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!
Tuesday, August 5th 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.
I have been thinking a lot this week on The State of The Book and Print (yes with a capital P) and it’s not a pretty state. It’s rather like the worst stretch of the Jersey Turnpike littered with jack-knifed tractor trailers. Newspapers are struggling and letting their people go at an alarming rate. Magazines are folding without warning and book publishers are scrambling. Most of you know that I read on my Kindle for my commute but I have to tell you that while reading the new Jane Smiley this week (totally tied for first place with All the Light We Cannot See for favorite book of 2014) I loved coming home to the physical copy of the book. I loved holding it in my hand, would get nervous if it wasn’t close by and I didn’t even mind one little bit when I woke up this week with a dent in my forehead from falling asleep on it. Earlier this week, The Traveling Companion shared with me this piece from the New York Times about the joys of slowing down, turning off the gadgets and reading from the actual paper source. Weather willing, this weekend we will be heading for a beach, and there will be the cooler containing the Contraband Beverages and Solo cups (sshhh! Discretion please!), some lunch, the beach chairs and the beach bag containing towels, sunscreen, the most recent issue of the New Yorker, the Weekend Edition of the New York Times and books. This morning on the train I started one that is coming out in January that I first heard about in May at a lunch with some Hachette editors. They were using words like masterpiece, magical, and comparing it to To Kill A Mockingbird. Editors don’t use those words or comparisons lightly. Even more remarkable is that The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton is a first novel. So while on my commute I will be reading it digitally, this weekend will find me holding the ARC at a lovely quiet beach. I hope the same holds true for you too. Slow down; grab a deck chair, a hammock, an Adirondack chair, whatever the seat of preference is and a piece of true print. This week we have some cringing, swirling maelstroms, love for books, princesses, surgery, a survey, four wives, and a diaper bag. Playlist? Of course!
Let us begin!
Thomas is reading an old favorite of mine and Stephanie’s. We have been begging him to do it for a while now and he finally listened. And this is the closest he will ever come to admitting we were right. “I’m eternally late on everything that is ‘decent’ in literature. To continue this theme, I have just started reading May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes. The novel tells the story of a middle aged Nixon professor named Harold who is always living in the shadow of his alpha male, short-tempered younger brother, who is an executive at a very prominent news network. When Harold's kid brother snaps and commits a senseless act of violence, Harold suddenly finds himself taking care of his brother's two adolescent children, Nathaniel, an emotionally disturbed twelve year old with a taste for controlled substances, and Ashley, a six year old trapped in the body of an eleven year old. Together, the three of them begin to learn just how much life can make one cringe. I'm cringing as I write this to be totally honest.”
I love how whenever we hear from Miss Elisabeth of the CL she is so enthusiastic about what she has just consumed it just shines through her review. This week is no different. What’s up Miss E? “This week I read, no, devoured, a new release by a debut author. The Queen of the Tearling, by Ericka Johansen, is everything you could possibly ask for in an adult fantasy - there's excellent world building, great character development, a breakneck pace, and most importantly, a strong, confident, intelligent heroine at the center of a swirling maelstrom of political intrigue. It's the best thing I've read in a long, long while. The book begins as our heroine, Kelsea, turns 19 and is escorted by armed guards from her secluded, secret childhood home to the castle of the kingdom she is meant to rule - The Tearling. The story is set on a continent that erupted from the sea after a natural disaster several thousand years in the future, and the world is an intricate blend of acknowledgements of things we have now such as eBooks, and the seven volumes of Rowling, medieval feudal societies, and grim references to the events that caused a modern world to be replaced so thoroughly. Although the character is young, the book is decidedly adult - language and references to sex means this is NOT a good crossover title for 14 year-olds. The author was inspired to create her heroine after hearing then presidential hopeful Barack Obama speak about hope and change in 2008. The movie rights have already been sold, the script is being written, and Emma Watson is set to star. I can't wait for the sequel and the movie!”
