Two Big Books

A line drawing in yellow depicts an old-fashioned square microphone and a bed. Black lettering says, "Gmorning, Gnight! Little pepe talks for me & you"

By Cherise T.

What fits in your pocket, can be read in short bursts, and explodes with wisdom and inspiration? Gmorning, Gnight!: little pep talks for me & you and Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. These can be challenging times for mustering emotional strength and sustaining a prolonged attention span. In terms of meeting these challenges, both are big books. 

Fans of Hamilton may recognize the author of Gmorning, Gnight, Lin-Manuel Miranda. With more than three million followers on Twitter, Miranda inspired many fans with his brief awakening and bedtime messages. He joined forces with illustrator Johnny Sun to publish this volume of spirit-raising tweets. Miranda wisdom includes, “Gmorning! No exact recipe for today. Gather all available ingredients and whip yourself up something delicious,” and “Gnight. Don’t wait until low power mode. Close your eyes. Close all unnecessary apps. Recharge.” A theater person with universal appeal, Miranda and his notes are irresistible. “Good night. You are perfectly cast in your life. And with so little rehearsal too! It’s a joy to watch. Thank you.” This title is available at HCLS also as a print book in Spanish, as an eBook in Libby/Overdrive and as an eAudiobook narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. 

A salmony-pink cover has simple black types and grey lines

Keep Moving grew out of a series of social media posts by the poet Maggie Smith. Smith was struggling with personal and professional self-doubt during the collapse of her marriage and subsequent divorce. She thought readers might find her journey significant to their own lives. “Keep moving” was her daily admonition and cheer to herself, and because her messages resonated, the number of her Instagram and Twitter followers grew exponentially, hence the idea to create a book.  It is available through HCLS in hardcover and in Overdrive as both an eBook and an eAudiobook read by the author.  

Smith gained international attention with her poem, “Good Bones.” Written in 2015, the poem was not published until the week of the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016. Readers connected deeply with the poem in the aftermath of that tragic event. Because of how widely it was shared, “Good Bones” was often referred to as the poem of 2016, and it was later published in a book of the same name. The poem’s popularity surges again during times of crisis, such as the current pandemic. It begins: 

Life is short, though I keep this from my children. 
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine 
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways, 
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways 
I’ll keep from my children. 

The short notes and essays in Keep Moving reverberate with sorrow, joy, empathy, and fortitude. The author conveys that she’s with the reader struggling to start her day and she’s not going to leave that person behind. Together, Smith and her readers will find a way to persevere and grow. “Trust that everything will be okay, but that doesn’t mean that everything will be restored. Start making yourself at home in your life as it is. Look around and look ahead. KEEP MOVING.” 

Cherise Tasker is an Adult Instructor and Research Specialist at the Central Branch. When not immersed in literary fiction, Cherise can be found singing along to musical theater soundtracks. 

Everything Hamilton

Antique paper background with black image of heroic figure pointing to the sky from on top of a star.

Review by Cherise T.

Alexander Hamilton.

My name is Alexander Hamilton.

And there’s a million things I haven’t done

But just you wait, just you wait…

If this stanza makes your heart beat faster or maybe even brings tears to your eyes, then Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, is the book for you. “Splurge” and download the audiobook as well since Mariska Hargitay’s narration is outstanding. Like the musical itself, words come at the reader fast, and it’s an adventure deciding where to plunge in first. The text, the personal side notations, the primary source materials, and the graphics are a treasure and a joy. The libretto alone would fill a Hamilton fan’s heart, but the book also includes an abundance of stories about the creation of all aspects of the musical. We see the development of the show from the perspectives of creatives and cast members. The vintage-style photographs of the cast taken by Josh Lehrer using a camera lens from the mid-1800s are gorgeous. The book is a celebration of the full arc of the production’s evolution, from Lin’s first rap for the Obamas in 2009 at the White House, through the off-Broadway production, and all the way to opening night on Broadway in 2015. There’s nothing like being in the room where it happens.

On July 13 at 7 pm, author Richard Bell is going to discuss some of the history surrounding Alexander Hamilton. Register with an email address to receive an immediate registration confirmation. You will receive the link to the online class in the confirmation email. If you prefer to call in by phone, please register for the class online, then email askhcls@hclibrary.org to request the dial-in information at least 1 business day in advance.

With Disney+ streaming Hamilton this July, University of Maryland Associate Professor of History Dr. Bell explores this musical phenomenon. He discusses what this amazing musical gets right and gets wrong about Hamilton, the American Revolution, the birth of the United Sates, and about why all that matters. It includes an examination of the choices Hamilton’s creators made to simplify, dramatize, and humanize the complicated historical events and stories. We will also talk about Hamilton’s cultural impact: what does its runaway success reveal about the stories we tell each other about who we are and about the nation we made?

Dr. Bell is the author of Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped Into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home. The book tells the gripping and true story about five boys who were kidnapped in the North and smuggled into slavery in the Deep South – and their daring attempt to escape and bring their captors to justice. The book is available to borrow as a physical book and as an eAudiobook via Overdrive/Libby.

Cherise T. is an Adult Instructor and Research Specialist at the Central Branch. When not immersed in literary fiction, Cherise can be found singing along to musical theater soundtracks.