Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

This week was quiet for me.  Perhaps we are all still listening instead of talking?  Sweet Ann was quiet this week because she was under the weather but she is now on the mend and is grateful for it.  Her words of wisdom is really just one word.   Ann says Gratitude.  So reflect on that if you will.  Even the SoNo Loft is quiet this week as there are no messages hanging from the deck (Sorry Susan of Fairfield Cheese Company!).  Even though the weather was truly dismal for everyone this week (didn’t seem to matter where in the country you were: too wet, too dry, just meh), there were two things that went down that I considered Glad Tidings.  I love that the most eligible bachelor in Hollywood picked Brains over Bimbo in the selection of his fiancé.   There was a great piece on this in, of all places, the New York Post.  You can read it here.  I also loved that a certain franchise owner’s nasty mouth/attitude/beliefs got him in a whole lot of trouble and we won’t have to hear it anymore.  Ugly is as Ugly does and sometimes it is just reassuring that the Universe is indeed on top of this stuff, that good things can happen and justice is served.  It’s also nice to be around to see it.  This week we have Great Britain and Germany, emotional casualties, dog, tribes, Preps, more dog, Galveston, a Chief Resident, and a parade of historic figures!  Playlist?  Got that!

Let us begin!

Laura is doing lots of reading for her book group.  “Life After Life is my favorite book group pick of 2014, so far.  I enjoyed it more than Goldfinch but not by much.  Both authors, Atkinson and Tartt, drew me into the hearts of their protagonists but Atkinson's Ursula felt like a very close friend telling me all her travails of WWII, in all her reincarnations.   Ursula was engaging, giving a close perspective of someone personally enduring WWII from both the British and German sides. “

Jeanne is still doing one thing.  I think there is something very wrong with this and I am beyond concerned. “I watched Jayne Mansfield's Car, written, directed by and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon and others. The cover says "Torn Apart. Driven Together." And they are. In 1969, in a small southern town, war has left its emotional casualties but ultimately human need creates some overdue and unusual family ties.”

The Ever Delightful Kim: Owner of Shiny Boat Shoes is reading Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler.   “Chelsea Handler has no filter when it comes to talking about her trip to another continent with her friends.  One of the most ridiculous conversations is when Chelsea is deciding whether or not to fly her dog on a private plane to another country because she believes he must miss her.  In all, this book is a page turner!”

Barbara M agrees with me about her pick this week. We cannot endorse this one highly enough.  One thing Barbara forgot to say is how much she loves the cover.  I do too!  It's amazing. “Lily King’s new novel, Euphoria, is very loosely based on the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead. Nell Stone and her husband Fen are studying tribes in New Guinea when they are befriended by a fellow anthropologist, Andrew Bankson, who becomes intimately entangled in their lives. The writing is beautiful and the tension of both the situations that arise and the relationships between the characters is palpable. This is definitely a book worth reading.”

The Fabulous Babs B has just finished The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene.   “Arthur Winthrop, like his father before him, is the Headmaster of an elite school in Vermont.  But nothing is what it appears to be in this brilliant and beautifully written story of a life gone awry.  After reading the first half of this book I thought to myself wow and little did I know the second half was even better. Finishing it, I found myself re-reading the first few chapters as to make sure I didn't miss anything in this complex story.  Part mystery, part love story, this is a layered story of love, unbearable loss and grief.  This was a quick read and I highly recommend it!”

The Tall Cool Texan Virginia is listening to her brother. As my brother will tell you, it’s something I should have done long ago. “It is amazing how much your family can influence your reading habits.  My brother first introduced me to James Rollins’ Sigma novels several years ago, and I have been a fan ever since.  So I was super excited to learn Rollins was introducing a new action series, The Kill Switch which features Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his brave companion, Kane a military working dog.  The novel has lots of action, and enough conspiracy to keep you guessing.  It’s coming out in May.  I also just finished and highly recommend, The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon, a psychological suspense novel, but with the under-current of a good old-fashioned ghost story.  Fair warning however, if you live in the woods then don’t read this when you are alone, because it is seriously creepy.  West Hall, Vermont is a town that has always been plagued with mysterious ghostly sightings and legends but when people begin to disappear, the secrets of a hundred years must come out, even if it reveals things better left in the woods.”

Claire of the Children’s Library is not reading anything remotely childlike.  But it’s making her happy.  Let it slide people!  “Galveston is True Detective creator, Nick Pizzolatto's first novel. The main character, Roy Cady, exudes a bit of Rust and Marty for any fans of the acclaimed HBO series. The opening scenes had me on edge as Roy barely escapes a bloodbath, fleeing New Orleans with a young prostitute in tow. As they both try to start new lives in East Texas and finally Galveston, Roy can't seem to leave the past behind. This has everything I want in a noir novel: a bleak motel, gritty but lovable hero, and enough twists and turns to keep me awake on Metro North.  According to the press they are already turning this gem into a movie. Galveston was also a finalist for the 2010 Edgar Award for Best First Novel.”

Steph is on a tear. “I’ve been obsessed with thrillers this week. Probably my favorite of the bunch will not surprise regular readers of this email: Doing Harm, by Kelly Parsons. After hearing Babs and Virginia rave about it, and then after Stephen King called it ‘the best damn medical thriller I've read in 25 years,’ I couldn’t resist. I found the ending a bit too neat, I thought the tension level was just perfect. And though I normally loathe arrogant characters, arrogant chief resident Steve Mitchell was the perfect protagonist. This would be a great beach book, especially for readers who love medical true crime like one of my recent favorites, The Good Nurse.”

I have another book from 12 that I am excited about.  You remember that I told you about 12? They are a division of The Hachette Book Group and they only publish 12 books a year.  By limiting it in this way they are all about the quality of the product.  You are pretty much guaranteed an amazing read if 12 is putting it out.  What is Visible is a debut novel by Kimberly Elkins and it is indeed remarkable.  Laura Bridgman.  Does the name ring a bell?  She was the most famous woman in the world in the 19th century after Queen Victoria and yet we have forgotten about her.  Laura was the first deaf and blind person to learn language under the care of Samuel Gridley Howe at the Perkins Institute in Boston.  It was Laura, in fact who ended up teaching Anne Sullivan the Tactile American Sign Language method that Sullivan then used to teach Helen Keller.  This book has a parade of historic figures such as Charles Dickens, Julia Ward Howe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Brown to name a few.  It is due out in early June and we have also purchased it for our Book in a Bag program for book groups.  It also has a great cover!  

DJ Patty McC is ruminating on one of the news stories mentioned earlier.  And no, it’s not about George Clooney’s engagement.  It could have been.  But it’s not.  Here is her Playlist for the week. “This July 2nd marks the 50-year anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is something to celebrate and folks should hold some epic 4th of July parties in honor of how far we’ve come. How far have we come? I’ll give you a hint or better yet, let’s play a word association game. I’ll list all the things that have been troubling me as of late and you guess the theme. Ready…Set…GO! Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling, Dani Alves, and Affirmative Action in Michigan, are you sensing a theme yet? It would seem the time is ripe for some delicate discussions of race. This week I invite you to lead that elephant out of the room and into the daylight. Better yet, let’s bring that elephant outside for all to see and have a real candid, honest discussion about race in our country. In the words of Rodney King, “Can we all get along?” because in the end underneath it all, we are all the same.”

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