Well thankfully this month is winding down. I can’t say it’s been a delightful beginning of the year. In fact, I am finding it the opposite of delightful. Between the cold, the snow, the ice and the commuting woes I am more than ready to put January behind me. The SoNo Loft is sticking with last week’s message. Our Sweet Ann’s words of wisdom are not so much words of wisdom but a reminder of sorts: “I don't know if I have any words of wisdom this week except I know for me I am still trying to stick with my resolutions, one being to try to be more patient. I think it is important to set goals and work towards them. I know for me personally, I have set workout goals and it’s not always easy to stick to but it is worth all the effort. Although we will see in a year or two if I need a scooter since my knees have given out.” So remember! Even if you have fallen far from those resolutions, keep working at them! There could be a scooter in your future. This week we have some South Carolina, Philadelphia, Christopher Robin, Montreal, a lost cat, Paris, LA, misfits, the comeback of bawdy and our weekly playlist, and San Francisco.
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann is reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. “This is a very good novel based loosely on the life of Sarah Grimke who was born to a wealthy plantation slave owning family in Charleston, South Carolina in 1792. She was a woman way ahead of her time becoming a feminist and an abolitionist which caused her much hardship. Ms. Kidd has fictionalized her life and used historical facts to move the story along. At the age of eleven young Sarah is given Hette who is to be her personal slave. Sarah does not want her but her parents refuse to take back their gift. Sarah wants the freedom that is denied her because she is a woman and Hette just want to be free. There is brutality in this book that will make you cringe but remember it is based on history and how slaves were treated. This is a very well written novel that will keep you turning the pages.”
Erin is working that Red Carpet State of Mind. Work it Erin! “Because I have the Academy Awards on the mind, this weekend I decided to visit an old favorite from last year. I had not seen Silver Linings Playbook since it was in theaters over a year ago and JEEZ I just love a movie with a good dance sequence. Bradley Cooper has just been released from a state mental institution which he agreed to as part of a plea bargain after a violent confrontation with his wife’s lover. Jennifer Lawrence (my girl J-Law) has recently been widowed and all she wants to do is compete in a dance competition. But she needs a partner. The two make a deal and start practicing religiously. This film has mental illness, comedy, love, Philadelphia sports, and a dance montage set to the tune of a Johnny Cash/Bob Dylan song. What’s not to love?”
Kim, who can be found on many service desks here in the library often wearing those shiny deck shoes, is reading Billy Moon by Douglas Lain. “It tells the fictional story of a real character Christopher Robin Milne. The story takes place in 1968. One quote that I liked from the book is on page 81 where Lain states ‘How was it that Christopher’s strongest memories of his father weren’t of him, but of his absence?’”
Abby is reading The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. “While I have enjoyed the mysteries that take place in the village of Three Pines outside of Montreal, I expected to like them more than I have. In this book, Gamache must solve a murder with the underlying theme of jealousy in both the murder and a crisis in his professional life. The quirky villagers bring their own strengths and foibles to help Gamache understand the time and place of the crime. While this third entry has some flaws, the characters continued growth and depth will keep me reading. Her most recent book How the Light Gets In, was on a number of Best of Lists for 2013. This has me curious about Penny’s growth as a writer since her latest is so highly regarded. Penny has not yet won me over.”
Amanda wants to know what in the world an animal memoir is. Is it written from the perspective of the animal? Is it about how an animal changed a human’s life? This week she picked up Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology by Caroline Paul. “First off, Lost Cat is a delight to read. I finished it in just over an hour so it’s a perfect read before dinner. The book follows the adventures of the author who shattered her leg in a plane crash. Depressed and feeling sorry for herself, she finds a distraction in tracking down her cat when he goes missing. Her search is laugh out loud funny and the illustrations by her partner had me smiling fondly at the big eyed cats that fill the pages. Then it hit on a depressing note that had me sobbing my heart out for ten minutes. I felt so wretched but Caroline’s description of what it feels like to have your heartbroken was just so true. It made me feel less alone because someone else knows exactly what it feels like. I love this book and heartily recommend it for anyone who wants an amusing read with a happy ending.”
