Blog Posts by LucyS

Posted by LucyS on 08/31/19
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Gravity is the Thing is a self-help book, sort of, in fiction. Abi Sorensen is the owner of the Happiness Café and mother of four-year-old Oscar. She and several others have been invited to an all-expenses paid retreat to learn the truth about The Guidebook, something that all the participants have all been receiving in mysterious, out-of-sequence and puzzling chapters since they were teenagers. Abi has always associated this book with a tragic event from her youth and hungers for answers.
 
At first, the story may seem illogical or absurd but I found it to be a uniquely told novel about hope, trust, coping with grief and with motherhood. It is optimistic, sad, self-deceiving, bittersweet and romantic. Abi is taken on a long journey of introspection about past decisions and her belief that she was solely responsible for the emotional health of many of her relationships.
 
Author Jaclyn Moriarty has written several novels for young adults and children. This is her first novel for adults.
Fiction
Posted by LucyS on 07/31/19
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Actress Alba August is luminous portraying beloved children’s author Astrid Lindgren of the Pippi Longstocking series in this Swedish language film, Becoming Astrid.  Her performance from gawky teenager to a young woman is convincing, tender and compassionate.

Bored and restless, Astrid lived with her large family in rural Sweden. At age 16, she began a job at the local newspaper, first writing up ads and obituary notices, then gained new responsibilities of writing articles. An attraction developed between her married editor and herself and Astrid is soon pregnant. This is really where the story begins. She is forced to move away from her family because of the social mores of the time, around 1926. When her child is born, she must leave him with a foster mother in Denmark. When Astrid finds out that the foster mother can no longer care for young Lasse, she must step up and bring him home. To comfort her son who she barely knows, we see the beginnings of her story-telling talent as she weaves tales to ease his anxiety of being separated from the only person he knew as his mother.

Though her burdens are great, there is a brightness and humanity in how all the actors depict these real-life individuals. It was especially heartwarming to see a reconciliation with her estranged mother. I highly recommend this movie; watch with a box of tissues close at hand.
 
Posted by LucyS on 06/06/19
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Erin Lee Carr is the daughter of New York Times journalist and author David Carr. In this case, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Erin is drawn to journalism and documentary filmmaking, her father is her guiding light. Preserved in emails and texts his advice to her is tender, loving, incredibly supportive, eloquent, direct, gruff, blunt, hard-hitting, spot-on and delivered with just the right touch whenever Erin reaches out to him.

Journalism is a competitive, work hard, play hard environment, constantly changing with breaking news and evolving with the rise of social media. Life is not easy. Both Erin and her father got caught in the trap of losing themselves to addictions and addictive behavior. How do you break free? Erin attributes her hard-won success to her father, leading her forward.  He opened some doors for her professionally but she had to do the work. She has spoken for a TEDx talk about her work and has directed two documentaries for HBO. After his sudden death when Erin is 26 years old, she is stopped short, forced to look at her life and actions closely without filters.
 
All That You Leave Behind is a candid, moving memoir to celebrate fathers, families and I think this is a good read for high school and college graduates.

In the author’s acknowledgements, she includes a thank you and directive to her readers: “YOU (for reading this; now go write someone you love an email).”
Memoir Debut
Posted by LucyS on 04/24/19
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Peoples’ lives distill into emails, texts and blog posts in Mary Adkins’ debut novel When You Read This. This feels very familiar since this is how many of us interact today. In this story, the impersonal becomes personal as the narrative fleshes out while we read the communications between the main characters of Smith, Iris, Jade and Carl. Carl is a self-important, manner-less college intern who insinuated himself into Smith’s brand management business to an exasperating yet comic effect. Iris worked for Smith and Jade is Iris’ sister. Their paths intertwine with each other, clients and friends. All this points out how complicated lives are and how we occasionally create our own stumbling blocks. The story is oddly endearing, occasionally philosophical, has tender moments and made me feel like I was peeking into their correspondence.

Try this book if you are a fan of epistolary novels. Other titles in this literary style are Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher and Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson.
Posted by LucyS on 03/06/19
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The Radium Girls is a tragic and true story that unfolded for decades. In the early 1900's radium was touted as a curative and elixirs were sold over the counter to those who could afford it. Another lucrative business developed when a scientist created a radium paint formula used extensively for glow-in-the-dark watch and aircraft dials. The young women hired to paint these dials were instructed to use the unusual technique of lip-pointing to paint the watch dials causing them to ingest this toxic ingredient. Once the companies learned of the harmful effects, little to nothing was done to protect its female workers. This began the next chapter as the women banded together to battle their former employers in court to fight for worker rights and against injustice and corporate greed.
 
