You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

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.”

DL A CAR WON'T GET U 2 THE FINISH LINE 2014

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

I have been thinking a lot this week on The State of The Book and Print (yes with a capital P) and it’s not a pretty state. It’s rather like the worst stretch of the Jersey Turnpike littered with jack-knifed tractor trailers. Newspapers are struggling and letting their people go at an alarming rate.  Magazines are folding without warning and book publishers are scrambling.  Most of you know that I read on my Kindle for my commute but I have to tell you that while reading the new Jane Smiley this week (totally tied for first place with All the Light We Cannot See for favorite book of 2014) I loved coming home to the physical copy of the book.  I loved holding it in my hand, would get nervous if it wasn’t close by and I didn’t even mind one little bit when I woke up this week with a dent in my forehead from falling asleep on it.  Earlier this week, The Traveling Companion shared with me this piece from the New York Times about the joys of slowing down, turning off the gadgets and reading from the actual paper source.  Weather willing, this weekend we will be heading for a beach, and there will be the cooler containing the Contraband Beverages and Solo cups (sshhh!  Discretion please!), some lunch, the beach chairs and the beach bag containing towels, sunscreen,  the most recent issue of the New Yorker, the Weekend Edition of the New York Times and  books.  This morning on the train I started one that is coming out in January that I first heard about in May at a lunch with some Hachette editors.   They were using words like masterpiece, magical, and comparing it to To Kill A Mockingbird.  Editors don’t use those words or comparisons lightly.  Even more remarkable is that The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton is a first novel.  So while on my commute I will be reading it digitally, this weekend will find me holding the ARC at a lovely quiet beach.  I hope the same holds true for you too. Slow down; grab a deck chair, a hammock, an Adirondack chair, whatever the seat of preference is and a piece of true print.  This week we have some cringing, swirling maelstroms, love for books, princesses, surgery, a survey, four wives, and a diaper bag.  Playlist?  Of course! 

Let us begin!

Thomas is reading an old favorite of mine and Stephanie’s.  We have been begging him to do it for a while now and he finally listened.  And this is the closest he will ever come to admitting we were right. “I’m eternally late on everything that is ‘decent’ in literature. To continue this theme, I have just started reading May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes. The novel tells the story of a middle aged Nixon professor named Harold who is always living in the shadow of his alpha male, short-tempered younger brother, who is an executive at a very prominent news network.   When Harold's kid brother snaps and commits a senseless act of violence, Harold suddenly finds himself taking care of his brother's two adolescent children, Nathaniel, an emotionally disturbed twelve year old with a taste for controlled substances, and Ashley, a six year old trapped in the body of an eleven year old. Together, the three of them begin to learn just how much life can make one cringe. I'm cringing as I write this to be totally honest.”


I love how whenever we hear from Miss Elisabeth of the CL she is so enthusiastic about what she has just consumed it just shines through her review.  This week is no different.  What’s up Miss E? “This week I read, no, devoured, a new release by a debut author. The Queen of the Tearling, by Ericka Johansen, is everything you could possibly ask for in an adult fantasy - there's excellent world building, great character development, a breakneck pace, and most importantly, a strong, confident, intelligent heroine at the center of a swirling maelstrom of political intrigue. It's the best thing I've read in a long, long while. The book begins as our heroine, Kelsea, turns 19 and is escorted by armed guards from her secluded, secret childhood home to the castle of the kingdom she is meant to rule - The Tearling. The story is set on a continent that erupted from the sea after a natural disaster several thousand years in the future, and the world is an intricate blend of acknowledgements of things we have now such as eBooks, and the seven volumes of Rowling, medieval feudal societies, and grim references to the events that caused a modern world to be replaced so thoroughly. Although the character is young, the book is decidedly adult - language and references to sex means this is NOT a good crossover title for 14 year-olds. The author was inspired to create her heroine after hearing then presidential hopeful Barack Obama speak about hope and change in 2008. The movie rights have already been sold, the script is being written, and Emma Watson is set to star. I can't wait for the sequel and the movie!”


Speaking of Steph, here she is! “I read Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Erdrich, after it was recommended to me by a good friend. I love Erdrich, and this book is fantastic. For her fans, it offers insight that’s not found in her other books.  For those who haven’t read her yet, it’s a fantastic extended essay, and an American memoir of real substance. What I loved best about it is the overarching question: ‘Books. Why?’ Even though she  meanders off to explore the geography and history of Ojibwe Country, her family, the language of Ojibwemowin, the resurgence of traditional belief, and her internal life she always returns to this one question. She offers a number of specific answers throughout the book: ‘Because our brains hurt," and ‘Because they are wealth, sobriety, and hope.’ She is always thinking about what books have meant to her and mean to so many of us. What book lover can resist?”


Pat S is reading The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport. “As a longtime student of Russian history, I really enjoyed this study of the four Romanov princesses. While frequently grouped together, almost as a collective, Rappaport aims to delineate distinctive personalities for each of the four ,Olga;stalwart, Tatiana;composed and private, Marie;merry and empathetic, and Anastasia;fiery. Using primary source material previously unavailable, Rappaport is able to draw credible portraits not just of the four princesses, but also of their parents in their family roles. And may I say, hemophilia wasn’t the only illness that was passed down in that family.  While not a page turner, it is  an interesting read for the history buff.”


Pat T enjoyed a medical thriller Doing Harm, by Kelly Parsons to be specific. “Steve Mitchel, a young, confident surgical resident is in line for a good position when he completes his residency. However, he soon discovers that life can change on a dime when one of his patient's dies, and  another’s surgery is compromised. With the help of his junior resident, Luis, they try to  uncover the person responsible for all these deadly escapades. I suspect this gripping novel will keep you up past your bedtime, as it did me!”


