Friday Reads: The Red Notebook

Friday Reads” is a blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here.  This blog was written by reference librarian, Donna Burgess.

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Friday Reads: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

What would the contents of your handbag reveal about you? Would your make-up kit reveal a woman who wears bright red lipstick or soft coral lip gloss? Do you carry a hand cleaner? A spritzer of perfume, your current read in book or e-book format? A notebook, a dry cleaner pick-up slip, earrings that you didn’t have time to put on, keys, business cards? If your cell phone and wallet were stolen, how would someone identify you?

This small book intrigued me. Laurent Letellier, a bookseller, finds a beautiful leather handbag on a dumpster and so begins a story about his search to find the owner of the purse. Within the bag is a small red notebook with notes about the fears, likes and dislikes of the owner. Those jottings convinced Laurent he wished to meet the woman who owned it.

In the story we meet Laurent’s daughter, his current girlfriend and a woman-chasing friend who cannot understand his fascination with a woman he never met.

“Laurain’s gentle, satirical humor remind this reviewer of Jacques Tati’s classic films, and, no, you don’t have to know French politics to enjoy this charming novel. Fans of Muriel Barbery’s  The Elegance of the Hedgehog will want this.”—Library Journal

Pick up this little gem, we have it on the Staff Picks shelf in both book and CD format.

Food Glorious Food on The Point with Mindy Todd

This morning on The Point our book topic was books having to do with food. The always delightful, Kellie Porter, librarian at the Woods Hole Library joined us for the conversation. Thanks for your calls, and as always not nearly enough time for the piles of books that were in front of us. If you have a food book that you love, let us know and we will add it to the list. If you missed the show, you can listen at 7 PM this evening or online at WCAI’s web page.

Mindy’s Picks

Delish: the J. W. Jackson recipes by Philip Craig. As well as the Philip Craig’s mysteries.

 

Kellie’s Picks

Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher
Jill’s Picks
The Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell, illustrated by Joan Rankin

Scrambled Eggs Super! by Dr. Seuss

Adventures in Slow Cooking by Sarah DiGregorio

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey “The Doughnuts” chapter

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book with a foreword by M. F. K. Fisher

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder & Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which includes the character Thurston, the cook

Stories From the Kitchen edited by Diana Secker Tesdell

Cod by Mark Kurlansky

Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue: a novel of pastry, guilt, and music by Mark Kurlansky

Voracious: a hungry reader cooks her way through great books by Cara Nicoletti

The Food Activist Handbook by Ali Berlow

Not Enough Time For

Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Visser

The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten

Cake by Maira Kalman with recipes by Barbara Scott-Goodman

The Kitchen Book/The Cook Book by Nicolas Freeling

Blood, Bones & Butter: the inadvertent education of a reluctant chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

 

Listener Picks

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

On Rue Tatin: living and cooking in a French town by SusanHerrmann

La Cucina: a novel of rapture by Lily Prior

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Guns, Germs and Steel: the fates of human societies by Jared Diamond

Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

Babette’s Feast, which is both a film and a short story by Isak Dinesen

Friday Reads: The Sun Does Shine

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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Today’s book is an important one.  The Sun Does Shine:  how I found life and freedom on death row by Anthony Ray Hinton is recommended by reference librarian Kasia Piasecka, an avid reader of true crime and social justice books.

“In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama.  Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.

But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution.  He spent his first three years on death row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence, full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death.  But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but to find a way to live on death row.  For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon, transforming his own spirit and those of his fellow inmates.”  (Excerpted from the publisher’s summary.)

Kasia wrote on her staff pick card: “A powerful story and a call to action. I highly recommend listening to the e-audiobook on Overdrive,” which is narrated by Hinton’s remarkable attorney, Bryan Stevenson.

I am also familiar with Hinton’s story having read about his ordeal with the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club last November in the book Just Mercya story of justice and redemption by the above mentioned attorney Bryan Stevenson.  It is one I won’t soon forget.  Stevenson says in the foreword to The Sun Does Shine: “Mr. Hinton is one of the longest-serving condemned prisoners facing execution in America to be proved innocent and released.  Most of us can’t possibly imagine what it feels like to be arrested, accused of something horrible, imprisoned, wrongly convicted because we don’t have the money needed to defend ourselves, and then condemned to execution.  For most people, it’s simply inconceivable. Yet, it’s important that we understand that it happens in America and that more of us need to do something to prevent it from happening again.”

