New DVD Arrivals

Looking for something fresh to watch? Find new motion picture DVD releases below, paired with “watch-alikes” (similar, older titles from the SPL collection), just in case the new movie is out or you want more like it!


Black Widow

Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Starring Scarlett Johanson. Also available in Blu-ray.

Watch-alikes: Other than pretty much any Marvel movie? Atomic Blonde (2017), Red Sparrow (2018), Kill Bill (2004)


Blithe Spirit

A writer who is struggling to finish his first screenplay inadvertently summons the spirit of his first wife, and finds himself stuck between his two wives and their increasingly over-the-top attempts to outdo one another. Starring Dan Stephens.

Watch-alikes: Beetlejuice (1988), Extra Ordinary (2020), Ghostbusters (1984)


The Boss Baby Family Business

Now adults, Theodore Templeton and his estranged brother take a magical formula that transforms them into babies for 48 hours. Together, they must now go under cover to prevent an evil genius from turning fellow toddlers intro monstrous brats. Starring Alec Baldwin (voice).

Watch-alikes: Besides Boss Baby (2017), try Storks (2016), Onward (2020), The Secret Life of Pets (2016)


Censor

After viewing a strangely disturbing film, a film censor sets out to solve the past mystery of her sister’s disappearance. Starring Niamh Algar.

Watch-alikes: Relic (2020), Midsommar (2020), Get Out (2017)


Cruella

The story of Estella Miller, an aspiring fashion designer in 1970s London who explores the path that will lead her to become the notorious Cruella de Vil. Starring Emma Stone.

Watch-alikes: Maleficent (2014), Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), 102 Dalmations (2000)


Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

In this sequel, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive, and discovering they’ve all played the game before. Starring Taylor Russell.

Watch-alikes: Besides the original Escape Room (2017), try Ready or Not (2019), Truth or Dare (2018), The Hunt (2020)


F9: The Fast Saga

In the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, Dom and the crew take on an international terrorist who happens to be his estranged brother. Starring Vin Diesel.

Watch-alikes: Besides other movies in the series, try spin-off Hobbs & Shaw (2019), Baby Driver (2017), Faster (2011), Overdrive (2017)


Free Guy

A bank teller, who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game, decides to become the hero of his own story, one he rewrites himself. Starring Ryan Reynolds. Also available in Blu-ray.

Watch-alikes: The Lego Movie (2014), Ready Player One (2018), Gamer (2010)


Green Knight

Based on the Arthurian legend, King Arthur’s nephew, Gawain, embarks on a quest to prove his worth to his family and kingdom–by confronting the Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Starring Dev Patel.

Watch-alikes: Dragonslayer (1981), Labyrinth (1986),  Last Knights (2015), A Knight’s Tale (2001)


Space Jam: A New Legacy

An algorithm named Al G Rhythm captures famed basketball player LeBron James and his son Dom. Al G challenges LeBron to a basketball game against Al’s digitized champions. LeBron gets the help of Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes to win the basketball game and get his son back.

Watch-alikes: Besides the original Space Jam (1996), try Detective Pikachu (2019), Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mary Poppins (1964)


The Vigil

A young man agrees to fulfill the duties of a shomer, the practice of looking after a dead body over the course of one night. However, he soon finds himself opposite a malevolent entity. Starring Dave Davis.

Watch-alikes: The Possession (2012), The Nun (2018), The Lodge (2019)

Miniseries/Limited Series on DVD

After its heyday in the 70s and early 80s (Roots, anyone, or The Thorn Birds?), the miniseries declined in popularity on broadcast television. However, the last ten to twenty years have seen a resurgence (now often rebranded as limited series) on cable and streaming networks. Longer than movies in total run time, the limited series allows for greater character development and extended story telling, perfect for book adaptations. Find the following titles, and more, in SPL’s DVD collection.

11.22.63

On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was killed in Dallas and the world changed forever. But what if it could be changed back? Jake Epping is an English teacher who accepts the monumental mission of trying to prevent the assassination of JFK. Luckily, he has the help of Sadie Dunhill, a resourceful librarian who’s trying to reconcile secrets of her own. Based on the novel by Stephen King.

