American men published in the last decade. These authors share their own unique life experiences while providing valuable insights into how racism in the United States has impacted not only their own lives and but also the lives of their families, friends, students, colleagues, and clients.


Image result for heavy an american memoirHeavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (2018; available in print or as an Overdrive ebook). The “Heavy” of Laymon’s powerful memoir refers to many kinds of heaviness: the weight of his body, the challenges of his personal history growing up, and the complexities of being Black and male in the United States. He writes of the heaviness of his mother’s deep and challenging love and the heaviness of physical and sexual abuse and racism around him as a youth in Mississippi. From his single mother, a poverty-stricken professor who is abused by the men in her life, he learns the “gifts of reading, rereading, writing, and revision.” Now, a writing professor himself, Laymon has shared a highly personal account with a focus on the weight of truth, heavy as it is to look at it squarely. Heavy: An American Memoir was named one of the 50 best memoirs of the past 50 years by the New York Times.


Image result for Notes from a Young Black Chef: A MemoirNotes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein (2019). In this memoir Onwuachi shares his story of growing up in the Bronx, steering towards drug-dealing in college, and finding his passion in cooking and exploring his family’s roots through food. His cooking talent leads him from scraping the resources together to open his own catering business, graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, competing on Top Chef, and realizing his dream of opening his own fine dining restaurant in Washington, D.C. All by the time he turned 27! Throughout he learns from the knowledge, skill, and tenacity of his mother, also a chef, whose roots are in Louisiana as well as his Nigerian heritage from his father, including time he spent in Nigeria as a boy. Onwuachi’s story provides valuable insight into the ups and downs of becoming a chef while also exploring issues of race in a very white male dominated profession. Each chapter is paired with one of Onwuachi’s recipes, which creatively ties his life story to the plate, a major theme of his approach to cooking.


Image result for What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in EssaysWhat Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young (2019; available in print or as an Overdrive ebook). Young is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Very Smart Brothas, which the Washington Post coined “the blackest thing that ever happened to the internet,” and a columnist for GQ. In this insightful and often funny set of essays he shares stories from his life while exploring a wide range of issues that in one way or another highlight racism in the United States. Young’s self-reflection is notable for how insightfully he weaves together his personal experiences with commentary on systemic racism and reflections on masculinity.


Image result for Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and RedemptionStreet Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption by Jerald Walker (2010). In this memoir Walker, a professor of creative writing at Emerson College, traces how he turned away from drug use and crime in his youth towards education and a move into the middle-class. He was raised by two blind parents on the South Side of Chicago and grew up as part of doomsday cult that shaped his early life. He interweaves chapters from his early life and teenage years with stories of attending community college in his late-twenties, graduating from the Iowa Writers Workshop, finding his way as a writer and academic, becoming a husband and father, and traveling to Africa. Throughout he explores issues of race and identity while considering the impacts of choices he and others – friends and family – make. Walker’s most recent book How to Make a Slave and Other Essays was a National Book Award 2020 finalist for nonfiction.


Image result for just mercyJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2014). Stevenson, the visionary founder and executive director of the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative, is undeniably one of the most important voices in U.S. criminal justice reform. Even this statement feels like an understatement. In this powerful memoir, Stevenson recounts his work as a lawyer and tireless advocate for the wrongfully convicted, the unfairly tried, and the guilty deserving mercy. He weaves together details from specific cases to illustrate systematic failures in the criminal justice system with how he and his colleagues worked with their clients. His stories and the important historic context and legal background he provides are invaluable for shining a clear light on how the criminal justice system can be so unmerciful, so unjust, and so racist. Although a movie was made based on Just Mercy, nothing compares to hearing Stevenson speak for himself and give voice to the incarcerated he has worked with through reading his own words.


5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






5 Titles: Nonfiction on Neurodiversity

The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to provide a brief sampling of titles rather than a comprehensive overview of the topic. This month, the five titles have been selected by RIS humanities intern Anna Twiddy.

In this first installment of our 5 Titles series, we’re taking a look at nonfiction* works on neurodiversity. As a concept, neurodiversity refers not just to the existence of a broad range of neurological disabilities, such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, and others, but also to the contributions people with these disabilities make to society and culture at large. Neurodiversity takes a wide variety of forms, and as an identity, it is inevitably intersectional, existing in conjunction with an individual’s race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on. The titles in this post thus seek to reflect the diversity inherent to the neurodivergent identity, focusing on intersections with some other identities as well as the varying ways neurodiversity interacts with society more broadly.


Amazon.com: Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman eBook: Dale, Laura Kate: Kindle StoreUncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman by Laura Kate Dale. In this memoir, Dale, a British woman in her 20s, tells the story of her life as, per the title, a gay autistic trans woman. She describes the expectations placed on her from birth to become a neurotypical, heterosexual man, and all the consequences, positive and negative, of failing to meet those rigid expectations. The witty double entendre of the title, which at once alludes to Dale’s sensory issues regarding clothing labels as well as the labels that define her identity, foretells the humor with which she tells her story – while she is unflinching in her discussion of the myriad difficulties she has faced, she is also quick to note the humor present in her day-to-day life. In discussing the events of her life, including the mundane and the extraordinary, Dale richly describes the way in which her gender, sexual orientation, and autism all intersect and relate to each other. It is this discussion of the interaction between these marginalized identities, along with Dale’s unique voice and storytelling, that make it such a compelling read.


Teaching Strategies for Neurodiversity and Dyslexia in Actor Training:Teaching Strategies for Neurodiversity and Dyslexia in Actor Training: Sensing Shakespeare by Petronilla Whitfield. In this guide, acting professor Whitfield draws on the perspectives and experiences of her dyslexic acting students performing Shakespeare as case studies in constructing practical strategies for neurodivergent actors on the stage. Rather than seeking to minimize or ignore the ways neurodivergent actors differ from their neurotypical peers, Whitfield emphasizes working directly with the modes of processing, sensory and otherwise, that come with neurodivergence in order to bring out the unique, authentic voice of the neurodivergent actor. While the book derives much of its content from the perspectives of dyslexic actors in particular, its strategies are also largely applicable to actors with other neurodivergent conditions, as the title suggests. Though it is rather specific in its focus, being a manual on acting, Whitfield’s writing is noteworthy for its portrayal of neurodivergent people in the arts, actively challenging the assumption that acting is a realm exclusive to the neurotypical, while also avoiding over-dramatizing or fetishizing the experiences of her neurodivergent students. For these reasons, it is a worthwhile read for actors and non-actors alike.


All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism: Brown, Network, Inc., Autism Women's, Ashkenazy, E., Onaiwu, Morénike Giwa: 9780997504507: Amazon.com: BooksAll the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism, edited by Lydia X. Z. Brown. This anthology, edited by Brown and sponsored by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, features the work of 61 autistic writers of color from seven countries. Being the first published anthology to focus exclusively on the experiences of autistic people of color, the book explores the intersection of autism and race from a vast number of angles, and through a wide variety of mediums, including essays, short fiction, poetry, painting, and photography. The anthology melds the personal and the political, with many works expounding on the everyday experiences of their authors while also highlighting the compounded, systemic marginalization and disadvantages faced by autistic people of color more broadly. But while the subject matter of the book is often difficult to read about in its discussion of the intersection of racism and ableism, the authors are also eager to celebrate the existence of autistic people of color, focusing on the joy, passion, and resilience that defines their lives and experiences.


Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn't Designed for You: Nerenberg, Jenara: 9780062876799: Amazon.com: BooksDivergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn’t Designed for You by Jenara Nerenberg. In this book, journalist Nerenberg provides a useful overview of experiences common to neurodivergent women, at once describing how various neurodivergent conditions tend to manifest specifically in women while also serving as a guide for neurodivergent women navigating a world primarily designed around neurotypical men. Nerenberg breaks down many of the systemic barriers neurodivergent women face when seeking support, writing extensively on the ways women have largely been excluded from studies on neurodivergence; in noting the diagnostic gap that exists between neurodivergent men and women, for example, she draws on her own experience of a late diagnosis in adulthood. As with many of the books on this list, this focus on marginalization makes the book a troubling read at points, but Nerenberg offsets this difficult subject matter by validating the experiences of her neurodivergent audience, and by providing practical pointers on living everyday life as a neurodivergent woman. In providing a clear overview on the history of neurodivergence in women, Nerenberg’s book proves to be a valuable resource.


