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Meet Us On Main Street

Claire and Jeanne presented to the Meet Us On Main Street group today and brought, to begin with, DVD's. If you enjoy cooking, entertaining and talking about food, Jeanne highlighted two movies that revolve around anything and everything culinary: Chef and The Hundred Foot Journey.  The stories, in different ways, delve into family identity and the pursuit of a better life -- one in a food truck speeding across country and the other across the road from a Michelin starred French gastronomical institution.  Both are heart warming and fun.  Claire, on a more serious tone, presented the documentary Life Itself, a memoir about movie critic Roger Ebert.  At first, she said, she wasn't inspired to watch about his beginnings in journalism and his battle with cancer.  But now, having watched it, she readily puts it into the hands of whomever is searching for an inspirational, well told and honest story.  

Jeanne who likes audiobooks suggested The Girl On the Train, which use three actors to tell the story -- "excellent!" she raved; and To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, resonates beautifully.  As for books, Jeanie enjoyed Anderson Cooper's  Dispatches from the Edge -- individual commentaries on how people survive disaster, be it hurricane, war, terrorism, etc.; Belzhar, by Meg Wolitzer about deep love, power and acceptance through journal writing assignments after reading Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar; also Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami about a young man's friends who shun him and the pilgrimage he must take to gain back his place among society; and finally The Arsonist by Sue Miller, sets an edge between "summer people" and "the townies" when, randomly, homes go up in flames -- a who-done-it with a how-can-we-help each other story line.

Claire suggested Gabi,  A Girl in Pieces by Isabela Quintero a daily chronicle of a Mexican/American girl's last year in high school when her pregnant friend and her gay male friend need help; West of Sunset, by Stewart O'Nan, about F. Scott Fitzgerald, his later years, in Hollywood when his screen writings were rejected and Zelda was in the hospital; Ties that Bind, by David Isay, is a collection of poignant excerpts from Story Corps' first ten years on air;  and lastly, Honey, by Sara Weeks, is a sweet humorous story about a young girl who tries to find who "honey" is that her widowed Daddy talks to on the phone.

The MUOMS group members suggest The Great Divide by Thomas Fleming -- George Washington's and Thomas Jefferson's differences and how they helped define the nation, Lawrence In Arabia by Scott Anderson, the making of the Middle East and The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillip Sendker, a love story unearthed by the daughter of a man gone missing. All interesting fantastic reads!

The list begins below: 

New eBooks from 3M

Here are the new titles available from 3M.

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?

How about some Rock 'N" Roll Inductees 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!

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.”


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.

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