Starring James Franco, Sarah Gadon, and George MacKay. Originally aired on Hulu in 2016. 8 episodes.


Band of Brothers

This 10-part miniseries is based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s nonfiction bestseller about a World War II army unit called ‘Easy Company.’  Nominated for 19 Emmy Awards, Band of Brothers follows the story of Easy Company as they participate in some of the worst battles of World War II and experience the horrors of war and the evil that men do. Also includes the 80-minute documentary We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company.
Starring Damian Lewis, and Ron Livingston. Originally aired on HBO in 2001. 10 episodes.

Chernobyl

This award-winning series tells the story of the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the cleanup effort that followed. Based on Voices From Chernobyl, by Belarusian Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich, a compilation of interviews with survivors of the nuclear reactor accident.

Starring  Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, and Emily Watson. Originally aired on HBO in 2019. 5 episodes.


Grant

This dramatized miniseries examines Grant’s life story using his perspective and experiences to explore a turbulent time in history: the Civil War and Reconstruction. Based on the acclaimed biography by Ron Chernow.

Starring Justin Salinge, Carel Nel and Dianne Simpson. Originally broadcast on History Channel in 2020. 3 episodes.


Hatfields & McCoys

Triggered by a murder based on misunderstandings and an illicit love affair, this is the dramatic historic feud that teeters on the brink of an all-out civil war as friends and neighbors join opposing sides in a rivalry that would ultimately shape American history.

Starring Bill Paxton, Kevin Costner and Tom Berenger. Originally broadcast on the History Channel in 2012. 3 episodes.


Howard’s End

This series follows Margaret and Helen Schlegel, two intelligent, idealistic sisters living together in Edwardian London with their hypochondriac brother, Tibby. Their loving but interfering Aunt Juley tries to keep the siblings in line after the death of their parents, but a series of events pushes the sisters to lead unorthodox lives full of romance, tragedy, and drama. Based on the novel by E.M. Forster.

Starring Hayley Atwell, Philippa Coulthard, and Tracey Ullman. Originally aired on PBS’s Masterpiece in 2017. 4 episodes.


Mildred Pierce

This series charts the hopes and heartaches of a single, middle class, Los Angeles mother as she fights to win her daughter’s affections during the Great Depression. Based on the novel by James M. Cain.

Starring Kate Winslet , Guy Pearce, and Evan Rachel Wood. Originally aired on HBO in 2011. 5 episodes.


Les Misérables

An adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel, following a cast of characters struggling to survive in 19th century war-torn France. Not to be confused with the musical, this six episode series doesn’t skimp on character development, giving a complete and compelling screen rendition.

Starring Dominic West, David Oyelowo, and Lily Collins.  Originally broadcast on PBS’s Masterpiece in 2018. 6 episodes.


The Pacific

This award-winning series follows the lives of three men and their fellow Marines across the Pacific theater during World War II. Based on true stories.

Starring James Badge Dale, Jon Seda, Joseph Mazzello, and Rami Malek. Executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Originally aired on HBO in 2010. 10 episodes.


Sharp Objects

A reporter confronts the psychological demons from her past when she returns to her hometown to cover a violent murder. Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn.

Starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, and Chris Messina. Originally aired on HBO in 2018. 8 episodes.

Back to School Adult Fiction

Go back to school vicariously with these compelling fiction reads!

The Wonder Test by Michelle Richmond (2021)

Escaping New York City and the espionage case that made her question everything, recently widowed FBI Agent Lina Connerly returns home to sell the house she has inherited in tony Greenfield, California. With her teenage son Rory, Lina hopes to reassemble her life, reevaluate her career, and find a clear way forward. Adrift and battling insomnia, she discovers that her father’s sleepy hometown has been transformed into a Silicon Valley suburb on steroids, obsessed with an annual exam called The Wonder Test.

