You Are What You Read!

Words.  This week I have none.  Literally.  My words from last week became prophesy on Monday afternoon when the sickness began.  I couldn’t even watch The Game past halftime.  The Traveling Companion however taped it for me and because he is a wise man, and because he has learned from our unfortunate taping history he stayed up to make SURE that it taped so that I can enjoy that when I am well.  What has been interesting about this whole thing is that when you have no voice, you literally HAVE NO VOICE, and when you do try to talk the world rushes at you begging you not to speak.  So this week I am afraid I don’t have much to say.  Because I can’t.  So enjoy that.  Or not.  This week we have turmoil, a fun home, a convalescent home, an unreliable narrator, paperbacks, and some narcotics.  Playlist?  But of course! 

Let us begin!

Abby is here with what is rapidly becoming a staff pick. “Like Virginia before me, I was charmed by the film Begin Again. Starring Mark Ruffalo and Kiera Knightly, the film tells the tale of two people whose lives intersect at just the right point in time. Ruffalo is a once influential music producer experiencing a personal and professional decline. Knightly is a free-spirited songwriter dealing with a cruel betrayal. When Ruffalo happens upon Knightly reluctantly performing at a small club, he can see something vibrant and special.  Ruffalo’s character Danny exudes both pain and amazing creative energy. Their collaboration and friendship allow them to find their way back to what they most cherish. Real life pop star Adam Levine does a nice job playing Knightly’s beau, and there is a terrific concert performance of a song written for the film I cannot get out of my head. Ruffalo demonstrates why he is one of our top actors and it’s nice to see Knightly and playing a lighter role. “

The Always Effervescent Julia Rae has been joining us on the Front Lines while she is home for Holiday Break.  Here is what she is excited about. “I am lucky enough to attend a college that assigns books for winter break that are actually interesting. My favorite was a graphic novel called Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. The author gives her readers a very personal and engaging overview of her experiences with her interesting, to say the least, family life. She tackles the issues of coming to terms with her sexuality and aloof father. Not only is Bechdel a talented artist, she is also a phenomenal writer, each page was so rich with honesty and stark descriptions I could hardly put it down. The other book I was pleased to spend Christmas reading was Amy Poehler’s book, Yes, Please. It is so difficult to be funny yet engaging and authentic, and yet she pulls it off marvelously. I had a good chuckle at least every page and I always felt uplifted while reading. She gives so much to her readers; detailed anecdotes, hilarious jokes, and heartfelt advice. These two books are definitely getting packed into my already-stuffed bags and going back to school with me!

Barbara M is reading dark this week which is a change for her. “I’ve just finished reading The Stone Boy by Sophie Loubière and it is a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the last pages. Madame Préau is now elderly and frail both physically and mentally after having spent several years in a convalescence home. She’s moved back to her old neighborhood which has changed drastically since she last lived there. Across the street where there was once a garden, there is now a house and from one of her windows she can see directly into the backyard.  Her neighbors seem to have two young children but Madame Préau sees a third child in the background who she feels is being abused. She tells the authorities, she tells her doctor and she tells her son but no one can find any proof of her accusations. Is this the result of Madame Préau reliving her difficult past or is it real?”

Here is Steph’s take on the same book. “This week I read The Stone Boy, by Sophie Loubière, on the recommendation of Barbara M. Now, if you know anything about Barbara’s reading habits, you know she doesn’t read many thrillers, even French ones. So when she recommended this book, a true thriller from start to finish, I knew it had to be good! The book follows Madame Préau, who has just moved back into her home in the Paris suburbs after taking a break from life for unspecified but seemingly dark reasons. Her days are highly regimented; dinner at the same time each night, cleaning at the same time each morning, shopping every Friday, and a bit dull, so she takes to keeping an eye on her neighbors. She quickly realizes that her next door neighbors have three children, one of whom she sees very rarely and who appears to be abused. She begins to investigate and get the authorities involved, but several previous occurrences keep anybody from taking her seriously. Madame Préau is a terribly unreliable narrator, but a sympathetic one, and the tension in the story ramps up quickly. I burned my dinner slightly because I was trying to read this book at the same time I was cooking. I know The Girl on the Train is supposed to be the new Gone Girl, but I didn’t care for it. I’d recommend this book instead, for sure.”

Miss Elisabeth of the CL is back again this week!  “Dipping my toes into adult book pool again, this week I read the fantastically inspiring When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win WWII by Molly Guptill Manning. This is the remarkable true story of the Armed Services Editions, portable paperbacks that American publishers produced for troops headed overseas. Before the publishers stepped in, there was the American Library Association’s National Defense Book Campaign, which organized book drives all over the United States, collecting over 10 million volumes to give to the armed forces. All told, the United States sent over 120 million books overseas during the war. The entire program came about as a reaction to the book-burning habits of the Nazi’s, with President Roosevelt saying, ‘Books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever.’ Reading this book made me proud to be a reader, proud to be a librarian, and proud of my country. It’s a gripping, quick read. I can’t recommend it enough!”

My delightful friend Golda R of WW Norton Publishing (that’s her real name..Hey Hey Golda!  What’s doin?) had been telling me about this book for months before she sent me a copy.  She promised me a book that would help scratch my never-ending itch for dysfunctional family literature.  It finally appeared before the holidays and I really have to say Golda knows me well.  Maybe too well.  Bastards by Mary Anna King opens with Mary flying to Oklahoma to bear witness at the bed-side of the dying woman who raised her, and her brother and sister.  But at the start we learn things are not as they seem.  Because while she is indeed going to pay respects to a dying woman who did indeed raise her, she is not in fact Mary’s mother, she is Mary’s maternal grandmother.  How did Mary make it from New Jersey to Oklahoma to be raised by old folks? Mary’s real mother was incapable of caring for her children due to crushing poverty and an absent father whose main talent seemed to be looking for Jesus via the use of narcotics.  This however did not stop her mother from having his babies.  Like clockwork.  And then she would just give them away as if they were kittens. Mary has four sisters who were given away and who, as teenagers, came looking for their birth family.   This funny, wise and very moving book comes out in June. 

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here as always from That State Up North and as always she comes bearing good tunes and even greater wishes. What’s good Pats?” So here we are at the height of the cold and flu season and our lovely JD is down for the count. I know it’s hard to imagine our fearless YAWYR leader speechless but it’s happened folks. Since I can’t bring her broth, I trust that all of you will and when you do make sure you congratulate her on that big football win. I think that will bring a smile to her face and I’d like to know that even if she has no voice that she is smiling. Seriously, everyone here in The D is hoping you feel better soon, Jen! 
Comfort. I’ve always taken comfort in words, books, libraries and museums. Words have the ability to soothe, inspire and conjure other worlds when our own might feel less than ideal. Reading allows us to experience life through a different lens. In light of the recent tragedy in Paris, I hold tight to my own hope for a positive evolution that advances the written word and art in all its forms without fear of retaliation. This week’s playlist shares a little music love and I think we could all use some of that right now.


New eBooks from 3M

Here are the new titles available from 3M.

Meet Us On Main Street

Krishna and Elisabeth from the Children's Library rocked the Meet Us On Main Street group with an assortment of fantasy and action titles with edgy, female protagonists.  The books may be found in Young Adult Fiction, but our adult librarians loved reading these stories.  To round out the selections for all patrons they presented a wonderful historical anthology of pocket-sized stories that were specially written for our troops at the front lines during WWII, a cookbook to enhance your cooking flavors, and a book on how to knit with just your fingers. Krishna also introduced the group to Miranda, a BBC Comedy featuring Miranda Hart who played Nurse Chummy Noakes from the beloved Call the Midwife series.  Patrons can pull the series up here, on Vimeo, online.  And so, the list of presented titles begins below:

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 DVD Releases

Jen is behind choosing this image.
Jen is behind choosing this image.

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

Book Suggestions for "Guys Like Me!"

Last month, you may have seen a bowl upstairs in which you could leave responses in answer to various questions. When we asked "What do you wish the Library offered?" we got many valuable responses.

One person anonymously wrote: "A reading list for guys like me! 40-60 years old."

Well, you are in luck today, anonymous patron! Our very own director, Alan Kirk Gray, has created such a list, as you see below. Enjoy! And if you are looking for a list just for you, head over to our You Are What You Read Next form and fill it out for a personalized list from one of our fabulous readers' advisors.

What's the Hoopla?

How about some great series from Across the Pond?

Not sure what this is?  Read all about it here. And remember!  Our Holiday gift to you is 20 downloads this month.  Enjoy!


What are my neighbors up to?

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

You Are What You Read!

Greetings! I wish you all a Very Happy End of the First Full Work Week of 2015. And it’s been quite the week!  Lots of cold and a little snow, which is feeling oddly familiar and not in a good way. It’s January, after all so we should not be shocked or surprised.  And that is all I am saying about that.  The SoNo Loft this week would like us to consider the following resolution:  2015: Be BraveEleanor Roosevelt once said that you should “do one thing every day that scares you.” So I charge each and every one of you to stretch a bit in the coming year.  Make yourself a little or a lot uncomfortable every once in a while.  Now, with this being said, Be Brave does not mean Be Stupid. Please make sure you all have your flu shots (it’s not too late!), that you are taking care of yourselves by bundling up, staying warm, getting into the sun and fresh air when possible and eating well. Sick?  Call us up on the phone to renew your items.  Don’t have anything to read? Consider our digital library!  Too sick to read?  Watch some good stuff through Hoopla!   We have seen a lot of illness this week and this is no way to begin a year People! And frankly?  I have no interest in spending my weekend or my Monday night while watching the College Football National Championship curled up on my couch, with nothing but a box of Kleenex and a cocktail of Nyquil Rocks with a Robitussin Chaser willing to be next to me.   So Be Brave, not Stupid and Soldier On!  And Let’s Go Buckeyes!  (You had to know that was coming and I applaud my restraint over the last 2 weeks).  

