Hello! We made it to MAY! I don’t know about you but my relief is palpable on this score. Even if my walk to the train this morning felt more like March than May, we have made it to MAY! Saturday we have the Kentucky Derby which is a favorite harbinger of spring. People! Polish the Julep cups, crush that ice, muddle the mint, and dig the bourbon out from the back of the liquor cabinet. Although truth be told, these days I use my Julep cup as my toothbrush holder mostly because it has my married initials on it. We all know how I feel about that. The bathroom feels like a good place for that to reside. This Sunday we will see this month’s Full Moon. Here is the 411 from the Farmer’s Almanac on the Full Flower Moon: “May's Full Flower Moon, also called Mother's Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon, marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.” So there you go. It would appear that our time on the Tundra has, happily, come to an end. In related, albeit disturbing, news tomorrow is World Naked Gardening Day. Yes this is a ‘thing’. Please don’t. There is not enough Julep in the world for that. One last thing you have one week and 2 days to get it together for the mothers in your lives. Make it good People. They deserve it. This week we have a cult, a widow, triplets, a glossy, and Quebec. The Playlist? But of course!
Let us begin!
Miss Claire of the CL is back and here’s what she did while she was adrift in the world. “After a recent trip to LA, my friend's boss said we had to pick up Last Night at the Viper Room for our girls' weekend. The book is a partial bio of River Phoenix, the childhood actor who was destined for greatness, but it's also interspersed with pieces of 90s cultural references. The book tells of Phoenix's early beginnings as the oldest sibling of a vagabond family whose parents moved their kids from state to state, and then to South America. The family became increasingly involved the Children of God, a cult which encouraged sexual experiences among its young members. The Phoenix clan eventually ended up in Los Angeles where the singing brothers and sisters performed on the Hollywood streets. The book was compelling, although sad as River dies as a result of a drug overdose on Halloween morning. I vividly remember my friends and I finding out the news after trick-or- treating in 8th grade. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed being an insider to young Hollywood in the early nineties and also discovering that the director Gus Van Sant graduated from Darien High!”
Sweet Ann has just finished Bettyville by George Hodgman. “When I read the review of this book, I knew I had to read it. I love family stories and this is a terrific one. George Hodgman leaves Manhattan to return home to Paris, Missouri to take care of his ninety year old mother Betty. Betty is getting forgetful and frightened of being alone now that she is a widow and her health is failing. She and her son have a witty and caring relationship but one where George's homosexuality was never discussed. Bettyville also addresses George's childhood of feeling that he was not normal and the torment he felt. He loved his mother and this book is a love song to her and the people who were there for him as a child and a young man. I highly recommend this memoir.”
Jeanne is only doing one thing this week. Feel free to discuss. “Liane Moriarty has a way of working the bad things that happen to good people into slapstick episodes. In the case of this novel, Three Wishes, she does this in triplicate. Yes, the Kettle sisters, Gemma, Lyn and Cat are beautiful, long-legged, 30 something triplets. Life is never perfect; no one is exempt from the bad stuff. Not even these headstrong Australian women are above wrongdoing, mishaps and mayhem. There is a lot going on with the Kettle sisters; from marital discord, unplanned pregnancies, slashed tires and plenty of champagne. If you enjoyed Big Little Lies, as I did, you will also enjoy Three Wishes, narrated via hoopla by the talented Heather Wilds.”
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is very happy this week. Here’s why. “Tickled pink, on cloud nine, in seventh heaven. You get the gist. I am happy, happy, happy. You know why? Because, my dear friends, it is my favorite time of the year! Prime Patio Time, or in my part of the world known as PPT. To celebrate this beautiful weather, I bring you the perfect PPT book, The Knockoff: A Novel by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, a deliciously fun read full of wit, drama and fashion with a little bit of soul thrown in. Imogene Tate, editor-in-chief of Glossy Magazine, one of the top fashion books in the world, finds herself at a crossroads when she returns to work after a six-month medical leave, only to discover her former assistant, Eve, has manipulated her way into a position of power and is trying to convert the magazine into a digital version and app. Many of Imogene’s peers ‘the gray hairs’ have been let go or moved into the supply closet and been replaced with ‘a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings.’ If Imogene wants to save her beloved Glossy then she will have to evolve and learn the necessary digital tools to compete in this new landscape, which she does with grace, integrity, creativity and a whole lot of moxie. I know this book seems to be your typical chick-lit novel, but it also is a good commentary on how technology has impacted the business world today. Thoroughly charming, laugh out loud funny and surprisingly relevant, The Knockoff is the perfect read while enjoying your Prime Patio Time.”
