NPR bestsellers for the week of April 19, 2012.
NPR bestsellers for the week of April 19, 2012.
Sally's (the one to the left) Picks
Making Piece -- by Beth Howard. Beth's story of a year in her life revolves around two things: grieving the death of her husband and making apple pies. While the emotional side of the story was often gut-wrenchingly painful as well as occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, it was the pie-making interludes that captured my imagination. Her descriptions were so vivid and the instructions so approachable, it was all I could do not to put the book down and start baking then and there. Good news for reader/bakers-- she includes several recipes at the end of the book. If you try any of them, let us know how they turn out!
The Presidents Club : Inside The World's Most Exclusive Fraternity -- by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. This is a rich collection of stories about members of an uber-elite club: former presidents of the United States. Staying away from the obvious, the authors bring to light anecdotes about the relationships that developed after their terms were over. While there are any number of positive, uplifting stories within the book, it is the underhanded dealings that will keep the pages turning. Don't let its size deter you, the chapters can be read independent of each other. Dip in and read a bit here and there, you just might get hooked!
Sally's (the one on the right) Picks
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death and hope in a Mumbai undercity -- by Katherine Boo, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope that they will have a better life. With intelligence, humor and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another this book is an amazing read. The New York Times Book Review calls this book "Extraordinary"-I couldn't agree more.
Icy Sparks -- by Gwyn Hyman Rubio. This is the story of Icy, a ten year old girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950's. Icy is unable to control the croaks, groans and spasms that afflict her- as an adult she will learn that she has Tourette's Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder. Icy is tormented by her classmates and removed from school and sent to an asylum. When Icy returns home she begins a friendship with eccentric Miss Emily who knows first-hand how it feels to be an outcast. Both sad and funny, Icy Sparks is a New York Times Notable Book.
Top Ten Hardcover Bestsellers from the New York Times for the week of April 22, 2012.
Here's a list of latest titles. This week we have assasins, some fundamentalists, World War I, wayward children, tips from the First Lady and a bit of romance. Enjoy!
Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected - by Stanley Kunitz. If you read no other poetry book, take a look at this one. In honor of National Poerty Month, I'm drawing attention to this collection by Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006). He was named Poet Laureate of the United States in 2000, and continued writing and promoting poetry until he passed away at the age of 100. His unique and meaningful poems center largely on the themes of life and death, and he was once quoted as saying, "The deepest thing I know is that I am living and dying at once, and my conviction is to report that dialogue." My favorite in this collection is "The Layers."
The Gilly Salt Sisters - by Tiffany Baker. This is an unusual story about a small town in Cape Cod. The story centers around two estranged sisters, Claire and Jo. Their family farm, Salt Creek Farm, produces all of the salt for the town and the surrounding areas, and the salt believed to have unexplained powers. Every restaurant must have bowls of salt on all of the tables, and every grocery store must stock it or else they are doomed to fail. Every year, the town gathers for a bonfire and one of the sisters throws salt on the flame - if the flame turns blue there is a good year to come, red means love, and black is bad news for the town. Secrets, scandals and a beautiful setting keep the story moving and engaging.
The Up Series (DVD) This longitudinal documentary series began in 1964 with fourteen British children chosen to represent a diverse array of socio-economic classes. A new film, looking at their lives and development was produced every seven years. The latest installment, 56 Up, debuts on BBC this May. The series asks the question: Does socio-economic class predetermine future success or failure?
The Big Oyster - by Mark Kurlansky. Before it was the Big Apple, New York City could have rightfully been called the Big Oyster. Kurlansky cleverly tells the story of the greatest city in the world- its history, its culture, its cuisine- through the lens of that gastronomical delight: the oyster. The Big Oyster will satisfy foodies and history buffs alike.
But you will find them at Darien Library!
At the end of February, Starz ended their contact with Netflix, the online media streaming subscription service. Because of this, the following movies are no longer available to be streamed instantly on Netflix. However, you can still check them out from Darien Library! From creepy (Beetlejuice) to campy (Twins) to critically- acclaimed (Toy Story 3), we think these films belong in the echelon of our film collection. Happy viewing.
Here's a list of the top ten bestsellers from NPR.
Top Ten Hardcover Bestsellers from the New York Times for the week of April 8th
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote - I recently read this short novel (it's only about 80 pages!) because some friends and I have started a "Bookfast Club" in which we discuss a book over breakfast. I had never seen the movie and I am so glad I read the book first because Holly Golightly is not at all the Example of Class we all believe her to be. In the book, she is flighty, irresponsible, drunk, shallow, and all too eager to keep the company of terrible (yet wealthy!) men. So then I decided to watch the movie to see how the two stack up...
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" (Movie) - In the film, the nameless narrator becomes some Ken-like guy named Paul who falls in love with Holly while at the same time taking money from his wealthy female "decorator." Holly is no longer racist like her character in the book, but rather a beautiful waif of a woman who can't commit to any man because she is "too scared." I was amazed at how differently Holly Golightly is depicted in the book versus the movie.
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philippe Sendker - A wonderful love story of Tin Win returning to Burma to be with his first love. He lived a great life in New York as an entertainment lawyer with a wife and adult children. One day he just disappears. His daughter finds an old love letter and searches for her father in his native Burma. She will discover things about her father that she never knew and will feel the great love in his heart.
When We Were the Kennedys: A memoir From Mexico, Maine by Monica Wood - A touching story of a family growing up in the 1960's whose father dies the same year as President Kennedy is killed. This is a family saga where you are pulling for this family from page one. The family has a grown son who has his own family, an older school teacher daughter who will change her life for her younger siblings and then three little girls. It is the second youngest daughter Monica who tells the story of her loving childhood and sacrifices made for the family to continue without their beloved father.
Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison – Set in the last days of the Romanov Empire, this part love story, part history lesson is told in such exquisite prose that you’re truly left wanting more.
Emily, Alone by Stewart O’Nan – The author follows Emily Maxwell, an 80 year old widow, through a year in her life. A quiet story of a woman coming to grips with her past mistakes in a world that is becoming more and more narrow. It’s hard to believe this book was written by a man. How is the author able to portray Emily’s emotions and thoughts with such sensitivity? A member of the Library book group commented, “The author was talking about me.” Even though this story is about an elderly woman, there is much here for all of us to learn.
Defending Jacob by William Landay- Could there be anything worse for a parent than to have your fourteen year old son accused of murdering a classmate? On one side, the father does whatever he must do to believe that his son is innocent no matter what. However, his mother has doubts. Protecting their child is obviously what good parents should do but at what point does it cross the line? While I enjoyed reading this book, there were times when I felt the author was asking the reader to accept too much regarding the father’s blind faith in his son.
A Good American by Alex George. This is a wonderful historical fiction story about an immigrant family from Prussia spanning four generations and what it means to be an American.
Quiet by Susan Cain. A fascinating look at the introvert personality. Our society promotes the extroverts, otherwise known as the people of action, while the introverts are looked at as a second class personality type. In this book, Susan Cain shares the introverts unique qualities as cerebral thinkers and the value they play in our society. Remember that Susan Cain will be here on April 19th!
Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton. From the author of Sister comes another thriller about a mother who will do anything to save her children - one child from a burning building and the second child from being accused of setting the fire.