Bloodbath Nation by Paul AusterWhat it is: a sobering and well-researched rumination on the history of gun violence in America, from the colonial era to the present.
Featuring: stark black-and-white photographs of sites where mass shootings have occurred; author Paul Auster's candid reflections on his own family's history with gun violence.
Reviewers say: "exceptional in its clarity and arresting in its sense of urgency" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Tudors in Love: Passion and Politics in the Age of England's Most Famous Dynasty by Sarah GristwoodWhat it is: a richly detailed history that reveals how courtly love shaped England's Tudor period (1485-1603).
What's inside: illuminating insights on how the era's five monarchs (including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I) utilized notions of courtly love, inspired by Arthurian legends, to shape their public personas and wield political influence.
About the author: Historian Sarah Gristwood is the author of Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe.
Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood by Jessica GroseWhat it's about: how antiquated and unrealistic expectations of American motherhood harm parents and children.
Why you might like it: Featuring extensive research paired with author Jessica Grose's own parenting experiences and those of the mothers she interviewed, this thoughtful and empathetic survey offers insights on how today's mothers can empower themselves and their families.
Empire of Ice and Stone: The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk by Buddy LevyWhat it's about: the ill-fated voyage of the Karluk, which began in the summer of 1913 as part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition.
What happened: Shortly after launch, the ship became icebound and sank; captain Bob Bartlett, accompanied by an Inuit hunter, trekked nearly 1,000 miles to seek help for the survivors.
Read it for: a dramatic and richly detailed tale of courage and survival.
Anatomy of 55 More Songs: The Oral History of Top Hits That Changed Rock, Pop and Soul by Marc MyersWhat it is: music journalist Marc Myers' follow-up to 2016's Anatomy of a Song, which provides insightful context behind popular songs released from 1964-1996 and features interviews with the artists involved.
Tracklist includes: Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By;" Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love;" Journey's "Don't Stop Believin';" Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy," and more.
Try this next: The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal the History of Pop Music by Tom Breihan.
Focus on: Black History Month
Driving the Green Book: A Road Trip Through the Living History of Black Resistance
by Alvin Hall
For countless Americans, the open road has long been a place where dangers lurk. In the era of Jim Crow, Black travelers encountered locked doors, hostile police, and potentially violent encounters almost everywhere, in both the South and the North. From 1936 to 1967, millions relied on The Negro Motorist Green Book, the definitive guide to businesses where they could safely rest, eat, or sleep.
Alvin Hall set out to revisit the world of the Green Book to instruct us all on the real history of the guide that saved many lives. With his friend Janée Woods Weber, he drove from New York to Detroit to New Orleans, visiting motels, restaurants, shops, and stores where Black Americans once found a friendly welcome. They explored historical and cultural landmarks, from the theatres and clubs where stars like Duke Ellington and Lena Horne performed to the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Along the way, they gathered memories from some of the last living witnesses for whom the Green Book meant survival—remarkable people who not only endured but rose above the hate, building vibrant Black communities against incredible odds.
Driving the Green Book is a vital work of national history as well as a hopeful chronicle of Black resilience and resistance.
Immortal Valor: The Black Medal of Honor Winners of World War II by Robert ChildWhat it's about: the lesser-known accomplishments of the seven Black Medal of Honor recipients of World War II, whose heroism went unacknowledged for nearly 50 years due to discrimination.
What's inside: well-researched and richly detailed profiles of the seven servicemen, six of whom were awarded their medals posthumously.
Try this next: Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad by Matthew F. Delmont.
The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.What it is: a compelling history of the Black church in America that looks at its central role in Black cultural life, including the ways it has helped (and sometimes hindered) social progress and political resistance.
Media buzz: The Black Church was adapted into a PBS docuseries of the same name.
About the author: scholar, journalist, and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. hosts the PBS family history series Finding Your Roots.
First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School by Alison Stewart; foreword by Melissa Harris-PerryWhat it is: a sweeping, 150-year history of Washington, D.C.'s elite Dunbar High School, the first public high school for Black students in the United States.
Read it for: an illuminating chronicle of the rise and fall of a storied institution that fell into disrepute following school desegregation.
Author alert: Award-winning journalist Alison Stewart is the daughter of two Dunbar graduates.
Contact your librarian for more great books!