You Are What You Read!

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!


Sweet Ann has just finished The Arsonist by Sue Miller. “Frankie Rowley is a woman who has returned to her parent’s summer house in a small town in New Hampshire.  She had been living in Africa doing humanitarian care, but decided to leave after a failed romance.  Frankie begins a relationship with Bud, the editor of the town’s newspaper, who has left his previous position in DC to start a new life.  The characters are well developed and I thought this novel was good in the way it showed how sometimes there is not an easy answer or there can be no answer at all for why things happen."


Abby gives us her take on Terminal City by Linda Fairstein and the series True Detective. “It’s always fun to get my hands on a Linda Fairstein mystery and her latest, Terminal City, again features Assistant DA  Alexandra Cooper. Fairstein has created a solid alter-ego in Cooper, an Assistant Manhattan DA who actively assists her team of investigators in solving crimes. Given Fairstein’s background as the former chief of the ground-breaking Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan DA’s Office, she offers a light touch while educating readers. The real highlight for me is how each book takes place in a different part of Manhattan and offers lots of great background on a particular landmark so you get a mini history. In Terminal City, you learn about Grand Central Terminal and its history while Alex and her team track a vicious criminal.   As for viewing, I just finished watching True Detective. But I am not sure watching is the right word; perhaps absorbing better describes the experience. Produced by HBO, True Detective stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, two actors not generally associated with TV. Spanning 17 years, the story begins as the duo partners up in Louisiana in the State Police Department  to solve a particularly brutal murder. Very different men, you trace their involvement in the case and how it impacts their lives. Even where the story fails, the acting is superb all around.  This series contains some disturbing stuff, so I’d recommend it for hardcore crime fans only.


The Fabulous Babs B went out of her comfort zone this week and is glad she did withA ll Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner.  “Let me confess that I am not a big fan of this author but after reading a review I decided to give this book a shot.  Basically, this is the story of a woman's slide into addiction and her struggle to get her life back.  Allison Weiss seems to have it all on the outside, a loving husband, cute little 4 year old daughter, big house and a job she loves.  Then things start to unravel; her dad's early Alzheimer's is getting worse, her mother can't cope and her husband starts to distance himself.  Allison starts popping her Vicodin pills that she keeps in an Altoid tin to get through each day and before she knows it her addiction is out of control.  She spends thousands of dollars buying the drugs over the internet once she runs out of doctors who will prescribe.  This is an all too real story and I think Weiner did a great job.  It's obvious she did a lot of research into addiction, which makes it a timely and poignant story.”


Virginia the Tall Cook Texan checks in with this.  “Chocolate, wine, and French fries.  There really is nothing more I love than a good guilty pleasure, and in the summertime that means unfiltered fluff reading.  This week’s read has everything you want in a summer thriller: glamour, television, backstabbing, frenemies, and killer shoes.  Kate White’s new thriller Eyes on You is about a television anchor, Robin Trainer, who gets a second chance on a national show only to have her success jeopardized with sabotage.  It begins with small predictable incidents but quickly escalates into a more threatening situation when someone doctors Robin’s television makeup with acid. Hey, as a bonus, she got a free chemical peel.  Always look for the silver lining!  I wouldn’t describe this as a riveting psychological thriller but it is a fun and fast read and I enjoyed it, especially the glamorous, if unrealistic, setting of the television/media world.  (PS:  I can totally see the women on The View plotting sabotage behind each other’s backs.  Especially when that Elizabeth Hasselback was on the show, she seemed shifty and didn’t make it through Survivor for nothing.)”  


I started the new Jane Smiley Some Luck this week that will be coming out October 7th.  And I cannot tell you all how much I love this story of an Iowa farming family.   I am so obsessed I am reading it on my Kindle for my commute and the minute I get home I grab my physical  paper copy, find my spot and start in again immediately.  Beginning in 1920, with each chapter representing a year, we learn about the lives of Roseanna and Walter Langdon and their children.  Just as in real life, some years are quiet and filled with quiet joys, while some years are turbulent and tragic.  I really think that this is Smiley’s masterpiece, even more so than her Pulitzer win for A Thousand Acres.  I have ordered plenty so please place your holds now. 


