Library Column – June 21, 2007

We are going to be clearing out our magazine collection over the next couple of weeks. If you are interested in back issues of any of the magazines we carry, please give us a call and let us know what you want. The remainder will be recycled.

The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck. A book about gorgeous clothing and the people who create and imagine it. The main character is a talented couturier in a small town near Paris and much of the book consists of descriptions of clothing, fabrics and colors—but there is a plot, too. Clothing falls into an uneasy area somewhere between art and craft, as does cooking. If only beautiful garments could also be comfy!

Bitsy’s Bait & BBQ by Pamela Morsi. A sweet little book about a single mother who buys what she thinks is a Bed and Breakfast in the Missouri Ozarks, but it turns out to be a Bait store and BBQ Restaurant. Whoops! Of course, it all works out okay in the end. I lived in the Missouri Ozarks for six years and found some aspects of the book right on. But the author left out the ticks. They have billions of ticks down there, in every size from giant to invisible.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Audio CD or book). What do you do when your life hits bottom? Elizabeth went and spent four months in Italy learning the language and eating a lot of yummy food, then went to India for four months of serious meditation in an ashram and finally went to Bali in search of balance—the right amount of food, spirituality, fun and human relationships—all in their place. But you will have to read the book to find out if she finds what she is looking for.

The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom. A fun little mystery set in a small town in Northern Ireland where a Jewish librarian has just been employed to run the library, but the Council closed it, and now they want him to run a mobile library (bookmobile in our version of English), only the 15,000 books that are supposed to be in the bookmobile have disappeared. Whacky and entertaining.

Where the Rivers Flow North (DVD). Based on the book by Howard Frank Mosher, which we have in the collection. We also have the audio cassette version available. Beautifully transformed into a movie, with an excellent cast and lovely Vermont and New Hampshire scenery in the background.

The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble by Nancy J. Altman (Regional Library). A surprisingly entertaining book about the founding, evolution, current state and possible future of Social Security. This book is unabashedly pro Social Security, and it would be interesting to review the arguments from the other side. I’ll keep my eyes open! Personally, I’m very fond of Social Security. My father died when I was 13, leaving my mother with 5 children, ranging from 19 to 7 years old. We would have been very poor without our monthly checks. I doubt if four out of five would have college degrees for example. I know first-hand the difference this program can make in people’s lives.

In America (DVD). A gentle movie about an Irish family that comes to NYC—with the usual family members:  mom, dad (a struggling actor), two girls–and their brother who died in Ireland, but is still a central presence in the family.

Year of the Dog by Shelby Hearon. A most entertaining novel about a southern girl who comes to spend a year in Burlington. She will be raising a companion dog for the blind and she will be getting away from the small town in South Carolina where her ex-husband left her for another woman. The cultural puzzlements between SC and VT are fun: why are all the women wearing shades of eggplant and oatmeal; are the grungy guys who live upstairs really dangerous; so is the little mystery about the real identity of her great aunt’s friend, the mystery author; but the book is also excellent as a novel.


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