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Jo and Thomas presented today and the overall theme was: journeys.
Jo treated the group to many distant lands: a madcapped discovery of the British Isles on foot, bus and by British Rail (Notes from a Small Island); a desire to see the ocean, an octogenarian travels east, from from Saskatchewan, followed by her husband and a long ago love (Etta and Otto and Russell and James); a gilted bookseller escapes down the River Siene to avoid a new love kindled by one from his past (The Little Paris Bookshop); a detective mystery set in operatic Vienna (Falling in Love); a set of essays of the same author who wrote Falling In Love who lives, as an ex-pat, in Venice (My Venice ), a London murder that sends a sister to her past, reliving her own sister's murder long ago (Elizabeth is Missing), during the depression, set in New York City's The Bowery, the funny, spirited youngest sister of three opens the family theater to the bums, prostitutes and hungry families of the neighborhood because she cares (Saint Mazie).
Thomas presented more edgie, psychological page turners, that journey into the heart and soul of the protagonists: a darkly comical account of one brother's coveting of another brother's success fracturing, then putting together, a family (May We Be Forgiven); a divorcee who is rejecting the waspy style of Fairfield County, CT, finds love with his wife's friend and reconciles his past with his present (The Land Of Steady Habits); a funny tale of a transgender punkster who is jolted by her girlfriend and is set on a course of further insight (Nevada); a journey into the hardcore youth culture of New York City, 1980's, having been raised by hippies from the 60's (Ten Thousand Saints); a graphic novel delving into the lives of retired super heros who are plagued by all too human failings and stalked by an unknown assassin (Watchmen); another graphic novel, winner of the Eisner Award, journeys to a time when a plague wipes out all but one man on earth (Y The Last Man); and an intense view of a 17 year-olds terrible, horrible set of circumstances, placed upon him, not of his own design, and how he finds love, forgiveness and compassion (Norman -- DVD format).
The group members enjoyed reading and suggest: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, My Sunshine Away, Devil in the White City, Flashpoints, and any book by Michael Connelly.
The book list begins below:
Greetings! Welcome to the Memorial Day edition of You Are What You Read! Don’t forget the Library will be closed on Monday. But never fear! Because of the magic of digital downloads we are never really closed. There’s more info about that here. Some of us will be marching in the parade on Monday. Not me, that Underpass situation is so rough that even adding a marching band can’t sweeten it. It is nasty and I can’t. But some of my co-workers are far better humans than I. So, if you show for the Parade, make sure that you give them a whole lot of love and a huge round of applause for all that they do. Just make sure you don’t do it under the Underpass. Trust me on that one. Some of you will be making the inaugural pilgrimage to wherever it is you Summer. We wish you safe travels and a gentle reminder of our love of taffy and fudge. Others will be staying home and getting those tender annuals in the garden. The way the weather has been this week, you may want to have those old bed sheets at the ready for the night time temp drops. As for me, I can be found playing in the kitchen making The Traveling Companion his Birthday Feast. As he is a visitor here, the Feast shall not be revealed, but suffice it to say that it will be a Feast worthy of such a kind and gracious man. And of course there will be a cake. Please never forget this weekend what we are honoring; the sacrifice that our Armed Forces have made so that we may live the lives that we do. There will be no You Are What You Read next week. I will be at Book Expo America in the charm- free Javits Center looking for books that you will love for the upcoming year and even though I have the super powers possessed by all single moms, I cannot be in two places at once. We will catch up with each other in two weeks and I am sure there will be much to discuss. This week we have dread, a whole lotta Scotland, a ridiculous book, a new favorite, some romance, some painting, and The Street. Playlist? How about two this week?
Let us begin!
Barbara M turned a feeling of dread into one of reading joy. “In an article in the New York Times Oliver Sacks revealed that he has terminal cancer, so it was with dread that I began reading his autobiography, On the Move: A Life, knowing that it might be his last book. What an incredible life he has led. He is a world renowned neurologist and author of many books including Awakenings, which was made into a wonderful movie starring Robin Williams. He was also at one time a weight lifter and a biker. This is a work of deep introspection and Sacks is more forthright and vulnerable than he has been in any of his other books. This powerful book gives insight into Oliver Sacks’ own mind while he was busy studying others. I don’t want the book to end but I will continue reading hoping that perhaps he’s leaving behind enough notes to fill many books.”
