Detail from the cover of A Girl Named Zippy, a memoir by Haven Kimmel.
Detail from the cover of the novel Handling Sin by Michael Malone.
Notes from a Small Island is a far-ranging report from an American transplanted to Britain.
As the days turn cold and dark, librarian Nancy Pearl gets a jump on the winter solstice with picks for books that beat the winter-weather blues.
For many, those blues are already well under way. Seasonal Affective Disorder —or SAD — peaks around the solstice on Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year. Pearl suggests turning to a good, lively book to ward off the effects of pervasive darkness.
Whether it's a fanciful scrapbook of 1940s Brooklyn (Last Days of Summer, by Steve Kluger) or the more outlandish story of a possessive chimpanzee, as in John Collier's His Monkey Wife, the books listed here all share something in common.
As Pearl says, "they just give you a little nudge, up the chain to a little humor in your life."
Pearl discusses her winter book choices with NPR's Steve Inskeep. Following is a list of her picks:
A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
Evolution Man, or How I Ate My Father by Roy Lewis
The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle
Handling Sin by Michael Malone
His Monkey Wife by John Collier
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Straight Man by Richard Russo