Welcome to the Thanksgiving Edition of You Are What You Read. We will be taking next week off to celebrate. Sweet Ann wants us all to be mindful of the small things in our world that make us grateful. Don’t be like the guest at a Thanksgiving I heard about last year. This particular family had a year that was less than stellar and yet as they went around the table everyone came up with at least something to be thankful for. Except for the one person who looked around the table, smirked and said, “Pass.” Who does that? Don’t be that person! As for me, I am going to be playing with my cousins who I would want to be my friends even if we weren’t related. Imagine us all gathered around the deep fat fryer praying this is not the year we end up on You-Tube as “that idiot family who tried to fry their turkey and ended up burning down a suburb.” The TC will be joining us for the first time. He has been warned that we tend to be ‘lively’. Honestly, I think he’s up for it and he will be fine. The SoNo Loft’s message is NSFW so here’s hoping they bring back a message more in keeping with the upcoming Hellidays. This week we have a dying wish, some married folk, a challenge, some botany, a love story, for good measure another love story, a helliday gift suggestion, lots of gratitude and of course, a playlist.
Let us begin!
Sue S. has just read The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses who is a former Darienite! “Ellen Branford is an engaged and soon to be married up and coming lawyer. While she is visiting her dying Grandmother, she learns that her last wish is for Ellen to deliver a letter to a hometown boy her Grandmother once knew. Charged with making good on her promise, the task sends Ellen to the town of Beacon, Maine which is a far cry from the high society life that she knows in Manhattan. It is in Ellen's search for the hometown boy that she finds out secrets about her grandmother and which has her crossing paths with a man who winds up needing her as much as she needs him. I would love to see this book made into a movie!”
Amanda’s back with another dive into Regency era romances with Eloisa James’ Duchess in Love. “Cam is forced by his father to marry Gina. He jumps out a window a few moments after the ceremony and has been in Greece ever since. Twelve years have now passed and Gina summons Cam home so they can annul their marriage as she loves another. Will Gina keep her engagement as she turns to Cam for lessons in kissing? In a turn from the traditional romance novel structure, this story focuses on a group of married people who have their own extramarital love affairs. The thought being that marriage is to beget an official heir, while your heart belongs to your lover. This book is refreshing to me because it’s the first I’ve read that demonstrates this historical occurrence. “
Sweet Ann has just finished Vatican Waltz by Roland Merullo. “This is a short novel that tells the story of Cynthia Piantedosi who is having visions that are leading her to challenge her Catholic faith. She loves her church, not only her local parish, but the bigger church. She recognizes that there are problems in the church, but she finds such comfort there that she is willing to address them. She goes to Rome to meet with a Cardinal to present her idea of what her visions are leading her to believe her future in the church is which is a role not open to women in the Catholic Church. This is a very interesting, thought-provoking book. As a reader you will see Cynthia as a good daughter, granddaughter, really just a good person, searching for her place in the world.”
Barbara M. is putting her foot down. Hard and crushingly on the spine of The Signature of All Things. “In spite of the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love I started reading her new novel The Signature of All Things because Barbara Kingsolver gave it a great review in the New York Times. I was also attracted to the subject –the story of a woman botanist in the 1800s. I’m almost half way through and am getting bored with its repetitiveness. I like the idea of Alma, the strong woman protagonist, but she and many of the other characters feel like caricatures rather than real people. I don’t think I’ll be finishing this book, nor do I think I’ll read any more by this author. “
Pat T. has just finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. “This is a delightful and quirky love story about a college professor with Asperger's syndrome, who embarks on a scientific search for the perfect wife called the Wife Project. Along the way he meets a young lady in search of her biological father and together they commence the search for the Father Project. As the two projects become intertwined, the Professor and young lady find their lives upended too! Even though the story is predictable, you can't help but like these characters and muse on the unexpected twist that one can encounter along the journey of life and love!”
Jeanne is only doing one thing this week. Perhaps she feels too over extended by the upcoming Hellidays? “What’s so sad about reading a fictional account of a violently dysfunctional family is that it is true somewhere. If it weren't for the bittersweet love story that Rainbow Rowell writes for Eleanor & Park in the YA novel of the same name, it would be completely tragic. Eleanor is a big girl with crazy red hair and crazier outfits. Park is slender, half Korean and mostly wears black. They're just sixteen, they live in the Flats of Omaha and they meet on the school bus. It seems like the eighties judging from the comics they read together and they music they share on their Walkman, but it could be anytime, anywhere for these sweethearts learning about each other, knowing they are mismatched and falling in love anyway.”
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is now Mrs. Elisabeth! She is fresh back from her nuptials so won’t you join me in welcoming her back and saying Mazel! “This week I’ve been reading The Book of Jezebel, an encyclopedia/coffee table book from the women behind Jezebel.com, one of my favorite websites geared towards women. The book contains entries in alphabetical order (with cross references!) on topics ranging from Princess Jasmine in Aladdin to the Babysitter’s Club Books to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The entries can be funny, sarcastic, or heartfelt and sometimes they’re all 3! It would make a great gift this holiday season for the female millennial in your life; as it’s basically a cultural compendium of everything that makes our generation, well, ours.”