When students at her son’s high school go missing, reappearing under mysterious circumstances on abandoned beaches, Lina must summon her strength and her investigative instincts, pushing her own ethical boundaries to the limits in order to solve the crimes.


Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel (2016)

When ambitious grad student Kate Pearson’s handsome French “almost fiancé” ditches her, she definitely does not roll with the punches, despite the best efforts of family and friends. It seems that nothing will get Kate out of pajamas and back into the world.Miraculously, one cringe-worthy job interview leads to a position in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. Kate’s instantly thrown into a highly competitive and occasionally absurd culture, where she interviews all types of children: suitable, wildly unsuitable, charming, loathsome, ingratiating, or spoiled beyond all measure. And then there are the Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

As Kate begins to learn there’s no room for self-pity or nonsense during the height of admissions season or life itself, her sister and friends find themselves keeping secrets, dropping bombshells, and arguing with each other about how to keep Kate on her feet. Meanwhile, Kate seems to be doing very nicely, thank you, and is even beginning to find out that her broken heart is very much on the mend.


Night School by Lee Child (2016)

It’s 1996, and Jack Reacher is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school. That night he’s off the grid. Out of sight, out of mind. Two other men are in the classroom–an FBI agent and a CIA analyst. Each is a first-rate operator, each is fresh off a big win, and each is wondering what the hell they are doing there.

From Langley to Hamburg, Jalalabad to Kiev, Night School moves like a bullet through a treacherous landscape of double crosses, faked identities, and new and terrible enemies, as Reacher maneuvers inside the game and outside the law.


Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (2020)

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Ninth House is the mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo, a tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder set among the Ivy League elite.


Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West (2020)

When a devoted teacher comes under pressure for her progressive curriculum and a helicopter mom goes viral on social media, two women at odds with each other find themselves in similar predicaments, having to battle back from certain social ruin.

Perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Small Admissions , a wry and cleverly observed debut novel about the privileged bubble that is Liston Heights High–the micro-managing parents, the overworked teachers, and the students caught in the middle–and the fallout for each of them when the bubble finally bursts.


The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman (2003)

Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson fled the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. The week before her graduation, in that sheltered wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden in the depths of Heart Lake for more than two decades.

Now Jane has returned to the school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories. And young, troubled girls are beginning to die again-as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface. . .


The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger (2019)

Set in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado, The Gifted School is a keenly entertaining novel that observes the drama within a community of friends and parents as good intentions and high ambitions collide in a pile-up with long-held secrets and lies. Seen through the lens of four families who’ve been a part of one another’s lives since their kids were born over a decade ago, the story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group’s children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate. It’s a humorous, keenly observed, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids, and the pursuit of prestige, no matter the cost.


Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia (2017)

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it?


Class Mom by Laurie Gelman (2017)

Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom–or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it’s her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max–this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President sees her as the “wisest” candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree.

Relatable, irreverent, and hilarious in the spirit of Maria Semple, Class Mom is a fresh, welcome voice in fiction–the kind of novel that real moms clamor for, and a vicarious thrill-read for all mothers, who will be laughing as they are liberated by Gelman’s acerbic truths.


The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (2018)

Vermont, 1950 . There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears…

Vermont, 2014 . As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced…


Find these books and more on display at SPL!

More From Page to Screen

Books continue to inspire both large and small screen adaptations. Here are several added to the SPL collection during the past year.

Call of the Wild

The story of a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s.

Based on the classic novel by Jack London, this 2020 feature motion picture stars Harrison Ford.
Available on DVD and Blu Ray Combo.


News of the World

Five years after the Civil War, Captain Kidd moves from town to town as a storyteller. In Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna, a ten-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier. She is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.

Based on the 2016 novel by Paulette Jiles.
Available on DVD and Blu Ray Combo.


Nomadland

Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.

This Academy Award winning 2020 film is based on the 2017 nonfiction book by Jessica Bruder.
Available on Blu Ray only.


