You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to You Are What You Read.  This edition has no fancy name to it.  This week’s big news is that there are absolutely no housekeeping chores to be done.  There were no offerings of taffy or fudge.  The SoNo Loft has nothing to say because it literally disappeared over night rendering my commute even more charm-free than it normally is.    I am hopeful that this is just about roof repairs. Of course when I know more, so will you.  A world without The Loft is just too sad to think about.

This weekend promises to be hot and humid and that can only mean one thing.  Afternoon thunderstorms could be in the making.  There was this fascinating piece on NPR this morning about how deaths by lightning strikes are way, way up. The 411 on this is as follows; July is the most dangerous month for death by lightning, most of the victims are male and the body count is at 20 so far this summer.  So while most people are oddly freaked out by the recent shark attacks, you are more likely to be hit by a lightning strike (1 in 12,000)  than you are to have a run in with Mary Lee Shark (1 in 11.5 million). Back in the day, there were many more fatalities, usually 300-400 per year. Mostly because of using a corded phone (an aside for The Young out there, that was the only way phones used to come; actually wired to the wall.) and because tractors were uncovered, should you be a farming type.  These days, most of the fatalities happen while people are outside playing, not farming or talking on their Nana’s phone, and the majority of these are mostly at the beach or on boats whilst fishing.  The experts think that there is something about the roar of the waves dulling the sound of the approaching thunder.  As a dedicated beach-goer, I kind of find this hard to believe.  Anyone who has seen a storm roll in over the water and with an ounce of common sense knows when it’s time to head in.  Which brings us to a nice mantra to use and share with family and friends: When thunder roars, go indoors.  And when you do go indoors, make sure that you aren’t blowing dry your hair or holding on to anything that plugs in the wall, think back to that phone thing.  In fact, why not use it as an excuse for some lovely late afternoon lolling.  Let’s be safe People!

This week we have a brush with fame, a mysterious tome, a nosey neighbor, justice, and some dip-in, dip-out.   The only Paris we can offer is this week’s image.  Sorry.

This week is more of a Gift than the usual Playlist. 

Let us begin!

Miss Claire has just finished reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. “I swore that I wouldn't buy a book on vacation, but I just couldn't resist purchasing this one. Comedian Aziz Ansari, who is also the star of NBC's Parks & Rec, writes about love in the 21st Century. Warning: Although you will be in pain from laughing so hard, this book is not a memoir, or collection of essays like other examples comedy writing. Ansari takes his own experiences with dating in places like New York and LA, and couples them with research (actual research) about how dating has changed in this modern age. Ansari and his friend travel to Tokyo, Paris, Buenos Aires, and even Doha to compare dating in various cultures. What's an herbivore man? What's a chongo? These and other international mysteries will be solved in the book. By looking at dating and communication over the generations, the author ponders whether or not we are really better off. Ansari provides a fresh perspective on the challenges of meeting Mr./Ms. Right. He does his homework, while also adding his witty charm to the mix. Fun Fact: I was his RA at NYU in London, so loved this fun break from my summer list of kid lit.”

Sweet Ann is reading a little dark this week.  What’s doin’ Ann? “I read reviews of Disclaimer by Renee Knight and thought I would give it a try. Catherine Ravenscroft, a documentary film director, is happily married and has a young adult son with whom she has a slightly strained relationship. She and her husband have recently moved and she is adjusting well until one evening she finds a book on her night table which she does not remember purchasing or seeing before.  As she begins reading it she recognizes herself in the story, a devastating story she has shared with no one.  This novel is told in Catherine's voice and the author of the book who is out for revenge. This was a good thriller although I though it got a bit long.  I definitely enjoyed Gone Girl and the Girl on the Train more than this one, but it is a quick summer read.”

The Always Fabulous Babs B has finished a quiet staff favorite, The Stone Boy by Sophie Loubiere.  Here’s what she thought. “This is a suspenseful psychological thriller but also a story of a passionately loving grandmother who more nosey than Miss Marple!  Madame Preau is a retired headmistress when she returns to her own house outside Paris after several years spent in a convalescent home.  She is not taken seriously when she reports an abused boy in a neighboring home.  Beautifully written (and translated) with just enough suspense to keep the reader wondering; is there an abused child or is Madame Preau imagining him? “

Steph!  Not reading Go Set a Watchman!  “There’s been a lot of buzz about the return of Atticus Finch this week, and rightly so, but the book I read this week is about a real-life Atticus who deserves just as much attention. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, is part-memoir, part-courtroom thriller. Stevenson is the founder of legal non-profit the Equal Justice Initiative, which works in Alabama on death row cases, as well as cases where people are given life sentences for crimes committed as minors. As you’d expect, many of the stories are heartbreaking, and put a human face on issues of crime and punishment, as well as illuminating how region and race play a large role in determining the fate of many prisoners. Despite the difficulty and sorrow behind many of the cases Stevenson discusses, there is also a strong sense of hope and redemption. He’s a remarkable lawyer and writer, and even more so, a remarkable man. This is reminiscent of the very best of John Grisham, but 100% true. Go on hold for this in addition to (or instead of) Go Set A Watchman.”

