Greetings and welcome to You Are What You Read. This edition has no fancy name to it. This week’s big news is that there are absolutely no housekeeping chores to be done. There were no offerings of taffy or fudge. The SoNo Loft has nothing to say because it literally disappeared over night rendering my commute even more charm-free than it normally is. I am hopeful that this is just about roof repairs. Of course when I know more, so will you. A world without The Loft is just too sad to think about.
This weekend promises to be hot and humid and that can only mean one thing. Afternoon thunderstorms could be in the making. There was this fascinating piece on NPR this morning about how deaths by lightning strikes are way, way up. The 411 on this is as follows; July is the most dangerous month for death by lightning, most of the victims are male and the body count is at 20 so far this summer. So while most people are oddly freaked out by the recent shark attacks, you are more likely to be hit by a lightning strike (1 in 12,000) than you are to have a run in with Mary Lee Shark (1 in 11.5 million). Back in the day, there were many more fatalities, usually 300-400 per year. Mostly because of using a corded phone (an aside for The Young out there, that was the only way phones used to come; actually wired to the wall.) and because tractors were uncovered, should you be a farming type. These days, most of the fatalities happen while people are outside playing, not farming or talking on their Nana’s phone, and the majority of these are mostly at the beach or on boats whilst fishing. The experts think that there is something about the roar of the waves dulling the sound of the approaching thunder. As a dedicated beach-goer, I kind of find this hard to believe. Anyone who has seen a storm roll in over the water and with an ounce of common sense knows when it’s time to head in. Which brings us to a nice mantra to use and share with family and friends: When thunder roars, go indoors. And when you do go indoors, make sure that you aren’t blowing dry your hair or holding on to anything that plugs in the wall, think back to that phone thing. In fact, why not use it as an excuse for some lovely late afternoon lolling. Let’s be safe People!
This week we have a brush with fame, a mysterious tome, a nosey neighbor, justice, and some dip-in, dip-out. The only Paris we can offer is this week’s image. Sorry.
This week is more of a Gift than the usual Playlist.
Let us begin!
Miss Claire has just finished reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. “I swore that I wouldn't buy a book on vacation, but I just couldn't resist purchasing this one. Comedian Aziz Ansari, who is also the star of NBC's Parks & Rec, writes about love in the 21st Century. Warning: Although you will be in pain from laughing so hard, this book is not a memoir, or collection of essays like other examples comedy writing. Ansari takes his own experiences with dating in places like New York and LA, and couples them with research (actual research) about how dating has changed in this modern age. Ansari and his friend travel to Tokyo, Paris, Buenos Aires, and even Doha to compare dating in various cultures. What's an herbivore man? What's a chongo? These and other international mysteries will be solved in the book. By looking at dating and communication over the generations, the author ponders whether or not we are really better off. Ansari provides a fresh perspective on the challenges of meeting Mr./Ms. Right. He does his homework, while also adding his witty charm to the mix. Fun Fact: I was his RA at NYU in London, so loved this fun break from my summer list of kid lit.”
Sweet Ann is reading a little dark this week. What’s doin’ Ann? “I read reviews of Disclaimer by Renee Knight and thought I would give it a try. Catherine Ravenscroft, a documentary film director, is happily married and has a young adult son with whom she has a slightly strained relationship. She and her husband have recently moved and she is adjusting well until one evening she finds a book on her night table which she does not remember purchasing or seeing before. As she begins reading it she recognizes herself in the story, a devastating story she has shared with no one. This novel is told in Catherine's voice and the author of the book who is out for revenge. This was a good thriller although I though it got a bit long. I definitely enjoyed Gone Girl and the Girl on the Train more than this one, but it is a quick summer read.”
