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!
Sweet Ann hopes that we are smiling this week and beginning our Spring countdown. The message from the SoNo Loft remains the same because I think that it is just too cold for them to change the banner. I am hoping like mad that the ridiculous PA Rodent does the decent thing on Sunday and casts no shadow. According to Wikipedia, the Rodent’s prediction is correct 75% to 90% of the time. Which, when you think of it, for weather odds is not too shabby? I cannot believe that I am alone in feeling over this entire winter thing and that the Polar Vortex can retreat to back to wherever it came from any time now. It was actually joyous this morning to be able to walk to my train station and not feel like I was destined to end up in some Emergency Room in warming blankets. What makes this especially sad is when you realize that it was maybe 20 degrees this morning. And I was carrying on like it was 70 and sunny. Yes. Hatless and almost skipping my way on my way to the station. This is what I have been reduced to feeling grateful for. On a happier note, I wish everyone a very Happy Super Bowl weekend and I hope it turns out the way you want it to. As for me, I could care less but I do love the yearly excuse to eat foods I turn my nose up at the other 364 days for the year. I did hear somewhere this week that Monday will be the busiest gym day of the year. Do with that what you will. This week we have some Scotland, Poland, a party (!), time travel, Iraq, dystopia, a tall drink of Texan water, and New Guinea.
Let us begin!
Well thankfully this month is winding down. I can’t say it’s been a delightful beginning of the year. In fact, I am finding it the opposite of delightful. Between the cold, the snow, the ice and the commuting woes I am more than ready to put January behind me. The SoNo Loft is sticking with last week’s message. Our Sweet Ann’s words of wisdom are not so much words of wisdom but a reminder of sorts: “I don't know if I have any words of wisdom this week except I know for me I am still trying to stick with my resolutions, one being to try to be more patient. I think it is important to set goals and work towards them. I know for me personally, I have set workout goals and it’s not always easy to stick to but it is worth all the effort. Although we will see in a year or two if I need a scooter since my knees have given out.” So remember! Even if you have fallen far from those resolutions, keep working at them! There could be a scooter in your future. This week we have some South Carolina, Philadelphia, Christopher Robin, Montreal, a lost cat, Paris, LA, misfits, the comeback of bawdy and our weekly playlist, and San Francisco.
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann is reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. “This is a very good novel based loosely on the life of Sarah Grimke who was born to a wealthy plantation slave owning family in Charleston, South Carolina in 1792. She was a woman way ahead of her time becoming a feminist and an abolitionist which caused her much hardship. Ms. Kidd has fictionalized her life and used historical facts to move the story along. At the age of eleven young Sarah is given Hette who is to be her personal slave. Sarah does not want her but her parents refuse to take back their gift. Sarah wants the freedom that is denied her because she is a woman and Hette just want to be free. There is brutality in this book that will make you cringe but remember it is based on history and how slaves were treated. This is a very well written novel that will keep you turning the pages.”
Erin is working that Red Carpet State of Mind. Work it Erin! “Because I have the Academy Awards on the mind, this weekend I decided to visit an old favorite from last year. I had not seen Silver Linings Playbook since it was in theaters over a year ago and JEEZ I just love a movie with a good dance sequence. Bradley Cooper has just been released from a state mental institution which he agreed to as part of a plea bargain after a violent confrontation with his wife’s lover. Jennifer Lawrence (my girl J-Law) has recently been widowed and all she wants to do is compete in a dance competition. But she needs a partner. The two make a deal and start practicing religiously. This film has mental illness, comedy, love, Philadelphia sports, and a dance montage set to the tune of a Johnny Cash/Bob Dylan song. What’s not to love?”
Kim, who can be found on many service desks here in the library often wearing those shiny deck shoes, is reading Billy Moon by Douglas Lain. “It tells the fictional story of a real character Christopher Robin Milne. The story takes place in 1968. One quote that I liked from the book is on page 81 where Lain states ‘How was it that Christopher’s strongest memories of his father weren’t of him, but of his absence?’”
Abby is reading The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. “While I have enjoyed the mysteries that take place in the village of Three Pines outside of Montreal, I expected to like them more than I have. In this book, Gamache must solve a murder with the underlying theme of jealousy in both the murder and a crisis in his professional life. The quirky villagers bring their own strengths and foibles to help Gamache understand the time and place of the crime. While this third entry has some flaws, the characters continued growth and depth will keep me reading. Her most recent book How the Light Gets In, was on a number of Best of Lists for 2013. This has me curious about Penny’s growth as a writer since her latest is so highly regarded. Penny has not yet won me over.”
