At first, I wasn't sure if I was actually going to be able to write this blog post because I was having "all the feels." But this title is far too important for my personal feelings.
In case you've been under a rock for the past six months, BLACK PANTHER is the latest rendition of the Black Panther series in the Marvel Universe. This new Series is written by Ta-Nehesi Coates and illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze. Some basic facts: Black Panther is the first Black superhero in either the Marvel of DC comics, first appearing July 1966, as part of a Fantastic Four plot line. Traditionally, Black Panther, also known as T'Challa, is the King of an African nation known as Wakanda -most of his story lines since the 1960s have supported this narrative structure.
And if you've been living under a rock for the past five years, here is some background on Ta-Nehisi Coates. Mr. Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly as they regard African-Americans. Coates has also worked for The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, and Time. Additionally, he has contributed to The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Post. Some of my favorite pieces he has written are The Case for Repatriations, The Enduring Solidarity of Whiteness, and My President Was Black.
I'm am going to break this post up into three sections. First, I'm going to give you my quick thoughts on the comic book, then I'm going to share with you some writings Ta-Nehsisi Coates has given on this comic, then we'll wrap this whole thing up with some words of wisdom from the man of the hour, himself. Cool?
First, my thoughts:
As someone who wasn't raised to read comic books and is certainly new to the genre, rather than focusing on the plot and the adventure, I was far more intrigued by the concepts of race posed in this book. Black Panther, is all about Race, and yet is not about race at all. Meaning, Wakanda is a fictional African nation, where race move beyond skin color, and is categorized more by culture, ancestry, and region. Yet, this story is a reflection of our real society where race is a tool for power. Race without power means nothing; power cannot exist without hierarchy. Thus, race is a vehicle for power. Race, particularly focused in America, is a tool people can use to organize power. But to be clear, "race" is essentially meaningless and is in itself, nothing. Racism is power.
Next, his thoughts:
As I dive further and further into this world, there have been some articles from Coates related to Black Panther that have really expanded my thoughts and understanding on this work.
The Return of the Black Panther
Despite the difference in style and practice of storytelling, my approach to comic books ultimately differs little from my approach to journalism. In both forms, I am trying to answer a question. In my work for The Atlantic I have, for some time, been asking a particular question: Can a society part with, and triumph over, the very plunder that made it possible? In Black Panther there is a simpler question: Can a good man be a king, and would an advanced society tolerate a monarch? Research is crucial in both cases. The Black Panther I offer pulls from the archives of Marvel and the character’s own long history. But it also pulls from the very real history of society—from the pre-colonial era of Africa, the peasant rebellions that wracked Europe toward the end of the Middle Ages, the American Civil War, the Arab Spring, and the rise of ISIS.
Coates on Conceptualizing T'Challa...
I also had to create some sort of working theory about Wakanda, and to the extent to which I came to one it is this: Wakanda is a contradiction. It is the most advanced nation on Earth, existing under one of the most primitive forms of governance on Earth. In the present telling, Wakanda’s technological superiority goes back centuries. Presumably it’s population is extremely well educated, and yet that population willingly accedes to rule by blood. T’Challa descends from an unbroken line of kings, all who’ve taken up the mantle of the Black Panther. But if you’ve ever studied monarchy, it becomes immediately apparent that the aptitude, or even the desire, to govern isn’t genetic.
Finally, his words:
On March 20, I had the unique and distinct pleasure of being invited to a symposium hosted by the Humanities Center at the University of Pittsburgh, to hear Ta-Nehisi Coates speak to a small private audience about his work and be available for classroom-style discussion and questions. Here are some of my most impact take-aways from that 90-minute session.
Let me be one of the many people to fall in line applauding the miraculous work that is The Book of Harlan by Bernice McFadden. I’m am always one to support books that dip into the unexpected. And we’re not talking mysteries or murders (thought this book certainly has both). I’m referring to pieces of literature that don’t tell a story you expect to hear; subject that you weren’t even sure existed or had never thought about.
