You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Hellidaze edition of You Are What You Read!  It’s hard to believe that this time next week we will all be standing in line trying to return that gift that leaves us scratching our head and pouring ANOTHER glass of eggnog.  The words from The SoNo Loft remain ‘Just Breathe’ so, as always in the coming days, heed the message, stop, and take a deep breath.  I know that for myself, this weekend will be spent tying up those loose ends and then as a reward for just getting it done, a Sunday Morning Meet Up with a selection of some of my Outlaws for a catch-up and some breakfast.  Remember People!  The important stuff always gets done and the most important piece of the Hellidaze is being with your people!  As a reminder we are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but we will see you bright and early on the 26th for our regular hours.   Next week, we will have our big reveal as to what the Library’s Top Ten Reads of 2014 are.  So put your heads down, power through it with a bit of joy, a whole lotta eggnog, maybe some pants with an elastic waist and we’ll catch up next week. This week we have Lord Byron, whimsy, Miss Alabama, genius, and some Little House. Of course we have The Playlist for your dashing through the snow, rain or ice, or whatever it is the Weather Gods will be slinging at us.

Let us begin!

Abby explores the history of the seemingly newish Tech Industry with The Innovators by Walter Isaacson.  “My biggest takeaway from The Innovators is that even the most creative and brilliant minds need to master the art of collaboration in order to bring about progress. The book opens with the story of Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, who was the daughter of Lord Byron. Ada was an accomplished mathematician and early logic theorist whose work set others on the road to computing. In fact, throughout the book, women are the unsung heroes of early computer programming. While men tended to build the machinery, it was women who were instrumental in making the contraptions work. The Innovators is an enjoyable and educational book; that’s a tough combination to master, but Isaacson has again shown he has found the right formula.”

Pat T has a solution for us this week. “If you are feeling stressed with the holiday rush, I suggest you take 10 minutes to read the delightful, Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned From a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow. Basically, this whimsical book agrees that yes, the holidays are a lot of work, but it also reminds of us what we would be missing if we didn't celebrate. So keep it simple and enjoy this special time with family and friends!
Happy Holidays!”

Sweet Ann is breaking out of her usual fare and doing things a little differently “I am listening to I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg.  It’s read by Ms. Flagg and it's a hoot.  I am known for reading on the side of dark and depressing but occasionally I need a chuckle.  You wouldn't think this book would make you smile since it opens with the main character, Maggie Fortenberry, a former Miss Alabama, planning her demise in the local river. Maggie is an interesting woman who can't stop putting other’s needs before her planned departure.   This novel contains race relations, a little person, a murder mystery and a cast of characters that will make you smile. “

Steph is getting that jump on 2015. “I’m using the holidays to start getting ahead on my 2015 reading. This week, I read Kelly Link’s short story collection Get in Trouble, which comes out in February. She is a genius who brings a new life to everything she writes. Whether you’re a lifelong short story lover, or have been coming back to stories thanks to writers like George Saunders, or perhaps don’t like them at all, you’ll find something to love in this book. Link combines the clarity and structure of an Alice Munro story with the imagination of our best fantasy writers. Each story has a surreal element (for instance, superheroes are real and they have conventions like every other profession) and is set in a world that is otherwise our own.  The tension between reality and fantasy is spectacular, taking most of the stories to a whole new level. While not all of them are perfect, there are 5-6 stories in here that blew me away. I can’t wait to start recommending this one.” It comes out in February and will be in the catalog next week.

How am I avoiding the Hellidaze? The same way I always have; with my nose in a book.  I have never been shy about my love of The Little House Books. In fact, not only was the next installment in the series was always one of my favorite gifts under the tree growing up but if I am being totally honest, it was probably the first of many obsessions that I cultivate to this day.   I had nothing but contempt for the TV series by the way.  They weren’t faithful to the stories and Melissa Gilbert just plain annoyed me.  So I will be tucked away in a corner with Pioneer Girl:  The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pamela Smith Hill, editor.  Hidden away from the world since the 1930’s, Wilder’s biography has a lot of surprises in it.  Think a not-so-sunny prairie with financial insolvency, early death and child labor.   Add to that some meticulous foot notes by the folks at the South Dakota Historical Society who researched each and every sentence, added photos pertaining to the text when they could be found and I will be in Little House Heaven. For those hankering for more on the true story there is this New Yorker article that I reread every couple of years and don’t forget another favorite of mine Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. 


DJ Jazzy Patty McC from That State Up North.  What’s doing Pats? “Greetings from the Motor City! Chanukah is here and Christmas is right around the corner. Seems like everywhere I turn there’s a procession of cars with menorahs on top or a car grille with a wreath strapped on to it. How is this not a fire hazard? Folks here take their holidays VERY seriously. Plastic Santa’s line the rooftops, 12-foot blow-up Chanukah Bears holding dreidels sit on lawns and Hines Drive Lightfest will celebrate its 21st year. It’s a 4-mile light show spectacular complete with 55 animated holiday-themed displays. Because here in the Motor City, we do everything with our cars, holiday driving through a light show on a roadway is just part of the seasonal merriment. So may you have a dusting of snow for your holiday, enjoy a steaming mug of Glögg in front of the old Yule log and share it with those you love. This year it seems appropriate to share something from The Godfather of Soul. Happy Holidays everyone!”

DL FUNKY CHRISTMAS 2014

New eBooks from OverDrive

Here are the new titles available from OverDrive.

Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Deadline by John Sandford

The Escape by David Baldacci

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Full Force and Effect by Mark Greaney

 

You Are What You Read!

