Greetings and welcome to the Happy to be Home Edition of You Are What You Read. Here is this week’s housekeeping. First up; thanks to Steph for filling in for me last week. She did a fabulous job in spite of the fact there were no cheese offerings from you all. We are pleased to report that the winner of Guinea Pig Pride and Prejudice goes to Sooo-Z of Westport, CT who wrote us this:
I would love a copy of this book (if I'm not too late) as I am a guinea pig lover and pig mother to 4. It will go in my collection of other fabulous guinea pig literature and will be a welcome distraction from Edith Wharton's House of Mirth which I am laboring over right now.
I’ve been thinking (dangerous I know) and I have no doubt that Mrs. Wharton would not want to see Lily Bart portrayed by a guinea pig. I am pretty sure that putting a corset on a guinea pig would prove problematic. Anyway, we are so happy that this tome is going to a worthy bookshelf! Congratulations to Sooo-Z! The SoNo Loft is indeed having roof repairs done and has had to use some creative thinking about how to best hang their message of good cheer. Currently they are putting the sign on the corner of the building which makes it hard to see. But this week’s message is You Are Worthy. So use that as you will and let’s hope that the railing comes back soon. There was no taffy or fudge, so we don’t need to discuss that.
This week I have been fascinated by a mystery that has taken to the web. A small town photographer in Virginia found four sets of photographic negatives in a thrift store. Intrigued she took them home and scanned them and was stunned by what she saw. They show young women in the surf just slightly turned away from the camera. The Finder, Meagan Abell is now on the hunt to find the identity of the young women in the pictures and the photographer that took them. She estimates may have been taken in the 40’s or 50’s and she thinks that she has pinpointed the location to being the Del Ray Peninsula in California. Here is the link to the story. If you can help Meagan out, tweet using #FindTheGirlsOnTheNegatives and let us know too! Even though I won’t read a mystery, I do love a Mystery.
This week we have some Hungarians, St. Thomas, blackouts, and Scout.
Let us begin!
Barbara M has just finished The Color of Smoke: An Epic Novel of the Roma by Menyhert Lakatos. “Written in the 1970s and just recently translated into English this is a gritty coming of age story of a Hungarian Roma loosely based on the author’s life between World War I and World War II. In the 1930s and 40s the Roma were segregated and persecuted as they have been for centuries. This book gives an insightful perspective on another way of life whose customs and mores are unfamiliar to most of us. While at times the book is repetitive and perhaps a bit too long, all in all it is fascinating and well worth the read.”
The Always Fabulous Babs B has delved into The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. “From the author of The Dovekeepers comes this forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas. It centers on the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro; the Father of Impressionism. While growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800's, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel's mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the inquisition, is a tough cookie who refuses to live by the rules. Rachel ends up in an arranged marriage to a widower 20 years her senior. When her husband dies, Rachel falls in love with his much younger nephew Frederick, who arrives from France to settle his Uncle's estate. So begins a defiant, passionate love affair that starts a scandal that affects all of Rachel's family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Frederick is a story that is unforgettable. I could not stop thinking of it long after the book ended.”
The Amazing Amanda is really enjoying Mary Jo Putney’s books and this week it’s The Rake. “I enjoy romance novels where there is real conflict and drama going on in the characters’ lives. In the previous book in this series, Reggie was the villain. In his own work, you discover that he is full of self-hatred, desperation, and grief over a wasted life. He’s no youthful boy; he’s nearly 40-years-old and he has spent most of his time in drunken blackouts. He has given up on himself when he learns of his stolen inheritance which is his childhood home. Then he discovers his estate’s superb manager is a woman. Of course, things sizzle between them. Looking back, I can see some Beauty & the Beast allusions here with an anti-hero who is truly struggling to overcome his problem. He fails repeatedly but works so hard at saving his own life. Yes, this book has romance, but it was Reggie’s story that kept me reading.”
Pat T in her car listening. As ever. “I have just finished listening to one of the most talked about books of the summer, Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee and to my surprise I have to say I really enjoyed it! Reese Witherspoon narrates the book and being a southern gal she creates a very credible performance, placing the reader right in Maycomb, Alabama with the cast of iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird. The book centers on Scout, who comes home from New York to visit her dad, Atticus and her boyfriend, Hank at her childhood home. Her visit is anything but peaceful, when she discovers some secrets that make her question her beliefs about Atticus and the Maycomb community. Calmly and lovingly, Atticus and her uncle help her reconcile the past with the present and help her understand that, as an adult, she has to discover her own moral footing.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with The Playlist and some final musings. What’s good Pats? “We’ve returned from Up North and I’m half-heartedly trying to get a routine in place to ready the kids for back to school. Fun fact: The state of Michigan has a law that schools may NOT begin until AFTER Labor Day. I’ve been told it was enacted to support Michigan Tourism. At first I thought that it was a silly law, but now I am a huge supporter. We still have two weddings to attend before summer’s end and frankly I’m not ready to say goodbye to bare feet, shorts and white jeans. Already my freckles that have banded together creating a pseudo-tan are fading, leaving me with what looks like sun damage. It’s almost time for a chemical facial peel. Almost. I’m not saying goodbye to summer yet and neither should you. So make sure you get outside and suck the marrow out of these final weeks of summer. You know you need a playlist for that. No worries, I’ve got you 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!
