June 24, 2019 | 72° F

Sick of binge-watching? Find these page-turners on campus

The semester has kicked into high gear, so naturally, stress levels are rising, too. When Netflix and Twitter finally stop being good distractions from homework, maybe it's time for a book. With libraries on every campus -- as well as the Rutgers Barnes and Noble -- there’s no excuse for not being able to find something good to read. If you need help getting started, here’s a good list to kickstart your reading adventures.

"Blood in the Water" by Heather Ann Thompson

Available at the Rutgers Barnes and Noble, this is a stark retelling of the 1971 Attica Prison Uprising. Thompson delves into the nitty-gritty details of the circumstances that led to the revolt of the prisoners from a federal level to happenings inside the prison. After the small revolution, Thompson covers the following trial and the subjugation of the rebellious prisoners. Thompson’s study on Attica is a multilayered look into the fabric of American culture at the turn of the 1970s.

"Knees of a Natural Man" by Henry Dumas 

This is a collection of poetry from the former Rutgers student and renowned author. Dumas, a fiction writer and poet attended Rutgers for several years without ever attaining a degree, but his work speaks for itself. Using vivid imagery to describe life as a Black man in the mid-1900s, Dumas’s poetry has elevated his status even with a short career. Unfortunately, Dumas was killed by a New York City Transit policeman at age 33, but his work is still immensely influential. This selection of poetry is available at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library.

"Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi 

This is a historical fiction novel about half sisters and the different paths their lives take after one is sold into slavery, while the other isn’t. Spanning multiple generations and timelines, the award-winning novel explores the slave trade and early America at an intensely personal level. Gyasi, who visited Rutgers at the beginning of the school year, has crafted a hit with "Homegoing," being noted in NPR, The Washington Post, Esquire and more. "Homegoing" is available at the James Dickson Carr Library on Livingston campus.

"Going to Meet the Man" by James Baldwin 

Baldwin, known for his essays as well as his fiction, weaves tales of people trying to get by. The premises of the stories can seem mundane, but Baldwin’s incisive writing makes the inner thoughts of his characters a story in and of itself. Exploring social, racial and gender norms, his stories are a reflection on how life in America’s recent past was full of radically different challenges than today. "Going to Meet the Man" is available at Alexander Library on the College Avenue campus.

"Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy" by Robert Farris Thompson 

As we’re more familiar with the Michelangelos and Picassos of the world, a profile on African and Afro-American forms of art and philosophy is an eye-opening read. The book’s exploration into how art is a part of African life and religion documents a history that goes back to ancient times. Exploring Yoruba gods from Nigeria, Vodou in Haiti and various South American countries, this is a great book to learn about art outside of Europe. It’s available at the Art Library on the College Avenue campus.

These selections are just a few different types of books available at Rutgers. From the art lierature at Douglass Library and Art Library on College Ave to the expansive History selection at the Rutgers Bookstore, Rutgers has a book for almost every interest. Regardless of how you get your books, give some a try sometime.

Jordan Levy

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