Barbara M. is back in her beloved Paris this week with The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol. “After reading about Chechnya and both World Wars this book is a wonderful and absolutely delightful escape. Josephine Cortes, a scholar specializing in the 12th century, is living in a not-so-nice suburb of Paris with her out of work husband and two daughters. Her husband leaves her and Jo is left to manage on her own. Her sister, a woman-who-lunches and shops, proposes that Jo write a book for which she, Iris, will take credit. The people in this novel are all well drawn caricatures of people we all know. It is laugh out loud hilarious and I can’t wait until Pancol’s next two books are translated into English.”
Steph is enthusiastic! “This week I read Rainbow Rowell's forthcoming book, Landline. Her recent YA books, Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, have both made surprising inroads with adults and book groups at our library, so they will be thrilled to hear that this one is written for them! Georgie McCool (yes, that is her real name) knows she's made a mistake after she lets her husband and kids head to his mom's house for Christmas without her because she has to stay in LA to work on what could be the biggest break in her career as a TV writer. Worried she's finally ruined her marriage; she keeps desperately trying to get him on the phone, but finds she can't, except via an old landline phone, which seems to be connecting her to him in the past to the week just before he proposed to her. She's heartbroken and terrified. Will their late-night chats change the future she's living in? Knowing what she knows now, should she even want him to propose to her in the past? Will she be able to hold it together for her big break? The book has all the tension of a great thriller, but also Rowell's deftness with the complexity of relationships and love. I devoured it. And it's coming out this summer just in time for all your smart-beach-book needs. I can't wait to share it with everybody. But in the meantime, read her other books to prepare."
Pat T. is listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book David and Goliath; Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. “Just like his other books, Outliers, Blink and Tipping Point, Gladwell challenges the status quo of societal norms and offers a different and refreshing perspective. In David and Goliath, he uses the biblical story to point out what happens when ordinary people confront challenges and are forced to respond. Do we strike back or forgive, preserve or give? One of his many stories is about a girls’ basketball team that defied expectations and went on to win the season title. Although the girls didn't have exceptional basketball skills they had great attitudes that made them willing to try harder than anyone else. Gladwell is a good story teller and he narrates his own book, but I felt that many of the examples he used were weak. Overall, it is a worthwhile read!
DJ Jazzy Patty McC. is having her usual fun diving into some Non-Fiction and serving up a little tunage on the side. “My read this week turns to the bawdy hilarity of Meaty, a collection of essays by Samantha Irby. Who says the cover of a book doesn’t entice a reader and sell a book? After looking into the eyes of the charging rooster on the cover, I knew I must read this collection of essays! I have not been disappointed. Samantha Irby reads like a delightfully bawdy (we really need to bring that word back...) raw conversation with your single girlfriend. Her fearless vulnerability in ‘My Mother, My Daughter’ will make you tear up or downright weep. I’ll warn you this is not a read for the faint of heart. The language and situations require that I give you a warning. Irby’s frank voice and self-deprecating humor bring a refreshing spot of hilarity to this quick read in a very bawdy, bawdy way. If you need some tunes to go along with this read, I’m sharing an entire album, you heard right… an album! It’s pretty darn great so enjoy a little Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe with your read. “
I have recently started Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music which is her first novel since her phenomenal success with Room. Blanche Beunon is a French burlesque dancer in 1876 San Francisco. Not only is the city in the middle of a heat wave and a small pox epidemic, her friend Jenny has been shot dead through a saloon window. Blanche it appears will do anything to bring the killer to justice. Based on a true unsolved crime, the depictions of a sweltering San Francisco are helping a bit with our reality of freezing cold. This one is due out in April also known as the Cruelest Month. Sorry T.S. but have you lived through a Connecticut January?