What Are My Neighbors Up To?

Here is a list of our most popular items this week.  Remember that a lot of these items can be found on our new display space behind the Welcome Desk.  Check out the Wonder Wall for 14-Day instant gratification!

Books By The Fire

Books By The Fire, the Un-Book Group, is a book reading group that meets every Wednesday, 11 - 12 noon, at the first floor fireplace.  Join us.  Here's a synopsis of what was discussed Feb. 3.  Book list follows below.

Jen told us that she is going to another publishers party.  Lucky her.  And, while there, she is looking forward to meeting one of her favorite authors, Charlotte Rogan, whose recent book, "Now and Again," is hitting the shelves right now.  She loved Rogan's first book, "Lifeboat," which many in the group also remembered as great.  Jen also brought a hilarious parent saga, this time of a widower in work-life crisis after losing his job; and a psychological thriller, from a favorite best-selling author, that is set in and around LA’s dark side. So for next week, we are looking forward to hearing about the party, the people, and the food; as always told in delicious fashion by Jen.

Our visitor - Krishna, from the Children’s Library, brought award winners; some Newbery, two Caldecott, and a Coretta Scott King Best Illustrated.  All were snatched away by the group members; Krishna ended her presentation empty-handed.  Not to worry though, there are more copies to take out from our catalog.  And soon, Krishna will be “in-the-loop” regarding 2017 Newbery Award winners, as she has been asked to be a Newbery Award reader!  (btw, Newbery is spelled that way!) Congrats Krishna.  Happy reading!

Next week - I will be away for our next meeting, Feb. 10.  But you know the drill (please try to be on time): Gather the chairs, Jen will arrive @ 11:00  and then Amanda will present from her vault of favorites, and then discussion after that.  Have a good time and I will see you all the following week, Feb. 17.

All books discussed are listed below, including, toward the end, group members' favorites:

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Super Bowl 50 Edition of You Are What You Read.  This week we have Karyn to thanks for The Offering of Taffy.  It came decked out in Mardi Gras colors which is only fitting seeing as Tuesday is indeed Shrove Tuesday aka as Mardi Gras.  Party on People!  We will be accepting King Cakes until Tuesday at midnight.  And after that? 40 days of deprivation and sacrifice.  Get excited.  As an aside, it always kind of fascinates me that those of you who do the whole No Adult Beverage thing in January then get smacked with Lent.  Seems unfair somehow. To my mind, your Lenten Experience should be a reduced sentence.

Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday.  An over the top day into night dedicated to food of dubious nutritional value, ridiculously expensive commercial air time, over indulgence of the sudsy variety and oh, yeah, a football game.  I am torn on this one.  I became a defender of the Broncos when I heard Peyton Manning described by an announcer as ‘creaky.’  This is an adjective that I, and I am willing to bet many of you, can totally relate to.  Look, just because we creak doesn’t mean we can’t be amazing.   But because The Traveling Companion is a native and proud Tar Heel (though a long suffering Redskins fan) I feel the need to give the Panthers  some attention also.  Whatever.  It’s going to go down regardless.  Enjoy People.  Remember, 40 days of deprivation and sacrifice is right around the corner.

As you may have heard by now, Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck have taken pity on us after the brutality of the past few winters and have thrown us the bone of an early spring. Here’s hoping they make good on that promise.  You never can tell with a rodent.  DJ Jazzy Patty McC came up with the brilliant idea that we begin a countdown to our first beach weekend. So consider this the first one of the next 17 weeks.  People! We have 114 days until Memorial Day aka the First Official Weekend of Summer.  If you should want to keep track your own self, of course there is a web site for that and it can be found here. Just think, only 114 more days until the Solo cups come out of their winter hiding places at the ready to hold some contraband, only 114 more days until you open that beach bag wondering what’s going to get opened first.  That new edition of the New Yorker?  The Times magazine?  Or that trashy novel that you know your winter self would hold in utter contempt?  So hold tight People! These toe- in-the-sand delights are on the way. 

This week we have strained siblings, Dumplin’ and some Blackberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from one of my favorite places on earth, Graeters! 

Do we have The Playlist?  Of course we have The Playlist.  Say thank you to DJ Jazzy Patty McC aka Birthday Girl when next you see her.

Let us begin!

Sweet Ann has just finished one of our most wanted books, The Past by Tessa Hadley.   “This family drama is set in the English countryside as four grown siblings decide what to do with the crumbling old family home now that their parents are deceased. There is intrigue, romantic feelings that will cause an uproar, petty jealousies, and sibling rivalry. Older sister Alice arrives with the twenty year old son of her ex-boyfriend.  Roland brings his third wife Pilar and his teenage daughter Molly.  Fran is with her two young children; happy to be away from her husband.  Harriet, the last sibling to get to the house, comes by herself questioning her life and how it has all turned out.  This book brings in the old class system in England and the effect that it had on the siblings.  This is a quiet book that brings you into the decaying family home and the strained relationships of the siblings.  I was drawn into their story and felt as if I knew their secrets, tensions and desires. I liked it very much.”

