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!
The SoNo Loft’s message this week feels a tad urgent. “Hey, change already” is the thought for the week. Did they forget about clocks? Or is it deeper than that? Maybe we all need to think about what we need to change to be better in our world. I don’t know what the intent is here, so I am just going to bring you the message. Do with it what you will. DJ Jazzy Patty McC. has a playlist this week that celebrates a change that we felt we had to make here at the Home. This week we have some LA, some shade, a supermodel, a message, grief, color, crocodiles, and some southern charm.
Let us begin!
Abby is reading ahead. “While I am a big fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch LA Detective series, his Lincoln Lawyer work has tended to leave me a bit underwhelmed. That said, The Gods of Guilt (release date Dec.2), the latest Lincoln Lawyer book came as a bit of a revelation. Attorney Mickey Haller, frequent defender of the lowest of the low, shows tremendous growth and complexity of character. Connelly is a terrific writer who appears to have gotten into a strong rhythm with his Haller character. He is one of the few prolific writers capable of maintaining and even elevating the quality of his work without it turning into a painful assembly line product.”
The Fabulous Babs B. just finished Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie. “It has to be a mother's worst nightmare; losing her child at birth. Geniver Loxley was told her daughter was stillborn and eight years later a stranger knocks on her door informing her that her daughter was actually taken away as a healthy infant and raised by another couple. So begins this nightmare of a story. Ignoring the warnings of her husband, who is shady to begin with, and friends, Gen begins to dig into the dark corners of her past, hoping she'll find a clue to her daughter's whereabouts. There are so many twists and turns in this psychological suspense that I never guessed the climatic ending and neither will you!”
John is reading The Cuckoo's Calling. “This is the detective mystery by J. K. Rowling written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I'm not much of a DM buff, but I loved The Casual Vacancy and I admire Rowling's adult narrative voice. So far there is nothing terribly unusual or outstanding about the mystery at hand (supermodel takes a dive off a balcony--is suicide or not?) But for those of you who enjoyed the humanness of ‘Vacancy’, you'll easily slide right into the narrative style of this book. Her writing is very comfortable but I'm struck by the poignancy of her observations and the respect she affords every character--all of which have been gifted something likable--even if they're wholly unpleasant. The setting is London, so for those Anglophiles out there, the dialogue will leave you smiling and fulfilled. There is some indication that this may be the first in a series of DM novels by Rowling, and I will probably keep reading them.”
Pat T. has a message for all you book on CD fans. “I am happy to report the library has just received the unabridged audio book, The Guns at Last Light, by Rick Atkinson! This audio book concludes the Liberation Trilogy about the Allied forces that liberated Europe during World War II. So, all you history buffs who have listened to An Army at Dawn: the War in North Africa, 1942-1944; The Day of Battle: the war in Sicily and Italy, 1943-44 can now look forward to the final volume in this trilogy.”
Sweet Ann has just finished Levels of Life by Julian Barnes. “I listened to this audio book and I am conflicted in my reaction to it. The audio book is read by Julian Barnes and when he speaks of his wife's death and his life without her you feel for him but also feel awkward in sharing his grief. It is a raw raging grief and I wonder why he shared it with strangers as opposed to friends and family. With loss, people will do things and say things others might not understand but I question his motivation in making it so public. Perhaps he found it cathartic but it was difficult to hear him question other people's reactions and comments to his wife's death. He began this memoir with tales about nineteen century ballooning and famous early balloonists which he neatly tied together in the end. Perhaps if I read this book my reaction might have been different as opposed to hearing the actual widower tell his story. I wish him all the best and hope he finds the comfort he needs.”
Barbara M. is reading ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book about Color by Jude Stewart. “This is a fascinating, easy to read book. The book is divided into individual colors and each section is filled with trivia about that color. The short anecdotes or facts may be historic, scientific or just amusing. Many of us are aware that the color worn in one country to play tennis is the color worn for funerals in another, but did you know that many languages don’t distinguish between blue and green or red and orange? Or, did you know that the seven colors we believe the rainbow to be made of were devised by Sir Isaac Newton to correspond with the musical scale? I love the way this book makes you think about perceptions of things we take for granted.”
Jeanne. Only one thing. Discuss. “I am reading an Advanced Reading Copy on my Kindle of The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol and translated from the French by William Rodarmor and Helen Dickinson. The reading is sometimes a little rough because of the possible disconnect with foreign idioms, but I am enjoying the Cinderella story, the first in a trilogy. Joséphine Cortès throws her cheating husband Antonio out and he leaves for Kenya with his cheating girlfriend to manage a crocodile farm owned by the unscrupulous Mr. Wei. Who knew that one crocodile mommy can lay fifty eggs in her nest?! Joséphine is trying to scrape by on her twelfth century historian's pay, while paying her husband's loans and raising her two young daughters. There is a whole host of interesting characters in this novel based mostly in Courbevoie, outside Paris, and I am finding their actions both funny and shocking. I can't wait to see how Joséphine's doctorate in Middle Ages studies pulls her out of her emotional and financial slump.”