The Always Fabulous Babs B has finished a quiet staff favorite, The Stone Boy by Sophie Loubiere. Here’s what she thought. “This is a suspenseful psychological thriller but also a story of a passionately loving grandmother who more nosey than Miss Marple! Madame Preau is a retired headmistress when she returns to her own house outside Paris after several years spent in a convalescent home. She is not taken seriously when she reports an abused boy in a neighboring home. Beautifully written (and translated) with just enough suspense to keep the reader wondering; is there an abused child or is Madame Preau imagining him? “
Steph! Not reading Go Set a Watchman! “There’s been a lot of buzz about the return of Atticus Finch this week, and rightly so, but the book I read this week is about a real-life Atticus who deserves just as much attention. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, is part-memoir, part-courtroom thriller. Stevenson is the founder of legal non-profit the Equal Justice Initiative, which works in Alabama on death row cases, as well as cases where people are given life sentences for crimes committed as minors. As you’d expect, many of the stories are heartbreaking, and put a human face on issues of crime and punishment, as well as illuminating how region and race play a large role in determining the fate of many prisoners. Despite the difficulty and sorrow behind many of the cases Stevenson discusses, there is also a strong sense of hope and redemption. He’s a remarkable lawyer and writer, and even more so, a remarkable man. This is reminiscent of the very best of John Grisham, but 100% true. Go on hold for this in addition to (or instead of) Go Set A Watchman.”
Laura is here with a reading style just right for a summer afternoon . “Summer is a time for lazy. What better way to enjoy a lazy, hazy summer afternoon in the hammock than with a book that we call the dip-in, dip-out. This is the sort of book that you don't have to commit to, can open at a different page every time, and close without a book mark to save your page. These easy reads are more informational fun fact books like The Secret Museum by Molly Oldfield a unique illustrated listing of intriguing artifacts hidden away in some of the world's most venerable museums: such as Van Gogh's sketchbooks, Nabokov's butterfly genitalia cabinet, or the Diamond Sutra. Or perhaps Atoms Under the Floorboards, by Chris Woodford which explains scientific reasons for everyday phenomena such as squeaky floors, gurgling pipes, and why skyscrapers don’t sink into the ground or blow over. Not necessarily cocktail talk but interesting all the same for the curious mind. “
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named. Earlier this week she sent me a pic of one of her progeny standing on a Big M on location in Ann Arbor. Patty! Get your kid outta there! Don’t you know what they say about Ann Arbor?! Aside from that, what’s good Pats? “We’re back from the Nation’s Capital and I’m pleased to report that we had a great time. Five days was not enough time to see and do everything but we gave it a valiant effort. Now it’s back to the local summer routine of Farmers’ Markets and Art Fairs. My son and I headed out to the Ann Arbor Art Fair yesterday.Some of the other, lesser-known festivals around us include the Old Town Scrapfest in Lansing where 20 teams had one hour to collect up to 500 pounds of scrap metal from the Friedland Industries’ scrap facility and then spent two weeks creating masterpieces that will culminate in the unveiling of their creations during the festival this weekend. There’s also a Pig Jig Pig Roast and Street Dance for those who enjoy a sidewalk sale with a little dancing in the streets and a side of pork. The artist, Nick Cave will have his first live-dancing event of his Soundsuits this weekend in Detroit. It would seem as though there is something for everyone right now. And if that isn’t enough, the band Wilco, surprise dropped their new album, Star Wars yesterday. The album is available for free for a limited time so give it a listen now and don’t forget to get out and support your local art scene this weekend.”
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!
Who doesn't love a Western? Let's watch some Westerns this week! And remember you don't have to wait! Immediate gratification can be yours!
Not sure what this means? Click here!
Greetings! Welcome to the Sidewalk Sales Edition of You Are What You Read! As always let’s begin with the housekeeping chores. Our thanks go to Pam M for the taffy love of the week. This batch hails from Bermuda. Thanks Pam! The message from The SoNo Loft is Worrying is Waste. So just stop the fretting People. The Loft commands it! As far as Sidewalk Sales are concerned, there is a reason it is on the sidewalk, it is just that much closer to the dumpster it’s going to end up in.
It’s no secret that we have A LOT of cat lovers on staff. Just look at the state of some black pants mornings before the rollers come out. In this morning’s New York Times, there was this piece in the Arts Section on of all things a Cat Circus that is going to be performing in Brooklyn (of course that’s where it’s going to be) this weekend. This is their first NYC appearance because according the article she was afraid of maneuvering the bus that she and the 14 cat ensemble travel in on the city streets. There is a lot to discuss in this article. There is the fact that she originally wanted to bring a rat circus to the American Public. I would rather not think about what that would have looked like. She then tried chickens, but the Avian Flu put a damper on that. So about 10 years ago she started training shelter cats to perform all sorts of crazy tricks. I can’t lie. This sort of terrifies me. Would you want to sleep in a room with a cat who knew how to turn on lights or play an instrument? I think that this is one step away from the cats learning how to access your bank accounts and filling the fridge with Ahi tuna, foie gras and organic cream from Whole Foods. Also, we need to reflect on the idea of what it must be like traveling the country in a bus with 14 cats. You gotta hope those windows open. Honestly, this just all sounds too awful but if the Beach is not your gig, your feelings about the Sidewalk Sales echoes mine and a museum trip feels too high-brow, check out The Cat Circus instead. And report back. I want to hear all about it.
This week we have a ballerina, debt collectors, some rogue Russians, and some really angry women.
Of course there is The Playlist!
Let us begin!
Barbara M has just finished reading Life in Motion : An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland. “In 2007 at the age of twenty-four Misty Copeland became the first black soloist for the American Ballet Theatre in twenty years. Although Ms. Copeland had the physique and inborn ability to become a dancer the story of her success is remarkable. She and her siblings lived in cramped conditions and slept on blankets on the floor and she didn’t take ballet lessons until she was 13 years old. This is the story of how one young girl used her determination and courage to attain a seemingly unattainable goal. She had mentors who encouraged and helped her and she in turn encourages and helps underprivileged youths to discover their potential. It is a beautiful and hopeful story and to complete my review I urge you to watch her dance. “
Alan spent his July 4th weekend reading Jake Halperin’s Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld. “An excerpt was in the NY Times Sunday Magazine recently. It’s a fascinating story of the debt collections industry as seen from the bottom up. There is a large group of mostly shady people, many with criminal backgrounds, dealing in collecting old debts. This is a quick read revolving around some unforgettable characters that will leave you in disbelief that such a culture exists and is tolerated. You will pity both the debtors and the debt collectors.”
Pat T is here with a current favorite of staff and patron alike. "Any reader who is a fan of the character, John Corey from Plum Island will enjoy his latest escapade in Radiant Angel by Nelson Demille. John has relocated to NYC to take an assignment -surveilling Russian diplomats working at the U.N. Mission and his task is to keep a watchful eye on the Russian Colonel, Vasily Petrov. An ordinary Sunday morning surveillance ends up being anything but ordinary as Corey and his team follow the Mercedes with Petrov and two other Russians out to a beach house in the Hamptons. Overall, this novel was a fast paced beach read packed with action, fun characters and a plot more realistic than one would like to imagine!”
I am so in love with Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. The Literary Hangover was a long one once I put it down. For those new visitors, a Literary Hangover is that deep aching regret that you have turned your last page and have to say good bye to a story and the characters that you have just given your heart, soul and mind to. The sort of book that dooms you to home decorating or fashion magazines for weeks after because reading anything else is not an option because nothing can compare. Otto and Mathilde meet and marry after a whirlwind college romance. After years of struggle, Otto finds his fame as a famous playwright, while Mathilde makes sure that his genius is nurtured, their home runs smooth and is always full of friends, laughter and love. This is the Fates portion of the book. And then the Furies piece happens. Those of you who remember your mythology will remember that the Furies were the female spirits of justice and vengeance. The language is beautiful, the story is amazing, and you will experience not only the Literary Hangover but also Literary Whiplash when you realize the story you were reading isn’t the story at all. This one comes out in September and is probably one of my favorites of the year.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC has broken free from That State Up North and is loose in the world. I’ll let her tell all about it. What’s good Pats? “This week finds me in our Nation’s Capitol. My husband was traveling to attend the annual Public Media Development and Marketing Conference in Washington D.C., so we decided to tag along. It’s been a summer scorcher here with the kind of humidity that curls my hair into poodle-like ringlets but you will not find me complaining about the heat or the crabbiness that it’s been producing in my children. Nope. I’ve decided to make the most of our time here. I will slather on sunscreen, walk until I feel like I can’t take another step, eat, read, sleep and then repeat. We’ve all chosen specific places to visit and have compiled a list. My list includes the Library of Congress or as I refer to it, “Library Mecca”. This time of year begs for an adventure and a good old-fashioned road trip. I hope you get out, take a break and enjoy one of your own.”
