Not the Typical Self-Improvement Book

This is how: proven aid in overcoming shyness, molestation, fatness, spinsterhood, grief, disease, lushery, decrepitude & more — for young and old alike by Augusten Burroughs — According to Amazon.com reviewer Mari Malcolm: In writing and in life, Augusten Burroughs has repeatedly summoned the courage to grab the wolves of his past by their foaming muzzles and peer into their wild eyes until he owns them — and because of this, he's survived nearly every horrific experience a person in a modern-day, first-world country could face and emerged as an astonishingly well-adjusted person. After turning his profoundly messed-up early life and its alcoholic aftermath into six harrowing, uplifting memoirs — including Running with Scissors and Dry — Burroughs lost interest in writing about himself. He kept meeting people who were locked in the same struggles he’d overcome and decided they needed to know they had options for fixing their lives. In This Is How, Burroughs delivers prescriptions for handling life's most pernicious problems. Don't let the snake-oil-salesmannish title put you off: this is raw, hard-knock-life advice, veering from brutal to hilarious to deeply compassionate.

Lunch & a Book — June 2012

On Thursday June 14 at noon we'll be discussing:

Blood, bones, & butter: the inadvertent education of a reluctant chef by Gabrielle Hamilton. Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Above all she sought family, particularly the thrill and the magnificence of the one from her childhood that, in her adult years, eluded her. Blood, Bones & Butter is an unflinching and lyrical work.

A small book that packs a punch

The sense of an ending by Julian Barnes — According to Heller McAlpin, "Julian Barnes has finally won a Man Booker Prize, and I'm glad it's for The Sense of an Ending, his elegant, deceptively simple, quietly devastating moral tale about the self-serving vagaries of memory over time. Taking its title from Frank Kermode's 1967 critical study of the relationship of endings in fiction to apocalypse and death, this compact, multilayered story is the kind of book that bears re-reading. Barnes' unreliable narrator is a man in his 60s who comes into a small inheritance that causes him to reconsider the bitter aftermath of a miserable college romance and his role in a brilliant boyhood friend's unhappy demise — which leads to a serious revision of the life story he has always told himself. Like the best of Philip Roth's late cycle of nemesis novels, this mature work tackles big ethical issues in a slim, carefully plotted, wholly absorbing narrative."

If You Like "Their Eyes were Watching God"

the classic novel by Zora Neal Hurston, you might also like to try some of these titles that have similar plot elements or characteristics:

Best kept secrets by Rochelle Alers

A dark and lonely place by Edna Buchanan

Southern discomfort by Rita Mae Brown

The widow's war by Sally Gunning

Beloved: a novel by Toni Morrison

Special Book Discussion of Waterland by Graham Swift

To foster a sense of community and provide an opportunity for calm conversation, the Canton Public Library will host a book discussion for two book titles whose inclusion in the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools AP curriculum was recently challenged. The second discussion will be Tuesday, March 27th at 7:00 PM and we will be discussing:

Waterland by Graham Swift — Set in the bleak Fen Country of East Anglia, England and spanning some 240 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a book that takes in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the heartless sweep of history and a family romance as tormented as any in Greek tragedy. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Waterland, like the Hardy novels, carries with all else a profound knowledge of a people, a place, and their interweaving… Swift tells his tale with wonderful contemporary verve and verbal felicity… A fine and original work."

Special Book Discussion of Beloved by Toni Morrison

To Foster a sense of community and provide an opportunity for calm conversation, the Canton Public Library will host a book discussion for two book titles whose inclusion in the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools AP curriculum was recently challenged. The first discussion will be Monday, February 27th at 7:00 PM and we will be discussing:

Beloved: a novel by Toni Morrison — According to the publisher, Random House, the book can be described as "Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history in a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with the bitter poetry and suspense as taut as rope, Beloved is a towering achievement."

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