Mental health is a topic relevant to each of our communities. Pioneer Library System will offer special programming to explore this topic as part of PLS Reads, our annual spring event series of book discussions and programs for all branches centered on one theme.
Customers can vote for their choice of four titles through October 31st. Libraries will host book discussions of the chosen book in March 2020 as part of our PLS Reads program.
Below are the four titles customers may choose from. Use our survey form to make your selection.
The winning book will be announced November 1st.
Option 1: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Adult Fiction)
Eleanor Oliphant, the friendless 29-year-old finance clerk in a small Scottish graphics design firm, feels safest in the cocoon of strict routines both at work and at home. However, Eleanor's careful firewalls start to crack. She simultaneously develops a crush on a bar musician and is reluctantly drawn into a tentative friendship with Raymond and with Sammy, an older man whose life she and Raymond save. Without a shred of self-pity and lacking nearly all social skills (but willing to learn them) owing to her shocking, savage past, Eleanor is unaware of her ability to charm and inspire those who want to help her and those who grow to care for her.
Option 2: The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (Teen Fiction)
When Victoria Cruz wakes up in the psychiatric ward of a Texas hospital after her failed suicide attempt, she still has no desire to live, but as the weeks pass, and she meets Dr. Desai and three of the other patients, she begins to reflect on the reasons why she feels like a loser compared with the rest of her family, and to see a path ahead where she can make a life of her own. Inspired in part by the author's own experience with depression, this title is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one -- about living when life doesn't seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.
Option 3: What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan (Adult Nonfiction)
A sports journalist relates the story of Ivy League freshman and track star Maddy Holleran, who seemingly had it all and succeeded at everything she tried, but who secretly grappled with mental illness before taking her own life during the spring semester. This is the story of Maddy Holleran's life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people, and college athletes in particular, face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.
Option 4: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (Teen Fiction)
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life, Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. But, at his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he's just average, and maybe not even that. The stress becomes unbearable until one night, Craig nearly kills himself. Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where he is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it's definitely a funny story.