Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Historical and Biographical Non-Fiction

Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills is the astonishing untold history of America’s first black millionaires—former slaves who endured incredible challenges to amass and maintain their wealth for a century—self-made entrepreneurs whose unknown success mirrored that of American business heroes such as Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison. Between the years of 1830 and 1927, as the last generation of blacks born into slavery was reaching maturity, a small group of smart, tenacious, and daring men and women broke new ground to attain the highest levels of financial success. Black Fortunes is an intriguing look at these remarkable individuals, including Napoleon Bonaparte Drew—author Shomari Wills’ great-great-great-grandfather—the first black man in Powhatan County (contemporary Richmond) to own property in post-Civil War Virginia. His achievements were matched by five other unknown black entrepreneurs including:
Mary Ellen Pleasant, who used her Gold Rush wealth to further the cause of abolitionist John Brown; Robert Reed Church, who became the largest landowner in Tennessee; Hannah Elias, the mistress of a New York City millionaire, who used the land her lover gave her to build an empire in Harlem; Orphan and self-taught chemist Annie Turnbo-Malone, who developed the first national brand of hair care products; Madam C. J Walker, Turnbo-Malone’s employee who would earn the nickname America’s "first female black millionaire;" Mississippi school teacher O. W. Gurley, who developed a piece of Tulsa, Oklahoma, into a "town" for wealthy black professionals and craftsmen" that would become known as "the Black Wall Street." (from

When Montezuma Met Cortés by Matthew Restall is a dramatic rethinking of the encounter between Montezuma and Hernando Cortés that completely overturns what we know about the Spanish conquest of the Americas. On November 8, 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés first met Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, at the entrance to the capital city of Tenochtitlan. This introduction—the prelude to the Spanish seizure of Mexico City and to European colonization of the mainland of the Americas—has long been the symbol of Cortés’s bold and brilliant military genius. Montezuma, on the other hand, is remembered as a coward who gave away a vast empire and touched off a wave of colonial invasions across the hemisphere. But is this really what happened? In a departure from traditional tellings, When Montezuma Met Cortés uses “the Meeting”—as Restall dubs their first encounter—as the entry point into a comprehensive reevaluation of both Cortés and Montezuma. Drawing on rare primary sources and overlooked accounts by conquistadors and Aztecs alike, Restall explores Cortés’s and Montezuma’s posthumous reputations, their achievements and failures, and the worlds in which they lived—leading, step by step, to a dramatic inversion of the old story. As Restall takes us through this sweeping, revisionist account of a pivotal moment in modern civilization, he calls into question our view of the history of the Americas, and, indeed, of history itself. (from

Inseparable by Yunte Huang brings to life the story of America’s most famous nineteenth-century Siamese twins. Nearly a decade after his triumphant Charlie Chan biography, Yunte Huang returns with this long-awaited portrait of Chang and Eng Bunker (1811–1874), twins conjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fused liver, who were “discovered” in Siam by a British merchant in 1824. Bringing an Asian American perspective to this almost implausible story, Huang depicts the twins, arriving in Boston in 1829, first as museum exhibits but later as financially savvy showmen who gained their freedom and traveled the backroads of rural America to bring “entertainment” to the Jacksonian mobs. Their rise from subhuman, freak-show celebrities to rich southern gentry; their marriage to two white sisters, resulting in twenty-one children; and their owning of slaves, is here not just another sensational biography but a Hawthorne-like excavation of America’s historical penchant for finding feast in the abnormal, for tyrannizing the “other”―a tradition that, as Huang reveals, becomes inseparable from American history itself. (from

Operation Chaos by Matthew Sweet is an untold Cold War story: how the CIA tried to infiltrate a radical group of U.S. military deserters, a tale that leads from a bizarre political cult to the heart of the Washington establishment. Stockholm, 1968. A thousand American deserters and draft-resisters are arriving to escape the war in Vietnam. They’re young, they’re radical, and they want to start a revolution. Some of them even want to take the fight to America. The Swedes treat them like pop stars―but the CIA is determined to stop all that. It’s a job for the deep-cover men of Operation Chaos and their allies―agents who know how to infiltrate organizations and destroy them from inside. Within months, the GIs have turned their fire on one another. Then the interrogations begin―to discover who among them has been brainwashed, Manchurian Candidate-style, to assassinate their leaders. When Matthew Sweet began investigating this story, he thought the madness was over. He was wrong. Instead, he became the confidant of an eccentric and traumatized group of survivors―each with his own theory about the traitors in their midst. All Sweet has to do is find out the truth. And stay sane. Which may be difficult when one of his interviewees accuses him of being a CIA agent and another suspects that he’s part of a secret plot by the British royal family to start World War III. By that time, he’s deep in the labyrinth of truths and half-truths, wondering where reality ends and delusion begins. (from

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The 2018 Summer Library Program is Coming to an End

It's been a great summer, filled with music and song, but 'Libraries Rock', our Summer Library Program for this year, is drawing to a close.  We would like to extend a big thank you to the Vicksburg Kiwanis for sponsoring this year's program in addition to several of their members generously volunteering their time to help out.

