Our ‘Big Ten’ of Football Books

There’s a coolness in the air (some days, anyway) and the football season is finally upon us. To celebrate, we compiled a list of ten great books about football from all different aspects of the sport. Whether you like to watch high school, college, or professional football, we have great suggestions for all football fans.

Season of Saturdays: a history of college football in 14 games by Michael Weinreb—Part memoir, part reporting of some of the most influential games of college history, Weinreb examines the coaches and teams that made the games great. From the first college game in 1869 to the debate over amateur athletes, Weinreb tackles the controversy and the changes that formed the way we know the sport today.

Breaking the line: the season in Black college football that transformed the sport and changed the course of civil rights by Samuel G. Freedman—In 1967, during the Civil Rights Movement,  the coaches from two black colleges, Louisiana’s Grambling College and Florida A&M, teamed up to bring integration to the sport at both the college and professional level. Together they redefined the game.

The Southern tailgating cookbook: a game-day guide for lovers of food, football, & the South by Taylor Mathis—Spice up your tailgate or game day at home with these great southern recipes. With over 100 recipes and tons of mouth-watering pictures, you’ll be sure to find a new simple or extravagant recipe to add to your playbook.

Gridiron gauntlet: the story of the men who integrated pro football, in their own words by Andy Piascik—In 1947, four black players joined the Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Rams to become the first African-American professional football players.  These and eight other African American men tell their stories of discrimination and success in the world of professional football.

League of denial: the NFL, concussions, and the battle for truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru—In 2005, the National Football League concluded, “Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis.” Even the casual football fan can see that professional football can be a dangerous sport. This fast-paced story follows players from the field to the lab to uncover the health concerns and pressures professional football players face.

I beat the odds: from homelessness, to the blind side, and beyond by Michael Oher—You may have seen The Blind Side, but you can also read about Michael Oher’s transformation from homelessness to success on the football field in his own words. Oher separates fact from movie fiction in an attempt to inspire the many children who find themselves in a similar circumstance.

Friday night lights: a town, a team, and a dream by H.G. Bissinger—In the small, west Texas town of Odessa, things are falling apart. The Permian High School Panthers and their winning record bring hope and pride to their community. Bissinger examines the town, the team, and the coaches in a snapshot of pure Americana.

Bloody Sundays: inside the dazzling, rough-and-tumble world of the NFL by Mike Freeman—Dig deeper into the world of football with this great book. Freeman breaks down and studies the game into three main components—coaching, offense, and defense—and uses these sections to profile football’s most iconic players and coaches. He also delves into the “secret society” of gay players; as well as, the physical and mental problems players face.

Carry the rock: race, football, and the soul of an American city by Jay Jennings—In 1957, the Little Rock Nine became famous for their bravery as they integrated into a predominantly white school in the fight for education equality. On the fiftieth anniversary of this event, Jennings returned to his hometown of Little Rock to revisit the fight for integration and equality. What he found was the compelling story of the school’s unified and diverse football team.

Tales from Michigan Stadium  by Jim Brandstatter—Relive some of the greatest moments in University of Michigan football history. From the first touchdown at Michigan Stadium to Lloyd Carr’s legendary coaching career, this book is full of stories from the Wolverine’s rich history.

The Deen bros. get fired up : grilling, tailgating, picnicking, and more by Jamie and Bobby Deen—Whether you’re grilling at home or at the stadium, here are some more great recipes for game day. With a variety of sides and entrees, there are a ton of easy recipes to choose from.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th anniversary book: where greatness lives  edited by Joe Horrigan and John Thorn—The Professional Football Hall of Fame opened on September 7, 1963. In commemoration of the hall of fame’s 50th anniversary, essays from famous football journalists, newscasters, and players were compiled to celebrate the sport’s rich history. This book contains sidebars, pictures, and artifacts to honor some of the greatest players in the sport.

Collision low crossers: a year inside the turbulent world of NFL football by Nicholas Dawidoff—Dawidoff spent a year behind the scenes with the New York Jets. Equal parts Moneyball, The Office, and Friday Night Lights, Dawidoff gets to the heart of the team and brings their season to life.

Fantasy football: 7 valuable lessons that will make you a better fantasy football player by Ken Kocon—Are you looking to improve your chances of winning your fantasy football league this year? This insightful book has tips and tricks to help improve your season.

Okay, just like the real Big Ten, maybe we got a little carried away. Either way, grab one of these great books to read while you wait for the next game to start.

