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Humor Books to Combat the SAD Season

Dec 13, 2004 (Morning Edition)

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thumbnail Detail from the cover of 'A Girl Named Zippy' by Haven Kimmel. 'Handling Sin' by Michael Malone

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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

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