What are my neighbors up to?

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

You Are What You Read!

This week I would like to address a breach of civility that I call Yucking the Yum.  Many people have asked me by what I mean by this.  Well it’s just this:  When you say “Yuck” to something that someone finds Yummy , or makes them happy, you are calling them out on their taste.  It’s probably one of my biggest pet peeves.  Let’s say someone says, “I can’t wait for dinner tonight!  It’s going to be a lovely piece of roasted salmon on a bed of arugula. “ This Someone will inevitably shudder with horror, do an eye roll and make that person feel like a circus freak for the joyful anticipation of that meal.  I have seen this lately in discussions with books, films, just about anything under the sun that could make a person happy.  You know what?  If something is not your cup of tea, please just nod politely and either change the subject or formulate this week’s grocery list in your head.   Thanks.  Phew.  I feel so much better now.  Many of you may have missed this news story.  There was a wolverine named Kasper who was on his way to Alaska from Norwegian zoo.  There needed to be a plane change at Newark National airport where he would go through Customs.   He was in a metal cage that proved no match for his sharp little teeth and he had managed to chew a hole in the cage to try to escape!  Now this just goes to prove my point about Wolverines in general.  Only a Wolverine would think that Newark Airport was a place to escape to.  Really?  You are given a choice between Newark and a 170 acre unspoiled Alaskan landscape and you choose Newark?  Point proved.  This week we have tenderness and compassion, Vichy France, North Korea, Korean Americans, and a Bake Off. 


Of course we have The Playlist!  Of course!


Sweet Ann is here this week after reading The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce. What did you think Ann? “This is almost a companion book to Ms. joyce's earlier novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.  In that novel, Harold Fry was walking across England to visit his friend Queenie who is dying in a hospice.  In this new novel Queenie is writing to Harold as he walks across England.  It is difficult for her to write and one of the sisters at the hospice helps her along with the story she is writing to Harold.  Queenie wants Harold to know her real reason for leaving her job, where he also worked, and why she never contacted him again until she was very sick.  This is a wonderful story filled with tenderness that at times will make your heart ache but it will also have your heart soar with the love and compassion of these characters.  While it sounds like a sad book and it is in some ways, it is also a wonderful reflection on friendship and love.” 


Barbara M is back in France and I know that makes me feel like all is right with the world.  “I recently watched Claude Chabrol’s documentary film The Eye of Vichy made in 1993. It is a compilation of propaganda newsreels and films made by the Nazis and their French collaborators during the occupation of France in World War II. The aim of these films was to convince the people of France that working with the Germans would benefit France as a nation and that their real enemies were the Jews, the Allied Forces and the Communists.  Field Marshall Petain's energetic speeches are filmed followed by children bringing him gifts and flowers in an attempt to endear him to the people. There are clips of young men happily leaving France to work in German factories. Propaganda is powerful and we’ll never know how many people embraced Petain’s vision. After the war most people claimed to be on the side of The Resistance but we’ll never know. This is a fascinating film about the power of the media. “


The Delightful Pat S is here and she’s back to her old ways too.  Perhaps this sun and warmth is working its’ magic?  “After a few recent forays into fiction, I have fallen back to an old favorite in this riveting memoir Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim. Set in the fall of 2011, Kim, a Korean-American writer infiltrates the only privately funded university in Pyongyang. Using her cover as a teacher to the sons of the North Korean elite in order to gather information about living under this totalitarian regime, Kim renders a portrayal which is almost visceral in its' intensity. There are the repressive day to day procedures-complete news blackouts, censoring of all communications, being constantly monitored 24/7. The students have no idea that the 'intranet' they are allowed to surf is only downloaded, pre-approved files, and not the World Wide Web. There is no contact with the world outside of campus unless it has been pre-approved. One such outing included a 98 mile ride on a government road-during which they saw not a single other car-coming or going. As for the students-Kim finds them age appropriately  naive and charming-yet tragically stunted in their thinking. Their speech is constantly marked with references to the Great One, and the superiority of North Korea in all things-technology, farming, sports. Kim feels herself choking from the claustrophobia of this lifestyle after only a short while. But she can leave. This book will stay with you long after the last page.”

Steph?   Yup she’s already anticipating even better days ahead.  I’ll let her explain. “Something about this weather had me in the mood for a beach read, so I tried China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan. This sequel to last year’s Crazy Rich Asians is exactly what you want in a fluffy, smart vacation book. If you read the first book, you’ll be delighted to hear that this one follows Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young after their wedding, as she discovers who her father is and gets to see another side of Asia. But if you didn’t read the first book, you will love this just the same. Lots of family scheming, social feuds, elaborate clothing and jewelry, houses and hotels and clubs you couldn’t imagine in your wildest dreams, and strata of Asian society you didn’t even know existed. Because these characters aren’t just rich—they’re China-rich. I definitely don’t have what it takes to succeed in Hong Kong or Singapore high society, so it was delightful to experience a version of it vicariously!”


