On October 3rd, the Black Student Union and the SGA Programs Board held a special event called BLM @ St. Mary’s. Held to support the Black community at SMCM and to serve as a forum for discussion about racial injustice, the event featured speakers include the Department of Political Science’s Dr. Sahar Shafqat, and interim Chief Diversity Officer Kelsey Bush, as well as an open mic segment on the waterfront during which students shared creative works. In response to a request from the Programs Board and the BSU, the Library has put together a book display of materials related to racial justice issues, including systemic racism and police brutality, as well as highlighting works by Black authors. The display, located across from the Circulation Desk on the Library’s first floor, will be up for the rest of the semester, and all books are available to check out. Come visit the library and learn more about race and social justice!
March 8 is here, and that means one thing only at SMCM: round 2 of the Tournament of Books! And spring break. Can the alignment of these important events be mere coincidence? We don’t think so–in fact, spring break offers the perfect opportunity to catch up on the books facing off in the competition.
Didn’t have time to check out your reads before break? No worries! The Library has your back with our Overdrive collection, where you can find eBooks and eAudiobooks, available whether you’re on campus or away. Prefer the experience of turning the pages of a print book? We’re open March 11-14 and have plenty of titles from the Tournament of Books available for check out!
Keep scrolling for suggested reads from the Tournament of Books in Overdrive and in print.
Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. Alone and in exile, she leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago. Books are her only companions—until she meets Ludo. Their connection is magnetic, and fraught. They push and pull across the Mediterranean, wondering if their love—or lust—can free Zebra from her past.
The Dictionary of Animal Languages by Heidi Sopinka
Born into a wealthy family in northern England and sent to boarding school to be educated by nuns, Ivory Frame rebels. She escapes to inter-war Paris, where she finds herself through art, and falls in with the most brilliantly bohemian set: the surrealists. Torn between an intense love affair with a married Russian painter and her soaring ambition to create, Ivory’s life is violently interrupted by the Second World War. She flees from Europe, leaving behind her friends, her art, and her love.
Census by Jesse Ball
When a widower receives notice from a doctor that he doesn’t have long left to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son—a son whom he fiercely loves, a boy with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.
So Lucky by Nicola Griffith
So Lucky is the sharp, surprising new audiobook by Nicola Griffith—the profoundly personal and emphatically political story of a confident woman forced to confront an unnerving new reality when in the space of a single week her wife leaves her and she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling
In Lydia Kiesling’s razor-sharp debut novel, The Golden State, we accompany Daphne, a young mother on the edge of a breakdown, as she flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler, Honey. Bucking under the weight of being a single parent-her Turkish husband is unable to return to the United States because of a “processing error”-Daphne takes refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents in hopes that the quiet will bring clarity.
The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat
A haunting story of fatherhood, national identity, and what it means to be an immigrant in America today, Nafkote Tamirat’s The Parking Lot Attendant explores how who we love, the choices we make, and the places we’re from combine to make us who we are.
Milkman by Anna Burns
In Northern Ireland during the Troubles of the 1970s, an unnamed narrator finds herself targeted by a high-ranking dissident known as Milkman.
America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo
An increasingly relevant story told with startling lucidity, humor, and an uncanny ear for the intimacies and shorthand of family ritual, America Is Not the Heart is a sprawling, soulful debut about three generations of women in one family struggling to balance the promise of theAmerican dream and the unshakeable grip of history. With exuberance, grit, and sly tenderness, here is a family saga; an origin story; a romance; a narrative of two nations and the people who leave one home to grasp at another.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born. When his master’s eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or “Titch,” is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist. He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning.
There There by Tommy Orange
Twelve Native Americans came to the Big Oakland Powwow for different reasons. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Bobby Big Medicine has come to drum the Grand Entry. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather. Orvil has taught himself Indian dance through YouTube videos, and he has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. Tony Loneman is a young Native American boy whose future seems destined to be as bleak as his past, and he has come to the Powwow with darker intentions — intentions that will destroy the lives of everyone in his path.
