You Are What You Read

New eBooks from 3M

Here are the new titles available from 3M.

New eBooks from OverDrive

Here are the new titles available from OverDrive.

Blood Magick Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 3 by Nora Roberts

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

Larger Than Life:  A Novella by Jodi Picoult

Not a Drill:  A Jack Reacher Short Story by Lee Child

On the Road with Janis Joplin by John Byrne Cooke

Prince Lestat:Vampire Chronicles, Book 11 by Anne Rice

What a Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara

What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara

You Are What You Read!

Boo!  Welcome to You Are What You Read the Halloween Edition!  Mostly, I think we should just be thankful that there is no snow, no hurricanes, no horrific acts of nature so that the Young Ones can actually HAVE a Halloween.  The real treat will be that at the end of the night we won’t need the flashlight once we are inside!  It is a fascination to me that Halloween has become a helliday on the scale of Christmas for some people.  There’s parties to go to, lights to string, webs to strew on bushes, graves to set on the front lawn.  Even pumpkin carving has gone from your classic jack-o-lantern face to sculptural art worthy of Bernini working in marble.  So whatever your plans are for tonight, stay safe and warm, and say a thank you to the Weather Gods that you can participate in this one. The SoNo Loft’s message this week, for those of us who are curious is Be Gentle with Yourself.   As always, Heed the Loft.  This week we have some discord, South Africa, more One Pot, New York, and some Baton Rouge. And The Playlist.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Let us begin!

Pat T is reading Children Act by Ian McEwan.  “I was caught up in this story from the first few pages as the main character, Fiona May, sits in her living room, nursing her scotch and water, trying to recover from the bombshell her husband of thirty years has just dumped in her lap.  While dealing with her marital discord, Fiona maintains her professional obligation as the judge in an urgent medical case of a 17-year-old boy who is refusing a transfusion that could possible save his life on the grounds that the medical treatment goes against his religious beliefs. This is the first book I have read by Ian McEwan and I look forward to reading some of his backlist.”

The Always Delightful Pat S has just finished A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn.  “This is the first in an exciting new detective mystery series taking place in South Africa in the early fifties just after the legalities of Apartheid had been set in place. While this is a murder mystery, it is also a rumination on the cruelty, prejudice and immorality that defined this time.In a small rural village, the Afrikaner police Chief Pretorius is found murdered. An English WWII veteran by name of Emmanuel Cooper is sent out from Johannesburg to investigate and solve the crime. Only recently back from the war, and still suffering deep psychic distress, Cooper is untouched by Apartheid, and simply wants to do his job. Yet, this is not a straight-forward investigation for Cooper, for every lead is tainted by the laws governing the land.  Nunns’ characters are richly drawn and deeply human. At the top of the genre, A Beautiful Place to Die is not only highly compelling but informative as well.


This week Steph is singing the Hosanna’s of One Pot.  Sing it Steph! “I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of One Pot fans. This week I made the beet hash with eggs recipe from the Skillet chapter, and it was a hit! I am adding it to the rotation for the fall and winter because the recipes are easy to prepare, delicious, easy clean-up, the whole shebang. The directions are clear and simple, and I also love that the book features a photo for every recipe--it's made it a lot easier to dive in and figure out which recipes to try. This will be the cookbook that finally drives me to buy a Dutch oven, I am sure. It's easily my favorite cookbook of the year and I expect to give it to a few people during the holidays. I am looking forward to trying the cabbage and kale with salmon this weekend!”


Amazing Amanda is preparing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November, so she's reading Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld.  “The novel is written in two voices for two very different stories. The first is of Darcy, an 18 year old who wrote her first novel during NaNo and then successfully sold it for big bucks. She moves to NYC to chase her dream of the writers' lifestyle. On the flip side, is the less glamorous life of Lizzie, Darcy's heroine in her novel, Afterworlds. Lizzie survives a terrorist attack and in doing so, finds herself in the spirit world between life and death. That is, the Afterworlds. The novel is burning up online reviews with lots of acclaim and admiration. While I'm intrigued by Lizzie's story, Darcy's life in NYC is less engaging. I'm hoping that something as powerful as Lizzie's inciting event will occur soon in Darcy's story, otherwise, I'm just going to skip through and read only Lizzie's chapters.


