Friday Reads: Black Panther and Afrofuturism

We here at Danville Public Library are very excited about the release of Black Panther in theaters this weekend. The film takes place in Wakanda, a fictional African country that is easily the most technologically advanced nation in the world. As such, the Black Panther comics (which we’ve reviewed in the past) and the upcoming movie are great examples of Afrofuturism.

What is Afrofuturism? From CNN, Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic that “intersects science fiction, technology, and ancient African mythologies.” To perhaps oversimplify, this genre places Black people at the forefront of science fiction and magical realism stories.

Once you’ve seen the film, you may just want a greater taste of this genre, so here a few examples that are available in our library system:

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Akata Witch by Nnedi Okoafor

Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.

 

 

 

26114130Everfair by Nisi Shawl

A neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier.

 

 

 

 

51p2bd44asnl-_sx287_bo1204203200_The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

 

 

51qftvpqtwl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

An elevator inspector becomes the center of controversy when an elevator crashes. The inspector, Lila Mae Watson, is a black woman who inspects by intuition, as opposed to visual observation, and now she must prove her method was not at fault. A study of society’s attitude to technology and a debut in fiction.

 

 

 

parable-of-the-sowerParable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others’ pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages.

 

 

 

 

15790940Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkison

Possessing no magic but a beautiful singing voice, Makeda leaves her formerly conjoined twin sister, Abby, to set out on her own for a life of independence, but must reconcile with her sibling after her father goes missing.

 

 

 

 

960667Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany

Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is a science fiction masterpiece, an essay on the inexplicability of sexual attractiveness, and an examination of interstellar politics among far-flung worlds. First published in 1984, the novel’s central issues–technology, globalization, gender, sexuality, and multiculturalism–have only become more pressing with the passage of time.

The novel’s topic is information itself: What are the repercussions, once it has been made public, that two individuals have been found to be each other’s perfect erotic object out to “point nine-nine-nine and several nines percent more”? What will it do to the individuals involved, to the city they inhabit, to their geosector, to their entire world society, especially when one is an illiterate worker, the sole survivor of a world destroyed by “cultural fugue,” and the other is–you!*

*Description for this title comes from Goodreads.
Note: All book descriptions are from the SHARE library catalog except as noted. All book covers are from Google Images.
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What’s New at the Library?

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See what’s new this week at the Danville Public Library at:

*** http://wowbrary.org/nu.aspx?fb&p=8491-177 ***

There are eight new bestsellers, eight new movies, 28 new children’s books, and 26 other new books.

The new bestsellers this week include “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” “Night Moves: An Alex Delaware Novel,” and “Look for Me.” The new movies this week include “All I See Is You,” “The Square,” and “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.”

Book Review: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Behold the dreamersImmigrants from Cameroon, Jende and Neni, find out that the American Dream isn’t necessarily what it’s cracked up to be. Things start out well, with Jende finding a position as a chauffeur for a wealthy Wall Street executive and Neni getting help in her classes so that she can get good enough grades to keep her student visa. They grow closer to the family Jende works for, but after the market crashes, everything comes tumbling down.

 

I enjoyed the book for the unique perspective on the immigrant experience. The writer comes from the same hometown as our main characters and as such was able to give them an extra dimension of realism. This was Mbue’s first novel and I look forward to her work in the future.

Review by Jessica A

Friday Reads: Curl up with a good book for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a time of cupids and romance and good books. Whether or not you read romance, you’ll be sure to find something you enjoy here.

Cookbook:

Interested in making a romantic dinner for your sweetheart?

51cc2bprcoml-_sx258_bo1204203200_The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland

“This is a richly photographed and charmingly written new take on the first cookbook resource for the modern, urban, newly married couple. It includes 150 recipes that reflect a fresh, healthy approach to getting meals on the table and entertaining friends, with a special emphasis on sustainable and handmade elements (i.e., going to farmers’ markets, growing your own vegetables, using locally sourced ingredients, making things from scratch)”–Provided by publisher.

Comedy:

Have a side of laughter with your romance.

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Geekarella by Ashley Poston

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. Elle’s determined to win … unless her stepsisters get there first.

Dating Advice:

Because we all need a little help sometimes.

