What Are My Neighbors Up to?

Here is a list of our most popular items this week.

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Last True Summer Weekend Edition of You Are What You Read.  There are no housekeeping chores this week.  No Taffy/Fudge/Cheese love and The Loft remains silent due to roof work.   This coupled with a sunset that will occur tonight at 6:58 just is too tragic.

Autumn arrives on Wednesday at 4:22 a.m. so this is truly our last summer weekend for 2015.  The Ancient Greeks believed that this was when the Goddess Persephone returned to the Underworld to be with her husband Hades.  Those of you, who remember your Greek myths, remember that her story is an explanation of the seasons.  Persephone was the beautiful daughter of Zeus, the Head Dude of all the Gods and Demeter, the Harvest Goddess.   While playing in a meadow with her nymphs, she was seized by Hades, who had a wild crush on her and forced her to live as his wife in the Underworld.  Demeter, like all mothers who have their kids messed with, got beyond peeved.  And when she learned Zeus had a hand in this?  Forget it. She refused to let the earth bear fruit until her daughter was returned to her.  Zeus, like all husbands everywhere, realized when caught in a stellar screw-up that Happy Wife=Happy Life relented.  But because Persephone had eaten 6 pomegranate seeds which was  the fruit of Hades (Pomegranate!  Who can blame her?) she was forced to spend six months of the year in the Underworld (our fall and winter). Her return in the spring is marked by flowering meadows and fertile fields.  Here’s hoping that Persephone’s journey to the Underworld is a slow one and that her return is swift.

This week we have applications, tragedy, death, a villain, an Alaskan cruise and Moses.  Robert Moses that is.

We are not so cold-hearted that we would forget The Playlist.

Let us begin.

The Always Fabulous Babs B has finished reading The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore.
“This is a hilarious, compelling novel about college applications, suburban scandals and a Big Secret.  The Hawthorne family of Marin, CA seems to have it all and the eldest daughter is a senior applying early decision to Harvard, her father's alma mater.  The plot takes some entertaining twists and turns when family secrets and lies are revealed.  Readers who love books filled with dysfunctional characters should enjoy this book!”

Barbara M is passionate about a new one that is nominated for The Booker Prize. “I’ve just finished reading The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma and wow, what a powerful book. I generally don’t read first novels but this one is noteworthy. It has been a long time since a book made me cry and this one did which makes  it is so very hard to write about. It is raw. It is poetic. It is akin to a Greek tragedy in which you want to stop what is inevitable. . The story is about a family living in Akure, Nigeria. When an accidental murder occurs it sets off a series of disastrous events and what unravels is predestined and tragic. The characters are real and the writing lyrical. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year.”

Pat T can be found listening as usual. “I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio book, Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande.  Dr Gawande writes about the disconnect between doctors and the aged population. Until recently, most medical schools did not even offer courses on gerontology, and many doctors are ill-equipped to deal with aging and dying   Dr. Gawande takes a refreshing look at innovative people who are offering alternatives solutions, such as hospice/palliative care, geriatric clinics and nursing homes that embrace life.  This book is so thought provoking and will appeal to families who are caregivers to their aging parents, those that work in the health profession and baby boomers who are fast approaching this stage in their life when they will have to have the hard conversation about their quality/quantity of life.”

Miss Lisa of the CL and artist in her own right is excited about a graphic novel this week.” I finally read Nimona, the graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson. I got the nudge (the tickle had been there a while) after seeing it on the YA National Book Award Shortlist. And it was totally awesome. Words of praise on the back say “Irreverent” and “vibrant” and all those words are true. The art toes the line between elegant and playful and reflects the strength of the story. Sir Ballister Blackheart is a villain, and Nimona is his eager sidekick. She is a shapeshifter of incredible power and mysterious origin, who is also a sassy teenager with a sensitive heart. Blackheart has a bone to pick with the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics, who cast him into the role of villain after a tragic accident. So who’s the villain and who is the hero? I read it twice in a row!

The Always Delightful Pat S is here with one of my favorites of the year,   This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison.  “Told by a second person narrator with the enthusiasm of the old This is Your Life MC, Harriet Chance begins as a tale about a quirky older widow exploring life on her own on an Alaskan cruise. Boarding the ship with her luggage and a letter from her soon to be ex-best friend Mildred, the life that Harriet believed she had lived is soon to be uncovered as a big lie. Visited intermittently by Bernard, her dead husband, Harriet begins to troll through memories of Harriet the child, the young career woman, the new bride and mother-to try to find how she has wound up here. Harriet is a very likable character-an ‘every woman’  who comes to see that the course of one’s life can change by virtue of a single choice. This is an incredibly touching story.”

