Hello! Welcome to the Full Buck Moon edition of You Are What You Read. This full moon, which occurs this Wednesday, is thusly named because this is when Bucks grow their antlers. It is also called the Thunder Moon because this is when a lot of thunderstorms happen to occur. It’s promising to be a rainy, thundering weekend so it’s not so far off. I know nothing about antler sprouting. If anyone gets the 411 on that, please report back.
The SoNo Loft has a cheery message this week which is ‘Manamana, do do do do do’. If you don’t understand the message here is a clip for you. Guaranteed you’ll be humming this all weekend. A very special thanks to The Loft (aka Think Around Corners) for the bit of whimsy and charm that they bring to my commute. Thanks Guys! You’ll never know how much we all appreciate it.
Earlier this week The Always Dapper James brought a film short to my attention and now I have something new to obsess over; the secret life of those figurines that were all over your Nana’s house. You know the ones of which I speak. Those little weird Hummel boys and girls (which always looked ‘off’ to me), the LLardo stretchy people that always looked like El Greco via a second rate Hallmark Card Artist, the animal ones (cats, dogs, birds) or as one of my grandmothers had, weird china shoes in all shapes and sizes with flowers on them. These dust collectors lived on side tables or the occasional decorative shelving that seemed to oddly be made for just this very sort of thing. Anyway, they apparently have a secret life which will be revealed if you watch this short. I am equal parts fascinated and horrified. Although nothing can ever mesmerize/repel like a doll with teeth, the stars of this little film comes pretty close. I almost want to go and seek out a cowgirl of my very own. The very valuable take away from this tiny masterpiece? Never mess with a Cowgirl. She’ll. Mess. You. Up.
This week we have some sardonic wit (not necessarily mine), British humour, what’s next, and a big fat family saga. This week’s Playlist is Cowgirl approved.
Let us begin!
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has two offerings this week. “Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend are two of the most addicting and hysterical novels I have read in a long time. Think The Devil Wears Prada but based in Singapore with more money and interfering relatives. I am not sure what I loved more: the description of the outrageous lifestyle (who would have thought having a Netjet card would be considered slumming it?), or the mouthwatering description of the food (seriously cannot stop thinking about authentic Chinese food), of course, and the sardonic wit (which made me cackle out loud) given to several of the characters was outstanding. Regardless, it is a frivolous good time and I couldn’t put either of the books down.
Barbara M is reaching out to an original. “If you’ve finished watching the latest season of House of Cards brilliantly starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and are wondering what to watch next allow me to suggest that you watch the original British series. It is less violent and more sinister than the American version with an underlying twist of British humor. Wonderful!”
Pat T is all about what comes next. “I picked up, What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas because the title appealed to me. The memoir is a compilation of journal entries about significant events over the course of the author's life ranging from her lifelong friendship with a colleague in publishing; the tragic accident of her husband; her daughter's cancer diagnosis and recovery, as well as many family gatherings with her four adult children and twelve grandchildren and her cherished dogs. Ms. Thomas's memoir is a very honest rendering of the ups and downs of her everyday life and most important of all; the love of family and friends.”
I am in the middle of The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres. I have to tell you that this is one of those books that has me clamoring to get back to it. This big fat sweeping saga is about 3 families who are neighbors in the English countryside. The British McCosh family, The half- French Pitt family and the American Pendennis family. Beginning with the coronation of King Edward and the idyllic Edwardian period going through the horrors of World War I and beyond this is a wonderful look at ordinary lives in extraordinary times. The chapters that chronicled Ash Pendennis’s experience in the trenches of France were some of the roughest I have ever read but they still had a wonderful sort of beauty about them. You will have to wait until August to pick this one up.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named with some final musings and of course The Playlist. What’s good Pats? “ This week my father-in-law hopped a flight to Music City to induct one of his grads into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. His former student now a Milwaukee country music DJ and morning show host, Karen Dalessandro was honored this week in Nashville. Did I mention that my husband went with him to Nashville? Did I mention that I might be a teeny bit envious? Well, since I couldn’t be there to share in the celebration of a woman DJ being inducted, I thought I’d spin a little Country Music right here. Who knows, maybe Karen has a few of these songs on her own playlist. “
DL LAST CALL IN MUSIC CITY 2015
Ann and Pat presented to the Meet Us On Main Street Group today.
Ann's common denominator was family life and the titles she presented expanded that premise with additions of single parenthood with an autistic child in Language Arts, the selfless, close family bonds during illness in Inside the O'Brien's, Hollywood and remarriage a la Candace Bergen in A Fine Romance, a girl sent from home during the war to the safe Welsh countryside, runs away to return to a deserted home occupied by the enemy in The Dynamite Room, and how one woman copes with relocating to a new town, one affair after another in Hausfrau.
Pat happened to be traveling recently and had loaded her device with the titles she chose for today. Her theme was Top Picks that included a memoir, delightful journal essays -- including the silly antics of the authors dogs in What Comes Next and How To Like It, a DVD of academy award winning performance of Julianna Moore in Still Alice, DeMille's highly anticipated John Corey thriller in Radiant Angel, fun audiobook, to listen while you drive or cook dinner, by comedian Amy Poehler in Yes Please, a beach read in Summer Secrets, elderly companionship in Our Souls at Night. And then perfect for summer, Endless Summer Cookbook, and Underwater Babies.
The list begins below:
Here are the new titles available from OverDrive.
Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams
Summer Secrets by Jane Green
The Rocks by Peter Nichols
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell
Disclaimer by Renée Knight
Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews
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!
How about some true classic albums this week? And remember you don't have to wait! Immediate gratification can be yours!
Not sure what this means? Click here!
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: