You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Windblown Edition of You Are What You Read. This week’s housekeeping is as follows. There were no Offerings but the chatter around the library is full of people finalizing the who, what, and where of the Big Day on the 26th.  Recipes are being fervently passed between people and cookbooks are flying out the door. The Game Countdown begins with T minus 15 days.  Let’s go Buckeyes!  The animal kingdom seems fairly quiet this week so there is no Animals Run Amok news that I am aware of. Perhaps the weather is slowing them down? Mary Lee Shark seems to be content to linger off the Outer Banks.  For now. 

Frequent visitors to this space know that I have several Things that I just cannot countenance.  It is not a long list as I consider myself to be a fairly reasonable human being.  But please for the love of all that is holy keep me away from Dolls with Teeth, Rodents of All Stripe, and Clowns.  This past weekend I heard about this story on NPR and it so disturbed me that of course I had to dive deeper to see if this was really a Thing.  Because I was convinced that it couldn’t possibly be a Thing.  It was way too disturbing.  But when NPR and the Washington Post decide to cover a story then one really has no other choice to admit to one’s self that, Yes, not only does this exist but it is also a Thing.  Lately in the state of Florida (of course it’s Florida), there have been sightings of a Clown for Hire that goes by the name of Wrinkles.  Wrinkles is a retiree from Rhode Island who moved to Florida about 5 years ago.  Instead of doing normal retiree things like golf, using a white belt to secure your pants in the upper waist area and Blue Plate Dinners, he has donned a clown mask, a pair of black rubber gloves and embraced The Clown Life.  Wrinkles likes to think of himself simply as an old fashioned clown. But he is, in reality, a clown who, if paid money, will terrify your children into good behavior.   “When I was a kid, it was okay to scare kids and now they’re all whiny and scared. I want to bring scary back,” he added.  So, for a price, Wrinkles will come into your world and scare your children straight. He currently is booked through January so there must be a lot of children in need of discipline in Florida. Wrinkles also seems to have no trouble with the ladies but he is trying to keep life simple because “I’ve had enough psycho women in my life already.”  One can only imagine the sort of woman reaching out to Wrinkles.  Anyway, you can read about Wrinkles and his mission here.  If your nightmares need a soundtrack be sure to play the news clip at the end of the story.  Wrinkles’ Rhode Island accent coupled with his smoker’s rasp should do that quite nicely thank you. And if any of you Snowbirds out there happen to have a Wrinkles encounter, try to snap a picture and send it to us.  We are enquiring minds and want to know. 

This week we have cigarettes and booze, France, a nest, twins, classified information and a sandwich.

The Playlist?  Of course!  We’re not clowning around. Promise!

Let us begin!

Kaitlin from the Rock has been suffering through a hideous bout of illness but she seems to be on the mend which pleases us greatly!  Here’s how she spent her confinement. “I am still reading/listening to the same books, but while recuperating from being sick, I binge-watched Mad Men (I'm now in the middle of Season 3). I know I'm a bit late to the Mad Men party, but I'm completely obsessed. I keep finding myself wondering what life would have been like for me in the 1960s. I'm guessing it would have been filled with a lot more cigarettes and booze! It's fascinating to see a depiction of American life that really wasn't all too long ago, but completely different from the way the world is today. In binge-watching, I feel like I've gotten to really know the characters, and I love some of the relationships that have developed, like that of Don Draper and Peggy Olson. Looooove this show!!!”

Pat T is immersing herself in feminism issues. “I am reading Anne-Marie Slaughter's book Unfinished Business which goes beyond Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In to address the issues facing Gen X and Millennial women today. Women have placed unrealistic expectations on themselves; to be the best mother, climb the ladder to a successful and lucrative career, be a loyal and devoted partner, and possibly caregiver for aging parents! Ms. Slaughter suggests the movement that Gloria Steinman and Betty Friedan started needs to continue by breaking free of our present set of stereotypes of women and men, and begin challenging societal conventions. Where to begin? "Telling whole truths and seeing the whole picture is the right place to start" advises the author.  If you don't have time to read this book, I suggest you read the author's essay in the Atlantic titled Why Women Still Can't Have it All .

Barbara M is here with possibly one of my favorite cookbooks of the season which she shared with me and now she’s going to share with you all!  “I’m still reading The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts and will be for some time but in between I’ve also read In a French Kitchen by Susan Herrmann Loomis and although I promised myself that I would never buy another cookbook I had to break that promise and buy this one. In a French Kitchen is more than a cookbook; it’s also a memoir of an American in France who attempts to uncover the French secret of being able to prepare amazing meals effortlessly.   It is not the size of the kitchen, or the latest gadget that makes a good cook. I personally have seen that the size of the kitchen does not proportionately contribute to the quality of the meal. Two of the best French cooks I know have kitchens that would not be considered adequate for most Americans. Loomis takes us into the kitchens of many of her French friends and describes many breakfasts, luncheons and dinners. In addition to the eighty-five recipes there are recommendations on cookware, what to stock in your pantry and an insight into the relationship the French have with their food.”

This week we are hearing from 3 (!)  of our Children’s Librarians, Nimble Fingered Miz Krishna, Miss Claire Leader of the CL Army and Miss Amy of the Double One Triple Two! 

The Nimbled Fingered Miz Krishna has read The Nest by Kenneth Oppel when she wasn’t crocheting me an awesome hat!  Here’s what she thought.  “Steve is a young boy living with his younger sister and parents and the family has just welcomed a new baby boy to the family. However, something is wrong with the baby. Steve’s parents have spent countless hours at the hospital getting the baby tested and everyone is worried that the baby may not live. Every night in Steve’s dreams he is visited by a mysterious shrouded figure who tells him that the baby can be cured, all he has to do is say yes. Is he dreaming or is this reality?  And saying yes may not mean what Steve thinks. The Nest is a dark supernatural psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the end.”

Miss Claire, is here with I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. “I finally had an opportunity to read last year’s Printz award winner which is given to a young adult novel that exemplifies literary excellence. After finishing I’ll Give You the Sun it is no surprise how this book made an impact to the selection committee. The novel tells the story of a fractured relationship amongst twins Noah and Jude. The narration flips between both characters and their tragic story unfolds as the reader is moved between the twins at 13 and 16 years of age. I’m definitely a reader that appreciates books that take me on a ride, even if at times that ride may be confusing. This book is for any reader who enjoys emotionally-charged teen fiction that also has a surprise ending. “

Miss Amy of the Double One Triple Two is reading a most adult read, Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin.  “Many Americans are familiar with Edward Snowden, and his recent leak of incendiary classified documents. But not as many are as aware of the leak of the explosive classified documents that led to end of American involvement in the Vietnam War. Daniel Ellsberg, a Pentagon insider in the early 60’s, was an activist and brilliant strategist.  Most Dangerous chronicles Ellsberg’s life and how he was also one of a handful of Americans with access to the Pentagon Papers. The papers detailed America’s 23-year involvement in the Vietnam War. When Ellsberg decided that the American populace had a right to know the secrets and lies contained within the Papers, he released them to select newspapers across the country, setting off a chain of events which led to some of the largest protests ever to happen on American soil and caused him to face up to 99 years in prison. Fast-paced facts and dialogue keep readers on the edge of their seats in the newest offering by award-winning author Steve Sheinken.”

