When the going gets tough. . .

24 11 2008

Wow, you think you have it rough? Apparently, when times are tough readers seem to enjoy books about adversity. At least that’s Erica S. Perl’s thinking. She’s the author of a recent article on slate.com about books to read in a financial downturn.

There are plenty of great ones, including

Bucking the Sarge, by Christopher Paul Curtis

Luther’s mother is a major scam artist who doesn’t mind dumping on her son or the indigents she is supposed to be caring for. Sad and funny, with memorable characters.

Lock and Key, by Sarah Dessen

Ruby’s alcoholic mother abandons her, and she winds up living with a married sister whom Ruby thinks also turned her back on her. Will she fit in to her new, upscale environment? Does being rich make you happy? Are outward appearances always true?

Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson

An edgier “Little House on the Prairie”. . .Hattie is an orphan who nobody seems to want. When she inherits a homestead in Montana, she finds that her hitherto miserable life was nothing compared to the struggle she faces to hang on to her property. This may sound like a dull book, but Hattie’s battles with blizzards, wolves, and racists will keep you turning pages ’til the bitter end.

Brooklyn Bridge, by Karen Hesse

Joseph Michtom (rhymes with “victim“) should be happy–his family is no longer destitute since they’ve invented and begun manufacturing Teddy Bears. But life in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn is still plenty difficult for immigrants, and especially for those orphaned and abandoned children who live underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Find out how their tormented lives intersect with Joseph’s in this fast-reading novel.

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

What, you haven’t read it? What are you waiting for? This is a classic tale of a family’s struggle to survive during the Great Depression.

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

This classic about a poor immigrant’s struggle to make a living in the meat-packing plants and stockyards of Chicago was an early wake-up call about unfair and dangerous working conditions. Graphic descriptions of the conditions under which its foods were being produced outraged Americans, who hastened to enact legislation that ensured safer foods, but not better conditions for the workers producing them. The author claimed that he had aimed at people’s hearts, but instead hit them in the stomach.

I Am the Messenger, by M. Zusak

An Australian teen helps thwart a bank robbery and then begins to receive mysterious messages about people he is supposed to help. To get the full impact of this Australian tale, try listening to the book on CD.

Need more recommendations for good reads? Come in and chat with a librarian! Remember, we’ve got movies, magazines, and manga to keep you going through the holidays!


November Coffee House: Coming right up!

12 11 2008

Don’t forget about the November coffee house/open mike night, scheduled for Thursday, November 20 at 7 p.m. Remember, you don’t have to perform to attend! Board games and refreshments will be available for those who’d rather just hang out. Questions? Call Jennifer Gillis@ (919) 774-6045.

Oh, and there’s no admission fee. . .no need to pre-register. . .just show up! See you on the 20th!