I think that when one visits a new locale it just makes sense to study up on the social mores of its denizens before you hit the tarmac. This will save you some embarrassment in the long run if you are up on the ways of the natives. In anticipation of my trip to a place that my traveling companion calls his ‘homeland’ (he does this without irony and frankly, it scares me a little), I picked up Rude Bitches Make Me Tired: Slightly Profane and Entirely Logical Answers to Modern Etiquette Dilemmas by Celia Rivenbark. Celia lives in North Carolina and she is just not having a lot of what passes for polite behavior these days and I have to say that I love her for it. With chapters that are entitled: Funerals: Now is Not the Time for Store-Bought Cakes and Backless Maxi Dresses from Forever 21, and Baby Steps: Is She Pregnant or is that a Booze-Inflated Liver? Hint: Don’t Ask! I also picked up this fact; that a true ‘mixed marriage” is one between a Duke grad and a UNC grad and should be avoided at all costs. Apparently no good can come of this and it will end with tears. This will be good knowledge to possess if we find ourselves in ‘mixed company’ this weekend. I have also learned that the hue of blue you choose to wear can mark you as readily as a gang member wearing his colors. Think Crips and Bloods but with lovely drawls and better manners. Frankly, I find all that exhausting and believe that I will just stick to my Buckeye Scarlet thank you very much. And here’s to 22 games this weekend! Let’s go Buckeyes.
And now a word from DJ Jazzy Patty McC! Who I do adore even if she is from The State Which Must Not Be Named. “If you’ve visited the library recently you might have noticed we have been making some improvements. We apologize for the inconvenience in the parking lot and for being closed this past Monday and sincerely thank you all for your patience. The good news is that from this inconvenience we now have a 400-kilowatt generator that will power our entire library during power outages as well as provide a source for keeping your phones and laptops charged. As a person who is frequently plugged-in, I think this is a GREAT thing. Maybe our new tagline should be, “Apocalypse? We’ve got you covered!” We’re still working on the zombie survival kit, but know that it’s in the works from the best and most paranoid among us. I think this deserves a playlist. And let’s hope we never need to use that generator…much. “
Sweet Ann’s Words of Wisdom this week are these: “If you do it, it’s done. If you say it, it’s said.” This being said, don’t just say you are going to set the clocks back before bed on Saturday, do it! Also on Saturday, make the hardware store a destination for fresh batteries for your smoke detectors. This is a small investment with a potentially huge payoff. The words from the SoNo Loft this week are profound in a rather interesting way. “I got nothin’” was this week’s message and while it made me literally laugh out loud on the train, I started thinking about the nature of nothing. The idea of Nothing does not necessarily need to connote negativity. Sometimes having nothing can be a positive as in, I have no troubles, I have no need for an exterminator, I have no tooth decay, I have no reason to be concerned about (insert something to be concerned about here). As the brilliant Bob Dylan stated in Like A Rolling Stone, “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.” Or let’s go back to the Great American Songbook and George Gershwin, “I got plenty of nuttin’, and nuttin’s plenty for me.” Also! Think about the term “sweet nothings”. We all love having those whispered in our ears. So this weekend, I wish you some nothings in copious quantities to coincide with our longer nights. Speaking of nothing, please don’t forget that we are closed this Monday for the installation of the generator we hopefully will never need. This week we have a coat, a need for sleep, England and India, more India, even more India and a rather poignant set list from DJ Jazzy Patty McC.
Let us begin!
Kim, who can be found on many desks wearing many hats (and have you seen her sparkly boat shoes they are Fabulous!) has been reading The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury and the Obsession on the Trail of a $5,0000 Coat by Meg Noonan. Perhaps she is thinking more about winter than fall? When you see her, won’t you ask?
Caroline! She’s back as you all know. What you may not know, is that she is back and on the minimum sleep schedule of new motherhood. She makes it all look so easy and effortless that it is hard to believe she is pretty much on auto pilot. Maybe the extra hour this weekend will be spent sleeping? I wish this for her and I am sure you do too. “With pregnancy books far behind me, I’m now embarking on a mission for sleep. Ash and Finn are now on a schedule. I’m just not sure they’re aware. We’re rapidly nearing the age of 3 months, when I’m told everything magically gets easier. Until then, you’ll probably see me wandering Body & Soul and the Children’s Room parenting section with a coffee in one hand, and one of these in the other: Sleep: The Brazelton Way, Twin Set: Moms Of Multiples Share Survive & Thrive Secrets, The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions To Help Your Child Sleep Well And Wake Up Happy, and The Multiples Manual : Preparing And Caring For Twins Or Triplets. All of them are helpful in different ways, and luckily seem to have some main points in common. I’ve also received a few other multiple-specific suggestions which will be on order shortly. We’ll see you at Baby Laptime!
