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 B! The 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! “
DL THE YEAR OF IMPROVEMENT & MOVEMENT 2016