Laura  is here with a reading style just right for a summer afternoon . “Summer is a time for lazy.   What better way to enjoy a lazy, hazy summer afternoon in the hammock than with a book that we call the dip-in, dip-out.  This is the  sort of  book that you don't have to commit to, can open at a different page every time, and close without a book mark to save your page. These easy reads are more informational fun fact books like The Secret Museum by Molly Oldfield a unique illustrated listing of intriguing artifacts hidden away in some of the world's most venerable museums: such as Van Gogh's sketchbooks, Nabokov's butterfly genitalia cabinet, or the Diamond Sutra. Or perhaps Atoms Under the Floorboards, by Chris Woodford which explains scientific reasons for everyday phenomena such as squeaky floors, gurgling pipes, and why skyscrapers don’t sink into the ground or blow over.  Not necessarily cocktail talk but interesting all the same for the curious mind. “

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named.  Earlier this week she sent me a pic of one of her progeny standing on a Big M on location in Ann Arbor.  Patty!  Get your kid outta there!  Don’t you know what they say about Ann Arbor?!    Aside from that, what’s good Pats? “We’re back from the Nation’s Capital and I’m pleased to report that we had a great time. Five days was not enough time to see and do everything but we gave it a valiant effort. Now it’s back to the local summer routine of Farmers’ Markets and Art Fairs. My son and I headed out to the Ann Arbor Art Fair yesterday.Some of the other, lesser-known festivals around us include the Old Town Scrapfest  in Lansing where 20 teams had one hour to collect up to 500 pounds of scrap metal from the Friedland Industries’ scrap facility and then spent two weeks creating masterpieces that will culminate in the unveiling of their creations during the festival this weekend. There’s also a Pig Jig Pig Roast and Street Dance for those who enjoy a sidewalk sale with a little dancing in the streets and a side of pork. The artist, Nick Cave will have his first live-dancing event of his Soundsuits this weekend in Detroit.  It would seem as though there is something for everyone right now. And if that isn’t enough, the band Wilco, surprise dropped their new album, Star Wars yesterday. The album is available for free for a limited time so give it a listen now and don’t forget to get out and support your local art scene this weekend.”

You Are What You Read!

Greetings!  Welcome to the Sidewalk Sales Edition of You Are What You Read!  As always let’s begin with the housekeeping chores.  Our thanks go to Pam M for the taffy love of the week.  This batch hails from Bermuda. Thanks Pam! The message from The SoNo Loft is Worrying is Waste.  So just stop the fretting People. The Loft commands it! As far as Sidewalk Sales are concerned, there is a reason it is on the sidewalk, it is just that much closer to the dumpster it’s going to end up in. 

It’s no secret that we have A LOT of cat lovers on staff.  Just look at the state of some black pants mornings before the rollers come out. In this morning’s New York Times, there was this piece in the Arts Section on of all things a Cat Circus that is going to be performing in Brooklyn (of course that’s where it’s going to be) this weekend. This is their first NYC appearance because according the article she was afraid of maneuvering the bus that she and the 14 cat ensemble travel in on the city streets. There is a lot to discuss in this article.  There is the fact that she originally wanted to bring a rat circus to the American Public. I would rather not think about what that would have looked like.  She then tried chickens, but the Avian Flu put a damper on that. So about 10 years ago she started training shelter cats to perform all sorts of crazy tricks.  I can’t lie.  This sort of terrifies me. Would you want to sleep in a room with a cat who knew how to turn on lights or play an instrument?  I think that this is one step away from the cats learning how to access your bank accounts and filling the fridge with Ahi tuna, foie gras and organic cream from Whole Foods. Also, we need to reflect on the idea of what it must be like traveling the country in a bus with 14 cats.  You gotta hope those windows open.  Honestly, this just all sounds too awful but if the Beach is not your gig, your feelings about the Sidewalk Sales echoes mine  and a museum trip feels too high-brow, check out The Cat Circus instead.  And report back.  I want to hear all about it.

This week we have a ballerina, debt collectors, some rogue Russians, and some really angry women.

Of course there is The Playlist!  

Let us begin!

Barbara M has just finished reading Life in Motion : An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland.  “In 2007 at the age of twenty-four Misty Copeland became the first black soloist for the American Ballet Theatre in twenty years. Although Ms. Copeland had the physique and inborn ability to become a dancer the story of her success is remarkable. She and her siblings lived in cramped conditions and slept on blankets on the floor and she didn’t take ballet lessons until she was 13 years old. This is the story of how one young girl used her determination and courage to attain a seemingly unattainable goal. She had mentors who encouraged and helped her and she in turn encourages and helps underprivileged youths to discover their potential. It is a beautiful and hopeful story and to complete my review I urge you to watch her dance. “

Alan spent his July 4th weekend reading Jake Halperin’s Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld. “An excerpt was in the NY Times Sunday Magazine recently. It’s a fascinating story of the debt collections industry as seen from the bottom up. There is a large group of mostly shady people, many with criminal backgrounds, dealing in collecting old debts. This is a quick read revolving around some unforgettable characters that will leave you in disbelief that such a culture exists and is tolerated. You will pity both the debtors and the debt collectors.”

