Coordinated by Tracey Noel.  Each staff member wrote their own summary. 

During November, most often we think of family and what we are thankful for in our lives. That’s why this month we thought of choosing books about family for our staff picks list.  These titles tell of the complexities of different family structures, and the challenges families often face.

Kathy D.: “Before We Were Yours” (2017) by Lisa Wingate.
This book just calls to your heart. It is a work of fiction that tells the terrible true story that happened in an orphanage in Georgia in the 1930’s. It is about family, about sisters, about the truth being uncovered.

Leslie: “The Help” (2011) by Kathryn Stockett.
I don’t like to go back in time to the 1960’s (such a tumultuous time), but this engaging story brings to life the early civil rights movement and courageous start of de-segregation in Jackson, Mississippi, thru the interrelationship of several families, both black and white.

MaryBeth: “Playing With Fire” (2015) by Tess Gerritsen.
An emotional psychological thriller involving a violinist who is entranced by a piece of music she purchased in an antique shop in Rome. When she plays the music, it has a terrifying effect on her daughter and ultimately the rest of the family.  She goes on a quest to learn about the composer and history behind the music and discovers a powerful family who wants to keep the past hidden. The author weaves the life of the violinist in present day with the composer during Nazi occupied Italy.  This book combines historical fiction, family drama with mystery and thriller and has great character development.

Michelle: “An American Marriage” (2018) by Tayari Jones.
This book is about an African-American newlywed couple who experience tremendous challenges when a situation occurs that is completely out of their control. Roy is wrongfully accused of and charged with a crime.  After he receives a sentence of 12 years, Roy and his wife Celestial struggle with their loyalties to family, friends and each other.

Susan: “When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” (2017) by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele.
Her family’s experience of systemic racism in the white privileged criminal justice system motivated Khan-Cullors to launch the Black Lives Matter movement.  This moving memoir shows the love of family and community that inspired her courageous activism against injustice.

Tracey: “The Dutch House” (2019) by Ann Patchett.
A family drama that takes place over several decades about a brother and a sister and the unbreakable bond they share. Their mother has abandoned them and their father dies, leaving their stepmother to cast them out of the Dutch House. Often while parking outside of the Dutch House, they reflect on their lives and try to come to terms with what they have been through and where that has led them. This is a story about love and forgiveness.

Other books to consider:
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Digging to America by Anne Tyler
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells