New eBooks from OverDrive

Here are the new titles from Overdrive:

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

The Big Short:  Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

Brooklyn  by Colm Toibin

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

How to Make Your Money Last:  The Indispensable Retirement Guide by Jane Bryant Quinn

The Lake House by Kate Morton

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 Are My Neighbors Up To?

Here is a list of our most popular items this week.  Remember that a lot of these items can be found on our new display space behind the Welcome Desk.  Check out the Wonder Wall for 14-Day instant gratification!

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Yuletide Edition of You Are What You Read.  This issue is momentous in that it is the last edition for Fall 2015, and the most decidedly last for 2015 period.  Fall ends officially on the 22nd and we are closed on the 24th, 25th and the 1st.  With all these short weeks, we are on hiatus until January 8th when I will be back in your In-Box as usual Friday at 5.  This week’s housekeeping is as follows.  There were no Offerings that I could see anyway.  While Animals are keeping the Running Amok on the down low, Nature is completely confused about what season this is.  Please note the flowering cherry trees along the drive between us and Michael Joseph’s are actually, well, flowering.  In December. Feel free to discuss.

The Hellidaze are here People!  Ready or not, a week from now we will be knee deep in spent wrapping paper and pine needles.  For my father’s family the week before was dedicated to the making of the Eggnog!  This Eggnog was the one thing we could all agree on.  It was delicious and it was deadly.  You had to make it a week before and please, for the love of God, do not, repeat, DO NOT place the punch bowl near an open flame. The reason for this will be evident once the recipe is read.  We made it a week ahead and it lived on the back porch for a week where it would mellow into something glorious, silken, rich and lovely.  This year is probably not going to be cold enough for that but I bet that you all have a refrigerator that will do just as well as a screened in porch in December.  Please believe me when I tell you that you will never go back to store bought again and it will make even that weird uncle of yours seem charming. The recipe was from the original Fanny Farmer and it goes like this. 

You will need the following:

12 eggs yolks
12 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 quart heavy cream, beaten with nice soft peaks
1 quart milk
1 quart bourbon whiskey
1 cup rum

Beat your egg yolks with the 1 cup sugar and salt until very light.  A stand mixer is your friend here or if you have a man in your world, who wants to show off his guns, get him off the couch, away from the television and put him to use here.  Beat your whites until soft peaks form and then add in the ½ cup of sugar. Combine your whites and yolks very gently. Beat in the whipped cream, then the milk.  Stir in the bourbon.  Add the rum, stir that in well too.  Pour into a storage vessel and wait a week.  When it has been a week, bust out that punch bowl and cup set your Nana left you that you don’t know what to do with for the other 364 days of the year and don’t forget the freshly grated nutmeg for the top. The pre-grated stuff WILL NOT DO. 

While you sip this, feel free to ponder that one gift that leaves you speechless and wondering if your family knows anything about you at all (there’s always one).   If you need even more escape, please accept our gift of an additional 5 downloads from Hoopla from now til the end of January for a grand total of 10 downloads!  It’s our gift to you.  Happy Hellidaze People!  Now go forth and Fa-La-La!  See you next year.

This week we have The Resistance, Kennedys, and some sisters.

The Playlist?  Of course we haveThe Playlist! We are full of Fa-La-La and eggnog dammit.

Let us begin!

The Always Delightful Pat S is enjoying some history with The Cost of Courage by Charles Kaiser.  “The Cost of Courage sheds light on the important role played by the French resistance during Nazi occupation of France in WWII. Based on an upper-middle class Parisian family, the Boulloches, Kaiser tells the story of a fairly unremarkable family whose lives were forever changed by the fall of France in 1940.  Three of their four children would ultimately join the Resistance, where with little or no training,  they stuck with their determination to subvert the Nazis at every turn. Even with unimaginable good luck, one of them would ultimately be shot and imprisoned in the camps. But what was it? Was it love of hearth and home, patriotism, or altruism that made these three (among thousands of others) choose such a dangerous path? This book is part history, memoir, thriller, and very engaging! For anyone who loved Nightingale, this is a must!”

