By Chelsie Harris
We’re celebrating the Friends of the La Mesa Library’s 50th birthday! This organization was founded in 1969 and has been supporting the library through fundraising and advocacy ever since. Check out these titles, all of which are based in the 1960s.
Grace Carter, 11, has a talent for hiding things. She’s had plenty of practice, burying thoughts and feelings that might anger her strict Evangelical pastor father, and concealing the deep intuition she carries inside. “The Knowing,” as Grace calls it, offers glimpses of people’s pasts and futures in “This I Know” by Eldonna Edwards.
Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things” is set in the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, where fraternal twins Esthappen and Rahel fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family.
“The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” by Milan Kundera, is a story of irreconcilable loves and infidelities. Juxtaposing Prague, Geneva, Thailand and the United States, this masterfully written novel encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy.
“Valley of the Dolls” by Jacqueline Susann: Washed down with vodka or swallowed straight for Anne, Neely, and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three women become best friends when they are young and struggling in New York City and then climb to the top of the entertainment industry, only to find that there is no place left to go but down — into the “Valley of the Dolls.”
“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” by Muriel Spark, begins at the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls, in Edinburgh, Scotland, where teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods; in her attraction to the married art master, Teddy Lloyd; in her affair with the bachelor music master, Gordon Lowther; and — most importantly — in her dedication to “her girls,” the students she selects to be her crème de la crème.
Laura Lane McNeal’s “Dollybaby” is a big-hearted coming-of-age tale set in Civil Rights-era New Orleans — a novel of Southern eccentricity, secrets, and laughter. When Ibby Bell’s father dies in a tragic accident in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother, Fannie, and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s Victorian house is like no place Ibby has ever been — and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum every once in a while — is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, her black cook, Queenie- — who has run Fannie’s household ever since it was Fannie’s household — and Queenie’s feisty daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.
Join us at the La Mesa Library on Saturday, March 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as we celebrate the Friends of the La Mesa Library’s 50th birthday. The Shirthouse Band is performing bluegrass at 11 a.m., followed by face painting and crafts for kids at noon. The event is culminating with a performance by Sara Petite, four-time San Diego Music Award-winner of Best Country/Americana Band, at 1 p.m.
— Chelsie Harris is managing librarian of the La Mesa branch of the San Diego County Library. Call the library at 619-469-2151, visit in person at 8074 Allison Ave., or visit online at sdcl.org.