“What the world needs now is love sweet love- it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of” – Jackie DeShannon
Books are powerful. Books can bring people together. Diversity in books is important. Representation is important. Books give the voiceless a voice. Books can transport you. Books allow readers to experience situations they may not usually experience. Here at A. K. Smiley Public Library we understand the importance of providing books written by diverse authors to the community in hopes of building a more compassionate, empathic, loving, and understanding place to live. Books can educate the reader about other people’s struggles and experiences without taking them out of the comfort of their own home. I want to highlight a couple of the latest arrivals in our new book collection that are written by authors who may not usually have their stories heard. These titles are available to check out using our Books-To-Go service.
“How We Fight for Our Lives” by poet Saeed Jones is a brutal and poignant coming-of-age memoir. Jones tells the reader what it feels like growing up black and gay in the South as he tries to navigate a place for himself in his family and society. Told in a series of vignettes, ranging from his boyhood to manhood experiences, each chapter explores the struggles Jones endured and what it is like being black and gay in America. You will never forget this heart-wrenching memoir.
If you prefer to read fiction over non-fiction try “Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982” by Cho Nam-Joo. This novel was originally released in 2016 in South Korea during the #Metoo movement. It is an international bestseller and has been translated into eighteen languages. “Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982” is a social commentary on the struggles women face in South Korea. The main character, Jiyoung, becomes suddenly ill and starts to impersonate different women. Women who are dead, alive, known, and unknown. Her distraught husband takes her to a male doctor to ‘cure’ her. Can Jiyoung’s illness really be ‘cured,’ living in a male dominated society? This is a timely and powerful novel that will stay with you for days.
Aside from these two new titles that we have available for check-out, here is a list of books in our new book collection that are also written by authors whose stories need to be heard.
Fiction: “The Beauty of Your Face” by Sahar Mustafah; “The City We Became” by N. K. Jemisin; “A Long Petal of the Sea” by Isabel Allende; “Real Life” by Brandon Taylor; “Little Gods” by Meng Jin; “Afterlife” by Julia Alvarez; “Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick” by Zora Neale Hurston; “Under the Rainbow” by Celia Laskey; And “Riot Baby” by Tochi Onyebuchi.
Non-Fiction: “Wow, No Thank You” by Samantha Irby; “It’s Not About the Burqa” edited by Mariam Khan; “Hood Feminism” by Mikki Kendall; “Beautiful on the Outside” by Adam Rippon; “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad; “How to be an AntiRacist” by Ibram Kendi; And “What Doesn’t Kill you Makes you Blacker” by Damon Young.
Call, email, or go online to reserve one these powerful books. Information on how to reserve an item can be found on our website, www.akspl.org or call us at 909-798-7565.
“Love is all you need” – The Beatles