Remember, this Friday, July 13, is the final day to report on the books read to count for your goal.  Our closing celebration will be a Sock Hop on Thursday, July 19 at 10 am.  We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July!

In celebration of our nation's birthday, I am posting a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Please take a moment to read through it and remember that this day is about more than cookouts and fireworks.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

(Thanks to

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Recent Additions to our Biographies!

The following biographies have been added to our collection and can currently be found on our New Adult Nonfiction shelves.

My Days : Happy and Otherwise by Marion Ross

A warm and candid memoir, filled with loving recollections from the award-winning Happy Days team—from break-out star Henry Winkler to Cunningham “wild child” Erin Moran—Ross shares what it was like to be a starry-eyed young girl with dreams in poor, rural Minnesota, and the resilience, sacrifices, and determination it took to make them come true. She recalls her early years in the business, being in the company of such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Noel Coward, yet always feeling the Hollywood outsider—a painful invisibility that mirrored her own childhood. She reveals the absolute joys of playing a wife and mother on TV, and the struggles of maintaining those roles in real life. But among Ross’s most heart-rending recollections are those of finally finding a soulmate—another secret hope of hers made true well beyond her expectations.

Featuring Garry Marshall’s final illuminating interview as well as a touching foreword from her “TV son” Ron Howard.

 Have Dog, Will Travel : A Poet's Journey by Stephen   Kuusisto

Stephen Kuusisto was born legally blind—but he was also raised in the 1950s and taught to deny his blindness in order to "pass" as sighted. Stephen attended public school, rode a bike, and read books pressed right up against his nose. As an adult, he coped with his limited vision by becoming a professor in a small college town, memorizing routes for all of the places he needed to be. Then, at the age of 38, he was laid off. With no other job opportunities in his vicinity, he would have to travel to find work. 

This is how he found himself at Guiding Eyes paired with a Labrador named Corky. In this vivid and lyrical memoir, Stephen Kuusisto recounts how an incredible partnership with a guide dog changed his life and the heart-stopping, wondrous adventure that began for him in midlife. Profound and deeply moving, this is a spiritual journey, the story of discovering that life with a guide dog is both a method and a state of mind.

Everything is Horrible and Wonderful by Stephanie Wittels Wachs

One phone call was all it took to change Stephanie Wittels Wachs' life forever..

Her younger brother Harris, a star in the comedy world known for his work on shows like Parks and Recreation, had died of a heroin overdose. How do you make sense of such a tragic end to a life of so much hilarious brilliance?
In beautiful, unsentimental, and surprisingly funny prose, Stephanie Wittels Wachs alternates between her brother's struggle with addiction, which she learned about three days before her wedding, and the first year after his death, in all its emotional devastation. A heartbreaking but hopeful memoir of addiction, grief, and family, that might make you wonder if that possum on the fence is really your brother's spirit animal. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Large Print Historical Fiction

Elinor and Lucy Sutherland are sisters, friends, and rivals in The It Girls by Karen Harper. Lucy has reshaped herself into the revolutionary fashion designer Lucile. When she marries Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, her life seems to be right out of a fairy tale, but then comes the night of April 14, 1912 which brings shame and scandal to Lucy's world. Elinor, on the other hand, has built a career of writing titillating popular novels and has even dabbled in the world of Hollywood. Elinor's books are filled with stories of passion, however, true love eludes her. Arguments, distance, and destiny fail to break the bonds of these two "It Girls" of their day.

New York City in 1914 is brought to life through the lives of Suzanne and Jada in Ziegfeld Girls by Sarah Barthel. Both are talented and resourceful and as close as sisters, but Jada is the black maid of wealthy Suzanne. As the latter begins to gain recognition as the new rising star of the Ziegfeld Follies, Jada is discovered and her superb voice and dance skills bring her own success and a new life. When a jealous Suzanne reveals a shocking secret, the two become bitter rivals. They must form an uneasy alliance in the face of relentless racism and as someone targets the Ziegfeld girls with vicious threats. They will put their careers on the line and it could even cost them their pursuit of love, success, and equality.