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in da house as always and here are her musings from The State Which Shall Not Be Named.  Hit it Patty! “Summer has challenged fall as my favorite season due to the bounty of glorious food that is available. It’s no secret that I am a fan of CSA’s and farmer’s markets. Every week, jute bag slung over my shoulder, I walk down to the farmer’s market filled with anticipation of what I will discover. My meal plans are based on what is fresh and in season and it’s a fact that chefs and foodies prefer this type of seasonal shopping and meal preparation.  But the prerequisite of this is the ability to be flexible and creative. There’s a book I’ve purchased to support my food obsession that I will be digging into soon. Saving the Season by Kevin West is my new canning, pickling and preserving bible. There’s certain to be a serious blueberry canning jam session in the house soon. Seriously, blueberries are in season. Go get some. This week I have to mention a late great Broadway dame who recently moved back to my new hometown of Birmingham, Michigan. It was my hope to bump into Elaine Stritch here in town so that we could swap New York/Connecticut back to Michigan stories. I am certain her stories would trump mine in pure entertainment value. In my mind, we would share our stories over lunch. After all, aren’t we the ladies who lunch?   This week’s playlist is a seasonal sampling of new fantastic music with one exception, but I’ll let you figure that out for yourself. Enjoy the season. It’s a great one."

 

Nice New Book Goodness!

Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new next week. Come in and visit us, or put your items on hold from home! We will let you know when they are ready for you to pick up!

New e-Books from 3M

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

Here are the new e-Book titles for the week of 7/14 that are available from 3M!

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

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.”

DL CRAZY PERIGEE SUPERMOON #1 2014

 The Fullest Moon or Just Another Day in the Life of Neil deGrasse Tyson 2013
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice New Book Goodness!

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new next week. Come in and visit us, or put your items on hold from home! We will let you know when they are ready for you to pick up!

Short Stories for Long Days with Carroll Stenson

Carroll Stenson
Carroll Stenson

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.

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

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.”

Nice New Book Goodness!

Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new next week. Come in and visit us, or put your items on hold from home! We will let you know when they are ready for you to pick up!

You Are What You Read!

Well hello there and a Happy First Full Week of Summer!  It was shocking to feel the heat and humidity yesterday when I went to lunch.  And it’s hard to wrap the brain around the idea that this time next week we will be knee deep in Star Spangled Banners, Barbecue, and Beer for the 4th. It feels like just yesterday the only thing we were knee deep in was the four letter S word.  But here we are at the beginning of High Summer and I am sure that you all are already thinking about your great escape to wherever it is you Summer.  The Message from the SoNo Loft is Really Give It The Gas.  If you are on the road heading out, I would gently recommend that you may want to have a crack radar detector before heeding their advice.  Those Staties don’t play.  This week we have some new neighbors, a chimpanzee, small gestures and some duchesses.  Of course we have The Playlist!  How can we not have The Playlist?

Let us begin!

Sue tried something new this week and here is her take on Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber.  “This week I deviated from my normal chick-lit reading and got lost in the realm of YA Fiction with Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber. This is about a 16-year-old Goth misfit named Raven Madison. When the old abandoned mansion in town comes alive with new residents everyone believes that the new neighbors are actually secret bloodthirsty vampires. One day, she encounters one of the new inhabitants of the mansion, the attractive yet mysterious Alexander Sterling. The two slowly fall in love, but still the question remains; are the Sterlings really vampires and if they are this could make the town that is nicknamed ‘Dullsville’ anything but dull.  I enjoyed this book and was made even happier when I learned that it was the first in a Series.”

Jeanne gives us an insight this week into how she chooses her audio books and it’s about what I would expect. I’ll let her explain.  Have at it Jeanne!  ”Sometimes with audiobooks I like the title and don’t really look at the cover, and soon I am engrossed in the story and the narration, but suddenly I think, ‘Wait. WHAT is this about?! ‘But by then I like the writing and the voice of the main character and I keep listening and before I know it I am done. This is the case with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, a story of siblings, science experiments, data and there is a chimpanzee on the book cover. The story is deeply disturbing, heart wrenching and plenty thought-provoking. The wonderful Orlagh Cassidy reads with all the right voice, tempo and inflection. I count her as a favorite narrator. “

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is looking back this week and she has been doing some serious reflection. “I like to think I was kind as a child. Not making fun of others and saying hello to all. But if subject to peer pressure, did I always do the right thing and stand up for the underdog?  Probably not. This has been on my mind a lot since I started reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. August Pullman is a young man who was born with an extreme facial deformity who and after years of being taught at home is entering school for the first time as a fifth grader. The book tells the tale of his first year of school and the impact on his family and friends. The book has its faults but it is a beautiful, heartfelt story that made me laugh, cry, and reminded me how the smallest gestures can be the most courageous. This is a wonderful read for people of all ages and if  you haven’t read it you should.”

