You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Greetings!  I trust everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and that the carcass from The Bird is a distant memory.  Or at the very least, soup.  This year we actually went the traditional roasted route which thrilled the TC beyond reason.  I think that he was really afraid of the frying.  Which, I can sort of understand.  But  really?  What is a holiday without that that impending sense of panic that something is about to go really truly drastically spectacularly wrong?  Usually this feeling is supplied by your family members, but, since in the case of Cousin’s Thanksgiving, we really like each other, we need the fryer to give us that particular thrill.  The words from the SoNo Loft this week are “Santa  ♥ ‘s you” A nice message and the first time we have seen color used!  Very festive! And now it’s time for Sweet Ann Words of Wisdom! “My words of wisdom for this week are for everyone to take a moment in this holiday rush to tell someone via phone, e-mail, text or in person that you are glad he or she is in your life and that they make your heart a little bigger. I like to say they make my heart soar.” This week we have a little something, Nazis, a madam, some illness, consequences, New Zealand and of course Paris.


Let us begin!


New DVD Releases

Here is what you can find new to the shelves in the upcoming days.

Nice New Book Goodness!

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

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!

New DVD Releases

Here is what you can find new to the shelves in the upcoming days.

Nice New Book Goodness!

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

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!

Fifty Years Ago...

While we observe the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination today, it's worthwhile to remember two other important figures who died on the exact same day: November 22, 1963. Both were quietly mourned at the time, understandably under the circumstances, and both remain popular and relevant to this day.

British author Aldous Huxley is best known for Brave New World, which was published over 80 years ago and is one of the most controversial and thought-provoking novels ever. Brave New World began as a parody of H.G. Wells' optimistic writing; instead of adapting a rose-colored view of the future, Huxley saw it as a "negative utopia." His book has been banned, reviled, celebrated, and praised, and is routinely listed among the top novels of all time.

His colleague C.S. Lewis is remembered for his Narnia series for children, theological essays and books, science fiction novels, and poetry. The Narnia books have been adapted for radio, television, and film numerous times and are perennial family favorites, and Lewis' writing for adults is as relevant as ever in our changed and changing world. A new biography, A Life Observed, tells his story in depth and includes a foreword by his stepson.

On a day of national sadness, we remember the lives of John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C.S. Lewis.

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Welcome to the Thanksgiving Edition of You Are What You Read. We will be taking next week off to celebrate.  Sweet Ann wants us all to be mindful of the small things in our world that make us grateful.  Don’t be like the guest at a Thanksgiving I heard about last year.  This particular family had a year that was less than stellar and yet as they went around the table everyone came up with at least something to be thankful for.  Except for the one person who looked around the table, smirked and said, “Pass.” Who does that?  Don’t be that person!  As for me, I am going to be playing with my cousins who I would want to be my friends even if we weren’t related.  Imagine us all gathered around the deep fat fryer praying this is not the year we end up on You-Tube as “that idiot family who tried to fry their turkey and ended up burning down a suburb.”   The TC will be joining us for the first time. He has been warned that we tend to be ‘lively’. Honestly, I think he’s up for it and he will be fine.   The SoNo Loft’s message is NSFW so here’s hoping they bring back a message more in keeping with the upcoming Hellidays.  This week we have a dying wish, some married folk, a challenge, some botany, a love story, for good measure another love story, a helliday gift suggestion, lots of gratitude and of course, a playlist.


Let us begin!


Sue S. has just read The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses who is a former Darienite!  “Ellen Branford is an engaged and soon to be married up and coming lawyer.  While she is visiting her dying Grandmother, she learns that her last wish is for Ellen to deliver a letter to a hometown boy her Grandmother once knew.  Charged with making good on her promise, the task sends Ellen to the town of Beacon, Maine which is a  far cry from the high society life that she knows in Manhattan.  It is in Ellen's search for the hometown boy that she finds out secrets about her grandmother and which has her crossing paths with a man who winds up needing her as much as she needs him.  I would love to see this book made into a movie!”


