The Enoch Pratt Central Library was designed nine decades ago to beckon passersby, and not alienate them from the knowledge within its walls. Now, after a sweeping renovation, there will be a huge party this weekend to welcome visitors back and celebrate its grand reopening.
We talk with Heidi Daniel, president and CEO of the Pratt, about how the role of libraries are changing. Plus, Carla DuPree, executive director of City Lit Project, talks about the books that have changed her life.
To register for the live Midday broadcasting from the Pratt, click here.
Following is the list of books recommended or mentioned by Carla DuPree, executive director of City Lit Project:
Toni Morrison - Song of Solomon, Sula and Beloved Paule Marshall - Brown Girl, Brownstones. Also Mama Day by Gloria Naylor and Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow was Enough, this was part of my feminist - womanist awakening, along with the work of Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith. The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky - the anguish over the moral consequences of one’s horrific deeds, and the things men are capable of doing - All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque - this novel horrified me about the ways of war and since my father was a soldier and away in Vietnam I wanted to know about it.
I savored the short stories of Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Ann Porter, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner, Jubilee by Margaret Walker - left me breathless in its wake Cane by Jean Toomer, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and Nikki Giovanni - Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgement, and the poem “Ego Tripping” I loved the darkness and foreboding of everything Edgar Allen Poe. - The poems of Lucille Clifton, Carolyn Rogers, Don L. Lee, Sonia Sanchez.
What I'm re-reading and reading list: Jeannie Vanasco - Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl: Ocean Vuong’s debut novel: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, Paule Marshall - Brown Girl, Brownstones (rereading) Toni Morrison - I’ve been told her work should be read in a certain order: The Bluest Eye, Sula, The Song of Solomon and Beloved. Mark Nepo - The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have: Poetry - period - from known and unknown poets.
Books I hope to delve into soon: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead turns American history on its head with the story of two boys sentenced to a reform school in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960’s. In the Country of Women by Susan Straight - one of my favorite authors. This latest book is a memoir. The Testaments by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, The novel, Water Dancer by Ta-Nahesi Coates. Long Walk Home by Jason Reynolds. This new work can be read like a novel of individual short stories. It examines 15 minutes of the unsupervised time kids have in their walk home from school. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About The People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell. The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom - a haunting memoir from a stunning new talent about the pull of home and family.
Shout out to authors in the region with new works this fall: Rion Amlicar Scott’s collection of short stories: The World Doesn’t Require You, Elise Levine’s short story collection: This Wicked Tongue Marion Winik’s The Big Book of the Dead a combined Glen Rock and Baltimore Book of the Dead with additional vignettes make up this big book. Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez - young poet has a poetry chapbook out called Coconut, Curls & Cafe Con Leche and Barbara Bourland’s thriller, Fake Like Me - a haunting work of literary suspense. Finally, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of the Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. If you truly want to understand the history of African-Americans, you have to read this riveting book.