Pat T is here with a current favorite of staff and patron alike. "Any reader who is a fan of  the character, John Corey from Plum Island will enjoy his latest escapade in Radiant Angel by Nelson Demille. John has relocated to NYC to take an assignment -surveilling Russian diplomats working at the U.N. Mission and his task is to keep a watchful eye on the Russian Colonel, Vasily Petrov. An ordinary Sunday morning surveillance ends up being anything but ordinary as Corey and his team follow the Mercedes with Petrov and two other Russians out to a beach house in the Hamptons. Overall, this novel was a fast paced beach read packed with action, fun characters and a plot more realistic than one would like to imagine!”

I am so in love with Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies.  The Literary Hangover was a long one once I put it down. For those new visitors, a Literary Hangover is that deep aching regret that you have turned your last page and have to say good bye to a story and the characters that you have just given your heart, soul and mind to.   The sort of book that dooms you to home decorating or fashion magazines for weeks after because reading anything else is not an option because nothing can compare.  Otto and Mathilde meet and marry after a whirlwind college romance.  After years of struggle, Otto finds his fame as a famous playwright, while Mathilde makes sure that his genius is nurtured, their home runs smooth and is always full of friends, laughter and love.  This is the Fates portion of the book. And then the Furies piece happens.  Those of you who remember your mythology will remember that the Furies were the female spirits of justice and vengeance. The language is beautiful, the story is amazing, and you will experience not only the Literary Hangover but also Literary Whiplash when you realize the story you were reading isn’t the story at all.  This one comes out in September and is probably one of my favorites of the year.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC has broken free from That State Up North and is loose in the world.  I’ll let her tell all about it. What’s good Pats? “This week finds me in our Nation’s Capitol. My husband was traveling to attend the annual Public Media Development and Marketing Conference in Washington D.C., so we decided to tag along. It’s been a summer scorcher here with the kind of humidity that curls my hair into poodle-like ringlets but you will not find me complaining about the heat or the crabbiness that it’s been producing in my children. Nope. I’ve decided to make the most of our time here. I will slather on sunscreen, walk until I feel like I can’t take another step, eat, read, sleep and then repeat. We’ve all chosen specific places to visit and have compiled a list. My list includes the Library of Congress or as I refer to it, “Library Mecca”. This time of year begs for an adventure and a good old-fashioned road trip. I hope you get out, take a break and enjoy one of your own.”


You Are What You Read!

Hello!  Welcome to the Full Buck Moon edition of You Are What You Read.  This full moon, which occurs this Wednesday, is thusly named because this is when Bucks grow their antlers. It is also called the Thunder Moon because this is when a lot of thunderstorms happen to occur.  It’s promising to be a rainy, thundering weekend so it’s not so far off.  I know nothing about antler sprouting. If anyone gets the 411 on that, please report back.

The SoNo Loft has a cheery message this week which is ‘Manamana, do do do do do’.  If you don’t understand the message here is a clip for you.  Guaranteed you’ll be humming this all weekend. A very special thanks to The Loft (aka Think Around Corners) for the bit of whimsy and charm that they bring to my commute.  Thanks Guys!  You’ll never know how much we all appreciate it.

Earlier this week The Always Dapper James brought a film short to my attention and now I have something new to obsess over; the secret life of those figurines that were all over your Nana’s house. You know the ones of which I speak.  Those little weird Hummel boys and girls (which always looked ‘off’ to me), the LLardo stretchy people that always looked  like El Greco via a second rate Hallmark Card Artist, the animal ones (cats, dogs, birds) or as one of my grandmothers had, weird china shoes in all shapes and sizes with flowers on them. These dust collectors lived on side tables or the occasional decorative shelving that seemed to oddly be made for just this very sort of thing.  Anyway, they apparently have a secret life which will be revealed if you watch this short. I am equal parts fascinated and horrified.  Although nothing can ever mesmerize/repel like a doll with teeth, the stars of this little film comes pretty close.  I almost want to go and seek out a cowgirl of my very own. The very valuable take away from this tiny masterpiece?  Never mess with a Cowgirl.  She’ll.  Mess. You. Up.

This week we have some sardonic wit (not necessarily mine), British humour, what’s next, and a big fat family saga.   This week’s Playlist is Cowgirl approved. 

Let us begin!