The Secret Garden

Mary Lennox is a prickly and unloved ten-year-old girl, born in India to wealthy British parents. When they suddenly die, she is sent back to England to live with her uncle, where she begins to uncover many family secrets, particularly after meeting her sickly cousin Colin, who has been shut away in a wing of the house. Together, these two damaged, slightly misfit children heal each other through their discovery of a wondrous secret garden.

Based on the classic children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Available on DVD.


The Turning

Newly appointed nanny Kate is charged with the care of two orphans, Flora and Miles. Quickly, she discovers that both the children and the house are harboring dark secrets and things may not be as they appear.

This 2020 motion picture is based on Henry James’s novella, The Turn of the Screw.
Available on DVD.


The Undoing

From writer David E. Kelley, this HBO limited series focuses on Nicole Kidman’s Grace Fraser, a successful therapist, and her devoted husband, Jonathan (Hugh Grant), and their young son who attends an elite private school in New York City. A chasm opens in Grace’s seemingly perfect life: a violent death, a missing spouse, and a chain of terrible revelations.

Based on the novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz (2014).
Available on DVD.


His Dark Materials

This HBO series follows Lyra Belacqua, a brave young woman from another world. Lyra’s quest to find her kidnapped friend leads her to uncover a sinister plot of a secret organization, encounter extraordinary beings and protect dangerous secrets.

Based on the beloved trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman. Seasons 1 and 2, following the arcs of the first two novels, have been released so far. A third and final season is expected, probably in 2022.
Available on DVD.


Defending Jacob

An assistant district attorney and his wife’s comfortable life is turned upside down when their son is accused of murder. Part thriller, part courtroom drama, this series explores the lengths parents will go to protect their child.

Based on the 2012 novel by William Landay, this AppleTV+ limited series stars Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery.
Available on DVD.

Beach Reads

Relax in the sun–or transport yourself there in your imagination–with these engrossing beach reads.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

The story begins in 1962. On the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies a tall, thin woman approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lote”searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of unforgettable characters. Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.


Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases.

The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart.


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear . Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.


Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

When Victoria Leonard answers the phone in her Manhattan office, Caitlin’s voice catches her by surprise.  Vix hasn’t talked to her oldest friend in months.  Caitlin’s news takes her breath away–and Vix is transported back in time, back to the moment she and Caitlin Somers first met, back to the casual betrayals and whispered confessions of their long, complicated friendship, back to the magical island where two friends became summer sisters. Caitlin dazzled Vix from the start, sweeping her into the heart of the unruly Somers family, into a world of privilege, adventure, and sexual daring.  Vix’s bond with her summer family forever reshapes her ties to her own, opening doors to opportunities she had never imagined–until the summer she falls passionately in love.  Then, in one shattering moment on a moonswept Vineyard beach, everything changes, exposing a dark undercurrent in her extraordinary friendship with Caitlin that will haunt them through the years.

As their story carries us from Santa Fe to Martha’s Vineyard, from New York to Venice, we come to know the men and women who shape their lives.  And as we follow the two women on the paths they each choose, we wait for the inevitable reckoning to be made in the fine spaces between friendship and betrayal, between love and freedom. Summer Sisters is a riveting exploration of the choices that define our lives, of friendship and love, of the families we are born into and those we struggle to create.  For every woman who has ever had a friend too dangerous to forgive and too essential to forget, Summer Sisters will glue you to every page, reading and remembering.


The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

American Bex Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it’s adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall – and Bex who finds herself accidentally in love with the heir to the British throne.

Nick is wonderful, but he comes with unimaginable baggage: a complicated family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a Brit. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex looks back on how much she’s had to give up for true love… and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.


Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live.

But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey–the same twists, the same shakes–and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time.


Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.


Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.
Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.
She doesn’t in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.
Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister–without losing herself.


The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782 , deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar’s depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, book three, The Book of Life, and the fourth in the series, Time’s Convert.


Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster

In 1962, coed Heddy Winsome leaves her hardscrabble Irish Brooklyn neighborhood behind and ferries to glamorous Martha’s Vineyard to nanny for one of the wealthiest families on the island. But as she grows enamored with the alluring and seemingly perfect young couple and chases after their two mischievous children, Heddy discovers that her academic scholarship at Wellesley has been revoked, putting her entire future at risk.

