Greetings and welcome to the first You Are What You Read for the Summer of 2015! First of all a big YAWYR shout out to Priscilla S for her taffy contribution from her beloved Block. Thanks Priscilla! You’re the best! We could talk about Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice on Sunday but why do the expected thing? You all know me better than that by now. Here’s what I am really concerned about. I don’t know about you all, but I am concerned about some disturbing aquatic events this week. Can it be a coincidence that it’s our first summer weekend, Jaws will be shown in select theaters across the country in honor of the 40th anniversary of its premier and the news that there have been not one but two attacks in North Carolina and now a brand new one down in Florida? While the experts like to assure us that this is not the norm, that sharks don’t randomly look at people as an amuse bouche, these attacks feel too close together to be a watery quirk. Think it can’t happen here? Think again People! Have you heard of Mary Lee? She’s a Great White that was tagged off Cape Cod in 2012. She’s an adorable 16 feet, with a wide toothy grin and weighs in at a mere 3,456 pounds. Of course, she has her own Facebook page and a rather hilarious Twitter feed where you can see just what our girl is up to. In May, she was up here hanging out off Fire Island and Jones Beach. Apparently the LI Beach scene was not exciting enough for her so early in the season or she heard about the Khardasahians returning. I mean, even a cartilaginous fish has some taste. She has moved her forever swimming self down the coast towards Florida. I say Florida is welcome to her. Want to avoid a shark attack? The experts advise avoiding swimming at dawn and dusk, don’t swim alone, don’t go into the water if bleeding, leave off the shiny jewelry and try not to swim near wharfs where people are fishing. As always, I like to give you all news you can use. This week we have a widow, Nantucket, Natchez, Paris (naturally) and some politics. The Playlist? Get those shark hands ready!
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann loved Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. “This is a small book that will stay with the reader for a long time. Addie Moore, a widow, approaches her neighbor, Louis Waters, a widower, and asks him if he is willing to sleep with her at night. She does not want a sexual relationship; she wants the comfort of someone being in her bed again and talking before sleeping. Louis is a little surprised at first but does take her up on her offer. They fall into a pattern of sharing life both past and present that is just heartwarming. Of course they have to deal with the small town gossips but they are able to rise above it all. Addie's grandson comes to spend time with her, as his parents, struggle in their marriage. She and Louis give Jamie the fun times he should be having at home. This situation with the grandson will lead to hard choices for both Addie and Louis and the outcome made me quite angry. I thought this was a wonderful book and can't recommend it enough.”
Caroline doesn’t have a whole lot of time being the mother of twin boys. So when she endorses something we all need to pay attention. “I finished this book in only 2 naptimes, which tells you what a page-turner it is. The Rumor, by Elin Hilderbrand, is a perfect summer read, whether you are literally heading to Nantucket, or just imagining it from here. The story focuses on two married couples and their teenage children. On the small island, lives are interwoven, rumors abound, and few relationships are as they seem. There are actually a couple crossover characters with her 2009 book, The Castaways, which is fun if you remember that one too.”
Abby has another series she’s endorsing. “I'm a long-time fan of Greg Iles and thought he did a wonderful job with Natchez Burning. Following that is his latest The Bone Tree, book 2 of what will be a trilogy. Going back to the civil rights struggles of the Deep South, Natchez Burning tells of white supremacist groups such as the KKK, and those who oppose them. Penn Cage is a former prosecutor turned novelist. When his wife dies of cancer, he moves back to his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi so his parents can help him with his 3 year old daughter. Penn's revered father Tom, a physician who treated patients regardless of color or class, becomes embroiled with a nastier off-shoot of the KKK. Both Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree deal with the repercussions of Tom's sometimes inexplicable actions along with the granddaddy of all conspiracies: who killed JFK. At 800 pages, The Bone Tree drags out some plot lines, requires some suspension of belief, and gets a bit convoluted, but when dealing with a major conspiracy it would be hard not to. I preferred Natchez Burning to The Bone Tree, but the overall success of the trilogy will be judged on how they work together. I'll set aside a good chunk of reading time and be first in line when Book 3 comes out.”
