May is Get Caught Reading Month, but it also brings an end to another successful semester at Coastal! As we all know, final exam time can be one of the most stressful times of the year, so why don’t you relax and get a jump-start on your summer reading? If you are looking for something to start with, come check out our New Arrivals section in the fiction section as well as our displays, which are curated by Mary Gail Howland, one of our talented librarians. Here are some suggestions, all of which happen to be 2016 National Book Award winners and finalists:
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is the 2016 winner of the National Book Award in fiction.
From Publishers Weekly: “Each thing had a value… In America the quirk was that people were things.” So observes Ajarry, taken from Africa as a girl in the mid-18th century to be sold and resold and sold again. She finally arrives at the vicious Georgia plantation where she dies at the book’s outset. After a lifetime in brutal, humiliating transit, Ajarry was determined to stay put in Georgia, and so is her granddaughter, Cora. That changes when Cora is raped and beaten by the plantation’s owner, and she resolves to escape. In powerful, precise prose, at once spellbinding and ferocious, the book follows Cora’s incredible journey north, step by step. In Whitehead’s rendering, the Underground Railroad of the early 19th century is a literal subterranean tunnel with tracks, trains, and conductors, ferrying runaways into darkness and, occasionally, into light. Interspersed throughout the central narrative of Cora’s flight are short chapters expanding on some of the lives of those she encounters. These include brief portraits of the slave catcher who hunts her, a doctor who examines her in South Carolina, and her mother, whose escape from the plantation when Cora was a girl has both haunted and galvanized her. Throughout the book, Cora faces unthinkable horrors, and her survival depends entirely on her resilience. The story is literature at its finest and history at its most barbaric. Would that this novel were required reading for every American citizen.”
Click here to read more about this book from Publishers Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/search/index.html?q=the+underground+railroad&submit.x=0&submit.y=0&submit=submit
News of the World by Paulette Jiles was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in fiction.
From Publishers Weekly: Jiles delivers a taut, evocative story of post–Civil War Texas in this riveting drama of a redeemed captive of the Kiowa tribe. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly widower, earns his living traveling around, reading news stories to gatherings of townspeople. While reading in Wichita Falls one evening in the winter of 1870, he sees an old acquaintance. Britt Johnson, the main character in Jiles’s The Color of Lightning, has just come through Indian Country with his crew. The men are returning a 10-year-old girl to her aunt and uncle in Castroville after she spent four years with the Kiowa. A free black man, Britt is reluctant to have a white child in his custody. He persuades the Captain to escort young Johanna on the remainder of the three-week journey. The Captain, who has grown daughters of his own, at first feels sorry for the girl. Johanna considers herself Kiowa; she chafes at wearing shoes and a dress, struggles to pronounce American words. Challenges and dangers confront the two during their journey, and they become attached. Jiles unfolds the stories of the Captain and Johanna, past and present, with the smooth assuredness of a burnished fireside tale, demonstrating that she is a master of the western.
Click here to read more about this book from Publishers Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/search/index.html?q=News+of+the+world&submit.x=0&submit.y=0&submit=submit
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in fiction.
From Publishers Weekly: In her first adult novel in 20 years, acclaimed children’s and YA author Woodson (winner of the National Book Award for her last book, Brown Girl Dreaming) combines grit and beauty in a series of stunning vignettes, painting a vivid mural of what it was like to grow up African-American in Brooklyn during the 1970s. When August, an anthropologist who has studied the funeral traditions of different cultures, revisits her old neighborhood after her father’s death, her reunion with a brother and a chance encounter with an old friend bring back a flood of childhood memories. Flashbacks depict the isolation she felt moving from rural Tennessee to New York and show how her later years were influenced by the black power movement, nearby street violence, her father’s religious conversion, and her mother’s haunting absence. August’s memories of her Brooklyn companions—a tightly knit group of neighborhood girls—are memorable and profound. There’s dancer Angela, who keeps her home life a carefully guarded secret; beautiful Gigi, who loses her innocence too young; and Sylvia, “diamonded over, brilliant,” whose strict father wants her to study law. With dreams as varied as their conflicts, the young women confront dangers lurking on the streets, discover first love, and pave paths that will eventually lead them in different directions. Woodson draws on all the senses to trace the milestones in a woman’s life and how her early experiences shaped her identity.
Click here to read more about this book from Publishers Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-235998-8