Determined to find her place in the couple’s wealthy social circles, Heddy nurtures a romance with the hip surfer down the beach while wondering if the better man for her might be a quiet, studious college boy instead. But no one she meets on the summer island–socialite, starlet, or housekeeper–is as picture-perfect as they seem, and she quickly learns that the right last name and a house in a tony zip-code may guarantee privilege, but that rarely equals happiness.


The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows–from her previous life, as Arden Maynor. And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again…


The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

The Anthony Puckett was a rising literary star. The son of an uber-famous thriller writer, Anthony’s debut novel spent two years on the bestseller list and won the adoration of critics. But something went very wrong with his second work. Now Anthony’s borrowing an old college’s friend’s crumbling beach house on Block Island in the hopes that solitude will help him get back to the person he used to be.

Joy Sousa owns and runs Block Island’s beloved whoopie pie café. She came to this quiet space eleven years ago, newly divorced and with a young daughter, and built a life for them here. To her customers and friends, Joy is a model of independence, hard-working and happy. And mostly she is. But this summer she’s thrown off balance. A food truck from a famous New York City brand is roving around the island, selling goodies–and threatening her business.

Lu Trusdale is spending the summer on her in-laws’ dime, living on Block Island with her two young sons while her surgeon husband commutes to the mainland hospital. When Lu’s second son was born, she and her husband made a deal: he’d work and she’d quit her corporate law job to stay home with the boys. But a few years ago, Lu quietly began working on a private project that has becoming increasingly demanding on her time. Torn between her work and home, she’s beginning to question that deal she made.

Over the twelve short weeks of summer, these three strangers will meet and grow close, will share secrets and bury lies. And as the promise of June turns into the chilly nights of August, the truth will come out, forcing each of them to decide what they value most, and what they are willing to give up to keep it.


Find these titles and more on display this month at Sewickley Public Library!

Memorial Day Movies

This Memorial Day, remember the fallen with award-winning movies that show the human cost of war.

American Sniper
The story of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and the struggles he suffers both as a sniper in Iraq and as a family man back at home. Based on a true story. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper. 2014


Apocalypse Now
A United States Army officer/trained assassin is sent into the depths of a southeast Asian jungle to seek out a renegade colonel and terminate his command during the Vietnam War. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola; starring Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando. Available in the original 1979 version, and the extended version, Apocolypse Now Redux, released in 2001.


Courage Under Fire
When Lt. Col. Nathaniel Serling is asked to review the posthumous candidacy of the first woman to receive a combat-related Medal of Honor, he finds himself plunged into an apparent cover-up surrounding the actions that led to her death. Starring Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan. 1996.


Dunkirk
Set during the early days of World War II, the story follows the harrowing evacuation of Allied troops from the French city of Dunkirk before Nazi forces can take hold. Directed by Christopher Nolan; featuring Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, and Tom Hardy. 2017.


Full Metal Jacket
This film crystallizes the experience of the Vietnam War by concentrating on a group of raw Marine volunteers, first in training and then in the field. Based on Gustav Hasford’s novel The Short Timers. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Featuring Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, and Vincent D’Onofrio. 1987.


Fury
In April, 1945, as the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, they face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. Starring Brad Pitt and Shia Labeouf. 2014.


Glory
A fictionalized account of the Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry, the first regiment of northern black soldiers to fight in the Civil War. Starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, and Morgan Freeman. 1989.


MASH
The personnel of a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea develop a lunatic lifestyle to cope with the military bureaucracy and the horrors of war. Based on the novel by Richard Hooker. Starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, and Robert Duvall. 1970.


Memphis Belle
This fictionalized version of a true story depicts the final flight for the crew of the Memphis Belle, the first group of B-17 crewmen to fly 25 successful missions. The ensemble cast includes Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeney, Billy Zane, Sean Astin, Harry Connick, Jr., and John Lithgow. 1990.


