Greetings and welcome to the Big Hair Edition of You Are What You Read. I hope you all got through the festivities with all digits and limbs intact. That’s a nice wish for sure. I also wish for some more of that lovely weekend weather that was ours last week. This hot, humid pea soup stuff is no one’s friend.
This week’s Animals Run Amok News was brought to my attention by Karyn A who can be found on the Reference Desk or on the Help Desk. Thanks Karyn. There is a baseball team in New Jersey (of course New Jersey) that wants to right a perceived wrong that has been perpetuated at stadiums. So this weekend they have declared it to be Caturday at their ball park. Bring your cat to the Lakewood New Jersey stadium, either on a leash or a carrier and enjoy watching this affiliate team of the Phillies who will be sporting uniforms with a cat theme, and of course there will be all sorts of feline fun going on, including a special Caturday t-shirt available for purchase. Seventh Inning Stretch? Going down while participants sing “Take Meow-Out to the Ballgame.” Heat, humidity and lots and lots of cat hair, no litter boxes and with perhaps some cat fights thrown in for good measure. Sorry People. There is not enough lukewarm beer in the world. Oh! And just so you know the name of the team is, of course, The Blue Claws. You can read about that here. And as always, if anyone goes, please report back.
Should anyone be heading up to Boston this weekend you may want to consider a detour to witness a little something that is called Ponyhenge. About 15 miles west of Boston in the town of Lincoln there is an open field that is populated with a whole lotta abandoned plastic and metal toy horses. You know the kind! The ones that always lived in the basement of that neighbor’s house that bounces on the springs that can painfully pinch unknowing fingers. Known by various names such as Wonder Horse and Rockin’ Rider they are very familiar to a lot of us who grew up in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. There was always that one kid who could really get going on it. I always secretly wanted the horse the throw that kid off.
Anyway, in this field beginning sometime around 2010, one horse was found in the field. No one can remember how the original one came to pasture there. But it was soon joined by another and then another and another. Before you knew it, the field was home to a whole lot of equine of the plastic and metal persuasion. Sometimes they are in circles, sometimes in straight lines. AND! They never decrease in number, only increase. So, should you be on your way up 95 and you want to make a little detour this would be an interesting thing to see. Report back. And maybe you have one lurking in your basement. The family who owns the field delights in contributions. You can read about that here.
This week we have some laughter and some tears, dogs, France, Kenya, France again, some horsemen and one doomed Poetry Spouting Feminist.
Barbara M is listening around town this week and she can be seen laughing, or crying. Please don’t judge. “I’m listening to a wonderful compilation of stories, NPR: The First Forty Years. Each disc represents a decade starting in the 1970s. Some stories are sad like “Goodbye, Saigon” which aired on All Things Considered on April 29, 1985 the 10th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. In the broadcast, they replayed an interview with 2nd Lt. Richard Vandegeer, an Air Force pilot who flew one of the last evacuation helicopters out of Saigon in which he vividly described the chaos and panic of those hoping to leave. In another story from the 1990s, “Adolescence in War-Torn Bosnia” a young girl being interviewed seems world-weary and far too cynical for her age. Other stories will make you cry with laughter. I never tire of hearing David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries,an essay that he read on Morning Edition for the first time in 1992. Mr. Sedaris’ had a short career working at Macy’s as one of Santa’s elves. The Santaland Diaries has become a holiday tradition at NPR. You can listen to it here and I guarantee sidesplitting hilarity.This is a great CD. I wish it were longer than four discs.”
Sweet Ann has finished Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley, which was a recent LibraryReads favorite. “This is the story of Ted Flask and his twelve-year-old dachshund, Lily. Ted is middle-aged and lonely. Lily fills the void in his life and they are inseparable. One evening, Ted notices a growth on Lily's head that resembles an octopus; it is sadly a tumor that will cause her decline. Ted tries magical thinking throughout this novel to outsmart the octopus and win back Lily's health. At first I was unsure if I liked Mr. Rowley's story; particularly that Ted and Lily talked to each other and that Ted was able to talk to the octopus. But the style grew on me and I looked forward to Ted and Lily's conversations since they were filled with such joy and happy storytelling. This novel also explores human relationships and you will cheer for Ted as he tries to navigate his family, his friends and his relationships. I recommend this book even if sadly like me you have lost a pet. Chase, my wonderful Westie, is still in my thoughts and hearing about Lily's adventures brought back many happy memories. Even the outcome, which caused some tears, also brought a smile for the love that only a pet can give us.”
