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!

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Full Wolf Moon Edition of You Are What You Read.  This week’s housekeeping is as follows:  There were no Offerings.  Saturday’s Full Moon, the first of the new year, is known as the Wolf Moon and also as Full Snow Moon.  I don’t like the sound of that one bit.  Sorry.  Wolves?  Snow?  No wonder there is panicked bread buying.

This week we have an intriguing Animals Run Amok.  It would appear that if you are on the  hunt for nearby Animals Running Amok  that Queens is your borough.  This past week the Fine Boys in Blue have had to capture a cow that realized just what that line of fellow bovine was all about and faster than you can say, ‘Peace Out Elsie‘ ran from the slaughterhouse at a high rate of speed (at least for a cow).  And if that wasn't enough, a goat broke free from his Humans.  Apparently this is not the first time this has gone down.  In 2011 another cow also made the break for freedom.   So should you be airport bound or just generally touring the boroughs of New York be on the lookout People! You just never know.   You can read about all of them here.  Enjoy.

If you are around this evening won’t you join us in the Art Gallery between 6 and 8 this evening for The Traveling Companion’s Art Reception?  There will be cheese, wine, some really nice art, and a chance to meet Bill.  If you all behave, there may even be some golf stories.  You just never know with that man! He’s full of surprises.

This week we have a horse, a prize, alien invasion, some heart and soul, and broken  trust.

Playlist Are the planets in alignment?  Then yes, yes we do!

Let us begin!

Laura enjoyed her latest read up to a point.  “The Mare by Mary Gaitskill is a story of many people.  Each chapter alternates from the perspectives of the characters.  These inner dialogs develop the story, showcasing desires, fears, anger, misgivings that, with all good intentions, ride dangerously close to the edge of not only emotional cliffs but also a cliff of class.  The story follows eleven-year old Velveteen Vargas, a Fresh Air child, who has to divide her time between the tough streets of Brooklyn, where her abusive mother, Silvia and younger brother, Dante, live, with the rural country home of childless artist and recovering alcoholic Ginger and Paul, her husband who is a  philandering professor.  They live across the street from a horse farm where Velvet finds a mare, Fugly Girl.  She has scars across her nose and an ear ‘out of sorts’  and  is set apart from the rest of the horses.  The two embark on a journey of self-actualization, much  to the consternation of the mother, the Fresh Air family, the trainers, and fellow privileged riders.  My book group met last night to discuss the story and gave Gaitskill high scores in her ability to represent the strivings and expectations of economic class.  Some liked the short chapters and the bouncing from one character’s thoughts to another, though, including me, I did find this tedious.  But still a good read of sensitivity and insight.”

Kaitlin from the Rock is BACK.  Here is what she has been doing.  “Hiyo! I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I'm currently reading All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. I was somewhat wary of this one at first, I was afraid I wouldn't love it after all the hype it received after winning the Pulitzer Prize. I'm about halfway through now, and I don't want it to end!  It's really two stories about a boy and a girl in WWII, very beautifully woven into one. Each short chapter alternates between the points of view of Marie-Laure, a young blind girl who has had to flee Paris with her father once the Nazis invade, and Werner, a young German boy who was plucked from a foster home and placed into the Hitler Youth. I'm not quite sure where the story will go (I'm assuming they will collide!), but I can definitely see how it was deserving of some very high honors.  I'm currently listening to the YA audiobook The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey. I absolutely love it. It's a nice break from the comedic audio books that I've been listening too, and it's just a really exciting book to hear being read out loud (it's very War of the Worlds!). The gist is that Earth is under invasion from aliens, and their calculated attacks have come in "waves"--the power was knocked out, a huge earthquake/tsunami struck, a plague has taken over, etc. Are the aliens walking among us, disguised as humans? We don't know! I really can't tell at this point which way the story will go, and I have no idea who to trust. I'm not sure if I'll see the movie, but I'll definitely keep listening!"