Steph is here with a book she is, as usual wild about.  So wild this is what she did when she was done doing all that wedding stuff.  “Jen is right, I did do something momentous with my time away--I started reading The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro. Of course this book is outstanding:   it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1975. But what’s astonishing is that forty years after publication, it is every bit as potent and relevant as the day it was published (aside from some vocabulary choices that have not aged well). The writing is vivid and the research he and his wife did is undeniably masterful. Moses, who was the most powerful man in NYC government for decades, comes to life as a driven and complicated man. Reading it while commuting is like living in the middle of a book, as you pass over bridges built by Moses and drive down roads that he begged, borrowed, and stole in order to pave. Who knew municipal bonds could be exciting? It’s a doorstop, but every page is worth it. I’m in the last 150 pages and don’t want it to end.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with The Playlist and some exciting news.  Mazel Pats!  And what’s good? “Our eighteen months of communal condo living has come to an end. This week and next we’re on the move. Literally. We played the real estate game, rolled the dice and bought a house. The time has come to pack up our things again, bust into the off-site storage unit and move our things a mile and a half down Woodward Avenue. Soon, my son will walk to school and my daughter will bike to the high school.  Me? I’ll be busy turning a house into a home and I couldn’t do that without my jams. May you have smooth moves of your own.  “


New eBooks from OverDrive

Here are the new books available from OverDrive.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America by Dick Cheney

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff 

House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure

On the Move by Oliver Sacks

Rising Strong by Brené Brown 

Sisters in Law:  How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World
by Linda Hirshman

New eBooks from 3M.

These are the new titles available from 3M.

New eBooks from 3M.

These 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?

Since you're ferrying everyone around town to sports and after school activities why not be listening to something you all can enjoy!  Here are some suggestions via NPR. And remember you don't have to wait!  Immediate gratification can be yours!

Not sure what this means?  Click here!

Endless Bummer

Love & Mercy, on DVD Sept. 15
Love & Mercy, on DVD Sept. 15

If you Google "Brian Wilson" and "tortured genius," you'll get over 300,000 hits. The man behind one of America's most beloved pop groups, the Beach Boys, is the very definition of a tormented soul, even as he wrote some of the happiest, sun-drenched songs in music history: "California Girls," "Good Vibrations," "Fun Fun Fun," "I Get Around," "Don't Worry Baby," and more.

There's a disturbing story behind the hits, though. The Beach Boys' manager also happened to be the Wilson brothers' father, and he pushed Brian to the limit and beyond. Brian's artistic vision often clashed with the other band members' ambitions, and he struggled to put the sounds in his head onto vinyl.

After the Beach Boys' heyday, Brian fell under the manipulative "therapeutic" care of a psychologist, who alienated him from his family and friends...how he managed to extract himself from the depths of mental illness and abusive co-dependency is the story told by Love & Mercy. It's a tour de force performance, with two actors portraying Brian (Paul Dano covers the early era and John Cusack plays Brian in the later years). The DVD was released today -- place a hold here to catch this excellent new bio-pic of an American legend.





What Are My Neighbors Up to?

Here is a list of our most popular items this week.

You Are What You Read!

You Are What You Read
You Are What You Read

Greetings and welcome to the Short Week Edition of You Are What You Read.  There is no housekeeping this week.  No taffy, fudge or cheese.  The Loft may have changed its message or it may not have.  I can’t tell.  I have to sit on the wrong side of the train these days because it is so packed by the time we hit Westport that all the middle seats are taken and I hate being in a full three seater.  I understand that this is ridiculous behavior but we all have our quirks and that is one of mine.  And really?  That the train is that sort of packed and they will not add more cars is what is really ridiculous here.  So listen up Metro North!  The 7:52 out of Fairfield Metro needs more cars. 

This week I have been musing on some things recently found.  We have our newest ancestor, Homo Naledi that has been found in a cave in South Africa.  The bones come from at least 15 individuals ranging from babies to children to grown-ups to some oldsters.  They appeared to be a small, thin people no more than 5 feet tall and they had an odd mix of features never seen before. What I found to be the most interesting was the challenge of bringing these bones to light.  They were found by cavers in 2013 in a place so inaccessible that the call had to put out to “skinny scientists who are not claustrophobic” because you had to descend down a crack 30 feet long that is only 7 ½ “ wide.  This is something I don’t like to think too hard about.  Interestingly enough six women are the ones who got this gig.  If you would like to learn more about this here is a rather nice article on that.

Also, I learned this week that there is more to Stonehenge than meets the eye. Apparently there are a lot of chapels, burial mounds and shrines that no one ever dreamed were there buried in the area surrounding the site.  It seems that they were found because of a faulty sprinkler system.  When brown patches began to appear on the landscape, the maintenance crew discovered that they created a circle around the remaining stones. This caused researchers to survey the area surrounding where the buried structures came to light.  You can read about that here

Isn’t it kind of cool to think that we are still learning about these things? 

This week we have a ghost, a spunky teen, NYPD, a famous newscaster, and a belligerent drunk.

We’d be buggy not to have The Playlist!

Let us begin!