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Introverts in Love by Sophia Dembling

Love is tricky for everyone–and different personality types can face their own unique problems. Now the author of The Introvert’s Way offers a guide to romance that takes you through the frequently outgoing world of dating, courting, and relationships, helping you navigate issues that are particular to introverts, from making conversation at parties to the challenges of dating an extrovert.

 

History:

What’s the scoop on Valentine’s Day in the first place?

25363342America’s Favorite Holidays by Bruce David Forbes

Explores how five of America’s culturally dominant holidays–Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving–came to be what they are today, combinations of seasonal and religious celebrations heavily influenced by modern popular culture.

 

 

Historical:

Take a trip through time and fall in love.

51tftz2kv0lForbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he’s always dreamed of–one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the facade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything … and the price seems worth paying. Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won’t risk her heart for him. As soon as she’s saved enough money from her cooking, she’ll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden …

Comics:

Not all comics are about superheroes.

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Fresh Romance, edited by Janelle Asselin

Fresh Romance is a collection of romance comics from some of comics’ most talented creators, including Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle, Sarah Kuhn, Marguerite Bennett, and Trungles. From unhappy historical marriages to covert teenage romances.

 

 

 

 

LGBTQ Romance:

Let’s get a bit of queer representation in our list.

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Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.

 

 

 

True Romance:

Love in real life.

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The Lovings: An Intimate Portrait by Grey Villet and Barbara Villet

“On July 13, 1958, newlyweds Richard and Mildred Loving were rousted from their bed and arrested, accused of the crime of “miscegenation” under Virginia law. Mildred was of African American and Native American ancestry, Richard was white. Wanting only to live together as husband and wife, the couple eventually brought their case to the US Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967, the highest court ruled unanimously in their favor, a milestone in civil rights history. In the spring of 1965, as their case worked its way through the courts, Grey Villet, a celebrated photojournalist for Life magazine, was sent to document the Lovings’ story. The Lovings: An Intimate Portrait presents the resulting photo-essay in its entirety for the first time. With a narrative by the former Life editor Barbara Villet, Grey’s colleague and wife, the photos document the Lovings’ love and commitment to family and community with an intensity and intimacy that is the signature of Grey Villet’s award-winning work”– Provided by publisher.

Erotica:

Here to spice things up.

51lhcuuz04l-_sx320_bo1204203200_ Power Couple by Allison Hobbs

In a society obsessed with fame and image, celebrity chef Cori Brown and her former NFL star husband Maverick are another power couple. When the media darling, Cori, finds herself embroiled in a sex scandal, she fears her loyal fans and tabloids will viciously turn on her. Even her pro football player husband isn’t safe, and Maverick may be dragged through the mud along with her.

 

Paranormal:

Fighting demons and falling in love.

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Creatures of Will & Temper by Molly Tanzer

Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Fencer Evadne Gray is sent to London to chaperone her younger sister Dorina. Dorina meets Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton. A semi-respectable aristocrat in public, in private she is secretly in the thrall of a demon obsessed with beauty and pleasure. When Lady Henry and Dorina immediately hit it off, Evadne abandons her chaperone duties and enrolls in a fencing school where she meets George, who has dedicated himself to eradicating demons and their servants, and he needs Evadne’s help. As Evadne gets pulled further into this hidden world, she begins to suspect that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist. Even worse, she believes Dorina may have joined her.

Science Fiction:

Love in space.

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Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley

“The stunning sequel to Maria Dahvana Headley’s critically acclaimed Magonia tells the story of one girl who must make an impossible choice between two families, two homes–and two versions of herself. Aza Ray is back on earth. Her boyfriend, Jason, is overjoyed. Her family is healed. She’s living a normal life, or as normal as it can be if you’ve spent the past year dying, waking up on a sky ship, and discovering that your song can change the world. As in, not normal. Part of Aza still yearns for the clouds, no matter how much she loves the people on the ground. When Jason’s paranoia over Aza’s safety causes him to make a terrible mistake, Aza finds herself a fugitive in Magonia, tasked with opposing her radical, bloodthirsty, recently escaped mother, Zal Quel, and her singing partner, Dai. She must travel to the edge of the world in search of a legendary weapon, the Flock, in a journey through fire and identity that will transform her forever.” Publisher’s descriptions.