Sweet Ann has just finished Jacques Pepin's Heart and Soul in the Kitchen.  “I like to peruse cookbooks and this is one that I so loved, I bought it after I made a few of the recipes.  I at first thought Mr. Pepin's recipes would be a bit difficult to follow but I was wrong.  This is a beautiful book with pictures accompanying most of the recipes and interesting stories from Jacques.  I have made the Black Bread and Butter Lattice.   Don't worry that you have to bake the bread, you use a small cocktail pumpernickel bread that you slice and present a certain way after you have spread butter and horseradish on it.   It is delicious served with smoked salmon.  I have also made his Potatoes Rachel Ray, which he says his recipe was similar to hers, but hers were easier to make, so he has it in his cookbook...they were yummy.  I am not a pepper fan but his Carrots and Chives ask for pepper and I made them that way and once again his recipe was quite good.  I know there are still quite a few recipes I am looking forward to trying in the near future.   I highly recommend this cookbook to look through or to try some of the delicious recipes." 

The Always Delightful Pat S has just finished The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.   “This is a debut novel about siblings, money, dashed dreams, and unrealistic expectations, you know, family. Four siblings who have long awaited the payday from a family trust are shocked to discover that the oldest, Leo, has decimated it due to his unwholesome antics. Each of the four had spent years planning how they would spend this sum. Such was their reliance on this money that each was now in varying stages of financial distress. Leo has promised to ‘make good’ to all  but will he? I am only halfway through the book but I can’t wait to find out. Told with a perfect balance of humor and poignancy, reading this book feels like spending time with old friends, -or family.”

Of course DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with the final thoughts of the week.  What’s good Pats? "This week planets aligned. Friday evening, Winter Storm Jonas will hit the East Coast. Sunday evening we can once again watch the X Files and then out of the blue, my friend who swore she'd be #ForeverAlone, got engaged. Did I mention that the planets aligned and that they can be best viewed about an hour before dawn now through February 20th?

I think three out of four of these things deserve a viewing party! So if you see Jen at the Welcome Desk or on Ref, stop by gaze upon her finger and wish her and her Traveling Companion all the best. Congrats from our crew out here in the D, Jen! This weekend I hope you all survive Jonas winter blast with a load of good books, good food and family. A couple of snow days deserves a playlist. Happy weekend. Stay safe and warm.



Books By the Fire

At Books By the Fire (Formerly Meet Us On Main Street) Mallory didn’t quite break into song and dance but……

…...she did bring Broadway as a topic and we all found out how much of a passion it is of hers.  So far she is the only person I know to have seen Hamilton, the crazy if-you-think-you-can-get-tickets-for-this-year’s new show spectacular.  She loved it so much she talked about it incessantly and so she is going AGAIN; her mother bought  tickets to a show for some time in the far, far future of this year.  I want so much to see this rap sensation but I can’t commit so far in advance.  But wait, the ever-sunny-Mallory says,

“Listen to the show on the Library’s Hoopla!” 

And so I shall, this weekend, during the snow storm.  And you can too.  Download the Hoopla App and you’ll be that much closer to hearing this amazing musical that is taking Broadway by storm. 

Back to books and reading, Mallory brought a stack to share; two about life and times of Alexander Hamilton and a few about Broadway, they are below.

As carry over from Stephanie's true-crime drama presentation a few weeks ago, the group rounded up a list of thrillers, -- some true, some fiction, but all chilling, to enjoy over this snowy weekend.  Their suggestions are below too.  

And don’t forget to check Jen’s You Are What You Read, New Book Goodness, and What Are My Neighbors Up To blogs.  Find them on the Catalog page (a quick scroll to midpage starts her most recent weekly blogs) of the Library's website.

Tidbit News: Mallory, now our go-to Broadway source, tells us the comedy Noises Off, is hilarious and inventive, showing the front and back stages of a show; and Beautiful, the Carol King retrospective, is fantastic, much of the audience singing along to the tunes.  Hot off the presses, producers of Hello Dolly announced their leading lady…………the none other Bette Midler.  Wow.  Lots to be excited about.  

Next week is Readers’ Advisory, wonder what they will bring…..

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!