Greetings!  This week’s brilliant message from the SoNo Loft is one we all need to heed this time of year.  The Loft is reminding us to ‘Just Breathe.’   It’s very easy to get sucked into the insanity of the season this time of year and rush about like a four-year-old on an extreme sugar high.  Cathy the sister-in-law posted the above list on Facebook earlier this week and tracked it down for me so I could share it with you all. Thanks Cath, you’re the best.  It’s a to-do list that we all could use as a blueprint for the upcoming days. This weekend, take a moment to look around, breathe and be present in the moment.  We have a gift for you all!  Instead of just 10 Hoopla downloads for this month, starting Monday and going through the end of January we are allowing 20!  If you haven’t played around with Hoopla you really should.  There are no pesky holds to deal with, no need to fret about returns, and there is something for everybody including music, movies, series and documentaries, and audio books. To learn more click here. So Very Merry from us!  Enjoy!  This week we have a midwife, a trio of anthropologists, obsession, Russia and some monsters under the bed.

You know we have The Playlist.  Don’t even worry your pretty heads about that.

Let us begin!

Babs B has just finished My Notorious Life by Kate Manning.  What did you think Babs? “I absolutely loved this one!  Based on a true story, this is a well-researched, beautiful historical novel that traces the life of Axie, an impoverished Irish girl from the slums of New York City.  How she becomes a midwife in the second half of the 19th century is really the heart of this story.  Axie came from nothing and ended up being a very wealthy woman.  Even spending time in jail didn't deter her from helping women deliver their babies or performing abortions on women who had been raped.  Axie was way ahead of her time on this subject, which can still be a debate in this day and age.  The end of this book will shock readers in a good way. I never saw it coming!


Laura has just finished a book we have been shouting about for a long time now and has won a well-deserved place on the New York Times Best of 2014 list.  Here is what she thought of Euphoria, by Lily King. “Taking place between the two world wars, you meet Nell and her husband Fen, anthropologists who are running for their lives from a blood-thirsty tribe deep in the jungles of New Guinea.   When they meet Bankson, an English anthropologist who introduces them to the female-dominated tribe, the Tam, a love triangle of epic proportions is set in motion.  Tragedy ensues and the reader is left wondering who is more civilized; the well-educated scholarly scientists or the actual natives who have patiently taken them into their societies.  I listened to the audio book and was entranced each and every hour.”


Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is here to tell us what her latest obsession is.   “Guilty or not guilty?  After binge listening to the addicting Serial podcast, I remain undecided.  Is there reasonable doubt that Adnan Syed committed murder at the age of 17? Absolutely! If you don't know what I am talking about, then you are missing out on one of the best crime dramas produced in years and it’s not even on TV.   From the creators of This American Life and hosted by Sarah Koenig, Serial is a podcast that follows one true story over an entire season.  For its debut, Koenig conducts an investigation into the 1999 Baltimore murder of Hae Min Lee and whether or not Lee's ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was wrongly convicted for her murder.  Koenig is a masterful storyteller and how she presents her investigation is absolutely enthralling.  You get sucked into the real time play-by-play of what she finds in the case files, interviews with the very likable Syed, the other key players and witnesses. For any true crime fan, the inconsistencies and details that went unexplored are not all that surprising, but as a listener you find yourself shocked. For Adnan Syed, the buzz and cult-like following the show has generated has had major impact for his case.  But how much impact remains to be seen, as Serial continues to play out in real-time. For all of you other Serial addicts, join me next Thursday at the library as we play the final episode in the podcast with a follow up discussion of the case.”

The Always Delightful Pat S has just finished Midnight in Siberia by David Greene.  “Part travelogue, part cultural snapshot, David Greene has created a remarkable portrait of the Russian everyman today. Greene spent three years as an NPR Moscow Bureau chief, ending in 2012. During this time, he clearly developed a deep infatuation with the people, the culture and the country. He wanted to discover what Russians really thought of the changes they had experienced in the post-Soviet years. In order to do this, he wanted to get out the globalized environment he found in Moscow. So he and his former colleague and interpreter Sergei embark on a 6000 mile cross-country Trans-Siberian rail journey from Moscow to Vladivostok. Through conversations with fellow travelers, as well as in-depth interviews with individuals in stops along the way, we are offered a rare portrait of a people who are deeply conflicted about democracy. While grateful for the end of much of the commonplace oppression suffered during Soviet times, they still miss the economic stability inherent in such a system; who maintain deep religious and spiritual ties and who seem married to the idea that being Russian and suffering go hand in hand. Greene creates a new window from which to view Russia in the twenty first century. This book is extremely compelling and I couldn’t put it down.


Stephanie has never made a secret of her love of Stephen King.  So what does she think of his latest? “This week I was delighted to read Stephen King’s latest, Revival. Despite being burned many times by some slouches, I still read each of his books. I can’t resist! Revival wasn’t as fantastic at 11/22/63, but it was still a great read. You will be stunned to hear that this book opens in a small Maine town, and features a young boy who turns into an adult with a drug problem. Crazy, right??? But no matter how many times King goes back to that well, there’s still more water for him to draw on. In this story, King explores the nature of devotion and religious belief. Protagonist Jamie is haunted throughout the book by his childhood minister, who leaves the church after a horrific tragedy and re-enters his life years later as a very changed man. Though much of the book reads like King’s more recent novels, which focus more on human relationships than monsters under the bed, it does take a turn for the horrific, and has one of the most frightening endings I’ve read in one of his books. If you’re looking for a holiday distraction, or to feel grateful for your life in the real world and not in a Stephen King novel, look no further.”