And what would time spent in the Kitchen be without music? Here is DJ Jazzy Patty with not only a playlist but a book pick for your down time. Take it away Jazzy Patty! “Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm, a memoir by Mardi Jo Link is my gratitude reading selection. After reading this, I assure you that you will be able to identify many things in your life to be grateful for like heat in your home, food in your refrigerator, money to pay your bills and mortgage, I could go on. Mardi Jo Link's memoir is heartbreaking and at times hilarious. (Yes, there are chickens involved.) It's a poignant story of will and resilience during divorce while raising three sons and struggling to make ends meet. This year marks the convergence of the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving or what’s being touted as Thanksgivukkah. I can’t imagine a happier time than getting to enjoy turkey and latkes on the same day. As I began to contemplate these holidays next week, I reflect on all the things that I have in my life. We all have something we can be grateful for no matter how small or seemingly simple. . How about this year we all practice a little more kindness? What if we all topped that kindness with a sweet cherry of forgiveness? For this auspicious beginning to our holiday season, my theme is Expressions of Gratitude. “
Greetings! I am back from my trip and have the following to relate. My Traveling Companion (henceforth known as The TC) always visits his hometown book store. This is a lovely bookstore with a robust Golf section and The TC likes to scope out product placement and see what his writing brethren are up to. I just love a bookstore and find no hardship in the visitation of them. On this particular Saturday, I did not see the need to put make up on, dress up or make any sort of effort at all. Do I need to tell you this was a huge mistake? Because who was in the back of the bookstore? Celia Rivenbark! The author whose book I was using as my Fodor’s guide! And I am here to tell you her manners are just as lovely as you would expect. Because when I rushed her, she did not bat an eye at the Insane Yankee Woman with the naked face and comfortable clothing. Nope. She was as gracious as she could be. So let this be a lesson to you all. Nowhere is safe. Make an effort. These are the Jen Words of Wisdom for the week. This week we have some jumping, a fierce love, a gem and some forgiveness, and some singing circus dwarfs.
Let us begin!
Steph has finished reading The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, by Naoki Higashida. “This book recently got a lot of buzz when David Mitchell (of Cloud Atlas fame) did press for it after its publication, because Mitchell and his wife KA Yoshida translated it from Japanese. Why? Mitchell, who has a son with autism, states it plainly in his foreward: “The Reason I Jump was a revelatory godsend. Reading it felt as if, for the first time, our own son was talking to us about what was happening inside his head, through Naoki’s words.” And indeed, every page of this book is a revelation about Naoki’s inner world that reflected an entirely different way of being back at me. The writing is movingly simple and at times heartbreaking, and the book is so short that when I finished it, I went right back to the beginning and started again. Whether you or someone you are close to live with autism, this is a must-read and an incredible achievement.”
Sweet Ann has no words of wisdom this week. Maybe next week? Meanwhile this week she brings us her take on The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. “This is a beautifully written book that takes the reader on a journey that he or she will remember for a long time, not only for the story, but for the characters. Theo loves his mother and she loves him fiercely. So much so, that that you can feel it from the opening pages. Then there is a terrorist attack that alters Theo's life and carries him from living modestly with his mother to Park Avenue, Las Vegas, The Village and Europe. You will root and cheer for Theo and hope his life could have been easier. His childhood friend Andy will break your heart and Hobie, the antiques dealer who takes him in, will remind you of the good in people. His friend Boris on the other hand has a great heart coupled with quite an addiction problem that will have adult Theo on the adventure of his life. I greatly enjoyed this book but I did think it got slightly long winded at the end. I have enjoyed all of Donna Tartt's novels and I highly recommend them.
Jeanne. Back to two things at once. Thank goodness! “Sometimes I think the short story collection is the second cousin twice removed from the novel. But there are so many good collections and I had the great fortune to have The Isle of Youth by Laura van den Berg recommended to me by Greg Cowles. It is a gem and worth anyone’s reading time. With its seven stories about women who get into some kind of trouble and what they do to deal, I like the fast pace. These are stories to marvel at and are not so long you get tired of the women, but long enough for van den Berg to work the magic of her storytelling. I will be seeking out more such collections. On to Pat Conroy’s new memoir on audiobook, The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son. Why would Peggy Peck from Georgia stay with Donald Conroy a Marine Corps Fighter Pilot from Chicago, who abuses and beats her and the seven kids they have? The author reads his own introduction and this serves to set the turbulent, emotional tone of the book. The rest of the memoir is capably narrated by Dick Hill. As the eldest, Conroy grows up worrying about his siblings and hating his father. When I think of Pat Conroy, I picture a young Nick Nolte in The Prince of Tides in which he says, 'In New York I learned that I needed to love my mother and father in all their flawed, outrageous humanity, and in families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.' I am still thinking about this.”
While The TC was off doing Golfish Things in his Homeland, I was enjoying Love and Treasure the newest from Ayelet Waldman. Jack Wiseman is a tough New Yorker who is charged with guarding a train that was captured on the outskirts of Salzburg at the end of World War II. The train is filled with valuables taken from the Jews of Hungary before they were sent to Concentration Camps. Before he dies, Jack gives a mysterious necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie and asks her to return it to its rightful owner. Natalie soon finds herself immersed in a world of shady art dealers, suffragettes, Nazis and a family of singing circus dwarfs. This is a very rich story told over the entire course of the twentieth century. It comes out in April and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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. “
Sweet Ann’s Words of Wisdom this week are these: “If you do it, it’s done. If you say it, it’s said.” This being said, don’t just say you are going to set the clocks back before bed on Saturday, do it! Also on Saturday, make the hardware store a destination for fresh batteries for your smoke detectors. This is a small investment with a potentially huge payoff. The words from the SoNo Loft this week are profound in a rather interesting way. “I got nothin’” was this week’s message and while it made me literally laugh out loud on the train, I started thinking about the nature of nothing. The idea of Nothing does not necessarily need to connote negativity. Sometimes having nothing can be a positive as in, I have no troubles, I have no need for an exterminator, I have no tooth decay, I have no reason to be concerned about (insert something to be concerned about here). As the brilliant Bob Dylan stated in Like A Rolling Stone, “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.” Or let’s go back to the Great American Songbook and George Gershwin, “I got plenty of nuttin’, and nuttin’s plenty for me.” Also! Think about the term “sweet nothings”. We all love having those whispered in our ears. So this weekend, I wish you some nothings in copious quantities to coincide with our longer nights. Speaking of nothing, please don’t forget that we are closed this Monday for the installation of the generator we hopefully will never need. This week we have a coat, a need for sleep, England and India, more India, even more India and a rather poignant set list from DJ Jazzy Patty McC.
