Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Hello! I am back!  First I want to send a big thanks to Steph for stepping up last week.   So thanks Steph.  As you can see, the message from the SoNo loft is in the form of a question, ‘What is Your Weird?’  It’s a worthy question for this last day of Spring.  We all have our ‘things’.  Some of mine are as follows and not in any real order:  The Edies of Grey Gardens, Little People, any episode of Hoarders, Clowns, Dolls with Teeth, Victorian Taxidermy Tableaux and of course when Wild Animals decide that they have had enough of  us humans and our nonsense  and they kill and eat us (see the films Grizzly Man and  Black Fish).  Sally of the Reference has an obsession with Extreme Weather.  Caroline?  If it’s on Bravo, she’s all over it.  Cathy?  Our girl Hugette is a favorite.  Abby?  She is all about Scientology.  Amanda?  That girl loves herself some Graveyard.  And of course you know all about our Anne Perry fixation which has so many elements of weirdness, that it’s hard to focus on the whole Chicks with Bricks main story.  So c’mon!  What is your weird obsession?  What will you never have your fill of?  What makes you take a step back; cock your head and say, “I need to learn more about that because that is MESSED UP!”  This week we have an unfortunate accident, a whodunit, some grief, murder, mental unbalance, some serious planning, football and of course we have the playlist and some added value.  Interested?

Let us begin!

Barbara M is working on Family Life by Akhil Sharma.  “While this is classified as fiction it is in  fact the story of his family’s immigration from India to the United States and  his older brother’s unfortunate accident. Akhil’s older brother was a brilliant boy who after only a short time in the United States passed the exam to be admitted to the Bronx High School of Science, a highly competitive New York City High School. His aspiration was to become a surgeon. The accident left him in a vegetative state and the family, far from their home in India, coped or didn’t cope in different ways.  The story is told from the younger brother’s  point of view and it is poignant, heart-breaking and very real. “

Abby has just finished watching the British whodunit Broadchurch starring  David Tennant. “ Set in a picturesque coastal English town, it is the story of the aftermath  when 11- year- old Danny Latimer is killed. The investigation is hampered by the secrets of Danny's family, and the community's collective desire to find someone to blame for the youngsters tragic death. I enjoy Tennant's work and Olivia Colman as  Ellie Miller, an officer who grew up in town and is  a friend of  the Latimer Family is a terrific actress.  Overall, with so many twists and turns there were some gaps in the storytelling and investigation, but the performances and scenery make it a worthwhile watch. In a move that may or may not work, the series is being re-done as a version in the US, with Tennant again starring but as an American detective. “

Sweet Ann who does not seem to have any weirdness tells us about The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings.  “This novel is about grief and how one woman faces it and goes on with her life.  It is not your typical sad book but one that will make you chuckle as you meet the other people who are coping with the loss as well.  Sarah St. John lives with her father in Colorado.  She is a single Mom to twenty-two year old Cully who died in an avalanche.   Everyone in her world is having a difficult time with Cully's death.  While it is a book about grief  it is also a book about relationships and the people who can make you smile.   Ms. Hemmings previous novel, The Descendants, is written in a similar way with a serious subject and lighthearted moments. “

The Fabulous Babs B is in full summer read mode with Field of Prey by John Sanford.  “This is another top-notch thriller from John Sanford.  The character of Lucas Davenport from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension returns to investigate the disappearance and murder of 15 young girls.  Davenport teams up with Catrin Mattson, a detective with the county sheriff's office.  When the killer decides Mattson is going to be his next victim, the case escalates quickly.  Halfway into the story, Sanford throws in a big twist that I never saw coming.  I think this is the best of Sanford's Davenport novels in a long time and I am not alone!  To quote Stephen King this is ‘The Perfect Summer Read.’”

And then we come to Pat S who has just read Regeneration by Pat Barker.  She tells me that she is not in “summer reading mode” but honestly I don’t think that she and I ever are.  Maybe we need to add that to the “weird list?”  “This is the first book of a WWI trilogy by Pat Barker. Set in the psychiatric convalescent hospital of Craiglockhart, Regeneration is a fictionalized account of the poet Siegfried Sassoon's time in this facility when he had been labeled 'mentally unbalanced' for declaring the war a 'senseless slaughter'. Told through the eyes of both the patients and the physicians, Barker explores the ethical and moral ambiguities of war. It is heartrending to read the recounting of battles and frontline conditions which left healthy young men physically and psychically shattered-not necessarily at the hands of the enemy, but by virtue of the incompetence and arrogance of their own commanding officers. While not an easy read, this is certainly a provocative one.”

Steph, for those unaware, recently became engaged.  This of course is influencing her reading as you will see.  I know we all wish her and the fiancé all the best.  “This week I read A Practical Wedding, by Meg Keene. I have been looking at a lot of wedding books and magazines lately, and most of them seem custom-designed to make a lady anxious so she will buy things she doesn’t need. This book is the complete opposite, and sorely needed in the field of wedding planning. The book includes not just great basic information on the practical side planning a wedding (down to giving you a sample of a spreadsheet to keep track of the details!), it also includes advice on the emotions and everything else that goes with it. And there’s no agenda. If you want the big church wedding, or the small barn wedding, or to elope, or whatever else, Keene’s got your back. It’s like having a really cool aunt who just happens to be a wedding planner. Her blog is also fabulous! It’s also, unlike most wedding books, not bride-centric, because it emphasizes creating a wedding that works for the whole couple—I am making my partner read it as well. Of everything I’ve looked at, this is the only book on weddings I whole-heartedly recommend. I will be buying it for engagement presents in the future.”

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is in summer mode but she’s not happy but her unhappiness has a good resolution.  I’ll let her explain.  Virginia the floor is yours!  “I continued my summer reading this week with Emily Giffin’s new novel The One and  Only.  The book takes place in a small town outside of Dallas, TX and shockingly (I say snidely) the story line revolves around football.  Seriously people, there is more to Texas than football, although, with this book you would never realize it.  Here is my quick synopsis:  Someone dies…football.  Breakup, career change…football. Dating someone new, while having feelings for someone forbidden…football. Domestic abuse…football. Happily ever after…winning the national championship in football.  Oh yeah and  in between all of that was more football.  As you can tell, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book. The best I can say is it made me nostalgic for real Tex-Mex food, Neiman Marcus and the Ritz Carleton bar. I guess I can thank Giffin for inspiring me to make my plane reservations for a trip home to Dallas.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is weighing in on the Weird with some eye and ear candy this week.  Patty?  What’s doin’?  “ There are artistic geniuses all around us and rarely do they do things that are considered normal. What is “normal” for one person may not be “normal” for another whether you’re an artistic genius, working parent or stay-at-home mom. What gets you up and motivated in the morning is probably different for your partner, children, parents or friends. My daughter told her teacher that our family motto is, ‘Let Your Freak Flag Fly.’  This week I have a couple of videos to share that are freaky genius. The first is from the band OK Go. They’ve created another musical masterpiece complete with mind-blowing video for their new song, ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’. It was filmed all in one shot (it took 50 takes) and is chock-full of optical illusions and great art. 

The second video is Stay With Me’ by Sam Smith and if you don’t know who he is yet you will soon. The mind-blowing thing about this song is that the Gospel Choir is HIM! A recent NPR interview with Sam on All Things Considered uncovered this little known fact:

So, this week I invite you to be more accepting of yourself, others and try living in a state of non-judgment. Embrace your own quirks and share them unselfconsciously with others, they may just surprise you. Now, I have to ask, DL DUZ THIS MUZIK MAEK ME LOOK WEIRD? 2014”

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