Greetings and welcome to the Contest You Don’t Want to Win Edition of You Are What You Read. For those keeping score in the battle between Phil and Chuck, I hate to be the one to report that there is another hatch mark in the W column for Phil. Life continues on the Tundra, People. Here’s hoping Chuck can turn this mess around. Official YAWYR score? 2-0 with Phil in the lead. I know I am not alone in telling Staten Island Chuck that I am rooting for him to pull this out harder than ever. That ice on Monday was no joke.
Several co-workers, who know me probably better than my own children, have brought to my attention the following challenge that was going down on Twitter this week. It would appear that museums around the Globe were asking each other to tweet what the creepiest item was in their collection was. Using the hashtag Museum101, which is a reference to Room 101 from George Orwell’s 1984, a room which I am sure you all remember that contains things that can terrify the rebellion right out of you.
Anyway, that’s not what this is about. What this is about is that we as humans are into curating some really horrifying stuff.
Those of you who are not strangers to this space will not be surprised to hear that there were lots and lots of creepy dolls that were submitted. We had dolls with teeth (of course), a doll that kick-started the fertility of a previously infertile wife (17 children!!), a doll with eyes that follow you around the room and how can we not have The Edison Talking Doll; a doll which still provides the soundtrack to our nightmares.
Of course taxidermy in all its glory was well represented (hello again Walter Potter! It’s been a while!) But then the deep dive began with the odd children’s toy that focused on, of all things, funerals. I don’t think I want to meet the kid that asked Santa for that toy for Christmas. Also submitted for our approval (or not) were the medical oddities that would feel right at home at The Mutter Museum: shrunken heads, exhumed corpses, etc. And don’t get me started on the clowns. You had to know that there’d be clowns (Quick someone, cue the Sondheim!).
So for this long weekend why not check out a museum pass, hop a train, and do a little #Museum101 on your own. Challenge the people you’re with to ferret out the creepiest thing they can find. If you do decide to play along, let us know what you turn up. You can read about it on HuffPo but be warned this story comes with pictures of things you can’t unsee. A bow and sweeping arm gesture to Tiny Tina and The Amazing Amanda for alerting me to this new Thing.
There will not be a You Are What You Read next week. Carry on as best you can People. I’ll see you back here in 2 weeks.
This week we have some pretty, some pretty surprised another chance, and a new obsession.
Diane is reading pretty this week. As always. “A House in the Country is by husband and wife Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder. Their Greek Revival home designed with Pennoyer's architectural details which mesh beautifully with Ridder's interior design to make for a fascinating house in Millbrook, New York. Throughout the book are rendering and hand painted illustrations showing the depth of thought that went into their project. The book also showcases Ridder's talent as a gardener. The profusion of perennials in the gardens creates the feeling that this home has been on this site for decades. A true Greek Revival meets contemporary design.”
Steph seems surprised this week. “Remember how I said a few weeks ago I wasn’t a fan of The Girl on the Train? Well, then why did I pick up Paula Hawkins’ upcoming book, Into The Water to read on our snow day? Who knows? But, as it turns out, I really liked it. Quelle surprise! It reminded me more of Tana French than anything else. The writing isn’t quite to French’s level, but the story, which is told from several viewpoints about a series of drownings, has a haunting and complex feel to it. I suppose there is a twist, but blessedly, the book is quite good even without it. This book comes out in May, and I can’t wait to hear what other readers think of it. “
The Always Fabulous Babs B has just finished The Award by Danielle Steel. “It's 1940 and Gaelle de Barbet is 16-years-old as the German Army occupies France. When a German commandant makes the de Barbet estate outside Lyon his headquarters, her father and brother are killed, and her mother fades away into madness. Trusted friends and employers become traitors as Gaelle begins her dangerous journey with the Resistance. When she is approached by a German officer with a dangerous plan to save parts of France's heritage, she conducts them in secret and flawlessly carries them out. However, it will mark her for years, when she is falsely accused of collaboration at the end of the war. Eventually, her life will take her from Paris to New York, with a career as a Dior model. She eventually returns to Paris to run a small museum, honoring victims of the Holocaust. But her label as collaborator remains until her granddaughter ensures that her Grandmother brave acts are finally recognized. This was a fabulous read and having not read Steel in a while I was happy to give her another chance and this book was a real winner!”
I finished one of my favorites of the year last week. It took me two weeks to get through it because I didn’t want it to end. Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan is not only responsible for my latest reading rut (definition: the let down by all other books one feels after reading a really great one) but also for my new obsession with cloistered nuns. Nora and Theresa are sisters who come to the United States for two very different reasons: Nora to marry a man she is pretty certain she is not in love with and Theresa has come for the opportunities that are not available in their native homeland of Ireland. But like all best laid plans, life gets in the way and the sisters, once close as could be become estranged. When an untimely death brings the sisters together for the first time in many years, will a closely guarded and potentially life-altering secret come to light? I loved this novel about how families make do with what they are given and learn to love in spite of it. This one comes out in May.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with the final musings and The Playlist for what we hope is a lovely long weekend for you all. What’s good Pats? “We’ve had a cold week here in Detroit but spring is about to make an appearance with a high of 58 and full sun projected for the entire weekend! Our school spring break starts next week and the weather forecast is spectacular for the entire time. Since we’re having a staycation, the timing couldn’t be better. We’ve all got spring fever and are itching to get out to a Tigers baseball game. Since we’re not going down to Florida to watch any spring training, we’ll probably soak up the local culture and head out to a museum or two. After all, as Jen pointed out, there are some great, bizarre and out-right scary things housed in museums all over the country. So wherever this break brings you, I hope some bit of sunshine, beauty and time spent with family is a part of the plan. Now go forth and explore your local museums and share any bizarre findings with us. We love that kind of stuff!”