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Maine Humanities Council / Harriet P. Henry Center for the Book
Here If You Need Me
By Kate Braestrup

After Kate Braestrup's husband, a Maine state trooper, was killed in an accident, she was left stunned and grieving with four young children. In rebuilding her life she becomes Chaplain for the Maine Game Warden Service. in that capacity she found a most unusual mission: serving as the minister on search and rescue missions in the Maine woods, giving comfort to people whose loved ones are missing, and to the wardens who sometimes have to deal with awful outcomes. She comes to discover that giving comfort is both a high calling and a precious gift.


In her account of her own life and the events of her unusual job, sometimes joyful, sometimes heartbreaking, Braestrup is warm, unsentimental , and generous. Here If You Need Me is a funny, frank, and deeply moving story of faith and hope.
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Center for the Book at the NH State Library
Kookooland
by Gloria Norris

It's the 1960s in Manchester New Hampshire and Gloria Norris is growing up in the projects with her family. A photo might show a happy, young family, but things aren't as they appear. Jimmy's a wiseguy who relies on charm, wit and an unyielding belief that he's above the law; and his youngest daughter, Gloria, is just like him. Or at least, she knows that she needs to stay on his good side. When an unspeakable act of violence shakes her to her core, Gloria's fiery determination takes shape and she sets herself on a path away from the cycle of violence whirling around her. That path will eventually take her to NYC where she will work as an assistant to film directors Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen and then to Los Angeles where she is now a screenwriter and independent producer.

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Massachusetts Center for the Book
Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon
By Larry Tye

Tye traces his subject’s development from a cold war conservative to a warrior for social justice, describing an arc of one man and of his country in a well-researched and engaging look at Bobby Kennedy in the context of mid-20th century America as it moved from the Eisenhower years through the turbulence of the 1960s.

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Rhode Island Center for the Book
American Jezebel
by Eve LaPlante

Written by one of Hutchinson's direct descendants, American Jezebel brings both balance and perspective to Hutchinson's story. It captures this American heroine's life in all its complexity, presenting her not as a religious fanatic, a cardboard feminist, or a raging crank—as some have portrayed her—but as a flesh-and-blood wife, mother, theologian, and political leader. The book narrates her dramatic expulsion from Massachusetts, after which her judges, still threatened by her challenges, promptly built Harvard College to enforce religious and social orthodoxies—making her the mid-wife to the nation's first college. In exile, she settled Rhode Island, becoming the only woman ever to co-found an American colony.

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Connecticut Center for the Book
The Logbooks
by Anne Farrow

In 1757, a sailing ship owned by an affluent Connecticut merchant sailed from New London to the tiny island of Bence in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to take on fresh water and slaves. On board was the owner’s son, on a training voyage to learn the trade. The Logbooks explores that voyage, and two others documented by that young man, to unearth new realities of Connecticut’s slave trade and question how we could have forgotten this part of our past so completely.

When writer Anne Farrow discovered the significance of the logbooks for the Africa and two other ships in 2004, her mother had been recently diagnosed with dementia. As Farrow bore witness to the impact of memory loss on her mother’s sense of self, she also began a journey into the world of the logbooks and the Atlantic slave trade, eventually retracing part of the Africa’s long-ago voyage to Sierra Leone. As the narrative unfolds in The Logbooks, Farrow explores the idea that if our history is incomplete, then collectively we have forgotten who we are—a loss that is in some ways similar to what her mother experienced. The multiple narratives combine in surprising and effective ways to make this an intimate confrontation with the past, and a powerful meditation on how slavery still affects us.

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Empire State Center for the Book
Hamilton
By Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time.

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Pennsylvania Center for the Book
The Life and Times of Mary Vaux Walcott
by Marjorie G. Jones

Philadelphia-based biographer Marjorie G. Jones chronicles The Life and Times of Mary Vaux Walcott using letters, journal entries, newspaper reports, illustrations, and photographs. Known as the “Audubon of Botany,” Walcott (1860-1940) was an artist and adventurer who cataloged North American wildflowers in watercolor, with nearly 1,000 of her prints displayed on the Smithsonian website today. Her story explores a personal struggle to escape Victorian social conventions, as well as the collective struggle of fellow women explorers, naturalist, and creatives from a time in American History when little was recorded of their efforts and contributions.

