Books that shed light on race and class dynamics in the U.S.
In the past, and especially during this election cycle, I've been committed to reading books that help me better understand race and class dynamics in this country. One of the books on my reading list is The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward. Ward uses James Baldwin's 1963 book The Fire Next Time as a starting point to discuss current questions of race in the U.S. Contributors such Carol Anderson, Edwidge Danticat and Isabel Wilkerson speak to their concerns about race through essays and poems.
Some kids in my branch asked me to tell you this grown-ups. Please listen.
The children in my branch have asked me to tell you this: They don't want to be required to be hugged, kissed, pinched, or petted by family this holiday season.
This is an important worry for some kids during the holiday season. Relatives from all over the world meet up and everyone loves the children, but the children are not comfortable (yet) around the extended family members.
Here are some examples I was given (family members names changed of course):
- Your kid doesn't want to hug Aunt Myrtle.
- They hate it when Grandpa Joe pinches their cheeks or rubs their hair.
- They don't want to want give Grandma Martha any "suga".
- And your kid don't care if cousin Pam hasn't seen the family since last
What's the best gift to give or receive? In our opinion: a book!
If we do it two years in a row, can we call it a holiday tradition? Either way, we're glad to help you once again with your seasonal gifting duties. Our second ever Holiday Gift Guide features some of our favorite books from the past year, with a list of local indie bookstores where you can buy these gems. (Call ahead to confirm availability!)
Books for Adults
Gifts for the readers in your life recommended by OPL librarians.
Wondering what books your OPL librarians would give as gifts? Here's what we recommend! As always, you'll want to buy these titles from your local bookseller. Scroll to the bottom of this page for a list of indie bookstores in Oakland.
This year, our children's book list is entirely #ownvoices--books with diverse characters created by authors or illustrators of the same group. Please enjoy and share widely.
This page has recommendations for children. Check out our gift guide for teen and adults here.
OPL 2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Children's List
American Panic is a sober discussion of past upheavals experienced by Americans through the media, political factions, public violence, and personal persecution.
By Mark Stein
“Political panic, the irrational fear that one’s government is in danger, is by no means unique to any country. In America, it dates back to the 1692 Salem witch hunt … “Witch hunt” remains a phrase in the American vernacular, ensconced in our dictionaries as an investigation of disloyalty based on unverified assertions and public fear.” - Mark Stein
In the past week I have been searching for meaning, explanation, comfort,
Black Panther Party's 50th anniversary commemorations continue in Oakland.
For the past month, historians, teachers, scholars, artists, students, and residents from all over the Bay Area and the state have gathered in Oakland to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party's founding here. Local visual artists, art historians, deejays, dancers, political activists, and academics have hosted events that celebrated the legacy of this revolutionary group. Many of the economic and political issues they addressed--police brutality, poverty, job and housing discrimination--remain unresolved today. The Oakland Museum of California hosted a weekend conference, "Where Do We Go From Here?," that drew hundreds of people.
Though most of the commemorative Panther programs occurred in October, there are a few events you can still catch:
Oakland Museum of California: "All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50"
The Museum has mounted an extensive
The darkening days of the year lead us to read darker books.
It’s November. The days are getting shorter and we all seem to be in a gloomy mood. What could be more bracing that to read a big bunch of noir. May we suggest a hardboiled book or three? There are hundreds of choices, from pulp paperback potboilers to dark Scandinavian frostiness. Here’s a very short sampling to get you started.
L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy. It’s got everything. Los Angeles in the ‘50s. Murder. Prostitution. Drug trafficking. Conspiracy. Political and police corruption.
Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler. This is the second of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe stories and in it Marlowe investigates two murders. There’s a missing woman, drugs, corruption, and gambling to add complication for Marlowe.
Sanctuary by William Faulkner. Noir by Faulkner? Yes. He claimed he wrote it for the money. Set during Prohibition, among bootleggers in Mississippi, the story revolves around the kidnapping of a young woman, a murder, and the ugly events that ensue.
Stop Dieting Right Now! You Are Totally Perfect! A booklist from author and activist Virgie Tovar
“Every person, regardless of size, weight or health status deserves a life free of discrimination.”
Words straight from the mouth of Virgie Tovar, author, activist and one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She holds a Master's degree in Human Sexuality from San Francisco State University with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender. Her writing has appeared in tons of print and online publications and she has lectured all over the country. She also runs Babecamp, an online course “designed to help those who are ready to break up with diet culture.”