Speaking of Steph, here she is! “I read Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Erdrich, after it was recommended to me by a good friend. I love Erdrich, and this book is fantastic. For her fans, it offers insight that’s not found in her other books. For those who haven’t read her yet, it’s a fantastic extended essay, and an American memoir of real substance. What I loved best about it is the overarching question: ‘Books. Why?’ Even though she meanders off to explore the geography and history of Ojibwe Country, her family, the language of Ojibwemowin, the resurgence of traditional belief, and her internal life she always returns to this one question. She offers a number of specific answers throughout the book: ‘Because our brains hurt," and ‘Because they are wealth, sobriety, and hope.’ She is always thinking about what books have meant to her and mean to so many of us. What book lover can resist?”
Pat S is reading The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport. “As a longtime student of Russian history, I really enjoyed this study of the four Romanov princesses. While frequently grouped together, almost as a collective, Rappaport aims to delineate distinctive personalities for each of the four ,Olga;stalwart, Tatiana;composed and private, Marie;merry and empathetic, and Anastasia;fiery. Using primary source material previously unavailable, Rappaport is able to draw credible portraits not just of the four princesses, but also of their parents in their family roles. And may I say, hemophilia wasn’t the only illness that was passed down in that family. While not a page turner, it is an interesting read for the history buff.”
Pat T enjoyed a medical thriller Doing Harm, by Kelly Parsons to be specific. “Steve Mitchel, a young, confident surgical resident is in line for a good position when he completes his residency. However, he soon discovers that life can change on a dime when one of his patient's dies, and another’s surgery is compromised. With the help of his junior resident, Luis, they try to uncover the person responsible for all these deadly escapades. I suspect this gripping novel will keep you up past your bedtime, as it did me!”
Julie Rae began as a student intern this spring and we thought she was so awesome we asked her to stay for the summer. She will be leaving us all too soon to begin her freshman year at Ursinus College. Here is what has been in her beach bag. “Recently I've read two quick summer books that are perfect for a day at the beach. The first one is The Rosie Project, about a genetics professor who is attempting to find a wife in the only way that makes sense to him: by conducting a survey. But his logical method turns up with nothing but dead ends until he meets Rosie, a woman who meets none of his criteria. The Rosie Project is a wonderful book with tinges of hilarity and depth. The other book worth mentioning for a summer read is Mrs. Hemingway. This book follows the marriages of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives. I left the book with a sense of awe for the author because it was researched meticulously that I felt connected to each of the wives. “
Jeanne. Only one thing. So worrisome. “I read The Objects of her Affection by Sonya Cobb. Cobb’s first novel is interesting, page-turning and describes an all too possible turn of events. Sophie Porter is a bright young woman who is trying to get back into the tech working world after having two children. Having grown up feeling ungrounded, she craves a home of her own. She and her husband, who works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art curating Renaissance pieces, buy what seems the perfect home until the bills start coming in. Sophie is desperate to manage without telling her husband of their predicament. Then she meets Harry, owner of an antique shop in Manhattan. How can one woman, a diaper bag and antiques possibly mix to solve her money woes?”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here with The Playlist. Hey Patty! What’s good? “Summertime marks the longer, slower days we all enjoy. Extra daytime hours feel like stolen time to be shared with friends and family while sipping freshly squeezed lemonade, eating berries, biking, swimming and lots and lots of beach time reading. This weekend marks the annual Maker Faire Detroit event held at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s a big deal. Seriously, if you don’t know what a Maker Faire is, you’ve been missing out on GREAT innovation and talent steeped in a pool of sweat, commitment and healthy risk-taking. Yes, I will be attending with my kiddos. One can’t help but think about past brilliant makers like Johannes Gutenberg. His invention of the printing press is touted as the most important event of the modern period. Without his invention we’d have no Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution or dare I say, LIBRARIES! Librarians and media folk are often asked about the viability of physical print with the suggestion that it’s passé. All the folks I know including makers give a resounding NO! We need a beautiful glossy magazine, a book to be opened and its fresh new goodness inhaled. (yes, there’s even a perfume for that) Print is not dead. Every psychologist will tell you that human beings require, crave and need touch. While I am a huge proponent and consumer of digital media I still love the touch and smell of a book and magazine. This will never change, so Make On, Create and Long Live Print!”
Here are the new eBook titles for the week of 7/21 that are available from OverDrive.
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.”