Available on Overdrive or Hoopla: Race and Social Justice Fiction

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Staff Image

painterly image of a purple hear with the words "Here to Help"

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and subsequent protests in Pittsburgh and across the country have been triggering and traumatic events for our community. The American Library Association (ALA) Executive Board announced that they stand in solidarity with Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Inc. (BCALA) in condemning increased violence and racism towards Black Americans and people of color. You can read their responses from ALA Executive Board here, from APALA here, and from BCALA here.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is a reliable source for information and resources to help understand and process these events. During the past week, we have seen a significant increase of digital holds and checkout on books relating to race and social justice. The public library is an institution that stands behind equity of access, where people can access the information and ideas they need, regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers. You can read more about the ALA Bill of Rights and Equity of Access here.

Due to the limited number of digital copies available through our Overdrive/Libby digital service, we want to provide you a number of options available through our Hoopla digital service, where all items are available immediately for up to 15 checkouts per month. You can sign up for a free library card here and you can watch tutorial videos here to get started. If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through any of our social media platforms (FacebookInstagramTwitter), call us at 412-622-3114, or email us at info@carnegielibrary.org.

An American Marriage

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward–with hope and pain–into the future. This title is also available as eAudio or eBook on Hoopla, and as eBook or eAudio on Overdrive.

Another Brooklyn

Another Brooklyn is a touching coming of age story, written in a poetic, stream of consciousness style centered around 4 young African-American female friends. This compact narrative is filled with love, heartbreak and hope, as the four women navigate their lives in Brooklyn, NY during the 1970’s. This title is also available on Hooplaas an eBook and as eAudio.

Black Sunday

Written with astonishing intimacy and wry attention to the fickleness of fate, Tola Rotimi Abraham’s Black Sunday takes us into the chaotic heart of family life, tracing a line from the euphoria of kinship to the devastation of estrangement. In the process, it joyfully tells a tale of grace and connection in the midst of daily oppression and the constant incursions of an unremitting patriarchy. This is a novel about two young women slowly finding, over twenty years, in a place rife with hypocrisy but also endless life and love, their own distinct methods of resistance and paths to independence. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook or on Hoopla as an eAudio

Everywhere You Don’t Belong

 Claude just wants a place where he can fit. As a young black man born on the South Side of Chicago, he is raised by his civil rights-era grandmother, who tries to shape him into a principled actor for change; yet when riots consume his neighborhood, he hesitates to take sides, unwilling to let race define his life. He decides to escape Chicago for another place, to go to college, to find a new identity, to leave the pressure cooker of his hometown behind. But as he discovers, he cannot; there is no safe haven for a young black man in this time and place called America. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook or on Overdrive/Libby as an eBook.

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop. Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It’s there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity. This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society’s ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice. This title is also available as an eBook on Hoopla and as an eBook on Libby/Overdrive.

Happiness, Like Water

Here are Nigerian women at home and transplanted to the United States, building lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, the burden and strength of love. Here are characters faced with dangerous decisions, children slick with oil from the river, a woman in love with another despite the penalties. Here is a world marked by electricity outages, lush landscapes, folktales, buses that break down and never start up again. Here is a portrait of Nigerians that is surprising, shocking, heartrending, loving, and across social strata, dealing in every kind of change. Here are stories filled with language to make your eyes pause and your throat catch. Happiness, Like Water introduces a true talent, a young writer with a beautiful heart and a capacious imagination. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook  or on Overdrive/Libby as an eBook .

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston–the sole black student at the college–was living in New York, “desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world.” During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life and transformed her into one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook  or as eAudio, or on Libby/Overdrive as an eBook or eAudio.

A Kind of Freedom

Three generations living in New Orleans over the course of 70 years deal with racism, segregation, incarceration, poverty, drugs and the after effects of Hurricane Katrina as they struggle to define their lives and survive as a family. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook or as eAudio or as an eAudio or eBook on Libby/Overdrive.

Meridian

Meridian Hill is a young woman at an Atlanta college attempting to find her place in the revolution for racial and social equality. She discovers the limits beyond which she will not go for the cause, but despite her decision not to follow the path of some of her peers, she makes significant sacrifices in order to further her beliefs. Working in a campaign to register African American voters, Meridian cares broadly and deeply for the people she visits, and, while her coworkers quit and move to comfortable homes, she continues to work in the deep South despite a paralyzing illness. Meridian’s nonviolent methods, though seemingly less radical than the methods of others, prove to be an effective means of furthering her beliefs. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook  or on Libby/Overdrive as an eBook.

One Night in Georgia

Set in the summer of 1968, a provocative and devastating novel of individual lives caught in the grips of violent history–a timely and poignant story that reverberates with the power of Alice Walker’s Meridian and Ntozake Shange’s Betsey Browne. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook, or on Libby/Overdrive as eAudio or eBook.

There You Are

Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s in St. Louis, Octavian Munroe and Mina Rose found a future in music. Between the stacks at Rahsaan’s Records, the two fell in love to the sounds of Prince and A Tribe Called Quest. But in the wake of grief and heartbreak, they drifted apart, ultimately leaving the city for fresh starts. Decades later, Rahsaan’s Records is closing for good. Seeking closure of their own, Octavian and Mina travel homeward, reckoning with the ghosts of the past they left behind and the uncertain future they must create. Insightful and nostalgic, this is a wise novel of love, loss, and the power of community, backed by a phenomenal soundtrack of hip hop, soul, and jazz. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook

Three Fifths

Three-Fifths is about a biracial black man, passing for white, who is forced to confront the lies of his past while facing the truth of his present when his best friend, just released from prison, involves him in a hate crime.  A story of secrets, identity, violence and obsession with a tragic conclusion that leaves all involved questioning the measure of a man, and inspired by the author’s own experiences with identity as a biracial man during his time as a student in Pittsburgh amidst the simmering racial tension produced by the L.A. Riots and the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-nineties.

Upstate

Antonio and Natasha’s world is turned upside down, and their young love is put to the test, when Antonio finds himself in jail, accused of a shocking crime. Antonio fights to stay alive on the inside, while on the outside, Natasha faces choices that will change her life. Over the course of a decade, they share a desperate correspondence. Often, they have only each other to turn to as life takes them down separate paths and leaves them wondering if they will ever find their way back together. This title is also available on Hoopla as eAudio.

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?

Humorous, poignant, perceptive, and full of grace, Kathleen Collins’s stories masterfully blend the quotidian and the profound in a personal, intimate way, exploring deep, far-reaching issues–race, gender, family, and sexuality–that shape the ordinary moments in our lives. This title is also available on Hoopla as an eBook or eAudio, and on Libby/Overdrive as an eBook or eAudio.