You Are What You Read!

This week we have a Jinxy McDeath sighting, some war, some predicions, an island, the Queen(!), an adventure, a geeky mom in a hurry and some families!

Let us begin!

Miss Elisabeth of the CL is reading a most decidedly un-childlike book and one of my personal favorites! “I’m re-reading Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. I picked it up again after I saw Lincoln, the movie. The book is hysterically funny but also a really in-depth look at the people who murdered (and tried to murder) presidents of the United States. I loved this book the first time I read it and gave it as presents to everyone I knew for several years. The author goes on a series of road-trip pilgrimages to the museums, former homes, and sites of Presidents and their assassins and would-be assassins. She calls Robert Todd Lincoln “Jinxy McDeath” because he was present at the assassinations of 3 out of our 4 slain presidents.

John has just started The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.  “This book has been heralded as the Iraq War's The Things They Carried.  My first impression is that the writing is superb and I already care deeply about the two main characters--and I'm only 30 or 40 pages in. I formed very high expectations for this short novel as soon as I read the exquisite opening paragraph: ‘While we slept, the war rubbed its thousand ribs against the ground in prayer. When we pressed onward through exhaustion, its eyes were white and open in the dark. While we ate, the war fasted, fed by its own deprivation. It made love and gave birth and spread through fire.’"

Stephanie is working her way through The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. “I’ve been curious about this book since I heard about it, but had to put it on hold after his predictions for the 2012 elections were almost perfect. And what I’ve found is that rarest of birds in the non-fiction arena: an expert who is willing to admit what he doesn’t know. In fact, as he amply demonstrates, one of the biggest problems the world of predictions has is experts who think they know too much. From baseball to weather to the economy, Silver is precise and thoughtful in his examinations of what we know, what we think we know, and what we still have to learn. He’s good not only at discussing the practical, on-the-ground application of predictions, and how they are used in our daily lives, but also at explaining the hard math in a way that makes sense to this sad mathphobic librarian who had to take a class on Excel to escape her math class requirement in college. Those familiar with Silver’s blog will find this to be a great extension of the thorough, complex work he does regularly already. Those new to his work will be delighted to find at least one person in the media world who is more interested what the facts really say rather than what he wants them to. “

Pat T. just finished reading Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. “I enjoyed this good, but sad book. A couple living on a remote island off the coast of Australia made a moral decision that had life altering consequences for all involved.”

Miss Marion lets us all in on one of her obsessions!  “A book for Anglophiles (like me), Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn imagines what happens if Queen Elizabeth took a day off.  The Queen is starting to feel her age.  Times are changing, the Prime Minister is taking away the royal train, and although Prince Edward set her up with a Twitter account, its way over Lillibet’s (the nickname she calls herself) head and she’s feeling nostalgic for the simpler times of her childhood.  Her spontaneous decision to take a quick trip to the cheese shop for a treat for one of her horses turns into a bigger adventure for her, and potential disaster for her personal staff.  Told from multiple points of view, the Queen, her dresser, a lady-in-waiting, the cheese shop worker, this story is both fantastical and very plausible.  The characters are so well-written, they could be real people.  It’s a great holiday read.”

Ann steps out of her comfort zone this week with Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. “I am just in the middle of this fun quirky book.  It is definitely a different type of book for me and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Bernadette is a married mom of a fifteen year old girl, Bee.  She was a world famous architect who has moved to Seattle and left her career to become a full time mom.  She has great difficulty handling her day to day life and has an assistant who lives in India who keeps her life in order.   Life will get too stressful for Bernadette and she will disappear.  This story is told from Bee's point of view, e-mails of her mom's she discovers and some other creative writing techniques by the author.  So far  this is an adventure to take.”

Gretchen is like working moms everywhere!  She is in a hurry so step aside! “I have something but no time to write big description. Read Geek Mom  which is filled with cool activities and support for moms like me with geek tendencies. Easy read, authors are bloggers for Wired magazine.  I also just picked up Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker. I'm a HUGE fan of her Clementine books and based on recommendation of other children's librarians can't wait to read this as well.”

Abby is devouring Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon.  “The book explores families that include children who are not copies of their parents. So far I have read the chapters dealing with deaf children of both hearing parents and deaf parents, dwarfism, Down Syndrome, and am mid-chapter on autism.  Some of the topics have taken me back to my days as a manager of group homes for developmentally disabled adults so it has been interesting to re-visit some of the clients and families I experienced back when I worked in that field. I must say, I found the chapter on Deaf culture especially fascinating. I have the highlight feature on my e-reader working overtime on this one.  This is a really staggering, fantastic book.