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Powerball Hangover Edition of You Are What You Read.  That you all have this in your in-box reveals that while we were in it, we did not win it.  This week’s housekeeping is as follows. We will absolutely be open on Monday. There were no offerings which we are ok with because the Hellidaze hit our waistlines hard.  There was a lot of Animals Run Amok News this week but here are the two that I feel we need to talk about. Mary Lee Shark has pinged way way off the coast of Massachusetts leaving me wondering why.  If I were Mary Lee warmer waters would surely be calling my name.   Truly, given the choice between the frigid waters of the Northeast or the beautiful ocean waters off the Bahamas, I know what I’d pick.   There was also the video that was making the rounds of Jimbo the Bear hugging his human.  Jimbo, it should be noted, is a Kodiak bear that is 9 feet tall and 1,500 pounds.  I would like to remind you all about one of our favorite movies of all time, Grizzly Man, which is about a man who wanted to be “friends” with bears.  It does not end well.  Let’s all remember that when we get the urge to make a bear a friend shall we?  You can read about that here.

As a final bit of housekeeping, I am inviting all of you loyal You Are What You Read Readers to come to a special event next Friday evening.  The Traveling Companion aka Bill Fields has a photography exhibit in the Kim Huffard Art Gallery on the Lower Level and we will be feting him and his art next Friday between 6 and 8.  Won’t you all please stop by, have a glass of cheap warm wine in a plastic cup, some sub-par cubed cheese, say hi and take a look at his beautiful photographs, all of which are for sale.   I’ll be there, Bill will be there and I can guarantee this will be a Bear Free Event.

This week we have a caged bird, the death of a darling, mental illness, and a valley.

This week’s Playlist honors a life beautifully and artfully lived.

Let us begin!

Julia Rae has been spotted on the Welcome Desk during her school break.  Here’s what she was doing in her off hours.  “When I told my college roommate that I had not read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I was scared her eyes would pop out of her head. Now I know why. If you haven’t read the first in Angelou’s autobiographical series pick it up now! Not only is every line a poem of itself, but the book reveals a fascinating life story that will move you. I promise her voice will echo in your head in the days that follow reading. ‘Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.’ (Angelou)”

Steph is agog this week. “I gasped when I saw the title of Laurie R. King’s latest book: The Murder of Mary Russell. Could it be true? After thirteen delightful novels about the retired Sherlock Holmes and his protégé Mary Russell, was King really killing her darling? Well, I won’t tell you here. You will have to wait until the book is published in April to find out. But I will say that, once again, King has written a suspenseful and engaging mystery that held me from start to finish.”

Pat T is doing some serious reading this week. “After watching the 60 Minutes interview with Patrick Kennedy, I was interested in learning more about his book, A Common Struggle. Patrick Kennedy had all the privilege of his wealthy, famous family, but mental illness does not discriminate. By opening up about his own mental illness, Kennedy felt he might be able to bring ‘brain disease’ to the forefront. He struggled with alcoholism, drug addiction, bipolar and anxiety disorder and throughout his young life had many treatment sessions, only to relapse. As a recovering addict and alcoholic he has devoted his life's work to fighting the stigma of mental illness by engaging in conversation with the community, insurance companies and medical profession to create new laws and guidelines to support the millions of people who are adversely affected by disease.”

I was recently given a copy of Anna Quindlen’s new book that is coming out in April and I almost passed on it.  Her last few have been disappointing to my mind.  But I am pleased to report that she seems to be back in fighting form with Millers Valley. Mimi Miller's life is not an extraordinary one, but as told by Anna Quindlen it is an extraordinarily readable one.   Beginning in the 1960s we meet the Millers who have farmed in the Valley for generations.  Nothing can stay the same forever and it becomes evident that this includes the Valley, the definition of home and the life of Mimi herself.  Quindlen has done her usual masterful job of telling the story of one woman's life.  Look for it in early April.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with the final thoughts of the week.  What’s good Pats? “ As a kid, I was fortunate to grow up in a house full of music lovers. My mother had an extraordinary album collection that I could play when I wanted, but I was never allowed to play my sisters’ albums. So when I was alone, I would sneak my sisters’ albums out and play them over and over. I was nine years old and Aladdin Sane by David Bowie was my favorite album. I had never heard anything like it. The drama and range of his vocals solidified a deep love in me for all things David Bowie. I’m sure everyone has their own favorite Bowie songs and albums. A club here in Detroit invited everyone out on Monday night to dance the night away to Bowie songs. I think the Thin White Duke would have liked that. One of the galleries in my town has quite a collection of Bowie’s art. I’ll have to stroll over this weekend and see what’s hanging.  Enjoy his final gift to us.

Wishing you all good health in this week of tremendous loss.


