Even if you've never had the inclination to visit Mooreland, Indiana, Haven Kimmel certainly paints an interesting picture of life in the Midwest. In her hilarious and engaging memoir A Girl Named Zippy, Kimmel pens a quasi-love letter about her hometown and its quirky inhabitants-many of whom are members of her very own family. This collection of tales isn't simply a fond backwards glance at one's childhood, it is an often moving and poignant assessment of family, in all of its real, loving, and dysfunctional glory. One of the Kimmel's most impressive talents as a writer lies in her graceful ability to weave a beautiful (and often laugh-out-loud funny) narrative in the simple, direct voice of a child. In questioning her religion as a young girl, she writes, "My feelings about Jesus didn't alarm me at all, because it appeared that everyone around me was flat-out in love with him, and who wouldn't be? He was good with animals, he loved his mother, and he wasn't afraid of blind people." Much like sitting down on your front porch with a good friend and a big glass of iced tea, A Girl Named Zippy is a great way to spend an afternoon, and the stories will stay with you for a long time to come.
Recommended by Rachel DeBusk