Nice New Book Goodness!

Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new this 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!

You Are What You Read!

This week we have some back hair, the need for a restraining order, some quirk, hallucinations, horses, and a language I don’t even pretend to understand.

Let us begin!

Amanda is listening to Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson.  “The narrator awakes in an unfamiliar room. She discovers that next to her is a strange, older man with graying hair and back hair. She cringes and looking around realizes that she must have left the bar with a married man. Out into the hallway she creeps onward to the bathroom. Then she reaches for the bar of soap and notices that something is amiss – the skin on her hand is wrinkled. This can’t be! She’s only in her early twenties! Christine Lucas suffers amnesia brought on by an accident. Each day she wakes up with no recollection of the previous day or of the past 20 some years.   Christine’s life is seemingly straightforward with her mind erasing what she does each day. However, as Christine works with a doctor behind her devoted and doting husband’s back, she realizes that it is her husband she should be wary of. He’s lying to her – but to cover up what?”

Erin is listening to Tiny Beautiful Things as a book on CD. “If Cheryl Strayed knew how much I love her, she would issue me a restraining order. I have already read the paperback of this book but I picked up the audio because it’s read by the author. Audiobooks that are narrated by the author just can’t be beat in my opinion. It’s a collection of advice columns originally published on The Rumpus, a website for literary people. It’s different from your typical advice column though because it includes the author’s own experiences. Cheryl Strayed has had a messed up life! But she’ll make you feel good about yours. I think this would make a really nice gift for the holidays, especially for that person on your list who is going through a life transition. “

Gretchen who is somewhere in America in a car on an Interstate is, “listening to and LOVING Born Standing Up by Steve Martin. Read by the author, it has us laughing out loud in the car! This is a memoir recounting his life as a stand-up comic and is interwoven with personal stories of family and relationships. It is seriously quirky, seriously funny, seriously Steve Martin!”


Barbara M. is reading Oliver Sack’s latest book, Hallucinations.  “He explores different kinds of hallucinations both auditory and visual and not necessarily those caused by psychosis. As is usual in Sack’s books, the subject is fascinating and the scientific writing accessible. “ I am sure that Barbara wishes she could summon a Paris hallucination.


Stephanie has just wrapped up Blood Horses by John Jeremiah Sullivan.  “Here is a book that combines the quick pleasures of the magazine with the book-length that justifies a hardcover. Blood Horses reads like a very long magazine article, and I mean that as the highest compliment. It could have kept going for another 100 pages and I wouldn’t have complained, though I doubt Sullivan would have wanted that. Its pacing is about as perfect as I have ever experienced in non-fiction. It was actually relaxing!  It was like a savasana pose, but reading. Sullivan is focused on a few core ideas but keeps wandering away from them and circling back; the circles get bigger, and weirder, but are always on their way back to horses, or Sullivan’s father, or Kentucky, or a combination of the three. My admiration of his curiosity and research borders on idolatrous. It was just joyful to read this book, even though it is not necessarily a happy one. The last twenty pages or so left me stunned.”


John is about a quarter of the way into Alif the Unseen and his geek is showing. “This is an interesting debut novel about Alif (screen name "A1if") a young computer hacker in the Middle East whose true love is betrothed to someone else.  Using his uncanny skills as a programmer, he is able to make himself invisible to her on the internet by using some kind of baysian algorithm (they don't call it that, but that's essentially what's described).  In the process, he triggers a series of unusual events and brings down the harsh hand of censorship.  Wilson is an American author who converted to Islam and it's clear that her interest is in Islamic studies and not computer science.  The 'tech' in this novel doesn't pass muster, but I doubt that would interfere with most people's enjoyment of the story--incorrect usage of the term 'hypervisor' and flawed assumptions about how the TCP/IP protocol works aside, this is a very entertaining read.  It's clear from the beginning that this is an a commentary on Islamic fundamentalism and the story draws on some of the more mystic elements of the Quran.  Wilson blends technology, fantasy, history, current events, and political subversion together in this curried yarn.  The result is a novel that has shades of Snow Crash mixed together with mythologies that seem to come right out of Arabian Nights.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this story leads, but I first had to accept that it is not the best writing in the world--Wilson is better known for her work as a graphic novelist and her transition to prose still needs some work.  Regardless, pick up this book, it's worth it and if you don't believe me, it's also a New York Times 2012 Notable.”

Nice New Book Goodness!

Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new this 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!

Elisabeth's MUOMS Picks

Elisabeth's Picks:

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour-Bookstore by Robin Sloan tells the story of 20-something Clay, recently laid off from his job as a web desginer. Fresh out of college and with only one (failed) work experience on his resume, Clay is getting desperate to find a job when he stumbles upon Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. His ability to climb the ladders that stretch up all three floors of the impossibly tall, impossibly narrow bookstore land him the night shift job. There are three simple rules at his job. 1) Clay must arrive at 10 p.m. He must leave at 6 a.m. He cannot be late, and he cannot leave early. 2) Clay is not allowed to read the books that live on the shelves that stretch up to the ceiling. 3) He must keep a detailed, descriptive account of every customer who walks through the door – normal things like date and time and stranger things like the way they walked and what mood they seem to be in.
Clay is certain there’s something else going on at the bookstore, and as he and his friends get drawn in to the mystery, we visit Google Headquarters, a reading room below the subway in NYC, and the greatest independent bookstore ever put to print.

Redshirts by John Scalzi takes the trope of Star Trek "redshirts" and turns it on its head. The trope began with the original series - Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the command wore Blue and Yellow uniforms. When they would go away on missions, the person who died or was grievously injured was always wearing the only other primary color available – red. So “redshirt” became a codeword for someone who was going to die. This hysterically funny science fiction novel takes the idea of expendable redshirts and turns it on its head. The tagline is “They Were Expendable – Until They Started Comparing Notes.” 

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!

Ideas for One Book, One Community 2013

On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Darien Library staff members sat down with readers in the community to discuss possible selections for our town-wide One Book, One Community read for 2013. A really top notch collection of titles were pitched and we thought it would be fun to share with everyone! Below please find the 25 (yes, 25!) titles that were thrown into the gantlet Tuesday afternoon. We'd love your input in choosing the 2013 title from among the four finalists.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

The Aviator's Wife

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!

Kiera and Pat's MUOM selections

Kiera's Picks:

Dirt by David Mann This psychological thriller is set on a nut farm- both literally and figuratively. Galen, a 23-year-old who has never spent a day away from his mother, Susie Q, longs to align his chakras and experience deep meditations. Unfortunately, his money-hoarding mom, deeply bitter aunt, sexually depraved cousin and poor dementia-ridden grandmother are all standing in his way to spritual fulfillment. When his mother threatens to send him to prison, Galen's last few screws come loose as he comtemplates how far he is willing to go to save himself. This page-turner will lead you into a sometimes comic, sometimes cruel, but altogether unsettling glimpse into a family gone to dirt. 

Breed by Chase Novak  A wealthy upper eastside couple, sick of failed infertility treatments, ventures to a shady doctor in eastern Europe for a miracle. And it works- they're having twins! But there is a dark, and rather gruesome, price to be paid for their new bundles of joy. This guilty pleasure read is a fun, sick, and twisted!

Timecrimes In this Spanish-language sci-fi horror film, a man accidentally finds himself in a murder mystery and a bit of a time travel conumdrum. Scary, fast-paced, and thought-provoking. 

Pat's Picks:

Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman  Tom, a lighthouse keeper and his wife Isabel live on a remote island off the coast of Australia and one day a boat comes ashore occupied by a dead man and a crying baby. This couple have been childless for years and Isabel convinces her husband not to report this missing baby. They raise the baby girl, Lucy, as their own but this deceptive act has profound consequences for both Tom and Isabel.

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe  Tome Wolfe's latest novel arrived on Main Street yesterday and what has been said about this book is the author does for Miami what he did for New York in Bonfire of the Vanities. He has created a cast of exoctic characters and a plot that will keep you thoroughly entertained!

No Easy Day by Mark Owen  The author gives us a first person account about the planning and execution of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad. As a reader, you become immersed in the blow by blow description of the assault and amazed by the courageous risks taken by Seal Team Six.

 

More Tech Books Have Arrived!

What will you be learning this fall?
What will you be learning this fall?

At just before 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 6th, these tech books are not quite available to be picked up. However, these new books are so exciting, that I could not wait to post about them! These new books were selected for every day programs like Microsoft Office and to enchance your skills before you head to the Digital Media Lab!

Look for these books to be on the shelves tomorrow. Make your holds request now so you can be first in line! Look forward to more tech books to be arriving soon.

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