You Are What You Read!

The words fromThe SoNo Loft this week are “Just Build It.” As always The Loft is ON IT.  I have noticed that there seems to be a movement afoot.  People seem to be just building their own damn Spring.  For me, there is the refusal to wear a hat.  I won’t do it.  You can’t make me.  Gloves came next and then this morning came the realization I am down to one knee high.  This can only mean one thing.  It’s time to start thinking about the return of the Bare Leg.  To be honest, The Amazing Amanda started that trend 4 days ago and she gave me the courage to begin to even think about it.  And we are not alone in this!  There was this article in the New York Times on Wednesday all about it.  And you know when the Times reports on it, it’s a real thing.  So begin building your very own Spring!  Daffodils are 2 bunches for $5 at the Whole Foods.  Even I can afford this.  Buy them in bulk and strewn them all over your home.  Banish the grey, the sad and the cold.   Just Build It already!  This week we have a new romance, twins, spies, life lessons,  Civil Rights, and New Jersey.  Did DJ Patty McC build The Playlist?  You know she did!

Let us begin!

The Amazing Amanda asks us the following question:  “Are you tired of dainty debutantes and aggressive men with no personality? Then Mary Jo Putney's The Lost Lords series is going to keep you busy for the next few weeks. The books follow the romances of the first class of well-born, but badly behaved young lords of an early 18th century academy. These are not ordinary gentleman since they range from one duke being half-Indian, another is a master spy, others have fought in the Napoleonic wars, while Lord Grey languished in solitary confinement for 10 years. Each man is evenly matched with an equally intelligent woman. These ladies are accomplished and struggling against the restrictive social order of their times. What I appreciate about these stories is the characters are well-rounded, flawed, and working towards goals that matter to them. Be warned though: these books are violent and feature passionate lovers. They're fun to read through and keep you guessing as to who the villain is in every tale. “

Miz Mallory the Programming Diva is getting creative as is her wont.  “Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun tells the story of Jude and her twin brother Noah. Told in alternating voices, Noah’s chapters take place when the twins are 13-years-old and Jude’s take place when they’re 16, this was just what I needed after some heavy nonfiction. What seems to matter most to the twins is what happened in those in-between years, the ones not on the pages. When Noah tells his story, the twins are inseparable, often sitting as close as they can just to feel as if they are one being. When Jude tells her story, the twins are cold and distant. As the story goes on, you begin to learn what happened between 13 and 16, what caused the twins to turn their solid, joyful relationship into a sad, almost non-existent one. You’ll fall for Noah and Jude equally and be screaming at the pages for them to just talk to one another. For lovers of LBGTQ fiction, literary YA, and sibling fiction (which is a genre I just made up), two enthusiastic thumbs up.”

Abby has a new series she wants to share. “I pursued a Soviet Studies in college. No, it hasn’t really helped me much but I did enjoy the writing and lively discussions. Then I discovered the series The Americans. Talk about a series being right in your wheelhouse! The series features 80’s pop culture, excellent spy tradecraft, and a tremendous amount of emotional manipulation. It stars Keri Russell as Soviet sleeper agent Elizabeth born Nadezhda, who was paired with Phillip nee Mikhail played by Matthew Rhys, and placed inside the United States as sleeper agents for the KGB. The KGB trained them to blend in, have a family and live life. And they do just that; until they are activated. Once their missions start rolling in, the borscht really hits the fan! Add to this a marriage that started out as an assignment but has clearly always been more than that to Phillip who is indeed in love with Elizabeth. Will the love be reciprocated because she too loves Phillip, or because it’s her job? The writers do some very interesting things with Elizabeth and Phillip as they juggle their home life with their responsibilities to the motherland. They have an arsenal of techniques to recruit others to their cause and are not above seduction, threats, and executions. Watching them exploit the vulnerabilities of their targets is extremely uncomfortable, yet you pull for them on some level while loathing their actions and trying to will their prey to somehow resist and fight back. Be prepared for a rollercoaster ride filled with the excess of the 80’s, cold war brutality, and the use of sexuality to serve a cause. “

