This week has felt like nothing so much as one step forward and two steps back. It began with so much promise too! I enjoyed my first run down to the water since December on Monday evening. There was a gently setting sun, a new pair of kicks, a softening of the ground, a whisper of warmth in the briny air and the promise of better days. This all circled the drain the very next day when the temperatures plummeted and on Wednesday snow bedeviled my morning walk to the train. My poor sister-in-law shared a picture of her garden on St. Patrick’s Day encased in at least 6 inches of ice and snow. She was wondering how she was going to get her peas planted. The answer is, sorry Cathy, you’re not. There are no fresh peas on the Tundra. Add to this misery, my third cold of the season (seriously? I am practically bullet proof! I never get sick, truly) and I am finding it hard to find any hope or promise of better things to come at this point. But then I noticed something as I was walking to work. I noticed a bona fide, true miracle. The witch hazel bush that lives on the corner of Thorndal Circle and the Post Road in the Nielsen’s parking lot was, wait for it, BLOOMING! There was a living thing. OUTSIDE. WITH FLOWERS ON IT! So if you, like me, are at the point where you feel in your heart there is no hope to be found, and your soul is weary and grey like the snow left on the side of the road, get yourself over to Nielsen’s and check out the Witch Hazel. It just may make you feel better or it just may make you finally book that one-way flight to points South. Your choice. This week we have an accident, civil rights, a library, Walter Reed, France, NYC, a frozen pond, and a dicey trip on a luxury liner. We may be cold but there will always be The Playlist.
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann is here this week. And I for one want to know when we are going to see an Egg Tree. Ann? Ann? Anyway, here is what she thinks of The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer. “This is an engrossing, well written novel about a young man named Matthew who is a schizophrenic. Matthew narrates the story as a young man reflecting on his childhood and the death of his older brother Simon. When Matthew was nine years old there was an accident and his twelve-year-old brother, Simon, who had Down syndrome died. Matthew has blamed himself for years for Simon's death. Matthew shares his reflections, his relationship with his parents and his mental anguish. The author changed the typeface of the book at times to reflect Matthew's mental state which really helped to convey his emotions. I found this book to be fast paced and engrossing. I highly recommend it.”
Barbara M is out of her comfort zone with this week’s read. ”I’ve just finished reading March: Book Two the second non-fiction graphic novel by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. It is the story of incredibly courageous people enduring horrible consequences while fighting for their basic rights, the rights most of us take for granted. This is the history of the Civil Rights movement in this country as I’ve never heard it told before, written by a man who was an integral part of it. Congressman John Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was one of the six people who spoke at the 1963 March on Washington. He is the only one still alive. The book is powerful and moving and should be required reading for any High School student studying American History. “
Pat T, as usual, can be found listening. “I took a patron's suggestion to read this short, imaginative tale by the author who also wrote Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. I listened to the audio of The Strange Library, by Haruki Murakami. I must say I found the young boy to be very endearing when he would say, ‘My mother taught me.... to return books on time; if you knock on a door you have to wait there until someone answers it and when you want to know something look it up in the library.’ His mother's instructions get him into trouble when he is directed to Room 107 in search of books about how taxes were collected during the Ottoman Empire. There he encounters a very strange man who imprisons him in the basement of the library. Things then proceed to get dark and curiouser and curiouser, similar to Alice in Wonderland when she went down the rabbit hole.”
Diane just finished Blue Stars written by Emily Gray Tedrowe. “This novel recounts the lives of Ellen, a Midwestern college professor whose guardian has enlisted in the Marines, and Lacey, a Bronx native married to a career Army man always struggling to make ends meet. The novel brings these two women and their families together at Walter Reed Medical Center. The daily stress, frustration and bureaucracy involved with the care and decisions being made for their injured family members are mixed with the long term realities. Adding to this stress, are the deplorable conditions many families face during temporary housing while on the Walter Reed Campus .I really enjoyed this very emotional story.”
Babs B can’t stop talking about how much she loves The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. “It is 1939 France and the quiet village of Carriveau is on the brink of changing forever. The once peaceful and bucolic town has turned into a horrific show of airplanes, war tanks, bombs and Nazis. Vianne Mauriac, the young wife of a recently drafted soldier, is obligated to house a Nazi. Her rebellious sister Isabelle, chooses the dangerous path of joining the French Resistance. This was a great historical fiction novel and I thought the author did a wonderful job explaining this complex story and taking the time to make the reader understand the complex characters and their journey throughout the book. I even gave up one of my favorite TV shows because I loved this book so much!”
The Always Delightful Pat S never wastes her time on silliness so let’s see what she thinks of The Whites by Richard Price. “As you know, Crime and Detective/Mystery are not really genres I read often but I made an exception in this case because the buzz has been so hot. Situated in New York City, we are introduced to Billy Graves, who holds a position as a detective in the graveyard shift which is essentially a placeholder until he reaches retirement. But once he was part of a young and aggressive group of crime fighters known as the Wild Geese who all graduated from the Police Academy together. As we are introduced to the other four ‘Geese” we see that time and experience have beaten them down. Each has had a traumatic encounter with some heinous thug which has left them deeply disillusioned, made all the more so by the fact that these thugs were never brought to justice. Until now as one by one, the various perpetrators are being found dead throughout the city and it falls to Billy to investigate. The mystery is not the most compelling feature here, it is the writing. Rarely has the grittiness of New York’s boroughs been so keenly described. Price does a brilliant job of painting the barren emotional landscape after twenty years on the job for these policemen. Overwhelmingly, the reader is left with a sense of hopelessness because good doesn’t always trump evil. Not for the faint of heart!”
Sue is reading a fiction and a non-fiction book this week and she is enjoying them both. “My fiction choice is The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy. Salome Montgomery truly fears winter, unlike those of us who are just sick and tired of it. She’s not a fan of the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all she is afraid of the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn't forgotten their warning to ’stay away.’ I am really enjoying reading this book and I highly recommend it to those who also share a love of all things otherworldly! My non-fiction choice is Dead Wake; The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. On May 1, 1915, a richly appointed luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious and rightly so with the knowledge that Germany had changed the rules of war to include attacking passenger ships. Erik Larson's writing makes me feel like I am on the decks of the ship where you can feel the intensity and uncertainty of war around you. Dead Wake is a page turner and a must read!”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named with our final thoughts of the week and of course, The Playlist. What’s good Pats? “I know we’ve all had it with winter. We said goodbye to Phil last week. We are more than ready for spring. But there’s been a new development. I’ve been told by my conspiracy loving friend that there’s a final email circulating from the rodents. Phil’s still down under, soaking up the last of the summer rays, chilling in the surf, practicing the putt and consuming beverages topped with umbrellas. He’s angered his band of rogue rodents who’ve been left behind due to new airline restrictions. They’ve said they’re planning an early April Fool’s Day joke. Phil is flying back Friday and they’ve decided that his arrival should include some flurries, maybe more than a few, a last winter blast that will sting. Apparently rodents hold a grudge and have a long memory. Wishing us all springtime weather soon.”
DL ENOUGH ALREADY BRING SPRING!! 2015