On the heels of Tiya Miles’s National Book Award in Nonfiction for All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, Amanda Gorman’s poetry collection, CALL US WHAT WE CARRY, was released this week. Carrying burdens and leaving lasting legacies became a common theme in other well-regarded works of fiction and nonfiction that used the verb “carry.” If you’re looking to lighten your load as the new year begins, don’t stop reading!
CALL US WHAT WE CARRY: POEMS by Amanda Gorman
First lady inauguration poet Amanda Gorman evokes hope and healing by depicting a shipwrecked moment in time in her poem. This imaginative and intimate collage by Gorman explores history, language, identity and erasure. Poems in a variety of inventive styles and structures explore the collective grief caused by a global pandemic in this beautifully designed collection, which sheds light on a moment of reckoning. ‘Call Us What We Carry’ shows that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.
ALL THAT SHE CARRIED: THE JOURNEY OF ASHLEY’S SACK, A BLACK FAMILY KEEPSAKE by Tiya Miles
The National Book Award for Nonfiction will be presented in 2021 to…
Embroidered with a few words that evoke a sweeping family story of loss and love, Ashley’s Sack sits in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s display case.
Ashley’s mother Rose gave her daughter this sack of valuables as a token of love and to help ensure her own survival in South Carolina in the 1850s. The nine-year-old girl was sold soon after her mother was taken away from her. This family history was embroidered by Ashley’s granddaughter Ruth, who included Rose’s wish that “It be filled with my Love always” on the bag decades later. As a result of the gift Rose gave Ashley, historian Tiya Miles has dug deep into the archives to find these women’s stories and uses artifacts and documents to tell a unique and revelatory history of slavery in the United States, and the uncertain freedom that followed after it was abolished.
CARRY: A MEMOIR OF SURVIVAL ON STOLEN LAND by Toni Jensen
Book Club Selection of the Goop
Toni Jensen’s voice and Carry” need to be heard more often.
The author of There There, Tommy Orange.
When the author recounts her experiences with gun violence, she weaves a powerful, poetic memoir about what it means to be an Indigenous woman in America. Toni Jensen is a brave new voice and a fearless witness to her own difficult past, as well as the violent cultural landscape in which she finds her coordinates, in prose that is both forensic and deeply emotional. Carry keeps reminding us that surviving in one’s home country is not the same as surviving one’s home country.
WHAT WE CARRY: A NOVEL by Kalyn Fogarty
The American Book Festival’s Best Book Award for 2021 has been awarded to
After the author’s own loss and grief inspired this rich and complex novel about how one can overcome tragedy through bravery and self-discovery, fans of Caroline Leavitt are sure to enjoy it. As a result of the author’s own miscarriage and a dearth of books about it, What We Carry is a thought-provoking read for other women in a similar situation.
HANA KHAN CARRIES ON by Uzma Jalaluddin
Recipient of the Best Book Award at the American Book Festival 2021
In Caroline Leavitt’s deep, multifaceted story about how courage and self-discovery may help you overcome catastrophe, born of the author’s personal pain, fans will delight. In response to the author’s personal miscarriage and the dearth of fiction on the subject that she and other women in her circumstances need, What We Carry is a thought-provoking read.
WHAT WE CARRY: A MEMOIR by Maya Shanbhag Lang
Mother of Maya Shanbhag Lang moved to the United States from India and completed her residency while raising her children and maintaining a traditional Indian family. She grew up idolizing her bright mother. Until Maya became a mother herself, Maya’s mother was always there for her. As a result, the parent who had been so capable and attentive abruptly and unexpectedly disappeared. Maya’s mother has Alzheimer’s disease, and Maya is struggling to comprehend this sudden shift in her mother’s behavior while caring for her own young child. What We Carry is an absorbing, compelling, and intimate book about mothers and daughters, falsehoods and truths, getting and providing care, and how we cannot grow up until we comprehend the people who raised us entirely. When we examine the responsibilities we carry as women, this is a great book that explores how to eventually put our worries to rest.
WHAT I CARRY by Jennifer Longo
Robin Benway’s Far from the Tree, a strong and touching young adult novel about a teen girl set to leave foster care: Muir will be out of the system in a year, so she needs to make the most of it. She has to wait another year before she can go home. She has a year to get away from everything and everyone that might go in her way. Francine comes along later. And then there’s Kira. Also, Sean. Everything changes as a result of this.
CARRY ME ACROSS THE WATER: A NOVEL by Ethan Canin
Carry Me Across the Water tells the narrative of a man and his family as they travel through the stormy years of the twentieth century. August Kleinman’s mother’s words—”Take the advise of no one”—fate him to a life of daring and creativity, from the destitute slums of New York City to the marble mansions of industrial Pittsburgh, from old world Hamburg to the jungle islands of the Pacific. It is only in this final chapter, nearing the end of a long and fruitful life, that his closure of an agonizing WWII encounter with a Japanese soldier finally reveals how actual lives really do develop. This “exquisitely modulated short novel” comes from the writer acclaimed as “the most mature and accomplished novelist of his generation” (Alan Cheuse) (Los Angeles Times).