I am wild for a debut novel that is coming out in February 2015.  M.O. Walsh's debut novel My Sunshine Away is a joy.  The narrator is a man looking back on the summer of 1989 when his Baton Rouge neighborhood's peace was shattered by a horrific act of violence.  But memory can be a tricky thing; healing and destructive and yet it can also lead to redemption. Which one will be the path he will choose? Told in spare and lyrical language this is a debut to be reckoned with. 


Here comes DJ Jazzy Patty McC with the playlist.  Why am suddenly all a-tingle?  “It’s that time of year when we get dressed up and go out into the dark. We open our doors to strangers, offer treats and hope that no one plays any tricks. What’s that you ask? Irrational fears? Where shall I begin? Clowns, dolls, leftovers in Tupperware at the back of the refrigerator, and offal are just a few things that immediately come to mind. None of these things paralyze me or keep me from doing what I do. I’d go so far as to say that most of us have some irrational fears that we deal with on a regular basis.  They may be weird to some but very real to us nonetheless. The Loft’s message this week applies. So while you’re out with the kids trick-or-treating or celebrating at a party remember to Be Gentle with Yourself and I would add Be Kind to Others but I don’t think that will fit on their banner. All the same, I know they’d join me in this sentiment. This week I’m giving you a throwback to the Creepy Halloween Dolls playlist as well as a great podcast from NPR on What We Fear. Boo! Happy Halloween!

DL Creepy Halloween Dolls 2013

DL What We Fear NPR: TED Radio Hour 2014

What's This Week's Hoopla All About?

Here are some Hoopla movies for the entire family to enjoy once Halloween is said and done.  

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

You Are What You Read!

It was such a dreary week, wasn’t it?  We have been so spoiled that when a bit of rain does happen to fall it befuddles us.  I did have a patron say to me that she had been craving weather such as this so that she had an excuse to hole up and read.  I for one never felt the need for excuses but, hey, if that makes you feel better have at it.   It looks like a nice weekend is in store and really isn’t that what we hope for anyway?  This week we have wisdom, a spy, some hype, PTSD and a new favorite. Of course there is a playlist. Of course! 


Let us begin!


Abby is back to reading one of her favorites. “When I finished Louise Penny’s 9th Chief Inspector Gamache novel last year I wondered where she would take the series. Her latest, The Long Way Home while a satisfying read, leaves me with the same question: what’s next? Newly retired Armand Gamache and his wife have set up house in Three Pines, the serene village outside of Montreal too small and hidden to appear on maps. Gamache gets drawn into helping one of his neighbors locate a missing person. While the mystery piece is not strong here, Penny continues to go deeper into the lives of her characters granting them a lovely mix of vulnerabilities, strengths, and quirks. The emphasis here is on how even the strong must tend to themselves and the wisdom we can all take away from the four things Gamache teaches new officers to express: I was wrong, I'm sorry, I don't know, I need help. “


Sweet Ann has just finished Red Joan by Jennie Rooney.  “This is quite an engaging spy novel based on a true story of an eighty-seven-year-old British woman arrested as the longest KGB spy in Great Britain's history.  Joan, the main character, is a brilliant young woman who in the late 1930's is studying science at Cambridge.  Her life is that of a typical student until Sonya, a Russian student, enters her life.  She introduces Joan to her cousin Leo who will introduce Joan to the world of espionage.  Joan is quite reluctant at first to get involved but circumstances change. The story alternates between Joan as an elderly woman being questioned by M15 and her days at college working for the British government during the beginning of World War ll.  This is an intriguing read about the choices people make and the reasons for doing so.  I thought it was well written although perhaps a little bit long.”


The Tall Cool Texan Virginia has just finished one of my favorites of the year.  What did you think VA?  “Believe the hype about Jane Smiley’s newest book, Some Luck, because it deserves all of the praise and accolades it has been receiving.  This epic saga tells the story of Iowan farmers, Rosanna and Walter Langdon, and their children over a 30 year time period, starting in the 1920s.  Each chapter represents a new year in their lives and is told from the perspective of different family members.  Smiley does a masterful job of creating the personalities of each character and giving the reader an intimate look at their unique realities, from the highs and to the lows.  Nothing is spared. While reading Some Luck, I am not sure if I felt more like a fly on the wall or a distant cousin, but all I know is by the end of the book I cared about the Langdon family and wanted to know where the next 30 years would take each of them. Luckily, Smiley has planned this as a trilogy so we can expect to see more of the Langdon family.“


Steph is here and she has taken to heart a patron recommendation.  I’ll let her tell you all about it. “Over the weekend, I read A Test of Wills, by Charles Todd, after a book group read it and highly recommended it. This is the first of sixteen books in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, a detective mystery series set in Britain after the First World War. In this book, Rutledge is still suffering from what we would now call PTSD, which he experiences primarily as a voice in his head, of a young man who he sentenced to death during the war. He rejoins Scotland Yard after coming home, and is sent to the countryside to investigate a politically sensitive murder in a town where nobody wants to talk to him. He’s plunged into several small town dramas and, having no one to trust, tries to solve the crime alone. It’s not a book with a lot of twists, but it definitely kept me guessing right up until the end. The book rotates through several points of view, but really focuses on Rutledge’s, giving it the same feel as a Tana French or Denise Mina novel. It’s a great series for fans of those writers, or any reader who likes the combination of a detective’s psychology and a well-plotted mystery. I can’t wait to read more books in this series!


Now that the night comes on faster and the weather has turned cooler, I can be found back playing in my kitchen which most of you know makes me happy.  This time of year brings out the nesting instinct in us all I think.  My latest companion in the kitchen is One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living.  The conceit here is that you can make your dinner in one pot, be that pot a Dutch oven, a sheet pan, or a slow cooker. The chapters are dedicated to whatever vessel you choose to be using and there are some really great recipes in here.  So far the favorites are salmon roasted with kale and cabbage and dressed in a lemon vinaigrette, and sausages and potatoes braised in ale.  The other thing I love about this book is that it takes one basic recipe and changes it up 4 different ways.  I can totally see this as a wedding gift with one or more of the pots alongside. Make sure you grab a copy for yourself!


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State That Shall Not Be Named (35 days until The Game!) and she has some questions for us.  What’s good Pats?  “Are we what we read? That seems to be the thesis of this weekly missive. But an interesting debate has once again emerged. This dialogue always fascinates me, and finds me swimming right into the deep end of this meta-discussion. The debate is about reading, specifically the types of books children should be allowed to or encouraged to read.   There are two camps in this debate. The ‘just so long as they’re reading’ camp versus the ‘from pulp to Proust? No way, start them with real literature and classics’ camp. I would like to offer another version. While there may be some truth to You Are What You Read, it is far too reductive and simplistic. Aren’t we more complex than that?   Take, for example, my seven-year-old son who frequented the reference desk asking for books on fighter planes, as he had already read all the books on planes in the Children’s Library. His interest that began with planes led him naturally to want more complex texts as he desired more knowledge. As a culture we get anxious when it comes to our children and reading. There exists anxiousness that, as parents, if we don’t give our children the right kind of books they will somehow be deficient. My daughter is a voracious reader and my son is well on his way. I trust that their love of stories and what’s going to happen next will serve them well and that they will go on to read difficult texts with complex storylines.   As adults don’t we sometimes need a little light reading to break up an otherwise steady stream of serious novels or non-fiction? Does anyone exclusively read serious literature 24-7? What is wrong with a slice of pulp fiction or a light-hearted beach book with a side of romance or danger? I say, nothing.  After all, We Are What We Read…DL WHY ARE YOU WHAT YOU READ? 2014

You Are What You Read!

