July 21, 2023 marked the release of two highly anticipated blockbuster films, Barbie and Oppenheimer, in the United States and several other countries. Despite the films’ stark differences in themes and content, the shared premiere date was preceded by months of excitement for both films online. As a result, many fans flocked to the theaters to watch both movies in a double feature during the opening weekend and solidified ‘Barbenheimer’ as the “the biggest box office weekend of 2023 so far.”
Other Barbie picks explore Mattel’s iconic creation and her impact on American society. We also pull in feminist texts from our collections, both foundational and contemporary. Among our selections for Oppenheimer are books about the scientists who worked on the atomic bomb and the communities devastated by it in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Team Barbie, Oppenheimer, or ‘Barbenheimer’? Let us know in the comments!
Reviving Ophelia is a call to arms from Dr. Mary Pipher, a psychologist who has worked with teenagers for more than a decade. She finds that in spite of the women’s movement, which has empowered adult women in some ways, teenage girls today are having a harder time than ever before because of higher levels of violence and sexism. It is critical that we understand the circumstances and take measures to correct them. We need to make that precious age of experimentation safe for adolescent girls.
To some she’s a collectible, to others she’s trash. In The Barbie Chronicles, twenty-three writers join together to scrutinize Barbie’s forty years of hateful, lovely, disastrous, glorious influence on us all. No other tiny shoulders have ever had to carry the weight of such affection and derision and no other book has ever paid this notorious little place of plastic her due. Whether you adore her or abhor her, The Barbie Chronicles will have you looking at her in ways you never imagined.
She’s skinny, white, and blond. She’s Barbie—an icon of femininity to generations of American girls. She’s also multiethnic and straight—or so says Mattel, Barbie’s manufacturer. Illustrated with photographs of various interpretations and alterations of Barbie, this book encompasses both Barbie glorification and abjection as it testifies to the irrefutably compelling qualities of this bestselling toy. Anyone who has played with Barbie—or, more importantly, thought or worried about playing with Barbie—will find this book fascinating.
In Barbie Chang, Victoria Chang explores racial prejudice, sexual privilege, and the disillusionment of love through a reimagining of Barbie―perfect in the cultural imagination yet repeatedly falling short as she pursues the American dream. This energetic string of linked poems is full of wordplay, humor, and biting social commentary involving the quote-unquote speaker, Barbie Chang, a disillusioned Asian-American suburbanite. By turns woeful and passionate, playful and incisive, these poems reveal a voice insisting that “even silence is not silent.”
An unabridged version of Beauvoir’s feminist exploration of the psychological, sexual and social roles of women and their historical and contemporary situation in Western culture at the middle of the twentieth century.
In The Will to Change, bell hooks gets to the heart of the matter and shows men how to express the emotions that are a fundamental part of who they are—whatever their age, marital status, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Toxic masculinity punishes those fundamental emotions, and it’s so deeply ingrained in our society that it’s hard for men to not comply—but hooks wants to help change that. With trademark candor and fierce intelligence, hooks addresses the most common concerns of men, such as fear of intimacy and loss of their patriarchal place in society, in new and challenging ways.
In this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years in the making, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War. This is biography and history at its finest, riveting and deeply informative.
This striking work of narrative nonfiction tells the true story of six-year-old Sachiko Yasui’s survival of the Nagasaki atomic bomb on August 9, 1945, and the heartbreaking and lifelong aftermath. Having conducted extensive interviews with Sachiko Yasui, Caren Stelson chronicles Sachiko’s trauma and loss as well as her long journey to find peace. This book offers readers a remarkable new perspective on the final moments of World War II and their aftermath.
The story of the twentieth century is largely the story of the power of science and technology. Within that story is the incredible tale of the human conflict between Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller – the scientists most responsible for the advent of weapons of mass destruction. Gregg Herken gives us the behind-the-scenes account based upon a decade of research, interviews, and newly released Freedom of Information Act and Russian documents.
This is the story of Edith Warner, who lived for more than twenty years as a neighbor to the Indians of San Ildefonso Pueblo, near Los Alamos, New Mexico. She was a remarkable woman, a friend to everyone who knew her, from her Indian companion Tilano, who was an elder of San Ildefonso, to Niels Bohr, Robert Oppenheimer, and the other atomic scientists who worked at Los Alamos during World War II.
A non-technical narrative of the actual making of the first Atom bomb with an accent on the personal cases of the participants and the industrial companies that built it. Rich in human stories and anecdotes.