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New Jersey Center for the Book
Born to Run
By Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen's memoirs gives fans an insight into what has driven him over the course of his life and career. The demons, anxiety, joys, fears, hopes, and dreams that has driven him to be the "Boss" for the last 50 years.

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Delaware Center for the Book
Just Mercy : A story of justice and redemption
By Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

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Maryland Center for the Book at Maryland Humanities
Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character
By Kay Redfield Jamison

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry, Robert Lowell put his manic-depressive illness (now known as bipolar disorder) into the public domain, creating a language for madness that was new and arresting. As Dr. Jamison brings her expertise in mood disorders to bear on Lowell’s story, she illuminates not only the relationships among mania, depression, and creativity but also the details of Lowell’s treatment and how illness and treatment influenced the great work that he produced (and often became its subject). Lowell’s New England roots, early breakdowns, marriages to three eminent writers, friendships with other poets such as Elizabeth Bishop, his many hospitalizations, his vivid presence as both a teacher and a maker of poems—Jamison gives us the poet’s life through a lens that focuses our understanding of his intense discipline, courage, and commitment to his art.

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District of Columbia Center for the Book
Around the way girl : a memoir
By Taraji Henson

DC native and Hollywood superstar Taraji P. Henson recounts her rise to fame as the star of Empire and Hidden Figures. Henson is both funny and direct as she shares stories of her childhood and family life in Southeast DC, her student days at Howard University, and her journey to stardom.

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Virginia Center for the Book
Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family
By Daniel Bergner

Ryan Speedo Green grew up in Yorktown, Virginia, with an absent father and volatile, abusive mother. They lived in a trailer park and later a bullet-riddled house across from drug dealers. At age twelve, Ryan was sent to Virginia's juvenile facility of last resort. He was uncontrollable, uncontainable, with little hope for the future.

In 2011, at age twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York's Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe's most prestigious opera houses.

Sing For Your Life chronicles Ryan's suspenseful, racially charged and artistically intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom. Daniel Bergner takes readers on Ryan's path toward redemption, introducing a cast of memorable characters--including the two teachers who redirect his rage into music and his long-lost father who finally reappears to hear Ryan sing.

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North Carolina Center for the Book
Dimestore
By Lee Smith

Lee Smith writes about the South she knew as she grew up, a place that in many ways has vanished.

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South Carolina Center for the Book
The Other Mother: A Rememoir
By Teresa Bruce

The Other Mother is a true story of a TV reporter and the deep bond she forges with a woman four times her age, a bond that changes her life... Byrne and Duncan Miller do not blend into the beautiful background that is Beaufort, South Carolina. She is an 82-year-old modern dance pioneer from Manhattan who started out on the burlesque stage during the Great Depression. He is a pipe-smoking, frustrated novelist and one of the original Mad Men of Madison Avenue. Teresa Bruce stumbles onto the story of their love and quickly becomes one of Byrne's "collected daughters." Byrne and Teresa's friendship is a dance between love and madness, loyalty and truth, and speaks to anyone who has ever needed and cherished the love of an "Other Mother."

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Georgia Center for the Book
Blood, Bones, And Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews
By Ted Geltner

In 2010, an ailing Harry Crews sat down with author Ted Geltner for interviews and to tell his stories one last time. The result is the first full-length biography of one of the most unlikely figures in twentieth-century American literature, a writer who emerged from a dirt-poor South Georgia tenant farm and went on to create a singularly unique voice of fiction.

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Florida Center for the Book
Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston
By Valerie Boyd

Zora Neale Hurston published seven books, many short stories, and several articles and plays over a career that spanned more than thirty years. Today, nearly every black woman writer of significance—including Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker—acknowledges Hurston as a literary foremother, and her 1937 masterpiece Their Eyes Were Watching God has become a crucial part of the modern literary canon.

Wrapped in Rainbows illuminates the adventures, complexities, and sorrows of an extraordinary life. Acclaimed journalist Valerie Boyd delves into Hurston’s history—her youth in Eatonville, Florida, the country’s first incorporated all-black town, her friendships with luminaries such as Langston Hughes, her sexuality and short-lived marriages, and her mysterious relationship with vodou. With the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, and World War II as historical backdrops, Wrapped in Rainbows not only positions Hurston’s work in her time but also offers riveting implications for our own.