Greetings and welcome to the First Summer Weekend of 2016 Edition of You Are What You Read. I trust everyone made it through the Full Moon Madness/Solstice on Monday. There is minimum housekeeping this week. In Animals Run Amok news there has apparently been a shortage of New England Cottontails. Fear no longer People. There is a movement afoot to repopulate the species. Don’t be confused by thinking the bunnies in your garden eating away all your hard won produce are of the New England variety. Nay, the Eastern ones (the ones eating your garden lettuce) usually have a patch of white on their foreheads. There is actually a man who has a job breeding these rabbits to ensure the survival of the species. Which seems like this could possibly be the easiest job ever seeing as we are talking about rabbits here. Anyway, you can read all about that here.
There were no offerings this week.
Carry on People.
I believe I can safely say that the events from the past two weeks have had us all reeling, feeling unsure, angry and adrift. I have been hearing a whole lot of, “I wish there was something I could do to help.” Well there is, it’s super easy, you do most of it while lying down staring up at the ceiling, it takes under an hour and best of all? At the end? You get a cookie, some juice and the directive that you are to spend the rest of the day at leisure!
I am talking about donating blood. There are actually two drives tomorrow and neither is a hardship for you all to get to. One is at the Tully Center in Stamford and the other is at the Masonic Hall here in town. The Red Cross is having a true blood emergency and is desperate for donations.
Giving blood is truly relatively painless. I came to it when my mom got sick. At the height of her illness, she probably went through more blood in a weekend than I could give in a year. It wasn’t right to let someone else’s kid do the heavy lifting and so off I went to my first Blood Drive. At present, I am up to 3 ½ gallons and wish that I could do more. At the drive, you read some materials about who can donate and who can’t, they’ll make sure that you are healthy enough to donate, and then you clamber up on the table and stare at the ceiling while you truly give someone the gift of life.
Some donation facts: You can give every 56 days, your one pint donation can save up to three lives, and every three seconds there is a need for blood. During the summer the need becomes urgent as we all run for that fun in the sun and disregard our usual obligations. But if every blood donor just gave 2-4 times a year the supply would be fairly stable and there would be no shortages at various points.
The 411 on all things life giving donation can be found here. Do it People. You won’t be sorry. Who doesn’t love a Lorna Doone?
This week we have a mystery, some annexing, The Commodore (but not The Commodores), a vicar, and some actual thugs.
Playlist? Would we deny you the life’s blood of your weekend? Pfff. We would not.
Let us begin!
You Are What You Read
Sweet Ann is trying something new this week with Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. “I rarely read mysteries but this book was suggested to me by a patron and I am so glad I decided to give it a try. The year is 1929 with the dynamic Maisie Dobbs running her own detective agency. Her first case is rather mundane with a man accusing his wife of cheating. As Maisie investigates and follows the woman it will lead to an even bigger mystery. This is a very compelling read with the issues facing the world at that time; the changing class structure, and WWI and its aftermath. I found it very engaging and have taken out the second book in the series. I recommend these books as a great way to spend a summer afternoon.”
Barbara M loves herself some geography and here is how she is feeding that passion this week. “In **Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World**Tim Marshall explains the complex relationship between a country’s or region’s geography and its history and politics. He talks about the Middle East and the artificial division of that region that is still causing problems today. Marshall also explains why Putin felt it necessary to annex Crimea in order to secure the port of Sevastopol, a harbor that is not frozen for four months a year, and why China is expanding its influence and power in the seas surrounding it in order to secure its borders and insure safe trade routes to the Pacific and Indian Oceans. These are just a few of the points Marshall makes in this interesting overview of geopolitics written in a very accessible style.”
Babs B is happily wallowing in more Vanderbilt this week with Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt by Arthur T. Vanderbilt II . I am starting to think that we should just declare this the Summer of Vanderbilt and be done with it. “The Vanderbilt family patriarch who was known as The Commodore, built a fortune that made him a very rich man by 1877. This book is rich in detail, chronicles the homes, furnishings and lives of a family who felt their obligation was to set the standard as the head of wealthy society. One of my favorite family members was Alva, the Commodore's daughter-in-law who, among other things, was the first of her set to divorce. Alva basically brought the Vanderbilt family into society by building the most lavish homes and throwing the most outrageous, over-the-top parties. This book was well researched and gives a vivid picture of the Vanderbilts and everyday life of the privileged during the Gilded Age in New York City.
Amanda couldn't resist our new 14 Day romance, Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh. "Lately I've stumbled upon reading romances involving scientists and writers. They're a wonderful change from the rakes; bring on the shy and uncertain! This novel features a Duke's daughter who is writing her own steamy romances. Her good work attracts the attention of England's moral authority who sends his vicar son to track down and reveal this Lady of Dubious Quality (her pen name). When I think of vicars, I think of Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice -- not exactly dreamboat material. However, the relationship between the writer and vicar is electric and reminds me of some choice scenes from The Night Circus. You know, that dance which stopped the world...? This is a quick-paced story for your beach reading needs."
Pat S is indulging her love of shady dealings with Red Notice by Bill Browder. "Red Notice is two books-the first, the story of a young business school grad-and burning capitalist, finding an undiscovered asset market in Russia which eventually leads to him being the single largest portfolio investor in Russia-and the head of the largest international hedge fund, Hermitage Capital, all by the age of 33. The second, and more riveting tale, is the story of doing business in Russia-and the all too real financial and human risks involved. Once Bill Browder discovered that the government-those men empowered to enforce the laws of the land- were actually thugs, all bets were off. The very people reported as being unlawful were the very people the government employed to investigate him-for the crime of reporting them! Tragically, once Browder is ousted from Russia, one of his lawyers is murdered for being part of the crime reporting team. From that moment on, Browder spends his energies on retribution for Sergei Magnitsky’s death. Obviously, there could be no justice in Russia, but he was able to get a law passed in America, the Magnitsky Act, prohibiting the perpetrators involved in the death from entering or doing business in this country. To this day, Browder retains 24/7 security. While the story reads like Le Carre, the portrait of Russia today, headed by a ‘Kleptocracy’, is chilling."
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from The Mitten State with the final musings for the week. What’s good Pats? “This week my siblings and I were all together for the first time in 21 years. The five of us are scattered all over the country, so it’s not easy for us all to gather in one place at one time. The occasion was to help our father create a living will and to write his health directives. We laughed, shared stories and were all reminded how fragile life is at any given moment. My sibs and I all share a rare blood type. As one of my sisters has recently been a frequent recipient of blood donations due to her cancer, she reminded us of the importance of giving. She talked about how healthy and good she felt after every time she received a transfusion of blood. This week I invite you to make an appointment to give a gift to your local Red Cross. It’s a gift that costs nothing but a few minutes of your time and gives someone else the gift of another day.”