Library News Blog

Kathleen Collins

Two new faculty members joined the Lloyd Sealy Library in Spring 2018: Matthew Murphy and Joy Dunkley.

The Library welcomed Matthew Murphy as Cataloging and Metadata Librarian and Assistant Professor. Matt comes to the library after 12 years at the New-York Historical Society, where he was the head of cataloging and metadata since 2011, previously serving as a reference assistant in the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, and working on an NEH-funded cataloging project. Over the last several years, he also worked part-time at Berkeley College and Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus. He brings valuable experience in the creation of documentation, managing cataloging workflows and large-scale cataloging projects, and training employees in cataloging rare books, manuscripts and other special collections materials. Matt received his B.A. in history and metropolitan studies from NYU, his Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Long Island University’s Palmer School of Library & Information Science (with an Advanced Certificate in Archives and Records Management), and recently received a certificate from the Rare Book School, a program based in Charlottesville, VA, that supports the study of the history of books and printing. 

At the Lloyd Sealy Library, Matt has his sights set on working with Special Collections librarian, Ellen Belcher, and other faculty and staff to provide more access to the library’s rich collections. “I’m very excited to be serving the students, staff and faculty at John Jay and doing everything I can to provide the best service,” he says.

As a faculty member, Matt has already indicated a research interest that draws on his history background and potentially the Library’s special collections as well. His extracurricular interests include bookbinding and antiquarian photography. Mixing math and chemistry in with the history, he is in the process of building a calotype (box) camera that uses a 19th-century post-daguerreotype photographic process where a negative is produced, allowing paper copies to be made. 

The Library also welcomes Joy Dunkley as a substitute Reference and Instruction Librarian this Spring. She has performed reference, instruction, and collection development duties at several CUNY libraries, including Bronx Community College, York College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and Queensborough Community College. With a Master’s in Public Health from Hunter, in addition to her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute, she worked closely with the faculty and students in the nursing and allied health program at Bronx Community College. 

Joy has substantial teaching experience in the form of library research instruction sessions. She has also taught semester-long, credit bearing information literacy classes, including a required class in research methods for first-year students at ASA College and an information literacy class for first-year medical students at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. To keep up with trends in the field, she is currently pursuing a professional development certificate course in library instruction at Library Juice Academy. In addition to her interest in public health, Joy is working on a paper with the working title “Assessing credit bearing information literacy sessions at a community college,” as well as a research project involving the map collection at the National Library of Jamaica.

More from the Spring 2018 newsletter »


Computers and phone showing WSJ newspaper

The Wall Street Journal — complimentary access!

Thanks to the efforts of the CUNY libraries, complimentary access to the Wall Street Journal digital edition is now available to anyone with a valid email address. This includes access to along with WSJ apps for tablets and mobile devices. See for details and to sign up for your account. MR



In Fall 2017, the Library accounted for 49.9% of all student printing done on campus. The total number of pages printed through the campus student print system was 1,387,064 pages, of which 693,209 were done through Library printers alone. This was an increase of 5% in comparison to Fall 2016 and an increase of 13% in comparison to Fall 2015. GL


Reserve Lab24-hour Library Lounge & Lab

This Spring, from May 7 to 24, the Library will once again be partnering with Student Government and the Department of Public Safety to run the 24-hour Library Lounge & Lab, a period during which the lower level of the Library remains open 24/7. The 24/7 Library Lounge & Lab coincides with the final exams period each term. Very popular with students, the initiative allows for concentrated study time in a quiet environment. The data from the most recent 24hr Library Lounge & Lab in the Fall of 2017 show that on the busiest night, there were as many as 60 students preparing for exams by studying in the Library at midnight. MB


Courtroom art exhibition

Rogues Gallery: Forty Year Retrospective of Courtroom Art from Son of Sam to El Chapo, 1977-2017” was on display this winter in John Jay’s Shiva Gallery. The exhibition’s opening night drew a crowd of John Jay faculty, staff, and students, along with artists and others in the courtroom art community. RD

