‘Life as We Knew It’
By Susan Beth Pfeffer (Young adult fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Miranda’s diary entries reflect the concerns of a typical teenager — fights with her mom, anxiety about her friends, and a yearning to get her driver’s license.
When a news bulletin announces that a meteor is going to hit the moon, she barely gives it a second thought, thinking it is merely another opportunity for her teachers to assign extra homework. But as her family, friends and neighbors watch the impact from their lawn chairs, she realizes that something has gone awry. The moon is knocked closer to Earth, and soon things go from frightening to life-changing.
The collision sets off a chain of horrific events — tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and millions of deaths. Thanks to her mother’s quick thinking, Miranda’s family is better off than most, but as supermarkets run out of food, gas prices skyrocket, utilities are lost and school is closed indefinitely, she realizes that scientists made a huge miscalculation and her family is in grave danger.
Pfeffer uses Miranda’s diary entries to tell the story, and this keeps the focus on her family. The characters are memorable and the feelings of despair, hopelessness and fear are genuine. Readers will not be able to stop thinking about this story of struggle, and ultimately, survival.
‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’
By Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver (Adult nonfiction)
Barbara Kingsolver, her husband Steven Hopp, and their two daughters, Camille and Lily, made a commitment to eat only locally grown food for one year, and this is their personal account of that year.
To kick-off their venture, they pack their belongings, make a pit stop at the gas station to load up on “things that go crunch,” and are on their way from Tucson, Ariz., to a farm in Virginia that Steven has owned for 20 years. Upon arriving in Southern Appalachia, they get busy planting a garden, raising turkeys, and 9-year-old Lily starts her own heritage poultry business. The Kingsolver family is well versed in gardening and raising poultry, but this is a new venture, and one that Barbara refers to as a process, meaning they are still outlining the boundaries.
Throughout the book, Hopp writes scientific sidebars that enhance Kingsolver’s account. His first piece — entitled “Oily Food” — provides startling statistics about how Americans are “consuming about 400 gallons of oil per year per citizen” and how “if every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.” His pieces are short, to the point and provide startling background information. Nineteen-year-old Camille provides recipes and weekly meal plans based on what is in season.
This book will make you think about the foods you are consuming and question why we support a system that is intrinsically flawed. Kingsolver and her family understand that the average person cannot pack their belongings, move to a farm and grow all their own food; but they also know that most people have access to locally grown foods like those found at farmers’ markets and they encourage you to seek out locally grown food options.
Kingsolver’s narrative is beautiful, entertaining and not at all snobby. You will not want to miss the chapters on the lost art of turkey sex and how to hide zucchini in chocolate-chip cookies. It’s an incredible celebration of food!
Jeana Gockley is the children’s librarian at Joplin Public Library.
‘Life as We Knew It’
- Globe Life
Bearing down: Carl Junction woman has passion for bear hunting
Born and raised in Joplin, Mitchell graduated from Joplin High School in 1963. For 35 years, she has been self-employed as a real estate developer. Seventeen years ago, her husband, Steve, a bowhunter, introduced her to hunting.
Ryan Richardson: Appliances complicit in dog-hair problem
Despite missing having her here, her absence has given me an opportunity to clean up the small messes that have been accumulating since she has been gone. I've also given myself the opportunity to evaluate what has and has not worked in such a small living space.
Phyllis Seesengood: 'Six Years' fast-paced, suspenseful
Harlan Coben is a superb suspense writer who has written an intense thriller/love story, although I personally think he should stick with the thrillers and leave the romances to romance writers.
Frankie Meyer: Website offers digitized newspapers
Newspapers are a great source of info for genealogists. Obituaries are especially helpful, as are articles about major events that occurred in the areas where ancestors lived.
Frankie Meyer: Rubbings of graves can work better than photos
When compiling family history, researchers invariably become intrigued with gravestones, which are one of the best sources of family information.
Jacque Gage: Book celebrates past photos, warns about future
The book is strangely compelling, titled "Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past." It is by Ransom Riggs, author of the New York Times bestseller, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children".
Ryan Richardson: Readers share their own summer advice
Only here can we have a long winter segue straight into a balmy summer. Between the torrential rains and the highs already flirting with the upper 80s, I’m convinced that this summer is going to be a mix of everything.
Founder of Souls Harbor returns to her ministry after 20-year absence
After helping husband Art Jones found Souls Harbor more than 31 years ago, Georgia Jones has come full circle and returned to lead the mission that serves the homeless and needy in the Joplin area.
Ryan Richardson: Time apart tough for pets and owners
Since I became a Joplin resident over nine months ago, I have had my dog, Cami, with me the whole time. We've explored trails, survived thunderstorms, slept on the couch and had some epic belly rubs.
Frankie Meyer: Research collections can disappear after death
When researching family history, genealogists collect many reference books, pamphlets, documents and photos. What will happen to your cherished items after your death? Unless you make your wishes known, those items could be tossed or sold at a flea market by unknowing relatives or friends.
- More Globe Life Headlines
- Bearing down: Carl Junction woman has passion for bear hunting