Julie Rae began as a student intern this spring and we thought she was so awesome we asked her to stay for the summer.  She will be leaving us all too soon to begin her freshman year at Ursinus College.   Here is what has been in her beach bag.  “Recently I've read two quick summer books that are perfect for a day at the beach. The first one is The Rosie Project, about a genetics professor who is attempting to find a wife in the only way that makes sense to him: by conducting a survey. But his logical method turns up with nothing but dead ends until he meets Rosie, a woman who meets none of his criteria. The Rosie Project is a wonderful book with tinges of hilarity and depth. The other book worth mentioning for a summer read is Mrs. Hemingway. This book follows the marriages of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives. I left the book with a sense of awe for the author because it was researched meticulously that I felt connected to each of the wives. “


Jeanne.  Only one thing.  So worrisome.  “I read The Objects of her Affection by Sonya Cobb. Cobb’s first novel is interesting, page-turning and describes an all too possible turn of events. Sophie Porter is a bright young woman who is trying to get back into the tech working world after having two children. Having grown up feeling ungrounded, she craves a home of her own. She and her husband, who works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art curating Renaissance pieces, buy what seems the perfect home until the bills start coming in. Sophie is desperate to manage without telling her husband of their predicament. Then she meets Harry, owner of an antique shop in Manhattan. How can one woman, a diaper bag and antiques possibly mix to solve her money woes?”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here with The Playlist.  Hey Patty!  What’s good?  “Summertime marks the longer, slower days we all enjoy. Extra daytime hours feel like stolen time to be shared with friends and family while sipping freshly squeezed lemonade, eating berries, biking, swimming and lots and lots of beach time reading. This weekend marks the annual Maker Faire Detroit event held at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s a big deal. Seriously, if you don’t know what a Maker Faire is, you’ve been missing out on GREAT innovation and talent steeped in a pool of sweat, commitment and healthy risk-taking. Yes, I will be attending with my kiddos. One can’t help but think about past brilliant makers like Johannes Gutenberg. His invention of the printing press is touted as the most important event of the modern period. Without his invention we’d have no Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution or dare I say, LIBRARIES! Librarians and media folk are often asked about the viability of physical print with the suggestion that it’s passé. All the folks I know including makers give a resounding NO! We need a beautiful glossy magazine, a book to be opened and its fresh new goodness inhaled. (yes, there’s even a perfume for that) Print is not dead. Every psychologist will tell you that human beings require, crave and need touch. While I am a huge proponent and consumer of digital media I still love the touch and smell of a book and magazine. This will never change, so Make On, Create and Long Live Print!”

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Here’s a little something I bet you did not know about us.  We love some good food.  In fact, we are a little obsessed.  Come into the offices  or walk up to our service desks anytime and  if you should happen upon 2 of us chances are pretty good that you will hear us discussing what we had for dinner, or what we are going to have for dinner.  Monday conversations are devoted to not only what we read/watched, but also what we ate/prepared over the weekend.   We are about food the way some workplaces are about the weekend’s big game or the TV show everyone is currently obsessed over.  Good recipes are meant to be shared, and then tweaked and shared again.   In fact, a former coworker once said that it should be an employment requirement; the ability to cook something delicious and then share the recipe (Alison H. I am looking at you!).  Did you really think it was a coincidence that Erin always features a glorious, gorgeous new cookbook for her Fall Meet the Author series?  A bunch us are sharing CSA shares and having the best time getting the e-mail on Tuesday from Erin clueing us into what we have to look forward to.  The cool news here?  You can join in!  On our Tumblr feed we have been featuring what we have been cooking and enjoying complete with pictures. Yes, the Traveling Companion is being made to ‘sing for his supper’ by photographing my CSA dinners.  I feel it’s a small price to pay.  I think he does too.  This week we have Arson, Grand Central, a brutal murder (is there any other kind?), Vicodin, professional sabotage, and some Iowa. The Playlist?  As they say in the Mid-West “You betcha!”


Let us begin!

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Welcome to the Thunder Full Moon edition of YAWYR! This full moon was named for the likely occurrence of thunderstorms that can occur this time of year.  Also it is the first Supermoon of the year.  Actually we will have three months in a row of Supermoons. What this means to Moon Geeks is that the moon is the closest to the Earth in its orbit.  What this means to the rest of us, is that the tides will be larger and the moon should hang fat and huge in the sky. What makes this full moon no different from all the other full moons is that  those of us on service desks can assure you that there is a whole lot of wackiness going down.  Sure it was hot earlier this week but it is July after all and I think that  everyone I spoke to this week agreed that it was far preferable to what we were experiencing a few months ago. It looks to be another glorious weekend so get out there and enjoy it!  This week we have Paris (we will always have Paris), Manhattan, lobsters, Savannah, Sherlock, more Paris (see?  Told you!) and a haunting.  And of course DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in da house with not just one but two Playlists!

Let us begin!

Barbara M is back in her beloved Paris, in her mind anyway, with a cookbook we are all in love with, My Paris Kitchen ,by David Lebovitz. “David Lebovitz’s cookbooks are so much more than just recipes and his latest My Paris Kitchen is no exception. Lebovitz worked at Chez Panisse in California for 13 years leaving to pursue his writing career. In 2004 he left California to resettle in Paris, a city both of us adore. His stories about the city and its food are informative and inspiring. This is not only a great cookbook or a great coffee table book (the photographs are gorgeous) but also a good read for anyone who appreciates good food and Paris. His blog is one of the best food blogs around and also offers great travel tips about Paris. “

Pat S literally took me by the arm  to tell me about her read this week.  She is that sort of wild for it. “If you are looking for a witty, fun read to pass the time at beach or pool, look no further than Paisley Mischief by Lincoln MacVeagh. Essentially a spoof of the American WASP archetype, the story is set in the exclusive confines of Manhattans most venerable men’s club, Avenue Club, with the lead character, Puff Penfield attempting to protect the 1% from encroachment from the outside. However, Max Guberstein, flashy movie mogul will stop at nothing to gain admission to the club. Subplots include an anonymously written roman a clef making the rounds entitled Paisley Mischief which features thinly veiled descriptions of the members, a nosy journalist attempting to ferret out the author of said tomb- and all with a cast of characters that are both wacky and charming. Written with humor and wit, the reader will be reminded of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves.”

