Categories
Bexley History Booklists Recommendations

Bexley Women in the Fight for Suffrage

by Local History Librarian David Distelhorst

Columbus Evening Dispatch, September 2, 1912

Dressed in the costume of an English Militant Suffragette, Mrs William Drake Hamilton, the former Ann Eliza Deshler, attended a celebration carrying a can of nitroglycerin, bricks, and bombs. Her husband, Dr. William Drake Hamilton, dressed as a “suffrage sympathizer,” carried a vote for women banner.

It was the 1910s and Ann Hamilton and her sister, Miss Martha Deshler, members of the Taxpayers’ League, an organization seeking equal suffrage, were among Bexley’s women in the fight for full enfranchisement. The daughters of Deshler Bank President John G. Deshler, whose home was at the corner of Parkview and East Broad Street, hosted suffrage meetings and dignitaries in Hamilton’s Bexley home. 

The sisters, among those successful at petitioning Ohio’s Fourth Constitutional Convention to put the issue of equal suffrage before the voters, lost their fight in 1912, and when the votes were tallied Bexley proved “a non-suffrage town.”

Again, two years later, Ohio voters said no, but another Bexley pair had their eyes on a national amendment. Miss Florence Ralston, daughter of Ralston Steel Car Company President Joseph S. Ralston, who like the Hamilton’s lived on East Broad Street in Bexley, joined the College Equal Suffrage League as a student at Ohio State. In 1916 Florence and her mother attended the formation, in Washington D.C, of the National Women’s Party.

The mother and daughter pair were among those representing the local branch of the National Women’s Party at a 1918 meeting with then Senator Warren G. Harding at Columbus’ Southern Hotel. Though Harding did not fully commit to suffrage attendees were “encouraged” that a federal amendment would pass.

That October Senator Harding voted in favor of the Federal Suffrage Amendment, as he did in February and June of the following year. Ratified by the Ohio legislature on June 16, 1919 the women’s right to vote saw final ratification as the 19th Amendment in August of 1920.

For more about the history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement explore these titles recommended by Adult Services Librarian Sue Shipe-Giles:

Research for this article contributed by Scott King-Owen, Ph.D, Teacher, Bexley City Schools.

Categories
Booklists Recommendations

Rom-Coms With a Side of Horror

by Adult Services Library Associate Nichole

If you’re anything like me, Covid-19 has you in a serious reading and viewing slump. If it’s not light and enjoyable, I just can’t get into it. My go-to reading and viewing genre has been romantic comedies, with the occasional horror thrown in. Balance, right?

Sometimes I’m lucky enough to find a horror comedy and all is well in the world. Libby/Overdrive and Hoopla Digital have been lifesaving during this time, and I want to share with you the books and movies that have made life a little sweeter for me over the past few months. 

Happy reading AND viewing! 

*all titles are available digitally through Libby/Overdrive and Hoopla or physically through the BPL catalog*

Categories
Booklists Staff Book Reviews Virtual Book Club

Now That You’ve Read The Yellow House…

by Adult Services Library Associate Beth

So you’ve just finished reading The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom, and wonder, “What’s next?” Well, first things first: register for one of the BPL Virtual Book Club discussions, scheduled for August 12th at 7pm and August 15th at 11:30am! Also, be sure to check out the BPL-hosted lecture and discussion with Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries of OSU about the intersections of race, class, and Hurricane Katrina. Find this recorded discussion on our Facebook page, YouTube, or the audio version on Podbean.

And after that, if you’re interested in further exploring some of the themes and topics discussed in the book, check out this short list of recommended things to read, watch and listen to. Note that this list includes only things from my own media bubble that I have read, etc., so it is in no way comprehensive. Further, there are many, many other themes this does not cover (issues such as environmental racism/classism and gentrification, just to name a few), so it barely even scratches the surface. But, as always, you can ask BPL librarians for more recommendations on these and related topics! 

Housing

“The case of the Willow Street house did not come up again, but I continue to think of it as strange irony for Mom who, of all the things she ever desired, wanted to make a new world with Ivory Mae rules. That is what it meant for her to own a house.”

Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House

“It was clear that the French Quarter and its surrounds was the epicenter. In a city that care supposedly forgot, it was one of the spots where care had been taken, where the money was spent. Those tourists passing through were the people and the stories deemed to matter.”

Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
    • Evicted follows eight families in Milwaukee in their struggle to maintain housing. Desmond explores how a single eviction keeps individuals and families caught in a vicious cycle of poverty, exploitation and insecure housing.
  • The Florida Project
    • The way Broom writes about the New Orleans French Quarter, a section of the city known for revelry and overabundance, reminded me so much of Sean Baker’s film, as it examines poverty and homelessness in the shadow of Disney World. 
  • “The Lost Homes of Detroit” (Reveal Podcast)
    • Told in the intersection of race and class, this podcast episode discusses the foreclosure crisis in the aftermath of the 2008 recession in Detroit, Michigan. Investigators discover that hundreds of millions of dollars of property taxes that were charged to homeowners (for which, the failure to pay resulted in these foreclosures), shouldn’t have been charged in the first place. The podcast forces us to confront what mass foreclosure does not only to the individuals who lose their homes, but also how a community can survive in its wake.

The Storm and the Aftermath

“The government-funded Road Home, intended as a path back into lost homes for the displaced, was frozen in bureaucracy amid heated debates and politicizing about which areas of the city were worth rebuilding.”

Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House
  • The Storm; The Old Man and the Storm; Law & Disorder
    • This collection of Frontline documentaries cover, respectively, the governmental response leading up to and in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, one elderly man’s determination in rebuilding his home after it was destroyed in the storm, and police misconduct in the midst of the chaos.
  • Business of Disaster
    • Frontline’s (if you couldn’t already tell, I love Frontline) investigation into FEMA’s flood protection insurance system explores the profits involved in the insurance system and the failures of the NYC post- Hurricane Sandy ‘Build It Back’ program – a program similar to the Road Home program to rebuild homes destroyed in Katrina.

Levees and Flooding

“This story, that the levees were blown, the poorest used as sacrificial lambs, would survive and be revived through the generations.”

Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House

The following explore the politics, failures, and inequities of levee systems across cities in Missouri and Illinois. The last article also explores how climate change, by contributing to rising sea levels and the loss of wetlands in Louisiana, will mean increasing the frequency and destructive capacity of flooding.

What would you recommend to fellow readers of The Yellow House? Leave a comment on the social media post to share with the library community!

Categories
Booklists Staff Book Reviews

What I’m Reading Next

by Adult Services Library Associate Debbie

One of the best problems to have is too many wonderful books to read. For a  bookworm like myself to work in a library is a bit like being a kid in a candy store. I have bunches of books I’m looking forward to reading and I thought I would share a few of them.  

I’ve been meaning to read one of Laura Zigman’s books forever- she has a great reputation for writing funny, poignant novels with very relatable characters. I was hooked after I read the premise for Separation Anxiety – a middle aged Mom who suddenly, impulsively starts wearing an old baby sling and carrying the family dog around in it to the shock and surprise of her family and friends.

Speaking of hooks, I’m a fool for a good book hook and Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel has a doozy.  Rose Gold Watts was terribly sick for the first eighteen years of her life and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.  But it turns out that nothing was – her Mother was just a really good liar.  Now her Mother is getting out of prison and the town is stunned when Rose Gold opens her home to her. Has her Mother forgiven Rose for testifying against her? But Rose is no longer an invalid and she has been waiting such a long time for her Mother to come home.  It gives me chills!  I’m eager to see if Darling Rose Gold delivers the psychological twists and turns that it promises.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore is a mystery novel about two sisters; Mickey is a cop and patrols the streets and Kasey is in the grip of addiction and lives on the streets. The two sisters are estranged but when Kasey disappears Mickey is driven to find her.  I enjoy mysteries and this type really appeals to me – soulful, thoughtful mysteries that delve deep into their characters.  The central mystery isn’t as important as the mystery in the hearts of the characters.