Let us begin!
Kim, who can be found on many desks wearing many hats (and have you seen her sparkly boat shoes they are Fabulous!) has been reading The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury and the Obsession on the Trail of a $5,0000 Coat by Meg Noonan. Perhaps she is thinking more about winter than fall? When you see her, won’t you ask?
Caroline! She’s back as you all know. What you may not know, is that she is back and on the minimum sleep schedule of new motherhood. She makes it all look so easy and effortless that it is hard to believe she is pretty much on auto pilot. Maybe the extra hour this weekend will be spent sleeping? I wish this for her and I am sure you do too. “With pregnancy books far behind me, I’m now embarking on a mission for sleep. Ash and Finn are now on a schedule. I’m just not sure they’re aware. We’re rapidly nearing the age of 3 months, when I’m told everything magically gets easier. Until then, you’ll probably see me wandering Body & Soul and the Children’s Room parenting section with a coffee in one hand, and one of these in the other: Sleep: The Brazelton Way, Twin Set: Moms Of Multiples Share Survive & Thrive Secrets, The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions To Help Your Child Sleep Well And Wake Up Happy, and The Multiples Manual : Preparing And Caring For Twins Or Triplets. All of them are helpful in different ways, and luckily seem to have some main points in common. I’ve also received a few other multiple-specific suggestions which will be on order shortly. We’ll see you at Baby Laptime!
Jeanne. Staying true to form. Two things at once. “ In the spirit of All Hallows' Eve, I am reading John Boyne's new book, This House is Haunted. I became a fan of his with The Absolutist and with this new offering he continues to prove his versatility as a writer with language that befits the 1867 time period. Eliza Caine responds to an advertisement for the position of governess to young Isabella and Eustace at Gaudlin Hall in Norfolk, England. Already Dickensian? What she finds when she arrives is unnerving, to say the least. But is it a good ghost or a bad ghost? Also, what I really want to do is stay in my car and finish listening to The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Pakistani author, Moshin Hamid. If you have not yet read this or watched the movie, please listen to the audio version. I am positively enraptured with the reader, Satya Bhabha. He drew me in to the cafe where the very personal story of Changez, a Pakistani man who was educated at Princeton and returned to Lahore, takes place. Through Bhabha, Changez relates his story of a captivated American, but he captivates his listener right along with him.
Pat T. has just finished listening to the audio book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. “The reading of this story, even though hard to listen to at times, was wonderfully performed! The author, Katherine Boo is a documentary journalist who lived in the slums of Annawadi for over two years in order to give a realistic accounting of the ordinary lives of the Indian people living in this settlement. We come to know Abdul, a teenager who has been recycling garbage since the age of six; Asha, a formidable woman who has climbed the ladder by discovering her own way of corrupting the system and her daughter, Manju, who dreams of completing her college education in order to teach. Even though the circumstances of their lives are, at times, desperate, this is their reality and they are resilient, resourceful and always hopeful for a better life.
Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten by Pamela Hicks is my BDB of the week. Lady Pamela is not only the daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten but also a cousin to both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip. This of course does not automatically make her interesting. What makes her interesting is that she had a front row seat during so many events of historic importance during her life not the least of which was the partition of India. While she will never replace my love/obsession for my Mitford Sisters, she really is a fascination in her own right.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. leaves us with the following: “This past Sunday the music world lost a giant with the death of Lou Reed. His music and artistic influence shaped and informed decades. Before I learned of his death, I was contemplating all the red, white and blue lawn signs of local politics and the rolling back of clocks for the time change. Pretty pedestrian, small town stuff for sure, but then the news of his death kind of rocked my world. Lou was outspoken, political and honest through his wonderfully crafted art. That's the stuff of real life. Be fearless in your endeavors and never forget to be a force for change in the world. He broke new ground and I am happy to report that I’ve owned a cassette of his for a VERY long time. Lou once said that his goal was to ‘write the Great American Novel in the form of a record album’. Indeed, music tells a story. Sometimes it's a novel or sometimes it's a novella but it always paints a picture and that's the work of an artist. This week my playlist is all things Lou Reed and time going backwards (unless you live in Indiana). Don't forget to set those clocks back! DL The Legacy of Lou Reed 2013
Welcome to the Halloween version of You Are What You Read. Frequent Visitors know that nothing and we do mean nothing, creeps us out quite like a doll, with the possible exception of clowns. So in the spirit of the upcoming Holiday, our theme for this week’s playlist is just that Creepy Dolls. The accompanying visual is actually of two creepy dolls that paid a visit to my desk earlier in the week. In a version of “pay it forward” the dolls proceeded to migrate all over the library. No one was happy to see them despite the fact that they are Creepy Dolls without Teeth. Frequent Visitors know that this is the worst type of doll that we know. Just the same, they were sort of our version of Riders of the Apocalypse. If they appeared in your work space you just knew no good was going to follow. On a happier note Sweet Ann’s Words of Wisdom for the week are these: “Let it go with a smile.” She is concerned that we may all be carrying too heavy of a load. Part of the load that Sweet Ann is carrying is the fear of my mood for the next week. I will do my utmost to maintain my cheery self. This week we have water, tea, more water, gridiron and a little heartbreak !
Let us begin!
