Summer Reading: Mary Crauderueff

The Quaker Collections curator offers suggestions of three books (and one movie) to check out this summer.

Summer Reading is a series that asks Haverford’s librarians and library staff for book recommendations that will enlighten, entertain, and educate you during this vacation season. Take these titles to the beach, on a plane, or just enjoy them indoors with the fan on.

This week: Quaker Collections Curator (and obvious Daily Show fan) Mary Crauderueff suggests three books (and one movie), exploring Quaker and/or social justice themes:


Born a Crime by Trevor Noah:

You probably know him from The Daily Show, but Trevor Noah has been a stand-up comedian since his teens. Noah was born into and grew up in South African apartheid, and this memoir gives insight into one person’s experience of what it was like. It’s imbued with Trevor’s typical humor, but shows the struggles and hardships he went through growing up. It is especially powerful to hear about apartheid from someone in my peer age group.

The Quaker Cafe by Brenda Bevan Remmes:

This is a light-hearted novel that made me laugh out loud and talk back to the characters: “Why would you do that!?” I’m a fan of novels with Quaker characters, and I really appreciated the way that the main character, Liz Hoole, describes the often quirky things about Quakerism. I enjoyed the community of characters so much that I’ve already picked up the sequel, Home to Cedar Branch.

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson:

This is a two-in-one recommendation: first, this book, second, the podcast that Robinson does with former Daily Show senior correspondent Jessica Williams, 2 Dope Queens. One of the reasons why I loved You Can’t Touch My Hair is because as a white cisgender queer woman I am constantly looking for more resources to help me dismantle white supremacy and patriarchy. Robinson cuts right through to talking about racism and feminism in a way that was engaging and powerful. 2 Dope Queens is a great podcast [during which] Williams and Robinson bring their full selves, making you laugh either because they are hysterical together, or because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

 Transfigurations – Transgressing Gender in the Bible by Peterson Toscano:

Ok, ok, this isn’t a book, it’s a movie! Toscano, a Quaker, was the Friend in Residence at Haverford in spring 2013. He presented Transfigurations during that week, but if you missed it, now’s your opportunity to see this powerful movie. Where else can you hear about the gender-bending characters in the Bible? Peterson’s biblical scholarship gives credibility to the idea that the characters we know in the Bible are not always as they seem.

Photo by Patrick Montero