Here are the new titles available from 3M.
Here are the new titles available from 3M.
Here are the new titles available from OverDrive.
First things first this week! We must give a shout out and thank you to Nina and Dave M who obeyed us this week and found space in the suitcase for some stellar taffy. Thanks Nina and Dave! It was delish. Remember People! We are here at home, tending to things while you Summer. The weather has been so delightfully cool it’s safe to put fudge in the suitcase too. The message from the SoNo Loft this week is an interesting one. " We Are All Shamans." Merriam Webster defines a Shaman as “someone who is believed in some cultures to be able to use magic to cure people who are sick, to control future events, etc.” We all have the power to bring a little magic into each other’s lives. Sometimes it’s in the form of Taffy and Fudge. Sometimes it’s finding the absolutely right book that is needed at exactly that moment. Think about how much those small things can mean and then make sure that you do a Shaman like deed this week. This weekend Erin will be at Weed Beach from 10-2 spreading a whole lot of Summer Magic in the form of Darien Library Koozies (sanctioned beverages only please), a nice selection of summer reads and of course some friendly games of cornhole. Stop by, say hi and remember no wagering! This week we have some sailing, a murder, a stack, some dementia, a 14-year-old, spy craft, Australia, and of course we have The Playlist!
Let us begin!
Erin has been using our very cool streaming tool Hoopla. “This weekend I watched an excellent documentary that I borrowed through Hoopla. The film Maidentrip follows Laura Dekker, the Dutch teenager who became the youngest woman to sail around the world solo. It is part adventure story, part coming-of-age documentary and is mostly comprised of Laura’s own footage. I was completely enthralled with Laura’s insights into travel, patriotism, independence, and family. Because the film follows her two-year journey, you actually see her grow up on screen. I highly recommended it.”
Sweet Ann has just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. “This novel takes place in the beautiful community of Pirriwee, Australia. It is at the public school where we meet the main characters of this novel when three women enroll their children in kindergarten. Madeline has a daughter with her second husband entering the school, as well as an older daughter. Celeste is married with twin boys and is keeping a dark secret from her friends. Jane is a single mom with a son who is new to the town. This novel opens with a murder and then takes the reader back to months before the incident. While the novel does have humor, Ms. Moriarty tackles some serious subjects as well in her story. There is bullying, infidelity, and domestic abuse. This is a real page turner .”
Abby is tackling The Stack that we all have. Here is what she thought of Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. “Over vacation I vowed to read a book that’s been on the To Be Read Stack for a long time. I can be fussy about how an author puts together a story and this complex and layered mystery converges beautifully. At the center of the story is Jackson Brodie, a former police officer turned private investigator. Brodie feels badly for billing clients for lost causes but understands a case may sometimes be about more than a result. Sometimes a desperate person just wants to know someone is working on their behalf. The story begins with a missing child from an eccentric family 35 years ago and the impact that event had on the family. Case Histories is a poignant mix of hope and sadness. I plan to read more of her work. “
Laura is in the middle of reading Jo Walton’s My Real Children. “I am reading a novel that has been classified as a science fiction novel, but I am not convinced that it is sci-fi. Jo Walton's My Real Children begins in 2015, in a hospital where the elderly protagonist Patty is suffering from memory loss. Then 100 plus pages into the book, the story revolves around two story lines of Patty's character during World War II. One is a loving, youthful and promising courtship turned depressing marriage. The other life is free of the traditional bounds of the era raising three children with her lesbian lover, and openly living between sunny Italy and England. The time frame and the use of switching the protagonist’s story lines is very similar to Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which I truly loved reading. My Real Children is easy to read, so I am not going to give up on it.”
