In recent days, we've learned of the loss of the legendary Walter Cronkite. Today, we awake to the news that Frank McCourt passed away yesterday. His memoirs - his prose - his poetry -- also legendary.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes, he was a beloved writer, teacher, and presence in any room (or arena). I loved his writing and his wit. Also, I will never forget seeing him perform with The Rock Bottom Remainders (a literary rock band also featuring Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, and others), so I was comforted to read Dave Barry's wonderful tribute to McCourt.
Will you be one of the millions of Americans taking to the road this weekend? If so, listen to a classic and the drive time will fly by. I know, for some just the word classic can make the eyelids droop, but these books are guaranteed to engage and enthrall the entire family. All are driven by strong plot lines and memorable characters-- the perfect antidote to holiday traffic!
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt, read by Terry Bregy
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, read by Jim Dale (you may already know him as the voice of the Harry Potter audiobooks!)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by Alfred Molina
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, read by Jim Dale
Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, read by Jack Nicholson and Danny Glover
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, read by Sissy Spacek
One day last week I was looking for a good book to read. While browsing the Library's 7-day books, I began chatting with Pat and Jen, two members of the Darien Library's terrific Readers' Advisory team. Both women enthusiastically recommended Chis Cleave's new novel, Little Bee. Mr. Cleave's award-winning first novel, Incendiary, published in 2005, had somehow missed my radar, so I was not familiar with him or his books. I'm happy to say that my colleagues' recommendation was right on the mark. The plot revolves around the hot button issue of immigration and deftly exposes the many sides to this issue. The narration alternates between Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee recently released from a detention center outside of London, and Sarah, a career woman, wife and mother living in the suburbs. Through Little Bee, we come to know Sarah, Andrew, and Charlie, the British family whose lives intersect fatefully with that of Little Bee. I found the story engrossing and the characters richly drawn. If you enjoy thought-provoking, realistic fiction, Little Bee may be a good choice for you or your book club. But, if you're looking for something else entirely, have a chat with our Readers' Advisory team. They'll be sure to find something you'll enjoy!
Recently, the New York Times had an article about grown-up books with funny titles. Oh yeah?!! Children's books has loads of 'em. Here's some silly sounding books I've read. What about you?
|The Invisible Rules of the Zoe Lama||The Day My Butt Went Psycho
||Notes from a Liar and Her Dog||I Smell Like Ham
||The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco|
|Brainboy and the Deathmaster
||Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf
||The Great Whale of Kansas|
|Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet||Your Mother Was a Neanderthal
||Magic Pickle books
||Charlie Muffin's Miracle Mouse
In honor of National Poetry Month, the Academy of American Poets has created a Flickr group and accompanying contest online. Free Verse: Poetry in the Wild invites us to "write lines from a favorite poem on a sandy beach, assemble twigs on a hillside, or chalk the sidewalk. Take a photo before it disappears and post it in the Free Verse group page on Flickr, or on the Academy's Fan Page on Facebook, or email your photo to email@example.com. Include the source of your lines in the photo caption."
If you're looking for inspiration to join the project, look no further than our Grand Opening Author Series. Christina Pugh, award winning poet, will be speaking on April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Conference Room.
We also welcome the return of the Poet's Voice. On April 19 at 3 p.m. Janet Krauss, a widely-published poet and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee will read from her work.
Picture from Flickr user Academy of American Poets
Did you know that the magazines at the new Darien Library have been rearranged? Instead of the traditional A to Z lineup, the magazines are now grouped by subject, making it much easier to browse your favorites. The subject headings are the same ones we use for the non-fiction book collection: Arts & Literature, Body & Soul, Home, Life & Times, Nature, Places, Play and Work. Are you interested in sailing? Just look in the "Play" area and you will find Cruising World, Practical Sailor, Sail, Sailing and Yachting, all in the same place. For the music aficionado, "Arts & Literature" is the place to be. There you will find Acoustic Guitar, Audiofile, Downbeat and Rolling Stone, just to name a few. Can you guess what the largest section might be? If you guessed "Home", well done! This group includes nearly sixty magazines devoted to cooking, gardening, fashion, crafts, and home design. You get the gist, now come in and see for yourself.
The next time you come to the library, come see us on the second level and spend some time with the magazines. Did I mention that back issues can be checked out? Take as many as you like and enjoy them at your leisure.
If you have a favorite and we don't subscribe, just let us know. We are your library, and we want to have the magazines you want to read!
The Tale of Despereaux adaptation
The Tale of Despereaux graphic novel
And of course, we can't forget the original book, the Newbery Award winner The Tale of Despereaux
The Sleepover Squad series
Mozart the Wonder Child by Diane Stanley
The wind is howling and it feels like minus 2 outside, so what do I think about? Food. More specifically, comfort food. We were chatting this morning about what we make when we want to feel warm inside, and everybody had something special on the menu. Jen is a fan of Beef Goulash with Dumplings from Simply Recipes. She made a point to note that yes, you do need the fresh herbs and no, you can make do with really good sweet Hungarian Paprika and, as a sub, a pinch of cayenne for the hot. And yes, you do need the cake flour. It makes for a lighter dumpling.
Claire is a fan of the Barefoot Contessa and loves her turkey meatloaf. She jazzes it up by adding a ton of veggies to the mixture: colorful peppers, red onions, and fresh garlic. The final touch is a splash of wine, for moisture of course!
Kate, one of our resident vegetarians, has a cute backstory for her choice. "A friend made a Russian vegetable pie (from memory!) for me many years ago. I was desperate to repeat it, but she didn't have a recipe. I found this recipe online, tried it out for a holiday dinner one year and was pleased with how closely it matched my memory. I usually dislike cabbage (I don't even really like cole slaw!) but this pie is fantastic. I suspect cream cheese and tarragon could make sponges palatable, though."
Debbie got right down to basics. Her best bet for a cold winter night is the Cheeseburger Pie recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. Now that's what I call comfort food. And who knew, the recipe is so popular they scaled it down so you can make it for two!
Finally, on cold winter nights Pat has two reliable favorites: chicken noodle soup and chicken pot pie. Her recipes? Just hop in the car and go to Good Food Good Things. It doesn't get any easier than that!
If you are looking for inspiration in the kitchen, stop by the Library. Several of us are "foodies" and would like nothing better than to talk cookbooks with you. We have over 1,600 in our collection and it continues to grow. Until then, stay warm and bon appetit!
Add one 15 year old flapper, her opportunistic mother, a rabid tabloid press and an African Honking Gander. What does this get you?