Famous Friends

Have you ever wonder what it would be like to be friends with someone famous? Do you ever wish you knew more about a celebrity beyond their public persona?  We’ve compiled a list of fascinating biographies that bring insight into the lives of people we’ve come to admire locally, nationally, and globally. Grab your best friend and delve into the lives of these famous friends.

Sparky and me : my friendship with Sparky Anderson and the lessons he shared about baseball and life by Dan Ewald—Sparky Anderson was the legendary manager of the Detroit Tigers from 1979 to 1995. In 1979, Sparky met Dan Ewald and a life-long friendship was established. From the front row at the ball park, Ewald was able to watch one of baseball’s most memorable managers bring his passion and knowledge of the game. While Ewald learned about the intricacies of the sport, Sparky taught him the “unwritten rules” of life, which he took to heart.

Elvis: my best man : a memoir : radio days, rock ‘n’ roll nights, and my lifelong friendship with Elvis Presley by George Klein with Chuck Crisafulli—In eighth grade, George Klein  became friends with the new kid in school with a guitar. When George heard him sing, he knew his new friend was someone extraordinary. Travel back to the early days of rock ‘n’roll with the King and one of his best friends Follow the whirlwind that shot Elvis to the height of fame. This heart-felt and entertaining homage to his friend takes you behind the lights and gives a glimpse of Elvis Presley beyond his stage persona.

As always, Julia : the letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto : food, friendship, and the making of a masterpiece  selected and edited by Joan Reardon—Julia Child was one of the original culinary personality. In this collection of over 200 letters between Julia and her “pen pal” and literary mentor, Avis DeVoto, we get a unique glimpse into the deepest thoughts and feelings of America’s favorite chef. Not only do we experience the growth of a life-long friendship, but the burgeoning of her most influential cookbook.

White heat: the friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple—Emily Dickinson was a reclusive poet whose work was not discovered until after her death. Thomas Wentworth Higginson was the abolitionist who commanded the first unit of African American soldiers in the Civil War. Dickinson sent Higginson four poems, which launched a friendship and an intense correspondence between the two, covering art, politics, and everything in-between. After her death, Higginson worked to publish Emily’s collection of poems, which made her one of the most influential poets of the 20th century.

Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly : the remarkable story of the friendship between a first lady and a former slave by Jennifer Fleischner—Elizabeth Keckly was Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker and confident during her time in the White House and early years of widowhood. Keckley bought her freedom in 1855 and settled in Washington DC. She quickly created a name for herself as a dressmaker in high society, attracting the attention of the first lady, who often felt overwhelmed by the social elite.  As Abraham Lincoln tried to hold the country together, Mary turned to her seamstress for companionship and advice, building a lasting friendship during a turbulent time.

I loved Lucy : my friendship with Lucille Ball by Lee Tannen—Although they met when they were children, Lucy and Lee’s friendship didn’t blossom until twenty-five years later during the last decade of Lucy’s life. Lee has written a tribute of the “lost Lucy years,” as Ball receded from the stage into her personal life. This book gives an honest and insightful portrayal of the final years of Lucy’s life, from quiet moments at home to traveling the world.

Mandela : my prisoner, my friend  by  Christo Brand, with Barbara Jones— When he enlisted in the army at 18 years old, Brand was confused and saddened by the realities of South African apartheid.  He opted to work as a prison guard instead of facing the dangerous life of a policeman or solider. By chance, he was given charge of South Africa’s most famous prisoner: Nelson Mandela. For over a decade, Brand watched Mandela face his injustices with dignity and hope. Eventually, the unlikely pair became close friends and, at times, accomplices. The two created a bond that would endure until Mandela’s death.

The extraordinary Mrs. R: a friend remembers Eleanor Roosevelt  William Turner Levy and Cynthia Eagle Russett—William Turner Levy was close friends with one of the most influential and admired women of the 20th century. Levy gives an intimate view of the former first lady and how she viewed the world. Russett brings a historical perspective to Roosevelt’s political and social accomplishments. Filled with intimate and fascinating anecdotes, the book gives a glimpse into the extraordinary life of the woman behind the public persona.

National Romance Awareness Month

Don’t let February fool you. August is National Romance Awareness Month. To celebrate, we wanted to read some great love stories besides the classics we know and love.  Here are just a handful of books filled with romance, laughter, missed opportunities, and deception.