It has been a while since I revealed what the current Blow Dry Book is.  For those new to this space a Blow-Dry Book is a book I literally read while I blow-dry my hair.  It’s a chore and a bore (the blow-dry, not the book) and so I need something to entertain me while it happens. And I want to state for the record I am not alone in this quirk. Virginia is also a fan of the BDB.  My current Blow- Dry Book is The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport.  We all know that this story is not going to end well, but it fascinates just the same.  The four sisters were beautiful, well educated, and wealthy beyond measure.  And yet what is strikes me the most, aside from their tragic fate, is how their lives were filled with crazy contradictions.  They lived in a cosseted world where very few outsiders were allowed in and yet because of their brother’s hemophilia and their mother’s frequent turns as an invalid they were often required to be the face of the Russian monarchy.  Sure, their homes were palaces and yet the private rooms they lived in are described as homey and decorated in comfy sort of English style filled with chintz and flowers. Yes, there were servants and luxury aplenty and yet they all learned how to make their beds.  You can’t help but wonder what would have become of them is they had been allowed to live past their ages of 22, 21, 19 and 17. 

DJ Patty McC was back in Da House this week and it was wonderful to see her in the flesh and not just communicate with her via the interwebs.  Here is her take on our message this week.  Have at it Patty!  “Summer is finally here and we are all soaking up that glorious Vitamin D! What's more summertime than rolling down the windows in your car, cranking up the tunes and taking a summer road trip? I could tell you stories from my childhood of road trips gone wrong that would be highly entertaining. They involved travel in a stripped down van with no insulation so that when the sun hit the metal it heated all the way through. Did I mention that there were no windows or seats and that the driver was a chain smoker? Ah, sweet summertime road trips. This week I packed up my daughter and hit the highway for a little housekeeping here in The Nutmeg State. Librarians around the country are gathered in Las Vegas for the ALA conference.  I'm hitting the highway tomorrow to head back home to my boys in the mitten shaped state. I'm still grooving to last week’s tunes but I think our town librarians need a little bit of What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas. Now go forth and put the pedal to the metal.”

You Are What You Read!

Hello! I am back!  First I want to send a big thanks to Steph for stepping up last week.   So thanks Steph.  As you can see, the message from the SoNo loft is in the form of a question, ‘What is Your Weird?’  It’s a worthy question for this last day of Spring.  We all have our ‘things’.  Some of mine are as follows and not in any real order:  The Edies of Grey Gardens, Little People, any episode of Hoarders, Clowns, Dolls with Teeth, Victorian Taxidermy Tableaux and of course when Wild Animals decide that they have had enough of  us humans and our nonsense  and they kill and eat us (see the films Grizzly Man and  Black Fish).  Sally of the Reference has an obsession with Extreme Weather.  Caroline?  If it’s on Bravo, she’s all over it.  Cathy?  Our girl Hugette is a favorite.  Abby?  She is all about Scientology.  Amanda?  That girl loves herself some Graveyard.  And of course you know all about our Anne Perry fixation which has so many elements of weirdness, that it’s hard to focus on the whole Chicks with Bricks main story.  So c’mon!  What is your weird obsession?  What will you never have your fill of?  What makes you take a step back; cock your head and say, “I need to learn more about that because that is MESSED UP!”  This week we have an unfortunate accident, a whodunit, some grief, murder, mental unbalance, some serious planning, football and of course we have the playlist and some added value.  Interested?

Let us begin!

Barbara M is working on Family Life by Akhil Sharma.  “While this is classified as fiction it is in  fact the story of his family’s immigration from India to the United States and  his older brother’s unfortunate accident. Akhil’s older brother was a brilliant boy who after only a short time in the United States passed the exam to be admitted to the Bronx High School of Science, a highly competitive New York City High School. His aspiration was to become a surgeon. The accident left him in a vegetative state and the family, far from their home in India, coped or didn’t cope in different ways.  The story is told from the younger brother’s  point of view and it is poignant, heart-breaking and very real. “

Abby has just finished watching the British whodunit Broadchurch starring  David Tennant. “ Set in a picturesque coastal English town, it is the story of the aftermath  when 11- year- old Danny Latimer is killed. The investigation is hampered by the secrets of Danny's family, and the community's collective desire to find someone to blame for the youngsters tragic death. I enjoy Tennant's work and Olivia Colman as  Ellie Miller, an officer who grew up in town and is  a friend of  the Latimer Family is a terrific actress.  Overall, with so many twists and turns there were some gaps in the storytelling and investigation, but the performances and scenery make it a worthwhile watch. In a move that may or may not work, the series is being re-done as a version in the US, with Tennant again starring but as an American detective. “

Sweet Ann who does not seem to have any weirdness tells us about The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings.  “This novel is about grief and how one woman faces it and goes on with her life.  It is not your typical sad book but one that will make you chuckle as you meet the other people who are coping with the loss as well.  Sarah St. John lives with her father in Colorado.  She is a single Mom to twenty-two year old Cully who died in an avalanche.   Everyone in her world is having a difficult time with Cully's death.  While it is a book about grief  it is also a book about relationships and the people who can make you smile.   Ms. Hemmings previous novel, The Descendants, is written in a similar way with a serious subject and lighthearted moments. “

