Here’s a little something I bet you did not know about us. We love some good food. In fact, we are a little obsessed. Come into the offices or walk up to our service desks anytime and if you should happen upon 2 of us chances are pretty good that you will hear us discussing what we had for dinner, or what we are going to have for dinner. Monday conversations are devoted to not only what we read/watched, but also what we ate/prepared over the weekend. We are about food the way some workplaces are about the weekend’s big game or the TV show everyone is currently obsessed over. Good recipes are meant to be shared, and then tweaked and shared again. In fact, a former coworker once said that it should be an employment requirement; the ability to cook something delicious and then share the recipe (Alison H. I am looking at you!). Did you really think it was a coincidence that Erin always features a glorious, gorgeous new cookbook for her Fall Meet the Author series? A bunch us are sharing CSA shares and having the best time getting the e-mail on Tuesday from Erin clueing us into what we have to look forward to. The cool news here? You can join in! On our Tumblr feed we have been featuring what we have been cooking and enjoying complete with pictures. Yes, the Traveling Companion is being made to ‘sing for his supper’ by photographing my CSA dinners. I feel it’s a small price to pay. I think he does too. This week we have Arson, Grand Central, a brutal murder (is there any other kind?), Vicodin, professional sabotage, and some Iowa. The Playlist? As they say in the Mid-West “You betcha!”
Let us begin!
Welcome to the Thunder Full Moon edition of YAWYR! This full moon was named for the likely occurrence of thunderstorms that can occur this time of year. Also it is the first Supermoon of the year. Actually we will have three months in a row of Supermoons. What this means to Moon Geeks is that the moon is the closest to the Earth in its orbit. What this means to the rest of us, is that the tides will be larger and the moon should hang fat and huge in the sky. What makes this full moon no different from all the other full moons is that those of us on service desks can assure you that there is a whole lot of wackiness going down. Sure it was hot earlier this week but it is July after all and I think that everyone I spoke to this week agreed that it was far preferable to what we were experiencing a few months ago. It looks to be another glorious weekend so get out there and enjoy it! This week we have Paris (we will always have Paris), Manhattan, lobsters, Savannah, Sherlock, more Paris (see? Told you!) and a haunting. And of course DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in da house with not just one but two Playlists!
Let us begin!
Barbara M is back in her beloved Paris, in her mind anyway, with a cookbook we are all in love with, My Paris Kitchen ,by David Lebovitz. “David Lebovitz’s cookbooks are so much more than just recipes and his latest My Paris Kitchen is no exception. Lebovitz worked at Chez Panisse in California for 13 years leaving to pursue his writing career. In 2004 he left California to resettle in Paris, a city both of us adore. His stories about the city and its food are informative and inspiring. This is not only a great cookbook or a great coffee table book (the photographs are gorgeous) but also a good read for anyone who appreciates good food and Paris. His blog is one of the best food blogs around and also offers great travel tips about Paris. “
Pat S literally took me by the arm to tell me about her read this week. She is that sort of wild for it. “If you are looking for a witty, fun read to pass the time at beach or pool, look no further than Paisley Mischief by Lincoln MacVeagh. Essentially a spoof of the American WASP archetype, the story is set in the exclusive confines of Manhattans most venerable men’s club, Avenue Club, with the lead character, Puff Penfield attempting to protect the 1% from encroachment from the outside. However, Max Guberstein, flashy movie mogul will stop at nothing to gain admission to the club. Subplots include an anonymously written roman a clef making the rounds entitled Paisley Mischief which features thinly veiled descriptions of the members, a nosy journalist attempting to ferret out the author of said tomb- and all with a cast of characters that are both wacky and charming. Written with humor and wit, the reader will be reminded of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves.”
Sue was busy reading and enjoying two books. First up is The Lobster Kings: A Novel by Alexi Zentner. “The Kings family has lived Loosewood Island for three hundred years trapping lobster. For years they have been at the top of their game but trouble brews when the family finds out that meth dealers from the mainland have started to do business on their island. The Lobster Kings will keep you enthralled with a great mixture of family curses, rivalry, and romance and will captivate you until the very end. Not only did I really like this book but it really made me want to go out and have some lobster! I also enjoyed Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews. Cara Kryzik is a struggling Savannah florist who is about to score the wedding of a lifetime. This is the one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Cara herself has had a rough go of romance and has fallen out of love with the idea of a happy-ever-after. Chaos ensues when the bride goes missing, the landlord decides to sell her building out from under her, and she meets a handsome handyman who is as romantically shy as Cara. These all make Save the Date an extremely enjoyable read that will keep you engrossed until the end.”
