Check It Out Category: Diverse and Inclusive Spotlights

Why MPPL Staff Love Talia Hibbert

Zoom Program: Meet the author Talia Hibbert, Saturday, July 17 at 11 a.m.

What is it about Talia Hibbert’s books that has won the hearts of our readers’ advisors? Peek over the shoulders of MPPL staff to learn six reasons why they are infatuated, and join us for a live virtual conversation on Saturday, July 17 to hear from the author herself. Can’t wait? Try a reading date with Get a Life, Chloe Brown, the first of the Brown Sisters trilogy, as ebook or e-audio on Hoopla.

Real and Relatable Characters

“I enjoy how real both her male and female characters are. They have many facets to them and they are normal people with things like tough pasts, mental health issues, and/or disabilities, and I find that so refreshing and relatable.”

What We Already Love but More

“I love that the sisters make reappearances throughout the whole trilogy and that there is overall a general kindness to these books even in the enemies-to-lovers trope. Speaking of tropes: Hibbert covers a bunch of them (fake dating, enemies to lovers, person teaching other person to LIVE), but because she has such superb character development and banter between characters it feels like fresh takes on the tropes.”

Ultramodern with Ease

“I liked that the writing was effortlessly contemporary. There are references to social media and other bits of modern life that don’t feel clunky like they sometimes do when an author is trying to seem ‘with it.’ It feels like the author could be writing about her own life — that’s how real the characters, places, and social media bits feel.”

Accessibility and Tone

“A way in for me was when I was trying to stretch my reading, and I was able to do so easily  thanks to the humor and not-often-talked-about issues. I’d probably recommend to a reader looking for a more contemporary/real-life (right now) romance with a bit of humor. I’d definitely mention the fun back and forth/quirkiness between the characters. So romantical!”

Inclusivity

“The book I read had two Black main characters, a bisexual lead, two non-Christian religions, and a mental health subplot, and still managed to be funny and fun to read.”

Delicious Audio Productions

“I love the snappy dialogue, and the audiobooks’ narrators are fabulous!! Yes, I’m swooning!”

Added note: Steamy Encounters 

Talia is renown for romance with lots of sizzle. Whether you are looking for more stories with equal heat or some that lean into slow-burn simmer instead, we can suggest just the right recipe!

Black History Month: Black Family Stories

Black Family Stories

“The Black Family” is this year’s Black History Month theme. It is brought to us by the organization that founded Black History Month, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. For more information on the association and to browse past themes, click here. Collected below are some fictional stories to enjoy all year round that embrace this year’s theme on the Black family.

The Travelers book cover

The Travelers by Regina Porter

A first novel by an award-winning playwright follows the experiences of two American families, one black and one white, against a backdrop of historical events from the 1950s through the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

It's Not All Downhill from Here book cover

It’s Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan

Confident that her best days are still ahead, a successful businesswoman relies on close friends and her resourcefulness when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down.


No One is Coming to Save Us book cover

No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

A tale inspired by The Great Gatsby is set in the contemporary South and follows the difficulties endured by an extended black family with colliding visions of the American dream.

Cover of The Turner House

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Learning after a half-century of family life that their house on Detroit’s East Side is worth only a fraction of its mortgage, the members of the Turner family gather to reckon with their pasts and decide the house’s fate.

Red at the Bone book cover

Red At The Bone by Jaqueline Woodson

As Melody celebrates a coming of age ceremony at her grandparents’ house in 2001 Brooklyn, her family remembers 1985, when Melody’s own mother prepared for a similar party that never took place in this novel about different social classes.

An American Marriage book cover

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

When her new husband is arrested and imprisoned for a crime she knows he did not commit, a rising artist takes comfort in a longtime friendship, only to encounter unexpected challenges in resuming her life when her husband’s sentence is suddenly overturned.

Kind of Freedom book cover

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through the story of three generations of an African American family in New Orleans.

Homegoing book cover

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana and experience profoundly different lives and legacies throughout subsequent generations marked by wealth, slavery, war, coal mining, the Great Migration and the realities of 20th-century Harlem.

Black History Month: Must See Black Cinema

Must See Black Cinema

In honor of Black History Month, we gathered some of the best-reviewed recent Black films for you to enjoy all year round. Featuring a wide array of thrills, drama, and great story, all of which have garnered applause, there’s something for every viewer. Find your match below, or contact us for a personalized suggestion.

Sorry to Bother You DVD cover

Sorry To Bother You

When telemarketer Cassius Green discovers the key to professional success, he finds his life at work becoming more and more bizarre.

Tangerine DVD cover

Tangerine

It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.

Fast Color DVD cover

Fast Color

Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman with supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers are discovered. With nowhere else to go, she flees back to her family and the farmhouse she abandoned long ago. There, while being pursued by the local sheriff, she begins to mend the broken relationships with her mother and daughter.

Us DVD cover

Us

Haunted by trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway: doppelgängers of themselves.

Harriet DVD cover

Harriet 

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, the movie tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Pariah DVD cover

Pariah

Alike is a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry, and is a good student at her local high school. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity–sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.