Amanda wants to know what in the world an animal memoir is. Is it written from the perspective of the animal? Is it about how an animal changed a human’s life? This week she picked up Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology by Caroline Paul. “First off, Lost Cat is a delight to read. I finished it in just over an hour so it’s a perfect read before dinner. The book follows the adventures of the author who shattered her leg in a plane crash. Depressed and feeling sorry for herself, she finds a distraction in tracking down her cat when he goes missing. Her search is laugh out loud funny and the illustrations by her partner had me smiling fondly at the big eyed cats that fill the pages. Then it hit on a depressing note that had me sobbing my heart out for ten minutes. I felt so wretched but Caroline’s description of what it feels like to have your heartbroken was just so true. It made me feel less alone because someone else knows exactly what it feels like. I love this book and heartily recommend it for anyone who wants an amusing read with a happy ending.”
Barbara M. is back in her beloved Paris this week with The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol. “After reading about Chechnya and both World Wars this book is a wonderful and absolutely delightful escape. Josephine Cortes, a scholar specializing in the 12th century, is living in a not-so-nice suburb of Paris with her out of work husband and two daughters. Her husband leaves her and Jo is left to manage on her own. Her sister, a woman-who-lunches and shops, proposes that Jo write a book for which she, Iris, will take credit. The people in this novel are all well drawn caricatures of people we all know. It is laugh out loud hilarious and I can’t wait until Pancol’s next two books are translated into English.”
Steph is enthusiastic! “This week I read Rainbow Rowell's forthcoming book, Landline. Her recent YA books, Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, have both made surprising inroads with adults and book groups at our library, so they will be thrilled to hear that this one is written for them! Georgie McCool (yes, that is her real name) knows she's made a mistake after she lets her husband and kids head to his mom's house for Christmas without her because she has to stay in LA to work on what could be the biggest break in her career as a TV writer. Worried she's finally ruined her marriage; she keeps desperately trying to get him on the phone, but finds she can't, except via an old landline phone, which seems to be connecting her to him in the past to the week just before he proposed to her. She's heartbroken and terrified. Will their late-night chats change the future she's living in? Knowing what she knows now, should she even want him to propose to her in the past? Will she be able to hold it together for her big break? The book has all the tension of a great thriller, but also Rowell's deftness with the complexity of relationships and love. I devoured it. And it's coming out this summer just in time for all your smart-beach-book needs. I can't wait to share it with everybody. But in the meantime, read her other books to prepare."
Pat T. is listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book David and Goliath; Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. “Just like his other books, Outliers, Blink and Tipping Point, Gladwell challenges the status quo of societal norms and offers a different and refreshing perspective. In David and Goliath, he uses the biblical story to point out what happens when ordinary people confront challenges and are forced to respond. Do we strike back or forgive, preserve or give? One of his many stories is about a girls’ basketball team that defied expectations and went on to win the season title. Although the girls didn't have exceptional basketball skills they had great attitudes that made them willing to try harder than anyone else. Gladwell is a good story teller and he narrates his own book, but I felt that many of the examples he used were weak. Overall, it is a worthwhile read!
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. is having her usual fun diving into some Non-Fiction and serving up a little tunage on the side. “My read this week turns to the bawdy hilarity of Meaty, a collection of essays by Samantha Irby. Who says the cover of a book doesn’t entice a reader and sell a book? After looking into the eyes of the charging rooster on the cover, I knew I must read this collection of essays! I have not been disappointed. Samantha Irby reads like a delightfully bawdy (we really need to bring that word back...) raw conversation with your single girlfriend. Her fearless vulnerability in ‘My Mother, My Daughter’ will make you tear up or downright weep. I’ll warn you this is not a read for the faint of heart. The language and situations require that I give you a warning. Irby’s frank voice and self-deprecating humor bring a refreshing spot of hilarity to this quick read in a very bawdy, bawdy way. If you need some tunes to go along with this read, I’m sharing an entire album, you heard right… an album! It’s pretty darn great so enjoy a little Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe with your read. “
I have recently started Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music which is her first novel since her phenomenal success with Room. Blanche Beunon is a French burlesque dancer in 1876 San Francisco. Not only is the city in the middle of a heat wave and a small pox epidemic, her friend Jenny has been shot dead through a saloon window. Blanche it appears will do anything to bring the killer to justice. Based on a true unsolved crime, the depictions of a sweltering San Francisco are helping a bit with our reality of freezing cold. This one is due out in April also known as the Cruelest Month. Sorry T.S. but have you lived through a Connecticut January?
