You Are What You Read!

First of all, a thank you to the Ever Gracious Priscilla S who gifted us with a box of taffy from her beloved Island.  Thanks Priscilla!  We are happy you’re home and that’s not just the sugar talking.  As always, the SoNo Loft has given me something to make me pause and think hard on during my commute. For those new to this space, the SoNo Loft is a piece of charm and whimsy that gladdens my rather charm-free, whimsy-less commute every week.  It is a banner hung from a deck in SoNo with a new message every week.  This message is only visible from a train bound for New York and only on the left side of the train with you facing the front of the train.  This week’s banner declares “Simplicity, Patience, Compassion.”  Which, when you think about it, is just about the most perfect  message for the start of fall, back to school, back to life,  time of year.  These are things that are very easy to forget when you are rushing around from place to place trying to keep your head above water and several balls in the air. Just remember the following; that sometimes the best answer to a problem is the simplest one, that patience can be hard to practice but will always be rewarded in its own quiet way, and the compassion we show towards each other can make a hard world seem a little easier.  And don’t forget!  You are not alone in finding getting back into the swing of things daunting.  We are all circling the same drain.  So Simplicity, Patience, Compassion!  Onward People and thanks SoNo Loft!  We love you guys even if you never answer our tweets. This week we have some Q and A, secrets, sisters, Indochina, a fever and a key.  Playlist?  Of course!  We can’t have you all running around without a soundtrack! That would be cruel.

Let us begin!


Miss Lisa of the CL is back with this offering:  “I want to recommend The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. Written by a thirteen-year-old Japanese boy with autism, the book is a series of questions with answers such as ‘Why do you ask the same questions over and over?’  and ‘Why do you like being in the water?’ Higashida has a huge heart and on every page asks for compassion and understanding for people with autism, while revealing the world he lives in with detail, clarity, and charm.  If you want to learn more about autism, this is a gem.  Hearing the voice and thoughts of someone with autism, instead of what others have to say about it, is extremely valuable. “


Barbara M stuck with Thrity Umrigar’s latest The Story Hour.  “This novel is about love, friendship and secrets. After attempting suicide, Lakshimi, an immigrant from India, becomes the patient of Maggie, an American psychologist. What begins as a professional relationship turns into an uneasy friendship where the two share stories and secrets. There are unexpected twists to the story as it unfolds and one’s original alliances and sympathies are challenged. At first I was put off by Lakshmi’s broken English, and while I got used to it and understood why it was important, I still found it jarring. Although I found the story a bit implausible, I could not stop reading it.”


The Fabulous Babs B is watching and reading this week.  What did she think of Lucky Us by Amy Bloom and the film classic Indochine? “In Lucky Us we have the story of two half-sisters, (one legitimate, the other illegitimate) of a professor in a small Ohio town, in the late 1930's.  The younger daughter, Eva, was dumped by her Mother into the home of the Father and older sister, Iris.   When the two sisters take off to Hollywood where Iris plans to become a movie star, this book becomes a study of contrasts about how the sisters behave at different stages and situations in life.  It was a fun and quick read!  I also watched Indochine where the beautiful Catherine Deneuve stars as Eliane Devries, the icy owner of a prosperous rubber plantation in French Indochina.  When her adopted Indochinese daughter innocently falls in love with Elaine's secret lover, the scandalous triangle threatens to destroy their entire family.   Set against the violence of the bloody Communist uprising, this is a wrenching tale of love and war with absolutely breathtaking scenery.  Thank you to my son for making me watch this with him!”


The Ever Delightful Pat S is reading What is Visible by Kimberly Elkins which is easily one of my favorites of the year.  What did she think?  “This is a fascinating story about a woman named Laura Bridgman who had scarlet fever at the age of two. She was left without four of her five senses: sight, hearing, taste, and smell. Her only remaining sense was touch. Taken to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston she learned language via hand signing and was able to communicate. By the mid-nineteenth century she was the second most famous woman in the world-second only to Queen Victoria. What is Visible is the fictionalized story of her inner life; her perceptions of the people and circumstances she encounters. While her story highlights her fierce intelligence, it also underlines her palpable sense being alone, and ultimately loneliness. This is a story which haunts long after the last page has turned. “


I can be found driving some days, which you know makes me most unhappy, but there are times it can’t be helped. It is especially heinous now that summer is over and the roads are not really roads but parking lots where one inches toward your destination. To make this a bit less painful, I have been listening to the audio book of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Nine-year-old Oskar Schell lost his father on 9/11 and has been feeling his absence keenly.  When he discovers a key among his possessions he takes it as a sign that his father wants him to find the lock that it belongs to.   Running parallel with Oskar’s story is the story of his grandparents who hail from Dresden.  The narration of the story is nothing short of wonderful.  So while I am late to the party on this book, I am very happy to say I did eventually make it and would recommend this story to anyone not only looking to be entertained, but also looking for a marvelous literary tour-de-force.


