This week we have opened up the door to others working in the library. After all, the Desketeers are all about the fun of sharing. Unless it is chocolate. They won’t share that. If you value life and limb don’t even ask.
This week we have some bodies, some naked bodies, some conservancy, a horseman, a midwife, some life crisis, a little Scientology, and a man who made his living robbing banks.
Let us begin!
Ann is working her way through Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. “This was a very well written book and quite an interesting read. Although I think we know the story of Ann Boleyn and Henry VIII, following the events from Thomas Cromwell's point of view made a familiar story a page turner.”
Erin, who is our Programming Diva has just finished, How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti. “In the throes of a divorce and crippling writers’ block, Heti attempts to answer the question posed in her book’s title. The book is part memoir, part play, and part novel with erotic scenes sprinkled throughout. I cannot tell a lie – this book was weird. If you’re a fan of Miranda July’s story collection No One Belongs Here More Than You then you will enjoy it. “
Abby has finished an advance copy of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by William Souder which is coming out in September. “The book is a biography of Rachel Carson, the acclaimed author of The Sea Around Us. Her follow-up book Silent Spring created a huge stir and established her as an important voice and catalyst of the emerging environmental movement. In college during the 1920's, Carson started out as an enthusiastic English major until a charismatic female science instructor helped her discover biology as a field of study. Despite never having seen the ocean until she went off to pursue a Master’s Degree, she became an aquatic biologist. And remember, a woman pursuing an advanced degree in science was a rare thing back then. It's still early, but so far it's a wonderful portrait of a woman well ahead of her time whose work continues to impact our world. “
Pat T. reminds us of the “occupational hazards” those of us who work here face. ” While shelving on Main Street this week I came upon three short stories by Richard Russo. Since I really liked two of his other novels Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs, I thought I would try these short stories The Whore's Child and Horseman. I would definitely recommend them, especially since it is delightful to read a story in one sitting from cover to cover!”
Amanda, aka Tech Goddess, is reading The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth. “The author was a midwife in the Docklands in post-WWII London. She blends facts about the history of midwifery and medicine alongside her first hand observations of prenatal care amongst the Docklands tenants. Each chapter is either a slice of life about the nuns and midwives of the hospital or delves into the private homes of the nearby residents. Each character is drawn to breathing life whether they are the mother of seven children or the little boy who grew up to be a bodyguard of Princess Diana.”
Won’t you please welcome Stephanie to our mix? She is the new Queen of the Desketeers and this week she is giving us two very different reads that she has been enjoying. “Capital by John Lanchester is the story of several families who live on upwardly mobile Pepys Lane, just outside London, at the beginning of the economic crisis. All are different and removed from each other--a banker, an elderly woman, the immigrant family who runs the corner store, a rising soccer state—but all start getting ominous postcards in the mail that say WE WANT WHAT YOU HAVE. As all are also in the middle of various life crises, which we see from chapter to chapter as Lancaster interweaves different viewpoints, they can’t imagine why anybody would. Lancaster is just a fantastic. Though he juggles a lot of stories and a lot of points of view, I never felt as though any of the stories were neglected or weak. The mystery of the postcards is the thread that ties the book together and it’s drawn out well, but the real joy of the book is how absorbing and genuine it is. This would be a fantastic book for anyone who wants vacation reading that’s not too light, not too heavy. The Psycopath Test by Jon Ronson is something that I just tore through. I was reading it while walking, I was so obsessed. It has to be one of the finest and most thoughtful non-fiction books I’ve read in a while (and so much fun that I almost felt a little guilty). Told from several different angles, Ronson takes you along for a few related adventures in the mental health industry, including several side trips into Scientology, the history of diagnosing and treating psychopathy, and a strange philosophical hoax. You couldn’t have a better guide to any of it. I enjoyed it so much that I plan to start his first book, THEM, this evening, because I was so sad when this one was done.”
I loved Sutton by J.R. Moehringer. You may remember Moehringer from his past non-fiction endeavors such as The Tender Bar and Open. Well, this is his first work of fiction and he tackles the very real story of Willie Sutton the bank robber. Willie was granted parole on Christmas Eve 1969. He proceeded to spend Christmas Day with a newspaperman and a photographer. While they want to focus on one particular event in Willie’s life, Willie has other plans and proceeds to give them Willie Sutton Life Tour of New York. Moehringer has painted the perfect portrait of a 20th century folk hero who was a contradiction in terms. This book will a have you cheering, against your better judgment for a gentlemanly bank robber whose first rule was hurt no one. When I finished it this morning I was already missing Willie’s voice. This is coming in September and will be in the catalog on Monday.