The cover for Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown made me do a double take – red cover, 1950s image of a housewife holding a knife and teeny little skulls.  I couldn’t resist.  The story of Alice,a modern day woman who finds cookbook notes and letters from a 1950s housewife – the cookbook has a sunny, perfect housewife outlook and the letters tell the real, darker side of her story. Alice starts to see uncomfortable parallels between her life and that of the ‘50s housewife who felt suffocated by her role and her marriage.  Will Alice change her life? The little skulls hint that the solution might be darker than simple self-improvement. There is only one way to find out!

A delightful summer treat that I’m about to bite into is Take a hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert.  This novel is the second in a rom-com series about three sisters; the first one Get a Life, Chloe Brown was the perfect romantic confection – lovable characters, witty banter, adorable moments and great sizzle and I’m hoping the second is as good as the first. In the second novel Danika Brown is a hyper focused PhD student and has given up on relationships aside from the occasional fling; big, brooding security guard and former rugby star Zafir Ansari is a secret romantic and a workplace fire drill gone wrong throws the two together.  Will Dani seduce Zaf? Will Zaf win over Dani to romance? I can barely wait to find out!

I hope you’re enjoying your own summer reads and as always, Happy Reading!

Categories
Booklists

Multiracial Family Reading List

by Adult Services Librarian Sue Shipe-Giles

Raising my two multiracial children for the past twenty-plus years has proved challenging. During this time, we have each encountered a variety of discrimination and misunderstandings. I have been ostracized by other school moms and even harassed by an employer once they met my husband. My son was bullied starting in preschool, while my daughter has had to “prove” on many occasions to classmates, and once even to a teacher, that her dad is really her father.

During these extremely difficult times, I wanted to shed more light on the unique experiences and difficulties multiracial children and their parents encounter. I hope the following books will provide much needed insight and understanding on this topic. All of these titles are available to request through BPL’s catalog.

Categories
Discussion Guide Virtual Book Club

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom Discussion Guide

As we prepare for our August 12th & 15th Virtual Book Club events, team member Debbie has put together a discussion guide that includes questions about and quotes from the BPL Virtual Book Club pick The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom.

To register for one of the two Virtual Book Club events, follow this link to the BPL event calendar (https://bexleylibrary.org/events). If you haven’t started reading The Yellow House yet, be sure to check it out digitally on Hoopla where it is currently always available. We’re excited to be partnering with Gramercy Books in Bexley as our bookselling partner, check them out at https://www.gramercybooksbexley.com/ if you’re interested in purchasing a physical copy of the book.

1.  How do we not define ourselves entirely by where we are from? (Central Question of the book per the author)*
*In The Yellow House you write: “I did not yet understand the psychic cost of defining oneself by the place where you are from.” What advice do you have for others on avoiding this psychic cost?

That’s the central question of the book: How do we not define ourselves entirely by where we are from? I don’t just mean the city—the circumstances, conditions of our birth, all the feelings that come with feeling displaced or misplaced. For New Orleans, it was important for me to examine the mythology of the place. Because for much of my childhood I defined myself by the condition of the house, one of the key things I realized was that I was not the house. That’s an enormous power, to give any place or object the ability to define who you are. I got around this through research—finding the stories, going there and asking hard questions, thinking honestly about what it meant to grow up in this place. For me, it was doing the hard work of not romanticizing the place, my own story, or the story of my family. There are moments where I just present the story as what it is. That was important for me that my mother and siblings are seen in this complex light, which is how life is—layered and nuanced.  https://www.writersdigest.com/getting-published/the-yellow-house-sarah-m-broom  

https://groveatlantic.com/book/yellow-house-the/ 

2 On perspective: At the opening of the story, Sarah Broom describes the lot where the Yellow House once stood from fifteen thousand feet above, saying that from those great heights, her brother Carl, who tends the space, would not be seen.Have you ever brought up a Google Earth image of your house from above and zoomed out? What impact did seeing your home, your street, your state, your country shrink in comparison to the world have on your perspective?