Barbara M. is not one to let anything stand in the way of her WW II obsession. Carry on Barbara M! “I’m reading The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown in preparation for a book discussion I’m doing with Sweet Ann on Wednesday, November 20th. It’s a compelling story about the American rowing team which won a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The book focuses on one crew member, Joe Rantz, a young man who endured many hardships growing up. It’s easy to compare this book to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand as they are both about underdogs succeeding against insurmountable odds. The one thing that disturbs me is the author’s use of quotes without citations in a work of non-fiction. The author not only puts words in the mouth of the characters but also interprets their thoughts and describes their actions in detail. I’ve been told that this makes it a much more readable book, but, I’m not sure. Nonetheless, I am thoroughly captivated by the story and am learning how much team work and strength it takes to be a part of a crew.”
Jeanne is just doing one thing this week. I am concerned. “I am reading and enjoying Mission in A Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently and Succeeding by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff. The wonderful graphics are illustrated by Sungyoon Choi. Goldman and Nalebuff are two very smart guys, the first a student; the second his professor. Back in the nineties, Seth was frustrated at not being able to find a bottled drink that was healthful, tasty and not over-sweetened. He approached Barry, a tea aficionado, with his ideas. This book tells the story of their thinking and creative processes and their foray into the beverage industry that led to the manufacturing of Honest Tea. You can now find it in a store near you. Honestly.”
Sweet Ann is happily ensconced in A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. “ I am not finished this book yet but it is wonderful and I can't recommend it enough. The novel alternates chapters told by sixteen year old Nao who lives in Japan and Ruth a middle aged woman who lives with her husband on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Ruth has discovered Nao's diary which was carefully packaged and protected when it washes up on the beach. She doesn't realize the content of the bag until it is opened. From the opening line of the diary, to the other contents of the container, Ruth as well as the reader is mesmerized. Nao is a very unhappy person and Ruth is drawn to her and wants to find out if she survived the 2011 tsunami. As a reader you learn much about Nao's life, her torturous school days, her love of her father and her wonderful great grandmother who is a Buddist nun. With Ruth you learn about a woman who has made sacrifices and compromises in her life and is questioning her decisions. It's a wonderful read and I will be sad when I finish their story.”
Steph who was also visited by The Dolls this week is confident about what she is reading! “This week I have been reading Collision Low Crossers by Nicholas Dawidoff, after hearing Pat S. rave about it. I have been just as taken in as she was! Though I grew up rooting for the Eagles, I have no feelings one way or the other about the Jets, but Dawidoff’s story of his year with them is fascinating. If football is, as many say, the soap opera for men, then this book is the juicy behind-the-scenes look at how the soap opera gets written and produced. I haven’t quite finished it yet but suffice it to say, I spent an extra hour on the train today and barely noticed we were running late—that’s how engrossed I was. This one will be big when it’s released in November.”
Now that the weather is cooler I am back to the Blow Dry and this means that I am back to having a Blow Dry Book (henceforth known as BDB). For those who are Not Frequent Visitors a BDB is literally a book I read while I blow dry my hair; a chore that I find to be such a bore that there needs to be a book to help it along. There are rules for the BDB: It must have shortish break points (the Blow Dry is not a forever activity letters are normally perfect in this regard), it has to be well written (who wants to waste time with drivel), and the story has to be compelling (so that you remember the story line from day to day). Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson has been my Blow-Dry companion and it fits all the perfect Blow Dry Requirements. Janie Ryan is the narrator of what a story that is equal parts funny, and heartbreaking. From the moment Janie is born to her teen mom in 1980’s Great Britian, there is nothing but trouble. The pair is homeless practically from the start and when you throw in drug use, depression and alcoholism you are in for some pretty bleak times. But Hudson’s writing and humor also allow you to feel the love and unbreakable bonds between mother and daughter. This one comes out in February.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. spins a tale dark, creepy and toothless. “This week I have no words to share. I only have music and two very creepy dolls.”
Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new next week. Come in and visit us, or put your items on hold from home! We will let you know when they are ready for you to pick up!
Welcome to The Hunter’s Moon edition of You Are What You Read. Yup the full moon is tomorrow and I am here to tell you that this month is no better than last. DJ Jazzy Patty McC. will be addressing just this in our weekly playlist. I have no Sweet Ann words of wisdom this week but I do have something rather charming to relate. On my commute, I have spied a loft in SoNo that has been hanging inspiring hand lettered messages on a banner from their deck. Every morning I make an effort to see what the message is and I can’t lie that it does add some much needed whimsy to what, of late, can be a rather bleak commute One of this week’s messages was ‘Dream your future.’ I am sure that Sweet Ann would approve this message. This week we have some despair, melodrama, a head injury, a talk show, murderous tribes, serious drinking, killer whales, disappointment, divorce, a motorcycle club and of course, our weekly playlist.
Let us begin!
John who is off getting married this weekend sent this in before he left. I know that you join me in wishing him and his lovely bride nothing but the best. “I have been thoroughly engrossed in a fascinating book, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This parallel story begins when one of the central characters, Ruth, discovers among debris from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, washed up on the distant shores of British Columbia, a neatly wrapped plastic parcel containing a diary written by a thirteen-year-old Japanese girl who seems to be chronicling the days leading up to her suicide. The novel cuts back and forth between the diary entries and the story of Ruth's determination to find out more about the Japanese girl, Nao. Nao, it turns out, was a Japanese American who lived in California all of her life until the dot-com bust when she and her family had to return to Japan. Upon her return, Nao is teased mercilessly by her classmates while her mother and father fall deeper into despair. Amid this crisis, she connects with her anarchist, Buddhist nun grandmother while planning her own demise. This is an extraordinary novel from two very distinct voices. Nao's narrative is so crisp, clear and unapologetic. I live for writing that brings characters like her to life and because I'm only halfway through the novel, I worry for her and her fate. This is a must-read.”
