My Monticello, by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

Staff Pick

This book of short stories is amazing, in particular the novella, My Monticello. Set in Charlottesville after the heatwaves, wildfires, and demonstrations, it traces "the unraveling" when the power fails and the guys with the tiki torches return and drive people away from their homes. A diverse busload of students and others--including the protagonist,  De'Naisha Love, and her grandmother, MaViolet, descendants of Jefferson and Sally Hemings--escape the mayhem and flee to Jefferson’s hilltop home, Monticello. Over 19 days the group organizes and tries to fend for iself.  The writing sizzles.  

My Monticello: Fiction By Jocelyn Nicole Johnson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250807151
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - October 5th, 2021

Carville's Cure, by Pam Fessler

Staff Pick

Through the lens of leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, Fessler explores harmful myths about disease that can impair public health. Her fascinating book details the first national leprosarium—built on an old plantation in rural Carville, Louisiana—reporting that the first patients were often forcibly removed from their families and confined to the grounds once they arrived.  The stigma surrounding this almost non-contagious disease seems to come from the Bible, which deems leprosy a “sign of an ‘unclean’ soul and a symptom of sin. "

Carville's Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice By Pam Fessler Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631495038
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Liveright - July 14th, 2020

These Ghosts are Family, by Maisy Card

Staff Pick

 From the front cover to the last page--I loved this book!  Maisy Card’s debut novel is a series of interconnected stories about a family that can trace its oldest ancestor to a slave, Florence, on a sugar plantation in Jamaica.  Florence is hanged for trying to poison her master.  In 2020, some of the descendants have settled in Brooklyn, one even marries a descendent of the old master.  There aren’t ghosts on every page but they do make appearances and the past and the present are clearly connected.  

These Ghosts Are Family: A Novel By Maisy Card Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982117436
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 3rd, 2020