It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of 2021 has come to an end. Yet here we are! To mark this passage of time, I thought I’d share what books I bought during January to March. I usually borrow most of my books from the library for several reasons: I’m space-limited; I’m critical of what I read and don’t want to buy a book that I might not love; and I think it’s more environmentally friendly. I buy books when I feel confident I’ll really enjoy them, my library doesn’t have them, or I know I’ll want to refer back to them later. I didn’t include a couple of books that I bought after I borrowed them from my library. That said, here’s my recent book haul and their book cover summaries. These summaries are not my own.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
As a new age dawns on England’s twelfth century, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral sets the stage for a story of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal. It is in this rich tapestry, where kings and queens are corrupt, that the common man shows eternal promise–and one majestic creation will bond them forever….
Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy B. Tyson
On May 11, 1970, Henry Marrow, a twenty-three-year-old black veteran, walked into a crossroads store owned by Robert Teel and came out running. Teel and two of his sons chased and beat Marrow, then killed him in public as he pleaded for his life.
Like many small Southern towns, Oxford [North Carolina] had barely been touched by the civil rights movement. But in the wake of the killing, young African Americans took to the streets. While lawyers battled in the courthouse, the Klan ranged in the shadows and black Vietnam veterans torched the town’s tobacco warehouses. Tyson’s father, the pastor of Oxford’s all-white Methodist church, urged the town to come to terms with its bloody racial history. In the end, however, the Tyson family was forced to move away.
Tim Tyson’s riveting narrative of that fiery summer brings gritty blues truth, soaring gospel vision, and down-home humor to a shocking episode of our history. Like To Kill A Mockingbird, Blood Done Sign My Name is a classic portrait of an unforgettable time and place.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy — from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans — has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair — and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold—a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there–but many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, Jude must defy him–and face the consequences.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes the first book in a stunning trilogy filled with twists and enchantment, as one girl learns the meaning of true power.
On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein
For more than a decade, the acclaimed journalist and groundbreaking thinker has documented the movement of the climate crisis from future threat to burning emergency. She has been among the first to make the case for what is now called the Green New Deal–a vision for transforming our economies to battle climate breakdown and rampant inequality at the same time. In our era of rising seas and rising hate, she argues that only this kind of bold, roots-up action has a chance of rousing us to fight for our lives while there is still time.
These long-form essays, based on her extensive research and reporting, show Klein at her most prophetic and philosophical, investigating the climate crisis not only as a profound political challenge but as a spiritual and imaginative one as well. Delving into the clash between ecological time and our culture of “perpetual now,” the soaring history of rapid human change in the face of grave threats, rising white supremacy and fortressed borders as a form of “climate barbarism,” and more, this is a rousing call to transformation–and a dire warning about what awaits if we fail to act.
With dispatches from the ghostly Great Barrier Reef, to the smoke-choked skies of the Pacific Northwest, to post-hurricane Puerto Rico, and to a Vatican waking up to the case for radical change, Klein paints a vivid picture of both social and ecological breakdown–as well as the people and movements rising to turn humanity’s greatest disaster into our greatest opportunity.
Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone by Douglas W. Smith & Gary Ferguson
In Decade of the Wolf, project leader Douglas W. Smith and acclaimed nature writer Gary Ferguson describe the journey of thirty-one Canadian gray wolves that were released in 1995 and 1996 into Yellowstone National Park and the people who faithfully followed them. The wolves have not only survived but completely changed the ecosystem, spilling a fresh measure of wildness across the world’s first national park.
This updated edition includes additional wolf profiles, new information on the effects of climate change and disease, and a retrospective on what the scientists have learned during this extended study of the Yellowstone wolves.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.
Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.
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