For some reason, I distinctly remember the first time I heard the word curmudgeon. A fellow writer friend raved about an author he had met, though cautioning me that the author was a true curmudgeon. Without having a dictionary in front of me (yes, it was long before Siri and google), I instinctively knew the essence of this word.
It, like its definition, sounds crusty and cranky. It’s ill-tempered and gruff. Set in its ways and not apt to move, either figuratively or literally. It is gray-haired and wizened, stubborn and seemingly unhappy.
Think Sherlock Holmes, Scrooge, or the young Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye. More recent curmudgeons can be found in The Hunger Games or Harry Potter via Haymitch Abernathy or Severus Snape. On the surface, these literary icons are untouchable and cold. Yet when we wipe away the grime, we often find a kind heart and warm spirit. The depth of these characters are what make them great.
Not surprisingly, bibliophiles can be as stubborn and set in their ways as Scrooge, falling back on decades-old reading patterns and missing out on the hidden gems around them.
Each year, Meinders Community Library participates in the Winter Reading Program. While this is a Plum Creek Library program, we’ve adapted it to encourage our readers to grow in their literary experience. One such patron took advantage of our WRP bingo cards to read outside her comfort zone. What she found was an unexpected treasure in the midst of a genre that felt old and stuffy.
The following book review was provided by Carol Haubrich.
Hoping to complete my bingo card, I found a book in the 300-400-500 section in the stacks at Meinders Library. This was a great find.
“Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter” by Barbara Robinette Moss, a memoir
The author has revealed to us the life of a poor girl growing up in an extremely dysfunctional family in Alabama. The physical and mental traumas which she endured are disturbing and almost unbelievable. Her strength in overcoming such trauma is amazing. She writes with great courage and love for her mother and siblings. This is a familiar story to those who have read “The Glass Castle” but these circumstances are even worse than those described therin. To triumph over hardship and to document it so clearly is a testament to the human spirit, to the strength of character of this author. I highly recommend this book.
Just for fun, try breaking free from your inner curmudgeon. Put aside comfort and habit and try something new, whether it’s reading a book you normally wouldn’t pick up or giving snow showing the old college try.
Sometimes brushing aside the familiar can make room for the discovery of something unexpectedly amazing.
Happy reading~ Jody