Greetings and welcome to the Hellidaze edition of You Are What You Read! It’s hard to believe that this time next week we will all be standing in line trying to return that gift that leaves us scratching our head and pouring ANOTHER glass of eggnog. The words from The SoNo Loft remain ‘Just Breathe’ so, as always in the coming days, heed the message, stop, and take a deep breath. I know that for myself, this weekend will be spent tying up those loose ends and then as a reward for just getting it done, a Sunday Morning Meet Up with a selection of some of my Outlaws for a catch-up and some breakfast. Remember People! The important stuff always gets done and the most important piece of the Hellidaze is being with your people! As a reminder we are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but we will see you bright and early on the 26th for our regular hours. Next week, we will have our big reveal as to what the Library’s Top Ten Reads of 2014 are. So put your heads down, power through it with a bit of joy, a whole lotta eggnog, maybe some pants with an elastic waist and we’ll catch up next week. This week we have Lord Byron, whimsy, Miss Alabama, genius, and some Little House. Of course we have The Playlist for your dashing through the snow, rain or ice, or whatever it is the Weather Gods will be slinging at us.
Let us begin!
Abby explores the history of the seemingly newish Tech Industry with The Innovators by Walter Isaacson. “My biggest takeaway from The Innovators is that even the most creative and brilliant minds need to master the art of collaboration in order to bring about progress. The book opens with the story of Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, who was the daughter of Lord Byron. Ada was an accomplished mathematician and early logic theorist whose work set others on the road to computing. In fact, throughout the book, women are the unsung heroes of early computer programming. While men tended to build the machinery, it was women who were instrumental in making the contraptions work. The Innovators is an enjoyable and educational book; that’s a tough combination to master, but Isaacson has again shown he has found the right formula.”
Pat T has a solution for us this week. “If you are feeling stressed with the holiday rush, I suggest you take 10 minutes to read the delightful, Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned From a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow. Basically, this whimsical book agrees that yes, the holidays are a lot of work, but it also reminds of us what we would be missing if we didn't celebrate. So keep it simple and enjoy this special time with family and friends!
Sweet Ann is breaking out of her usual fare and doing things a little differently “I am listening to I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg. It’s read by Ms. Flagg and it's a hoot. I am known for reading on the side of dark and depressing but occasionally I need a chuckle. You wouldn't think this book would make you smile since it opens with the main character, Maggie Fortenberry, a former Miss Alabama, planning her demise in the local river. Maggie is an interesting woman who can't stop putting other’s needs before her planned departure. This novel contains race relations, a little person, a murder mystery and a cast of characters that will make you smile. “
Steph is getting that jump on 2015. “I’m using the holidays to start getting ahead on my 2015 reading. This week, I read Kelly Link’s short story collection Get in Trouble, which comes out in February. She is a genius who brings a new life to everything she writes. Whether you’re a lifelong short story lover, or have been coming back to stories thanks to writers like George Saunders, or perhaps don’t like them at all, you’ll find something to love in this book. Link combines the clarity and structure of an Alice Munro story with the imagination of our best fantasy writers. Each story has a surreal element (for instance, superheroes are real and they have conventions like every other profession) and is set in a world that is otherwise our own. The tension between reality and fantasy is spectacular, taking most of the stories to a whole new level. While not all of them are perfect, there are 5-6 stories in here that blew me away. I can’t wait to start recommending this one.” It comes out in February and will be in the catalog next week.
How am I avoiding the Hellidaze? The same way I always have; with my nose in a book. I have never been shy about my love of The Little House Books. In fact, not only was the next installment in the series was always one of my favorite gifts under the tree growing up but if I am being totally honest, it was probably the first of many obsessions that I cultivate to this day. I had nothing but contempt for the TV series by the way. They weren’t faithful to the stories and Melissa Gilbert just plain annoyed me. So I will be tucked away in a corner with Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pamela Smith Hill, editor. Hidden away from the world since the 1930’s, Wilder’s biography has a lot of surprises in it. Think a not-so-sunny prairie with financial insolvency, early death and child labor. Add to that some meticulous foot notes by the folks at the South Dakota Historical Society who researched each and every sentence, added photos pertaining to the text when they could be found and I will be in Little House Heaven. For those hankering for more on the true story there is this New Yorker article that I reread every couple of years and don’t forget another favorite of mine Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC from That State Up North. What’s doing Pats? “Greetings from the Motor City! Chanukah is here and Christmas is right around the corner. Seems like everywhere I turn there’s a procession of cars with menorahs on top or a car grille with a wreath strapped on to it. How is this not a fire hazard? Folks here take their holidays VERY seriously. Plastic Santa’s line the rooftops, 12-foot blow-up Chanukah Bears holding dreidels sit on lawns and Hines Drive Lightfest will celebrate its 21st year. It’s a 4-mile light show spectacular complete with 55 animated holiday-themed displays. Because here in the Motor City, we do everything with our cars, holiday driving through a light show on a roadway is just part of the seasonal merriment. So may you have a dusting of snow for your holiday, enjoy a steaming mug of Glögg in front of the old Yule log and share it with those you love. This year it seems appropriate to share something from The Godfather of Soul. Happy Holidays everyone!”