Tag Archives: Humanities

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.

Lyre, Lyre… Lyre at Lilly

Meet The Artist – John Billing

Lyres
“I wish to tune my quivering lyre,/To deeds of fame, and notes of fire”
From Lord Byron’s “to his lyre”


John Billing, originally from England and now based in Ireland, is touring the East Coast of the United States during September and October, presenting workshops and performances.  John’s background is in art, textile design and music therapy. Come and hear the interesting story of the performer and his instrument. Mr. Billing will perform pieces by J. S. Bach and Turlough O’Carolan, in addition to original compositions.

♦Where: Thomas Room
Lilly Library, 2nd floor

♦When:  Friday October 2nd at 4pm
Light refreshments served at 3:30

What is the lyre?

The lyre is a stringed instrument from Ancient Greece, thought to metaphorically represent the skill of poets  as it accompanied their recitations.


Sponsored by the Lilly Library, East Campus Residence Life
and the Department of Classical Studies at Duke University.