Monday, October 21, 2019

The Cooking Gene

Written by: Michael W. Twitty

First line: The Old South is a place where people use food to tell themselves who they are, to tell others who they are, and to tell stories about where they've been.

Why you should read this book: Powerful and poetic, this nonfiction narrative combines personal memoir, detailed historical research, and educated speculation to draw the reader deeply into its discussion of foodways as an avenue for understanding the history stolen from African Americans. Twitty delves as deeply into his own genealogy and self-image as he does into the discussion of individual ingredients, resulting in a work that is dense with meaning and emotion. Food is the lenses through which an examination of culture and self is made beautifully possible.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You're one of those people who only eats six foods.

Warriors 6: The Darkest Hour

Written by: Erin Hunter

First line: Rain fell steadily, drumming on the hard black Thunderpath that led between unending rows of stone Twoleg Nests.

Why you should read this book: If you've made it this far, you might as well go all the way to watch as Firestar takes his rightful place as head of Thunderclan and begins plotting to protect his warriors from the machinations of the evil psychopath Tigerstar. Except, it turns out that Tigerstar isn't even the worst cat in the forest. How will Firestar ever prevail?

Why you shouldn't read this book: I don't think there's really any suspense regarding whether Firestar will prevail.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Written by: Raina Telgemeier

First line: Are you sure you're all packed?

Why you should read this book: Raina begged her parents for a little sister so she'd have someone to play with, but when Amara shows up, she turns out to be very different from the perfect playmate Raina had been dreaming of. Told through the frame story of a family road trip taken when she's a teenager, and intersected with flashback vignettes detailing their early sibling relationships, this book offers an honest exploration of sibling rivalry, family relationships, and those small moments when big leaps occur. A delightful, real, and meaningful true story about the moments that make up the real lives of families.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You still hate your siblings, and/or snakes.


Written by: Raina Telgemeier

First line: Smile!!

Why you should read this book: Raina isn't looking forward to getting braces in the first place, but when a silly accident knocks one of her front teeth out and drives another up into her skull, the year of pain and oral surgeries that follow make braces look like a pleasant daydream. In the midst of her medical turmoil, she still has to deal with the boys who like her, the boys she likes, and her group of mean-girl friends. As she moves through her adolescence, Raina discovers her true passions and learns that focusing on her strengths boosts her self-esteem and helps the world see her the way she wants to be seen, regardless of what her teeth look like.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Medical/dental trauma/phobia.


Written by: Raina Telgemeier

First line: Do you think Mr. Madera will let me operate the spotlight again?

Why you should read this book: Callie's middle school life revolves around the theater—stage crew set design, to be precise—but that doesn't mean that she isn't distracted by boys. When the guy she likes can't see that she's the one, she consoles herself with the company of twins, talented boys who help her find a little more confidence and joy. Even if she never gets that confetti canyon to work on stage, she still has the hope of romance in the air.

Why you shouldn't read this book: It's been targeted by the censorship crowd for depicting teenagers who are—gasp—gay! Of course, for many of us, this is a bonus.