Hosted by Jen Dayton
This week’s You Are What You Read is in honor of Louise Parker Berry. As I am sure you are all aware, Louise is retiring after 35 years of being our fearless leader, tireless advocate, and all around cheerleader. You could not hope to work under a better woman. She has always allowed us to speak in our own voices without censure and that’s a really remarkable thing. Not many library directors would let me refer to Paul Newman as a hottie, or allow the weekly playlist to make an appearance. It is because of her that Darien Library is such a wonderful place and true gift not only to you all, but to the people who get to work here. So thanks Louise! We will miss you fiercely. This week we have pain, nostalgia, a confession, Paris, a disappearance, Manhattan and Berlin. And of course, we can’t forget The Playlist.
Let us begin!
Steph is reading The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, a collection of essays coming out next month. “This slim volume has been getting a lot of buzz online and it was thrust at me multiple times at the ALA conference last month, so I had to see what the fuss was all about. Well, it was all about a fabulous book, as it turns out. Jamison’s essays are smart, funny, and sometimes painful. This is fitting, because pain, be it emotional or physical, is one of the main themes holding the essays together. Her writing is incisive but inclusive; she wants to take you with her as she explores other countries, her past, odd maladies, and the history of fake sugar. I finished each essay feeling like I hadn’t just learned something about the world, but also something about myself. She is definitely a writer to watch, and this is a great book especially for commuters or others who read in snippets.”
Pat T. is feeling nostalgic. “ While shelving books on Main Street this week, I came upon a small book with a golden spine that looked just like the golden books of our childhood and I thought to myself this belongs in the children's room, until I read the title, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow. The author has very cleverly adapted the golden book stories to offer sage advice that, as adults, we need to be reminded of often; cultivate contentment, work hard, play hard but not too hard, and stay curious. This is a gem of a book and it would make a good present too. It's sure to make you smile.
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is revealing on of her little quirks. Turns out she has a bit of a reading dark side. “Confession: I am a sucker for a good dystopian novel. Hunger Games? I loved it! The Divergent series? Devoured in a week. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the novel, Wool by Hugh Howey. In this book, he has created a singular society living in huge underground silos after the air outside has become a toxic landscape. No one knows why or how this happened. The citizens live in a regimented, hierarchal world that is tightly controlled by a few. It is pretty much a paint-by-the-numbers dystopian novel, which I normally love, but this one just didn’t bring it together for me. It isn’t that it’s bad and it’s definitely readable but would I recommend it in my five favorite dystopian type books? No. I mean, if you have time to kill and the polar vortex traps you at home then give it a try. “
Sweet Ann is not letting grass grow under her feet. Here she is with not one but two titles that she is excited about. “The following two books, one on audio, one in print, I am just about finished with and I love them both. I am listening to the audio version of The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure and I have perhaps two chapters left to hear. I cannot wait until I can get back in the car and deal with traffic on I-95. This novel takes place in 1942 Paris which is occupied by the Germans. Lucien Bernard is a famous Paris architect who the Nazis hire to build factories for them. He will be called a traitor by the Resistance, but is he really a traitor? This is a taut, page turning novel. The audio is fantastic; the reader brings the story alive, sometimes too vividly. I highly recommend this book. Joyce Carol Oates is one of my favorite writers and I have enjoyed many of her books, so now I am reading Carthage. This one reminds me of some of her earlier novels that I could not put down. The story takes place in Carthage, New York where the Mayfield family lives. It opens with the disappearance of the youngest daughter, nineteen-year-old Cressida. It is tension filled as we try to discover who the last person was to see her. This is just not a who-done-it novel. Ms. Oates brings up many issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood issues and family drama. I especially thought the second chapter was so gripping when you only had one side of a conversation from the sister of Cressida. Ms. Oates can be wordy and the story gets slightly farfetched in the middle but now as I am nearing the conclusion I can't wait to see how she will bring it all together. This is a great read and a page turner.”
Babs B. is a huge fan of Beatriz Williams’ last book A Hundred Summers so when I saw that Williams had a new book coming out I decided to give it a try especially when I read the synopsis. The Secret Life of Violet Grant tells 2 stories 50 years apart. Socialite and rebel Vivian Schulyler has thrown off the constraints of her blue blood upbringing and is trying to find her own way in 1964 Manhattan. When she receives a mysterious parcel in the mail, she is drawn back to her family’s history most specifically her Aunt Violet who was a physicist in 1914 Berlin. What happened to Violet and why does no one speak of her? This is a fun, breezy read that is a perfect companion for my commute. It comes out in May which is about the time we may be able to see the grass again.
And our final words of farewell come from DJ Jazzy Patty McC. Take it away Patty!” I like to think of our library as the jewel in the crown of Darien. That sparkly gem, with all its facets, is comprised of an amazing group of incredibly smart, tech-savvy, caring, compassionate folks. This week we will say goodbye to our fearless leader for the past 35 years, Louise Berry. Louise has been a mentor to many and a champion for pushing ideas forward and risk taking. If you know Louise you’ll know she is a book loving, tea drinking, and scone eating introverted type of gal who can tell a great story. In the end, we’re all storytellers. Some of us may tell our stories through the lens of a camera, a drawing or painting, through writing or simply by talking to another person. We all have a story to tell and although I am sad to see Louise retire. I am happy for her to begin her new chapter and make room for more stories. This week I say thank you and goodbye to our library director, Louise Berry, through music. Happy trails, Louise.”