3. On birth order:When the author calls her eldest brother, Simon, in North Carolina “to explain all the things I want to know and why, he expresses worry that by writing this all down here, I will disrupt, unravel, and tear down everything the Broom family has ever built.” He tells her he’d like to live in the future and forget about the past. (p. 8)The twelfth of twelve children, Broom works hard to reconstruct the life that came before her and to cleave it to the life she knew in the Yellow House and after, to make sense of a whole and to connect it to place. What role do you think birth order plays in her desire to preserve vs. Simon’s need to forget? Who is the keeper of the history in your family and who places more value on the present?

4. On place vs. story:Sarah Broom’s brother Carl, the seventh of twelve, occupies the space—keeps the space—where the Yellow House sat long after it’s gone. She describes this occupation (p. 3): “Sometimes you can find Carl alone on our lot, poised on an ice chest, searching the view, as if for a sign, as if for a wonder.” She says he is “babysitting ruins. But that is not his language or sentiment; he would never betray the Yellow House like that.”Do some people in your family tend to place—to “babysit ruins”—and others to story? Have you ever tried to keep a place alive by occupying it after the circumstances that led you to being there in the first place ended? What do you think it means to Carl to stay?

5.On names:The author refers to Hurricane Katrina throughout as “the Water.”Why do you think she made this choice? How does the twenty-four-hour news cycle and the repetition of language affect you as a reader/viewer? Describe what “the Water” communicates to you, and how it changed over the course of the book. Do you think it will be the same for every reader?

6. On Chef Menteur Highway:Chef Menteur Highway plays an integral, “sinister” role in The Yellow House. On p. 6 the author states: “The name, translated from French, means ‘chief liar.’ ”What are the truths we think we know about New Orleans compared to the story Broom tells? What other cities present the same kinds of half truths? Have you ever stumbled into a neighborhood in a city you thought you knew that told a different story?

7.On John McDonogh Day:The author tells us, “John McDonogh was a wealthy slave owner who in 1850 bequeathed half of his estate to New Orleans public schools, insisting that his money be used for ‘the establishment and support of free schools wherein the poor and the poor only and of both sexes and classes and castes of color shall have admittance.’” We are then told how the black students must wait in the heat on the day that celebrates McDonogh, while white students pay tribute to him first.Are there widely accepted/institutionalized holidays or rituals you can think of that exclude or erase certain people, or situations in which symbolism has been deemed more important than the wellness of the participants? Thinking about the role of symbolism and ritual in cultural bonding, whose culture is McDonogh Day intended to bond, and at what cost?

8. On parenting then and now:On p. 37, the author writes about children’s place in an adult world and the role adults played in teaching them the facts of life: “In those days, children did not speak openly to their parents. ‘Get out from grown folks’ business,’ you were told. Whatever we found out, we found out on our own.”Who were your youthful “teachers”? Tell one story about a friend/sister/ brother who schooled you on something parents didn’t talk to their kids about when you were young. How solid was the advice? Parents pride themselves on being open with their kids these days, but has something been lost?

9. On family firsts:On p. 57, Broom writes: “Mom paid for her house with money from Webb’s life insurance policy. She was nineteen years old, the first in her immediate family to own a house, a dream toward which her own mother, Lolo, still bent all of her strivings.”Who accomplished these kinds of firsts in your family? Were they long-ago accomplishments or more recent? What kinds of sacrifices or good-willed pitching in were made and by whom to help make them possible?

10. On hard memories vs. good ones:Broom writes almost in the same breath of harsh memories like having racial epithets hurled at them by their transient white neighbors in the trailer park, Oak Haven, across the street, and of the weekly parties Ivory Mae and Simon threw and movies projected on the not-yet-Yellow House (p. 68), “the side of the house becoming, for a night, the greatest movie screen.”What kinds of institutionalized or other hardships are you able to square with happier memories from your childhood? What bright memories stick out as balancing more difficult times? What seem the most difficult circumstances to square for the Broom family before the Water?

