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 Brave. Eleanor 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.”