VB Reads...Motherhood by the Book

Motherhood by the Book is led by Claire, VB staffer, mother of a 7-year-old, and stepmother of an adolescent. The book group meets on the second Sunday of every month at 2pm on the mezzanine level, next to our poetry section and near Evolve Chocolate + Café, for an hour of spirited discussion of books that celebrate the trials, tribulations, and rewards of motherhood, and what it means to be a mother. This group is by no means exclusive to moms with kids still at home. We will read fiction and non-fiction, older and newer titles, all with the theme of Motherhood. Join us! Authors do not usually attend.

Sunday, December 9, 2:00pm

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive -- until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781492650959
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks - March 6th, 2018

Sunday, January 13, 2:00pm

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250151162
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - April 3rd, 2018

Sunday, February 10, 2:00pm

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan

Egan narrates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force, through the eyes of the people who lived it. Equally dramatic, though, is the larger story he tells of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester Gifford Pinchot. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by every citizen. The robber barons fought him and the rangers charged with protecting the reserves, but even as TR's national forests were smoldering they were saved: The heroism shown by those same rangers turned public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service with consequences felt in the fires of today. The Big Burn tells an epic story, paints a moving portrait of the people who lived it, and offers a critical cautionary tale for our time.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780547394602
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 7th, 2010

Sunday, March 10, 2:00pm

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

Miss Burma tells the story of modern-day Burma through the eyes of Benny and Khin, husband and wife, and their daughter Louisa. After attending school in Calcutta, Benny settles in Rangoon, then part of the British Empire, and falls in love with Khin, a woman who is part of a long-persecuted ethnic minority group, the Karen. World War II comes to Southeast Asia, and Benny and Khin must go into hiding in the eastern part of the country during the Japanese Occupation, beginning a journey that will lead them to change the country's history. After the war, the British authorities make a deal with the Burman nationalists, led by Aung San, whose party gains control of the country. When Aung San is assassinated, his successor ignores the pleas for self-government of the Karen people and other ethnic groups, and in doing so sets off what will become the longest-running civil war in recorded history. Benny and Khin's eldest child, Louisa, has a danger-filled, tempestuous childhood and reaches prominence as Burma's first beauty queen soon before the country falls to dictatorship. As Louisa navigates her newfound fame, she is forced to reckon with her family's past, the West's ongoing covert dealings in her country, and her own loyalty to the cause of the Karen people.

Miss Burma Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802127686
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - March 20th, 2018

Sunday, April 14, 2:00pm

Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft by Lyndall Gordon

The founder of modern feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was the most famous woman of her era. A brilliant, unconventional rebel vilified for her strikingly modern notions of education, family, work, and personal relationships, she nevertheless strongly influenced political philosophy in Europe and a newborn America. Now acclaimed biographer Lyndall Gordon mounts a spirited defense of this courageous woman whose reputation has suffered over the years by painting a full and vibrant portrait of an extraordinary historical figure who was generations ahead of her time.

Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780060957742
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - May 2nd, 2006

Sunday, May 12, 2:00pm

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

In this astonishing novel, Shanthi Sekaran gives voice to the devotion and anguish of motherhood through two women bound together by their love for one boy. Soli, a young undocumented Mexican woman in Berkeley, CA, finds that motherhood offers her an identity in a world where she's otherwise invisible. When she is placed in immigrant detention, her son comes under the care of Kavya, an Indian-American wife overwhelmed by her own impossible desire to have a child. As Soli fights for her son, Kavya builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else's child. Exploring the ways in which dreams and determination can reshape a family, Sekaran transforms real life into a thing of beauty. From rural Oaxaca to Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon Valley, Lucky Boy offers a moving and revelatory look at the evolving landscape of the American dream and the ever-changing borders of love.

Lucky Boy Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101982266
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - September 5th, 2017

Sunday, June 9, 2:00pm

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance--and the subsequent cover-up--will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

The Mothers: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399184529
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 10th, 2017

Sunday, July 14, 2:00pm

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah *ISBN currently unavailable for paperback

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399588174
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - November 15th, 2016

Sunday, August 11, 2:00pm

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One morning, Deming Guo's mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon--and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he's ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents' desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind. Told from the perspective of both Daniel--as he grows into a directionless young man--and Polly, Ko's novel gives us one of fiction's most singular mothers. Loving and selfish, determined and frightened, Polly is forced to make one heartwrenching choice after another.

The Leavers (National Book Award Finalist): A Novel Cover Image
By Lisa Ko
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616208042
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - April 24th, 2018