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has two offerings this week.  “Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend are two of the most addicting and hysterical novels I have read in a long time. Think The Devil Wears Prada but based in Singapore with more money and interfering relatives. I am not sure what I loved more: the description of the outrageous lifestyle (who would have thought having a Netjet card would be considered slumming it?), or the mouthwatering description of the food (seriously cannot stop thinking about authentic Chinese food), of course, and the sardonic wit (which made me cackle out loud) given to several of the characters was outstanding.  Regardless, it is a frivolous good time and I couldn’t put either of the books down. 

Barbara M is reaching out to an original. “If you’ve finished watching the latest season of House of Cards brilliantly starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and are wondering what to watch next allow me to suggest that you watch the original British series. It is less violent and more sinister than the American version with an underlying twist of British humor. Wonderful!”

Pat T is all about what comes next. “I picked up, What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas because the title appealed to me. The memoir is a compilation of journal entries about significant events over the course of the author's life ranging from her lifelong friendship with a colleague in publishing; the tragic accident of her husband; her daughter's cancer diagnosis and recovery, as well as many family gatherings with her four adult children and twelve grandchildren and her cherished dogs. Ms. Thomas's memoir is a very honest rendering of the ups and downs of her everyday life and most important of all; the love of family and friends.”

I am in the middle of The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres.  I have to tell you that this is one of those books that has me clamoring to get back to it.  This big fat sweeping saga is about 3 families who are neighbors in the English countryside. The British McCosh family, The half- French Pitt family and the American Pendennis family.   Beginning with the coronation of King Edward and the idyllic Edwardian period going through the horrors of World War I and beyond this is a wonderful look at ordinary lives in extraordinary times.  The chapters that chronicled Ash Pendennis’s experience in the trenches of France were some of the roughest I have ever read but they still had a wonderful sort of beauty about them.  You will have to wait until August to pick this one up.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named with some final musings and of course The Playlist.  What’s good Pats? “ This week my father-in-law hopped a flight to Music City to induct one of his grads into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. His former student now a Milwaukee country music DJ and morning show host, Karen Dalessandro was honored this week in Nashville. Did I mention that my husband went with him to Nashville? Did I mention that I might be a teeny bit envious? Well, since I couldn’t be there to share in the celebration of a woman DJ being inducted, I thought I’d spin a little Country Music right here. Who knows, maybe Karen has a few of these songs on her own playlist. “


You Are What You Read!

Greetings! A Happy Friday to you all. It’s really hard for me to wrap my pea brain around the fact that on Monday I went for a run in shorts and ate my breakfast on a terrace OUTSIDE in the aforementioned shorts and I am ending my week with a winter coat, snow boots at the ready.  Granted, that breakfast took place in Florida, but still.  When the Traveling Companion asked me at dinner what we were going to be discussing this week and I said the sad, inevitable return of winter his reply was, “Already?”  So adieu to the Farm Share, the bare leg, beach weekends with a cooler filled with contraband, no coat, big hair (no tragedy there really but I feel the need to include it), dining al fresco (unless you happen to be in Florida), and sweaters that are a wisp of spider web nothingness.  Let’s embrace longer nights (more reading time!), chillier temps (fires to read by!  Lovely soups and stews for dinner!), chunky warm sweaters (they can hide the effects of all that lovely soup and stew and fireside sitting) and the occasional snow day (always have chocolate chip cookie fixings at the ready!).   Maybe this year won’t be so bad.   This week we have a tiny woman brain, a little poetry, panache, farmers, and love with a capital L.  Playlist?  It may be cold out there be we aren’t!

Let us begin!

Miss Lisa from the Children’s Library has just finished reading a book I am hearing great things about. “This weekend I read the excellent collection of essays Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit. It starts out with a droll and humorous account of the way men tend to explain things to her - for example, a man at a party who attempted over and over to explain to her what a book she had written was about, in spite of her protests that she knew, because she somehow, using her tiny woman brain, had written the book he was talking about.  She deftly moves on to discuss the issues of violence against women  and violence in general, Virginia Woolf's understandings of uncertainty and hope, and how to make change in our world, all with a deft sense of history, literature, and current events.  She argues for the basic rights of women to ‘show up and speak’ in all parts of our world; as she says, ‘The battle for women to be treated like human beings with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of involvement in cultural and political arenas continues, and it is sometimes a pretty grim battle.’ But, somehow, you finish reading this book with hope and energy.  It's a great read for all genders. Similarly, another tale of powerful women is Queen of the Tearling, which I know has a lot of hype - but the hype is worth it! What a wild ride into an endangered kingdom that has struggled through a lot of weak and greedy leaders.  Good thing the new Queen can manage spectacular magical jewels, fight slavery, and stand up for the people!”

Pat T has been dipping her toes into the Poetry Pool. “I had the pleasure of coming upon Mary Oliver's newest book of poems last week, Blue Horses, and I must say it is a delight to read over and over again. Her poems reflect the everyday occurrences in life and nature yet transcend the ordinary by showing us what we experience as exceptional.  I laughed while reading, What I Can Do, was moved by the poem, I Woke, and was delighted by, Good Morning. I hope you take the opportunity to read anyone of her wonderful books of poetry!”