Welcome to Biscuit Land: A Year in the Life of Touretteshero: Thom, Jessica: 9780285641273: Amazon.com: BooksWelcome to Biscuit Land: A Year in the Life of Touretteshero by Jessica Thom. In this book, British comedian and playwright Thom documents a full year of her life as a woman with Tourette syndrome, often with searing wit and humor. The book comprises excerpts from her long-running blog, Touretteshero, which documents her day-to-day experiences. These experiences take a variety of forms, but are uniformly punctuated by her numerous tics, both motor and vocal (her compulsive uttering of the word “biscuit” lends the book its title). Thom describes in detail what living with these tics is like, not shying away from the difficulty it brings her – ranging from incurring the judgment of strangers for her compulsive swearing to her regular use of padded gloves to prevent hurting herself – but at the same time, she does much to break down the stigma that often accompanies the disorder through her warmth and humor. In this way, the book is a vivid portrait of her experience with Tourette’s that proves appealing to those with and without the disorder.


*Mostly nonfiction. It should be noted that All the Weight of Our Dreams is an anthology that includes some fiction as well as nonfiction.

5 Titles is directed by the Research & Instructional Services (RIS) Department at Duke University Libraries.






Virtual Halloween Thrills & Chills

 

ghostieBoo!

 

 

When’s the last time you saw
An American Werewolf in London? Or Hocus Pocus?

DVD cover Hocus Pocus

wolfie

Lilly Library has hundreds of horror films for your seasonal dis-pleasure. Don’t be timid. Check one out…if you DARE!!!

A sampling of our Halloween movies is available as a virtual handout. Request DVDs of vintage vampire flicks, modern monster tales and Asian psychological scarers alongside musicals, comedies and silent era classics. Check them out the old-fashioned way, using Library Takeout for an extra- spooky experience.

And for those of you thirsting for streaming screaming, we have ghoulish titles available online. Curl up to Carnival of Souls or The Blob. Dip into a Bucket of Blood  or classic creepies like Bride of Frankenstein, The Birds, Night of the Living Dead and Rosemary’s Baby. Or enjoy newer frights like Us. Are you getting goosebumps just thinking about them!?

jackolantern

skeletonHere’s a chilling challenge: watch all the titles listed  on the handout by 11/30 and receive a FREE devilDVD!

As an added bonus, Duke faculty, Neal Bell’s recently published book, How to Write a Horror Movie, is coming online soon  … stay in a state of suspended animation or, better yet, R.I.P.!

 






2020 Banned Books Week

This week (September 27th-October 3rd, 2020) is Banned Books Week, which is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. This year I am going to focus on books by and about African-Americans that have been challenged or banned because they are often more likely to experience a challenge.

As explained in an American Library Association webpage about diversity and banned/challenged books: “While ‘diversity’ is seldom given as a reason for a challenge, it may in fact be an underlying and unspoken factor: the work is about people and issues others would prefer not to consider. Often, content addresses concerns of groups who have suffered historic and ongoing discrimination. For instance, a book that often recurs in previous years’ top ten challenges is Toni Morrison’s Beloved. While it has sex in it, and that’s often the complaint, many other books also have sex, and are not challenged. Is the underlying motivation for the challenge racism? Sometimes, it surely is. In other cases, of course, a complaint genuinely may be about precisely what the challenger says it is.”

Here are some examples of titles that we have in our collection that have faced challenges over the years (books are drawn from Banned Books Written by African Americans and Top 10 Banned Books that Changed the Face of Black History).

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin. Baldwin’s blunt prose rubbed people in New York and Virginia the wrong way, it appears. “Go Tell It on the Mountain” was banned in both states for being “rife with profanity and explicit sex” and including “recurring themes of rape, masturbation, violence and degrading treatment of women.”

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. After a parent’s public complaint at a school board meeting, the superintendent of Katy (TX) Independent School District removed the multiple award-winning book from all the school libraries in the district. Teachers and librarians argued against the censorship, which produced overwhelming media uproar. A Katy ISD student circulated a petition gathering over 3,700 signatures to urge reinstatement of the book. The Superintendent held firm in his claim that the book was pervasively vulgar and he was legally right to censor the book. Three months later the critically acclaimed novel about a black teen dealing with the aftermath of witnessing a police shooting that killed her unarmed friend was returned to the district’s high school libraries, available to students only with parental consent.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Challenged as a summer reading assignment in the Knoxville (TN) high school system because a parent claimed the nonfiction book “has too much graphic information.” Henrietta Lacks was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells – taken without her knowledge in 1951 – became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Banned in North Carolina prisons in February 2017 because it was considered “likely to provoke confrontation between racial groups.” The book was later removed from the list of prohibited books after the American Civil Liberties Union sent NC Department of Public Safety officials a public letter in 2018.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Though Time Magazine included the novel on its list of 100 best English-language novels published since 1923, not every English-language reader agrees. In 1997, parents in Brentsville, Virginia attempted to ban the novel from the Advanced English curriculum for “sexual explicitness.” Thankfully, the ban was overturned.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Winner of the National Book Award and ranked nineteenth on Modern Library’s list of 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man has nonetheless been challenged for its lack of “literary value.” In 2013, NCAC sent a letter to Randolph County Public Schools in North Carolina after they banned the book because of a complaint that it “is not so innocent; instead, this book is filthier, too much for teenagers.” Ten days after the original ban, the board held a special meeting to reconsider their actions and voted 6-1 to return the book. One member of the board expressed his shift after considering his son’s military career: “He was fighting for these rights. I’m casting a vote to take them away. Is it right of me? No.” Such reflections would even give the Invisible Man reason to step into the light of day.






Putting the ‘Global’ Back Into Global Pandemic, Part 2

Edited by Ernest Zitser, Ph.D., Librarian for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, library liaison to the International Comparative Studies Program, and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke University.

This is the second in a series of blog posts on global pandemics by the staff of and/or subject specialists directly affiliated with Duke Libraries’ International and Area Studies DepartmentAs is the case with the first installment of the series, the librarians who contributed the following entries seek to offer suggestions for further reading, not a comprehensive bibliography on the topicFor additional resources (visual or textual, analog or digital) on plagues/infectious diseases/moral panics from around the world, please contact the appropriate IAS librarian. And if you have any recommendations of your own, please “reply” to this blog post below.

_________________________________

Danette Pachtner
Librarian for Film, Video, & Digital Media and Women’s Studies

Unless you are a die-hard fan of the genre, it may be too soon in our experience of COVID-19 to seek out movies featuring infectious diseases that inspire moral panic or plagues that end the world. And even hardcore fans might want to take a break from perennial favorites, such as The Andromeda Strain (dir. Robert Wise, 1971, U.S), 28 Days Later (dir. Danny Boyle, 2002, U.K.), Children of Men (dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2006, U.S. & U.K.), Contagion (dir. Stephen Soderbergh, 2011, U.S.), or the cult classic (and my personal favorite) 12 Monkeys (dir. Terry Gilliam, 1995, U.S.).

However, as Duke’s Librarian for Film, Video, & Digital Media, it is my job to challenge patrons’ expectations of what/when/who is watchable by exposing them to visual resources that they might otherwise not know about or simply choose to ignore.  That is why I have compiled a short list of lesser known, but no-less-provocative foreign films that are all available, with English subtitles, in the Duke Libraries’ film collection. Precisely because of their variety of approaches—from bucolic (Wondrous Boccaccio ) to philosophical (The Seventh Seal) to apocalyptic (The Flu)—these films demonstrate that there are as many cinematic responses to pandemics as there are international movie makers and audiences. And these responses are as unique and culturally-mediated as the cinematic experience itself.

Wondrous Boccaccio

Wondrous Boccaccio (dirs. Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, 2015, Italy)
consumer streaming platforms | Lilly DVD 29001 | streaming in the Libraries [access requires Duke netid/password | licensed through 9-30-2020]
Based on Giovanni Boccaccio’s  Renaissance classic, The Decameron, this film follows the lives of ten young people who flee plague-ridden Florence in the mid-14th century, at the height of a pandemic that would ultimately kill over 30 million people, alter the European social structure, and influence the ideologies of those who survived. The Taviani brothers use Renaissance painting as a source of inspiration in their film. The cinematography evokes the vibrant colors of artists such as Botticelli in his scenes from The Decameron, as well as those of Masaccio and Giotto, moving from dark blacks in the plague-ridden city to vibrant colors of the countryside. The characters find refuge in an abandoned villa in the Tuscan hills and pass the time by telling each other tales of love, which range from the erotic to the tragic.

