Our reading suggestions this week come from the category of biography and memoir, and they range from classics to current bestsellers. All of them allow us to look into the lives of others. In their stories, we may find inspiration and humor, cautionary tales and sorrow, life lessons and new insights. This week's recommendations come from library staff members:
"Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. From Publishers Weekly: "In the summer of 1995, at age 26 and feeling at the end of her rope emotionally, Strayed resolved to hike solo the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,663-mile wilderness route stretching from the Mexican border to the Canadian and traversing nine mountain ranges and three states. In this detailed, in-the-moment re-enactment, she delineates the travails and triumphs of those three grueling months."
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou. From Publishers Weekly: "Like a modern-day Kahlil Gibran, Angelou offers insights on a wide range of topics -- Africa, aging, self-reflection, independence and the importance of understanding both the historical truth of the African American experience and the art that truth inspired."
"Just Kids" by Patti Smith. Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for nonfiction. Before Patti Smith became a punk rock star, before Robert Mapplethorpe became a famous artist, they were just kids, immersing themselves in the culture of New York in 1969 and a community of influential artists and colorful characters. Their commitment to one another helped them survive the lean years, fueled their dreams and shaped their artistic vision.
"This Life Is in Your Hands" by Melissa Coleman. In the fall of 1968, Melissa Coleman's parents pack their VW truck and set out to forge a new existence on a rugged coastal homestead. Inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of the homesteading bible "Living the Good Life," Eliot and Sue build their own home by hand, live off the crops they grow, and establish a happy family with Melissa and her two sisters. They also attract national media and become icons of the back-to-the-land farming movement, but the pursuit of a purer, simpler life comes at a price.
Looking for more ideas? The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list has been a treasure trove of biography and memoir lately, from Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs to rocker Gregg Allman's autobiography "My Cross to Bear." Browse through the new biography and nonfiction in the Fireplace Room, or visit the biography section on the second floor.
And while you're at the library choosing books, make sure you pick up a brochure with all of the details on our adult summer reading program, "Between the Covers." We're offering you a chance to win prizes - weekly prizes and a grand prize at the end of the summer. All you need to do is fill out a Between the Covers entry form every time you read a book or listen to an audiobook, then hand it in at the Main Desk. Turn in your entry by 6 p.m. each Friday, July 13 through Aug. 31, to be eligible for the weekly drawing. All entries in the weekly drawing will be entered in the grand prize drawing.