Rowayton Library Recommends

Ella Queen of Jazz (New Biography)

April 8, 2018

Ella Queen of Jazz by Helen Hancocks is a delight. Ella Fitzgerald was a prodigious talent with an amazing band to back her up. Unfortunately, the biggest clubs wouldn't book her because she was African American. In steps a good friend, whose identity will surprise many readers, to make things right and get Ella the introduction she deserves. This is both the story of a friendship and a lesson on the ignorance of prejudice.  (Non-Ficiton: Informational)

Dance, Dance Dance (Early Reader)

April 8, 2018

Dance, Dance, Dance by Ethan Long is a sensational early reader. The cavorting horse loves to dance, even when the music is just in his mind. His friend buggy is not as certain and definitely feels pressure to “get down”. His friend horse finds a solution and they are off! They have some stunning dance moves.

Truck Full of Ducks

April 8, 2018

Truck Full of Ducks by Ross Burach is a sketch. Who ordered a truck full of ducks? Take a rollicking ride with the quackers as they search for the right destination, make a pit stop and enter the dark woods. A nice twisty ending ends the story with a smile. The paintings of the ducks are whimsical and bright.

Rumble, Grumble...Hush

April 8, 2018

Rumble, Grumble… Hush by Kate Banks, illustrated by Simone Shin is a terrific read aloud. A young boy goes through his day creating all the classic childhood noises with his toys and friends, both real and imaginary. The text captures the loud and soft sounds via word choices that make this a perfect read aloud.

Penguin on a Scooter (New Board Book)

April 8, 2018

Penguin on a Scooter by Kate Endle and Caspar Babypants is a board book starring a delectable assortment of animals engaged in silly activities. Little children will love the rhyming descriptions and whimsical, colorful drawings. After all “nothing is as funny as a roller skating bunny”!

Mrs. Noah's Pockets

April 8, 2018

Mrs. Noah’s Pockets by Jackie Morris, illustrated by James Mayhew, introduces a wife for Noah. She watches him build his boat and gather the creatures that will sail with them. He looks forward to tidying up the world a bit and leaving some troublesome creatures behind. She starts making a dress with lots of deep pockets and takes a last walk through the Mythic Wood before they set off. Dreamlike illustrations perfectly capture the magical elements of the story

Mary Had a Little Lab

April 8, 2018

Mary Had a Little Lab by Sue flies, illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis is a warm-hearted tribute to the powers of invention. It's narrated in the same cadence as the well-known song, beginning with Mary the young scientist's realization that a pet would be a good addition to her life. Presto--a sheepinator is born --with astounding consequences that could not have been predicted. The illustrations are animated and vibrant. This is a page-turner for younger readers who will want to see how Mary's complication is resolved.

I Sleep in a Big Bed

April 8, 2018

I Sleep in a Big Bed by Maria van Lieshout is a great, encouraging read for children making the transition from cribs to big beds. The big bed can seem pretty enormous at first, but with the help of comforting bedtime rituals the joy of being a “big kid” wins out.

A Hippy Hoppy Toad

April 8, 2018

A Hippy Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer and Anne Wilsdorf sends a teeny tiny toad on an adventure. It all begins when the twig he’s perched on snaps, sending him flying. This is a terrific read aloud as the jaunty text repeats in a catchy pattern. The energetic plot picks up real speed when the toad lands on a sneaker; the end of the road is a perfect finish.

The Elephant Thief

April 8, 2018

The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr is loosely based on a true story. It takes place in Scotland in 1872. A young, orphaned pickpocket in debt to adult criminals finds himself in charge of walking an elephant named Majarajah from Edinburgh to Manchester after it destroys its railway carriage. The journey is perilous at times but the developing relationship with the elephant is a lifeline (literally in one case). A range of interesting characters and an eventful trip will keep young readers’ interest.

The Birthday Book/Las Mananitas (New Foreign Language-English and Spanish)

April 8, 2018

The Birthday Book/Las Mananitas by Susie Jaramillo is a jolly birthday celebration written in English and Spanish. Budding linguists can read in both languages, following the story of the partying animals as they frolic with the brightly colored balloons, presents, and cakes. The "lift the flaps” activities add interest too.

Big Brown Bear's Cave

April 8, 2018

Big Brown Bear’s Cave by Yuval Zommer addresses the issue of stuff--where you get it, how much you need, and what makes a home. Bear finds what he thinks is the perfect cave but it doesn’t quite feel right. He imagines it might be more comfortable if he borrows some “stuff” from the human caves he spots. The results of his redecorating give him pause, but a thoughtful reversal makes everything right.

Bear and Wolf

April 8, 2018

Bear and Wolf by Daniel Salmieri is a gorgeous work of art. The palette of the paintings captures the peacefulness of deep winter with its more monochromatic colors. Bear and Wolf meet and walk together through the landscape, observed by a regal snowy owl. They enjoy the sensations of winter, admiring the individual snowflakes. They eventually part, awaiting the beautiful awakening colors of spring. The outstanding artwork is memorable.

The Bad Guys in Alien vs. Bad Guys (New Graphic Novel)

April 8, 2018

The Bad Guys in Alien vs. Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey is the latest installment in this comical series. It’s a deep space adventure wrapped in suitably gross bodily functions, with scary aliens who give chase to the heroes at every opportunity. The bad guys are masters at planning escapes so manage to stay a step ahead of the shape-shifting aliens. This is a laugh out loud addition to the juvenile graphic collection with an ending that nicely sets up the next installment.

The Backup Bunny

April 8, 2018

The Backup Bunny by Abigail Rayner, illustrated by Greg Stones is the story of a young boy and his favorite Bunny, inadvertently left behind one day. The “just in case” stuffed bunny who lives in the sock drawer, is called upon to fill in for the primary stuffed rabbit. He has longed for the day he would get to play with the boy. He’s cruelly rejected because he’s too new, and finds purpose as the cat’s cushion. It’s all a bit too much to bear until the boy sees the light. The sock drawer scene towards the end is most amusing.

Hello Hello

March 29, 2018

Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel introduces a number of endangered animals and birds in this beautifully illustrated book with the message “the more you see the more you know, and it all starts with hello”. The pairings are all dynamic images celebrating the amazing diversity of life on earth. It’s educational and delightful.

Echo Echo

March 29, 2018

Echo Echo by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse, takes some of the best-known Greek myths and tells the story twice in poetry form, reversing the original words to create a different perspective in the retelling. This unique form is called reverso and was invented by the author. Enjoy the lovely, bright paintings that show the mythological characters in the throes of their stories.

Curiosity--The Story of Mars Rover

March 29, 2018

Curiosity--The Story of Mars Rover by Markus Motum is the story of the robot developed and sent to Mars to explore the red planet. Mars is 350,000,000 miles away, too far for a human to travel. The rover had to be able to collect reams of data after a successful launch and landing, which were not a given. The book captures the tension and excitement in the preparation for a major mission. Narrated by Curiosity, the content is very informative and personalized. The need to ask questions and to wonder is laid out perfectly in this picture book.

All the Animals Where I Live

March 29, 2018

All the Animals Where I Live by Philip Stead is an autobiographical tour through his farmstead. He remembers the times in his childhood when he was with his grandmother and imagines her enjoying his farm, which is full of animals and birds. His trademark watercolor paintings are so beautiful. His hound dog Wednesday is the star of the show, keeping coyotes and deer at bay while watching the seasons roll peacefully by.

Sheep 101

March 29, 2018

Sheep 101 by Robert T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, starts out counting sheep and quickly morphs into a funny mash-up of nursery rhyme characters, all involved in a counting spree that has run out of sheep to jump the fence. This very comical take on bedtime sleepiness gives voice to everyone from the cow--who thinks the fence will be a piece of cake since she usually has to jump over the moon--to the blind mice who can’t get their plurals organized. It’s a rollicking read.

On the Other Side of the Garden

March 29, 2018

On the Other side of the Garden by Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng, tells the story of a young girl who is taken to live with her grandmother. She does not know her grandmother or the house she lives in and is sad to be without her parents. The very first night she meets an owl, a frog and a mouse who escort her through the fields and down by the river, introducing her to her new landscape. Once she returns to the house her grandmother’s warmth and caring is obvious and she settles in. It’s a quiet story with softly colored paintings that capture the contemplative mood.

Old MacDonald Hat a Boat

March 29, 2018

Old Macdonald Had a Boat by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban, riffs on the popular children’s song about the busy farm. This particular farmer has a big project in mind. Each verse contributes an important tool in the boat rehabilitation enterprise. You can almost hear all the noise in the book’s pages as construction proceeds. The concluding tow is a stitch.

Marshmallow

March 29, 2018

Marshmallow by Clare Newberry won the Caldecott Prize in 1943. It is the totally charming tale of Oliver the gray tabby cat and the baby bunny that comes to live in the apartment with him and Miss Tilly. Oliver is initially frightened, then interested in the possibility of the bunny being a good meal, and finally won over by the bunny’s delightful personality. He essentially becomes the bunny’s parent. As the author so winningly says: “A bunny’s a delightful habit, no home’s complete without a rabbit”. Oliver eventually agrees with that sentiment.

Kalinka and Grakkle

March 29, 2018

Kalinka and Grakkle by Julie Paschkis introduce a "helpful" little yellow bird and a grumpy green monster. Kalinka thinks the monster could use some help tidying up his home and gets to work. Help is not always appreciated, especially when the letters are filed in the toaster and the pencil goes into the spaghetti box. Grakkle's patience wears thin, especially when Kalinka settles into his favorite chair for a nap. The power of friendship is strong though and the resolution will charm all readers.

I Got a Chicken for My Birthday

March 29, 2018

I Got a Chicken for My Birthday by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Sarah Horne, is a hoot or maybe a cluck? The young girl who is disappointed to miss out on her desired tickets to the amusement park must contend with the gift of a chicken instead. But wow what a present; this is a chicken with big plans. She enlists the help of the family pets, down to the hamster, and begins to build. The ending is wonderful and the illustrations exuberant.

I Can Be Anything! Don't Tell Me I Can't!

March 29, 2018

I Can Be Anything! Don't Tell Me I Can't by Diane Dillon is about quieting the doubting voice that can pop up in one’s head. The young girl dreaming about the possibilities in her future has an answer for every negative comment the voice makes. She imagines all sorts of occupations from a vet to a president--and the reader will agree there is no reason any of them isn't possible. Endearing illustrations add to the story.

Grandma's Purse

March 29, 2018

Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton is adorable. The secrets to being like Grandma Mimi can all be found in her large, colorful purse. Lipstick, hairpins, a scarf, extra earrings, candy, photos, glasses, a change purse--it’s all magical to the young girl thrilled to have her grandmother over to visit. She digs her way to the bottom where there is a wonderful surprise. The illustrations are bright and energetic, really capturing the excitement of discovery and the love between the two characters.

Down by the River

March 29, 2018

Down by the River by Andrew Weiner, illustrated by April Chu, is a sweet story about a family fly fishing expedition, closely supervised by an osprey looking for a trout of its own. There is a lot of fascinating detail about fly fishing and touching family dynamics involving an uncertain young boy longing to make the perfect cast with his beloved grandpa. It’s ultimately a day to remember for all.

Big Bunny

March 29, 2018

Big Bunny by Rowboat Watkins is a bedtime story, albeit a bit of a “scary” one. The ginormous bunny eats carrots by the truckload and moves on from there. The silliness of the bunny’s collaborators--bus driving giraffes and truck driving penguins--will have young readers giggling. The very original illustrations are hilarious and reach a great crescendo at the end when all is revealed and bedtime stories are tied up in a bow.

Ferdinand Children's Movie (PG) 106 minutes

March 21, 2018

FERDINAND-Children’s Movie-(PG) After Ferdinand (John Cena), a bull with a big heart and a love for flowers, is mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team for an epic adventure in order to return home. This love-a-bull children’s story is brought to life by the creators of Rio and Ice Age and is the family comedy of the year. It Is filled with non-stop laughs. You can’t judge a bull by its cover!

Coco Childrens' Movie Academy Award Winner Oscar For Best Animated Feature Film 2018 (PG) 120 minutes

March 21, 2018

COCOCHILDREN’S MOVIE –(PG) Academy Award winner, Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film 2018. In Disney/Pixar's vibrant tale of family, fun, and adventure, an aspiring young musician named Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) embarks on an extraordinary journey to the magical land of his ancestors. There, the charming trickster Héctor (Gael Garci a Bernal) becomes an unexpected friend who helps Miguel uncover the mysteries behind his family s stories and traditions.

Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Documentary (NR) 57 minutes

March 21, 2018

PLASTIC PARADISE: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch –DOCUMENTARY (NR) Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet it's become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, siphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way, she meets scientists, researchers, influencers, and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our rabid plastic consumption and learns the problem is more insidious than we could have ever imagined.

Monkey Business : The Adventures of Curious George's Creators Adult Documentary (NR) 81 minutes

March 21, 2018

MONKEY BUSINESS: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators – ADULT DOCUMENTARY-(NR) A documentary film exploring the extraordinary lives of Margret and Hans Rey, the authors of the beloved Curious George children’s books. With Louise Borden, Nat Scrimshaw, Nick Scrimshaw, Anita Silvey, Hans Strauch and Sam Waterston as Narrator. Telling their life stories using film footage as well as stills in black and white from the 30's, 40's and 50's with Hans and Margret in showing up in animated form. Truly a delightful and interesting film about 2 disparate people who lived a remarkable life and were each other's very best friends.

The Last Panthers Foreign Language Series (NR) 307 minutes

March 21, 2018

THE LAST PANTHERSFOREIGN LANGUAGE SERIES-(NR) FRENCH and ENGLISH--A daring diamond heist in Marseilles, the south of France, bears the hallmarks of the supposedly retired "Pink Panthers", a gang famed for their bold daylight raids and movie-style getaways. It seems like the perfect crime until a 6-year-old girl is killed during the escape. This sets a British insurance-loss adjuster (Samantha Morton), a former MI-6 officer (John Hurt), a French-Algerian cop (Tahar Rahim), and a Serbian soldier-turned-thief (Goran Bodgan) on a dangerous collision course across Europe. What starts with diamonds leads to guns, drugs, high finance, and corruption at the heights of power. Shot in 7 countries and 5 languages and is inspired by real events.

KnightFall Season 1 (NR) 473 minutes

March 21, 2018

KNIGHTFALL, Season 1 – SERIES-(NR) A look at the Knights Templar in the final days of the 14th century by the History Channel. Recounts the fall, persecution and burning at the stake of the Knights Templar as orchestrated by King Philip IV of France on Oct. 13, 1307. The series focuses on the fictional leader, Landry du Lauzon (Tom Cullen), discouraged by the Knights Templar’s failures in the Holy Land who is reinvigorated by the news that the Holy Grail has resurfaced.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 (NR) 525 minutes

March 21, 2018

THE HANDMAID’S TALE, Season 1 SERIES-(NR) Based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning, best-selling novel. A religion-based autocracy has taken over most of the United States, renaming the country Gilead. In this country, women are second-class citizens. Anyone trying to escape is punished. One such person is June, who is captured while trying to escape with her husband and child and is sentenced to be a handmaid, bearing children for childless government officials. As a handmaid, June is renamed Offred (Elizabeth Moss) and is assigned as Handmaid in the Commander’s household, with her goal: to become pregnant with his child, raised by his wife. Also featuring Yvonne Strahovski and Samira Wiley.

Where's the Money (R) 103 minutes

March 21, 2018

WHERE’S THE MONEY MOVIE-(R) In this outrageously fresh comedy, Del (Andrew Bachelor), a quick-witted young man from the streets of South Central LA, learns that his still-in-prison father (Mike Epps) and just-out-of-jail uncle (Terry Crews) stole a million dollars and stashed it in the basement of an old flophouse. There’s just one problem: A major university is encroaching on the hood and that old flophouse is a newly gentrified, all-white, fraternity house. Now Del must rely on his friends to rush the frat, grab the cash and get out fast, before his uncle gets there first.

The Trip to Spain (NR) 115 minutes

March 21, 2018

THE TRIP TO SPAIN –MOVIE-(NR)-OLE’! After jaunts through northern England and Italy, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on another deliciously deadpan culinary road trip. This time around, the guy’s head to Spain to sample the best of the country’s gastronomic offerings in between rounds of their hilariously off-the-cuff banter. Over plates of pintxos and paella, the pair exchange barbs and their patented celebrity impressions, as well as more serious reflections on what it means to settle into middle age. As always, the locales are breathtaking, the cuisine to die for, and the humor delightfully devilish

Sniper Reloaded (R) 91 minutes

March 21, 2018

SNIPER RELOADEDMOVIE-(R) While working with the UN Forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Marine Sgt. Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins), son of renowned sniper Thomas Beckett, receives orders to rescue a European farmer trapped in the middle of hostile rebel territory. When he and his men arrive at the farm, a mysterious sniper ambushes them, wounding Beckett and killing everyone else. With the help of his father’s former protégé, sniper instructor Richard Miller (Billy Zane), Beckett must learn to think like a sniper to track down the assassin before the sniper returns to finish the job.