Another week of not very good news I am afraid.  There’s sickness, bad behavior everywhere, the Market is tanking.  Everyone’s mood seems to veering somewhere between hysteria and a shoulder shrugging fatalism.  I know that for myself my nerves are frayed and I found myself asking a woman who cut in front of me in a line if she was aware of how rude she was being.  And just to let you all know, she didn’t care.  Look, it’s not pretty People.  We are supposed to have a lovely weekend with a partly sunny day tomorrow and highs in the 70’s with Sunday also being partly sunny but with slightly chillier temps.  I am charging all of you to do something that brings you peace and happiness.  So bake a cookie, go for a walk by the sea, play with a puppy, have lunch with a friend, go to The Marshalls.  Do one thing so that for the next week you can look back on it and remember with fondness and perhaps bring a little tranquility to your world. This week we have secrets (ssshhh), Old Boys, bodies of water, an island, a muddle and a vow.  Playlist?  Another twofer week!  Bonus! 

Let us begin!

Barbara M told me she was pleasantly surprised at how much she enjoyed her offering this week. “Not My Father’s Son by actor and now author Alan Cumming is a heart wrenching, beautifully written memoir. The book is organized into alternating chapters entitled ‘Then’ and ‘Now.’ The ‘Then’ chapters focus on the abuse Cumming and his brother suffered from their father. The ‘Now’ chapters tell the story of the filming of the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are which uses genealogical research to uncover family secrets. The subject they chose to investigate was the disappearance of Cumming’s maternal grandfather who never returned home after serving in France during World War II. He eventually moved to Malaysia and died there under mysterious circumstances. The book is poignant, sometimes funny and very engrossing. “

Erin as we all know, loves herself a memoir.  Here is her take on Lena Dunham’s Not that Kind of Girl. “The creator/writer/star of HBO’s Girls has written a highly entertaining collection of personal essays on the topics of falling in love, losing her virginity, accepting her body, and sitting at the table of the Old Boys Club that is Hollywood. While Dunham can be very polarizing, I found her essays to be well written and frequently hilarious. She is, after all, sharing her own experience as a young woman coming into her own.”

Laura is hanging on to summer.   Here are two books that have stuck with her. “I wanted to let you know of some special reading that I did over the summer that I think many would enjoy.  These books are not new, but both are perspectives on our region, Long Island Sound and the Hudson River Valley, that will make you want to explore and know more about these amazing waterways.  First is The Hudson, A History, by Tom Lewis.  What I didn't know was the Hudson River was the engine behind the development of our country. Albany was the most important city during the 1800's, and when Lincoln was campaigning for President, Albany was the place he needed the votes, because industry and westward expansion was at its utmost. Not only were artists mesmerized by the river's landscape and beauty; industrialists and inventors were captured by its potential which, in turn, fueled the emerging region into the powerhouse it still is today.  As well, the story about Long Island Sound is beautifully rendered in Tom Andersen's This Fine Piece of Water: An Environmental History of Long Island Sound.  From the Indians, to pirates, to the colonies fighting for independence, to the present day city expansions and pollution; this is the story about how the Sound is coming back thanks to the efforts of environmental watch groups.  It is a strongly written account of the history of our failures and our successes.  This is a must read.”

The Ever Delightful Pat S has just finished The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. “ This is a charming tale which reads almost as a fable and  yet is not a fable. So I have settled on it being a sort of love letter to readers. Set in an independent bookstore on an island off the coast of Massachusetts, we are introduced to a childless middle aged widower. In the two years since his wife died, A. J. has become angry and bitter due to his personal loss and as a bookseller in a failing business. Lo and behold, something completely unexpected is dropped into his lap-providing the catalyst for a new and wonderful life. Peopled with the local denizens of an island colony, it is reading that ties everyone together at first until the bonds of love and friendship have become established. Each chapter is introduced with a synopsis of a book or short story which mirrors A.J. Fikry’s life philosophy and provides a very respectable reading list for the reader as well. This is a book which celebrates the power of reading and art to heal and nurture. If the news is getting you down, this is the book for you.”


Steph has discovered another favorite of the year. “Here is another best book of the year;  On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss. Biss, who has won practically every award you can win for essay and non-fiction writing, has produced one of the most thoughtful pieces of personal writing I have read in a long time. When she became pregnant with her son, Biss was instantly confronted by the many dilemmas facing modern mothers, and none was more urgent and muddled than the decision to vaccinate. Should she vaccinate? When? Which diseases? This puzzle led her to research the history of vaccination and how it’s been regarded over the years. The result is a book that moves effortlessly between personal story and well-researched non-fiction. The book is relatively short, but Biss’s writing is so powerful that I often took breaks while reading it to absorb everything she’d thrown at me. This book would obviously be great for parents, doctors, and nurses, but will also appeal to readers who like Andrew Solomon, Rachel Carson, and Carolyn Kellogg. This is essay writing and science writing at its finest.”