Image from film, Blindness
Blindness

Blindness (dir. Fernando Meirelles, 2008, Brazil & Canada)
consumer streaming platforms |Ford DVD #4943
Based on the bestselling novel by Nobel-Prize-winning Portuguese author, José Saramago, a city is ravaged by an epidemic of instant white blindness. Filmed on location in Brazil, Canada, and Uruguayalthough “the city” is never specifically identifiedthe story focuses on the behavior of  people who are losing their sight and are forced to survive in a sea of whiteness. The film depicts the ugliest side of human nature in a crisis; it offers a devastating portrait of institutional failure and government betrayal. The viewer can recognize chilling parallels with our current COVID-19 crisis, from the opportunism of corrupt governments to the neglect of the health-care system. Blindness is an end-of-civilization fable which is thought-provoking and topical in its indictment of declining social mores.

Image from film, The Hole
The Hole

The Hole (dir. Tsai Ming-liang, 1998, Taiwan) Lilly DVD 366
At the cusp of the 21st century, Taiwan experiences a torrential rain that brings with it a mysterious virus of epic proportions. Symptoms of “Taiwan Fever” include high fever and an acute sensitivity to light. Sections of the city are quarantined with essential services cut off by the government. The film is set in an apartment block in a quarantine zone where residents remain, against quarantine regulations. A plumber comes to fix a leak and instead leaves a gaping hole through which a tenant can see into his neighbor’s apartment below, and they develop a connection. The Hole presents a remarkable blend of aesthetic elements of science fiction, absurdism, and romantic fantasy, with musical sequences to boot. The film does not travel beyond the bounds of the apartment block. It explores the inward-looking aspects of an outbreakthe isolation it causes and how interactions with others become intensified.

Image from Seventh Seal
Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1957, Sweden) consumer streaming platforms |Lilly DVD 14846
Exhausted and embittered after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight returns home to a land ravaged by bubonic plague. He encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Focusing on issues of man’s relationships with death, life and God, Bergman’s story transcends simple metaphor in this now classic work rich in philosophical allegory that remains especially relevant today.

The Flu

The Flu (dir. Kim Sung-su, 2013, S. Korea) consumer streaming platforms | Lilly DVD 26447
This South Korean medical disaster film tells the story of panic, despair, and the desperate struggle for survival in a city that has been quarantined after the outbreak of a deadly virus.  The virus in this scenario is H5N1 influenza (commonly known as the ‘bird flu’) introduced by illegal immigrants from Hong Kong, arriving in a shipping container.  In order to prevent the spread of the virus worldwide, the government issues a national disaster and orders a city-wide lockdown. Citizens stock up on daily necessities, starting riots as mistrust of each other builds. In the meantime, politicians’ quarrels, powerless governments, and unwelcome U.S. involvement force the viewer to consider eventualities that might be even more frightening than a virus attack. Sound familiar?

___________________________________

Miree Ku
Korean Studies Librarian

Aside from scientific articles in medical journals about the most recent outbreaks of new strains of influenza and coronavirus, the issue of pandemics on the Korean peninsula has only recently attracted the attention from the English-speaking scholarly community.  That is why most of the publications on the topic are currently in the form of scholarly journal articles, dissertations, and theses, rather than academic monographs.

Korea Journal

For example, in 2011, Chaisung Lim, then Assistant Professor at the Institute for Japanese Studies at Korea’s Seoul National University, published an article on “The Pandemic of the Spanish Influenza in Colonial Korea” in the Korea Journal, a quarterly academic publication founded in 1961 with the goal of promoting Korean Studies around the world.  By examining the Spanish influenza, which was widespread during 1918-1921, Lim sought “to elucidate the structural aspect of disease and death in colonial Korea” and to “explor[e] its socioeconomic effects.” The author focused on the public health policies adopted by the Government-General of Korea (GGK)—the Japanese colonial ruling organ from 1910 to 1945—and the degree to which these measures contributed to the mortality of the general population.  He further probed how GGK’s policies were differentiated by ethnic group (ethnic Koreans and Japanese), as well as how much access each ethnic group had to measures for medical treatment. His research revealed a significant difference in the fatality rates between the two ethnic groups—a conclusion that reminds me of the differential effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups in the US. Interestingly, Lim’s study also posited that the social frustration caused by the pandemic and the ensuing economic hardships served as a source for the so-called March First Independence Movement in 1919, one of the earliest public displays of Korean resistance to Japanese colonial rule.

Pathogens from the Pulpit in DukeSpace

Another example of English-language research on the same topic comes from somewhere even closer to home.  Two years ago, a Duke undergraduate student named Alan Ko asked me, in my capacity as the Korean Studies Librarian, to assist him with his research on the Spanish flu during the colonial period in Korea.  He was then in the process of working on an honors thesis in the History Department and was looking for Korean-language primary sources.  Among other things, I suggested that he take a look at contemporary Korean newspapers, such as those made available in e-format by several different Korean newspaper archives.  He used those sources to examine how Western missionaries in colonial Korea perceived disease among the local populace and how public health efforts correlated with certain preconceived cultural and social factors.  Needless to say, it was very gratifying to learn that Alan not only went to graduate with honors, but that his honors thesis, “Pathogens from the Pulpit: Missionary Perceptions of Disease in Colonial Korea (1910-1940),” was deposited in DukeSpace—Duke Libraries’ online repository—thereby making the results of his research freely-available to other scholars.  It was also nice to see that the author publicly acknowledged the support that he received from Duke’s librarians, who not only helped him to locate “appropriate Korean language sources,” but also cheered him on with tea and pistachios, while he edited his thesis, during “work-study shifts” at Perkins library.

Plagues/infectious diseases/moral panics have also been a feature in Korean popular culture, appearing in several famous films, dramas, and novels.  One of the most recent films on the topic (The Flu) has already been mentioned above, in Danette Pachtner’s post on pandemics in international cinema.  Here, I would like to draw attention to another movie: “The Host,” a feature film directed by Bong Joon-ho—the Academy Award-winning director of The Parasite (2019).  Both The Host (2006) and The Flu (2013) were inspired by the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic of 2002-2004, which was caused by a different, but related strain of coronavirus than COVID-19.  Both films describe virus-related epidemic/pandemic situations and deal with the interplay between political and environmental issues. But only The Host has an American villain who is even more evil than the virus-spewing monster that he inadvertently unleashes upon the world.

The Host

The plot of The Host begins in a laboratory on an American military base in South Korea.  An American scientist working with dangerous chemicals orders his Korean colleague to dump them into the Han River, saying “who cares” and “it can’t really hurt anyone.”  Of course, turns out it can. The movie goes on to trace the havoc wreaked on Korea by a river-dwelling mutant created by the illegal dumping of chemical waste, as that monster begins to spread a deadly new virus, which can be transmitted (SARS-like) to humans through animals.

Despite its fantastic premise, this mash-up of medical disaster and monster movies actually has a basis in reality. In fact, the film was inspired by an incident from 2000 in which a Korean mortician working for the U.S. military in Seoul was ordered to dump a large amount of formaldehyde down the drain.  And, unfortunately, scenes from the movie have become an all-too-real part of our daily routine in the age of COVID-19.  In an eerie foreshadowing of the paranoia and anti-Asian racism that has attended the outbreak of the latest coronavirus pandemic, the movie depicts a world in which people who wear facemasks are so afraid of viral transmission that they come to suspect one another of deliberately, if not maliciously, hiding symptoms of the disease. The movie also highlights, if only by negative example, the critical role that the government can play during a national health crisis, portraying the South Korean government as bureaucratic, inept, and essentially uncaring.  Surely, there is no country in the world today where the government can be described in such unflattering terms. Now that is pure fantasy!






Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day – April 22, 2020!

Earth Day 2020 – A Streaming Film Festival

H2Omx – Best Documentary Feature Film (Mexican Academy of Cinematography 2015)

Docuseek, a streaming video platform of high quality documentary films,  is showing its support  for continuing education during the COVID-19 crisis by offering 12 films for free online streaming starting today through May 1. The theme of all 12 titles is sustainability centered around the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and includes new films as well as popular classics.

The first documentary film to be screened is How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change by Josh Fox. Traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?

Come Hell or High Water: the Battle for Turkey Creek

Visit and bookmark https://docuseek2.com/earthday for the full schedule of the Earth Day 2020 Film Festival. Check out my commentary on  Lilly’s Twitter.

Don’t worry if you miss a date, you will be able to access films released on previous days until May 1st. For more online viewing, check out the Duke Libraries’ streaming video* offerings of subscription and licensed films.

The True Cost – an investigation of “fast” fashion

*Note: access to these titles are limited to current Duke students, staff and faculty.






Animated April

Animated April @ Lilly Library

Team Pixar or Team Disney?

Animated April @ Lilly begins Monday, April 13!

Animated April – Are you Team Pixar or Team Disney?

Brackets aren’t just for March!

Do you like Looney Tunes, the quirkiness of Wallace and Gromit, anime like Spirited Away, French comedies like The Triplets of Belleville? Are you all about Disney classics or the latest offerings from Pixar?