More from the Spring 2018 newsletter »


Larry Sullivan was the lead curator for the exhibition “Rogues Gallery: Forty Year Retrospective of Courtroom Art from Son of Sam to El Chapo, 1977-2017,” in the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery from November 29, 2017 to February 2, 2018.  The display featured 78 courtroom sketches by co-curators Aggie Kenny and Elizabeth Williams, as well as many by the late Richard Tomlinson. A significant number of these sketches are in the permanent collections of the Sealy Library. Dr. Sullivan’s articles “Les Nonnes de Ripoli,” “Hildelith Cumming,” and “ Victoria Woodhull” were recently published in the digital edition of Le Dictionnaire universel des créatrices (Paris: Editions des femmes, 2017).

Marta Bladek reviewed Nina Fischer’s Memory Work: The Second Generation for the peer-reviewed journal Life Writing

Maureen Richards, Marta Bladek, and Karen Okamoto published “Interactive Whiteboards in Library Instruction: Facilitating Student Engagement and Student Learning” in Practical Academic Librarianship 8(1).

Maureen Richards also participated in the NYPL panel: “NYPL Collections in the CUNY Classroom,” at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building  on March 28, 2018.

Maria Kiriakova published “American Experience of Organized Crime Combating: State, Tendencies and Prospects” with A.N. Sukharenko in Public International and Private International Law: Science-Practice and Information Journal, 100 (1), 36-43.

Robin Davis presented “Build Your Own Twitter Bot: A Gentle and Fun Introduction to Python” with Mark Eaton (KBCC) at the Code4Lib pre-conference in Washington, DC, in February 2018. She also presented “Making ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’–style Tutorials with Twine” and “‘Escape the Library!’ Information Literacy and Collaborative Learning” at the CUNY Games Conference in January 2018.

Jeffrey Kroessler prepared the text for the exhibit and accompanying catalog for “Rogues Gallery,” the display of courtroom art in the Shiva Gallery in November 2017. He was the keynote speaker at the annual preservation conference of the Historic Districts Council in March, and prepared a report for the City Club of New York, “Losing Its Way: The Landmarks Preservation Commission in Eclipse.” He also prepared the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the 1856 Ridgewood Reservoir.

Ellen Belcher was promoted to Associate Professor. With Karina Croucher, she published the chapter “Prehistoric Figurines in Anatolia” in The Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Figurines (2017), edited by Timothy Insoll.

More from the Spring 2018 newsletter »


From the Desk of the Chief Librarian, Larry E. Sullivan

Newspaper articles including photo of fire victims being tended to

On Easter Monday, April 21, 1930, the most famous fire in American prison history occurred. Flames raged through a locked cell block in the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus and burned inmates to death in their cells. Did the guards refuse to open the cells when the fire broke out, as reported by many caught in the blaze? We’ll probably never know for sure, but when the prisoners did get free of their deadly cages, order vanished and a riot broke out. The warden called in the National Guard to calm the penitentiary and over 500 guardsmen surrounded the prison. By the time the fire was extinguished, this legendary, calamitous fire killed 322 convicts and put an additional 230 in the hospital.  

Doing time at the penitentiary during the fire was the noted African American novelist Chester Himes. Himes, best known as the author of the Harlem detective novels (Cotton Comes to Harlem, A Rage in Harlem, and others, many of which were made into films) with the characters Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones, also wrote the prison novel, Cast the First Stone, which describes the fire, as does one of his first short stories, To  What Red Hell,” published in Esquire

Contemporaneous with Himes in that really “big house” in Columbus was Joseph “Specs” Russell, Cleveland’s “smoked-glassed bandit” in the late 1920s, himself a published author during his prison years. Specs was doing a 55-year sentence for committing at least 52 low-yield stick-ups while wearing sunglasses, hence the sobriquet. The Sealy Library recently acquired a significant gathering of Russell’s correspondence and unpublished manuscripts.  

Russell (b. 1908 – d. 19—?) started writing fiction and magazine articles early in his prison career as a plan to get early parole. His idea was to get paid for the articles and establish a fund at the penitentiary to pay back his victims. The Pathfinder (1932) wrote that “On hearing of this, a former store clerk wrote him [Specs] a letter asking that he be given ‘preferred creditor’ status in being reimbursed the $8 that he was relieved of in 1927.” He was a prolific writer and had some publication success, at least enough to catch the attention of a number of well-known journalists and others. He wrote such pieces as “Facing Fifty-Five Years,” which appeared in a 1931 issue of The American Magazine and numerous pieces in the magazine of the Ohio Penitentiary. This contemporary literary fame and his bravery during the 1930 fire were rewarded with a parole in January 1941 after 13 years in stir. A number of distinguished writers, such as H.L. Mencken (the “Bard of Baltimore,” known for publishing ex-convict writing in The American Mercury), and such politicians and statesmen as Newton D. Baker (former mayor of Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of War), wrote in support of Specs. We do not know if Russell and Himes were acquainted, but the Ohio Penitentiary had a reputation for published authors.  The most famous graduate of this institution was O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), who wrote 14 of his short stories while serving time there for bank fraud. 

This acquisition points once more to the depth and breadth of Sealy Library’s criminal justice resources. 

More from the Spring 2018 newsletter »


If all of New York City could read one book together, which book should be chosen? You decide!

The One Book, One New York initiative is on! Voting is open until April 30, 2018. The five books below are the #OneBookNY contenders. Check them out and cast your vote!

The winning book, along with city-wide readings and events, will be announced in early May. 


Behold the Dreamers, orange book cover

Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue

Available through several CUNY libraries (how to request)

Publisher's description: Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son.Working as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers, he displays the punctuality, discretion, and loyalty that Edwards demands. Neni temporary work at the Edwardses' summer home in the Hamptons means a brighter future-- until Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers' façades. As the financial world threatens to collapse, the Jongas become desperate. And as their marriage threatens to fall apart, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.


Manhattan Beach blue book cover

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Available through several CUNY libraries (how to request)

Publisher's description: Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family with the Great Depression underway. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career with the Ziegfeld Follies, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have vanished.


White Tears, white book cover

White Tears by Hari Kunzru

Available through several CUNY libraries (how to request)

Publisher's description: Two twenty-something New Yorkers. Seth is awkward and shy. Carter is the glamorous heir to one of America's great fortunes. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Seth is desperate to reach for the future. Carter is slipping back into the past. When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it's a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter's troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation's darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation.

If Beale Street Could Talk, blue book cover

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Available through several CUNY libraries (how to request)

Publisher's description: Like the blues—sweet, sad, and full of truth—this masterful work of fiction rocks us with powerful emotions. In it are anger and pain, but above all, love--the affirmative love of a woman for her man, the sustaining love of the black family. Fonny, a talented young artist, finds himself unjustly arrested and locked in New York's infamous Tombs. But his girlfriend, Tish, is determined to free him, and to have his baby, in this starkly realistic tale ... a powerful indictment of American concepts of justice and punishment in our time.


When I Was Puerto Rican book cover, with image of woman

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Available through several CUNY libraries (how to request)

Books in Print description: [The author's] story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her warring parents and seven siblings led a life of uproar, but one full of love and tenderness as well. Growing up, Esmeralda learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of the tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby's soul to heaven. But just when Esmeralda seemed to have learned everything, she was taken to New York City, where the rules - and the language - were bewilderingly different. How Esmeralda overcame adversity, won acceptance to New York City's High School of Performing Arts, and then went on to Harvard, where she graduated with highest honors, is a record of a tremendous journey by a truly remarkable woman.



Pop Up Library, March 19-22 during community hour in the Kroll Atrium Students congregating around table with Pop Up Library: Ask A Librarian sign

The Pop-Up Library was in the Kroll Atrium March 19-22 and 28, 2018, from 1pm-3pm each day.