The Fabulous Babs B saw the play of one of my favorite movies of all time.  She is begging us all to take a train into New York and experience for ourselves.  Here is what she thought of You Can't Take It With You by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.  “On Wednesday a dear friend took me to see the play You Can't Take It With You, with the great James Earl Jones.  Set in New York City 1936 it's the story of the zany Sycamore family who march to the beat of a different drummer!  When the young Miss Sycamore falls in love and meets her fiancée’s parents who are extremely cold and worlds apart from her loving family, she cancels her engagement.  Her Grandfather (James Earl Jones) will have none of this however, and proceeds to tell her how lucky she is to have found love and to go for it because you can't take it with you and life is too short not to take a shot at being happy.  The moral of this story really hit home with me and I intend to seize the moment and do things in life I want.  Remember, you can't take it with you!”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named (BTW 42 days until The Game).  She is working on focusing on What’s Good.  So Pats?  What’s Good?  “ This week I’d like to focus on The Happy. What makes me happy is probably different than what makes you happy so I’ll share first.  This week it made me very happy to hear that folks are enthusiastically lining up to get their flu shots. It makes me feel as though my endless preaching has been heard, so thank you for that! And for those who have not yet done so, please go get a flu shot.

It’s no secret that I am a picture book enthusiast. So it made me very happy to learn that one of my favorite authors has a new picture book, Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers. I’m lucky number three in the hold queue and will be anxiously awaiting that pick-up email. I’ve no doubt that this book will meet my expectations. In fact, the anticipation of reading it makes me happy and frankly just a tiny bit giddy. Read more about it here.

Discovering good new tunes also makes me happy. This week I’ve curated a short playlist with some new songs that you may not have heard though I’m fairly certain you’ve heard the first tune. DL A SHORT PLAYLIST OF NEW TUNES 2014

I’m also including a throwback to the  DL SUMMER FIND UR HAPPY PLACE 2013  playlist because it’s just plain chock-full of happy. I recommend you listen to it in the shuffle mode.

If you find that you need some help in finding your own Happy, I’ve got good news. There’s an app for that! Check these out.

So this week I encourage you to go forth, find your own Happy and share it with us. The world could use a little more Happy right about now.

New DVD Releases

Here is what you can find new to the shelves in the upcoming days.

What are my neighbors up to?

Here is a list of the most popular items this week.

You Are What You Read!

I need to begin this week with an apology.  Apparently I caused some marital discord because I stated the Harvest Moon would take place on Monday when, in fact, it occurred on Wednesday.  So my apologies to Curtiss R, I regret to inform you that Leslie was right and I was wrong.  As for the rest of you, I hope that your gleaning/threshing activities were in no way inconvenienced.  But it was a really pretty moon, wasn’t it?  (Hangs head in shame, shuffles away and changes the subject) As you can see, the message from The SoNo Loft this week is Tell the Story.  Who doesn’t love a good story? Good stories enlighten, entertain and stay with you.  On Wednesday (and yes I double checked that), the National Book Award committee will be announcing the short list for fiction and I am praying that my two favorites, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Some Luck by Jane Smiley will be among the five chosen.  Both of these are amazing stories and they are populated by wonderfully rich characters.  And with the way the world has been lately, who wouldn’t want to lose themselves in a wonderful story?  I for one have this weekend off, no OSU Football to occupy me and I am looking forward to a big stack of book to lose myself in. I hope you have a similar stack.  If not, we can help you with that and you know where to find us. This week we have voices, a really questionable romance, letters, life choices, sad discoveries, and a wave. And the Playlist!  This week times two!


Let us begin!


