You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the mise-en-place edition of You Are What You Read! This time next week Thanksgiving will be a mere fond memory and a whole lot of foil in the fridge.  I know that I am spending part of this weekend organizing myself in the kitchen for the Big Day. My Sons, The Traveling Companion and I are taking to the highway and cruising up state with our assigned dishes to what has become a tradition with us that we call Cousin Thanksgiving.  It is the one time of year I see my three cousins and their families.  Sadly, this year we will be missing 2 of our Merry Band.  My cousin Matt and his family have been sent across the country to a new naval base in the Pacific Northwest, and my other cousin Diana will be visiting her husband’s family in Mexico which leaves one cousin to have the Cousin Thanksgiving with.   As some of you may remember, The Traveling Companion was nervous about the deep fried turkey last year.  Well, this year he has a whole new set of nerves to work; because the one cousin standing, who happens to be the Hostess, is a practicing vegan.  Liz is going to be making a Traditional Feast for us all (a round of applause for what a good sport she is!) and she will be having some sort of Traditional Tofu something for herself.  Last year I was so worried about her not being able to eat the majority of the feast that I made 2 different Brussels Sprout recipes:  one vegan friendly and one not. I am sharing these with you because the un-vegan one was so good that Liz declared that she was Breaking Vegan for it.  They both begin the same way.  Take Brussels sprouts that you have trimmed and quartered and toss them in plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast them in a 425 oven until they are, well, roasted.  You know what you are looking for. Now while that is going down, you can ponder the choice of 2 sauces to toss them in.  The first is the vegan friendly one which is Dijon mustard to which you have added a touch of maple syrup to.  The second concoction is a sauce made of harissa, lime zest, lime juice, and honey.  Toss the roasted sprouts in this and then to gild the lily, take some beautiful pomegranate seeds and strewn them over the top.  A Sprout so good you are willing to cast aside your Dietary Beliefs! Have a lovely Thanksgiving! This week we have Scotland, elephants, and some culture. 

Playlist?   Of course!  We can’t have you doing all that prep and handling knives without some music.  Pffff. That’s not cool.
Let us begin!


Abby, actually, liked being in her car last week.  “My commute was much improved last week thanks to being joined by Mr. Alan Cumming, Scotsman, actor, and audiobook reader.  I listened to his emotionally charged memoir Not My Father’s Son. The opening chapter is a study in torment; as children, Alan and his older brother were subjected to their father’s physical and mental abuse. His home life was so dark, it wasn’t until he was a grown man that he could truly appreciate the beautiful forest area in which he grew up.  The story is set with his participation in the British TV show Who Do You Think You Are, where genealogists and historians research a celebrity’s family history and share the details on screen with the audience. When he was invited to participate, Alan’s personal quest was to learn more about his maternal grandfather Tommy Darling, a man he never met and around whom there was great mystery. But as the research began to unfold, Alan was faced with a number of personal crises including making peace, with his abusive father, and gaining strength from an ancestor he never knew. The title of the book takes on increasing significance as the story goes on. Cumming is a great actor, but after listening to his story, I believe he is an even better man.”


Sweet Ann has just finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. “I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Jenna, a thirteen year old, searching for her mother who disappeared when she was three years old.  There was a tragic accident/murder at the elephant sanctuary which Jenna's parents owned and operated.  At the time of the incident, Jenna's mother disappeared.  Jenna is able to get a psychic and retired police detective to help her in her search.  Leaving Time also contains information on the habits of elephants that was wonderful to read about and will make you think twice about them. This book is told in alternating chapters so the reader will learn the histories and points of view of the characters. While there is some ‘magical thinking’ in this novel but it is well worth the journey with Jenna.”


Barbara M for those who watch this space loves herself some other cultures.  Here is what her latest read on them is all about. “I’ve read many books about cultural differences but what makes The Culture Map by Erin Meyer different is that it puts various qualities on continuums so you can see what one culture expects in relation to another culture.  For example, on a communications scale, the United States is considered ‘low-context’ meaning communications are generally straight forward without many nuances. Japan is on the other end of the scale and has a ‘high-context’ communications style where things are not said but implied. Although the UK tends toward ‘low-context’, misunderstandings may occur because the British use more irony and sarcasm which may not always be understood by Americans. In this ever shrinking world of intercultural exchanges, I think this book is a worthy read.” 