I have to tell you all about an amazing debut novel that I spent last week savoring like the best meal you’ve ever eaten.  Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal introduces us to Eva Thorvald who ends up becoming one of the all-time most influential chefs of her generation.  Each chapter tells about a dish and the character attached to it that made Eva the famous amongst the food intelligentsia.  I like to think of it as what Art of Fielding did for baseball, this book will do for the food traditions of the Midwest such as lutefisk and Bake-Offs.  It comes out at the end of July and it has already earned a spot on my Top Ten List for 2015.


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named which is rich with Wolverines.  That’s all I am going to say about that.  What’s good Pats? “Holy Cow by David Duchovny has been amusing me nightly. Sure I’ve read the reviews that pan this book as a hot mess and maybe it is but it has been making me laugh out loud on a regular basis and that’s never a bad thing. It’s a coming of age story of Elsie Bovary, a cow living the life on a milking farm in upstate New York. Elsie leaves her paddock one night with a friend with the intention of visiting the bulls. She wanders off and ends up viewing snippets of a television program at the Farmer’s house about industrial meat farming. This sets her on a journey to the holy land for cows, India. I’m still reading it and have been enjoying this delightfully bizarre tale.”


DL ANIMAL JAMZ 2015

Meet Us On main Street

Sally and Blanche, brought a spectrum of selections for all ages including a beautiful children's picture book, The Great Migration, by Jacob Lawrence that may be of interest to adults, as well.  Why? MOMA has created an exhibit of the actual paintings of the 1950's northern migration from the south.  The MOMA/Darien Library Corporate Pass - a partnership the library has with the museum, gets you into the museum for free. Ask us about it! :)

Blanche also highlighted two other books for children, Sheila Turnage's Three Times Lucky about eleven year olds turned detectives in order to save a wrongly implicated man of a local murder and Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake, a story about the influences of a community's internal racism as a girl, visiting from afar, imagines someone among them is a vampire.  Blanche also introduced Christian Fiction to the group who had never heard of this genre before.  The Love Letters, by Beverly Lewis and Chasing Sunsets (of the Angels Walking Series), by Karen Kingsbury provide, as Blanche said, all the "devils" of regular fiction (infidelity, power martyrs, denial, drugs, etc.) just that these books give a more "clean read" for those that care about that. 

Sally highlighted Love and Other Ways of Dying, a collection of already published essays from Michael Paterniti who visited the library just last week.   Considered an author's author, this awaited collection is a must read.  Dave Eggers, author of The Circle and other books, stated "Paterniti is one of the best living practitioners of the art of literary journalism, able to fully elucidate and humanize the everyday and the epic."  Sounds great.   Also on Sally's side of the table was a "two-fer" about singer/songwriter Carol King in her memoir, A Natural Woman and Girls Like Us,by Sheila Weller featuring the lives of Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carol King during the 1960's and 1970's.  The Truth According to Us, by Annie Barrows, who wrote the very popular The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is a story about a Southern social debutant sent, via the 1940's Federal Writer's Project, to a small West Virginian mill town to write it's history. Sally enjoyed this book especially because one of the characters reminds her of the infamous Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird.   Other books presented, Between You and Me, by Mary Norris, the queen of grammar at The New Yorker, revisits, with fun hilarity, the comma and its proper usage and The World Is Waiting For You, by Tara Grove, is a collection of commencement speeches from activists, writers and visionairies.   

The last three titles on the list, The Witness Wore Red, Before I Go To Sleep - DVD (the book is fabulous too) and Deep Down Dark, are highly recommended suggestions from the group members themselves.

Most important!  Zinio For Libraries is the new and much better app for downloading magazines through libraries.  There are even a few new wonderful titles (The New Yorker and Wired to name a few).  Check it out today on the Library website.

The list, it is a big one, begins below:

New DVD Releases

New opportunities for your viewing pleasure.

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 the Hoopla? 电影!

How about some Chinese Cinema this week?  And remember you don't have to wait!  Immediate gratification can be yours!

Not sure what this means?  Click here!

What are my neighbors up to?

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

You Are What You Read!

It’s just all too much sometimes isn’t it?  The unrelenting bleak, the cold chill, a steel grey sky without a whisper of blue?  It’s beginning to feel like winter is never going to loosen its grip that the rain and cold will never end.  Will a warm sunny day remain a phantom limb for us?  Something dimly remembered from a previous lifetime?  Well, this week’s message fromThe SoNo Loft is “Hang in there Baby.”  I say we all need to heed this one.  Sure it feels like the rain and cold are never going to end, that a warm sunny day is an itch never to be satisfied, but look around People!  The pansies are out at Nielson’s and the Gardener's Center, and in my neck of the woods I have spotted daffodils and they are blooming.  Granted, these daffodils were planted near a dryer vent so they had a lot of help. But maybe, just maybe, there is a nugget of truth about April showers and all that.  Stay strong!  I have heard from The Weather People who supposedly know these things that Sunday we will finally see a temperature that begins with the number 6.  This is normal for this time of year and as it should be.  I say that if this turns out to be a lie, everyone should just turn on the TV on Sunday afternoon and watch The Masters. We can look at green grass and blooming azaleas and remind ourselves that our turn is coming.  This week we have the Dump, the Shroud of Turin and some crack.  Of course we have The Playlist!  It’s a little soggy but it won’t melt.