Lilly Library has 100s of animated films. In fact, we have so many animated films, it’s time for you to “toon” in and enjoy our very own Lilly Library Animated April challenge: Pixar versus Disney.

If it’s animated, Disney and Pixar are the dominant players, so we’re highlighting eight films from each studio to face off in a special edition of our Animated April challenge starting Monday, April 13th. Join in the fun, pick your favorites, and maybe  win a prize!

Here’s how:
Vote when you visit our  Lilly Library Animated April cast of characters HERE.

Make your selections and vote for your choice of hot titles in Bracket Fire versus films that landed in Bracket Earth to eventually face the coolest films in Bracket Ice, which challenge the animated gems making waves in Bracket Under the Sea.

Brackets with film titles
All the Characters in Animated April

Voting dates are listed below and on the contest page.
Updates will be posted on Lilly’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts as well as in our blog, Latest@Lilly :

Nathaniel Brown Media & Reserves Coordinator, Lilly Library
Bracketologist Nathaniel Brown

Enjoy Bracketologist Nathaniel’s insights for each round:

All votes are to be submitted via Lilly Animated April .

Animated April

  • Round 1: Stellar 16:  CLOSED
  • Round 2: Enchanted 8 : CLOSED
  • Round 3: Favorite 4 : CLOSED
  • Round 4: Perfect Pair VOTE HERE
    Voting opens Monday, April 20 9am
    Voting closes Tuesday, April 21 8pm
  • Champion Crowned:  Wednesday April 22nd

*Did someone say PRIZES?
Participants who provide their Duke NetID and vote for the animated movie “champion” will be entered into drawings for virtual prizes, as well as special prizes for Duke students.

Be sure to make your picks of your favorites  – Pixar or Disney!






Good News for Those with Their Nose in a Book

One of the things people always say they love about libraries is the smell of old books. There’s nothing quite so comforting as the slightly musty aroma of stacks upon stacks of so much accumulated knowledge. Of all the things our students and faculty tell us they miss most during this extended period of home isolation, that ineffable library smell is up there at the top.

Now, thanks to recent advances in digital publishing, we’re excited to pilot a new feature in selected library e-books that lets you recapture that odoriferous experience virtually.


Screenshot of Scratch n Sniff e-Book
Look for the green “Scratch-n-Sniff” button in selected library e-books.

The next time you check out an e-book through our library catalog, look for the green “Scratch-n-Sniff” button in the online interface. Clicking the button will activate a feature that artificially simulates the olfactory experience of reading text on vintage, yellowed paper. Just gently scratch your display as you read to be transported back to your favorite reading nook in the library.

The first time you use the “Scratch-n-Sniff” feature, you may need to lean in close to your monitor and breathe deeply to get the full effect. The application isn’t compatible with all browsers. But if your operating system is up-to-date, you should be able adjust the display settings in the control panel of your PC or mobile device to strengthen the smell.

Library users are also advised to scratch carefully, as sharp fingernails and aggressive scratching may damage your monitor and cause the “Scratch-n-Sniff” function not to work properly.

“Over the years, e-books have represented a larger and larger percentage of library collections, even as some researchers—particularly those in the humanities—continue to turn their nose up at them,” said Jeff Kosokoff, Assistant University Librarian for Collection Strategy. “We understand. Nothing quite compares to the age-old experience of immersing yourself in a physical book. But now that digital is the only option for a while, we’re doing everything we can to replicate the experience Duke’s world-class students and faculty are accustomed to.”

“We had to pay through the nose for this add-on feature,” Kosokoff added, “but it’s worth it to keep our Duke community feeling connected to their library.”

Fans of the classics will be particularly pleased to know that the earlier a book’s original publication date, the mustier it smells. For instance, clicking the “Scratch-n-Sniff” button while reading an electronic copy of David Copperfield (which happens to be our next selection for the Low Maintenance Book Club, by the way) is like holding a real first-edition Dickens up to your nose.

The “Scratch-n-Sniff” e-book feature is available for a limited time for selected e-books in our library catalog and works with most PCs, laptops, Apple and Android devices, and e-readers, including Amazon Kindle, Kobo Libra, and Barnes and Noble Nook. It does not work with Internet Explorer, however.

Library user sniffing ebook screen
Is this fragrant feature for real? Unfortunately it snot. Happy April Fools’ Day, Dukies. Smell ya later!






2019 Banned Books Week

This week (September 22nd-28th) is Banned Books Week, which is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Inspired by an article I read this year (More than half of banned books challenged for LGBTQ content), I want to highlight some LGBTQ related titles that have been challenged or banned to make us more aware of the need to include a variety of voices.  I hope that you will enjoy exploring these titles for yourself.

Angels in America by Tony Kushner.  Angels in America was challenged at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Massachusetts after protests from a community member who objected to its sexual, religious and racial content, and public attacks made by a local organization that called the play ‘pornography.’ However, after a major outcry from students and other community members, including a student who wrote an op-ed, it was decided that the book would still be taught in the Deerfield AP English class.

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden.  It was published first in 1982 amidst controversy because of its positive portrayal of the story’s gay protagonists. There have been several attacks on the book because it centers on two 17 year old girls exploring their sexual orientation, though there are no explicit sexual encounters in the novel. The book was also reportedly banned in some Kansas City schools.  The book was at the center of a high-profile 1995 case in which US District Court Justice Thomas Van Bebber ruled that the novel must be returned to high school libraries where it had been removed because it was educationally suitable.

Coming Out in College: The Struggle for a Queer Identity by Robert A. Rhoads.  It was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objects to this book because it promotes gay pride and a rejection of heterosexism.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel.  Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is a graphic novel memoir of the author’s childhood, particularly focused on her relationship with her closeted gay father Bruce. As Alison grows older and realizes that she is a lesbian, she and Bruce are both forced to confront how his repression may have affected her own self-image and the way that she dealt with her sexuality. Time magazine named it the best book of 2006, describing it as “a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.” The musical adaptation of Fun Home won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical. In 2018, two New Jersey parents requested that it be removed from the 12th grade honors curriculum because of its “sexually explicit nature.”

Gays/Justice: A Study of Ethics, Society and Law by Richard D. Mohr.  Gays/Justice was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objects to this book because it endorses stronger civil rights for gay people and opposes organized religion.

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger.  It has recently become one of the most banned and challenged books in the United States. It was banned in the author’s hometown of Tacoma, Washington. More recently, the book has come under fire in West Bend, Wisconsin, where community members object to its presence in the local library because of its ‘immoral’ gay content. Click here for the Kids’ Right to Read Project interview with Brent Hartinger.

George by Alex Gino tells the story a child who is born male and known to all as George, but identifies as female and prefers the name Melissa. The book details how Melissa comes out to her best friend, and eventually to others, through the help of a school play. Five elementary schools in eastern Oregon withdrew from an annual statewide ‘Battle of the Books’ competition because of the inclusion of George in the reading list. The book carries an age recommendation of grades 3-7 and the schools’ principals argued it was not appropriate for their third-to-fifth grade students who would be participating in the competition.

Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio.  In May 2005, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on public libraries to remove children’s books with references to gay characters or families. In response, gay and lesbian civil rights groups in Oklahoma donated copies of Lost Prophet: The Life of Bayard Rustin and Stonewall: The Riot that Sparked the Gay Revolution to local high schools. The donation was met with conservative outcry but the Oklahoma City school board voted to permit the donation.

New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein.  The New Joy of Gay Sex met various challenges including its being challenged at a Clifton, New Jersey library where the board voted to limit access to the book, keeping it hidden behind the circulation desk and requiring that patrons ask for it specifically by name. Additionally, a York Township woman in Medina County, Ohio quit her job as a librarian in protest over children being able to check out adult-oriented materials like The New Joy of Gay Sex. The library took no action maintaining that its policy was a parental responsibility to monitor which books children checked out.

Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse is a graphic novel about a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality in the Civil Rights era American south. Themes include homophobia, racism and gay identity. The novel was attacked by the Library Patrons of Texas, who objected to its inclusion in local libraries. They forced the reclassification of the book from Young Adult to Adult, but the book was not removed.

The National Coalition Against Censorship has even more titles on their website.






Lilly Collection Spotlight – Native Voices: the Duke Common Experience and Beyond

Native Americans in the Arts

by Ira King

Book There,There
There There – The Duke Common Experience

Need some new reading material or are you just interested in seeing what’s in the Lilly Library’s collections that you might not know about? Check out Lilly’s Collection Spotlight!