Black Rain is centered around the story of a young woman who was caught in the radioactive “black rain” that fell after the bombing of Hiroshima. lbuse bases his tale on real-life diaries and interviews with victims of the holocaust; the result is a book that is free from sentimentality yet manages to reveal the magnitude of the human suffering caused by the atom bomb. His sensitivity to the complex web of emotions in a traditional community torn asunder by this historical event has made Black Rain one of the most acclaimed treatments of the Hiroshima story.
Book images and summaries via Amazon.
This post was created by Alaina Faulkner, Student Engagement Associate at FSU Libraries.
This July, we’re honoring Disability Pride Month at FSU Libraries with fifteen books from our collections that highlight diverse experiences of disability. The Disability Pride Flag, pictured below, expresses the meaning of this month.
The flag was designed by Ann Magill with disabled people in mind. The original design featured zig-zagging lines to represent the many obstacles disabled people navigate each day. But when she found the sharp lines were triggering to people with visual disabilities, Magill transformed the flag into the one we have today, reworking the shapes and reordering colors to accommodate disabled people. Each stripe represents the following: the red stands for peoples with physical disabilities; the gold is for neurodiversity; the white is for non-visible and undiagnosed disabilities; the blue is for emotional and psychiatric disabilities; and finally, the green is for sensory disabilities, like blindness and deafness.
One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die. From horror to hope, Small proceeds to graphically portray an almost unbelievable descent into adolescent hell and the difficult road to physical, emotional, and artistic recovery.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by David Small Books.
Beauty is a Verb is the first of its kind: a high-quality anthology of poetry by American poets with physical disabilities. Poems and essays alike consider how poetry, coupled with the experience of disability, speaks to the poetics of each poet included. The collection explores first the precursors whose poems had a complex (and sometimes absent) relationship with disability, such as Vassar Miller, Larry Eigner, and Josephine Miles. It continues with poets who have generated the Crip Poetics Movement, such as Petra Kuppers, Kenny Fries, and Jim Ferris. Finally, the collection explores the work of poets who do not necessarily subscribe to the identity of “crip-poetics” and have never before been published in this exact context. These poets include Bernadette Mayer, Rusty Morrison, Cynthia Hogue, and C. S. Giscombe. The book crosses poetry movements—from narrative to language poetry—and speaks to and about a number of disabilities including cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness, multiple sclerosis, and aphasia due to stroke, among others.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Syracuse University Press.
Disability rights activist Alice Wong brings tough conversations to the forefront of society with this anthology. It sheds light on the experience of life as an individual with disabilities, as told by none other than authors with these life experiences. It’s an eye-opening collection that readers will revisit time and time again.
Image courtesy of Penguin Books. Description provided by the Chicago Tribune.
Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the ‘collected schizophrenias’ but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative.
Image courtesy of Autostraddle.com. Description provided by Graywolf Press.
In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all. Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of color are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a tool kit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind. Powerful and passionate, Care Work is a crucial and necessary call to arms.
Image courtesy of Autostraddle.com. Description provided by Bookshop.org.
Crip Kinship explores the art-activism of Sins Invalid, a San Francisco Bay Area-based performance project, and its radical imaginings of what disabled, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming bodyminds of color can do: how they can rewrite oppression, and how they can gift us with transformational lessons for our collective survival.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by AK Press.
Let Me Count the Ways is the memoir of a journey into obsessive-compulsive disorder, a mechanism to survive a childhood filled with pain, violence, and unpredictability. Morín’s compulsions were a way to hold onto his love for his family in uncertain times until OCD became a prison he struggled for decades to escape. Tender, unflinching, and even funny, this vivid portrait of South Texas life challenges our ideas about fatherhood, drug abuse, and mental illness.
Image courtesy of Kindred Stories. Description provided by University of Nebraska Press.
Deaf Republic opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear–they all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea, these poems confronts our time’s vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Graywolf Press.
Uncovering stories about disability history and life, O’Toole shares her firsthand account of some of the most dramatic events in Disability History, and gives voice to those too often yet left out. From the 504 Sit-in and the founding of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, to the Disability Forum at the International Woman’s Conference in Beijing; through dancing, sports, queer disability organizing and being a disabled parent, O’Toole explores her own and the disability community’s power and privilege with humor, insight and honest observations.
Image courtesy of Kobo.com. Description provided by Harvard University Library.
With acerbic wit, Shane Burcaw describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a ‘you-only-live-once’ perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life-threatening disease.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Roaring Books.
