Lighthouse Reads: March Edition

Editor's Note: We'll periodically bring readers a round-up of books recommended by Lighthouse staff.

Imbolo Mbue follows up her debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, with How Beautiful We Were. Mbue tells the story of a fictional African village, where children are dying due to the actions of an irresponsible oil company and a corrupt government. It unfolds over decades, told from the unique perspective of one generation of children in the village and broadening out from there. It’s masterful, to say the least.—Jordyn Wolking, Director of Development

Renee Gladman (a recent Windham-Campbell Prize-winner) is always working wonders through her writing, most recently through her fiction and drawings. Morelia, a breeze of a novel, stages Gladman's hallmarks—language as architecture, story as landscape, barely concealed humor—in the beguiling shape of a delightful mystery.—Torin Jensen, Program and Content Coordinator

Although published in 1972, Huey P. Newton’s To Die for the People is a poignant, crucial text for understanding the social movements of the 1960s-70s, as well as the significance of the Black Panther Party's resistance in order to advance social change.—Therese Marie Gardner, Assistant Program and Communication Coordinator



In a poem in Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas, she tells us that “everything is experienced through the body.” That particular poem is about pregnancy and birth (and is one of the poems I kept going back to in my own pregnancy), but she means it in a universal sense, and when she responds to the Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Americans signed by President Obama, you feel just how much language, and the language of the state, can be both intimate and isolating.—Genna Kohlhardt, Assistant Director of Adult Programs

Alice Notley sees ghosts. That’s not a metaphor, she sees actual ghosts as she walks through her apartment in Paris. That’s part of the reason her seminal book, The Descent of Alette, is so haunting. A feminist Inferno, her Alette explores subterranean spaces like caves and subways in a book-length poem written in fragments of speak, a sort of ghosting of her own language.—Genna Kohlhardt, Assistant Director of Adult Programs


“A storybook of people, places, and memories captured on film,” Film for Her by Orion Carloto, is an intimate, romantic reflection of a life journey with a very specific aesthetic that is both dreamlike and realistic. Carloto’s take on elements of becoming romanticizes the heavy and heart-felt in a way that’s nostalgic and nothing short of something to be desired.—Therese Marie Gardner, Assistant Program and Communication Coordinator

Most folks know Rebecca Solnit’s essay "Men Explain Things to Me." It’s the source of the term “mansplaining,” and its many offshoots, including “manspreading,” the phenomenon where men take up extra seats on public transit because god forbid they not spread their legs out as wide as possible to make room for… what exactly? The whole book is worth a read, it’s got Solnit’s astute wit throughout, and it’s a cathartic read for anyone one who’s thought “you wouldn’t be saying this to me if I were a dude.”—Genna Kohlhardt, Assistant Director of Adult Programs