When Jodi Linder was three, the unbearable happened. As told in Nancy Pickard's The Scent of Rain and Lightning, one Saturday night, her father was murdered and her mother disappeared. Jodi grew up in the small town of Rose, Kansas, wrapped in the fierce protective circle of her three uncles, safe and cherished, but distrustful of happiness.
When Jodi Linder was 26, the unthinkable happens. Billy Crosby, the man convicted of killing her father, has been released from prison and returns to Rose, loudly protesting his innocence of the murder. In a small town, it’s hard to keep your distance from anyone, and Jodi finds that she starts to run into Billy’s son Collin just about everywhere. Collin is a lawyer who wants to live peacefully in Rose and wants to prove his father’s innocence.
Harley Day was a mean, shiftless, good-for-nothing drunk. He regularly beat up on his wife and kids. So when he was found frozen to death in a snowbank outside his house, no one seemed to mourn. After all, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming—which is the title of the first Alafair Tucker mystery, by Donis Casey.
Set in 1912, this book introduces Alafair Tucker, who lives with her husband and nine children on the Oklahoma frontier. It's an interesting look at frontier life at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the details seem so modern, but much of the day-to-day life for a frontier ranching family seems like unbelievable deprivation and hardship 100 years on.
A small boy found a jersey with a lightning bolt on the front hanging in the basement rafters. With this jersey, he was transformed into The Thunderbolt Kid. Like other superheroes, The Thunderbolt Kid could leap tall buildings with a single bound and do other daring deeds that kept the World Safe For Democracy. But The Thunderbolt Kid could also vanquish idiots with a single blazing thought.
Bill Bryson was born in the middle of the century (1951), in the middle of the country (Des Moines, Iowa), in the middle of the Baby Boomers. But before he was The Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson was – a paperboy.
Bryson has also written many seriously funny travel memoirs. A Walk in the Woods is a personal favorite, but all of his works are enjoyable. In a Sunburned Country has Bryson traveling to Australia, a country that “has more things that will kill you than anywhere else,” and I’m a Stranger Here Myself, where Bryson returns to America after living in Europe for 20 years.
Did you keep a diary as a teenager? I did, and I remember it being an absolute roller coaster between exhilaration and despair. And glitter ink. Lots and lots of glitter ink! Luckily, my teenage diary did not survive to the 21st century. Carrie Fisher’s did, though. In 1976, she was just turning 19 and cast as Princess Leia in a low-budget movie called Star Wars. Her notebooks from that time—on and off-set—not only reveal a teenager with a crush on her co-star but an almost anthropological look back at a time long ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Her teenage thoughts are even more poignant after her unexpected death last December.
This review was published in Sightlines, CRRL's Assistive Services newsletter.
Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. (catalog summary)
Have you met Fiona, the baby hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo on January 24? She was six weeks premature, and her survival was uncertain. She has quickly grown from an adorable pink blob to a big, healthy teenager. Her father Henry sadly passed away in October. Watching the zoo's regular video updates has kept me glued to my computer. Who knew I could love a baby hippo?
In 1914, Constance Kopp and her sisters were in a horse-drawn cart that was hit by an automobile driven by the son of a wealthy factory owner. When he refuses to pay damages, Constance decides to … make him pay. His efforts to get Constance to stand down include harassment, intimidation, and very real threats of violence. But nothing he does will make Constance give up her quest for what she is rightfully owed.
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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
This book takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale perfectly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned 'fun home,' as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphics, and redemptive. (catalog summary)
If you like Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, check out these similar titles.
Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges
When Nicole Georges was two years old, her family told her that her father was dead. When she was twenty-three, a psychic told her he was alive. Her sister, saddled with guilt, admits that the psychic is right and that the whole family has conspired to keep him a secret. Sent into a tailspin about her identity, Nicole turns to radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger for advice. Calling Dr. Laura tells the story of what happens to you when you are raised in a family of secrets, and what happens to your brain (and heart) when you learn the truth from an unlikely source. (catalog summary)
1866. The signs say Le Cirque des Reves—The Circus of Dreams. The circus appears with no warning. The tents are black and white, with a little grey and silver. It is quiet. It opens at nightfall and closes at dawn.
It has a midway and death-defying spectacles. There are rival magicians—Celia and Marco. They have been pitted against each other since before they were born. Under the cold and glittering lights, they perform, outdoing each other in feats of magic and wonder. Impossibly, improbably, but oh, oh-so inevitably—they fall in love.
Can their magic encompass their love? Can their love survive The Night Circus?
You want adult books that have the same feeling as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. You like the nonsensical bits, the otherworldly settings, and Alice with her curiosity and sense of adventure.