Another week of not very good news I am afraid. There’s sickness, bad behavior everywhere, the Market is tanking. Everyone’s mood seems to veering somewhere between hysteria and a shoulder shrugging fatalism. I know that for myself my nerves are frayed and I found myself asking a woman who cut in front of me in a line if she was aware of how rude she was being. And just to let you all know, she didn’t care. Look, it’s not pretty People. We are supposed to have a lovely weekend with a partly sunny day tomorrow and highs in the 70’s with Sunday also being partly sunny but with slightly chillier temps. I am charging all of you to do something that brings you peace and happiness. So bake a cookie, go for a walk by the sea, play with a puppy, have lunch with a friend, go to The Marshalls. Do one thing so that for the next week you can look back on it and remember with fondness and perhaps bring a little tranquility to your world. This week we have secrets (ssshhh), Old Boys, bodies of water, an island, a muddle and a vow. Playlist? Another twofer week! Bonus!
Let us begin!
Barbara M told me she was pleasantly surprised at how much she enjoyed her offering this week. “Not My Father’s Son by actor and now author Alan Cumming is a heart wrenching, beautifully written memoir. The book is organized into alternating chapters entitled ‘Then’ and ‘Now.’ The ‘Then’ chapters focus on the abuse Cumming and his brother suffered from their father. The ‘Now’ chapters tell the story of the filming of the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are which uses genealogical research to uncover family secrets. The subject they chose to investigate was the disappearance of Cumming’s maternal grandfather who never returned home after serving in France during World War II. He eventually moved to Malaysia and died there under mysterious circumstances. The book is poignant, sometimes funny and very engrossing. “
Erin as we all know, loves herself a memoir. Here is her take on Lena Dunham’s Not that Kind of Girl. “The creator/writer/star of HBO’s Girls has written a highly entertaining collection of personal essays on the topics of falling in love, losing her virginity, accepting her body, and sitting at the table of the Old Boys Club that is Hollywood. While Dunham can be very polarizing, I found her essays to be well written and frequently hilarious. She is, after all, sharing her own experience as a young woman coming into her own.”
Laura is hanging on to summer. Here are two books that have stuck with her. “I wanted to let you know of some special reading that I did over the summer that I think many would enjoy. These books are not new, but both are perspectives on our region, Long Island Sound and the Hudson River Valley, that will make you want to explore and know more about these amazing waterways. First is The Hudson, A History, by Tom Lewis. What I didn't know was the Hudson River was the engine behind the development of our country. Albany was the most important city during the 1800's, and when Lincoln was campaigning for President, Albany was the place he needed the votes, because industry and westward expansion was at its utmost. Not only were artists mesmerized by the river's landscape and beauty; industrialists and inventors were captured by its potential which, in turn, fueled the emerging region into the powerhouse it still is today. As well, the story about Long Island Sound is beautifully rendered in Tom Andersen's This Fine Piece of Water: An Environmental History of Long Island Sound. From the Indians, to pirates, to the colonies fighting for independence, to the present day city expansions and pollution; this is the story about how the Sound is coming back thanks to the efforts of environmental watch groups. It is a strongly written account of the history of our failures and our successes. This is a must read.”
The Ever Delightful Pat S has just finished The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. “ This is a charming tale which reads almost as a fable and yet is not a fable. So I have settled on it being a sort of love letter to readers. Set in an independent bookstore on an island off the coast of Massachusetts, we are introduced to a childless middle aged widower. In the two years since his wife died, A. J. has become angry and bitter due to his personal loss and as a bookseller in a failing business. Lo and behold, something completely unexpected is dropped into his lap-providing the catalyst for a new and wonderful life. Peopled with the local denizens of an island colony, it is reading that ties everyone together at first until the bonds of love and friendship have become established. Each chapter is introduced with a synopsis of a book or short story which mirrors A.J. Fikry’s life philosophy and provides a very respectable reading list for the reader as well. This is a book which celebrates the power of reading and art to heal and nurture. If the news is getting you down, this is the book for you.”
Steph has discovered another favorite of the year. “Here is another best book of the year; On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss. Biss, who has won practically every award you can win for essay and non-fiction writing, has produced one of the most thoughtful pieces of personal writing I have read in a long time. When she became pregnant with her son, Biss was instantly confronted by the many dilemmas facing modern mothers, and none was more urgent and muddled than the decision to vaccinate. Should she vaccinate? When? Which diseases? This puzzle led her to research the history of vaccination and how it’s been regarded over the years. The result is a book that moves effortlessly between personal story and well-researched non-fiction. The book is relatively short, but Biss’s writing is so powerful that I often took breaks while reading it to absorb everything she’d thrown at me. This book would obviously be great for parents, doctors, and nurses, but will also appeal to readers who like Andrew Solomon, Rachel Carson, and Carolyn Kellogg. This is essay writing and science writing at its finest.”