The Fabulous Babs B is in full summer read mode with Field of Prey by John Sanford.  “This is another top-notch thriller from John Sanford.  The character of Lucas Davenport from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension returns to investigate the disappearance and murder of 15 young girls.  Davenport teams up with Catrin Mattson, a detective with the county sheriff's office.  When the killer decides Mattson is going to be his next victim, the case escalates quickly.  Halfway into the story, Sanford throws in a big twist that I never saw coming.  I think this is the best of Sanford's Davenport novels in a long time and I am not alone!  To quote Stephen King this is ‘The Perfect Summer Read.’”

And then we come to Pat S who has just read Regeneration by Pat Barker.  She tells me that she is not in “summer reading mode” but honestly I don’t think that she and I ever are.  Maybe we need to add that to the “weird list?”  “This is the first book of a WWI trilogy by Pat Barker. Set in the psychiatric convalescent hospital of Craiglockhart, Regeneration is a fictionalized account of the poet Siegfried Sassoon's time in this facility when he had been labeled 'mentally unbalanced' for declaring the war a 'senseless slaughter'. Told through the eyes of both the patients and the physicians, Barker explores the ethical and moral ambiguities of war. It is heartrending to read the recounting of battles and frontline conditions which left healthy young men physically and psychically shattered-not necessarily at the hands of the enemy, but by virtue of the incompetence and arrogance of their own commanding officers. While not an easy read, this is certainly a provocative one.”

Steph, for those unaware, recently became engaged.  This of course is influencing her reading as you will see.  I know we all wish her and the fiancé all the best.  “This week I read A Practical Wedding, by Meg Keene. I have been looking at a lot of wedding books and magazines lately, and most of them seem custom-designed to make a lady anxious so she will buy things she doesn’t need. This book is the complete opposite, and sorely needed in the field of wedding planning. The book includes not just great basic information on the practical side planning a wedding (down to giving you a sample of a spreadsheet to keep track of the details!), it also includes advice on the emotions and everything else that goes with it. And there’s no agenda. If you want the big church wedding, or the small barn wedding, or to elope, or whatever else, Keene’s got your back. It’s like having a really cool aunt who just happens to be a wedding planner. Her blog is also fabulous! It’s also, unlike most wedding books, not bride-centric, because it emphasizes creating a wedding that works for the whole couple—I am making my partner read it as well. Of everything I’ve looked at, this is the only book on weddings I whole-heartedly recommend. I will be buying it for engagement presents in the future.”

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is in summer mode but she’s not happy but her unhappiness has a good resolution.  I’ll let her explain.  Virginia the floor is yours!  “I continued my summer reading this week with Emily Giffin’s new novel The One and  Only.  The book takes place in a small town outside of Dallas, TX and shockingly (I say snidely) the story line revolves around football.  Seriously people, there is more to Texas than football, although, with this book you would never realize it.  Here is my quick synopsis:  Someone dies…football.  Breakup, career change…football. Dating someone new, while having feelings for someone forbidden…football. Domestic abuse…football. Happily ever after…winning the national championship in football.  Oh yeah and  in between all of that was more football.  As you can tell, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book. The best I can say is it made me nostalgic for real Tex-Mex food, Neiman Marcus and the Ritz Carleton bar. I guess I can thank Giffin for inspiring me to make my plane reservations for a trip home to Dallas.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is weighing in on the Weird with some eye and ear candy this week.  Patty?  What’s doin’?  “ There are artistic geniuses all around us and rarely do they do things that are considered normal. What is “normal” for one person may not be “normal” for another whether you’re an artistic genius, working parent or stay-at-home mom. What gets you up and motivated in the morning is probably different for your partner, children, parents or friends. My daughter told her teacher that our family motto is, ‘Let Your Freak Flag Fly.’  This week I have a couple of videos to share that are freaky genius. The first is from the band OK Go. They’ve created another musical masterpiece complete with mind-blowing video for their new song, ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’. It was filmed all in one shot (it took 50 takes) and is chock-full of optical illusions and great art. 

The second video is Stay With Me’ by Sam Smith and if you don’t know who he is yet you will soon. The mind-blowing thing about this song is that the Gospel Choir is HIM! A recent NPR interview with Sam on All Things Considered uncovered this little known fact:

So, this week I invite you to be more accepting of yourself, others and try living in a state of non-judgment. Embrace your own quirks and share them unselfconsciously with others, they may just surprise you. Now, I have to ask, DL DUZ THIS MUZIK MAEK ME LOOK WEIRD? 2014”

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