Based on interviews with over one hundred activists, The Disability Rights Movement tells a complex and compelling story of an ongoing movement that seeks to create an equitable and diverse society, inclusive of people with disabilities. The book includes a new chapter on the evolving impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the continuing struggle for cross-disability civil and human rights, and the changing perceptions of disability. The authors provide a probing analysis of such topics as deinstitutionalization, housing, health care, assisted suicide, employment, education, new technologies, disabled veterans, and disability culture.
Image courtesy of Google Books. Description provided by Temple University Press.
Originally published in 1995 as an unprecedented look at autism, Grandin writes from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person to give a report from “the country of autism.” Introducing a groundbreaking model which analyzes people based on their patterns of thought, Grandin “charts the differences between her life and the lives of those who think in words”
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
This wide-ranging book shows why Paul Longmore is one of the most respected figures in disability studies today. Understanding disability as a major variety of human experience, he urges us to establish it as a category of social, political, and historical analysis in much the same way that race, gender, and class already have been. The essays here search for the often hidden pattern of systemic prejudice and probe into the institutionalized discrimination that affects the one in five Americans with disabilities.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Temple University Press.
This elegantly written book offers an unexpected and unprecedented account of blindness and sight. Legally blind since the age of eleven, Georgina Kleege draws on her experiences to offer a detailed testimony of visual impairment—both her own view of the world and the world’s view of the blind. “I hope to turn the reader’s gaze outward, to say not only ‘Here’s what I see’ but also ‘Here’s what you see,’ to show both what’s unique and what’s universal,” Kleege writes.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Yale Books.
El Deafo is a book that will entertain children, give hearing-impaired children a hero of their own, and challenge others to consider an experience unlike their own. Like other great works for children, it provides the opportunity for young readers to consider how they would act or react in a similar situation, helping to build empathy and understanding through the power of story.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Abrams Books.
This post was written by Lila Rush-Hickey, Student Engagement Assistant at FSU Libraries.
Did you know that Tallahassee holds a fascinating distinction? It’s the first city in Florida to hear a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation on May 20, 1865— preceding Juneteenth, when the remainder of the nation recognized that all enslaved persons were emancipated, by a month.
Tallahassee pays homage to its rich African American heritage and culture year-round, embracing its historical significance through captivating museums, boycotts, and serving as the sole stop in Florida on the esteemed National Blues Trail. In light of this monumental holiday, we will explore various resources related to Juneteenth and African-American history, ranging from local events and organizations in Tallahassee to noteworthy books and movies that shed light on this pivotal chapter in American history.
Explore our community and campus
Tallahassee-Leon County Civil Rights Heritage Walk: Immerse yourself in a profound journey through history with the Tallahassee-Leon County Civil Rights Heritage Walk. Spanning just half a block, this remarkable sidewalk memorial tells the story of several significant events, including the city’s bus boycott of 1956 and the lunch counter sit-in demonstrations of the early 60s. Adorned with 16 intricately designed terrazzo panels, this tribute honors the names of local Civil Rights leaders and activists who played a pivotal role in these protests. Explore this landmark located at the corner of East Jefferson Street and Monroe Street.
Visit the John Gilmore Riley Center/Museum: Delve deeper into African American history and culture by discovering the vibrant legacy of Smokey Hollow, a thriving black neighborhood that once flourished just east of downtown Tallahassee. Since its establishment in 1996, this remarkable museum has been dedicated to fostering awareness illuminating the contributions made by African Americans to Florida’s history. Check out the Riley Museum here!
Support the Black Student Union: The Black Student Union (BSU) here at Florida State University fosters unity among Black students and promotes awareness of issues pertaining to Black culture throughout the entire university community by actively organizing and participating in political, academic, and cultural activities. They host numerous events throughout the year, stay connected with BSU through their website and social media platforms for updates on what they’re up to!
Dive into the pages of a book
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson: This award-winning book chronicles the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to urban areas in the North and West. Through compelling narratives, Wilkerson captures the struggles, aspirations, and hopes of those who sought a better life and opportunities away from the Jim Crow South. The Warmth of Other Suns is available online through FSU Libraries, or purchase a copy here.
13th (2016): Directed by Ava DuVernay, this thought-provoking documentary explores the the history of racial inequality and mass incarceration in the United States. The title refers to the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery but included a clause that allowed for the involuntary servitude of convicted criminals. The film examines the deep-rooted connections between slavery, racism, and the modern-day prison industrial complex, shedding light on systemic injustices and raising important questions about the criminal justice system’s impact on marginalized communities. 13th is available to watch for free on YouTube.
Selma (2014): Depicting the historic Selma to Montgomery marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement, the film focuses on the struggle for equal voting rights for African Americans in the face of violent opposition and systemic racism. Selma serves as a reminder of the continued fight for justice and equality that Juneteenth symbolizes. Request the DVD from Strozier, or stream through Paramount+.
Whether by exploring local resources, engaging with thought-provoking literature, or watching impactful films, we can deepen our understanding of this significant holiday. Let us embrace Juneteenth as a time for celebration, education, and solidarity, supporting and uplifting Black voices within our communities!
This post was written by Kaylan Williams, Student Engagement Assistant at FSU Libraries.
June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, a yearly celebration that honors lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) individuals and communities around the world. Observed every June in the U.S. to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969, Pride Month first began as a celebration of “Gay Pride Day.” Since then, it has evolved to span an entire month filled with global events, parades, concerts, and other community celebrations. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Pride Month, check out this page from the Library of Congress!
FSU Libraries are celebrating Pride this June by highlighting resources centered around LGBTQIA+ stories, experiences, and histories. All of the books, movies, and videos below are freely available to the FSU community. Other support and resources are also listed at the end of this post. Let’s celebrate Pride while taking care of ourselves and one another!
LGBTQ advice columnist John Paul Brammer writes a “wise and charming” (David Sedaris) memoir-in-essays chronicling his journey from a queer, mixed-race kid in America’s heartland to becoming the “Chicano Carrie Bradshaw” of his generation.
Five years after a suspicious fire killed his ornithologist mother, a closeted Syrian American trans boy sheds his birth name and searches for a new one. Following his mother’s ghost, he uncovers the silences kept in the name of survival by his own community, his own family, and within himself, and discovers the family that was there all along. This book is a timely exploration of how we all search for and ultimately embrace who we are.
Yaichi is a work-at-home dad in Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, and father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival of a Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself to be the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.
Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s second collection unravels notions of American goodness and creates something more powerful than hope―in it, a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now, and in these poems, Diaz chooses love.
How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.
When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of the house and forced to move in with their older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas. Struggling with an anxiety disorder, Ben’s attempts to keep a low profile in a new school during their senior year are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, takes Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life. I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.
A “provocative and seductive debut” of desire and doubleness that follows the life of a young Palestinian American woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities as she endeavors to lead an authentic life (O, The Oprah Magazine).
Transgender activist and TED Resident Samy Nour Younes shares the remarkable, centuries-old history of the trans community, filled with courageous stories, inspiring triumphs — and a fight for civil rights that’s been raging for a long time. “Imagine how the conversation would shift if we acknowledge just how long trans people have been demanding equality,” he says.
Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! May marks the official celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Established in 1990, the month of May was specifically chosen to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in the U.S. in May 1843, as well as to honor the Chinese immigrants who worked to complete the transcontinental railroad in May 1869. (Read more history here!)
In recognizing the varied experiences of all AAPI individuals and communities, we’ve selected 13 books from across different genres to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander authors from our collections at FSU Libraries. Our list brings together contemporary titles that highlight distinct AAPI voices and raise important questions about culture and identity in the United States.
From cozy cat mysteries to critical essays, all of the resources included can be checked out or accessed online through our website with an FSUID. Whether you’re in Tallahassee or elsewhere this month, join us in celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with these notable books!
From the indie rock sensation known as Japanese Breakfast, an unforgettable memoir about family, food, grief, love, and growing up Korean American. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”
Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche—and of a writer’s search to both uncover and speak the truth.
Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, The Bad Muslim Discount is an inclusive, comic novel about Muslim immigrants finding their way in modern America. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed M. Masood examines universal questions of identity, faith (or lack thereof), and belonging through the lens of Muslim Americans.
In a stunning collection that announces the arrival of an incredible talent, Kristiana Kahakauwila travels the islands of Hawai’i, making the fabled place her own. Exploring the deep tensions between local and tourist, tradition and expectation, façade and authentic self, This Is Paradise provides an unforgettable portrait of life as it’s truly being lived on Maui, Oahu, Kaua’i and the Big Island.
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon — and America itself — in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.
Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.
This sassy cat mystery by Jennifer Chow follows the adventures of Mimi Lee, owner of Hollywoof – a new pet grooming business in Los Angeles. When a local breeder is found dead, Mimi must enlist her dreamy neighbor Josh and fluffy cat Marshmallow to clear her name and save her shop. A fun read with plenty of intrigue!
A powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young woman at an elite American university is drawn into a cult’s acts of terrorism. Haunting and intense, The Incendiaries is a fractured love story that explores what can befall those who lose what they love most.