The Fabulous Babs B saw the play of one of my favorite movies of all time. She is begging us all to take a train into New York and experience for ourselves. Here is what she thought of You Can't Take It With You by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. “On Wednesday a dear friend took me to see the play You Can't Take It With You, with the great James Earl Jones. Set in New York City 1936 it's the story of the zany Sycamore family who march to the beat of a different drummer! When the young Miss Sycamore falls in love and meets her fiancée’s parents who are extremely cold and worlds apart from her loving family, she cancels her engagement. Her Grandfather (James Earl Jones) will have none of this however, and proceeds to tell her how lucky she is to have found love and to go for it because you can't take it with you and life is too short not to take a shot at being happy. The moral of this story really hit home with me and I intend to seize the moment and do things in life I want. Remember, you can't take it with you!”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named (BTW 42 days until The Game). She is working on focusing on What’s Good. So Pats? What’s Good? “ This week I’d like to focus on The Happy. What makes me happy is probably different than what makes you happy so I’ll share first. This week it made me very happy to hear that folks are enthusiastically lining up to get their flu shots. It makes me feel as though my endless preaching has been heard, so thank you for that! And for those who have not yet done so, please go get a flu shot.
It’s no secret that I am a picture book enthusiast. So it made me very happy to learn that one of my favorite authors has a new picture book, Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers. I’m lucky number three in the hold queue and will be anxiously awaiting that pick-up email. I’ve no doubt that this book will meet my expectations. In fact, the anticipation of reading it makes me happy and frankly just a tiny bit giddy. Read more about it here.
Discovering good new tunes also makes me happy. This week I’ve curated a short playlist with some new songs that you may not have heard though I’m fairly certain you’ve heard the first tune. DL A SHORT PLAYLIST OF NEW TUNES 2014
I’m also including a throwback to the DL SUMMER FIND UR HAPPY PLACE 2013 playlist because it’s just plain chock-full of happy. I recommend you listen to it in the shuffle mode.
If you find that you need some help in finding your own Happy, I’ve got good news. There’s an app for that! Check these out.
So this week I encourage you to go forth, find your own Happy and share it with us. The world could use a little more Happy right about now.
Here are the new titles available from OverDrive.
13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team
How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food by Mark Bittman
Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel by David Limbaugh
Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
World Order by Henry Kissinger
Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace by Leon Panetta
Here 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!
Ann and Pat presented a healthy dose of new and old book titles, including cook books, exercise health tips and a collection of rescued dog stories that will make you smile. The group also had a lively discussion about Gone Girl, the movie, directed by Ben Affleck in comparison to Gone Girl, the book, by Gillian Flynn that was wildly popular last year and still is. It is hard to keep a copy of the book in the building.
Have a look at their selections. There may be some to your liking.
I need to begin this week with an apology. Apparently I caused some marital discord because I stated the Harvest Moon would take place on Monday when, in fact, it occurred on Wednesday. So my apologies to Curtiss R, I regret to inform you that Leslie was right and I was wrong. As for the rest of you, I hope that your gleaning/threshing activities were in no way inconvenienced. But it was a really pretty moon, wasn’t it? (Hangs head in shame, shuffles away and changes the subject) As you can see, the message from The SoNo Loft this week is Tell the Story. Who doesn’t love a good story? Good stories enlighten, entertain and stay with you. On Wednesday (and yes I double checked that), the National Book Award committee will be announcing the short list for fiction and I am praying that my two favorites, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Some Luck by Jane Smiley will be among the five chosen. Both of these are amazing stories and they are populated by wonderfully rich characters. And with the way the world has been lately, who wouldn’t want to lose themselves in a wonderful story? I for one have this weekend off, no OSU Football to occupy me and I am looking forward to a big stack of book to lose myself in. I hope you have a similar stack. If not, we can help you with that and you know where to find us. This week we have voices, a really questionable romance, letters, life choices, sad discoveries, and a wave. And the Playlist! This week times two!
Let us begin!
Sue S has a new romance novel that she is rabid for. “Let’s face it, it’s a fact, heroes are my weakness. It's also a fact that for this week’s You Are What You Read it is the title of the book I devoured in 2 evenings. Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the story of a young woman, a down-on-her-luck ventriloquist, who has to stay 60 consecutive days on an island in a cottage once owned by her deceased mother or risk losing it. She comes to find that a reclusive writer, Theo Harp, who writes chilling horror novels, is also staying on the island. Annie and Theo (who I found to be as broody as Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights) have a past and now they're trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Annie’s inner voice and those of her puppets is warning her that Theo is trouble and that she should stay way. But it’s Annie's heart that is the real trouble maker when it starts telling her he has changed. Only time will tell who Annie should really listen to! This book will definitely get rid of the chill on a cold day!”
Amanda is heating up her fall with the sizzling new eBook, A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan. “This book first comes with a warning: the lovers are stepsiblings. However, as shocking as this may be to us, fans of historical romance know that stepsibling romance is only unseemly and not all that bad. The hero, Decian, was thrown out of his home 10 years ago. His stepsister, Rosalie, was sent away to school and left there. Now Decian’s father is dead and Rosalie has been unceremoniously dropped on his doorstep after overstaying her welcome at school. Will Decian be able to forgive Rosalie the sin of being her mother’s daughter? And to what lengths will Rosalie go to discover herself before being forced into marriage with a stranger? This book is a marvelous quick read and one of the most scandalous things I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series which alas – has not been announced yet.”
Pat T has taken a suggestion to heart this week. “A patron suggested I read Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. She said, ‘I know you don't like epistolary style books, but I promise this book is laugh out loud funny.’ And she's right! Jason Fitger is a creative writing professor at a small Midwest college and he is always called upon by the students to write letters of recommendation on their behalf. Jason's once promising writing career is in a downward spiral, he wreaked havoc on his personal life by disclosing his private affairs in his novels and he is in rivalries with the other college departments because they are better funded. This and more is detailed in this hilarious, clever and passive aggressive letters of recommendation. Sit down, put your feet up and enjoy this humorous read!”
Sweet Ann has just finished The Children Act by Ian McEwan. “This short read kept me engaged from the first page to the last. Judge Fiona Maye presides over family cases that are heart wrenching. The novel centers on the case of an eighteen year old boy who is a Jehovah's Witness and needs a blood transfusion to survive his cancer. The boy is strong in his beliefs and he and Fiona form quite a bond after she visits him in the hospital to help her determine her decision. Fiona is also having marital trouble. Is she too involved in her work or just dealing with her inability to ever have children? This novel makes you think about life choices we all have to make. It also makes you question how involved one should get in someone else's life. It is a great read and I also loved the novel Saturday by Mr. McEwan.”
Steph has another book to add to the Favorites of 2014 List! “After hearing so much about it online and from fellow readers in the Library, I was glad to finally get a chance to read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. The novel opens with a disappearance, and then a sad discovery: Lydia Lee has drowned in the lake in her small town in Ohio. Her family is devastated, because not only was her death unexpected, but it has also unveiled many family secrets. The book skips from mind to mind and from past to present as the mystery unfolds. The revelations of the story, while quiet and small, are devastating. Ng captures so beautifully (her writing is exquisite) the ways families hurt each other, even, and especially, out of love. My heart ached for every character. This is one of my favorite books of 2014.”
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is here this week and she’s revisiting one of her obsessions. “This week I return with my love of YA dystopian novels. My newest obsession is Hugh Yancey’s The Infinite Sea, the second installment in The Fifth Wave trilogy. Warning, you really need to read The Fifth Wave first, because this one picks up almost immediately where it left off. I have been anxiously waiting for this book to come out for months and it did not disappoint. Just like the first book, the story is told through different perspectives as the characters try to survive as they prepare to battle the fifth and final wave. Yancey does an excellent job of enriching the story with character flashbacks and, while I was somewhat disappointed one of the storylines took a backseat, by the end I had a better appreciation for some of the other characters. The book was action-packed but it also displayed a rare vulnerability with its character development. While many of the questions from the first book are answered, other mysteries arise, and by the end, Yancey has set himself up for an epic showdown for the final book. This is a series that cannot be missed. Think Hunger Games meets the X-Files meets the Body Snatchers. My only complaint is now I have to wait another year for the third and final installment of the series. “
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Up North (49 days until The Game. Get excited!) and as you can see she is back to herself again. Here’s what she’s thinking about this week. “Is anyone else suffering from media overload? It seems that every news outlet is more focused on producing hysteria than reporting facts. There are a lot of things to worry over. Trust me, I could create an exhaustive list that would leave you in a sweaty ball of anxiety, require heavy medication and a team of specialists to get you out of the house again. I refuse to be another voice of hysteria. Instead, I’d like to suggest that we all take three deep breaths and don’t freak out. There are a few things we can do right now to alleviate some of this craziness:
1) Get a flu shot (I know, I sound like a broken record)
2) Make sure your children’s immunizations are current and get them a flu shot (Needle stuck in the groove)
3) If your child is sick, keep him or her home from school. (Yes, this one is tough for working parents especially if you have a child who is ill for a long time. My third grader was out for eight days straight from school already. I feel your pain.)
If you still find yourself still freaking out, put the newspaper away, step away from the glowing screen, get outside and go for a long walk in nature. Hard data proves that this simple step reduces anxiety.”
DL TELL THE STORY 2014 & DL Don't Freak Out 2013