Librarian's Pick

Here's what our librarians are reading lately.

Librarian’s Pick: The Sixth Man – Andre Iguodala

“Andre Iguodala is one of the most admired players in the NBA. And fresh off the Warriors’ fifth Finals appearance in five years, his game has never been stronger.

Off the court, Iguodala has earned respect, too—for his successful tech investments, his philanthropy, and increasingly for his contributions to the conversation about race in America. It is no surprise, then, that in his first book, Andre, with his cowriter Carvell Wallace, has pushed himself to go further than he ever has before about his life, not only as an athlete but about what makes him who he is at his core.

The Sixth Man traces Andre’s journey from childhood in his Illinois hometown to his Bay Area home court today. Basketball has always been there. But this is the story, too, of his experience of the conflict and racial tension always at hand in a professional league made up largely of African American men; of whether and why the athlete owes the total sacrifice of his body; of the relationship between competition and brotherhood among the players of one of history’s most glorious championship teams. And of what motivates an athlete to keep striving for more once they’ve already achieved the highest level of play they could have dreamed.

On drive, on leadership, on pain, on accomplishment, on the shame of being given a role, and the glory of taking a role on: This is a powerful memoir of life and basketball that reveals new depths to the superstar athlete, and offers tremendous insight into most urgent stories being told in American society today.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Canyon Dreams – Michael Powell

“Deep in the heart of northern Arizona, in a small and isolated patch of the vast 17.5-million-acre Navajo reservation, sits Chinle High School. Here, basketball is passion, passed from grandparent to parent to child. Rez Ball is a sport for winters where dark and cold descend fast and there is little else to do but roam mesa tops, work, and wonder what the future holds. The town has 4,500 residents and the high school arena seats 7,000. Fans drive thirty, fifty, even eighty miles to see the fast-paced and highly competitive matchups that are more than just games to players and fans.

Celebrated Times journalist Michael Powell brings us a narrative of triumph and hardship, a moving story about a basketball team on a Navajo reservation that shows how important sports can be to youths in struggling communities, and the transcendent magic and painful realities that confront Native Americans living on reservations. This book details his season-long immersion in the team, town, and culture, in which there were exhilarating wins, crushing losses, and conversations on long bus rides across the desert about dreams of  leaving home and the fear of the same.”

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Librarian’s Pick: We Are Not Here To Be Bystanders – Linda Sarsour

We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance “On a chilly spring morning in Brooklyn, nineteen-year-old Linda Sarsour stared at her reflection, dressed in a hijab for the first time. She saw in the mirror the woman she was growing to be—a young Muslim American woman unapologetic in her faith and her activism, who would discover her innate sense of justice in the aftermath of 9/11. Now heralded for her award-winning leadership of the Women’s March on Washington, in We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders Linda Sarsour offers a poignant story of community and family.

From the Brooklyn bodega her father owned, where Linda learned the real meaning of intersectionality, to protests in the streets of Washington, DC, Linda’s experience as a daughter of Palestinian immigrants is a moving portrayal of what it means to find one’s voice and use it for the good of others. We follow Linda as she learns the tenets of successful community organizing, and through decades of fighting for racial, economic, gender, and social justice as she becomes one of the most recognized activists in the nation. We also see her honoring her grandmother’s dying wish, protecting her children, building resilient friendships, and mentoring others even as she loses her first mentor in a tragic accident. Throughout, she inspires readers to take action as she reaffirms that we are not here to be bystanders.

In his foreword to the book, Harry Belafonte writes of Linda, “While we may not have made it to the Promised Land, my peers and I, my brothers and sisters in liberation can rest easy that the future is in the hands of leaders like Linda Sarsour. I have often said to Linda that she embodies the principle and purpose of another great Muslim leader, brother Malcolm X.”

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Librarian’s Pick: The Watergate Girl – Jill Wine-Banks

Image result for the watergate girl“It was a time, much like today, when Americans feared for the future of their democracy, and women stood up for equal treatment. At the crossroads of the Watergate scandal and the women’s movement was a young lawyer named Jill Wine Volner (as she was then known), barely thirty years old and the only woman on the team that prosecuted the highest-ranking White House officials. Called “the mini-skirted lawyer” by the press, she fought to receive the respect accorded her male counterparts―and prevailed.

In The Watergate Girl, Jill Wine-Banks opens a window on this troubled time in American history. It is impossible to read about the crimes of Richard Nixon and the people around him without drawing parallels to today’s headlines. The book is also the story of a young woman who sought to make her professional mark while trapped in a failing marriage, buffeted by sexist preconceptions, and harboring secrets of her own. Her house was burgled, her phones were tapped, and even her office garbage was rifled through.

At once a cautionary tale and an inspiration for those who believe in the power of justice and the rule of law, The Watergate Girl is a revelation about our country, our politics, and who we are as a society.”

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Librarian’s Pick: A Century Of Votes For Women – Christina Wolbrecht

“How have American women voted in the first 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment? How have popular understandings of women as voters both persisted and changed over time? In A Century of Votes for Women, Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder offer an unprecedented account of women voters in American politics over the last ten decades. Bringing together new and existing data, the book provides unique insight into women’s (and men’s) voting behavior, and traces how women’s turnout and vote choice evolved across a century of enormous transformation overall and for women in particular. Wolbrecht and Corder show that there is no such thing as ‘the woman voter’; instead they reveal considerable variation in how different groups of women voted in response to changing political, social, and economic realities. The book also demonstrates how assumptions about women as voters influenced politicians, the press, and scholars.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Suffrage – Ellen Carol Dubois

“Distinguished historian Ellen Carol DuBois begins in the pre-Civil War years with foremothers Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth as she explores the links of the woman suffrage movement to the abolition of slavery. After the Civil War, Congress granted freed African American men the right to vote but not white and African American women, a crushing disappointment. DuBois shows how suffrage leaders persevered through the Jim Crow years into the reform era of Progressivism. She introduces new champions Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, who brought the fight into the 20th century, and she shows how African American women, led by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, demanded voting rights even as white suffragists ignored them.

