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Books for Lunch

This week I opened the windows and read to the soundtrack of birdsong, the hum of my neighbor’s lawnmower, the rush of the creek at the bottom of the hill, and the energetic chatter of the kids playing in the driveway across the street.

I’ve been enjoying Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver this month, reading a few poems whenever I’ve had space throughout the day. Oliver’s poetry has always moved me, but in this season of my life, as a busy mother of two, I’m re-discovering how reading even a single poem provides me with the space to reset, revel in some much-needed calm and quietude, and reflect. Oliver’s poems evoke a sense of wonder and inspiration; they challenge the reader to think deeply or differently about a subject, and I often found my mind returning to the poems again and again as the day wore on.

Ten people gathered for April’s Books for Lunch event, the library’s monthly gathering where patrons are invited to come and share what they’ve been reading. Beth’s favorite book of the month was Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. This laugh-out-loud funny novel is set in the 1960s and features a reluctant star on America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six, where she not only teaches women how to cook, but dares them to challenge the status quo.

Sheila spent some time re-reading four of the books in the Three Pines canon by Louise Penny. There are 18 total books in the series and all of them are about terror, “that brooding terror curled deep down inside us,” writes Louise Penny. But more than that, Penny’s books are about goodness and kindness, about friendship and belonging and the truest form of enduring love.

Sharon read the 1992 novel Fatherland by Robert Harris. This alternative history detective novel is set in a world where Nazi Germany won WWII. Sharon appreciated the appendix off the book, which dutifully sorted out fact from fiction.

Judy read South of Superior by Ellen Airgood, a heartwarming novel about a young woman who leaves the fast-paced environment of “The Windy City” for the rugged coast of Lake Superior, some 500 miles north of the places she once called home. At its core, the book demonstrates how rich it is to care for others, even when one may be poor in pocket.

Karen enjoyed By Her Own Design: The Story of Ann Lowe, Society's Best-Kept Secret

by Piper Huguley, the incredible story of Ann Lowe, a Black woman who made some of the most famous dresses of all time, including Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress.

Susan read Someone Else's Shoes by JoJo Moyes, a novel about one woman who is suddenly stripped of her globetrotting, glamorous life, and forced to keep herself and her family afloat.

Catherine read The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough, which describes the settling of the Northwest Territory by courageous pioneers and the incredible hardships they had to endure.

Bill ventured into the basement of the library to the Friends of the Library’s ongoing Used Book Sale and found The Lost City of Z by David Grann. This piece of narrative nonfiction recounts the 1925 search for a fabled, undiscovered city on the Amazon River and the individuals who died trying to find it.

Sharon B. shared a heartfelt explanation of The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie, about the difficulties of life, and how we can get through the lives we have without dwelling on the lives we wish we had.

Roz read You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney, which discusses why we don't have a good grasp on how our brains really work, and how we are influenced by concepts such as Group Think, Conformity, Confabulation, and other psychological terms. What about you? What have you been reading? We’d love to hear from you at our next Books for Lunch gathering on May 9 from 12:30-2pm in the Community Room of the Library. Happy Reading!

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