In Bachelor Girl by Kim van Alkemade, young actress Helen Winthrope is taken under the wing of Colonel Jacob Ruppert--eccentric owner of the New York Yankees baseball team. Helen thinks Ruppert is feeling guilty over the accident that killed her father, but she welcomes the chance to better herself and embraces her status as a "bachelor girl." She finds herself falling in love with Ruppert's personal secretary, Albert Kramer, even as he confesses a dark secret to her. When Ruppert dies, rumors start swirling about his true connection with Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her most of his fortune, including Yankee Stadium.

Lindsay Jayne Ashford puts famed writer Agatha Christie in the middle of it all in The Woman on the Orient Express. Having just divorced her husband, Agatha boards the famed train in disguise to find her own way in life. She isn't the only passenger with secrets to board the train, however. Her cabin mate Katharine Keeling is running from a second relationship mired in lies after her first marriage ended tragically. Nancy Nelson is on the precipice of despair as she tries to conceal her pregnancy. She is newly married, but carrying another man's child. These women hide their pain and guard their secrets with a fervor, but as the train makes its way to the Middle East, they form a bond of sisterhood as the parallel courses of their lives are revealed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer Library Program Fun!

Here are the events scheduled for the remainder of June!

Wednesday, June 13 - 10:30 AM - Toddler/Preschool Storytime

Thursday, June 14 - 10 AM - Rainsticks craft (ages 6 and up)

Tuesday, June 19 - 10 AM - Dulcimer performance (all ages)

Wednesday, June 20 - 10:30 AM - Toddler/Preschool Storytime

Thursday, June 21 - 10 AM - Movie Event! (family friendly)

Wednesday, June 27 - 10:30 AM - Toddler/Preschool Storytime

Thursday, June 28 - 10 AM - Karoake Party (ages 12 and up)

Don't miss out!  See you here!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Short Story Collections

With the long, hot summer ahead of us, I thought it would be nice to have a few quick, easy reads on our list. "What's a quicker read than a short story?," I thought, so here are a few new collections for your enjoyment.

Carmen Maria Machado is happy to obliterate the borders between genres in Her Body and Other Parties: Stories. These 8 stories relate the verisimilitude of women's lives and the violence that is often thrust upon them externally and internally. A wife refuses her husband's pleadings to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. Another woman recounts her sexual exploits as a plague sweeps through the world around her. A clerk in a mall makes a shocking discovery when she inspects seams of the prom dresses she has been selling. The included novella, "Especially Heinous," was inspired by Law & Order: SVU, but it smears the police procedural with all the hallmarks of a horror novel; including doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells-for-eyes. If you lean toward the sci-fi/fantasy/horror novels, then this collection may be for you.

If you lean toward political intrigue, spy/war thrillers, and the like, then Will Mackin's Bring Out the Dog: Stories may be right up your alley. These 11 stories draw from Mackin's many deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would scribble notes in grease pencil on the inner side of his arm and make lists on the flaps torn from MRE kits. He used these notes in his journals and, years later, those journals became this book. The world he relates is one of intense bonds, archaic tenets, and unexpected compassion. These stories are set at home and abroad and reflect the dual reality of war--victory and loss. There is not an ounce of grandiosity to these stories, they are told with the keen eye of someone who has lived each scenario.

Nine stories comprise Kelly Barnhill's collection entitled Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories. This is another collection of stories that bend reality and drift toward the bizarre. In "Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch," the titular widow decides to rekindle a long dormant relationship with a most unsuitable mate. The title story illustrates the strength and power--both known and unknown--of the imagination. In "Open the Door and the Light Pours Through," a young man struggles with intense grief and his sexuality in his letters to his long-distance love. Included in this collection is her award-winning novella "The Unlicensed Magician" which introduces the secret and magical life of an invisible girl who was once left for dead.

Finally, in Back Talk: Stories by Danielle Lazarin, women don't hate themselves, don't hate each other, not their mothers or sisters, their fathers, husbands, ex-husbands, and certainly not their children. Sound boring? Don't be so quick to judge. These women are just like you and I in that they are just trying to navigate the world without losing their minds. These 16 fresh, witty stories relate the ups and downs of strong, capable women and girls who still manage to be compassionate and tender.