Steph is excited about He Killed Them All by Jeanine Pirro. “Robert Durst killed his wife in 1982. Or did he? Even though he was suspected by many, including then-district attorney Jeanine Pirro, his financial and family connections made him impossible to convict. But Durst made a mistake; in attempting years later to cover his tracks, he left a few vital clues behind, and set off a manhunt that led to his arrest after he attempted to shoplift a sandwich  (despite having thousands in cash stacked in his trunk). Pirro never gave up her hopes of convicting Durst, but despite his arrest for shoplifting, the case didn’t break open until Durst made an arrogant and fateful appearance in an HBO mini-series. Pirro is a ball-buster with a LOT of grudges and a fabulous wardrobe, and her book features a lot of asides about both. But even her catty asides and political commentary can’t distract from her amazing role in one of the best true crime stories of the century. Whether you’re new to the case, or have already seen the documentary, you’ll race through He Killed Them All: Robert Durst and My Quest for Justice.”

The Always Delightful Pat S has finished Lady Bird and Lyndon by Betty Boyd Caroli. Here’s where she stands on that! “After years of hearing about the marriage of Lyndon Baines Johnson and Claudia Taylor, I thought this book might be a great start in separating fact from fiction. Certainly Caroli gives full breadth to describing Lady Bird's life before Lyndon-her childhood and young womanhood spent as the daughter of the wealthiest man in a backwater town in East Texas. Anxious to expand her world, Lady Bird got herself to college and found herself the possessor of two undergraduate degrees as well as a Master’s Degree. It was at this point that Lady Bird and Johnson meet, and she clearly recognizes Johnson as the man who will take her out of Texas, and into an interesting and exciting life. And in Lady Bird, Johnson has finally found a woman who will love him without question, provide emotional security and act as his partner in his political career. Was it a deal with the devil? Read and you decide. While Lady Bird is the subject here, Caroli's portrait of Johnson is woefully thin-which leaves the reader wondering if Lady Bird didn’t get the shorter end of the stick in this bargain?

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is sadly under the weather in The State Up North.  I know you join me in wishing her speedy travels back to health.  BUT!  Of course she was able to put The Playlist together to rock us gently into the weekend.  Feel better Pats! 


You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the London Fog Edition of You Are What You Read.  This week’s housekeeping is as follows:  There were no Offerings and our pants continue to thank you.   Let’s face it:  we are all in training for the 26th. The Loft continues to be missed.  In Animals Run Amok news there are two emus that are on the loose in Seymour.  They were sprung by, of all things, a pig that lives with them on the farm.  I feel it should be duly noted that the owner’s name is Woozie.  For real.   You can read about that here.

This week we also have some Imprudent Human news.  The Traveling Companion alerted me to this story earlier this week.  It would seem that the crossroads of stupidity, alcohol impairment and feeding time could be found in Omaha this week when a drunken 33 year old snuck into the zoo and attempted to make 'friends' with Mai an 18-year-old tiger with three legs.  Apparently a three-legged-tiger can still move pretty quickly at 7:30 in the morning and a hand makes a fine early morning snack. Please People.  They are not called wild animals for nothing. Stay on your side of the fence. You can read about that here.   

It is a fact that we live in busy times.  Frankly there aren’t enough hours in the day to make everything happen. Our schedules are all taxed to the limit.  As we slide into the Hellidaze I feel it’s important to adopt the mantra that The Important Stuff Always Gets Done. And yes the Hellidaze are right around the corner.  Not only did The Tree arrive at Rock Center today, but we have a mere 20 days til Thanksgiving,  22 days away from The Game, Hanukkah commences 10 days  after that and then only 2 weekends after that til Christmas. Life moves fast people and The Mantra is going to prove to be a Sanity Saver.  So, not only adopt it but really believe it.  Regret and angst over things we couldn’t get through or to is a life suck. Don’t fall prey to that. Embrace and enjoy what you can do! 

This week we have some God-like humans, seasons 1,2,3 , an evil twin and a housewife.  And not just any housewife but an American Housewife!

The Playlist?  You can’t miss it!  It’s right here in fact!

Let us begin!

Laura weighs in on my favorite book of the year Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff.  “Fates and Furies is a story of the marriage of Lotto and Mathilde, like Gods, they are the envy of everyone.  Success, beauty and a love for each other never seems to tarnish or to fade.  They have it all and yet do they?  At the fringes of their lives lay uncharted desires and deftly calculated deceits.  I liked Groff’s writing, which is vivid and atmospheric, and told at a distance, accentuating the God-like quality of the two main characters.  The reader watches as Lotto and Mathilde’s situations unfold wondering when the shoe will fall.  At times, I wished for less distance of reader to character; I wanted inner thoughts; misgivings, grievances, conquests, or musings because the story was a little bit like watching a spectacle.  But still it was masterful and a worthy read.  I am very interested to read Groff’s earlier successes in Arcadia and Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories. 

Abby is watching this week and here is what she thought of the very popular series Broadchurch. “While it took me time to warm up to Season 1 of the British crime drama Broadchurch which featured a terrific cast led by David Tennant who plays troubled DI Alec Hardy, I became a big fan. When Season 2 was announced I wondered how they would pull it off given how Season 1 ended.  Season 2 deals with the aftermath of a divided and wounded community following an arrest for the murder of a child.  It also introduces some wonderful new characters such as Charlotte Rampling who plays a barrister who leaves retirement to try one last case against her former protégé.  While I go back and forth on how Season 2 ended, I will be on board for the just announced Season 3.”

Sweet Ann  is of course reading some not so sweet stuff. This is just her way. She is here with One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis.  “This thriller has identical twins, one good and of course one evil.  Even at the time of their birth, their mother only wanted one baby and the father didn't want children.  Needless to say this was not the best environment to raise the twins, especially since the second one who could sense her mother's detachment and then guilt for not loving her second daughter as much as the first.  Good twin Emily has a nice life, a handsome husband and beautiful baby boy.  Her twin sister, Caroline struggles with an eating disorder, anger issues and dead end relationships.  One day a tragedy occurs and Emily runs from her husband and baby boy to start a new life.  The novel follows her difficult situation with glimpses into her parents and sister's life at the same time.   I would recommend this book as a quick page turner.  It got a bit farfetched at times, but once in a while you need a book to just take you on a crazy journey.”