One Day by David Nicholls—It’s amazing what a difference one day can make. On July 15, 1988, Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley met.  On the same day for the next twenty years, a snapshot of their relationship is revealed. They face ups and downs and love and missed opportunities.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon—After being torn apart during World War II, Claire Randall and her husband are finally together and on a second honeymoon in the British Isles.  When Claire walks through a standing stone, she is transported to 1743. Among fighting Scottish clans, she meets James Fraser, a young warrior. Together they experience a love so strong that Claire is torn between fidelity and desire.  Part historic romance and fantasy, the Outlander series is a complicated and adventurous love sage.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger—Clare, an art student, and Henry, a librarian, met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six years old. When Clare was twenty-three and Henry was thirty-one, they were married.  Although this is seemingly impossible, Henry is the first person diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder, where his genetic clock is randomly reset and he finds himself misplaced in time.  Since his disappearances are unpredictable, it creates urgency to every moment Clare and Henry can spend together. Can their love endure their unusual relationship?

Love Stories introduction by Rosamunde Pilcher—This collection of romantic tales has stories from great authors, such as John Updike and Rosamunde Pilcher. In John Updike’s “A Constellation of Events,” a woman recounts her first affair. In Catherine Cookson’s  “Miss Geraldine Parkington” is about a woman who proposes to her gardener.  Rosamunde Pilcher’s “Lalla” is on a girl who gives up a modelling career to marry her childhood sweetheart.  Love stories has something for every kind of romantic.

Friends and lovers by Eric Jerome Dickey—Experience the love, betrayal, and friendship of two young men and two young women in Los Angeles.  This funny and heartbreaking story follows their ordinary and not-so-everyday lives.  Friends and lovers gives an honest portrayal of contemporary love, friendships, and the gender gap.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – Don Tillman is a brilliant but socially inept  genetics professor looking for love without much luck. In order to find the perfect woman he creates the Wife Project, a survey designed to weed out the smokers, the drinkers, and the chronically late.  When he meets Rosie, he automatically disqualifies her for the Wife Project; but, Rosie came to Don asking for help to find her biological father. While working with Rosie on the Father Project, Don quickly realizes that love cannot be quantified.

The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore—Grace Hamblin’s life is safe and secure until her father dies.  She falls in love and marries her childhood friend, Freddie. He takes on Grace’s father’s duties; and, Grace is grateful, except there’s another man she can’t get off her mind. Years later, their daughter Trixie falls in love with a wild musician, Jasper, whose band might make it big. When Jasper’s brother dies, he is called home to England. Before he leaves, he asks Trixie to wait for him. Confident he will return for her, Trixie refuses to listen to her mother’s advice.  As both mother and daughter search for love and happiness, they must confront their past to change their future.

The Rocks by Peter Nichols—A mysterious and traumatic secret tears two young honeymooners apart on a small Mediterranean island. For sixty years, they never spoke to each other, despite living on the same island. Decades after they part ways, their children (unrelated) are drawn together in a Romeo & Juliet inspired affair. The Rocks is a multi-generational love story and mystery that slowly unravels as it moves back in time to the moment that started it all.

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer—The Toledo Institute of Astronomy is a premiere center for astronomical discover and research. Here, George Dermont searches the stars for proof of the existence of God.  Irene Sparks, another scientist in the institute, creates black holes in captivity.  While they share much in common and long for a connection with a partner, their differences keeps them apart.  Irene and George were raised separately to be each other’s soulmates; and, their chemistry together is palpable.  Will the two astronomers ever discover the truth of their destinies and find out if their love is written in the stars?

A Lover’s Vow by Brenda Jackson—Dalton Granger is passionate and handsome; but, Jules Brandshaw, a private investigator, is not impressed with his player reputation. Dalton is determined to show Jules that he’s more complicated than his reputation and prove that he’s an honest and devoted son and brother. As Jules and Dalton work together to save his family and their legacy, they grow closer together and realize there is even more at stake then what they imagined.

For these and other great books to bring a little romance to your life, stop by the 2nd floor of the library.

Book to Movie Adaptations 2015

We’ve entered movie season. Now through the rest of the year, some of the best movies of the year will finally be released.   Unsurprisingly, there are a few stories making the transition from book to silver screen. Here are a few that that we’re excited to see:

Paper Towns by John Green—Quentin Jacobsen has been in love with his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, for years. One night, she appears at his bedroom window and convinces him to be the get-away drive in her revenge mission. The next day, Margo disappears. Quentin believes Margo left a trail of clues and is determined to find her.