The Fabulous Babs B has been reading Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson and here’s what she thinks.  “Rose Kennedy's diaries and correspondence, school and doctors' letters,  and exclusive family interviews bring Rosemary alive as a girl.  While adored, she was left far behind by her competitive siblings.  The author reveals not only the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave Rosemary but also the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the family to keep her away from home as she became increasingly difficult to control in her early twenties.  Joe's decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at twenty three, and the disastrous outcome fuel the family's complicity in keeping her disability a secret.  Rosemary's story comes alive against the broader and often shocking background of 20th century attitudes toward the intellectually disabled.  This story really disturbed me and stayed with me a long time.”

Abby has just finished Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. “I’ve read almost everything by Karin Slaughter. I’ve enjoyed her Will Trent and Sara Linton crime series set in Atlanta. So I was a bit surprised when I couldn’t get into her standalone novel Cop Town, but based on good buzz, felt her latest standalone Pretty Girls would be a better fit. Pretty Girls focuses on two grown sisters following the disappearance of their other sister decades before. The family was never able to grieve as they needed because of the sister’s ultimate fate was never determined. Now in adulthood and estranged from one another, one sister is recovering from multiple addictions, while the other sister lives a lavish existence in a gated community. When the wealthy sister’s husband is attacked, the sisters reconcile to piece together some troubling facts that take them down a road they never expected. The book was a page turner, but ultimately Slaughter’s excessive use of repetitive disturbing imagery and sadistic practices made the book feel borderline exploitative. I’m hoping she’ll return to Will and Sara soon, with a book I can confidently pick-up knowing I’ll get a suspenseful story with a good police angle.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with the final musings for 2015 and of course The Playlist!  What’s good Pats? “ It’s time to wrap up the year in shiny paper and tie it all together with a great, big bow. Time for us all to relax and recharge. Our forecast here for Christmas Day is 56 degrees. I think I’m going to bust out my white jeans and a sassy pair of sandals for the day. The weather is just that crazy. There will be no skiing this year. There isn’t even any snow Up North. Seriously, we don’t even have any snow on Mackinac Island. It feels like anything goes in the weather department. Now, something that always goes with this time of year is the Year End “Best Of” Playlist. Those favorite bands and albums that have made any bad days a little bit brighter and helped us get on with the day. Music has those wonderful healing properties and I am happy to share with you some of my favorite albums from the year. I hope you share this holiday season with your own loved ones and enjoy whatever the Weather Gods bring your way. Remember to dress appropriately. I recommend the layered San Francisco style of dressing. Wishing you Happy Holidays from The Mitten. “

DL BEST OF 2015 

2015 Darien Library Best Books of the Year

Every year, we ask our staff to nominate and vote on their favorite books of the year. This year, the top ten books that got the most nominations were:

1. Between The World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
2. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
3. A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson
4. Leaving Before the Rains Come, by Alexandra Fuller
5. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
6. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
7. A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
8. On The Move, by Oliver Sacks
9. Saint Mazie, by Jami Attenberg
10. The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma

Happy 2016, and happy reading!

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 Christmas in Cali Edition of You Are What You Read!  This week’s housekeeping is as follows. There were no Offerings this week. That’s fine.  Christmas is coming and I am sure you all will make your love known.  In Animals Run Amok News there was this video of a cat taking down a toddler.   The Traveling Companion refuses to believe the feline had malice in its heart. I maintain that cats are just waiting for their chance to kill.  Discuss.  Also in Mississippi, there was an 18 wheeler that overturned and let out its cargo all over I-20.  The cargo just happened to be 100 cows that then proceeded to shut down the road with their shenanigans.  You can read about that here.

Steph passed along a disturbing news item this week.  Some demented magician in London dressed up two ten-year-old girls in Victorian costumes, placed giant doll heads on them and posed them in and around London. You can read about that here.  Really, aren’t we all on edge enough?  Do we really need to add Weird Doll Twins to that mix?  I’ve never hear of this dude but frankly I think he should be ashamed of himself. Did he not see The Shining?

It’s hard to believe that two weeks from today we will be on the Christmas Downswing.  It’s hard to feel all sorts of Fa-La-La when it’s 60 degrees and sunny.  Frankly I find it hard to feel all sorts of Fa-La-La most of the time. Add that crazy morning fog to the mix and it feels a whole lot more like Halloween than Yuletide. I have a confession to make.  I am feeling partially responsible for this unseasonable warmth.  I finally broke down and bought myself a down coat and it arrived this week.  As you all know by now, I commute via train and this involves a mile walk to the stations on both ends.  Last winter I braved this in my little cloth coat. It was a long winter. This year I am determined to make an unpleasant situation (winter) bend to my will.  So I have purchased a down coat, and I will be investing in a 6 month parking pass for the station on my home end. Get ready for the mildest winter ever People!  And feel free to pass this information on to folks in Paris chatting Climate Change.  They may be interested to know that I have a hand in this.

This week we have abduction, the dump, some Gingers, a little book, and a faith healer.

Playlist?  You know it!

Let us begin!

Sweet Ann has just finished up The Lake House by Kate Morton. “This is my first Kate Morton novel and I can't wait to go back and read her earlier work.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the story, writing style and setting.  The main story takes place in Cornwall, England in 1933 but also travels to the present and years before 1933.  When the novel opens baby Theo is abducted from his crib while his nanny dozes as a large party is taking place outside on the grounds of the family estate.  Many years later a young detective staying with her grandfather after having a bad incident at work stumbles upon the estate that has fallen to ruin.  After hearing the history of the house and the disappearance of the baby, the detective decides to investigate the baby's disappearance in 1933.   Two elderly siblings of the baby are still alive each holding a secret as to what happened that night in the nursery.  Their deceased mother's journals are also found to contain some startling new information. This is a book about a family, family secrets and the consequences of protecting oneself and others.  I loved it.”

John The Wizard of Minecraft is here with what he’s been diving into.  “This past weekend, I finished up John Irving’s latest, Avenue of Mysteries. It’s a bit of a departure from his previous novels while also seemingly more autobiographical. It’s a book about a Mexican ‘dump kid’ and his mind-reading younger sister who can only be understood by her brother. The story flips between their childhood in the basurero (dump) and the brother, Juan Diego, as an adult as he travels to the Philippines to fulfill a promise he made to a draft-dodging hippy as a boy. Irving elaborates upon religious themes that will be familiar to his devoted readers. He also adds a subtle mix of supernatural that feels a little like A Prayer for Owen Meany. As a lifelong Irving fan, I was not disappointed, but it does feel like Avenue of Mysteries was winding down the author’s career and I'm left wondering, will this be his last?”

Barbara M who it should be noted is not a Ginger is here with Red: A History of the Redhead.
“Because my grandmother and a cousin were carrot tops I was drawn to Jacky Colliss Harvey’s book Red: A History of the Redhead. As the author says; for many red-heads the color of their hair is ‘…the single most significant characteristic of their life.’ Red hair is rare, it is a recessive gene which occurs in only 2% of the population, and rarely goes unnoticed. There are many myths and misconceptions about red-headed people and the author explores many of them. Harvey debunks the rumor that they are about to become extinct and examines some of the physical abnormalities found in red heads. For example, they need about 20% more anesthesia than the rest of the population and they may be more sensitive to pain. She also traces the red-head through history, art, and folklore. This is a well-researched, fascinating book.”

Pat T can be found, as always, listening. “I listened to Jason Gay's debut collection of essays, Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living, and it is a book with a powerful message. The author wants the reader to understand it is not a self-help book, crash diet book or how to succeed book. It's just a book to make you laugh and who doesn't need a little laughter in their life?!  Some of his stories are poignant; when he talks about his Dad's illness, and his own cancer diagnosis, while other stories are laugh out loud funny.  Such as when he talks about new age parenting in NYC, joining a gym or his take on technology in our everyday lives. The author's message is that we are more apt to find happiness by taking pleasure from our daily life experiences, rather than trying  to measure happiness by the one big accomplishment we hope to achieve. Sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays with this delightful book!”