The Overstory by Richard Powers
A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.
Need some help with Overdrive? See if our guide here can answer your questions or contact us for assistance. Happy reading!
February is Black History Month, and we have many library resources to honor the achievements and experiences of African-Americans.
Learn about the figures that loom large in history like Malcolm X and James Baldwin, as well as the unsung heroes sending astronauts to the moon and fighting for the empowerment of gay black men. The library collection can help you learn about contemporary perspectives on #BlackLivesMatter and reflections on being a black woman in the U.S.
Maybe you prefer a story? Read tales of the spider trickster Anansi, Haitian immigrants encountering culture shock, or a novel by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about Sherlock Holmes’s brother Mycroft.
Keep reading for Black History Month recommendations from the library collection.
The Annotated African American Folktales edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar
Stacks; Call number: GR111.A47 A55 2018
A treasury of dozens of African-American folktales discusses their role in a broader cultural heritage, sharing such classics as the Brer Rabbit stories, the African trickster Anansi, and tales from the late nineteenth-century’s “Southern Workman.”
Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by J. R. Roberts and Johnny Smith
Stacks; Call number: GV1132.A44 R64 2016
In 1962, no one believed that the obnoxious Cassius Clay would ever become the heavyweight champion of the world. But Malcolm X saw the potential in Clay, not just for boxing greatness, but as a means of spreading the Nation of Islam’s radical message. Malcolm secretly molded Clay into Muhammad Ali–a patriotic boxing star in public, and a radical reformer behind the scenes. Soon, however, their friendship would sour, with disastrous and far-reaching consequences.
Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis by Kevin J. Mumford
Ebook; read it here
This compelling book recounts the history of black gay men from the 1950s to the 1990s, tracing how the major movements of the times–from civil rights to black power to gay liberation to AIDS activism–helped shape the cultural stigmas that surrounded race and homosexuality. Drawing on an extensive archive of newspapers, pornography, and film, as well as government documents, organizational records, and personal papers, Mumford sheds new light on four volatile decades in the protracted battle of black gay men for affirmation and empowerment in the face of pervasive racism and homophobia.
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins
New Books Collection; Call number: PS3610.E693 A6 2018
In her collection of linked essays, Jerkins takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to “be”– to live as, to exist as– a black woman today? Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalized with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle, that are rarely acknowledged in our country’s larger discussion about inequality. Jerkins exposes the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well as the white, male-dominated world at large.
All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers
Stacks; Call number: PZ7.M992 Al 2012
The summer after his absentee father is killed in a random shooting, Paul works at a Harlem soup kitchen, where he listens to lessons about “the social contract” from an elderly African American man and mentors a seventeen-year-old unwed mother who wants to make it to college on a basketball scholarship.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
New Books Collection; Call number: PZ7.1.Z64 Am 2017
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie — a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s West Side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?
Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse
Popular Reading; Call number: F Abdul-Jabbar
Fresh out of university, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name for himself in government. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, and where his fiancee Georgiana Sutton was raised. Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports from home, rumors of spirits enticing children to their deaths. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for the island. Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take.
Oreo by Fran Ross
Popular Reading; Call number: F Ross
Oreo, a biracial black girl from Philadelphia, searches for her Jewish father in New York City, navigating the labyrinth of sound studios, brothels, and subway tunnels of Manhattan in a journey of self-discovery.
I Am Not Your Negro
DVD Collection; Call number: E185.61 .I266 2017
I Am Not Your Negro is an examination of racism in America through the lens of James Baldwin’s unfinished book, Remember This House. Intended as an account of the lives of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., each of whom James Baldwin personally knew, only a 30-page manuscript of the book was ever completed. Combining Baldwin’s manuscript with footage of depictions of African-Americans throughout American history, I Am Not Your Negro uses Baldwin’s words to illuminate the pervasiveness of American racism and the efforts to curtail it, from the civil rights movement to #BlackLivesMatter.
