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!
Here are the new eBook titles that are available from OverDrive,
American Appetites by Joyce Carol Oats
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
A Perfect Life by Danielle Steel
We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault
We have lots of smallish things to discuss this week starting with the words from the SoNo Loft which are: “I must reveal my deepest thought: I love you train. I am ready to take this to the next level.” I have no idea what is meant by this. But rest assured I will be keeping my eyes open and when I know, so will you. We are in the beginning days of Darien: The Left Behind. This is a spot we find ourselves in every August when you all decamp to places where one Summers as a verb leaving us behind to tend the home fires. Things are so quiet that there were only 4 police reports in the paper this week. If you are reading this on a beach/lake/mountaintop we hope you are having fun and we would like to remind you that fudge and taffy are always appreciated and it is possible to buy our love with food. Finally this weekend we have the second Super Full Moon of the summer. Some of the things we have seen this week confirms that the Full Moon is indeed on its way and it will indeed be Super. I will let you all use your imaginations on that and suffice it to say that your imaginations cannot begin to match our reality. I think the only reason it is not making us run for the Hills and building a Bunker stocked with canned goods and alcohol is that the heat and humidity that usually accompany an August full moon just aren’t there. To say we are grateful is an understatement. This week we have DC and New York, Nigeria and Hollywood, disappointment, Chicago, Mississippi, youthful optimism, France and of course there will always be an England. And of course we have The Playlist.
Let us begin!
Welcome back Barbara M! Barbara was away for a while but now she’s back and we could not be more pleased. You were missed! “This week I will digress from my usual format. Uncharacteristically I have watched two incredible series. When I finished the second season of House of Cards I was distraught. It was so well scripted, and so well-acted, that I didn’t think I could watch another series. Kevin Spacey plays a Washington, D.C. hotshot with enough ambition and chutzpa to take on the world. He is married to Robin Wright, with the same demonic drives. Together they are determined to climb to the top. I was hooked by the first episode and was seriously suffering at the end of the second season with withdrawal until I decided to try Orange is the New Black. Orange is the New Black is both a very dark comedy and a drama. Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, is a rich, privileged New Yorker who gets involved in a drug smuggling ring, gets arrested and then sent to prison. Again the Netflix writers have done an incredible job at developing the characters. It is funny (in a perverse way), poignant and absolutely, engrossing.”
Steph! What’s doing this week? “This week I have two totally different books to recommend. The first is Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I have wanted to read this book for months, so much so that I bought my own copy to take on vacation with me. Given all the great reviews and best-of lists, I was certain it would be great, and it exceeded even my high expectations. Adichie is a genius. The story alternates between two teenage sweethearts: we watch them fall in love and then lose each other as Ifemelu leaves Nigeria for America and becomes an academic, and Obinze tries his luck as an undocumented immigrant in London and then makes his fortune back in Nigeria. Both of them experience the pains and triumphs of adulthood apart, but never stop thinking of each other even as years of silence pass. The story slowly circles towards the first time they’ll both be in Nigeria in years, and by the end I wasn’t sure what would happen or even what I wanted to happen! Adichie’s writing is so funny but it it also cutting. I read the first 100 pages in a blur, completely losing track of time. Though Adichie is Nigerian, I’d nominate this book for Great American Novel any day of the week. And then for something completely opposite, we have The Actress by Amy Sohn. Yes, that’s the one that’s based on the TomKat story. A minor actress is catapulted to fame through her marriage to a high-profile actor. But is the whole marriage just a cover for his gay relationships? Who can she trust in the depths of Hollywood? And who has she become? Great American Novel it is not but it’s the perfect page-turning smart beach read. This is a book custom-made for the dog days of August.”
Alison F is our numbers person but occasionally she’ll grab something with letters in it. Sadly this was not her week for a happy result. “I just finished reading The Three by Susan Lotz and I was very disappointed. Thrillers should build and keep building and keep your attention until you get the answers. While I will say that the author was able to build his characters in the end the plot crashed and burned. So disappointed.”
The Fabulous Babs B is here with The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. What did you think Babs? “This is the story of a kidnapping gone wrong. Mia, the black sheep daughter of a prominent Chicago judge is the target and the plot unfolds in four different perspectives: Mia, Mia's mother Eve, Gabe, the detective assigned to the case and Colin, the kidnapper. I must admit I was confused in the beginning reading the before and after segments of each character. My advice is to just be patient, it all comes together I'm happy to report and there is a big twist at the end. Fans of Gone Girl will enjoy this one!”
The Ever Delightful Pat S had finished one of my favorites and here is her take on Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth. “A debut novel, Flying Shoes is nothing short of being an unpolished jewel. Set in a small, insular university town in Mississippi, the story revolves around the unsolved murder of the nine- year -old brother of the main character Mary Byrd Thornton. Thirty five years later, new information comes to light requiring Mary Byrd to find her way to Richmond to meet with her remaining family and the detectives re-opening this cold case-in the midst of a devastating winter ice storm-and we’re off to the races! In true Southern literary tradition, Howorth richly describes small town university life in the south with a cast of memorable characters reinforcing the unpredictability and sheer absurdity of living. It was hard to close the last page on Mary Byrd, Teever, Ernest and Foote-and I am missing them still. Cannot wait to see what this author does next!”
Pat T recently listened to the audio version of The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. “I found her collection of fiction and non-fiction essays to be full of youthful energy, optimism, profound and yet lighthearted. Her essays are a testament to her talent, as well as being her legacy, since she tragically passed away shortly after her college graduation. I enjoyed reading this book because it gives voice to the ideas, hopes and dreams and concerns of the twenty-something generation.”
This week one of our patrons Shirley O has submitted a review for us. She has just finished Robert Harris's An Officer and A Spy and here is what she thought of it. Welcome Shirley! “As always, Harris writes so well that you are immersed in the true story of Alfred Dreyfus. The way he tells about this episode of French bigotry and how it was it is solved is so exciting that you will think you are in 1890’s France. I think everyone should read this book because a lot of people have never heard of the Dreyfus Affair and this is a wonderful way of learning about it.”
I am very excited about my newest Blow Dry Book. Those who are frequent visitors know that I read while I blow dry my hair. Because it’s a boring chore and I come from a people who believe that any time you are bored it is your own fault and you are not being resourceful enough to entertain yourself. There are requirements to Blow Dry Books. The chapters need to be short and engaging, and you need to be able to easily pick up where you left off. Books of letters are the perfect Blow Dry Books. In Darling Monster: The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to Son John Julius Norwich, 1939-1952 by Lady Diana Cooper we have what is one of the most engaging Blow Dry Books I have come across in a long time. This lovely collection spans some of the most tumultuous years in British history and Lady Diana and her husband Duff Cooper were right in the middle of it all. In these letters we see a doting mother explaining a trip to the states to help sway American opinion away from Isolationism along with a plea to remember to say your prayers. It’s simply charming.
And here’s DJ Jazzy Patty McC . Still in the State Which Shall Not Be Named. What’s good Pats? "This summer has kept me busy. Very, very busy keeping secret surprises and catering things like my cousins’ 25th wedding anniversary, a top-secret cousin engagement (that also involved cooking) now throw in a visit from lovely CT friends and Maker Faire Detroit. This was all in the last two weeks! Frankly, I’m feeling slightly exhausted. This week marks my 21st wedding anniversary to my wonderful partner and our annual extended family trek Up North. If you know anything about Michigan, you know that folks go Up North during the summertime. Ernest Hemingway spent summers of his youth here and wrote a powerful short story, Up in Michigan. We will not be vacationing in Petoskey but will go further north around Little Traverse Bay to Harbor Springs; the place where Ernest arrived by train then traveled to Petoskey. Our own Up North is a sweet little town with artesian spring water fountains, a fantastic farmers market and a great independent bookstore, Between the Covers. My favorite find in town is the library over Howse’s Fudge shop. Up North 25 of us will share our lives for a week. We will bike in gangs, drink from those artesian fountains, shop locally, play Euchre, cook for the clan and most importantly tell and share stories. Memories will be made and my camera will be documenting non-stop much to the protest of my loving father-in-law. I’ve been blessed to belong to a family of makers, tinkers and educators. This is our vacation. Hope you enjoy yours. Don’t forget to send us a postcard. I’ve got the fudge covered."
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 month, Alan, our Library Director and a Vietnam Conflict Marine Corps veteran, joined Marianne to talk about his five favorite World War II novels. Our theme is "Book Groups Read About War" for August to commemorate the many battles that are reaching a milestone this year. For example, this August is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.
To reserve any of these books for your book group, please use the "Request a Book in a Bag" button at darienlibrary.org/bookgroups
Your Team. Your Troops. Your Tribe. Whatever you want to call them. These are the folks who cheer you on when you think you can’t take another step. Yesterday I had the privilege to run the Fairfield Corporate FunRun 5K with some of my co-workers. We had cool t-shirts made with the Library logo on the front and our team name “The Dewey Decimators” on the back, a lovely summer evening to run and the promise of a free beer at the end. Our team had folks that weren’t even running themselves. Our Leader drove up to cheer us on and The Traveling Companion was appointed as our Official Photographer and Team Mom despite the fact he forgot the orange slices and juice boxes (check out more pics on Tumblr). We had a great time cheering each other on, laughing at our shared hatred of The Hill from Hell and remembering just how lucky we are to have such outstanding team members in each other. One thing that I found very telling about our team was that we were one of the only teams waiting for each other at the finish line to cheer each other on as we completed the race. While other racers went running for the beer tent at the end, Team Dewey Decimator waited at the finish to give each other that final push to finish strong. And in the end, isn’t that what you want from your team? This week we have a real melt-down, some kickbutt women, a farm and an actress, icebergs in August, and the Long List. Of course we have The Playlist to ease us into the first weekend in August!
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann has just finished Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian. “Emily Shepherd, the sixteen- year- old narrator of this novel, takes you through her heart wrenching roller coaster of survival following a nuclear power plant disaster in northern Vermont. Her father, the plant's engineer, is being blamed for the meltdown and Emily flees before the authorities can question her about whether or not he had been drinking. Emily ends up in the city of Burlington, Vermont and there will be challenges to who she really is as she searches for redemption and friendship. Mr. Bohjalian has created a character that is truly believable as Emily tells her story in a random manner that makes her seem young and vulnerable. As a reader you shudder at some of Emily's choices, but you will have great hope for her and her future.”
This week we welcome our new McGraw Fellow Miss Lisa! She can be found in the Children’s Library and here is her take on a staff favorite. “ I've been reading Code Name Verity by Jennifer Wein and want to advocate for it, though it's older and already been buzzed about, as a book for adults who have been curious about YA fiction. Code Name Verity takes place during WWII, and tells a story of friendship, sacrifice, and some kickbutt women. The novel begins as a written confession by one of the women, who is locked in Gestapo headquarters in occupied France, and alternates between her current situation in prison and the story of how she made it to France in her friend Maddie's airplane on a semi-legal mission. If you're into military history, you'll be excited to learn about women in the military, British pilot training, and spy training in the form of an exciting story. If you're just into a story and want one that tugs on your emotions, I can attest to this book's power: I've just moved to a new place far away from my family and friends and this story helped unlock a much needed cry. It also has it all - spies, Resistance fighters, Scottish castles, fighter planes, women soldiers, and an incredible friendship, and because it's YA, it reads quickly. You know how the children's movie Frozen made such a splash because instead of being about a prince and princess falling in love it's about the deep bond between two sisters? This book should inspire similar enjoyment of a refreshing (and tear-inducing) relationship. I haven't yet read the sequel, Rose Under Fire, but am looking forward to it. You'll find this book in the YA section - don't be afraid, go check one out (or send a teenage spy to do your dirty work for you).”
Virginia, everyone’s favorite Tall Cool Texan is here this week with not just one but two summer reads. “I am going to cut to the chase because I have a whole lot of new book goodness this week starting with what might be my favorite thriller of the summer, Tom Rob Smith’s, The Farm. This is a psychological thrill-ride that grabs you from the first page and keeps you enthralled until nearly the end. The narrator, Daniel, receives a phone call from his father informing him that he has to have his mother committed to a mental hospital for creating conspiracies and accusing him and others of horrible things. Before Daniel can even board a flight to Sweden, his mother has called him to say she is on her way to London with proof that everything his father has said is a lie. Daniel is left to figure out what is the truth. Do not miss this complex thriller. I know Tom Rob Smith will be on my radar from this point forward. Next up is Amy Sohn’s The Actress, is a gritty tale about the dark side of Hollywood. It is somewhat of an addicting read, but be forewarned it isn’t for the light-hearted. There are some graphic scenes and it probably isn’t too far off the reality mark for some in the entertainment business, which I find overwhelmingly sad. Overall, it is an entertaining read, but in a dark and depressing way. “
Here is Laura talking about what she’s been up to this summer. “My husband and I were planning to visit the island of Newfoundland to hike and bird watch and also to see icebergs. Most people would not think of Newfoundland as a destination for a summer vacation, but years ago I read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. The story takes place in Newfoundland and I loved the remote quality of the island, the fog that always hangs over the cliffs, the rock that is everywhere, and the taciturn people who inhabited the book. I always wondered, was it just like that? I wanted to know. My husband, the sailor, wanted to see the churning ocean and big gleaming white icebergs. Unfortunately, that trip will have to wait. So instead, while my husband worked, I set off on my own to our sailboat that is moored in RI. I spent three beautiful days floating the waves of Dutch Harbor and reading The Girls of Atomic City, by Denise Keirnan and All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. I enjoyed both, the non-fiction of "Atomic" was factual, but not heavy reading; "Light" was deep, moving, emotional and beautifully written. It was a great few days of rest!”
I was lucky enough to land a copy of Us by David Nicholls this week. This is coming out in October in the States and it was named to the Long List for the Booker Prize. I have long suspected that the Booker prize was just a little too smart for me. Past winners have been The Luminaries and Bring Up the Bodies. Pretty heavy lifting actually. So when I heard that he had been added to the Long List I got excited. This could be my year! I loved his last book One Day and Us is more of the same wonderfully witty and at the same time heartbreaking storytelling. Us begins with Connie waking up Doug, her husband of many years, and telling him that she thinks their marriage has run its course. This does not sound like the most promising beginning of what is essentially a love story. But in Nicholls’ hands it is. It comes out in October and I know what I am rooting for to make the short list.
Here’s DJ Jazzy Patty McC to wrap us up this week. Take it Miz Patty! “ A dear friend once said, ‘No one gives you an award at the end of life for doing it all by yourself.’ The choices we make on a daily basis impact those around us whether we like it or not. Life is not a race or a competition yet it requires a team to get us through the endless series of left-hand turns. I’ve been fortunate to work with a group of people who are the best at what they do. Together we tinker, brainstorm, collaborate and create wonderful things even if I’m in Michigan and they’re in Connecticut. Our world is a connected place and we carry our relationships with us. Everyone needs a pit crew. Everyone needs a cheering section. Everyone needs the support of a team. In the end, there may be one person at the finish line but it took a team to get them there.”