David Benioff's novel City of Thieves looks at the epic Siege of Leningrad through the eyes of a sarcastic teenager named Lev tasked with finding a dozen eggs. As Plaza librarian Wes Hinman explains, it won't be easy. But it will be funny.
Major events can change the nation. Think the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But as Timothy Egan shows in The Big Burn, less dramatic incidents can make a huge impact on American history, too.
Jessie Hatcher's personal life is chaotic, and "normalcy" is never in her vocabulary. The 15-year-old redhead takes care of her depressed mother, who has bipolar disorder. Jessie runs household chores, chats on the cellphone with boy-crazy Chelsea, her best friend, and watches "I Love Lucy" reruns on TV Land — all at the same time. Despite her ADHD, she tries to act like her "normal" friends, who have "normal" family life.
Jessie has a tendency to babble her thoughts and blurt out the first things that come to her mind. It's hard for her to concentrate and stay still. It's harder to organize her own bedroom, follow instructions, or study. According to her mother, she has the emotional skills of an eight-year-old.
In the tradition of Hemingway, Adam Gopnik found himself an American in Paris in 1995, raising a baby and writing dispatches for The New Yorker. In her review of Winter Reading selection Paris to the Moon, Plaza Branch librarian Melissa Carle talks about Gopnik's "coming of age in the City of Light."
Pearl S. Buck drew from her life as the child of missionaries in pre-Revolutionary China in framing her 1931 Pulitzer Prize winner The Good Earth. In this video, Westport Branch librarian Sukalaya Kenworthy reviews Buck's masterpiece, an official selection in the Adult Winter Reading Program.