South Jersey books to give this holiday season


The books stand out among other gifts as deeply intimate. Gifting your favorite novel or a bespoke book chosen according to your interests can reveal how much you care about them.

“The process of selecting a book is that it is specific to a person,” said Brandon Hartman, owner of Second Time Books at Rancocas Woods in Mount Laurel. “And where most of the gifts reinforce the tendencies of who a person already is; a book offers the opportunity to experience who one can become.

That’s why we asked South Jersey booksellers to recommend books by local or local authors. They responded with a veritable abundance of novels, poetry books, non-fiction bestsellers, and children’s books that could make great gifts this holiday season.

Following:“Like a witch in my house”: a poet from NJ explores the dualities of being an immigrant in America

Also:Black bookstore named after journalist and civil rights leader Ida B. Wells to open in South Jersey town

Ida Bookstore (734 Haddon Ave, Collingswood)

Curator and owner Jeannine A. Cook recommends:

For Girls Of Color Who Considered Suicide When / The Rainbow Is Enuf, Ntzoke Shange

The first and most acclaimed work by Trenton-born playwright and poet Ntzoke Shange, this 1976 play mixes poetic monologues, dance and music to tell the stories of seven black women who have faced racism and to sexism in an oppressive society. Called “choreopoeme” by Shange, the play deals with, among other things, sexual assault, domestic violence and abortion.

Source of my self-esteem, Toni Morrison

A collection of essays and speeches by author and former Princeton professor Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes. “These pages deliver to us his burning prayer for the 9/11 dead, his Nobel Lecture on the Power of Language, his in-depth meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., (and) his heart-wrenching eulogy of James Baldwin,” the editor said. . Random penguin house. “She examines in depth the fault lines of culture and freedom: the foreigner, the emancipation of women, the press, money,” dark matters “, human rights, the artist. in society, the African-American presence in American literature. And she casts her sharp critical eye on her own work … and that of others.

Joyce Carol Oates Breathe Cover

Breathe, Joyce Carol Oates

The latest take on Joyce Carol Oates, National Book Award winning author and other longtime professor at Princeton. This novel is “an exploration of the ingrained dread in the domesticity of marital love as well as our determination both to be faithful to the loved one and to survive the trauma of loss,” said publisher Harper Collins. .

Cover of She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

She Came to Kill: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman, Erica Armstrong Dunbar

“A lively, informative and illustrated tribute to one of the most exceptional women in American history,” said the 37INK imprint of Simon & Schuster. This mix of biography, illustrations and photos of history professor Rutgers and National Book Award finalist Erica Armstrong Dunbar “lights up Tubman’s life like never before”.

Collection of poems, Sonia Sanchez

A compilation of highlights spanning forty years of poetry by Sonia Sanchez, leader of the black arts movement. Winner of the Gish Lifetime Achievement Award, Sanchez was also the first Philadelphia Poet Laureate.

Monks eat an afro, Yolanda Wisher

The first collection of poems by Philadelphia poet, singer, educator and curator Yolanda Wisher. Publishers Weekly describes his poetry as a “skillful blend of nerve” and “lyrical restraint”.

Second Time Books (Rancocas Woods, 114 Creek Road, Mount Laurel)

Owner and bookseller Brandon Hartman recommends:

John McPhee's The Pine Barrens cover

The Pines, John McPhee

John McPhee’s 1968 creative non-fiction book is considered the definitive oral history of the million acre pine forests of New Jersey. It tells the fleeting stories of the people, culture and environment of the Pine Barrens around the mid-1960s.

Drown cover by Junot Díaz

Walnut, Junot Díaz

Dominican and New Jersey-raised author Junot Díaz’s first short story collection from 1996 is a coming-of-age saga of the delusional and elusive promises of the American Dream to suburban people of color. Díaz won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his novel The Wonderful Brief Life of Oscar Wao.

Second Time Books also offers “all of Stockton University’s books about New Jersey and its people,” according to Hartman.

Inkwood Books (106 Kings Hwy E, Haddonfield, NJ)

Bookseller Basia Wilson recommends:

Asali Solomon's The Days of Afrekete cover

The days of Afrekete, Asali Salomon

“This novel, which is set primarily in Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia), has a drama reminiscent of an intense holiday dinner! Playing with Sula by Toni Morrison and Mrs. Dalloway of Virginia Woolf, Solomon approaches class, race and identity with thoughtfulness and humor.

Bookseller Jen Richter recommends:

The conductors (volume 1) and The Undertakers (volume 2), Nicole Glover

“In this historical fiction / fantasy / mystery series, former Underground Railroad conductors solve murders with the help of magic in Philly during the reconstruction era. Ideal for fantasy fans looking for a unique setting, well-made characters and a genre adventure.

Bookseller Maya Georgi recommends:

Cover of Go Be Wonderful!  by Donna Gephart and illustrated by Francesca Chessa

Go Be Wonderful !, Donna Gephart and Ben Gibson

“Come on, be wonderful! by Inkwood’s Donna Gephart is a joyful read and confidence booster that will have readers proudly exclaiming, “I am wonderful!

What are your words? A book on pronouns, Katherine Locke

“Likewise, what are your words? A book on pronouns by local author Katherine Locke is an excellent exploration of gender identity that will help young readers embrace their individuality while answering the question posed in the title of the book, ”said Georgi.

A New Home, Colleen Rowan Kosinski

Told from a home perspective, A Home Again by local author Colleen Rowan Kosinkski is about a family leaving their beloved home and the new family that follows, with touching details that will touch you. heart and will arouse gratitude for your four walls of his own family.

Cover of Uma Wimple Charts Her House by Reif Larsen and Ben Gibson

Uma Wimple presents her house, Reif Larsen and illustrator Ben Gibson

“Finally, the crisp illustrations of Uma’s family, her pet lizard, and detailed graphics by local artist Ben Gibson really bring Uma Wimple Charts Her House to life.”

Bookseller James O’Brien recommends:

Lisa Jahn-Clough’s Cattywampus Street Children

A collection of eleven children’s short stories by author and teacher Rowan Lisa Jahn-Clough, who divides her time between South Jersey and Maine. “These extraordinarily far-fetched stories will mystify young readers so much that they’ll want to visit Cattywampus Street and the Waddlebee Toy Store themselves!”

Aedy Miller covers education and economics for the Burlington County Times, the Courier-Post and the Daily Journal. He is a multimedia journalist from Central Jersey and recently graduated from George Washington University.

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