Virginia, everyone’s favorite Tall Cool Texan is a little late to the party for Tell the Wolves I 'm Home but we’re happy she showed up just the same. What’s your take Virginia? “You will have to excuse my rambling, but I am suffering from a book hangover. You know the feeling, where you stay up all night, telling yourself, ‘just one more chapter,’ and then the next thing you know its daylight and you finished the book. Then comes the regret because when you find a book that good, you want to portion it out and make it last as long as possible. This is exactly what happened to me with the exceptional Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. The book actually came out in 2012 and I am not sure how I missed it. It’s set in 1987 and is a coming of age story for June Elbus, a shy fourteen-year-old girl who just lost her beloved uncle to AIDS. It is about the power of love, the impact of death, the effects of disease, and the strength of friendship and family. It is a beautiful book and has just moved to the top of my summer favorites.”
Stephanie is avoiding Real World Duties our favorite way. By escaping into a book. No judging Steph. No judging, “I had such a great time reading Back Channel by Stephen L. Carter. I was supposed to be doing important things, and ignored all of them to finish the book, because once I got into it, I couldn’t stop myself. Carter, who is a master of gripping historical fiction, has imagined a world in which the Cuban Missile Crisis is only resolved through the daring work of Miss Margo Jensen. Margo, one of the only black women attending Cornell, thinks her life is complicated enough, and then she’s accidentally (or is it an accident?), through a professor, pulled into a web of spy craft that would make John Le Carre drool. She becomes the only person through whom Khrushchev will communicate. The only way she can get his messages to Kennedy is to take advantage of Kennedy’s reputation and appear to become one of his mistresses. As with any Cold War spy story, there are double crosses galore, and the suspense is killer. I honestly had no idea whether Carter was going to actually resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis! Historical fiction, literary fiction, thriller, this book has got everything.
Thomas and I have been working through Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Miss Krishna and Miss Elisabeth of the CL are rabid evangelists for this series and with good reason. But make no mistake; this is a most adult series. The Honorable Phryne Fisher is taking 1920’s Melbourne by storm and advertising her availability as a Lady Detective. She solves murders, has men panting at her feet, and she enjoys every moment. The cinematography is lush and the period details are wonderful.
What’s DJ Jazzy Patty McC doing in the State Which Shall Not Be Named this weekend? She’s here to tell us. Hey Pats! “We’ve returned from Up North and this Saturday we’ll be parked in lawn chairs enjoying the world’s largest one-day rolling car show down Woodward Avenue aka America’s first highway. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Woodward Dream Cruise. It’s a big ole slice of Americana. People are already camping out in lawn chairs lining the Avenue, swapping and sharing stories of cars they’ve owned or otherwise longed to own. Last year, I mistakenly found myself driving smack in the middle of it. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Everyone was happy, windows rolled down, tops off the convertibles all sharing a high that might have had something to do with the primitive emissions systems on the older cars or just a shared love of a wheeled machine. Imagine 40,000 classic cars and 1 million people here for the event. Now imagine how excited my 7-year-old son will be as it rolls down OUR street. I call everything a “rat rod” just ‘cause I like the phrase. I am corrected by my son who then gives me the actual make of the vehicle. He’s like the Rain Man of automobiles. Though I love this celebration and communion of folks with a shared love of tinkering, wheels and stories, I must admit that I don’t love the pollution it spews. So here’s another Detroit story about a greener, but equally cool cruise. So wherever you are, jump in your own personal ‘rat rod,’ roll down the windows, crank up the tunes and enjoy this uniquely American pleasure. Certainly a cruise of this magnitude deserves a serious playlist and a hashtag. Yep, we’ve got that covered. Follow along with #WoodwardDreamCruise on Twitter and Instagram.
I’ll see you on the road.
