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Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills

Book jacket cover of Black FortunesI love history books that teach me about little known aspects of American history (little known to me, anyway!). Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires is just such a book.  Booklist: “The title of journalist Wills’ first book might raise expectations for a feel-good story in the rags-to-riches tradition, and, indeed, he explicitly positions his book as a corrective to cultural assumptions about black economic impoverishment by focusing on how once-enslaved African Americans amassed wealth between 1840 and the early 1920s. But their fascinating stories cannot be told without addressing the dire obstacles posed by slavery and white supremacy, making this a history, as well, of the complexity and injustice of American race relations. In this context, Wills argues that the ambitions and achievements of these intrepid individuals were radical acts. Emphasizing the diversity of the black American experience, he recounts the lives of six remarkable men and women from around the country, including chemist and hair-care innovator Annie Turnbo Malone and her megasuccessful employee Madame C. J. Walker, gold-rush millionaire Mary Ellen Pleasant, and Oklahoma teacher-turned-developer O.W. Gurley. Wills’ storytelling is infectious, his subjects are irresistible, and his broad coverage invites readers to venture further into the events and historical context he so vividly introduces.”


Friends-book-saleThe Friends of the Library will be hosting the annual River City Days book sale this Friday (10-5) and Saturday (9-2) , with a bag sale on Monday (10-2).  Come peruse these nearly new books with everything from fast paced thrillers to science fiction.  Get a (really) early start on your Christmas shopping!  Everyone is welcome and sale proceeds are used to benefit the library.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Charlie Grant’s favorite place to be in the world is at home with her family.  As the youngest of the five Grant siblings, Charlie knows it’s been awhile since they’ve all been together – especially since Mike hasn’t been home in over a year after what happened last February.  But this weekend?  This weekend, big sister Linnie is getting married in what’s sure to be a gorgeous, perfectly perfect backyard wedding, and Charlie can’t wait for everyone to be together again.  Well, everyone except Mike.

But then Mike does show up.  Except he’s staying at Jesse Foster’s house, Mike’s high school buddy… and Charlie’s crush since forever, who she (finally!) kissed over Christmas break.  And hasn’t seen since Christmas break.  Which is totally fine.  Right?  Charlie’s best friend Siobhan is in Michigan doing freshman orientation, so there’s no one around to figure stuff out with.  And then the wedding planner quits.  Charlie’s dad’s feud with their neighbor Don over the garden show is rapidly escalating.  The house alarm won’t stop going off.  The groom’s suit is missing.  Linnie can’t stop sneezing (she’s not getting sick).  And the Good Morning America crew is supposed to be at the house on Sunday morning after the wedding to do a whole family interview about the end of Charlie’s mom’s 25-year comic strip run, Grant Central Station, featuring the Grant family’s adventures, escapades, and growing pains, which means they’ve got a foster dog to stand in for the family dog in the comic strip.  For the weekend, not just Sunday.  Awesome.

And that’s just the morning of the rehearsal dinner.

If you love Father of the Bride (okay, let’s be honest, all the wedding books and movies ever) as much as I do, don’t miss this fabulous story of one chaotic wedding weekend where almost everything goes wrong and everybody all still loves each other anyway (well, almost everybody).  Fun, laugh-out-loud funny, and with a ton of heart, you’ll wish you’d grown up in the Grant family – or at least reading them in the funny pages.  Kick off your heels, grab a third piece of wedding cake, and add Save the Date to your summer reading pile this year!