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Note to Shelf: September 14th Edition

September brings with it cooler nights and, this week, a meet-and-greet-with our new director, Kiera Parrott. Stop by the courtyard on Thursday, September 17th between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to say hello and enjoy a special treat. Get to know Kiera by browsing through a list of titles she's looking forward to reading this fall. 

We’re also in the middle of Library Card Sign-up Month, so invite your friends who live, work, or teach in Darien to sign-up for a card online. We’ll send them a temporary number so they can immediately begin to borrow our digital books, movies, music, and magazines.

Now on to the reviews...

Jill

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma is a memoir that will stay with you long after you’ve finished. A disability rights lawyer and the first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Girma tells a story of perseverance, determination, and grit. She is truly inspirational as she shares her experience of growing up blind and deaf. While an undergrad at Lewis & Clark College, she proactively advocated for the technology she needed to try to assimilate into the college experience. She had accomplished and experienced more by the time she was fifteen years old than most people do in a lifetime. Girma’s uplifting belief that disability is an opportunity for innovation plays out in this captivating book. As she says: “Organizations that prioritize accessibility benefit by gaining a much larger user base, improving the experience for both disabled and non-disabled uses, and facilitating further innovation.” - Haben Girma –Disability Rights Lawyer, Author, Speaker (2020, September) habengirma.com

Pat T.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, is set in Dublin in 1918, a city Donoghue describes as a “great mouth holed with missing teeth,” as war and an awful strain of the flu—variously called the plague, the grippe, and the black or blue flu—ravage the city and the country at large. Expectant women are catching the grippe in alarming numbers, suffering miscarriages, stillbirths, and maternal death. At an understaffed hospital in the city center, Nurse Julia Power sets up a makeshift room in a supply closet with three metal cots to attend to those in need of additional monitoring.

Nurse Power cares for various expectant mothers, including: Delia Garrett, a twenty-year-old with an air of prosperity, awaiting the birth of her third child due in December; Ita Noonan, thirty, pregnant for the twelfth time and delirious with the flu; Mary O’Rahilly, a naïve seventeen-year-old; and Honor White, an unwed twenty-nine-year-old. Nurse Power is assisted by Birdie Sweeney, a volunteer described as “an odd creature, but such a natural at ward work”, and Dr. Kathleen Lynn, a rumored Protestant socialist, suffragette, and Republican firebrand who stirs up gossip in the hospital corridors.

Over the course of three days, these strong, vibrant women change each other for the better, even as they deal with the inevitable ravages of this flu—a baby born with a harelip, an obstructed labor, and even death. The characters are compelling and heroic, but the midwifery procedures described in this novel are not for the faint of heart!

Amanda D.

We make thousands of decisions each day, decisions that shape our very lives. What if you had made different choices over the years? How would they have affected your life today? Would your career be the same? Your romantic partner? Would you be living in the same house, city, state, or even country? Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld takes a notable figure and imagines what her life might have been if she had made different choices.

Follow Hillary Rodham, a young woman attending Yale Law School in 1970. She meets Rhodes scholar, Bill Clinton, during her second year and claims that his smile may have ruined her life. In this tale, Hillary does not accept Bill Clinton’s marriage proposal. Follow along and watch what Hillary’s journey could have been.

Brittany

Remember when our anxieties were only about simple things? Like procrastinating and missing deadlines, doing embarrassing things in public, and online dating.... Those sure were the days! Revisit daily anxieties pre-pandemic with Sarah Andersen's delightful series: Adulthood is a Myth. It’s sure to give you a much needed laugh!

Susie

Fisherman’s Friends one of the more comical and enjoyable films that I’ve watched this year - a year when we could all use some good cheer. Based on a true story, it follows a group of fishermen, known by the locals for their buoyant sea shanties, who are approached by a talent agent from Universal Records. Accepting a bet by his snarky co-worker, the talent agent sets out to enter this unlikely group in a worldwide contest, sign them up with a record deal, AND get them listed on the Top Ten music charts. With nothing to lose but their pride, the fishermen accept the challenge. The film contains stunning scenery, beautiful music, and a little romance. Fisherman’s Friends is a delightful movie and one that I highly recommend you watch!

September Spotlight

Did you know that Hispanic Heritage Month always starts on September 15th? It’s an historically significant date marking the independence anniversary for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also mark their independence in September, on the 16th and 18th respectively. Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States celebrates the positive contribution that Hispanic Americans have made in this country!

And don’t forget September is National Voter Registration Month. You can check online to see if your registration is up-to-date or how to register to vote. 

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