Some books are so popular they never get a chance to sit on the shelf at the library, and each year there seems to be one or two books that achieve a popular status (and a waiting list) that lasts for months.
This year, the grand prize for popularity goes to Delia Owens’s debut novel “Where the Crawdads Sing”, and Tara Westover’s memoir, “Educated”, is still going strong with plenty of holds.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” is about an abandoned girl who decides to live on her own in a North Carolina marshland; she leads an isolated existence at one with nature until she is suspected of murder. It is a coming-of-age story rich with nature descriptions.
“Educated” tells the experiences of Westover, her survivalist family, and her secluded childhood in the mountains. She breaks away at the age of 17 to get an education, which eventually leads to her getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge.
Whether you’ve already read and enjoyed these books and want more, or if they’re on your hold list and the wait is getting to you, the Lititz Public Library has books with similar themes of difficult childhoods, abandonment, survival, education, and nature that may be of interest.
“My Absolute Darling” by Gabriel Tallent
When a 14-year-old girl with excellent survival skills meets a boy with an enviably normal lifestyle, she fights to escape the socially confined life that has been forced upon her by her overbearing father.
“The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey
A depressed young couple living on an Alaskan homestead in 1920 find a young girl who seems to be at one with the forest.
“The Marsh King’s Daughter” by Karen Dionne
A woman desperate to leave the pains of her strange marshland childhood secret is forced to her past when her dangerous father escapes from prison, for only she can help the police find him.
“Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell
A 12-year-old girl goes on a quest through a Florida swamp to save her crumbling family and their failing gator-wrestling theme park.
“Tell the Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt
A shy girl’s world seems to fall apart when her best friend—her uncle—dies, but through her loss she meets an unlikely new friend.
“The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah
Struggling with his work life after serving in Vietnam a man moves with his family to Alaska to start anew, but living in the wilderness turns out to be harder than anticipated—especially in winter.
“Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate
Five children are left to fend for themselves aboard a houseboat on the Mississippi River when their parents leave them because of a medical emergency… until they are forced into an orphanage, where it seems unlikely they’ll ever be reunited with their parents again.
“A Land More Kind Than Home” by Wiley Cash
A 9-year-old boy in a small North Carolina town has a level of curiosity that leads to serious consequences, especially when he and his mute older brother chance upon something that turns their lives upside-down.
“The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls
A nomadic childhood complete with an alcoholic father and a mother more interested in creating art than raising a family sets the scene for four children who need to escape into a more functional lifestyle.
“Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island” by Regina Calcaterra
One girl pulls herself and her four siblings through a childhood of abuse and even homelessness, none of which stops her from achieving a successful career in adulthood.
“Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, A Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship” by Michelle Kuo
When a teacher learns that a promising former student has been sent to jail for murder while she was away working towards a law degree, she decides to return to him and further his education in jail.
“The Kids are All Right: A Memoir” by Diana Welch and Liz Welch; with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch
Four resilient siblings are torn apart and sent to different families when they become orphans. In spite of going separate ways for some time, they manage to reunite.
September 4, 2019