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Earlier this month I made a goal to try to read at least one book per month. Actually, I made the decision as a result of this post because, as I was going through my reading list, I realized a lot of my book choices were dated. Not that literature ever goes out of style, but that I came to realization that I haven’t really read anything current and that bothered me. So I did a search for online book groups, because accountability, and I found that the Good Morning America Book Club is reading The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. A book about a librarian and a Black librarian at that? Yeah, I decided to make this my first read. I’ll post a few “bookstagram” pictures at my literary Instagram account so I can discuss with the GMA Book Club on Instagram. The goal, because accountability, is to announce my current read at the beginning of the month and share my review at the end of the month.
DESCRIPTION FROM THE BACK OF THE BOOK
A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict, and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.
In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps create a world-class collection.
But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white—her complexion is dark because she is African American.
The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to—for the protection of her family and her legacy—to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.
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