The Martian by Andy Weir—Astronaut Mark Watney is the first man to walk on Mars. Six days later, he and his crew are collecting samples when a massive dust storm blows through. The crew flees the storm in the nick of time; but, Watney is trapped behind and left for dead. His communication with NASA isn’t working and he has minimal supplies. Despite the odds, Watney is determined to survive.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn—Libby Day was only seven years-old when her mother and sister were murdered. Libby testifies against her brother, Ben, claiming he’s the killer. Twenty-five years later, Libby is contacted by the Kill Club, a secret society of people obsessed with notorious crimes. Libby agrees to find out more information about her crime—for a price. As she investigates her own story, she begins to doubt her original testimony.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson—The Appalachian Trail extends from Georgia to Maine.  At times treacherous, but always breathe-taking, it is on the bucket-list of many outdoor enthusiasts. With the beginning of the trail not far from his house, Bill Bryson sets out to hike the famous trail with his friend Stephan Katz. Overweight and a recovering alcoholic, Bryson quickly realizes Katz may not have been the best partner in this adventure. While introducing readers to the history and ecology of the trail, Bryson takes readers on a memorable misadventure filled with quirky hikers and bears.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer—Journalist and mountaineer Jon Krakauer was a part of an expedition in 1996 to climb Mt Everest. From the summit, there did not appear to be any indication that a brutal storm was brewing.  The storm killed five people and left many more in danger as they fought for their lives. Krakauer examines the event as well as his part in the disaster, which continues to haunt him.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins—In the final installation of The Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss Everdeen has survived two hunger games and her home is destroyed. The rebel resistance is growing and a revolution is eminent. Without intending to, Katniss has become the face of the rebellion. Will she accept the responsibility and change the future of Panem?

Me and Earl and the Dying girl  by Jesse Andrews—On the first day of his senior year of high school, Greg thinks he has it all figured out. By keeping an extremely low profile, he hopes the remainder of his high school experience will be as minimally painful as possible. For the remainder of the year, he plans to make films with his friend, Earl. This plan works for about eight hours until his mother makes him befriend a girl who has cancer.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner— This is the second book in the Maze Runner series. After surviving the Maze, Thomas thought the worst was behind him; but, phase two is about to begin: the Scorch. Thomas and nineteen other boys are forced into a scientific experiment designed to test their limits. The responses will be observed and the data will hopefully be the key to saving the human race.

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Check out these great books before watching the movie adaptation. What film adaptation are you looking forward to?

Wedding Resources

Love is in the air! Wedding season is in full bloom.  Planning a wedding can be expensive. Couples that live Oakland County spend between $24,335 and $40,558 on average for their wedding (Cost of Wedding). Yikes! It can be overwhelming; but, we have a great list of resources to get you started. Check out some of these books to get organized, get ideas, and maybe even cut costs!

The wedding A to Z: everything you need to know—and stuff you never thought to ask by Karima El-Hakkaoui and Linda Hampshire—Hakkaoui and Hampshire provide a fun and comprehensive guide with some offbeat advice.  If you just started planning or if you need a few last minute question answered, you’ve found the right book. This book provides wisdom from wedding planning professions, doctors, celebrities, and magazine editors.

Your beautiful wedding on any budget by Todd Outcalt—Don’t go into debt planning a wedding! Outcalt’s book helps you plan a wedding on any budget. It gives great tips on creating budgets, saving money, getting what you want for less and much more.

How to have the wedding you want: (not the one everybody else wants you to have) by Christine Egan—From family members to wedding vendors, everyone seems to have an opinion on how to plan your wedding. Egan does a great job of explaining how to navigate sticky situations and formulate diplomatic responses. This creative and humorous book will help you with realistic strategies to tackle problems and have the wedding you and your partner envisioned.

Stylish weddings: 50 simple ideas to make from top designers by Jenny Doh—Are you looking to cut wedding costs by tackling some DIY wedding projects?  This book has great ideas that are both simple and stunning. The projects are broken down by wedding theme such as, “country wedding,” “natural and organic,” “vintage glam,” and “French-inspired.”  These quick projects will help you customize your wedding without breaking your budget.