In its simplest of descriptions: The Book of Harlan is the story of a young Black man named Harlan from Harlem (yeah, I know) who finds himself kidnapped and interned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. There are an unknown number of books, both fiction non-fiction, on World War II in general and the Holocaust. But how many stories have you heard of other people groups, besides those of Jewish faith and decent, being rounded up and hauled off to unknown terrors. I’ll be the first to say, this was a news flash for me. The line starts here!
Before we get into unpacking this more, a little on the author Bernice McFadden. To start with, A: BRILLIENT. B. GORGEOUS. For those looking for a little more about her #BlackGirlMagic, BERNICE L. McFADDEN is the author of nine critically acclaimed novels including Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters (a New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of the 100 Notable Books of 2012), and Glorious, which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a three-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of three awards from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). And if that wasn’t enough, she is committed to the belief that:
“'I write to breathe life back into memory.”
That is exactly what she has done in The Book of Harlan. The Washington Post was spot on in their critic:
“This is a story about the triumph of the human spirit over bigotry, intolerance and cruelty, and at the center of “The Book of Harlan” is the restorative force that is music. “~Eugenia Zukerman, April 2016
To break that down a little bit further-
“the human spirit over bigotry”: This story isn’t just an overcome story for its title sake, Harlan, who certainly overcomes more in his lifetime than most do in several. However, McFadden gives us a glimpse into the human spirit of very major character at play here. Staring with Harlan’s mother and the life she so desperately dreamed of out of the Bible-belt of Southern society and the way of life set forth by her reverend father. To the break out singer who rises from rural country obscurity into international superstardom, then falls right back to Earth. And even to include the tortured women (and their children) for whom the adversity of other people creates adversity for them.
Quick Sidebar analysis: I realized much later in thinking back on this book, a sneaky but incredibly important use of sophisticated allegory being used here. Harlan’s grandparents live simple, Christian lives. They do good things, and are good people. They love each other, they love their children, they love their grandchildren. They are the perfect picture. What a beautifully delicious piece of critical storytelling for them to live their lives by the Bible and get to die lovingly and peacefully in their sleep. However, Harlan’s parents reject that lifestyle and find nothing but struggles and poverty moving from place to place all of over the country until they finally settle in Harlem. But though, their life in Harlem is much more stable, and to some degree even conformable, it was never without its dramatic fires (hint hint towards a horrifying and traumatic chapter involving a fire). But in a sheer streak of poetry, McFadden makes a very poignant alignment with the fates of those who do not walk the straight and narrow path laid out in the Gospels.
One final note that I will make, without trying to give too much away is a truly appreciative and respectful nod towards the sheer talent of McFadden’s writing style in this novel. The book does not linger. It moves quickly and you need to be prepared to move with it. To give you a point of reference, the book in total is only 342 pages but covers the lifespan of almost 4 generations of people, the Golden Age of Jazz in Harlem and Paris, life and trauma of a Black American man in a German concentration camp, the years of PTSD that this man struggles though, and a couple of “wait what?!” final-page plot twists. Also, I always have immense respect for authors that force me to double back and question what I had read. There were certainly a few final thrills and surprises that I hadn’t realized had happened until discussing the book with friends after finishing it. #RESPECT
Essentially, hats of and many congratulations to Bernice McFadden on an intricate and beautiful piece of storytelling. And for those of you left considering whether or not to pick this one off the shelves, do yourself a favor and trust me on this one.
Michael Brown. Jordan Davis. Eric Garner. Sandra Blank. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin. NOBODY. “This is a book about what it means to be nobody” (Hill).
This social-political-economic entanglement created by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill offers an undeniably eye-opening perspective look at the often overlooked groundwork for which racism in American has been built upon. Through this book, Dr. Hill seeks to challenge the psychological notion of “the other” as compared to the ‘normal’ or most overtly to ‘nobody.’ The seeming impetus for this work is the very notion that the victims explored in the book were not super-predators or even political activists, but rather more ordinary citizens whose were just as equally the victims of a broken system as they were of police brutality. Jaywalking, playing loud music, failing to signal a lane change, making eye contact with a police officer, selling loosies, fleeing a traffic citation, holding a realistic-looking toy gun or [simply] being a stranger re-categorized them in society as ‘other.’ But how does the ‘other’ happen? Dr. Hill offers what might be the most insightful sociology lesson marketable to the masses through this compellingly writing book.
Most Americans, either through word of mouth, social media, or news outlets, are grotesquely familiar with a number of incidents of fatal police brutality of usually unarmed black men and women since the death of Trayvon Martin in 2013. Dr. Hill opens his book with an acceptance, of sorts, regarding these tragedies. No one is here to argue the series of events that make up the fatal moments in these lost lives. Nor is anyone here to disagree with the results of these interactions with police. The arguments posed throughout the text more assert questions of the historical fabric that develop identity and sociopolitical constructs that define the law. He strives to educate his readers on the how the state of Black America has led to these facts. Each chapter meticulously analyzes various politically and economically oppressive environments surrounding the loss of black life; how the Black body has come to be NOBODY.
Beginning with one of the most publicly known cases of fatal police brutality, Dr. Hill challenges his readers to understand that Michael Brown, as far as the rest of the world was concerned, was simply considered a nobody. He was not an activist; he was not a hero; he was not giving rallies or leading marches. Michael Brown was the same ‘NOBODY’ as every other Black victim of racist housing conditions looking to survive small town Ferguson, MO. Michael Brown was the same ‘NOBODY’ as the other 98% African American high school graduating class, which lost its accreditation due to consistently low test scores. Yet, it is here, in the social construction of inconsequentiality, that Dr. Hill demands the attention of his readers. We must confront the undeniable social constructs that have gripped individual lives and communities with over a century’s worth of segregated and oppressive laws and culture norms that should dare allow a man, identified by the color of his skin, to be effortlessly re-categorized as NOBODY.
Works like these, presented by Dr. Hill are especially important with the exponential rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement as he offers an easily accessible entry into a vastly complex history of racial inequality, racial profiling, and criminal justice discrimination. This book should be considered an educational launching point for any socially conscious individual seeking to equip themselves with the necessary tools to make sound, well-informed arguments regarding systematic racism in the United States. Additionally, this book is also well adjusted to serve as a reference tool for more well-informed or scholarly activists to not only re-ground themselves in the micro-picture but also to prepare themselves to share and educate their communities on complex topics in ways that are motivating, tangible and relatable.
Last year as I was writing the latest blog, (yes, I know it has been a while) I was ultimately excited for a new year and for a new year of reading. So like so many others I combed through all the “tops” lists for the best books of 2015 starting with the New York Times, all the way down to Twitter suggestions (@luster_luster). Nothing really seemed out of place; especially considering my Librarian sense were all a tuned to weed out the touristy fly-by works and drill down to the nerdy good stuff. Ironically, the book I’m talking about today was on many best/top lists but that not why I chose it. I’ll come back to this in a later post. It just happened to be on them.
The book I want to talk about is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. For your at-home Wikipedia basics:
The book was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review. It won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction), and was shortlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction of the United Kingdom.
And I can absolutely agree with these accolades as this might be one of my favorite books all year.
Adichie, herself, is a Nigerian intellectual rock star and knock-out beauty whose genius is also responsible for Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a Yellow Sun (2007). Adichie was born and raised Igbo (love) and began studying medicine at the University of Nigeria. Life took a left turn bringing her to the United States to study communications instead at Drexel. Halfway through she transferred to Eastern Connecticut to be closer to her sister who was a doctor. Moving from here to complete graduate work at both Johns Hopkins and Yale (count ‘em! 2 graduate degrees) while also completing a Princeton Fellowship…and a Harvard Fellowship….and a MacArthur. I’ve got no words for this level of #BlackGirlMagic. Just sheer adoration and appreciation.
But why is this background important? Adichie pulled a great deal of material for Americanah from personal experience. The protagonist, Ifemelu, follows a similar life trajectory. Born and raised in Nigeria; travels to the States for school; maintained a close, loving relationship with an aunt who was in the medical profession; completed an array of prestigious programs at a host of prestigious universities.
