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This month's Midwest Connection Picks

book coverHeartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
Sarah Smarsh

With both personal stories from Sarah Smarsh’s own life and deeply researched socioeconomic analysis on class in America, Heartland illuminates the unseen, unheard realities of the American working class—which over the course of the author’s turbulent upbringing in rural Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s became the American working poor.

book cover

My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love
Dessa Dutton

Ten years ago, a man and his son voyaged into this wilderness and never returned. A decade later, the son, violent and uncommunicative, emerged. Maya Stark, and assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with this boy who refuses to answer any questions about the last ten years of his life. As she’s drawn closer to him, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father.​

bookThe Wildlands
Abbby Geni

When a category 5 tornado ravaged the small town of Mercy, Oklahoma, no family lost more than the McClouds: four siblings left orphaned, their home and farm demolished. Three years later, the family is swept up in tragedy again when the local cosmetics factory is bombed, and the lab animals trapped within are released. The acts of escalating violence that follow trap the “saddest family in Mercy” in the tenuous space between wild and tame, human and animal. 

bookDream Country
Shannon Gibney

Dream Country begins in Minneapolis in 2008 as teenager Kollie Flomo cracks under the strain of life as a Liberian refugee. Frustrated, his parents send him back “home” for reform school. Readers travel back to Liberia, but also back in time, to 1926, where they meet Togar Somah, an indigenous Liberian fleeing forced labor on the plantations of descendants of the African American slaves who colonized Liberia. The story jumps again, back to 1827, to the Wright family, who escape a Virginia plantation for Liberia, where they're promised freedom and self-determination. The Wrights begin their section fleeing the whip and by its close, they are then the ones who wield it. With each new section, the novel uncovers fresh hope and resonating heartbreak, all based on historical fact. 

Some favorite past Midwest Picks

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