Steph is here talking about  one of our most favorite prizes, The Costa!  For those not in the know, the Costa is an English prize that celebrates not only Good Writing but also a Good Story. “It’s Costa season again…and I’ve kicked it off with a nominee for the Costa First Novel Award, The Girl in the Red Coat, by Kate Hamer. Told in two voices, the story drifts about for a few chapters and then really begins when dreamy, sweet eight-year-old Carmel Wakeford goes missing while out with her mum at a local fair. In alternate chapters, the book follows Carmel’s journey with a faith healer all around the United States, as well as her mother Beth’s anxious searching and grief. After a certain point, it’s almost impossible to put down, because you simply must know—will they see each other again, and if they do, will they know each other? Perfect for fans of Sophie Hannah and will even delight those who generally like their thrillers more gory—the tension is just that strong. This book doesn’t technically come out in the US until February, but we have sneakily imported a few in from the UK, so you can read it before anybody else!”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from the State Up North, a state that has not seen a win over OSU in 1476 days, with some final climate change musings.  What’s good Pats? “Honestly, this year feels a little like when I lived in California. It never really felt like Christmas until I boarded the plane and disembarked into the cold, frozen snow banks of Michigan. Now don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled that we are having wonderful, mild weather this time of year but this warm, foggy weather has been a challenge for me to get into the spirit of the season. I was reminded last night by one of the cousins that in two weeks we will be celebrating this Pagan holiday around a tree moved indoors and that I need to motivate because a menu is needed for 30 people pronto. So, in order to remedy my lack of enthusiasm, I shall begin baking holiday sweets and planning elaborate menus for the impending feast. I couldn’t do it without a playlist and neither should you. I’m hoping this will put us all in a merry, jolly mood. I recommend that you listen to this nine-hour playlist on shuffle as it contains some of the best, classic Christmas albums of all time. ‘Tis the season, now enjoy!”


What Are My Neighbors Up To?

I can't believe this author didn't actually live through this time period!
I can't believe this author didn't actually live through this time period!

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

Pssst. Hey You. Yes You. Want the 411 on all things popular and coveted?

Wonder Wall
Wonder Wall

We have a new place for you to find all those items that your neighbors want! Over by our Post Road Entrance you can find 14-Day copies of all of our most popular items. Let it be the first place you head to when you are looking for those sought after titles! Remember 14-Day titles cannot be held or renewed. We hope you find something that will make you very happy this weekend!

You Are What You Read!

Greetings and welcome to the Is That Turkey Finished Yet? Edition of You Are What You Read.  I hope you all had lovely Thanksgivings and have hit the ground running.  The Hellidaze are here and they’re real People!   A Happy Hanukah to those that do that.  I wish you a never ending supply of latke.  Because that just sounds like the sort of wish I would like to have bestowed on me.  This week’s housekeeping is as follows:  This week’s Offering comes from Pete E who was delightfully thoughtful and brought us Pecans from California.  Thanks Pete!  In Animals Run Amok news, there has been a sighting of a Painted Bunting in Brooklyn.  This crazy colorful bird looks like a 3-year-old’s coloring project.  Brilliant blue head, a breast of scarlet and yellow shoulder that turns an acid green as you go down the wing. However, this silly visitor is not supposed to be anywhere near here and instead should be getting settled in his winter home in Florida or Mexico.   You can read about him here and marvel that being a Bird Brain is a legit Thing.  Because really, wouldn’t we all rather be soaking up some warmth in Mexico? 

We are truly in dark times.  The days are short and the news is grim. My commute home at night can be disconcerting. I look out the window and have no idea where I am in my journey.  The news from the West and Overseas makes believing in the goodness of this world nearly impossible. It can all feel like too much at times. You may have noticed that the candles are back in the windows of the library.  I love the idea of all of us lighting a candle and banishing the darkness.  I don’t think it’s enough to send good thoughts out into the universe anymore. I think we need to DO good acts.  They need not be large and showy and sometimes small and thoughtful is the best.  While we may not be thanked or acknowledged, by doing this we are defeating darkness a little bit at a time.  This week I urge everyone to spread the light.  Be kind, do something wonderful for another that abolishes darkness.  Let’s light each other’s path!  I am pretty sure Sweet Ann would endorse this message.

This week we have some influential women, some advice, a struggle and some trouble.

The Playlist? But of course!

Let us begin!

