This week we saw Earth Day come and go and I have been thinking a lot about the nature of Nature. It seems to me that it’s been sort of creeping into places it should not be but in all fairness to Nature, it was here first. Lately we have heard of Nature appearing in of all places, the Upper West Side in the form of a coyote who was seen hanging around Lincoln Center and Grant’s Tomb of all places. Here in town there was a black bear sighting. Of course, this is really nothing new. No matter how hard we try to beat it back and tame it, Nature seems to come back with a vengeance. Does anyone else remember when the sighting of deer in your yard was the stuff of wonderment and not an occasion to despair over some really expensive landscaping becoming a Sizzler Endless Salad Bar for Bambi? In my neighborhood, the landscape is a mix of hard-core city and tightly packed suburbs with a few old estates high on a hill facing the Long Island Sound. For years, it has been host to not only the usual urban suspects like skunks, and raccoons, but also to parrots which build these giant nests and actually live in them year round, no escaping to warmer climes for them. Now we have 3 foxes that can be seen cavorting in yards and trotting down the streets like they own it. There were 4 but one came to an untimely end via a careless driver which was reported with great sorrow on our community Facebook page. I have even seen wild turkeys marching down the middle of the 4 lane avenue that bisects the neighborhood. And of course, last week we had the story of Kasper the Wolverine Who Would Not Be Caged trying to make his new home in Newark not an Alaskan nature preserve for which he was destined. Perhaps the nature of Nature is that you as a human think that you can impose your ways upon the world but Nature is always going to reclaim what you stake. So be on the lookout People! Nature is on the march!
This week we have Boston, Royals, Scotland, police, and Montana. It is not in our Nature to deny you a playlist, so yes, there is The Playlist.
Let us begin!
Pat T was a big fan of Lisa Genova's book, Still Alice, and so she decided to read her latest novel, Inside The O'Briens. Did it stack up? “The O'Brien's are an Irish Catholic family living in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Joe is a Boston Police Officer, Rosie, a homemaker and they have 4 grown children who live with them. Joe begins to experiences mood swings, and falls which he shrugs off to being tired, until one day his behavior can no longer be ignored. With much urging by Rosie, Joe goes for a medical evaluation and shockingly discovers he has Huntington's Disease which an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes you to lose control over your ability to move. All the O'Brien children have a fifty percent chance of inheriting this disease and they each must make their own decision about genetic testing. Their faith is tested as they struggle through all the stages of denial, anger, depression. Eventually they come to peace with the fate that has been handed down to them because of the support and love of their family. I don't know if I have done justice with my review of this book, but I strongly suggest you read it because the subject is so enlightening and the characters are so real that they could be your own family!”
The Effervescent and Ever Delightful Pat S has been raving to me about The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan all week long. Let’s just let her end the week on that same not shall we? ” From the authors of the extremely clever, sneakily snarky authors of the blog Go Fug Yourself, The Royal We is for everyone who can’t resist a fairytale, and one you will want to place at the top of your list of beach/vacation reads! Heavily based on the courtship and marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William, The Royal We follows Bex, an American (oh, MY!) student on a year abroad program where she lands living on the same floor as Prince Nick. When they meet they become friends first, and then comes the romantic slide into passionate love. What begins as students almost playing a game as they conform to the Palace requirements of complete discretion becomes stultifying as the years pass. Once the cat is out of the bag, the glitz (fabulous parties, glamorous skiing trips, etc) is accompanied by the very real emotional morass of the dysfunction of the Royal family. As the story develops, it does stay fairly close to the tabloid-suggested characterizations of family members but with just enough twists to make it continually entertaining. While, as in any good fairytale, the ending is happily-ever-after, The Royal We certainly makes you think about what the very real price of what that fairytale might be.”
The Fabulous Babs B has just finished At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen. Here’s what she thought. “This is the story of Madeline Hyde, a young Philadelphia socialite who reluctantly follows her husband to a remote town in Scotland in search of the Loch Ness Monster. The reader slowly watches Maddie, who really is a stranger to herself, snap to reality after a series of events involving her husband's spiral into conceit and self-deception. This also is a story of adventure, friendship and love in the shadow WWII. I wasn't crazy about the author's previous book, Like Water for Elephants, but thought this one was a winner!”
Sue is taking a break from her usual Romance Reading and diving into a Police Procedural instead. “At the moment I am reading and enjoying a steamy police crime book titled Risking it All by Tessa Bailey it features NYPD detective Seraphia Newsom who is seeking to avenge her brother’s death at any cost. To do that it means she has to insinuating herself into a rough, Brooklyn street gang and go so far undercover, she’s not sure she’ll be able to get out. Every minute she spends in their midst means the clock is ticking down on her life.”
Steph is crazy busy finishing up her time at Library School so that she is able to do any 'pleasure' reading is either a Christmas Miracle or it’s something she really feels passionate about. “Not much time for non-academic reading this week (and believe me, no one wants to hear about that), but I did start Missoula by Jon Krakauer on my lunch break yesterday. Missoula is the town in Montana which was briefly labeled the ‘rape capital’ of the United States after a string of rape cases related to the University of Montana’s football team. The book uses these cases, as well as the town and the media’s reaction, to examine the larger issues of rape in the United States, most especially on college campuses. So far, the book is even-handed and devastating. Hard to recommend because it’s such a tough issue and he is pretty unflinching with the details, but I’d say anyone in college or with a kid in college should take a look.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from the State Which Shall Not Be Named with some musings on the Arts. Arts with a capital A! What’s good Pats? “I’ve been immersed in art lately. Last week I went to the Detroit Institute of Arts for the Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo exhibit and for the past couple of weeks I have been following Nick Cave around the city as he embarks on his latest, most ambitious Soundsuit project to date. I’ve been doing my part to support the arts at my son’s elementary school through the PTA Reflections Program and I am incredibly proud of the students here. This year’s theme was ‘The World Would Be A Better Place If…’ We had nine students from our elementary school win at the District Level in the categories of Visual Arts, Film Production, Music Composition, Dance Choreography and Photography. Four of our students went on to win at the State Level and one of our students has gone forward to the National Level for his Music Composition. He’s a first grader who keeps a mean beat on the drums. This week I’ve curated a playlist of new music goodness. I encourage you to explore your own artistic side. Take in a museum, paint, draw, write, photograph something or listen to some music. Whatever you choose make sure you get out and support your local arts.