Books By The Fire (formerly Meet Us On Main Street)

At Books By the Fire (Formerly Meet Us On Main Street) Sally brought this week’s Food Section of The New York Times and ……

…dish, we did, on a celebrated, top-tier restaurant that highly respected restaurant critic Peter Wells skewered in the newspaper.  Though none of us had ever eaten at that restaurant – too $$$ --  his report about limp lettuce and pond watery soup was disheartening, but, as the article went on, even worse was the restaurant’s lack of good service and attention to details.  Sad to see the venerable institution slung through the mud, and to our attention, yet the article prompted a circle of discussion about hospitality, why it is important and the justification to cry foul. 

So Sally, ever ready with a book about any subject, turned our attention to Setting The Table, by Danny Meyers, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, whose restaurants have earned an unprecedented twenty-one James Beard Awards.  Not only are his eleven New York City restaurants well run, they are also some of the most well loved and respected by the citizens of New York. His secret, he says, is not the food, per se, but is the experience for the diner; and there-in lays this book, his life’s journey to France and Italy, and then back to the States, into why good service trumps all.

We talked about much more, including bunny dips, which I will let Kathy and Cindy tell you more about at our next meeting (if you are curious) but today Sally also brought more “foodie” books, a twosome of memoirs  about addiction (alcohol and sugar), and a stream of conscious memoir of John Fogerty, “like reading a soundtrack of my childhood,” Sally mused. 

Next week is Readers’ Advisory, what might they bring?

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 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!

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the first You Are What You Read of 2016.  This week’s housekeeping is as follows; many thanks to Dulcy B for the Offering of Taffy.  You were sweet to think of us and we thank you Dulcy BThe Animal World seems to be doing some form of hibernation as there is no Running Amok to report.  Even Mary Lee Shark seems to be quiet.  Here’s hoping that they aren’t all plotting something.

Since it’s the first You Are What You Read of the year what do you say if we talk resolutions?  While I for one am not a huge resolution person, I do welcome the idea that a new year means new beginnings however.  This year I have resolved to fret less about what the scale says and to listen to my body more.  Meaning if a very nice piece of dark chocolate just happens to find its way to my desk at 3 in the afternoon I am not beating myself up over the enjoyment of said chocolate.  Or if, perhaps if a lovely bourbon should be in my glass at 5:00, and I am not operating a piece of heavy farm machinery, I will sip it and be thankful for its appearance. I was rather fascinated by the news that the world’s oldest tortoise whose name is Jonathan has been given a new lease on life when a veterinarian changed his diet. Jonathan is 183 years old and lives on St. Helena Island in the Atlantic Ocean, an island of note because it was where Napoleon spent his exile and then died.  Jonathan showed up the year after all that went down (1882) so he is no way responsible. Well, it would appear that Jonathan was feeling rather peaked, which, if we are being honest, would seem perfectly normal to my mind should you also be 183 years old.  His eyesight and sense of smell was on the decline which meant he was having a hard time finding appropriate things to eat.   But no!  His doctor refused to let him go gentle into the good night and prescribed a diet high in calories and abundant with nice produce like bananas, guava, and apples.  With this new diet he has renewed energy, (although I think we need really think about what that could possibly look like in a tortoise, especially one that is 183 years old?),and it looks like he could make to 200 now.  You can read more about that here. So People!  Go forth and eat healthily happily, and without guilt this year! 

This week we have a cruise, a pandemic, Bombay, a binder full of women, and a woman to be reckoned with.

Playlist? It is resolved that our weekend have a soundtrack and so it shall come to pass!

Let us begin!

Sweet Ann is here with her thoughts on This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!  by Jonathan Evison.  “This enjoyable novel is indeed about the life of Harriet Chance. After her husband’s death, she receives the news that he had planned a cruise to Alaska and she is eligible to take it.  The novel goes back and forth in Harriet's life, from her birth, childhood, and decisions that made her life take the course it did using an interesting formula similar to the old television program, This is Your Life.    This is Your Life, Harriet Chance, is humorous and also quite poignant.  If you are looking for a quick read, you might want to see what goes on in Harriet Chance's life.”