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan can be found on a treadmill listening to Monday's Lie by Jamie Mason.  “At some point in our lives, we all hear our mother’s voice in the back of our minds with the lessons they taught us about how to handle ourselves. For me, it was how to conduct myself as a strong, smart Southern woman. To quote my mother ‘always be the one wearing the pink suit in the boardroom full of men. Show them you are a woman and you aren’t going to be forgotten.’ It's those little life lessons that make each of us unique, but for the main character, Dee Aldrich, in the book Monday’s Lie by Jamie Mason, her upbringing is a little bit different.  You see, her mother was a top-level spy for the government and she made hyperawareness, sleuthing, and other spy traits as part of her upbringing.  For Dee, her mother’s long absences and alternative lifestyle were too much, and so as an adult she chose the polar opposite, instead settling down with the most normal man she could find and living a nice, if uneventful life. But you can’t escape the lessons learned in childhood, and soon Dee becomes aware things are not right, and she will fully need to rely on what her mother taught her if she wants to survive. I recommend this as a fun Spring Break thriller or if you are like me, and need something to take your mind off of your time on the treadmill, it is the perfect audiobook and can be found on Hoopla.

Steph is taking recommendations!  Here’s what she recently picked up. “I took Barbara’s advice and read March: Book Two. This is the second volume in a planned trilogy written by John Lewis, the Congressman from Georgia who is the only remaining member of the Big Six of the Civil Rights Movement. In the first volume, the scene was set for the movement and Lewis’s involvement; in this volume, the action escalates quickly, as Lewis and his colleagues launch the 1961 Freedom Riders campaign at great risk to their lives. Lewis (and his co-writer, Andrew Aydin and illustrator, Nate Powell) are honest and clear about the violence and hatred they encountered, the difficulties and the successes of peaceful civil disobedience, and the disagreements inside the movement. The simplicity of their storytelling, which is set against an ongoing subplot about President Obama’s first inauguration, is powerful beyond measure. I read it twice and it gave me chills each time. This is not just one of the best graphic novels of the year, but one of the best history books, period. “

I was gifted an Advance Reader’s Copy of In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.   In her first adult novel in 15 years she looks at a 3 month period in 1951-1952.  I was during this time a series of passenger planes crashed in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey.  Blume draws on her own memories of that time to bring us the stories of those who witnessed this horror on the ground but those who perished in the crashes.  Her voice is still as magnetic as it was whenever you first happened to read her. This one comes out in early June.


DJ JaZZY Patty Mc!  What’s good this week? “Winter is finally giving way to spring and everyone here couldn’t be happier. Sure, we’re wading through big muddy puddles but we can see green living things emerging from the swampland. The snowbirds are flocking back to their northern nests and I’m not talking about the geese. The geese beat my neighbor’s return and they make their presence known in many, many ways. I’ve been mucking my way through construction sites looking at houses. It was a coincidence that The Loft proclaimed, “Just Build It”. I’ve got lots of building plans this spring that include raised garden boxes and some really cool vertical ones. I’ve got the tools to do it. So whatever your particular proclivity is for building or creating. It’s spring. Now’s the time! I thought a little Muddy Waters would be appropriate right about now. “

DL THE MUDDY WATERS OF SPRING 2015 – Patty McCormick

In the Time of Knicks

Knicks fans, the season is almost over. It's been one of the worst -- if not THE worst -- in franchise history. Back in January, the press was already calling them a "dead team walking." The only hope is to tear everything down and start fresh, and it can't come soon enough.

Just three years ago this winter, Linsanity reigned -- it was a brief revival of the excitement that was an everyday occurrence at Madison Square Garden in the late 60s and early 70s. Those Knicks fielded some of the greatest starting line-ups ever: Dick Barnett, Dave DeBusschere, Cazzie Russell, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Phil Jackson, Earl Monroe, and of course, Walt "Clyde" Frazier. New York was in love with the Knicks and they gave the fans unforgettable thrills and two championship banners in return.

ESPN's excellent "30 for 30" series now brings us When the Garden was Eden, a documentary look at those glory days. The film includes unforgettable moments, like Willis Reed's dramatic entrance in Game 7 of the 1970 Finals, against the backdrop of the Viet Nam war and that era in American history. It will provide hope for discouraged Knicks fans and serve as warning to the rest of the NBA: when the Knicks finally come back, watch out!

