Since 1976, four hundred and ninety four blacks have been executed in our country. This is more than half the amount of executions of whites, although Caucasians make up a much greater percentage of our population.
This powerful short novel tells the story of Jefferson, a young black man, who was sentenced to execution in the Jim Crow days of the 1940s in Cajun Louisiana. Grant Wiggins, one of the few college-educated blacks in the area, narrates the story.
It opens with a liquor store robbery where Jefferson unfortunately happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soon an all-white jury convicts the young man, and he is sentenced to the electric chair. Attending the trial are his godmother, Miss Emma, who raised him, and Tante Louise, who brought up Grant and with whom he still lives. Read more about A Lesson Before Dying
This wow of a novel traces the year Miranda nee Melissa nee Mousegirl spent on one of the Farallon Islands, thirty miles from San Francisco, taking photographs of the wildlife and living with a band of equally wild biologists.
Miranda received a grant to take pictures on the Farallons and she hides behind her camera. It allows her to observe the world, but always keep it at a safe distance. If you like photography, you will love reading how Geni describes this art, and what a photographer thinks in the moment of shooting.
Then there are the manic, neurotic, preoccupied, risk-crazy biologists. There’s Lucy, bird expert, particularly of murres, and Forest and Galen, white shark experts. Also, Mick, scholar of cetaceans and pinnipeds. Also, sharing the too small cabin is Andrew, Lucy’s boyfriend, and Charlene, the red-haired intern who helps everyone in their research. Read more about The Lightkeepers
Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw of the Union Army is not a man most of us would think of as having an important role in the history of African Americans in the United States, but he did. Col. Shaw was chosen to lead the Massachusetts 54th Regiment of the Union Army. With the exception of himself and his second in command this regiment was made up entirely of African Americans and was one of the first to actually be allowed to carry arms into battle. Read more about Glory
Born weighing less than three pounds, Yeonmi Park, had to fight to survive infancy. Her can-do spirit and inner resiliency also kept her alive through the Great Famine that struck North Korea in the 1990s.
Park describes the horror that descended upon North Korea after Russia and China stopped supporting their economy. In the far north, Park’s mother and father had to scramble for work. Most of the manufacturing jobs in their city disappeared so Yeonmi’s father began selling on the black market.
Even doing this dangerous work, the family tottered on the edge of famine often, and at other times did quite well. But well in this context was relative. In the flush periods, the Parks had rice three times daily, and meat only two or three times a month.
January 14, 2016 marked the passing of Alan Rickman. Rickman was best known in recent years as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter Movies. One of his earliest roles to command attention was that of the villain Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard. You might also remember him as Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest, the classically trained actor resigned to be forever remembered for playing an alien in a television series. Like his Galaxy Quest character Alan Rickman was a classically trained actor who was equally at home on stage as he was on screen, though he preferred the stage and often passed up choice movie roles to appear on stage.
The link below will provide a list of films and other materials featuring Alan Rickman.
On January 10th of this year we lost one of the most the most innovative musical performers of the late 1960’s on: David Bowie. David Bowie managed to re-invent his stage persona and musical style to fit the times and keep himself relevant. Bowie was not just a talented musician and singer. He was also a talented actor and he starred in a number memorable and now classic films. In his first major role his acting ability and unique looks brought the alien character of Thomas Jerome Newton to a life in The Man Who Fell to Earth. And few who have seen the film Labyrinth can forget him as the King of the Goblins in his M.C. Escher inspired castle.
Below I have provided a link which will bring up a list of Monroe County Public library’s holdings wish feature the music, writing or acting talent of David Bowie. Mr. Bowie, you will be missed.