Let us begin!

Laura is back from her vacation with Hades by Cynthia Fox. “This is an ultimate page turner.  This Aussie's debut novel is a gripping and chilling read. Readers know who the killer is, but not who will be the next victim.  The hunt to find the killer is narrated by Detective Frank Bennett, who is partnered with the lovely and mysterious Eden Archer.  She, and her brother Eric, are the adopted daughter and son of Hades, who is the patriarch/owner of a strange underworld located at the city dump.  All three have a secretive back story that is riveting, page by page.  I read this during a vacation and didn't want to put it down.”  

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has just finished The Fifth Gospel, Ian Caldwell. What are you thinking VA? ”Ten years in the making, The Fifth Gospel, by Ian Caldwell is first and foremost an intellectual literary suspense novel that explores theology, scriptural interpretations and the political machinations that happen inside the Vatican walls.  At the root of the plot, is a newly discovered Gospel text that has the potential to prove the Shroud of Turin, the controversial religious icon, is indeed a true relic holding the image of Jesus after he was crucified.  A week before an exhibit is to open announcing the discovery, the lead curator is found murdered and two brothers are drawn into the investigation. One as the lead suspect, and the other is fighting to discover the truth before his brother is stripped of being a Priest.  This book is a fascinating read about the history of religion, but ultimately the book is about humanity, relationships, and how one priest struggles with maintaining the delicate balance of family and faith.”

Steph Is a mess.  I’ll let her explain. “I’ve been wrecked by a book again—Delicious Foods by James Hannaham. It’s a compulsively readable and intense novel. Darlene is a young widow and mother whose depression after her husband’s death leads her to crack addiction. When a nice woman in a minibus downtown offers her a good job if she gets in, sure, she can call her son when she gets there, and hey, want to smoke with us on the way? It seems too good to be true, and it is. Immediately, Darlene finds that she’s contracted to perform hard labor on a farm and is being billed for the old mattress and terrible food they provide. The farm is so distant that no one is even sure which state it’s in and workers are kept pliant with alcohol and crack. (Think this is too crazy to be true? Here’s just one story about such an occurrence and it has happened multiple times.) The story unfolds with alternating chapters from Eddie, Darlene’s son, as he looks for her, and then finds and stays with her on the farm, and Scotty, who is the voice of the crack cocaine she can’t quit. Both voices are, as you’d imagine, heartbreaking.” and the story is brutal. But Hannaham’s writing is fantastic and unflinching even as the story gets darker and darker. If you’re mentally prepared for it, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in da house with the doings from The State Which Shall Not Be Named.  What’s good Pats? “Falling asleep to the sound of the rain is one of my favorite things. I have always loved the smell and sound of the rain. Now it turns out there’s a name for that wonderful smell, petrichor.  http://www.iflscience.com/environment/smell-rain-how-csiro-invented-new-.... We’ve had plenty of it this week.  Ok, it’s rained ALL week and while this is a verdant, fecund time for emerging plants and flowers waking from winter, it’s been a bit of a drag for my kiddos during their Spring Break Staycation. Ever resourceful and without direction the kids have built a tent city in their room, rode bikes in the rain and spent hours Minecrafting together. There is now an entire wall covered in freshly drawn anime characters.Me? I have been itching to get out, plant something and dig my hands into the dirt but maybe it just isn’t time, yet. There are times when we need to wait, watch the rain, reflect and, like the plants, absorb things. So for now I’m just going to hang in there, watch my kids create things and smell the rain. I can always garden next week.

DL GARDEN ON! 2015
 

Meet Us On Main Street

Amy and Elisabeth presented to the Meet Us On Main Street group and, because of their selections, they have made my day today so much easier!  Why?  Because tomorrow I meet with my book group and, to prepare, I would be plying the bookshelves and book reviews to create a list of books to suggest.  No need, thanks to Amy and Elisabeth, because every book they presented today, will be a hit with my group. For the most part Amy brought the thought-provoking, current-event, non-fiction titles while Elisabeth, being Elisabeth, brought the light and teasingly fun selections.  For tomorrow's meeting, my list is done. For your next book group, is yours?  

(I have included all of the formats in the library's collection, i.e. book, audiobook, and DVD, of the books on the list.  FYI, many are in digital format too, so if you are an e-book user, please refer to the library's e-book selections.) 

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!

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