Sweet Ann has two offerings this week. “I finished Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford this week and wanted to share that I think this is an interesting book that will keep you engaged. It does talk about the early movie business and as I finished reading it, I thought of it as an engrossing melodrama from the 30's and 40's. I have to start this review by saying I love Liane Moriarty. I like the way she writes, her characters and the situations she presents. The first book I read of hers was What Alice Forgot. Alice wakes up from a head injury and thinks her marriage and life are perfect, but the injury has caused her to forget the past ten years when her life has been spinning out of control. In The Husband's Secret, Cecilia Fitzpatrick thinks her life with her husband and children is just about perfect until she finds a sealed letter from her husband that instructs her not to open it until after his death. Cecilia waits, probably longer than others would, but the letter is finally opened. What is in the letter is shocking and will have ramifications for the family, friends and others in the town. I have now heard from various friends of mine that I should not do the same with them because they had many suggestions on opening and then resealing envelopes.”
Sue S. has finished reading and really enjoyed these two very different books. 150 Pounds by Kate Rockland which is a truly delightful read starring Alexis Allbright, of Skinny Chick, and Shoshana Weiner, who writes Fat and Fabulous who are both Bloggers. Both are hungry for success. But the similarities stop there. When both appear as panelists on a popular talk show, their lives intersect in ways neither could have imagined. This book is comedic, makes you laugh out loud and is familiar to any woman who's ever stepped on a scale. I am reading Doctor Sleep: A Novel by Stephen King because I loved The Shining but it's totally making me sleep with the lights on! The story picks up on a now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and how he must save a very special twelve-year-old girl from a tribe of murderous paranormals. It's well written with classic creepiness by the King of it himself!
Steph also enjoyed Doctor. Sleep. Here is her take. “This week I read Stephen King’s new book, Doctor Sleep. This book is a sequel of sorts to The Shining, and you won’t be surprised to hear that poor tortured Danny Torrance, last seen barely surviving his father and the Overlook Hotel, has not made it into adulthood with a clean bill of mental health. Rather, he’s a violent alcoholic, and one pretty close to rock bottom at that, because he’s found that the only way to quiet the shining in his head is to drink constantly. Meanwhile, in another part of the country, a young girl is growing up with powers even more powerful than Danny’s were—and even further away, a roving band of very scary folks called the True Knot are looking for kids just like her in order to stay alive. It’s all classic King, with the unnerving touches and perfect dialogue we’ve come to expect from him, but it’s layered with something more. King, himself a recovering alcoholic, has matured quite a lot since The Shining, and it shows in this book. His writing about addiction is heart wrenching, and adds a human dimension to the creep factor, much as he did in 11/22/63. You don’t have to have read The Shining to enjoy this one, but if you did, you’ll love it all the more.”
Won’t you all please welcome Marie to our ranks? She began as one of our favorite patrons and now she is one of us and working in Materials Management. “Science and nature is one of my favorite genres so I am really enjoying Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity by David Kirby. I would recommend viewing the SeaWorld show with trainers in the tank on YouTube for an unbelievable visual after completing this book!”
Jeanne. Always. Two things at once. “Amy Tan has once again brought us a compelling story of a daughter's relationship with her mother that is rife with disappointment, struggle and search for love. Violet is growing up in Shanghai at the turn of the 20th century when her mother decides it is not safe to stay there and flees her once-prosperous house of pleasure and books passage to return to her family home in San Francisco. Tan seduces us with riddles of the heart, loyalty and power as well as the mystery of a small landscape painting titled, The Valley of Amazement. I am also reading Kate DiCamillo's new book, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. I think everyone should read a good children's book on a regular basis and DiCamillo's writing has heart, it's smart and it's humorous (I love Because of Winn Dixie.) In this new graphic novel, Flora Belle Buckman is a young, self-described cynic with recently divorced parents, often left to her own devices and Ulysses is a squirrel. They meet in a most unusual way and the wonderful illustrations and clever antics make for plenty of adventures for them and the reader. Highly recommended!
Miss Elisabeth of the CL breaking any stereotype you may have had of what Children’s Librarians consume when not putting on Story Times. Proceed with caution on this one. ”This week I haven’t read anything, because I have been completely and entirely consumed by Sons of Anarchy. We have it at the library and seasons 1-4 are streaming on Netflix, and though I never thought I would love a hyper-violent show about an outlaw motorcycle club, man, have I been sucked in! The storytelling is superb, and once I picked up on the fact that showrunner Kurt Sutter is retelling Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I loved it even more. For a story based on such tragic source material, the show also has some great light-hearted moments, especially in the first seasons, and a swoon-worthy romance between Jax, played by the delicious Charlie Hunnam, and Tara, his childhood sweetheart. In the newer seasons, it’s been fascinating to watch Jax (aka Hamlet’s) descent into darkness, and the acting on the show is altogether excellent. I highly recommend it!”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. as always has her fingers on the pulse of what’s doing in our Library World. “So, I can only speak for myself at any given time and place but things have been a little weird within my own universe as of late. I think I can safely say it’s been a tad bit off-kilter for my colleagues as well. I can only chalk it up to the impending full moon and maybe lack of HVAC. This week I encourage you all to channel your inner Neil deGrasse Tyson, enjoy the full moon on Saturday and be swept away by the pulls and tides of our planetary existence. Happy weekend all and here is this week's playlist!”
Happy Friday to you all! This week has shaped up to be much better than the last. The New York Girls are happily back to a commutation time that is reasonable, I am back on a train and off I-95, and the crisp beautiful Fall days just keep coming. With this in mind, Patty McC.aka DJ Jazzy Patty has some reflections on change this week. While not always welcome, it is the one thing that we can always count on. Sweet Ann would like to remind everyone that when you are having back problems, Pilates and Body Pump are not necessarily your friends. She also has concern about my mood which can best be described as pensive. I am sure things will be fine. This week we have an emotional roller coaster, some India, London, New York, the return of Bridget, a Vampire attack, big honking pearls and what is becoming our weekly playlist.
Let us begin.