DVD Collection; Call number: HV6483.F47 W467 2017
Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. As the national guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, young community members become the torchbearers of a new resistance. For this generation, the battle is not for civil rights, but for the right to live.
Dear White People
DVD Collection; Call number: PN1997 .D437 2015
A sharp and funny comedy about a group of African-American students as they navigate campus life and racial boundaries at a predominantly white college. A sly, provocative satire about being a black face in a white place. (Also adapted into a great series on Netflix.)
DVD Collection; Call number: PN1997 .H522 2017
As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.
Need help finding these or other titles about African-American experiences? We’re here for you at the 1st floor reference desk Monday-Thursday, 10:00am-12:00pm & 1:00-5:00pm.
Featured image (raised fist) in the public domain from Wikimedia
On Monday, January 21, classes will be cancelled to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The holiday recognizes King’s birthday on January 15, 1929; had King lived, he would be 90 years old.
Several events on campus commemorate King’s legacy as a Civil Rights activist, minister, and crusader against racial injustice, socioeconomic inequality, and violence of the Vietnam War. Consider attending the MLK Prayer Breakfast or lending a hand for a Day of Service on Monday. Or attend the screening and discussion of an episode from the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize” on Tuesday.
You can also honor the importance of King’s work by learning more about him and the lives of other Civil Rights activists. Did you know Martin Luther King Jr. posthumously won a Grammy in 1971? Or that Rosa Parks served on the Board of Advocates of Planned Parenthood? Check out a film, biography, or novel from the Library to dive deeper into the Civil Rights movement and its legacy.
DVD Collection; Call number: F334.B69 N45 2010
When a bomb tears through the basement of a black Baptist church on a peaceful fall morning, it takes the lives of four young girls; Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins. This racially motivated crime, taking place at a time when the civil rights movement is burning with a new flame, could have doused that flame forever. Instead it fuels a nation’s outrage and brings Birmingham, Alabama to the forefront of America’s concern.
DVD Collection; Call number: E185.97.K5 C585 2004
In exploring the last few years of his life, this American Experience production traces King’s efforts to recast himself by embracing causes beyond the civil rights movement, by becoming a champion of the poor and an outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam. Tapping into a rich archive of photographs and film footage and using diaries, letters, and eyewitness accounts of fellow activists, friends, journalists, political leaders and law enforcement officials, this film brings fresh insights to King’s impossible journey, his charismatic leadership and his truly remarkable impact.
DVD Collection; Call number: E185.97.K5 K564 2013
The life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama, and culminating with his assassination in Memphis in 1968. Including archival footage, this film is an indispensable primary resource of a pivotal moment in American and world history. Originally screened in theaters for only a single night in 1970.
Call number: E185.97.K5 J343 2008
Author Troy Jackson chronicles King’s emergence and effectiveness as a civil rights leader by examining his relationship with the people of Montgomery, Alabama. Using the sharp lens of Montgomery’s struggle for racial equality to investigate King’s burgeoning leadership, Jackson explores King’s ability to connect with the educated and the unlettered, professionals and the working class.
March by John Lewis
Call number: E840.8.L43 A3 2013 book 1
This graphic novel is a first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book one spans Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.
Power to the Poor: Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice by Gordon K. Mantler
Ebook; read it here
In a major reinterpretation of civil rights and Chicano movement history, Gordon K. Mantler demonstrates how King’s unfinished crusade became the era’s most high-profile attempt at multiracial collaboration and sheds light on the interdependent relationship between racial identity and political coalition among African Americans and Mexican Americans. Mantler argues that while the fight against poverty held great potential for black-brown cooperation, such efforts also exposed the complex dynamics between the nation’s two largest minority groups.
