July Events and New Releases at Main Street Books
This past weekend Main Street Books joined independent bookstores across the nation in an initiative to raise funds for non-profits supporting immigrants at our southern border. We proudly donated 10% of proceeds from bookstore sales from July 5th through 7th to Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA) in Houston. CILA is a small non-profit group of immigration attorneys who provide training and resources to legal service providers like Raices and Annunciation House who aid immigrant children and families. Thank you to A Room of One’s Own Bookstore for inspiring this initiative, and thank you to all who shopped at Main Street Books this weekend.
Read on for our top five picks for July new releases, and, as always, we love to share books, community events, and general literary merriment.
Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative.
In Reed King’s wildly imaginative and possibly prescient debut, the United States has dissolved in the wake of environmental disasters and the catastrophic policies of its final president. It is 2085, and Truckee Wallace, a factory worker in Crunchtown 407 (formerly Little Rock, Arkansas, before the secessions), has no grand ambitions besides maybe, possibly, losing his virginity someday. But when Truckee is thrust unexpectedly into the spotlight he is tapped by the President for a sensitive political mission. FKA USA is a masterwork of ambition, humor, and satire with the power to make us cry, despair, and laugh out loud all at once. It is a tour de force unlike anything else you will read this year.
In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic, eight months pregnant. Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it’s what she can’t have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to lick their wounds, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past.
Two sisters, one farm. A family is split when their father leaves their shared inheritance entirely to Helen, his younger daughter. Despite baking award-winning pies at the local nursing home, her older sister, Edith, struggles to make what most people would call a living. So she can’t help wondering what her life would have been like with even a portion of the farm money her sister kept for herself. With the proceeds from the farm, Helen builds one of the most successful light breweries in the country. Yet one day, Helen will find she needs some help herself. In this deeply affecting family saga, resolution can take generations, but when it finally comes, we’re surprised, moved, and delighted.
Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents–her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father–and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child’s transition to caregiver. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees. As these two threads haunt and harmonize with each other, Renkl suggests that there is astonishment to be found in common things: in what seems ordinary.