Your Team. Your Troops. Your Tribe. Whatever you want to call them. These are the folks who cheer you on when you think you can’t take another step. Yesterday I had the privilege to run the Fairfield Corporate FunRun 5K with some of my co-workers. We had cool t-shirts made with the Library logo on the front and our team name “The Dewey Decimators” on the back, a lovely summer evening to run and the promise of a free beer at the end. Our team had folks that weren’t even running themselves. Our Leader drove up to cheer us on and The Traveling Companion was appointed as our Official Photographer and Team Mom despite the fact he forgot the orange slices and juice boxes (check out more pics on Tumblr). We had a great time cheering each other on, laughing at our shared hatred of The Hill from Hell and remembering just how lucky we are to have such outstanding team members in each other. One thing that I found very telling about our team was that we were one of the only teams waiting for each other at the finish line to cheer each other on as we completed the race. While other racers went running for the beer tent at the end, Team Dewey Decimator waited at the finish to give each other that final push to finish strong. And in the end, isn’t that what you want from your team? This week we have a real melt-down, some kickbutt women, a farm and an actress, icebergs in August, and the Long List. Of course we have The Playlist to ease us into the first weekend in August!
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann has just finished Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian. “Emily Shepherd, the sixteen- year- old narrator of this novel, takes you through her heart wrenching roller coaster of survival following a nuclear power plant disaster in northern Vermont. Her father, the plant's engineer, is being blamed for the meltdown and Emily flees before the authorities can question her about whether or not he had been drinking. Emily ends up in the city of Burlington, Vermont and there will be challenges to who she really is as she searches for redemption and friendship. Mr. Bohjalian has created a character that is truly believable as Emily tells her story in a random manner that makes her seem young and vulnerable. As a reader you shudder at some of Emily's choices, but you will have great hope for her and her future.”
This week we welcome our new McGraw Fellow Miss Lisa! She can be found in the Children’s Library and here is her take on a staff favorite. “ I've been reading Code Name Verity by Jennifer Wein and want to advocate for it, though it's older and already been buzzed about, as a book for adults who have been curious about YA fiction. Code Name Verity takes place during WWII, and tells a story of friendship, sacrifice, and some kickbutt women. The novel begins as a written confession by one of the women, who is locked in Gestapo headquarters in occupied France, and alternates between her current situation in prison and the story of how she made it to France in her friend Maddie's airplane on a semi-legal mission. If you're into military history, you'll be excited to learn about women in the military, British pilot training, and spy training in the form of an exciting story. If you're just into a story and want one that tugs on your emotions, I can attest to this book's power: I've just moved to a new place far away from my family and friends and this story helped unlock a much needed cry. It also has it all - spies, Resistance fighters, Scottish castles, fighter planes, women soldiers, and an incredible friendship, and because it's YA, it reads quickly. You know how the children's movie Frozen made such a splash because instead of being about a prince and princess falling in love it's about the deep bond between two sisters? This book should inspire similar enjoyment of a refreshing (and tear-inducing) relationship. I haven't yet read the sequel, Rose Under Fire, but am looking forward to it. You'll find this book in the YA section - don't be afraid, go check one out (or send a teenage spy to do your dirty work for you).”
Virginia, everyone’s favorite Tall Cool Texan is here this week with not just one but two summer reads. “I am going to cut to the chase because I have a whole lot of new book goodness this week starting with what might be my favorite thriller of the summer, Tom Rob Smith’s, The Farm. This is a psychological thrill-ride that grabs you from the first page and keeps you enthralled until nearly the end. The narrator, Daniel, receives a phone call from his father informing him that he has to have his mother committed to a mental hospital for creating conspiracies and accusing him and others of horrible things. Before Daniel can even board a flight to Sweden, his mother has called him to say she is on her way to London with proof that everything his father has said is a lie. Daniel is left to figure out what is the truth. Do not miss this complex thriller. I know Tom Rob Smith will be on my radar from this point forward. Next up is Amy Sohn’s The Actress, is a gritty tale about the dark side of Hollywood. It is somewhat of an addicting read, but be forewarned it isn’t for the light-hearted. There are some graphic scenes and it probably isn’t too far off the reality mark for some in the entertainment business, which I find overwhelmingly sad. Overall, it is an entertaining read, but in a dark and depressing way. “
Here is Laura talking about what she’s been up to this summer. “My husband and I were planning to visit the island of Newfoundland to hike and bird watch and also to see icebergs. Most people would not think of Newfoundland as a destination for a summer vacation, but years ago I read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. The story takes place in Newfoundland and I loved the remote quality of the island, the fog that always hangs over the cliffs, the rock that is everywhere, and the taciturn people who inhabited the book. I always wondered, was it just like that? I wanted to know. My husband, the sailor, wanted to see the churning ocean and big gleaming white icebergs. Unfortunately, that trip will have to wait. So instead, while my husband worked, I set off on my own to our sailboat that is moored in RI. I spent three beautiful days floating the waves of Dutch Harbor and reading The Girls of Atomic City, by Denise Keirnan and All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. I enjoyed both, the non-fiction of "Atomic" was factual, but not heavy reading; "Light" was deep, moving, emotional and beautifully written. It was a great few days of rest!”
I was lucky enough to land a copy of Us by David Nicholls this week. This is coming out in October in the States and it was named to the Long List for the Booker Prize. I have long suspected that the Booker prize was just a little too smart for me. Past winners have been The Luminaries and Bring Up the Bodies. Pretty heavy lifting actually. So when I heard that he had been added to the Long List I got excited. This could be my year! I loved his last book One Day and Us is more of the same wonderfully witty and at the same time heartbreaking storytelling. Us begins with Connie waking up Doug, her husband of many years, and telling him that she thinks their marriage has run its course. This does not sound like the most promising beginning of what is essentially a love story. But in Nicholls’ hands it is. It comes out in October and I know what I am rooting for to make the short list.
Here’s DJ Jazzy Patty McC to wrap us up this week. Take it Miz Patty! “ A dear friend once said, ‘No one gives you an award at the end of life for doing it all by yourself.’ The choices we make on a daily basis impact those around us whether we like it or not. Life is not a race or a competition yet it requires a team to get us through the endless series of left-hand turns. I’ve been fortunate to work with a group of people who are the best at what they do. Together we tinker, brainstorm, collaborate and create wonderful things even if I’m in Michigan and they’re in Connecticut. Our world is a connected place and we carry our relationships with us. Everyone needs a pit crew. Everyone needs a cheering section. Everyone needs the support of a team. In the end, there may be one person at the finish line but it took a team to get them there.”