Origins of the Dream: Hughes’ Poetry and King’s Rhetoric by W. Jason Miller
Call number: PS3515.U274 Z6844 2015
For years, some scholars have privately suspected Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was connected to Langston Hughes’s poetry, and the link between the two was purposefully veiled through careful allusions in King’s orations. In Origins of the Dream, W. Jason Miller lifts that veil to demonstrate how Hughes’s revolutionary poetry became a measurable inflection in King’s voice, and that the influence can be found in more than just the one famous speech.
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis
Call number: F334.M753 P3883 2013
The definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement and presenting a corrective to the popular notion of Rosa Parks.
Fiction and Poetry
Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell
Popular Reading; Call number: Fiction Campbell
Moving quickly and believably from the eve of integration in rural Mississippi to the present-day street gangs in Chicago’s housing projects, Campbell captures the gulf between pre-and post-civil rights America; her story, starting with the murder of a young black man whose trial–argued before an all-white jury–captures national attention, shows us how far we have come and yet suggests we have not come so far after all.
Words of Protest, Words of Freedom: Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement and Era edited by Jeffrey Lamar Coleman
Call number: PS595.R32 W549 2012
Words of Protest, Words of Freedom is the first comprehensive collection of poems written during and in response to the American civil rights struggle of 1955–75. Featuring some of the most celebrated writers of the twentieth century—including Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell, and Derek Walcott—alongside lesser-known poets, activists, and ordinary citizens, this anthology presents a varied and vibrant set of voices, highlighting the tremendous symbolic reach of the civil rights movement within and beyond the United States.
Dreamer: A Novel by Charles Johnson
Call number: PS3560.O3735 D7 1998
Set against the tensions of Civil Rights era America, Dreamer is a remarkable fictional excursion into the last two years of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, when the political and personal pressures on this country’s most preeminent moral leader were the greatest. While in Chicago for his first northern campaign against poverty and inequality, King encounters Chaym Smith, whose startling physical resemblance to King wins him the job of official stand-in. Matthew Bishop, a civil rights worker and loyal follower of King, is given the task of training the smart and deeply cynical Smith for the job.
While we have many books in the Library about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, we don’t have them all. Are we missing a great book or film about King? Let us know!
You’re almost there–well on your way to the last day of fall semester! Why not treat yourself with a celebratory read or two to enjoy over break? Books in the stacks and our Popular Reading collection can be checked out for 28 days, so no need to stress about due dates. Here are some staff favorites if you need advice on what to read next. Where possible, we’ve even nicely arranged these together on the 1st floor of the library because we know you’ve worked hard this semester and don’t need to deal with another set of stairs or waiting on the elevator.
Cheryl Colson, Collections Technician and resident baker
Tailspin by Sandra Brown (USMAI)
Engaging who done it. If you like mysteries, this is the perfect read to keep you on the edge of your seat over break!
Kent Randell, College Archivist
Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (Stacks), Call number: CT9971.M35 K73 1996
After graduating college, Christopher McCandless tramped around North America, sometimes in his car, and after his car was destroyed in a desert flash flood, then on foot. His ultimate death in an abandoned school bus in Alaska adds weight to the story.
An interesting character study into the life of a tramp and the people he met along his journey. McClandless’ final months and death in isolation become a reflection on a human being’s place in society. Krakauer’s narration is neither too breezy or too wordy, and treats all of the characters in the story with a high degree of sympathy without becoming too sentimental.
Amanda VerMeulen, Librarian
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (Popular Reading), Call number: F HILL
Need some horror to balance all the Hallmark movies? Take a ride with Charlie Manx to “Christmasland,” the most terrifying amusement park ever imagined. If you’re lucky you just might survive this holiday outing.
William Crowell, Visiting Librarian
Hogfather: A Novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett (USMAI)
On Discworld, children look forward to Hogswatch Night, when the Hogfather comes to bring them presents. This year, a group of beings known as the Auditors want to stop that from happening by any means necessary. They hire Mr. Teatime (it’s pronounced “Teh-ah-tim-eh”), a psychotic assassin, to ensure that it does not.
