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Executive Director's Letter - 7/11/23

Summer has its own special rhythms. Children are out of school, people are taking breaks from their usual schedules and responsibilities, and the hot weather slows the pace of daily life. To me, it feels like a perfect time to pick up a book. But what to read? There are two schools of thought on the answer to that question. It can be a time for a breezy “beach read,” including mysteries, romances, travelogs, and more. Or it can be a time to conquer a challenging classic, history, or best-seller.

I chose both, and am in a small book club reading James Joyce’s Ulyssess while later tucking in to James Patterson’s Women's Murder Club series. Next up, I am inspired by Isabel Wilkerson’s work, Caste: The Origins of our Discontent, and want to read her earlier book about The Great Migration, The Warmth of Other Suns.

Here’s what the GBCA staff (in alphabetical order) are reading:

Kibibi Ajanku, Director of Equity and Inclusion

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“It is a surrealist story set in the pre–Civil War South, concerning a superhuman protagonist named Hiram Walker who possesses photographic memory, but who cannot remember his mother, and, late in the novel, is able to transport people over long distances by using a power known as "conduction". This power is based in the power of memory and storytelling and can fold the Earth like fabric and allows him to travel across large areas via waterways.” - Wikipedia. Also on Kibibi’s shelf of favorites is Wildseed by Octavia Butler.

Pangelica Hall, Executive Assistant

Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall

"Part graphic novel, part memoir, Wake is an imaginative tour de force that tells the “powerful” (The New York Times Book Review) story of women-led slave revolts and chronicles scholar Rebecca Hall’s efforts to uncover the truth about these women warriors who, until now, have been left out of the historical record." - Simon & Schuster

David London, Director of Innovation

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

“Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker provides a revolutionary exploration of sleep, examining how it affects every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. Charting the most cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and marshaling his decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood and energy levels, regulate hormones, prevent cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes, slow the effects of aging, and increase longevity. He also provides actionable steps towards getting a better night's sleep every night." - GoodReads

Richard Okonkwo, Marketing and Communications Manager

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey

"The book chronicles Comey’s experiences as the director of the FBI during Trump’s one-term presidency. In his book, the six-foot-eight, seventy-two-year-old “FBI giraffe,” as Comey likes to call himself, explores the intrinsic and extrinsic shape of ethics, politics, and leadership vis-à-vis the United States government in the last two decades. Trump had ejected Comey from the FBI in 2017, a major event that appears to largely inspire the Yonkers-born, never-before-told White House saga." - Richard Okonkwo

Lauren Saunders, Director of Development and Membership

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

2023 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Women's Fiction. "Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, Demon Copperhead is the story of a boy born to a teenaged (sic) single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. Relayed in his own unsparing voice, Demon braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses." - Harper Books. Next on Lauren’s shelf, Letters from Max: A Poet, A Teacher, A Friendship by Sarah Ruhl and Max Rivto.

What are you reading?


P.S. If you are looking for reading and other fun activities for your children, check out the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s ongoing Summer Break Baltimore program!

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