The words fromThe SoNo Loft this week are “Just Build It.” As always The Loft is ON IT. I have noticed that there seems to be a movement afoot. People seem to be just building their own damn Spring. For me, there is the refusal to wear a hat. I won’t do it. You can’t make me. Gloves came next and then this morning came the realization I am down to one knee high. This can only mean one thing. It’s time to start thinking about the return of the Bare Leg. To be honest, The Amazing Amanda started that trend 4 days ago and she gave me the courage to begin to even think about it. And we are not alone in this! There was this article in the New York Times on Wednesday all about it. And you know when the Times reports on it, it’s a real thing. So begin building your very own Spring! Daffodils are 2 bunches for $5 at the Whole Foods. Even I can afford this. Buy them in bulk and strewn them all over your home. Banish the grey, the sad and the cold. Just Build It already! This week we have a new romance, twins, spies, life lessons, Civil Rights, and New Jersey. Did DJ Patty McC build The Playlist? You know she did!
Let us begin!
The Amazing Amanda asks us the following question: “Are you tired of dainty debutantes and aggressive men with no personality? Then Mary Jo Putney's The Lost Lords series is going to keep you busy for the next few weeks. The books follow the romances of the first class of well-born, but badly behaved young lords of an early 18th century academy. These are not ordinary gentleman since they range from one duke being half-Indian, another is a master spy, others have fought in the Napoleonic wars, while Lord Grey languished in solitary confinement for 10 years. Each man is evenly matched with an equally intelligent woman. These ladies are accomplished and struggling against the restrictive social order of their times. What I appreciate about these stories is the characters are well-rounded, flawed, and working towards goals that matter to them. Be warned though: these books are violent and feature passionate lovers. They're fun to read through and keep you guessing as to who the villain is in every tale. “
Miz Mallory the Programming Diva is getting creative as is her wont. “Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun tells the story of Jude and her twin brother Noah. Told in alternating voices, Noah’s chapters take place when the twins are 13-years-old and Jude’s take place when they’re 16, this was just what I needed after some heavy nonfiction. What seems to matter most to the twins is what happened in those in-between years, the ones not on the pages. When Noah tells his story, the twins are inseparable, often sitting as close as they can just to feel as if they are one being. When Jude tells her story, the twins are cold and distant. As the story goes on, you begin to learn what happened between 13 and 16, what caused the twins to turn their solid, joyful relationship into a sad, almost non-existent one. You’ll fall for Noah and Jude equally and be screaming at the pages for them to just talk to one another. For lovers of LBGTQ fiction, literary YA, and sibling fiction (which is a genre I just made up), two enthusiastic thumbs up.”
Abby has a new series she wants to share. “I pursued a Soviet Studies in college. No, it hasn’t really helped me much but I did enjoy the writing and lively discussions. Then I discovered the series The Americans. Talk about a series being right in your wheelhouse! The series features 80’s pop culture, excellent spy tradecraft, and a tremendous amount of emotional manipulation. It stars Keri Russell as Soviet sleeper agent Elizabeth born Nadezhda, who was paired with Phillip nee Mikhail played by Matthew Rhys, and placed inside the United States as sleeper agents for the KGB. The KGB trained them to blend in, have a family and live life. And they do just that; until they are activated. Once their missions start rolling in, the borscht really hits the fan! Add to this a marriage that started out as an assignment but has clearly always been more than that to Phillip who is indeed in love with Elizabeth. Will the love be reciprocated because she too loves Phillip, or because it’s her job? The writers do some very interesting things with Elizabeth and Phillip as they juggle their home life with their responsibilities to the motherland. They have an arsenal of techniques to recruit others to their cause and are not above seduction, threats, and executions. Watching them exploit the vulnerabilities of their targets is extremely uncomfortable, yet you pull for them on some level while loathing their actions and trying to will their prey to somehow resist and fight back. Be prepared for a rollercoaster ride filled with the excess of the 80’s, cold war brutality, and the use of sexuality to serve a cause. “
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan can be found on a treadmill listening to Monday's Lie by Jamie Mason. “At some point in our lives, we all hear our mother’s voice in the back of our minds with the lessons they taught us about how to handle ourselves. For me, it was how to conduct myself as a strong, smart Southern woman. To quote my mother ‘always be the one wearing the pink suit in the boardroom full of men. Show them you are a woman and you aren’t going to be forgotten.’ It's those little life lessons that make each of us unique, but for the main character, Dee Aldrich, in the book Monday’s Lie by Jamie Mason, her upbringing is a little bit different. You see, her mother was a top-level spy for the government and she made hyperawareness, sleuthing, and other spy traits as part of her upbringing. For Dee, her mother’s long absences and alternative lifestyle were too much, and so as an adult she chose the polar opposite, instead settling down with the most normal man she could find and living a nice, if uneventful life. But you can’t escape the lessons learned in childhood, and soon Dee becomes aware things are not right, and she will fully need to rely on what her mother taught her if she wants to survive. I recommend this as a fun Spring Break thriller or if you are like me, and need something to take your mind off of your time on the treadmill, it is the perfect audiobook and can be found on Hoopla.
Steph is taking recommendations! Here’s what she recently picked up. “I took Barbara’s advice and read March: Book Two. This is the second volume in a planned trilogy written by John Lewis, the Congressman from Georgia who is the only remaining member of the Big Six of the Civil Rights Movement. In the first volume, the scene was set for the movement and Lewis’s involvement; in this volume, the action escalates quickly, as Lewis and his colleagues launch the 1961 Freedom Riders campaign at great risk to their lives. Lewis (and his co-writer, Andrew Aydin and illustrator, Nate Powell) are honest and clear about the violence and hatred they encountered, the difficulties and the successes of peaceful civil disobedience, and the disagreements inside the movement. The simplicity of their storytelling, which is set against an ongoing subplot about President Obama’s first inauguration, is powerful beyond measure. I read it twice and it gave me chills each time. This is not just one of the best graphic novels of the year, but one of the best history books, period. “
I was gifted an Advance Reader’s Copy of In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. In her first adult novel in 15 years she looks at a 3 month period in 1951-1952. I was during this time a series of passenger planes crashed in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Blume draws on her own memories of that time to bring us the stories of those who witnessed this horror on the ground but those who perished in the crashes. Her voice is still as magnetic as it was whenever you first happened to read her. This one comes out in early June.
DJ JaZZY Patty Mc! What’s good this week? “Winter is finally giving way to spring and everyone here couldn’t be happier. Sure, we’re wading through big muddy puddles but we can see green living things emerging from the swampland. The snowbirds are flocking back to their northern nests and I’m not talking about the geese. The geese beat my neighbor’s return and they make their presence known in many, many ways. I’ve been mucking my way through construction sites looking at houses. It was a coincidence that The Loft proclaimed, “Just Build It”. I’ve got lots of building plans this spring that include raised garden boxes and some really cool vertical ones. I’ve got the tools to do it. So whatever your particular proclivity is for building or creating. It’s spring. Now’s the time! I thought a little Muddy Waters would be appropriate right about now. “