Laura has just finished Patrick Modiano's Missing Person. “This is a different and more poetic kind of mystery without the classic resolution of a crime solved, and justice served. Instead, the story follows the intimate journey of a man's quest to find his identity that was sometime during the Nazi Occupation of Paris. The setting is Paris, the time is 1965 France and through the course of winnowing down clues he travels the streets of Paris, the countryside of France, Russia and Los Angeles, looking for anyone who can identify a man in the photograph which is himself. As the reader, I felt treated to a view of Europe après war, where everyone's identity was fogged due to destruction of their world. Where detectives normally gather clues, Roland collects mementos; more photographs, a book, letters, a faded magazine, from the people he interviews. It is these tidbits of memories that he uses to piece his person together. At times the story floats in and out of view but the writing is beautiful. It is a good short read, and in the end it is not at all what you expected.”
Steph is here with a last minute gift suggestion for Father's Day. "This week I’ve been reading the latest from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis: The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789. Ellis asserts that the saga of creating and ratifying the Constitution is just as important as the American Revolution in our country’s history, or perhaps even moreso. These days, we think of the Constitution as an almost sacred document, created by the Founding Fathers in a fit of great wisdom. In fact, the meetings and editorials and politicking around this crucial document were no less partisan and pitched than those around modern legislation. Even the Bill of Rights barely made it through! Without a concerted effort by the quartet Ellis focuses on—Washington, Hamilton, Jay, and Madison—it’s likely we would not be one big United States of America today. As ever, Ellis’s research and writing are engaging, bringing American politics out of the realm of portraits and into the real world. If you haven’t gotten a Father’s Day gift for the dad in your life who can’t get enough of politics and history, scoop this one up."
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here with some final thoughts for us and of course our soundtrack for the weekend. What’s good, Pats? “This weekend marks the Summer Solstice, Father’s Day, car shows, the season of the backyard BBQ and I’m thinking about sharks. Sharks come in various shapes, colors and sizes. There are over 400 species that swim in the oceans. As a child I was terrified of sharks due to the movie Jaws. I’ve discovered that sometimes in the shallows, when you feel like you’re in a safe place, a shark can still find you. Remember to just keep swimming.”
James and Stephanie presented today to the Meet Us On Main Street reading group.
James is a linguist and we got a quick course in how to speak correctly with his assortment of titles: Garner's Modern American Usage and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, and The Professor and the Madman, which is based on a true story of the development of the very first Oxford English Dictionary. As well, June is Pride Month and James celebrated with an assortment of titles: Two Boys Kissing which is a story, set during pre-gay rights times, of two highschool students who lock lips to smash Guiness's longest kiss record: and two Netflix movies, Lilting, a touching account of a bereaving Cambodian-Chinese mother who lost her son who she did not know was gay and then meets her son's lover; and Pride about an unsual pairing of Welsh miners and gay activitists that share a common bond.
Stephanie had summer on her mind and recommended something thrilling, something mindful, something historical and also something sultry : geo-chaching clues tattooed on victims in Five, coming of age story of a boy suspected of a crime he did not commit in My Sunshine Away, a feel good story, during the Great Depression, about a bawdy broad of the Bowery in Saint Mazie, and considered a predessesor to Fifty Shades of Grey is Slammerkin.
Sally left a collection of non-fiction titles for Stephanie to share with the group: One the Move; Atoms Under the Floorboards; The Disappearing Spoon; On The Burning Edge; and The New York Times Book of Medicine.
The list begins below:
Here are the new titles available from OverDrive.
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan
The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin
The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Dinner with Buddha by Roland Merullo
Country by Danielle Steel
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
These are the new titles available from 3M.
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!
This week let's look at movies based on true stories. And remember you don't have to wait! Immediate gratification can be yours!