Steph. Also happy this week. In fact, she is downright evangelical in her delight. “Rejoice! For Louise Penny has a new book on the way, and it is a true return to form for her. I know some readers, me included, were a bit disappointed in the last Inspector Gamache book, The Long Way Home, it was good, just not as good as previous books in the series, in my humble opinion. I feared that Gamache’s retirement would spell doom for the series. But fear not! Nothing less than a serial killer, the death of a child, and the discovery of a massive weapon hidden in the Quebec forest have brought Penny’s best back to us. The Nature of the Beast comes out in August. Go on hold now and get excited!
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with some final musings on this week’s lunar event. What’s good Pats? “It finally feels like spring might stick around. This weekend marks the opening of our Farmers Market here in town and I am ready. I have been waiting to plant my own patio garden. I’ve been living in fear that I’ll be inviting the rodents’ wrath and they’ll throw some frost or snow my way. They’re spiteful like that. So around here while we juggle baseball games, a third grade concert, a middle school musical and art award ceremonies, I’m going to sneak in a little full moon gardening. The full moon isn’t until the 4th but I’m getting a head start. The Full Moon Playlist is my only listening requirement. Now go out and get your garden on!
DL The Fullest Moon or Just Another Day in the Life of Neil deGrasse Tyson 2013
Here are the new titles available from OverDrive.
Michelle Obama A Life by Peter Slevin
The Lady from Zagreb by Philip Kerr
Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
A Fine Romance by Candice Bergen
Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline
Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo/Neil Smith
The Bone Tree by Greg Iles
The China Mirage The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia by James Bradley
The Collector by Nora Roberts
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
Memory Man by David Baldacci
Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason
Here are the new books from 3M.
At first it appeared to be a light day for the Meet Us On Main Street reading group as Alan came to the discussion with only two books -- Erik Larson's Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania about the 1915 sinking of the luxury ocean liner by German U-boats and Galapagos Regained,: A Novel by James Morrow about an out-of-work Victorian actress who, lured by the a chance to win a large amount of prize money, sets off on a wild adventure to the Galapagos Islands, and beyond, to prove Darwin's evolutionary theory to a panel of judges at The Great God Contest. Yet, the talk of Darwin's journey inspired him to present a favorite writer of his, Patrick O'Brian, who wrote over 20 sea stories set during the Napoleonic Wars. A group member, enthused by Alan's accounting, walked away with the first of the Aubrey - Maturin series, Master and Commander. In the list below, I have included book 2 & 3 of the series Post Captain, and HMS Surprise, though they do not have to be read in any order. We have the entire series.
Laura pitched two of her recent favorites: Lila by Marilyn Robinson, a beautifully written book about a young woman, homeless until she meets and marries minister, who tries to make sense of her hardscrabble life and the people she became close to along the way, and Hades, by Cythina Fox, a chilling, thriller about a disgraced detective, his return to the force and the shady and mysterious new co-workers he must work with to catch a serial killer.
The group discussed news sources we trust-- New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the online hit, The Skimm. Deb, a MUOMS regular, gave a brief informational tutorial of Good Reads, (here is the link: http://www.goodreads.com) which is an online website she uses to find books to read and also organize her reading lists. We use it frequently at the Library to find "read-alike" books for patrons, who have a favorite author or genre, but are wanting new authors to read.
We also talked about food and so, by the end of the meeting everyone's stomach was growling. They left to get lobster sliders. Yumm. It was a beautiful day, maybe they did take-out and had a picnic.
The list begins below:
New opportunities for your viewing pleasure.
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
How about some movies based on true stories? And remember you don't have to wait! Immediate gratification can be yours!
Not sure what this means? Click here!
This week we saw Earth Day come and go and I have been thinking a lot about the nature of Nature. It seems to me that it’s been sort of creeping into places it should not be but in all fairness to Nature, it was here first. Lately we have heard of Nature appearing in of all places, the Upper West Side in the form of a coyote who was seen hanging around Lincoln Center and Grant’s Tomb of all places. Here in town there was a black bear sighting. Of course, this is really nothing new. No matter how hard we try to beat it back and tame it, Nature seems to come back with a vengeance. Does anyone else remember when the sighting of deer in your yard was the stuff of wonderment and not an occasion to despair over some really expensive landscaping becoming a Sizzler Endless Salad Bar for Bambi? In my neighborhood, the landscape is a mix of hard-core city and tightly packed suburbs with a few old estates high on a hill facing the Long Island Sound. For years, it has been host to not only the usual urban suspects like skunks, and raccoons, but also to parrots which build these giant nests and actually live in them year round, no escaping to warmer climes for them. Now we have 3 foxes that can be seen cavorting in yards and trotting down the streets like they own it. There were 4 but one came to an untimely end via a careless driver which was reported with great sorrow on our community Facebook page. I have even seen wild turkeys marching down the middle of the 4 lane avenue that bisects the neighborhood. And of course, last week we had the story of Kasper the Wolverine Who Would Not Be Caged trying to make his new home in Newark not an Alaskan nature preserve for which he was destined. Perhaps the nature of Nature is that you as a human think that you can impose your ways upon the world but Nature is always going to reclaim what you stake. So be on the lookout People! Nature is on the march!