Travel:

Go somewhere romantic.

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The World’s Most Romantic Destinations by Abbie Kozolchyk

For Valentine’s Day, National Geographic reveals 50 gloriously romantic vacations in this inspirational planner for weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, and other amorous special occasions. Filled with more than 200 color photographs of dreamy places–from secluded beaches to exotic jungles to luxurious spas–this book offers the perfect passionate escape to those who have just found love or are celebrating a lifetime of it. Discover the world’s most romantic destinations in this elegant photography book–the ideal gift for engagements, weddings, anniversaries, babymoons, Valentine’s Day, or couples wanting to indulge in a dream getaway. Alluring photography and evocative text provide a parade of possibilities: You’ll find Paris and Venice, Bali and the Bahamas, of course, but also unexpected venues such as the Parque de Amor in Lima, Peru, where couples join in a competition for the longest kiss; and Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, California, which, because it faces east, is one of the few spots on the West Coast where you can watch the sun rise over the water. Any place in the world can be romantic if you love the one you’re with, but this book ensures the ultimate getaway with callouts recommending hotel rooms with the best sunset views, restaurants with a flair for romance, and ideas to add a special touch to your trip–for example the best terrace for pre-dinner cocktails, and the nearest beach for a stroll. Sprinkled throughout the book, spreads showcasing jaw-droppingly beautiful destinations include quotes by famous lovers–Casanova in Venice and Heloise and Abelard in Paris, to name a few.

Western:

Cowboys need love too.

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Wild Ride Cowboy by Maisey Yates

“Putting down roots in Copper Ridge was never Alex Donnelly’s intention. But if there’s one thing the ex-military man knows, it’s that life rarely unfolds as expected. If it did, his best friend and brother-in-arms would still be alive. And Alex wouldn’t have inherited a ranch or responsibility for his late comrade’s sister–a woman who, despite her inexperience, can bring tough-as-iron Alex to his knees. Clara Campbell didn’t ask for a hero to ride in and fix her ranch and her life. All she wants is the one thing stubborn, honorable Alex is reluctant to give: a chance to explore their intense chemistry. But Clara has a few lessons to teach him, too … about trusting his heart and his instincts, and letting love take him on the wildest adventure of all” –Page 4 of cover.

Mystery

Solve the mystery of love.

51exiuuvahl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich

Buddhist monk Wayan Bagus lost his island of solitude and wants to get it back. The island was about two hundred miles northeast of Samoa, but it’s vanished without a trace. Emerson Knight likes nothing better than solving an unsolvable, improbable mystery. When clues lead to a dark and sinister secret that is being guarded by the National Park Service, Emerson will need to assemble a crack team for help. So he enlists Riley Moon and his cousin Vernon. Riley Moon has a Harvard business degree and can shoot the eyes out of a grasshopper at fifty feet, but she can’t figure out how to escape the vortex of Emerson Knight’s odd life.

 

 

 

Book Review: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

cyxltn6waammdqtIn honor of Black History Month, we will be reviewing books by African American authors all month. Enjoy!

Many young children, when they first learn about the Underground Railroad, envision a literal railroad. What if it was a literal railroad, secretly built and running enslaved people to free states? That’s the basic premise of Whitehead’s novel. It follows the flight of Cora whose mother escaped the Georgia plantation and now she makes a run for it as well. She has some help along the way, not all of it particularly friendly. Hot on her trail is a slave catcher named Bridgewell who failed to catch Cora’s mother and doesn’t plan to make the same mistake twice.

The book is intense, and its depiction of slavery is both graphic and historically accurate. My book club was trying to think of other tales of the Underground Railroad to compare this story to and came up short: there simply aren’t that many tales which cover this aspect of running from slavery. And that is what makes this a necessary book. It’s entertaining too, certainly keeping the reader on their toes wondering what will happen to Cora next. There are even brief (though very few) moments of humor. Mostly, though, this is a fictional tale that rings all too true. It highlights a part of American history that doesn’t get discussed nearly often enough. I really liked this book and would gladly recommend it to anyone.

Review by Jessica A.