Melissa who works in Materials Management reports that she has begun the 18 disc set of Written in My Heart’s Own Blood by Diana Gabaldon. While that is a whole lotta Scotland she says she has been a fan of the Outlander series for a long time now. This is the eighth book in the series and it is mostly set in the US during the revolution.
The Always Fabulous Babs B is not a Happy Fabulous this week. Here’s what she thought of The Liar by Nora Roberts. And for you Nora fans, and I am sure you are out there somewhere, this review contains a spoiler alert! So just skip to Pat S. “This was just a ridiculous book I'm sorry to say. This story had some real potential but was ruined with cartoonish characters, overdone plot and way too much setting description. Shelby’s, husband dies and leaves her with a five year old daughter and massive debt. So off she goes to live with her family to start a new life and quickly meets a man and falls in love and lives happily ever after. Spoiler alert- Shelby's husband really is alive and attempts to kill her at the end of the book. I saw this coming right from the beginning. Sorry, but I think Nora should take a rest for awhile!”
The Ever Delightful Pat S has just finished The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows and she seems way happier than Babs B. “For all the fans of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, Annie Barrows is back, and in a big way. The Truth According to Us is set in Depression era West Virginia, in a small town called Macedonia. Layla Beck, daughter of a U.S. senator, has been recently disinherited. Her comedown includes the odious task of working for the WPA Writers Project which sends her to Macedonia, West Virginia to write the history for their upcoming sesquicentennial celebration. Upon arriving, Layla finds a rooming situation with the Romeyn family and here the real intrigue begin. We are introduced to Willa, Jottie, Bird, Felix and Emmett,and the ghost of the long dead Vause Hamilton. As Layla delves into the history of the town, she discovers it is inexorably wrapped up with the secret history of her unconventional landlords. The entire tale is told through the eyes of Willa, a twelve year old who will remind readers of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. Ultimately, each of these characters will have to re-examine their own sense of loyalty as they are forced to confront the twisted truths from an old tragedy. Barrows characters are so charming, so quirky and so colorful that I hated to come to the last page of this book-and so will you.”
Sue is staying true to form with a romance. “ I am reading Beyond the Sunrise by Mary Balogh and it is captivating regency piece that mixes romance, war and espionage into a delightful story that those who are fans of romance should enjoy!”
Pat T is done with one of my favorites for the summer. I’ll let her tell you. “Girl in the Moonlight by Charles Dubow is a good romantic summer read, much like his previous novel, Indiscretion! While taking on the task of cleaning out his father's home in East Hampton, Wylie Rose reflects back on his childhood when he was introduced to the wealthy, free spirited Bonet children. Over time, a friendship develops between Wylie and Aurelio Bonet, as well as an infatuation with his beguiling and beautiful older sister, Cesca. Aurelio struggles to become a respected painterin Spain, while Wylie explores the craft of writing in New York and Cesca moves aimlessly between school and work. Wylie finds himself caught in a Cesca web of manipulation and seduction. Will Cesca forever hold Wylie in her spell or will he free himself to discover true love?”
What’s Steph doing? “This week I’ve been reading Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! by Nicholas Carlson. It’s an excellent piece of business reporting that looks at how Yahoo! went from being an early Internet star to perennial bridesmaid. I’m about halfway through, and so far Mayer has only showed up in the introduction—I suspect she was forced into the title to sell more books, since she’s a hot property in business writing right now. It’s a shame, because the book is more interesting than the title implies! There’s a lot to be learned about the last two decades in tech, Wall Street, and management from studying Yahoo!’s successes and failures. I’m really looking forward to discussing the book in our Business Book Group meeting on June 3rd. (Register here if you’d like to join us!)”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in da house with the final musings and this week’s play list. What’s good Pats? “I t’s that time of year when it seems as though everyone is being pulled in a million directions. Parents are juggling work schedules with student concerts, field days, graduations, spring sports and end of the school year parties. Teachers are readying students for final exams and beginning student evaluations. Administrators are busy with end of year staff evaluations and preparations for balancing next year’s classes have begun. Librarians, publishing houses, authors, booksellers and educators are gearing up for BEA, Book Expo America. It’s always an exciting, good time filled with author breakfasts, book signings and tote bags overflowing with new book goodness. I will miss going this year. You might notice that next week the staff is a little light so please be kind and patient. They’re juggling just as much as the rest of us and sometimes more. If I were there I’d be bringing baked goods to help them get through the week. So, remember folks, we’re all in this together and we’re all a little exhausted. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.
