Happy Friday to you all! This week has shaped up to be much better than the last. The New York Girls are happily back to a commutation time that is reasonable, I am back on a train and off I-95, and the crisp beautiful Fall days just keep coming. With this in mind, Patty McC.aka DJ Jazzy Patty has some reflections on change this week. While not always welcome, it is the one thing that we can always count on. Sweet Ann would like to remind everyone that when you are having back problems, Pilates and Body Pump are not necessarily your friends. She also has concern about my mood which can best be described as pensive. I am sure things will be fine. This week we have an emotional roller coaster, some India, London, New York, the return of Bridget, a Vampire attack, big honking pearls and what is becoming our weekly playlist.
Let us begin.
Pat T. is listening this week. “I have just started listening to the audio book And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. It begins with a father telling his son a bedtime story which is quite an emotional roller coaster but thankfully it has a redemptive ending! As in his two previous books, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini proves to be a masterful storyteller who weaves together heart wrenching stories with characters that confront emotional and moral dilemmas.”
Pat S. has left the playing fields of professional football and is back at more Pat S. like pursuits. ” For Anglophiles everywhere, this one's for you! Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten by Lady Pamela Hicks. Born in 1929 into a storied family, a close relative of the British Royal family, Lady Pamela Hicks tells of growing up in the rarefied world of rank and privilege where she was an eye witness to key historical events. Growing up in England with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret as playmates, and being stashed with the Vanderbilts in New York during the war, Lady Pamela then moved to India where her parents were the last Viceroy and Vicerine of India they were tasked not with strengthening the Empire, but dismantling it. Her portraits of a fragile Ghandi, a charismatic Nehru, and a host of who’s who of the international jet set make for a fascinating read. Delightfully, Lady Pamela's bird’s-eye-view of people and events is recounted without any attempt at armchair psycho-analyzing. Perhaps it is the British sang-froid, but I found it refreshing to read about a woman who has lived an uncommonly interesting life-and appreciates her good fortune. The memoir covers the first thirty years of her life before her marriage to David Hicks, international style icon. Hopefully, volume two will open at the dawn of Swinging Sixties in London!”
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is not exactly thrilled with her pick this week. We wish her a better one next week! “This week I read Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season. There's been a lot of press and critical acclaim for the book, which is the first in a planned series of 7, and I was expecting to enjoy it immensely, as it has been proclaimed in more than one place to be ‘Harry Potter for grownups.’ The story follows Paige Mahoney, a citizen of Scion London. In this dystopian future, all psychic ability has been outlawed by punishment of death. Paige, who has a rare power that makes her a target for all different factions, is taken to a new type of prison for psychic creatures which throws everything she thought she knew about life into question. While I enjoyed the book, I didn't love it, which surprised me. I thought the main character's power was lamely executed. She's supposed to be all powerful and very scary. Unfortunately, the reader never really gets to see her be powerful or all that scary. She's spunky and strong, but she's billed as a hurricane, and never lives up to the power you expect her to display. I kept comparing the book unfavorably to Daniel O'Malley's magnificent The Rook, which featured similar characters and was infinitely superior in every way. “
Babs B! A review from Babs can be as rare as a unicorn sighting but when she gets excited about something and feels compelled to share then you just know it is going to be good. This week she is excited to tell us about Margot by Jillian Cantor. “Imagine if Anne Frank's sister Margot managed to survive the Holocaust and start a new life in the United States! This is the premise for this book that breathes life into a character we know only from her sister's famous diary. The year is 1959 and Margot is living in Philadelphia working as a secretary in a Jewish law firm. She is now Margie Franklin who has a secret: a life she once lived and a past and a religion she has denied. As she begins to fall in love with a young law partner, Margie is forced to come to terms with Margo, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up in the course of history. I really enjoyed this story.”
Steph is also excited this week by the reappearance of an old literary friend. “This week I was surprised by one of the highlights of my reading year: the new Bridget Jones book! She’s back! In Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Bridget has been plunged into the twenty-first century, and not altogether happily. As you may have seen in the news, Helen Fielding made the controversial choice to kill off Mr. Darcy, and we reunite with Bridget five years after his death, as she tries to balance her writing career with single motherhood, amidst her friends trying to convince her to get back out in the dating world. When she does, she finds dating has become even more of a minefield thanks to Twitter, online flirting, and texting. (She quickly establishes a new list of dating rules, leading with 1. Don’t text while drunk.) In many ways she’s satisfyingly the same old Bridget, eating shredded cheese out of the packet, reading self-help books, and worrying about everything, especially after she lands a cute thirty something. But the book is also threaded with her guilt and grief over Mark’s death and the challenges of modern parenthood. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Bridget has matured, could we still love her if she did, but she’s certainly changed for the better. Fans of the first two books will love this new one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins her some new admirers as well.”
Amanda says, “When Elisabeth of the Children’s Library raved about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black last week, she was not telling lies. This book is so good that I’d have to quit my job and just read if all books were this level of entertaining. The heroine is a believable teenager whose actions are driven by the need to survive after a vampire attack. Unlike other heroines in the genre, Tana is not moping around or giving up on life. She makes tough decisions, gets beaten up, betrayed, but keeps pressing on. Nothing is going to take her down without a fight. Black’s book is action packed from the first page until the end. It does not look like there’s going to be a sequel or a series which is a relief. The book ends on a perfectly epic note which just feels so right. How many books can you say that about? “I for one am relieved that Amanda is over her bad book picks this week.
I have spent the week dwelling delightfully in another place and time. The Fishing Fleets: Husband Hunting in the Raj by Anne de Courcy examines the years of British rule in India. Hordes of young men leaving England to secure their fortunes in India proved irresistible to the young English women they left behind. So what to do? Why board a ship and seek them out! With the ratio of 4 men to each woman matrimonial success was all but guaranteed. Also guaranteed? A social whirlwind filled with balls, tiger hunts and pearls the size of golf balls worn by Maharajas. But this was no fairy tale. These young women were truly pioneers who went into places where there were few other Europeans, disease and very real dangers. This is a fascinating look at a vanished world that is out in January and will be in the catalog next week.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. leaves us with the following thought this weekend. “How can you welcome in a new season without saying goodbye to another? This makes me contemplate change. Change is never easy. Change is difficult at best but in the end, sometimes change makes us all better human beings. We all change in subtle and sometimes profound ways every day. This week my music playlist is dedicated to our own Louise Berry, Kiera Parrott and Gretchen Caserotti. Although you can only virtually hug Gretchen at this point, I encourage you all to give a big hug of thanks to Louise and Kiera. (Ok, if you’re not a hugger, just thank them.) These female trailblazers have collaborated and built a phenomenal temple of knowledge in town that is the envy of many. I wish them only the best as they turn the next page on the chapter of their lives. We should all welcome it, embrace it and fall into change. If that’s not a music theme fit for a playlist, I don’t know what is!! Rock on, ladies… DL Fall into Change 2013 “