West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Awards - Award Winning Books (2020)

Award winning titles written by authors of various cultural and racial backgrounds

A song for a new day by Sarah Pinsker

In the Before, when the government didn't prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce's connection to the world--her music, her purpose--is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law. Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery--no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she'll have to do something she's never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she seeshow the world could actually be, that won't be enough.

The yellow house by Sarah M Broom

The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power

Everything inside : stories by Edwidge Danticat

From the best-selling author of Claire of the Sea Light and Brother, I'm Dying, a long-awaited return to fiction: a gorgeous collection of stories about community, family and love; about the forces that pull us together or drive us apart--a book rich with vividly imagined characters, hard-won wisdom, and humanity. In these eight stories by widely acclaimed, prizewinning author Danticat--some of which have appeared The New Yorker--a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seems like noble reasons, but leads to irreperable consequences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream, even as she fights for her life, two lovers reunite after the biggest tragedy in their country and in their lives. Vividly set in places from Miami to Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, these beautiful and moving stories showcase one of the world's most renowned voices at her absolute best

The nickel boys : a novel by Colson Whitehead

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy

The sword and the shield : the revolutionary lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel E Joseph

"The Sword and the Shield is a dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King that transforms our understanding of the twentieth century's most iconic African American leaders. Peniel E. Joseph reveals a nuanced portrait of two men who, despite markedly different backgrounds, inspired and pushed each other throughout their adult lives. This is a strikingly revisionist biography, not only of Malcolm and Martin, but also of the movement and era they came to define"--

Girl, woman, other by Bernardine Evaristo

"Girl, Woman, Other is a celebration of the diversity of Black British experience. Moving, hopeful, and inventive, this extraordinary novel is a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and the legacy of Britain's colonial history in Africa andthe Caribbean. The twelve central characters of this multi-voiced novel lead vastly different lives: Amma is a newly acclaimed playwright whose work often explores her black lesbian identity; her old friend Shirley is a teacher, jaded after decades of work in London's funding-deprived schools; Carole, one of Shirley's former students, works hard to earn a degree from Oxford and becomes an investment banker; Carole's mother Bummi works as a cleaner and worries about her daughter's lack of rootedness despite her obvious achievements. From a nonbinary social media influencer to a 93-year-old woman living on a farm in Northern England, these unforgettable characters also intersect in shared aspects of their identities, from age to race to sexuality to class.Sparklingly witty and filled with emotion, centering voices we often see othered, and written in an innovative and fast-moving form that borrows from poetry, Girl, Woman, Other is a polyphonic and richly textured social novel that reminds us of everything that connects us to our neighbors, even in times when we are encouraged to be split apart"--

Trust exercise : a novel by Susan Choi

In 1982 in a southern city, David and Sarah, two freshmen at a highly competitive performing arts high school, thrive alongside their school peers in a rarified bubble, ambitiously devoting themselves to their studies―to music, to movement, to Shakespeare and, particularly, to classes taught by the magnetic acting teacher Mr. Kingsley. It is here in these halls that David and Sarah fall innocently and powerfully into first love. And also where, as this class of students rises through the ranks of high school, the outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and the future, does not affect them―until it does―in a sudden spiral of events that brings a startling close to the first part of this novel

Call me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

"From an award-winning young author, a novel following a feisty heroine's idiosyncratic quest to reclaim her past by mining the wisdom of her literary icons--even as she navigates the murkier mysteries of love...Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists,atheists, and autodidacts. When war came, her family didn't fight; they took refuge in books. Now alone and in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago...Books are Zebra's only companions--until she meets Ludo. Their connection is magnetic; their time together fraught. Zebra overwhelms him with her complex literary theories, her concern with death, and her obsession with history. He thinks she's unhinged; she thinkshe's pedantic. Neither are wrong; neither can let the other go. They push and pull their way across the Mediterranean, wondering with each turn if their love, or lust, can free Zebra from her past...An adventure tale, a love story, and a paean to the power of language and literature starring a heroine as quirky as Don Quixote, as introspective as Virginia Woolf, as whip-smart as Miranda July, and as spirited as Frances Ha,Call Me Zebra will establish Van der Vliet Oloomi as an author "on the verge of developing a whole new literature movement" (Bustle)"--

Sea monsters by Chloe Aridjis

One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking―recklessness, impulse, independence.