To accompany the Duke Common Experience Reading Program selection of Tommy Orange’s There There, our spotlight highlights books and films that center Native American voices and perspectives. Orange, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma, writes in his debut novel about a dozen Native Americans travelling to a powwow in Oakland, California. There There focuses on urban Native Americans, exploring the beauty and despair these characters experience as they navigate life in the United States.

Our collections include books on Native American art, novels by Native Americans, memoirs of native experiences, films and documentaries, and historical accounts. Here are a few highlights from our collection:

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

Book Cover
Hearts of Our People: Exhibit at the Minneapolis Museum of Art

This exhibition catalog from the Minneapolis Institute of Art highlights a broad spectrum of art created by Native American women. Work explored ranges from textiles to painting to photography and video, and covers antiquity to contemporary work. If you’re interested in checking out some Native art in person, the Nasher Museum’s exhibit, Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now, opens on August 29th.

Book Cover
Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich Louise Erdrich, an acclaimed writer and member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, experiments with a dystopian setting in this novel. The novel follows Cedar Hawk Songmaker, four months pregnant, as she ventures out of Minneapolis and seeks out her Ojibwe birth mother against the backdrop of a security state cracking down on pregnant women. Check out Erdrich’s bookstore if you are ever in the Twin Cities.

Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong by Paul Chaat Smith Smith, an associate curator at the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, challenges mainstream assumptions about native peoples and cultures in this essay collection. This book blends memoir and cultural commentary to paint a more nuanced picture of native life.

Smoke Signals Based on a Sherman Alexie short story, this film follows two young Native Americans, Victor and Thomas, on a road trip to pick up Victor’s father’s remains. Smoke Signals is notable for having a Native American writer and director, as well as an almost entirely native cast and crew.

 

 

 






International and Area Studies Exhibit: Anti-Americanism: A Visual History

Come see a new exhibit from the International and Area Studies Department which displays anti-American materials spanning 130 years and four continents. Inspired by the recent acquisition of a Cold War-era comic collection from the People’s Republic of China, the exhibit expands to capture a broad range of responses to America’s presence on the world stage throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

The earliest materials on display date from the time of the Spanish-American War at the turn of the 20th century. These include famous critiques of American imperialism by Latin American thinkers like José Enrique Rodó and José Martí, as well as political cartoons from the period which reveal both Cuban responses to the war and dissenting voices from within the United States.

Moving through the 20th century, the exhibit features reproductions of Italian World War II propaganda posters which can be found in the Rubenstein Library’s Broadsides and Ephemera Collection. The bulk of the materials focus on the Cold War and the anti-American sentiment invoked by lingering U.S. military presence in East Asia. Highlights include the allusion-rich and satirically humorous Chinese comics from the 1950s and 1960s, as well as published photograph collections documenting anti-American protests in Korea and Japan.

From archival posters to reproductions found in secondary sources, the Duke Libraries’ collections provide a wealth of visual anti-American material to research and explore. Come to the second floor of Bostock Library by the Nicholas Family International Reading Room to view the highlights, and learn about the complex and competing narratives which have shaped international perceptions of the United States through the years.

Special thanks to Yoon Kim and to the Exhibit Services Department for their kind help in providing resources for the exhibit.






Upcoming International and Area Studies Exhibit

Stayed tuned for our upcoming exhibit of anti-American materials from around the world! The display will feature historic Chinese comics from a recently-acquired collection. These visual propaganda pieces were published in the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Cold War drove tensions between the two nations to new heights. The exhibit will also highlight materials from Europe, Latin America and the United States itself. Take a look below to get a sneak peek at two items which will feature.

Entitled “Be Clear about the Nature of American Imperialism,” this comic illustrates American hypocrisy. A serene President Kennedy poses like the Buddha. On his right, arms reading “The Peace Corps” offer gifts of harmony and prosperity, including a sack labeled “Food for Peace.” On his right, arms reading “Preparing for war against Cuba and Lumumba” wield tools of violence.

This comic,  “Thus Is America,” vividly depicts the perceived vices of the United States, including the oppression of workers, the Ku Klux Klan, loose morals and international aggression. Can you spot General George MacArthur?

The exhibit will be displayed on the second floor of Bostock Library next to the East Asian Magazine Reading Room starting in July.






The Photographs of Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes: Engaging with the History of Muslim Communities in Xinjiang

The photographs in Sir Percy Molesworth Sykes’ recently-acquired 1915 album capture a pivotal moment in what was then known as Chinese Turkestan (modern-day Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China). China’s Qing dynasty had collapsed only a few years earlier. It was an era of warlords, weak central government and competing external influences as Ottoman Turks, Russians, Han Chinese, the British and the region’s Muslim ethnic groups jockeyed for power in a complex geopolitical landscape. Lieutenant Colonel Sykes was dispatched to temporarily assume the role of Consular-General in Kashgar. He was stepping in for Sir George Macartney, a relation to the statesman of the same name who led the first British diplomatic mission to China in 1793. Sykes was accompanied by his sister Ella Constance Sykes, a prolific travel writer who may also have taken some of the photographs which appear in the album.

This Dungan general sits framed by banners in Chinese which prominently display his surname, Ma, along with information about his regiment.

In a region where history is intertwined with political legitimacy, the preservation and documentation of these photographs and others like them have an important role to play. Today as Muslim minorities in Xinjiang suffer under government-sanctioned suppression of their religious freedom and identity, Percy Sykes’ album affords us a further opportunity to study, appreciate, and critically engage with the rich heritage of the native peoples of this region.

To see the full digitized collection, check out the Duke Libraries’ Digital Repository. More information about the photographs can also be found in the collection guide. The album is available for viewing in the Rubenstein Library reading room.

Uyghur boys in Kashgar recite from the Quran.

Sources

Forbes, Andrew D. W. Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Sykes, Percy and Ella. Through Deserts and Oases of Central Asia. London: Macmillan and Co., 1920.

Williams, Victoria. Weird Sports and Wacky Games Around the World: From Buzkashi to Zorbing. ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2015. Proquest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/duke/detail.action?docID=2007444.






Last Chance to See Exhibit: Graphic Narratives from Around the World

Come explore the truly global popularity of graphic novels at the International and Area Studies exhibit on the second floor of Bostock Library, next to the East Asian Magazine Reading Room. The exhibit will be up through next Tuesday.

Since ancient times, human beings all over the globe have been bringing text and images together to tell stories. In this selection of graphic novels and cartoons from Duke’s collection, you will see retellings of classics and tales of adventure that have gained massive popularity in Japan and China. You will see stories of revolution and bold political movements from Russia, India, South Africa, and Colombia. You will see tales of atrocities, survival, and redemption in Germany and Israel. You will see humor, both lighthearted and political, in Turkey, Portugal and Spain, and everyday life in Korea and Côte d’Ivoire. This variety demonstrates the power of graphic narratives to reflect and lend new visual interpretations to all aspects of the human experience. We welcome you to explore one of the world’s most popular modes of storytelling in the Duke collection.

 






May 2019 Collection Spotlight: Southern Food

This month’s Collection Spotlight in Perkins Library explores foodways of the southeastern United States. People come to Duke from all over the world, and while they’re here, they will undoubtedly eat. We invite you to reflect on the cultural importance of food in this region, whether you’re here for life or just a little while.

We’re featuring books that explore the intersections of food with race and class and gender. We’ve tried to represent some of the regional diversity in southern food, from Appalachia to the Piedmont, the Low Country to the Gulf Coast, and some of the diverse cultures that contribute to southern food today. We’re thinking about politics and history and personal stories. And we hope there’s something for everyone, whether you’re interested in food studies theory and methods, a recipe for your evening meal, or even poetry.

Of course, some of the hottest titles are perpetually checked out, and for those you’re invited to submit an interlibrary request (tip: you can just use the green “Request” button when you search for a book and it will populate the form). Of course, we also have many eBooks you won’t see on display, so don’t forget to check the catalog.

Come take a peek next to the Perkins Library Service Desk, though we can’t promise you won’t leave hungry.






Lilly Collection Spotlight: Dear Duke

The Art of Writing / The Writer’s Art

Jane Austen book, Epicurus book, Letter from Birmingham Jail book covers
Collection Spotlight on Letters

Dear Duke,

When was the last time you wrote a letter or received a card in a real mailbox?
Before the Digital Age – and there was such a time – people wrote letters on paper and sent cards to each other. The latest Lilly Collection Spotlight shines on the disappearing art of letter writing, featuring a selection of books and films in which letters or ongoing correspondence play an integral role. Authors include literary and political figures such as Epicurus, Jane Austen, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Samuel Beckett.