Pat T. is listening this week. “I have just started listening to the audio book And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. It begins with a father telling his son a bedtime story which is quite an emotional roller coaster but thankfully it has a redemptive ending! As in his two previous books, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini proves to be a masterful storyteller who weaves together heart wrenching stories with characters that confront emotional and moral dilemmas.”
Pat S. has left the playing fields of professional football and is back at more Pat S. like pursuits. ” For Anglophiles everywhere, this one's for you! Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten by Lady Pamela Hicks. Born in 1929 into a storied family, a close relative of the British Royal family, Lady Pamela Hicks tells of growing up in the rarefied world of rank and privilege where she was an eye witness to key historical events. Growing up in England with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret as playmates, and being stashed with the Vanderbilts in New York during the war, Lady Pamela then moved to India where her parents were the last Viceroy and Vicerine of India they were tasked not with strengthening the Empire, but dismantling it. Her portraits of a fragile Ghandi, a charismatic Nehru, and a host of who’s who of the international jet set make for a fascinating read. Delightfully, Lady Pamela's bird’s-eye-view of people and events is recounted without any attempt at armchair psycho-analyzing. Perhaps it is the British sang-froid, but I found it refreshing to read about a woman who has lived an uncommonly interesting life-and appreciates her good fortune. The memoir covers the first thirty years of her life before her marriage to David Hicks, international style icon. Hopefully, volume two will open at the dawn of Swinging Sixties in London!”
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is not exactly thrilled with her pick this week. We wish her a better one next week! “This week I read Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season. There's been a lot of press and critical acclaim for the book, which is the first in a planned series of 7, and I was expecting to enjoy it immensely, as it has been proclaimed in more than one place to be ‘Harry Potter for grownups.’ The story follows Paige Mahoney, a citizen of Scion London. In this dystopian future, all psychic ability has been outlawed by punishment of death. Paige, who has a rare power that makes her a target for all different factions, is taken to a new type of prison for psychic creatures which throws everything she thought she knew about life into question. While I enjoyed the book, I didn't love it, which surprised me. I thought the main character's power was lamely executed. She's supposed to be all powerful and very scary. Unfortunately, the reader never really gets to see her be powerful or all that scary. She's spunky and strong, but she's billed as a hurricane, and never lives up to the power you expect her to display. I kept comparing the book unfavorably to Daniel O'Malley's magnificent The Rook, which featured similar characters and was infinitely superior in every way. “
Babs B! A review from Babs can be as rare as a unicorn sighting but when she gets excited about something and feels compelled to share then you just know it is going to be good. This week she is excited to tell us about Margot by Jillian Cantor. “Imagine if Anne Frank's sister Margot managed to survive the Holocaust and start a new life in the United States! This is the premise for this book that breathes life into a character we know only from her sister's famous diary. The year is 1959 and Margot is living in Philadelphia working as a secretary in a Jewish law firm. She is now Margie Franklin who has a secret: a life she once lived and a past and a religion she has denied. As she begins to fall in love with a young law partner, Margie is forced to come to terms with Margo, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up in the course of history. I really enjoyed this story.”
Steph is also excited this week by the reappearance of an old literary friend. “This week I was surprised by one of the highlights of my reading year: the new Bridget Jones book! She’s back! In Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Bridget has been plunged into the twenty-first century, and not altogether happily. As you may have seen in the news, Helen Fielding made the controversial choice to kill off Mr. Darcy, and we reunite with Bridget five years after his death, as she tries to balance her writing career with single motherhood, amidst her friends trying to convince her to get back out in the dating world. When she does, she finds dating has become even more of a minefield thanks to Twitter, online flirting, and texting. (She quickly establishes a new list of dating rules, leading with 1. Don’t text while drunk.) In many ways she’s satisfyingly the same old Bridget, eating shredded cheese out of the packet, reading self-help books, and worrying about everything, especially after she lands a cute thirty something. But the book is also threaded with her guilt and grief over Mark’s death and the challenges of modern parenthood. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Bridget has matured, could we still love her if she did, but she’s certainly changed for the better. Fans of the first two books will love this new one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins her some new admirers as well.”
Amanda says, “When Elisabeth of the Children’s Library raved about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black last week, she was not telling lies. This book is so good that I’d have to quit my job and just read if all books were this level of entertaining. The heroine is a believable teenager whose actions are driven by the need to survive after a vampire attack. Unlike other heroines in the genre, Tana is not moping around or giving up on life. She makes tough decisions, gets beaten up, betrayed, but keeps pressing on. Nothing is going to take her down without a fight. Black’s book is action packed from the first page until the end. It does not look like there’s going to be a sequel or a series which is a relief. The book ends on a perfectly epic note which just feels so right. How many books can you say that about? “I for one am relieved that Amanda is over her bad book picks this week.