Steph is totally on board the love we are feeling for American Housewife due out in January.

I say, “My breath is the Pinot Grigio-est.”
I say, “I am perfectly happy not being a Kennedy.”
I say, “I’d watch a show called Ghost Hoarders. Why is that not a show?”
I say, “You can take your want of a chocolate fountain and go straight to hell.”

"It was at this point in the first story in Helen Ellis’s forthcoming short story collection, American Housewife, that I fell in love. The feeling lasted through every story, and continues on. It’s hysterically funny--I was snort-laughing on my commute and getting very odd looks from the people around me! But underneath the pitch-perfect sentences is a wounded heart, and the best stories had me cringing as I laughed. Ellis uses the second person more effectively than possibly any other short story writer. Absolute delight."

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with our final thoughts.  What’s good Pats? “ This week Jen and I am mourning the loss of the weekly message from The Loft’s Balcony. Life’s like that. We all miss things in our lives, but there are times when we just have to carry on in the wake of loss. I enjoyed the company of a beloved cousin this week from Boston. She’s the kind of person who lights up any room and we were happy to have her for any length of time.

I am finding a few things in the loss of the Loft’s message. We have an incredibly supportive art scene here and it gives me a poke when I least expect it. Seriously. I go into a space, have an interaction (ask a million questions) to an artist in the midst of their piece and we’re both richer for the experience. We met and talked to W.C. Bevan this week about the mural he’s painting in an ideal location in Eastern Market. This art gives me a weekly banner.


You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Full Hunter’s Moon Edition of You Are What You Read.  This is the moon for all you hunter/gatherers to get out there and Hunt and Gather.  Winter’s on the way People and the cupboard is bare!  Get on it.  This week’s housekeeping is as follows:  There were no offerings this week, and just as it was last week our pants thank you.  There were no Animals Run Amok this week but we did have a blimp that made the break for freedom over Pennsylvania on Wednesday.  You can read about that here.  Saturday is not only Halloween but it is also time to “fall back”.  Turn those clocks back an hour and check the batteries in the smoke detector.  This means that a lot of us will be walking to the station in the dark from here on out so please be on the lookout for us and please not to hit us with your cars.  Thank you. 

This life is hard.  I really believe that as humans we are constantly seeking out the little bright spots that enable us to keep putting one foot in front of the other every day.  The world can feel charm-free and harsh.  The road to and from work and home is filled with vehicle choked roads with people performing a myriad of tasks behind the wheel other than driving (yes, I have actually seen flossing), or, if you choose, a transit system that is broken, old, perpetually late and populated with riders who were seemingly raised by wolves (yes, I have seen nail trimming).  We adapt and do little things to make it tolerable.  A travel mug full of lovely hot beverage, something good to read, a charged I-pod,  train friends that you end up caring a great deal about, and a spot on the landscape that you use as a touchstone.  This makes it seem easier and it helps keep you somewhat sane.

Writing too is lonely and hard.  When it goes well there is a real happiness in crafting a good sentence   and knowing that you have strung together exactly the right word choices to get your point across.  Some weeks the topics leap out at me, and yet there have been weeks when I go into Friday freaked out and panicked that I had no idea what I was going to say to you all.  What should our conversation be?   What sort of tone should we be setting for our slide into the weekend?

I have never made any secret of my admiration of what I called The SoNo Loft but is, in real life, Gregory Cox and crew at Think Around Corners.  Every week they carefully craft and hang the banner on the railing of the deck of their office in South Norwalk bringing whimsy, joy and charm to my commute and my world. The messages were always timely, kind and spot on.   It is also no secret that it was often the jumping off point for what this weekly scribble is all about.   The message this week is one that I bring to you with deep regret and sadness:  Goodbye Train.  Greg and his team are decamping to Scarsdale and this is our last message from them.  I am going to miss them mightily and I know that you all join me in wishing them nothing but the best. 

To honor what they have brought to us, let’s all try to do something to bring some of that same caprice into the world. Let’s try to make each other’s path one littered with a soupcon of cheer and a dash of good-will.   Thanks SoNo Loft!  We are going to miss you huge. 

This week we have  a very happy Barbara M and a Very Important Work.

Playlist?  This one goes out to Greg and Company. Happy Trails! 

Let us begin!

Barbara M is here and I can’t remember the last time I saw her excited!  “I’m so happy! I’m now reading Gregory David Roberts’ The Mountain Shadow, the sequel to Shantaram, and was immediately thrown into the rough tumble world of Bombay’s underworld. The story of Lin who is living in India after having escaped from a maximum security prison in Australia, is loosely based on the author’s life. This book takes place two years after Shantaram ends and Lin is now a counterfeiter and working for the Sanjay mob.  The characters are well drawn and the dialog is genuine. Roberts describes Bombay so well I feel like I know it. As in Shantaram the story reads like a movie in your mind. It is a long book, almost 900 pages, and although I’m only a quarter of the way through it I already don’t want it to end. Gregory David Roberts decided to give only one interview about The Mountain Shadow before withdrawing from public life to write and you can read it and listen to it here.”

One of my favorite reads of the year comes out next week.   The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild begins when Annie McDee takes home a painting that she found in a secondhand shop in London, she has no idea that she has stumbled upon an Important Work that will upend the London Art scene. What is the provenance of this painting and why is one of the most important art dealers in the city determined to get his hands on this painting no matter what?  I loved this tale of art, love, war and the power of beauty. This is Rothschild’s first work of fiction.  She usually makes her coin by writing non-fiction about the art world. I certainly hope that it’s not her last.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with the final musings for the week.  What's good Pats? "This week we say farewell and wish The Loft all the best. I do not have the train connection that Jen has in viewing their weekly banner hung over the balcony with thoughtful care. There were plenty of times over the past couple of years that their message spoke to me only because Jen was kind enough to share their words. Sometimes, their message was EXACTLY what I needed to jumpstart my own writing and playlist theme for this weekly missive. Writing is hard work. When writing weekly on a deadline some weeks are better than others. It helps to be a good storyteller. Music is another form of storytelling and I try to honor that here weekly. This week I honor The Loft aka Think Around Corners for the inspiration and creative springboard they’ve given me. We will miss you and we are grateful."


