Ernst & Tillie CoverIn 1904, Ernst Eggers is a first-year seminary student in St. Louis. His life is clearly marked out for him as a pastor in the hidebound, German-speaking Lutheran church body in which he has been raised. But Ernst has secrets. His blazing fastball has already brought him to the attention of the newly formed St. Louis Browns who want to lure him away from the ministry. He practices with a Negro baseball team, frowned upon in segregated St. Louis. And he loves a girl he has never met, the sister of his troubled classmate, Arthur Carre.

In 1904, beautiful Otillie Carre is engaged to a wealthy lawyer, Julius Kloepper, in Akron, Ohio. Her life also seems to be laid out in a predictable way— marriage, children, and a mansion in East Akron. But life plays tricks. A picture of Tillie on her brother’s desk has captured the imagination of Ernst Eggers. When he eventually accompanies Arthur back to Akron one summer, fantasy and reality, life and love intersect, and the future become’s anyone’s guess.

Based on a true story, Ernst and Tillie unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of the dawning twentieth century— a time that witnessed the wonders and oddities of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, as well as the racial strife evident in towns big and small. There’s lots of baseball, lots of train travel, lots of folks who either love or hate the new horseless carriages. And there’s Ernst and Tillie, coming of age, weighing life’s big decisions, struggling to free themselves from the religious and cultural strictures of their parents’ generation, and eager to reap the promise of the new era.
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Ibur CoverBoth Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’ is a remarkable book by a remarkable author. Jane Ellen Ibur’s poems are a genuine labor of love, a tribute to the woman who cared for her in her troubled youth and became substitute mother, mentor, teacher,  and companion. In return, Jane offered her own loving care for the last eleven years of her friend’s life, when she was sick and helpless. The poems are heartfelt and moving and memorialize a rare and selfless relationship that transcended age, race, and social class.” – Lynn Sharon Schwartz, Author of The Writing on the Wall and Disturbances in the Field.

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living true1Living True: Lesbian Women Share Stories of Faith is an anthology of essays  about Catholic Spirituality from women who identify as lesbian or bisexual. The collection celebrates the courage of women who’ve not only “come out,” but who’ve come into an understanding and owning of self that offers the possibility of living authentically. The essays, contributed from women around the U.S., give voice to a verity whose expression is long overdue.

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With the masterful translation of Morada al sur, Shapiro unlocks, for English-speaking readers, the haunting world of Aurelio Arturo, one of Columbia’s most inspiring poets. Exiled in the north of the country, Arturo writes longingly of his beloved home in the south. The elegance and lyrical quality of his poetry conjures a nostalgic re-creation— magical and mythic— of southwestern Columbia. A mysterious figure who yet looms large over Columbia’s poetic landscape, Arturo’s single volume is consistently regarded as one of the most influential works in the twentieth century Latin America.

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Founded in 1887 by two former slaves, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, was a self-contained, all-black community that flourished under the vision of its leader, Isaiah Montgomery, despite being located in the heart of the segregated, post-Civil War South. In its heyday the town was a proud symbol of black achievement and a tremendous source of racial pride. Newly freed African Americans were able, in that small but special haven, too experience a first taste of the American Dream; thus Mound Bayou came to seem like a promised land. With the decline of its agriculture-based economy and encroaching racial hostility, the town suffered reversals and many of the Mound Bayou’s inhabitants joined the millions of other African Americans who migrated northward in search of better employment, safety from physical violence, and the unfulfilled promises of freedom. Some journeyed to St. Louis, Missouri, where they put down roots and fashioned new lives. Up from Canaan is a slice of the Great Migration story told, in part, by those who, with hearts full of hope traded the familiar for the unknown.

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In God’s Acres, six-year old Bud tells the story, set in the 1950s, of his family’s relocation from St. Joseph, Missouri, to a small farm just outside the town. That twelve-acre homestead represents the idyllic life for Bud’s mother, the story’s central figure— a woman driven by unwavering religious beliefs and a rigid work ethic— but it turns out to be the source of much heartache. With an endearing earnestness and bits of laugh-out-loud humor, Bud intertwines signal developments in the lives of his family members with key world events— all of which seem to be of equal importance from his perspective as a child. At the start of each chapter, an adult Bud speaks from the present, closing the circle on a complex tale of family relationships.