Sue was busy reading and enjoying two books.  First up is The Lobster Kings: A Novel by Alexi Zentner.  “The Kings family has lived Loosewood Island for three hundred years trapping lobster.  For years they have been at the top of their game but trouble brews when the family finds out that meth dealers from the mainland have started to do business on their island. The Lobster Kings will keep you enthralled with a great mixture of family curses, rivalry, and romance and will captivate you until the very end.  Not only did I really like this book but it really made me want to go out and have some lobster!  I also enjoyed Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews.  Cara Kryzik  is a struggling  Savannah florist who is about to score the wedding of a lifetime.  This is the one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Cara herself has had a rough go of romance and has fallen out of love with the idea of a happy-ever-after.  Chaos ensues when the bride goes missing, the landlord decides to sell her building out from under her, and she meets a handsome handyman who is as romantically shy as Cara.  These all make Save the Date an extremely enjoyable read that will keep you engrossed until the end.” 

Steph is taking on some mysteries.  “This week it has been a real pleasure re-reading The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, a book I always forget I how much love until I am re-reading it. I can’t believe it has hit its twentieth anniversary! I recently became the last person in the world to watch Sherlock, and though I liked that show quite a bit, this series is still my favorite version of the many Holmes re-tellings. For those who’ve not read this series, take this opportunity to get started, since apparently we will be waiting another year for more Sherlock. This is a mystery for non-mystery readers, equally good for teens and adults, and, I bet, to be adored by fans of Flavia de Luce.”

Remember last week and Sweet Ann’s take on I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You?  Well here is Jeanne’s spin. “What’s fidelity got to do with love and marriage when someone else catches your eye or some other body part? In Courtney Maum’s I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, British artist Richard Haddon actually laments the fact that his French wife Anne-Laure did not insist that he break it off with his American mistress, Lisa. Of course Lisa has recently broken it off with Richard and married another artist. Richard thinks, “You think you’ve married your lover and eventually she turns into your sister.” Ewww. From RISD in Providence, RI to Paris to London, Sam Deveraux does a wonderfully diverse narration of this clever, wryly funny novel of love that went wrong.”

I spent my time at the beach last weekend not only with The Traveling Companion but also with The Hundred Year House by Rebecca Makkai.  I loved her first book The Borrower and I can honestly say her second endeavor is solid and I really enjoyed it.  What makes this novel, well, novel is its construct.  It begins in 2000 with the Devhors, a family who have owned their estate Laurelfield for a hundred years.  There’s Zee, a professor at the local university who, while claiming to be a Marxist, has no problem living rent free in the carriage house.  Her husband, who is trying to research a little known poet who was once in residence at Laurelfield when it was an artist’s colony, is spending most of his time writing for a vapid children’s book series.  Zee’s mother Gracie who claims that you will know everything you need to know about a person by looking at their teeth, and Gracie’s second husband, who is stockpiling supplies for the upcoming Y2K disaster.  Looking down from the dining room wall at all of this hangs the portrait of Violet Devhor who is said to have committed suicide and haunts the estate.  Makkai spools the story backward to uncover the various mysteries ending it in 1900 when the estate was built. The story alternates between being heartbreaking and  hilarious and is totally worthy of a spot in your beach bag.  

DJ Jazzy Patty McC has spent the week in The State That Shall Not Be Named researching the upcoming Lunar Event.  Here is the fruit of her labor and of course The Playlist.  Spin it Patty! “Saturday brings us the first of three perigee moons that we’ll enjoy this summer. It’s been dubbed as a Supermoon because the proximity to earth makes it look much larger than other full moons. NASA explains it here.  Now Neil deGrasse Tyson would be the first person to say that full moons do NOT make people act crazy.  There is no scientific reason why folks should act any differently on a day with a full moon. Yet the interwebs and folklore spin a different, darker tale. Urban myths seep through the concrete making folks itch, scratch and hatch into things that howl at the moon. So this Saturday, whatever you choose to believe and whatever your definition of crazy is I hope that you get out, gaze upon the beauty of the Supermoon and howl just a little bit. If you develop some kind of Superpower during those 24 hours, please let us know. Now, depending on your moon mood you have a couple of playlist choices.”

DL CRAZY PERIGEE SUPERMOON #1 2014

 The Fullest Moon or Just Another Day in the Life of Neil deGrasse Tyson 2013
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Happy Fourth of July weekend!  Since we will be barbecuing, beveraging, and rockets bursting in air watching like the rest of you, You Are What You Read is a day early but hopefully not a dollar short. The Weather Gods have told us that we will have a rough start to the long weekend courtesy of an uninvited guest named Arthur but word has it that by Friday evening all will be clear.  Of course, it may take longer than that for my hair to settle down and get back to normal, but then again, that may not happen until September. The Traveling Companion and I have made a vow to get in some much needed beach time this weekend and we hope that you too have made a similar commitment to find a patch of sand with  water views, some sunscreen, a good hat, a smuggled-in beverage or two to enjoy with your picnic in your Solo cups (ssshhh! Discretion is required!) and don’t forget that book you’ve been dying to dive into.  This week we have some orphans, a marathon, Paris, Grand Central, London and Brooklyn.  The Playlist?  Of course! Pffff!  As if we would let you all have a long weekend without a soundtrack!

Let us begin!

Pat T has just finished The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. “I read this novel because I was intrigued by a patron's recollection of the orphan trains that passed through her Texas town as a young girl.  The lives of teenage girl and an elderly lady intersect when Molly, a troubled teen needs to perform community service for a petty theft.  Vivian Daly, a wealthy 90-year-old woman needs help with the cleaning out of her attic. As Molly and Vivian work together, Molly comes to realize that Vivian's past is similar to her own. Vivian, born Niamah in Ireland, moved to New York City with her family and was orphaned when they died in a fire. She was taken by Children's Aid and placed on an orphan train headed out west. Instead of finding a loving home, she was mistreated and overworked. Their stories alternate between present day and the early 1920's and they are connected by their shared feelings of abandonment, adversity and resilience.”


Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has put down the books and picked up the remote.  What’s doin’ Virginia?  “This has been my movie marathon week and I have two recommendations. The first is Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit. I have to say I am now a big fan of Chris Pine, the star of the movie.  This was a great addition to the Jack Ryan film series and if you like action/adventure and intrigue then pick this one up. The second movie was the The Book Thief and it is just a beautiful, gorgeous, touching film. It was wonderful and my only regret was it took me so long to see it. “


Sweet Ann is having some fun without us reading I am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum.   She proclaims it a light novel that makes a fun summer read.  Tell us more Ann!  “Richard Haddon, is an American artist living in Paris with his French wife, Anne-Laure, and their young daughter.  When Richard has an affair with an American woman she is willing to give him a second chance until she discovers that the affair was more involved than she was led to believe.  This novel will keep you engaged and cheering for Richard and Anne-Laure.  As an aside, there are beautiful descriptions of Paris and Brittany.  At one point Richard wants to take his estranged wife to one of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris, Le Train Bleu.  I looked it up and oh yes, it is so beautiful.


The Forever Fabulous Babs B is reading about a place near and dear to her.  Here she is with Terminal City by Linda Fairstein.  “I always look forward to a new book by Linda Fairstein and again she comes through with flying colors!  This time she focuses her story on one of New York's most iconic structures-Grand Central Station.  There is an elusive killer on the loose in Grand Central and the only lead the police can find is a carefully drawn symbol into the victim's bodies which bears a striking resemblance to train tracks.  The reader is taken into Grand Central's expansive underground tunnels, where groups of homeless people live.  I found this part of the story fascinating.  This is a fast paced read and if you enjoy reading about iconic New York City buildings this one is for you!”


Jeanne is worried. And I am worried that she is only doing one thing. So much fretting going on here.  Anyway, here is Jeanne’s latest download via OverDrive.  “Last week I was worried about the plight of chimpanzees; this week it was whales and dolphins. Jojo Moyes tells a great story and Silver Bay is no exception. This one has love, deception, transatlantic travel, high finance, quite a bit of drinking and marine life, to boot. A large London real estate development firm is determined to build a high-end vacation spot in the lovely Australian coastal village of Silver Bay, complete with extreme water sports. The story gets interesting when Mike Dormer, the front man for the developers, discovers that he cares about the future of the eccentric people of the town and one lovely whale chasing skipper named Liza. There are surprise twists and tugs on your heart.”


I am wild for Elizabeth Gaffney’s novel When the World Was Young.  Meet Wallace “Wally” Baker, who is growing up in Brooklyn Heights during World War II and is easily one of the most refreshing voices I have encountered in a long time.  Wally has no interest in the things that her mother and grandmother wish would interest her such as needlepoint and dresses.  She is fascinated by the world of ants and Wonder Woman comics.  When her mother dies under suspicious circumstances on VJ Day her world is understandably turned upside down.  As Wally grows older her commitment to solving the mystery of her mother’s life and death become an obsession.  Will she ever be able to discover the truth?  This is a wonderful story about the importance of family in all the guises it comes in and it comes out in August. 


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is back up in the State Which Shall Not Be Named and here is her take on the 4th.  Take it Patty!  “This week as we celebrate the independence of our country that was founded on the tenets of religious freedom and separation of church and state, I want to encourage all of you to have a civil discourse on politics.  That’s right; I’m encouraging you to blow up that old-fangled notion that politics and religion should never be discussed in public.   This Fourth of July while you enjoy a parade, a barbeque or some fireworks take a little time to talk politics. I know that my family will be doing just that this Friday.  And here is a soundtrack to move that along.”

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Well hello there and a Happy First Full Week of Summer!  It was shocking to feel the heat and humidity yesterday when I went to lunch.  And it’s hard to wrap the brain around the idea that this time next week we will be knee deep in Star Spangled Banners, Barbecue, and Beer for the 4th. It feels like just yesterday the only thing we were knee deep in was the four letter S word.  But here we are at the beginning of High Summer and I am sure that you all are already thinking about your great escape to wherever it is you Summer.  The Message from the SoNo Loft is Really Give It The Gas.  If you are on the road heading out, I would gently recommend that you may want to have a crack radar detector before heeding their advice.  Those Staties don’t play.  This week we have some new neighbors, a chimpanzee, small gestures and some duchesses.  Of course we have The Playlist!  How can we not have The Playlist?

Let us begin!

Sue tried something new this week and here is her take on Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber.  “This week I deviated from my normal chick-lit reading and got lost in the realm of YA Fiction with Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber. This is about a 16-year-old Goth misfit named Raven Madison. When the old abandoned mansion in town comes alive with new residents everyone believes that the new neighbors are actually secret bloodthirsty vampires. One day, she encounters one of the new inhabitants of the mansion, the attractive yet mysterious Alexander Sterling. The two slowly fall in love, but still the question remains; are the Sterlings really vampires and if they are this could make the town that is nicknamed ‘Dullsville’ anything but dull.  I enjoyed this book and was made even happier when I learned that it was the first in a Series.”

Jeanne gives us an insight this week into how she chooses her audio books and it’s about what I would expect. I’ll let her explain.  Have at it Jeanne!  ”Sometimes with audiobooks I like the title and don’t really look at the cover, and soon I am engrossed in the story and the narration, but suddenly I think, ‘Wait. WHAT is this about?! ‘But by then I like the writing and the voice of the main character and I keep listening and before I know it I am done. This is the case with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, a story of siblings, science experiments, data and there is a chimpanzee on the book cover. The story is deeply disturbing, heart wrenching and plenty thought-provoking. The wonderful Orlagh Cassidy reads with all the right voice, tempo and inflection. I count her as a favorite narrator. “

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is looking back this week and she has been doing some serious reflection. “I like to think I was kind as a child. Not making fun of others and saying hello to all. But if subject to peer pressure, did I always do the right thing and stand up for the underdog?  Probably not. This has been on my mind a lot since I started reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. August Pullman is a young man who was born with an extreme facial deformity who and after years of being taught at home is entering school for the first time as a fifth grader. The book tells the tale of his first year of school and the impact on his family and friends. The book has its faults but it is a beautiful, heartfelt story that made me laugh, cry, and reminded me how the smallest gestures can be the most courageous. This is a wonderful read for people of all ages and if  you haven’t read it you should.”