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in residence with some final thoughts.  Here’s what is going on in her world.  “This year my son will not celebrate Christmas in his school classroom and this makes me happy. I’ve got nothing against celebrating holidays it’s just that his classroom is so diverse that if one religious holiday were singled out it would be unfair.  I was a theology minor in school and feel that part of my job as a mother has been to teach my children about different religious celebrations. I consciously chose to not raise my children with a religion but rather expose them to everything and when the time came for them to make a choice (or not) they would be educated in that decision. The choice will be theirs, not mine. I believe we should all have choices. Often folks who need choices the most don’t ever get to enjoy that privilege.”

 DL JUST BREATHE 2014

You Are What You Read!

Greetings! A Happy Friday to us all.  Mistakes.  We all make them. Last week I was so obsessed with eradicating all the M’s that I forgot to link to the correct post. I rectify that here.  Sometimes we learn from our mistakes. For instance, for The Game last year, my brother taped it because he was running in a race that morning and we would not be darkening his door until well into the second half.  This seemingly excellent plan enabled us to catch up with each other, nibble on what emerged  from The Green Egg and sip a beverage in a leisurely manner before settling down to the business at hand. It all went swimmingly and The Game was a thing of beauty. A tied score in the last 32 seconds and then it happened.  Because The Game ran long we were confronted with The Blue Screen of Death.  Yup.  The DVR ran out of room and we were tasked with frantically trying to determine the ending.  Well, this year was going to be different! This year, Peter set the timer for the next two shows. We were covered! Peter ran his race, we showed up early in the afternoon, caught up with each other, ate lovely lunch, sipped a little something and then settled in to watch The Game.  When our quarterback got badly hurt in the beginning of the 4th quarter with the score tied, we were on pins and needles!  How would this play out? And then what happened? Yup. Cue The Blue Screen of Death, which left us scrambling to find out how it all ended. Next year there will be no race, no leisurely nosh. We have learned our lesson. The Game begins at noon and we will be watching it live.  Last week I failed to credit sister-in-law Cathy for the picture so I am doing that now. Cathy, my apologies!  Great picture from The Shoe and thanks! Mistakes happen People!  We are only human after all.  So learn your lessons, learn to apologize and move on knowing better.  This week we have murder, creepiness, some organizing, hockey and how about a nice cup of hot chocolate to go with that Playlist?


Let us begin!


Abby has another series that she wants to tell us about. “Fans of the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly will be happy to learn the Detective is back in The Burning Room and as methodical and determined as ever. Harry has been in the elite cold crimes unit for a few years, but when a man dies due to a decades old shooting, it’s ruled a murder. Harry and his partner catch the case and must balance the challenges of a fresh crime against the techniques of solving a cold case. As usual, Connelly weaves an intricate web of clues and connections that allow Bosch to close the case. The road to getting there illustrates that justice is not always what we imagine, but that’s doesn’t mean it can’t be satisfying. Connelly is one of the few crime writers who can offer a new book with regularity and consistent high-quality.”


Sweet Ann is here this week with a story of book happenstance with The Unknown Bridesmaid by Margaret Forster.  What have you got going Ann? “As I was shelving books one day, I saw this book and was intrigued by the title as well as the cover.  I am so glad I chose to read this book written by a British author.  I found this book to be creepy and one I could not put down. It tells the story of Julia, a forty-eight-year old child psychologist and magistrate in London. She works with damaged children and makes decisions that will shape their lives. As Julia looks back on her childhood and the choices she made, we learn of Julia's actions and the way she was raised by her dismissive mother. As a reader you feel you are almost reading the case study of young Julia and discovering who she becomes as an adult. I thoroughly enjoyed this book”. 


Barbara M is busy busy busy!  I’ll let her explain. “I have read an incredible amount of books on organizing; too, too many. For the most part they all say the same things. Things I already know. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo is different. One of her instructions is to store all similar items in the same place instead of by frequency of use. Storing items by frequency of use she says makes it easy to forget about them. She also never piles things. She rolls things and stores them vertically making it easy to see what you have. She is ruthless. Her main principle is that you should keep only things that ‘spark joy’. While that idea made sense to me her suggestion that you thank your discards for having served you well was beyond what I could do. I won’t and  can’t follow her instructions systematically. There is no way I can put all my clothes in a pile on the floor and then sort through them. However, that being said, this book has somehow inspired me to look at the amount of things I own in a different way.”


Steph!  What’s this week’s read? “This week I have been engrossed in Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard by John Branch. You may have seen the story of Derek Boogaard before, in Branch’s three-part New York Times feature on Boogaard, published after his tragic death in 2011. After an improbable rise through the ranks of hockey, Boogaard became one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL. However, this rise was accompanied by countless injuries to his body, including several broken noses, a ruptured disc in his back, and hands that were constantly swollen and covered in open wounds. His friends and family worried about him, but playing for the NHL was all the boy from rural Saskatchewan wanted, and team doctors kept fixing him up. These fixes came with many painkillers, however, and before long Boogaard developed a fierce addiction that worsened after a horrific concussion. This addiction led directly to his death at age 28, shocking everyone around him and the entire sports community. Branch, who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on this story, tracks Boogaard’s tragic story from beginning to end with copious detail from interviews, credit card statements, and medical records. It’s heartbreaking to watch it unfold with hindsight, seeing all the places someone might have made a difference. While Branch  subtly underscores the story with references to hockey culture and how it contributed to Boogaard’s death, he seeks not so much to place blame as to instigate change. Though this is a must-read for hockey fans, any sports fan will see the parallels between Boogaard and the stories of sacrifice from every sport.  This is a top non-fiction book of the year.”


