Friday Reads: The Sun Does Shine

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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Today’s book is an important one.  The Sun Does Shine:  how I found life and freedom on death row by Anthony Ray Hinton is recommended by reference librarian Kasia Piasecka, an avid reader of true crime and social justice books.

“In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama.  Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.

But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution.  He spent his first three years on death row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence, full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death.  But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but to find a way to live on death row.  For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon, transforming his own spirit and those of his fellow inmates.”  (Excerpted from the publisher’s summary.)

Kasia wrote on her staff pick card: “A powerful story and a call to action. I highly recommend listening to the e-audiobook on Overdrive,” which is narrated by Hinton’s remarkable attorney, Bryan Stevenson.

I am also familiar with Hinton’s story having read about his ordeal with the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club last November in the book Just Mercya story of justice and redemption by the above mentioned attorney Bryan Stevenson.  It is one I won’t soon forget.  Stevenson says in the foreword to The Sun Does Shine: “Mr. Hinton is one of the longest-serving condemned prisoners facing execution in America to be proved innocent and released.  Most of us can’t possibly imagine what it feels like to be arrested, accused of something horrible, imprisoned, wrongly convicted because we don’t have the money needed to defend ourselves, and then condemned to execution.  For most people, it’s simply inconceivable. Yet, it’s important that we understand that it happens in America and that more of us need to do something to prevent it from happening again.”

You can find this book on the Staff Picks shelf.   Also look for Just Mercy in the nonfiction area with the call #353.48 STE.

Photo: April 1, 2018. (courtesy photo) of Anthony Ray Hinton

September 7, 2018

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