DL SUNSHINE & ROADTRIPS 2015
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!
It's that most wonderful time of the year! It's Shark Week, People! Here are some titles to get that ball rolling. And remember you don't have to wait! Immediate gratification can be yours!
Not sure what this means? Click here!
Greetings and welcome to the Independence Day edition of You Are What You Read! First some housekeeping must be done! Many thanks to Sandy D for her gift of some of the best fudge we have had in recent memory and the taffy. Not that there is ever bad fudge mind you. Thanks Sandy! We are glad you are home. Amy C reports from The Mountains somewhere in Wild West where she Summers that the news reported last week about this full moon being known as The Full Buck Moon is indeed correct. The bucks that she has seen are indeed beginning to show some new growth. So thanks for the 411 Amy! Please consider this a friendly reminder that we will be closed tomorrow for the holiday but we will be back at it on Sunday from 1-5.
As you are all receiving this, my oldest will, hopefully, be safely delivered to Soldier Field in Chicago for the first night of the Fare Thee Well tour and while the ‘Core Four’ are calling themselves The Grateful Dead, I feel that the train left that station in August of ’95. He was blessed enough to score a ticket via his uncle with whom I saw many a show and I know Tyler is in for a great time. Sadly, no show for me but I am sort of ok with it. I had my time with The Boys and I am forever grateful for it. Sure, there were nights that were less than great. There was a great article in the New Yorker which refers to their ‘glorious inconsistency.’ But even on a bad night musically, it was always better than a good night without them. This of course is not to say that I would not gladly accept a ‘miracle’, a hotel room and a plane ticket over the usual offerings of fudge and taffy. So if someone wants to get on that I‘d appreciate it. You know where to find me.
The Always Dapper James has sent me a cautionary video this week that you all can see here. In it, our government is alerting us to the harmful effects of fireworks on plastic mannequins and the occasional watermelon. James and I both think that if actual people are using fireworks in these ways we are kind of ok with the consequences depicted all too clearly in the video. In fact, we are more than ok with it because if you are this sort of stupid in your use of explosive devices you deserve what you are about to get and we would appreciate it if you did not reproduce. But if you decide to blow some stuff up, please give us a call. We’d love to come and join you. We’ll bring the watermelon and some cold ones!
This week we have an old woman, a movie star, some shame, a career criminal, cancer, a moon rock, and a brain in a Tupperware container.
The Playlist? You betcha!
Let us begin!
Julia Rae is here with a whole bunch of stuff. She can be hard to keep up with but we love her just the same. “Lately I have been on a long rotation of exciting books these past few weeks. The Stone Boy By Sophie Loubiere follows the day to day life of, it seems to be, a bored old woman. But when she begins to see a young boy in her neighbors back yard, abused and neglected, things begin to get very interesting. It is the type of book that makes you wonder what is real and what is not. The next book I am carrying around in my purse at all times is Mislaid by Nell Zink. If you like a story that colors outside the lines like I do, you'll love this. The story is one that follows a lesbian woman and a gay man who fall in love and have a child. But don't worry it's about way, way more than that. I don't want to spoil any of this book’s magnificence, but it is one of the best I have read all year. Not only is the writing concise and poetic, but the story is refreshing and unexpected. Along with this and my nightly episode of Call the Midwife, I have certainly and gladly had my hands full. How lucky am I?”
Sweet Ann has just finished A Fine Romance by Candice Bergen. “In this memoir, which is actually Candice Bergen's second one, she tells of her marriage to Louis Malle, the famous French film director, all about daughter Chloe , the television show Murphy Brown and her life after the death of Louis. I enjoyed her matter-of-fact writing and her honesty about situations in her marriage with Louis, career and feelings about her second husband. She is opinionated and you know how she feels. It was a fun book with the name dropping, beautiful travels and descriptions of her home in rural France that brought it to life for me as a reader. Those of you who are old enough and remember the television series, Murphy Brown and liked her character will enjoy this book. It is just like Candice Bergen is, bright, opinionated, self-deprecating, funny.