3 DVD covers
Films about letter writing

The role letter writing plays in film, whether just as a plot device or as narration and explication helped us choose a few films from our collections. Relationships built through intimate correspondence, letters never received, mis-delivered or rediscovered frame many film narratives.  Steal a Pencil for Me, Mary and Max, Letters to Juliet and P.S. I Love You are among the films featured.

Accompanying our Collection Spotlight are two exhibit cases featuring artists’ correspondence. Displayed in the lobby case are volumes of Vincent van Gogh’s letters. He was a prolific letter writer whose writings provide insight into his work, his art, and his struggles.  Van Gogh often adorned his letters with drawings and sketches. The exhibit case in the foyer highlights  letters written by other artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Albert Eisenstadt, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.

Notecard with written advice to Duke student
Duke Class of 2019 Notes to Duke 2022

p.s. 

In addition to the Collection Spotlight, browse the nearby interactive exhibit of handwritten notes from Duke Seniors, Class of 2019, to the First-Year members of Duke’s Class of 2022.

Feel free to pull out the notes from the board and read them. There is a bit of advice, personal observations, and even a little bit of wisdom on display!






Locus Collection Tracks the Stars and Universe of Sci-Fi

The Locus collection includes some 16,000 rare and noteworthy monuments of science fiction and fantasy, many in their original dust jackets.


The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University has acquired the archives of the Locus Science Fiction Foundation, publisher of Locus, the preeminent trade magazine for the science fiction and fantasy publishing field.

The massive collection—which arrived in almost a thousand boxes—includes first editions of numerous landmarks of science fiction and fantasy, along with correspondence from some of the genre’s best-known practitioners, including Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison, Octavia E. Butler, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), Dean Koontz, Robert A. Heinlein, and hundreds more.

Locus started out in 1968 as a one-sheet science fiction and fantasy fanzine. Since then, it has evolved into the most trusted news magazine in science fiction and fantasy publishing, with in-depth reviews, author interviews, forthcoming book announcements, convention coverage, and comprehensive listings of all science fiction books published in English. It also administers the prestigious annual Locus Awards, first presented in 1971, which recognize excellence in science fiction and fantasy.

Over the course of five decades in print, the magazine’s editors and staff have collected and saved correspondence, clippings, and books by and about science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers. What emerges from this trove of material is a tapestry of a diverse and thriving community of writers, publishers, and editors, all working to create new and modern genres of speculative literature.

This rare advanced reader’s copy of the first edition of Game of Thrones has a distinctly different look and feel from the popular HBO series.

Of the magazine’s original three co-founders—Charles N. Brown, Ed Meskys, and Dave Vanderwerf—only Brown remained after the magazine’s first year. He would continue to edit the publication until his death in 2009, earning the magazine some thirty Hugo Awards in the process and becoming a colorful and influential figure in the publishing world. A tireless advocate for speculative fiction, Brown was also a voluminous correspondent and friend to many of the writers featured in the magazine. Many of them wrote to him over the years to share personal and professional news, or to quibble about inaccuracies and suggest corrections. The letters are often friendly, personal, humorous, and occasionally sassy.

Reacting to a recent issue of Locus that featured one of her short stories, the science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler wrote, “I am Octavia E. Butler in all my stories, novels, and letters. How is it that I’ve lost my E in three places in Locus #292? Three places! You owe me three E’s. That’s a scream, isn’t it?”

One also finds frequent remembrances and retrospectives of departed members of the Locus community, such as Ursula K. Le Guin’s poignant reflections on the passing of Philip K. Dick. After Brown’s own death, the magazine continued publication under the auspices of the Locus Science Fiction Foundation, a registered nonprofit. The magazine launched a digital edition in January 2011 and has published both in print and online ever since.

In addition to the correspondence, story drafts, and other manuscript material (which has now been processed), the collection includes some 16,000 rare and noteworthy monuments of science fiction and fantasy from Brown’s extensive personal library, such as first editions of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, J. R. R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and hundreds more.

“Historical literary treasures abound in the Locus collection, from full runs of the pulps to vintage first editions to contemporary works,” said Liza Groen Trombi, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Locus Magazine. “And its preservation is deeply important. It is the product of decades of collecting and curating, starting in the 1940s, the Golden Age of science fiction, when Locus’s founding publisher Charles N. Brown was an avid reader with a deep love of genre, through his time working within the science fiction field, and up to the present day under the current Locus staff. Housing those core works in an institution where they’ll be both accessible to scholars and researchers at the same time as they are carefully preserved is a goal that I and the Locus Science Fiction Foundation board of directors had long had. I am very happy to see them in the dedicated care of the curators and librarians at Duke.”

In its new home in the Rubenstein Library, the Locus collection complements existing collection strengths in the areas of science fiction and popular literature, including the Glenn R. Negley Collection of Utopian Literature, and the Edwin and Terry Murray Collection of Pulp Culture.

“The opportunity to acquire the Locus Foundation library is a tremendous one for Duke,” said Sara Seten Berghausen, Associate Curator of Collections in the Rubenstein Library. “Because it’s a carefully curated collection of the most important and influential works of science fiction of the last several decades—most in their original dust jackets, with fantastic artwork—it complements perfectly our existing collection of utopian literature from the early modern period through the mid-twentieth century.”

Locus started out as a one-sheet science fiction and fantasy fanzine and grew into the most trusted news magazine in science fiction and fantasy publishing.

Berghausen notes that Brown and Locus created not only this collection, but a community of writers, and those relationships are documented throughout the archival collection as well. “The research and teaching possibilities are almost unlimited,” she said. “From political theory to history, art, anthropology and gender studies, there are materials in the collection that could enrich the study of so many topics.”

The collection is already being used in courses at Duke. This semester, English professor Michael D’Alessandro brought his class on utopias and dystopias in American literature to the Rubenstein Library to examine some of the Locus materials first-hand.

“It’s a curious strength Duke has that I didn’t expect,” said D’Alessandro. “I taught this course previously at Harvard, and even the archives there didn’t have anything like this collection, which adds a whole new breadth and depth to the class.”






Grammy Nominees – and Winners! – in the Music Library

Grammys at the ML
Grammy Awards Collection Spotlight

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards wrapped up in February, and now is your chance to catch up with some of the critically-acclaimed recordings that you may have heard about but haven’t had a chance to audition yourself. The Duke Music Library is pleased to unveil a new collection spotlight of recordings nominated for the 2019 Grammy awards, featuring more than 80 albums from just about every category you’ve heard of – and some you might not have!

In addition to some of the finest recordings from the last year in Opera, Musical Theatre, and Classical, this collection spotlight includes Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Kacey Musgraves, Beck, Fred Hersch, Drake, Joshua Redman, Kurt Elling, Buddy Guy, High on Fire, and many more.


Check out our very own “staff picks”:

Philippe Jaroussky and Artaserse, The Handel Album

French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky is among the most famous countertenors in the world right now, and it’s a voice range that has attracted growing interest in recent years. The high range of the countertenor voice and the manner in which its unusual qualities are produced results in a sound that has often been described as unearthly – it’s also a powerful and flexible voice type, able to handle music of stunning virtuosity and highly expressive pathos. All of these qualities are beautifully demonstrated in this album of arias selected by Jaroussky from among lesser-known Handel operas, highlighting pieces which he says “reveal a more intimate, tender side of Handel.”

Preview an incredible aria from the album, “Sussurrate, onde vezzose” from Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula, which evokes the limpid and gentle murmuring of waves. Jaroussky begins with an almost impossibly hushed suspended note on the word “whispering.”

-Laura Williams, Head Librarian, Music Library

 

Fred Hersch Trio, Live in Europe

Fred Hersch and company continue to find new and innovative modes of expression within the jazz piano trio context. Featuring new Hersch originals alongside fresh interpretations of a few standard tunes, this album really shines, both in recording quality and inspired live performance.

-Jamie Keesecker,  Stacks Manager and Student Supervisor, Music Library

 

High on Fire, Electric Messiah

Metal lifer Matt Pike gets the big nod after a year in which this release was not even the best thing he put out (that distinction would go to his other band Sleep’s album ‘The Sciences’). It was also a year in which he had a public struggle with diabetes that cost him a toe and grounded a large part of the tour for ‘Electric Messiah’. That said, when the award was announced early in the Grammy ceremony, the cameras spent many long seconds scanning back and forth looking for the winners in a mostly-deserted theater. Finally, from way in the back, Pike hobbled forward with the help of a cane, and accompanied by his metal peers, to accept his shiny statue. “We never really need an award for doing what we love…” was part of Pike’s on-stage comment, but the commendation was very cool all the same.  