It has been a while since I revealed what the current Blow Dry Book is.  For those new to this space a Blow-Dry Book is a book I literally read while I blow-dry my hair.  It’s a chore and a bore (the blow-dry, not the book) and so I need something to entertain me while it happens. And I want to state for the record I am not alone in this quirk. Virginia is also a fan of the BDB.  My current Blow- Dry Book is The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport.  We all know that this story is not going to end well, but it fascinates just the same.  The four sisters were beautiful, well educated, and wealthy beyond measure.  And yet what is strikes me the most, aside from their tragic fate, is how their lives were filled with crazy contradictions.  They lived in a cosseted world where very few outsiders were allowed in and yet because of their brother’s hemophilia and their mother’s frequent turns as an invalid they were often required to be the face of the Russian monarchy.  Sure, their homes were palaces and yet the private rooms they lived in are described as homey and decorated in comfy sort of English style filled with chintz and flowers. Yes, there were servants and luxury aplenty and yet they all learned how to make their beds.  You can’t help but wonder what would have become of them is they had been allowed to live past their ages of 22, 21, 19 and 17. 

DJ Patty McC was back in Da House this week and it was wonderful to see her in the flesh and not just communicate with her via the interwebs.  Here is her take on our message this week.  Have at it Patty!  “Summer is finally here and we are all soaking up that glorious Vitamin D! What's more summertime than rolling down the windows in your car, cranking up the tunes and taking a summer road trip? I could tell you stories from my childhood of road trips gone wrong that would be highly entertaining. They involved travel in a stripped down van with no insulation so that when the sun hit the metal it heated all the way through. Did I mention that there were no windows or seats and that the driver was a chain smoker? Ah, sweet summertime road trips. This week I packed up my daughter and hit the highway for a little housekeeping here in The Nutmeg State. Librarians around the country are gathered in Las Vegas for the ALA conference.  I'm hitting the highway tomorrow to head back home to my boys in the mitten shaped state. I'm still grooving to last week’s tunes but I think our town librarians need a little bit of What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas. Now go forth and put the pedal to the metal.”

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

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

Let us begin!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Hi, faithful YAWYRers! While Jen is off playing in North Carolina, I (Stephanie) am filling in. We wouldn’t want to leave you with no new book recommendations just as it’s finally starting to feel like summer! And this week is full of great summer reads, including romance, Concord, Hemingway (will he ever go away?), and a DL staff favorite who is taking us to Mallorca. Yes, all of us. Pack your bags, we’re leaving soon!


Amanda read The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James, who is also one of my favorite romance novelists. "This is perhaps the best romance novel I've read. From the first sentence to the last, the story is engaging. Lots of stories give some multi-page introduction before getting into the meat of the plot, but this one dives straight in. There's even a totally unexpected but thrilling twist to the story—one that I never saw coming! It's wonderful that Daisy has such a level head on her shoulders. At the beginning, she's 17 and full of starry-eyed romance. The moment she stops seeing James as her almost-brother and starts seeing him as a man is believable and just like real life. Later on, she grows into a very competent, independent woman who has turned a failing estate into a very profitable one. She's a great heroine."


Virginia survived to tell us about her reading, and I am sure glad she did. “Consumption (ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a horrid summer cold) hit my household this past weekend, and the only thing that made it bearable was a bottle of Nyquil, the new season of Orange is the New Black and the historical novel Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood.  I loved, loved, loved this book. My only complaint is that it was way too short, and I wanted more. Written in four parts and based on real love letters and telegrams, the book gives a glimpse of the life each of Hemingway’s four wives had with him and how they all came to this brilliant but tortured man. It is a captivating read and a perfect summer read. Also, I just started listening to The Vacationers by Emma Straub and I am already caught up in the dysfunction and strife of the family and friends vacationing together in Spain.”


But wait! You thought that was the last you’d hear about Emma Straub today? (Remember her first book, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures?) Think again. Jeanne is listening to it, too. “I’m recommending the audio version of Emma Straub's newest book, The Vacationers. It's kind of a beach read; in fact, it is set on the beaches of Mallorca (or Majorca) so the print version might be easier, but the day-to-day infidelities, backbiting and general dysfunction of the Post family and their friends is much more satisfying out loud. In the book, the NYC and Miami couples and singles converge on a borrowed house for two weeks, and Kristen Sieh has just the right voice and tone to let us enjoy other peoples' discomfort.”


As for me—I have been reaching way back into the past and re-reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau for a book group. And I’ve found it holds up remarkably well! How can any of us disagree with this sentiment? “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them.”


And to send us into the weekend with a smile, especially because it looks like the sun will be making an appearance…The Playlist, which this week is SO FRESH IT’S HOT! Inspire us, DJ Jazzy Patty McC: “Being influenced by what we choose to consume, what we surround and immerse ourselves in is not a bad thing; subconsciously, we take things in, absorb them and then make them our own. Sometimes in our lives we need a little new, a little FRESH! My family has a tradition of creating a theme for our summer. This summer we’ve dubbed it “The Summer of Discovery & Exploration.” No doubt it grew out of our theme from last year “The Year of No Fear” and our move from Connecticut to Michigan. So I invite you this summer to create your own FRESH family theme, or borrow ours. Read something outside your normal genre. Plant something in the ground. Grab a cookbook and try a new recipe. Listen to some new music, a new band. Whatever you choose to do, make it FRESH and make sure you get outside to discover and explore. You just might be surprised at how much it fills you with joy. The surprise could even come from the realization and awareness that it was right there all along in your own backyard, and that’s NEVER a bad thing. Now go forth, discover and explore. Oh, I almost forgot, a BIG ‘Happy Father’s Day’ to all you Daddios!”

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

The message this week from the SoNo Loft is Adventure Awaits!  And indeed it does!  Next week I am going on vacation to what is referred to, without irony it should be noted, by the Traveling Companion as The Homeland.  The rest of us call it North Carolina, specifically Southern Pines and Pinehurst.  The real adventure here is that I will be attending my first major golf tournament.  Those who know me realize that this may not be the best fit.  But I am going in, I am excited and I will report back.  Sweet Ann is also having an adventure next week and will be exploring areas of New York City with one of her sons that she has never been to before.  She is excited.  Erin and Mallory are going to the Ninety9 Bottle Craft Beer Fest tomorrow in SoNo as their adventure. And they are excited too. So I encourage you all to get out there.    The weather promises to be glorious so no excuses will be accepted.  Have an adventure this weekend! Try something new. Get excited about it and then report back and let us know what you did.  This week we have a Painter, a biologist, a rotary phone, Australia, Norway, a pile, some drinking, Liverpool, Ozarks, pain meds, Nazis, and golf.  Because it would appear all roads lead to golf.  Playlist?  You betcha!  Would it be a weekend without one?