The Ever Delightful Pat S has just finished a book that is rapidly becoming a staff favorite with us entitled I’ll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich. “Described as 'a life in fashion, with a twist', this is the memoir of the now legendary personal shopper from Bergdorf Goodman. Now eighty six, Ms. Halbreich tells the story of her upper-class upbringing in Chicago where she was an only child celebrated for her beauty and her ability to wear clothes with panache. Capitalizing on these attributes, she then makes a young marriage to the handsome and wealthy scion of a Manhattan real estate family. After a twenty year marriage comes to an end, Ms. Halbreich finds herself her first job, and eventual career based on her talent with clothes. Forty years on, she has elevated that title of personal shopper to mother/therapist/lifecoach. While the stories of the celebrities and socialites are fun to read, it is the story of her personal transformation which provides gravitas to the book. And as an aside, she is currently working on a television series with Lena Dunham based on her life.”

Laura has been having fun with a cult classic. “I highly recommend book groups to read Stoner, by John Williams.  Set in the 1900's, the reader meets Stoner early in his life as the only child to stoic, hard-scrabbled Missouri farmers who have little time for neither conversation, nor interest in anything beyond the few acres they own. He is sent to university by his father to study agriculture but instead he falls in love with literature and takes a different path by becoming a scholar. His life develops; marriage, friends, career, child, his mistress, and his nemesis, sadly all but one, are what may be seen as failures.  Once I started reading, I couldn't wait to continue.  The story while not a page turner was so well written that reading it was a pleasure.   I didn't know how my book group was going to react to this story but they loved it and had a lot to talk about. The story was curious and everyone had a different take on the gentle, stubborn, stoic character that some of us adored and others of us worried about and the rest of us couldn't see Stoner's merits at all. It was the liveliest and deepest discussion our group has had in a long time.”   

Longer nights?  What am I reading before sleep?  Light of the World is Elizabeth Alexander’s amazing memoir of her journey through grief.   Alexander was just 49 when she lost her beloved husband and father to her two young sons.  Please don’t think that this is a depressing read.  It’s the exact opposite of that actually, because the one thing that shines through all the horrible is Love with a capital L.  At its heart this is a love story. Not just the love she had for her husband but also the love she has for her two sons.  Because her day job is as a Pulitzer nominated poet and a professor up at Yale you can expect some beautiful language and turns of phrase.  This comes out in April and I think you all will love it.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from the State Up North (14 days until The Game!  Let’s go Bucks!) with this week’s musings and playlist.  She has had it a whole lot harder than us already this year with this whole reappearance of winter.  How’s tricks Pats? “We woke up this Thursday morning to snow. Yep. Those white fluffy frozen flakes were falling softly from above. My daughter moaned, my son jumped for joy, my husband gritted his teeth and I sighed. I knew this weather was headed our way so like a good Girl Scout I prepared the day before. Everyone had boots, winter coats, hats and gloves. The squirrels have been snacking on our carved pumpkins outside but those will need to go this weekend. Now we just need to unpack our sleds and begin searching for the perfect sledding hill. Me? I’ll be buying a big honking full spectrum light lamp in the hopes of working on a winter tan and to ward off any winter blues. While I am not ready to slide into winter, I do enjoy a pair of stylish boots and a fine cashmere sweater.”


You Are What You Read!

Happy Friday to you all!  By the time you read this, I will be in Florida with The Traveling Companion getting ready for the big party tomorrow night to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday.  I really have to say this reading habit that I have is entirely his fault.  From the very beginning, one of the strongest aspects of our relationship was all about books and our love of them.   Read-aloud story times morphed into his pressing his childhood favorites into my hands.  He recognized early on that while a girl does love a pretty dress on special occasions like Christmas and Birthdays, the gift that still excited the day after, and even years later, came between two hard covers with a dust jacket.  Every Saturday, I would ride my bike to Leroy Avenue and load up my basket with the reads for the week and then head across the street to the Fairbanks Sweet Shop for a little something to nosh on while working through the stack (I was a rather round child). There was always an exception though and that was when the weather was not the best.  On rainy Saturdays, I would get an early wake up nudge and a, “Would you like a ride to the Library and breakfast at the Sugar Bowl?”  Well, I ask you, what girl could resist a tall stack of books with a short stack of Bobby’s French toast with bacon?  Heaven!  Even when we were in the thick of those ghastly teenage years, the dialogue remained open because of the conversations we would have about what was being read. As I matured, so did our discussions.  Sometimes, there was not even a hello to begin with, we would just launch into what was good, what was great, what broke our hearts, and what we had to leave for dead on the side of the road. Sadly, Dad had a stroke a few years ago, and while he is in fairly decent health, the reading piece never really came back.  These days the conversation is entirely on me.  I try to think of it as a conversation that has come full circle with me telling him what the story is now.  So Happy 80th Birthday Peter Dayton!  And thank you for giving me the unquenchable and all-consuming Need for the Read.  This week we have some pandemic, a widow, Paris, some listening,  and G&T in a can (ingenious!).  