And finally we have DJ Jazzy Patty McC from The State Up North (8 days until The Game. Let’s go Buckeyes!).  What’s good Pats?  “ This year is a Midwestern Thanksgiving. I haven’t celebrated this holiday here in a couple decades and I am grateful to be spending it with my family. The feast will be much like our clan gatherings in Boston in years past. The Midwestern cousins are hosting and we are all contributing.They asked me what I would like to bring and after hearing the planned menu it struck me that there was a serious shortage of vegetables. Sure there would be mashed potatoes and a green bean casserole but little else in the way of our root-bearing friends. I told them that I would bring roasted Brussels sprouts. They shared a look. I knew that look. It was the same look my kids give each other when I put a new food in front of them to try. It was the look of “No way are we going to eat that.” Then the cousins outright said, “No way are we going to eat that.” I hesitated. Then I added that I could also bring roasted baby carrots. They jumped on that and told me to just bring the carrots. I stood my ground. I said I’d bring both and then blurted out that I’d also bring some roasted butternut squash. Again that shared look and their reply, “That’s a lot of vegetables.” I smiled. They have no idea that this is just the beginning of their vegetable education. This week I invite you to try something new and in the process educate yourself and those around you. Now go eat your vegetables.”

DL VEGETABLE LEARNING 2014
 

Meet Us On Main Street

Today Alan met with the Meet Us On Main Street Group to talk about a stories from the past:  of Japanese/Chinese cultural tensions pre WWII; of revenge from the coasts of Portugal; the pursuit of the American Dream from Woodside, Queens; oarsmen who dared to defy more than just Hitler; and short stories about the aftermath of the Vietnam War.   And for the factually minded:  a true history of today's innovators who ushered in the digital age; a book on how we can make choices for better lives, health and wealth; as well as, a true account of one hundred years of The Darien Library.  Check out the books below:

New eBooks from 3M

Here are the new titles available from 3M.

New DVD Releases

Here is what you can find new to the shelves in the upcoming days.

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!

What's This Week's Hoopla All About?

Over the river and through the woods in your future?  Why not take an audio book from Hoopla with you?

What are my neighbors up to?

Here is a list of the most popular items this week.

You Are What You Read!

Greetings! A Happy Friday to you all. It’s really hard for me to wrap my pea brain around the fact that on Monday I went for a run in shorts and ate my breakfast on a terrace OUTSIDE in the aforementioned shorts and I am ending my week with a winter coat, snow boots at the ready.  Granted, that breakfast took place in Florida, but still.  When the Traveling Companion asked me at dinner what we were going to be discussing this week and I said the sad, inevitable return of winter his reply was, “Already?”  So adieu to the Farm Share, the bare leg, beach weekends with a cooler filled with contraband, no coat, big hair (no tragedy there really but I feel the need to include it), dining al fresco (unless you happen to be in Florida), and sweaters that are a wisp of spider web nothingness.  Let’s embrace longer nights (more reading time!), chillier temps (fires to read by!  Lovely soups and stews for dinner!), chunky warm sweaters (they can hide the effects of all that lovely soup and stew and fireside sitting) and the occasional snow day (always have chocolate chip cookie fixings at the ready!).   Maybe this year won’t be so bad.   This week we have a tiny woman brain, a little poetry, panache, farmers, and love with a capital L.  Playlist?  It may be cold out there be we aren’t!

Let us begin!

Miss Lisa from the Children’s Library has just finished reading a book I am hearing great things about. “This weekend I read the excellent collection of essays Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit. It starts out with a droll and humorous account of the way men tend to explain things to her - for example, a man at a party who attempted over and over to explain to her what a book she had written was about, in spite of her protests that she knew, because she somehow, using her tiny woman brain, had written the book he was talking about.  She deftly moves on to discuss the issues of violence against women  and violence in general, Virginia Woolf's understandings of uncertainty and hope, and how to make change in our world, all with a deft sense of history, literature, and current events.  She argues for the basic rights of women to ‘show up and speak’ in all parts of our world; as she says, ‘The battle for women to be treated like human beings with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of involvement in cultural and political arenas continues, and it is sometimes a pretty grim battle.’ But, somehow, you finish reading this book with hope and energy.  It's a great read for all genders. Similarly, another tale of powerful women is Queen of the Tearling, which I know has a lot of hype - but the hype is worth it! What a wild ride into an endangered kingdom that has struggled through a lot of weak and greedy leaders.  Good thing the new Queen can manage spectacular magical jewels, fight slavery, and stand up for the people!”


