The summer of 2020 is one that won't be forgotten — marked by a global pandemic and demonstrations against racial injustice. The items our patrons most requested reflected both the country's mood to have important conversations about race as well as a desire to find a nice book (or DVD) to curl up with. Here are the most popular eBooks, eAudiobooks, physical books, and DVDs from June through August.
Top 10 eBooks:
1. How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.
2. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
Antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and "allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to 'bad people' (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.
3. Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad
Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.
4. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past.
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.
5. Normal People, by Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins. Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can't.
6. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life—until the unthinkable happens.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
8. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
9. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
10. The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
Alicia Berenson's life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London's most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him...
Top 10 eAudiobooks:
1. So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
2. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
3. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers — and why they often go wrong.
4. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. Her life is comfortable - until her husband publishes a tell-all piece on the newest cartel boss. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. As they join the countless people trying to reach America, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
Top 10 Curbside Checkout Books
2. Too Much and Never Enough, by Mary L. Trump
In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald's only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man he is today.
3. Masked Prey, by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport investigates a vitriolic blog that seems to be targeting the children of U.S. politicians in the latest thriller by #1 New York Times- bestselling author John Sandford.
4. Camino Winds, by John Grisham
Just as Bruce Cable's Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida's governor orders a mandatory evacuation, and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm.
The hurricane is devastating: homes and condos are leveled, hotels and storefronts ruined, streets flooded, and a dozen people lose their lives. One of the apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce's and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson's injuries suggests that the storm wasn't the cause of his death: He has suffered several suspicious blows to the head.
Camino Winds is an irresistible romp and a perfectly thrilling beach read--# 1 bestselling author John Grisham at his beguiling best.
5. Fair Warning, by Michael Connelly
The hero of The Poet and The Scarecrow is back in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly. Jack McEvoy, the journalist who never backs down, tracks a serial killer who has been operating completely under the radar--until now.
6. The 20th Victim, by James Patterson
Three victims, three bullets, three cities. The shooters' aim is as fearsomely precise as their target selection. When Lindsay realizes that the fallen men and women excel in a lucrative, criminal activity, she leads the charge in the manhunt for the killers. As the casualty list expands, fear and fascination with this suspicious shooting gallery galvanizes the country. The victims were no angels, but are the shooters villains... or heroes?
7. Walk the Wire, by David Baldacci
Amos Decker -- the FBI consultant with a perfect memory -- returns to solve a gruesome murder in a booming North Dakota oil town in the newest thriller in David Baldacci's #1 New York Times bestselling Memory Man series.
9. The Guardians, by John Grisham
In the small Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The police soon came to suspect Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo's.
Quincy was tried, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison, maintaining his innocence. Finally, Guardian Ministries takes on his case. With Quincy Miller, though, they get far more than they bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy Miller exonerated.
They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.
10. A Very Stable Genius, by Philip Rucker
Washington Post national investigative reporter Carol Leonnig and White House bureau chief Philip Rucker, both Pulitzer Prize winners, provide the definitive insider narrative of Donald Trump's unique presidency with shocking new reporting and insight into its implications.
Top 10 Kanopy Films
1. I Am Not Your Negro
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends--Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.
Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and flood of rich archival material. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.
2. What We Do in the Shadows
Housemates Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, & Jonathan Brugh) are three vampires who are trying to get by in modern society; from paying rent and doing housework to trying to get invited into nightclubs. They are just like anyone else - except they're immortal and must feast on human blood. When their 8000 year-old roommate Petyr, turns 20-something human hipster Nick, into a vampire, the guys must guide him through his newfound eternal life.
3. The Lighthouse
Two lighthouse keepers (Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe) fight each other for survival and sanity on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. From Robert Eggers, the visionary filmmaker behind horror masterpiece The Witch.
A ruthless businessman and bootlegger who ruled Chicago with an iron fist, Al "Fonzo" Capone (Tom Hardy) was the most infamous and feared gangster of American lore. At the age of 47, following nearly a decade of imprisonment, dementia rots Capone's mind and his past becomes present as harrowing memories of his violent and brutal origins melt into his waking life.
5. Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Based on the international bestseller by rock-star economist Thomas Piketty (which sold over three million copies worldwide and landed Piketty on Time's list of most influential people), this captivating documentary is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, a film that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, and shines a new light on today's growing inequalities. Traveling through time, the film assembles accessible pop-culture references coupled with interviews of some of the world's most influential experts delivering an insightful and empowering journey through the past and into our future.
6. Party Monster
Macaulay Culkin stars as Michael Alig, a prominent New York party organizer whose life spiraled out of control when he bragged about killing his drug dealer on television.
7. Requiem for the American Dream
The definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, widely regarded as the most important intellectual alive, on the defining characteristic of our time - the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few. Through interviews filmed over four years, Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us to the crossroads of historically unprecedented inequality - tracing a half century of policies designed to favor the most wealthy at the expense of the majority - while also looking back on his own life of activism and political participation. Profoundly personal and thought provoking, Chomsky provides penetrating insight into what may well be the lasting legacy of our time - the death of the middle class, and swan song of functioning democracy. A potent reminder that power ultimately rests in the hands of the governed, REQUIEM is required viewing for all who maintain hope in a shared stake in the future.
8. Dial M for Murder
Ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) wants to have his wealthy wife, Margot (Grace Kelly), murdered so he can get his hands on her inheritance. When he discovers her affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), he comes up with the perfect plan to kill her. He blackmails an old acquaintance into carrying out the murder, but the carefully-orchestrated set-up goes awry. Now Wendice must frantically scheme to outwit the police and avoid having his plot detected.
9. Madame Bovary (2014)
Adapted from Flaubert's classic novel, MADAME BOVARY tells the tragic story of Emma, a young beauty who impulsively marries a small-town doctor to leave her father's pig farm behind. But after being introduced to the glamorous world of high society, she soon becomes bored with her stodgy mate and seeks excitement and status outside the bonds of marriage. This sumptuous period drama features a superb cast including Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland), Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). Flaubert's classic novel comes to life.
10. Beautiful Troublemaker
Legendary French New Wave director Jacques Rivette's intimately epic exploration of the convergence between artistry and eroticism. Edouard Frenhofer is a reclusive painter living in the French countryside with his wife. Their lives are radically upended with the arrival of a younger artist and his girlfriend, who becomes the muse that awakens Edouard's fading passions. Rivette creates a layered character study, while also offering an immersive meditation on the creative process.
Top 10 DVDs
1. Little Women (2019)
Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters - four young women, each determined to live life on her own terms.
April 6th, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.
4. Jojo Rabbit
A young boy in Hitler's army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.
5. Richard Jewell
American security guard Richard Jewell saves many lives from an exploding bomb at the 1996 Olympics, but is vilified by journalists and the press who falsely reported that he was a terrorist.
6. Knives Out
A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.
7. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.
8. Jumanji: The Next Level
The gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to rescue one of their own, the players will have to brave parts unknown from arid deserts to snowy mountains, to escape the world's most dangerous game.
10. Just Mercy
World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.