Playlist?  Would we let your weekend not have a soundtrack?  Of course not! We are a benevolent dictatorship!

Let us begin!

Here is Abby’s take on a book that is making a lot of Best of 2014 lists.  “Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a book I really wanted to like. It sounded like an interesting book, and I had heard the author speak which gives me a greater stake in my reading experience. It took bit of time for Station Eleven to fight its way to the top of my To Be Read Pile, but I am so glad it did. The book is tough to categorize. It is most certainly literary, and while dystopian, and set in the future, it is not science fiction as some have classified it. The story follows the onset of a deadly flu outbreak moves forward through the decades as human settlements and a post-pandemic culture evolve. It has many disparate storylines set in different stages of the crisis, but as the book unfolds, there is a beautiful convergence of people and events. The book Station Eleven most brings to mind is the wonderful Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. He too creates a wonderful, complex story that comes together in an unexpected and powerful way. Station Eleven is a strong contender for my favorite book of 2014.  I suspect I will be thinking about this book for a long time to come.”

Sweet Ann has just finished Nora Webster by Colm Toibin. This is rapidly becoming a Reader’s Advisory favorite and here’s what Ann thought. “This is the story of Nora who lives in a small town in Ireland where she is widowed in her early forties.  Her husband, Maurice, was the love of her life and they had four children together.  Her two daughters are older when she is widowed and almost on their own.  Her younger two sons are struggling without their father and the grief of their mother. This novel follows Nora as she tries to get her new life together.  Nora tries to be strong and independent but at times she must ask for help to survive financially and just try to live without Maurice.  As a reader you feel for Nora's struggles and there is one scene early in the book where she confronts an aunt who watched her sons while her husband was sick that I think will haunt me for a long time.  The emotion is so raw.  Nora Webster is a beautifully written novel.”

Barbara M is back in her beloved Paris  again and she’s with a Nobel winner.  I’ll let her explain. “The three novellas in Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano, recent winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, are united in their sense of place and melancholy feeling. Loosely based on his childhood the author recreates the Paris of his youth, a Paris that no longer exists. He also evokes a sense of vagueness that occurs when an adult tries to remember things that happened to them as a child. The stories are mysterious and haunting and I absolutely adored the descriptions of Paris.”

Steph is trying something new this week.  “We all know that we are what we read, but we’re also what we listen to! And what I’ve been listening to the past few weeks is a new podcast called Serial, which comes from the producers of This American Life (you may have heard the first episode there, in fact). It’s in its first season, and has the tagline of ‘One story. Told week by week.’ This season, the story is a true crime procedural about a young man named Adnan Syed, who was convicted as a teenager of murdering his girlfriend in 1999. The host, Sarah Koenig, was told about this case by a friend of Syed’s, as he still maintains his innocence, so she began investigating to see if she could figure out the truth. So far, seven episodes in, she has not, and the mystery has hooked me and thousands of other people—Slate has created a podcast that has a new episode to analyze each episode, and Reddit has a special forum to discuss the clues. Though I admit the storytelling can be a little over-the-top and meandering, but it’s a great listen for any mystery or true crime fan, as well as those looking for a change from audiobooks. It’s become my companion when doing the laundry—I actually look forward to ironing now! You can listen for free on the site, but make sure you start with the first episode. 

What is coming down to Florida with me?  A debut novel entitled The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is what is coming down to Florida with me.  Rachel is, at first, seemingly, just a girl on the train.  A girl on the train going to work.  Then you start to notice that she has a huge thirst; most specifically for Gin and Tonics (in England they come in CANS!!  How brilliant is that? Why can’t we have that?), and an odd obsession with a couple that she sees from the train on her daily commute.  As the book goes on, you also notice that she seems to be more than a bit off.   She is in fact, as the Brits say, bonkers. The second voice in the book is Megan, the object of her obsession who also seems to be less than reliable as far as truth goes.  When Megan goes missing the police come around to question Rachel.  I have no idea where all this is going. All I know is that the ride is so much fun I am, for once, looking forward to a plane trip so that I can enjoy 2 hours and 45 minutes of uninterrupted reading time.  This one comes out in January.

Here is DJ Jazzy Patty McC from the State Which Shall Not Be Named (T minus 20 to The Game!) with the wrap up and the Playlist.   What’s doin’ Pats? “I knew Jen was hopping on a jet plane headed to see her dad but somehow I nearly missed the detail that it was to celebrate his 80th birthday. Well, upon hearing this news, I was overjoyed both for her celebration with her family and also because I’ve been secretly harboring an obsession for curating an 80’s Playlist. If you know a librarian or two you’ll know that we are fond of themes and obsessions. I may not know anything about being 80 years old but I sure do know 80’s music.  This weekend I invite you to celebrate the elders in your own family. Celebrate those folks who’ve taught or modeled to you how to enjoy things in your life that bring you joy. Things like the pleasure of reading, the art of conversation, or the excitement and thrill of live theatre and music. I’ve always said life is better with a soundtrack. Out here in Detroit, I’ll be enjoying a Ryan Adams concert. So, call this your 80’s gift. Call it New Wave, call it Synthpop, call it what you will this is my musical nod and tribute to Post-Punk music. I recommend you listen to it on shuffle and have a good seat-dance in the car or a full-blown impromptu dance party. I promise it won’t disappoint.  DL IT'S GOOD BEING 80! 2014”