DL Expressions of Gratitude 2013

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 Peak of the Leaf Peek Edition of You Are What You Read.  According to the Yankee Foliage Guide (yes, this is a Thing) we are at Peak this weekend. So get out there on Saturday and enjoy them before Sunday’s rain knocks them off the trees for you all to rake up next weekend and at least 3 weekends after that.  Our Housekeeping this week is as follows:  There were no Offerings at all this week and our pants thank you.  In Animals Run Amok News there was a Moose on the Loose in Wasilla, Alaska yesterday.  This Moose felt the need to try to enter a Safeway grocery store but was thwarted by a store employee who blocked entry.  The full details and film can be found hereMary Lee Shark is still hanging off the Jersey Shore doing whatever it is that she does.  And really?  Mary Lee is free to do whatever she wants, except maybe walking into a Safeway.  I don’t think she can do that.  Yup pretty positive that’s not going down.

The Word from The SoNo Loft is Listen to Your Future Self, which is fitting considering all the attention that was paid to Back to the Future Day on Wednesday.  For those living under rocks who may have missed it, October 21, 2015 was the day that the movie Back to the Future Part II  was released 30 years ago (*gasp*) focused its attention on. The movie got a lot of stuff right.  The whole nostalgia for the 80’s, drones, video conferencing, voice activated appliances.  They also got some stuff wrong for which we should be thankful.  Have you watched that movie lately?  The Fashion is cringe worthy.  And, of course, the poor Chicago Cubs have failed yet again.   What would I tell my Past Self from the view here?  Well, I would tell her to enjoy the babies more, they vanish in the blink of an eye.  Yes, you need to floss.  Put down and walk away from the cigarettes.  Go and visit your Mom and Dad and really talk to them.  Please for the love of all that is holy do not perm your hair. Blue eyeshadow is a big big mistake.  Sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat are really your best friends. Love more and worry less.  Say yes more and say no more prudently. The thing that makes me wistful is that from here on out we are living past the future of Back to the Future. And I don’t think I am alone in feeling the nostalgia that Fall can provoke.   Happy Weekend People!  Go forth and embrace the future.

This week we have some fashion, a myth, and an opening window.

The Playlist?  Our forward thinking selves would never let you down in that regard!

Let us begin!

Sweet Ann is listening this week to I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with A Twist by Betty Halbreich and Rebecca Paley.  “I listened to this memoir which is read by the actress Jane Curtin.  It is  the story, written at the time that then eighty-six year old Betty was still, (and perhaps still is) a personal shopper at the exclusive Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.  The memoir includes many stories of fashion and celebrity.  The most poignant celebrity story she shares was her relationship with Joan Rivers.  She said she was one of the nicest, most generous women she ever worked with.  There is much about fashion in this memoir but you also learn about Betty's very lonely childhood and how her clothes growing up almost became her companions.   I am not a person necessarily into fashion, but I found Betty's life and stories quite fascinating.”

Lisa our Fellow from the CL is checking in this week.  “I just read A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond. It’s a modern retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice that takes place in Northern England in the last few weeks of high school. It’s very lyrical and mysterious,  Orpheus really could be a wandering son of a god and a muse, or he could be a handsome bum. The wild joy of being young is beautifully told and its mythical qualities give it roots. It made me research both the original myth and Almond’s ideas behind the novel. All in all, a wonderful way to tickle your brain.

The Always Delightful Pat S is reading a book that I must say I am finding surprisingly endearing,   A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan.  “This is a charming and touching tale about the delicate balancing act that constitutes ‘having it all’. Alice Pearse is a late thirties/early forties married mother of three enjoying a part time job in publishing in NYC and her life as a suburban soccer mom. Yet when Alice’s husband Nicholas finds out he didn’t make partner at his white shoe law firm and decides to set up a practice on his own, Alice’s life changes abruptly. Returning to the workforce fulltime, Alice finds what she believes will be a dream job for a new concept start-up Scroll, (think Amazon) whose mission is to re-invent reading. Egan’s’ description of life at a startup is funny and clever with its’ silly jargon and outsized employee expectations. Just when she thought she was getting the hang of things, Alice finds out that her fathers’ cancer has returned. Egan is as keen in her descriptions of children and domestic life as she is in her parody of the modern workplace, but her real gift is her snapshot of that moment in time when one is being pulled every which way by the demands of life and loved ones. This is a quick, enjoyable read that everyone can relate to.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with her final musings and, of course, our The Playlist.  What’s good Pats? “If someone had told me when I was 21 years old that my future self would return to Michigan and would raise children and live in a suburb of Detroit, I would have told them that they were crazy. Nope. Never gonna happen and yet, this is exactly where I am now. We never listen to our future selves because we need to experience things before we trust in that truth. This week The Loft encourages us to listen to our future selves. Without a time machine, I’m not sure how that can happen but you can always listen to some tunes about our future selves or this piece from NPR about predicting the future.” 


You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Farewell Bare Leg Edition of You Are What You Read.  This week’s housekeeping is as follows: there were no Offerings of taffy, fudge or cheese.  The message from The SoNo Loft remains the same (Yes it’s Scary for those who missed last week).  In Animals Run Amok news, Mary Lee Shark has pinged off the coast of New Jersey. The thought is that she is following migrating fish.   Maybe she’ll make her way up the coast for a visit.    Wouldn’t that be fun? 

It looks like this weekend we are going to be getting our first frost.  The National Weather Service has actually issued warnings and they are predicting a low on Saturday night of 37 and on Sunday a low of 35.  Time to get those tender plants that summered on your porch/deck/balcony indoors, People!  Bring them in so that you can kill them slowly. Why let the cold have all the fun?  I have to confess that I had my last bare leg day of the year on Wednesday.  I always think I can make it at least to the third week of October but the Weather Gods always beat me down.  The last couple of mornings, the light jacket has not sufficed and the walk to the train in the morning has been a swift one.  Although there is a lot of green still left on the trees, Yankee Magazine’s Foliage Finder says that we should be nearing peak so get ready for lots of dicey weekend driving on the Merritt and the back roads from our cider swilling, doughnut scarfing, gourd hoarding brethren.  Fall is in full swing so we might as well embrace.  Why not make a nice pot of soup this weekend?  And maybe you bake a loaf of bread to go with it?  Think of the lunch envy you could induce on Monday!  Yup.  I say Embrace the Fall.  We’re in it now for sure.

This week we have some gore (but not Al Gore), detectives, a love story, funerals, London, and a circus (but not Piccadilly Circus). 

The Playlist?  Of course!  We don’t want any Bad Blood!

