You Are What You Read!

Greetings!  Hope the Thanksgiving was all you hoped for and the leftovers bountiful. A happy Hate Week to us all.  This weekend, the kinfolk and I celebrate the diversion that is That State Up North v. Ohio State.  Also known as the holiday that rivals the Yuletide, if the Yuletide was fueled by a whole lotta dislike.  The clan has been celebrating this for just about as long as there has been a clan or at least since 1897.  The TC and I will be traveling to New Jersey on Saturday before noon to watch with The Brother and his people.  There will be a protein in the Green Egg and a keg of beer at the ready.  This is not an event that we take lightly.   At Ohio State, the student body has dedicated their week to eradicating a certain letter everywhere it appears on the property and I too have taken up that challenge.  So there will not be a certain letter in this weekly dispatch.  You can read about the student body efforts here. This is the 110th get -together and even though the squad of The State Up North is sad, sad, sad this year, a win by OSU is not a foregone conclusion.  You can’t predict the results when passions run high on both sides.  A favorite story about this rivalry involves a young boy who is the son of two OSU grads.   When Grant Reed was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11 he decided to label his cancer after That State Up North so that when he was cured he could state with a certitude that he had indeed Beat That State Up North.  Happily he has done just that. You can read about that here.   So Happy Weekend People!  Let’s go Buckeyes! This week we have Big Coal, China, privilege, and elephants.

Playlist?  Yup.  No worries. 

Let us begin!


The Always Delightful Pat S has just finished Gray *ountain by John Grisha*.  How was it Pat?  “After a long hiatus as a reader of Grisha*, last year’s highly entertaining Syca*ore Row brought about a return to the fold. So I picked up Gray *ountain and so far, have not been disappointed. Sa*antha Kofer, high powered associate in a big New York City law fir*, beco*es a casualty of the financial collapse of 2008. Her career plans co*e to a screeching halt as she is furloughed, and told to find a volunteer position in a legal aid situation of so*e kind, and just possibly, after a year’s ti*e, she could  be reconsidered for fullti*e e*ploy*ent again. This brings her to *ountain Legal Aid in the s*all town of Brady, Virginia, deep in the heart of Appalachia. Here she is faced with a veritable cornucopia of injustices perpetrated against the poor and underprivileged, particularly in an area of the country that is essentially run by Big Coal. Naturally, there is a very attractive lawyer who takes on the big co*panies-only to be found dead in questionable circu*stances. Ulti*ately, Gray *ountain is an indict*ent of the coal industry in A*erica today. However, if by *ixing in a little *urder, a little ro*ance *akes the topic of coal *
ining so co*pelling then I tip *y hat to *r. Grisha*.”


Steph!  What’s doing?  “This weekend I read The Three-Body Proble* by Cixin Liu, the first book in a land*ark Chinese science fiction trilogy, which has just been translated into English. I’ve been anticipating the book for *onths, and I’* happy to report that it *ore than lived up to *y expectations! In *any ways, The Three-Body Proble* has a classic sci-fi plot: hu*ans *ake contact with aliens, disagree about what to do next, and start turning on each other even as the aliens are en route for first contact. There’s lots of high-level science and technology discussion, not to *ention an otherworldly video ga*e. But Liu layers this story with one that’s all too real: the events of the Cultural Revolution in the late 60s, when Chinese youth took over the country in a violent political *ove*ent. The co*bination of hard sci-fi and living history is powerful and brings the science of the book to life in an unexpected way. Translator Ken Liu has done a *arvelous job of creating a work that reflects the original book while keeping it accessible to Western readers (for exa*ple, he uses footnotes very unobtrusively to help readers keep pace with references to Chinese history). Sci-fi lovers probably already have this on their TBR list, and video ga*e fans *ay also, but fans of apocalyptic fiction would do well to check this one out as well.  It *ay  not what you’re used to, but that can be  a good thing.”


Babs B loves herself a celebrity bio.  Here is what she thought about There Was A Little Girl: The Real Story of *y *other and *e  by Brooke Shields. “I have to be honest, I was not in a rush to read this book but a* so glad I did!  This was a very frank account of growing up in a privileged but painfully   dysfunctional fa*ily.  Brooke's parents divorced when she was less than a year old and Teri Fields raised Brooke by herself.  Teri, who loved Brooke al*ost too *uch, was unfortunately an alcoholic and Brooke goes through life trying to ‘fix’ her *other.  How Brooke ended up being as nor*al as she did is a *ystery to *e.  She was a loving daughter trying to deal with her *other's illness while at the sa*e ti*e beco*e her own person.  This is a beautifully and honestly written tribute to a co*plex, talented and ulti*ately tragic person.  Kudos to Brooke Shields for writing this book...she is *uch *ore than a pretty face!”