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

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!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

I don’t know about you all but I am exhausted.  This new load of frozen from the sky has just about done me in.  Native Americans called tonight’s full moon The Full Hunger Moon.  Could it have been better named? I know I am not alone in being starved for some sun, the chance to show off a newly polished toe and a brisk stroll along a clean sidewalk.  The Traveling Companion who is home now assured me that the warmer climes would not have made me happy because, “it was a little humid.”  I was kindness personified and  let him live.  As if this week weren’t hard enough, we also have Valentine’s Day to deal with; a day fraught with ridiculous expectations, overpriced half dead plant material and bad restaurant meals.  Erin, Stephanie and I curate a collection all year long to counterbalance this.  It’s a little something we like to call 4-Ever Alone. This is a list of books and DVDs that we feel are full of cautionary material.  So please, enjoy and in the true spirit of the day do a kindness, give someone a hug, make a child happy and consume some worthy chocolate.  I am confident that Sweet Ann would totally endorse this message.  This week we have some romance, a major victory, tragedy, a cross roads, some serious sadness, a hijacking, and a brain tumor.   And we can’t forget The Playlist!

Let us begin!

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

With the snow and ice and cold it seems that we are truly in the midst of the Hellidays.  We have noticed that we are a lot less busy and we are chalking it up to the fact that you all are out there shopping, baking a cookie and decorating your hearts out.  The message from the SoNo Loft remains the same: Santa ♥’s U!  I am wondering if it is going to stick for the season.  I do love the touch of whimsy that it brings to my commute.  So if you are out there, I thank you for it! Sweet Ann is too busy getting festive to impart any profound words of wisdom it would seem, but she would like to remind us to smile and enjoy the season. But I think you will see from what we are consuming this week that there is not a whole lot that is Merry and Bright going on.  For those of you who are fans of the wonderful 3M Cloud Library please be aware that Simon and Schuster, the last publishing hold out for selling digital content to libraries has become available!  Speaking of digital content keep your eyes open for more digital excitement to be announced on Monday. This week we have prison, horror, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, New York, ephemera, the New Deal, and London.

Let us begin!

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

The SoNo Loft’s message this week feels a tad urgent.  “Hey, change already” is the thought for the week.  Did they forget about clocks?  Or is it deeper than that?  Maybe we all need to think about what we need to change to be better in our world.  I don’t know what the intent is here, so I am just going to bring you the message.  Do with it what you will.  DJ Jazzy Patty McC. has a playlist this week that celebrates a change that we felt we had to make here at the Home.  This week we have some LA, some shade, a supermodel, a message, grief, color, crocodiles, and some southern charm.

Let us begin!

Abby is reading ahead. “While I am a big fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch LA Detective series, his Lincoln Lawyer work has tended to leave me a bit underwhelmed. That said, The Gods of Guilt (release date Dec.2), the latest Lincoln Lawyer book came as a bit of a revelation. Attorney Mickey Haller, frequent defender of the lowest of the low, shows tremendous growth and complexity of character. Connelly is a terrific writer who appears to have gotten into a strong rhythm with his Haller character. He is one of the few prolific writers capable of maintaining and even elevating the quality of his work without it turning into a painful assembly line product.”

The Fabulous Babs B. just finished Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie. “It has to be a  mother's worst nightmare; losing her child at birth.  Geniver Loxley was told her daughter was stillborn and eight years later a stranger knocks on her door informing her that her daughter was actually taken away as a healthy infant and raised by another couple.  So begins this nightmare of a story.  Ignoring the warnings of her husband, who is shady to begin with, and friends, Gen begins to dig into the dark corners of her past, hoping she'll find a clue to her daughter's whereabouts.  There are so many twists and turns in this psychological suspense that I never guessed the climatic ending and neither will you!”

John is reading The Cuckoo's Calling.  “This is the detective mystery by J. K. Rowling written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.  I'm not much of a DM buff, but I loved The Casual Vacancy and I admire Rowling's adult narrative voice.  So far there is nothing terribly unusual or outstanding about the mystery at hand (supermodel takes a dive off a balcony--is suicide or not?)  But for those of you who enjoyed the humanness of ‘Vacancy’, you'll easily slide right into the narrative style of this book.  Her writing is very comfortable but I'm struck by the poignancy of her observations and the respect she affords every character--all of which have been gifted something likable--even if they're wholly unpleasant.  The setting is London, so for those Anglophiles out there, the dialogue will leave you smiling and fulfilled.  There is some indication that this may be the first in a series of DM novels by Rowling, and I will probably keep reading them.”

