You Are What You Read!

Hello!  Welcome to the Full Buck Moon edition of You Are What You Read.  This full moon, which occurs this Wednesday, is thusly named because this is when Bucks grow their antlers. It is also called the Thunder Moon because this is when a lot of thunderstorms happen to occur.  It’s promising to be a rainy, thundering weekend so it’s not so far off.  I know nothing about antler sprouting. If anyone gets the 411 on that, please report back.

The SoNo Loft has a cheery message this week which is ‘Manamana, do do do do do’.  If you don’t understand the message here is a clip for you.  Guaranteed you’ll be humming this all weekend. A very special thanks to The Loft (aka Think Around Corners) for the bit of whimsy and charm that they bring to my commute.  Thanks Guys!  You’ll never know how much we all appreciate it.

Earlier this week The Always Dapper James brought a film short to my attention and now I have something new to obsess over; the secret life of those figurines that were all over your Nana’s house. You know the ones of which I speak.  Those little weird Hummel boys and girls (which always looked ‘off’ to me), the LLardo stretchy people that always looked  like El Greco via a second rate Hallmark Card Artist, the animal ones (cats, dogs, birds) or as one of my grandmothers had, weird china shoes in all shapes and sizes with flowers on them. These dust collectors lived on side tables or the occasional decorative shelving that seemed to oddly be made for just this very sort of thing.  Anyway, they apparently have a secret life which will be revealed if you watch this short. I am equal parts fascinated and horrified.  Although nothing can ever mesmerize/repel like a doll with teeth, the stars of this little film comes pretty close.  I almost want to go and seek out a cowgirl of my very own. The very valuable take away from this tiny masterpiece?  Never mess with a Cowgirl.  She’ll.  Mess. You. Up.

This week we have some sardonic wit (not necessarily mine), British humour, what’s next, and a big fat family saga.   This week’s Playlist is Cowgirl approved. 

Let us begin!

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has two offerings this week.  “Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend are two of the most addicting and hysterical novels I have read in a long time. Think The Devil Wears Prada but based in Singapore with more money and interfering relatives. I am not sure what I loved more: the description of the outrageous lifestyle (who would have thought having a Netjet card would be considered slumming it?), or the mouthwatering description of the food (seriously cannot stop thinking about authentic Chinese food), of course, and the sardonic wit (which made me cackle out loud) given to several of the characters was outstanding.  Regardless, it is a frivolous good time and I couldn’t put either of the books down. 

Barbara M is reaching out to an original. “If you’ve finished watching the latest season of House of Cards brilliantly starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and are wondering what to watch next allow me to suggest that you watch the original British series. It is less violent and more sinister than the American version with an underlying twist of British humor. Wonderful!”

Pat T is all about what comes next. “I picked up, What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas because the title appealed to me. The memoir is a compilation of journal entries about significant events over the course of the author's life ranging from her lifelong friendship with a colleague in publishing; the tragic accident of her husband; her daughter's cancer diagnosis and recovery, as well as many family gatherings with her four adult children and twelve grandchildren and her cherished dogs. Ms. Thomas's memoir is a very honest rendering of the ups and downs of her everyday life and most important of all; the love of family and friends.”

I am in the middle of The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres.  I have to tell you that this is one of those books that has me clamoring to get back to it.  This big fat sweeping saga is about 3 families who are neighbors in the English countryside. The British McCosh family, The half- French Pitt family and the American Pendennis family.   Beginning with the coronation of King Edward and the idyllic Edwardian period going through the horrors of World War I and beyond this is a wonderful look at ordinary lives in extraordinary times.  The chapters that chronicled Ash Pendennis’s experience in the trenches of France were some of the roughest I have ever read but they still had a wonderful sort of beauty about them.  You will have to wait until August to pick this one up.

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named with some final musings and of course The Playlist.  What’s good Pats? “ This week my father-in-law hopped a flight to Music City to induct one of his grads into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. His former student now a Milwaukee country music DJ and morning show host, Karen Dalessandro was honored this week in Nashville. Did I mention that my husband went with him to Nashville? Did I mention that I might be a teeny bit envious? Well, since I couldn’t be there to share in the celebration of a woman DJ being inducted, I thought I’d spin a little Country Music right here. Who knows, maybe Karen has a few of these songs on her own playlist. “


Meet Us On Main Street

Ann and Pat presented to the Meet Us On Main Street Group today.