The Always Delightful Pat S is here with a book she has been talking to everyone about, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. “I can definitely say that it was eye-opening on every front. Here Ronson explores the resurgence of the phenomena of shaming as a direct result of the growing power of social media. Early on Ronson says that intermittent episodes of shaming appeared as if ‘The silenced were ¬getting a voice. It was like the democratization of justice.’ Yet with the fullness of time, has the convenience and anonymity of social media combined with an instant and far reaching public forum given life to the basest of human desires? Using a variety of examples to illustrate the potentially destructive and far-reaching effects of a casual remark, Ronson has written a very engaging and deeply disturbing expose of the darkest side of the Internet.”
Steph is doing something I have never done and I’ve got a good number of years on her. “After 30 years on this Earth, I am finally tackling Norman Mailer. I’ve always been too freaked out before. I suppose he is a little bit out of fashion now, but this week while visiting Bay Area bookstores, I came across a shelftalker for The Executioner’s Song that declared it “the fastest 1000 pages you’ll ever read,” and could not resist the challenge. This novel is based on the true story of Gary Gilmore, a career criminal who, in the late 70s, insisted on having his death penalty carried out swiftly and in so doing reignited the long American debate over that punishment. However, to this point anyway (I’m only on page 662), the book is not a grand moral saga. Rather, it’s a painstaking stalking of Gilmore, his girlfriend Nicole, and the many people with whom he interacted before and after the murders. So far, it’s definitely the fastest 662 pages I’ve ever read, and I don’t think I’ll be slowing down. Mailer may have been a jerk, but wow, could he write. If you don’t mind it taking up all the space in your bag, this is actually one I’d recommend as a beach read for the right reader.
Abby is reading something a little different this week with A Lucky Life Interrupted by Tom Brokaw. “When I learned that news journalist Tom Brokaw was diagnosed with cancer, I was curious. That it was multiple myeloma made me more curious because it is considered a relatively rare cancer. Brokaw does a good job expressing his disbelief at his diagnosis followed by the stages of grief and finally, acceptance. The way he speaks of his family is touching, in particular, his physician daughter Jennifer who helps guide him on his cancer journey. Brokaw acknowledges his unique situation of having access to the very best physicians, yet he recounts instances of clinicians missing some important clues and symptoms. On several occasions he expresses his well-founded concerns about how average earners could possibly manage to deal with the physical and emotional toll this and other devastating illnesses create. The most valuable take-away for me was the need for patients and their families to be their own tireless advocates for information. They must tap into available resources, do their homework, and ask questions.”
Laura is on dry land this week and here’s what she’s up to, “Summer is a time for crazy fun. So I have two zany, true stories that, as I read them, I couldn't believe their story lines. I flipped back and forth checking the back covers, the inside flaps, the prologues, to make double sure that these were, in fact, true. I even checked the internet and found that indeed, these unbelievable happenings/journeys really did occur. Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich is about a brilliant college student, interning at NASA, who decides the only way to impress his love interest is to steal for her the rarest objects on the planet -- moon rocks. It is an outlandish heist ; passing security check points, camera-lined hallways and finally, decoding an impregnable high-tech vault. It reads like a Hollywood thriller. The second book to fill your summer days with is Driving Mr. Albert by Michael Paterniti who literally drove Einstein's brain, floating in a Tupperware bowl in a gray duffel bag in the trunk of a Buick Skylark, with eighty-four year old Thomas Harvey who had performed the autopsy on Einstein back in 1955. No one at the time claimed the brain and so Harvey took it home where it sat for over forty years. In the late 1990's Harvey decides it is time to return the brain to Einstein's family and so the two set off to California where granddaughter, Evelyn, lives. Part travelogue, part memoir, part history, part biography Driving Mr. Albert is a very unique road trip worth reading about.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with our final thoughts off the week and of course, The Playlist. What’s good Pats? “If I had a wish-granting genie, I’d give Jen a trip to Chicago this weekend where generations of Deadheads will convene and celebrate with live music from the Grateful Dead. I will not be one of them. Instead, I will celebrate this holiday weekend with my husband’s family where we will talk politics (we all lean the same so it’s not much of a debate unless one of us decides to play devil’s advocate), watch the kids swim and enjoy great food. Frankly, it’s tougher to get the family all on the same page musically than politically. When in doubt, I just spin classic rock and that makes them all happy, even the kiddos. So, however you celebrate your Fourth of July, I hope that you enjoy it with loved ones, great food, music and a few fireworks.”