Kaitlin from the Rock is back again this week.   Here’s what she’s reading/listening to! “Well, I finally finished Go Set a Watchman. I didn't particularly like it, though possibly not for the same reasons as others. I read it knowing that this was not going to be the Atticus Finch we all know and love, so I wasn't totally bothered by that (I kind of just pretended he was a completely different character). What bothered me was that it really was an unedited manuscript, with a lot of stream of consciousness that fluctuated between first person and third person. I felt like I was reading a surrealist piece, and I just found it difficult to follow. Meh.  I'm now listening to In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, which is off to a good start. The only thing issue for me that the narrator changes--I've had at least 5 different narrators so far--so when you're listening to the book and doing something else (i.e. schlepping along St. Mary's), it's a little tough to remember who's who. I also started reading The Hangman's Daughter, by Oliver Potzsch. It's not really my usual pick, but my boyfriend loved it and thought I might like it to. It's pretty gory and gruesome in a Medieval Bavarian Witch Hunt kind of way, but it's shaping up to be a perfect October/Halloween read so far!”

Barbara M is watching this week and here’s what she loves. “I have been binge watching two really good British series. I’m currently watching Vera which is based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. It’s a detective mystery set in the north of England with a non-conventional woman chief inspector, Vera, played by Brenda Blethyn. She’s scruffy, disheveled, a loner, real-looking and she occasionally takes a nip now and again. It’s engrossing and amusing and I’m addicted. The other show I’m enjoying is The Last Tango in Halifax which also takes place in northern England. The plot revolves around two older people who through a deception do not connect when they were young but meet up again in their 70s and fall in love. The sub-plots are many and although it is a bit like a soap opera I am completely hooked. Both shows have incredible acting and are superbly well-written with breathtaking scenery. “

The Always Fabulous Babs B is here with Good Mourning by Elizabeth Meyer.  What did you think Babs? “This is a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at one of the most famous funeral homes (Frank E. Campbell maybe??) in the country.  Elizabeth Meyer stumbled upon a career in the funeral industry in the middle of planning her own father's funeral, which she turned into an upbeat party with Rolling Stones music, thousands of dollars’ worth of flowers and a personal eulogy.  Starting off as a receptionist, Meyer quickly found she had the knack for helping people cope with their grief, as well as creating fitting send-offs for some of New York City's high powered residents.  This was a fun and quick read.”

Pat T has just finished our number one most wanted book this week.  Here’s what she thought. “I enjoyed Jojo Moyes, After You, which is the sequel to Me Before You. After You picks up with the endearing and quirky Louisa Clark trying to find her away after the death of her friend, Will. She travels around Europe for a time, and then settles in the London apartment Will left to her. However, she seems to be going in circles, rather than moving on with her life. When she joins a group of lost souls like herself called, Moving On! she comes to see that in helping others, she can come to  understand her own loss, and begin to  move forward on a new path.”

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is admitting to some cultural gaps this week. “Apparently 2011 was a very busy year for me or I was living under a rock, because I missed reading two of the most popular books published that year. Although, I guess good things come to those who wait, because I thoroughly enjoyed the thriller Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson and was absolutely blown away by the lyrical imagery in Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.  If I had to choose between the two, I would definitely say The Night Circus is my favorite.  Using her vivid imagination, Morgenstern transports the reader to the center ring of the Night Circus and the drama unfolding between two master magicians.  I could literally smell the caramel apples and see the black and white tents when reading this book.  But, if you are in the mood for a thriller, then Before I Go to Sleep is a good choice.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with the final musings and of course The Playlist.  As usual, we are sharing an obsession and now we are going to rope you all into it.  What’s good Pats? “This week I’ve been obsessed with the Ryan Adams covers of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. Maybe you’re a Swifty fan and in this case it may feel a little blasphemous but she’s never been in my music rotation. What strikes me about the Ryan Adams version of this album is that he can take just about any song and make it immeasurably better. This album also points out how really terrible the lyrics are but Ryan’s music rearrangements and voice make a few of the songs really great. My favorite of the covers is his version of Bad Blood
All of this makes me curious and interested in his process. If you’re unfamiliar with him, enjoy a video compilation of originals and his versions here.  So, while the temps drop to freezing tonight forcing me to bring the mums in, I’ll be staying warm listening to some new music. Enjoy the Ryan Adams version of 1989.

Ryan Adams – 1989

You Are What You Read!


Greetings and welcome to the Finally Friday Edition of You Are What You Read. This week’s housekeeping: We send thanks to the Always Charming Diane H for the Taffy Offering of the week. This taffy hails from Rhode Island where they, to my knowledge anyway, do not make it from cactus parts.  Thanks again Diane!  I have no news on Animals Run Amok.  It would appear that the Animal Kingdom is behaving itself and our lives are not overlapping.  I believe this to be a good thing. 

As you can see from our image this week, The SoNo Loft is BACK!  The message is a gentle reminder that sometimes we have to break free of that oh so comfortable comfort zone and try something that’s scary.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  A couple of years ago there was a book written called My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock.  You may remember how much we all enjoyed it.  Anyway, the author was at a crossroads in her life and she did just that.  Every day she forced herself out of her comfort zone and did something, that to her, was scary.   Grab one of our copies for the weekend read.  I promise it will not disappoint.  Just make sure that your scary thing isn’t a stupid thing, like sticking a fork in the toaster. 

This week we have some sarcasm (no surprise there), an explosion, a muse and some guts and grit.

The Playlist?  Yes is the answer.  And you know that for sure!  (Happy 70th John Lennon!)

Let us begin!

Kaitlin from the Rock is BACK this week with her print and listening.  “Sooooo--I'm still reading Go Set a Watchman. But I'm now listening to Bossypants, by Tina Fey. The good news is that it's hilarious--her stories are relatable, her delivery is sarcastic and witty, and I feel like I'm getting to know someone I always enjoyed watching on TV. The bad news is that I look like a fool laughing out loud and gasping for air as I run around the Rock.”  If you knew the characters that live in our neighborhood you would doubt this as much as I do!

Sweet Ann has just finished Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg. “This a well written novel that follows a group of people reacting to an explosion that occurs on the eve of what was to be a joyous wedding day.  Four people were killed, the bride and groom to be, the father of the bride and a much younger man who is dating the bride's mother. While it made for an interesting story to follow the different points of view, at times it became a bit confusing to figure out their relationships to the deceased. But, it did all become clear at the end of the novel.   Did You Ever Have a Family is a story of forgiveness.  I thought it was a well written book and I would recommend it.”

Abby has just finished Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. “I always appreciate a book that feels totally original and consider it compliment to say a book reminds me of no other and this is true of Fates & Furies. When Lotto and Mathilde are newly married, they are completely immersed in one another. Lotto has personality, charm, and rumors of a grand family fortune.  Mathilde is a beautiful and mysterious woman, striking in her height and hard edges. Together, they are a force. Mathilde fills the classic role of muse to Lotto by paying the bills, ensuring he is surrounded by loved ones, and allowing him to work. But when we hit the midpoint of the story, Groff turns the second half of the novel into a revealing study of Mathilde, and what we see is far from what was initially depicted. There are some lovely passages and images that have stayed with me, but ultimately, I was unable to buy fully into the stories of the characters.”  