The Shape of Water Academy Award Winner Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director 2018 Guillermo del Toro (R) 124 minutes

March 21, 2018

THE SHAPE OF WATERMOVIE-(R) ACADEMY AWARD WINNER, Oscars for BEST PICTURE and BEST DIRECTOR, Guillermo del Toro, 2018--From master storyteller Guillermo Del Toro comes to an otherworldly fairytale set in 1960s America where a deaf woman's life is changed forever after she discovers a secret government experiment at the place she works.

 

The Man Who Invented Christmas (PG) 105 minutes

March 21, 2018

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS –MOVIE–(PG) BOOK-TO-MOVIE. Starring Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens as he writes his novella, A Christmas Carol in prose, A Ghost Story, in 1842 just in time to release for sale on the holiday itself. The journey that led to Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and the other classic characters from this beloved tale are fascinating. It reveals how Dickens mixed real-life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up this unforgettable enlightened story. This timeless tale forever changed the holiday season into the celebration we know and love today.

Lady Bird Academy Award Nominee (R) 93 minutes

March 21, 2018

LADY BIRD –MOVIE-(R) Academy Award nominee -Christine ''Lady Bird'' McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird's father (Tracey Letts loses his job. Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home. Academy Award nominee five-time nominee 2018, critics and fans are all applauding for this five-star coming-of-age comedy.

Justice League (PG-13) 135 minutes

March 21, 2018

JUSTICE LEAGUE –MOVIE-(PG-13) Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of meta-humans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes--Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Barry Allen) --it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. Jeremy Irons as the inimitable Alfred and Diane Lane stars as Martha Kent.

I, Tonya Academy Award Winner Oscar For Best Supporting Actress Allison Janney 2018 (R) 119 minutes

March 21, 2018

I, TONYA –MOVIE—(R) ACADEMY AWARD WINNER, Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Allison Janney, 2018) Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, Tonya is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tanya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous and poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, and an original screenplay by Steven Rogers,

The Dinner (R) 120 minutes

March 21, 2018

THE DINNER –MOVIE-(R) Two sets of wealthy parents meet for dinner to decide what to do about a crime their sons have committed.  A former history teacher, Paul Lohman (Steve Coogan) and his wife Claire (Laura Linney) meet at a fancy restaurant with his elder brother, Stan (Richard Gere) a prominent politician and his second wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall). The plan is to discuss over dinner how to handle a crime committed by their teenage sons against a homeless woman. The violent act of the two boys had been filmed by a security camera and shown on TV, but, so far, they have not been identified. The parents have to decide on what to do.

Call Me By Your Name Academy Award Winner Oscar For Best Writing Adapted Screenplay 2018 (R) 132 minutes

March 21, 2018

CALL ME BY YOUR NAMEMOVIE –(R) ACADEMY AWARD WINNER, Oscar for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay 2018--It is the summer of 1983, a rare and splendid time in Italy when Elio (Timothee Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old, spends his days in his family's villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading and flirting with his friend Marzia. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar, arrives at the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father, an eminent professor. Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

The Breadwinner Animated Movie Nominated for Best Animated Feature Length Film Oscar (PG-13) 94 minutes

March 21, 2018

THE BREADWINNER ANIMATED MOVIE-(PG-13) English & French Nominated for Best Animated Feature Length Film Oscar  Parvana is an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy in order to support her family. Working alongside her friend Shauzia, Parvana discovers a new world of freedom--and danger. With undaunted courage, Parvana draws strength from the fantastical stories she invents as she embarks on a quest to find her father and reunite her family. This film is by the same team that did The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea and is an inspiring and vibrantly animated tale about the power of stories to sustain hope and carry us through dark times.

Chinese Soul Food

March 3, 2018

Chinese Soul Food by Hsiao-Ching Chou. You can deep dive into making dumplings by hand or follow the easy and delightful recipe for green onion pancakes. The various fried rice recipes are a bonus as you will never have to worry about what to do with that leftover container of cold rice again. The flavors in the recipes come from widely available products. Our favorite recipe is the dry-fried string beans. Check this out for a change from take-out. You won’t look back!

A Baker's Year

March 3, 2018

A Baker’s Year by Tara Jensen may not inspire you to build a wood-fired brick oven in your backyard but it will certainly encourage you to up your baking game. It’s part memoir, part endorsement of a simpler life and part cookbook. She lives a simple life closely tied to the rhythms of the land where she forages for ingredients. The book is loaded with amazing photographs and accessible tips.

The Warmth of Other Suns'--The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

March 3, 2018

The Warmth of Other Suns-The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson is the History Book Club selection for the end of March meeting. The exodus of 6,000,000 black Americans from the South to the North and West began in 1915 and continued through 1970. She captures both the broad sweep of the dislocation while specifically following the course of three individuals who felt they were trapped by Jim Crow laws and needed to start over far from their roots.

Norwich: One Tiny Town's Secret to Happiness and Excellence

March 3, 2018

Norwich: One Tiny Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence by sportswriter Karen Crouse is about a small, hilly VT town that cranks out USA Olympic team participants and champions. It’s interesting just after the Winter Olympics to read about what has worked in this village. The emphasis is on lots of support, competition without being cut from the team and a commitment to participation and raising fulfilled, levelheaded kids.

The Line Becomes a River--Dispatches from the Border

March 3, 2018

The Line Becomes a River--Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu. The author worked for the Border Patrol, first as an agent, eventually in a desk job. It’s a very timely book, obviously, it provides no easy answers to the border crisis but immerses the reader in the harsh environment so many are willing to cross in search of a better life. It’s a very personal and moving exploration of the issue.