Ann's common denominator was family life and the titles she presented expanded that premise with additions of single parenthood with an autistic child in Language Arts, the selfless, close family bonds during illness in Inside the O'Brien's, Hollywood and remarriage a la Candace Bergen in A Fine Romance, a girl sent from home during the war to the safe Welsh countryside, runs away to return to a deserted home occupied by the enemy in The Dynamite Room,  and how one woman copes with relocating to a new town, one affair after another in Hausfrau.  

Pat happened to be traveling recently and had loaded her device with the titles she chose for today.  Her theme was Top Picks that included a memoir, delightful journal essays -- including the silly antics of the authors dogs in What Comes Next and How To Like It, a DVD of academy award winning performance of  Julianna Moore  in Still Alice, DeMille's highly anticipated John Corey thriller in Radiant Angel, fun audiobook, to listen while you drive or cook dinner, by comedian Amy Poehler in Yes Please, a beach read in Summer Secrets, elderly companionship in Our Souls at Night.  And then perfect for summer, Endless Summer Cookbook, and Underwater Babies.

The list begins below:


Meet Us On Main Street

James and Stephanie presented today to the Meet Us On Main Street reading group.  

James is a linguist and we got a quick course in how to speak correctly with his assortment of titles: Garner's Modern American Usage and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, and The Professor and the Madman, which is based on a true story of the development of the very first Oxford English Dictionary.  As well, June is Pride Month and James celebrated with an assortment of titles: Two Boys Kissing which is a story, set during pre-gay rights times, of two highschool students who lock lips to smash Guiness's longest kiss record: and two Netflix movies, Lilting, a touching account of a bereaving Cambodian-Chinese mother who lost her son who she did not know was gay and then meets her son's lover; and Pride about an unsual pairing of Welsh miners and gay activitists that share a common bond.

Stephanie had summer on her mind and recommended something thrilling, something mindful, something historical and also something sultry : geo-chaching clues tattooed on victims in Five, coming of age story of a boy suspected of a crime he did not commit in My Sunshine Away, a feel good story, during the Great Depression, about a bawdy broad of the Bowery in Saint Mazie, and considered a predessesor to Fifty Shades of Grey is Slammerkin.

Sally left a collection of non-fiction titles for Stephanie to share with the group:  One the Move; Atoms Under the Floorboards; The Disappearing Spoon; On The Burning Edge; and The New York Times Book of Medicine.

The list begins below:

Meet Us On Main Street

Sally and Susie presented to the Meet Us On Main Street reading group today.

Susie brought DVD's since she is in charge of our movie collection.  Her choices were: Spare Parts (which is also a book by the same name) is about an economically-challenged high school tech team building an underwater robot for a science competition vs. college-level teams; Lucy is a fast paced sci-fi thriller about the accidental creation of a super brain; St. Vincent is about an older, misunderstood grump played by Bill Murray that is in need of cash and babysits for his next door neighbor  which in turn throws light onto the amazing man her truely is; Wild is a fabulous adaption to Cheryl Strayed's book of the same name, where she sets off to trek the Pacific Crest Trail in response to her mothers death, the separation from her husband and her redemption from the dark slide of drug use.  Heart Shaped Box, a thriller about a box that is loaded with spirits that is for sale (and which one unlucky soul did buy) is the only book she brought to the meeting.  It is one of Joe Hill's (Stephen Kings' son) earlier works and she thinks it is his best.

Sally sat beside a tall pile of books that varied from mid-life crisis funny where a mid0life crisis makes a man challenge himself by riding a 100 year old bicycle in Europe's most grueling sport events in history in Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1941 Tour de Italy to distopian -- Armada as gamer protagonist meets space army that look, and shoot, just like the spaceships in his video game.  (She gave a small shout out to Ready Player One, by same author, considered one of the great distopian reads ever).  As a change up she selected two books on creativity and ingenuity -- The Perfection of the Paper Clip concerning the invention and development of the post-it note, staples, and all essentials that one would find on a desk or office, and Who Built That? about the "tinkerpreneurs" who created bottle caps, bridge cables, toilet paper, many things that today we take for granted.  For summer fun, she suggests the anthropological tell-all that is flying off the shelves -- Primates of Park Avenue which, through scientific observation, the author decodes the primate social behaviors of Upper East Side mothers.  And for the road, by the pool, on the beach take our Zinio e-magazine collection along.  Simply download and voila! -- you have the latest issues of many sought after magazines for free.  Sally brought her Ipad to the MUOMS presentation to show the group Vanity Fair's latest issue that features Caitlyn Jenner on the cover.

The group members recommend the following titles:  War! What Is It Good For?, The Rosie Effect, The Big Year, Red Tails In Love, and Five.

The list begins below:

Meet Us On Main Street

Today Marianne and Pat presented at Meet Us On Main Street.

As the coordinators of the Library's Book Group Book Collections Marianne and Pat have wonderful insight on what are great discussion reads.  With summer coming they suggested four thrillers Luckiest Girl Alive, The Whites, Cold Cold Heart, and The Gril on the Train as great page turners.  For those interested in a bit of history, whether fictional or actual, they highlighted The Wright Brothers, Almost Famous Women, Circling the Sun and the DVD Wolf Hall, based on the popular book of the same name by author Hillary Mandel.  If your wanting something of reality the duo offered three choices; one for the outdoor adventurer, A Walk in the Woods, a second about being embedded in miltary units in war, It's What I Do, and thirdly a woman's view of life behind bars, Orange is the New Black, including a cookbook of prison food, Bites Booze, Secrets and Stories from the Big House.  And for those who want just a good story, rich in great character development and plot, Marianne and Pat couldn't rave more highly for A God in Ruins, Our Souls at Night, and Kitchens of the Great Midwest

The list begins below:

Meet Us On Main Street

Jo and Thomas presented today and the overall theme was:  journeys.

Jo treated the group to many distant lands:      a madcapped discovery of the British Isles on foot, bus and by British Rail (Notes from a Small Island); a desire to see the ocean, an octogenarian travels east, from from Saskatchewan, followed by her husband and a long ago love (Etta and Otto and Russell and James); a gilted bookseller escapes down the River Siene to avoid a new love kindled by one from his past (The Little Paris Bookshop); a detective mystery set in operatic Vienna (Falling in Love); a set of essays of the same author who wrote Falling In Love who lives, as an ex-pat, in Venice (My Venice ), a London murder that sends a sister to her past, reliving her own sister's murder long ago (Elizabeth is Missing), during the depression, set in New York City's The Bowery, the funny, spirited youngest sister of three opens the family theater to the bums, prostitutes and hungry families of the neighborhood because she cares (Saint Mazie).

Thomas presented more edgie, psychological page turners, that journey into the heart and soul of the protagonists:     a darkly comical account of one brother's coveting of another brother's success fracturing, then putting together, a family (May We Be Forgiven); a divorcee who is rejecting the waspy style of Fairfield County, CT, finds love with his wife's friend and reconciles his past with his present (The Land Of Steady Habits); a funny tale of a transgender punkster who is jolted by her girlfriend and is set on a course of further insight (Nevada); a journey into the hardcore youth culture of New York City, 1980's, having been raised by hippies from the 60's (Ten Thousand Saints); a graphic novel delving into the lives of retired super heros who are plagued by all too human failings and stalked by an unknown assassin (Watchmen); another graphic novel, winner of the Eisner Award, journeys to a time when a plague wipes out all but one man on earth (Y The Last Man); and an intense view of a 17 year-olds terrible, horrible set of circumstances, placed upon him, not of his own design, and how he finds love, forgiveness and compassion (Norman -- DVD format).

The group members enjoyed reading and suggest: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, My Sunshine Away, Devil in the White City, Flashpoints, and any book by Michael Connelly.

The book list begins below:


Meet Us On Main Street

John and Kim presented to the Meet Us On Main Street group today.  

The overwhelming theme today was endurance in living; the World Wars (The Nightingale), the Chechnyan conflict (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena) , family loss (Wild, Tinkers, and Leaving Time ), rejection (Begin Again), deliverance (The Buried Giant), a need for understanding (The Storm Whale, and The Bone Clocks) .  Yet, the protagonists survive heroically, spiritually, meditatively, yearningly, with honor, duty and loyalty to their country, to themselves and most of all, to their families and those they love.  They affectively transform their lives and those around them.  And some light humorous fantasy thrown in -- imagine 4 different Londons (A Darker Shade of Magic).

The last four titles (God Bless The Child, The Funny Girl, Tiney Beautiful Things and The Wonder Garden) on the list are reads the group has read and highly recommend.

The list begins below:

Meet Us On Main Street

Amanda and Erica hosted the Meet Us On Main Street meeting today.  