Let us begin!

John has been busy. Very, very busy.  Here is what he has been working on.  “First, there was The Painter, Peter Heller’s second novel.  Hellers first book, The Dog Stars, was one of my favorites from 2012 so you can imagine I was anxious to read his second.  The storyline was not at all what I expected and I found myself, once again, engrossed in his storytelling. Hellers prose is clean and clear and his descriptions of nature will leave you feeling like you’re standing in a mountain stream, underneath a clear, starry sky. If a novel about vigilante painters piques your interest, you will enjoy this one.  I then moved on, and quickly through, the first two books in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy: Annihilation and Authority (the third book comes out in September). This is serious science fiction for connoisseurs of the genre.  The series begins are we are dropped into the mysterious ‘Area X’ as a biologist representing an all-female, multi-disciplinary research team. But things start going wrong terribly wrong immediately, just as they did for the dozens and dozens of teams that came before them. This is an eerie and deeply psychological series that will give you goose bumps and keep you turning the pages.”

The Delightful Mallory joined our ranks as a full timer this week and we could not be more pleased.  Here is what she has enjoyed recently. “Rainbow Rowell does this thing.  She creates these characters, these deeply flawed, difficult characters, and makes you fall desperately in love with them.  Rainbow's newest protagonist, Georgie, can be found in the July debut Landline.  Georgie is career-driven to a fault, used to getting what she wants, a barely-there mother and wife and she  is about to receive the opportunity of a lifetime.  In saying yes to this new opportunity, she loses both her husband and two young daughters. And just what is her method of coping?  Wearing awful velour track suits and utilizing a magical, time-traveling rotary phone!  As Georgie rapidly spirals downward, she also begins to understand what truly matters and what it takes to fix it.  Landline is as quick as it is touching, the perfect summer read.”

Miss Elizabeth of the CL has a new obsession.  I’ll let her explain. “This week I discovered a new obsession streaming on Netflix (and soon to be available at the library!) Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Set in the roaring 20's in bustling Australia, the television series follows the entirely glamorous, fabulously wealthy, Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher as she solves crimes around Australia, flies planes, drives fast in wicked-looking cars, wears gorgeous clothing, and has innumerable flirtations with dangerous men. In short, the series is perfect and I cannot recommend it enough. So imagine my joy when I discovered my new favorite TV show is based on a series of detective novels! I raced through the first Phryne Fisher Mystery in just a few days. Cocaine Blues follows Phryne's return to the continent where she was born into poverty many years before, on a mission to determine if the wealthy daughter of an acquaintance is being poisoned by her philandering husband. Drama, intrigue, and delectable descriptions of clothing and luncheons follow. “

Sweet Ann has just finished Days in the History of Silence by Norwegian author Merethe Lindstrom. “I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it is in my top favorite reads of this year.   The novel takes place in Norway and centers on the long marriage of Eva, a former teacher and Simon, a retired doctor.  It is a very thoughtful and wonderful reflection of a marriage and the secrets that a couple share between themselves.  Simon has stopped talking and spends his days in silence and while  Eva misses his voice she accepts that silence is the way he deals with his past.  Their grown daughter thinks she would be happier if Simon was put in a home.  This novel is described as unnerving and it is as Eva, the narrator of this novel, reflects on her marriage and the secrets their shared past.  I can't recommend this novel enough and it will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

Abby was abroad last week.  Here is one of the titles she is excited about. “BEA provided me with the opportunity to meet authors whose work I have long respected. I was charmed by David Mitchell and enjoyed hearing him speak because of the content of his talk, anticipation over his new novel The Bone Clocks, and on a more superficial note, his wonderful accent. I’ve read a few of his previous books and find him to be a thoughtful writer capable of creating complex worlds. His latest, The Bone Clocks, is at the Top ‘O the To Be Read pile.”

Steph has found some peace in between the covers of the following.” During this past crazy week my respite was Fourth of July Creek, a debut novel by Smith Henderson. I knew I had to check it out after hearing great things about it at BEA, and then getting an email from John with the subject line ‘OMG’ that contained only the link to this book. The story centers around Pete Snow, a social worker in rural Montana who is only slightly less troubled than the families he helps out. His wife and daughter are leaving him, he drinks like a fish, and lives on his own in a cabin. But that’s nothing compared to the dysfunction he sees on a regular basis, especially after he returns a kid to his backwoods survivalist father in a cabin where he is defacing US coinage in preparation for the end of the world. (Believe me, that sentence doesn’t come close to explaining the insanity of Jeremiah Pearl.) As Snow’s life and the lives he manages get increasingly chaotic, his daughter goes missing, her story popping up in between chapters and growing increasingly dire. Sounds cheery, right? Well, it’s a grim book, but a great one. Henderson’s writing is rough and oh-so American, reminding me of Cormac McCarthy by way of Bonnie Jo Campbell, and the story is addictive to the point of making me wish for a train delay. OMG is right!”


Introducing Julia our RA High School Intern!  Take it away Julia!  I went to my very first BEA last Thursday and met some very cool publishers and authors. I brought home plenty of books that are going on the list to read in the upcoming weeks, including We Are Called to Rise, about a child’s fate told through an immigrant boy, two women, and a young veteran. I’m excited to read these new books, but before I do I had to go back and read a book from years ago that I just never got around to, Gone Girl. I know everyone is probably over it by now, but I’m halfway through and enjoying it immensely. Also, in the past week I’ve gotten a recommendation from Stephanie, the head of Readers’ Services, about the book Red or Dead by David Peace. It’s about The Liverpool Football Club, who, with the help of their beloved coach, make it up the ranks and win the title. I haven’t heard such glowing reviews from a book in a long time, so it’s going on the ever-growing list of novels I’ll make time to read.”


