These past weeks have been unprecedented. We have experienced cancellations of events, closures of stores and offices, and empty shelves in the grocery store. Also, we’ve embraced a new concept--social distancing! During these challenging days, it’s helpful to show kindness and share gestures of goodwill towards one another.
There is some good news….spring is here! You can hear it in the sounds of birds and peepers chirping. You can see it as the crocuses and daffodils begin to bloom, and you can smell it in the sweet March breeze. The season of spring always signals a renewed sense of hope and joy!
While the Darien Library is closed, we still want to share what we are reading. So, we will be sending out our Note-to Shelf newsletter every Monday. Have a look at the books we are excited to share with you this week. You can find these titles and more in our digital catalogs, Hoopla and Libby by Overdrive!
Now on to the reviews:
“I just finished listening to Books for Living by Will Schwalbe. The book was wonderful. It is a combination of memoir and philosophical exploration of the question, “What are you reading?” According to Schwalbe, “It is a simple question, but a powerful one, and it can change lives, creating a shared universe for people who are otherwise separated by culture and age and by time and space.” The author devotes each chapter to a different book that produced a life-changing experience for him at certain stages of his life. His selections range from Reading Lolita in Tehran to Stuart Little to _Gift from the Se_a to A Little Life. What I liked about the author's thoughtful reflections on these books was the reminder that reading enriches our lives and allows us to discover a world of possibilities, as we step into someone else's shoes. Another great thing is that the author believes, “reading and naps” go together! What a perfect combination! Although the narration was not the best, I still highly recommend this audio book!
In Tiny Imperfections by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans we meet Josie Bordeleon, whose life could be a Lifetime made-for-television movie. She’s gone from being the “it” black beauty of the 90’s to single mom to the Director of Admissions at a prestigious private school in San Francisco that she attended in her youth. The issues related to work, love, and family with which Josie grapples will resonate with readers. How will she survive yet another season in the cutthroat world of private school admissions? How should she get herself out of her “sex sabbatical” and back on the dating scene? How can she make sure her dancer daughter, Etta, doesn’t make the same mistakes that she did?
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner follows the lives of two Jewish sisters growing up in Detroit in the 1950's. Jo, the older sister, is athletic, passionate about Civil Rights, and wants nothing to do with boys. Bethie, the younger sister, enjoys getting dolled up, being center stage, and having an active social life. They spend their childhood years growing up in a privileged household, but things change quickly due to a family tragedy. To help keep the family financially afloat, both sisters have to make sacrifices. Jo dreams of becoming a writer and continuing the fight for equality, while Bethie dreams of settling down and having a family of her own. The girls’ lives take several twists and turns, and neither of them ends up on the route she dreamed she would.
Relive the shifting fashion, political and pop culture trends of the twentieth century alongside Jo and Bethie when you read this book, and watch how the bond between two sisters can change over the course of their lives. Jennifer Weiner does an amazing job of capturing the challenging relationships between women and their partners, parents, siblings and friends, as well as the evolution of how women are treated by society. I listened to the audiobook and was captivated by the narrators’ voices.
Note to Shelf, Jr.
Missing March Madness? Get your fill of exciting competition from Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang. The book is based on the author's experience as a teacher at Bishop O'Dowd High School during the Dragons’ legendary run to the California State Championships. This graphic novel is part epic comeback story, part basketball history, and all heart. Learn about what makes each player tick, how their coach (a former Dragon himself) sets them up for success, and how even the nerdiest teacher at the school finds out that sports stories and comic book heroes aren’t so different after all. Even if you're not a basketball fan, you will find something to love in this book—it is hilarious, heartwarming, historical, and also filled with buzzer-beating tension. Check out this absolute slam-dunk today!
Note to Shelf, Teen
If you enjoy fairy tales with happy endings, enchanted forests, and a prince charming, then Melissa Albert’s novel The Hazel Wood is not for you. But if you like the dark side of fantasy (think Brothers Grimm) then you will love this story. ‘Tell Alice whatever happens, don’t go to Hazel Wood.’ That is the last message seventeen-year-old Alice receives from her mother who is kidnapped from their home. Hazel Wood is the estate of Alice’s mysterious, and recently deceased, grandmother who penned the cult-classic The Hinterland. Although Alice has never read The Hinterland, a book of dark fairy tales, she has heard enough to know that the tales are nightmarish and the characters are cruel. Now Alice is running for her life from the very characters her Grandmother created and the only way she can save her mother is to make her way back to where it all began—at Hazel Wood.