I have spent the week dwelling delightfully in another place and time. The Fishing Fleets: Husband Hunting in the Raj by Anne de Courcy examines the years of British rule in India. Hordes of young men leaving England to secure their fortunes in India proved irresistible to the young English women they left behind. So what to do? Why board a ship and seek them out! With the ratio of 4 men to each woman matrimonial success was all but guaranteed. Also guaranteed? A social whirlwind filled with balls, tiger hunts and pearls the size of golf balls worn by Maharajas. But this was no fairy tale. These young women were truly pioneers who went into places where there were few other Europeans, disease and very real dangers. This is a fascinating look at a vanished world that is out in January and will be in the catalog next week.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. leaves us with the following thought this weekend. “How can you welcome in a new season without saying goodbye to another? This makes me contemplate change. Change is never easy. Change is difficult at best but in the end, sometimes change makes us all better human beings. We all change in subtle and sometimes profound ways every day. This week my music playlist is dedicated to our own Louise Berry, Kiera Parrott and Gretchen Caserotti. Although you can only virtually hug Gretchen at this point, I encourage you all to give a big hug of thanks to Louise and Kiera. (Ok, if you’re not a hugger, just thank them.) These female trailblazers have collaborated and built a phenomenal temple of knowledge in town that is the envy of many. I wish them only the best as they turn the next page on the chapter of their lives. We should all welcome it, embrace it and fall into change. If that’s not a music theme fit for a playlist, I don’t know what is!! Rock on, ladies… DL Fall into Change 2013 “
Welcome to a very special edition of You Are What You Read. This week we present to you, You Are What You Read: The Road to Hell. Our commute, and we are sure yours as well, this week has been nothing but painful. It doesn’t matter if you are on a train ( the New York Girls are reporting up to 2 hours for a one way trip), or if you are in a car (for myself, almost an hour and a half one morning), the transit woes are killing us. Sweet Ann’s words of wisdom for the week come from one of her neighbors growing up. Ann wants us all to remember this: “You can take a Local. You can take an Express. But you don’t get off until you reach Success.” Sadly I think that just reaching your destination with body and soul intact is what constitutes success at this point. But, I would like to note also that this is the mettle of the people I work with. Once they get here you would never know that their world is anything less than sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. So, here is hoping that I can report next week that the New York Girls are not spending 2 hours on a train to go some 50 or so miles (some of us walk faster), that I can get back on the train and out of my car, and that going forward this will be a dim, sad memory. This week we have a know-it-all, Purgatory, The Iron Lady, creepy usage of a riding crop, sharks, logging, six pack abs and some grit, fear and death, the Netherlands, a group home and a little gift.
Let us begin!
Miss Kiera of the CL is one of the New York Girls who has been dealing with the hellish commute. You will please note that she has done so with a smile. She’s excited about an old favorite doing new things. “Kevin Henkes, perhaps best known for his beloved and award-winning picture books like Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, has a new chapter book out: The Year of Billy Miller. Billy is just about to enter second grade when a small accident causes him to wonder, ‘Am I smart enough for second grade?’ His new teacher wears chopsticks in her hair and rings a gong, his tablemate Emma is a know-it-all, and his little sister Sal is starting to get on his very last nerve. And the year has just begun! This is funny, realistic fiction with short episodic chapters and a large typeface. It's a great transitional book for children who are reading independently (but perhaps not quite ready for longer, more complex texts.) I hope to see many more Billy Miller stories from Mr. Henkes! “
Miss Elisabeth of the CL: Another New York Girl with an amazing sense of grace in a bad situation. Seriously. You would totally want these people next to you in a fox hole. If that should happen to be where you find yourself. I hope not. “This week I read Patrick Ness’ beautiful, marvelous, wonderful, gorgeous More Than This. The first line of the book? ‘Here is the boy, drowning.’ Chills! I get chills! And it only gets better from there. 16-year-old Seth has drowned in the ocean and had his head smashed in by rocks. The last line in the first chapter? ‘He drowns.’ But then! Then he opens his eyes and wakes up in a strange, deserted version of the small English town he grew up in. Is he in hell? Is he in purgatory? Has he traveled to a new world? Or is there something far more sinister at play? I adored this book, for the deep questions it asks about guilt and family and love, for the beautiful way it’s written, and especially for the fact that when the book turns, you are truly gob smacked, and there are even more questions to ponder about the internet and technology and the future of humanity. “
Steph! A New York Girl slogging it out this week with humor and poise! Stephanie begins this week’s reflection with a question. “Am I sold on 1979 being the birth of the new century? No, not really. I think that’s just goofy marketing tactics. But Strange Rebels by Christian Caryl makes for interesting reading anyway. In 1979, many interesting things happened in the world; Caryl focuses on the election of Margaret Thatcher, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (and subsequent US response), Pope John Paul II’s travels (especially to Poland), the Iranian Revolution, and Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in China. Though he focuses on the economic and political ramifications of all this chaos, and especially how they intersected, he also provides succinct biographies of the principals involved. I mean, I think those things are interesting. If it sounds interesting to you, you will probably love this book. Caryl’s characterizations of the people and pivotal events of 1979 are deft and enthralling, which is especially impressive given the amount of detail included here. I have a few political quibbles, but overall, one of the more engaging non-fiction books I’ve picked up this year."
Amanda, while not affected by the commutation woes, is still cranky and is a powerful reminder of the usefulness of an awesome audio book to make the time fly. And, alternatively, the sadness that a bad one can induce. “‘Reader, I hurled,’ is one of my favorite quotes which aptly applies to Catherine Coulter’s Night Fire. I had a long car trip last week and this book was recommended to me. If I had had something better to listen to, I would have done so. This book is about Arielle, who at 16 was forced to wed her much older neighbor. At the end of his riding crop, she suffers severe beatings and degrading sexual acts. Like a miracle, he finally chokes to death. Arielle believes she is free. That is until the Earl of Ravensworth comes home from the Napoleon wars. He’s smitten with the girl Arielle was at 15 and he’ll do anything to possess her. The tactics of Ravensworth make him barely better than Arielle’s dead husband. Stay clear unless you like a lot of brutality in your romance. The book’s reader also sounds like a grandmother which somewhat makes everything that much worse. “
Birthday Girl Erin who has no commuting woes remains her usual sunny, sassy self. “I have been on a MOVIE ROLL lately so I would like to share what I’ve been watching. Kon-Tiki is a Norwegian film that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. It follows a group of Norwegian adventurers who attempt to float a raft from Peru to French Polynesia to prove that the islands were settled from the east instead of the west. Along the way they encounter sharks, storms, and self-doubt. And for people who read and loved Gone Girl, I’d like to recommend the movie Side Effects. A young wife suffering from depression is prescribed a new drug that causes intense sleep walking episodes. I don’t want to tell you what happens next but there are twists! There are turns! There is Channing Tatum! And the last film I’d like to recommend, which is now in theaters, is Ron Howard’s Rush. It’s based on the true story of a 1970s race car rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. It would make the perfect date movie because there are race cars, suspense, fire, and Chris Hemsworth (even though I’m Team Liam, I’m not blind).”
