Beacon Books at Audible: Without a Map by Meredith Hall
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

Beacon Buzz: Prairie Silence, women in the military, and more!

Notable Mentions

HOFFERT-PrairieSilencePrairie Silence: A Memoir by Melanie Hoffert

An essay by Melanie Hoffert in Huffington Post Religion: "The Reason Nice Wyoming Knights of Columbus Members Terrify Me"

"Grandpa wants you honey." This is my mom now, coming up the stairs and repeating his wish. I take a deep breath, grab a coffee pot and descend slowly. When I hit the bottom stair, Grandpa motions me near and uses all of his energy to force, in a barely audible voice, these words: "This is my granddaughter, the one who wrote a book."

The book. My book. My soon-to-be published memoir. I become light headed as I feel the eyes of the praying, faithful, God-centered men on me. And while I should beam from Grandpa's pride, I don't. Instead, I pretend I don't hear him. I move into the circle of men, pour coffee and speak loudly about nothing before they can ask me questions. I do this because my book is about the thing I have learned does not go with religion: me. And to talk about my book would reveal what I believe they will reject: gay. In his weakened state Grandpa can't compete with my flurry of distraction, so he closes his eyes and fades away. 

A feature in the Grand Forks Herald explores Hoffert's life in North Dakota, her writing process, and coming out in a small town. 

Listen to the author on Hear It Now/Prairie Public Radio.


6149The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq by Helen Benedict

Helen Benedict wrote this op-ed about the end of the ban on women in ground combat:

The Pentagon's announcement this week that it will lift the ban on women in ground combat positions is welcome news to many of those who value equal rights. But it is also an urgent reminder that sexual assault remains a blight on our armed forces that only constant, sincere efforts will erase.

As a writer who has been interviewing female veterans for many years, I have long argued that lifting the ground combat ban would help military women win the respect they deserve. As long as women were officially prohibited from engaging in that essential act of a soldier - fighting - they were seen as second-class. And that has contributed to the violence, predation, and harassment so many military women endure.

The ground combat barrier is gone now, but the attitudes that sprung from it will not disappear so easily. Plenty of military men will decry this decision and resent the women who wish to fight by their sides. Some will be angered, insisting that their female comrades endanger them - an assertion often made but never demonstrated. And some will express their anger with violence. [Read the rest here]

Helen Benedict was also quoted in these articles about the lifting of the combat ban and ROTC on campus at Columbia, and she was the recipient of the Ida B. Wells award for Bravery in Journalism

Benedict appears in the Oscar-nominated documentary The Invisible War


0177Divided we Fail: The Story of an African American Community that Ended the Era of School Desegregation by Sarah Garland

Seattle Times review:
Journalist Sarah Garland grew up in Louisville. Day after day, she left her mostly Caucasian suburban neighborhood on a school bus taking her to a mostly African-American neighborhood, where she became a student in a racial minority. Her experience long ago played a role in her decision to write “Divided We Fail,” which covers the case that found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. So did the experience of Garland’s grandmother, an Oklahoma teacher who volunteered to join the initial group of Caucasian educators transferred to an all African-American school, where she remained until retirement. Garland relates how her own mother became a social worker splitting time between a mostly African-American school and a mostly Caucasian school in Louisville. Garland’s mother “witnessed firsthand the upheaval and violence that busing wrought in its early years.”


Family Pride: What LGBT Families Should Know about Navigating Home, School, and Safety in Their Neighborhoods by Michael Shelton

Philadelphia Weekly blog PhillyNow Q&A with author Michael Shelton


Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious
 by Chris Stedman

“Commentary” by Chris posted on

Interview with NPR's Interfaith Voices

Montana State University's newspaper, Exponent, produced a video about Stedman’s recent visit to the school