Enjoy these reads that embody the themes for February: African American History Month, Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day

  • Otis Redding: An unfinished life
    Jonathan Gould

    Otis Redding remains an immortal presence in the canon of American music on the strength of such classic hits as (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay, I've Been Loving You Too Long, Try a Little Tenderness, and Respect, a song he wrote and recorded before Aretha Franklin made it her own. As the architect of the distinctly southern, gospel-inflected style of rhythm & blues associated with Stax Records in Memphis, Redding made music that has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul. Yet an aura of myth and mystery has always surrounded his life, which was tragically cut short at the height of his career by a plane crash in December 1967.

  • A Girl Stands at the Door: The generation of young women who desegregated America's schools
    Rachel Devlin

    A new history of school desegregation in America, revealing how girls and women led the fight for interracial education.

  • Invisible: The forgotten story of the black woman lawyer who took down America's most powerful mobster
    Stephen L. Carter

    She was black and a woman and a prosecutor, a graduate of Smith College and the granddaughter of slaves, as dazzlingly unlikely a combination as one could imagine in the New York of the 1930s--and without the strategy she devised, Lucky Luciano, the most powerful Mafia boss in history, would never have been convicted.

  • The Black God's Drums
    P. Djeli Clark

    Creeper, a scrappy young teen, is done living on the streets of New Orleans. Her sights are set on securing passage aboard Captain Ann-Marie's smuggler airship Midnight Robber, earning the captain's trust using a secret about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls the Black God's Drums. But Creeper keeps another secret close to her heart-- Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, who speaks inside her head and grants her divine powers. And Oya has her own priorities.

  • Barracoon: the story of the last "black cargo"
    Zora Neale Hurston

    In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation's history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo's firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States

  • Behind the Line of Scrimmage
    Michael Huyghue

    With a deep, abiding love for sports, Huyghue chronicles his journey from childhood athletics to one of the highest-ranking black executives in the NFL. Huyghue reveals a bird's eye view of the inner workings of the exclusive inner sanctum of the NFL owners, players and management. The author's journey as an athlete and lawyer provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors in the world of professional sports and collegiate athletic programs.

  • The Seminarian: Martin Luther King, Jr. comes of age
    Patrick Parr

    Based on dozens of revealing interviews with the men and women who knew him then, The Seminarian is the first definitive, full-length account of King's years as a divinity student at Crozer Theological Seminary. Long passed over by biographers and historians, this period in King's life is vital to understanding the historical figure he soon became.

  • Number One Chinese Restaurant: a novel
    Lillian Li

    The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family's controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.

  • Death Notice: a novel
    Haohui Zhou

    An elite police squad hunts a manipulative mastermind out to publically execute criminals the law cannot reach. A wild thriller and deadly game of cat-and-mouse from one of China's most popular authors.

  • Family Trust: a novel
    Kathy Wang

    Struggling to fulfill a terminally ill father's final bequest, a privileged Chinese-American family in Silicon Valley is forced to contend with the realities of their ambitions and actual desires.

  • Skeleton God
    Eliot Pattison

    Shan Tao Yun, now the reluctant constable of a remote Tibetan town, has learned to expect the impossible at the roof of the world, but nothing has prepared him for his discovery when he investigates a report that a nun has been savagely assaulted by ghosts.

  • Patriot Number One: American dreams in Chinatown
    Lauren Hilgers

    In Patriot Number One, Hilgers follows this dauntless family through a world hidden in plain sight: a byzantine network of employment agencies and language schools, of underground asylum brokers and illegal dormitories that Flushing's Chinese community relies on for survival.

  • The Terracotta Warriors: Exploring the most intriguing puzzle in Chinese history
    Edward Burman

    Exciting investigations in northwest China are about to reveal more of the mysteries of the huge mausoleum of the Qin Emperor, a portion of which was accidently discovered in 1974 by farmers who were digging a well. The second phase of an international research project began in 2011 and is ongoing. More recently still, promising new excavations began in Pit 2, with exciting fresh discoveries already announced.

  • Love Rules: How to find a real relationship in a digital world
    Joanna Coles

    Social media and online dating sites have become the supermarkets of our relationship lives. You have to wade through rows of cupcakes and potato chips to find the produce aisle, where those relationships grounded in intimacy and trust live--the ones worth your investment. A diet book for romantic relationships, Love Rules first asks women to re-assess the way they think about their relationships, and then helps them use that newfound awareness to navigate their love lives more successfully in this very modern, fast-paced--and often lonely--digital age.

  • Anatomy of Love: A natural history of mating, marriage, and why we stay
    Helen E. Fisher

    Updated to include the latest research on anthropology and internet-age relationships, a revised edition of a classic reference examines the brain's role in love and courtship while making recommendations for returning to traditional patterns of romance. By the author of Why We Love.

  • How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A memoir in essays
    Mandy Len Catron

    In a series of candid essays, Mandy Len Catron takes a closer look at what it means to love someone, be loved, and how we present our love to the world.

  • Mid-life ex-wife: A diary of divorce, online dating, and second chances
    Stella Grey

    Nora Ephron meets Bridget Jones's Diary in Guardian columnist Stella Grey's heartrendingly honest, witty memoir about her online odyssey to find real love in a virtual world.

  • This Is Why You're Single
    Laura Lane

    This Is Why You're Single breaks away from your typical dating guide by taking a page from Aesop's playbook with hilarious modern-day dating fables paired with advice, entertaining quizzes, graphs, and illustrations. Dating will feel a whole lot more doable, a little less weird, and, well, actually pretty fun.