What We’re Reading: And the Mountains Echoed

Title: And the Mountains Echoed20702308

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Genre: fiction

What did you like about it?

Through various characters from 1952 until the current decade, it provides different views of Afghanistan. Some characters are born there and leave; some are not from there, but end up there; and others spend their entire lives there.

The book portrays Afghanistan as a place of poverty in relation to the West, of hardship and suffering; and that is even before the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. After decades of constant struggle, internally as well as externally, Afghanis face a difficult prospect of rebuilding. The ravages of war have destroyed physical and political infrastructures and inflicted great suffering, especially on women and children.

The characters all have some relation to one another (whether they know it or not). The prime motive for each character is love: familial as well as doctor/patient and chauffeur/rich employer. Continue Reading →

Celebrate Banned Books Week Sept. 24-30

Banned Books Week is an annual event which celebrates the freedom to read and highlights the importance of open access to information for all. Banned Books Week brings awareness to issues of censorship in libraries and schools.

Banned Books Week poster

Image from ALA: American Library Association

According to the American Library Association, “A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.”

To see a list of the most frequently challenged, books visit: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks

Visit our banned books display on the lower level of the library and pick up a bookmark at the library’s desk to celebrate the power of words and the freedom to read.

banned books display

New Movies!


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What We’re Reading: The Radium Girls

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

Available at Main Campus on the New Book Shelf

Title: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women
Author: Kate Moore
Genre: Historical Nonfiction

Why did you choose to read this book? Well, I’d heard a lot about it. I tend to like historical nonfiction that tells the stories of groups of people who maybe aren’t as known in American history. I read Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann earlier this year (also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) and realized not for the first time how many pieces of American history I just am not aware of. This was filling in a gap in my knowledge with a really engaging book. (Clarification: Horrible events. Engaging book.)

What did you like about it? Despite being a sad book because the events that happened to these women in order to get justice and make change in the way radiation was treated in America and the American work environment, I did like it because, unlike some other historical nonfiction, it seems as though the industry actually learned from their mistakes and made real changes that positively impacted the workers so they’d stop dying en-masse after-the-fact from radiation poisoning. Well, they learned eventually…once men started coming down with cancers due to radiation poisoning, too. …

Another thing I really liked about it was the author’s profound respect for the women who suffered and fought to get the radium industry to recognize that their product was dangerous. They weren’t just characters in an interesting story to her; they were real people who suffered and fought for what was right and just despite numerous hurdles.

Who would you recommend the book to? I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in underreported American historical events. Or anyone who wonders why we have to do the chemical safety training at the beginning of each year/class that involves chemicals.

What would you pair this book with? A radiation suit and a steaming mug of justice.

Constitution Day and Durham Reads Together

The Library and Student Government Association are pleased to host a Constitution Day event on Monday as part of Durham Reads Together.

Durham Reads Together logoEvent Details:
Mon. Sept. 18, 2017  10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Constitution Day Read-in with students, faculty, administration, and staff.

US Constitution book coverPick up a free copy of the US Constitution, register to vote, color at the craft table, win cupcakes at our trivia contest, and learn about the Constitution on the Main Campus plaza.  Our rain location is the ERC Auditorium in Building 5.

Durham Reads Together is a biennial celebration of reading. The Durham community reads the same book, attends programs around its theme, and discusses important issues together.

For more information, videos of community members talking about the US Constitution, and a list of all Durham Reads Together community events, visit:


Also of note, is an exciting free event with Sarah Vowell, the New York Times’ bestselling author of six nonfiction books on American history and culture: Monday, October 9, 2017, 7:00 pm Carolina Theatre, Durham.  The library has copies of some of Sarah’s Vowell’s books available for checkout.


Lafayette book coverWordy shipmates book cover








Visit our display window outside the library for books, DVDs, and other materials related to the Constitution.

September’s New Books