The Less is More Garden--Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard

March 3, 2018

The Less is More Garden--Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard by Susan Morrison. This is tailor made for smallish Rowayton yards. The author is an expert in maximizing the enjoyment and beauty of small spaces. She addresses the design of outdoor rooms, hardscaping and adapting an existing garden so it involves less maintenance. A special section on attracting pollinators is great. There are many lavish photographs so it is easy to imagine what she is talking about. There is a wonderful chapter on ‘bloom, berries, and scents for winter".

Everything Happens For a Reason

March 3, 2018

Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler is a “can’t put it down” memoir by a professor with incurable stage 4 colon cancer. It is very insightful. She manages to maintain her sense of humor a lot of the time and is very blunt about the right and wrong ways to communicate with someone who is essentially under a death sentence. It’s very frank, human and fierce. She has had to make her peace with instability and hardship as permanent parts of a life that is very much still blessed.

Peculiar Ground

March 3, 2018

Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallet is a historical novel spanning three centuries of life in a great English country house. The unusual thematic thread is walls, both at the Wychwood estate itself, and several centuries later the Berlin Wall. The novel tells the stories of aristocrats and servants, immigrants and soldiers. Many have secrets to hide, and the cleverly connected plot strands keep the pages turning. It is beautifully written and chock full of information about estate life and the politics of German reunification.

Munich

March 3, 2018

Munich by Robert Harris is a thriller even though the outcome of the Chamberlain/Hitler/Mussolini meetings in 1938 is well known. The author builds tension via the actions of ancillary characters, plot to kill Hitler and the constant threat of betrayal. Deeply atmospheric and tense, it definitely takes a more sympathetic view of the initial unwillingness of the English government to subject the country to another war. Two friends from Oxford find themselves on opposite sides of the negotiation--or are they? A highly recommended read.

Match Made in Manhattan

March 3, 2018

Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer is a good beach read, just in time for sitting at Bayley Beach in the (very) early spring sun. It’s full of current references to dating via the internet and is very humorous and touching at the same time. Alison desperately wants to find “the one” but the road to true love is full of potholes. She is determined to get out there and meet different men, as it turns out so many are cringe-worthy. She perseveres with the support of friends and family and it's an enjoyable ride for the reader.

Manhattan Beach

March 3, 2018

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan is deservedly one of the attention-grabbing books of the past few months. The writing is exquisite, the historic atmosphere rendered in detail and fascinating. The setting is predominantly Brooklyn--the neighborhoods, docks, and yards, beginning with the Depression years and continuing on to WWII. Anna Kerrigan is the main character, her fate intertwined with her father and an underworld heavy we meet when she is 12. Part coming of age, with some unconventional morality which makes developments unpredictable. This book will keep your attention!

Girl Unknown

March 3, 2018

Girl Unknown by Karen Perry is a twisty family drama. David and Caroline are patching up their marriage after a rough couple of years when out of the blue arrives a young woman purporting to be his daughter (not a spoiler, happens at the start). The disruption to their two children and their tenuous family ties creeps up on them as Zoe is a sneaky character whose motives are unclear. Multiple narrators broaden the story and keep the reader guessing.

 

The Gate Keeper

March 3, 2018

The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd. Inspector Ian Rutledge returns. This series just keeps getting better and better. This book starts on a dark night on a deserted country road. Rutledge has just given his sister away in marriage and is restless and morose. Things heat up quickly when he stumbles upon a murder and a woman covered in blood. The victim is a well-liked local bookseller but Rutledge gets the case over the local constabulary since he was there first. Naturally, everything is not as it first appears but that's the fun.

Victoria Season 2 (PG) 480 minutes

February 24, 2018

VICTORIA, Season 2 – SERIES-(PG)-This acclaimed drama returns for a second season. Victoria (Jenna Coleman) is a nineteenth-century heroine for our times. This landmark account of the life of one of history’s greatest monarchs continues as the Queen faces the very modern challenge of balancing a growing family with her marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) and her work-all while being the ruler of the most powerful nation on earth. As Victoria’s reign continues into the 1840s, her kingdom is witness to extraordinary events--constitutional crises and scandals at court, the rise of the Chartist movement, the devastating Irish Potato Famine, and Europe swept by revolution. As the saga unfolds over vital moments in history, the Queen and Prince Albert must meet each public challenge while confronting profound personal changes.

Ray Donovan Season 5 (NR) 1029 minutes

February 24, 2018

RAY DONOVAN, Season 5 – SERIES-(NR)-Some damage can’t be controlled. Ray (Live Schreiber) is back and he's doing what he does best--keeping the skeletons in the closet of Hollywood’s rich and famous. Ray is still the guy you want when you're in a fix. There's no problem he can't solve or secret he can't bury. But his family life is still another matter entirely as the ongoing upheaval has taken an emotional toll, leaving him more vulnerable than ever. L/A.'s preeminent fixer is headed into uncharted territory and will soon discover that some damage can't be controlled.  Also starring Susan Sarandon in her recurring role as legendary media mogul Samantha Winslow. Containing Strong themes, violence, sex, strong language, and nudity.

The Last Panthers Miniseries (R) 307 minutes

February 24, 2018

THE LAST PANTHERS –Miniseries-(R)-"A daring diamond heist in the south of France bears the hallmarks of the supposedly retired Pink Panthers, a gang famed for their bold daylight raids and movie-style getaways. It seems like the perfect crime—until a young girl is killed in their escape. This sets a British insurance-loss adjuster (Samantha Morton), a former MI-6 officer (John Hurt), a French-Algerian cop (Tahar Rahim the Falcon), and a Serbian soldier-turned-thief (Goran Bogdan, Number 55) on a dangerous collision course across Europe. What starts with diamonds leads to guns, drugs, high finance, and corruption at the heights of power.  Shot in seven countries, this was inspired by the real-life Pink Panthers, who terrorized Europe’s jewelers for a decade. Directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad). David Bowie, theme.