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named with The Playlist and these closing thoughts.  What’s doing Pats? “There are times when the Loft’s message and my own experience are in perfect sync. This week I went to my first PTA parent coffee for class sign-ups and to hear the elementary principal say a few words, setting the tone for the school year. For his theme, he focused on parents as primary teachers and models for their children. Despite a microphone, I could not hear the principal over the chattering parents. I was appalled and frankly embarrassed by my fellow parents’ behavior. I crossed the room so I could better hear him. He seemed unfazed by their chatter and joked about how it was challenging to compete with parents who hadn’t seen each other all summer. He ended with a video by Kid President on the 20 Things We Should Say More Often.  Let’s take on this challenge and put into practice the 20 Things and don’t forget the bonus… Let’s dance!”

DL TALK LESS & LISTEN MORE 2014
 

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You Are What You Read!

Happy Labor Day weekend! Even though this is the last weekend to rock the white pants I say forget that.  We fought winter too hard to yield to autumn just yet and this has been the most beautiful summer I can remember.  Please don’t misunderstand. I love fall as much as the next girl.  What’s not to love about College football (Let’s go Bucks! Beat Navy!), cider and donuts, back-to-school shopping, crisp clear mornings and pretty foliage?  I get the appeal.  But I am not ready to go gentle into the good night of fall. I am going to string this out as long as I can.  I will continue to revel in gorgeous tomatoes, basil and burratta on the dinner table (please save me a ball Fairfield Cheese Company!), the bare leg, an occasional ice cream treat, trips to the beach, a glass of rosé, and yes, the white pant.  So no judging when you see me in white pants in the upcoming weeks.  Please remember that we are closed on Monday but you will see us back at it on Tuesday morning at 9 when we open the doors again.  This week we have yet another TV series, infidelity, dogs, detectives, and some burnt toast.  Playlist?  Times 2 Baby!

Let us begin!


Abby has another series to offer us. “A few years ago, I started watching a show on AMC called The Killing. Based on a popular Danish TV series, this US version is set in Seattle against a background of gray days and rain filled sky. The lead characters are detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder. Linden has a troubled personal history and a dangerous tendency to immerse herself in her homicide cases to the exclusion of all else, including her young son.  Holder is a former undercover cop with his own set of troubles. After 2 seasons, The Killing was cancelled but fan outrage brought it back for another try. Season 3 left us with such an intense and breathtaking ending, it was tough to turn off the television once it was over. Netflix brought The Killing back for a final season on August 1st .This series is not for the squeamish and if too much intensity before bedtime keeps you up, watch during daytime hours.” 


Sweet Ann finished Life Drawing by Robin Black.  “Augusta, who is known as Gus, and Owen have decided to marry and put her infidelity behind them. They feel their best chance to move forward is to isolate themselves from the outside world by retreating to a cottage in rural Pennsylvania where Owen can write and Gus can paint. While Owen has forgiven Gus he has asked her not to have any contact with her former lover or his daughter, who was one of Gus' art students.  They are doing well until Alison, also an artist, rents a nearby cabin.  This novel opens with the death of Owen and as a reader you will follow the lies and betrayals to figure out whom or what caused his death.  Life Drawing is an enjoyable read.”


Pat T is in the middle of reading Travels with Casey: My Journey Through our Dog-Crazy Country by Benoit Denizet–Lewis.  “In case you are wondering about the title of this book, it bears no relation to Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. As the author says this is the real deal, he traveled 13,000 miles across the United States in an RV with his nine year old Labrador mix. Together they had a full range of dog related experiences from a stop in Westport to help a couple search for their lost dog, and New York City’s Tompkins's Park where one of the regulars said, ‘Hey, man. If you can survive a day in a dog park in New York City, you can survive anywhere!’ With that sentiment, they continue their travels to D.C. and western Virginia stopping at a winery with a sign that set the tone of the place: Slow Please-Dogs, Kids and Winemakers at Play! I will continue reading about this man-dog adventure because it is fun for anyone, like me, who is a dog-lover!”