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In The Voice of Water T. L. Jamieson unfolds an album of memories to bring us along on his journey to adulthood. His chronological vignettes reveal a childhood marred by family discord— conflict characterized by abuse and alcoholism. Jamieson describes how he finds, in the natural beauty of the Ozarks, a healing balm for emotional pain. Water is a particular source for of solace for him. And it’s by means of the calming property of water, the physical act of running– the vehicle by which he experiences the rural landscape, and the life lessons he acquires through several key relationships that he is able to mend old wounds and restore broken bonds.

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Saint Louis as a literary hub? Surprisingly so, shows author Catherine Rankovic in Meet Me: Writers in St. Louis. Using skills honed as a journalist, Rankovic takes readers into the minds behind the works of thirteen acclaimed writers whose paths somehow intersected with the Gateway City. These “literary greats of the future,” as Rankovic predicts, include novelist/ critic Harper Barnes, memoirist Kathleen Finneran, poet/playwright/novelist Ntozake Shange, essayist Gerard Early, poet/novelist Qiu Xiaolong, and others. The book also includes biographical sketches and samples of work of each of the interviewees. Rankovic’s laid back interview style makes readers feel as if they are sitting on a sofa next to her subjects. A delightful, thought-provoking, sure to please anyone who enjoys the craft.

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In this collection of 21 essays, women from around the country recount their individual efforts to access and receive quality health care within the formidable structure of the U.S. health care system. Their many voices speak with clarity, poignancy, and humor about situations familiar to all who have entered a health care setting on behalf of themselves or loved ones. These penetrating stories cover a spectrum of health care conditions, but they unify around the themes of strong self-advocacy and personal empowerment. The book is an enlightening read not only for the health consuming public, but also for health care professionals and for health policymakers.

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In Evoking Tang, his translated collection of Chinese classical poems, writer Qiu Xiaolong breathes new life into the works of the Tang dynasty masters, introducing their universal themes— of love and lament, friendship and longing, the serentiy to be found in natural beauty— to a whole new audience of Western readers. The Tang period is the golden age of Chinese poetry. In Evoking Tang, a bilingual collection, Qiu Xiaolong offers English translations of more than 70 classic Chinese poems. The original texts represent the work of almost 40 poets from the Tang period, whose poems are comparable in importance, for English-speaking readers, to those of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Longfellow. Qiu’s translations reflect his mastery of he subtle nuances of the English language as well as his intimate familiarity with American and English poets such as T. S. Eliot and William Butler Yeats. The translation of the beloved poems of the Tang dynasty remains faithful to their original meaning and imagery, yet proves enjoyable to English readers as poetry. The anthology is illustrated with 30 traditional Chinese paintings, which are included to aid interpretation and to stir the imagination of readers they enter the poetic world.

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In the spring of the year 2000, Mary Ellen Havard was diagnosed with breast cancer. She writes that, on hearing those words, “my world flew apart. I was pulled in opposing directions, living two worlds. There was the one of curling up in a ball and crying, refusing to eat, refusing to sleep, refusing to think. There was the other of facing the issues and making a plan. I had a job to do, and that job was survival.” As part of the job of survival, she kept a journal of her experience. The act of journalizing, suggested by Mary Openlander, a practitioner who became part of Mary Ellen’s cancer treatment team, began as a way to rein in fear and uncertainty and became part of the healing process. Simultaneously, Mary maintained her own written record of their treatment sessions. After independently documenting their thoughts and impressions for more than a year, Mary Ellen and Mary combined their separate journal entries to create Breast Cancer: One illness, Two Women, Four Seasons. Not a “how-to” book, Breast Cancer is the account of one woman’s experience through which we come to see how illness can be transformative— providing opportunities for growth— and how emphatic care can help to redefine what it means to “get well.”

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Join Winnie and Robin as they set out to explore the sights and sounds of the City of Light during a ten-day whirlwind visit. Begun as a travel journal, this compilation of personal reflections, historical notes, and original illustrations captures the joy of travel— the spontaneity, the exhilaration, and the wonder— as a shared experience between friends.

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