Well the weekend we thought would never come is here! The official kick off to Summer 2014 begins with the arrival of this missive. Happy Summer! We made it! Break out those white pants/shoes and rejoice! Although I must say that I have broken that rule with a new pair of white jeans that I am wild about. The Fabulous Babs B has been kind and not chided me for it but I know that this is the one fashion rule she will never break. Sure the beginning of the weekend won’t be the best in terms of weather but it’s still better than what we have had to wade through to get to this point. All week I have had people tell me they were stocking up on library material for the great migration to wherever they Summer. I have heard about trips to the Adirondacks, Maine, Nantucket, The Cape, and Block. Places that we could only have imagined in our little frozen brains just weeks ago. And so I wish you a lovely three days filled with sun, sand, something festive to sip, a comfy chair and a great read. Please be aware that there will not be an issue of YAWYR next week. We will all be at Book Expo finding out what is coming up for the year in Books. We’ll be back in business though on the 6th. As an aside, if you are in the State Which Should Not Be Named at a certain golfing event on Sunday and you see the Traveling Companion wish him a Happy Birthday. He’d like that. This week we have some strange people, a need for sleep, the American Dream, a cold case, Daphne the Deb, a pilot and some Frank Campbell.
The Playlist? But, of course!
Let us begin!
Alan, our leader is finished but just with his latest read. No worries. He’s still around. “I’ve just finished Ingenious: A True Story of Invention Automotive Daring And the Race to Revive America by Jason Fagone. He followed 4 of the 100+ teams that entered the 2007 X Prize Foundation contest to build a safe, mass-producible car that could travel 100 miles on the equivalent of a gallon of gas for a prize of $10 million dollars. There are engineers, tinkerers, some amazingly interesting and accomplished (and strange) people who compete, and the author does a great job of telling the story of a resurgence of innovation and invention.”
Kim (you know…the one with the shiny boat shoes) is reading Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder by Arianna Huffington. “The book, about the dangers of personal burnout, gives statistics that universities and colleges have collected as well as examples of real events. It is a very informative and one of the main ideas it tells the reader is that more sleep leads to a better life!”
Sweet Ann has just finished Family Life by Akhil Sharma. “This is a beautifully written story about a family coming here to experience the American dream. The Mishra family, parents and two sons, immigrate to Long Island (Queens specifically) from India. Ajay and his older brother Birju find many things in the U.S. fascinating from elevators to escalators. Birju, a good student, takes the entrance exam for the Bronx High School of Science and with his whole family's support he passes. But the family’s happiness is short lived after Birju is injured in an accident. This accident will take its toll on the family and each member has to deal with it in their own way. Ajay narrates the story in a very realistic manner expressing fear, love and even jealousy as his parents focus their attention on their injured son. I highly recommend this book.”
Abby is sticking with a favorite. “Tana French’s latest in the Dublin Murder Squad series, The Secret Place, grabbed me from the first paragraph. As in her earlier works, she takes what has been a peripheral character and turns them into the main protagonist. In Secret Place, it’s Detective Stephen Moran. Working in cold cases, Moran has his eye on the homicide division. One cold case, which involves the murder of a young man at a posh boarding school, now has a very current lead, and allows him the opportunity to try the prestigious murder squad on for size. While I’m still in the early part of the book, I cannot wait to read more. French is one of the few writers whose work you can see evolving and I am a major fan.”
Pat S has just finished Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford. “Attempting to keep Downton Abbey withdrawal at bay, I picked up Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Set in Edwardian England, Cavendon Hall is home to Charles Ingham, the illustrious Earl of Mowbray and his family living side by side with the Swanns, the family of loyal retainers who have served the aristocratic family faithfully for generations. The story opens during the years leading up to WWI as one of the Earls’ daughters’, Daphne, is about to be presented at court. But on the eve of this debut, Daphne is assaulted, and the world as it was known, has been turned upside down. So begins the sweeping family saga, told through the eyes of the Earl’s six children, as well as the current generation of the Swann family, Bradford does a great job of presenting the historical landscape. This is a great, fun read filled with all the passion, intrigue, secrets and general mayhem one could hope for in a summer read.”
Sue S is having a blast with The Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick. “Normally I would devour a chick-lit book like The Cure for the Common Breakup in two evenings. However, I have been enjoying this book so much that I have had to force myself to read only a few chapters an evening because I do not want to see it end! The plot centers on Summer Benson, who we learn is a flight attendant and dating none other than a pilot who is supposed to be the most fabulous catch. Very early in the book Summer’s life is turned upside down by two significant events. Summer takes herself to heal in the town of Black Dog Bay. It is her time here that you will want to savor and revel in her interactions with the town’s characters. The way that Beth Kendrick writes you can easily imagine the people of the town and you find yourself happily transported into Summer’s world. A little bit of craziness, healing, heartache, laughter and people harboring long held grudges are what make The Cure for The Common Break Up a book that I hope you too will love.”
I have never made a secret of my love of a good tale of WASP dysfunction. I love reading about my tribe complete with all of our peculiarities and foibles. Throw in some McLean or Silver Hill, a poet or two, a waning fortune, two Sherries at 5 max and a big Frank Campbell send-off and I am in heaven. The May 5th edition of the New Yorker ran a piece called Pilgrim Mothers: The Ladies of the Four O’Clock Club by Sarah Payne Stuart which I found charming and it reminded me a lot of an outfit that I belong to; the $5.00 annual membership fee, the strict adherence to rules that were set forth in 1879, and some fierce dragons not to be trifled with but adored just the same. Imagine my delight when I came across the fact that I could get even more of the same when Perfectly Miserable: God, Guilt and Real Estate in a Small Town comes out next month! Stuart ran like the wind from her hometown of Concord, MA when she was 18 with the intention of never coming back, but when she begins a family of her own, she throws herself back into the thick of it. Stuart not only looks hard at her own domestic life, but the lives of some of Concord’s most famous women including the wives of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the forever suffering Abby May Alcott better known as Marmee of The Little Women. You can get your own fix if that is what thrills you when it comes out on June 12th.
DJ Jazzy Patty had a happy/sad week. I’ll let her explain: “One of the great paradoxes of life is change. Rarely do people like it, few seek it and yet it’s happening as you read these words. On a micro-cellular level we are constantly dividing, dying and regenerating. Every single day that we take a breath and our hearts beat, we engage in the cycle of aging. Babies are born, prefrontal cortex development happens, and then in the wink of an eye, wrinkles and grey hair. This week my family welcomed a baby and said goodbye to a great man in the space of two days. Last week I said we can’t know what’s going to happen day-to-day, but here’s something I do know. I know that we change all the time and that what we do in between birth and our last breaths is the good stuff. It’s the meat or portabella mushroom in your sandwich. It’s the important stuff. How we choose to live it and what happens will be different for us all. I’d like to believe that we all consciously choose kindness, express gratitude and share whatever our particular gift is with others. I am fortunate be in a family of storytellers. So this week we will share our stories about beloved John and we will hug each other, we will cry and we will all clamor to hold sweet baby Jayden. With the stories we share, time will feel like it’s stopped even though in that very moment we will be changing. “