Virginina the Tall Cool Texan is still on the treadmill. Still listening.  Go Virginia! “I love a great mystery/thriller, especially as an audiobook, because it makes my workouts go so much faster, and  The Weight of Blood  by Laura McHugh did not disappoint.  In fact, it was so outstanding, I am actually sad I already finished it, and wished I would have paced myself a bit more.   A young girl living in the Ozark Mountains is haunted by the gruesome death of a friend and goes searching for answers only to find they lead back to the mystery of her missing mother.  If you liked Gone Girl, this dark novel is for you.  Also, I just finished All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner.  The main character, Allison Weiss, is a woman who supposedly has it all; the perfect home, a great husband, a precocious daughter and a wonderful, fulfilling job.  Unfortunately, she also has a serious addiction to painkillers.  When it spirals out of control her perfect life crumbles around her.  While I am not sure I loved this book, I did enjoy it and parts of it have stuck with me.  It is worth reading and I think it is going to be a very popular book this summer.”   

 
Pat S
is not happy this week.  She found Flash Boys by Michael Lewis to be less than satisfying.  Here’s her reasoning.  ”Now, we all know that I am a longtime fan of all things Michael Lewis, so imagine my delight when I finally got my hands on Flash Boys. The first third of the book introduced the topic of high frequency traders in the finance industry and their ability to game the system by virtue of a technical glitch of ‘micro-seconds’, or ‘frontrunning’ thus affecting the transparency of the market. Lewis focuses on the technological developments in the operation of financial markets which have occurred at such a fast pace that the regulatory board (SEC) has not been able to keep up with them. In his usual style, Lewis gives us a narrative that includes heroes, villains-and the moral high ground. Unfortunately, where in books such as The Big Short, Liars’ Poker and Boomerang  Lewis has been able to successfully de-mystify the complex world of the financial industry for the layperson, he misses the boat this time around. I stuck with the book for my book group, but am sorry to say that at the end, I am still not sure of what frontrunning is.  On a happier note, neither were the other members of the book group!”

Babs B is doing things a little differently.  “This isn’t my typical summer beach read but it is a beautiful novel that shows how courage and hope can be two of the most powerful motivators of all time. The Auschwitz Escape by Joel Rosenberg  delves into one of the darkest moments of history.  His main character, Jacob Weisz, is faced with the horrific reality of being Jewish in Germany during WWII.  Fighting as part of the Resistance, Weisz is captured as he courageously works to free a train full of Jewish prisoners.  Taken directly to Auschwitz, Weisz’ only goal is to escape and let the world know of the atrocities being committed at the death camps. Rosenberg was inspired to write this book after his visit to Auschwitz in 2011.  You will be inspired at the lengths he goes to survive and I highly recommend this read!”


My pick for you all this week is one that is somewhat selfishly motivated.  It’s the first ever pick for the Golf Channel’s newly formed book group and it’s called Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History:  Heroes, Underdogs, Courses and Championships by Bill Fields.  As I stated in the intro I am going down to Pinehurst and I will be attending my first ever US Open.  I am not a sportif person.  I don’t really follow anything but Ohio State Football because in my family that is a non-negotiable.  My brother Peter is the golf fan.  He loves the game and he would take great delight in pointing his finger at me and stating with great confidence that someday I was going to need to know about golf.   Of course, I told him with utter confidence I would never need this knowledge.  I apologize to my brother and so now here I am, going off to the US Open with Bill Fields.  There is a truth in the genius of really beautiful writing and it is this:  even when you don’t care about the subject one whit, the writing alone carries you along and draws you in until without realizing it you do, indeed, care.  Take for example this first paragraph from his essay entitled King of the Hill:

        Sam Snead’s swing used to resemble a Faulkner first sentence. It was long, laced with the perfect pause, and                           blessed with a powerful ending.  Now that he is eighty-four years old it is only slightly less so. He is driving off a tee                   beside me, on a piece of Florida land that was a swamp way back when and he still purrs.

See?  Genius!  So think of me next Sunday while I attend my first ever Open and Bill reports on his 30th.  And pick up his book in the meantime.  An entire channel devoted to the game can’t be wrong. And I know I’m not.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in da house to let us know about what’s going on in The State Which Shall Not Be Named. It would appear that she is all about the Adventure. Take it away Patty! “It’s been a rainy week in the Midwest but who am I to complain when the weekends are resplendent with ALL that is summertime? The sun and temperatures here have granted the worker bees a bounty of weekend blessings. The grass is thickly growing underfoot and my organic container garden is sprouting on the balcony. If you have not kicked off your shoes and let loose your tresses, you really need to do that. Do it now, I’ll wait… Life here in the D is bursting with hope, promise and lots and lots of green. I’ve coined it the new Brooklyn. Skinny jeans, flannel and ironic facial hair can be found everywhere, thankfully mostly on the men folk. We are the testing site for self-driving cars, the 10.4 acre living roof of the Ford Rouge Center and home to Hantz Farms, the world’s largest urban farm.  Life is an adventure for sure and humans are natural storytellers and creators. So, this week I invite you to get outside, start your own adventure and just for fun change your narrative. Let me know how that goes. Don’t forget to enjoy it with a frosty glass of lemonade. “

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Well the weekend we thought would never come is here!  The official kick off to Summer 2014 begins with the arrival of this missive.  Happy Summer!  We made it!   Break out those white pants/shoes and rejoice!  Although I must say that I have broken that rule with a new pair of white jeans that I am wild about.  The Fabulous Babs B has been kind and not chided me for it but I know that this is the one fashion rule she will never break.   Sure the beginning of the weekend won’t be the best in terms of weather but it’s still better than what we have had to wade through to get to this point.  All week I have had people tell me they were stocking up on library material for the great migration to wherever they Summer.   I have heard about trips to the Adirondacks, Maine, Nantucket, The Cape, and Block.  Places that we could only have imagined in our little frozen brains just weeks ago.   And so I wish you a lovely three days filled with sun, sand, something festive to sip, a comfy chair and a great read.  Please be aware that there will not be an issue of YAWYR next week.  We will all be at Book Expo finding out what is coming up for the year in Books.  We’ll be back in business though on the 6th.   As an aside, if you are in the State Which Should Not Be Named at a certain golfing event on Sunday and you see the Traveling Companion wish him a Happy Birthday.   He’d like that. This week we have some strange people, a need for sleep, the American Dream, a cold case, Daphne the Deb, a pilot and some Frank Campbell.