Homeland Season 6 (NR) 153 minutes

February 24, 2018

HOMELAND, Season 6 – SERIES-(NR)-Emmy Award winner Claire Danes gives another riveting performance in this Season Six. Now living in New York City, Carrie (Claire Danes) gets swept up in the after-effects of the U.S. presidential election as she struggles to deal with an injury-ravaged Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) and an increasingly suspicious Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). When the president-elect battles the CIA during her transition to power, Carrie finds herself caught in the crossfire in this acclaimed series that continues to deliver stunning twists and edge-of-your-seat suspense.

The Crimson Petal and the White (NR) 274 minutes

February 24, 2018

THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE – SERIES-(NR)-Enter a Victorian England you’ve never seen: gritty, dark, and unsettling. Based on Michel Faber’s international bestseller, this four-part BBC series follows the fortunes of Sugar (Romola Garai), a notorious prostitute who longs for a better life. Sexually adept, ambitious, and clever, she casts a spell on William Rackham (Chris O’Dowd), feckless heir to a perfume business and husband to a wife slipping slowly into insanity. As their lives intertwine, events are set in motion that will change them forever.  Exposes 1870s London as a place where violence and madness lurked everywhere. Amanda Hale, Gillian Anderson, and Richard E. Grant.

The Commander Complete Collection (NR) 981 minutes

February 24, 2018

THE COMMANDER Complete Collection – New SERIES-(NR)-After 20 years with London’s Metropolitan Police, Clare Blake (Amanda Burton) has reached the pinnacle of her profession. She is New Scotland Yard’s highest-ranking female officer, the Serious Crime Group Commander, and head of the Murder Review Team. Ambitious and fiercely dedicated to her work, Blake nonetheless blurs the lines between her personal life and her career. The commander’s recklessness brings her under her superior’s intense scrutiny and even threatens her life. Also, guest stars Hugh Bonneville, James D’Arcy, Saskia Reeves, David Patrick O’Hara, Yorick van Wageningen, Celia Imrie, Simon Williams, Brendan Coyle, Matt Day, and Greg Wise.

Acceptable Risk Season 1 (NR) 300 minutes

February 24, 2018

ACCEPTABLE RISK, Season 1 –New SERIES-(NR)-"When Sarah Manning’s (Elaine Cassidy) husband, Lee, is killed while on business in Montreal, her life back in Dublin starts to spin out of control. Sarah soon realizes she knew little about her husband’s past or his job at a powerful international pharmaceutical company. Assigned to the case, Detective Emer Byrne (Angeline Ball) doggedly investigates as conflicting evidence arises, even in defiance of her superior’s order. As more lies surface, Sarah begins to suspect that Lee’s murder could be connected to the death of her first husband. Did both men know a terrible secret that got them killed? Also starring Morten Suurballe and Lisa Dwyer Hogg, this gripping international thriller follows Sarah’s high-stakes fight for the truth amidst a conspiracy of corporate, police, and political interests."

Wonder (PG) 113 minutes

February 24, 2018

WONDER –MOVIE-(PG)--BOOK TO MOVIE!  Based on the beloved best-selling novel by the same name, this inspiring story of the Pullman family whose youngest child, Auggie, is a boy born with facial differences. When Auggie enters mainstream elementary school for the first time, his extraordinary journey unites his family, his school, and his community and proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. A heartwarming and uplifting film starring: Isabel Pullman, mom (Julia Roberts), dad, Nate (Owen Wilson) and Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay). ABC TV says the perfect film for the entire family.

The Ticket (NR) 97 minutes

February 24, 2018

THE TICKET –MOVIE-(NR)--Due to an inoperable tumor pressing against his optic nerves, James (Dan Stevens) has been blind since he was a teenager. But when that tumor miraculously shrinks overnight, instantly giving James back his sense of sight, the life he shares with his wife, Sam (Malin Akerman), and their son, Jonah (Skylar Gaertner), is turned upside down, and not necessarily for the better.

Thank You For Your Service (R) 109 minutes

February 24, 2018

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE – MOVIE-(R)-For Sergeant Adam Schumann (Miles Teller) and many soldiers like him the process of leaving combat back in Iraq was as seemingly simple as getting on the plane. But that is merely a first step in the long and exacting journey of actually returning home. This follows a group of U.S. Soldiers returning from Iraq who struggles to integrate back into the family and civilian life while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they’ve left the battlefield. The trials of getting help and PTSD services from the military, as well as the survivor's guilt, inability to share with loved ones and loved ones unable to endure the harrowing transitions is shown. This is a must-see film for anyone and everyone, (although not family friendly for young)

The Space Between Us (PG-13) 124 minutes

February 24, 2018

THE SPACE BETWEEN US –MOVIE-(PG-13)-Sixteen-year-old Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) has lived his whole life with a team of scientists on Mars. He's always longed to see Earth, find the father he's never known and to meet a beautiful street-smart girl named Tulsa he's become friends with online. But when his chance finally comes, doctors discover his heart can't withstand the Earth's atmosphere. Eager to find his father, Gardner, and Tulsa escape on a cross-country race against time to unravel the mysteries of how he came to be and where he belongs in the universe. Gary Oldman and Carla Gugino also star in this heartfelt and inspiring romantic adventure about how far one person can go for love.

Rough Night (R) 101 minutes

February 24, 2018

ROUGH NIGHT –MOVIE-(R)-Five best friends from college, Jess (Scarlett Johannsson) Pippa (Kate McKinnon), Alice (Jillian Bell), Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoe Kravitz) reunite 10 years later for a wild weekend getaway in Miami, a Bachelorette Party for Jess who is soon to marry Peter (Paul W. Downs). Their outrageous antics and hard partying result in hilarious unexpected consequences which land them in a seemingly impossible situation to escape.

