“It was easier to lie when you believed the lie.”

boyerasedBooks on Tap read Boy Erased by Garrard Conley at Champion Brewery on June 6, a memoir of Conley’s time in the Love in Action gay conversion therapy center after his first year of college. Conley describes being raised in a religious bubble with a larger-than-life father who is leading his own church when Conley is outed by his rapist. 

We acknowledged that we were probably not Conley’s intended audience but we were taken by the painful choice he lays out between being true to his religion and family expectations or actually being himself. Conley skips between time periods, which we found confusing and we would have liked more explanation of the institute he was enrolled in and an epilogue to bridge the end of the book with his much different current life. We were most taken by the author’s relationship to his parents. His mother genuinely likes him while his father seems afraid that he’ll fall off the right path. Conely is sympathetic to the ways in which his grandfather’s alcoholism and abuse color his own father’s view on life and parenthood. In fact, it was the realization that he didn’t hate his father that helped Conley leave Love in Action with his mother’s support. 

We would recommend this memoir to teens and parents of teens who are coming out. Below is a list of books that contained similarities. 

More Information:
About the author 
About the book
Author’s podcast 
Movie adaptation 

Related Titles:
We the Animals by Justin Torres
Educated by Tara Westover 
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak 
Celebrating the Third Place 

 Books on Tap Information:

  • July 4 No meeting

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More Summer Challenge Recommendations

We’re into month two of JMRL’s Summer Challenge! Finish any five challenges and bring your sheet into any of the branches for a prize! And for personalized book recommendations, fill out this form. Here are some recommendations for sheet 2:

Read about food:

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen – Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night. . . . Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother.

Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal by Fran Berkoff – Researchers have continued to discover the crucial connections between diet and chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses, as well as the impact of food on stress, insomnia, and other common complaints.

Brain Food by Lisa Mosconi – Like our bodies, our brains have very specific food requirements. And in this eye-opening book from an author who is both a neuroscientist and a certified integrative nutritionist, we learn what should be on our menu. Dr. Lisa Mosconi, whose research spans an extraordinary range of specialties including brain science, the microbiome, and nutritional genomics, notes that the dietary needs of the brain are substantially different from those of the other organs, yet few of us have any idea what they might be.

Read about a migrant:

Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid by Giuseppe Catozzella –  Based on a remarkable true story, an unforgettable Somali girl risks her life on the migrant journey to Europe to run in the Olympic Games At eight years of age, Samia lives to run. Eight-year-old Ali trains her, times her, and pushes her to achieve her goals. Despite the lack of resources, despite the war, and despite all of the restrictions imposed on Somali women, Samia becomes a world-class runner. As a teenager, she is selected to represent her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She finishes last in her heat at the Games, but the sight of the small, skinny woman in modest clothes brings the Olympic stadium to its feet. Samia sets her sights on the 2012 Games in London. Conditions in Somalia have worsened, and she must make the arduous migrant journey across Africa and the Mediterranean alone. Just like millions of refugees, Samia risks her life for the hope of a better future.

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario – When Enrique was five, his mother, too poor to feed her children, left Honduras to work in the United States. She promised she would return quickly, but she struggled in America. After eleven years, he decided he would go find her. He set off alone, with little more than a slip of paper bearing his mother’s North Carolina telephone number. Without money, he made the dangerous trek up the length of Mexico, clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains. He and other migrants, many of them children, are hunted like animals. To evade bandits and authorities, they must jump onto and off the moving boxcars they call the Train of Death. It is an epic journey, one thousands of children make each year to find their mothers in the United States.

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen – A collection of stories, written over a twenty-year period, examines the Vietnamese experience in America as well as questions of home, family, and identity.

Read a mysterious book:

Force of Nature by Jane Harper – When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path. But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened. Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey – Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a law degree from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s legal rights. Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen is going through the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity.

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan – Detective Esa Khattak is in the midst of his evening prayers when he receives a phone call asking that he and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, look into the death of a local man who has fallen off a cliff. At first Christopher Drayton’s death–which looks like an accident–doesn’t seem to warrant a police investigation, especially not from Khattak and Rachel’s team, which handles minority-sensitive cases. But it soon comes to light that Drayton might have been living under an assumed name, and he may not have been the upstanding Canadian citizen he appeared to be. In fact, he may have been a Bosnian war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.

Crafting at the Library: 3D Flower Canvas

The Central Library is bringing back Art in the Park at the Market Street Park over the summer. On June 29 we’ll be making 3D Flower Canvas Art. You can sign up here. This craft is recommended for adults.

Supplies needed:
Canvas
Faux flowers and leaves
X-acto knife
Wire cutters
Packing tape
Glue
Pencil
Paint and paintbrush

Steps:
Step 1: Draw an outline of a vase with your pencil.

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Step 2: Arrange flowers on top of your vase, starting with the largest flowers. Then, fill in holes with smaller blooms. Trim flowers as needed.

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Step 3: Once you have arranged your large flowers, cut small slits in the canvas with the X-acto knife and slide the stems of the flowers through the back of the canvas. You may be able to fit a couple of flowers through one slit.

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Step 4: Tape stems to the back of the canvas and glue flowers in place, if needed. Then add smaller flowers, and tape the back of the canvas again, if needed.

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Step 5: Add leaves to fill in gaps. Secure leaves with glue.

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Step 6: Finally, paint your vase and hang your masterpiece!

Here are a few more books for crafting inspiration:
The Flower Workshop by Ariella Chezar
Crafting with Florals