Queen & Slim DVD cover

Queen & Slim

While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman, are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly becomes a symbol of trauma.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco DVD cover

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation.

If Beale Street Could Talk DVD cover

If Beale Street Could Talk

A timeless love story set in early 1970s Harlem involving newly engaged nineteen-year-old Tish and her fiancé Fonny who have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream.

Celebrating Black Authors

black authors

Diversify your reading in more than one way during Winter Reading! Here we highlight recent titles by Black authors, an optional reading challenge category offering all flavors of story. Enjoy a mere sprinkling of books below as a teaser, or delve deeper with a full list of titles by Black authors here. Happy browsing, reading, and watching snow fall!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown book cover

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Emerging from a life-threatening illness, a fiercely organized but unfulfilled computer geek recruits a mysterious artist to help her establish meaning in her life, before finding herself engaged in reckless but thrilling activities.

Romance; Banter-filled

Black Leopard Red Wolf book cover

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Hired to find a mysterious boy who disappeared three years before, Tracker joins a search party that is quickly targeted by deadly creatures.

Afrofuturism; World-building

Three-Fifths book cover

Three-Fifths by John Vercher

A biracial black man who passes for white becomes unwittingly involved in the aftermath of a hate crime committed by his best friend which unleashes racial tension and violence in 1990s Pittsburgh.

Crime Fiction; Fast-paced

It's Not All Downhill from Here book cover

It’s Not All Downhill from Here by Terry McMillan

Confident that her best days are still ahead, a successful businesswoman relies on close friends and her resourcefulness when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down.

Relationship Fiction; Funny

The Shadow King book cover

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

Tending the wounded when her nation is invaded by Mussolini, an orphaned servant in 1935 Ethiopia helps disguise a gentle peasant as their exiled emperor to rally her fellow women in the fight against fascism.

Historical Fiction; Action-packed

The Water Dancer book cover

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A Virginia slave narrowly escapes a drowning death through the intervention of a mysterious force that compels his escape and personal underground war against slavery.

Magical Realism; Character-driven

Luster book cover

Luster by Raven Leilani

A young black artist falls into an affair with a man in an open marriage before gradually befriending his wife and adopted daughter against a backdrop of dynamic racial politics.

Coming-of-Age; Darkly Humorous

 

 

Dive into Winter Reading! January 1st – February 28th

black voices

Celebrating Native American Authors

Native American Authors

Native American voices have won glory for several recent titles covering a variety of topics for every reader. Plus, reading a book by a Native American author is part of the optional mini-challenge for Winter Reading this year! Below are stories pulled from a larger list of Native American authors, featuring modern life in its wit and struggles, historical trauma, the twin pulls of embracing tradition and breaking away, epic fantasy, and more!

Crooked Hallelujah book cover

Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford

A first collection by an award-winning Cherokee writer traces four generations of Native American women as they navigate cultural dynamics, religious beliefs, the 1980s oil bust, devastating storms and unreliable men to connect with their ideas about home.

Family Saga; Gritty

Winter Counts book cover

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

A vigilante enforcer on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation enlists the help of an ex to investigate the activities of an expanding drug cartel, while a new tribal council initiative raises controversial questions.

Crime Fiction; Suspenseful

This Town Sleeps book cover

This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples

Engaging in a secret affair with a closeted white man, an Ojibwe from a northern Minnesota reservation navigates small-town discrimination before a ghost leads him to the grave of a basketball star whose murder becomes linked to a local legend.

Intricately Plotted; Moving

Cherokee America book cover

Cherokee America by Margaret Verble 

In the Spring of 1875 in the Cherokee Nation, Check, a wealthy farmer and mother of five boys, must protect her mixed-race family and tight-knit community at all costs when violence erupts.

Historical Fiction; Compelling

Savage Conversations book cover

Savage Conversations by LeAnne Howe

Mary Todd Lincoln is addicted to opiates and tried in a Chicago court on charges of insanity. Entered into evidence is Ms. Lincoln’s claim that every night a Savage Indian enters her bedroom and slashes her face and scalp. She is swiftly committed. Her hauntings may be a reminder that in 1862, President Lincoln ordered the hanging of 38 Dakotas in the largest mass execution in United States history. No one has ever linked the two events–until now.

Novel in Verse; Historical Fiction

Black Sun book cover

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

A trilogy debut is inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and follows the unbalancing of the holy city of Tova amid a fateful solstice eclipse.

Epic Fantasy; World-building

Night of the Mannequins book cover

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

A contemporary horror story where a teen prank goes very wrong and all hell breaks loose: is there a supernatural cause, a psychopath on the loose, or both?

Horror; Menacing

Apple: Skin to the Core book cover

Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth

The term “Apple” is a slur in Native communities across the country. It’s for someone supposedly “red on the outside, white on the inside.” Eric Gansworth tells the story of his family, of Onondaga among Tuscaroras, of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds.

Memoir; Lyrical

 

 

Read what warms you up for Winter Reading! 

Native American Voices