11. On unspoken boundaries:The author states that the adults on the street for the most part stayed out of each other’s houses (p. 87), “unless there was good cause,” like when “Ms. Octavia’s . . . husband, Alvin, died.”Do you have friendly longtime neighbors whose houses you’ve never been in until there was some kind of emergency? What makes people draw the line at the front door with people they’ve chatted on the lawn with for years? Likewise, during the eldest daughter, Deborah’s, wedding reception, the author says (p. 98) it “mostly held to the outdoors, but people still wandered inside, to the bathroom, and then others went in just to see what we had, Mom was convinced.” Ivory Mae felt that “the objects contained within a house spoke loudest about the person to whom the things belonged. More than that, she believed that the individual belonged to the things inside the house, to the house itself.” For Ivory Mae, this intrusion began what the author calls “the shifty settling in of shame.”Sometimes objects simply reveal surprising details about a person. Are there objects that expose a part of you that you hold sacred and prefer to protect? Are there common objects in plain sight that reveal everything to close friends but nothing to strangers? What are the objects in the Yellow House that reveal the most about the characters?

12. On land development:Talking about the land deals that never come to fruition in New Orleans East, the author writes that (p. 88): “there were more paved roads than walkways— certain parts of the East were best driven through. Landscapes communicate feeling. Walking, you can grab on to the texture of a place, get up close to the human beings who make it, but driving makes distance, grows fear.”Are there parts of your town that have been developed in such a way that they suppress a sense of community rather than inspire it? Alternately, have you seen development that made an abandoned or wrecked part of your city or town suddenly come alive? Was there anything that could have been done differently on the swath of land in New Orleans East that would have changed the outcome?

13. On Simon’s death:After Simon dies, the house, with so many children and so much responsibility, falls into chaos. Routines fall apart. The boys get in trouble. Ivory Mae has to depend on public transportation or rides to get anywhere. She says (p. 114), “I was a little pathetic at first. I needed to make myself know things.” When she finally learns to drive after a couple of failed strategies, she says, “It was my Independence Day.”Has there ever been a time in your life that has forced you to recalibrate, to remake yourself into someone who’s brave in a novel way in order to meet challenges in unfamiliar territory or in territory that has suddenly been rendered unfamiliar by an event? What does this reveal about Ivory Mae?

14. On the growing-up world:In the chapter “Map of My World,” the author describes five points on the map that make (p. 117) “my growing-up world.”What are some of the places that you can still inhabit vividly in your mind’s eye? Why do you think those stuck and not others? Why do you think the points in the author’s growing-up world stuck with her so strongly?

15. On the ground:The author speaks frequently of the “squishy earth” (p. 123) being “eaten by it.” Something as ordinary and foundational as the earth beneath her feet is routinely described as being untrustworthy. She writes: “In our child-wise minds, the seal between deep ground and our present reality above that ground is string thin.”What real threats/facts of life did you and the kids around you know when you were growing up that turned out to be spot-on and not just boogie men or childhood exaggeration?

16.On selective vision:The author is nearly legally blind and describes living in a “blurry” world until she is ten years old. When her mother discovers her vision problem, Ivory Mae buys glasses for Sarah, who up until that point has been perhaps mercifully shielded from some of the details in her life. Then, walking home from school one day, with twenty-twenty eyesight for the first time, “one detail overwhelms them all.” She writes (p. 135): “Our side of Wilson Avenue, the short end, seems a no-matter place where police cars routinely park, women’s heads bobbing up and down in the driver’s seat.” After that, she tries “not to see what is right in front of my face. Sometimes, when I want the world to go blurry again, I remove my glasses when passing by these scenes. In this way, I learn to see and to go blind at will.”What kinds of things have you tried not to see in your own city or neighborhood? What do you think the author was genuinely aware of before the glasses?

17. On middle school:The author writes about smiling “with abandon, goofy-like” (p. 136) when she is in sixth grade and proudly posing with her Edward Livingston Middle School honors sash. In the next breath, middle school goes Lord of the Flies. The “school hallways hold contests of a lurid sort.” And (p. 140) “some days we have substitute teachers who seem called in from off the street. Many times, the substitute puts a movie into the VCR that has nothing to do with the subject matter or with learning. Everything in the world feels stupid then.” Later, “We had become a horde, to be gathered and made to ‘act right,’ indistinguishable from one another.” Overnight honors students become fighters, cynicism creeps in replacing goofy pride, and order dissolves into chaos.What moments in middle school stick out to you as being turning points? What messages do you think these students are responding to? How does Broom describe her evolution when she changes from Livingston Middle School to Word of Faith? Is Word of Faith a “good school”? Reflect, as well, on times you have moved from one social situation to another and how you could, or could not, decide how to present yourself.

