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Staff summer reading picks
August 14, 2013

Seems the Beacon staff is delving into the topic of race this summer. Here are a few selections from our reading list. More to come.

It’s not surprising that Allison Johnson is doing her homework! She’s reading this book before hearing the author speak at a national conference this fall:

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
By Michelle Alexander

"I recommend this to anyone interested in learning about the structural and legal systems that lead to persistent racial inequality in our society. A tough read, but well worth the time and effort, especially for those who are passionate about current social justice issues."

Our resident historian, Matt Crellin, just came back from vacation, so he’s had the chance to catch up on his reading list. Here are two of his picks:

The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend
By Glenn Frankel

"This is is both a history of the making of the famous film, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne; and the actual story of Cynthia Ann Parker, a woman, abducted by the Comanche during the white settlement of Indian land in Texas and Oklahoma. Cynthia Ann is “rescued” from her Indian life (by an uncle on which the John Wayne movie character is based) and painfully separated from her two teenage sons who she never sees again."

1Q84
By Haruki Murakami

"This is a long novel but kept my interest throughout. It is not a book for everyone. It is a little quirky but is a wonderful combination of themes with a dab of science fiction tossed in (in such a way that you don’t even notice for a while). I had heard that Murakami is considered by many as one of the very best current fiction writers and this book proved it to me. It is extremely well written with excellent pacing that made the pages fly by."

Marlys Weyandt is still working on this American classic but she’s already given it a thumbs-up:

Their Eyes Were Watching God 
By Zora Neale Hurston

"Janie Crawford returns to her town of Eatonville, Florida, after a long absence. She is aloof towards the rest of the town and folks wonder what’s happened to her. However, her good friend, Pheoby Watson, goes to visit her and Janie opens up about where she’s been, starting with the story of her childhood growing up with her grandmother in the south, born in slavery. Janie’s grandmother purchased her freedom and raises Janie alongside the white family she cares for.

"At this point, Janie’s on her second marriage to Joe Starks, with a few trials and tribulations. Janie and Joe moved to Eatonville together and established the town where he has quickly risen in the ranks and acquired the positions of mayor, postmaster, storekeeper, and biggest landlord in town." And you’ll have to pick up your own copy to find out the rest!