Emily Post’s wedding etiquette by Anna Post and Lizzie Post—Emily Post was the queen of etiquette; her great-great-granddaughters Anna and Lizzie Post carried on the tradition. This etiquette book takes you through every step of the wedding planning process. It points out common wedding planning pitfalls and how to avoid them. This book is a timeless wedding guide, explaining everything from the engagement announcement to writing thank you notes.

The handcrafted wedding: more than 300 fun and imaginative handcrafted ways to personalize your wedding day by Emma Arendowski—Are you looking for more ways to customize your wedding through DIY projects? After discussing how to pick a theme, projects are organized by their type, such as save the date announcements, wedding programs, and reception décor. This book is full of pictures that will dazzle and inspire.

My fair wedding: finding your vision– through his revisions! by David Tutera—Celebrity wedding planner, David Tutera, gives the advice and inspiration that can take any wedding to the next level. This book contains advice and etiquette, quizzes to help you narrow in on your preferences, helpful pointers to keep the day stress free, and pictures with stories that will inspire.

The everything green wedding book: plan an elegant, affordable, earth-friendly wedding by Wenona Napolitano—Do you want to make your wedding more environmentally friendly; but, you don’t know how? More vendors are making “green” weddings more accessible to everyone. From picking to an organic caterer to finding an eco-friendly dress, Napolitano helps you plan the perfect wedding without leaving a large ecological footprint.

Makeup makeovers – weddings: stunning looks for the entire bridal party by Robert Jones—Whether you need ideas of how you want your make-up to look on your wedding day or you’re planning on doing your makeup yourself, this book will help you find the right look. Designed for the “every day woman,” this book is helpful for women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. It has great instructions and tips to make sure you achieve the right look for the time of day or location so you can look your best in photographs. This book is great for all women in the bridal party.

To check out these and other great wedding and party-planning books, stop by the 3rd floor of the Southfield Public Library. For listings of local vendors, there are great wedding planning websites, such as the Knot, Wedding Wire, My Wedding and Metro Detroit Bride. Happy planning!

Around the World in 8 Books

Summer is the perfect time to travel; but, we don’t always have the means to go wherever we want. Here are eight exciting reading suggestions that have the power to take you anywhere.

The Geography of Bliss: One grump’s search for the happiest places in the world by Eric Weiner — What makes us happy? Do certain countries have happier citizens? Weiner tackles these questions and more as he travels the world and tries to unlock the science and psychology of happiness. Part humor, self-help, and a discussion of foreign affairs, this book allows readers to travel around the world and through humanity.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson– A master traveler, Bill Bryson documents hiking the Appalachian Trail in this humorous and insightful memoir. Along the journey, he examines the history and ecology of the trail, which extends from Georgia to Maine, and talks about some of the quirky personalities he met along the way. Read this classic before the movie comes out later this summer.

Kinky gazpacho: life, love & Spain by Lori L. Tharps– Born and raised in a mostly white suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tharps was one of the few people of color. From an early age, she decided that traveling to Spain was part of her destiny, despite personally not knowing the language or the people. When she traveled there in college, she discovers her skin color makes her as much of an outsider in Spain as it does in America. The story doesn’t end there. Tharps falls in love and marries a Spaniard. Through their relationship, she rekindles her love of Spain and learns how to live with her new Spanish family.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman — In 1986, Susan Gilman and a friend from college embark on a backpacking trip through China shortly after the country opens to independent backpackers. They quickly find themselves over the heads in their inability to navigate the culture, the terrain, and the language. One friend begins to unravel physically, while the other unravels mentally. Travel with these young women as they navigate their way through China and find their way back home.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer– After graduating college in 1991, Christopher McCandless gave away all of his money, abandoned his car and embraced a vagabond lifestyle, which culminated in his death in the Alaska wilderness. Krakauer reconstructs McCandless’s journey across America with interviews of people McCandless met in his journey. He also tries to crack the mystery of who McCandless was and why he would abandon his life and set out on, what many would consider, a foolish journey.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes — Set out on an Italian adventure with this classic travel memoir. Mayes, a gourmet cook and travel writer, buys and renovates an abandoned villa in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. The book contains a lively description of the countryside and its people, along with delicious seasonal recipes she created in her time living there.