Since Straight Outta Compton is flying high at the Box Office how about we look back on some old school Rap? And remember you don't have to wait! Immediate gratification can be yours!
Not sure what this means? Click here!
For almost 50 years, Carroll Spinney has brought a roller-skating, alphabet-singing, beloved eight-foot bird to life on "Sesame Street" -- he's the man inside the costume. Spinney is also the talent behind Oscar the Grouch, known for his wisecracks and garbage-can home. You could hardly imagine two characters with less in common, but Spinney brings both to life. Now, we get to peek beneath the yellow feathers and garbage can lid to meet the man himself in the new documentary, I Am Big Bird.
How does Spinney control Big Bird's face and arms? What color was Oscar originally? What does Big Bird have to do with a presidential election, and the opening of Red China? How did a little boy, bullied at school and raised in a violent household, grow up to create such universally-adored characters?
Spinney's stories range from devastating (Big Bird sing "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service) to laugh-out-loud funny (how he met his current wife). He's a shy man who never sought the spotlight, but spending an hour and a half getting to know Carrol Spinney is time well spent.
Greetings and Welcome to the Phone It In Edition of You Are What You Read. Because that’s basically what I am doing. Phoning it in. This week there are no housekeeping chores to do. No Taffy. No Fudge. The SoNo Loft is still a construction site so there is no message of good cheer for week 4. It’s August and we are all just about done in. A rather brilliant patron told me this week that she considers August to be the Sunday night of all the months which to my mind is exactly right. While it’s still summer, you can see that it’s winding down and a Monday morning is knocking on the door. Things are quieting down around town as they do when we all scurry to wherever it is we Summer. Let’s be honest with ourselves and face it. We all have a serious case of Short Timer Syndrome.
I have spent my week making a pile. I add to the pile. I take away from the pile. I keep picking things up from the pile. Turn it over in my hands. Consider it. And then I either put it back on the pile or reject it for something else. The pile grows and shrinks. The pile often becomes dangerously large threatening to topple over or it becomes ridiculously lean. Will the pile fit in the bag? Will I need to bust out another bag? If I am to perfectly honest with myself the pile is an obsession. For a lot of women this describes the packing for vacation process. Clothing items are purchased, lovingly folded, and packed in tissue. Entire outfits composed complete with appropriate shoes and accessories and infused with dreams of fun and frolic, are put together with meticulous thought and care. But this is not your normal vacation pack. This is me deciding what books are coming to the shore with me. I have an almost pathological fear of being without decent reading material. I think that most readers feel this way and there is in fact a word for it. Abibliophobia is the fear of being without a book. This week’s image is what I think is going to be the final stack. There is a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction, some silly and a heavy emphasis on Edith Wharton for my yearly literary project. I am sure that the pile will continue to be edited up until the time of departure. And as if the pile weren’t enough, the Kindle is fully loaded, just in case.
The Traveling Companion and I leave early, early on Sunday and we are winding our way down to the sea for a much needed break for us both. So next week Steph will be writing this piece. Make sure you say hi to her and bring her a lovely wedge of cheese, artisanal if at all possible. She’s not into the Taffy and Fudge thing so much. I’ll see you all in 2 weeks.
This week we have some Girl Power, sand, hounds, photography, cattle, a family saga, and the Grey Lady.
Let us begin!
Mallory is letting her Nerd Light shine this week, “Okay, so its official, Hoopla’s new comic collection is pretty fantastic. I ended up checking out all ten issues of Lumberjanes last night and did not fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. An adventure tale at its core, Lumberjanes follows five female friends as they evade their camp counselor to solve puzzles and battle mythical creatures. I didn’t realize there was a Powerpuff Girls shaped size hole in my heart, but with their ‘friendship to the max!’ exclamations and their diminutive size yet powerful constitutions, the Lumberjane gals are filling that very real void. Each issue of the Lumberjanes is silly and light with exceptionally well-drawn (pun intended) characters, perfect if you miss your Saturday Morning Cartoons ritual.”
Julia Rae is here with lots and lots of stuff. “I am the type who has multiple books in her beach bag (sorry for the sand, Shelvers). It's difficult for me to feel satisfied from just one story line. So if you're like me at all and want an easy, whimsical, summer book paired with a stormy, elegant novel then I must recommend The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson-- the perfect marriage of reading. Both plots are enjoyable, but the speed in which you can finish The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will encourage you to keep chipping at Life After Life. These books are my ideal summer reading.”
Pat T has never hidden her love of the hound and here she is with a new favorite. “We are in the dog days of August so I think it is fitting to read David Rosenfelt's newest book, Who Let the Dog Out. Andy Carpenter is a criminal defense attorney who takes on cases in between stints with his real passion, a dog rescue organization he runs with his friend Willie. When they get a call that there has been a burglary at the shelter, Willie and Andy track down the location of their dog, Cheyenne, using a GPS tracking collar. When they show up at a house in New Jersey and find Cheyenne sitting in a room next to a brutally murdered man, they set out to investigate. Andy and his team put all the pieces of the puzzle together in this light detective mystery, filled with likable characters that have a sense of humor and with man's best friend, there's a lot to enjoy while reading this book!”