Roman J. Israel, ESQ. (PG-13) 122 minutes

February 24, 2018

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. – MOVIE--(PG-13)-This dramatic thriller is set in the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Roman (Denzel Washington) is a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is suddenly disrupted. When he is recruited to join a firm led by ambitious lawyer George Pierce (Colin Farrell) and begins a friendship with a young champion for equal rights, Maya (Carmen Ejogo) a turbulent series of events ensues, which will put the activism that has defined Roman’s career to the test.

Mark Felt (PG-13) 102 minutes

February 24, 2018

MARK FELT –– MOVIE-(PG-13)-The Man Who Brought Down the White House The true story of “Deep Throat”, the courageous whistleblower for one of the greatest scandals of all time, Watergate. The true identity of the secret informant remained a mystery and source of much speculation for over 30 years. Until, in 2005, special agent Mark Felt shockingly revealed himself as the tipster. This powerful true story chronicles the life of the brilliant and uncompromising Felt, who sacrificed everything--his family, his career, his freedom--in the name of justice.

Goodbye Christopher Robin (PG) 107 minutes

February 24, 2018

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN –MOVIE-(PG)--A rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children's author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne (Margot Robbie), and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to their son and family.

Ghost in the Shell (PG-13) 106 minutes

February 24, 2018

GHOST IN THE SHELL–MOVIE-(PG-13)-Major Motoko Kusanagi (Scarlett Johansson) believes she was rescued from near death, becomes the first of her kind: a human mind inside an artificial body designed to fight the war against cybercrime. While investigating a dangerous criminal, Major shockingly discovers the corporation that created her lied about her past life in order to control her. Unsure what to believe, Major will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery of her true identity and exact revenge against the corporation she was built to serve. Packed with excitement, this action-adventure future world where people are enhanced by technology. Based on the famous Japanese manga and anime. A Dreamworks Pictures film.

The Foreigner (R) 114 minutes

February 24, 2018

THE FOREIGNER –MOVIE-(R)-Jackie Chan as Quan and Pierce Brosnan as Hennessey star in a timely action thriller from director Martin Campbell. Quan is a humble London businessman whose long-buried past erupts in a revenge-fueled vendetta when the only person left for him to love, his teenage daughter, is taken from him in a senseless act of politically motivated terrorist violence. In his relentless pursuit of the identity of the terrorists. Quan forces a Northern Ireland British government official, Hennessy, into a cat-and-mouse conflict. Hennessy’s own past in the IRA may hold clues to the identities of the elusive rogue killers.

Chips (R) 101 minutes

February 24, 2018

CHIPS – MOVIE-(R)-English with French & Spanish versions included--Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Michael Peña) have just joined the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Los Angeles but for very different reasons. Baker is a beaten-up pro motor biker trying to put his life and marriage back together. Poncherello is a cocky undercover Federal agent investigating a multi-million-dollar heist that may be an inside job--inside the CHP. The inexperienced rookie and hardened pro are teamed together but clash more than click, so kick-starting a partnership is easier said than done. But with Baker’s bike skills combined with Ponch’s street savvy, it might just work…if they don't drive each other crazy along the way.

Robins! How They Grow Up

February 3, 2018

Robins! How They Grow Up by Eileen Christelow is full of interesting tidbits like the fact millions of male robins migrate north weeks ahead of the females so they can establish a prime nesting spot. If you have ever wondered why they build nests everywhere but the nearest tree it’s because they are early arrivers and not enough trees have protective leaf cover. The life cycle is clearly described; all readers will be impressed that baby robins eat 14 feet of worms and 350 insects in two weeks! The watercolors are superb. (Non-Fiction)

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen

February 3, 2018

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Qin Leng, is the story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl. Beautiful illustrations in vibrant watercolors bring Jane's story to life. The biography is a well-done introduction to this famous author for a group of readers who won't have read her books. Hopkinson constructs a clear timeline that shows how Jane was destined to be a writer from a young age. The illustrations and the text perfectly complement each other. (Non-Fiction)

How the Cookie Crumbled

February 3, 2018

How the Cookie Crumbled by Gilbert Ford will answer your questions about the history of the Toll House chocolate chip cookie. Ruth Wakefield’s invention, now America’s favorite cookie, was the culmination of years of cooking and baking that began when she was a young girl. When she and her husband bought the Toll House Inn her reputation as a great cook grew. The book explores a number of theories about how the cookie was invented. This is a very entertaining look at the world of cooking and restaurants. The illustrations are lively and brightly colored; they’ll make you hungry! (Non-Fiction)

Earth: My First 4.54 Billion Years

February 3, 2018

Earth: My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty comically announces that his favorite description is “Planet Awesome”. This starts off a terrific tale of Earth’s place in the big family that is outer space. Earth is a funny planet, full of wry observations about his fellow planets. Our favorite comment was his description of Pluto’s reduction in status to the family pet. Very clever presentations of facts don’t feel like an astronomy lesson. (Non-Fiction)

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray

February 3, 2018

This Bridge Will Not be Gray by Dave Eggers is a great book for children and adults. It’s the history of the Golden Gate Bridge from conception through execution. It packs a lot of information about design and bridge building into an accessible tale illustrated by creative graphic woodcuts. The section about how it came to be painted its iconic orange color is delightful. (Non-Fiction)

The Word Collector

February 3, 2018

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds is very original and especially thrilling for budding wordsmiths. The young collector is enamored with words of all sorts, even ones where he doesn’t know the meaning but are marvelous to say (for example, vociferous and effervescent) His collection grows and grows. He finds ways to use and share them and realizes words are the perfect vehicle for showing the world what you are thinking, feeling or dreaming. The whimsical illustrations are really fun.