John B just finished A Sudden Light by Garth Stein. “I read it because I loved and related to Stein’s  Art of Racing in the Rain. This is a very different type of novel, an unapologetic ghost/haunted house story. The ghosts take on more of a character role rather than a plot device, however, and the story delves into family trauma and reconciliation. While this book doesn't have the raw edge and driven passion of Racing, it does show how Stein's writing is becoming more refined and his storytelling more crafted. I'll continue to read his novels.”

Amy of the Double One Triple Two Zip Code is here and is unabashed in her love of what she herself calls ‘cheesy Young Adult Lit.  Here’s what she’s fired up about on that front. “I’m a fan of the overly-emotional, sometimes weepy, always sensational genre of Realistic YA Fiction with a side of something unusual, such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. When a copy of debut author Nicola Yoon’s book Everything Everything graced my desk earlier this summer, I pounced at the chance to read. It tells the story of spunky teen Madeline who has a compromised immune system and a rare disorder in which she is basically allergic to everything, so she lives at home in a sterile environment , behind an airlock that keeps the outside world at bay. Cue a new family moving in next door complete with a teenaged boy with the name of Olly, who falls in love with Madeline by gazing at her through his bedroom window, and then through pithy emails and late-night Instant Messages (a nod to modern day online dating? Well done, author Yoon!). Will they be able to overcome the literal door keeping them apart? A twist ending does not disappoint. Those of you that have a secret soft spot for YA romances will find joy in this sensational debut.”

Abby has another crime series she wants to make us aware of. “The Alexandra Cooper Series from Linda Fairstein is usually a safe bet as solid crime fiction but with a light touch. In the Devil’s Bridge, Fairstein felt the need to shake things up a little so she plays around with the narrative voice. When Assistant DA Alex Cooper disappears, Fairstein starts exploring things from other points of view. While the detectives and other members of the NYPD are searching for clues as to Alex’s whereabouts, the characters are allowed to share their thoughts about some of Alex’s less charming character traits and with Alex’s life on the line, everything must be explored.  I’m not sure Fairstein’s narrative experiment was successful, but she does push her characters out of their comfort zones and provide the reader with a little more insight,  warts and all.

Sweet Ann can be found bombing around listening this week to A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw. “Although not read by Mr. Brokaw his words came so alive as I listened, I felt as though it was him and I was hearing a friend. This memoir deals with Tom's multiple myeloma diagnosis and his treatment course, as well as the strength of his family life and moments of history that he reported on such as the Berlin Wall coming down, 9/11 and the 70th anniversary of Normandy.  As a celebrity, as he readily points out he was able to be treated by the best doctors and had the money to travel for treatment.  But this did not spare him from problems in his treatment. Two well-known physicians thought his back pain was due to exercise, not the beginnings of cancer, and another doctor scheduled further surgery that could have ruined his mobility. Tom is not bitter and relates  it to us because all need  to be an advocate for our care or the care of a loved one.  I loved the part of this memoir when he spoke of the love of his life, his wife Meredith, his daughters and grandchildren I have always thought Tom Brokaw was just a nice man from the Midwest and this memoir confirms that image. It is a great audio book.” 

The Always Entertaining Mallory is here with something she has been begging me to read. I’ll let her beg you all now. “Set in the affluent, beachside Connecticut town of Little Neck Cove (cough,Greenwich,cough), The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak, follows middle-aged Cheryl and her college-aged stepson Teddy. Despite living in an active, privileged community, both Cheryl and Teddy find themselves dealing with extreme loneliness and isolation. Teddy, recently kicked out of college, is bored and battling with substance abuse. Cheryl struggles with an absent husband and the need to feel wanted and desired.  Both characters are as infuriating as they are sympathetic, and the novel has a bit of a Kate Chopin The Awakening feel to it as you watch both characters destroy themselves. As believable as Cheryl and Teddy are, The Invaders’ real highlight is in its anti-hero: a drunk, crass old man who rides around on his dilapidated bike and shouts profanities at neighbors, a tertiary character you’ll love to root for.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Up North with some final musings on something you most definitely don’t want to find and would quite happily lose.  What’s good Pats? “This week marked curriculum nights held in schools across the country. Yes, it’s that time when teachers get to meet their students’ parents and run through classroom routines, share curriculum and testing schedules. My fourth grade son will have FIVE mandated testing periods this year and while that news makes me itch and twitch, there’s something else that has parents bugging out. If you read or watch the news you might have heard about the new Super Lice. These mutant bugs are not in fact new, but have been getting around since the late 90’s. Blame it on selfies, blame it on our obsession with being squeaky clean, blame it on whatever helps you sleep at night, but please don’t blame it on kids or teachers or school nurses who have to deal with this nuisance every year. It’s lice folks. No one is going to die. It’s time consuming to deal with but it’s just a bug. Having dealt with this a few times, I have some advice. First, take three deep breaths. Next, check your kid’s hair daily then talk to your kids about NOT sharing hats and hoodies. Finally, just relax. I promise you, it’s possible to get through a case of lice and besides it makes for some great jokes after a little distance from the experience. Need a book to read to the kiddos about it? We’ve got you covered. There’s even a playlist to scratch along to. There’s always a playlist.”


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