Miss Elisabeth is in the spirit! "This week I read the absolutely delightful My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories. Edited by YA Author Stephanie Perkins and featuring stories by such YA stars as Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman, Matt De La Pena, and David Leviathan, this book is the perfect choice for curling up by a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate. Each story features some kind of romance, most swoon-inducing. I would say there’s not a bad story in the bunch; I had my favorites (the editor’s own It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown was definitely one of the best), but the entire collection is worth a read, something which is not necessarily true with other themed anthologies I’ve read. Don’t let the YA label fool you! The book is not filled with angst-y teens. Most of the stories are about true young adults (i.e., out of high school) and some deal with decidedly grown-up problems, like hunger. This little gem of a collection is sure to put a smile on your face, bring you great holiday cheer and it would make an excellent holiday gift!"

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with some final thoughts on foibles.  What’s good Pats?  “Mistakes. Gaffes. 404s. Screw-ups. Blunders. Faux pas. Solecisms. Lapses. Hiccups. Admit it, we all make mistakes. Guess what? That’s usually a good thing. Mistakes are necessary for our own education. Just ask any Rube Goldberg enthusiast. I try to not make the same mistake twice and while I am not entirely successful in that endeavor, I try to be conscious about it. I will not use the most overused cliché in writing about insanity here. You know what it is. I will say that lately it has felt like the world has gone a bit insane and that can be unsettling. As if the holiday season wasn’t stressful enough! Things can feel like they are spinning out of control with injustices abounding, frustration and anger seem to be the emotions of the day. Will we learn from these mistakes? I certainly hope so. We shouldn’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. That would just be insane.”

DL FOLK n CHILL 2014

What's This Week's Hoopla All About?

Getting the tree this weekend? How about some music to get you in the Holiday spirit?

Not sure what this is? Click here for some more information.

You Are What You Read!

Greetings!  Hope the Thanksgiving was all you hoped for and the leftovers bountiful. A happy Hate Week to us all.  This weekend, the kinfolk and I celebrate the diversion that is That State Up North v. Ohio State.  Also known as the holiday that rivals the Yuletide, if the Yuletide was fueled by a whole lotta dislike.  The clan has been celebrating this for just about as long as there has been a clan or at least since 1897.  The TC and I will be traveling to New Jersey on Saturday before noon to watch with The Brother and his people.  There will be a protein in the Green Egg and a keg of beer at the ready.  This is not an event that we take lightly.   At Ohio State, the student body has dedicated their week to eradicating a certain letter everywhere it appears on the property and I too have taken up that challenge.  So there will not be a certain letter in this weekly dispatch.  You can read about the student body efforts here. This is the 110th get -together and even though the squad of The State Up North is sad, sad, sad this year, a win by OSU is not a foregone conclusion.  You can’t predict the results when passions run high on both sides.  A favorite story about this rivalry involves a young boy who is the son of two OSU grads.   When Grant Reed was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11 he decided to label his cancer after That State Up North so that when he was cured he could state with a certitude that he had indeed Beat That State Up North.  Happily he has done just that. You can read about that here.   So Happy Weekend People!  Let’s go Buckeyes! This week we have Big Coal, China, privilege, and elephants.

Playlist?  Yup.  No worries. 

Let us begin!


The Always Delightful Pat S has just finished Gray *ountain by John Grisha*.  How was it Pat?  “After a long hiatus as a reader of Grisha*, last year’s highly entertaining Syca*ore Row brought about a return to the fold. So I picked up Gray *ountain and so far, have not been disappointed. Sa*antha Kofer, high powered associate in a big New York City law fir*, beco*es a casualty of the financial collapse of 2008. Her career plans co*e to a screeching halt as she is furloughed, and told to find a volunteer position in a legal aid situation of so*e kind, and just possibly, after a year’s ti*e, she could  be reconsidered for fullti*e e*ploy*ent again. This brings her to *ountain Legal Aid in the s*all town of Brady, Virginia, deep in the heart of Appalachia. Here she is faced with a veritable cornucopia of injustices perpetrated against the poor and underprivileged, particularly in an area of the country that is essentially run by Big Coal. Naturally, there is a very attractive lawyer who takes on the big co*panies-only to be found dead in questionable circu*stances. Ulti*ately, Gray *ountain is an indict*ent of the coal industry in A*erica today. However, if by *ixing in a little *urder, a little ro*ance *akes the topic of coal *
ining so co*pelling then I tip *y hat to *r. Grisha*.”


Steph!  What’s doing?  “This weekend I read The Three-Body Proble* by Cixin Liu, the first book in a land*ark Chinese science fiction trilogy, which has just been translated into English. I’ve been anticipating the book for *onths, and I’* happy to report that it *ore than lived up to *y expectations! In *any ways, The Three-Body Proble* has a classic sci-fi plot: hu*ans *ake contact with aliens, disagree about what to do next, and start turning on each other even as the aliens are en route for first contact. There’s lots of high-level science and technology discussion, not to *ention an otherworldly video ga*e. But Liu layers this story with one that’s all too real: the events of the Cultural Revolution in the late 60s, when Chinese youth took over the country in a violent political *ove*ent. The co*bination of hard sci-fi and living history is powerful and brings the science of the book to life in an unexpected way. Translator Ken Liu has done a *arvelous job of creating a work that reflects the original book while keeping it accessible to Western readers (for exa*ple, he uses footnotes very unobtrusively to help readers keep pace with references to Chinese history). Sci-fi lovers probably already have this on their TBR list, and video ga*e fans *ay also, but fans of apocalyptic fiction would do well to check this one out as well.  It *ay  not what you’re used to, but that can be  a good thing.”