This week we have a Martian, and monsters, Burma, and bone disease.  The Playlist is cued and ready!

Let us begin!

Miss Elisabeth of the CL is sharing the feedback her dad gave her on her Christmas gift to him.  How’d it work out Elisabeth? “I heard great things about The Martian by Andy Weir (including a recommendation by our own Alan Gray!) and got it for my father for Christmas. My dad is the person who encouraged me to read science fiction, and it has always been a shared love of ours. He started reading it the evening he opened his presents and finished it two days later, and very eagerly to texted me about how much he loved it! ‘An intense read! One of the best crafted survival epics I've read in a long time. It's very technical and scientific but somehow the author has made it a completely believable story. It's really Swiss Family Robinson meets Robinson Crusoe, meets a probable scientific future. I'm on the last few pages and wow! I could read this forever. You're the best, Daughter Dear!’”  I would say that you gifted well!  Good job Miss E!

Miss Lisa of the CL is enjoying some Hair-Raising Reading Time. “I just read an awesome graphic novel called Through the Woods by Emily Carroll.  It is totally creepy and brilliant.  Carroll’s beautiful illustrations are a perfect companion to her stories, which are as timeless as folk tales but a million times more unnerving.  She nails all the things you wouldn’t want to meet in the woods, including burrowing monsters that turn you into a frightening empty shell, ghosts with blood vessels, and chopped up ladies who sing through the floors. Mainly, her work is all about the fear of not knowing what the heck is going on – you just know you’re scared out of your mind.”

Sweet Ann! just finished this year’s Booker winner The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. Here’s what she thought: “This novel won the Man Booker prize and has been put on many lists as one of the best books of the year and I have to agree.  The story begins with Dorrigo Evans, an aging Australian surgeon, reflecting on his life as he writes the forward for a book of drawings done by a fellow POW during their torturous time as prisoners of war in Burma during WWII. It is a difficult read when you learn how these Australian men were treated by the Japanese to build the Burma-Thai Railroad in 1943. These prisoners did not have tools, clothing or food and were beaten and tortured constantly and many did not survive.  Another intriguing aspect of this book is Dorrigo's personal life.  Prior to the war he is engaged to a woman who is deemed to be the proper wife of surgeon, but he really doesn't love her.  He has an affair with his uncle's wife whose memory of their times together will help him get through the horrors of the war.  There is such a twist in the story that was not revealed to just about the end of the book and it was great.  This is a heavy book but one I believe well worth reading.”

Steph tackled something that has been on my bookshelf for years and is one of those ‘Most Definitely Someday Books.’ Here’s her take on an American classic. “Over my vacation, I read Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. It’s been on my to-be-read list for years, as I’ve heard dozens of readers sing its praises. And with good reason! It’s spectacular. The book has two stories. The first is of Lyman Ward, a writer and historian who is newly confined to a wheelchair due to a bone disease, trying to maintain his independence. From his seat in the 1970s, he’s researching and writing about his grandmother, Susan, in the mid-1800s, and how her life went from one of culture and civilization in the East to one of hardscrabble mining towns out West after she married an engineer. The book weaves back and forth between the two, illuminating not just the highs and the lows of their lives, but the development of the United States, for better or for worse. Lyman is angry but compassionate towards his grandmother, whose voice springs to life in dozens of letters, and who he is determined to protect from modern intrusion. I was instantly swept up in the writing and the story—it is just so rich. It combines the resonance of good historical fiction with characters you feel you could reach out and touch. This is truly one of the great American novels, and reminded me very much of Stoner by John Williams, another favorite of mine.  This is a great choice for settling in by a fireplace during a snowstorm.”

Here’s DJ Jazzy Patty McC from The State Up North with some final thoughts and of course The Playlist.  Congrats on that new coach Pats, we look forward to next November.  Now what’s good?  “It’s a new year and it’s a time for new beginnings and new opportunities, but we can’t move forward without reflecting on the past. It has not been a great year for our country. Abroad it’s much the same. Unrest and uneasiness are an unpleasant, but unavoidable part of change. Our freedoms here are many and public libraries are a physical manifestation of our freedom of thought and speech. To protect those freedoms, we have a responsibility to be brave. We can march to our own beat. We can be fearless and jump feet first into something that makes us uncomfortable. We can have necessary and difficult conversations. So be brave. Maybe start with some music. Be brave and listen to what I believe were some of the Best Albums of 2014.”


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