New DVD Releases

New opportunities for your viewing pleasure.

New eBooks from 3M

Here are the new titles available from 3M.

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!

Meet Us On Main Street

It was a heavy day - Alan and Janet presented to the Meet Us On Main Street group and between the two of them, they covered the giant span of histories: literary philosophies after WWII, the dust bowl and the havoc it wrought, and again, the dawn of man of which the group can't stop talking about.  The books were big, fat things and the content dense.  But knowing that light and airey reading for pure entertainment is also greatly appreciated, Alan and Janet also brought fantastic thrillers, well-written realistic fiction, and a hysterically funny memoir about a homesick nanny beset with troublesome children in London.  And would spring be spring, if we did not have some re-invention, improve oneself, kind of books (highlights from our Business Book Group series last year) to help shed all those bad winter habits.  Of course not, so Alan brought a dose of those as well.   The final 9 entries are suggested reads the group has enjoyed.  Go forth into Spring, the list begins below: 

 

 

What's the Hoopla?

How about some Indie picks  this week?   And remember you don't have to wait!  Immediate gratification can be yours!

Not sure what this means?  Click here!
 

What are my neighbors up to?

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

You Are What You Read!

This week has felt like nothing so much as one step forward and two steps back.  It began with so much promise too!  I enjoyed my first run down to the water since December on Monday evening.  There was a gently setting sun, a new pair of kicks, a softening of the ground, a whisper of warmth in the briny air and the promise of better days.  This all circled the drain the very next day when the temperatures plummeted and on Wednesday snow bedeviled my morning walk to the train. My poor sister-in-law shared a picture of her garden on St. Patrick’s Day encased in at least 6 inches of ice and snow. She was wondering how she was going to get her peas planted.  The answer is, sorry Cathy, you’re not. There are no fresh peas on the Tundra.  Add to this misery, my third cold of the season (seriously? I am practically bullet proof! I never get sick, truly) and I am finding it hard to find any hope or promise of better things to come at this point. But then I noticed something as I was walking to work. I noticed a bona fide, true miracle. The witch hazel bush that lives on the corner of Thorndal Circle and the Post Road in the Nielsen’s parking lot was, wait for it, BLOOMING! There was a living thing. OUTSIDE. WITH FLOWERS ON IT!  So if you, like me, are at the point where you feel in your heart there is no hope to be found, and your soul is weary and grey like the snow left on the side of the road,  get yourself over to Nielsen’s and check out the Witch Hazel.  It just may make you feel better or it just may make you finally book that one-way flight to points South. Your choice. This week we have an accident, civil rights, a library, Walter Reed, France, NYC, a frozen pond, and a dicey trip on a luxury liner. We may be cold but there will always be The Playlist.


Let us begin!


Sweet Ann is here this week.  And I for one want to know when we are going to see an Egg TreeAnnAnn?  Anyway, here is what she thinks of The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer.  “This is an engrossing, well written novel about a young man named Matthew who is a schizophrenic.  Matthew narrates the story as a young man reflecting on his childhood and the death of his older brother Simon.  When Matthew was nine years old there was an accident and his twelve-year-old brother, Simon, who had Down syndrome died. Matthew has blamed himself for years for Simon's death.  Matthew shares his reflections, his relationship with his parents and his mental anguish.  The author changed the typeface of the book at times to reflect Matthew's mental state which really helped to convey his emotions. I found this book to be fast paced and engrossing.  I highly recommend it.”


Barbara M is out of her comfort zone with this week’s read. ”I’ve just finished reading March: Book Two the second non-fiction graphic novel by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell.  It is the story of incredibly courageous people enduring horrible consequences while fighting for their basic rights, the rights most of us take for granted. This is the history of the Civil Rights movement in this country as I’ve never heard it told before, written by a man who was an integral part of it. Congressman John Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was one of the six people who spoke at the 1963 March on Washington. He is the only one still alive. The book is powerful and moving and should be required reading for any High School student studying American History. “


Pat T, as usual, can be found listening. “I took a patron's suggestion to read this short, imaginative tale by the author who also wrote Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage.  I listened to the audio of The Strange Library, by Haruki Murakami. I must say I found the young boy to be  very endearing when he would say, ‘My mother taught me.... to return books on time; if you knock on a door you have to wait there until someone answers it and when you want to know something look it up in the library.’ His mother's instructions get him into trouble when he is directed to Room 107 in search of books about how taxes were collected during the Ottoman Empire. There he encounters a very strange man who imprisons him in the basement of the library. Things then proceed to get dark and curiouser and curiouser, similar to Alice in Wonderland when she went down the rabbit hole.”


