First of all, a thank you to the Ever Gracious Priscilla S who gifted us with a box of taffy from her beloved Island. Thanks Priscilla! We are happy you’re home and that’s not just the sugar talking. As always, the SoNo Loft has given me something to make me pause and think hard on during my commute. For those new to this space, the SoNo Loft is a piece of charm and whimsy that gladdens my rather charm-free, whimsy-less commute every week. It is a banner hung from a deck in SoNo with a new message every week. This message is only visible from a train bound for New York and only on the left side of the train with you facing the front of the train. This week’s banner declares “Simplicity, Patience, Compassion.” Which, when you think about it, is just about the most perfect message for the start of fall, back to school, back to life, time of year. These are things that are very easy to forget when you are rushing around from place to place trying to keep your head above water and several balls in the air. Just remember the following; that sometimes the best answer to a problem is the simplest one, that patience can be hard to practice but will always be rewarded in its own quiet way, and the compassion we show towards each other can make a hard world seem a little easier. And don’t forget! You are not alone in finding getting back into the swing of things daunting. We are all circling the same drain. So Simplicity, Patience, Compassion! Onward People and thanks SoNo Loft! We love you guys even if you never answer our tweets. This week we have some Q and A, secrets, sisters, Indochina, a fever and a key. Playlist? Of course! We can’t have you all running around without a soundtrack! That would be cruel.
Let us begin!
Miss Lisa of the CL is back with this offering: “I want to recommend The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. Written by a thirteen-year-old Japanese boy with autism, the book is a series of questions with answers such as ‘Why do you ask the same questions over and over?’ and ‘Why do you like being in the water?’ Higashida has a huge heart and on every page asks for compassion and understanding for people with autism, while revealing the world he lives in with detail, clarity, and charm. If you want to learn more about autism, this is a gem. Hearing the voice and thoughts of someone with autism, instead of what others have to say about it, is extremely valuable. “
Barbara M stuck with Thrity Umrigar’s latest The Story Hour. “This novel is about love, friendship and secrets. After attempting suicide, Lakshimi, an immigrant from India, becomes the patient of Maggie, an American psychologist. What begins as a professional relationship turns into an uneasy friendship where the two share stories and secrets. There are unexpected twists to the story as it unfolds and one’s original alliances and sympathies are challenged. At first I was put off by Lakshmi’s broken English, and while I got used to it and understood why it was important, I still found it jarring. Although I found the story a bit implausible, I could not stop reading it.”
The Fabulous Babs B is watching and reading this week. What did she think of Lucky Us by Amy Bloom and the film classic Indochine? “In Lucky Us we have the story of two half-sisters, (one legitimate, the other illegitimate) of a professor in a small Ohio town, in the late 1930's. The younger daughter, Eva, was dumped by her Mother into the home of the Father and older sister, Iris. When the two sisters take off to Hollywood where Iris plans to become a movie star, this book becomes a study of contrasts about how the sisters behave at different stages and situations in life. It was a fun and quick read! I also watched Indochine where the beautiful Catherine Deneuve stars as Eliane Devries, the icy owner of a prosperous rubber plantation in French Indochina. When her adopted Indochinese daughter innocently falls in love with Elaine's secret lover, the scandalous triangle threatens to destroy their entire family. Set against the violence of the bloody Communist uprising, this is a wrenching tale of love and war with absolutely breathtaking scenery. Thank you to my son for making me watch this with him!”
The Ever Delightful Pat S is reading What is Visible by Kimberly Elkins which is easily one of my favorites of the year. What did she think? “This is a fascinating story about a woman named Laura Bridgman who had scarlet fever at the age of two. She was left without four of her five senses: sight, hearing, taste, and smell. Her only remaining sense was touch. Taken to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston she learned language via hand signing and was able to communicate. By the mid-nineteenth century she was the second most famous woman in the world-second only to Queen Victoria. What is Visible is the fictionalized story of her inner life; her perceptions of the people and circumstances she encounters. While her story highlights her fierce intelligence, it also underlines her palpable sense being alone, and ultimately loneliness. This is a story which haunts long after the last page has turned. “
I can be found driving some days, which you know makes me most unhappy, but there are times it can’t be helped. It is especially heinous now that summer is over and the roads are not really roads but parking lots where one inches toward your destination. To make this a bit less painful, I have been listening to the audio book of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Nine-year-old Oskar Schell lost his father on 9/11 and has been feeling his absence keenly. When he discovers a key among his possessions he takes it as a sign that his father wants him to find the lock that it belongs to. Running parallel with Oskar’s story is the story of his grandparents who hail from Dresden. The narration of the story is nothing short of wonderful. So while I am late to the party on this book, I am very happy to say I did eventually make it and would recommend this story to anyone not only looking to be entertained, but also looking for a marvelous literary tour-de-force.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named with The Playlist and these closing thoughts. What’s doing Pats? “There are times when the Loft’s message and my own experience are in perfect sync. This week I went to my first PTA parent coffee for class sign-ups and to hear the elementary principal say a few words, setting the tone for the school year. For his theme, he focused on parents as primary teachers and models for their children. Despite a microphone, I could not hear the principal over the chattering parents. I was appalled and frankly embarrassed by my fellow parents’ behavior. I crossed the room so I could better hear him. He seemed unfazed by their chatter and joked about how it was challenging to compete with parents who hadn’t seen each other all summer. He ended with a video by Kid President on the 20 Things We Should Say More Often. Let’s take on this challenge and put into practice the 20 Things and don’t forget the bonus… Let’s dance!”