The only beings standing between the assassin and his target are Death’s granddaughter, Susan Sto Helit, the Death of Rodents, a talking Raven named Quoth, and Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers. The stakes are much higher than toys, however. If they can’t stop Teatime’s plot, then the next morning, the sun won’t rise over the Disc.
What better way to celebrate the season than to read a story about winter holidays on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld? And if that story contains magic, assassins, and a meditation on the nature of humanity, belief, and childhood, then more’s the better!
Additionally, if you’ve never read a Discworld novel, this is a fun, self-contained story that can serve as your introduction to the beloved fantasy series. (Speaking of introductions to the series, if you can’t get your hands on Hogfather, the SMCM Library also has Mort and Guards! Guards!, which are also both great, though less seasonally appropriate.)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Popular Reading), Call number: F GYASI or Kindle (check one out from the front desk)
Homegoing is a set of loosely connected short stories chronicling the African Diaspora from the Gold Coast to the west coast and back again. Although the collection is arranged chronologically it skips over enough history that readers may want to spend some time Googling to fill in historical gaps.
Interesting and worth the read. Readers may find themselves reflecting on our current cultural moment and the history of race and the African American diaspora in the U.S.
The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato (Popular Reading), Call number: F DISABATO
Molly Metropolis, is a global outrun electro-infused pop star famous for her “Apocalypse Dance” music video and her fascination with the Situationists. She makes maps and spectacle and disappears before a big show showcasing her new album in Chicago. Her assistant tries to track her down and gets lost in the “L.” There are missing girls, maps and unless you are seriously into philosophy, and avant-garde art, Wikipedia.
Read this to pick a side: Lady Gaga vs. Janelle Monáe. The consensus is that bi-racial Molly Metropolis is based on Lady Gaga rather than the creator of the album Metropolis (2007) and song/video Dance Apocalypse (2013.)
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (Popular Reading), Call number: F STEWART
The Kopp sisters’ buggy is hit by Henry Kaufman’s motor car in Paterson, NJ. The women and the buggy is damaged. Constance, the eldest sister, requests that Kaufman pay to repair the buggy. The buggy is the sister’s only means of transportation and they are of limited means. The three women live in a farmhouse in Bergen County, New Jersey and cherish their independence. Because Kaufman was drinking when he hit them Constance assumes he will take responsibility for the accident and pay te repair bill. He doesn’t. In fact, rather than pay for the repairs he begins to harass the sisters, going as far as to stalk them and threaten their lives with his Black Hand compatriots.
The novel is a fictionalized account but all of the key elements of the story are true right down to an article in the “Philadelphia Sun” headlined, “Girl Waits with Gun.” (11/23/1914) There is lot’s of action, a juicy backstory, snappy writing and a side mystery that will keep you reading. Although Constance is the lead character all three of the Kopp sisters hold their own and you will root for them and despite the odds they win. You might even say they persisted.
Kate Pitcher, Director of the LAMC
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Popular Reading), Call number: F MURAKAMI
A dystopian novel set in the year 1984, it follows the parallel stories of Aomame, a young Japanese woman with a mysterious past, and Tengo, a young man who seems to live an ordinary life on the surface, until he is pulled into an editorial conspiracy involving the rewrite of a fantastical story by a young adult named Fuka-Eri. The novel is set in an alternative timeline in the year of 1984, and blends mystery, love story, surrealism, and fantasy all in one.
Thought-provoking and captivating, 1Q84 is a meditative reflection on the fantastical and the ordinary. Disturbing at times, it always makes you think.
Jillian Sandy, Visiting Librarian
Watership Down by Richard Adams (Stacks), Call number: PR6051.D345 W3
Though far from perfect, the rabbits of Sandleford warren enjoy rather tranquil lives. That is, until runt of the litter Fiver insists terrible things are coming for the warren. His brother Hazel is one of the few to act on these warnings, leading a small group of rabbits in a quest to find a new home amidst the many dangers that lie in wait for a rabbit with nowhere to hide.