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto “Che” Guevara — In January 1952, Ernesto Guevara departed from Buenos Aires, Argentina with his friend Alberto Granado. The two young men began a journey through Latin America on their motorcycles. Through their travels, they met the poor and disenfranchised of their continent, including the descendants of the once great Inca civilization. Growing up in an upper-middle class family, Guevara was blind to the struggles and social injustices these peoples faced. It is through this journey that he formed the ideology that led to him being known as “Che” Guevara.
On the trail of the ancestors: a black cowboy’s ride across America  by Lisa K. Winkler– Like many young boys, Miles Dean fell in love with the idea of being a cowboy. In September 2007,  at 57-years old, Dean decided to realize his dream by riding horseback across the country. As a school teacher in Newark, NJ, he wanted to infuse his trip with historic stops along the way. His journey began in New York City  at the African Burial Grounds in lower Manhattan and ended 6 months later at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, California. Along the way, he paid respects to many forgotten African American heroes and pioneers, such as the Tennessee’s African American Civil War Cemetery. In each state, a new pioneer or hero his highlighted. Dean’s story also highlights the practical problems he faced, such as riding a horse for 6 months straight and  taking care of health concerns for him and his horse.

If you could travel anywhere in the world and write your own memoir, where would you go and what would you do?

Read to the Rhythm: Summer Reading Fun


On June 1, 2015, we kicked off the summer with our summer reading program for children and grown-ups. We’re excited to enjoy the sunshine and a good book or two. Here are a few books that we’re looking forward to reading this summer.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins— Billed as “the next Gone Girl,The Girl on the Train is the perfect summer psychological thriller. Rachel takes the commuter train every day, riding past the home she and her ex-husband used to share. Now he lives there with his new wife and baby.  A few doors down from, Rachel watches another happy couple and fantasizes about their life together. One day, Rachel sees the woman kissing a man that is not her husband. The next day, the woman goes missing. Rachel offers what she knows to the police and becomes intertwined in the investigation.

Ruby by Cynthia Bond— Ruby Bell is “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” but has experienced profound suffering in her small Texas town. She runs off to 1950s New York City and beings a new life. When she is forced to come back to Texas, Ruby must face her traumatic past. Ruby is a story of passion, courage, and loyalty.  Ruby is also the newest Oprah Book Club selection.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah— Fans of All the Light We Cannot See will also love this great book set in France during World War II.  Vianne and Isabelle are sisters that are only united for the love they have for each other. Vianne lives in the country while Isabelle lives in Paris.  Vianne must say good-bye to her husband as he goes off to fight in the War, leaving her and her daughter vulnerable when German soldiers decide to quarter in her home. Meanwhile, Isabelle is young and in love in Paris. When her relationship turns sour, she joins the resistance. The Nightingale tells the heartbreaking story of two sisters that are united in love for each other and in their strength in fighting for what’s right.

Dead Wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson—On May 1, 1915, the Lusitania set sail out of New York City toward Liverpool, England. It was 10 months into WWI, and everyone on the ship was at ease, even though Germany already declared the Atlantic a war zone. The Lusitania was a “greyhound of the sea,” carrying 1,962 passengers, including a record amount of children and infants. On May 7, 1915, the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. Larson crafts a compelling narrative surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania from multiple perspectives.

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James—On December 3, 1976, seven gunman stormed Bob Marley’s house in an assassination attempt. Marley and several others were left wounded but alive. Not much is known about the gunman and their fate. James examines this dangerous time in Jamaican history, crafting memorable and compelling characters. Jamaica’s turbulent past is recounted through many unique voices.

Us: a novel by David Nicholls—Connie and Doug couldn’t be more different. Regardless, they fell in love and built a life together. After more than 20 years of marriage, Connie tells Doug she thinks she wants a divorce. Before her decision is final, she agrees to go on one last vacation with Doug and their son, Albie: a tour of Europe. Doug is convinced that the trip will help fix their family problems; but, is it too late?

Song of the Shank : a novel  by Jeffery Renard Allen – Tom Wiggins, or “Blind Tom,” was born a slave and became known as a musical prodigy. This work blends history and a little fantasy to tell the struggles and transformation of a former slave to the first African American to perform at the White House.  After almost a decade of research, Allen crafted a complex, enthralling story that will give readers a profound understanding of the inhumanity of slavery and 19th-century racial attitudes.

To join in on the summer reading fun, stop by the Fiction desk on the 2nd floor. Sign up and start reading to win books and be entered into drawings for some great prizes, including an Amazon Kindle Fire and Beats by Dre headphones. What book are you looking forward to reading this summer?