Greetings and welcome to the No Extra Charge for That Edition of You Are What You Read.
I am hopeful that you all are prepared for the Bad Time is indeed howling at the door, asking to be let in. I warned you People. Get the crops in, batteries hoarded, the pelts at the ready, and enjoy that cider and doughnut consumption now for tomorrow we shall all die. You can’t say you weren’t warned.
Did you all hear about the fascinating discovery that was made this week in, of all places, Kansas City, Missouri?
Conservator Mary Schafer was examining some paintings at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art when she found something stuck in a Van Gogh that had somehow escaped notice for years and years.
And this something was.
Wait for it.
Staring back at her.
LO! There trapped in the oil paint was the partial body of a grasshopper that had been embedded in the painting for 128 years.
Think on that while you try to find that one cricket that somehow found its way into your house this weekend seeking shelter from The Bad Time and plaintively chirps, chirps, chirps night and day until the chirps get farther and farther apart, only to cease sometime, on say, Thursday. Of course, by then, you, like Van Gogh will be half out of you head and ready to lose an ear. Or two.
Anyway, it’s not all that unusual for there to be bits of nature trapped in the oils of Van Gogh’s paintings. He usually painted in the outdoors and his paintings are rather infamous for having grass or leaf detritus. In fact, in an 1885 letter to his brother he bragged "I must have picked up a good hundred flies and more off the 4 canvases that you'll be getting."
The reason everyone became excited about his little entombed little dude is that they were hoping they could pinpoint the month that Van Gogh worked on this cycle of paintings that focused on Olive Trees.They figured it to be 1889 but they were hoping to nail down the months that he worked on these believing this is some of the last work he did before taking his own life.
Sadly, this Jiminy’s abdomen was missing and therefore no month could be determined. In fact, the only thing that was pretty certain was that this little cricket was probably DOA when painted in to the canvas.
So,People, remain ever vigilant! You just never know what you’ll find. You can read more about this and see pictures of Poor, Sad Half a Dead Cricket Jiminy at NPR.
This week we have some fostering, bad debt, technology, some deaths, death and dying, some dead folks walking, and just for some cheery, cheery,the still very much alive Queen.
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann has finished Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar. “This is quite a compelling story of Anton, a black child in the foster care system. White Judge David Coleman and his wife, foster him to fill in the heartache they have experienced after losing their own son. Anton had been left in a locked apartment for seven days during a heat wave by his addict mother. Anton driven by hunger and fear finally breaks a window to escape the heat and to look her. When he is rescued by the police and put in foster care, Judge Coleman becomes very attached to Anton and works the system so he and his wife can adopt him. This is an interesting take on what is a family and how money and power can corrupt people even with the best of intentions.“
The Always Fabulous Babs B is done reading one of our most popular books this week The Rooster Bar by John Grisham. “As this legal thriller opens, the suicide of third-year law school student Gordy shocks friends Mark, Todd and Zola into realizing that they have been suckered into acquiring a six-figure student loan debt to attend the third-tier, for-profit Foggy Bottom Law School in Washington, D.C. Not only is the school so mediocre that its graduates stand only a 50-50 chance of passing the bar exam, but according to Gordy's parting notes, it's one of a chain owned by Hinds Rackley, a New York hedge-fund manager who also happens to own the very bank that will collect on their student loans. The trio decide to forgo their last semester of law school and form a bogus law firm to expose Rackley's scam. Suffice it to say the rest of the story is vintage Grisham and a real page turner!”
Katlin from the Rock is binging this week with a little help from some loanable library technology. “The Boyfriend and I binge-watched season 2 of Stranger Things this weekend. I believe it's only available through Netflix, so check out our Roku and watch both seasons 1 and 2! If you haven't heard of it, it's about a group of kids growing up in Hawkins, Indiana, in the early 1980s. Monsters, governments conspiracies, portals to other dimensions, and major 80s hair are at the heart of this story. If you want to feel some nostalgia for the 80s, I can't recommend this show enough--it is by far my favorite, and it lets me relive some memories from growing up!”
Jeanne is driving around listening. Which I guess is doing two things at once. “Who didn’t love The Alienist by Caleb Carr years ago? I was a big fan and was anxious to read his latest crime novel, Surrender, New York. Even though this one takes place in rural Burgoyne County, NY, the characters; the story and the forensic details are just as thrilling. Dr. Trajan Jones,and his partner, Dr. Michael Li follow chilling clues and leads in a series of unexplained deaths, while also conducting online forensic classes! Whodunit?!”
Brittany is new to these pages. She can be found up on the Ref Desk or sitting next to me in the Ref Office. Welcome Brittany! Here is what she’s liking this week. “Must be the cold weather creeping in, because the common theme in all my readings this week has been death. In honor of her recent visit to the library, I just finished Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, a memoir about Roz's experience caring for her 90-something-year-old parents who both refuse to discuss or plan for anything related to death and dying. The story is told alongside Roz's artwork, comic strips, and photographs, and is a personal and honest look at aging and caring for family members near the end. I couldn't put it down. I've also been making my way through The Walking Dead comics, having read Volumes 1-4 this week. I'm a fan of the TV show, and now that I have access to all the comics via the library’s Hoopla account, I've been devouring them (heh - like a zombie). Volume 3 was my favorite so far. There's slightly more gore to it than the others, fair warning. The action really picks up in that volume. It details the group's first days inside the prison that's supposed to finally offer a refuge from what's happening outside. The comics are just different enough from the show to keep you on your toes. What I love most about this series is that it's not just a survival story; it's a commentary on society - on who we are when everything we take for granted is stripped away and the world is turned upside down. If I made one of those ‘hings I’m thankful for’ lists this month, Hoopla might be near the top, because I’ve been waiting over a year to read these comics and many libraries don’t offer them but we do!"
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is here feeding one of her obsessions with The Crown: The Official Companion Volume 1. “The subtitle of this book is Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen 1947-1955, and I mistakenly thought it would be an enjoyable but fluffy look at season 1 of the smash Netflix show. Instead, this is a really in-depth look at the history of the beginning of QEII's reign, written by the historical consultant for the show, Robert Lacey. The book is divided into 10 chapters (one for each episode of season 1) and in each chapter, Lacey digs into the history - what the show portrayed vs what really happened, and why those changes were made for the screen. It's completely fascinating, but fair warning: it's more dense than it appears. Still, the history it imparts is absorbing, and the look at the process of creating a tv show based on the life of a real person (who is still kicking!) is intriguing. Peppered throughout the book are photos from the show, paired with photos of the real-life counterparts the show depicts. This book is a total wow and would make a great holiday gift for the Crown aficionado in your family. Season 2 of The Crown premiers on Netflix December 8th, and you know what I'll be doing that night (binge-watching!)."