Please join the celebration on Thursday, July 30th from 2 to 4 p.m. in our courtyard, to honor our Library Director, Alan Kirk Gray, who is retiring at the end of this month. Alan was integral in developing and overseeing the construction of our state-of-the-art, LEED certified building. He is now looking forward to the next chapter in his life. This edition’s featured booklist is dedicated to some of Alan’s favorite reads.
This month, we mourn the loss of the late Civil Rights icon, Representative John Lewis, known as the “conscience of the U.S. Congress.” Lewis dedicated over thirty years to the House and was an ardent supporter of the right of all Americans to vote, stating, “It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.” Lewis is also the author of March, a series of powerful graphic novels documenting his lifelong fight for civil rights.
On a lighter note, let’s enjoy some of the most uplifting natural surroundings that summer provides for us—gardens bursting with blue hydrangeas, trees in their full green finery, and gardeners reaping the rewards of their spring plantings. Did you know that on many Connecticut farms, you can pick your own fruits? This fun activity creates family memories as you enjoy fresh fruit in the fresh air.
Now let’s check out what our librarians are reading!
Sea Wife by Amity Gage is an engrossing page-turner centered on the marriage of Juliet and Michael. Juliet, who suffers from depression, is at home with her two wonderful young children. She tries her best to be present for them but at the same time she is struggling to finish her poetry dissertation. Michael is unhappy with his job and looking for a reboot of his career, as well as his marriage. He suggests to Juliet that they buy a large sailboat and sail the world. She reluctantly agrees and the family begins their adventure, heading towards Panama. As new sailors, they have many remarkable, as well as harrowing, experiences aboard their sailboat. The story is told in alternating voices that will keep you absolutely riveted. Juliet’s perspective is told from her bedroom closet, her safe place, following the trip. Just that alone I found so intriguing. Michael's story is told from his very detailed captain's log. The trip begins uneventfully for the family and all seems well until old problems surface and a secret Michael has kept comes back to haunt him. This is a story of a realistic couple who are trying their best for each other and their children. I read this novel in just three days and absolutely recommend it as a great summer read!
Friends and Strangers, the latest novel by one of our favorite authors, J. Courtney Sullivan, offers the reader a unique perspective on a friendship between two young women while they journey through different life stages. Elisabeth, a millennial, has just experienced a career and lifestyle change. A journalist, she has moved with her husband and new baby son from trendy Brooklyn to a small college town. All these adjustments make Elisabeth anxious and unsure of herself. She needs to carve out time for her work, so she hires a young college student, Sam, to care for her baby son.
Sam quickly becomes part of the family, caring for the baby and enjoying time with Elisabeth and her husband over Sunday night dinners. The job gives Sam a break from college dorm life and her self-absorbed friends. She is enamored with Elisabeth who she perceives as sophisticated, affluent and confident. As Sam’s college life draws to an end, she has a big decision to make. Should she move to England to be with her boyfriend or pursue her career path as an artist? At this point, the warm friendship between Sam and Elisabeth is tested as boundaries are crossed. This novel explores a kaleidoscope of topics from motherhood, careers, and marriage, to the bonds of friendship between women.
The Book of Rosy: a Mother's Story of Separation at the Border by Rosayra Pablo Cruz and Julie Schwietert Collazo is a powerful memoir of a Guatemalan mother who makes the decision to flee her country, leaving behind those she loves, in order to protect her sons and give them the opportunity to live a free life. This heartfelt story covers Rosayra’s long, perilous journey to the US and the horrors of having her sons taken from her when she arrives at the border, as part of the administration’s Zero Tolerance policy. It is shocking to learn how many mothers and fathers seeking refuge share the same plight as Rosayra, but the flip side to the book is how much kindness and love she receives from regular, caring American citizens. Julie, director of the charity, Immigrant Families Together, also shares her story, showing the dedication of individuals and organizations that are committed to helping these refugees, and the love and compassion that Americans have to offer those facing persecution and despair. This book is as sad as it is beautiful!
Note to Shelf, Teen
You’ll love I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo. Desi Lee is great at everything; she's student body president, she's on the varsity soccer team, and, using her excellent planning skills, she's even sure she'll get into Stanford. The only thing Desi isn't good at is relationships -- no matter how much she tries, she always finds a way to embarrass herself, find the awkward in any situation, and completely fail at romance. Undeterred, Desi is going to use her craziest plan yet to achieve her goal of finding love: following the guidelines set out by her dad's favorite Korean Dramas. If the heroines of K Dramas can do it, why can't she? If you love K Dramas (or even if you've never seen one before) this book will sweep you off your feet with its humor, over the top dramatics, and heart. It's one of my all-time favorite YA romances, and a perfect summer read!
Note to Shelf, Junior
Celebrate Black identity, pride, and self-love with the award-winning Crown: an Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes. In this picture book, told through poetic text and oil illustrations, Barnes describes a young boy’s experience while getting a haircut at the local barbershop. Crown is a joyous, beautiful ode to Black boys that’s a must-read for children big and small - especially those who are nervous about their first haircut.