Pat T has been dipping her toes into the Poetry Pool. “I had the pleasure of coming upon Mary Oliver's newest book of poems last week, Blue Horses, and I must say it is a delight to read over and over again. Her poems reflect the everyday occurrences in life and nature yet transcend the ordinary by showing us what we experience as exceptional.  I laughed while reading, What I Can Do, was moved by the poem, I Woke, and was delighted by, Good Morning. I hope you take the opportunity to read anyone of her wonderful books of poetry!”


The Ever Delightful Pat S has just finished a book that is rapidly becoming a staff favorite with us entitled I’ll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich. “Described as 'a life in fashion, with a twist', this is the memoir of the now legendary personal shopper from Bergdorf Goodman. Now eighty six, Ms. Halbreich tells the story of her upper-class upbringing in Chicago where she was an only child celebrated for her beauty and her ability to wear clothes with panache. Capitalizing on these attributes, she then makes a young marriage to the handsome and wealthy scion of a Manhattan real estate family. After a twenty year marriage comes to an end, Ms. Halbreich finds herself her first job, and eventual career based on her talent with clothes. Forty years on, she has elevated that title of personal shopper to mother/therapist/lifecoach. While the stories of the celebrities and socialites are fun to read, it is the story of her personal transformation which provides gravitas to the book. And as an aside, she is currently working on a television series with Lena Dunham based on her life.”


Laura has been having fun with a cult classic. “I highly recommend book groups to read Stoner, by John Williams.  Set in the 1900's, the reader meets Stoner early in his life as the only child to stoic, hard-scrabbled Missouri farmers who have little time for neither conversation, nor interest in anything beyond the few acres they own. He is sent to university by his father to study agriculture but instead he falls in love with literature and takes a different path by becoming a scholar. His life develops; marriage, friends, career, child, his mistress, and his nemesis, sadly all but one, are what may be seen as failures.  Once I started reading, I couldn't wait to continue.  The story while not a page turner was so well written that reading it was a pleasure.   I didn't know how my book group was going to react to this story but they loved it and had a lot to talk about. The story was curious and everyone had a different take on the gentle, stubborn, stoic character that some of us adored and others of us worried about and the rest of us couldn't see Stoner's merits at all. It was the liveliest and deepest discussion our group has had in a long time.”   


Longer nights?  What am I reading before sleep?  Light of the World is Elizabeth Alexander’s amazing memoir of her journey through grief.   Alexander was just 49 when she lost her beloved husband and father to her two young sons.  Please don’t think that this is a depressing read.  It’s the exact opposite of that actually, because the one thing that shines through all the horrible is Love with a capital L.  At its heart this is a love story. Not just the love she had for her husband but also the love she has for her two sons.  Because her day job is as a Pulitzer nominated poet and a professor up at Yale you can expect some beautiful language and turns of phrase.  This comes out in April and I think you all will love it.


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from the State Up North (14 days until The Game!  Let’s go Bucks!) with this week’s musings and playlist.  She has had it a whole lot harder than us already this year with this whole reappearance of winter.  How’s tricks Pats? “We woke up this Thursday morning to snow. Yep. Those white fluffy frozen flakes were falling softly from above. My daughter moaned, my son jumped for joy, my husband gritted his teeth and I sighed. I knew this weather was headed our way so like a good Girl Scout I prepared the day before. Everyone had boots, winter coats, hats and gloves. The squirrels have been snacking on our carved pumpkins outside but those will need to go this weekend. Now we just need to unpack our sleds and begin searching for the perfect sledding hill. Me? I’ll be buying a big honking full spectrum light lamp in the hopes of working on a winter tan and to ward off any winter blues. While I am not ready to slide into winter, I do enjoy a pair of stylish boots and a fine cashmere sweater.”

DL SLIPPING & SLIDING 2014

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