Emily Calkins of the King County Library System offers binge-able titles that will keep you enthralled through March. Find these digital titles and more at kcls.org, or check out a hard copy with one of KCLS’ contactless Curbside to Go services. Find a participating location near you here.
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
Imbolo Mbue’s lyrical second novel recounts the story of Kosawa, a fictional African village. A neglectful American oil company poisons its land and water. The corrupt government ignores the villagers’ pleas for assistance when their crops fail and their children die. At the center of the story is Thula, a young woman who leads a resistance against the oil company and the government. A chorus of voices joins Thula’s to bring Kosawa to life: her mother, grandmother, and a generation of children born amid environmental destruction and political strife.
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
Chinelo Okparanta’s queer coming-of-age story vividly captures the cost of living through a war and through hiding your true self. Displaced by the Nigerian civil war, 13-year-old Ijeoma is sent to live in safety with another girl. When they’re caught kissing, it upends both of their lives.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah follows a young woman who leaves West Africa for an American education and then returns home. It’s both an engaging love story and an insightful commentary on race from a unique perspective.
EMILY CALKINS is the readers’ services program coordinator for KCLS, where she specializes in connecting readers with stories, authors, and each other. She also is the co-host of KCLS’ podcast, The Desk Set. As a reader, she likes flawed characters, atmospheric world-building, and anything with a slow-burn romance.