Greetings and welcome to the First Storm Watch Edition of You Are What You Read. This week’s housekeeping is thusly: Thanks to Karyn A for the Prickly Pear Taffy from Tempe, AZ. Yes this is a Thing. Who knew? Oh, and by the way? It’s rather delicious! The roof work on The SoNo Loft appears to be over with a brand new railing all white and shiny and awaiting the first banner. Let’s hope that happens soon.
In Nature Run Amok News, did you hear about the monkey that made the break for freedom in Florida? If not, here is where you can get the 411 on that. Please feel free to listen to the 911 call. I am especially fond of the part where the operator asks the caller to describe the car that the monkey is sitting on. Well Ms. Operator, it would be the car with the MONKEY on the roof. In all my trips to Florida I have never seen a monkey on a car roof so I am pretty sure that this is a Rare Thing, not a Thing and fairly easy to spot. The other disconcerting part of this call is hearing the bystanders pronouncing the monkey ‘cute’ as the monkey grabs mail out of a mailbox and eats it. Obviously they have never read The Hot Zone. There is nothing cute about a monkey on a spree of destruction. At any rate, officers were able to get Zeek the Macaque back to its owner and restore order. Rest easy People!
The big question this weekend is lay in the bottled water and canned goods? Or should one take a chance and hope for the best. I would like to take this opportunity to make my pitch for being prepared. People! We live in the Northeast. The weather can turn on a dime and when you factor in Global Warming? It’s always best to have your ducks in a row. For me this means a loaf of bread and some nice bacon in the freezer, a dozen eggs, some pasta, a nice piece of hard cheese and adequate wine supply. With this in your universe and a gas stove you may make any number of meals to tide you through. Have a gas grill? Be sure the propane is filled. Make sure your batteries are fresh, devices charged, flashlights at the ready (one for each family member) and cars are gassed up. And of course the most important part of this list is a nice stack of books to see you through. We can help you with that! Don’t panic, People. We’ll all be fine.
This week we have some schlepping and flashbacks, Issues, feelings, whoa, whoa feelings, sobriety, and self-control.
And The Playlist! Wouldn’t feel like Friday without it!
Let us begin!
Introducing Kaitlin! She can be found on the Help Desk and occasionally up on the KLS Desk. She lives around the corner from me and shall henceforth be known as Kaitlin from the Rock. Here’s what she’s making time for. “I'm a slow reader (a consequence of having two jobs and being in grad school), but there are sooooo many books I want to read. So I've started listening to audio books while I run, and I read a physical book at night before bed. I just finished listening to Wild, by Cheryl Strayed and I loved it. Listening to it rather than reading it made her experience more real to me, in particular the physical struggles she had on the trail (like running out of water in the desert) as I schlepped along St. Mary's.
I'm reading Go Set a Watchmen, by Harper Lee. I definitely prefer To Kill a Mockingbird, which I just reread, this book has a lot of long flashback sequences and side story explanations that sometimes leave me scratching my head, but I'm keeping an open mind that this was an initial draft, and not a true sequel. And it's fun to be back in Maycomb with Miss Jean Louise.
Barbara M is feeling uncertain this week. “ I’m not sure how I feel about Isabel Allende’s latest book, The Japanese Lover. I couldn’t finish her last book which was a mystery, but because I think she is an incredible writer I decided to give this one a try. I liked her coming-of-age novel Maya’s Notebook, I loved The House of the Spirits and her non-fiction book Paula. In this new offering, the story opens with Irina, an immigrant from Moldova, getting a job at a nursing home. She is befriended by Alma, a resident who hires her as a personal assistant. Alma had also come to the United States as an immigrant from Germany just before World War II. Their complicated, fascinating lives are revealed as the book unfolds. This book lacks the magic of her earlier works but, that being said, it kept me interested. The characters are very well developed and I felt like I knew them very well. My reticence may be because the book deals with so many issues; the holocaust, the internment of Japanese citizens in the United States, sex slaves, child molestation, homosexuality and AIDS. Read it for yourself and make up your mind. It is a well written story and it did keep me absorbed until the end.”
Steph! What’s happening this week? "“F*ck Feelings! That’s the title of the best self-help book to come out this year. Authors Michael Bennett, MD (Harvard-educated shrink) and Sarah Bennett (his daughter, a standup comedian) have put together a book that tackles every tough mental health issue under the sun without ever losing its sense of humor. Warning: as you may guess from the title, the language is strong. And the advice may also come across as strong or even harsh to those who are used to the more palliative approach of TV psychiatrists. But whether you’ve got an ex you can’t get over, a suspicion you have an anxiety problem, a kid who’s turned into a stranger, or a trauma that still haunts you, the Bennetts have compassion and realistic advice that can help. The back cover calls this the last self-help book you will ever need, and I believe it."
The Always Fabulous Babs B has just finished Blackout by Sarah Hepola. “This is a memoir that is heartbreakingly honest about addiction. Sara was a successful writer in Manhattan who turned to alcohol at night. After too many nights of falling down staircases, sleeping with men she didn't remember the next morning and many other near disasters, she finally fights her way clear of addition. It wasn't easy, the first time she was sober for 18 months and then one innocent glass of wine started her spiral into drinking again. Now at the age of 35 Sarah has been sober for 4 years and actually likes the face she sees in the mirror. This is a must read for recovering addicts and for anyone who has had a difficult past and wants to heal. Alcoholism is a tough subject to tackle, but Sarah does so with grace, honesty and humor.”
Pat T is, as always, listening. Here is what she likes this week. “I am listening to The Road to Character by David Brooks. It is fascinating because it weaves together the subjects of sociology, psychology, biography, history and explores how morality is shaped by the cultural changes in society. The decades of the 1960's and 70's saw a great deal of societal shift with the women's movement, civil rights, and free love, but this change really began in the 40's & 50's. People had endured 16 years of deprivation starting with the Depression, and then World War II, so they were ready for a more upbeat lifestyle. The author explores some interesting characters that I had heard of, but knew little about. People such as Francis Perkins, the only woman in FDR's cabinet and the ‘Woman Behind the New Deal’, Dorothy Day who became a Catholic worker for the poor, living among them and sharing in their suffering, and George Marshall who was not a very bright student, but with determination, self-control and organization he achieved extraordinary success. Each of these characters rose above their own inadequacy to serve a nobler cause. The last chapter of this book really sums up the whole premise of Brooks’ development of character and he writes ‘People do get better at living, at least if they are willing to humble themselves and learn.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is settling into her new home in That State Up North and has some final thoughts and The Playlist. What’s good Pats? “It should come as no surprise that this week is one of my favorite times of the year. Banned Books Week is a wonderful time that allows us to celebrate the freedom to read what we want. Last year, I celebrated this week by reading a lot of YA books. My goal was one book a day. I was successful and honestly, I had a hard time trying to find things that would upset folks enough to insist they be banned. This year finds me in the midst of a move. So, I’ve decided to return to a classic by one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remains as controversial now as when it was first published in 1885 and any book that gets folks talking and then keeps them talking about banning it for 130 years is a great thing. When we find subject matter or language either offensive or objectionable do we have the right to forbid others to read it? This is a fascinating discussion that I particularly enjoy. Writers practice their craft with care and when they use a word or create a situation that makes us uncomfortable they do so with purpose and with intent. Music is another art form that gets folks all riled up. Remember Tipper Gore and family values in the 80’s?
I thought I’d be green this week and recycle last year’s playlist that includes a history of musicians who have weathered their own share of the burn.
DL LISTEN TO THE BAND 2014