Jeanne. Staying true to form. Two things at once. “ In the spirit of All Hallows' Eve, I am reading John Boyne's new book, This House is Haunted. I became a fan of his with The Absolutist and with this new offering he continues to prove his versatility as a writer with language that befits the 1867 time period. Eliza Caine responds to an advertisement for the position of governess to young Isabella and Eustace at Gaudlin Hall in Norfolk, England. Already Dickensian? What she finds when she arrives is unnerving, to say the least. But is it a good ghost or a bad ghost? Also, what I really want to do is stay in my car and finish listening to The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Pakistani author, Moshin Hamid. If you have not yet read this or watched the movie, please listen to the audio version. I am positively enraptured with the reader, Satya Bhabha. He drew me in to the cafe where the very personal story of Changez, a Pakistani man who was educated at Princeton and returned to Lahore, takes place. Through Bhabha, Changez relates his story of a captivated American, but he captivates his listener right along with him.
Pat T. has just finished listening to the audio book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. “The reading of this story, even though hard to listen to at times, was wonderfully performed! The author, Katherine Boo is a documentary journalist who lived in the slums of Annawadi for over two years in order to give a realistic accounting of the ordinary lives of the Indian people living in this settlement. We come to know Abdul, a teenager who has been recycling garbage since the age of six; Asha, a formidable woman who has climbed the ladder by discovering her own way of corrupting the system and her daughter, Manju, who dreams of completing her college education in order to teach. Even though the circumstances of their lives are, at times, desperate, this is their reality and they are resilient, resourceful and always hopeful for a better life.
Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten by Pamela Hicks is my BDB of the week. Lady Pamela is not only the daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten but also a cousin to both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip. This of course does not automatically make her interesting. What makes her interesting is that she had a front row seat during so many events of historic importance during her life not the least of which was the partition of India. While she will never replace my love/obsession for my Mitford Sisters, she really is a fascination in her own right.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. leaves us with the following: “This past Sunday the music world lost a giant with the death of Lou Reed. His music and artistic influence shaped and informed decades. Before I learned of his death, I was contemplating all the red, white and blue lawn signs of local politics and the rolling back of clocks for the time change. Pretty pedestrian, small town stuff for sure, but then the news of his death kind of rocked my world. Lou was outspoken, political and honest through his wonderfully crafted art. That's the stuff of real life. Be fearless in your endeavors and never forget to be a force for change in the world. He broke new ground and I am happy to report that I’ve owned a cassette of his for a VERY long time. Lou once said that his goal was to ‘write the Great American Novel in the form of a record album’. Indeed, music tells a story. Sometimes it's a novel or sometimes it's a novella but it always paints a picture and that's the work of an artist. This week my playlist is all things Lou Reed and time going backwards (unless you live in Indiana). Don't forget to set those clocks back! DL The Legacy of Lou Reed 2013
Welcome to the Halloween version of You Are What You Read. Frequent Visitors know that nothing and we do mean nothing, creeps us out quite like a doll, with the possible exception of clowns. So in the spirit of the upcoming Holiday, our theme for this week’s playlist is just that Creepy Dolls. The accompanying visual is actually of two creepy dolls that paid a visit to my desk earlier in the week. In a version of “pay it forward” the dolls proceeded to migrate all over the library. No one was happy to see them despite the fact that they are Creepy Dolls without Teeth. Frequent Visitors know that this is the worst type of doll that we know. Just the same, they were sort of our version of Riders of the Apocalypse. If they appeared in your work space you just knew no good was going to follow. On a happier note Sweet Ann’s Words of Wisdom for the week are these: “Let it go with a smile.” She is concerned that we may all be carrying too heavy of a load. Part of the load that Sweet Ann is carrying is the fear of my mood for the next week. I will do my utmost to maintain my cheery self. This week we have water, tea, more water, gridiron and a little heartbreak !
Let us begin!
Barbara M. is not one to let anything stand in the way of her WW II obsession. Carry on Barbara M! “I’m reading The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown in preparation for a book discussion I’m doing with Sweet Ann on Wednesday, November 20th. It’s a compelling story about the American rowing team which won a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The book focuses on one crew member, Joe Rantz, a young man who endured many hardships growing up. It’s easy to compare this book to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand as they are both about underdogs succeeding against insurmountable odds. The one thing that disturbs me is the author’s use of quotes without citations in a work of non-fiction. The author not only puts words in the mouth of the characters but also interprets their thoughts and describes their actions in detail. I’ve been told that this makes it a much more readable book, but, I’m not sure. Nonetheless, I am thoroughly captivated by the story and am learning how much team work and strength it takes to be a part of a crew.”