Our Ask a Librarian table featured handouts and barcode activations, along with a Reference Librarian who was happy to answer questions. How do you cite an online news article? How can I save money on textbooks? Ask a librarian!

Plus — we had a cart full of free books! (Students took home dozens of these free books!) 

Our Tell a Librarian table featured survey sheets, hands-on feedback activities, and candy & healthy snacks for participants. What's your ideal John Jay Library like? What do you usually spend on textbooks? Tell a librarian!

The Pop-Up Library was a big success, with over 370 students stopping by our tables to fill out surveys. See survey results »

Tables, students, and librarians, with sign that says Pop Up Library: Ask A Librarian Snacks for Surveys sign, with candy and papers Two librarians at table

Made possible by Faculty-Student Engagement funding from the Division of Student Affairs.


Graduate student online workshops are available this Spring!

Using Library Databases for Research: Learn about specific databases for different research topics and discover general search techniques to facilitate your research process.

How to Write a Literature Review: Discover how to choose the most relevant material, write the literature review and compile references, while exploring answers and solutions to common writing challenges.

There are four more sessions still to come:

Session 1: Closed

Session 2: Closed

Session 3: Closed

Session 4: 4/16/18 - 4/23/18

Session 5: 5/7/18 - 5/14/18

Register now!



Event text with photo of speakerThe National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the Department of Africana Studies, in partnership with the Lloyd George Sealy Library, present:


Moving Toward Community Justice in the 21st Century

The 27th Annual Lloyd George Sealy Lecture

Speaker: Kenton Buckner, Chief of Police, Little Rock Police Department

Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 6:00pm

Moot Court, Room 6.68 NB

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 West 59th Street, New York, NY 10019 

For more information, please contact Rulisa Galloway-Perry, Africana Studies Department, 212-237-8701.

Related: About Lloyd George Sealy


Some things in graduate school are inevitable. Literature reviews, research papers, statistics...

Luckily, Graduate Studies is hosting a series of co-curricular workshops designed to help you succeed!

Sign up here »

Workshop descriptions

How to Write a Literature Review

  • Discover how to choose the most relevant material, write the literature review and compile references, along with finding answers and solutions to common writing challenges.
  • Monday, January 29th, 5:30-7:00 PM, L2.72.03 NB

Using Library Databases for Research

  • This workshop will focus on the specific databases appropriate for different subjects as well as general searching techniques to help facilitate your research process.
  • Tuesday, January 30th, 5:30-7:00 PM, L2.72.04 NB

Writing a Research Paper

  • Learn how to narrow a research paper topic to a speciifc question, gather sources, organize your paper, and cite using the APA style.
  • Wednesday, January 31st, 5:30-7:00 PM L2.72.03 NB 

Understanding Statistics

  • Students will examine the statistics behind everyday activities in the quantification of the social sciences in the United States. Workshops will emphasize mathematical skills and basic topics related to the understanding of probability and statistics. Students may choose the module(s) most suitable to their needs, or elect to participate in all.
  • Module 1: Descriptive Statistics
    • Monday, January 29th, 6:00-7:30 PM, L2.72.04 NB
  • Module 2: Graphing Data
    • Thursday, February 1st, 7:45-9:15 PM, L2.72.03 NB
  • Module 3: Prediction and Association
    • Monday, February 5th, 6:00-7:30 PM, L2.72.03 NB
  • Module 4: Parametric Inferential Statistics
    • Thursday, February 8th, 7:45-9:15 PM, L2.72.03 NB
  • Module 5: Nonparametric Inferential Statistics
    • Monday, February 12th, 6:00-7:30 PM, L2.72.03 NB 

Sign up here »


The New York Times Book Review editors chose their top 10 books for 2017. All are available through the CUNY library system! They are listed here with their catalog/publishers' descriptions and library availability information. 

If a book you're interested in reading isn't available at your home campus, you can request it online through OneSearch. The book will then be delivered to your campus library and held under your name, usually within 5 business days. (How do I request a book?)

Happy reading!



