Staff Picks: Books
Staff-recommended reading from the
When Saroo was five years old, he became separated from his older brother and lost on a train in India that took him about a thousand miles from his small village. With a limited vocabulary making it difficult to properly communicate who he was and where he was from, and unable to trust most people he encountered, he spent several weeks surviving on the streets of Calcutta alone, until he eventually landed in an orphanage and was adopted by a family in Australia. Twenty-five years later, studying satellite images on Google Earth, he was able to locate his village. Saroo Brierley’s biography A Long Way Home begins with Saroo returning to his small village for the first time since he was lost as a small child, finding his tiny former home, and asking current neighbors if anyone knows his mother, brothers, or sister. Then a man says, "Come with me. I'm going to take you to your mother."
I don't know yet exactly how his story ends, as I am only halfway through the book. I am almost to the photo spread in the center of the book and I must admit I have peeked ahead. I am completely engrossed in this book and can't wait to finish it. It is just an astounding story.
A long way home
I am not much of a laugh-out-louder, but I found myself
doubled-over with tears in my eyes more than once while reading This is
ridiculous, this is amazing : parenthood in 71 lists by comedic blogger Jason
Good, of JasonGood.net. Here Good compiles lists that many parents can relate
to, including “Reasons your toddler might be freaking out” (he jumped off the
sofa and we weren’t watching) and my personal favorite, “Oh, the new and
wonderful new things you’ll get to do” (put someone in a Bob the Builder
costume while fighting off diarrhea). There are actually some good tips that
can be gleaned from several of his lists, like “Games you can play while lying
down,” which if done correctly, will allow you to catch a quick nap (Put all
the sunglasses and hats on Daddy) (Put Daddy in ‘sofa jail’) (Vacuum Daddy). I
can particularly relate to the list “Love hurts : especially my shoulder” where
Good details various injuries he’s sustained playing with and chasing around
kids…brought me back to two summers ago when I injured my knee jumping on a
trampoline with my daughter, then re-injured it a few months later while doing
a side slide on the kitchen floor to Don’t stop believin’. I was forced to wear
a knee brace for four months until the knee finally healed. Ahhhhh…parenthood
has its struggles. But thanks, Jason Good, for making me see the humor in them.
This is ridiculous, this is amazing
The book Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala is the London survivor's account of the Indian Ocean Tsunami that struck the day after Christmas while her family was vacationing in her native Sri Lanka in 2004. Sonali lost her husband, both precious young sons, both parents, and good friend in an instant as they were swept away, trying to escape the monstrous wave that suddenly engulfed their coastal hotel on an otherwise calm, sunny morning. Sonali, swept inland and back out again by the wave, eventually clung to a branch and survived. The book starts off with these horrifying events, then plunges into the agony and despair that is the new reality for Sonali. Numbing alcohol, wanting to die, guilt, blame, anger. As she tells the story of years leading up to the devastation, she memorializes the love of of her life, Steve, and his mouth-watering cooking, 8 year-old Vik who played cricket, 5 year-old Malli who put on shows with puppets and costumes, and long holidays with her parents Aachchi and Seeya at Sonali's childhood home in Colombo. This book is a sad, sad book...but it is also a beautiful love story.
“Chile’, don’t worry bout other people, ‘cause they probably just jealous.”
“Yo chile is yo first priority, cause cherin don’t ask to be born.”
“If somebody don’t want to be bothed wit you, just leave em lone.”
If you see the wisdom in these quotes as I do, then you will absolutely LOVE the book What Mama Said, which is a collection of quotations from 78 year old Albion woman Willie Jewel Peterson, compiled with love by her daughter, Gladys Seedorf of Battle Creek. The book also provides a fascinating and inspiring biography of Willie, who grew up one of 14 children working on her family’s farm in Greenville, Alabama, and due to farm obligations, was not able to go to school past 6th grade. She raised a family while working hard her whole life and upon retirement at age 65, she completed her G.E.D. This book is chock full of self-help advice that Willie gave her daughter over the years, written in the same vernacular that Willie spoke to keep it authentic…common-sense, hilarious, and absolutely spot-on. I hope this book hits it big!
Here is a great article about the book, its author, and subject, from Chuck Carlson of the Battle Creek Enquirer.
What mama said
The book A summer to die is one of KPL’s oldest titles by popular young adult author Lois Lowry. I read this book as a teen in the 80s, re-read when I worked in a school library, and now read for a 3rd time before I placed it on KPL’s new “I geek teen books” display, geared for not just teens. This book follows an unforgettable year in the life of 13 year old Meg, beginning when her family moves to the country so her college professor father can finish the book he’s been working on. As the harsh Maine winter turns into spring and then a flower-filled summer at their 1840s country rental house, Meg watches her beautiful older sister, Molly, wither away and eventually succumb to a mysterious disease that causes frequent nosebleeds. With Molly’s illness never fading from the foreground, Meg develops friendships with her few neighbors while following her passion for photography…photographing her elderly neighbor, Will, the home childbirth of her neighbors Ben and Maria, and the last pictures of her sister Molly.
Look for this book and lots of other great teen/adult crossover books in our new “I geek teen books” display – located near the self-checkouts at Central library.
A summer to die