The Playlist?  But, of course!

Let us begin!

Alan, our leader is finished but just with his latest read.   No worries.  He’s still around. “I’ve just finished Ingenious: A True Story of Invention Automotive Daring And the Race to Revive America by Jason Fagone. He followed 4 of the 100+ teams that entered the 2007 X Prize Foundation contest to build a safe, mass-producible car that could travel 100 miles on the equivalent of a gallon of gas for a prize of $10 million dollars. There are engineers, tinkerers, some amazingly interesting and accomplished (and strange) people who compete, and the author does a great job of telling the story of a resurgence of innovation and invention.”

Kim (you know…the one with the shiny boat shoes) is reading Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder by Arianna Huffington.  “The book, about the dangers of personal burnout, gives statistics that universities and colleges have collected as well as examples of real events.  It is a very informative and one of the main ideas it tells the reader is that more sleep leads to a better life!”

Sweet Ann has just finished Family Life by Akhil Sharma. “This is a beautifully written story about a family coming here to experience the American dream.  The Mishra family, parents and two sons, immigrate to Long Island (Queens specifically) from India.  Ajay and his older brother Birju find many things in the U.S. fascinating from elevators to escalators.  Birju, a good student, takes the entrance exam for the Bronx High School of Science and with his whole family's support he passes.  But the family’s happiness is short lived after Birju is injured in an accident.  This accident will take its toll on the family and each member has to deal with it in their own way.  Ajay narrates the story in a very realistic manner expressing fear, love and even jealousy as his parents focus their attention on their injured son. I highly recommend this book.”

Abby is sticking with a favorite. “Tana French’s latest in the Dublin Murder Squad series, The Secret Place, grabbed me from the first paragraph. As in her earlier works, she takes what has been a peripheral character and turns them into the main protagonist.  In Secret Place, it’s Detective Stephen Moran. Working in cold cases, Moran has his eye on the homicide division.  One cold case, which involves the murder of a young man at a posh boarding school,  now has a very current lead, and allows him the opportunity to try the prestigious murder squad on for size. While I’m still in the early part of the book, I cannot wait to read more. French is one of the few writers whose work you can see evolving and I am a major fan.”

Pat S has just finished Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford.  “Attempting to keep Downton Abbey withdrawal at bay, I picked up Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Set in Edwardian England, Cavendon Hall is home to Charles Ingham, the illustrious Earl of Mowbray and his family living side by side with the Swanns, the family of loyal retainers who have served the aristocratic family faithfully for generations. The story opens during the years leading up to WWI as one of the Earls’ daughters’, Daphne, is about to be presented at court. But on the eve of this debut, Daphne is assaulted, and the world as it was known, has been turned upside down. So begins the sweeping family saga, told through the eyes of the Earl’s six children, as well as the current generation of the Swann family, Bradford does a great job of presenting the historical landscape. This is a great, fun read filled with all the passion, intrigue, secrets and general mayhem one could hope for in a summer read.”

Sue S is having a blast with The Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick.  “Normally I would devour a chick-lit book like The Cure for the Common Breakup in two evenings.  However, I have been enjoying this book so much that I have had to force myself to read only a few chapters an evening because I do not want to see it end!  The plot centers on Summer Benson, who we learn is a flight attendant and dating none other than a pilot who is supposed to be the most fabulous catch.   Very early in the book Summer’s life is turned upside down by two significant events.   Summer takes herself to heal in the town of Black Dog Bay.  It is her time here that you will want to savor and revel in her interactions with the town’s characters.  The way that Beth Kendrick writes you can easily imagine the people of the town and you find yourself happily transported into Summer’s world.  A little bit of craziness, healing, heartache, laughter and people harboring long held grudges are what make The Cure for The Common Break Up a book that I hope you too will love.”

I have never made a secret of my love of a good tale of WASP dysfunction.  I love reading about my tribe complete with all of our peculiarities and foibles. Throw in some McLean or Silver Hill, a poet or two, a waning fortune, two Sherries at 5 max and a big Frank Campbell send-off and I am in heaven.  The May 5th edition of the New Yorker ran a piece called Pilgrim Mothers: The Ladies of the Four O’Clock Club by Sarah Payne Stuart which I found charming and it reminded me a lot of an outfit that I belong to; the $5.00 annual membership fee, the strict adherence to rules that were set forth in 1879, and some fierce dragons not to be trifled with but adored just the same.   Imagine my delight when I came across the fact that I could get even more of the same when Perfectly Miserable: God, Guilt and Real Estate in a Small Town comes out next month!  Stuart ran like the wind from her hometown of Concord, MA when she was 18 with the intention of never coming back, but when she begins a family of her own, she throws herself back into the thick of it.  Stuart not only looks hard at her own  domestic life, but the lives of some of Concord’s most famous women including the wives of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the forever suffering Abby May Alcott  better known as Marmee of The Little Women.  You can get your own fix if that is what thrills you when it comes out on June 12th.


DJ Jazzy Patty had a happy/sad week. I’ll let her explain: “One of the great paradoxes of life is change. Rarely do people like it, few seek it and yet it’s happening as you read these words. On a micro-cellular level we are constantly dividing, dying and regenerating. Every single day that we take a breath and our hearts beat, we engage in the cycle of aging. Babies are born, prefrontal cortex development happens, and then in the wink of an eye, wrinkles and grey hair. This week my family welcomed a baby and said goodbye to a great man in the space of two days. Last week I said we can’t know what’s going to happen day-to-day, but here’s something I do know. I know that we change all the time and that what we do in between birth and our last breaths is the good stuff. It’s the meat or portabella mushroom in your sandwich. It’s the important stuff. How we choose to live it and what happens will be different for us all. I’d like to believe that we all consciously choose kindness, express gratitude and share whatever our particular gift is with others. I am fortunate be in a family of storytellers. So this week we will share our stories about beloved John and we will hug each other, we will cry and we will all clamor to hold sweet baby Jayden. With the stories we share, time will feel like it’s stopped even though in that very moment we will be changing. “

Syndicate content