Babs B loves herself a celebrity bio.  Here is what she thought about There Was A Little Girl: The Real Story of *y *other and *e  by Brooke Shields. “I have to be honest, I was not in a rush to read this book but a* so glad I did!  This was a very frank account of growing up in a privileged but painfully   dysfunctional fa*ily.  Brooke's parents divorced when she was less than a year old and Teri Fields raised Brooke by herself.  Teri, who loved Brooke al*ost too *uch, was unfortunately an alcoholic and Brooke goes through life trying to ‘fix’ her *other.  How Brooke ended up being as nor*al as she did is a *ystery to *e.  She was a loving daughter trying to deal with her *other's illness while at the sa*e ti*e beco*e her own person.  This is a beautifully and honestly written tribute to a co*plex, talented and ulti*ately tragic person.  Kudos to Brooke Shields for writing this book...she is *uch *ore than a pretty face!”


The Tall Cool Texan Virginia who is not a football girl (how does a girl fro* Texas get away with that?) is here with a new favorite in Begin Again.  “I a* not a huge *ovie person, but on a whi* last week, I grabbed Begin Again starring *ark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley.  I a* so glad I did because this *ight be *y new favorite *ovie.  It is absolutely char*ing and it re*inded *e that fil**aking and acting are actual crafts.  A chance encounter between a broken-hearted songwriter and a burned out *usic producer turns into a pro*ising collaboration. This isn’t a ro*ance, it’s about two people rediscovering the*selves through each other’s eyes.   All of the actors are tre*endous and have real che*istry with each other.  As a bonus Ada* Levine fro* *aroon Five is in it and is surprisingly good (granted you have to get past his *ega beard).  Altogether, it is a poignant, hopeful, and funny fil*. It isn’t often I consider buying a *ovie but this one *akes the cut.”


Pat T is still listening.  “Ann wrote about Leaving Ti*e by Jodi Piccoult last week, so I thought I would give you *y take on the audiobook. This novel has ele*ents of fiction, detective *ystery, non-fiction and fantasy.  The best thing about this book is the extensive research the author did on Asian and African elephants and elephant sanctuaries. The narrator of the character, Alice *etcalf, the research scientist, was engaging, but the other narrations didn't depict the essence of the characters they were portraying. Also, the ending was a bit contrived, but I would still reco**end reading/listening to this book because of what you learn about elephants. Next on *y list to listen to is The Elephant Whisperer: *y life with the Herd in the African Wild by Lawrence Anthony.

DJ Jazzy Patty *cC is here in the house. But not The Big House. Your turn to host is next year.  What’s doin’ Pats? “The closest I ca*e to being a football fan was *y crush on Wayne Gretzky. Oh, wait that’s hockey.  *y sports indoctrination was born out of teenage years spent in a ho*e that religiously watched Hockey Night in Canada like the Pope attends *ass on Sunday. I don’t understand football but I a* a good student. So this week I’ve got so*e questions that I’* hoping Jen can help *e out with:  What’s up with the stickers on the hel*ets? Are they five years old? Do they get a gold star every ti*e they score a touchdown? Why does the guy put his hands dangerously close to another guy’s butt and what is he shouting while he is doing it? What’s with all the Bob Fosse *oves after the touchdown? Can we please add jazz hands if they’re going in that direction? I will say that I do, however heartily approve of the tight pants. Ga*e on and *ay the best tea* win! GO BLUE!”

DL THE GAME 2014

Nice New Book Goodness

Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new next week. Come in and visit us, or put your items on hold from home! We will let you know when they are ready for you to pick up!

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the mise-en-place edition of You Are What You Read! This time next week Thanksgiving will be a mere fond memory and a whole lot of foil in the fridge.  I know that I am spending part of this weekend organizing myself in the kitchen for the Big Day. My Sons, The Traveling Companion and I are taking to the highway and cruising up state with our assigned dishes to what has become a tradition with us that we call Cousin Thanksgiving.  It is the one time of year I see my three cousins and their families.  Sadly, this year we will be missing 2 of our Merry Band.  My cousin Matt and his family have been sent across the country to a new naval base in the Pacific Northwest, and my other cousin Diana will be visiting her husband’s family in Mexico which leaves one cousin to have the Cousin Thanksgiving with.   As some of you may remember, The Traveling Companion was nervous about the deep fried turkey last year.  Well, this year he has a whole new set of nerves to work; because the one cousin standing, who happens to be the Hostess, is a practicing vegan.  Liz is going to be making a Traditional Feast for us all (a round of applause for what a good sport she is!) and she will be having some sort of Traditional Tofu something for herself.  Last year I was so worried about her not being able to eat the majority of the feast that I made 2 different Brussels Sprout recipes:  one vegan friendly and one not. I am sharing these with you because the un-vegan one was so good that Liz declared that she was Breaking Vegan for it.  They both begin the same way.  Take Brussels sprouts that you have trimmed and quartered and toss them in plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast them in a 425 oven until they are, well, roasted.  You know what you are looking for. Now while that is going down, you can ponder the choice of 2 sauces to toss them in.  The first is the vegan friendly one which is Dijon mustard to which you have added a touch of maple syrup to.  The second concoction is a sauce made of harissa, lime zest, lime juice, and honey.  Toss the roasted sprouts in this and then to gild the lily, take some beautiful pomegranate seeds and strewn them over the top.  A Sprout so good you are willing to cast aside your Dietary Beliefs! Have a lovely Thanksgiving! This week we have Scotland, elephants, and some culture. 

Playlist?   Of course!  We can’t have you doing all that prep and handling knives without some music.  Pffff. That’s not cool.
Let us begin!