Exit West cover

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet — sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors — doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West follows the couple as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. 

  • Available at John Jay, Stacks PS3558.A42169 E95 2017
  • Also available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

Autumn by Ali Smith

Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Two old friends—Daniel, a centenarian, and Elisabeth, born in 1984—look to both the future and the past as the United Kingdom stands divided by a historic, once-in-a-generation summer. Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand-in-hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever.  A luminous meditation on the meaning of richness and harvest and worth, Autumn is the first installment of Ali Smith’s Seasonal quartet, and it casts an eye over our own time: Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearean jeu d’esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s pop art. Wide-ranging in time-scale and light-footed through histories, Autumn is an unforgettable story about aging and time and love—and stories themselves.

  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant-and that her lover is married-she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

The Power by Naomi Alderman

When a new force takes hold of the world, people from different areas of life are forced to cross paths in an alternate reality that gives women and teenage girls immense physical power that can cause pain and death. A rich Nigerian boy; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. When a vital new force takes root and flourishes, their lives converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls and women now have immense physical power-- they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And everything changes ...

  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager. ... Rich with Ward’s distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an unforgettable family story.

  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)


Locking Up Our Own cover

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr.

An original and consequential argument about race, crime, and the law Today, Americans are debating our criminal justice system with new urgency. Mass incarceration and aggressive police tactics — and their impact on people of color — are feeding outrage and a consensus that something must be done. But what if we only know half the story? In Locking Up Our Own, the Yale legal scholar and former public defender James Forman Jr. weighs the tragic role that some African Americans themselves played in escalating the war on crime. As Forman shows, the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office around the country amid a surge in crime. Many came to believe that tough measures — such as stringent drug and gun laws and "pretext traffic stops" in poor African American neighborhoods — were needed to secure a stable future for black communities. Some politicians and activists saw criminals as a "cancer" that had to be cut away from the rest of black America. Others supported harsh measures more reluctantly, believing they had no other choice in the face of a public safety emergency. Drawing on his experience as a public defender and focusing on Washington, D.C., Forman writes with compassion for individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas — from the young men and women he defended to officials struggling to cope with an impossible situation. The result is an original view of our justice system as well as a moving portrait of the human beings caught in its coils. 

  • Available at John Jay at Stacks HV9950 .F655 2017 (3 copies) and Reserve HV9950 .F655 2017
  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us by Richard O. Prum

A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences—what Darwin termed “the taste for the beautiful”—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world. In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin’s theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature? Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum—reviving Darwin’s own views—thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin’s long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons—for the mere pleasure of it—is an independent engine of evolutionary change. ... The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature’s splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.

  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

Grant by Ron Chernow

Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant. ... Grant’s life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don’t come close to capturing him, as Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency. ...

  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

Millions of readers of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls—the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true saga of her life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser—the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series—masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder’s biography. Revealing the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life, she also chronicles Wilder's tumultuous relationship with her journalist daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books. ...

Spanning nearly a century of epochal change, from the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. With fresh insights and new discoveries, Prairie Fires reveals the complex woman whose classic stories grip us to this day.

  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

From Patricia Lockwood—a writer acclaimed for her wildly original voice—a vivid, heartbreakingly funny memoir about balancing identity with family and tradition. Father Greg Lockwood is unlike any Catholic priest you have ever met—a man who lounges in boxer shorts, loves action movies, and whose constant jamming on the guitar reverberates “like a whole band dying in a plane crash in 1972.” His daughter is an irreverent poet who long ago left the Church’s country. When an unexpected crisis leads her and her husband to move back into her parents’ rectory, their two worlds collide. ...

Lockwood pivots from the raunchy to the sublime, from the comic to the deeply serious, exploring issues of belief, belonging, and personhood. Priestdaddy is an entertaining, unforgettable portrait of a deeply odd religious upbringing, and how one balances a hard-won identity with the weight of family and tradition.

  • Available at several other CUNY libraries (link)

More recommended reading lists »

R. Davis • December 11, 2017