The Dragons, the Giant, The Women, by Wayétu Moore

Staff Pick

Moore was five when her native Liberia erupted in civil war, prompting her family to flee to Sierra Leone and, later the U.S. This was also the year her mother was away, studying at Columbia on a Fulbright. In language as powerful as her story, the author of She Would Be King channels these fraught experiences through both her child and adult sensibilities, delivering a narrative of modern displacement and racism that’s richly inflected with the magical lyricism of a griot’s tale. Her talent with voices is especially effective in the book’s conclusion, when she ghostwrites her mother’s story; these chapters fill in the details of her family’s miraculous escape, show us Moore’s two extraordinary parents—and their blessed marriage—in close up, and celebrate the strength of Vai women such as Moore’s paternal grandmother, who, when she “hummed… her voice formed a shield around us.”

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir By Wayétu Moore Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450314
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Graywolf Press - June 2nd, 2020

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, by Alicia Elliott

Staff Pick

The arresting title of Elliott’s powerful essay collection is the English rendering of a Mohawk word for depression. Asking, “is there a language of depression” or is depression the “opposite of language,” Elliot draws on her experience as a biracial Haudenosaunee/white woman and the daughter of a mother with bipolar illness to explore the legacy of “centuries of systemic racism” that has marked the lives and the very genes of Indigenous peoples. As she traces the myriad economic, educational, and nutritional deficits that have beset Native Americans—due first to genocidal policies, then to the official and cultural denial of them—Elliott shows that Indigenous trauma can’t be healed by empathy, however well intended. Rather, it requires that people do the work necessary to meet on a ground of true understanding, respect, and love for each other. Elliott accepts this challenge, mediating her anger in order to view her heritage not as “a curse meant to tear me in two; …[but] a call to uphold the different responsibilities that came with each part of me.”

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground By Alicia Elliott Cover Image
ISBN: 9781612198668
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Melville House - August 4th, 2020

Good Talk by Jacob Mira

Staff Pick

In an almost unimaginably tumultuous political time—when politics invades every moment of our private and public lives—the most politically searing book of 2019 was a graphic memoir. If you have awake, compassionate people in your life (and if they aren’t—why are you buying presents for them?!) give them Mira Jacob’s Good Talk (One World, $30). When her young biracial son started asking difficult questions during the 2016 election cycle (“are white people afraid of brown people?”) Jacob needed a new language to try to answer some unanswerable questions and this uniquely intimate but universal document of drawings, conversational snippets, and challenging dialogues was forged.

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations By Mira Jacob Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399589041
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: One World - March 26th, 2019