Abby is off on another mystery series kick. “I just finished Massacre Pond, the 4th book in the Paul Doiron detective mystery series set in the Down East wilderness. Filled with Maine culture both high and lower-brow, our hero is Maine State Game Warden Mike Bowditch, ironically, the son of a big time poacher. Perpetually in the work doghouse, Mike must investigate a brutal slaughter of wildlife that appears to be part of a campaign against the establishment of a new national park. Those against the park fear they will be blocked from accessing their beloved wilderness costing much needed logging jobs and access to hunting to feed their families. Those in favor believe they are saving that same space for future generations. As the two sides square off, Mike has some serious investigating and soul searching to do. “
Alan, a man who seems to have no commuting issues this week, chimes in with two series he is rather fond of. “Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel, Never Go Back, is the best of his recent novels in this series. Reacher, whose polymath brain is equal to his immensely strong body (we get a description of his six-pack abs and cantaloupe-sized biceps at one point) is dealing this time with a conspiracy at the top of the government. Teaming up, for the moment, with a strong female character, he gets himself out of jams with his brain or his fists, crosses the country in search of resolution, and brings things to a satisfying conclusion before setting off, alone, again. If you like Lee Child’s Reacher series, you’ll be very pleased with this; if you don’t know it, this is a good place to try it out. George Pelecanos is a really good writer – of his dozen or so books that focus on crime in the District of Columbia and of the TV series The Wire and Treme. In The Double, to be published October 8, he’s written a second book about Spero Lucas, the young, tough, sensitive, still-has-a-lot-to-learn, searcher for missing things, who seems to find trouble wherever he looks, but has the grit and guile to resolve things, often with jarring violence. In this case he’s looking for a stolen painting, while resolving some other issues – like murder. A sensitive, strong protagonist, great writing, and you’d-think-you-were-there descriptions of the DC you don’t see as a tourist – a very satisfying read.”
I have not heard John complaining about his commute this week but since he lives even further north than I do I cannot imagine it was any sort of Mardi Gras. In fact, I would imagine it was pretty much the morning after Mardi Gras in nature. Sort of headachy, smelly, and full of regret. This is probably why we have two things from John this week. “In anticipation of Carol Rifka Brunt's visit to Darien Library on October 10th, I decided to read Tell the Wolves I'm Home. It's an incredibly compelling and heart-wrenching story about a thirteen year-old girl whose uncle, whom she adores, dies of AIDS. The novel takes place during the early days of the insidious disease and it reminds us that when it was first emerging, AIDS was shrouded in a cloak of fear, intolerance, and homophobia. I was only slightly younger than the main character, June, during that time and I remember how those with AIDS were stigmatized and dismissed as deviants. This novel explores that time in a very human way. I would classify this as a YA (young adult) novel, based upon the writing and voice (first-person from June's point of view). Yet this is an important YA book because it is representative of how much that genre has evolved over the past decade. This is a serious novel with serious subject matter that can be read by both teens and adults. I've also just begun (and am halfway through) the short novel, Tinkers, by Paul Harding. The novel is framed as a series of remembrances by George Washington Crosby on his deathbed. They primarily focus on his father, a tinker who sold goods and trinkets from a mule-cart in rural Maine and who suffered from epilepsy in a time when people thought that affliction was a type of insanity. This is a painfully beautiful book that is more of a series of meditations on the wonder of life and its intricacies. Naturally the theme of the tinker--a person whose livelihood depends on fiddling with intricate metalwork--carries over into the complexity of the natural world around us. This is a wonderful little book (and no wonder it took the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for fiction). It's like an amuse-bouche for your soul.”
Barbara M. No commuting trauma. Reading about World War II. Like life is normal. I want to live in Barbara’s alternate universe for a while. “I’m reading Dancing with the Enemy by Paul Glaser. Paul Glaser grew up Roman Catholic in the Netherlands. When he was 35 his friend casually mentioned that Glaser was a common Jewish name in Vienna and then later while visiting the museum in Auschwitz he saw a valise with the name Glaser on it. His suspicions aroused, he confronted his father who confirmed what Paul Glaser had suspected – his father’s family was Jewish. When the author investigated what happened to his family during WWII he became especially interested in his Aunt Rosie’s story and this is the story he focuses on in the book. Rosie was a talented ballroom dancer who was able to circumvent the forced deportation of Jews to work and concentration camps until her ex-husband betrayed her. Her wits and her charms helped her survive the many camps she was sent to. This book describes an unusual view of Dutch complicity during the Nazi occupation of Holland.”
Sweet Ann wants us all to keep smiling and brings us The Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford. “I am midway through this novel and I am beginning to enjoy it more. The story takes place in 1934 Seattle as twelve year old William Eng searches for his mother. William has been living in a group home ever since he was a young child when his mother was whisked off to the hospital. He believes he has seen his mother in a film and hears that the actress will be in Seattle in the near future. William escapes the home and meets up with the actress who is his mother. She begins to tell him what happened in her life and how they both ended up where they are. As her story enfolds I am more intrigued.”
And finally from DJ Jazzy Patty McC. we have a musical valentine/Band-Aid/salve for all of us who fought the commutation fight for the last couple of days. Thanks Patty! Life is indeed better with a soundtrack. “No doubt life is better with a soundtrack and it’s no secret that I’m a music lover. In my opinion, we should all have a theme song. It would be even more fantastic if it played when we walked into a room. So with this front of mind, I began contemplating my sweet librarian’s hellish commute due to the recent transportation snafu. This week I give you my curated DL The Commute from Hell 2013. You can thank me later. Today this is your daily slice of awesomeness. “