Greetings and welcome the New Year Edition of You Are What You Read. Here’s hoping you have put the Elf on the Shelf back in his little coffin shaped box for the year, taped it tight, maybe added a rubber band or ten, and put in the back of a dark closet that hopefully has a handy deadbolt. That Smirking Tattletale is done with his spying for The Big Man for the year. It’s time to move on to the never-ending bleak business called New England Winter. On Thursday, we will be experiencing the first full moon of 2017. This one is the Full Wolf Moon which is so named for the howling of hungry wolves outside Native American villages.
Speaking of moving on, it would appear that there is a new Thing that we should all be aware of. There are folks who are now celebrating the end of the Hellidaze by coming up with creative and distinct ways of destroying their Gingerbread houses. The wealth of ways that the confectionary shelters can go down is truly mind boggling and frankly terrifying. In Melbourne Australia,they are harnessing this for the good. For the last few years they have been having an event called Gingerbread Demolition where they sell tickets and use the money raised for local charities. People buy a raffle ticket for the chance to take a bat to a house and then everyone attending can take away as much of the gingerbread goodness that they can carry.
But on the whole here in the States we just seem to be unleashing our Hellidaze Rage on dwellings crafted with gingerbread and royal icing. And of course, times being what they are, the results are uploaded to Youtube. There are folks using bows and arrows, fire, fireworks, a hydraulic press, dinosaurs and yes, of course a Yeti. Because why not a Yeti. It seems plausible. I mean if a sinister little elf doll can be moving around your house and reporting into the North Pole, why not a Yeti destroying your Hellidaze centerpiece?
So here’s to moving on to the new, People. If anyone adopts this new tradition, please reach out and let us know how you did it. We’re fascinated. In the meantime, you can read about it and watch some of the destruction yourself courtesy of NPR.
This week we have a cranky old man, Oprah, a love story, garbage, and we bookend with another old man.
Sweet Ann is listening to an enduring patron favorite, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. “I am listening to this audiobook and it is wonderfully read and I can't recommend it enough. Ove is a cranky 59-year-old man whose life is not what he expected, and all he wants is to be left alone to plan his destiny. Little does he know that his neighbors, new and old, will influence the direction of his life. The novel starts in the present but then it goes back to Ove's youth and young adulthood which gives quite the insight as to why he behaves the way he does. This is heartfelt novel has caused me to cry once or twice and also laugh aloud; you might have passed me on 95 and wondered what is that woman doing. This book is also about great love and great loss. I know there is a holds list for this book and deservedly there should be, it is terrific.”
Pat T is reading this week and not listening. Will this be a 2017 trend? “Oprah Winfrey has done many things quite successfully over the years and she has proven herself once again with her new cookbook, Food Health and Happiness. The pictures are gorgeous, the recipes are fresh, healthy, delicious and her words are inspiring! Food connotes comfort, love, nourishment and celebration and Oprah has shared all this and more in her new book. It will make a great gift for a friend or loved one or better yet perhaps a treat for you in the New Year!”
The Always Delightful Pat S is here with a preview of a book coming out the week of the 23rd Lara: The Untold Love Story that Inspired Doctor Zhivago by Anna Pasternak. “Right off the bat, I must admit that Doctor Zhivago is my all-time favorite movie. So I approached this biography with some trepidation. The character of Lara in the film was based on Olga Ivinskaya, a young single mother who Boris Pasternak met while she worked at a literary magazine in Moscow. She was 34, he was 56, and well established as one of the premier poets of his time. He was also on wife number two. Certainly, the retelling of their love story is rich with longing and suffering, most particularly for Olga. A favorite of Stalin's, in part because of his translations of Georgian poetry, Pasternak never faced consequences for the seditious nature of his poems, yet Olga did. Twice she was imprisoned for her association with Pasternak. And while she created a harmonious working environment for him when not imprisoned, helping him battle his crippling episodes of self-doubt, he never did the one thing which might have offered her immunity from persecution: marrying her. Truthfully, I found myself scratching my head over Olga’s willingness to sacrifice her life for this man. The story is well told by this great niece of Boris Pasternak with impeccable research. In addition to creating very real portraits of Olga and Pasternak, she re-creates the vital sense of the perilous times in which they lived and loved. But they weren’t no Julie Christie and Omar Shariff-so back to the movie I go.”
You all may have noticed that J-Rae is back from school and behind the desk. We all are plotting on how we can prevent her return to school. “This week I read two quick but interesting books. Trashed: an Ode to the Crap Jobs of all Crap Jobs is a nonfiction graphic novel which goes through a garbage man’s typical day while also providing a laydown of our country’s massive trash problem. So informative, funny, and horrifying! From there I read Fredrik Backman’s novella And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer. This emotion-packed story shows the bond of a grandfather and his grandson. The grandfather’s mind is degrading but his relationship with his grandson keeps him afloat for as long as possible. Caution: tears will be shed in 20 minutes or less. Happy New Year!”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with the usual final musings and of course The Playlist. Your first of the year! Get excited People! What’s good Pats? The New Year always finds me pondering Time. Time for new opportunities. Time to catch up on things I’ve been avoiding. And the bigger picture of TIME. Our measurement of minutes, hours, days... How do we best use our time? How do we make our time meaningful, productive and efficient? Since I’m neither a skier nor a big fan of winter, I’m inside more than out nowadays. You could say I’m more in my head this time of year. It’s a time of input for me; reading and researching things that pique my interest. Exploring things that I usually don’t have time to explore. If you’re a regular reader here, you might remember that every year our family chooses a yearly theme to live by. Last year’s theme was “The Year of Movement and Improvement.” We’ve yet to choose a theme for this year, but I’m certain we’ll find the time to brainstorm a new theme before the end of January. This week, I invite you all to spend a little time reflecting and pondering. Forget about resolutions. Create your own theme or a family theme for a year and live it. I promise you won’t regret time well spent on this exercise of meaningful change. Wishing you all, The Happiest of New Year’s!