However, in my humble opinion, all of these things are not the point of this story; they are merely the vehicle Adichie is using to drive us, the reader, to a new insight on race and culture. Adichie share briefly with us Ifemelu’s upbringing in Nigeria so that we can understand both the violent assimilation immigrants are faced with when moving to this country as well as to highlight for American readers the strikingly different connotation race takes in the United States. To both points, Ifemelu’s world in Lagos is given to us through the eyes of a child who thinks they are more grown than they really are; but one who is observant and conscious. A young girl, with an aggressively devout Christian mother (sometimes) and a too-proud-to beg conservative father, paired with the high school prince charming boasting his own dreams of the great “America,” who comes to challenge and be challenged by everything she ever understood about identity. Here in lies why I love this book so much. It forces the reader to challenge or be challenged by everything they think about identity.
A particular identity conflict she explores: Hair
We are black women. Black women have kinky coily hair. You will deal with it.
Ifemelu grew up in a culture when no one really questioned this much. However, here in the United States we have equated beauty with whiteness and therefore long straight hair. But as I stated, we are black women. We have kinky, coily hair. But what do you do when the society around you only perceived your natural hair as unkempt? You either braid it or you chemically straighten it. The story opens with Ifemelu in an African hair salon to get her hair braided in preparation for a trip back to Nigeria. Just the quick few pages about her having to travel by train to even get to a braiding salon is significant to us readers in the North who have all had the exact same experience searching far and wide in the desperate hope of finding a hair salon that won’t butcher your precious tresses.
My apologies, this post is unfinished since May 2016, but I knew I couldn't hold on to this any longer. More another time!
This may seem a bit unconventional but I wanted to share some amazing thought with you all that are not my own to claim.
Film and literary critic, Kam Williams (read up on him) has recently put out his list of "The Ten Best Black Books of 2015" and I'm re-sharing it here because it is everything! For all of you out there wanting to read more as your New Year's Resolution, here is an excellent place to pull inspiration.
So let's get to it! Here you are ladies and gentlemen. "The Ten Best Black Books of 2015" as told by Kam Williams.
1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
2. Black Male Frames: African-Americans in a Century of Hollywood Cinema, 1903-2003 by Roland Leander Williams, Jr.
3. The Face That Changed It All: A Memoir by Beverly Johnson
4. America The Black Point of View by Tony Rose
5. After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye by Jan Gaye
6. Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace by Patricia Raybon and Alana Raybon
7. Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas
8. The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America by April Ryan
9. Firefight: The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York's Bravest by Ginger Adams Otis
10. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
I am not responsible for any work that does not get done as a result of your binge-reading! ENJOY
This is one of those where I had to stay up all night finishing it!
Let's talk about The Pearl That Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashimi. First off, wow! This one doesn't pull any punches. But we must prevail!
This story takes a while to get a handle on. The key is that is switching Point-of-View between two parallel protagonist who are related but separated by approximately a century. You have two women, Shekiba, who is an Afghan woman living at the turn of the 20th century and her great-great-granddaughter, Rahima, living at the turn of the 21st century.
We begin with 9 year old Rahima growing up in a small village with her mother, father, and and her four sisters. Which, yes, young counted correctly, 5 female children. As you can imagine, life in rural, patriarchal Afghanistan becomes increasingly more complicated when a family has all daughters. This life becomes ever more complicated when the father of that family is an opium addict and violent. Trouble multiplies as the family is struggling to survive as their father unable to properly provide for his family and the taliban has taken control of their small village. The freedoms and privileges of women are extremely close to home. And with a house full of women, even the simplest daily tasks such as getting grain from the market is close to impossible.
From here we can see that this will first and foremost be a story of strength. Desperate for survival, Rahima's mother cuts her little girl's hair, puts her in trousers and effectively turns her into what is known as a Bacha Posh. Boys have so much more freedom. The freedom to run in the streets, to go to school, to make money for the family, to haggle in the market. Rahima's family desperately needed a worthy male figure and Rahima was able to become that notion.
A decade before, Rahima's great-great-grandmother, Shekiba made a similar life transition from girl to boy. As a young woman, Shekiba's entire family, with the exception of her father, are sadly taken by cholera. She alone is left with her father to keep up their family farm or risk starvation. Shekiba, who had always shunned and been shunned by the world due to a facial defect caused by a childhood burn, leaned into this new role. She cooked and cleaned but also sowed seeds and harvested; moreover, as her father's health began to decline with age, Shekiba ran an entire household and farm on her own.