Stephanie is picking up where she left off last week. “A banner week for mysteries! First, I read the remaining David Mark book, Sorrow Bound, to make good on my promise last week. It was as good as the first two, so I definitely recommend the Detective Sergeant McAvoy series to all the UK mystery fans out there, especially those who love Denise Mina and/or Luther. Louise Penny also has a new book this week: The Long Way Home. I didn’t love it quite as much as the last one, but it’s still very good, and even a bit of a tear-jerker. We should have known that Chief Inspector Gamache could retire and still have detective work to do. I do feel a bit sad for him that he can’t retire quietly, but I’m happy for us that she’s still writing the series. Either book would be a lovely page-turning companion for Labor Day weekend reading!


I took Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good:  A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family by Kathleen Flinn to the beach last weekend.  It is billed as a “family history with recipes” and indeed it is just that.  The youngest of five, Flinn tells us the story of her family and more to the point her family’s time at the table and traditions.  Be assured this is not a sickeningly saccharine memoir.  There is just enough family drama and secrets to keep you interested.  The only chapter that I skipped was the chapter where her oldest sister embraces the clown lifestyle. That’s all I am going to say about that. The recipes aren’t anything earth shattering or special but when Flinn puts them into the context of her family’s story they become as important to the narrative as the family pictures that begin each chapter.  I also highly recommend The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Flinn.


Here’s DJ Jazzy Patty McC with her take on the long weekend. “The long, slower summer days are rapidly coming to an end and fall will be here soon. Mornings already carry a chill that wasn’t in the air last week. Next week, my children will start another school year and I will post pictures of them going on their way. My current project is to can every last summer fruit and vegetable. I’m putting summer in a jar to be kept on a shelf. I know there will be a day when we are waist deep in snow banks and it will be then that I’ll open a cabinet and reach inside for a jar of summertime. Proust had his madeleines and while I am no Marcel Proust but I will have my own jars of summer preserves, and my own Remembrance of Things Past. This week I invite you to create something for that time when you need a little reminder of summer.  
 

Back to School 

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New DVD Releases

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Nice New Book Goodness!

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

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!

New eBooks from 3M

Here are the new titles available from 3M.

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Our thanks this week to Diane H who bought our love with some stellar chocolate chip cookies!  AND she did it even though she wasn’t even Summering.  Thanks again Diane!   This is our last weekend of Darien: The Left Behind.  So for those of you who are here with us, enjoy the last of no long lines at Palmer’s, a quieter Sugar Bowl, an I-95 that does not resemble a mall parking lot at Christmas, premium parking available at the Stations and  even a seat on the train.  As for the rest of you Summering, a gentle reminder that our love can be easily bought with a smallish white box tied with white and red string.  This week marks the arrival of a new member of our library family.  Erica and her husband welcomed a son on Wednesday and we are so happy for them.  Congratulations Erica!   This week we have some perfume, cantankerous aunts, Japan, Scotland, an Archduke, and a hunch.  And of course we have The Playlist!  Of course!

Let us begin!

The Fabulous Babs B has just finished reading The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin.  “‘Her perfume entered before she did.  That was always a mistake.  Leave a slight trail like a memory behind you, but never let your perfume arrive before you.’  So begins this beautifully written historical fiction novel focusing on the history of the perfume industry and its role in World War II.  It is also the story of love, betrayal, survival and friendship.  I loved this quick and fascinating read.”

Miss Elisabeth of the CL is back and here is what she was doing while she was Summering.  “This weekend I read the first two books in Deanna Rayborn’s Lady Julia Grey mystery series, and they were exactly what I needed for my vacation; intrigue, romantic entanglements, and nefarious poisoners abound! In Silent in the Grave, the first book, we meet Victorian Lady Julia Grey, who is saddened but not surprised when her husband of 5 years, who has always had a weak heart, dies suddenly at a dinner party. She is surprised, however, when private detective Nicholas Brisbane comes to call and insists that her husband was murdered. It seems Lord Grey received threatening letters before his death and hired Brisbane to find out who was trying to do him in. Reluctant at first, Julia becomes a believer when she finds one of the mysterious notes while cleaning out her husband’s room, and teams up with Brisbane to solve the murder. The murder mystery twists and turns beautifully and the details of life in the Victorian era make one long for silk gowns trimmed in velvet. The second book, Silent in the Sanctuary, finds Julia home after 6 months abroad in Italy, just in time to spend Christmas with her 10 siblings, their spouses and children, cantankerous great-aunts, Nicholas Brisbane, and a cold-blooded murderer. The whole series is a lot of fun!”

