Greetings and welcome to the Mother’s Day Edition of You Are What You Read. We will be taking a break next week, as I will be finishing up 4 days in The Windy City at Book Expo America aka Jen’s Idea of Heaven, where I will have been living, breathing and eating what’s coming up for the next year in Publishing. And you know I’ll share what I learn. With you. When? When I am damn good and ready, People. In the meantime soldier on. Soldier on.
Yes, it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. You will be able to find me working the Reference Desk on Sunday so make sure you stop by and say hello. It’s a day which we honor our mothers and the hard stuff they do every day with grace and good cheer. Sometimes anyway. But I, please, beg of you, DO NOT under any circumstances honor her with a little something that I became aware of this week. It would appear Kentucky Fried Chicken in Hong Kong has come up with a new marketing tool to help them introduce their perceived truth to the younger generation that their product is ‘finger licking good’. Of what do I speak?
Apparently some evil genius in a lab with too much time on his hands and no interest in solving the real problems we face like climate change or the deplorable conditions under the I-95 Underpass, has come up with, wait for it, fingernail polish that tastes like the Colonel’s Finest. It comes in two flavors, Original which I assume is the paler color, or Hot and Spicy which I would assume is the red color. Apparently you paint your nails with this and when you lick them they taste like, well, chicken. People! We have much to discuss. First of all, one of the first mother admonitions that gets drummed into our tiny child brains is “Get your fingers out of your mouth.” Don’t be walking around licking your fingers and then touching stuff, that’s gross. Secondly, if I want chicken, guess what? I’m going to eat chicken. Licking my fingers is not going to cut it. Also, aren’t they rather famous in Hong Kong for walking around wearing face masks to ward against Avian Flu? With this being so, does this finger licking chicken flavored polish become some sort of weird fetish thing that goes down behind closed doors? And wonder if, horrors of horrors, one uses it on one's toes. Old shoes smell bad enough. Please let’s not add chicken to that mess.
Listen People, if you want to do your mom a solid, buy her a bouquet of her favorite flowers (lilies, sweet peas, peonies, and roses that smell like roses thank you, Scott Children), make her a nice dinner that you then clean up after, or if you really feel the need to go the grooming route under the guise of “treating herself” for the love of all that is holy, please just get her a gift certificate to her favorite place.
This week we have a murder, Maine, Africa, sadness (still), Paris (always), the NCAA and a widow.
Sweet Ann has just finished one of my favorites of the year, All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage. “I loved this book and found I was engrossed from the first chapter through to the last. This is an extremely well written novel that begins with the murder of Cathy Clare whose husband George is the prime suspect. The Clare family has moved into a run down, depressed looking farmhouse in upstate New York. George knows the tragedy that happened to the previous family but neglects to tell Cathy. The surviving boys, who have stayed nearby, of that family become entwined with the Clare family. You will get to know the characters in this novel and you feel as if you would recognize them coming down the street. This is one of my favorite books of the year and I can't recommend it enough.”
Abby has just finished Widowmaker by Paul Doiron. Here’s what she thinks. “Set mostly in a gritty Maine unknown to tourists, Doiron brings us another look into the life of Maine State Game Warden Mike Bowditch. When Mike is approached by a woman with a checkered past, he ends up investigating the whereabouts of her son, newly released from prison and the trail leads Mike places he would rather not go. This is for readers of mysteries that combine nature with good storytelling and atmosphere. “
Laura feels she has been revisiting an old friend with Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller. “I was glad to suggest Alexandra Fuller’s recent memoir, Leaving before the Rains Come, for my book group to read and it was like revisiting an old friend. Fuller’s writing and style of delivery is like having a dear friend dish to you deeply and unabashedly about her English/African family. The book is sparing, but you get a great sense of the destruction in her childhood caused by the Rhodesian War of the 70’s and 80’s that she just can’t shake and which doesn’t help her failing marriage to American adventurist Charlie Ross. You will like the book for its honesty and clever weaving of family discourse, especially the self-deprecating English voices of her mother and father, sister Vanessa and of Fuller, known as ‘Bobo’ to her family.“
Kaitlin from the Rock is here and she and I have been talking about how saddened we still feel over recent events. “Hiyo! Well, I'm still strangely upset by the death of Prince, so this past weekend, I watched Purple Rain for the first time (good movie, great music, but definitely has that issue that I find many 80s movies have--a lack of character development). RIP Purple One--may your afterworld be the ‘neverending world of happiness’ filled with sunlight that you sang about in Let's Go Crazy. I've been reading The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George. In a weird twist, I got to this line in the book THE DAY AFTER PRINCE DIED: ‘I suspected them all of merely wanting to go to a proper town and visit the cinema again and buy themselves a few Prince records’. The story is about Jean Perdu, who sells books from his floating book barge on the Seine. Or rather, he prescribes books to readers, matching the perfect book to their emotional needs at the time. When a 20-year old letter from the former love of his life resurfaces, and he reads it for the first time, he decides to leave everything behind and travel to where she lived, along with some spunky traveling companions. I loved the idea of this book and the general story; the writing is beautiful, it's heartwarming, there is some humor. But it's a bit too romantic for my personal taste (i.e. someone always seems to be weeping with sorrow or joy at any given time). Overall though, an enjoyable and quick read! BONUS: There are recipes of some of the French meals the characters eat in an appendix in the back of the book!”
Steph AKA Birthday Girl Steph has taken a break from her Consumption of Birthday Cheese (no small feat) to tell you what she’s jazzed about this week. “You know, I've never been a fan of the NCAA, but after finishing Indentured: the Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA by Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss, I am just livid that they've been able to act the way they do for so long. Any sports fan will have noticed an uptick in the number of stories about bizarre NCAA rules and unfair enforcement of them. Nocera and Strauss go past those stories (many of which they worked on or wrote) to look at the history of the organization and the many power struggles and legal battles that have made it what it is today. The definition of amateurism has changed through the years, and somehow, only schools and athletic departments have benefited--never the players. This book makes a convincing argument (both legal and ethical) that it should be changed again, but this time, so players can be rewarded. Whether you think student-athletes should be paid or not, this is a must-read for anyone who watches college sports.”
The Always Fabulous Babs B has just wrapped up The Widow by Fiona Barton, one of our more popular titles. “This debut novel tells of the abduction and killing of a young child and attempts to catch the person everyone knows did it, but can't prove. The story centers on the wife of the suspect, the detective determined to nail him and a journalist intent on getting the wife's story in what has turned out to be a tabloid mess. I was disappointed with the story as it was not in the vein of Gone Girl or Girl on the Train as I was led to believe. There are no surprises and everyone knows from the get-go who did this. I was hoping there would be a last minute plot twist but it was not to be. However, this is a compellingly eerie story which I finished in two nights!”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with our final musings. I know you all join me in wishing her the very happiest of Mother’s Days. What’s good Pats? “Mother’s Day is a day of flowers, cards and in our case, brunch. I am thrilled to report that I will not be hosting a feast. Instead, I made a reservation at a delightful restaurant for eleven of us to enjoy a day off and celebrate. If the weather holds, it’s supposed to be sunny and warm. After what feels like endless days of bone-chilling dampness, grey gloom and rain, I can’t imagine a better gift than sunshine. So whatever your own Mother plans, I hope it’s joined by some sunshine and a few good tunes. “