Amanda started us off with books on how to create blogs or websites: Blog Inc., by Joy Deangdeelert Cho, Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton and Create your own Website using Wordpress by Alannah Moore.  All are step-by-step guides.  Amanda also likes to write stories; she participates each year in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so today she showcased Book In A Month by Victoria Schmidt, for all the want-to-be writers out there. Her fantasy selections this week are The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, Grim Tuesday, by Garth Nix and Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman.  For the historians in the family, capture your generational history with the help of Kid's Family Tree Book by Caroline Leavitt, 21st Century Family Historians by Devon Lee and Family History Search by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack.

Erica enjoyed reading So That Happened by TV's "Two and a Half Men" star Jon Cryer -- his memoir about his profession and the people he works with, including wild stories about he and his co-star Charlie Sheen.  "A fun shooting-the-breeze kind of memoir," says Erica. Also a Bill Murray fan, Erica highly recommends the movie St. Vincent on DVD, with Murray, Naomi Watts and a surprisingly serious Melissa McCarthy. Heartwarming, funny, serious and kind -- it is a story for the whole family.  Watch My Baby Grow by Shaoni Bhattacharya and Radhika Holmstrom is a great book for new moms, it gives a week by week guide of a baby's development their first year.  And for the Millenial rockers, Kurt Cobain: The Last Sessions is a photo montage of the musicians last interview before he died. 

Members of MUOMS suggest the audiobook of Still Fooling 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys by Billy Crystal is funny, funny, funny.  Average is Over by Tyler Cowen, a sober account of the future of computers and how they will infiltrate our world. 

The list begins below:



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Meet Us On Main Street

Stephanie and Jen graced us with a selection of titles, that, let's just call this list of books "The Dazzlers."  

Jen brought four non-fiction stories, and one fiction, of what she calls her obsessions -- books she can't not suggest for people to read - no matter how long ago they were published.  Cold Comfort Farm, (2006) by Stella Gibbons, Jen's fiction choice, is a hilarious account, set between the World Wars, about an orphaned British debutante sent to a distant relative's farm; Sara & Gerald: Villa America and After, (1982) by Honoria Murphy Donnelly, a touching memoir about her childhood with her amazing renegade parents, Sara and Gerald Murphy, who left America in the 1930's to live an unabbashed life in France, befriending the greatest literary, art and musical artists of the time; Zelda: A Biography, (2011) by Nancy Milford, a more truthful, less sensational, account of the amazing talent and true tradegy of Zelda Fitzgerald, her marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald and her mental illness; couple that with West of Sunset, (2015) by Stewart O'Nan, that captures, with perfect light, Hollywood in the 1930's and Fitzgerald's frustration and failures of producing a sceenplay for cinema; and Straight on Till Morning, The Biography of Beryl Markham, (1987) by Mary S. Lovell, an engrossing account of the not-to-be stopped aviatrix, race horse trainer and author who, as a child, was abandoned by her mother in Africa and raised by her eccentric dad. As an adult she married three times, and had many lovers; friends' husbands and a royal prince.  She is the first person to fly the Atlantic solo from east to west.  Spellbinding.  

Stephanie chose books that, after reading them, have stayed with her; thier messages impact her daily.  Her two top favorites are Ghettoside, A True Story of Murder in America, by Jill Leovy,, an intimate account of police officers trying to do good in solving a crime in the city of LA where most murders are forgotten, even ignored, and never solved; A Little Life: A Novel, by Hanya Yanangihara about four men who meet in college and the aftermath of life as they are challenged emotionally by their pasts, their ambitions and what it is like to be a man in America.  Stephanie warns this is a unsettling read but she couldn't put it down.  For the Library's Business Book Group book Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo, by Nicholas Carlson, is the inside story of how Yahoo got into such awful shape in the first place, Mayer's controversial rise at Google, and her desperate fight to save an Internet icon.  And it wouldn't be Stephanie if she didn't broaden the group's genre horizon with the action comic Ms. Marvel, 1, No Normal of a muslim teen age girl from Pakistan, living in NJ, who is suddenly impacted with extraordinary powers that she uses for good.  A new action hero that is a young woman.   

Jen and Stephanie both rave about Kate Atkinson's latest book A God in Ruins, where Teddy, from Atkinson's Life and Life, returns from battle and faces a future he never imagined as the world transitions from wartime to peace.  Jen has ordered more copies because it is flying off the shelves.  

And a friendly, heads-up from the fabulous duo are two fantastic reads, Kitchens of the Great Mid West by J. Ryan Stradal and City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg.  Both are coming out this fall. 

The list begins below:

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