Not sure what this means? Click here!
Greetings! I hope this week’s You Are What You Read finds everyone well and ready for the weekend. The message from The SoNo Loft this week is ‘Build Your Bridge’. For me, this week has seen some bridges and they are mostly bridges to the Past. A friend alerted me to the following story about some dolls made by Thomas Edison 1890. Now, we all know how I feel about an antique doll. Imagine how I feel about an antique doll that not only has teeth but can, wait for it, speak. I have included the link to the story here, but I can in no way be responsible for your nightmares should you play the audio. These little charmers have been silent for many years because of the fragility of the wax cylinders that live in their tiny terrifying bodies. With the advent of a new technology the voices of the dolls were able to be heard for the first time in decades. This was not an Edison success apparently (they were expensive and people wanted their lips to move!) and he ended up calling them his ‘little monsters’. Consider yourselves warned should you decide to investigate further. I am relieved to report that the dolls themselves are back in a display cabinet in Wisconsin. Let’s hope it’s locked. The other story is the opposite of creepy and is in fact charming. In a high school in Oklahoma City during some renovations a discovery was made. Behind some chalkboards that were being removed so white boards could be installed in their place, were chalkboards that last saw the light of day in December 1917. Apparently they had been covered up during a December weekend when the ‘new’ boards were installed. This is not the cool part. The cool part is that they had not been erased and were perfectly preserved with the day’s lessons. It would appear that the pressing concerns were pilgrims, cleanliness, Christmas countdowns and multiplication tables. They are beautiful works of art and they make me ashamed of the scrawl that I call my handwriting. No one can be sure why the boards were covered up with new chalkboards but the janitors did take some time to sign their names before they did. The school is trying to figure out the best way to preserve them so that they can be enjoyed by all. That story can be found here. So enjoy these voices from a past that may seem long ago but still have something to say. This week we have a secret society, death, a hike, some dark secrets, a dog and some London. The Playlist this week is our bridge to some ghostly fun.
Let us begin!
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is letting you in on a little something about herself. “I love a good conspiracy theory. Add some American history, throw in a secret society or two, and you have the perfect book recipe for me. Brad Meltzer successfully created this winning combination in his first two books The Fifth Assassin and The Inner Circle which introduce readers to Beecher White, a young staffer working at the National Archives in Washington D.C., who along with a childhood friend, inadvertently discovers a long buried national secret. This knowledge brings Beecher to the attention of The Culper Ring, a secret society that was created by George Washington to protect the presidency that is still in existence. In the third book of the series, The President’s Shadow, Beecher has embraced his role as a member of The Culper Ring and is desperately trying to find the link between his own past and that of a dangerous fringe group. The book tries to tie up all of the loose ends from the previous two novels, and at times is enthralling, but overall it was missing the historical factoids that made the first two novels so interesting. I would definitely recommend this book especially for Brad Meltzer fans, but if you haven’t read the first two in the series then start there before picking up this one. “
Barbara M is here with a topic that while less than pleasant is one that must be addressed. “I am not quite finished with Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. This is a hard book to read because no one wants to think about dying; whether it be for themselves or a loved one. But, we all will die. That is the reality. It is how we face it and deal with it that can make a difference. It was easier when extended families lived together and when there weren’t as many medical ‘miracles’ available. Dr. Gawande writes about some solutions but more importantly he makes us think about what we want for ourselves and our loved ones at the end of life. Death is certain but the time and circumstance is not. This is a thought provoking and well written book that should be read by all.”
