Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy by Edward BallWhat it is: the follow-up to Edward Ball's National Book Award-winning Slaves in the Family that focuses on the author's great-great-grandfather, a member of the Ku Klux Klan in late 19th-century New Orleans.
Read it for: Ball's sobering and incisive reckoning with a family legacy of white supremacy.
Reviewers say: "It won't be a comfortable reading experience, and it's not meant to be, but it's a necessary one" (Booklist).
The Book of Atlantis Black: The Search For a Sister Gone Missing by Betsy BonnerWhat it's about: author Betsy Bonner's search for her troubled sister Atlantis Black, whose mysterious disappearance and presumed overdose in a Tijuana hotel room left Bonner with more questions than answers.
What happened? Though Atlantis' ID was found in the hotel room, the body was not identified before cremation. Could Atlantis still be alive?
Try this next: For another candid true-crime/memoir hybrid investigating a family member's death, check out Leah Carroll's Down City.
The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life -- and Saved an American Farm by Sarah FreyWhat it's about: Growing up impoverished in rural Illinois, Sarah Frey always longed to leave her family farm, until a change of heart at age 18 inspired her to save the business from foreclosure.
About the author: Now known as "America's Pumpkin Queen," Frey is the CEO of the billion-dollar Frey Farms, one of the country's largest produce suppliers.
Who it's for: Aspiring entrepreneurs and fans of rags-to-riches stories will enjoy this heartwarming and inspiring read.
Like Crazy: Life with My Mother and Her Invisible Friends by Dan MathewsWhat it is: a witty and moving chronicle of author Dan Mathews' time spent caring for his aging mother, Perry.
What happened: Worried that his gay bachelor lifestyle would be off-putting to Perry, Dan was instead shocked by the septuagenarian's zest for life. But Perry's increasingly erratic behavior revealed something neither of them would expect -- a long-undiagnosed mental illness.
Read it for: a thoughtful exploration of the ways parent-child relationships evolve.
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century by Alice Wong (editor)What it is: an illuminating own voices collection written to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What's inside: essays by a diverse group of disability activists exploring what it means to live in an ableist society.
Topics include: isolation, sexual exploitation, cure mentality, disability in the LGBTQIA community.
Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented... by Charles KingWhat it is: a sweeping group biography of the women who studied cultural anthropology under Franz Boas in the early 20th century.
Why you might like it: This engaging history explores how these trailblazing scientists challenged notions of Western cultural superiority.
On the roster: Ruth Benedict, Ella Cara Deloria, Margaret Mead, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship by Michelle KuoWhat it's about: the transformative power of literature, movingly experienced by Teach for America volunteer-turned-law student Michelle Kuo and her former pupil Patrick Browning, who met regularly for book discussions while the latter was in jail on a murder charge.
On the syllabus: The pair discussed works by Frederick Douglass, Rita Dove, C.S. Lewis, Marilynne Robinson, Derek Walcott, and Walt Whitman, among others.
Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla PeraltaWhat it is: Dominican author Dan-el Padilla Peralta's inspiring memoir about triumphing over adversity: growing up undocumented and impoverished in Harlem, the bookish Peralta had limited opportunities for educational advancement.
What happened next: Peralta caught the attention of a library worker who helped him find placement at Manhattan's prestigious Collegiate School; he later graduated summa cum laude from Princeton, earned a second Bachelor's degree at Oxford, and completed a PhD at Stanford.
Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football by John UrschelWhat it's about: John Urschel's adventures in academia (he's currently pursuing a PhD in mathematics at MIT) and athletics (he was a Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman for three seasons).
Read it for: Urschel's infectious enthusiasm for his passions.
Want a taste? "So often, people want to divide the world into two. Matter and energy. Wave and particle. Athlete and mathematician. Why can't something (or someone) be both?"
Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy WickendenWhat it's about: In 1916, two well-to-do best friends, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, left their homes in Auburn, New York to teach in the remote settlement of Elkhead on the Colorado frontier.
Author alert: Dorothy Wickenden is the executive editor of The New Yorker and the granddaughter of Dorothy Woodruff; she conducted interviews and used letters and newspaper articles to inform this fascinating fish-out-of-water tale.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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