Greetings and welcome to the Catch-Up Edition of You Are What You Read. It has been two weeks since we last checked in with each other and here is what has been going down. Tuesday gave us the Full Strawberry Moon so called because this is when we are supposed to be gathering strawberries. If you are in Europe it is known as the Full Rose Moon because the strawberry is not a native plant there. So gather your roses or your strawberries whilst you may. I am happy to report that we received our first Taffy gift of the summer from Diane H this week. Diane! Many thanks from us and our dentists! The message from The SoNo Loft this week is Stop Saying Sorry. As I always heed the advice of The Loft, I will not apologize for not being here last week. Book Expo America was its usual blend of exhausting and exhilarating all at once. There is a lot of Book Goodness coming your way this year, so get excited. We will be talking about what we are excited about in the upcoming weeks. But the really big news is that today is National Doughnut Day! During World War I, the women volunteers of the Salvation Army handed out doughnuts to soldiers serving in Europe to help keep spirits high. The tradition of the Dough Lassies or Dollies (seriously, that’s what they were called!) was revived again during World War II by the Red Cross. Originally begun as a fund raiser in 1938 it has become a good excuse to enjoy what my friend Priscilla S calls ‘pastry cooked in hot roiling fat.’ So it’s not too late! There is still time to score a little something. Maybe a beignet since it’s so late in the day. Because isn’t a beignet just a fancy way of saying cruller? This week we have Amy, Quebec, exercises in writing, and an exercise in living well.
Of course there is The Playlist. One cannot live well without a soundtrack, can one?
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann is in her car listening to Yes Please by Amy Poehler. “I like Amy Poehler and consider myself to be a fan of hers although I have never seen the television program, Parks and Rec which is mentioned quite a bit in this audio book. I mainly know her from Saturday Night Live and her award show hosting with Tina Fey. Her audio book had me laughing out loud on I-95 which generally does not happen on my morning commute. She tells stories from her personal and professional life that range from laugh out loud to poignant. She has guest readers including Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers and her parents who made me smile. Her childhood stories were great and I could envision her as a child with her sly smile and scheming eyes. There were times when I finished driving that I wrote down a quote or two of hers because she made a lot of sense in that special Amy way.”
Abby is reading another installment in one of her favorite mystery series The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny due out in August 2015. “While her previous book was a transitional piece with her main characters experiencing major changes in their lives, The Nature of the Beast has them back in stride and getting closer to discovering their own paths. Beloved Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec has retired to the healing village of Three Pines and not unexpectedly, a mystery finds him. When his team descends on Three Pines to help solve the murder of a young boy, all the pieces work together like a well-oiled machine. But can he handle being involved with the case without assuming his old role as Chief? Is living in peace with his wife enough for the man who served so well for so long? This book has a more international tone than previous books in the series. I enjoyed it very much, and the fact that Armand's wife Reine-Marie gets to put her mad librarian skills to work is a nice bonus.”
Laura wants to fend off the tendency of Summer Slacking. “With summer on the horizon, some try their hand at writing; memoir, fiction, biography, poetry, whatever is the fancy. And to aid in this endeavor I have four suggestions to help with this sometimes (often times) daunting desire. Two books that I suggest to my writing students at the Library are actually memoirs about writing; On Writing -- A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Both books contain, of course, their methods/philosophies on character development, plot and pacing. But the best thing about these two titles is the determined spirit and wisdom both authors reveal about their creative processes. These are not heavy or scholarly instead they are perfect beach reads for those who have ever thought they would like to try their hand at writing. Now, for those who have begun their quest to write the next great blockbuster, I suggest On Writing Well by William Zinsser and, the bible, Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White because, undoubtedly, you will have questions about past participles, verb retention and genre. They are so revered and necessary that writers, editors, journalists mostly likely have one or both on their shelves. Enjoy the summer, and enjoy your stories whether you are reading them or writing them. And then, perhaps, in the fall, join the Writer’s Workshop that meets at the library where your work is reviewed by fellow writers in a friendly, supportive environment."
Frequent visitors to this spot know I have certain obsessions. When something captures my interest I cannot get enough of it. Falling into the obsessions category are The Mitford Sisters, Dorothy Parker, Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra, Anne Perry’s shady past (chicks with bricks!), and Sarah and Gerald Murphy. When I heard that Liza Klaussmann who wrote Tigers in Red Weather which was a big favorite of mine a few years ago had taken them on in her new novel, Villa America, I was very excited to get an Advanced Reader Copy and I dove right in. Sarah and Gerald were a golden magical couple who left America for France in the 1920’s. Their home in the South of France was a destination for Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, and Diaghilev. They lived a charm life until it all came crashing down in the most tragic of ways. I think that Klaussmann did a great job with drawing us into a world that exists no more. This one comes out in August. If you want to get a jump on it and start the slow perc of your own Sara and Gerald obsession check out Living Well is the Best Revenge or Sara & Gerald Murphy: Villa America and After.
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 fall my daughter will begin her first year of high school. She will be in a special humanities program called Flex. Her summer reading assignment is Plato’s Apology. This book will serve as a springboard for their year-long focus question: Where is knowledge taking humanity? After she received the assignment she turned to me and said, “If you were born back then you would have been Socrates or Plato.” I replied, ‘Wow! That’s a huge compliment. What makes you think that?’She said, ‘You’re really good at corrupting youth.’ I am really looking forward to rereading this classic and having a year-long discussion with this particular youth. Never regret saying sorry.”