What do we do when our world falls apart? Many of us turn to books and movies -- as a means of escape and coping -- but in addition to solace, books offer solutions and advice, empathy and new ways of thinking; and not just non-fiction. Much of the best new advice and ideas are fostered in fiction. Perhaps this is why dystopian novels are so popular. As a teen I read several books which definitely saved my butt. These include: "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion zimmer Bradley (this was a life changing book for me), "Girl Interrupted" by Susan Kaysen, Victor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning", "Sophie's World: a Novel on the History of Philosophy" by Josten Gardner, Huxley's "Brave New World" and others. I found it interesting to see that many of these titles are on our lists for Adult Books for Teens... Looking back I was probably going through a "midlife" existential crisis - at the tender age of sixteen! This, I realize, is not all that uncommon. As teens, our lives are tough. We are dealing many things, many crises, big and small (the zit on my nose! ahh! my parents' divorce ahhh!). And we are relatively new at coping, rarely having had to practice these skills because our parents or caregivers shield us from most of the struggles of childhood. Sometimes we are not new, as Sherman Alexie points out in an article on a recent visit to a Seattle alternative high school. "When I think of the poverty-stricken, sexually and physically abused, self-loathing Native American teenager that I was, I can only wish, immodestly, that I’d been given the opportunity to read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Or Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. Or Chris Lynch’s Inexcusable....And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons—in the form of words and ideas—that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed."
Regardless, in addtion to being entertaining, books offer glimpses into other peoples' lives, hopes, dreams, problems, solutions and resolutions. Books, or rather stories, can make us resilient. I'm going to be bold and go so far as offering up books as lifesavers. Claiming their rightful place in the creation of a sane society. So I thought this would be a nice tie-in to Canadian author Steven Galloway's book "The Cellist of Sarajevo", for CPL's 'One Book One Calgary' intitiave (read it, it's good!). It explores the resiliency and power of the human spirit so I created a display called "My world just turned... UPSIDEDOWN!" which showcases some of these books. I've included some bizarre and strange Graphic Novels as I think stretching our imaginations is one of the best ways of envisioning new possibilites. They also provide delicious escape -- which it is essential to do many times in order to maintain one's mental health. So whatever you are dealing with (as I'm sure there's something, whether you are a teen or not..) here are some literary life jackets:
SUICIDE/ ANXIETY/ DEPRESSION/ CUTTING
and FYI Cynthia Voigt is one of my new fave authors - check out some of her fantasy books too!
+ check out this ladies blog!! http://simpleeserene.com/
GIRL POWER / CENSORSHIP
STREET KIDS/ SCHOOL SUSPENSION / FIGTHTING
... and one short tear jerker on the resiliency of the human heart...