The Tall Cool Texan Virginia who is not a football girl (how does a girl fro* Texas get away with that?) is here with a new favorite in Begin Again.  “I a* not a huge *ovie person, but on a whi* last week, I grabbed Begin Again starring *ark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley.  I a* so glad I did because this *ight be *y new favorite *ovie.  It is absolutely char*ing and it re*inded *e that fil**aking and acting are actual crafts.  A chance encounter between a broken-hearted songwriter and a burned out *usic producer turns into a pro*ising collaboration. This isn’t a ro*ance, it’s about two people rediscovering the*selves through each other’s eyes.   All of the actors are tre*endous and have real che*istry with each other.  As a bonus Ada* Levine fro* *aroon Five is in it and is surprisingly good (granted you have to get past his *ega beard).  Altogether, it is a poignant, hopeful, and funny fil*. It isn’t often I consider buying a *ovie but this one *akes the cut.”


Pat T is still listening.  “Ann wrote about Leaving Ti*e by Jodi Piccoult last week, so I thought I would give you *y take on the audiobook. This novel has ele*ents of fiction, detective *ystery, non-fiction and fantasy.  The best thing about this book is the extensive research the author did on Asian and African elephants and elephant sanctuaries. The narrator of the character, Alice *etcalf, the research scientist, was engaging, but the other narrations didn't depict the essence of the characters they were portraying. Also, the ending was a bit contrived, but I would still reco**end reading/listening to this book because of what you learn about elephants. Next on *y list to listen to is The Elephant Whisperer: *y life with the Herd in the African Wild by Lawrence Anthony.

DJ Jazzy Patty *cC is here in the house. But not The Big House. Your turn to host is next year.  What’s doin’ Pats? “The closest I ca*e to being a football fan was *y crush on Wayne Gretzky. Oh, wait that’s hockey.  *y sports indoctrination was born out of teenage years spent in a ho*e that religiously watched Hockey Night in Canada like the Pope attends *ass on Sunday. I don’t understand football but I a* a good student. So this week I’ve got so*e questions that I’* hoping Jen can help *e out with:  What’s up with the stickers on the hel*ets? Are they five years old? Do they get a gold star every ti*e they score a touchdown? Why does the guy put his hands dangerously close to another guy’s butt and what is he shouting while he is doing it? What’s with all the Bob Fosse *oves after the touchdown? Can we please add jazz hands if they’re going in that direction? I will say that I do, however heartily approve of the tight pants. Ga*e on and *ay the best tea* win! GO BLUE!”

DL THE GAME 2014

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!

New eBooks from 3M

Here are the new titles available from 3M.

Meet Us On Main Street

The  Meet Us On Main Street Group met with Mallory and Daniel today.  It was Daniel's first co-hosting and he was in good company with Mallory, a veteran presenter.  Daniel kept it neat:  a legal thriller that some say rivals any of Grisham's court room dramas; and one of 2014's most heart-felt stories of the year -- worth the read during the holiday break.  Mallory spiced it up: a quadruple award-winning YA story on audiobook; another YA book set in the wilds of Florida; a book of advice on how to persevere in business in a graphic novel format by the co-founders of the newly popular Honest Tea brand beverage; and lastly, a holiday story, of sorts, about a spouse who decides not to visit the in-laws for Christmas and what she learns from the fallout of such a decision.  Mallory also dazzled the group to  Serial Podcast, a thriller mystery she just can't get enough of.

What's This Week's Hoopla All About?

Here are some holiday movies for the whole family to get you in the spirit!

What are my neighbors up to?

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

New DVD Releases

Here is what you can find new to the shelves in the upcoming days.

Punc(tuation) Rocks!

Shady Characters
Shady Characters

If the history of punctuation seems like a dry subject, try reading Shady Characters. It turns out that familiar symbols like the ampersand, asterisk, dash, and quotations marks have fascinating backstories. Why aren’t we using interrobangs or manicules more often? Did you know that the ampersand was once considered a letter of the alphabet? And how in the world did the octothorpe (otherwise known as a pound sign, flash, pig-pen, tic-tac-toe, or hashtag) get that name?

Author Keith Houston’s first book goes back to the libraries of Alexandria, through ancient graffiti and Bibles, right up to modern-day intrigue and Madison Avenue. He parses the differences between hyphens, dashes, and minus signs, and we learn that there have been several largely-unsuccessful attempts to introduce a symbol to indicate irony. For readers who enjoyed Eats, Shoots & Leaves a few years ago, Shady Characters is a fascinating read. Exclamation point!

