You Are What You Read!!!

This week we have more Zombies,a staff favorite,  a child star, clandestine intrigues, no heir and no spare can equal no head, Jackie O!, Paris (of course) and a ballerina.

Let us begin!

The Citizen Asha is up to her usual shenanigans. “I just finished reading Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry, the sequel to Rot & Ruin. It picks up where Rot & Ruin left off. I must say that I am a fan of this series.  Benny and his brother have formed a better relationship and Tom is teaching them to be warrior smart for their return to the Ruin to face the zombies.  However, there is something more sinister waiting for them there. I am waiting for the third installment Flesh & Bone to be released this September.” 

Marianne has revisited a Staff Favorite for her pick this week:  “My Library Book Group has just read and discussed Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. The story follows three friends, Katey, Eve and Tinker throughout the year of 1938. Tinker lives in the world of the wealthy while Katey and Eve are two career girls trying to scrape by in the Big City. This is, in part, a tale of how spontaneous choices can shape our entire lives. Comments from group members ranged from ‘wonderful picture of Manhattan in the late '30s,’ ‘author's phrasing and language were musical,’ to ‘I enjoyed it even more on the second reading.’"

Ann is working on What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe.  “I was intrigued by the premise of this story about two girls from different social classes in Manchester, England in the 70's and the infatuation one of them has with Lallie a child star of the time.  Gemma who has money and an interesting life is targeted by poor Pauline who has never experienced kindness in her short life.  These two girls will avoid each other and then come together to commit a terrible crime.  I would not recommend this book, the writing became confusing and after a while you did not really care about the characters or why they did the things they did.”

 As usual Pat S. has not one but two titles going on! Here is her take on The Rogues’ Gallery:  The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum by Michael Gross and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.  “ Rogue's Gallery  is a fascinating history of the Metropolitan Museum from its' inception to the world famous icon it is today. And don't think that this is boring because Gross has uncovered all kinds of clandestine intrigues through the years which keep the reader completely engaged-and more than a little surprised! He blows the dust off the myth of the stuffy academics with lofty art historical aims and introduces us to board members with too much money and way too little taste, ego's gone wild-you'll never look at the Sackler Galleries in the same way, and a whole lot more. This is a really fun and informative read. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel  re-creates a fictionalized Cromwell as he navigates the dicey road to ending Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn after she fails to provide him with the male heir he so desperately desires. Most of the novel takes place in Cromwell's head-an interesting device as we are introduced to the various characters and legal and moral issues he encounters wholly through his eyes. First and foremost, Mantel is a writer who has a love affair with the English language-and that is patently evident on each page.  The period details are such to make the book worth the read alone. However, we all know how it ends and it does get a bit slow going midway. Not sure if I'll make the finish line . . .”

Pat T. is “enjoying the latest Jackie book entitled Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Defied Expectations & Rediscovered Her Dreams by Tina Cassidy. The author writes about the year 1975 when Jackie was at a crossroads in her life-Aristotle Onassis died and her two children were becoming more independent. Jackie  was a good writer and an avid reader and she looked to the Publishing industry to begin another chapter in her ever evolving life. She went to work at Viking Publishing as an assistant editor and she proved to be a dedicated and creative worker. The author captures Jackie as vulnerable, yet confident as she stepped out as a professional woman!”

Abby says, “I always find it interesting to see how professional kitchens are organized. In the chef memoir Four Kitchens;  My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv and Paris, French Culinary Institute grad Lauren Shockey shares her experiences in 4 highly regarded professional kitchens.  Following graduation, Lauren arranged to complete 3 month stages (unpaid internships) in New York City, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris. In NY, she experienced working with molecular gastronomy using chemicals to create art on the plate; Hanoi was a more down to earth experience about flavor and freshness; Tel Aviv a melting pot of spices, and Paris, the height of 2 star culinary fussiness.  At the end of the journey Lauren shares her discovery that the profession kitchen lifestyle is incredibly grueling and creates too much distance from seeing people actually enjoy the food.  This was a nice journey of discovery. I plan to make the lamb meatballs with cucumber-yogurt sauce (pg. 34) this weekend.  

