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SJP Picks

From an early age, books were my constant companions and my local library a place I could find a new friend on every shelf.
— Sarah Jessica Parker, Honorary Chair for Book Club Central


No One Is Coming To Save Us

By Stephanie Powell Watts

Why I chose this book

No One Is Coming To Save Us marks the arrival of a wonderfully gifted new American writer. JJ, Ava, and Sylvia are easy characters to fall in love with, and Stephanie Powell Watts brings them to life with warmth and generosity. I can't wait to share their story, their search for fulfillment and attempts to better understand their past and shape their future, with readers everywhere and I'm jealous of all who will open to page 1 for the first time.

Ecco Books, an imprint of HarperCollins (visit website)

Booklist Review

Watts, author of a short-story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need (2011), and winner of a Whiting Award and an Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, explores The Great Gatsby’s themes of yearning, loss, hope, and disillusion in her powerhouse debut novel. Set in today’s South and delving into African American family life, the story primarily focuses on Sylvia, a middle-aged mother, and Ava, her thirtysomething daughter. They live in the same house and occupy complicated marriages that reveal both the tenuous and tenacious bonds of love. Other life-weary, imperfect characters reflect the economically depressed, near-ghost town, which somehow beckons Gatsbyesque JJ (now Jay), to return with his accumulated wealth and dreams of recapturing the best of his past. Watts’ lyrical writing and seamless floating between characters’ viewpoints make for a harmonious narrative chorus. This feels like an important, largely missing part of our ongoing American story. Ultimately, Watts offers a human tale of resilience and the universally understood drive to hang on and do whatever it takes to save oneself.— Janet St. John

About the Author

Stephanie Powell Watts is an associate professor of English at Lehigh University, and has won numerous awards, including a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Southern Women’s Writers Award for Emerging Writer of the Year. She is the author of the short story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need.

Stephanie Powell Watts


Screenshot from HBO series The Deuce

Nonfiction Starter Pack: THE DEUCE

September 19, 2017

The Deuce premiered on HBO two weeks ahead of schedule. In its first episode, David Simon’s series-length paean to Times Square recreated 70s New York in all its grimy glory, with an ensemble of prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, cops, and James Franco, who plays twins. The show has done nothing to change my opinion that the 70s were…

Book covers: A Man Called Ove, Evicted, The Nest, To the Bright Edge of the World, Hidden Figures

Good Books for Book Groups: Bring Your Own Book

August 17, 2017

Every year, area clubs invariably ask us to suggest short books for holiday reading. There are many such titles, of course, but it can be hard, at this time of year, for members to get copies of holiday titles when they need them. But there are ways to work around the holiday crush. Some book clubs in our area have each…


Award-winning actor, producer, designer, library supporter and avid reader Sarah Jessica Parker is the honorary chair for Book Club Central. In this role, Ms. Parker will select books throughout the year to share her joy of reading and discussing good books with readers everywhere.


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