The Always Delightful Pat S has turned the last page on Can I Go Now: The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywood’s First Superagent.  "Can I Go Now? is an intriguing look at a woman who steamrolled her way into an exalted position in a Hollywood that was run by an old boys network, as well as an up close examination of the American film industry in the 60’s and 70’s. Sue Mengers may have started off as a receptionist at a talent agency in NY but she knew in a second that she could and would be a dealmaker to and for Hollywood stars. In ten years’ time, through sheer guts and grit, Mengers had bullied and cajoled her way to California, and along the way, become the highest paid talent agent in the world. While Mengers passed in 2011, Kellow has stuffed his book full of anecdotes from Michael Caine, Ryan O’Neal, Barbra Streisand, Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergan, Ali McGraw, Tina Fey, Peter Bogdonovitch and Robert Evans. While these tales tell much about Sue Mengers as agent, friend, enemy, collaborator, they also speak to the heady times defining the film industry in the last quarter of the last century with an excess of money, drugs and creativity. It was a time when all bets were off-with one exception: growing old. Aging was the one thing that Hollywood could not countenance. In spite of all the success and countless accolades which marked her career years, her last years were sadly somber.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from SUN with the final musings and of course The Playlist.  What’s good Pats? "This week The Loft is BACK! In the midst of their rooftop construction, I thought about the words hanging off their balcony. We increasingly live in a world where the word, “YES” is used less frequently. I don’t know about you, but as a gal with a glass is half-full viewpoint, I could use a little more ‘yes’ in my life that doesn’t involve interweb searches for cute baby animals to soothe my soul. So this week I highly recommend Yes, Please  by Amy Poehler. I understand the value of improvisation and how it relates to everyday living and the potential for classroom education. The four C’s of improv are creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. Although this curriculum exists at some high schools as an elective, wouldn’t it be transformative if we added this to our elementary schools.  Yes, it would!! This week is all about the yes."

DL YES AND... 2015

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the First Storm Watch Edition of You Are What You Read.  This week’s housekeeping is thusly:  Thanks to Karyn A for the Prickly Pear Taffy from Tempe, AZ. Yes this is a Thing.  Who knew? Oh, and by the way?  It’s rather delicious!  The roof work on The SoNo Loft appears to be over with a brand new railing all white and shiny and awaiting the first banner.  Let’s hope that happens soon.

In Nature Run Amok News, did you hear about the monkey that made the break for freedom in Florida?  If not, here is where you can get the 411 on that.  Please feel free to listen to the 911 call.  I am especially fond of the part where the operator asks the caller to describe the car that the monkey is sitting on.  Well Ms. Operator, it would be the car with the MONKEY on the roof.  In all my trips to Florida I have never seen a monkey on a car roof so I am pretty sure that this is a Rare Thing, not a Thing and fairly easy to spot.  The other disconcerting part of this call is hearing the bystanders pronouncing the monkey ‘cute’ as the monkey grabs mail out of a mailbox and eats it.   Obviously they have never read The Hot Zone.  There is nothing cute about a monkey on a spree of destruction.  At any rate, officers were able to get Zeek the Macaque back to its owner and restore order.  Rest easy People!

The big question this weekend is lay in the bottled water and canned goods? Or should one take a chance and hope for the best.  I would like to take this opportunity to make my pitch for being prepared.  People! We live in the Northeast.  The weather can turn on a dime and when you factor in Global Warming?  It’s always best to have your ducks in a row.  For me this means a loaf of bread and some nice bacon in the freezer, a dozen eggs, some pasta, a nice piece of hard cheese and adequate wine supply. With this in your universe and a gas stove you may make any number of meals to tide you through. Have a gas grill?  Be sure the propane is filled.  Make sure your batteries are fresh, devices charged, flashlights at the ready (one for each family member) and cars are gassed up.   And of course the most important part of this list is a nice stack of books to see you through.  We can help you with that!  Don’t panic, People. We’ll all be fine. 

This week we have some schlepping and flashbacks, Issues, feelings, whoa, whoa feelings, sobriety, and self-control.

And The Playlist!  Wouldn’t feel like Friday without it!

Let us begin!

Introducing Kaitlin!  She can be found on the Help Desk and occasionally up on the KLS Desk. She lives around the corner from me and shall henceforth be known as Kaitlin from the Rock.  Here’s what she’s making time for. “I'm a slow reader (a consequence of having two jobs and being in grad school), but there are sooooo many books I want to read. So I've started listening to audio books while I run, and I read a physical book at night before bed.  I just finished listening to Wild, by Cheryl Strayed and I loved it. Listening to it rather than reading it made her experience more real to me, in particular the physical struggles she had on the trail (like running out of water in the desert) as I schlepped along St. Mary's.
I'm reading Go Set a Watchmen, by Harper Lee. I definitely prefer To Kill a Mockingbird, which I just reread,  this book has a lot of long flashback sequences and side story explanations that sometimes leave me scratching my head, but I'm keeping an open mind that this was an initial draft, and not a true sequel.  And it's fun to be back in Maycomb with Miss Jean Louise. 

Barbara M is feeling uncertain this week. “ I’m not sure how I feel about Isabel Allende’s latest book, The Japanese Lover. I couldn’t finish her last book which was a mystery, but because I think she is an incredible writer I decided to give this one a try. I liked her coming-of-age novel Maya’s Notebook,   I loved The House of the Spirits and her non-fiction book Paula.   In this new offering, the story opens with Irina, an immigrant from Moldova, getting a job at a nursing home. She is befriended by Alma, a resident who hires her as a personal assistant. Alma had also come to the United States as an immigrant from Germany just before World War II. Their complicated, fascinating lives are revealed as the book unfolds. This book lacks the magic of her earlier works but, that being said, it kept me interested. The characters are very well developed and I felt like I knew them very well.  My reticence may be because the book deals with so many issues; the holocaust, the internment of Japanese citizens in the United States, sex slaves, child molestation, homosexuality and AIDS. Read it for yourself and make up your mind. It is a well written story and it did keep me absorbed until the end.”

Steph!  What’s happening this week? "“F*ck Feelings! That’s the title of the best self-help book to come out this year. Authors Michael Bennett, MD (Harvard-educated shrink) and Sarah Bennett (his daughter, a standup comedian) have put together a book that tackles every tough mental health issue under the sun without ever losing its sense of humor. Warning: as you may guess from the title, the language is strong. And the advice may also come across as strong or even harsh to those who are used to the more palliative approach of TV psychiatrists. But whether you’ve got an ex you can’t get over, a suspicion you have an anxiety problem, a kid who’s turned into a stranger, or a trauma that still haunts you, the Bennetts have compassion and realistic advice that can help. The back cover calls this the last self-help book you will ever need, and I believe it."