I am working on The Master’s Muse by Varley O’Connor. Tanaquil Le Clercq was the muse of George Balanchine and his also his 5th wife (!!??).  She was one of his principal dancers and while in Copenhagen in 1956 she contracted Polio.  This fictionalized account of their love affair and her illness is fascinating.  I cannot wait to find out how this fiery woman re-invents herself. 

Here's what's new in Books this week!

This weeks offerings involve a ready-made family, some hippies, a sniper, some illicit behavior, a home on the range, a macabre obsession, some sun, some hoodoo, and the police.

Either come on in and see the Book Goodness yourself  or reserve your copy on line.  We'll let you know when it's ready to be picked up!



You Are What You Read!!!

This week we have some Gypsies, charlatans, a Valley Girl, a little lubrication, some dead friends, and some Mexico.  Mexico Maine that is.

Let us begin!

Barbara M
. had left Paris and is reading Gypsy Boy by Micky Walsh.  “It is an unromantic look into the life of a British Romany. It is raw, eye-opening, brutal and compelling.”

Citizen Asha
is working her way through a major tome. “I am reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It's taking me a bit to push through the novel, as the copy that I bought is over eight hundred pages, however, it is amazing. Magick is no longer relevant, or if it is, it is being used by charlatans for monetary gain. Someone has to step in and take control.”  And make no mistake. The Citizen could just be the girl for the job.

Pat S. weighs in with White Girl Problems by Babe Walker.  “Essentially, Babe is a Valley Girl on steroids-with all the attendant issues that involves. A product of the excesses of Beverly Hills and an indulgent motherless family, Babe sashays from Barney's to Brown University-barely breaking stride. Her intense self interest in all things 'Babe' is a riot. Perfect for beach reading, or teenage girls-who may or may not miss the fact that this is a parody.”

The Lovely Priscilla is reading and recommending Extra Virginity:  The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil  by Tom Mueller.  “You will never look at that bottle of olive oil in your cabinet the same ever again! This is the remarkable history of olive oil which has been used as a beauty product, as a medicine and in religious practices.  Delve into the globalization, fraud, deception and crime of this amazing oil."

Marianne reports that she is working her way through Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan.  “This quiet book follows the everyday activities of Emily Maxwell, an eighty year old widow who lives alone in the home where she and her husband raised their children and spent most of their married years. Her children are grown and have moved far away and many of her close friends have died.  Now this is Emily's time alone.  While this could be a depressing time of life Emily finds joy in her new found independence and the author shows us in very sensitive prose that life can be filled with joy at any age.  My book group is reading this book right now and I can't wait for our discussion.”

I am in love with Monica Wood’s memoir When We Were Kennedys:  A Memoir from Mexico Maine by Monica Wood.  It’s 1963 and Monica’s beloved father has just died from a heart attack on his way to work in the town’s paper mill  Can Monica's Mom and her three sisters survive this personal and economic tragedy?  The language here is gorgeous and the story is compelling.  It is due out in July.  

Here's what's new in Books this week!

There is something for just about everyone this week!   Either come on in and see the Book Goodness or reserve your copy on line.  We'll let you know when it's ready to be picked up!


You Are What You Read!!!

This week we have involved readers, Paris (you know you missed it last week!), a gatekeeper from Da Bronx, a He who is really a She, white shoes before Memorial Day (horrors!), kid lit, and a new phobia.

Let us begin!

Marianne wants everyone to know about The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey.  “I read this as an advanced readers' copy and really did like it.  The author's reinvention of the Jane Eyre story held my interest while in some parts I did have a hard time believing that people would revert to such evil and antiquated tactics in modern day England.  After I finished I passed it on to a friend who thoroughly enjoyed it, but took great exception to all of the comparisons to 'Jane Eyre.'   She felt the story really stood on its own.   In fact she was so unhappy about it she emailed the publisher and asked the firm stop advertising the book as a modern 'Jane Eyre.'  Now, that's what I call an involved reader!”