But for both of these young ladies, life of freedom tragically came to an end. In Rahima's story, her father, in a blind rage decides to sell of the eldest of his three daughters to a local warlord's family. Rahima is married at only 13 years old and is brutally forced to adjust to life as a brutal warlord's fourth wife. In a similar disruption, Shebika is forcefully taken from her home after her father dies and she is no longer able to hid this fact from her father's family. Her paternal grandmother is cruel and physically abusive, which only serves to lead the other women in the house to torment Shekiba. Unfortunately, Shekiba's destiny does not end there. As "the gift" (the closest literal translation of her name), Shekiba is gifted to a local business man in exchange for a family debt. And of course, this could not be enough. Shekiba is gifted again to the king of Afghanistan and is sent to serve in his royal palace in Kabul.
The roads for both of these young women are difficult and often painful but, as readers, find out, are essential to their futures. The story as unfolded in this particular way speaks to the importance of intent. Be present. Pay attention to everything. Be grateful for everything even if you can't see why it is important at the time. Take note of every person who seeks to take root in your life as you never know how any interaction can change your destiny. Be conscious of pain; do not numb it out but remember that not hurt is equal.
Just breathe. This too shall pass.
Once again, dear world, I feel the need to apologize to your for my lack of content posting to this Bookshelf Blog; but with the new job and all the other "life" commitments, hopefully you can understand why I'm just now catching up.
However, late is better than never and I'm very excited to be sharing Citizens Creek with you today! First, a little aside on New York Times Best Selling Author Latita Tademy. You may have heard of Lalita thanks to her other award winning novel, Cane River. I got to meet Lalita this summer at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in San Francisco as she was being presenting with a literary award from the Black Caucus of ALA and as you can see from this picture below, we are practically best friends!
Jokes aside, let me tell you about Citizens Creek...
In this antebellum novel, we follow the life of the Alabama Slave, Cow Tom. As in almost every other slave novel I have read (which admittedly is not that many), our protagonist Cow Tom, seeks to do his work, marry the woman of his dreams and find a way to life as a freed man. HOWEVER, that's about all the familiar comfort Lalita offers as Cow Tom is most certainly not like any other slave you've ever read about. Cow Tom is owned by a Creek Chief! Yes, a few Southeastern Native American tribes during the late 18th and 19th centuries adopted the practice of maintaining chattel slaves. If you don't believe me HERE is a quick link to alieve your discomfort.
This is quite interesting, right?! I was hooked within the first few pages. Here is a story about the intersected history between two oppressed people groups and that I had never heard of. But aside from the initial shock value, allow me to tell you a little about Cow Tom. Cow Tom is a good man, and slave-owning notwithstanding, his owner, Chief Targee is also a good man. Early in the story Cow Tom and Chief Yargee agree upon a "fair" price for Cow Tom's freedom and despite the numerous obstacles life put in their path, Chief Yargee does uphold his end of the bargain when the time comes. Yet, this is not the story that Lalita is attempting to tell here; I believe it is merely an avenue of strengthening her character and providing him with depth. What drives the storyline is Cow Tom's adventure in the Civil War. Chief Yargee loans Cow Tom out to a Confederate general (not willingly, I might add) to work as a translator during the Indian Removal Conflict happening in Florida at the time.
You may remember this part of history. The early Americans for some reason found it absolutely necessary to remove all Native American tribes from the Southeastern region of the country in order to do what with I'm still not exactly sure. You may also remember that this "Removal" turned out to be a bloody and disastrous genocide known as the Trail of Tears. But that's another story for another day.
The part of this larger, more complicated story that takes place within Citizens Creek is of Cow Tom working as a translator to the reluctant tribes in Florida. Cow Tom' s job is to convince the Native American chiefs to agree to removal contracts, uproot their families from ancestral homes, and make the dangerous trek west to Indian Territory.
But as these things go, we can all imagine that this is not the end of the story as Eurocentric colonialism cannot quite be satisfied. But for that, my dear friends, you will have to read this for yourself!
