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A&E Book Club: Three books to read this month

Three books to keep you from getting lost in the midterm sauce

<p>Here are three books to read this month, curated by the A&amp;E staff.&nbsp;</p>

Here are three books to read this month, curated by the A&E staff. 

Here’s a fun fact — March is national sauce month! And not like swagger sauce, like cooking sauce. What does this have to do with reading? Little to nothing. But as the weather hopefully gets warmer, what better way to spend a self-care afternoon — after you honor the various sauces in your life — than with a new book? This month, Arts and Entertainment has selected a trio of reads that will make you reflect, laugh and learn. 

“Full Court Press: How Pat Summitt, A High School Basketball Player, and a Legal Team Changed the Game”

Another great thing about March, besides the sauce-awareness, is college basketball. The men’s and women’s tournaments will see 64 schools each vie for the title of this year’s National Champion in what will likely be an exciting, fast-paced March Madness. Critically, men and women play essentially the same game with the same rules — but high school women’s basketball used to be quite different from its male counterpart. In the 1970s, a six-on-six, halfcourt-style game was mandated by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, which did not allow girls to play the five-on-five game until the collegiate level. This occurred despite the foundation of Title IX already being in place, which had allowed considerable advancement in women’s sports in high schools and colleges nationally. In their book “Full Court Press: How Pat Summitt, A High School Basketball Player, and a Legal Team Changed the Game,” authors Bill Haltom and Amanda Swanson, now a University Law student, explore the legal battle that made high schools decide to change the rules, allowing girls to play five-on-five, and the various actors who helped make this case happen. The book is an intriguing, entertaining look at the history of women’s athletics from a legal perspective.   

“The Other Americans” 

A standout from 2019, author Laila Lalami’s “The Other Americans” provides multiple perspectives on immigration through different first-person narratives throughout the novel. It opens with a Morrocan immigrant who is killed in a hit-and-run and weaves together eight other accounts, forming a web of interpersonal connections and ideas about class, race and immigration in America. On her website, Lalami described writing the book as “a way to find narrative order in the chaos of ideas and emotions that were swirling around in me,” which included questions about exile, alienation and community. “The Other Americans” was a finalist for the National Book award in Fiction and made NPR’s Favorite Books of 2019 list. Lalami has published four books, with a fifth, entitled “Conditional Citizens” — her first nonfiction book — to be released in April 2020. 


In her 2019 debut novel, author Candace Carty-Williams tells the story of Queenie, a 25-year-old Jamaican-British woman living in London. Queenie must navigate what it means to be young, black and a woman in the contemporary world, including grappling with the intersections of culture, sex, friendship and work. “Queenie” is a smart, sharp story that is clever as well as appealing in its attention to both mundanity and complex issues. Without bending to stereotypes or easy answers, Carty-Williams makes Queenie and the reader question conceptions of gender politics, race and identity by telling an engaging story with rich characterization and language. “Queenie” was named to Time’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2019 and NPR’s Favorite Books of 2019 list.


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