Abby, actually, liked being in her car last week.  “My commute was much improved last week thanks to being joined by Mr. Alan Cumming, Scotsman, actor, and audiobook reader.  I listened to his emotionally charged memoir Not My Father’s Son. The opening chapter is a study in torment; as children, Alan and his older brother were subjected to their father’s physical and mental abuse. His home life was so dark, it wasn’t until he was a grown man that he could truly appreciate the beautiful forest area in which he grew up.  The story is set with his participation in the British TV show Who Do You Think You Are, where genealogists and historians research a celebrity’s family history and share the details on screen with the audience. When he was invited to participate, Alan’s personal quest was to learn more about his maternal grandfather Tommy Darling, a man he never met and around whom there was great mystery. But as the research began to unfold, Alan was faced with a number of personal crises including making peace, with his abusive father, and gaining strength from an ancestor he never knew. The title of the book takes on increasing significance as the story goes on. Cumming is a great actor, but after listening to his story, I believe he is an even better man.”


Sweet Ann has just finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. “I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Jenna, a thirteen year old, searching for her mother who disappeared when she was three years old.  There was a tragic accident/murder at the elephant sanctuary which Jenna's parents owned and operated.  At the time of the incident, Jenna's mother disappeared.  Jenna is able to get a psychic and retired police detective to help her in her search.  Leaving Time also contains information on the habits of elephants that was wonderful to read about and will make you think twice about them. This book is told in alternating chapters so the reader will learn the histories and points of view of the characters. While there is some ‘magical thinking’ in this novel but it is well worth the journey with Jenna.”


Barbara M for those who watch this space loves herself some other cultures.  Here is what her latest read on them is all about. “I’ve read many books about cultural differences but what makes The Culture Map by Erin Meyer different is that it puts various qualities on continuums so you can see what one culture expects in relation to another culture.  For example, on a communications scale, the United States is considered ‘low-context’ meaning communications are generally straight forward without many nuances. Japan is on the other end of the scale and has a ‘high-context’ communications style where things are not said but implied. Although the UK tends toward ‘low-context’, misunderstandings may occur because the British use more irony and sarcasm which may not always be understood by Americans. In this ever shrinking world of intercultural exchanges, I think this book is a worthy read.” 


And finally we have DJ Jazzy Patty McC from The State Up North (8 days until The Game. Let’s go Buckeyes!).  What’s good Pats?  “ This year is a Midwestern Thanksgiving. I haven’t celebrated this holiday here in a couple decades and I am grateful to be spending it with my family. The feast will be much like our clan gatherings in Boston in years past. The Midwestern cousins are hosting and we are all contributing.They asked me what I would like to bring and after hearing the planned menu it struck me that there was a serious shortage of vegetables. Sure there would be mashed potatoes and a green bean casserole but little else in the way of our root-bearing friends. I told them that I would bring roasted Brussels sprouts. They shared a look. I knew that look. It was the same look my kids give each other when I put a new food in front of them to try. It was the look of “No way are we going to eat that.” Then the cousins outright said, “No way are we going to eat that.” I hesitated. Then I added that I could also bring roasted baby carrots. They jumped on that and told me to just bring the carrots. I stood my ground. I said I’d bring both and then blurted out that I’d also bring some roasted butternut squash. Again that shared look and their reply, “That’s a lot of vegetables.” I smiled. They have no idea that this is just the beginning of their vegetable education. This week I invite you to try something new and in the process educate yourself and those around you. Now go eat your vegetables.”

DL VEGETABLE LEARNING 2014
 

You Are What You Read!

Greetings! A Happy Friday to you all. It’s really hard for me to wrap my pea brain around the fact that on Monday I went for a run in shorts and ate my breakfast on a terrace OUTSIDE in the aforementioned shorts and I am ending my week with a winter coat, snow boots at the ready.  Granted, that breakfast took place in Florida, but still.  When the Traveling Companion asked me at dinner what we were going to be discussing this week and I said the sad, inevitable return of winter his reply was, “Already?”  So adieu to the Farm Share, the bare leg, beach weekends with a cooler filled with contraband, no coat, big hair (no tragedy there really but I feel the need to include it), dining al fresco (unless you happen to be in Florida), and sweaters that are a wisp of spider web nothingness.  Let’s embrace longer nights (more reading time!), chillier temps (fires to read by!  Lovely soups and stews for dinner!), chunky warm sweaters (they can hide the effects of all that lovely soup and stew and fireside sitting) and the occasional snow day (always have chocolate chip cookie fixings at the ready!).   Maybe this year won’t be so bad.   This week we have a tiny woman brain, a little poetry, panache, farmers, and love with a capital L.  Playlist?  It may be cold out there be we aren’t!

Let us begin!

Miss Lisa from the Children’s Library has just finished reading a book I am hearing great things about. “This weekend I read the excellent collection of essays Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit. It starts out with a droll and humorous account of the way men tend to explain things to her - for example, a man at a party who attempted over and over to explain to her what a book she had written was about, in spite of her protests that she knew, because she somehow, using her tiny woman brain, had written the book he was talking about.  She deftly moves on to discuss the issues of violence against women  and violence in general, Virginia Woolf's understandings of uncertainty and hope, and how to make change in our world, all with a deft sense of history, literature, and current events.  She argues for the basic rights of women to ‘show up and speak’ in all parts of our world; as she says, ‘The battle for women to be treated like human beings with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of involvement in cultural and political arenas continues, and it is sometimes a pretty grim battle.’ But, somehow, you finish reading this book with hope and energy.  It's a great read for all genders. Similarly, another tale of powerful women is Queen of the Tearling, which I know has a lot of hype - but the hype is worth it! What a wild ride into an endangered kingdom that has struggled through a lot of weak and greedy leaders.  Good thing the new Queen can manage spectacular magical jewels, fight slavery, and stand up for the people!”


