As Valentine’s Day approached, I, like most red-blooded Americans probably, found my thoughts turning to Richard Nixon. Coincidentally, I was absorbed by Austin Grossman’s latest novel, “Crooked.” “Crooked” is the first-person account of Richard Nixon’s rise to power and fall from power, and subsequent rise to power and fall from power. While others have chronicled Nixon’s life, none before have touched on the terrifying truth: Nixon was one of the few that knew the U.S. and U.S.S.R. had moved beyond the mutually assured destruction via mundane nuclear weaponry and were onto mutually assured destruction via weaponized monsters and pacts made with the elder gods that walked the earth before being banished below the surface.
It’s no surprise that Henry Kissinger was a thousand-year-old sorcerer, but the reader won’t expect to learn that Dwight Eisenhower could stop a bullet with magic, or that the British had long been allies with a miles-long krakken, and that the monster had plucked German planes out of the sky during World War II. These sorts of treats are abundant in the novel, as are fantastic sentences such as follows:
I had, I realized, lost track of whether I was a centrist Republican stalwart, a right-wing anti-Communist demagogue, a mole for Soviet intelligence, the proxy candidate for a Bavarian sorcerer, or the West’s last hope against an onrushing tide of insane chthonic forces.
Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Austin Grossman”
Last year, Alzheimer’s was much discussed in popular media, as Julianne Moore won all of the awards for her portrayal of a 50-year-old linguistics professor with the early onset form of the disease, in the movie “Still Alice.” The movie was based on Lisa Genova’s novel of the same title. Genova, a neuroscientist as well as an author, knew what she was about in portraying the effects of a condition that strips away your memory.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can seem overwhelming for the patient and family members. But support and information are available. Below are some helpful resources for those coping with dementia, as well as their caregivers. Continue reading “What You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s”
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
Website / Reviews
The year is 1925. Momentous changes threaten the great house, its owners and its servants, while past scandals continue to loom. Return to the sumptuous setting of Downton Abbey for the sixth and final season to discover what will finally become of the Crawley family.
Continue reading “New DVD List: Downton Abbey, The Wiz, & More”
February 11 marks the 169th birthday of Thomas Edison. Known for holding over 1,000 patents, Edison’s work left a huge impact on the world. He helped usher in the era of electric light and gave the world a way to capture both sound and motion pictures. There are those who believe that Edison was a ruthless businessman, his iconic image more myth than reality, and that many of his great ideas should in fact be attributed to others. So what is the truth? The library offers several interesting items that explore different perspectives on Edison and the stories behind his many creations.
Readers interested in Edison’s many inventions may want to check out Leonard DeGraaf’s book, “Edison and the Rise of Innovation.” DeGraaf serves as the archivist for the Thomas Edison National Historical Park and draws from the collection he oversees to give readers an image-filled guide to Edison’s life and work. From photos of Edison’s workplace in Menlo Park, to drawings and diagrams of his many creations, DeGraaf illustrates the broad scope of Edison’s creativity. Continue reading “Getting to Know Thomas Edison”
In honor of Black History Month, here are some newer titles that explore the varied experience of being black in America, some from historical perspectives and others from a contemporary point of view.
“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson
In vivid poems that reflect the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, an award-winning author shares what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in both the North and the South.
“The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth” by Karen Branan
A provocative true account of the hanging of four black people by a white lynch mob in 1912 is written by a descendant of the sheriff charged with protecting them and draws on diaries and letters to piece together the events and motives that led up to the tragedy. Continue reading “Books for Black History Month”
My daughter, Samantha, and I joined a mother-daughter book club when she was in fourth grade. The club consisted of the two of us and Samantha’s best friend and her mother. That club lasted until we had to move just before the start of sixth grade. And even though we are now just a club of two, Samantha and I have continued reading books together. We are currently reading “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. (Samantha chooses the books even if I offer suggestions.) Continue reading “Mother-Daughter Book Clubs”
Ida Fogle, Library Associate
Midlife crisis? Midlife renewal? However you view this phase of life, middle age is a time of challenge and change.
There are numerous books on the topic, and Sandra Tsing Loh read most of them as she tried to cope with her “year of raging hormones.” Employing caustic wit, she shares her newfound wisdom in “The Madwoman in the Volvo” (W.W. Norton, 2014). Loh had a whopper of a midlife crisis, containing every essential element: affair, divorce, adolescent children, eccentric elderly parents and over-sized emotions. The only thing she found easy was gaining weight. The memoir ends on an encouraging note, however, and along the way Loh provides one of my favorite tips for getting through this difficult time. Eat a snack around four p.m. Continue reading “Literary Links: Midlife Crisis”
Valentine’s Day is not the sole domain of those enveloped in romantic love, though that does seem to be the emphasis. (Notice the numerous advertisements that run for heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, bouquets of roses and dinner reservations for two in the weeks approaching February 14.) But this red-letter day, designated to celebrate love, is fair game for everyone. After all, love takes many forms and evolves in stages across all kinds of relationships – between friends, parents and children, siblings and so on.
Seeking to expand beyond this romantic aspect of Valentine’s Day (but not wanting to exclude it), I decided to treat the library’s online catalog as an oracle and ask her (or him, or them???) to provide some alternative material to use in recognizing this day of love and also to address the varying places the human heart might find itself on the love continuum. So I typed in “heart, states, matters, heal, love and poetry” in the keyword search bar and waited patiently for a response. The answer divined from our cyber sage was a wonderfully varied list of titles that deal with the spiritual, physical and emotional realms of the heart. Continue reading “Keyword Search: Heart, States, Love, Matters, Poetry, Heal”
My iPad rarely leaves the kitchen. I use it to play podcasts or audiobooks while I do the dishes. I check Facebook while I’m waiting for the pasta water to boil. But the thing I use the device for the most is my daily meal preparation. No, I’m not like that German dad using the tablet as a cutting board in the YouTube video that made the rounds a few years ago. Through the library’s OverDrive eBook collection, I can download new cookbooks from some of my favorite foodies and make meal planning and cooking that much easier. Whether I want to consult the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman or the Food Network’s Rachael Ray, the library’s eBook collection has me covered. Here are just some of the new and popular cookbooks you can have at your fingertips in almost no time.
“NOPI: The Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully
Yotam Ottolenghi is beloved in the food world for his beautiful, inspirational cookbooks, as well as his Ottolenghi delis and his fine-dining restaurant, NOPI. In the NOPI cookbook, head chef Ramael Scully’s Asian-inspired pantry meets Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern influences and brings the restaurant’s favorite dishes within reach of the home cook. Continue reading “Cooking With eBooks”
It often takes a patient viewer to sit through films about small-town life, but the rewards can be rich and powerful. Check out a few of these films that examine life at a slightly slower pace.
“Vernon, Florida” (1981)
Fire up the pickup and head down to this bizarre backwater town with Errol Morris, as he presents a pastiche of fascinating interviews with the weird and wonderful people of Vernon, Florida. From the passionate turkey-hunter to the peculiar pet collector, each member of this motley crew has a story to tell. Continue reading “The Slow Lane: Docs About Small Town Life”