Steph is taking on some mysteries. “This week it has been a real pleasure re-reading The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, a book I always forget I how much love until I am re-reading it. I can’t believe it has hit its twentieth anniversary! I recently became the last person in the world to watch Sherlock, and though I liked that show quite a bit, this series is still my favorite version of the many Holmes re-tellings. For those who’ve not read this series, take this opportunity to get started, since apparently we will be waiting another year for more Sherlock. This is a mystery for non-mystery readers, equally good for teens and adults, and, I bet, to be adored by fans of Flavia de Luce.”
Remember last week and Sweet Ann’s take on I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You? Well here is Jeanne’s spin. “What’s fidelity got to do with love and marriage when someone else catches your eye or some other body part? In Courtney Maum’s I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, British artist Richard Haddon actually laments the fact that his French wife Anne-Laure did not insist that he break it off with his American mistress, Lisa. Of course Lisa has recently broken it off with Richard and married another artist. Richard thinks, “You think you’ve married your lover and eventually she turns into your sister.” Ewww. From RISD in Providence, RI to Paris to London, Sam Deveraux does a wonderfully diverse narration of this clever, wryly funny novel of love that went wrong.”
I spent my time at the beach last weekend not only with The Traveling Companion but also with The Hundred Year House by Rebecca Makkai. I loved her first book The Borrower and I can honestly say her second endeavor is solid and I really enjoyed it. What makes this novel, well, novel is its construct. It begins in 2000 with the Devhors, a family who have owned their estate Laurelfield for a hundred years. There’s Zee, a professor at the local university who, while claiming to be a Marxist, has no problem living rent free in the carriage house. Her husband, who is trying to research a little known poet who was once in residence at Laurelfield when it was an artist’s colony, is spending most of his time writing for a vapid children’s book series. Zee’s mother Gracie who claims that you will know everything you need to know about a person by looking at their teeth, and Gracie’s second husband, who is stockpiling supplies for the upcoming Y2K disaster. Looking down from the dining room wall at all of this hangs the portrait of Violet Devhor who is said to have committed suicide and haunts the estate. Makkai spools the story backward to uncover the various mysteries ending it in 1900 when the estate was built. The story alternates between being heartbreaking and hilarious and is totally worthy of a spot in your beach bag.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC has spent the week in The State That Shall Not Be Named researching the upcoming Lunar Event. Here is the fruit of her labor and of course The Playlist. Spin it Patty! “Saturday brings us the first of three perigee moons that we’ll enjoy this summer. It’s been dubbed as a Supermoon because the proximity to earth makes it look much larger than other full moons. NASA explains it here. Now Neil deGrasse Tyson would be the first person to say that full moons do NOT make people act crazy. There is no scientific reason why folks should act any differently on a day with a full moon. Yet the interwebs and folklore spin a different, darker tale. Urban myths seep through the concrete making folks itch, scratch and hatch into things that howl at the moon. So this Saturday, whatever you choose to believe and whatever your definition of crazy is I hope that you get out, gaze upon the beauty of the Supermoon and howl just a little bit. If you develop some kind of Superpower during those 24 hours, please let us know. Now, depending on your moon mood you have a couple of playlist choices.”
Tuesday, July 22nd at 3 p.m.
Our popular discussion series, Short Stories for Long Days with Carroll Stenson is about to begin with a new line-up of stories especially selected by Carroll to offer insight into the human condition and provoke thoughtful conversation.
Our program will begin on Tuesday, June 3rd at 3 p.m. in the Darien Library Conference Room and will continue every Tuesday through August 26th. The first story is "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" by Bret Harte. Copies are available at the Welcome Desk.
In subsequent weeks stories will be passed out at the end of each session or may be picked up at the Welcome Desk.
Please join us and share with other short story enthusiasts.
Happy Fourth of July weekend! Since we will be barbecuing, beveraging, and rockets bursting in air watching like the rest of you, You Are What You Read is a day early but hopefully not a dollar short. The Weather Gods have told us that we will have a rough start to the long weekend courtesy of an uninvited guest named Arthur but word has it that by Friday evening all will be clear. Of course, it may take longer than that for my hair to settle down and get back to normal, but then again, that may not happen until September. The Traveling Companion and I have made a vow to get in some much needed beach time this weekend and we hope that you too have made a similar commitment to find a patch of sand with water views, some sunscreen, a good hat, a smuggled-in beverage or two to enjoy with your picnic in your Solo cups (ssshhh! Discretion is required!) and don’t forget that book you’ve been dying to dive into. This week we have some orphans, a marathon, Paris, Grand Central, London and Brooklyn. The Playlist? Of course! Pffff! As if we would let you all have a long weekend without a soundtrack!