You can find this book on the Staff Picks shelf.   Also look for Just Mercy in the nonfiction area with the call #353.48 STE.

Photo: www.sfexaminer.com April 1, 2018. (courtesy photo) of Anthony Ray Hinton

September 7, 2018

Friday Reads: Saints for All Occasions

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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This week’s book is a novel I put on the Staff Picks shelf recently.  I don’t read fiction very often, (Okay, I admit to some fluffy escapist fiction occasionally.) but this novel had me hooked from the beginning.  It is deep, thought-provoking, well-crafted and spot on in describing a particular time, place and group of people.  I highly recommend Saints for All Occasions (2017) by J. Courtney Sullivan.

The publisher summarizes it thusly:

“Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she’s shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn’t sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan–a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, privately preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora’s favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache. Estranged from her sister and cut off from the world, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago.”

Sullivan also wrote the novels Commencement (2009), The Engagements (2013) and Maine (2011) which was a New York Times best-seller, Time magazine best book of the year and a Washington Post Notable Book.

For readers who enjoyed My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott, The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, you are sure to enjoy Saints for All Occasions as well.   It makes a wonderful book club book as there is a lot to keep a discussion rolling.

You can find the regular print hardcover on the Staff Picks shelf.  It is also available on CD, in large print, e-audio and e-book.

 

Friday Reads: Greywater Green Landscape

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

(Pictured:  author Laura Allen.  Source: Storey Publishing)

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Yesterday, I read an article in the Cape Cod Times about problems with the water system in Falmouth that have come to light since the Long Pond water treatment plant went into operation last October (“Officials Under Pressure to Fix Water Issues” Cape Cod Times, August 23, 2018 pps. A3, A5).  Water superintendent Stephen Rafferty was quoted as saying water usage increased “a million gallons a day” this July as compared to last July.  That is a chilling fact that will only get worse as our population grows.  Rafferty cited lawn irrigation as a “major draw on the system.”

There are many steps people can take to reduce their water usage.  Using greywater instead of fresh drinking water for lawn irrigation is one of them.  What is greywater you ask? Greywater is the water that runs down the drain after washing dishes in the sink, doing laundry or taking a shower.  It is not water from a dishwasher (the chemicals are too harsh) or from a toilet or laundry that includes poopy diapers.

If you have any interest at all in this important issue, I highly recommend the book Greywater Green Landscape by Laura Allen that we added to our collection this spring.  The blurb from the back of the book states, “Save thousands of gallons of water annually and have a beautiful yard no matter the weather by capturing and reusing water from sinks, showers, and washing machines.  This empowering and easy-to-use manual offers practical, long-term strategies for water management, with easy, do-it-yourself instructions and step-by-step photography to guide you through construction and installing a variety of systems throughout your house and garden.”

Options for capturing and using greywater run the gamut from simply collecting water in a bucket and pouring it on your garden to installing a high-tech fully automated system.  Depending upon the complexity of the system you want to use, you may need a permit.  The State Environmental Code 2C Title 5 states, “Greywater from residential, commercial and public facilities may be discharged or reused in accordance with the provisions of 310 CMR 15.262,” otherwise known as title 5.

Allen’s book will help you assess your situation by considering your greywater sources, your level of interest, your needs, an understanding of your soil, the best plants to use, various greywater systems (of course), help with codes and regulations and even plant-friendly soaps.  Clear diagrams, photos, a list of resources and an index make this book attractive and very practical.  You can find it on the new nonfiction shelf with the call #627.52 ALL.

2018 Hugo Awards

The Hugo Awards 2018 for best science fiction have been announced! Check out this year’s winners, which include many books by women of color, including N.K. Jemisin, the first author to win Best Novel three (!) times in a row for the Broken Earth trilogy. You can view the complete list of the finalists and winners online.

Best Novel

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin 

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women. Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

Reserve


Best Novella

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

Reserve


Best Related Work

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin

No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s blog, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her wonder at it.

Reserve


Best Graphic Story

Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda

Maika Halfwolf is on the run from a coalition of forces determined to control or destroy the powerful Monstrum that lives beneath her skin. But Maika still has a mission of her own: to discover the secrets of her late mother, Moriko.