I am sure it will come as no surprise to those of you out there keeping score that Barbara M. is back in Paris.  In her mind anyway.  “I'm reading Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman about the differences between French and American child rearing as seen through the eyes of an American living in Paris. Druckerman is sometimes repetitive but the book is interesting.”

Pat T. has just finished reading "Fairytale Interrupted: A Memoir of Life, Love and Loss by Rosemarie Terenzio. “In this memoir the author shares her five years as John F. Kennedy JR's personal assistant, confidante, friend, and the overall gatekeeper of his personal and business affairs. She was the tough Bronx girl from a struggling Italian family who landed this plum job that changed her life forever.”

Citizen Asha is oddly enough, reading something almost normal.  “I am currently reading Albert Nobbs by George Moore. I wanted to see the movie but was unable to, so I thought I would read the book. It’s set in Dublin, Nobbs is a waiter with a secret; he is actually a she. The novel is filled with great sadness; she’s abandoned by parents, fearful of men, and has bouts of depression.  A great read, now I am anxious to see the movie. “

reports that she is “enjoying Heart Of A Killer the latest mystery-light from David Rosenfelt (outside of his regular Andy Carpenter series).  While he raises interesting legal points in this novel, he manages to incorporate humor and a nice touch of humanity.  When a mom convicted of murdering her husband asks to be permitted to donate her heart to her ailing child, her case goes out pro bono to Jamie Wagner, a Harvard trained desk jockey at a white shoe law firm. Questions about the original murder case begin to get explored as Jaime's best strategy appears to be getting his client out of jail so she can then end her own life to save her child.  Looking forward to seeing how this one ends.

Jeanne is taking a class on Kid Lit for her MLS.  She says that, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret took my breath away! “  The rest of us in RA who have seen the movie release this week can understand her love for the story.

A friend of mine, Laurie W. (aka The Rye),  insisted I pick up a copy of “Sometime I Feel Like a Nut Essays and Observations by Jill Kargman.  The chapter on what she is afraid of is totally hilarious because honestly?  While I can totally relate to not feeling entirely comfortable around clowns and mimes, she has now totally sold me on being wary around vans too.  This one is lots of fun.


Here's what's new in Books this week!

There are some old favorites and some new friends waiting for you on the shelves this week.

You Are What You Read!!!

This week surprisingly there is no Paris (I know!) but we do have Scotland, Pakistan, stunning loss, horrendous crime, perplexing behavior and some lunatics.

Let us begin!

Barbara  M. has left Mother Russia and is now reading Gillespie and I by Jane Harris. “An elderly woman, Harriet Baxter, is writing an account of her acquaintance with the artist Ned Gillespie in the late 1800s in Scotland. It reads like a Victorian novel and I'm completely mesmerized by the story. Harris' writing is beautiful and I love the atmosphere she creates.”

Ann is working on American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar.  “This is a very interesting book about a young Muslim boy, Hayat, living in America with his immigrant parents in the Mid-West. He has no religious upbringing until his mother's friend Mina flees Pakistan to live with his family.  She introduces him to the Quran which he becomes obsessed with and believes in its strict interpretation.  Hayat has to live with the decisions he makes but it will cost his family and Mina many hardships.  This was a thought provoking read.”

Pat T. says, “I have just started reading The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. The story is told in two parts and the first part reads like a coming of age story about Tony, his school friendships, his first girlfriend and a loss that stuns all the classmates. I look forward to reading part two!”

Abby is working her way through Defending Jacob by William Landay.  “This book about a prosecuting attorney father defending his son (hence the title) when he is accused of a horrendous crime has been getting a lot of buzz.  And while I am enjoying it, I am not quite getting what all the fuss is about.  It's a solid mystery with a bang up ending that doesn't quite rise to the level of a great read.”  