The Lovely Mallory is here this week!  She seems excited.  “Dumplin’ is the book I wish I had read when I was a teenage girl. Julie Murphy’s newest novel follows Willowdean, self-proclaimed fat girl, as she navigates her Texas town, her beauty-pageant obsessed mother, boys, and losing touch with her best friend. Dumplin’ is a fresh take on what it means to be a young girl in 2016. There are frank conversations about sex, self-image, and being unapologetically confident. There’s also a GREAT scene where Willowdean and her comrades experience their first ever Drag Show that will have you spitting out your sweet tea from laughter. Willowdean may be an unlikely heroine, but you’ll be cheering her on every step of the way. I’m listening to Dolly Parton on repeat until our book discussion on February 18th.”

I have to confess here that I am not a Jane Austen fan, nor do I especially love the majority of product that Curtis Sittenfeld has put out.  Loved American Wife for instance, had no use for Prep.  This being said I hated leaving the Bennett family behind when I finished Eligible.  This modern day telling of Pride and Prejudice set in present day Cincinnati is a delight.  Funny, tender and wise this is a gem of a novel.  Sittenfeld gets the Cincinnati details spot on ( Zip’s burger or Graeter's Blackberry Chocolate Chip anyone?) while she takes on Reality TV, the sandwich generation and what happens when the heart refuses to stand to reason. You have to wait until April for this one but trust me on this, it’s worth it and it has already earned a spot on my best of 2016. 

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with our final thoughts and of course The Playlist.  What’s good Birthday Girl?  “I’ve been cooped up at home for the past week with my boy who’s managed to catch not one but two different viruses. We’ve been spending quality time together watching a LOT of television. We’ve been watching Zombie House Flipping,  River Monsters,  Project Runway Junior ) and lots of HGTV and the Food Network. We’re going to take the rodent’s prediction of four weeks until Spring and run with it. We’re all looking forward to more sunshine, less illness and a day at the beach with a good book. It can’t come soon enough, so let’s begin the Beach Read Countdown! Enjoy a little football and some political hijinks this weekend and don’t forget to wash your hands and cover your cough. The flu season is just getting started here in Michigan. May it pass over your house and spare you any illin’. “


Nice New Book Goodness

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.  Remember that a lot of these items can be found on our new display space behind the Welcome Desk.  Check out the Wonder Wall for 14-Day instant gratification!

What Are My Neighbors Up To?

Here is a list of our most popular items this week.  Remember that a lot of these items can be found on our new display space behind the Welcome Desk.  Check out the Wonder Wall for 14-Day instant gratification!

It's Time To Choose Wisely!

Hoopla borrows are now back to 5 per month per patron. 

As a reminder, downloadable eBooks, Audiobooks, and the borrowing of eReaders are available to Darien residents, those who work full-time in Darien, and Friends of the Library who have donated $300 or more.

For assistance, please contact the Help Desk at 203-669-5238.

You Are What You Read

Greetings and welcome to the Dead Resolution Edition of You Are What You Read.  This week there were no Offerings and the Animal Kingdom is mercifully quiet.  We hope that you are all dug out and that extra bread and milk purchased was put to good use.

Since it’s the last week of the first month of the New Year, I have been doing a lot of thinking on my new year’s resolution. I resolved that I would fret less about body image and focus more on being healthy and strong.  But with the newly fallen snow accompanied by ice, cold and  an early sunset, I have found it hard to maintain even the most basic of fitness routines. Here come what I have come to think of as The Winter TenThe Winter Ten are those ten unwelcome pounds that start to keep you company in January and February.  I have come to think of them as that family member that you are never really entirely happy to host and yet they inevitably appear at the door for their annual visit that is a week too long. They usually find their way through the back door in the guise of The Hellidaze Three.  Sure!  One more cookie!  Sure!  Sign me up for that nightcap before we all call it a night.  By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, most of us are determined that we are going to kick what has become The Hellidaze Three to the curb with diligent exercise and healthy eating.  By the end of January, the cold has set in, there are usually dangerous ice and snow conditions that prohibit walking safely, the early onset dark is encouraging only to hibernation and the only comfort to be found is copious amounts of pasta.  Imagine my delight when this week it was announced that we had a new role model in Curvy Barbie.  Granted, early responders (six-year-old girls) do not find the new Barbie curvy. They merely find her, well, fat.  But I say Fi to you six-year-old girls!  Embrace the curves. You can read about Curvy Barbie and her new friends, Petite and Tall Barbie here. Listen, just 8% of people actually achieve goals set on New Year’s Eve.  This Forbes article from 2013 explains all that and offers tips on how to be in that lofty company.  Be kind to yourselves People!  The winter is long and harsh enough without beating yourself up. Now pass the pasta.