1917
At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers are given a seemingly impossible mission to cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers. Directed by Sam Mendes; featuring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman. 2019.


Platoon
The story of a naive Army recruit who faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man during the Vietnam War. Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Charlie Sheen. 1986.


Red Tails
Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky, even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard. 2012.


Saving Private Ryan
In the last great war, the greatest danger for eight men… was saving one. Captain John Miller must lead his men deep into enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers died in combat. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, and Matt Damon. 1998.

Mom Movies

Celebrate motherhood with these DVDs from SPL!

Bad Moms
When three overworked and underappreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long-overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self indulgence.

Featuring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Christina Applegate. 2016.


Show (281×400)The Blind Side
Taken in by a well-to-do family and offered a second chance at life, a homeless teen grows to become the star athlete projected to be the first pick at the NFL draft in this sports-themed comedy drama inspired by author Michael Lewis’ best-seller.

Featuring Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, and Tim McGraw. 2009.


Freaky Friday
A single mother and her teenage daughter Anna couldn’t be more different, and it is driving them both insane. After receiving cryptic fortunes at a Chinese restaurant, the two wake up the next day to discover that they have somehow switched bodies.

Featuring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. 2003.


The Joy Luck Club
Based on the novel by Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club explores the stories of four women who were born in China and emigrated to America, as well as their often fraught relationships with their Chinese American daughters.

Featuring Rosalind Chao, Lauren Tom, Tamlyn Tomita, and Ming-Na Wen. 1993.


Juno
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child in this charming comedy.

Featuring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner. 2007.


Lady Bird
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mother, a nurse working tirelessly to support her family after Lady Bird’s father loses his job. Here is an affecting look at the relationships that shape use, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

Featuring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Tracy Letts. 2017.


Life As We Know It
When their goddaughter’s parents both perish in a tragic accident, Holly and Eric are informed that they were singled out as her caretakers in the event of an unforeseen disaster. Now, in order to raise her right, this bickering pair must put their differences aside while mastering the fine art of parenthood.

Featuring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. 2010.


Lion
Five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of kilometers across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.

Featuring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. 2016.


20th Century Women
The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.

Featuring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig. 2017.

Lyrical Novels

Evocative, haunting, spare. Here are ten beautifully rendered novels that blur the line between poetry and prose.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.


The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

“In prose that combines the sharp, unsentimental rhythms of Hemingway with gentler, more lyrical descriptions, Mr. O’Brien gives the reader a shockingly visceral sense of what it felt like to tramp through a booby-trapped jungle, carrying 20 pounds of supplies, 14 pounds of ammunition, along with radios, machine guns, assault rifles and grenades. . . . With The Things They Carried, Mr. O’Brien has written a vital, important book–a book that matters not only to the reader interested in Vietnam, but to anyone interested in the craft of writing as well.” –Michiko Kakutani, New York Times


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Part ghost story, part road novel, this historic National Book Award winner is a dazzling journey through Mississippi’s past and present and an epic tale of hope and survival. Following a family making the trip from their Gulf Coast town to the Mississippi State Penitentiary, Sing, Unburied, Sing tests the strength of emotional bonds and the pull of our collective history. In a haunted landscape, for a family reeling from loss, the trip is fraught with danger. This gorgeous novel, animated by Ward’s lush and vibrant language, is rich with connection, meaning, and healing.


The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich
For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved Native American tribe, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To further complicate his quiet existence, a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Leopolda’s piety, but these facts are bound up in his own secret. He is faced with the most difficult decision: Should he tell all and risk everything . . . or manufacture a protective history for Leopolda, though he believes her wonder-working is motivated solely by evil?


Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.”


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything–until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant–a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared.  Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood–the promise and peril of growing up–and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize (2015).


Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge–for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle.

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?


Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
George Washington Black, or “Wash,” an eleven-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master’s brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning–and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic. What brings Christopher and Wash together will tear them apart, propelling Wash even further across the globe in search of his true self. From the blistering cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, from the earliest aquariums of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black tells a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again, and asks the question, What is true freedom?


My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

2021 Oscar Nominees

Time is running out to watch the 2021 Oscar nominees before the April 25 ceremony. There are 41 feature films nominated across twenty categories, plus the shorts. To see the nominees by category, visit www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2021, or download a ballot here.

The burning question is: How can we view the nominees? Some are only available through streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, while others are available on DVD and/or Blu-Ray; some can be streamed PVOD (premium video on demand), and some are currently in theatres. See the table below for notes on where to find the feature films that are nominated.

Feature Film Nominations Availability
Another Round International Feature Film
Directing (Thomas Vinterberg)
DVD 3/30
Better Days International Feature Film DVD
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm Actress in a Supporting Role (Maria Bakalova)
Adapted Screenplay
Amazon Prime
Collective Documentary Feature
International Feature Film
DVD
Crip Camp Documentary Feature Netflix
Da Five Bloods Original Score Netflix
Emma Makeup & Hairstyling
Costume Design
DVD
Eurovision Song Contest Original Song (Husavik) Netflix
Father, The Best Picture
Actor in a Leading Role (Anthony Hopkins)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Olivia Colman)
Adapted Screenplay
Production Design
Film Editing
In Theatres
DVD on order
PVOD 3/26
Greyhound Sound Apple TV+
Hillbilly Elegy Actress in a Supporting Role (Glenn Close)
Makeup & Hairstyling
Netflix
Judas and the Black Messiah Best Picture
Actor in a Supporting Role (Daniel Kaluuya)
Actor in a Supporting Role (LaKeith Stanfield)
Original Screenplay
Original Song “Fight for You”
Cinematography
In Theatres
DVD & Blu Ray 5/4
PVOD 4/2
Love and Monsters Visual Effects DVD
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Actor in a Leading Role (Chadwick Boseman)
Actress in a Leading Role (Viola Davis)
Makeup & Hairstyling
Costume Design
Production Design
Netflix

 

Man Who Sold His Skin, The International Feature Film N/A
Mank Best Picture
Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Oldman)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Amanda Seyfried)
Directing (David Fincher)
Original Score
Sound
Makeup & Hairstyling
Costume Design
Cinematography
Production Design
Netflix
Midnight Sky, The Visual Effects Netflix
Minari Best Picture
Directing (Lee Isaac Chung)
Actor in a Leading Role (Steven Yeun)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Yuh-Jung Youn)
Original Screenplay
Original Score
In Theatres
PVOD 2/26
DVD on order
Mole Agent, The Documentary Feature DVD
Mulan Costume Design
Visual Effects
DVD & Blu Ray
My Octopus Teacher Documentary Feature Netflix
News of the World Original Score
Sound
Cinematography
Production Design
DVD & Blu Ray 3/23
Nomadland Best Picture
Actress in a Leading Role (Frances McDormand)
Directing (Chloé Zhao)
Adapted Screenplay
Cinematography
Film Editing
Hulu
In Theatres
Blu Ray 4/27
DVD N/A
One and Only Ivan, The Visual Effects Disney+
One Night in Miami Actor in a Supporting Role (Leslie Odom Jr)
Adapted Screenplay
Original Song “Speak Now”
Amazon Prime
Onward Animated Feature DVD & Blu Ray
Disney+
Over the Moon Animated Feature Netflix
Pieces of a Woman Actress in a Leading Role (Vanessa Kirby) Netflix
Pinocchio Makeup & Hairstyling
Costume Design
DVD 3/16
Promising Young Woman Best Picture
Actress in a Leading Role (Carey Mulligan)
Directing (Emerald Fennell)
Original Screenplay (Emerald Fennell)
Film Editing
DVD & Blu-Ray
Quo Vadis, Aida International Feature Film VOD or Digital purchase
Shaun the Sheep Movie, A: Farmageddon Animated Feature Netflix
Soul Animated Feature
Original Score
Sound
DVD
Disney+
Sound of Metal Best Picture
Actor in a Leading Role (Riz Ahmed)
Actor in a Supporting Role (Paul Raci)
Original Screenplay
Sound
Film Editing
Amazon Prime
Tenet Production Design
Visual Effects
DVD & Blu-Ray
The Life Ahead Original Song “Io Si (Seen)” Netflix
Time Documentary Feature Amazon Prime
Trial of the Chicago 7, The Best Picture
Actor in a Supporting Role (Sacha Baron Cohen)
Original Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin)
Original Song “Hear My Voice”
Cinematography
Film Editing
Netflix
United States vs Billie Holliday, The Actress in a Leading Role (Andra Day) Hulu
White Tiger, The Adapted Screenplay Netflix
Wolfwalkers Animated Feature Apple TV+
You may notice that of the Best Picture nominees, two are available only on Netflix (The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Mank), and another, The Sound of Metal, is available only on Amazon Prime. Don’t expect these to be released on DVD or Blu Ray until long after the ceremony.  Nomadland, on the other hand, is available for streaming on Hulu, but it’s still in theatres, and reportedly will be released on Blu-Ray two days after the ceremony. For a review of the Best Pic nominees, along with a description and where to watch, The Today Show list is a good resource.
Of course, the library has or will acquire copies of the nominated films on DVD and/or Blu Ray as they become available. Currently, the only Best Picture nominee available on DVD/Blu Ray is Promising Young Woman, although there are nominees in other categories available in those formats.
If a film availability is “DVD on order,” it means the library has preordered copies, and the release date is not yet known. Availability is as of the publication date of this post, and is subject to change.
Herstory: Exploring Women’s History

Herstory: Exploring Women’s History

Celebrate Women’s History Month by discovering real life stories of extraordinary women.

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

In centering Black women’s stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women’s unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today.

A Black Women’s History of the United States reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase Black women’s lives in all their fraught complexities.


My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.


Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison

Thomas Jefferson had three daughters: Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. Although the three women shared a father, the similarities end there. Martha and Maria received a fine convent school education while they lived with their father during his diplomatic posting in Paris. Once they returned home, however, the sisters found their options limited by the laws and customs of early America. Harriet Hemings followed a different path. She escaped slavery—apparently with the assistance of Jefferson himself. Leaving Monticello behind, she boarded a coach and set off for a decidedly uncertain future.

For this groundbreaking triple biography, history scholar Catherine Kerrison has uncovered never-before-published documents written by the Jefferson sisters, as well as letters written by members of the Jefferson and Hemings families.


A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and–despite her prosthetic leg–helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.


The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations their male counterparts made via telescope each night. At the outset this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but soon the female corps included graduates of the new women’s colleges—Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned from computation to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates.

Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of the women whose contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.


Daring to Drive by Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif grew up in Mecca the second daughter of a taxi driver, born the year fundamentalism took hold. In her adolescence, she was a religious radical, melting her brother’s boy band cassettes in the oven because music was haram: forbidden by Islamic law. But what a difference an education can make. By her twenties she was a computer security engineer, one of few women working in a desert compound that resembled suburban America. That’s when the Saudi kingdom’s contradictions became too much to bear: she was labeled a slut for chatting with male colleagues, her teenage brother chaperoned her on a business trip, and while she kept a car in her garage, she was forbidden from driving down city streets behind the wheel.

Daring to Drive is the fiercely intimate memoir of an accidental activist, a powerfully vivid story of a young Muslim woman who stood up to a kingdom of men–and won.


The Doctors Blackwell by Janice P Nimura

Elizabeth Blackwell believed from an early age that she was destined for a mission beyond the scope of “ordinary” womanhood. Though the world at first recoiled at the notion of a woman studying medicine, her intelligence and intensity ultimately won her the acceptance of the male medical establishment. In 1849, she became the first woman in America to receive an M.D. She was soon joined in her iconic achievement by her younger sister, Emily, who was actually the more brilliant physician.

Exploring the sisters’ allies, enemies, and enduring partnership, Janice P. Nimura presents a story of trial and triumph. Together, the Blackwells founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, the first hospital staffed entirely by women.