The Always Fabulous Babs B has just finished Blackout by Sarah Hepola. “This is a memoir that is heartbreakingly honest about addiction.  Sara was a successful writer in Manhattan who turned to alcohol at night.  After too many nights of falling down staircases, sleeping with men she didn't remember the next morning and many other near disasters, she finally fights her way clear of addition.  It wasn't easy, the first time she was sober for 18 months and then one innocent glass of wine started her spiral into drinking again.  Now at the age of 35 Sarah has been sober for 4 years and actually likes the face she sees in the mirror.  This is a must read for recovering addicts and for anyone who has had a difficult past and wants to heal.  Alcoholism is a tough subject to tackle, but Sarah does so with grace, honesty and humor.”

Pat T is, as always, listening.  Here is what she likes this week. “I am listening to The Road to Character by David Brooks. It is fascinating because it weaves together the subjects of sociology, psychology, biography, history and explores how morality is shaped by the cultural changes in society. The decades of the 1960's and 70's saw a great deal of societal shift with the women's movement, civil rights, and free love, but this change really began in the 40's & 50's. People had endured 16 years of deprivation starting with the Depression, and then World War II, so they were ready for a more upbeat lifestyle. The author explores some interesting characters that I had heard of, but knew little about.  People such as Francis Perkins, the only woman in FDR's cabinet and the ‘Woman Behind the New Deal’,  Dorothy Day who became a Catholic worker for the poor, living among them and sharing in their suffering, and George Marshall who was not a very bright student, but with determination, self-control and organization he achieved extraordinary success. Each of these characters rose above their own inadequacy to serve a nobler cause. The last chapter of this book really sums up the whole premise of Brooks’ development of character and he writes ‘People do get better at living, at least if they are willing to humble themselves and learn.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is settling into her new home in That State Up North and has some final thoughts and The Playlist.  What’s good Pats?  “It should come as no surprise that this week is one of my favorite times of the year. Banned Books Week is a wonderful time that allows us to celebrate the freedom to read what we want. Last year, I celebrated this week by reading a lot of YA books. My goal was one book a day. I was successful and honestly, I had a hard time trying to find things that would upset folks enough to insist they be banned. This year finds me in the midst of a move. So, I’ve decided to return to a classic by one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remains as controversial now as when it was first published in 1885 and any book that gets folks talking and then keeps them talking about banning it for 130 years is a great thing. When we find subject matter or language either offensive or objectionable do we have the right to forbid others to read it? This is a fascinating discussion that I particularly enjoy. Writers practice their craft with care and when they use a word or create a situation that makes us uncomfortable they do so with purpose and with intent. Music is another art form that gets folks all riled up. Remember Tipper Gore and family values in the 80’s? 
I thought I’d be green this week and recycle last year’s playlist that includes a history of musicians who have weathered their own share of the burn.


You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Full Harvest Moon Edition of You Are What You Read.   The Full Moon on Sunday is indeed not only the Harvest Moon but also a Super Moon, a Blood Moon AND a Full Lunar Eclipse. You can read about that here. The moon is busy and you should be too.   It’s time to get those crops in People.  Get on that.  Thanks to Work Wife Sally I (her real name) for that heads up.  Isn’t that what Work Wives are for?  There were no offerings this week and The SoNo Loft is still quiet. 

It would appear that The Pope isn’t the only visitor to New York this week.  There was a very charming piece in the Times this past week that can be read here about a seemingly unlikely city visitor.  And no, I am not talking about Pizza Rat.  I am still puzzled as to the fascination with that. How is this even A Thing?  Let’s be real here People. New York has Pizza, and New York has rats.  The two are bound to cross paths. Nope, according to the Paper of Note it would appear that this is the perfect time to spot of all things Hummingbirds!  These tiny aviary masterpieces are hanging in some Hoods as they make their way toward warmer climes.  Hummingbirds fascinate.  They are the tiniest birds on the planet and yet! their brains are 4.2% of their body weight, the largest ratio in the Aviary Kingdom.  Their metabolism is so insane that they spend the day eating anywhere from half their body weight to eight times their body weight.  So be on the lookout for the Migrating Hummingbirds!  It’s probably easier to spot one than getting to see The Pope and it’s a whole lot more pleasant than watching a rat drag around a slice.

This week we have some donuts, strife, and a hen party.

Of course The Playlist is with us in all its glorious colors!

Let us begin!

Of course Sweet Ann is reading 100 Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi.  What else would Sweet Ann be reading?  “This is the engaging story of Lucio Battistini and his final days, to be exact, the last one hundred days of his life.  This is not a sad, drawn-out story of a man who knows his death is imminent but joyful in the telling  of his life story and planning to spend his last one hundred as well as he can.  As a reader you can picture Lucio with his friends, his father-in-law with whom he shares donuts with every morning, and his wife and their two children.  Lucio is a man that lives and loves passionately.  When he arrives in heaven he is told he can pick whatever age he would want to be for the rest of eternity.  It is an interesting question and one you can also ponder.   You might be a bit sad at the end of the book, but you will be smiling about the life Lucio shared with us. “

Laura is watching this week. “The Honorable Woman, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal is a heavy experience.  Like the Israeli/Gaza conflict the story is complex, tense, surprising, and disheartening.  Ness Stein, played by Gyllenhaal is an idealistic business woman that believes her family company’s communication venture will be the answer to end the bitter strife of the region.  What she finds instead is the riveting tribal back-story that pervades the “surface” politics that the world is given to see.  International intelligence agencies of Great Britain, the United States and Israel circumvent, through the shadows revealing the cat and mouse games between agencies and within their own agency ranks.  All of it spills over into the maelstrom of the peace process in the Middle East.  All the players have secrets and no one is safe.  The series is compelling to watch, and ambitious, taking all sides of this painful conflict. 

