Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
By Ruth Franklin (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
History doesn’t always celebrate the literary figures who weren’t award winners or bestsellers. But a lack of renown doesn’t mean that those writers weren’t experts of their craft. Take, for example, Shirley Jackson, a master of suspense and psychological horror who is perhaps best known for the short story “The Lottery.” Baltimore native Ruth Franklin—a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Harper’s—gives Jackson her due in this new biography, detailing how Jackson used her own experiences to expose the isolation and exploitation of women in postwar America, decades before the 1960s women’s movement dawned. Franklin’s book is an expansive look into a woman ahead of her time.
Uprising In the City
By Kevin Shird (self-published)
In many ways, Baltimore is still grappling with issues that were highlighted after the death of Freddie Gray—poverty, racism, and police brutality among them. Nearly two years later, Kevin Shird thoughtfully considers these issues in his latest book. The West Baltimore native is the right person to take on this topic—he worked as a drug dealer, attended college in prison, and, since his release, has become an acclaimed writer and youth advocate. He raises important points about our city, and shows us that, while we may not have all the parts assembled yet, we are capable of building a brighter future.