In her research, author Kate Moore walked the same streets as the women to inhabit their lives and to better portray a sense of who these women were. She delved deep into library and newspaper archives to bring us a book that humanized these workers. We learn their names and something of their daily routine; how, despite their suffering and subjugation to corporate and legal battles, their character persevered.
 
Join us on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 from 7:30 to 8:30 pm at the historic Banta House located on the Historical Museum grounds at 514 North Vail at Euclid, just across the street from the library for light refreshments and the first Paging Through History Book Discussion of The Radium Girls.
 
 
Posted by LucyS on 01/17/19
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Maurice Swift wants to be a writer, but he doesn’t have an original idea in his head. He goes about achieving this fiercely desired stature of novelist by shallowly playing up his good looks, targeting those he feels will help him in a calculating and unscrupulous way. Men and women fall into his orbit as he insinuates himself into their lives. He is ambitious, self-absorbed, secretive and devious with detestable motives. How author John Boyne’s storyline unfolds is well-written, filled with wry wit and clever dialogue with an unlikeable main character who lacks decency and morals. Lured into the story, I kept wondering how his twisted masquerade would end. 
 
A Ladder To The Sky at 362 pages runs a little long but it certainly captured my attention with hints of The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.
 
 
Fiction
Posted by LucyS on 12/20/18
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Entrepreneur, author and independent shopkeeper Lisa Ludwinski is making a difference at Sister Pie Bakery located within Detroit, a city that has been buffeted with financial and community woes. Her business model is worthy of admiration. She follows a triple-bottom-line business ethic of working to support her employees, the environment and the economy including a “pie-it-forward” program. A deep sense of place and pride is felt through the beautifully photographed pages. Each recipe has a narrative of how it came to be.

Check out Sister Pie if you would like to experiment with new savory and pastry recipes with unusual flavor combinations and to be encouraged to use good quality ingredients. I made the buckwheat chocolate chip cookie recipe without telling my family it was gluten free – no complaints were heard. A wonderful example of someone following their passion, translating it into a successful career.
Cookbooks
Posted by LucyS on 11/16/18
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What does it mean to be an exile? What weight does it carry? How much of your identity is wrapped around a place? Next Year in Havana is both the title of this book and a toast, a wish for the future, spoken by those who have left and hope to return.
 
Forced to flee in 1959, the Perez family came to the United States when the political tides shifted in Cuba. Told in two timelines. In the present day, the main character, Marisol, travels to Cuba to bring her grandmother’s ashes home. As she explores Havana and the surrounding countryside she uncovers a treasure trove of family history. Written with nostalgia, pride and hope intermingled with romance, high society life, rebellion, and secrecy. 
 

Author Chanel Cleeton grew up on family stories of her own family's departure from Cuba. This story provides an intriguing viewpoint of a country located only 90 miles away.

 
Posted by LucyS on 10/11/18
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Small mercies, sacrifice, strong will and clever deception fuel a young woman’s determination to aid her small French community in surviving enemy occupation during WWII. The Baker’s Secret is written with a new perspective. Author Stephen P. Kiernan shows how one person can make a far-reaching impact amid desperate circumstances. Even though this is a work of fiction, I could not help but be humbled about the arduousness, deprivation and oppression that people endure during war.
Posted by LucyS on 09/07/18
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Who is Vera Kelly? A spy? A troubled, conflicted young woman seeking escape and adventure? While working at a radio station in 1960’s New York, Vera’s technical and bilingual skills become known and noticed by a CIA recruiter. Unaware of the political danger brewing in Argentina, she is sent there to radio surveil a high-ranking government official’s office. Another element is at the fore when the U.S. suspects Communism is brewing with young radicals at university. Vera takes on a new name and poses as a college student to try to learn about this undercurrent of unrest.
 
This is not a typical spy novel. It has a quieter tone, a slower build as a military coup is gaining strength around her with Vera caught in the middle. Betrayal, disillusionment and extreme measures come to light in author Rosalie Knecht’s well-written novel with historical fiction components. Readers who enjoyed The Alice Network by Kate Quinn might like to add this book to their reading list.
 
 
Suspense
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy