Just in case you were disappointed because February was only 28 days, here is another February day. In April. Also we have an Ann update of sorts. She wants all to know the egg tree has been dismantled but is confident it will reappear next year. She also feels that the end of her Sandy Nightmare might just be on the horizon. However I feel we need to remember that Ann is an eternal optimist and could quite possibly be a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. This week we have some family dynamics, chicken stuff, more chicken, the Big Reveal (squeal!), poverty, bereavement, an incident and because I can’t take it anymore, some Nazis, and some Paris.
Let us begin!
Kim who can be found on many desks, wearing many hats is working on And Then Life Happens: A Memoir by Auma Obama. “This book begins with Auma, Obama's half-sister, talking about the day she received a letter from Hillary Rodham Clinton. Auma describes the dynamics of her family, being raised in Kenya, how education impacted her life, and the role that women and men played in Kenya.”
Stephanie is finishing something up! “Last Friends by Jane Gardam is the final book in the Old Filth trilogy, and is the story of the final leg of the love triangle set up between Old Filth, Betty, and Veneering. As with the first two, it is the nearly flawless output of a writer at the very top of her game. On the surface level, the trilogy is comfort food: the small stories of ordinary people as Britain struggled through the twentieth century, garnished with details of shillings in gas meters, Raj orphans, tea, rationing, and all the angles of Chambers. A quiet love triangle between English people. The jade bracelets of Veneering’s Chinese wife, put onto her at birth. The egg box with eggs in it still covered in chicken detritus so you know how fresh they are; you leave some money and take some eggs and the sadness of the egg box suddenly empty. On the whole, though, Gardam is such an inventive writer that it doesn’t matter what her books are about. What this lady does with the same words all of us get to work with is incredible. What she does with dashes—yes—dashes—is incredible. It’s not just comfort food because of the subject matter. It’s comfort food because the writing is so good that it is relaxing just to read it. Jane Gardam is a national treasure. (She’s not our national treasure, but should be cherished just the same.)”
Patty says, “I'd like to preface this by saying that this one is dedicated to all the elementary school educators out there. This week I have chosen, The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch. Yep, it's a children's picture book! Now, who doesn't think that a chicken is hilarious? Comedians have been using that rubber chicken shtick for years for a reason. Chickens are funny and make people smile. I dare you to watch a chicken and not smile. I chose this book for my first grade son as a read aloud. Within these beautifully illustrated pages is the story of Henrietta Hen. Henrietta is a book loving, story-telling chicken who spends lots of time in her local public library. Her passion for stories leads her into the world of self-publishing where she suffers the slings and arrows of publishers and editors. It ultimately is a story about risk taking, following your passion and resilience. Great lessons for any age!”
And now a word from Caroline! “First off, thanks for the suggestion last week – Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son. That’s actually perfect because I’m having not only 1, but 2 boys! That’s right, they’re twins! The library has a great collection of twin books – the best I’ve found so far for multiple pregnancies is When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, Or Quads : Proven Guidelines For A Healthy Multiple Pregnancy. It’s a little overwhelming when they advise that drink 128oz of water a day, or make bed rest sound completely to-be-expected – but all of it is great, multiple-specific advice that you won’t find in most regular pregnancy books. Others on my list include Double Time : How I Survived--and Mostly Thrived--through The First Three Years Of Mothering Twins” and Twin Sense : A Sanity-saving Guide To Raising Twins--from Pregnancy Through The First Year. Again, welcome your suggestions on any other books (and double strollers!). “I told you it was worth the wait! Congratulations to Caroline and her husband! Or should we say Mozel since she is such a Bravo head? We who are members of the Two Boys Club welcome you!
Pat S. has raves for How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Moshin Hamid. “Told using the somewhat glib structure of a self-help manual, Filthy Rich is a personal saga of love and ambition-as well as a pointed satiric commentary on the epic changes in the developing world. Employing second person narration, each chapter focuses on a goal to improving one's station ("Get an Education," "Learn from a Master," "Befriend a Bureaucrat,") and unveils the protagonist at each different stage of life, from childhood to old age. Running parallel to the rise out of poverty is the delicately evolving but ill-fated love story with "the pretty girl". Meeting in the teenage years, the lovers cross paths over and over, pushed together and apart by the forces moving their destinies forward. This beautifully written rags -to-riches tale succeeds in being both a fable about what is truly precious in life, and a biting social satire about what is destroyed in a 'developing' world.”
Pat T. comments on our One Book One Community pick. “I read City of Thieves by David Benioff in 2009 when it was first published, so I decided to listen to the audio book for the library's One Book One Community program. I am on the last disc and I don't want it to end! The narrator, Ron Perlman, definitely brings the book to life and the background music that plays intermittently adds to the tone of the story. So, if you have already read the book listen to the audio book. You won't be disappointed.”
Jeanne has a little problem and a confession. “I have become audiobook dependent. I do just enough driving where it is worth it. But Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian has driven me to download this book through 3M so I can read it everywhere! Bohjalian is a master at portraying love and grief, survival and pain in a landscape of the monstrosities of the 1915 Armenian Genocide by the Turks. He toggles between the past and the present with two separate narrators by describing the journeys and horrors of characters in Turkey and discoveries by modern day descendants in New York and Boston now through family photographs and research. This author is especially clever at including emotionally-charged twists to his characters. I will be bereaved on finishing this book.”
Sweet Ann has just finished The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Stout. “I enjoyed this novel as it explored the family dynamic among three grown siblings., high achiever Jim, (keeping a family secret that has and will impact his brother and sister's lives) and twins Bob and Susan who have never gotten along. They are all living separate lives but are drawn back together by an incident that Susan's son commits. This book contains marital relationships, friendships, prejudices and a family revelation. “
I just started Studio Saint-Ex by Ania Szado. Twenty-two-year-old Mignonne Lachapelle is a young woman determined to make her mark in New York’s budding fashion scene in the 1940’s. When she meets the famous and married exiled French pilot, Antoine Saint-Expury, sparks fly and a romance ensues. But the real complication is a manuscript that he is working on involving un petit prince and his journey across the planets. So far this is a good one. It has France, Fashion and a femme fatale! And it comes out in June.