The Latest & Greatest on RBdigital

RBdigital has a huge collection of ebooks, comics, magazines, and plenty of audiobooks available without a wait. Go ahead and check out the ebooks and audiobooks that are trending.

An American Marriage
By Tayari Jones
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By Michelle Obama

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Children of Blood and Bone
By Tomi Adeyemi
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By Tara Westover

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
By Gail Honeyman

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Five Feet Apart
By Rachael Lippincott
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Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng
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Sharp Objects
By Gillian Flynn

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Still Me
By Jojo Moyes

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The Mamba Mentality: How I Play
By Kobe Bryant

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The Proposal
By Jasmine Guillory

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The Wife Between Us
By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pakkanen

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Q&A with Jalynn Harris, Winner of the 2019 Poetry Contest

Three cheers for “Phillis Wheatley questions the quarter,” the poem by Jalynn Harris that won the 2019 Pratt Library Poetry Contest.

The Little Patuxent Review judges said, “Such serious playfulness is the heartbeat of this poem. Every question is a humorous interrogation of history, gender, race…. The poem is a marvel.”

Jalynn is an MFA student at the University of Baltimore and the founder of SoftSavagePress, a press dedicated to promoting works by Black people. She was kind enough to answer a few questions.

When did you write this poem? Which part was written first? Which part last?

In class we were prompted to do an object meditation. My partner sent a list of objects and the one we both felt drawn to was the quarter. The 25-cent piece has a lot of circular history. I started researching. Who came up with this design? Why’s each state have a different scene? What can you get for 25 cents? I had a lot of questions. I put them in quarters, aka quatrains.

After I read it aloud, I realized it wasn’t me asking questions, it was an immortal Phillis Wheatley—the first Black published woman poet in the USA. She’s just about to put a quarter in the bubble gum slot when she sees Washington’s face and she’s not impressed, worse, she’s underwhelmed like, “who head of the quarter?”

Did you revise the poem? How much and over how long a period of time?

I wrote this piece over the course of an afternoon. I made a rule that the lines had to follow a thematic pattern. But it had no end, it just kept opening. I didn’t know how to stop it. A week later, Mama Wheatley said the reader has to flip the quarter over to finish the poem and start the cycle again.

Tell us about the kind of speech your poem uses. Some readers will find it unconventional.

This poem is in African American Vernacular English (AAVE). I think it’s only unconventional ‘cause it’s Black speech from a Black speaker—an ancestor—, interrogating in the present. That’s a lot of voices we don’t get to hear from! When I wrote this poem, I was reading June Jordan’s collection Directed by Desire. She likes to play in Black speech too. “Menu” and “Addenda to the Papal Bull” are two influential repetition registers.

Your winning poem is written in the voice of another person. Do you have any favorite poems whose writers were adopting other people’s voices?

Some poets have entire personae books! A shortlist: Thomas and Beulah by Rita Dove; A Street in Bronzeville by Gwendolyn Brooks; Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey; Simulacra by Airea D. Matthews.

Which writers inspire you?

June Jordan, Rita Dove, Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks, Eve Ewing, Claudia Rankine, Octavia Butler, Tiffany Haddish.

When did you start writing poetry?

I have always written poetry. But I didn’t understand that the experiential possibilities of a poem are infinite. “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden put me on. That was in the 9th grade.

Do you have any special practices that help you to write?

I like to write wherever I can comfortably be in a trance. The library is the greatest free museum and office space on Earth.

Read Jalynn’s poem here, and hear Jalynn read it this Saturday, April 27 at the CityLit Festival‘s Poet This! session that begins at 2 p.m.

The Latest Books for Young Adults

Here’s a list of books new to the Pratt that teens and fans of Young Adults are sure to enjoy. Go ahead, open up a book and jump into a fantasy world with new books from The Mortal Instruments author Cassandra Clare and more.

You Owe Me a Murder
By Eileen Cook

On a school trip to London that includes her ex-boyfriend, Kim meets risk-taker Nicki. When she jokes about swapping murders, Kim plays along – that is, until Kim’s ex-boyfriend mysteriously dies. Blackmailed by Nicki to fulfill her end of the deal, Kim will have to commit a murder or take the fall for one.

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The Weight of the Stars
By K. Ancrum

Don’t miss this new LGBT young adult romance from K. Ancrum, written with the same style of short, micro-fiction chapters and immediacy that garnered acclaim for her debut, The Wicker King.

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Whats New this Month:

The Red Scrolls of Magic: Eldest Curses Book One
By Cassandra Clare
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Barely Missing Everything
By Matt Mendez

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To Kill a Kingdom
By Alexandra Christo

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By Cindy Pon

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The Shadowglass
By Rin Chupeco

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By Neil Connelly

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Bold Voices take on Nonfiction

Don’t miss these Nonfiction picks that are new to the Pratt shelves this spring!

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World
By Melinda Gates

Throughout her journey, it has become increasingly clear to Melinda Gates: If you want to lift a society up, you need to stop keeping women down. In this moving and compelling book, she shares lessons learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world.

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Woman of Color
By Latonya Yvette

Blogger/Stylist LaTonya Yvette gets candid about life’s trials, including motherhood, love, death, and racism. Her first book, Woman of Color, is part memoir, part lifestyle guide, packed with moving essays, gorgeous original photographs, and practical style and beauty advice.

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Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View”
By Ramin Setoodeh

With The View, Barbara Walters revolutionized morning TV. The daily chatfest didn’t just comment on the news. It became the news. Award-winning journalist Ramin Setoodeh takes readers backstage and behind the scenes with stunning interviews with nearly every host.

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The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation
By Jodie Patterson

Witness a mother reshaping her attitudes and beliefs to meet the needs of her transgender son, Penelope– and opening the minds of everyone in her family who absolutely, unequivocally refused to conform. Jodie Patterson also shares her family’s history–particularly incidents within the Black community around sexism, racism, and civil rights.

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What’s New for Fans of Fiction

Here’s a look at some of the latest books hitting the shelves at the Pratt. Happy reading!

By Helen Oyeyemi

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories, Award-winning novelist Helen Oyeyemi (Boy, Snow, Bird) invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

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Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S Lewis
By Patti Callahan

In one of the greatest love stories, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of respected author C.S. Lewis and inspired books that still enchants readers today.

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Also New this Month:

Normal People
By Sally Rooney

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By Candice Carty-Williams

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The Dragonfly Sea
By Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
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The Old Drift
By Namwali Serpell

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The Department Of Sensitive Crimes
By Alexander Mccall Smith
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My Lovely Wife
By Samantha Downing

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