As you sit and listen to your grandparents reminisce about days of old, how often do you chime in and say, "You should really write a book." Luckily for us, some people have taken up the challenge and written down their stories. Other authors have used bits and pieces of their lives to craft enjoyable fiction titles. The everyday lives of ordinary people sometimes make the most entertaining reading.
Take for instance the book Bud and Me by Alta Abernathy as told to her by her husband Temple. Set in the early 1900's this book tells the true adventures of Temple and Bud Abernathy as they journey across America. Traveling by horseback and automobile, the two have many exciting experiences as they travel. Although it does not sound like a big deal, you will change your mind when you learn that Temple was only 5 and his brother Bud was 9-years-old. What was their father thinking? Check out the book and then follow up with footage on the internet of Bud and Temple riding in a parade with Teddy Roosevelt.
For a fun bit of fiction with bits of the author's early life, try Richard Peck's The Teachers Funeral. The narrator, Russell Culver is sure that he is off to the Dakota Territory, seeing that the teacher in the one-room schoolhouse chose to die right before school was set to start. Unfortunately, Russell's sister Tansy steps in as teacher and ruins his plans. Schoolhouse antics, stolen supplies, and a privy fire don't deter Tansy from keeping the school open and setting Russell onto a wiser path. I'm not sure how much Peck embellished on his childhood but in real life his sister endued up as a school administrator.
Another acclaimed author who uses personal experiences to craft fiction is Amy Tan. In her book The Joy Luck Club Tan used her own experiences to tell the story of four Chinese American daughters and their mothers living in San Francisco. Tan said that her mother was constantly telling her friends that she was not the mother in the book so Tan's second novel, The Kitchen God's Wife was based on her mother's life.
For a fun ready by a local author, try Sandip Mathur's Cowboy and Indian. Mathur, a gastroenterologist in Abilene, is a native of India. His insights into life among the cowboys of Texas run the gamut from trying to learn the two-step to overindulging in cobbler. Along the way, Mathur and his wife raised a family and provided dedicated care to the people of their adopted state.
If those don't strike your fancy, give this one a try - What Made Wyatt Urp - The Life and TImes of Toad Leon as Told by His Family, His Friends, and the Man Himself. The title alone should indicate that there will be some fun to be had.
Whether fictionalized, factual, or a little bit of both, autobiographies are fascinating and fun. Stop in at the Abilene Public Library for more recommendations.
Article Contributed by Marie Noe, Customer Services Manager