Twelve days into 2017: long enough to consider resolutions passé but not yet time to give up hope for improvements. It’s an aging new year we’re facing. As we multitask to juggle our goals and lives, we’re craning to peer forward, straining to glimpse sight of our hopes and to spark brief touches with our dreams. We aspire. We break. We fix. We try, and we fail. We try harder.
“Simplicity is making the journey of life with just baggage enough.” Mark Twain’s colleague and collaborator, Charles Dudley Warner, who also quipped, “Politics makes strange bedfellows,” penned this quote. Mr. Warner, I welcome you to the 21st century.
In our quest to find the right gift, the perfect recipe, the real story, the next great new thing, how often do we pile on the baggage without appreciating the moment and the strange bedfellows we encounter?
Here at the library we work very hard, every day, to make an effective and sustainable, appealing, easier-to-use and easier-to-run organization. With a friendly smile, a kind word, and authentic, trustworthy information, we serve the community by being solid and reliable even as we innovate and upgrade our building and our services. We’re readers and learners, and we engage with the world by exploring life’s questions as we read, debate, listen, watch and discuss. Through reading, we savor characters’ strengths and foibles, learning through experiences outside of our own lives. We love to share our staff picks and what we are learning every day; this is why we’re here.
My new year’s reading features an assortment of strange bedfellows. I recommend these books for the perspectives they each share and lessons they have taught me about the world.
Set in London, Boston, upstate New York, Maine and rural Georgia, these are poignant and complicated family stories, laced with struggle and contradictions. Loss, identity and change factor into each. There’s a lively quotient of screwball characters and bad behavior. Unraveling is balanced with insight.
“Swing Time” – Zadie Smith
“The Boston Girl“- Anita Diamant
“Everybody’s Fool“- Richard Russo
“Imagine Me Gone” – Adam Haslett
“Blood at the Root” – Patrick Phillips
In this particular season of change, let us bring grace and simplicity to the baggage we’re carrying with us.
Thanks to Abrah Griggs for the wonderful accompanying illustration.