DL THE INDIGO GIRLS MIX 2015
College football means pageantry, tradition, and history. Army, struggling these days, owns some of the most glorious parts of that history, with a string of national titles and Heisman Trophy winners way back in the mid-1940s. Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside takes us back to those glory years, when Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard ruled the gridiron, and the Cadets won 27 games, tied one, and lost none over a three-season stretch.
The book follows Davis, a California track and field standout, and Blanchard, from South Carolina, from the day they step onto the West Point campus, with World War II providing the backdrop. In those days, teams still used the "one-platoon system" -- in fact, the "two-platoon system," separating the offensive and defensive teams, was first used by Michigan to counter Army in 1945. As they still do today, Army football players say that practice is the easiest part of their day. We meet the coaches and teammates who inspired "Mr. Inside" and "Mr. Outside," and then learn what happened to both of them after they graduated from West Point.
For military buffs, sports fans, and anyone interested in American history, Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside is an evocative journey back to an era that still echoes in college football lore. On, brave old Army team!
John and Kim presented to the Meet Us On Main Street group today.
The overwhelming theme today was endurance in living; the World Wars (The Nightingale), the Chechnyan conflict (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena) , family loss (Wild, Tinkers, and Leaving Time ), rejection (Begin Again), deliverance (The Buried Giant), a need for understanding (The Storm Whale, and The Bone Clocks) . Yet, the protagonists survive heroically, spiritually, meditatively, yearningly, with honor, duty and loyalty to their country, to themselves and most of all, to their families and those they love. They affectively transform their lives and those around them. And some light humorous fantasy thrown in -- imagine 4 different Londons (A Darker Shade of Magic).
The last four titles (God Bless The Child, The Funny Girl, Tiney Beautiful Things and The Wonder Garden) on the list are reads the group has read and highly recommend.
The list begins below:
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!
Who doesn't love some Bollywood? And remember you don't have to wait! Immediate gratification can be yours!
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Greetings! And welcome to a pollen coated You Are What You Read. I don’t know about you all but I am actually hopeful that we get that promised rain this weekend so that we can begin to wash some of this Yellow Menace off every conceivable surface that it has settled on (but not on Saturday! I am looking at you Cathy!). It’s a Blizzard of Pollen out there, People! My blue car, which The Traveling Companion derisively and with a sneer refers to as Duke blue and which I refer to as recycling bin blue is actually a rather lurid and shocking shade of green these days. On Wednesday, I was in the City with some of my Fairfield Library Friends and we were all bemoaning our allergy reddened eyes, slow and sleepy minds and sandpapery throats. My long desired runs to the water have turned into exercises in wheezing, coughing and just generally trying to catch my breath after a few steps. I just keep telling myself that this is the price we pay for that blissful scent of lilacs and viburnum in the air. And really isn’t that what we have been wishing/hoping/praying for? The Always Delightful Pat S received the following advice from her doctor on how to deal with this. This doctor recommended that, in addition to the usual doses of insert your favorite allergy meds here, your hair be washed every night prior to bed. Apparently hair is a pollen magnet and while we sleep, it leaves the hair and migrates to the pillow case which ensures a night of breathing in more of the Menace than you should. The good doctor also recommended that we not sleep with windows open but with the a/c on to filter the air. Pat S is happy to report that both of these things have helped loads. So Soldier on People! This is the Price We Must Pay! And no worries, this is a temporary condition much like Spring itself. This week we have a runaway, a stranger, a cult and a coroner, and a very timely Issue. Of course we have The Playlist! Even if it does have an oddly yellow cast this week.
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann has just finished The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt. “I thought this was a well written thought provoking book about WWII. Eleven year old Lydia has run away from where she was evacuated to earlier in the war. She makes it back to her English village which is deserted. When she arrives at her home it is closed up and there is no sign of her mother. She is able to gain entrance to the house and thinks she will just wait for her mother to come home and her father to return from the war. While in her room that first night she hears someone entering the house and that someone turns out to be Heider, a German soldier. This novel explores Heider's life before the war when he was a musician in love with a beautiful fellow musician. His life was so happy and then he was drafted in to the war. When you read his war stories, it explains the reason for the title of the book and the fate of an integral character in the story. I highly recommend this book; it is quite a page turner.
