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Every month, Roxanne's Dear Reader talks about the books she is most excited about, authors coming to the store who she can't wait to meet, and anything else that is on her mind.
The other day while we were talking books on Faith Middleton's show (which we do every other week - let me know if you want the lists of what we discuss each time), there were a surprising number of callers who contributed audio titles (i.e. "books on tape") to the discussion. There were a few mentioned that really caught my attention and, since then, I've had a ball listening to each of them. If you want us to hold one or send one out to you, let us know. They are:
- The Testament of Mary read by Meryl Streep - Colm Toibin's provocative book written from the point-of-view of Jesus Christ's mother at the time of his crucifixion;
- B.J. Novak (and Julianne Moore, and Emma Thompson, and Lena Dunham and so many of his Hollywood friends) reading his uproarious short story collection, One More Thing - I've been raving about this one lately;
- Bryan Cranston reading The Things They Carried is a great way to listen to this brilliant classic about the Vietnam War (call the store for availability);
- Charlotte's Web read by E.B. White, himself;
- And lastly, Billy Collins reading his own poetry from his latest collection, Aimless Love... I could listen to him read day in and day out.
Every one of these audio books is incredible - many are great for family listening (if kids are 12 and up), but they're mostly a wonderful way to listen to a remarkable array of literature while driving, exercising or lounging around. I urge you to try them all - in fact, if you purchase at least 4 of the 5 at once, I'll mail an R.J. Julia gift card for $10 to you.
For those of you that missed the contagiously upbeat video we sent out last week, here is the link.
Also, for those of you who were unable to join us for the Cat in the Hat Guinness record attempt, I wanted to mention an observation. There were 1,000 people spanning the ages of 5 weeks old to 85 years-old in the back of our store. Families huddled together, couples, friends and all were enthusiastic, smiling great big smiles and taking pride in the community we all call home - it was breathtaking to be a part of.
It was yet another reminder of the role of local bookstores, local businesses and a vibrant Main Street community. It is these qualities, these connections that add an immeasurable quality of life and a sense of belonging for us all. It was our honor to be able to make it happen - it was a blast to see 1,000 smiling faces... 1,000 Cats in Hats! This event also gave us a chance to help Read to Grow, an important organization that makes sure all kids have books for free (more here if you can help). You can even purchase pre-packs of 5 or 10 bundles of books the organization needs most here.
Speaking of glorious - you might've heard me rave about singer Bettye LaVette before. Her voice and musical gifts span rock and soul and blues and funk - her album is my go-to album. I adore her music and now miraculously she will be at The Kate on March 20th - the night before she lights up the stage at Carnegie Hall. Purchase your tickets here - I can't wait!
For some physical books, I'm loving:
- Where Somebody Waits: The "sleeper hit" I mentioned earlier on Faith Middleton, the little gem that got left on my desk that ended up enthralling me by its story of sassy Ruby - an independent woman with fiery red hair to match. Perfectly described as Willa Cather without the frontier, Where Somebody Waits is richly nuanced with family, life, love and the march of time.
- Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work: Decision-making is something many of us struggle with on a daily basis. Instead of agonizing over each and every choice to be made, the Heath brothers give readers the tools they need to relax and not let preoccupations overpower the course of our lives.
- The Triple Package: A lightning rod for controversy in social politics today, Amy Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, have turned the tables again with their book, The Triple Package as it purports the idea that those ethnic groups - "model minorities" - who have the perfect mixture of humility and drive are the ones who will succeed in this country. It's fascinating.
I will leave you with this thought: a recent study in the U.K. indicated that frequent readers are more likely to be satisfied with life, and tend to be happier and more successful. We knew that, right!
Roxanne J. Coady