This book came as quite a surprise to me as it is 1. Non-fiction and 2. drastically outside my typical reading interest. I was assigned the book for my Introduction to Mobile ICT’s class and for some reason took a gamble and decided to buy off Amazon rather than tracking it down in the library. I’m so glad that I did!
Constant Touch is, as its subtitle suggests, the history of the mobile phone starting in the late 19th century and moving in the present. More so, it touches on the phenomenon across the globe not just in The United States and Europe. Before I get into the granular about the book itself, I must send special acknowledgement to its author Jon Agar. Agar is a professor of Information and Technology studies at University College London and has become known for his writing on contemporary technologies and the history of modern science and technology. I wish to give special considerations to Agar because his writing style in Constant Touch proved to be very engaging even for someone who would normally have been resistant. Agar writes in a manner that is relatively easy to digest yet is not “dumbed down.” (Maybe it is, but it certainly doesn't feel that way). Furthermore, Constant Touch is NOT a manual or technical guide; it is a first-person narrative looking to capture the piqued reader.
So let’s talk about Constant Touch. Like all good stories, Agar begins the history of the mobile phone at the beginning…but I bet you don’t actually know what that beginning is? This story begins with the development of radio technology and the idea of transmission through wireless devices. As chance would have it, the earliest developments in this technology were in Maritime navigation as it took carriers as large and powerful as ships to even carry the earliest radio transmitters (a semblance of this technology is still used in maritime vessels). From here the story progresses through the 20th century and the marriage of mobile phones in cars, the development of component technology and controversy, and finally to the production of the first mobile phone prototype created by Bell Labs (now a division of AT&T). Throughout the book, Agar also discusses how mobile phones developed across the world, including in third world countries, and how these technological advances have shaped (or how society pushed the advancement of mobile technology) our 21st century culture.
I never before would have believed that I would have found such an in-depth analysis of cell phone technology so interesting but alas! There is of course, so much more to be said but I wouldn't want to take away to mystery of reading it for yourself!
Just a brief welcome to my first ever blogging attempt. I always said I wasn't a blogger but I do love talking about my favorite things (royals, UK Basketball, #TGIT) and in this case, books! I'm a graduate student in the MLIS program at the University of Pittsburgh so as you can imagine I don't necessarily have a lot of spare time to the leisure of life. However, I remember reading a quote once that talked about how people will make time for whatever vice they consider a priority; and good, juicy, page-turners are going to be mine.
I just returned from the American Library Association's Midwinter conference in Chicago last month heavy-laden (quite literally) with over 100 hundred new books. Since many of these are advanced reading copies I am going to attempt to share my thoughts on them with you as they are hitting your local market stands.
This first one, I will admit, I'm already behind my ambitious timeline...but not by very much. Arsenic and Old Books (January 27, 2015) was written by Miranda James (who surprise surprise is actually a pen name for Dean James) and is the 6th addition to her Cat in the Stacks Mystery novels. Don't let this worry you; this was the first of her books for me and I had no trouble following the story without the previous instances. The story follows small town archivist Charlie through a rather engrossing "who done it?" with a Civil War era diary at the center of it all. I was originally interested in this book because of its connection to my profession. It was rather charming to read Charlie talk about archival boxes and acid free paper; to watch him go through all the thought-processes we all go through but our patrons never realize.
The juicy stuff: We have an old money mayor in small-town Mississippi, whose son is campaigning for a Senate seat against the son of a rival family. On top of the mix both candidates are not above mud slinging and are looking to use a set of old Civil War diaries to find the dirt. But in the middle of it all a tenure-hungry professor is also on the hunt to get exclusive access to the diaries but gets herself killed in the process. Let's not forget to mention the desperate story-grabbing journalist running around town lying and scheming in order to impress her secret fiance. "Who Done It???"
Some thoughts on the matter: I was originally interested in the book because of its library/archives focus but quickly realized I won't be able to look to it as a strong example of complex writing. However, I also think it does have a way of wrapping the reader in a style of fun characters and adorable storytelling. If I may add a hint of warning, I did not find the resolution and closure of the novel to be all that satisfying but it was a good journey getting there.