Let us begin!
Pat T has just finished The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. “I read this novel because I was intrigued by a patron's recollection of the orphan trains that passed through her Texas town as a young girl. The lives of teenage girl and an elderly lady intersect when Molly, a troubled teen needs to perform community service for a petty theft. Vivian Daly, a wealthy 90-year-old woman needs help with the cleaning out of her attic. As Molly and Vivian work together, Molly comes to realize that Vivian's past is similar to her own. Vivian, born Niamah in Ireland, moved to New York City with her family and was orphaned when they died in a fire. She was taken by Children's Aid and placed on an orphan train headed out west. Instead of finding a loving home, she was mistreated and overworked. Their stories alternate between present day and the early 1920's and they are connected by their shared feelings of abandonment, adversity and resilience.”
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has put down the books and picked up the remote. What’s doin’ Virginia? “This has been my movie marathon week and I have two recommendations. The first is Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit. I have to say I am now a big fan of Chris Pine, the star of the movie. This was a great addition to the Jack Ryan film series and if you like action/adventure and intrigue then pick this one up. The second movie was the The Book Thief and it is just a beautiful, gorgeous, touching film. It was wonderful and my only regret was it took me so long to see it. “
Sweet Ann is having some fun without us reading I am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum. She proclaims it a light novel that makes a fun summer read. Tell us more Ann! “Richard Haddon, is an American artist living in Paris with his French wife, Anne-Laure, and their young daughter. When Richard has an affair with an American woman she is willing to give him a second chance until she discovers that the affair was more involved than she was led to believe. This novel will keep you engaged and cheering for Richard and Anne-Laure. As an aside, there are beautiful descriptions of Paris and Brittany. At one point Richard wants to take his estranged wife to one of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris, Le Train Bleu. I looked it up and oh yes, it is so beautiful.
The Forever Fabulous Babs B is reading about a place near and dear to her. Here she is with Terminal City by Linda Fairstein. “I always look forward to a new book by Linda Fairstein and again she comes through with flying colors! This time she focuses her story on one of New York's most iconic structures-Grand Central Station. There is an elusive killer on the loose in Grand Central and the only lead the police can find is a carefully drawn symbol into the victim's bodies which bears a striking resemblance to train tracks. The reader is taken into Grand Central's expansive underground tunnels, where groups of homeless people live. I found this part of the story fascinating. This is a fast paced read and if you enjoy reading about iconic New York City buildings this one is for you!”
Jeanne is worried. And I am worried that she is only doing one thing. So much fretting going on here. Anyway, here is Jeanne’s latest download via OverDrive. “Last week I was worried about the plight of chimpanzees; this week it was whales and dolphins. Jojo Moyes tells a great story and Silver Bay is no exception. This one has love, deception, transatlantic travel, high finance, quite a bit of drinking and marine life, to boot. A large London real estate development firm is determined to build a high-end vacation spot in the lovely Australian coastal village of Silver Bay, complete with extreme water sports. The story gets interesting when Mike Dormer, the front man for the developers, discovers that he cares about the future of the eccentric people of the town and one lovely whale chasing skipper named Liza. There are surprise twists and tugs on your heart.”
I am wild for Elizabeth Gaffney’s novel When the World Was Young. Meet Wallace “Wally” Baker, who is growing up in Brooklyn Heights during World War II and is easily one of the most refreshing voices I have encountered in a long time. Wally has no interest in the things that her mother and grandmother wish would interest her such as needlepoint and dresses. She is fascinated by the world of ants and Wonder Woman comics. When her mother dies under suspicious circumstances on VJ Day her world is understandably turned upside down. As Wally grows older her commitment to solving the mystery of her mother’s life and death become an obsession. Will she ever be able to discover the truth? This is a wonderful story about the importance of family in all the guises it comes in and it comes out in August.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is back up in the State Which Shall Not Be Named and here is her take on the 4th. Take it Patty! “This week as we celebrate the independence of our country that was founded on the tenets of religious freedom and separation of church and state, I want to encourage all of you to have a civil discourse on politics. That’s right; I’m encouraging you to blow up that old-fangled notion that politics and religion should never be discussed in public. This Fourth of July while you enjoy a parade, a barbeque or some fireworks take a little time to talk politics. I know that my family will be doing just that this Friday. And here is a soundtrack to move that along.”