At the age of 12, Sharmila Sen emigrated from India to the U.S. The year was 1982, and everywhere she turned, she was asked to self-report her race – on INS forms, at the doctor’s office, in middle school. Never identifying with a race in the India of her childhood, she rejects her new “not quite” designation – not quite white, not quite black, not quite Asian — and spends much of her life attempting to blend into American whiteness. Part memoir, part manifesto, Not Quite Not White is a searing appraisal of race and a path forward for the next not quite not white generation –a witty and sharply honest story of discovering that not-whiteness can be the very thing that makes us American.
“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them? With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.
Alisha Rai’s viral novel follows a reclusive Katrina King as she’s flung reluctantly into the spotlight of the Internet. Haunted by her traumatic past, Katrina escapes with her bodyguard Jas Singh into the country for refuge. Looming threats to Katrina’s safety reveal not-so-unrequited feelings, blurring the lines between the duo forever. This is a romantic and exciting read about family, healing, and trust.
February is Black History Month, and it’s this time every year that we honor, celebrate, and highlight the achievements of African Americans that have helped shape our nation.
Reading books written by Black authors or about Black history is a great way to amplify those underrepresented voices, learn from personal experiences, and help contextualize systemic issues for those who are not impacted by them firsthand. It can help to deepen our understanding of the ongoing struggle for racial equality and justice, and provide a greater appreciation for black culture.
If you’re looking for a place to start your journey, we’ve picked out a short list of wonderful reads for Black History Month. These 12 books get to the heart of many of the racial issues from our country’s past, leading into the present, as well as how to make a better future. All of these books freely are available through FSU Libraries. Check out the catalog on our website to search for more titles!
by Nikole Hannah-Jones &The New York Times Magazine
The award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.
“Invisible Man” is a thought-provoking and witty story about race that is beautifully narrated by a young, nameless Black man in 1950s America in search of self-knowledge. Readers are taken on a journey from the Deep South to Harlem, where the protagonist experiences horrifying intolerance, cultural blindness and racial bigotry all in an effort to find the true meaning of self-identity.
Image courtesy of Amazon. Description provided by CNN, 2022.
In “Between the World and Me” Ta-Nehisi Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, “Between the World and Me” clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.
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.
Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves. A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, “How the Word Is Passed” illustrates how some of our country’s most essential stories are hidden in plain view—whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.
“The New Jim Crow” is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. The novel challenges the civil rights community—and all of us—to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than 1 percent of the total wealth in America. More than 150 years later, that number has barely budged. “The Color of Money” seeks to explain the stubborn persistence of this racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the black community: black banks.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned, and Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
In “Heavy,” the author Kiese Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, he charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.
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. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and, in front of everybody, shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range. The author brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the residents who witnessed it, the local cops assigned to investigate, and the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.
Happy Spring! With classes just starting, it’s a perfect time to do some reading for fun before the semester gets too busy. FSU Libraries has many popular and bestselling books from lists like the New York Times available for students to check out for free. With TikTok and the hashtag #BookTok on the rise, we’ve compiled a list of 10 trending books to help you find your next read!
Lily is overwhelmed with passion for the inflexible and proud Ryle. But her too-good-to-be-true romance is suddenly a lot more complicated when her first love, Atlas, suddenly comes back into her life.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession, that further cements “Michaelides as a major player in the field” (Publishers Weekly).
Running into reclusive author Shane Hall at a literary event, bestselling erotica writer Eva Mercy, over the next seven days, reconnects with this man who broke her heart twenty years earlier until he disappears again, leaving more questions than answers.
July is a month of celebration and remembrance of America’s greatest accomplishments. To commemorate America’s 246th birthday, we have compiled a list of novels and films telling the American stories of success, struggle, and growth as time has passed. We hope to celebrate the diverse American experience throughout history and provide a reflection on the American mosaic.
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month, a time to recognize and highlight the LGBTQ community as well as reflect on the history of the movement. One way to do that is to read books about and written by LGBTQ voices. This month’s pop lit picks will highlight several such fiction and nonfiction books in FSU Libraries’ Pop Lit Collection which include everything from memoirs to romance to science fiction/fantasy. Enjoy these LGBTQ titles this June and all year round!
May is National Pet Month! A time to celebrate our four-legged friends and furry companions! Our digital book display this month features titles that honor pets of all kinds and the wonderful impact they have in our daily lives. With this, we are also celebrating the pets of our library staff! Be sure to check out our digital pet gallery below.