Hosted by Jen Dayton
Welcome to You Are What You Read: The Left Behind Edition. You can tell that it is August in Darien because there are maybe 5 of us left here to steer the ship. So, while all of you are in Woods Hole, Sconset, the Block, Newport or any of those places where summer is indeed used as a verb, we are still here and will be here to greet you upon your return. We promise not to be angry or resentful. Much. And please. No taffy. Not that we don’t appreciate the gesture but our dentists and trainers appreciate it more than we do. This being said, we never say no to fudge. This week we have some dubious food choices from the past, a plot, some over dosing, a little music, many secrets, nuclear weapons and a much needed palate cleanser.
Let us begin!
Pat T. has just finished listening to The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel. “The author takes you back in time to the 1960's and 1970's when our country was launching Mercury, Gemini and Apollo flights to the moon. As exciting and ambitious as this program was for our country, life for the families of the astronauts was a roller coaster of emotions and extended absences. The people who kept everything looking ‘perfect’ were the wives of the astronauts. This story gives you a behind closed doors glimpse into the everyday life of the astronaut wives, as well as the friendships these ladies shared during the highs and lows of the space program. There were certainly a lot of deviled eggs, tuna noodle casseroles and Jell-O molds served during those days!”
This week we welcome Cathy into the fray! Cathy is the one who ‘makes it happen’ behind the scenes here at the Library. She is also a HUGE audio book consumer and can frequently be found on the prowl for her next great listen. “Well, I tend never to comment, but I just listened to the Marriage Plot and was looking for my next listen and was advised to take a break from Jeffery, but I went against advice and am now listening to Middlesex. It is so good and I must say I’m enjoying it as much as Marriage Plot. “
Steph is not indulging in anything light hearted this week. Not by a long shot. “This week I read the devastating but marvelous Five Days at Memorial, by Sheri Fink. The first part of the book is an almost hour-by-hour recounting of Hurricane Katrina’s effect on Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, when patients and staff (along with family members and pets) were trapped in the hospital for up to five days under unthinkably poor conditions. The second part of the book focuses on the aftermath the main controversy of those five days: whether or not some doctors deliberately overdosed some very sick patients, rather than evacuating them, and how decisions were made about who to evacuate and when. Fink very carefully sets out to reconstruct those five days from multiple viewpoints, and finds that while there is no clear answer: indeed, if there’s one thing everybody can agree on, it’s that practically every entity involved was woefully incompetent in the face of the disaster, there is still a sense that something went wrong, even if nobody knows exactly what it is. It is delicate and stunning. “
Sweet Ann picks up some thread from last week and she also wants to remind people that summer is truly winding down and that it is our duty to squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of it. She did not comment on my general mood so I take this as a sign that it has indeed sweetened up. “I did finish the audio book of And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini at the end of last week. I can't recommend it enough; it is a wonderful story following the lives of a brother and sister who are separated as children. Mr. Hosseini creates a cast of characters whose lives will interact separately with the brother, Abdullah and the sister Pari for two generations. There are tragedies and deep moments of love in this book. I do suggest that as you listen you need to pay close attention because at first you might be confused when a new character is introduced but soon you will understand the connection. It is a great audio book with exceptional readers, including Mr. Hosseini, and a little music now and then. Now I am working on A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. This is an intriguing and quick summer read that takes place in 1938 in the fictional town of Seaview, Rhode Island, where the main characters summered. The novel does go back and forth between 1931 and 1938 following the lives of Lily Dane and Budgie Greenwald. In 1931 they are the best of friends searching for boyfriends; by 1938 they are barely speaking to one another. The characters are well developed and it is a fun book to while away a summer day.
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is having some summer fun too. “This week I read the hysterically funny Firecracker, a YA book written by David Iserson, who is a writer on New Girl and Saturday Night Live. It is an amazingly, laugh-out-loud funny, fish out of water story about Astrid Krieger, heir to a nuclear weapons fortune and all around terrible person.”
I was in desperate need of a palate cleanser after finishing the totally terrific The Goldfinch which is indeed on the Jen List of Wonderful for 2013. So, what should I pick up but the new Jojo Moyes book The Girl You Left Behind. We all have loved Me Before You and I am really enjoying her newest which is coming out next week. Sophia is an inn keeper trying to keep body, soul and family together in German occupied France during WWI. The only thing she has of beauty in a war-torn world is the portrait her artist husband painted of her while studying with Matisse in Paris. Liv is a modern day widow trying to keep body and soul together while living in London during the present day. The only thing of beauty in her world is a portrait of a beautiful russet haired woman. Of course these two women who are separated by 100 years are connected, the question is how? So far this is the perfect easy breezy read that I so desperately needed after the roller coaster ride genius of The Goldfinch. Moyes is a great story teller and her writing elevates what could be really trite storylines into some truly enjoyable writing.