We have lots of smallish things to discuss this week starting with the words from the SoNo Loft which are: “I must reveal my deepest thought: I love you train. I am ready to take this to the next level.” I have no idea what is meant by this. But rest assured I will be keeping my eyes open and when I know, so will you. We are in the beginning days of Darien: The Left Behind. This is a spot we find ourselves in every August when you all decamp to places where one Summers as a verb leaving us behind to tend the home fires. Things are so quiet that there were only 4 police reports in the paper this week. If you are reading this on a beach/lake/mountaintop we hope you are having fun and we would like to remind you that fudge and taffy are always appreciated and it is possible to buy our love with food. Finally this weekend we have the second Super Full Moon of the summer. Some of the things we have seen this week confirms that the Full Moon is indeed on its way and it will indeed be Super. I will let you all use your imaginations on that and suffice it to say that your imaginations cannot begin to match our reality. I think the only reason it is not making us run for the Hills and building a Bunker stocked with canned goods and alcohol is that the heat and humidity that usually accompany an August full moon just aren’t there. To say we are grateful is an understatement. This week we have DC and New York, Nigeria and Hollywood, disappointment, Chicago, Mississippi, youthful optimism, France and of course there will always be an England. And of course we have The Playlist.
Let us begin!
Welcome back Barbara M! Barbara was away for a while but now she’s back and we could not be more pleased. You were missed! “This week I will digress from my usual format. Uncharacteristically I have watched two incredible series. When I finished the second season of House of Cards I was distraught. It was so well scripted, and so well-acted, that I didn’t think I could watch another series. Kevin Spacey plays a Washington, D.C. hotshot with enough ambition and chutzpa to take on the world. He is married to Robin Wright, with the same demonic drives. Together they are determined to climb to the top. I was hooked by the first episode and was seriously suffering at the end of the second season with withdrawal until I decided to try Orange is the New Black. Orange is the New Black is both a very dark comedy and a drama. Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, is a rich, privileged New Yorker who gets involved in a drug smuggling ring, gets arrested and then sent to prison. Again the Netflix writers have done an incredible job at developing the characters. It is funny (in a perverse way), poignant and absolutely, engrossing.”
Steph! What’s doing this week? “This week I have two totally different books to recommend. The first is Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I have wanted to read this book for months, so much so that I bought my own copy to take on vacation with me. Given all the great reviews and best-of lists, I was certain it would be great, and it exceeded even my high expectations. Adichie is a genius. The story alternates between two teenage sweethearts: we watch them fall in love and then lose each other as Ifemelu leaves Nigeria for America and becomes an academic, and Obinze tries his luck as an undocumented immigrant in London and then makes his fortune back in Nigeria. Both of them experience the pains and triumphs of adulthood apart, but never stop thinking of each other even as years of silence pass. The story slowly circles towards the first time they’ll both be in Nigeria in years, and by the end I wasn’t sure what would happen or even what I wanted to happen! Adichie’s writing is so funny but it it also cutting. I read the first 100 pages in a blur, completely losing track of time. Though Adichie is Nigerian, I’d nominate this book for Great American Novel any day of the week. And then for something completely opposite, we have The Actress by Amy Sohn. Yes, that’s the one that’s based on the TomKat story. A minor actress is catapulted to fame through her marriage to a high-profile actor. But is the whole marriage just a cover for his gay relationships? Who can she trust in the depths of Hollywood? And who has she become? Great American Novel it is not but it’s the perfect page-turning smart beach read. This is a book custom-made for the dog days of August.”
Alison F is our numbers person but occasionally she’ll grab something with letters in it. Sadly this was not her week for a happy result. “I just finished reading The Three by Susan Lotz and I was very disappointed. Thrillers should build and keep building and keep your attention until you get the answers. While I will say that the author was able to build his characters in the end the plot crashed and burned. So disappointed.”
The Fabulous Babs B is here with The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. What did you think Babs? “This is the story of a kidnapping gone wrong. Mia, the black sheep daughter of a prominent Chicago judge is the target and the plot unfolds in four different perspectives: Mia, Mia's mother Eve, Gabe, the detective assigned to the case and Colin, the kidnapper. I must admit I was confused in the beginning reading the before and after segments of each character. My advice is to just be patient, it all comes together I'm happy to report and there is a big twist at the end. Fans of Gone Girl will enjoy this one!”