Sue S has a new romance novel that she is rabid for. “Let’s face it, it’s a fact, heroes are my weakness. It's also a fact that for this week’s You Are What You Read it is the title of the book I devoured in 2 evenings. Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the story of a young woman, a down-on-her-luck ventriloquist, who has to stay 60 consecutive days on an island in a cottage once owned by her deceased mother or risk losing it.  She comes to find that a reclusive writer, Theo Harp, who writes chilling horror novels, is also staying on the island. Annie and Theo (who I found to be as broody as Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights) have a past and now they're trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Annie’s inner voice and those of her puppets is warning her that Theo is trouble and that she should stay way. But it’s Annie's heart that is the real trouble maker when it starts telling her he has changed. Only time will tell who Annie should really listen to! This book will definitely get rid of the chill on a cold day!”


Amanda is heating up her fall with the sizzling new eBook, A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan. “This book first comes with a warning: the lovers are stepsiblings. However, as shocking as this may be to us, fans of historical romance know that stepsibling romance is only unseemly and not all that bad. The hero, Decian, was thrown out of his home 10 years ago. His stepsister, Rosalie, was sent away to school and left there. Now Decian’s father is dead and Rosalie has been unceremoniously dropped on his doorstep after overstaying her welcome at school. Will Decian be able to forgive Rosalie the sin of being her mother’s daughter? And to what lengths will Rosalie go to discover herself before being forced into marriage with a stranger? This book is a marvelous quick read and one of the most scandalous things I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series which alas – has not been announced yet.”

Pat T has taken a suggestion to heart this week. “A patron suggested I read Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. She said, ‘I know you don't like epistolary style books, but I promise this book is laugh out loud funny.’  And she's right! Jason Fitger is a creative writing professor at a small Midwest college and he is always called upon by the students to write letters of recommendation on their behalf.  Jason's once promising writing career is in a downward spiral, he wreaked havoc on his personal life by disclosing his private affairs in his novels and he is in rivalries with the other college departments because they are better funded. This and more is detailed in this hilarious, clever and passive aggressive letters of recommendation. Sit down, put your feet up and enjoy this humorous read!”

Sweet Ann has just finished The Children Act by Ian McEwan.  “This short read kept me engaged from the first page to the last.  Judge Fiona Maye presides over family cases that are heart wrenching. The novel centers on the case of an eighteen year old boy who is a Jehovah's Witness and needs a blood transfusion to survive his cancer.  The boy is strong in his beliefs and he and Fiona form quite a bond after she visits him in the hospital to help her determine her decision.  Fiona is also having marital trouble.  Is she too involved in her work or just dealing with her inability to ever have children?  This novel makes you think about life choices we all have to make.  It also makes you question how involved one should get in someone else's life.  It is a great read and I also loved the novel Saturday by Mr. McEwan.”

Steph has another book to add to the Favorites of 2014 List! “After hearing so much about it online and from fellow readers in the Library, I was glad to finally get a chance to read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. The novel opens with a disappearance, and then a sad discovery: Lydia Lee has drowned in the lake in her small town in Ohio. Her family is devastated, because not only was her death unexpected, but it has also unveiled many family secrets. The book skips from mind to mind and from past to present as the mystery unfolds. The revelations of the story, while quiet and small, are devastating. Ng captures so beautifully (her writing is exquisite) the ways families hurt each other, even, and especially, out of love. My heart ached for every character. This is one of my favorite books of 2014.”

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is here this week and she’s revisiting one of her obsessions. “This week I return with my love of YA dystopian novels.  My newest obsession is Hugh Yancey’s The Infinite Sea, the second installment in The Fifth Wave trilogy.  Warning, you really need to read The Fifth Wave first, because this one picks up almost immediately where it left off.  I have been anxiously waiting for this book to come out for months and it did not disappoint.  Just like the first book, the story is told through different perspectives as the characters try to survive as they prepare to battle the fifth and final wave.  Yancey does an excellent job of enriching the story with character flashbacks and, while I was somewhat disappointed one of the storylines took a backseat, by the end I had a better appreciation for some of the other characters. The book was action-packed but it also displayed a rare vulnerability with its character development.  While many of the questions from the first book are answered, other mysteries arise, and by the end, Yancey has set himself up for an epic showdown for the final book.  This is a series that cannot be missed.  Think Hunger Games meets the X-Files meets the Body Snatchers.  My only complaint is now I have to wait another year for the third and final installment of the series. “

