Break is coming up! It’s the perfect time to relax with family, real or fictional. Here are a few books in the LAMC popular reading collection about families…just in case you need an escape from reality. Click on the titles below to check their availability in the catalog.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Call number: (Popular Reading) F LEE
Lee traces the story of a family across generations and countries, through occupation, war, imprisonment, and death. Sunja takes the leap from Korea to Japan, expecting to find new opportunities and make a home with her husband. She’s in for a rude awakening when she encounters discrimination against Koreans, the persecution of her religion, and the arrest of her husband. Despite these setbacks, Sunja uses her wits to persevere as the family’s anchor and a character to root for.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesamyn Ward
Call number: (Popular Reading) F WARD
Raised by his grandparents, teenage Jojo resents his addict mother weaving in and out of his life, bringing more trouble than nurturing. Preoccupied with caring for his younger sister and seeing visions of ghosts, Jojo resents his mother’s decision to take her children along to bring their father home from prison. Jojo doesn’t know that his mother also sees ghosts, haunted by the traumas of racism and violence in her life as a black woman in the rural South. The trip could yield a greater understanding or permanently sever the ties between family.
Moonglow by Michael Chabon
Kindle edition; ask about Kindles at check out desk
Blending fact and fiction, Chabon recounts the last days of his grandfather’s life. On his deathbed, Chabon’s grandfather relates stories of his miraculous survival of WWII, career as a rocket scientist, the skinless horse in his wife’s hallucinations–stories almost too fantastic to believe. What is true when it comes to family legend? And how much of what we know about our loved ones comes down to the stories we tell and are told?
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Call number: (Stacks) PN 6727 .B3757 Z46 2006
Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir outlines her complex relationship with a strict father, coming out as a lesbian, and a childhood surrounded by literature and death in a funeral home, aka “Fun Home.” Introspective and darkly funny at times, Bechdel almost scientifically examines her father’s behavior to understand her own troubles. Pick this up for the novelty of reading a picture book, stay for the emotional devastation.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Call number: (Popular Reading) F GAIM
Spoil the ending to the TV show for all of your friends or keep the secrets to yourself. In addition to making a great show, the novel stands by itself as a modern classic. Shadow learns he is wrapped up in the affairs of the old and new gods, as well as part of the ultimate dysfunctional family. Gods who settle scores through life-or-death board games, reanimated corpses, leprechauns with magical coins: you’re into it or you’re not. I also recommend the pseudo-sequel, Anansi Boys, available for request through USMAI.
Bonus USMAI read:
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Request through USMAI
Ah, sisters–built-in besties, friends for life. Those of you with a sister may recognize these feelings; on the other hand, you may relate all too well to Atwood’s dark tale of the jealousies and betrayals in the relationship between sisters. Our narrator recounts the story of her famous novelist sister, Laura, who died tragically young. But was Laura’s death an accident…or was it intentional?
Remember you can always peruse the popular reading collection on the 2nd floor of the LAMC–with new additions on the 1st floor–and request materials through USMAI. Happy break!