Kaitlin from the Rock is back in the pink of health!  Here is what she is enjoying as she moves about.  “So I'm on an ‘influential women's autobiographies’ kick for this week. I'm currently reading I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and was Shot by the Taliban, the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai. Malala's story is not only the tale of her own incredible (and very young!) life, but also a good history lesson for those of us whose knowledge of the Taliban in the late 90's and early 2000's is a bit fuzzy (or nonexistent). I'm currently listening to the audio book of Amy Poehler's Yes Please! Amy discusses her early life growing up outside of Boston, her journey toward becoming an improv comedian, and her current life.  Since I'm back to running at the gym, this book has me laughing like a fool on the treadmill. Both Malala and Amy are relatable, honest, and inspiring in their stories--I love both books right now.”

Laura is here with some Hellidaze advice. “During the holidays, keep the DVD Aloha in your back pocket to spell the stresses of company parties, crazed shopping malls, and the difficult traveling that the season tends to impart.  It is not a great movie, but its quirky story left me and my husband with a smile. It stars Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and John Kransinski.  A  wounded military contractor, Cooper, finally returns to Hawaii after a seventeen year absence, to find his long lost love, McAdams, married with two children with husband Kransinski, a former military comrade of his.  Copper has been sent to the island by his billionaire boss, played by Bill Murray, who has secret military interests in the island’s interior.  U.S. Air Force liaison, played by Emma Stone, sets out with Cooper to try to strike a deal with the island’s former royal king who lives in the mystical mountains of Hawaii.  Silly, goofy, odd, simple, yes, therefore a perfectly ridiculous film for those holiday blues.”

The Always Delightful Pat S want s to share what she thought about A Common Struggle by Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried.  “Much more than just another book about another Kennedy and his problems, A Common Struggle presents an  interesting discussion of alcoholism and mental illness in America today, as well as the unending battle to establish Mental Health Parity as law.  Kennedy has chosen to illustrate the public perception of alcoholism/addiction in various tales from his own upbringing. Painting with a wide brush, Kennedy includes portraits of both parents as active alcoholics as well as documenting his own struggle with mental illness and self-medicating with alcohol and pills. While most of the more salacious stories have been in the papers over the years, the on-going efforts to legally recognize Alcoholism/addiction and Mental Illness  as brain diseases-thereby making them eligible for medical treatment-is nothing short of eye-opening. At times, the book gets weighted down with the details of an endless stream of bills which didn't make it through Congress-but all in all, well worth the time.”

Abby is reading one  of our most popular titles Troublemaker  by Leah Remini. “When news broke around the library Welcome Desk actress Leah Remini, a well-known Scientologist, had left the group with a flourish and was writing a tell-all titled Troublemaker, a bunch of us were a little giddy. Remini and her sister were brought into the group as youngsters by their mom.  The family relocated from Brooklyn to Scientology Headquarters in Florida to become more immersed in the church.  As kids, they were not schooled but were instead put to hard labor, expected to work long hours for little pay. As an adult, Remini begins to question group leaders and get herself in a heap of trouble. As I hoped, she speaks some serious truth in the form of sharing troubling stories about Scientology poster boy Tom Cruise. Troublemaker is pretty much what I expected. I believe Remini has done her best to be honest and it will be interesting to see how the group moves along into the future as more and more stories continue to emerge."

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North, which I must add, has not seen a win over My Beloved Buckeyes in 1469 days, with our final musings and of course our Playlist.  What’s good Pats? “This past Thanksgiving weekend I took my kiddos to the first cat café in Michigan aka the Catfé Lounge. Our goal was to adopt a rescued kitten. The café is part of a larger organization, a no-kill shelter for cats. There was a line waiting just to get in. We waited and we watched. Folks were playing and petting all the cats that would allow it, because we all know that a cat will only let you do what they want. It didn’t seem as though there was a whole lot of adopting happening, just a whole lot of cat lovin’. We were on a mission. We had already looked online and found ‘our’ kitten, a longhaired, big-eared brown tabby. Once we were finally inside we spread out to find him. We found him curled up, asleep in a cat tree house. We patiently waited for him to wake up. Finally, I asked the cat director if we could adopt him as well as his litter mate that we had read about on their website. I began the paperwork and I am happy to say that yesterday those two kittens were delivered to our home. I know that we will all make each other very happy. So, this holiday season I invite you all to think about giving a little more in whatever small ways you can. It can make a great big difference in the lives of others and can bring a whole lot of joy to you. I think we could all use a little more happy and joy right now.”


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