The Ever Delightful Pat S had finished one of my favorites and here is her take on Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth. “A debut novel, Flying Shoes is nothing short of being an unpolished jewel. Set in a small, insular university town in Mississippi, the story revolves around the unsolved murder of the nine- year -old brother of the main character Mary Byrd Thornton. Thirty five years later, new information comes to light requiring Mary Byrd to find her way to Richmond to meet with her remaining family and the detectives re-opening this cold case-in the midst of a devastating winter ice storm-and we’re off to the races! In true Southern literary tradition, Howorth richly describes small town university life in the south with a cast of memorable characters reinforcing the unpredictability and sheer absurdity of living. It was hard to close the last page on Mary Byrd, Teever, Ernest and Foote-and I am missing them still. Cannot wait to see what this author does next!”
Pat T recently listened to the audio version of The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. “I found her collection of fiction and non-fiction essays to be full of youthful energy, optimism, profound and yet lighthearted. Her essays are a testament to her talent, as well as being her legacy, since she tragically passed away shortly after her college graduation. I enjoyed reading this book because it gives voice to the ideas, hopes and dreams and concerns of the twenty-something generation.”
This week one of our patrons Shirley O has submitted a review for us. She has just finished Robert Harris's An Officer and A Spy and here is what she thought of it. Welcome Shirley! “As always, Harris writes so well that you are immersed in the true story of Alfred Dreyfus. The way he tells about this episode of French bigotry and how it was it is solved is so exciting that you will think you are in 1890’s France. I think everyone should read this book because a lot of people have never heard of the Dreyfus Affair and this is a wonderful way of learning about it.”
I am very excited about my newest Blow Dry Book. Those who are frequent visitors know that I read while I blow dry my hair. Because it’s a boring chore and I come from a people who believe that any time you are bored it is your own fault and you are not being resourceful enough to entertain yourself. There are requirements to Blow Dry Books. The chapters need to be short and engaging, and you need to be able to easily pick up where you left off. Books of letters are the perfect Blow Dry Books. In Darling Monster: The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to Son John Julius Norwich, 1939-1952 by Lady Diana Cooper we have what is one of the most engaging Blow Dry Books I have come across in a long time. This lovely collection spans some of the most tumultuous years in British history and Lady Diana and her husband Duff Cooper were right in the middle of it all. In these letters we see a doting mother explaining a trip to the states to help sway American opinion away from Isolationism along with a plea to remember to say your prayers. It’s simply charming.
And here’s DJ Jazzy Patty McC . Still in the State Which Shall Not Be Named. What’s good Pats? "This summer has kept me busy. Very, very busy keeping secret surprises and catering things like my cousins’ 25th wedding anniversary, a top-secret cousin engagement (that also involved cooking) now throw in a visit from lovely CT friends and Maker Faire Detroit. This was all in the last two weeks! Frankly, I’m feeling slightly exhausted. This week marks my 21st wedding anniversary to my wonderful partner and our annual extended family trek Up North. If you know anything about Michigan, you know that folks go Up North during the summertime. Ernest Hemingway spent summers of his youth here and wrote a powerful short story, Up in Michigan. We will not be vacationing in Petoskey but will go further north around Little Traverse Bay to Harbor Springs; the place where Ernest arrived by train then traveled to Petoskey. Our own Up North is a sweet little town with artesian spring water fountains, a fantastic farmers market and a great independent bookstore, Between the Covers. My favorite find in town is the library over Howse’s Fudge shop. Up North 25 of us will share our lives for a week. We will bike in gangs, drink from those artesian fountains, shop locally, play Euchre, cook for the clan and most importantly tell and share stories. Memories will be made and my camera will be documenting non-stop much to the protest of my loving father-in-law. I’ve been blessed to belong to a family of makers, tinkers and educators. This is our vacation. Hope you enjoy yours. Don’t forget to send us a postcard. I’ve got the fudge covered."
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.”
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!”
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!
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.”
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.”
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.”