24 Hour Library

A Library Blog by Abby Hargreaves

Category: Projects

Fiction Re: Sibling Loss

*This post will be updated with books as I become aware of them, so keep checking back!

In July 2016, I lost my only sibling in a car crash. As no one is probably surprised, much of how I’ve handled this is by reading, both to better understand my situation and what I was and have been feeling and to escape. A few weeks after he died, I attended an event at the Arlington Public Library at which author Hannah Barnaby spoke about her new book, Some of the Parts, which features the story of a girl whose brother dies in a car crash and how she works through the grief she experiences. Barnaby spoke of her own sibling loss and I was grateful that she took the time to speak with me after, waited while I purchased a book, signed it, and spoke with me a while longer despite others waiting to meet her. A few weeks later she got in touch on Twitter to check in on me. We’re a strange little club, those of us who have lost a sibling.

I only just recently started reading Some of the Parts, not having felt ready until now. And even now, I keep another book — A Separate Peace, something old and familiar and in my favorite niche genre of books ever — by my bedside so I can choose not to read Barnaby’s novel if I’m not feeling up to it in the moment. But it occurred to me others might find comfort in reading stories that reflect their own. So I went to work putting together this list.

Most of these books were selected by doing simple keyword and subject header searches on the library catalogs for Arlington Public Library and Alexandria Public Library, both in Virginia. I de-selected any books that seemed to sensationalize the topic — things like mystery thrillers or procedural novels. There’s a time and a place for those, but they didn’t fit the concept of this list. Incidentally, there were few adult novels who took the subject “seriously.” Those that do appear on the list below are starred. Everything else you see below is typically categorized as young adult. Because the loss of a young child is, in my mind, very different from the loss of a teen or an adult sibling, I did not include juvenile reading materials (though they certainly exist).

Various kinds of relationships and deaths are represented in the list below. Some are about the loss of a brother, others of a sister (I haven’t yet seen any loss of non-binary siblings or otherwise-identifying siblings; please comment if you know of some!). Some are about the loss of an older sibling, others of a younger sibling. Some characters have other siblings, others are left as only children. Some are twins, some are not. There are far too many dimensions to note all of them, so I’ve linked to Goodreads pages for you to view summaries, most of which indicate a good amount of this information. The list is in no particular order. While I considered it, I did not do research on the authors of the books to determine whether or not they have lost a sibling (and I do think it can make a difference).

If you’ve lost a sibling and want to find commonness in literature or if you simply want to better understand what it’s like to lose a sibling, I hope this list will help you find what it is you’re looking for.

 

Image courtesy of Photo Pin

 

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby

Eleanor by Jason Gurley*

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Untwine by Edwidge Danticat

The Way Back from Broken by Amber Keyser

Breakaway by Katarina M. Spears

The Good Sister by Jamie  Kain

Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor*

After Iris by Natasha Farrant

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

All Rivers Flow to the Sea by Alison McGhee*

Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Lost for Words by Alice Kuipers

Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee

Saving Zoë by Alyson Noël

Choices by Deborah Lynn Jacobs

The Other Shepards by Adele Griffin

For This Life Only by Stacey Kade

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

Pieces by Chris Lynch

Dr. Radway’s Sasparilla Resolvent by Beth Kephart

Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie

Gemini Summer by Iain Lawrence

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

Displacement by Thalia Chaltas

Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows (step-siblings)

The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood*

Coaltown Jesus by Ronald Koertge

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Dear Zoe by Philip Beard*

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund

The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick*

The New Normal by Ashley Little

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

Someone Else’s Summer by Rachel Bateman

 

Projects: DNC Voting Members List

See update notes at the bottom of the article.

When it was announced that Bernie Sanders was endorsing Keith Ellison for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I knew I had to do something. It was evident I (we) hadn’t done enough during the primaries for Bernie, so I decided to take on a huge project. As it turns out, the Democratic National Committee does not publish a full list of their voting members, nor their contact information. In fact, the circumstances surrounding the election were hazy a few weeks ago — who, exactly, was eligible to vote? How did voting happen? When would it occur? I started to piece together what I learned from various articles on the election (they were few and far between prior to this week). I learned that state democratic committees had officers who had the power to vote in this election. I learned that state chairs and vice chairs were eligible. I learned DNC committeemen/committeewomen were eligible. I learned that the eligible voting population was made up of about 445 individuals. Beyond that? It was unclear.

With that information, I started putting together a spreadsheet that included the names of state chairs, vice chairs, secretaries*, treasurers*, and committeemen and – women. The process was slow. I spent hours visiting each state committee’s website, hunting down their officials page (which was different from their staff and elected officials) and deciphering their contact information. I copied what I could into my spreadsheet, often revisiting a state’s page after I learned some trick from another state’s website. As it turns out, although these committees all feed into the larger DNC, there’s no streamlining. You can’t expect each site to look the same, let alone hold the same information. While some sites (the more progressive ones, I noted) provided spreadsheets with voting members’ (and other committee members’) names, titles, phone, email, and mailing addresses, others would not even provide the name of the chairperson. So, not only was the DNC obscuring their membership, but so were state committees, thus excluding “the People” from the democratic process of, you know, the Democratic Party.

I still hadn’t hit the 445 mark by the time I felt I’d done all I could this afternoon, but it was something. I checked the news one more time to see if they might have leads on who else I might include in my list. As it turns out, Andrew Prokop had posted one week ago today an article describing the process and, lo and behold, strong agreement that there was a whole lot of lack of transparency going on and no official voting roster to be found. He also had created a list similar to mine. I’ve looked over it — his list is more complete and does not erroneously include secretaries and treasurers, but he has not (yet) provided contact information. Therefore, I’ve decided to publish what I have.

Using Prokop’s list moving forward, I hope to add what I currently have missing with the inclusion of what contact information there is to be found. In the meantime, if you would like voting committee members from your state to support Keith Ellison (or one of the other candidates), I hope you’ll find the appropriate members on my list and get in touch.

The Voting DNC Members list can be found here, in Google Sheets.

*I have since learned that secretaries and treasurers are not voting members, but I’ve kept them on my list for the sake of completeness.

 

Update 12/1/2016: Highlighted position-confirmed voting members to include chairs, vice chairs, and DNC members. Cross-checked several supposed voting members on my list with Prokop’s list. Found discrepancies. My list is only as up-to-date as the state’s websites, and I’m guessing their sites are less up-to-date than the list Prokop put together from the DNC.

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