The Ever Delightful Pat S is doing some head scratching. “How is it that no-one ever alerted me to the humor in Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods? Published in 1996, this is a travel book of the first order and I am so delighted that circumstances forced me to read it. Having returned to living in the United States after living overseas for a length of time, Bryson decides to walk the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Neither athlete nor naturalist, Bryson recounts his preparation and execution of said plan with droll wit. Early on he realizes that perhaps hiking 2,100 miles in virtual solitude may not be the safest nor sanest undertaking, and invites his old friend Stan Katz to join him. Part sage, part buffoon, Katz provides some of the high points of hilarity throughout the book. Clearly Bryson did significant research for this book and intersperses the hike with the history of the Trail as well as the government groups responsible for its maintenance. Additionally, he deftly describes various flora and fauna -and the deleterious effect of urbanization on the landscape. While I don’t believe I’ll be signing up for a similar adventure in the near future (or frankly, ever), I am certainly grateful that Bryson shared his experience.”
The Always Fabulous Babs B has just finished Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight.
“From the author of Reconstructing Amelia comes this psychological suspense tale about a journalist who uncovers her community's darkest secrets after a newborn's body is found in the woods. The story centers on three women, one of whom is a freelance journalist who is unexpectedly called upon to cover this horrible news. Unfortunately, Molly has gone through a severe depression following the loss of her own baby which makes it extremely hard to accept this assignment. Her investigation reveals a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind the town's white picket fences. This is a great thriller and I didn't regret a minute. There was a big twist at the end which I never saw coming!!
It’s no secret that Pat T loves dogs so this week’s book comes as no surprise. “Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue is the perfect summer read for dog and book lovers! Maggie Brennan has relocated to San Francisco and has started a pet bereavement business where she spends a lot of time helping her patients cope with their loss. Unfortunately she hasn't confronted her own loss of her childhood pet dog, Toby, who passed away shortly after she arrived in San Francisco. She is also dealing with a case of agoraphobia which has made her a prisoner in her own home. Maggie's life is upended when a new client shows up, not for bereavement counseling, but needing help with the search and rescue of her stolen dog. While helping Anya search for her dog, Maggie faces her own fears and opens her life to new possibilities! This story speaks to the love and healing powers of pets in our lives.”
Steph is embracing the season this week and is still more than a little freaked by a chick with a brick. ”I am getting into the summer mood with a nice Victorian mystery this week. The Yard by Alex Grecian came up on hold for me this week. Why? I have no idea! Somebody must have recommended it to me, but I don’t remember who. If you’re out there, recommender, I thank you because I really enjoyed it! Set in London just after Jack the Ripper has stopped terrorizing the city; this book follows a few mysteries and the Scotland Yard detectives on the newly-created Murder Squad who tries to solve them. It has a great plot and a nice fast pace, though the characters are a little thin. It would be an excellent beach book for fans of Anne Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt (as well as folks like me, who were fans of Anne Perry but are now morally conflicted about reading her new books).”
Here’s DJ Jazzy Patty McC from that State Up North. Not only does she have some final thoughts, but she’s got The Playlist too. What’s good Pats? I’ve been thinking a lot about the recently discovered 1917 chalkboards in Oklahoma, the Loft’s message of “Build Your Bridge” and graduations taking place everywhere. It’s a season of hope and endless possibility right on the cusp of summer. It’s also the season for quoting Robert Frosts’, “The Road Not Taken”. This oft-quoted poem is read in bits and pieces for school graduations all across our fair land and is interpreted in different ways. Mostly folks interpret the poem with a core message of the traveler taking “the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” In this interpretation, it suggests that we should strike out and live a non-conformist life, march to the music of our own playlist. Or it can be read as a romanticized look back, “What if I had chosen a different path… What if…” To me, it reads as a poem about endless possibilities, endless choices and every road in between. I wonder if those teachers of 1917 read the Frost poem to their students. I wonder if they wrote about that poem on their chalkboards. I wonder if these ghosts were encouraged to build their own bridge if one did not exist. I’d like to think so.
DL GHOSTLY VISIONS 2015
Here are the new titles available from OverDrive.
Cash Landing by James Grippando
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Girl in the Moonlight by Charles Dubow
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin
Robert Ludlum's the Janson Equation by Douglas Corleone
Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
The Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora