You Are What You Read!

Greetings!  This week’s brilliant message from the SoNo Loft is one we all need to heed this time of year.  The Loft is reminding us to ‘Just Breathe.’   It’s very easy to get sucked into the insanity of the season this time of year and rush about like a four-year-old on an extreme sugar high.  Cathy the sister-in-law posted the above list on Facebook earlier this week and tracked it down for me so I could share it with you all. Thanks Cath, you’re the best.  It’s a to-do list that we all could use as a blueprint for the upcoming days. This weekend, take a moment to look around, breathe and be present in the moment.  We have a gift for you all!  Instead of just 10 Hoopla downloads for this month, starting Monday and going through the end of January we are allowing 20!  If you haven’t played around with Hoopla you really should.  There are no pesky holds to deal with, no need to fret about returns, and there is something for everybody including music, movies, series and documentaries, and audio books. To learn more click here. So Very Merry from us!  Enjoy!  This week we have a midwife, a trio of anthropologists, obsession, Russia and some monsters under the bed.

You know we have The Playlist.  Don’t even worry your pretty heads about that.

Let us begin!

Babs B has just finished My Notorious Life by Kate Manning.  What did you think Babs? “I absolutely loved this one!  Based on a true story, this is a well-researched, beautiful historical novel that traces the life of Axie, an impoverished Irish girl from the slums of New York City.  How she becomes a midwife in the second half of the 19th century is really the heart of this story.  Axie came from nothing and ended up being a very wealthy woman.  Even spending time in jail didn't deter her from helping women deliver their babies or performing abortions on women who had been raped.  Axie was way ahead of her time on this subject, which can still be a debate in this day and age.  The end of this book will shock readers in a good way. I never saw it coming!

Laura has just finished a book we have been shouting about for a long time now and has won a well-deserved place on the New York Times Best of 2014 list.  Here is what she thought of Euphoria, by Lily King. “Taking place between the two world wars, you meet Nell and her husband Fen, anthropologists who are running for their lives from a blood-thirsty tribe deep in the jungles of New Guinea.   When they meet Bankson, an English anthropologist who introduces them to the female-dominated tribe, the Tam, a love triangle of epic proportions is set in motion.  Tragedy ensues and the reader is left wondering who is more civilized; the well-educated scholarly scientists or the actual natives who have patiently taken them into their societies.  I listened to the audio book and was entranced each and every hour.”

Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is here to tell us what her latest obsession is.   “Guilty or not guilty?  After binge listening to the addicting Serial podcast, I remain undecided.  Is there reasonable doubt that Adnan Syed committed murder at the age of 17? Absolutely! If you don't know what I am talking about, then you are missing out on one of the best crime dramas produced in years and it’s not even on TV.   From the creators of This American Life and hosted by Sarah Koenig, Serial is a podcast that follows one true story over an entire season.  For its debut, Koenig conducts an investigation into the 1999 Baltimore murder of Hae Min Lee and whether or not Lee's ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was wrongly convicted for her murder.  Koenig is a masterful storyteller and how she presents her investigation is absolutely enthralling.  You get sucked into the real time play-by-play of what she finds in the case files, interviews with the very likable Syed, the other key players and witnesses. For any true crime fan, the inconsistencies and details that went unexplored are not all that surprising, but as a listener you find yourself shocked. For Adnan Syed, the buzz and cult-like following the show has generated has had major impact for his case.  But how much impact remains to be seen, as Serial continues to play out in real-time. For all of you other Serial addicts, join me next Thursday at the library as we play the final episode in the podcast with a follow up discussion of the case.”

The Always Delightful Pat S has just finished Midnight in Siberia by David Greene.  “Part travelogue, part cultural snapshot, David Greene has created a remarkable portrait of the Russian everyman today. Greene spent three years as an NPR Moscow Bureau chief, ending in 2012. During this time, he clearly developed a deep infatuation with the people, the culture and the country. He wanted to discover what Russians really thought of the changes they had experienced in the post-Soviet years. In order to do this, he wanted to get out the globalized environment he found in Moscow. So he and his former colleague and interpreter Sergei embark on a 6000 mile cross-country Trans-Siberian rail journey from Moscow to Vladivostok. Through conversations with fellow travelers, as well as in-depth interviews with individuals in stops along the way, we are offered a rare portrait of a people who are deeply conflicted about democracy. While grateful for the end of much of the commonplace oppression suffered during Soviet times, they still miss the economic stability inherent in such a system; who maintain deep religious and spiritual ties and who seem married to the idea that being Russian and suffering go hand in hand. Greene creates a new window from which to view Russia in the twenty first century. This book is extremely compelling and I couldn’t put it down.

Stephanie has never made a secret of her love of Stephen King.  So what does she think of his latest? “This week I was delighted to read Stephen King’s latest, Revival. Despite being burned many times by some slouches, I still read each of his books. I can’t resist! Revival wasn’t as fantastic at 11/22/63, but it was still a great read. You will be stunned to hear that this book opens in a small Maine town, and features a young boy who turns into an adult with a drug problem. Crazy, right??? But no matter how many times King goes back to that well, there’s still more water for him to draw on. In this story, King explores the nature of devotion and religious belief. Protagonist Jamie is haunted throughout the book by his childhood minister, who leaves the church after a horrific tragedy and re-enters his life years later as a very changed man. Though much of the book reads like King’s more recent novels, which focus more on human relationships than monsters under the bed, it does take a turn for the horrific, and has one of the most frightening endings I’ve read in one of his books. If you’re looking for a holiday distraction, or to feel grateful for your life in the real world and not in a Stephen King novel, look no further.”

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in residence with some final thoughts.  Here’s what is going on in her world.  “This year my son will not celebrate Christmas in his school classroom and this makes me happy. I’ve got nothing against celebrating holidays it’s just that his classroom is so diverse that if one religious holiday were singled out it would be unfair.  I was a theology minor in school and feel that part of my job as a mother has been to teach my children about different religious celebrations. I consciously chose to not raise my children with a religion but rather expose them to everything and when the time came for them to make a choice (or not) they would be educated in that decision. The choice will be theirs, not mine. I believe we should all have choices. Often folks who need choices the most don’t ever get to enjoy that privilege.”


New eBooks from 3M

Here are the new titles available from 3M.

New DVD Releases

Here is what you can find new to the shelves in the upcoming days.

What's This Week's Hoopla All About?

How about some Holiday movies?  

Not sure what this is? Click here for some more information.

What are my neighbors up to?

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

Mind Your Manor

Ever wonder what it would be like to grow up in a castle? Author Anthony Russell spent his early life at Leeds Castle in Kent, UK, and his memoir, Outrageous Fortune, takes us beyond the stone walls and towers to see what it's like to live the "Castle Way."

Once home to kings and queens, Leeds Castle was purchased by Russell's grandmother, Lady Baillie, in 1926. Titles and prestige may have brought the family a luxurious setting, but they were not immune to scandal and secrets. Russell came of age in the 60s, while the world outside the castle's moat was changing rapidly. It wasn't until he was sent away to boarding school that he realized how unusual and isolating his life had been. 

Today, Leeds Castle is open to the public and popular tours of the rooms and gardens bring an old world back to life. Outrageous Fortune takes us inside to see what it was really like to be a little boy who lived in a castle where money was no object and history was everywhere. Take the fascinating journey back with him -- no passport required!

You Are What You Read!

Greetings! A Happy Friday to us all.  Mistakes.  We all make them. Last week I was so obsessed with eradicating all the M’s that I forgot to link to the correct post. I rectify that here.  Sometimes we learn from our mistakes. For instance, for The Game last year, my brother taped it because he was running in a race that morning and we would not be darkening his door until well into the second half.  This seemingly excellent plan enabled us to catch up with each other, nibble on what emerged  from The Green Egg and sip a beverage in a leisurely manner before settling down to the business at hand. It all went swimmingly and The Game was a thing of beauty. A tied score in the last 32 seconds and then it happened.  Because The Game ran long we were confronted with The Blue Screen of Death.  Yup.  The DVR ran out of room and we were tasked with frantically trying to determine the ending.  Well, this year was going to be different! This year, Peter set the timer for the next two shows. We were covered! Peter ran his race, we showed up early in the afternoon, caught up with each other, ate lovely lunch, sipped a little something and then settled in to watch The Game.  When our quarterback got badly hurt in the beginning of the 4th quarter with the score tied, we were on pins and needles!  How would this play out? And then what happened? Yup. Cue The Blue Screen of Death, which left us scrambling to find out how it all ended. Next year there will be no race, no leisurely nosh. We have learned our lesson. The Game begins at noon and we will be watching it live.  Last week I failed to credit sister-in-law Cathy for the picture so I am doing that now. Cathy, my apologies!  Great picture from The Shoe and thanks! Mistakes happen People!  We are only human after all.  So learn your lessons, learn to apologize and move on knowing better.  This week we have murder, creepiness, some organizing, hockey and how about a nice cup of hot chocolate to go with that Playlist?

Let us begin!