Amanda’s back with another dive into Regency era romances with Eloisa James’ Duchess in Love.   “Cam is forced by his father to marry Gina.  He jumps out a window a few moments after the ceremony and has been in Greece ever since. Twelve years have now passed and Gina summons Cam home so they can annul their marriage as she loves another. Will Gina keep her engagement as she turns to Cam for lessons in kissing? In a turn from the traditional romance novel structure, this story focuses on a group of married people who have their own extramarital love affairs. The thought being that marriage is to beget an official heir, while your heart belongs to your lover. This book is refreshing to me because it’s the first I’ve read that demonstrates this historical occurrence. “


Sweet Ann has just finished Vatican Waltz by Roland Merullo.  “This is a short novel that tells the story of Cynthia Piantedosi who is having visions that are leading her to challenge her Catholic faith.  She loves her church, not only her local parish, but the bigger church.  She recognizes that there are problems in the church, but she finds such comfort there that she is willing to address them.  She goes to Rome to meet with a Cardinal to present her idea of what her visions are leading her to believe her future in the church is which is a role not open to women in the Catholic Church.  This is a very interesting, thought-provoking book.  As a reader you will see Cynthia as a good daughter, granddaughter, really just a good person, searching for her place in the world.”


Barbara M. is putting her foot down.  Hard and crushingly on the spine of The Signature of All Things.  “In spite of the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of  Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love I started reading her new novel The Signature of All Things because Barbara Kingsolver gave it a great review in the New York Times. I was also attracted to the subject –the story of a woman botanist in the 1800s. I’m almost half way through and am getting bored with its repetitiveness. I like the idea of Alma, the strong woman protagonist, but she and many of the other characters feel like caricatures rather than real people. I don’t think I’ll be finishing this book, nor do I think I’ll read any more by this author. “


Pat T.  has just finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. “This is a delightful and quirky love story about a college professor with Asperger's syndrome, who embarks on a scientific search for the perfect wife called the Wife Project. Along the way he meets a young lady in search of her biological father and together they commence the search for the Father Project. As the two projects become intertwined, the Professor and young lady find their lives upended too!  Even though the story is predictable, you can't help but like these characters and muse on the unexpected twist that one can encounter along the journey of life and love!”


Jeanne is only doing one thing this week.  Perhaps she feels too over extended by the upcoming Hellidays? “What’s so sad about reading a fictional account of a violently dysfunctional family is that it is true somewhere. If it weren't for the bittersweet love story that Rainbow Rowell writes for Eleanor & Park in the YA novel of the same name, it would be completely tragic. Eleanor is a big girl with crazy red hair and crazier outfits. Park is slender, half Korean and mostly wears black. They're just sixteen, they live in the Flats of Omaha and they meet on the school bus. It seems like the eighties judging from the comics they read together and they music they share on their Walkman, but it could be anytime, anywhere for these sweethearts learning about each other, knowing they are mismatched and falling in love anyway.”


Miss Elisabeth of the CL is now Mrs. Elisabeth!  She is fresh back from her nuptials so won’t you join me in welcoming her back and saying Mazel!  “This week I’ve been reading The Book of Jezebel, an encyclopedia/coffee table book from the women behind Jezebel.com, one of my favorite websites geared towards women. The book contains entries in alphabetical order (with cross references!) on topics ranging from Princess Jasmine in Aladdin to the Babysitter’s Club Books to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The entries can be funny, sarcastic, or heartfelt and sometimes they’re all 3! It would make a great gift this holiday season for the female millennial in your life; as it’s basically a cultural compendium of everything that makes our generation, well, ours.”


And what would time spent in the Kitchen be without music?  Here is DJ Jazzy Patty with not only a playlist but a book pick for your down time.  Take it away Jazzy Patty!  “Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm, a memoir by Mardi Jo Link is my gratitude reading selection.  After reading this, I assure you that you will be able to identify many things in your life to be grateful for like heat in your home, food in your refrigerator, money to pay your bills and mortgage, I could go on.  Mardi Jo Link's memoir is heartbreaking and at times hilarious. (Yes, there are chickens involved.)  It's a poignant story of will and resilience during divorce while raising three sons and struggling to make ends meet.  This year marks the convergence of the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving or what’s being touted as Thanksgivukkah.  I can’t imagine a happier time than getting to enjoy turkey and latkes on the same day.  As I began to contemplate these holidays next week, I reflect on all the things that I have in my life.  We all have something we can be grateful for no matter how small or seemingly simple.  .  How about this year we all practice a little more kindness?  What if we all topped that kindness with a sweet cherry of forgiveness?  For this auspicious beginning to our holiday season, my theme is Expressions of Gratitude. “

Nice New Book Goodness!

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

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!

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Greetings!   I am back from my trip and have the following to relate.  My Traveling Companion (henceforth known as The TC) always visits his hometown book store.  This is a lovely bookstore with a robust Golf section and The TC likes to scope out product placement and see what his writing brethren are up to.  I just love a bookstore and find no hardship in the visitation of them.  On this particular Saturday, I did not see the need to put make up on, dress up or make any sort of effort at all.  Do I need to tell you this was a huge mistake? Because who was in the back of the bookstore?  Celia Rivenbark!  The author whose book I was using as my Fodor’s guide!  And I am here to tell you her manners are just as lovely as you would expect.  Because when I rushed her, she did not bat an eye at the Insane Yankee Woman with the naked face and comfortable clothing.  Nope.  She was as gracious as she could be.   So let this be a lesson to you all.  Nowhere is safe.  Make an effort.  These are the Jen Words of Wisdom for the week.  This week we have some jumping, a fierce love, a gem and some forgiveness, and some singing circus dwarfs.

Let us begin!


Steph has finished reading The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, by Naoki Higashida. “This book recently got a lot of buzz when David Mitchell (of Cloud Atlas fame) did press for it after its publication, because Mitchell and his wife KA Yoshida translated it from Japanese. Why? Mitchell, who has a son with autism, states it plainly in his foreward: “The Reason I Jump was a revelatory godsend. Reading it felt as if, for the first time, our own son was talking to us about what was happening inside his head, through Naoki’s words.” And indeed, every page of this book is a revelation about Naoki’s inner world that reflected an entirely different way of being back at me. The writing is movingly simple and at times heartbreaking, and the book is so short that when I finished it, I went right back to the beginning and started again. Whether you or someone you are close to live with autism, this is a must-read and an incredible achievement.”


Sweet Ann has no words of wisdom this week.  Maybe next week? Meanwhile this week she brings us her take on The Goldfinch by Donna Tart.  “This is a beautifully written book that takes the reader on a journey that he or she will remember for a long time, not only for the story, but for the characters. Theo loves his mother and she loves him fiercely. So much so, that that you can feel it from the opening pages. Then there is a terrorist attack that alters Theo's life and carries him from living modestly with his mother to Park Avenue, Las Vegas, The Village and Europe. You will root and cheer for Theo and hope his life could have been easier.  His childhood friend Andy will break your heart and Hobie, the antiques dealer who takes him in, will remind you of the good in people.  His friend Boris on the other hand has a great heart coupled with quite an addiction problem that will have adult Theo on the adventure of his life.  I greatly enjoyed this book but I did think it got slightly long winded at the end.  I have enjoyed all of Donna Tartt's novels and I highly recommend them. 

Jeanne.  Back to two things at once.  Thank goodness!  “Sometimes I think the short story collection is the second cousin twice removed from the novel. But there are so many good collections and I had the great fortune to have The Isle of Youth by Laura van den Berg recommended to me by Greg Cowles. It is a gem and worth anyone’s reading time. With its seven stories about women who get into some kind of trouble and what they do to deal, I like the fast pace. These are stories to marvel at and are not so long you get tired of the women, but long enough for van den Berg to work the magic of her storytelling. I will be seeking out more such collections.  On to Pat Conroy’s new memoir on audiobook, The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son. Why would Peggy Peck from Georgia stay with Donald Conroy a Marine Corps Fighter Pilot from Chicago, who abuses and beats her and the seven kids they have?  The author reads his own introduction and this serves to set the turbulent, emotional tone of the book. The rest of the memoir is capably narrated by Dick Hill. As the eldest, Conroy grows up worrying about his siblings and hating his father. When I think of Pat Conroy, I picture a young Nick Nolte in The Prince of Tides in which he says, 'In New York I learned that I needed to love my mother and father in all their flawed, outrageous humanity, and in families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.' I am still thinking about this.”


While The TC was off doing Golfish Things in his Homeland, I was enjoying Love and Treasure the newest from Ayelet Waldman.  Jack Wiseman is a tough New Yorker who  is charged with guarding a train that was captured on the outskirts of Salzburg at the end of World War II.  The train is filled with valuables taken from the Jews of Hungary before they were sent to Concentration Camps.  Before he dies, Jack gives a mysterious necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie and asks her to return it to its rightful owner.  Natalie soon finds herself immersed in a world of shady art dealers, suffragettes, Nazis and a family of singing circus dwarfs.  This is a very rich story told over the entire course of the twentieth century.  It comes out in April and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  


 

Nice New Book Goodness!

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

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!

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