Added bonus: get spoilers ahead of the Netflix series (planned for release later this month)! Or compare to the 1978 animated film adaptation that traumatized many a Millennial (including this one). Not only is the story suspenseful and the writing great, but the characters seem real, and the folk tales of the rabbit trickster figure El-ahrairah absolutely come to life. There’s a reason this is still a beloved fantasy novel over 40 years later.
Whether you pick up one of our recommended reads or not, we will miss you over break! Stay safe and warm on your travels and know we’ll still have plenty of reads once you get back!
Need help getting started? Check out (literally) this selection of books about writing poetry available in the SMCM Library collection!
Want more? Try searching poetry AND (creative writing OR authorship) OR poetics using the search for words in… subject dropdown option on the search page in the St. Mary’s Catalog.
Writing Poetry Books
Poem-making: ways to begin writing poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston. Call number: LB 1576 .L578 1991
Today you are my favorite poet: writing poems with teenagers by Geof Hewitt. Call number: PN 1101 .H46 1998
Helping students learn to write poetry: an idea book for poets of all ages by Joyce C. Bumgardner. Call number: LB 1576 .B889 1997
Next word, better word: the craft of writing poetry by Stephen Dobyns. Call number: PN 1059 .A9 .D63 2011
The poetry home repair manual: practical advice for beginning poets by Ted Kooser. Call number: PN 1059 .A9 .K66 2005
Twentieth-century American poetics: poets on the art of poetry edited by Dana Gioia, David Mason, and Meg Schoerke with D.C. Stone. Call number: PS 323 .5 .T87 2004
Thirteen ways of looking for a poem: a guide to writing poetry by Wendy Bishop. Call number: PN 1059 .A9 .B58 2000
Blue notes: essays, interviews, and commentaries by Yusef Komunyakaa; edited by Radiclani Clytus. Call number: PS 3561 .O455 .Z463 2000
Rules for the dance: a handbook for writing and reading metrical verse by Mary Oliver. Call number: PE 1505 .O37 1998
Trying to say it: outlooks and insights on how poems happen by Philip Booth. Call number: PS 3503 .O532 .Z475 1996
Poemcrazy: freeing your life with words by Susan G. Wooldridge. Call number: PN 1059 .A9 .W66 1996
A poetry handbook by Mary Oliver. Call number: PE .1505 .O35 1994
Writing poems by Peter Sansom. Call number: PN 1059 .A9 .S36 1994
Getting the knack: 20 poetry writing exercises by Stephen Dunning and William Stafford. Call number: PN 1059 .A9 .D86 1992
Poem-making: ways to begin writing poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston. Call number: LB 1576 .L578 1991
Writing light verse and prose humor by Richard Armour. Call number: PN 1042 .A7 1971
The sounds of poetry: a brief guide by Robert Pinsky. Call number: PN 4151 .P55 1998
Need a suggestion? Check out (literally) this selection of nature/environmental poetry and criticism available in the SMCM Library collection!
Want more? Try searching poetry AND (nature OR ecology) using the search for words in… subject dropdown option on the search page in the St. Mary’s Catalog.
