Officer Clemmons by Dr. François S. ClemmonsWhat it is: a heartwarming memoir from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood cast member François S. Clemmons, who famously broke down racial barriers by sharing a foot bath with Rogers in a 1969 episode.
Topics include: Clemmons' Grammy Award-winning music career, which began at Oberlin College in the 1960s; his life-affirming 30-year friendship with Rogers, which was tested when the latter advised the openly gay Clemmons to repress his sexuality to avoid scandal.
Did you know? Clemmons was the first African American performer to have a recurring role on a children's TV program.
Hollywood Park by Mikel JollettWhat it's about: indie musician Mikel Jollett's traumatic 1970s childhood in the Synanon cult; after escaping, his family battled poverty, mental illness, addiction, and abuse, and Jollett later found solace in music.
Read it for: Jollett's richly detailed account of self-discovery and healing.
For fans of: candid memoirs of surviving cults (like Ruth Wariner's The Sound of Gravel) and family dysfunction (like Tara Westover's Educated).
Books You Might Have Missed
The Toni Morrison Book Club by Juda Bennett, Winnifred Brown-Glaude, Cassandra Jackson, and Piper Kendrix Williams Starring: a diverse quartet of College of New Jersey English professors who formed a book club to discuss the enduring relevance of beloved novelist Toni Morrison's works.
On the reading list: The Bluest Eye; Song of Solomon; Beloved; A Mercy.
Read it for: the authors' intimate musings on how the themes in Morrison's novels (including racism, xenophobia, police brutality, and the fetishization of black bodies) relate to their own lives.
Becoming a Man: The Story of a Transition by P. CarlWhat it is: an incisive memoir in essays chronicling author P. Carl's midlife gender transition.
What's inside: Carl's conflicted reckoning with the white male privilege he now experiences, as well as how his understanding of toxic masculinity changed post-transition.
Want a taste? "What do I know about America's fraught relationship with gender having inhabited these two bodies?"
The House of Yan: A Family at the Heart of a Century in Chinese History by Lan YanWhat it's about: how three generations of Lan Yan's well-to-do family navigated the tumultuous changes of 20th-century China, including the Cultural Revolution that led to their persecution.
Reviewers say: "a deeply personal, accessible, and worthy introduction to modern Chinese history" (Booklist).
Try this next: Jung Chang's Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China.
Contact your librarian for more great books!