Pat T has been dipping her toes into the Poetry Pool. “I had the pleasure of coming upon Mary Oliver's newest book of poems last week, Blue Horses, and I must say it is a delight to read over and over again. Her poems reflect the everyday occurrences in life and nature yet transcend the ordinary by showing us what we experience as exceptional.  I laughed while reading, What I Can Do, was moved by the poem, I Woke, and was delighted by, Good Morning. I hope you take the opportunity to read anyone of her wonderful books of poetry!”


The Ever Delightful Pat S has just finished a book that is rapidly becoming a staff favorite with us entitled I’ll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich. “Described as 'a life in fashion, with a twist', this is the memoir of the now legendary personal shopper from Bergdorf Goodman. Now eighty six, Ms. Halbreich tells the story of her upper-class upbringing in Chicago where she was an only child celebrated for her beauty and her ability to wear clothes with panache. Capitalizing on these attributes, she then makes a young marriage to the handsome and wealthy scion of a Manhattan real estate family. After a twenty year marriage comes to an end, Ms. Halbreich finds herself her first job, and eventual career based on her talent with clothes. Forty years on, she has elevated that title of personal shopper to mother/therapist/lifecoach. While the stories of the celebrities and socialites are fun to read, it is the story of her personal transformation which provides gravitas to the book. And as an aside, she is currently working on a television series with Lena Dunham based on her life.”


Laura has been having fun with a cult classic. “I highly recommend book groups to read Stoner, by John Williams.  Set in the 1900's, the reader meets Stoner early in his life as the only child to stoic, hard-scrabbled Missouri farmers who have little time for neither conversation, nor interest in anything beyond the few acres they own. He is sent to university by his father to study agriculture but instead he falls in love with literature and takes a different path by becoming a scholar. His life develops; marriage, friends, career, child, his mistress, and his nemesis, sadly all but one, are what may be seen as failures.  Once I started reading, I couldn't wait to continue.  The story while not a page turner was so well written that reading it was a pleasure.   I didn't know how my book group was going to react to this story but they loved it and had a lot to talk about. The story was curious and everyone had a different take on the gentle, stubborn, stoic character that some of us adored and others of us worried about and the rest of us couldn't see Stoner's merits at all. It was the liveliest and deepest discussion our group has had in a long time.”   


Longer nights?  What am I reading before sleep?  Light of the World is Elizabeth Alexander’s amazing memoir of her journey through grief.   Alexander was just 49 when she lost her beloved husband and father to her two young sons.  Please don’t think that this is a depressing read.  It’s the exact opposite of that actually, because the one thing that shines through all the horrible is Love with a capital L.  At its heart this is a love story. Not just the love she had for her husband but also the love she has for her two sons.  Because her day job is as a Pulitzer nominated poet and a professor up at Yale you can expect some beautiful language and turns of phrase.  This comes out in April and I think you all will love it.


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from the State Up North (14 days until The Game!  Let’s go Bucks!) with this week’s musings and playlist.  She has had it a whole lot harder than us already this year with this whole reappearance of winter.  How’s tricks Pats? “We woke up this Thursday morning to snow. Yep. Those white fluffy frozen flakes were falling softly from above. My daughter moaned, my son jumped for joy, my husband gritted his teeth and I sighed. I knew this weather was headed our way so like a good Girl Scout I prepared the day before. Everyone had boots, winter coats, hats and gloves. The squirrels have been snacking on our carved pumpkins outside but those will need to go this weekend. Now we just need to unpack our sleds and begin searching for the perfect sledding hill. Me? I’ll be buying a big honking full spectrum light lamp in the hopes of working on a winter tan and to ward off any winter blues. While I am not ready to slide into winter, I do enjoy a pair of stylish boots and a fine cashmere sweater.”

DL SLIPPING & SLIDING 2014

You Are What You Read!

Happy Friday to you all!  By the time you read this, I will be in Florida with The Traveling Companion getting ready for the big party tomorrow night to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday.  I really have to say this reading habit that I have is entirely his fault.  From the very beginning, one of the strongest aspects of our relationship was all about books and our love of them.   Read-aloud story times morphed into his pressing his childhood favorites into my hands.  He recognized early on that while a girl does love a pretty dress on special occasions like Christmas and Birthdays, the gift that still excited the day after, and even years later, came between two hard covers with a dust jacket.  Every Saturday, I would ride my bike to Leroy Avenue and load up my basket with the reads for the week and then head across the street to the Fairbanks Sweet Shop for a little something to nosh on while working through the stack (I was a rather round child). There was always an exception though and that was when the weather was not the best.  On rainy Saturdays, I would get an early wake up nudge and a, “Would you like a ride to the Library and breakfast at the Sugar Bowl?”  Well, I ask you, what girl could resist a tall stack of books with a short stack of Bobby’s French toast with bacon?  Heaven!  Even when we were in the thick of those ghastly teenage years, the dialogue remained open because of the conversations we would have about what was being read. As I matured, so did our discussions.  Sometimes, there was not even a hello to begin with, we would just launch into what was good, what was great, what broke our hearts, and what we had to leave for dead on the side of the road. Sadly, Dad had a stroke a few years ago, and while he is in fairly decent health, the reading piece never really came back.  These days the conversation is entirely on me.  I try to think of it as a conversation that has come full circle with me telling him what the story is now.  So Happy 80th Birthday Peter Dayton!  And thank you for giving me the unquenchable and all-consuming Need for the Read.  This week we have some pandemic, a widow, Paris, some listening,  and G&T in a can (ingenious!).  