Poetry and Criticism Books: Nature and Environmental Themed
Sustainable poetry: four American ecopoets by Leonard M. Scigaj. Call number: PS 310 .N3 .S38 1999
Can poetry save the earth?: a field guide to nature poems by John Felstiner. Call number: PS 310 .N3 .F45 2009
Mountain home: the wilderness poetry of ancient China selected and translated by David Hinton. Call number: PL 2658 .E3 .M65 2005
Greening the lyre: environmental poetics and ethics by David W. Gilcrest. Call number: PS 310 .N3 .G55 2002
Black nature: four centuries of African American nature poetry edited by Camille T. Dungy. Call number: PS 591 .N4 .B49 2009
Urban nature: poems about wildlife in the city edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar. Call number: PS 595 .N22 .U63 2000
Wild song: poems of the natural world edited by John Daniel; illustrations by Deborah Randolph Wildman. Call number: PS 595 .N22 .W55 1998
Poems for a small planet: contemporary American nature poetry edited by Robert Pack and Jay Parini. Call number: PS 595 .N22 .P63 1993
Pterodactyl Rose: poems of ecology by William Heyen. Call number: PS 3558 .E85 .P74 1991
A chime of windbells: a year of Japanese haiku in English verse. Translations with an essay by Harold Stewart. Call number: PR 6037 .T4645 .C5
The haiku anthology: haiku and senryu in English edited by Cor van den Heuvel. Call number: PS 593 .H3 .H34 1999
For our last Black History Month post, we’ve got a mini bibliography (what we’re calling a mini-bib) of children’s books in the SMCM Library collection. Grab one (or a stack) and take a break from those scholarly sources!
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, call number: PZ7.K2253 Sn
The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy, call number: PZ7.F667 Pat 1985
Aunt Martha and the Golden Coin by Anita Rodriguez, call number: PZ7.R6188 Au 1993
The Faithful Friend by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Brian Pinkney, call number: PZ8.1.S227 Fai 1995
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: a West African Tale retold by Verna Aardema, pictures by Leo and Diane Dillon, call number: PZ8.1.A213 Wh 1978
Learn about Octavia Butler’s life in Credo Reference
Looking for some background information on Butler? The Credo Reference database provides online access to a number of high quality reference encyclopedias and dictionaries with entries on Butler.
Using the entry in the Encyclopedia of African-American Writing found in Credo Reference, can you name the prestigious science-fiction writing awards Butler won during her lifetime?
Read Octavia Butler’s novels, find them with the St. Mary’s Catalog
Experience Butler’s award winning sci-fi novels, featuring African-American female protagonists, first hand by checking them out of the SMCM Library!
Contained in one volume, Parable of the Sower; Parable of the Talents; and Kindred, three of Butler’s most well known works are available for check out. The first two works, which make up the Parable series, are set in California in the 2020s and present a dystopian future where corporate greed and lack of environmental stewardship lead to political and social collapse. The stand alone novel Kindred follows a 20th-century African-American woman who travels back in time to 19th century Maryland, where she meets her ancestors.
Find this collection under call number PS 3552. U827 P37 1999 in the second floor Stacks.
Want more? Search the USMAI catalog to borrow other Butler books from other Maryland libraries!
Maybe now you’ve learned a little about Octavia Butler’s life, read a couple of her novels, and are interested in doing research in the literature for a paper or project. While you might start you research using OneSearch (or *cough*googlescholar*cough*), how about giving a more targeted subject specific database like MLA International Bibliography or Project Muse a try?
Produced by the Modern Language Association (of MLA citation style fame) the MLA International Bibliography contains over 1.8 MILLION citations for books, journals, dissertations and theses, dating back to 1926! A search for “Octavia Butler and Kindred” turned up 38 highly relevant results. As the name suggests, results the MLA International Bibliography are mainly citations, but you can access the full text – if available – in one of the library’s other databases, or through Interlibrary Loan.
Looking to get your hands on full-text sources right away? The Project Muse database has full-text sources from over 400 titles. A search for “Octavia Butler and Kindred” turned up 117 full-text articles from journals ranging from literary criticism to women’s studies!
Brace yourselves, the book sale is coming…
The annual library book sale is next Tuesday and Wednesday, October 6 & 7. We will be selling books from 9am-4pm, rain or shine outside the entrance to the library. We have books in a range of subjects, so come early and often to get your favs!
Book Prices are $0.50 for paperbacks and $1.00 for hardcovers. Cash only! Sorry no OneCard, debit or credit cards 🙁 [Thankfully there’s an ATM conveniently located in the library lobby. Coincidence or conspiracy????? You decide.]