This week we have hypnosis, gratitude, falconry, and porn.  Lots and lots of porn.

You know The Playlist is here. Because it’s Friday at 5. And that should always have a playlist. 

Let us begin!

Barbara M is listening this week. “I am listening to Colum McCann’s latest book, a collection of short stories and a novella. I am nearing the end of the novella, Thirteen Ways of Looking which is also the title of the book.  Peter Mendelssohn, a retired judge, living on the upper east side of Manhattan reflects upon his childhood, his late wife, his children and rails against the humiliations he suffers because of his old age and deteriorating body. The story is good but would not be the gem it is without the author’s magical and lyrical use of language.  Listening to it is wonderful as it is read by the author. Colum McCann’s Irish accent is hypnotizing.”

Pat T has just finished Gratitude by the late oh so great Oliver Sacks . “I read Gratitude and all I can say it is a very short book with a very powerful message! This book is a collection of four essays in which the author so eloquently reflects on his life and coming to terms with his own death which he realizes is ‘no longer an abstract, but an all too close presence’. In the essay, My Own Life, Sachs expresses his overpowering appreciation for a life well lived. Gratitude, the book,as well as a resolution, is a very positive way to begin this New Year! I look forward to reading his previous book, On the Move.”

Steph!  Whatcha doing? “I’ve already broken most of my New Years’ resolutions, but I did keep one, I finally read H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. And it was every bit as good as I had hoped when I pledged to read it! Macdonald, a writer and researcher, was devastated by her father’s sudden death, and impulsively decided she wanted to train a goshawk. Though she had trained falcons for years, she had never dared before to train one of these vicious and temperamental birds. This book tells not only her story of training her hawk Mabel, but also reflects on the experience of famous author T. H. White with a goshawk of his own. Words can’t describe what a beautiful book this is. Macdonald writes about nature in a unique and affecting way, and peers deeply into what it means to be human. Her sentences really have lives of their own. As with Joyce Carol Oates in A Widow’s Story, I am grateful for her ability to transform a deep and personal grief into art that speaks to all readers.”

I finished My Father the Pornographer a while ago.  You all will get a chance to read it when it comes out next week. When Chris Offutt's father died there was no inheritance of his father's watch or any other sentimental keepsake.  Instead the legacy left to Chris was the 400 novels of pornography that his father wrote during his lifetime.  Chris embarks on a journey to understand his father and the choices he made.  The writing is clean and spare and while the subject matter is salacious it is handled with a deft sensitivity.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with the final thoughts and The Playlist.  What’s good Pats? “In between the political rhetoric of the week, I learned that Mattel would be producing 3 new Barbie shapes. FINALLY, the toy industry understood that women come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Kids will now be able to play with dolls that look like their mothers who are tall, or their aunts who are curvy, or their sisters who are petite. Sorry, Ken. It’s not your time yet. This week the playlist is all Barbie.”


Books By The Fire - The Un-Book Group

It was a full house at Books By The Fire, long lost members returned with.....

…… out-of-town guests (hello Litchfield County, welcome!).  Spread the word, BBTF is not a closed group, we’re open for business and we love to have visitors. We don’t make any demands, we are the UN-book group, more a reading group.  We gather to hear what everybody else is reading.  Feeling shy?  Bring a friend, bring a spouse, bring a lover.  We don’t bite and we don’t ask too many questions.  We just talk books, and topics, and trends, and food and movies and Broadway shows and…..

….digital electronics (yes we do!):  Hoopla to listen to music, Podcasts for Serial radio shows, 3m and Overdrive for books.  Confused on how to get on?  Come! Bring your devices, we’ll get you all sorted out. 

At today’s meeting Marianne brought favorite titles from the book groups in town -- good reads that have been well tested.  As well, the last four suggestions in the list below are BBTF member’s picks.  Check them out.

And don’t forget to look for Jen’s recent blogs: “You Are What You Read,” “Nice New Book Goodness,” and “What Are My Neighbors Up To” which can be found on the Library’s Catalog page (when there, just scroll half way down the pageher blogs will all be there.)

Ciao. Till next week!

Nice New Book Goodness

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.  Remember that a lot of these items can be found on our new display space behind the Welcome Desk.  Check out the Wonder Wall for 14-Day instant gratification!


What Are My Neighbors Up To?

Here is a list of our most popular items this week.  Remember that a lot of these items can be found on our new display space behind the Welcome Desk.  Check out the Wonder Wall for 14-Day instant gratification!

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