DuBois explains how suffragists built a determined coalition of moderate lobbyists and radical demonstrators in forging a strategy of winning voting rights in crucial states to set the stage for securing suffrage for all American women in the Constitution. In vivid prose DuBois describes suffragists’ final victories in Congress and state legislatures, culminating in the last, most difficult ratification, in Tennessee.

DuBois follows women’s efforts to use their voting rights to win political office, increase their voting strength, and pass laws banning child labor, ensuring maternal health, and securing greater equality for women.

Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote is sure to become the authoritative account of one of the great episodes in the history of American democracy.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Being Heumann – Judith Heumann

“A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn’t built for all of us and of one woman’s activism—from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington—Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann’s lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society.

Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judy’s struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her paralysis, Judy’s actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people.

As a young woman, Judy rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco as a leader of the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a governmental building in US history. Working with a community of over 150 disabled activists and allies, Judy successfully pressured the Carter administration to implement protections for disabled peoples’ rights, sparking a national movement and leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Candid, intimate, and irreverent, Judy Heumann’s memoir about resistance to exclusion invites readers to imagine and make real a world in which we all belong.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Hood Feminism – Mikki Kendall

book jacket for Hood Feminism“Although there are more women CEOs today than there were at the beginning of the 1970s, complaints of workplace harassment and threats toward women who speak out have remained largely unchanged. But author and activist Mikki Kendall explains that the feminist movement has an even larger failure to contend with: the way that it has left behind women of color as white women grab more power. Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot critiques the dangers of this exclusionary brand of feminism and exhorts those who support changing it for the better.

Throughout the book, Kendall points toward political arenas that historically haven’t been tied to feminism, like food insecurity, gun violence and access to education—issues that largely affect communities of color. Kendall not only details the ways in which ignoring these issues has turned feminism into white feminism but also explains how these missteps have resulted in the failure of feminism as a whole. She convincingly demonstrates how this exclusionary behavior, intended to protect the interests of white women who “cling to the agency and selfhood they feel they have fought so hard to achieve,” in fact results in an outcome that threatens those interests: a strengthening of the patriarchy that actively works against the goal of equality.

Hood Feminism addresses a world that has abandoned marginalized people in favor of creating more opportunity for those who are already in power. For Kendall, the work of feminism is not the achievement of female success but rather the achievement of a larger ideal: genuine equality. If that is the goal, the work of feminism is far from over.

In fact, with rising income inequality, surging gentrification and shrinking social services, the work of feminism has only just begun.”

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Librarian’s Pick: A Women Like Her – Sanam Maher

A Woman Like Her: The Story Behind the Honor Killing of a Social Media Star by [Maher, Sanam] “In 2016, Pakistan’s first social media celebrity, Qandeel Baloch, was murdered in a suspected honor killing. Her death quickly became a media sensation. It was both devastatingly routine and breathtakingly brutal, and in a new media landscape, it couldn’t be ignored.

Qandeel had courted attention and outrage with a talent for self-promotion that earned her comparisons to Kim Kardashian—and made her the constant victim of harassment and death threats. Social media and reality television exist uneasily alongside honor killings and forced marriages in a rapidly, if unevenly, modernizing Pakistan, and Qandeel Baloch’s story became emblematic of the cultural divide.

In this definitive and up-to-date account, Sanam Maher reconstructs the story of Qandeel’s life and explores the depth and range of her legacy from her impoverished hometown rankled by her infamy, to the aspiring fashion models who follow her footsteps, to the Internet activists resisting the same vicious online misogyny she faced. Maher depicts a society at a crossroads, where women serve as an easy scapegoat for its anxieties and dislocations, and teases apart the intrigue and myth-making of the Qandeel Baloch story to restore the humanity of the woman at its center.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Women’s Work – Chris Crisman

“Today, young girls are told they can do—and be—anything they want when they grow up. Yet the unique challenges that women face in the workplace, whether in the boardroom or the barnyard, have never been more publicly discussed and scrutinized. With Women’s Work, Crisman pairs his award-winning, striking portrait photography of women on the job with poignant, powerful interviews of his subjects: women who have carved out unique places for themselves in a workforce often dominated by men, and often dominated by men who have told them no. Through their stories, we see not only the ins and outs of their daily work, but the emotional and physical labors of the jobs they love. Women’s Work is a necessary snapshot of how far we’ve come and where we’re heading next—their stories are an inspiration as well as a call to action for future generations of women at work.

Women’s Work features more than sixty beautiful photographs, including Alison Goldblum, contractor; Anna Valer Clark, ranch owner; Ayah Bdeir, CEO of littleBits; Beth Beverly, taxidermist; Carla Hall, blacksmith; Cherise Van Hooser, funeral director; Jordan Ainsworth, gold miner; Magen Lowe, correctional officer; Mindy Gabriel, firefighter; Nancy Poli, pig farmer; Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, Founders of Georgetown Cupcake; Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential biographer; Sophi Davis, cowgirl; Abingdon Welch, pilot; Christy Wilhelmi, beekeeper; Connie Chang, chemical engineer; Danielle Perez, comedienne; Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo; Lisa Calvo, oyster farmer; Mia Anstine, outdoor guide; Meejin Yoon, architect; Yoky Matsuoka, a tech VP at Google; and many more.”

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