TOP PICKS

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Click on the book cover to read the review

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

“All there was to being white was acting like you were.”

Twin sisters, Stella and Desiree, born and raised into a southern black community in the 1950’s, are torn apart by Stella’s decision to leave her family behind and to pass as white. As the sisters grow older, the far-reaching impact of the choice that was made to ‘pass’ and the story of the family that was left behind unfolds amid an exploration of race, identity, and gender. The reverberating effects of the trauma of an act of racial violence that influenced Stella to leave her past and racial identity behind are shown in the next generation

The way that Brit Bennett reveals Stella’s inner turmoil and the many small betrayals of her own identity that she commits in order to maintain the lies that she has built around herself are the most powerful moments of the novel. I also loved the complex relationship between the two sisters that shifts and changes as they lose each other and try to come to grips with the consequences of Stella’s choice. The author’s wonderful storytelling was on full display in this immersive, family driven novel. 
 

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Deep Work by Cal Newport

Cal Newport, an author and professor, examines the value of deep work and its ability to bring success in an increasingly distracted society and then lays out how to implement it in your own life. Deep work, which is the ability to focus on cognitively demanding tasks without being distracted, requires taking back control of time and attention from the many diversions that attempt to steal it. In an increasingly technological society that values the product of deep work but that is unable to produce it, those who have the ability to cultivate deep and meaningful work and who make it the core of their lives will thrive. Providing stories of the successes of people who have cultivated deep work and a criticism of current email and work culture, this book is helpful in providing a refreshing and reimagined picture of what work should look like.

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Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

A piercing, lyrical memoir of growing up as a Native woman in Canada and the United States.  Terese Marie Mailhot writes about the intergenerational trauma and shame that shadowed her childhood, the lasting effects of residential school on her family, her relationship with her parents, her own transition to motherhood and a tumultuous love life. Mailhot’s experimental style of writing is poignant and moving, a must read. 

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August Book Recommendations

Curated by Mariel Ariwi

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

A piercing, lyrical memoir of growing up as a Native woman in Canada and the United States.  Terese Marie Mailhot writes about the intergenerational trauma and shame that shadowed her childhood, the lasting effects of residential school on her family, her relationship with her parents, her own transition to motherhood and a tumultuous love life. Mailhot’s experimental style of writing is poignant and moving, a must read. 

TheOneEighty-Books-0637.JPG

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Cal Newport, an author and professor, examines the value of deep work and its ability to bring success in an increasingly distracted society and then lays out how to implement it in your own life. Deep work, which is the ability to focus on cognitively demanding tasks without being distracted, requires taking back control of time and attention from the many diversions that attempt to steal it. In an increasingly technological society that values the product of deep work but that is unable to produce it, those who have the ability to cultivate deep and meaningful work and who make it the core of their lives will thrive. Providing stories of the successes of people who have cultivated deep work and a criticism of current email and work culture, this book is helpful in providing a refreshing and reimagined picture of what work should look like. 

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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

“All there was to being white was acting like you were.”

 

Twin sisters, Stella and Desiree, born and raised into a southern black community in the 1950’s, are torn apart by Stella’s decision to leave her family behind and to pass as white. As the sisters grow older, the far-reaching impact of the choice that was made to ‘pass’ and the story of the family that was left behind unfolds amid an exploration of race, identity, and gender. The reverberating effects of the trauma of an act of racial violence that influenced Stella to leave her past and racial identity behind are shown in the next generation

 

The way that Brit Bennett reveals Stella’s inner turmoil and the many small betrayals of her own identity that she commits in order to maintain the lies that she has built around herself are the most powerful moments of the novel. I also loved the complex relationship between the two sisters that shifts and changes as they lose each other and try to come to grips with the consequences of Stella’s choice. The author’s wonderful storytelling was on full display in this immersive, family driven novel.

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