Citizen Asha
felt compelled to read the following: “I was fascinated by her story so, I thought I would read Once Upon A Secret by Mimi Alford. In the book, she gives an account of how her affair with President Kennedy started as well as what happened afterwards.  After reading it, I am perplexed by her behavior. I’m not sure if Mimi is aware that she actually had an affair with Mr. Kennedy because as she says, “I was just keeping him company when he was wife was away.” Hmm.  That’s an interesting take on adultery.

I am enjoying Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall. When Iris Dunleavy, plantation wife, dares to question her husband’s treatment of his slaves she is put on trial for insanity and finds herself exiled to Sanibel Island to a lunatic asylum.  Here she meets a fascinating assortment of characters but none more compelling than the shell shocked Confederate Ambrose Weller.  When they fall in love they realize that they can never have a life together and must escape.  But what really waits for them on the “outside”.  This one is due out in April.  


New York Times Bestsellers: Fiction

Top Ten Hardcover Bestsellers from the New York Times for the week of August 3rd.



NPR Bestsellers: Fiction

NPR Fiction Bestsellers for the week of July 31st.



This week we have an evolving relationship, a trip to Iceland, some problems that just might turn into a stalking, love, Paris (of course!  We always have Paris!) and two fabulous women named Muffie and Ali.

Let us begin!

is working on, “American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar.  I am just in the beginning of this story but I am hooked to see how the relationship between young Hyat is going to evolve with his mother's friend Mina.  As a college student he is now telling a friend why he blames himself for what happened to Mina when he was younger. “

says” I've just read Operation Napoleon, a new (at least to us in this country) novel from my favorite Icelandic author, Arnaldur Indridason.  While I really don't think it's up to his police procedurals featuring Inspector Erlander, it certainly had me reading into the night. The author's description of Iceland's landscape is so central to his novels that it becomes a character in its own right. For a change of pace I always enjoy a bleak, dark and fast-moving thriller.  “

Citizen Asha worries us yet again this week with her pick, White Girl Problems by Babe Walker.  She says “because let's face it, I can totally relate. That being said, it is the most hysterical thing I have read in a long time. Poor Babe is a vapid, self-centered, fashionista who has lots to say about the world around her. Did I mention that I want to be her friend? I even look at her blog, does that make me a stalker? I hope not because she makes me so happy. “  Babe, our advice to you is to run.   Run like the wind.

Pat T. states “Since we celebrated Valentine's Day this week I found the perfect book to read as I was shelving it on Main Street - All There Is:  Love Stories from StoryCorps by Dave Isay the founder of Story Corps. StoryCorps is a oral history project and the participants record, share and preserve the stories of their lives. In this book, the storytellers reveal their stories of falling in love: remembering a loved one; and finding love unexpectedly. The most poignant story was from a woman who honored her husband who died in 9/11 and then she tragically passed away in a  plane crash a few years later.”

Barbara M. is back in Paris , in her mind anyway with this selection: “ I’m reading Tatiana de Rosnay’s new book, The House I Loved and in spite of its flaws I don’t want it to end. It’s set in Paris during the 1860s when Haussmann was modernizing the city and as in her other books it involves a secret.”

I am in love Ali Wentworth’s new book Ali in Wonderland:  And Other Tall Tales Ali’s memoir about growing up  as the daughter of the fabulous Muffie  Cabot who was Nancy Reagan’s social secretary.  This book literally can have you laughing so hard you are crying one minute (the chapter on the family’s nannies is worth the price of the book.  Trust me.) and the next you are really feeling for Ali during her  darker periods.  But through it all Muffie is there with her ultimate sense of WASP Suck-It-Up, No Wallowing Allowed and a toasted English muffin with tomato.  And don’t tell Asha but I want them to be my friends too.  But  they are real and I promise no stalking.  


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