Greetings and welcome to The Left Behind Edition of You Are What You Read. This week’s housekeeping is as follows; there have been no offerings that I am aware of. In Animals Run Amok News I regret to inform all of you that there have been Capybara sightings in Florida (of course Florida). Thought to be pets that have made the break for freedom, biologists are concerned that with its warm welcoming environment, the state could be overrun with rodents that can grow to the size of a golden retriever. Sadly, they are still herbivores and will not be taking golfers off courses and making them a meal. You can read about it at Nature World News.
Chances are good that you are reading this from wherever it is you Summer judging from how quiet it has been this week. Stores have manageable lines, a seat on the train at night isn’t a dream but a reality, and there are tables to be had at restaurants for dinner, no waiting at the bar necessary. The town on the whole feels, for lack of better words, empty and slightly desolate.
In Japan, on the southern island of Shikoku, there is a woman who feels the emptiness of her home rather acutely. Populations are in decline in Japan especially in rural areas and the count of 67-year-old Tsukimi Ayano’s village of Nagoro has gone from 300 residents down to 30. So when she moved back 15 years ago, she set out to repopulate her home. How? With scarecrows. That she makes herself. She models them after her fellow villagers that may still be there or may have passed on. She dresses them in clothes and sets them to task around her village. There are fishermen, farmers, teachers, folks waiting on for the bus, even students in a school. She takes great delight in them and has been known to chat them up. There is no word as to whether or not she waits for a reply. And it has become a Thing People, so much so that there is now a festival honoring her creation. Every October the regional government sponsors a festival honoring her creation. You can read about that at NPR.
Consider this a cautionary tale. Hurry home People! Hurry home before you are replaced with a soft sculpture facsimile of yourselves.
Enjoy this week’s You Are What You Read as I will be taking next week off while the Traveling Companion and I venture off to Columbus Ohio to take in the wondrous spectacle that is Ohio State Football.
This week we have some beautiful composition, a Boy Scout, a raven, and an heiress.
Barbara M has just finished a book that will be on a lot of year-end favorites, including mine. “I have reluctantly finished reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I say reluctantly because although I wanted to know how the story finished I didn’t want the book to end. The story follows the life of Cora, the abandoned daughter of a runaway slave, as she tries to make her way toward freedom. Colson Whitehead has written a beautifully composed book. His sentences are often quotable. This is how he described the feeling at the end of a rare slave celebration party; “THE music stopped. The circle broke. Sometimes a slave will be lost in a brief eddy of liberation. …In the middle of a song on a warm Sunday night. Then it comes, always – the overseer’s cry, the call to work, the shadow of the master, the reminder that she is only a human being for a tiny moment across the eternity of her servitude.” The story is compelling and it is the best written book I have read in a long time.
Sweet Ann just finished The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. “This is a thought provoking novel about guilt, family relations and the treatment of the elderly in society today. An eleven-year-old Boy Scout is given the assignment of helping elderly Ona Vitcus around her property to earn a merit badge. Their relationship, due to his love of the Guinness Book of World Records will open Ona’s heart that has been closed for many years. Quinn Porter, the boy's father, has always had a difficult time relating to his ‘different’ son who loves to quote facts from this book. This novel explores relationships in the present time as well as many of Ona's which made her into the one hundred and four year old woman she is. I can still hear that boy's voice, days after I have finished this touching sweet book.”
Anna of the CL Is pleased with herself this week. “I spent all last weekend marathoning a new Netflix original series called Stranger Things and could not have been more pleased about this decision! This series is a mesh of classic 80’s films like The Goonies, E.T. and Stand By Me complete with tests of friendship, mystery and a top secret organization who may or may not be the cause of the disappearance of a young boy. Don’t have Netflix? Try checking out one of our Roku 3’s and come find me to talk about your thoughts on the series as well as your favorite 80’s films you’ve checked out from the Library!”
The Amazing Amanda is rounding the bases on finishing The Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater. "The Raven King opens with a sad truth. It gets no better. We're at the endgame now as all the characters collide. You know that fiction rule about 'make the worst possible thing happen'? Stiefvater is a master of it. She eviscerates the character's lives and the reader's emotions. I had to take breaks and breathe, to get perspective back on the real world. It's beautiful from a writing perspective. But you want to cover your mouth to keep from throwing up and look away so you don't cry. I'm not finished yet, but I'm not ready for what surely must be an even greater tragedy in the pages ahead. I can’t see any possible way of anyone getting their richly deserved happy ending in this tale."
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is in the house with We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley. “A beautiful heiress, Catherine West has never known anything but a privileged life, wanting for nothing, except love. Of course, this makes her incredibly insecure and vulnerable. When she meets the handsome and successful William Stockton, she thinks she has found the perfect man to complement her life. But as we all know, nothing is perfect, and thus begins the start of the psychological thriller, We Could be Beautiful by Swan Huntley. The author does a great job of building the suspense by creating an atmosphere where Catherine slowly gets wrapped into William’s psychological game of terror. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a great read for these final days of summer.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from that state that has not won The Game in 1735 days with the final musings and of course The Playlist! What’s good Pats? “This week we’ve finally seen some rain around here. Not like the deluge those poor folks in Baton Rouge, Louisiana are still recovering from, but enough to turn my front yard from a burnt sienna back into a lush green oasis for bare feet. I’m no longer needing to water my garden every day and can focus my attention on picking copious amounts of tomatoes, ripe on the vine. My three tomato plants have completely taken over the entire garden and are now spilling out into the yard. I’ve got them caged, staked and tied but they have a will of their own and their desire to be free range has won. Mowing the yard has become a delicate challenge. I hope you, too, are enjoying these last few weeks of summer and that your own gardens are chock full of summer’s sweet bounty.