Reserve


 

Read it First!

Film Adaptations Headed to Theaters Near You

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times—the book was better! There’s nothing like debating the differences between a favorite book and its translation to the screen. But if you don’t know your beloved series is coming out as a movie, or that the fun looking preview you saw was adapted from a book, how can you join the debate? The library is here to the rescue! Here we will be exploring the movie adaptations soon to hit your local theaters and give you the chance to read before you view. This month, there are 7 books to movies, so set aside plenty of time to read and watch your way through August!

Coming This August

Crazy Rich AsiansReserve a copy

American Rachel Wu is excited to join her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, on his summer trip back to Singapore to see his family. Once there, she is surprised to find out that not only is his family exceedingly rich, but he is the country’s most sought-after bachelor. Instead of a relaxing vacation, Rachel finds herself navigating the ins and outs of upper-crust Singapore society and Nick’s suspicious family. This is the first in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan.


Meg: a novel of deep terrorReserve your copy

In 1956, Jonas Taylor was conducting a deep sea dive in the Mariana Trench on a top-secret mission for the Navy when he watched his colleague be eaten by a shark. Not just any shark, a megalodon, the largest shark species ever known and one thought to be extinct since the time of the dinosaurs. When he escaped to the surface, no one believed him. Now, Jonas is approached with an offer to revisit the Mariana Trench again, and prove that this threat is still out there. But he finds the situation worse than before and now these ancient creatures are returning to wreak havoc on mankind.


PapillonReserve your copy

The (possibly) true story of Henri Charrière, a man who escaped the penal colony of French Guiana after enduring innumerable hardships. This tale has everything; forced labor, daring open water escapes, treacherous quicksand, cannibalism and, possibly, a grain of truth in it all. Many contend that, although Charrière did indeed spend time in French Guiana, much of his account is greatly exaggerated. Either way, it makes for a riveting story.


The Miseducation of Cameron PostReserve your copy

After her parents are killed in a car crash, Cameron is sent to live with her conservative aunt and grandmother in Montana. Though she desperately tries to suppress her burgeoning sexuality and remain invisible in this traditional community, she finds beautiful Coley Taylor impossible to ignore. When Cameron and Coley strike up a relationship, her aunt sends her away to God’s Promise, a gay re-education camp. There, Cameron must defy the camp counselors and her loved ones in order to remain true to herself.


Juliet, NakedReserve your copy

The story of a boy, a girl, and a reclusive singer. When Duncan’s girlfriend, Annie, dares to publicly criticize the latest album of Duncan’s absolute favorite singer, Tucker Crowe, she unleashes a chain of events that will change all of their lives.


The WifeReserve your copy

On a flight to Helsinki to support her husband as he receives a distinguished international literary award, Joan Castleman realizes her marriage is over. Having spent 40 years nurturing his career, Joan’s desire to pursue her own writing, and her own life, becomes undeniable. As she spends the plane trip remembering their life together, the true extent of her sacrifices becomes all the more apparent.


The Little StrangerReserve your copy

Hundreds Hall, which has housed the Ayres family for over two hundred years, has seen better days. When Faraday, the local country doctor, visits to tend to the Ayreses maid, he befriends the family and tries to help them out of their financial straits. But the Ayreses cannot part with their old ways and soon strange and inexplicable events begin to haunt the family. Are they going mad or is Hundreds Hall reacting to their changing circumstances?


 

Friday Reads: 97 Orchard

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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The library’s Narrative Nonfiction Book Club had another lively time at our meeting this month when we discussed 97 Orchard:  an edible history of five immigrant families in one New York tenement by Jane Ziegelman.  Actually, I was a little surprised at how enthusiastic many members of the group were about the book.  I expected them to find it interesting and informative, but I underestimated just how much they would connect with parts of it.

97 Orchard tells the story of five families who lived in the tenement building at 97 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan from the late 1800s until the 1930s.  The building is now the New York Tenement Museum and the author, Jane Zeigelman, is the director of the culinary program there. Through meticulous research using a wide variety of resources Ziegelman discovers the significance of foods in the lives of the Glockner family from Germany, the Moores from Ireland, The Gumpertzes, who were German Jews, the Rogarshevskys, who were Lithuanian Jews, and the Baldizzi family from Italy.

