The Games of the XXX Olympiad are already underway in London, even though the torch won't be lit until Friday evening. This year, we'll be watching basketball, swimming, track, gymnastics, and all of the other summer events and when it's all over, we'll have a new set of memories and favorite moments for the ages.
Just in time for the London Olympics is this new viewer's handbook, which gives a brief history of the Games and explains all of the trivia and traditions. Exactly how wide is that balance beam? Why does Greece always march first in the Opening Ceremonies? What do the five Olympic rings and their colors symbolize? It's all here, along with "top ten" lists, rules, historical backgrounds, and what not to miss over the next few weeks. The eyes of the world will be on London -- see here for schedules and headlines. Let the Games begin!
Last night, the Los Angeles Kings won their first Stanley Cup ever, in the 46th year of their existence. They're celebrating in LA and while none of our area hockey teams went home with the big prize, it's a long wait until the puck gets dropped again. Summer is the perfect time to keep cool by delving into hockey's legends and history.
Short of making the trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, the best way to do that is with Hockey Hall of Fame Treasures. It's a new coffee table book filled with beautiful color photos of historic artifacts -- Wayne Gretzky's jersey, a recreation of the Canadiens' dressing room, timelines, goalie masks, over a thousand pucks, and much more.
Congratulations to the Kings and happy off-season to all hockey fans, already counting the days until fall!
Top Ten Hardcover Bestsellers from the New York Times for the week of May 19th.
Two years ago, in June of 2010, Sports Illustrated published an article titled "The Magical Season of the Macon Ironmen." The article told the story of the 1971 high school baseball season in Macon, Illinois, a small town struggling against drought, the backdrop of the Vietnam War, and other upheavals of the time. The Ironmen had an unlikely coach and "Hoosiers"-like run to the state championship, but their story was much more than that.
Author Chris Ballard has crafted his original article into a full-length book, One Shot at Forever, just released this month. The cover photo shows the players with mismatching uniform shirts and peace symbols on some of their caps, and hints that this Macon team did more than just unite their small town -- they created a legacy that still resounds, not just in their hometown.
In his book, Ballard tracks down former team members and their coach, as they return and remember that special year on the brink of their adulthoods. Even if you can't tell a doubleheader from a double play, One Shot at Forever will make you a fan of this small town and its beloved high school team. As the New York TImes review said, "This isn't merely a book about baseball. It's a book about heart."
This week we have more Zombies,a staff favorite, a child star, clandestine intrigues, no heir and no spare can equal no head, Jackie O!, Paris (of course) and a ballerina.
Let us begin!
The Citizen Asha is up to her usual shenanigans. “I just finished reading Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry, the sequel to Rot & Ruin. It picks up where Rot & Ruin left off. I must say that I am a fan of this series. Benny and his brother have formed a better relationship and Tom is teaching them to be warrior smart for their return to the Ruin to face the zombies. However, there is something more sinister waiting for them there. I am waiting for the third installment Flesh & Bone to be released this September.”
Marianne has revisited a Staff Favorite for her pick this week: “My Library Book Group has just read and discussed Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. The story follows three friends, Katey, Eve and Tinker throughout the year of 1938. Tinker lives in the world of the wealthy while Katey and Eve are two career girls trying to scrape by in the Big City. This is, in part, a tale of how spontaneous choices can shape our entire lives. Comments from group members ranged from ‘wonderful picture of Manhattan in the late '30s,’ ‘author's phrasing and language were musical,’ to ‘I enjoyed it even more on the second reading.’"
Ann is working on What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe. “I was intrigued by the premise of this story about two girls from different social classes in Manchester, England in the 70's and the infatuation one of them has with Lallie a child star of the time. Gemma who has money and an interesting life is targeted by poor Pauline who has never experienced kindness in her short life. These two girls will avoid each other and then come together to commit a terrible crime. I would not recommend this book, the writing became confusing and after a while you did not really care about the characters or why they did the things they did.”
As usual Pat S. has not one but two titles going on! Here is her take on The Rogues’ Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum by Michael Gross and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. “ Rogue's Gallery is a fascinating history of the Metropolitan Museum from its' inception to the world famous icon it is today. And don't think that this is boring because Gross has uncovered all kinds of clandestine intrigues through the years which keep the reader completely engaged-and more than a little surprised! He blows the dust off the myth of the stuffy academics with lofty art historical aims and introduces us to board members with too much money and way too little taste, ego's gone wild-you'll never look at the Sackler Galleries in the same way, and a whole lot more. This is a really fun and informative read. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel re-creates a fictionalized Cromwell as he navigates the dicey road to ending Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn after she fails to provide him with the male heir he so desperately desires. Most of the novel takes place in Cromwell's head-an interesting device as we are introduced to the various characters and legal and moral issues he encounters wholly through his eyes. First and foremost, Mantel is a writer who has a love affair with the English language-and that is patently evident on each page. The period details are such to make the book worth the read alone. However, we all know how it ends and it does get a bit slow going midway. Not sure if I'll make the finish line . . .”
