Spring Reads

04 Mar 2021

Refresh your bookshelf with riveting titles

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Rachel Hawkins' The Wife Upstairs is a riveting retelling of the classic Jane Eyre with an unpredictable plot twist at the end - so different than the original, making for a stunning, suspenseful and relishing read. Jane, who has had a rough life, arrives in Birmingham, Alabama and takes a job walking dogs for the Stepford wives in the rich gated community of Thornfield Estates. She meets and starts dating Eddie Rochester, whose wife Bea goes missing and is presumed dead during a boating accident, the same boating accident in which Bea’s best friend Blanche died. What really happened? Jane moves into her new beau’s magnificent house and gets access to his credit cards, but she is haunted by the legend of his phenomenal ex-wife. Every character has a disturbing past. Nothing is what it seems. Each chapter of this gothic thriller builds the mystery and reveals intriguing new details, which culminate in a sensational ending.

– Mona Verma

With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism by Laura L. Lovett

The iconic photo on the cover of this book from Esquire magazine 1971 is well-known, and while Gloria Steinem may be a household name, the lesser-known civil and human rights activist next to her, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, finally gets her time to shine in this concise and accessible biography. After losing her father to KKK violence, she moved to New York and became a social justice warrior with child welfare and intersectionality at her forefront. She empowered communities in poverty, women, and other underserved populations through her work with organizations, such as CORE and the Women's Action Alliance. She founded a childcare co-op, spoke nationally about women of color’s rights, co-founded Ms. Magazine and was a pivotal figure in Harlem’s Black-owned business community. Written with clarity and focus, Laura L. Lovett helps to round out the availability of quality books about women’s history and American feminism with the first written biography about Pitman Hughes.

– Morgan Ryan

We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida

Transport yourself back to the freedom of a 1980s childhood with this dreamy coming-of-age tale set in pre-tech boom San Francisco. 13-year-old Eulabee and her friends rule the streets of affluent Sea Cliff, the quiet oceanside neighborhood where they live and attend private school. But when a disagreement over an encounter with a stranger results in Eulabee being cast out of her friend group and shunned by her classmates, an unpredictable and shocking series of events follows. Vida’s ability to conjure up the feel of those early teen years is truly transportive, and her characterization of Eulabee so deep and subtle that following her story feels almost meditative. We Run the Tides delivers an engaging blend of nostalgia, sly humor and youthful naivety.  

– Sarah Cameron

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo

In this intensely readable book, Ijeoma Oluo (author of So You Want to Talk about Race) uses a fresh style and touches of humor to expose the consequences of America’s deep history of white supremacy for women and people of color. By examining historical movements from Manifest Destiny to NFL protests, she points out figures who attained influence and attention far beyond their merit and describes the harm done by their elevation. Her thesis is the acceptance of mediocrity, if it comes wrapped in whiteness, harms everyone, including white men, and it has had deep and far-reaching consequences for American prosperity, education and well-being.

– Sara McBride

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