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the mise-en-place edition of You Are What You Read! This time next week Thanksgiving will be a mere fond memory and a whole lot of foil in the fridge.  I know that I am spending part of this weekend organizing myself in the kitchen for the Big Day. My Sons, The Traveling Companion and I are taking to the highway and cruising up state with our assigned dishes to what has become a tradition with us that we call Cousin Thanksgiving.  It is the one time of year I see my three cousins and their families.  Sadly, this year we will be missing 2 of our Merry Band.  My cousin Matt and his family have been sent across the country to a new naval base in the Pacific Northwest, and my other cousin Diana will be visiting her husband’s family in Mexico which leaves one cousin to have the Cousin Thanksgiving with.   As some of you may remember, The Traveling Companion was nervous about the deep fried turkey last year.  Well, this year he has a whole new set of nerves to work; because the one cousin standing, who happens to be the Hostess, is a practicing vegan.  Liz is going to be making a Traditional Feast for us all (a round of applause for what a good sport she is!) and she will be having some sort of Traditional Tofu something for herself.  Last year I was so worried about her not being able to eat the majority of the feast that I made 2 different Brussels Sprout recipes:  one vegan friendly and one not. I am sharing these with you because the un-vegan one was so good that Liz declared that she was Breaking Vegan for it.  They both begin the same way.  Take Brussels sprouts that you have trimmed and quartered and toss them in plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast them in a 425 oven until they are, well, roasted.  You know what you are looking for. Now while that is going down, you can ponder the choice of 2 sauces to toss them in.  The first is the vegan friendly one which is Dijon mustard to which you have added a touch of maple syrup to.  The second concoction is a sauce made of harissa, lime zest, lime juice, and honey.  Toss the roasted sprouts in this and then to gild the lily, take some beautiful pomegranate seeds and strewn them over the top.  A Sprout so good you are willing to cast aside your Dietary Beliefs! Have a lovely Thanksgiving! This week we have Scotland, elephants, and some culture. 

Playlist?   Of course!  We can’t have you doing all that prep and handling knives without some music.  Pffff. That’s not cool.
Let us begin!


Abby, actually, liked being in her car last week.  “My commute was much improved last week thanks to being joined by Mr. Alan Cumming, Scotsman, actor, and audiobook reader.  I listened to his emotionally charged memoir Not My Father’s Son. The opening chapter is a study in torment; as children, Alan and his older brother were subjected to their father’s physical and mental abuse. His home life was so dark, it wasn’t until he was a grown man that he could truly appreciate the beautiful forest area in which he grew up.  The story is set with his participation in the British TV show Who Do You Think You Are, where genealogists and historians research a celebrity’s family history and share the details on screen with the audience. When he was invited to participate, Alan’s personal quest was to learn more about his maternal grandfather Tommy Darling, a man he never met and around whom there was great mystery. But as the research began to unfold, Alan was faced with a number of personal crises including making peace, with his abusive father, and gaining strength from an ancestor he never knew. The title of the book takes on increasing significance as the story goes on. Cumming is a great actor, but after listening to his story, I believe he is an even better man.”


Sweet Ann has just finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. “I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Jenna, a thirteen year old, searching for her mother who disappeared when she was three years old.  There was a tragic accident/murder at the elephant sanctuary which Jenna's parents owned and operated.  At the time of the incident, Jenna's mother disappeared.  Jenna is able to get a psychic and retired police detective to help her in her search.  Leaving Time also contains information on the habits of elephants that was wonderful to read about and will make you think twice about them. This book is told in alternating chapters so the reader will learn the histories and points of view of the characters. While there is some ‘magical thinking’ in this novel but it is well worth the journey with Jenna.”


Barbara M for those who watch this space loves herself some other cultures.  Here is what her latest read on them is all about. “I’ve read many books about cultural differences but what makes The Culture Map by Erin Meyer different is that it puts various qualities on continuums so you can see what one culture expects in relation to another culture.  For example, on a communications scale, the United States is considered ‘low-context’ meaning communications are generally straight forward without many nuances. Japan is on the other end of the scale and has a ‘high-context’ communications style where things are not said but implied. Although the UK tends toward ‘low-context’, misunderstandings may occur because the British use more irony and sarcasm which may not always be understood by Americans. In this ever shrinking world of intercultural exchanges, I think this book is a worthy read.” 


And finally we have DJ Jazzy Patty McC from The State Up North (8 days until The Game. Let’s go Buckeyes!).  What’s good Pats?  “ This year is a Midwestern Thanksgiving. I haven’t celebrated this holiday here in a couple decades and I am grateful to be spending it with my family. The feast will be much like our clan gatherings in Boston in years past. The Midwestern cousins are hosting and we are all contributing.They asked me what I would like to bring and after hearing the planned menu it struck me that there was a serious shortage of vegetables. Sure there would be mashed potatoes and a green bean casserole but little else in the way of our root-bearing friends. I told them that I would bring roasted Brussels sprouts. They shared a look. I knew that look. It was the same look my kids give each other when I put a new food in front of them to try. It was the look of “No way are we going to eat that.” Then the cousins outright said, “No way are we going to eat that.” I hesitated. Then I added that I could also bring roasted baby carrots. They jumped on that and told me to just bring the carrots. I stood my ground. I said I’d bring both and then blurted out that I’d also bring some roasted butternut squash. Again that shared look and their reply, “That’s a lot of vegetables.” I smiled. They have no idea that this is just the beginning of their vegetable education. This week I invite you to try something new and in the process educate yourself and those around you. Now go eat your vegetables.”

DL VEGETABLE LEARNING 2014
 

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