Pat T. is “enjoying the latest Jackie book entitled Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Defied Expectations & Rediscovered Her Dreams by Tina Cassidy. The author writes about the year 1975 when Jackie was at a crossroads in her life-Aristotle Onassis died and her two children were becoming more independent. Jackie was a good writer and an avid reader and she looked to the Publishing industry to begin another chapter in her ever evolving life. She went to work at Viking Publishing as an assistant editor and she proved to be a dedicated and creative worker. The author captures Jackie as vulnerable, yet confident as she stepped out as a professional woman!”
Abby says, “I always find it interesting to see how professional kitchens are organized. In the chef memoir Four Kitchens; My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv and Paris, French Culinary Institute grad Lauren Shockey shares her experiences in 4 highly regarded professional kitchens. Following graduation, Lauren arranged to complete 3 month stages (unpaid internships) in New York City, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris. In NY, she experienced working with molecular gastronomy using chemicals to create art on the plate; Hanoi was a more down to earth experience about flavor and freshness; Tel Aviv a melting pot of spices, and Paris, the height of 2 star culinary fussiness. At the end of the journey Lauren shares her discovery that the profession kitchen lifestyle is incredibly grueling and creates too much distance from seeing people actually enjoy the food. This was a nice journey of discovery. I plan to make the lamb meatballs with cucumber-yogurt sauce (pg. 34) this weekend.
I am working on The Master’s Muse by Varley O’Connor. Tanaquil Le Clercq was the muse of George Balanchine and his also his 5th wife (!!??). She was one of his principal dancers and while in Copenhagen in 1956 she contracted Polio. This fictionalized account of their love affair and her illness is fascinating. I cannot wait to find out how this fiery woman re-invents herself.
“It’s Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy”. So easy, that hopefully you can take time to come to our popular, summer short story series. Our snow bird, Carroll Stenson, is back. Rested from her winter in Florida, she is prepared with new stories, to lead us in thought provoking and life illuminating discussions.
Our program will begin on Tuesday, June 19 at 3:00 p.m. in the Darien Library Conference Room and will continue every Tuesday (excluding July 3) through August 21. The first story is “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Copies are available at the Welcome Desk.
In subsequent weeks stories will be passed out at the end of each session or may be picked up at the Welcome Desk.
Please join us and share with other short story enthusiasts.
This weeks offerings involve a ready-made family, some hippies, a sniper, some illicit behavior, a home on the range, a macabre obsession, some sun, some hoodoo, and the police.
Either come on in and see the Book Goodness yourself or reserve your copy on line. We'll let you know when it's ready to be picked up!
This week we have some Gypsies, charlatans, a Valley Girl, a little lubrication, some dead friends, and some Mexico. Mexico Maine that is.
Let us begin!
Barbara M. had left Paris and is reading Gypsy Boy by Micky Walsh. “It is an unromantic look into the life of a British Romany. It is raw, eye-opening, brutal and compelling.”
Citizen Asha is working her way through a major tome. “I am reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It's taking me a bit to push through the novel, as the copy that I bought is over eight hundred pages, however, it is amazing. Magick is no longer relevant, or if it is, it is being used by charlatans for monetary gain. Someone has to step in and take control.” And make no mistake. The Citizen could just be the girl for the job.
Pat S. weighs in with White Girl Problems by Babe Walker. “Essentially, Babe is a Valley Girl on steroids-with all the attendant issues that involves. A product of the excesses of Beverly Hills and an indulgent motherless family, Babe sashays from Barney's to Brown University-barely breaking stride. Her intense self interest in all things 'Babe' is a riot. Perfect for beach reading, or teenage girls-who may or may not miss the fact that this is a parody.”
The Lovely Priscilla is reading and recommending Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller. “You will never look at that bottle of olive oil in your cabinet the same ever again! This is the remarkable history of olive oil which has been used as a beauty product, as a medicine and in religious practices. Delve into the globalization, fraud, deception and crime of this amazing oil."
Marianne reports that she is working her way through Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan. “This quiet book follows the everyday activities of Emily Maxwell, an eighty year old widow who lives alone in the home where she and her husband raised their children and spent most of their married years. Her children are grown and have moved far away and many of her close friends have died. Now this is Emily's time alone. While this could be a depressing time of life Emily finds joy in her new found independence and the author shows us in very sensitive prose that life can be filled with joy at any age. My book group is reading this book right now and I can't wait for our discussion.”
I am in love with Monica Wood’s memoir When We Were Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico Maine by Monica Wood. It’s 1963 and Monica’s beloved father has just died from a heart attack on his way to work in the town’s paper mill Can Monica's Mom and her three sisters survive this personal and economic tragedy? The language here is gorgeous and the story is compelling. It is due out in July.