Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Three Books: A Community, A Castle and a Couch

NPR has a great new series called "Three Books ..." where they invite writers to recommend “three great reads on a single theme”. I'm fairly certain NPR has no idea who I am, let alone wants to invite me to comment on their series. But that doesn’t stop me from commenting here. So I present my first in a series of triplet recommendations, and heartily invite you to join me by leaving a comment with a link to your post. It’s time for 3 Books....


Last winter I found myself unwittingly addicted to Memoirs of Poignantly-Dysfunctional-Yet-Hopeful-and-Sometimes-Humorous Families. I love fiction and typically loathe (read: rarely start and never finish) its didactic shelf-mate, non-fiction. So it came as a complete shocker that I was not only reading but LOVING these three memoirs (largely, I think, because they read like fiction, but ultimately, I concede, because they are TRUE STORIES).

My addiction started with A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel. Began as a series of personal essays, Zippy ultimately paints a wonderful picture of small-town life and real-time love in a family that would NEVER make the glossy pages of Family Circle. It is at times laugh-out-loud hilarious, but also poignantly honest and insightful.

After that I got hooked on The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It had me as soon as I read this sentence: "I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster." An amazing story of benign neglect and tragic circumstances that is surprisingly not depressing. The kids triumph under the bleakest conditions, and never doubt their parents’ love, despite their failed intentions.

And finally, the sequel to Zippy: She Got Up Off The Couch, where Zippy’s mom stops watching t.v. and eating pork-rinds, conquers depression, goes to college, and as a result becomes a heroic non-victim of her own tragic marriage.

The world needs more stories like this – True accounts of everyday heroes fighting personal demons with daily decisions...and coming out on top.

10 comments:

Brillig said...

YOU NEED TO STOP RECOMMENDING BOOKS TO ME! Whew, now that I got that off my chest, I'll just say that NPR should TOTALLY hire you...

Luann said...

I've read "Zippy", and I loved it. I agree that it was so very hilarious and poignant. Zippy reminded me of my cousin with whom I spent a lot of time as a child. She lived in a tiny little Kansas town. For me, the nostalgia added a lot to the read. I haven't gotten to the sequel about her mom yet, but it's on my list.

This Three Books idea is a good one. Thanks for the post!

breckster said...

A friend just showed me how to use the library system, you wouldn't think someone would have to show me how to do it, but everything is difficult here. Anyway, I'm glad to know what I should "order."

Kimberly said...

Brillig stole my comment. I am pouting now.

heather said...

You have great taste in books. Is it self-centered to say that simply because I love the Glass Castle and have zippy sitting on the shelf waiting to be read. So OF COURSE I think you have great taste! :)
Secondly,
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the posts you shared (where we have the mulling over perfectionist parenting thing in common). THANK YOU for sharing them.
You are a gifted lady. I love how you think and how you express it. I'm so glad I've bumped into the likes of you.
Who do I have to thank for connecting me with all these great women? Might it be that Kimberly lady? I love it.

Tammy Lorna said...

Hi!

I just followed the link from Brecken's blog :) It's great to catch up on your life a little!

Say hi to your wonderful husband and family for me - I'm busy working in Australia :)

xo Tammy

Kazzy said...

Been a bit out of touch this week, so I am glad I didn't miss this post. I would say "A Story Like the Wind", "Out of Africa", and "Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight." A good triptych about Africa. "Wind" is a work of pure fiction takes place in Angola, I think. "Out of Africa" is based on a true story and set in the high plains of Kenya, and "Dogs" is a memoir set in Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe. Along with covering various areas of southern Africa, the styles are interesting in these books, and being that I have a vested interest in this continent I enjoyed them tremendously.

charrette said...

I have never read any of these. My only ventures into literature about Africa are Cry the Beloved Country and The Ladies No.1 Detective Agency, both of which I loved! I trust your recommendations, so I'm going to add these to my list.

Dolly said...

I love The Glass Castle!!! I bought it for my sister for her birthday-we talk about it all the time, because it so reminds us of our parents growing up. My dad has a great job-but continually told us "Two more weeks" till his oil wells would come in :) My parents are both very hard workers-they just have a different way of spending money-than most people!

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

I read the first two and loved them, too. Don't know how I'm going to get to the last (just too many books in my pile, and school starts in three weeks!)