Kaitlyn from the Rock is here this week and as usual she has two things going on as she shambles around the Hood. “Hiyo! I've got two great books going right now. I'm reading The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, and I'm listening to Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain. The Nightingale is the story of two sisters during WWII France. Viane is a housewife, waiting for her husband to return from war while she takes care of their daughter, Sophie. She follows the Nazi rules out of fear, in order to protect her daughter, even putting up with Nazis staying in her home during the war. Viane's sister Isabelle sees the war as her chance to do something important, and works with resistance fighters to help downed British air force soldiers. It's a well-written book, alternating between Viane's and Isabelle's stories. I have trouble putting it down at night; it's a real page-turner, and really brings to life the atrocious decisions every day citizens had to make during WWII. Circling the Sun is a coming of age story about Beryl, a British girl whose father raised her on his own in rural Kenya during the early 1900s. Beryl is a tomboy, and has trouble fitting in with society's standards of women in the day as she gets older. She wants nothing more than to be "free" and on her own. I'm really enjoying the audiobook of this! If you're looking for a story about strong, independent women, both of these stories are inspiring reads.”
Babs B is here to tell us what she thinks of one of our most popular books Before The Fall by Noah Hawley. “A private jet departs Martha's Vineyard on a foggy summer night with eleven people on board and after 18 minutes plunges into the ocean. So begins this masterly blend of mystery, suspense, tragedy and shameful media hype dealing with the aftermath of the only survivors-a four year old boy and a 43 year old man. The book then delves into the backstories of the passengers and crew members. Why did the plane go down, and if it was intentional, who was the target? What caused the plane to crash makes up the crux of this book, with all the law enforcement agencies, including the NTSB and the FBI, fighting for control of the case. I have to say I was disappointed with the ending as it came to an abrupt halt and left me with unanswered questions.”
Amanda is enjoying the one-stop-shop holds system of our new website. "I've placed so many holds over the last few weeks that it's like signing up for one of those surprise box delivery services. What did I get this week? Just the silly, but fun movie, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The first thing that attracted me to this was the list of actors: Lily James (Cinderella), Sam Riley (Maleficent), Lena Headey (Cersi Lannister), and Matt Smith (The 11th Doctor). I haven't read the book which the film is based off of, but reviews say that the book aligns closely with Jane Austen's original work. The movie differs from the book by adding in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as the boogie men in the shadows. I spent a lot of the film criticizing all the broaches in social protocol (Two dances, Mr. Bingley?!) while my spouse pointed out when it drifted away from the books. However, this isn't to say that we didn't have a great time watching it. The camera loved the bodices and we loved Matt Smith's incredibly awkward Mr. Collins. Lily James' Lizzie does an excellent job of cutting off Sam Riley's Darcy at every turn. Now go watch Jane Austen's Fight Club https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2PM0om2El8 to prepare for this film.
JRae:A Girl on a Train. Discuss. “This week I got a chance to take 6 hours’ worth of trains while visiting friends. I was excited for the chance to feed my addiction of what I call Monarchy Trash while also fulfilling my need for eloquent writing. I settled on The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie and found it to be the perfect combination. I would describe Rivals of Versailles as People Magazine but for the most important people in France. Readers' are privy to the plots and secret letters of Louis XV's mistresses, most importantly the fear-inspiring Marquise de Pompadour. This book reads faster than butter melts in July, though, not the most literary choice it was gripping throughout. The Bell Jar, on the other hand, glued me to the seat with its imagistic, at times gruesome, feminist writing. Each line read like a poem itself, and I can't wait to read everything she has ever published!”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from you know where with the final musings and of course The Playlist. What's good Pats? "‘Tis the season to get out and support your local artists! Whether it’s a field of wild, abandoned ponies (Thank you for that one, JD!) or a big to do like our Plymouth Art in the Park or the much grander and highly lauded Ann Arbor Street Art Fair
make sure you get out this weekend and soak up a little local culture that supports the work of some fine artisans. For a world without art, would be a dull, colorless existence."