Abby has another series that she wants to tell us about. “Fans of the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly will be happy to learn the Detective is back in The Burning Room and as methodical and determined as ever. Harry has been in the elite cold crimes unit for a few years, but when a man dies due to a decades old shooting, it’s ruled a murder. Harry and his partner catch the case and must balance the challenges of a fresh crime against the techniques of solving a cold case. As usual, Connelly weaves an intricate web of clues and connections that allow Bosch to close the case. The road to getting there illustrates that justice is not always what we imagine, but that’s doesn’t mean it can’t be satisfying. Connelly is one of the few crime writers who can offer a new book with regularity and consistent high-quality.”

Sweet Ann is here this week with a story of book happenstance with The Unknown Bridesmaid by Margaret Forster.  What have you got going Ann? “As I was shelving books one day, I saw this book and was intrigued by the title as well as the cover.  I am so glad I chose to read this book written by a British author.  I found this book to be creepy and one I could not put down. It tells the story of Julia, a forty-eight-year old child psychologist and magistrate in London. She works with damaged children and makes decisions that will shape their lives. As Julia looks back on her childhood and the choices she made, we learn of Julia's actions and the way she was raised by her dismissive mother. As a reader you feel you are almost reading the case study of young Julia and discovering who she becomes as an adult. I thoroughly enjoyed this book”. 

Barbara M is busy busy busy!  I’ll let her explain. “I have read an incredible amount of books on organizing; too, too many. For the most part they all say the same things. Things I already know. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo is different. One of her instructions is to store all similar items in the same place instead of by frequency of use. Storing items by frequency of use she says makes it easy to forget about them. She also never piles things. She rolls things and stores them vertically making it easy to see what you have. She is ruthless. Her main principle is that you should keep only things that ‘spark joy’. While that idea made sense to me her suggestion that you thank your discards for having served you well was beyond what I could do. I won’t and  can’t follow her instructions systematically. There is no way I can put all my clothes in a pile on the floor and then sort through them. However, that being said, this book has somehow inspired me to look at the amount of things I own in a different way.”

Steph!  What’s this week’s read? “This week I have been engrossed in Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard by John Branch. You may have seen the story of Derek Boogaard before, in Branch’s three-part New York Times feature on Boogaard, published after his tragic death in 2011. After an improbable rise through the ranks of hockey, Boogaard became one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL. However, this rise was accompanied by countless injuries to his body, including several broken noses, a ruptured disc in his back, and hands that were constantly swollen and covered in open wounds. His friends and family worried about him, but playing for the NHL was all the boy from rural Saskatchewan wanted, and team doctors kept fixing him up. These fixes came with many painkillers, however, and before long Boogaard developed a fierce addiction that worsened after a horrific concussion. This addiction led directly to his death at age 28, shocking everyone around him and the entire sports community. Branch, who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on this story, tracks Boogaard’s tragic story from beginning to end with copious detail from interviews, credit card statements, and medical records. It’s heartbreaking to watch it unfold with hindsight, seeing all the places someone might have made a difference. While Branch  subtly underscores the story with references to hockey culture and how it contributed to Boogaard’s death, he seeks not so much to place blame as to instigate change. Though this is a must-read for hockey fans, any sports fan will see the parallels between Boogaard and the stories of sacrifice from every sport.  This is a top non-fiction book of the year.”

Miss Elisabeth is in the spirit! "This week I read the absolutely delightful My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories. Edited by YA Author Stephanie Perkins and featuring stories by such YA stars as Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman, Matt De La Pena, and David Leviathan, this book is the perfect choice for curling up by a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate. Each story features some kind of romance, most swoon-inducing. I would say there’s not a bad story in the bunch; I had my favorites (the editor’s own It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown was definitely one of the best), but the entire collection is worth a read, something which is not necessarily true with other themed anthologies I’ve read. Don’t let the YA label fool you! The book is not filled with angst-y teens. Most of the stories are about true young adults (i.e., out of high school) and some deal with decidedly grown-up problems, like hunger. This little gem of a collection is sure to put a smile on your face, bring you great holiday cheer and it would make an excellent holiday gift!"

DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with some final thoughts on foibles.  What’s good Pats?  “Mistakes. Gaffes. 404s. Screw-ups. Blunders. Faux pas. Solecisms. Lapses. Hiccups. Admit it, we all make mistakes. Guess what? That’s usually a good thing. Mistakes are necessary for our own education. Just ask any Rube Goldberg enthusiast. I try to not make the same mistake twice and while I am not entirely successful in that endeavor, I try to be conscious about it. I will not use the most overused cliché in writing about insanity here. You know what it is. I will say that lately it has felt like the world has gone a bit insane and that can be unsettling. As if the holiday season wasn’t stressful enough! Things can feel like they are spinning out of control with injustices abounding, frustration and anger seem to be the emotions of the day. Will we learn from these mistakes? I certainly hope so. We shouldn’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. That would just be insane.”


New DVD Releases

Here is what you can find new to the shelves in the upcoming days.

Syndicate content