May 14, 2020 - Firsts
Well. What an interesting Mother's Day we had. I can't recall the last time there was snow on Mother's Day, although just because I can't recall it doesn't mean that it hasn't happened before. What I believe may not have happened before is that there was snow combined with a pollen alert. These past few months have certainly been a time for firsts. First time doing curbside delivery from the library; first time closing the library for a pandemic; first time delivering programs virtually; and first time heading into a Summer Reading Program that looks like it will have a large (if not total) virtual component.
Previously in this column, I had mentioned some titles that might help one think about sheltering at home during this covid-19 time. My hold came up this past weekend on Albert Camus's The Plague. It is about the city of Oran being in an extended lock down. because of the bubonic plague Perhaps not the happiest of books to be reading, but it does give one some perspective. Camus's description of the inhabitants's response to the increasing death toll and rising restrictions on personal life resonates in our time. The outbreak of the plague in the book lasted for months and months. This took place in the 1940s and it's interesting that people keep meeting in groups, that cafes stayed open, and social distancing was unheard of at that time. The book ends on an optimistic note. Here are two quotes: "So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories." and "What we learn in time of pestilence is that there are more things to admire in men than to despise." I'll leave you with that and encourage you to read the book if you get the chance or can find it in a stack of your old college books
Below are some new books -- not necessarily Nobel Prize literature caliber--. Enjoy!
Galileo: And the Science Deniers by Mario Livio. The leading astrophysicist and best-selling author of Brilliant Blunders presents a fresh interpretation of the life of the "father of modern physics" that offers new insights into Galileo's discoveries and the challenges he faced from religious opponents.
Officer Clemmons: A Memoir by Francois Clemmons. An intimate debut memoir by the Grammy Award-winning artist who famously played "Officer Clemmons" on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood traces his Oberlin College music studies, his embrace of his sexual orientation and his life-changing chance encounter with Fred Rogers.
Whatever It Took: An American Paratrooper’s Extraordinary Memoir of Escape, Survival, and Heroism in the Last Days of World War II by Henry Langreher & Jim DeFelice. Published to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a never-before-told first-person account of World War II tells the true story of an American paratrooper who survived D-Day, was captured and imprisoned in a Nazi work camp and made a daring escape to freedom.
What Makes a Marriage Last : 42 Celebrated Couples Share the Secrets to a Happy Life Together by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue. The Presidential Medal of Freedom-winning actress and activist and the Emmy Award-winning Donahue host share intimate, engaging conversations with celebrity couples, from Sting and Trudy Styler to Billy and Janice Crystal, that illuminate the secrets of a healthy marriage.
24: Life Stories and Lessons From the Say Hey Kid by Willie Mays & John Shea. A man widely regarded as one the greatest all-around players in baseball history reflects on his lifetime of experience meeting challenges with positivity, integrity and triumph.
The Last Blue by Isla Morley. A narrative inspired by the fascinating real case of “the Blue People of Kentucky" probes questions of identity, love and family
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner. A woman confronts the dynamics of friendship and forgiveness while visiting Cape Cod to attend an old friend's increasingly disastrous wedding. By the best-selling author of Good in Bed and Mrs. Everything.
Someone Like You (Baxter Family) by Karen Kingsbury. Shattered by the discovery that she is not the biological daughter of her parents, Maddie abruptly ends an engagement and moves away before connecting with the grieving friend of a sister and family she never knew existed.
Katheryn Howard, the Scandalous Queen No. 5 (Six Tudor Queens) by Alison Weir. A latest series entry traces the story of the tragic fifth wife of Henry VIII, Katheryn Howard, a teenage beauty who succumbs to the courtship of the ailing king and tries to bear him a son while hiding a dangerous secret.
A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight. Begged for help by an old friend, an overworked lawyer investigates a suspicious death in a Brooklyn brownstone before she is confronted by a close-knit circle of parents who would protect an exclusive school.
The Goodbye Man, No.2 (Colter Shaw) by Jeffery Deaver. A sequel to The Never Game finds Colter Shaw investigating a mysterious organization in Washington State that is either a therapeutic healing colony or a dangerous cult under the sway of a charismatic leader.