This week we have more Zombies,a staff favorite,  a child star, clandestine intrigues, no heir and no spare can equal no head, Jackie O!, Paris (of course) and a ballerina.

Let us begin!

The Citizen Asha is up to her usual shenanigans. “I just finished reading Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry, the sequel to Rot & Ruin. It picks up where Rot & Ruin left off. I must say that I am a fan of this series.  Benny and his brother have formed a better relationship and Tom is teaching them to be warrior smart for their return to the Ruin to face the zombies.  However, there is something more sinister waiting for them there. I am waiting for the third installment Flesh & Bone to be released this September.” 

Marianne has revisited a Staff Favorite for her pick this week:  “My Library Book Group has just read and discussed Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. The story follows three friends, Katey, Eve and Tinker throughout the year of 1938. Tinker lives in the world of the wealthy while Katey and Eve are two career girls trying to scrape by in the Big City. This is, in part, a tale of how spontaneous choices can shape our entire lives. Comments from group members ranged from ‘wonderful picture of Manhattan in the late '30s,’ ‘author's phrasing and language were musical,’ to ‘I enjoyed it even more on the second reading.’"

Ann is working on What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe.  “I was intrigued by the premise of this story about two girls from different social classes in Manchester, England in the 70's and the infatuation one of them has with Lallie a child star of the time.  Gemma who has money and an interesting life is targeted by poor Pauline who has never experienced kindness in her short life.  These two girls will avoid each other and then come together to commit a terrible crime.  I would not recommend this book, the writing became confusing and after a while you did not really care about the characters or why they did the things they did.”

 As usual Pat S. has not one but two titles going on! Here is her take on The Rogues’ Gallery:  The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum by Michael Gross and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.  “ Rogue's Gallery  is a fascinating history of the Metropolitan Museum from its' inception to the world famous icon it is today. And don't think that this is boring because Gross has uncovered all kinds of clandestine intrigues through the years which keep the reader completely engaged-and more than a little surprised! He blows the dust off the myth of the stuffy academics with lofty art historical aims and introduces us to board members with too much money and way too little taste, ego's gone wild-you'll never look at the Sackler Galleries in the same way, and a whole lot more. This is a really fun and informative read. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel  re-creates a fictionalized Cromwell as he navigates the dicey road to ending Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn after she fails to provide him with the male heir he so desperately desires. Most of the novel takes place in Cromwell's head-an interesting device as we are introduced to the various characters and legal and moral issues he encounters wholly through his eyes. First and foremost, Mantel is a writer who has a love affair with the English language-and that is patently evident on each page.  The period details are such to make the book worth the read alone. However, we all know how it ends and it does get a bit slow going midway. Not sure if I'll make the finish line . . .”

Pat T. is “enjoying the latest Jackie book entitled Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Defied Expectations & Rediscovered Her Dreams by Tina Cassidy. The author writes about the year 1975 when Jackie was at a crossroads in her life-Aristotle Onassis died and her two children were becoming more independent. Jackie  was a good writer and an avid reader and she looked to the Publishing industry to begin another chapter in her ever evolving life. She went to work at Viking Publishing as an assistant editor and she proved to be a dedicated and creative worker. The author captures Jackie as vulnerable, yet confident as she stepped out as a professional woman!”

Abby says, “I always find it interesting to see how professional kitchens are organized. In the chef memoir Four Kitchens;  My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv and Paris, French Culinary Institute grad Lauren Shockey shares her experiences in 4 highly regarded professional kitchens.  Following graduation, Lauren arranged to complete 3 month stages (unpaid internships) in New York City, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris. In NY, she experienced working with molecular gastronomy using chemicals to create art on the plate; Hanoi was a more down to earth experience about flavor and freshness; Tel Aviv a melting pot of spices, and Paris, the height of 2 star culinary fussiness.  At the end of the journey Lauren shares her discovery that the profession kitchen lifestyle is incredibly grueling and creates too much distance from seeing people actually enjoy the food.  This was a nice journey of discovery. I plan to make the lamb meatballs with cucumber-yogurt sauce (pg. 34) this weekend.  

I am working on The Master’s Muse by Varley O’Connor. Tanaquil Le Clercq was the muse of George Balanchine and his also his 5th wife (!!??).  She was one of his principal dancers and while in Copenhagen in 1956 she contracted Polio.  This fictionalized account of their love affair and her illness is fascinating.  I cannot wait to find out how this fiery woman re-invents herself. 

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