This week we have Boston, Royals, Scotland, police, and Montana. It is not in our Nature to deny you a playlist, so yes, there is The Playlist.
Let us begin!
Pat T was a big fan of Lisa Genova's book, Still Alice, and so she decided to read her latest novel, Inside The O'Briens. Did it stack up? “The O'Brien's are an Irish Catholic family living in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Joe is a Boston Police Officer, Rosie, a homemaker and they have 4 grown children who live with them. Joe begins to experiences mood swings, and falls which he shrugs off to being tired, until one day his behavior can no longer be ignored. With much urging by Rosie, Joe goes for a medical evaluation and shockingly discovers he has Huntington's Disease which an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes you to lose control over your ability to move. All the O'Brien children have a fifty percent chance of inheriting this disease and they each must make their own decision about genetic testing. Their faith is tested as they struggle through all the stages of denial, anger, depression. Eventually they come to peace with the fate that has been handed down to them because of the support and love of their family. I don't know if I have done justice with my review of this book, but I strongly suggest you read it because the subject is so enlightening and the characters are so real that they could be your own family!”
The Effervescent and Ever Delightful Pat S has been raving to me about The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan all week long. Let’s just let her end the week on that same not shall we? ” From the authors of the extremely clever, sneakily snarky authors of the blog Go Fug Yourself, The Royal We is for everyone who can’t resist a fairytale, and one you will want to place at the top of your list of beach/vacation reads! Heavily based on the courtship and marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William, The Royal We follows Bex, an American (oh, MY!) student on a year abroad program where she lands living on the same floor as Prince Nick. When they meet they become friends first, and then comes the romantic slide into passionate love. What begins as students almost playing a game as they conform to the Palace requirements of complete discretion becomes stultifying as the years pass. Once the cat is out of the bag, the glitz (fabulous parties, glamorous skiing trips, etc) is accompanied by the very real emotional morass of the dysfunction of the Royal family. As the story develops, it does stay fairly close to the tabloid-suggested characterizations of family members but with just enough twists to make it continually entertaining. While, as in any good fairytale, the ending is happily-ever-after, The Royal We certainly makes you think about what the very real price of what that fairytale might be.”
The Fabulous Babs B has just finished At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen. Here’s what she thought. “This is the story of Madeline Hyde, a young Philadelphia socialite who reluctantly follows her husband to a remote town in Scotland in search of the Loch Ness Monster. The reader slowly watches Maddie, who really is a stranger to herself, snap to reality after a series of events involving her husband's spiral into conceit and self-deception. This also is a story of adventure, friendship and love in the shadow WWII. I wasn't crazy about the author's previous book, Like Water for Elephants, but thought this one was a winner!”
Sue is taking a break from her usual Romance Reading and diving into a Police Procedural instead. “At the moment I am reading and enjoying a steamy police crime book titled Risking it All by Tessa Bailey it features NYPD detective Seraphia Newsom who is seeking to avenge her brother’s death at any cost. To do that it means she has to insinuating herself into a rough, Brooklyn street gang and go so far undercover, she’s not sure she’ll be able to get out. Every minute she spends in their midst means the clock is ticking down on her life.”
Steph is crazy busy finishing up her time at Library School so that she is able to do any 'pleasure' reading is either a Christmas Miracle or it’s something she really feels passionate about. “Not much time for non-academic reading this week (and believe me, no one wants to hear about that), but I did start Missoula by Jon Krakauer on my lunch break yesterday. Missoula is the town in Montana which was briefly labeled the ‘rape capital’ of the United States after a string of rape cases related to the University of Montana’s football team. The book uses these cases, as well as the town and the media’s reaction, to examine the larger issues of rape in the United States, most especially on college campuses. So far, the book is even-handed and devastating. Hard to recommend because it’s such a tough issue and he is pretty unflinching with the details, but I’d say anyone in college or with a kid in college should take a look.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from the State Which Shall Not Be Named with some musings on the Arts. Arts with a capital A! What’s good Pats? “I’ve been immersed in art lately. Last week I went to the Detroit Institute of Arts for the Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo exhibit and for the past couple of weeks I have been following Nick Cave around the city as he embarks on his latest, most ambitious Soundsuit project to date. I’ve been doing my part to support the arts at my son’s elementary school through the PTA Reflections Program and I am incredibly proud of the students here. This year’s theme was ‘The World Would Be A Better Place If…’ We had nine students from our elementary school win at the District Level in the categories of Visual Arts, Film Production, Music Composition, Dance Choreography and Photography. Four of our students went on to win at the State Level and one of our students has gone forward to the National Level for his Music Composition. He’s a first grader who keeps a mean beat on the drums. This week I’ve curated a playlist of new music goodness. I encourage you to explore your own artistic side. Take in a museum, paint, draw, write, photograph something or listen to some music. Whatever you choose make sure you get out and support your local arts.