At times the reader feels as though she is in the cramped tenement apartment at the supper table or buying ingredients alongside the mother of the family from the pushcart vendor on the street, the writing is that compelling.  At other times, though, the style is journalistic as the perspective pans back to show how these families fit into the broader fabric of the city and their unique food cultures intertwined with established American food norms.

The group was delighted to learn several factoids, such as: corned beef and cabbage is not a traditional dish from Ireland – rather it is Germanic in origin; schmaltz is fat from a goose or chicken and “the greatest contribution made by German bakers to the American kitchen came in the form of yeast-baked cakes, which began to appear in East Side bakeries during the second half of the nineteenth century.” (p. 30) Have you used Fleischmann’s Instant Yeast in your baking?  Three Fleischmann brothers who immigrated from Vienna: Max, Charles and Louis,  are responsible for bringing yeast to our country.  Louis created quite the sensation in New York City with his Vienna Bakery and neighboring café, which was the place to be for the elite class in the 1880s and 90s.  

You can find 97 Orchard on the Staff Picks shelf.  Join us next month when the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club discuss Mrs. Sherlock Holmes:  the true story of New York City’s greatest female detective and the 1917 missing girl case that captivated a nation by Brad Ricca.  Pick up a copy of the book at the reference desk and plan to meet us on Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 10:00 – 11:00 in the Hermann Foundation meeting room at Falmouth Public Library.

Photo of Fleischmann’s Yeast advertising card (1870- 1900) from the digital commonwealth.  Card owned by Boston Public Library print department.  Photo of  schmaltz from Hazon.org

Summer is for Reading

It’s okay to slow down

It’s healthy to forget the fact that you carry around the daily news, your mailbox, telephone, grocery list, workplace cubicle, and social life all in the small space of your pocket. Is your battery low? Oh, who cares! This summer, let’s unite under the mindset that it’s okay to throw off the weight of those unread texts and push notifications.

Reading cures what ails you

Reading is a tried and true way to forget the freneticism of life in 2018. As you navigate through summer, stop to smell the sunscreen, campfire embers, fresh soil, and fresh-cut grass. Feel free to amble. Take time to dawdle. Let the atrophy of boredom wash your harried mind clean of its worries.

Book Lists by FPL librarians are magical

Find a fantastically good time inside the pages of a book. Our librarians have been busy compiling lists that house your next great read. This summer, venture into nature to reunite or get acquainted with a time before gigabits and scrolling. Take one of these books with you, and you’ll find that it’s true: sometimes, it’s okay to slow down.

Click here to see our lists!

Friday Reads: A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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 This Friday Reads is a slight departure from my usual fare.  The other day I was scanning a cart of new books and a fun looking book cover caught my eye.  With a purple background and a tongue in cheek drawing of a Victorian couple on the cover, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, seemed like just the thing to chill out with after a hot and hectic month.  I didn’t even bother to read the summary or beyond the first blurb on the back.  Since New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen called it “A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy.” that was enough for me.

And indeed it was delightful.  Debut author Dianne Freeman captured the era well – exposing the absurdities in aristocratic etiquette.  Her characters were enjoyable and the plot was fun in this cozy mystery.

Did you know cozy mysteries or cozies are terms book mavens use to describe a particular type of mystery?  They are easy reads featuring everyday people following clues to solve a neighborhood crime, enlisting the help of neighbors, relatives or friends.  Often set in small towns or attractive locales, there is no sex, violence or grave danger.  They are very popular with readers who enjoy puzzles and seeing the average joe succeed, because all of the mysteries are successfully solved, of course!

If you were a fan of the exceedingly popular PBS TV series Downton Abbey, then this book might remind you of the witty retorts often employed in the show and of a few episodes featuring Lady Mary and one of her lovers who dies in her bed.  I won’t go any further, except to say this book is lighter and more amusing than the TV show.

This is Dianne Freeman’s first book, after a career in corporate finance, and I am happy to see that she is working on another “Countess of Harleigh Mystery”.  I look forward to that and hopefully many more.  If you are a fan of Agatha Christie or Georgette Heyer, then Dianne Freeman will likely appeal to you too.  Look for A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder on the Staff Picks shelf … and be sure to look closely at the cover.