– Stephen Conrad, Order Specialist for Music and Film and Team Lead for Western Languages, Monographic Acquisitions

 

James Ehnes, Violin Concertos by James Newton Howard and Aaron Jay Kernis

The new Kernis Concerto was written for Canadian violinist James Ehnes, and it really serves as a showcase for Ehnes’ strengths. He comes across as such an intelligent musician, really playing with (not just in front of) the other members of the orchestra – Kernis gives them some great moments of interplay here. This work also balances Ehnes’ ability to deliver beautifully straightforward, unfussy lines one minute and astoundingly virtuosic cadenzas the next. Oh, and apparently he watched his Grammy win on a live stream in his neighborhood grocery store parking lot. How much more Canadian and unpretentious can you get?

-Sarah Griffin, Public Services Coordinator, Music Library (and, yes, a violinist)

 


Come over to East Campus to see these and browse through many more on our display of CDs. Don’t have a CD drive on your laptop anymore? No, neither do we! Borrow a portable DVD/CD drive while you’re here.

Fans of accompanying visual materials may find these albums to be of particular interest:

  • Wayne Shorter’s immersive Emanon, packaged with its accompanying graphic novel by comic book artist Randy DuBurke.
  • The Berliner Philharmoniker’s 6-disc box set (4 CDs and 2 Blu-ray discs), The John Adams Edition, featuring the music of legendary minimalist composer John Adams, with photographic artwork by Wolfgang Tillmans. Recorded during the orchestra’s 2016/2017 season during which Adams served as Composer in Residence.
  • At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight, a massive 20-CD box set with 224-page hardcover book documenting the storied radio program broadcast live from the Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana between 1948 and 1960. Includes a previously unreleased recording by Hank Williams, as well as rare gems from Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells, Elvis Presley, and many more.
  • Battleground Korea: Songs and Sounds of America’s Forgotten War brings together an assortment of songs, news reports, public service announcements, and other spoken-word audio (including a plea for blood donations from Howdy Doody) on four CDs, accompanied by a full-color hardcover book featuring song and artist information, record covers, advertisements, propaganda posters, and rarely-seen photographs from the war.

Battleground Korea and Louisiana Hayride






April 2019 Collection Spotlight: Graphic Novels and Comics

This month’s Collection Spotlight shines a light on graphic novels and comics.  You will find a variety of graphic novels and comics from across our libraries on display.  Here are some examples:

Ms. Marvel, writer, G. Willow Wilson ; color artist, Ian Herring ; letterer, VC’s Joe Caramagna

 

 

 

I Kill Giants, [written by] Joe Kelly ; [art & design by] JM Ken Niimura

 

 

 

 

The Annotated Sandman,  by Neil Gaiman ; edited, with an introduction and notes by Leslie S. Klinger ; featuring characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg

 

 

Aya of Yop City, Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie

 

 

 

 

Wandering Son, [Shimura Takako ; translation, Matt Thorn]

 

 

 

 

French Milk, Lucy Knisley

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in finding out more details about finding graphic novels and comics in our collections, read on!

Comics and Graphic Novels in the Stacks

You can check out comics and graphic novels from our circulating collections.  We have comics and graphic novels scattered throughout our libraries, with most of them housed at Lilly Library on East campus.  You’ll find everything from The Walking Dead to Persepolis.

There are several ways to identify titles.  If you want to browse, relevant call number sections include PN6700-6790 and NC1300-1766.  You can do a title search in our library catalog for specific titles.  You can also use the subject headings Comic books, strips, etc. and graphic novels to discover more titles.

Manga

We have manga in the East Asian collection on the second floor of Bostock.  We hold about 600 titles in Japanese and 150 titles translated into English just in PN6790.J3 – PN6790.J34.  You can also find Korean manhwa in PN6790 K6 – PN6790.K64.  Popular titles held at Duke include One Piece, Dragon ballNarutoAstro Boy, as well as the complete works of Tezuka Osamu.

The Underground and Independent Comics Database

The Underground and Independent Comics database is the first-ever scholarly online collection for researchers and students of adult comic books and graphic novels. It features the comics themselves along with interviews, commentary, and criticism. Includes artists such as Jessica Abel, Jaime Hernandez, Jason, Harvey Pekar, Dave Sim, and many more. There are comics from around the world, including Canada, France, Italy, Spain, England, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Korea, Japan.

Overdrive

We have just recently begun purchasing some comics for Overdrive!  More titles to come!

Rare and Original Issues at the Rubenstein Library

The Rubenstein’s comic collection spans many decades, publishers, and styles: from Golden Age Batman to modern graphic novels, and everything in between.

Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection

With more than 67,000 comic books from the 1930s to the 2000s, this is our largest collection.  All of the comic book titles are in the process of being added to the library catalog, so you will be able to search the catalog for your favorite superhero!   The titles currently available can also be found in the catalog by searching for “Edwin and Terry Murray Collection (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library).”   You can try searching by genres, such as “Detective and mystery comics” and  “Underground comics,” as well.

Comic Book and Graphic Novel Collection

Contains thousands of additional comics and graphic novels with rich materials in international comics, especially Argentina and France, and comics created by women.  Find them in the Guide to the Comic Book and Graphic Novel Collection, 1938-2012.

 

In the meantime, check out the Collection Spotlight rack near our Perkins Library Service Desk on the first floor of Perkins to find your next read!






From Shipping Crate to Exhibit Case: The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection

Please join us for an event celebrating the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection and the work of our amazing staff!

Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.
Phillis Wheatly, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Lisa Unger Baskin Collection.

Date: Friday, April 12
Time: 11:00-11:45 am
Location: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein 153

In April 2015, the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection arrived at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University. Comprising over 11,000 rare books and thousands of manuscripts, journals, ephemera, and artifacts, the Baskin Collection includes many well-known monuments of women’s history and arts as well as lesser-known works produced by female scholars, printers, publishers, laborers, scientists, authors, artists, and political activists. “From Shipping Crate to Exhibit Case” looks at the comprehensive work of libraries, including how we organize, conserve, describe, and exhibit, through the lens of this unique collection.

“Five Hundred Years of Women’s Work: The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection” will be available for viewing after the program, in the Mary Duke Biddle Room.

This event is free and open to the public.

 






Lilly Library March Movie Madness The Conquering Hero

Hail the Conquering Hero

This just in from the DYNAMIC DUO news desk…

All Hail the Conquering (super) Hero: Black Panther

From your friendly Lilly Library Bracketologist:

Nathaniel Brown Media & Reserves Coordinator, Lilly Library
Bracketologist Nathaniel Brown

Vibrationally speaking,  in the  final matchup, The Black Panther quivered and pounded The Incredibles into submission as it came out on top as the Best Superhero Movie, 80-59!

I must give credit where credit is due…The Incredibles had an incredible run to the finals toppling giants and proving they can run with the big dogs.

But this year’s bracket (and box office) belongs to The King of Wakanda! All Hail T’Challa!

This year’s Superhero Edition of March Movie Madness proved to be a Marvel, and an Incredible adventure. Thank you to all the students and university staff who participated.

As for the hopes of the vanquished,
just wait until next year!

Contributors:
Nathaniel Brown, Lilly Library Media and Reserves Coordinator
Carol Terry, Lilly Library Collection Services & Communications Coordinator

 

 






Lilly Library March Movie Madness: The Dynamic Duo

And then there were TWO!

Picture of Black Panther and The Incredibles as the two finalist in the March Movie Madness Challenge
The Dynamic Duo: who will be the Conquering Hero?

After three rounds of voting, the brackets are cleared, and just two Superhero movies remain standing – our Dynamic Duo  of Black Panther and  the family known as The Incredibles.

Are you surprised?

Lilly’s expert bracketologist, the man with super-vision and powers of prognostication isn’t … and, yet,  he is also “incredibly” surprised:

Nathaniel Brown Media & Reserves Coordinator, Lilly Library
Bracketologist Nathaniel Brown

This just in from the FANTASTIC FOUR news desk…

The Black Panther continues its meteoric path through the brackets, mowing down Thor: Ragnarok 95-40!

And in a complete shocker, The Incredibles, proving that blood runs thicker than water and that no one can take them out, squeak by Spiderman Into the Spider-verse, 70-65! I, your expert, for one did not see this happening! Stay tuned for the DYNAMIC DUO Champion Round:

VOTE for the Conquering Hero HERE

Round 4 Voting

Friday, March 29th until Monday, April 1st at noon.

Image of brackets for Lilly Library March Movie Madness showing results of Black Panther vs The Incredibles
Who will be THE Conquering Hero?

Results announced Monday, April 1st at 6pm

Who will prevail? Will you be fooled?


