Lauren Reed and “Letters to my Daughter”, by Maya Angelou

Hello dear friends of the library! March Book Sale is just around the corner and we cannot wait to see you all! For now, come check one of the awesome books that @reedfamilyreads got for 2 dollars at one of our book sales.

photo @reedfamilyreads

“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.”

I’ve fallen far off my planned Feb. TBR, but right into the warm embrace of Maya Angelou’s, “Letter to My Daughter”. The words above are only on the second page of this book, and by then I was moved to tears. The writings within offer a gentle reminder to respond and to stand up, to forgive yourself and be honest with others, to keep living, and loving. Each chapter is uniquely inspirational, while being both deeply comforting and affirming. I highly recommend you start here if you’ve never read any of Ms. Angelou’s works and then, share it with someone you love. ❤️

I picked up this gift of a book at the @chslibfriends library book sale for $2! 😊

Mrs. Jeanell Marvin and her book gems

One of my favorite things about the @chascolibrary on Calhoun in addition to their author events and $1 bookshelves, is their FREE bookshelf. Tucked in a corner in the YA department (my fave) is a little cart with free books-some of which haven’t even been fully released yet.
I’m always blown away by the gems I find. What a great way to serve the community and encourage reading.
Want to serve the Charleston community in your own way? Consider donating books or volunteering at the upcoming book sales. There’s one March 1-2. Head to @chslibfriends to sign up!
Follow @jeanellnicolereads

Lauren Reed :: review of Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

Mrs. Reed has a review for us, about a book that she got from one of our book sales. Check this out:

photo: @reedfamilyreads

“At 15, I watched the movie “Dead Man Walking” with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. It was the first movie that I remember deeply impacting me, and effectively moving me outside of my adolescent self-absorption. I decided in that moment, that I could never understand or support capital punishment.

In “Just Mercy”, Bryan Stevenson emotes a similar response. This incredible work of non-fiction reads like a narrative novel, as he tells the stories of those wrongly convicted, or sentenced to death or excessive punishment. However, we also learn about people who have committed terrible crimes, the author narrating their stories with compassion and relevance. This helps you if not empathize, at least see how the person arrived there and view the whole picture in context and empathy. Especially those we may easily judge or hold bias against like the poor, the mentally ill, or the oppressed. Mr. Stevenson points out that whether it be fear or anger, we are quick to condemn those most helpless and that “EACH OF US IS MORE THAN THE WORST THING WE HAVE EVER DONE”- something, I think, we can all relate to.

The author’s life’s work in founding the Equal Justice Initiative is enormously daunting. He is representing the most vulnerable of society, and up against the beasts of increasing mass incarceration, institutionalized racism and the prison- industrial complex. Fighting for the fair sentenceing, treatment or rehabilitation of the convicted or unfairly accused is needed.

Obviously, this book is infuriating and upsetting, but at the same time, I felt inspired by the author’s determination to stand up for those misrepresented and mistreated. It encouraged me to continue advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves – the vulnerable and voiceless, poor, mentally ill, or disadvantaged. I’m sure I haven’t given this amazing book the credit it deserves, but I hope I’ve at least persuaded you to read it!


Follow her here

“Just Mercy is an incredible work of non-fiction by the man who founded the Equal Justice Initiative and the lynching memorial that just opened in AL.”

March Book Sale is around the corner and we need book donations. If you have more than 2 boxes, head to 68 Calhoun St. Less than 2 boxes, drop at any #chascolibrary branch. Thank you!

#BookReview by Lauren Reed: An American Marriage

photo Lauren Reed

I think I might be the last person on #bookstagram to read AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, but the buzz we all heard in early 2018 is true. (Plus, it was one of Pres. Obama’s top 2018 reads and I just had to give it a go!)

This is a love story that will break your heart; one that can be blamed on many things, but most of all, on a life stolen by the U.S. Government. 
Though “An American Marriage” is a work of fiction, the realities of being a #POC and either wrongly accused or unfairly sentenced, lead me to believe that the story line is representative of another sad statistic of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Through the three perspectives of Roy (wrongly accused and imprisoned), his wife, Celestial, an artist from an affluent family and wife of 1 1/2 years, and finally their life long friend, Andre, we get a unique look at the devastating effects of incarceration on a family. Roy’s Father-in-Law in speaking to his daughter’s new boyfriend says best how the tragedy cannot be blamed on one person, but instead on society. “I have one thing to say to you, as a black man: Roy is a hostage of the state. He is a victim of America.”

I’ve heard the ending was somewhat unpopular, but I found it a believable reality. People either grow together or they grow apart, and most are doing the best they can with what they’ve been given.

This is a beautifully written story of love, family, expectation and heartache, but it is so much more. 4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shout out to @chslibfriends where I got this beautiful hardcover for $5! 😃

~ Lauren Reed is a member of the Charleston Friends of the Library. Follow her personal Instagram account here.