Happy National Opposites Day! Yes, it’s a holiday.
One of the reasons we thought the 2016 Book Challenge would be fun and, well, challenging is finding books to match the categories. As I was looking through the different requirements, one that initially stumped me was “Read a book with antonyms in the title.” I know antonyms are words that mean the opposite of each other, but the only book I could think of that worked was Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
However, I knew there had to be other books out there that also met the requirement. So, in honor of National Opposite Day, here are several other titles that feature antonyms.
As always, if one of the books interests you, just click on the cover. You’ll be linked to our online catalog. Search for the title, and you can read more about it and even request it.
If You Want Fiction:
Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers (2011):
If you like multi-genre fiction, you might really enjoy this one. This award-winning book is a historical novel and a Western and a comedy that follows Charlie and Eli Sisters. The two siblings are hired assassins, tasked with traveling to California to kill a prospector for their shadowy boss. Along the way, the two have assorted adventures (and misadventures), and Eli starts to have misgivings about his chosen profession.
Anita Diamant’s Day After Night (2009)
If you prefer your historical fiction to be less tongue-in-cheek than The Sisters Brothers, consider reading Day After Night. Set in an internment camp for Holocaust survivors intent on migrating to Israel, the novel focuses on several main characters, all from disparate backgrounds, all trying to recover from their harrowing war experiences, as they slowly start to piece their lives back together.
Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (2009)*
Another option, also historical fiction, is Jamie Ford’s first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The story opens in a hotel in the 1980s with the discovery of the abandoned possessions of Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II. A local resident named Henry Lee learns of the find, and his memories carry him back to the 1940s, when he was best friends with a Japanese-American girl named Keiko. This book does get mixed reviews, with some dismissing it as overly sentimental, but others will enjoy this story of loss and friendship.
*Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby.
Bel Kaufman’s Up the Down Staircase (1991)
You might also consider reading Up The Down Staircase. In it, Kaufman draws on her own experiences as an educator to relate the story of a first-year teacher who faces her fair share of challenges and triumphs teaching English in an inner city high school. One thing that sets this book apart from the others on this list is its structure. Rather than being a traditional narrative, the story is instead comprised of multiple documents that piece together the story, including memos, notes, and student journals.
JoJo Moyes’s Me Before You (2012)**
If you like a touching romance, you’ll probably enjoy this title. This popular, acclaimed book is the story of Will and Louisa. Will was once a high-power, thrill-seeking executive. But now he’s paralyzed after an accident, and Will’s psychological scars from the accident are even deeper than the physical ones. Louisa is hired as his caretaker. Though their personalities at first clash, they soon grow close to each other, with Louisa lifting him out of his depression and Will encouraging her to act on her ambitions. But will that be enough? Moyes crafts a story that is touching, funny, and heartbreaking. Read it now before the movie comes out later this year!
**Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby.
If You Prefer Nonfiction:
James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small (1972)***
If none of the fiction suggestions grabbed your attention, consider reading a nonfiction title. Quite a few of them in our system also have antonyms in the title. James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small is a perennial classic, a heartwarming and frequently hilarious description of Herriot’s work as a veterinarian in rural 1930s England. Join him as he tends to a wide variety of animals and meets their frequently eccentric owners.
***Ebook also available on Libby.
John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1999):
Berendt’s popular true crime tale, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is another potential candidate. It presents readers with a strange case of murder in 1980s Savannah, Georgia. Unlike many other true crime stories, there’s no doubt about who the killer is. Instead, the intrigue behind this crime is figuring out the motives and determining, as four subsequent juries had to, whether the killing was an act of self-defense or a premeditated murder.
Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (2014)****
A nonfiction work focusing on much more recent events, this book chronicles the events that unfolded in New Orleans’s Memorial Hospital when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005 and flooded the building. Hospital personnel had to determine who to evacuate, and the book examines the ethical and legal consequences of these decisions. Five Days at Memorial garnered a lot of critical acclaim when it was first published and won several prominent prizes, including a National Book Award.
****Ebook also available on Libby.
If You Like YA:
Libby Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty (2003)*****
A combination of historical fiction, fantasy, and adventure story, A Great and Terrible Beauty starts with protagonist Gemma Doyle being sent to a Victorian-era English boarding school upon her mother’s death. There, Gemma encounters all of the usual boarding school hazards, including loneliness and mean classmates. She also encounters some not quite so typical problems, like struggling with the mystical visions she has and learning about a magical world located at the school, which is now threatened by a sinister force. If you enjoy this book, you’re in luck because Gemma Doyle’s adventures continue in two sequels.
*****Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby.
What other titles can you think of that have antonyms in them? Are you already familiar with any of these books? Interested in reading any of them now? Share with us in the comments!