Playlist?  Would we let your weekend not have a soundtrack?  Of course not! We are a benevolent dictatorship!


Let us begin!


Here is Abby’s take on a book that is making a lot of Best of 2014 lists.  “Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a book I really wanted to like. It sounded like an interesting book, and I had heard the author speak which gives me a greater stake in my reading experience. It took bit of time for Station Eleven to fight its way to the top of my To Be Read Pile, but I am so glad it did. The book is tough to categorize. It is most certainly literary, and while dystopian, and set in the future, it is not science fiction as some have classified it. The story follows the onset of a deadly flu outbreak moves forward through the decades as human settlements and a post-pandemic culture evolve. It has many disparate storylines set in different stages of the crisis, but as the book unfolds, there is a beautiful convergence of people and events. The book Station Eleven most brings to mind is the wonderful Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. He too creates a wonderful, complex story that comes together in an unexpected and powerful way. Station Eleven is a strong contender for my favorite book of 2014.  I suspect I will be thinking about this book for a long time to come.”


Sweet Ann has just finished Nora Webster by Colm Toibin. This is rapidly becoming a Reader’s Advisory favorite and here’s what Ann thought. “This is the story of Nora who lives in a small town in Ireland where she is widowed in her early forties.  Her husband, Maurice, was the love of her life and they had four children together.  Her two daughters are older when she is widowed and almost on their own.  Her younger two sons are struggling without their father and the grief of their mother. This novel follows Nora as she tries to get her new life together.  Nora tries to be strong and independent but at times she must ask for help to survive financially and just try to live without Maurice.  As a reader you feel for Nora's struggles and there is one scene early in the book where she confronts an aunt who watched her sons while her husband was sick that I think will haunt me for a long time.  The emotion is so raw.  Nora Webster is a beautifully written novel.”


Barbara M is back in her beloved Paris  again and she’s with a Nobel winner.  I’ll let her explain. “The three novellas in Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano, recent winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, are united in their sense of place and melancholy feeling. Loosely based on his childhood the author recreates the Paris of his youth, a Paris that no longer exists. He also evokes a sense of vagueness that occurs when an adult tries to remember things that happened to them as a child. The stories are mysterious and haunting and I absolutely adored the descriptions of Paris.”


Steph is trying something new this week.  “We all know that we are what we read, but we’re also what we listen to! And what I’ve been listening to the past few weeks is a new podcast called Serial, which comes from the producers of This American Life (you may have heard the first episode there, in fact). It’s in its first season, and has the tagline of ‘One story. Told week by week.’ This season, the story is a true crime procedural about a young man named Adnan Syed, who was convicted as a teenager of murdering his girlfriend in 1999. The host, Sarah Koenig, was told about this case by a friend of Syed’s, as he still maintains his innocence, so she began investigating to see if she could figure out the truth. So far, seven episodes in, she has not, and the mystery has hooked me and thousands of other people—Slate has created a podcast that has a new episode to analyze each episode, and Reddit has a special forum to discuss the clues. Though I admit the storytelling can be a little over-the-top and meandering, but it’s a great listen for any mystery or true crime fan, as well as those looking for a change from audiobooks. It’s become my companion when doing the laundry—I actually look forward to ironing now! You can listen for free on the site, but make sure you start with the first episode. 


What is coming down to Florida with me?  A debut novel entitled The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is what is coming down to Florida with me.  Rachel is, at first, seemingly, just a girl on the train.  A girl on the train going to work.  Then you start to notice that she has a huge thirst; most specifically for Gin and Tonics (in England they come in CANS!!  How brilliant is that? Why can’t we have that?), and an odd obsession with a couple that she sees from the train on her daily commute.  As the book goes on, you also notice that she seems to be more than a bit off.   She is in fact, as the Brits say, bonkers. The second voice in the book is Megan, the object of her obsession who also seems to be less than reliable as far as truth goes.  When Megan goes missing the police come around to question Rachel.  I have no idea where all this is going. All I know is that the ride is so much fun I am, for once, looking forward to a plane trip so that I can enjoy 2 hours and 45 minutes of uninterrupted reading time.  This one comes out in January.


Here is DJ Jazzy Patty McC from the State Which Shall Not Be Named (T minus 20 to The Game!) with the wrap up and the Playlist.   What’s doin’ Pats? “I knew Jen was hopping on a jet plane headed to see her dad but somehow I nearly missed the detail that it was to celebrate his 80th birthday. Well, upon hearing this news, I was overjoyed both for her celebration with her family and also because I’ve been secretly harboring an obsession for curating an 80’s Playlist. If you know a librarian or two you’ll know that we are fond of themes and obsessions. I may not know anything about being 80 years old but I sure do know 80’s music.  This weekend I invite you to celebrate the elders in your own family. Celebrate those folks who’ve taught or modeled to you how to enjoy things in your life that bring you joy. Things like the pleasure of reading, the art of conversation, or the excitement and thrill of live theatre and music. I’ve always said life is better with a soundtrack. Out here in Detroit, I’ll be enjoying a Ryan Adams concert. So, call this your 80’s gift. Call it New Wave, call it Synthpop, call it what you will this is my musical nod and tribute to Post-Punk music. I recommend you listen to it on shuffle and have a good seat-dance in the car or a full-blown impromptu dance party. I promise it won’t disappoint.  DL IT'S GOOD BEING 80! 2014”

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