Barbara M is playing catch-up.  “There have been many books and authors that I’ve missed when they were popular. I’m trying to catch up and I’m glad because I might have never read Gail Tsukiyama’s novels. So far I’ve read Women of the Silk, The Language of Threads and The Samurai’s Garden and I’ve loved all of them. Tsukiyama is an American author of Chinese and Japanese heritage and her novels incorporate the troubled history of these two cultures. The Samurai’s Garden is a beautiful story, set in the 1930s, of a young Chinese man sent to his family’s country house in rural Japan to recuperate from tuberculosis. The relationship he forms with the housekeeper Matsu is profound and evolves into a deep bond between the two. Tsukiyama’s writing is beautiful and the characters develop into real people so much so that I hated finishing the book.”

Amanda has just started Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  “I picked up this book after watching the first episode of the new Starz TV show. The episode was alright: nothing to write home about. However, I've been in search of a new audiobook, so I decided to give the Outlander novels a try. I was blown away! Claire was a WWII nurse who after the end of the war is visiting Scotland with her husband. She eventually gets thrown back in time to the 1750s and struggles to survive in her new surroundings as an English outsider i.e. an Outlander. I'm only on chapter two, but what has captured me is the sweet, romantic, fun, and authentic bond she has with her husband. The TV episode portrayed Frank as being very stiff-upper-lip and reserved. He's nothing like the guy jumping on the bed and running down the lane to go geek out over local historical customs like Frank is in the book. So my suggestion is to skip the TV show and go straight to the source material where you'll be delighted by the rich relationships and details that make the heroine come to life. “

Pat S has just finished The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans.  “In full disclosure, my knowledge about WWI has always been a bit murky at best.  But as this is the centennial of the war, I thought I might at least find out how it started and The Assassination of the Archduke seemed to be as good a place to start as any. Yes, the Archduke was assassinated and mayhem flowed from there, but who and why?  King and Woolmans have done an excellent job creating a very moving and sympathetic portrait of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his Bohemian wife, Sophie Chotek. Based upon recently opened primary documents, the everyday, often tragic life of this couple is recounted-from their star-crossed courtship to their brutal murder. The myriad of quotidian details presents a wonderful snapshot of upper-class Edwardian life, in addition to recounting the tale of a devoted love story set against a background of political. It’s a fascinating read!”

Steph is trying something new this week.  “I have a new mystery writer this week: David Mark. At least he’s new to me. After reading great reviews of the newest book in the Detective Sergeant McAvoy series, Sorrow Bound, I wanted to start at the beginning with his books. So I read The Dark Winter and Original Skin, the first two books in the series. They were fantastic! This series would be perfect for fans of Denise Mina or Louise Penny.  McAvoy is a gruff giant of a detective who is familiar to the British procedural reader: driven by his hunches and devoted to solving murders in the face of great corruption. As with Mina and Penny, the stories are less than straightforward.  They circle around several plots involving multiple characters, and McAvoy’s home life is always crucial to the cases at hand. The stories are a little rough, so they’re definitely not for cozy mystery fans, but anyone who can handle Luther will feel right at home. I will report back next week about the new one!”


DJ Jazzy Patty McC has been having a rough week in The State Which Shall Not Be Named.  Not even the news of my boy Braxton Miller’s need to take this year off cheered her up.  What’s doing Pats?  “I’ve been completely bummed out by many things happening in the world. It would seem there is lots of unhappiness everywhere I turn.  I’ve been holding my breath waiting for some kind of good news. Wunder-Jen delivered that to me this week with a picture of a sweet new baby boy that joined our library family. Thanks, Jen! We’re going to take action and reboot our vacation vibe with a little lakeside camping. My son will check camping and fishing off his summer ‘To Do’ list and I will spend time with my brother and his lovely wife while indulging and corrupting my four-year-old nephew. So if you too are feeling like life is a little bit crazy and out of control remember it’s always good to gather your loved ones and give them a big hug. DL Bounce Back 2014

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