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is here this week with this: The Stranger, Harlan Coben. “Some skeletons are best left in the closet. That is what Adam Price discovers after he is approached by a stranger one night with evidence of his wife’s deepest secret. But what is the cost of the truth? In Harlan Coben’s newest thriller, The Stranger, Adam’s world is upended in one single moment and everything he is always taken for granted is turned upside down. His wife won’t confirm or deny the secret so Adam starts his own investigation. What he uncovers, is a larger and for more dangerous conspiracy at play that puts his family at risk. How far will he go to know the truth? Overall, I enjoyed this book. It is a light thriller and a fairly quick read with an unexpected ending which I really didn’t see coming.”
Laura is taking a page form Jeanne’s playbook and is here with two things this week. “The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice is a memoir by Rebecca Musser about her escape from her family’s polygamous lifestyle. She was married in her early 20’s to 85-year old elder, and her people’s supreme prophet Rulon Jeffs. She took the witness stand to save her sisters and the other girls who would be subject, at very young ages, to early marriages. Her testimony in 2007 brought about the raid by Texas Rangers of the Yearning for Zion Ranch and the arrests of its leader. Some received life sentences behind bars once the abusive and manipulative atrocities were learned. It is a gripping read as she relays how she was taught to believe the outside world was ‘dangerous’ and that the houses and communities they lived in had secret hiding rooms, and walls, where the children and wives could hide if someone from the outside entered their realm. Book number two, The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill is a murder mystery set in Laos, in 1976, after America pulled out of Vietnam. New socialist government systems are being put in place and Siri, the 72 year-old doctor of medicine, who was hoping for retirement after many years of good service, is unwillingly pressed into service as a coroner in a post-war, underfunded and poorly equipped morgue. A prominent politician’s wife dies suddenly while dining with friends and Siri is suspicious of her demise, especially when her husband retains her body quickly for cremation. Three mysterious murders coincide and Siri is further embroiled in cross border politics, spying neighbors, victim hauntings, etc. I consider this my first beach read of the season.”
Julia Rae is back with us fresh from her first year in college! Stop by the desk and say hi why don’t you? Here’s her take on a book about a timely issues. “I found some time at school to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, and I’m so glad I did. Alexander provides her readers with a thorough, yet gripping, history of the racial Caste System in the U.S. She then gets right into the thick of how past Caste systems play a role in today’s society. The main thread throughout the book is the problem of Mass Incarceration and how the prison population is made up disproportionately by minorities. Alexander meticulously connects the dots to show readers how detrimental Mass Incarceration is, and how it indicates rampant racism in the government today. It was extremely interesting to read this book with the backdrop of everything that is happening in Baltimore. I think everyone, especially college age people, should read this book. Everything I thought I knew about racism in the U.S. has changed since reading.” Welcome back Julia! We missed you!
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from that State Which Shall Not Be Named with The Playlist and some musings of the etymological kind. What’s good Pats? “Happy Palindrome Week! What’s that, you ask? Well, a palindrome is a phrase, word, number or a sequence of characters that reads the same forwards and backwards. If you’re a massively talented writer, filmmaker and essayist like Georges Perec you write a Grand Palindrome in French that’s 5,556 letters in length. The Oxford English Dictionary lists the longest palindromic word as the onomatopoeic word tattarrattat coined by James Joyce in Ulysses for a knock on the door. I’m a huge fan of the Oulipo, short for the French “Ouvrior de litterature potentielle” or workshop of potential literature. The Oulipo was founded in 1960 by a group of mainly French-speaking writers and mathematicians who created works through a series of severe writing constraints. Some of the more famous members are Raymond Queneau, Francois Le Lionnais, Georges Perec, Italo Calvino and Jacques Roubaud. Every day this week, the dates align themselves to a natural palindrome. No forced constraints are needed. I think we should all celebrate it by reading Life, A User's Manual: A Novel or Numbers In The Dark : And Other Stories. Need something to read to the kids? Yep, we’ve got that too! Mom And Dad Are Palindromes: A Dilemma For Words...And Backwards. The playlist is not a palindrome this week but now I want to create one. Until then enjoy some fresh new tunes to put a little spring in your step and exercise those brain muscles.”