The top ten books published this month that librarians across the country love.
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If you’re of a certain age, you may have fond memories of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair, held in Flushing Meadows. Over 50 million fairgoers remember the enormous Unisphere, “It’s a Small World,” the first look at touch-tone phones, color TV, and the Ford Mustang, the giant Uniroyal tire, Pop Art graphics, and the sweet taste of Bel-Gem waffles.
Behind the dazzling scenery, though, is a story of politics, the burgeoning Civil Rights movement, and unprecedented cultural change. The Fair took place just as the 60s were moving from black and white to color. Joseph Tirella's new book Tomorrow-land explains how the 1964-1965 World's Fair was never officially approved by the Bureau of International Expositions, details the passive-aggressive tactics of Robert Moses, and provides full perspective on this milestone event.
The pavilions were dismantled, artifacts sent to museums or in some cases lost forever, but the memories and history remain. Tomorrow-land brings us back to yesterday, when the future seemed unlimited, bright, and just around the corner. Nearly 50 years later, you can almost smell those delicious waffles in the air still...
¡Oralé! is the message from the SoNo Loft this week . Don’t worry! I did not know what this meant either. But as is always the case of The Loft, the message is uplifting. It turns out this can mean many things. It is a sort of Mexican street slang that can mean okay! or let’s do it! or it can be the Chicano equivalent of yeehaw! What a nice positive message for the beginning of the year. Thanks SoNo Loft. This week we have Mississippi, Vermont, and our very own home state of Connecticut! Specifically Fairfield County.
Let us begin!
Abby is reading Natchez Burning by Greg Iles due out 4/29/14. I know she is not alone in being pleased to see him back. “Iles returns to Natchez, Mississippi home of Penn Cage who wears many hats. A former prosecutor, bestselling author, widower, father, and now mayor, Penn learns his physician father whom he idolizes and is highly respected across the racial lines of Natchez is keeping some deadly secrets. The story goes back to the early days of the civil rights movement which was not embraced by a great portion of Mississippians. Segregation, a legacy of intense racism, and corruption made it difficult for those attempting to do the right thing to remain safe. The voices that spoke out in favor of justice were often silenced in brutal ways. In Natchez Burning, Penn must assist his father who is facing a murder charge but is unwilling to speak out in his own defense. As Penn works to unmask the ugly secrets of Natchez in the 1960’s to help his father, he may also provide justice for the many victims of the era’s brutality. It’s nice to see Iles back and in such good form following a near fatal car accident a few years ago.”
Thomas of Material Management and my son loves himself some dysfunction. I am just going to believe that this is because I have provided him with such a lovely stable home life that he needs to read about these things to learn about them. Yup. That’s what I am telling myself. “Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson is the tale of a boy growing up in Vermont during the mid-1980s. After his best friend dies from an accidental drug overdose instigated by his estranged father's girlfriend's daughter, Jude is sent to New York to live with his father in order to stay out of trouble. He soon falls in with the straight edge punk movement and begins running into even more problems than previously expected. If you like reading about slow motion train wrecks, then this book is totally for you!”
I am loving The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson which is due out in March. Anders Hill lives up the tracks in my neck of the County and he is not going gentle into his 60’s. In fact he is making some rather drastic changes. He has left his wife, quit his job and is embracing middle of the day drinking with vigor. But when things begin to really unravel, Anders wonders if there can be happiness found without dwelling in The Land of Steady Habits. The writing is glorious and you can really tell that the author spent his formative years dwelling amongst us. The descriptions of WASP ritual are spot on and it will make you gasp and then laugh out loud for the recognition of it.
The Darien Library is proud to offer You Are What You Read Next, a new online Reader's Advisory service offering personalized book recommedations. If you've spoken with our readers' advisors at the Welcome Desk before, you know that we have a full staff of trained librarians to help you find that perfect next read. Whether you're in the mood for the hottest new mystery, want to go back to the classics, or have a few questions about the book all your friends are reading, we're here with answers and recommendations. Now we're taking that show online with our online form You Are What You Read Next!
If you take just 5-10 minutes to answer a few questions about what you're looking for in your next few books, we'll send you a list of 5 hand-picked books in whatever format you prefer. You don't even have to answer all the questions--just the ones that you think are necessary. Click here to get started. We can't wait to hear from you!