Julie is joining us for the first time.  She can be found all over the library putting things back in their proper place! Welcome Julie! Here is what she thought about Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. “When Arthur dies while acting in King Lear, it sets the stage for a world-wide pandemic.  The earth’s entire infrastructure has also been wiped out.  A band of Shakespearian actors and musicians travels a well-worn route to towns nestled around the Great Lakes at great personal risk in this new dangerous world.   Can their love of performing and loyalty to their new friends and families bring a sense of normalcy and hope to the smattering of survivors?  This doomsday novel proves that people can overcome the most inconceivable adversities by creating a new world that reinvents itself with what had been held most precious in their pasts.”

Barbara M sent this to me with a cautionary note of having ‘finally broken free’ from this book.  While this does not bode well, I’ll let her clue you in on the rest. “I finally finished The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts, all 871 pages of it. Because I had loved Shantaram so much I had really high expectations for its sequel. Unfortunately, this book didn’t live up to its promise. The characters are stereotypical, the situations unbelievable and the philosophical platitudes tiresome. I finished the book out of sheer stubbornness. I will admit that Roberts, as in his first book, seems to have captured the atmosphere of Bombay.  Needless to say, I was very disappointed.”

Laura has just finished Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, by Bonnie Jo Campbell. “This may be a collection of short stories, but it reads like a thriller novel.  I couldn’t put it down. Set in rural Michigan, each story revolved around a heroine; a mother, a sister, or a grandmother. Some have careers, while others are more traditional, and others are emerging and new to womanhood.  All of them are suffering a crisis of some kind; abuse, addiction, poverty, infidelity.  The stories range from introspective and funny to gritty and dark so I warn readers this is not a book to curl up with.  I have taken the title of this book to heart.  Seriously, Mothers, read this book, and then talk to your daughters and your sons.  Fearless and raw, each story delves deeply into the layers of each woman’s life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants more than stories to read.      

The Always Delightful Pat S dove into Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell over the Hellidaze. “Sonia Purnell has provided a thoroughly compelling portrait of the life of the woman who would be Mrs. Winston Churchill for over sixty years. Born into ‘poor but noble’ circumstances, Clementine Hozier emerged from childhood as shy, self-reliant, and intensely private.  Beautiful, she had already made and broken two engagements by the time she met the young Churchill at a dinner party. Together they built a partnership which brought him to the highest position in his country-and one he never would have achieved alone. Clementine believed in his inherent ‘greatness’ enough to be honest with him. Churchill believed in her wisdom enough to listen to her. Self-important and somewhat of a bully, Churchill was almost wholly impervious to the advice of others. It was only his wife’s wise counsel that corrected his social and political blunders, and kept him on course as he navigated the road to Prime Minister. Since there has been so little written about Clementine Churchill, this is a particularly credible and welcome addition to the Churchill archives.  Since I also just read Lady Bird and Lyndon, I could hardly help but draw comparisons between the two women. First and foremost, they both married narcissists, and how they managed to survive without turning to drugs or drink boggles the mind. They fact that they both thrived is inspiring!”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North to tell us what’s what.  What’s good Pats?  “Welcome back! I hope you’ve all enjoyed the break along with a good book or two. For those of you who read this regularly, you’ll remember that my family does not make New Year’s resolutions, however we do work together to create a yearly theme. This year we’ve dubbed it, “The Year of Improvement and Movement”.  I invite you to create your own family theme and don’t forget to include a soundtrack. Happy New Year! “


Books By The Fire (Formerly Meet Us On Main Street)

We begin the year with crime.......

Our first Books By the Fire (formerly Meet Us On Main Street) meeting in 2016, met on our usual Wednesday morning and our first presenter was Stephanie who dazzled us with what else….a Roku.  What is a Roku you ask?  It is a device that lets you watch streaming channels, such as Netflix, on your computer or television.  Enjoy access to movies, TV episodes, and certain channels’ exclusive programming, like Netflix’s jaw-dropping true crime drama “Making a Murderer” which is what prompted Stephanie to bring the Roku; she wants everyone to have the opportunity to watch it.  This ten-episode drama inspired the rest of her presentation to the group which included some of her favorite true crime dramas -- which include a book by the defense attorney in the "Making a Murderer," an evil nurse who thought he was good, bored Hollywood teenagers stealing from the stars, a cold case from the 18oo's - the longest on record, and a murderer turned famous author that people love to read today.  Stephanie's recommendations begin below.

Next week, Readers Advisory visits.  Whatever may they bring?


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