Jeanne is just doing one thing this week. I am concerned. “I am reading and enjoying Mission in A Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently and Succeeding by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff. The wonderful graphics are illustrated by Sungyoon Choi. Goldman and Nalebuff are two very smart guys, the first a student; the second his professor. Back in the nineties, Seth was frustrated at not being able to find a bottled drink that was healthful, tasty and not over-sweetened. He approached Barry, a tea aficionado, with his ideas. This book tells the story of their thinking and creative processes and their foray into the beverage industry that led to the manufacturing of Honest Tea. You can now find it in a store near you. Honestly.”
Sweet Ann is happily ensconced in A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. “ I am not finished this book yet but it is wonderful and I can't recommend it enough. The novel alternates chapters told by sixteen year old Nao who lives in Japan and Ruth a middle aged woman who lives with her husband on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Ruth has discovered Nao's diary which was carefully packaged and protected when it washes up on the beach. She doesn't realize the content of the bag until it is opened. From the opening line of the diary, to the other contents of the container, Ruth as well as the reader is mesmerized. Nao is a very unhappy person and Ruth is drawn to her and wants to find out if she survived the 2011 tsunami. As a reader you learn much about Nao's life, her torturous school days, her love of her father and her wonderful great grandmother who is a Buddist nun. With Ruth you learn about a woman who has made sacrifices and compromises in her life and is questioning her decisions. It's a wonderful read and I will be sad when I finish their story.”
Steph who was also visited by The Dolls this week is confident about what she is reading! “This week I have been reading Collision Low Crossers by Nicholas Dawidoff, after hearing Pat S. rave about it. I have been just as taken in as she was! Though I grew up rooting for the Eagles, I have no feelings one way or the other about the Jets, but Dawidoff’s story of his year with them is fascinating. If football is, as many say, the soap opera for men, then this book is the juicy behind-the-scenes look at how the soap opera gets written and produced. I haven’t quite finished it yet but suffice it to say, I spent an extra hour on the train today and barely noticed we were running late—that’s how engrossed I was. This one will be big when it’s released in November.”
Now that the weather is cooler I am back to the Blow Dry and this means that I am back to having a Blow Dry Book (henceforth known as BDB). For those who are Not Frequent Visitors a BDB is literally a book I read while I blow dry my hair; a chore that I find to be such a bore that there needs to be a book to help it along. There are rules for the BDB: It must have shortish break points (the Blow Dry is not a forever activity letters are normally perfect in this regard), it has to be well written (who wants to waste time with drivel), and the story has to be compelling (so that you remember the story line from day to day). Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson has been my Blow-Dry companion and it fits all the perfect Blow Dry Requirements. Janie Ryan is the narrator of what a story that is equal parts funny, and heartbreaking. From the moment Janie is born to her teen mom in 1980’s Great Britian, there is nothing but trouble. The pair is homeless practically from the start and when you throw in drug use, depression and alcoholism you are in for some pretty bleak times. But Hudson’s writing and humor also allow you to feel the love and unbreakable bonds between mother and daughter. This one comes out in February.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. spins a tale dark, creepy and toothless. “This week I have no words to share. I only have music and two very creepy dolls.”
Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai made international headlines when she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban just about a year ago. The world found out about this Pakistani schoolgirl, who advocates for peace and education (especially for girls and women) and still risks her life by speaking out about the oppression and opportunity that she sees in her omeland.
Her new memoir, I Am Malala, was released earlier this month and coincided with her Nobel Peace Prize nomination; she is the youngest candidate in the history of the Nobel Prize. I Am Malala tells her life story to date, including her childhood in an idyllic valley where the Taliban becomes an increasingly dangerous presence and the attack that nearly ended her life in 2012. Malala's memoir is comparable to Anne Frank's diary -- a confusing and dangerous world seen through young, hopeful eyes -- and clearly shows us the progress we still have to make and the strength and determination of this young woman. An excellent and inspiring read for high school students and adults.
Are your book group meetings beginning to feel a little bit sluggish? Do you suffer from anxiety when it’s your turn to choose your group’s book? If so, then we can help. Visit the Book Group Doctor!
October is National Reading Group Month. All month we will have a special display on Main Street of some of our most popular book group titles, to spark your group's imagination. In addition, all month a Library book group team member will be available every day from Monday to Friday to talk with you about all things book related. You’ll find us on Main Street Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12-1pm, Tuesday from 7-8pm, and Thursday from 11am– 2pm.
In subsequent months the Book Group Doctor will be on Main Street on Thursdays from 11am - 12pm. And of course, you don’t have to belong to a book group to join in on the conversation! The Book Group Doctor, and our entire Readers' Advisory team, are always available to chat about the latest books, the classics, or whatever you're reading.