Pat T. has a message for all you book on CD fans.  “I am happy to report the library has just received the unabridged audio book, The Guns at Last Light, by Rick Atkinson! This audio book concludes the Liberation Trilogy about the Allied forces that liberated Europe during World War II. So, all you history buffs who have listened to An Army at Dawn: the War in North Africa, 1942-1944; The Day of Battle: the war in Sicily and Italy, 1943-44 can now look forward to the final volume in this trilogy.”

Sweet Ann  has just finished Levels of Life by Julian Barnes. “I listened to this audio book and I am conflicted in my reaction to it.  The audio book is read by Julian Barnes and when he speaks of his wife's death and his life without her you feel for him but also feel awkward in sharing his grief.  It is a raw raging grief and I wonder why he shared it with strangers as opposed to friends and family.  With loss, people will do things and say things others might not understand but I question his motivation in making it so public.  Perhaps he found it cathartic but it was difficult to hear him question other people's reactions and comments to his wife's death.  He began this memoir with tales about nineteen century ballooning and famous early balloonists which he neatly tied together in the end. Perhaps if I read this book my reaction might have been different as opposed to hearing the actual widower tell his story.  I wish him all the best and hope he finds the comfort he needs.”

Barbara M. is reading ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book about Color by Jude Stewart.  “This is  a fascinating, easy to read book. The book is divided into individual colors and each section is filled with trivia about that color. The short anecdotes or facts may be historic, scientific or just amusing.  Many of us are aware that the color worn in one country to play tennis is the color worn for funerals in another,  but did you know that many languages don’t distinguish between blue and green or red and orange? Or, did you know that the seven colors we believe the rainbow to be made of were devised by Sir Isaac Newton to correspond with the musical scale?  I love the way this book makes you think about perceptions of things we take for granted.”

Jeanne. Only one thing.  Discuss.  “I am reading an Advanced Reading Copy on my Kindle of The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol and translated from the French by William Rodarmor and Helen Dickinson. The reading is sometimes a little rough because of the  possible disconnect with foreign idioms, but I am enjoying the Cinderella story, the first in a trilogy.  Joséphine Cortès throws her cheating husband Antonio out and he leaves for Kenya with his cheating girlfriend to manage a crocodile farm owned by the unscrupulous Mr. Wei. Who knew that one crocodile mommy can lay fifty eggs in her nest?! Joséphine is trying to scrape by on her twelfth century historian's pay, while paying her husband's loans and raising her two young daughters.  There is a whole host of interesting characters in this novel based mostly in Courbevoie, outside Paris, and I am finding their actions both funny and shocking. I can't wait to see how Joséphine's doctorate in Middle Ages studies pulls her out of her emotional and financial slump.”

I think that when one visits a new locale it just makes sense to study up on the social mores of its denizens before you hit the tarmac.  This will save you some embarrassment in the long run if you are up on the ways of the natives.   In anticipation of my trip to a place that my traveling companion calls his ‘homeland’ (he does this without irony and frankly, it scares me a little), I picked up Rude Bitches Make Me Tired:  Slightly Profane and Entirely Logical Answers to Modern Etiquette Dilemmas by Celia Rivenbark.  Celia lives in North Carolina and she is just not having a lot of what passes for polite behavior these days and I have to say that I love her for it.  With chapters that are entitled:  Funerals:  Now is Not the Time for Store-Bought Cakes and Backless Maxi Dresses from Forever 21, and  Baby Steps:  Is She Pregnant or is that a Booze-Inflated Liver?  Hint:  Don’t Ask!  I also picked up this fact; that a true ‘mixed marriage” is one between a Duke grad and a UNC grad and should be avoided at all costs.  Apparently no good can come of this and it will end with tears.  This will be good knowledge to possess if we find ourselves in ‘mixed company’ this weekend.  I have also learned that the hue of  blue you choose to wear can mark you as readily as a gang member wearing his colors. Think Crips and Bloods but with lovely drawls and better manners.  Frankly, I find all that exhausting and believe that I will just stick to my Buckeye Scarlet thank you very much.  And here’s to 22 games this weekend!  Let’s go Buckeyes.

And now a word from DJ Jazzy Patty McC!   Who I do adore even if she is from The State Which Must Not Be Named.  “If you’ve visited the library recently you might have noticed we have been making some improvements. We apologize for the inconvenience in the parking lot and for being closed this past Monday and sincerely thank you all for your patience. The good news is that from this inconvenience we now have a 400-kilowatt generator that will power our entire library during power outages as well as provide a source for keeping your phones and laptops charged.  As a person who is frequently plugged-in, I think this is a GREAT thing.  Maybe our new tagline should be, “Apocalypse? We’ve got you covered!”  We’re still working on the zombie survival kit, but know that it’s in the works from the best and most paranoid among us. I think this deserves a playlist. And let’s hope we never need to use that generator…much. “

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