Staff Pick

My favorite book of the summer has been Ben Winter’s Underground Airlines. This imaginative thriller is set in present day America, the history of which is very much the same except Lincoln was assassinated before he could become President and the Civil War never happened. As a result the country is still a union but very much divided because slavery exists in four Southern states, the “Hard Four.” Modern day slave labor is here making cheap exports and the abolitionists have their work cut out for them with 3 million of it’s citizens legally enslaved or “bound persons.” If the premise doesn’t sell this book the story will. You won’t be able to figure out all the twists and turns or put it down until the very end.

Underground Airlines Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316261241
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Mulholland Books - July 5th, 2016

Underground Airlines Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316261258
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Mulholland Books - July 18th, 2017

The Hemingeses of Monticello; An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed is one of the most fascinating books I've read in a very long time. Gordon-Reed goes into incredible detail about this large family and if you're not in a hurry that's all the more reason to love it. I learned so many interesting facts about Jefferson and the norms of the late 1700s, Jefferson's time in Paris, his destructive appetite for acquiring things, and how he became one of the largest slave owners in Virginia in his time. While much of the book is dedicated to Sally Hemings, this book is about the entire Hemings family and includes many rather fascinating stories. The Jefferson and the Hemings’ families were very much intertwined and you really come to know these people who all lived at Monticello for generations until Jefferson's death. I think Annette Gordon-Reed has written a true masterpiece.

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393337761
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 8th, 2009

As a devout atheist, something happened to Sara Miles when she wandered into St. Gregory Episcopal Church in San Francisco and took part in her first communion. The bread and the wine transformed her and she begin learning about what it meant to “become the bread.” Having fed people as a kitchen worker and cook, she took the "feed my sheep" commandment literally and translated it into a food pantry at St. Gregory's, even challenging the priests’ ideas of what it means to be a Christian. Take This Bread is an inspiring story told from an unlikely follower.

Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345495792
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - February 5th, 2008