These books were to be featured at our Literary Soiree with Elizabeth Strout on October 29th, 2019.
Informative, inspirational, enlightening, encouraging! I feel like my world view expanded with each chapter. Her voice of strong, quiet conviction is powerful. It’s amazing how much she shares of her own heart through her experiences around the world working with many different people. Packed with statistics, science, personal experiences, successes and failures, Melinda Gates has written a manifesto. —Jenny
I have to admit that I have a weakness for family epics. There is something so powerful about connecting to characters’ lives in the place that is most emotional, complex and personal. So when I read The House of Broken Angels I was not surprised that I fell in love with the extended cast of characters of the Las Cruzes family but little did I know that their feelings of belonging, loyalty and forgiveness would deeply permeate and change my own view of humanity. Dave Eggers says that it is "one of the most vivid and engrossing family epics of the last twenty years" and I agree. — Casey
Dr. Paul Farmer sleeps about two hours a night. At Harvard, he finished in the top of his class though barely attended—already in Haiti, providing medical services in the horrific poverty from which he could not look away. Mountains Beyond Mountains mesmerizingly conveys Farmer’s obsessive altruism and his unrelenting mission to strike out not only disease, but all the world’s ambivalence about inequality. —Julia
A book about the past mixed with the politics of the today, all told through captivating reporting. It celebrates the true thrilling story of the people who smuggled old, rare books and scripts out of West Africa as they confront the new dangers of the present. Badass Librarians is both inspiring and page-turning. — Ian
Saeed Jones has written a memorable, powerful coming-of-age memoir, with his keen awareness of the intersection of multiple identities: to be black, to be gay, to know that being both of these can be deadly in this world. It is as much a testament to surviving the world as it is to surviving one’s own self, as Jones demonstrates with his compelling writing. Even more, it is an ode to single motherhood, an account of the determination it takes to change one’s life, and what one’s life can look like after being changed. — Billy
Terry Tempest Williams’s latest work is powerful, poetic, and absolutely necessary—an offering for how to understand, survive, grieve, and challenge our current political and environmental crises, acting as both balm and tonic. Written with an open heart, a seeking mind, and unfathomable honesty, these essays range from conservation activism to life in the desert, from plumbing the depths of personal grief to public outrage. She speaks to the natural erosion of all things, and how in that loss, there is also strength and reformation, a way to hope. — Melinda