“Mediocre” by Ijeoma Olou

James Baldwin’s quote sums up the research and intent behind this book, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Ijeoma Oluo uses pivotal characters and moments in history to make a profound statement and call on all of us to not only rethink and question history as we have been taught but to also learn from it and do better. Ultimately, we are tasked to be more than mediocre. (Available in print, audiobook, e-audio, e-book)

“Group” by Christie Tate

“You don’t need a cure. You need a witness,” are the life-changing words that begin Tate’s experience in group therapy. It takes grit, vulnerability and immense courage to do the work to heal oneself from trauma, both self-inflicted and from life. Through group psychotherapy, Tate experiences the process of breaking down in order to become more whole. (Available in print)

“Raceless” by Georgina Lawton

The vulnerable and brave story of the search for a sense of belonging and naming identity when family secrets have blurred truths. Lawton’s book is both her memoir and also an exploration in blackness around the world. A solid study woven with research, interviews and personal narrative. A page-turning, powerful read. (Available in print).


“Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand

This biography relates the story of Louis Zamperini, a U.S. airman whose plane is shot down over the Pacific Ocean in World War II. Read this book to learn how Zamperini navigated miles of open ocean, avoided hungry sharks, endured thirst and starvation and faced down even greater trials in his struggle for survival.

“The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane

Set during the American Civil War, this American classic follows Henry Fleming, who initially flees the field of battle and is overcome with shame for having done so. Will Henry find his courage and return to his regiment a changed man?

“The Wall” by Eve Bunting

In this picture book, a boy and his father visit the Vietnam Memorial and search for his grandfather’s name.


“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry

From the author of last year’s “Beach Read” comes an engaging romance reminiscent of “When Harry Met Sally.” Travel writer Poppy and English teacher Alex have very little in common, but a decade earlier in college, when Alex gave Poppy a ride home for the holidays, the unlikely pair bonded as best friends. Is there more than friendship, or would that destroy everything?

“Float Plan” by Trish Doller

Since losing her fiance, Ben, who died by suicide, Anna has felt lost at sea. She decides to take the adventurous sailing trip they had planned to take together on her own to deal with the waves of grief. Anna hires Keane, a professional sailor, to accompany her, and a potential new future begins to appear on the horizon in this adult fiction debut novel.

“Second First Impressions” by Sally Thorne

Ruthie may have a grandma aesthetic and live in a retirement community … but only because the 25-year-old works there. In this romantic comedy from the author of “The Hating Game,” both Ruthie and her new, young, hot, tattooed neighbor Teddy must get past each other’s veneers to see if they can find a real connection.

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