18. On duality:Throughout The Yellow House the author repeats Ivory Mae’s words: “You know this house not all that comfortable for other people.” But further she says: “My mother was raised by my grandmother Lolo to make a beautiful home; I love to make beauty out of ordinary spaces. I had not known this back when I was living inside the Yellow House, but I knew it in my adult years when I created rooms that people gravitated to, the kind generally described as warm. Once, a friend came to one of these made places, an apartment in Harlem, and sat in the parlor looking around. The room had made him feel alive, even happy to be alive, he said. And then, ‘You have things to make a home with.’ People are always telling me this.” At the same time she writes about the shame of bringing people to the house she grew up in because of its deteriorating condition, of the friends she and her sister never make because of the inherent threat of having to invite them over. But (p. 148): “America required these dualities anyway and we were good at presenting our double selves. The house, unlike the clothes our mother had tailored to us, was an ungainly fit.”What kinds of duality do you live with? Are some kinds easier to live with than others?

19. On “the Water”:The events of the Water are described as they are occurring in real time, often through Broom’s interviews with her siblings and mother. We see Carl awaken to the storm flooding his house and flee to the attic from which, by daybreak, he has to cut his way out through the roof. Or the author narrates her brother Michael in the midst of the chaos (p. 207): “The men foraged for food and other items from broken-in stores, eventually finding an air mattress and two boats. Whatever you needed and the last thing on earth you needed could be found, it seemed, in the dirty, fetid water.” Meanwhile in Harlem, Broom is desperately scanning the news channels in search of (p. 202): “Carl’s white cotton socks pulled up high, size 13 feet.” Searching for the faces of “my beloveds.”How does the switch in narrative tone impact you as a reader? When Michael and his group are rescued (p. 207) does it seem to you that they can truly feel safe? Can you see yourself braving “fetid water” to find food and essential supplies for your family, or imagine being unable to contact your “beloveds” in catastrophic circumstances? With this in mind, think about Broom’s trip to join her family in California at last, and hiding in her brother Byron’s bathroom (p. 210) “writing scenes into a notebook instead of feeling.” Does this differ from her description of writing prior to this? What information does Broom give us about the fate of New Orleans’s population after the storm that was new to you?

20. On the long-term impact of catastrophe:During the Water, Broom writes, “All told, we scatter in three cardinal directions, nine runny spots on the map.” Even after it recedes, most remain dispersed. How do climate events like the hurricane impact families, employment, housing prices? What effect do you think this kind of scattering after climate crises has on regional culture?

Categories
Staff Book Reviews

Snow by Orhan Pamuk

A book review by BPL team member, Christian.

The city of Kars, Turkey is like a winter snow globe constantly being shook by the hands of geopolitical affairs and religious tension. As the snow falls, covering the city with suicides of teenage girls, Ka, a poet, returns to Kars to write on the suicides of the alienated youth. Orhan Pamuk’s Snow is a novel that resembles his literary contemporary, Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks–in the way that Snow takes place in clone of a city where real crimes have occurred (Kars being the placeholder for the suicides of girls in Batman, Turkey in Snow and Santa Teresa being the placeholder for the murders of women in Cuidad Juarez in 2666) and the mysticism of a location (such as the dream-like qualities that resemble the cities of Kars, Turkey and Twin Peaks, Washington).

Kars is the epicenter of the novel, a city that attracts cultural heterology–a group of Islamic militants and Western-influenced secularists fighting over the subject of whether women should bare head scares. Ka is in the middle of this war between religion, politics, and culture, playing the role of a double agent through his amiable personality. As a Turkish expatriate in Germany, Ka faces the drifting qualities of diaspora as he can never truly identify himself–whether in the political, religious, or cultural spheres. He becomes a mediator, never truly deciding the ethical choices he is given–a consistent quality in the novel’s ever-expanding plot. And despite the tense events that Ka gets himself in, the creative spark that the city of Kars grants him (as he writes nineteen poems that he pieces together in a collection baring the same title as the novel) and his hasteful infatuation for Ipek (a childhood acquaintance) are what makes himself bare through the suffering, cold city of Kars.

Snow is a dense book, spanning more than 460 pages, and as the novel goes through two theater shootings, the assassination of a university director, and a blizzard, the time Ka spent in Kars is reflective of decades of fragmentation that concerns the geopolitical country of Turkey–the suicide of the girls is reflective of a trauma that has endowed through these decades; it is not a concern of what is happening now, but rather, something that has been happening for such a long time. The novel leaves a vague idea of the future of Turkey because it is a country that is locked between Western and Middle Eastern influence, uncertain of its own collective identity. Kars is a city in a snow globe–and inside it’s glass exterior, the outside world can look distorted and unclear.

Similar Reads:
Blindness by Jose Saramago
2666 by Roberto Bolaño
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Categories
Staff Book Reviews

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Sarah M. Broom’s debut memoir and 2019 National Book Award winner, The Yellow House, tells a hundred years of her family’s story and their relationship to home in New Orleans. Broom’s mother, Ivory Mae, purchased a shotgun house in New Orleans East as a young widow and mother with insurance money. She remarried Simon Broom, and their combined family eventually included twelve children. Six months after Sarah was born, Simon passed away suddenly, leaving Ivory Mae to care for their large family and small home on her own. The Yellow House went into disrepair while Sarah was growing up, and it was finally destroyed when Hurricane Katrina swept through the city. Broom’s mother, siblings, and other family members survived, but most were then scattered throughout the country during evacuation efforts. Sarah and one of her sisters were living in Harlem at the time, and they could only watch the devastation on television while worrying about the safety of their loved ones.

Broom, a prodigal daughter and writer traveling the world, finally came home to New Orleans to research her multi-generational family history. One central question that she tried to answer during the course of her book was “How do we not define ourselves entirely by where we are from?”. She examined the mythology of the city of her birth, and how greed, discrimination, indifference, and poor city planning led to her family home being literally wiped off the map. Sarah also discussed the enormous power of the Yellow House during her childhood and even in later years after its destruction. Broom’s work provides us with an intimate portrait of her family as well as the city and home where they grew up.      

Keep an eye out on BPL’s social media and website for a schedule of virtual programs related to the book, including lectures about themes from the book and, of course, book group discussions for later in the summer. The Yellow House by Sarah Broom has unlimited availability on Hoopla. We’re excited to be partnering with Gramercy Books in Bexley as our bookselling partner, check them out at www.gramercybooksbexley.com if you’re interested in purchasing a physical copy of the book.

Categories
Online Resources

One of my favorite digital library resources is Hoopla. Through Hoopla, BPL cardholders have access to ebooks, audiobooks, comics, movies, tv shows, and music – their selection is endless! My absolute favorite thing about Hoopla is that there is no wait for any of their material – if you see it, you can check it out (how amazing is that?). 

Another thing I love about Hoopla are their collections! In the mood for a movie from the 90s? Hoopla has a list for you (https://www.hoopladigital.com/collection/9804). Want to listen to the latest new music releases? Hoopla has you covered (https://www.hoopladigital.com/collection/787)! Do the kids want to take a trip with Miss Frizzle on the Magic School Bus? Look no further, Hoopla is here to help (https://www.hoopladigital.com/collection/7014).

During this crazy and scary time that is Covid-19, Hoopla has been there not only to keep me sane but also happy! Here’s what I’ve been borrowing on Hoopla over the last few months:

You can access Hoopla by following this link https://www.hoopladigital.com/my/hoopla or by downloading the Hoopla app to your device!

Categories
Booklists

LGBTQ+ Reads

Today is the last day of Pride Month – the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities. But just because this month of celebration is ending doesn’t mean you should stop reading lgbtq+ books! Here are some of the latest and greatest lgbtq+ books to add to your Pride reading list. Happy Reading!