The Always Delightful Pat S has just finished Hold Still by Sally Mann. “Sally Mann, the iconic photographer of Immediate Family (1992), provides a memoir here of both her life and her art. Evocatively written, Mann delves into the lives of her ancestors, and the South; the people and the land which come together in her photographic work. Do not for a moment hesitate because you aren’t all that interested in photography! Her story includes a murder-suicide (which happened in our own backyard, New Canaan), rampant racism, a stalker (pre-social media), and wonderful stories of friends and neighbors including Cy Twombly and William (Bill) Eggleston. Equally engaging and penetrating, Hold Still is one of the best books I have read in 2015.”
Jeanne only doing one thing. Discuss. “Katherine Applegate, the award-winning children's author of The One and Only Ivan, has touched our hearts again with a new YA novel, Home of the Brave. Her writing continues to show intelligence, precision and warmth. This novel in verse tells the story of Kek, a young Sudanese refugee who has been sent to Minnesota and struggles with grave losses of family, of childhood, and of reason. Applegate creates in Kek a survivor whose skill and love of the cattle he herded in his home country and surrounds him with challenges, but also hope. I read this in one sitting.”
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has just finished Tiny Little Thing, Beatriz Williams. How you feeling on this one VA? “It is easy to see how the Camelot Era serves as inspiration in Beatriz Williams newest book, Tiny Little Thing. Set in the late 60’s this is the story of how politics, secrets and family ambitions can get in the way of marriage. Christina ‘Tiny’ Hardcastle has been groomed to marry a man destined for greatness. Since childhood, her mother has prepared her for this course in life, and except for one brief euphoric moment Tiny has never altered her path. Now, she and her husband, Frank, are on the cusp of becoming the golden couple in politics, but Tiny realizes this may not be the future she wants. It took me a few chapters to warm up to this book, mainly because I found Tiny to be a little too meek for my taste. Eventually, she finds her voice, her backbone her wit, and that is when I started enjoying this novel. If you are looking for a more substantive beach read than your typical chick lit book in these final days of summer then I would highly recommend Tiny Little Thing. Williams masterfully creates a family saga written with rich details of a bygone era and packs in one whopper of a surprising ending. I also didn’t realize this was the second book in a family saga about three sisters. I will definitely be going back to read The Secret Life of Violet Grant. “
Stephanie. No Abibliophobia for this girl! “This week I’ve been lugging around The Kingdom and the Power by Gay Talese. I have no idea why I keep reading these massive classics in the middle of the summer. I must be enjoying this one, though, because it keeps going in my bag every morning! This work, published in 1969, examining the men (and it was pretty much only men) who built and grew The New York Times, is like a cross between a formal history and a juicy memoir. Just when you think you can’t take one more sentence about paper mills in the late 1800s, Talese shares an anecdote so delightful you can’t help but be drawn back in. I’ve been sharing his gossip with people all week, and either they’re very funny little stories, or people are just being polite in laughing at them. I do recommend it! Whether you’re a Times subscriber or not, it’s a fascinating lens on what power and access can do, and what journalism was like on the cusp of the Internet revolution that would change it so irretrievably.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The State Which Shall Not Be Named with our final musings and not one but TWO playlists this week (squeal!). What’s good Pats?
Merriam Webster-- vacation, noun – a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel.
It’s time for our annual road trip Up North to Harbor Springs. On Saturday, I will return to the place where Ernest Hemingway spent the summers of his youth. I should note there will be no hunting or fishing on our trip but I may document various taxidermy I find along the way. We have only one rule in our family while on vacation: NO FORCED ENTERTAINMENT. While there we will enjoy a treat from Howse’s Fudge that is appropriately located under the town library. We will eat local ice cream and enjoy some outrageous cookies from Tom’s Mom. We will kayak and swim in the clear, blue water of Lake Michigan; attend a pig roast at my favorite local farm and watch the Perseid Meteor Shower at the International Dark Sky Park. As if all this wasn’t enough, my favorite independent bookstore up north, Between the Covers is having a book signing by Mark Alpert of The Six. I’m as giddy as a four-year-old in a candy shop. Really, it’s almost too much to have all of my favorite things collide into one vacation. So, I decided, in addition to a new playlist I’m including last year’s Vacation On! because who couldn’t use 2x the vacation tunes?! Hoping yours is equally filled with whatever delights you.
DL WHOLE LOTTA VACA NEEDED 2015
DL VACATION ON! 2014
Here are the new books available from OverDrive.
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis
Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis
The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story by Michael Lewis
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
Deadly Assets by W.E.B. Griffin
The Dust That Falls from Dreams by Louis De Bernieres
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi
No. 4 Imperial Lane by Jonathan Weisman
The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
Villa America by Liza Klaussmann
Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah
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!