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Up North (49 days until The Game.  Get excited!) and as you can see she is back to herself again.  Here’s what she’s thinking about this week. “Is anyone else suffering from media overload? It seems that every news outlet is more focused on producing hysteria than reporting facts. There are a lot of things to worry over. Trust me, I could create an exhaustive list that would leave you in a sweaty ball of anxiety, require heavy medication and a team of specialists to get you out of the house again.   I refuse to be another voice of hysteria. Instead, I’d like to suggest that we all take three deep breaths and don’t freak out. There are a few things we can do right now to alleviate some of this craziness: 

1) Get a flu shot (I know, I sound like a broken record)  
2) Make sure your children’s immunizations are current and get them a flu shot (Needle stuck in the groove)
3) If your child is sick, keep him or her home from school. (Yes, this one is tough for working parents especially if you have a child who is ill for a long time. My third grader was out for eight days straight from school already. I feel your pain.)

If you still find yourself still freaking out, put the newspaper away, step away from the glowing screen, get outside and go for a long walk in nature. Hard data proves that this simple step reduces anxiety.”
DL TELL THE STORY 2014 & DL Don't Freak Out 2013

You Are What You Read!

The Loft’s message remains the same; ‘Leaf on the Wind’ and I still don’t get it. If anyone out there is feeling the message, please report back.  On Monday we have the Harvest Moon to look forward to.  This full moon is thusly named because it is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox and is typically bright enough to allow the finishing of harvest chores after the sun goes down. So those of you with some last minute threshing to take care of will have light from the moon to get that done. Enjoy! Of course this also means that we are in the thick of the fall season and I suppose I should do something this weekend to celebrate that fact.  Perhaps an apple pie would make me feel better about this?  Or a lovely savory something made with butternut squash?  I did sneak in a white pants wearing last weekend because the weather was cooperating but even I have to concede defeat and declare that there will be no more white pants now until May 26, 2015.  Mark the calendar.  I am however still clinging stubbornly to the bare leg but honestly if the mornings continue to run cool as they have been that will be the next thing to go.   This week we have some dystopia, Paris, a team of women, Italy, drinking, grey cells and bodies. A whole town full of dead bodies.   Playlist?  You betcha!


Let us begin!


Miss Elisabeth of the CL is doing a reversal this week.  I’ll let her explain. Miss Elisabeth? “On Saturday I went to see The Maze Runner. It was great! I'd never read the book, so I went in completely blind, and I found the action-packed plot thrilling. The ending of the movie was a bit of a mess; the explanation for the Maze didn't make too much sense, but I assume that's because I didn't read the book. The cast was excellent. Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who stole everyone's hearts as the adorable Sam in Love, Actually was one of the main characters, and he looks exactly the same! The lead character was played by Dylan O'Brien, who is very, very funny as sidekick Stiles on MTV's Teen Wolf. The whole cast was really pleasantly diverse and they did a great job with the material, elevating what could have been another run-of-the-mill dystopian movie into something really fun to watch. I just checked the book out today, and I look forward to figuring out what the heck was going on in the last ten minutes of the movie!”


Barbara M. Back in Paris.  As it should be.  “On the advice of one of my favorite patrons I’m reading Sacré Bleu a whimsical, comedic, absurd novel by Christopher Moore. It’s about van Gogh’s death, the color blue and the art world in Paris during the late 1800s. The cast of characters includes not only well known artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, Gaugin and Manet but also a mystical being called The Colorman who roams around trying to sell his special blue paint to artists. The book is a mixture of genres (historical-fiction, fantasy, satire) and is very funny. Although it is not my usual type of book I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”


Laura is surprised this week. “Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer was a satisfying surprise.  Set in an everyday world, a team of four women, a biologist, a surveyor, an anthropologist and a psychiatrist set out to study Area X, a part of the world that has evolved in a different way.  The scene is not necessarily post-apocolyptic and it could be taking place in the present day.  The story's point of view is through the eyes and mind of the biologist as she studies and gathers data.  There is very little dialog but the inquisitiveness of the biologist keeps you reading.  It is a slow burn kind of read that when you pick it up to, you are rewarded with a steady and even handed drama.  Annihilation is Book One of the South Reach Trilogy and I am looking forward to reading Book 2, Authority, in the future.

Babs B has finished The Secret of Raven Point by Jennifer Vanderbes.  “When her adored older brother goes missing in Italy during WWII, Julie signs up to be an Army nurse.  When she finds herself assigned to the front lines, her once sheltered life changes dramatically.  Her only thought in the beginning was finding her brother, but as the weeks turn into months and she befriends patients, makes new friends, and her whole life opens up.  While reading this story I honestly felt transported to another time and place.  I had a great time with this book!”

The Always Delightful Pat S has just read A Spy Among Friends by Ben McIntyre.  “If you are a 007 fan, this book is going to be a myth buster. Kim Philby, perhaps the greatest double agent of the 20th century, was working for the Soviets while he had a long and high profile position in MI6. This allowed him to infiltrate not just the center of British security but American security as well.  McIntyre tells the story of his entrance into the spy world; a seamless transition from the storied world of Cambridge to MI6 where he joined a select and class-conscious few. Predicated on nothing more substantial than knowing the right people, Philby embarked on a career which was ably assisted by his charm, sociability and prodigious drinking habits. In fact, it was Philby’s very sociability which allowed him access to inner circles the world over. When the charade ultimately came to an end in 1963, and Philby defected to Moscow, neither his best friends from Cambridge, fellow spies, nor any one of his three wives had any clue as to his duplicity. This is a fascinating look at a world where the myths are less improbable than the reality.”


Steph is visiting with an old friend in a new way. “It was with some trepidation that I approached The Monogram Murders, by Sophie Hannah. You might not know that this book is by Sophie Hannah if you looked at the cover quickly, because another author’s name is MUCH bigger on it: AGATHA CHRISTIE. That’s right: this is a new Hercule Poirot story, the first since Curtain was published in 1975! It’s always a little scary when someone gets a new crack at a favorite like Poirot, but knowing that she had the full backing of the Christie estate, I tried it out. The result? Quite fun! No, it’s not the Agatha Christie you remember. But the plot is a delightfully Christie-like maze, and more importantly, Poirot sounds exactly like he should. This was very enjoyable and certainly worth the attention of your little grey cells.


I am WILD for The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield. Kate grew up in sleepy, segregated Jubilee Kentucky.  Grief brings out the best and the worst in people and as the daughter of the town’s undertaker, Kate saw it all.  I recently described it to a co-worker as To Kill a Mockingbird with dead bodies, and a soupçon of mental illness with a side of alcoholism and infidelity. Mayfield is a wonderfully evocative writer who describes her unusual upbringing and her hometown with love and tenderness even while she is conjuring up painful reminiscences.  How much do I love this book?  I am reading it on my Kindle for my commute and in book form the minute I get home.  I am planning what will be for dinner to optimize evening reading time.  This gem is due out in January and be glad of it because the Hellidays would probably be a diminished affair if you got your hands on it in December.


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is still battling a vicious something in the State Up North. Join me in wishing her recovery.  It would appear we are too late to wish her the speedy part.  “Last weekend my family and I wrapped up Banned Books Week by venturing out to celebrate a nighttime festival of art and light in downtown Detroit. The Exhibition DLECTRICITY  featured over 35 world-renowned and emerging artists whose work lit up the city in brilliant color and movement. Art galleries, studios and cathedrals were open for art projected on their walls both inside and out creating an art display unlike any other. Kids were outside playing Minecraft and their games were successively projected on one side of the Detroit Institute of Arts. There was even a parade, a light bike parade! The Mindfield video projection on the Detroit Institute of Arts and across the street on the Detroit Public Library was mind blowing. So this week, I thought it would be worthwhile to celebrate and listen to an artist who is no stranger to the threat of censure or banning. This week listen to a musical genius and artist who just released not one but two albums! This week I bring you the MAN in PURPLE otherwise known as Prince. Enjoy the tunes.”

DL WHAT COLOR IS GENIUS? 2014

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