Diane just finished Blue Stars written by Emily Gray Tedrowe. “This novel recounts the lives of Ellen, a Midwestern college professor whose guardian has enlisted in the Marines, and Lacey, a Bronx native married to a career Army man always struggling to make ends meet. The novel brings these two women and their families together at Walter Reed Medical Center. The daily stress, frustration and bureaucracy involved with the care and decisions being made for their injured family members are mixed with the long term realities. Adding to this stress, are the deplorable conditions many families face during temporary housing while on the Walter Reed Campus .I really enjoyed this very emotional story.”

Babs B can’t stop talking about how much she loves The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. “It is 1939 France and the quiet village of Carriveau is on the brink of changing forever.  The once peaceful and bucolic town has turned into a horrific show of airplanes, war tanks, bombs and Nazis. Vianne Mauriac, the young wife of a recently drafted soldier, is obligated to house a Nazi.  Her rebellious sister Isabelle, chooses the dangerous path of joining the French Resistance. This was a great historical fiction novel and I thought the author did a wonderful job explaining this complex story and taking the time to make the reader understand the complex characters and their journey throughout the book.  I even gave up one of my favorite TV shows because I loved this book so much!”


The Always Delightful Pat S never wastes her time on silliness so let’s see what she thinks of  The Whites by Richard Price. “As you know, Crime and Detective/Mystery are not really genres I read often but I made an exception in this case because the buzz has been so hot. Situated in New York City, we are introduced to Billy Graves, who holds a position as a detective in the graveyard shift which is essentially a placeholder until he reaches retirement. But once he was part of a young and aggressive group of crime fighters known as the Wild Geese who all graduated from the Police Academy together. As we are introduced to the other four ‘Geese” we see that time and experience have beaten them down. Each has had a traumatic encounter with some heinous thug which has left them deeply disillusioned, made all the more so by the fact that these thugs were never brought to justice. Until now as one by one, the various perpetrators are being found dead throughout the city and it falls to Billy to investigate. The mystery is not the most compelling feature here, it is the writing. Rarely has the grittiness of New York’s boroughs been so keenly described. Price does a brilliant job of painting the barren emotional landscape after twenty years on the job for these policemen. Overwhelmingly, the reader is left with a sense of hopelessness because good doesn’t always trump evil. Not for the faint of heart!”


Sue is reading a fiction and a non-fiction book this week and she is enjoying them both. “My fiction choice is The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy. Salome Montgomery truly fears winter, unlike those of us who are just sick and tired of it. She’s not a fan of the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all she is afraid of the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn't forgotten their warning to ’stay away.’ I am really enjoying reading this book and I highly recommend it to those who also share a love of all things otherworldly!  My non-fiction choice is Dead Wake; The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.  On May 1, 1915, a richly appointed luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious and rightly so with the knowledge that Germany had changed the rules of war to include attacking passenger ships. Erik Larson's writing makes me feel like I am on the decks of the ship where you can feel the intensity and uncertainty of war around you.  Dead Wake is a page turner and a must read!”  


DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named with our final thoughts of the week and of course, The Playlist.  What’s good Pats? “I know we’ve all had it with winter. We said goodbye to Phil last week. We are more than ready for spring. But there’s been a new development. I’ve been told by my conspiracy loving friend that there’s a final email circulating from the rodents. Phil’s still down under, soaking up the last of the summer rays, chilling in the surf, practicing the putt and consuming beverages topped with umbrellas. He’s angered his band of rogue rodents who’ve been left behind due to new airline restrictions. They’ve said they’re planning an early April Fool’s Day joke. Phil is flying back Friday and they’ve decided that his arrival should include some flurries, maybe more than a few, a last winter blast that will sting. Apparently rodents hold a grudge and have a long memory. Wishing us all springtime weather soon.”

DL ENOUGH ALREADY BRING SPRING!! 2015

 

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