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Read "Books Like Us" for our Winter Reading Challenge!

2021 Winter Reading Challenge

January 1, 2021

January 1–31, 2021, the Marathon County Public Library will participate in Beanstack's Fourth Annual Winter Reading Challenge, sponsored by Simon & Schuster!

"Books Like Us" is a celebration of diversity, harnessing the transformative power of seeing oneself reflected in a book. Participating communities are invited to explore these books, created by authors from diverse backgrounds.

We challenge our patrons to read at least 10 hours during the month and keep track of their reading on the Beanstack app or website, accessible via www.mcpl.us/beanstack.

Thousands of libraries and schools across the nation will encourage their communities to read a target number of minutes and books. Top-performing libraries and schools will earn rewards from Simon & Schuster, including book collections and virtual author visits.

Happy reading!


FICTION

Book Cover: WHITE IVY

"WHITE IVY" by SUSIE YANG

A young woman’s crush on a privileged classmate becomes a story of love, lies, and dark obsession, offering stark insights into the immigrant experience, as it hurdles to its electrifying ending.

Book Cover: THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS

"THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS" by STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES

A novel that blends classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives.

Book Cover: THE STATIONERY SHOP

"THE STATIONERY SHOP" by MARJAN KAMALI

A novel set in 1953 Tehran, against the backdrop of the Iranian Coup, about a young couple in love who are separated on the eve of their marriage, and who are reunited sixty years later, after having moved on to live independent lives in America, to discover the truth about what happened on that fateful day in the town square.

Book Cover: QUEENIE

"QUEENIE" by CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS

Constantly compared to her white middle-class peers, a young Jamaican woman in London makes a series of questionable decisions in the aftermath of a messy breakup before challenging herself to figure out who she wants to be.

Book Cover: THESE GHOSTS ARE FAMILY

"THESE GHOSTS ARE FAMILY" by MAISY CARD

A man on his deathbed reveals that he stole another man’s identity decades earlier, traces the family’s history from colonial Jamaica to present-day Harlem and reconnects with the firstborn daughter he never knew.

Book Cover: A LITTLE BIT OF KARMA

"A LITTLE BIT OF KARMA" by RESHONDA TATE BILLINGSLEY

Three years into their marriage, a couple who host a wildly successful call-in radio show find the romance dying after a combination of infidelity, deceit and the mysterious death of the other woman.

Book Cover: YELLOW WIFE

"YELLOW WIFE" by SADEQA JOHNSON

Born on a plantation, but set apart from the others by her mother’s position as a medicine woman, a young slave is forced to leave home at 18 and unexpectedly finds herself in an infamously cruel jail. 

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

Book Cover: I DON'T WANT TO DIE POOR

"I DON'T WANT TO DIE POOR" by MICHAEL ARCENEAUX

A collection of essays discuss the author's struggles with debt and the impact it had on the other areas of his life.

Book Cover: SORTED

"SORTED" by JACKSON BIRD

Internet creator and activist Jackson Bird demystifies the transgender experience by sharing his own story, while debunking trans history milestones and educating readers with Transgender 101 facts.

Book Cover: OLYMPIC PRIDE, AMERICAN PREJUDICE

"OLYMPIC PRIDE, AMERICAN PREJUDICE" by BLAIR UNDERWOOD

Discover the astonishing, inspirational, and largely unknown true story of the eighteen African American athletes who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, defying the racism of both Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South.

Book Cover: SHE CAME TO SLAY

"SHE CAME TO SLAY" by ERICA ARMSTRONG DUNBAR

A lively, informative and illustrated tribute to one of the most exceptional women in American history—Harriet Tubman—looks at a heroine whose fearlessness and activism still resonates today.

Book Cover: THE ESCAPE ARTIST

"THE ESCAPE ARTIST" by HELEN FREMONT

A family memoir by the best-selling author of After Long Silence discusses the impact of the Holocaust on her parents, their misadventures with family therapy and her shocking discovery that she had been disinherited.

Book Cover: ONCE I WAS YOU

"ONCE I WAS YOU" by MARIA HINOJOSA

The Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of NPR’s Latino USA documents the story of immigration in America through the human lens of her family’s experiences and her decades in the media.

Book Cover: SURVIVAL MATH

"SURVIVAL MATH" by MITCHELL JACKSON

The author examines the poverty, violence, and drug culture impacting the Portland, Oregon community of his youth, examining the large and small cultural forces that shaped his family.

Book Cover: NAME DROP

"NAME DROP" by ROSS MATHEWS

Paired with cocktail suggestions and other “Rossipes,” an irreverent essay collection by the best-selling author of Man Up! includes pieces about his encounters with such personalities as Barbara Walters, Omarosa and the Kardashians.

Book Cover: SOMETHING THAT MAY SHOCK AND DISCREDIT YOU

"SOMETHING THAT MAY SHOCK AND DISCREDIT YOU" by DANIEL M. LAVERY

The writer of Slate’s “Dear Prudence” column presents an irreverent collection of essays and observations on all things pop culture, from a sinister reimagining of HGTV’s House Hunters to the beauty of William Shatner.

Book Cover: WE ARE NOT HERE TO BE BYSTANDERS

"WE ARE NOT HERE TO BE BYSTANDERS" by LINDA SARSOUR

The co-organizer of the Women’s March describes how her experiences as a Palestinian Muslim-American feminist empowered her to become a globally recognized activist on behalf of the world’s marginalized communities.

Book Cover: FROM THE ASHES

"FROM THE ASHES" by JESSE THISTLE

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

NONFICTION

Book Cover: GENDER: YOUR GUIDE

"GENDER: YOUR GUIDE" by LEE AIRTON

An authentic and accessible guide to understanding and engaging in today's gender conversation.

Book Cover: YOU ARE AWESOME

"YOU ARE AWESOME" by NEIL PASRICHA

One of the most popular TED speakers in the world presents this groundbreaking and empowering book that shows you how to navigate failure, positively reframe your own perceptions and become your most unbreakable, powerful and awesome self. 

TEEN

Book Cover: LOVE FROM A TO Z

"LOVE FROM A TO Z" by S. K. ALI

Suspended for standing up against a teacher's hate speech, a Muslim teen visits her aunt in Qatar, where she bonds with a motherless young man who is attempting to hide his multiple sclerosis diagnosis from his grieving father. 

Book Cover: PERMANENT RECORD

"PERMANENT RECORD" by MARY H. K. CHOI

Forging an unexpected connection after a chance meeting, a Brooklyn graveyard-shift deli worker and an overwhelmed social-media star help each other discover who they are and who they want to be outside the expectations of family and fans.

Book Cover: DON'T ASK ME WHERE I'M FROM

"DON'T ASK ME WHERE I'M FROM" by JENNIFER DE LEON

Reinventing herself at a privileged white suburban high school to get by in the face of escalating racial tensions, a first-generation American-LatinX teen is forced to take a stand when she discovers that her absent father cannot legally return home. 

Book Cover: LEGENDBORN

"LEGENDBORN" by TRACY DEONN

Wanting to escape her previous life after the accidental death of her mother, 16-year-old Bree enrolls in a program for high school students at the local university before her witness to a magical attack reveals her undiscovered powers as well as sinister truths about her mother’s death. 

Book Cover: SLAY

"SLAY" by BRITTNEY MORRIS

Hiding her identity as the developer of an elite online role-playing game, a talented teen, one of the only Black students in her school, is targeted with violent racism when an in-game dispute escalates into a player’s murder. 

Book Cover: THE BLACK KIDS

"THE BLACK KIDS" by CHRISTINA HAMMONDS REED

With the Rodney King riots closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble.

Book Cover: MY SUMMER OF LOVE AND MISFORTUNE

"MY SUMMER OF LOVE AND MISFORTUNE" by LINDSAY WONG

"Crazy Rich Asians" meets "Love & Gelato" in this hilarious, quirky novel about a Chinese-American teen who is thrust into the decadent world of Beijing high society when she is sent away to spend the summer in China.

CHILDREN'S & MIDDLE GRADE

Book Cover: AMY WU AND THE PERFECT BAO

"AMY WU AND THE PERFECT BAO" by AMY WU

Loving to help her family members prepare delicious Chinese bao buns, fearless young Amy Wu is frustrated when her bao keep coming out all wrong, before a creative idea gives her another chance to perfect her skills. 


Reading Recommendations

image credit: https://zoobean.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360058304853--WinterRead2021-Books-Like-Us-