Celestial bodies : a novel by Jokha Alharthi

"In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families, their losses and loves, unspool ... against a backdrop of a rapidly changing Oman, a country evolving from a traditional, slave-owning society into its complex present"--

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

A seventeenth-century Dutch anatomist discovers the Achilles tendon by dissecting his own amputated leg. Chopin's heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Flights explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time. Where are you from? Where are you coming in from? Where are you going? we call to the traveler. Enchanting, unsettling, and wholly original, Flights is a master storyteller's answer

An American marriage : a novel by Tayari Jones

"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated byforces beyond their control"--

Hamnet : a novel of the plague by Maggie O'Farrell

"A thrilling departure: a short, piercing, deeply moving novel about the death of Shakespeare's 11 year old son Hamnet--a name interchangeable with Hamlet in 15th century Britain--and the years leading up to the production of his great play. England, 1580. A young Latin tutor--penniless, bullied by a violent father--falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman--a wild creature who walks her family's estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusualgifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when his beloved young son succumbs to bubonic plague. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down--a magnificent departure from one of our most gifted novelists"--

The end of the myth : from the frontier to the wall in the mind of America by Greg Grandin

"From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a new and eye-opening interpretation of the meaning of the frontier, from early westward expansion to Trump's border wall. Ever since this nation's inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been central to American identity. Symbolizing a future of endless promise, it was the foundation of the United States' belief in itself as an exceptional nation--democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America has a new symbol: the border wall.In The End of the Myth, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin explores the meaning of the frontier throughout the full sweep of U.S. history--from the American Revolution to the War of 1898, the New Deal to the election of 2016. For centuries, he shows, America's constant expansion--fighting wars and opening markets--served as a "gate of escape," helping to deflect domestic political and economic conflicts outward. But this deflection meant that the country's problems, from racism to inequality, were never confronted directly. And now, the combined catastrophe of the 2008 financial meltdown and our unwinnable wars in the Middle East have slammed this gate shut, bringing political passions that had long been directed elsewhere back home. It is this new reality, Grandin says, that explains the rise of reactionary populism and racist nationalism, the extreme anger and polarization that catapulted Trump to the presidency. The border wall may or may not be built, but it will survive as a rallying point, an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American exceptionalism"--

The undying : pain, vulnerability, mortality, medicine, art, time, dreams, data, exhaustion, cancer, and care by Anne Boyer

"A fresh, fierce, and timely meditation on data, pain, time, and the limited capacity of literature to comprehend life and death in a sensate and vulnerable body." --

Sweet taste of liberty : a true story of slavery and restitution in America by W McDaniel

"In Sweet Taste of Liberty, W. Caleb McDaniel focuses on the experience of a freed slave who was sold back into slavery, eventually freed again, and who then sued the man who had sold her back into bondage. Henrietta Wood was born into slavery, but in 1848, she was taken to Cincinnati and legally freed. In 1855, however, a wealthy Kentucky businessman named Zebulon Ward, who colluded with Wood's employer, abducted Wood and sold her back into bondage. In the years that followed before and during the CivilWar, she gave birth to a son and was forced to march to Texas. She obtained her freedom a second time after the war and returned to Cincinnati, where she sued Ward for $20,000 in damages--now known as reparations. Astonishingly, after ten years of litigation, Henrietta Wood won her case. In 1878, a Federal jury awarded her $2,500 and the decision stuck on appeal. While nowhere close to the amount she had demanded, this may be the largest amount of money ever awarded by an American court in restitution forslavery. Wood went on to live until 1912"--

The tradition by Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown’s daring new book The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—is testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction.

A memory called Empire by Arkady Martine

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident―or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion―all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret―one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life―or rescue it from annihilation

The stranger diaries by Elly Griffiths

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature. To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn't hers, left on the page of an old diary: Hallo Clare. You don’t know me. Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

"A literary courtroom thriller about a mother accused of murdering her eight-year-old autistic son"--

Sontag by Benjamin Moser

"Benjamin Moser's Sontag, a biography of Susan Sontag, is a portrait of the iconoclastic and prolific essayist, novelist, and critic and her role in the history of American intellectualism" --
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National Medal Recipient of the National Medal, the nation's highest honor for libraries.