Greetings and welcome to the Phil Wins Edition of You Are What You Read. This is a sentence I wish I didn’t have to type but there you have it. Punxsutawney Phil has triumphed over Staten Island Chuck and we are dwelling, with feet firmly planted, on the Tundra.
This is not fun for any of us at this point. Walking is a hazard with icy sidewalks and there are still areas where walking in the street has to happen. Please be on the lookout for us. Also, consider this a gentle reminder that pedestrians have the right of way in cross walks. This does not mean that you can swerve around us as we attempt to cross. Remember we cannot do nice things for you like getting you books and movies and information that you all so desperately need if we are road kill.
To remind ourselves that there is a possibility of joy and color and warmth, the Traveling Companion and all round good sport and I jumped into the car last weekend and went to what truly felt like heaven on earth. We drove down to the Bronx and went to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. This year’s theme is Thailand and the displays are amazing. The exhibit not only features some very cool orchid factoids, but it also does a great job of doing a deep dive into Thai culture and customs. It is a feast for all the senses. I am especially fond of the little orchids that smell of vanilla. I highly recommend that you all go down and see it for yourself. If nothing else it’s a very nice reminder that there is the possibility of growing things that aren’t icicles or giant mounds of greyish snow.
After you do that, why not do as we did and grab some lunch on Arthur Avenue? We won’t judge if you want to power load some luscious carbs or some indulgent Italian pastries. Nope, we won’t judge one bit.
Even though Phil won we can’t let him win it all. Go and indulge all your senses. If you don’t want to drive to the Bronx, take Metro North. Spring allegedly comes on Monday, People. We just have to keep soldiering on.
This week we have some Asia, some London, some Canada, some Dubai, Boston, and Lilacs.
The Amazing Amanda is having fun with a favorite of Steph’s this week. "I recently heard the news that Constance Wu of Fresh Off the Boat is going to star in the movie adaption of Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Since I love Constance Wu, I decided to look up the book. Wow, it sounded just as drama-filled as my favorite Korean dramas! The book follows NYU professor Rachel Chu as she discovers that her mild-mannered professor boyfriend is heir to a crazy rich family. There's backstabbing, high couture, all the family in-fighting you'd expect in the best soap operas. The scale is bigger though as you travel with billionaires to Hong Kong, the Indian Ocean, and Singapore. Rachel's got a target on her back with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm. Will she survive the experience?"
John the Master of Minecraft has two offerings this week. “Last week I finished Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. Readers of Cleave’s other work will be at home with the snappy British style of his writing as he takes us back to the London Blitz and knits together an entanglement of trauma, race, grief, and love. This is a beautiful and compassionate novel that will thread its way to your heart. Leaving the ravages of war behind, I turned to the tribulations of time travel in All Our Wrong Todays by first-time novelist Elan Mastai. It’s a fun, high-speed romp involving a randy Canadian time traveler, a big mistake, and some actual serious questions for the reader such as, what does the future mean to us in 2016, and are we holding on to an imagined future that was manufactured for an eager 1960s public? All our Wrong Todays is a quick enjoyable read if you’re looking for a little escapism."
Sweet Ann has just finished The Private Life of Mrs. Sharma by Ratika Kapur. “This slim novel focuses on the life of thirty-seven-year old Renuka Sharma for approximately three months from May until the end of August. Renuka lives in India with her in-laws and her sixteen-year-old son, Bobby. Her husband is working in Dubai to earn extra money for the family. She felt that was a good decision at the time but now she is having a very difficult time with her son. She is working at a doctor's office which she is happy about, but would love to be one of the privileged women who seek out his care. As the story unfolds, she meets a younger man on her commute to work. At first, she just nods hello, but as time goes on they will become closer. When the man discovers her marital status, it does not harm the relationship as she thought it might. Her storytelling becomes more frantic leading to a twist I did not see coming. I like that this book is written in first person because as a reader you feel what Renuka was feeling or could understand at times why she did the things she did. This is a quick and interesting novel about family, parental expectations and the impact certain decisions can have on one's life.”
Pat T is listening. Again. “I have been listening to a good thriller this month. Her Every Fear, by Peter Swanson is the story of a young English girl, Kate, who decides to do something out of her comfort zone, by swapping her London flat with her distant American cousin, Corbin, in Boston. She is excited to take art classes and put the anxieties of her past behind her. However, shortly after moving into Corbin's apartment, she discovers that a young woman was murdered in the building. Kate learns that Corbin was friends with the woman and she begins looking for clues in his apartment, as the police pursue the investigation. The horrific murder becomes another source of anxiety for Kate and she questions her decision to swap apartments with a man she only knew indirectly. This is a fast-paced thriller with a lot of unsavory suspects and a satisfying ending that you won't see coming!”
I’m not the only one with Spring on the Brain. Diane is reading pretty again this week. “Snow may still be on the ground, but so what! It's time to read some gardening books. Lilacs for the Garden by Jennifer Bennett may have been published in 2002, but it is still very relevant. The author covers some of the very basic information on planning, planting and pruning lilacs. I am always amazed that for all the care I give my lilacs in a cultivated garden environment, I see the most incredible displays of lilacs growing wild in the farm fields and rural roads. This book is a great resource for any lilac grower and certainly will be answering my perennial lilac growing questions.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is back up North with the final musings and The Playlist. What’s good Pats? I’m home from Cat Camp NYC 2017 and I’m happy to report it was a good time. Adoptions were happening. People were learning how to care for abandoned newborn kittens and special needs cats. We had enough time to sneak in a visit to Koneko, Manhattan’s first Japanese cat cafe. This place is definitely worth a field trip. Reservations are taken to get into the cattery and make sure you have enough time to dine. The food is amazing. The pastry chef, Tomoko Kato trained at Le Bernardin and has her own patisserie in Williamsburg. This is a true foodie lovers catfe. If the weather is nice, you can enjoy some sake out on the catio. Yes, that’s a patio for cats.
This week our playlist has nothing to do with cats. It’s all Irish. So here’s wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!