Contributors:
Nathaniel Brown, Lilly Library Media and Reserves Coordinator
Carol Terry, Lilly Library Collection Services & Communications Coordinator

 

 






Lilly Library March Movie Madness The Fantastic Four

Survive and Advance: The Fantastic Four

A collage of the Final Fantastic Films
Lilly Library’s March Movie MaDnEsS: The Final Four Superhero Films

Survive and advance –  that should resonate with our Duke Crazies!  Did your superhero Movie advance to the Fantastic Four?

Take that Fantastic Four to a Dynamic Duo – Vote HERE now!

Nathaniel Brown Media & Reserves Coordinator, Lilly Library
Bracketologist Nathaniel Brown

Lilly’s March Movie Madness Expert Bracketologist, Nathaniel Brown,  offers a recap of the epic battle waged between the remaining Exteme Eight Films:

In the Metropolis region, although Captain America did upset the hometown boy in the first round, he couldn’t handle the family of animated heroes!  Jack-Jack, who’s really coming into his powers, overwhelmed the First Avenger and helped his Incredible family destroy Captain America: Civil War 116-48!

The Black Panther continued to take care of Wakanda business as he thrashed all five of the Guardians with the tally of  108-56!

Spider-Man: into the Spider-Verse overtook Wonder Woman and dethroned the first-born child of the Paradise Isle, defeating her 90-74!

And in a shocker, Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir, struck a fatal blow and edged the Dark Knight out of Gotham—and out of the Extreme Eight round— 84-80!

Updated Brackets of March Movie Madness Showing Fantastic Four winners: Thor, Black Panther, The Incredibles, and Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
And then there were Four

Reminder: Round 3 voting
ends Thursday March 28th at noon.

VOTE

Can  you catch (the God of )Lightning in a bottle
and take the victory?

Contributors:
Nathaniel Brown, Lilly Library Media and Reserves Coordinator
Carol Terry, Lilly Library Collection Services & Communications Coordinator






Lilly Library March Movie Madness: THE SUPERHERO EDITION

BREAKING NEWS!
The Extreme Eight Now Reigns

Collage of 16 entries with 8 losing films marked out
Did your superhero movie prevail?

ROUND TWO: Vote at  https://bit.ly/2YbqBxg

Which is Your universe: Marvel or DC?

Who is the best superhero or superhero faction? Does the Marvel Universe or DC Comics reign supreme? The decision is entirely in your hands if you enter Lilly Library’s March Movie Madness! While the battles for the rounds of 64 and 32 occurred on Knowhere and Xandar respectively, we announce that Super Sixteen combatants remain. Now the war has arrived on Earth (or, at least, Lilly Library) and it’s time to crown our champion!

This year’s Lilly Library March Movie Madness begins Monday, March 18th. It’s YOUR turn to enter into the fray and vote in the evolving brackets to help decide our ultimate superhero! And, yes – there are prizes!

BRACKETOLOGY by Nathaniel Brown

Nathaniel Brown Media & Reserves Coordinator, Lilly Library
Lilly Library’s Expert Bracketologist Nathaniel Brown

  • In the Gotham bracket, will the hometown advantage aid the Caped Crusader to pull out the victory and advance to the Fantastic Four? Which version of the Dark Knight will advance – the sarcastic and brooding Lego version, or the equally brooding, looking to retire Christian Bale version? Will the God of Thunder electrify Gotham instead? Or will the King of Atlantis flood the city?
  • In the Metropolis bracket, will the animated family of the Incredibles overtake the Xavier led group of mutants? Will the Man of Steel preserve home field and annihilate the First Avenger?
  • In the majestic bracket of Paradise Island, will Wonder Woman continue her blockbuster success and dethrone the wisecracking Deadpool? Will the Spider multiverse pelt the suit of the Man in a Tin Can with his web shooters?
  • Lastly, in the Wakanda bracket, will the all-powerful Justice League defeat the Guardians of the Galaxy (who always seem to have their own personal agendas but come together when it counts)? Or will the King of Wakanda pounce and maul the opposition provided by the Web-slinger?

Join Forces in the Super Sixteen Brackets

  • The SUPER SIXTEEN:
    Vote March 18th until noon on Wednesday, March 20th
  • The EXTREME EIGHT: Vote HERE
    Vote Thursday, March 21st  until noon on Monday, March 25th
  • The FANTASTIC FOUR:
    VoteTuesday, March 26th until noon on Thursday, March 28th
  • The DYNAMIC DUO Championship Round:
    VoteFriday, March 29th  until noon on April 1st
  • The CONQUERING HERO will be announced Monday, April 1st

Summon Your Powers and Vote *

16 field brackets for Lilly Library Superhero Films
Lilly March Movie Madness: the SUPERHERO EDITION

Link to the brackets: https://bit.ly/2FfSMTo

Bracket Updates at
Lilly Library’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

*NOTE: Participants who provide their Duke netID and compete in all the brackets to vote for our CONQUERING HERO, will be entered into  Prize Drawings for Student CRAZIES and for stalwart Duke Staff.

Do You Have Nerves of

DVD cover image of Superman: Man of Steel
Superman: Man of Steel

To Take It All The Way?

Here’s to a great adventure as we all advance through the Lilly Library March Movie Madness Superhero Brackets to crown the Conquering Hero!

Contributors:
Nathaniel Brown, Lilly Library Media and Reserves Coordinator
Carol Terry, Lilly Library Collection Services & Communications Coordinator






March 2019 Collection Spotlight: International Year of The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

Professor Molenium from the American Chemical Society

This month’s Collection Spotlight celebrates The United Nations International Year of The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.  It’s the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of Chemical Elements in 1869.  To learn more, check out this collection of articles.  You might also enjoy reading through the posts marked with #IYPT2019.   Here’s some examples of the titles that we are featuring:

The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance by Eric R. Scerri

Reactions: An Illustrated Exploration of Elements, Molecules, and Change in the Universe by Theodore Gray

Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

Vanity, Vitality, and Virility: The Science behind the Products You Love to Buy by John Emsley

Gold: A Novel by Chris Cleave

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

The Last Sorcerers: The Path from Alchemy to the Periodic Table by Richard Morris

Check out the Collection Spotlight rack near our Perkins Library Service Desk on the first floor of Perkins to see if any of the books there can spark a chemical reaction in you!






Meet Our Mystery Dates! The Complete Book List

Thank you to everyone who enjoyed going out on a Mystery Date With a Book this month! If you didn’t get a chance to check out our display, or if you’re just curious to know what books we selected, here’s a complete list of our mystery picks, along with the library staff member who recommended them. Add them to your Goodreads list. Happy reading!

Selected by Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Head, Humanities Section and Librarian for Literature and Theater Studies:

Selected by Sara Seten Berghausen, Associate Curator of Collections, Rubenstein Library

  • Irene Nemirovsky, Suite Francaise“Love and loss in Nazi-occupied France.”
  • David Sedaris, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: “Dark and wickedly funny animal love stories.”
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me“A father’s heartfelt letter to his 16-year-old in an existentially unfair world.”
  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones“A teenage girl and her brothers strive to protect and love one another as Hurricane Katrina looms.”

Selected by Ciara Healy, Librarian for Psychology & Neuroscience, Mathematics, and Physics

Selected by Kelli Stephenson, Coordinator, Access and Library Services

Selected by Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications

  • Gabriel Garcia Maquez, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor: “What it’s like to be lost at sea, fending off sharks, thirst, and insanity.”
  • Helene Hanff, 84, Charing Cross Road: “Heart-warming long-distance friendship develops over books and the lost art of letter-writing.”
  • J. L. Carr, A Month in the Country: “A gem of a book: a quaint English village, a WWI vet, and a shimmering summer of youth.”
  • Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time to Keep Silence: “History, travel, and the pleasures of the quiet life. Best savored slowly and antisocially.”
  • Andrea Barrett, Ship Fever: Stories: “Beautifully written stories about the love of science, and the science of love, set in the 19th century.”
  • Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder: “The strangest museum you’ve never heard of is a real place, and you’re going to be obsessed with it.”
  • Ian Frazier, Travels in Siberia: “Despite what you read in the news, Russia is actually a pretty funny place.”
  • Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation: “Hilarious, irreverent road trip that brings American history to life (and death).”
  • Jan Morris, Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere: “A love letter to a city 4,000 years old.”
  • Peter Brannen, The Ends of the World: “A deep dive into deep time offers a glimpse of our possible future.”

Selected by Brittany Wofford, Coordinator for The Edge and Librarian for the Nicholas School of the Environment

Selected by Andrea Loigman, Head, Access and Delivery Services

Selected by Holly Ackerman, Head, International & Area Studies Dept. and Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino/a Studies

  • Leonardo Padura, Havana Red“The first of a 5-part detective series set in Cuba.”

Selected by Katie Henning