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is reporting in with In a Dark, Dark, Wood by Ruth Ware. “Ten years ago, Nora left high school and never looked back. She created a new life for herself as a successful writer in London.  As far as she sees it, her life is in a comfortable routine, and she doesn’t ever want to think about that period of time. But as we all know, you can never really escape the past, and Nora’s comes knocking in the form of an unexpected invitation to her childhood best friend’s hen party.  On impulse, Nora accepts and heads to the country house in the woods. From the start, the party seems off to her, with the house feeling menacing and the other guests having hidden agendas, but she would never have guessed the weekend would end in murder.  In a Dark, Dark, Wood by Ruth Ware is a fantastically fun thriller, which kept me guessing until the end.  This book is what The Girl on The Train should have been.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from her new home in The State Which Shall Not Be Named with paintbrush firmly in hand.  What’s good Pats? “In preparation for our big move, I’ve been busy painting walls all week. The kids chose their bedroom colors and let me just say that these were not easy colors to paint. Dark colors show wall imperfections despite meticulous spackling and sanding. After a week of non-stop painting, I am happy to put down my own brush and check out some of the vibrant public art scene that’s happening here. Murals in the Market is a project in Detroit’s Eastern Market. Public art has always been part of the experience of the market and this year 45 artists, both local and international, have been invited to create murals on specific buildings surrounding the market area. We will also be trekking out to Grand Rapids to vote on Art Prize . This art event lasts 19 days with displays of public art at various locations three miles around Grand Rapids. It’s a radical contest for artists. The winner is chosen by the public who cast their votes via an app. It is described as ‘unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and public alike’. Frankly, I’m just geeked to be able to share such unique public art experiences with my children. Art is everywhere but a whole, heaping lot of it is happening here right now. “


You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Last True Summer Weekend Edition of You Are What You Read.  There are no housekeeping chores this week.  No Taffy/Fudge/Cheese love and The Loft remains silent due to roof work.   This coupled with a sunset that will occur tonight at 6:58 just is too tragic.

Autumn arrives on Wednesday at 4:22 a.m. so this is truly our last summer weekend for 2015.  The Ancient Greeks believed that this was when the Goddess Persephone returned to the Underworld to be with her husband Hades.  Those of you, who remember your Greek myths, remember that her story is an explanation of the seasons.  Persephone was the beautiful daughter of Zeus, the Head Dude of all the Gods and Demeter, the Harvest Goddess.   While playing in a meadow with her nymphs, she was seized by Hades, who had a wild crush on her and forced her to live as his wife in the Underworld.  Demeter, like all mothers who have their kids messed with, got beyond peeved.  And when she learned Zeus had a hand in this?  Forget it. She refused to let the earth bear fruit until her daughter was returned to her.  Zeus, like all husbands everywhere, realized when caught in a stellar screw-up that Happy Wife=Happy Life relented.  But because Persephone had eaten 6 pomegranate seeds which was  the fruit of Hades (Pomegranate!  Who can blame her?) she was forced to spend six months of the year in the Underworld (our fall and winter). Her return in the spring is marked by flowering meadows and fertile fields.  Here’s hoping that Persephone’s journey to the Underworld is a slow one and that her return is swift.

This week we have applications, tragedy, death, a villain, an Alaskan cruise and Moses.  Robert Moses that is.

We are not so cold-hearted that we would forget The Playlist.

Let us begin.

The Always Fabulous Babs B has finished reading The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore.
“This is a hilarious, compelling novel about college applications, suburban scandals and a Big Secret.  The Hawthorne family of Marin, CA seems to have it all and the eldest daughter is a senior applying early decision to Harvard, her father's alma mater.  The plot takes some entertaining twists and turns when family secrets and lies are revealed.  Readers who love books filled with dysfunctional characters should enjoy this book!”

Barbara M is passionate about a new one that is nominated for The Booker Prize. “I’ve just finished reading The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma and wow, what a powerful book. I generally don’t read first novels but this one is noteworthy. It has been a long time since a book made me cry and this one did which makes  it is so very hard to write about. It is raw. It is poetic. It is akin to a Greek tragedy in which you want to stop what is inevitable. . The story is about a family living in Akure, Nigeria. When an accidental murder occurs it sets off a series of disastrous events and what unravels is predestined and tragic. The characters are real and the writing lyrical. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year.”

Pat T can be found listening as usual. “I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio book, Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande.  Dr Gawande writes about the disconnect between doctors and the aged population. Until recently, most medical schools did not even offer courses on gerontology, and many doctors are ill-equipped to deal with aging and dying   Dr. Gawande takes a refreshing look at innovative people who are offering alternatives solutions, such as hospice/palliative care, geriatric clinics and nursing homes that embrace life.  This book is so thought provoking and will appeal to families who are caregivers to their aging parents, those that work in the health profession and baby boomers who are fast approaching this stage in their life when they will have to have the hard conversation about their quality/quantity of life.”

Miss Lisa of the CL and artist in her own right is excited about a graphic novel this week.” I finally read Nimona, the graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson. I got the nudge (the tickle had been there a while) after seeing it on the YA National Book Award Shortlist. And it was totally awesome. Words of praise on the back say “Irreverent” and “vibrant” and all those words are true. The art toes the line between elegant and playful and reflects the strength of the story. Sir Ballister Blackheart is a villain, and Nimona is his eager sidekick. She is a shapeshifter of incredible power and mysterious origin, who is also a sassy teenager with a sensitive heart. Blackheart has a bone to pick with the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics, who cast him into the role of villain after a tragic accident. So who’s the villain and who is the hero? I read it twice in a row!

The Always Delightful Pat S is here with one of my favorites of the year,   This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison.  “Told by a second person narrator with the enthusiasm of the old This is Your Life MC, Harriet Chance begins as a tale about a quirky older widow exploring life on her own on an Alaskan cruise. Boarding the ship with her luggage and a letter from her soon to be ex-best friend Mildred, the life that Harriet believed she had lived is soon to be uncovered as a big lie. Visited intermittently by Bernard, her dead husband, Harriet begins to troll through memories of Harriet the child, the young career woman, the new bride and mother-to try to find how she has wound up here. Harriet is a very likable character-an ‘every woman’  who comes to see that the course of one’s life can change by virtue of a single choice. This is an incredibly touching story.”

Steph is here with a book she is, as usual wild about.  So wild this is what she did when she was done doing all that wedding stuff.  “Jen is right, I did do something momentous with my time away--I started reading The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro. Of course this book is outstanding:   it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1975. But what’s astonishing is that forty years after publication, it is every bit as potent and relevant as the day it was published (aside from some vocabulary choices that have not aged well). The writing is vivid and the research he and his wife did is undeniably masterful. Moses, who was the most powerful man in NYC government for decades, comes to life as a driven and complicated man. Reading it while commuting is like living in the middle of a book, as you pass over bridges built by Moses and drive down roads that he begged, borrowed, and stole in order to pave. Who knew municipal bonds could be exciting? It’s a doorstop, but every page is worth it. I’m in the last 150 pages and don’t want it to end.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with The Playlist and some exciting news.  Mazel Pats!  And what’s good? “Our eighteen months of communal condo living has come to an end. This week and next we’re on the move. Literally. We played the real estate game, rolled the dice and bought a house. The time has come to pack up our things again, bust into the off-site storage unit and move our things a mile and a half down Woodward Avenue. Soon, my son will walk to school and my daughter will bike to the high school.  Me? I’ll be busy turning a house into a home and I couldn’t do that without my jams. May you have smooth moves of your own.  “


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