Tiny and the Big Dig

February 3, 2018

Tiny and the Big Dig by Sherri Rinker is a testament to perseverance. Tiny the pup will not be distracted from his mission to unearth the bone he is sure he smells under the ground. His animal friends are discouraging (in a nice way) but the “kid” who owns him believes in Tiny. The story is told is rollicking rhymes perfectly suited to the energetic digging. The illustrations are equally lively. The ending is guaranteed to make everyone giggle.

So Light, So Heavy

February 3, 2018

So Light, So Heavy by Susanne Strasser addresses the problem of an unbalanced teeter-totter. There is an elephant on one end and a growing collection of animals on the other. Elephant wants to teeter but is flummoxed by the imbalance his size creates. This engaging board book neatly solves the problem with an unexpected resolution. The words that describe various sounds make this a particularly good read aloud.

(100) One-Hundred Things I Love to Do With You

February 3, 2018

100 Things I Love to Do With You by Amy Schwartz is a joyful, color-saturated celebration of activities to share. Everything from "scoot scooters to learn computers" to "play in leaves and make-believe" is illustrated with a spot on rendition of an activity being enjoyed by two people. Turning the page is an exciting proposition as you wait to see what further ideas for fun she has in store. The children in the book are adorable.

Love

February 3, 2018

Love by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Loren Long, speaks to the power of love in all its forms. It’s a deeply peaceful and reaffirming book that describes many of the possible ways love can appear. The illustrations perfectly capture the sounds, smells, colors and people who all create a loving world for a child. There are also serious moments when love can seem to be on the ropes. The reader learns that love is a constant, found almost anywhere in a kindness bestowed or a family supporting each other.

Everybunny Count!

February 3, 2018

Everybunny Count! by Ellie Sandall is a wonderful way to learn the numbers one to ten. The brightly colored bunnies love to play hide and seek with their friend the fox. As they search through the forest for fox there are lots of opportunities to count. There is a surprise at the end that naturally allows for the last count to ten.

Elmore

February 3, 2018

Elmore by Holly Hobbie is the story of an endearing porcupine. Elmore lives alone in a maple tree in busy woodland. All those quills make him a bit prickly for the other animals to get close to. He is a little sad about this and wonders what he can do to make friends. His solution is ingenious and heartwarming. Hobbie’s trademark fantastic illustrations are well worth lingering over.

The Digger and the Flower

February 3, 2018

The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler is an appealing book about a digger with a mission. Digger works with the dozer and all the other big machines building cities, roads, and bridges. One-day digger discovers a tiny flower and begins to care for it. Alas, the flower stands in the way of more building and its life is in jeopardy. Digger comes to the rescue and a beautiful meadow begins to grow.

Bub

February 3, 2018

Bub by Elizabeth Rose Stanton is a unique perspective on the challenges of being a middle child. Bub’s celery green monster family is extremely busy and loud. He has a seemingly perfect big sister named Bernice, and a new baby who has arrived with no name. It is all a bit much until he decides to take matters into his own hands and make it clear that he is also to be reckoned with. The sweet ending will please everyone and the illustrations are very cute. All the personalities really shine through in the pictures.

Bobo and the New Baby

February 3, 2018

Bobo and the New Baby by Rebecca Huang is a familiar plot, this time with a charming dog adjusting to the changes a new baby inevitably brings. Bobo loves his parents the Lee's and is a bit nonplussed when they appear with a baby who takes WAY too much of their time and attention. All, of course, is happily resolved when Bobo fearlessly protects the baby from an interfering bee and is warmly embraced by the newly expanded family.

 

The Okanagan Table--The Art of Everyday Home Cooking

January 26, 2018

The Okanagan Table--The Art of Everyday Home Cooking by Rod Butters is a tour of the titular valley in Western Canada that is the home turf of lush fruits, vineyards and farms, all contributing to beautiful and delicious dishes. The recipes are tempting and the photography is worthy of a travel article. There are a handful of recipes that really do need the specific ingredients of the valley to shine but it is very user-friendly in general. The pancakes, made with some yogurt, are transformational. He also has some great and surprising uses for peanut butter, and who doesn't have that in the pantry!

The Immigrant Cookbook

January 26, 2018

The Immigrant Cookbook by Leyla Moushabeck is fascinating. It showcases recipes from many different chefs and amateur cooks from around the world that has settled in the USA. Dishes from their homelands celebrate a diversity of flavors and techniques, many of which have been thoroughly integrated into “American” cooking. As Yotam Ottolenghi said, “Recipes, like people, come from somewhere”. The stories of the various chefs’ origins enrich and personalize the food they have chosen to showcase.

A Baker's Life

January 26, 2018

A Baker's Life by Paul Hollywood takes the reader "from childhood bakes to five-star excellence". The back-stories are as interesting as the recipes; he comes from a family of bakers and absorbed a lot of expertise beginning in childhood. The recipes are both sweet and savory and while some are clearly for dedicated perfectionists, many are clearly manageable by the average home baker. The photographs are mouthwatering and it's fun to see this "The Great British Baking Show' star strut his stuff.

New Minimalism-Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living

January 26, 2018

New Minimalism--Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living by Cary Telander Fortin and Kyle Louise Quilici. The title says it all--without being preachy this handy book is based on the idea that you can't buy happiness. A consumer-centered lifestyle celebrates accumulation, which essentially means having to organize increasing amounts of stuff. Saving money leads to saving time and leaving room for more spontaneity. One of the best pieces of advice is letting go of "just in case", and ushering out those things you might use someday. Check this out to fire you up for a clear out.

Leonardo Da Vinci

January 26, 2018

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson is fascinating. It's tailor-made for all readers who don't have the ability or time to wade through Leonardo's codexes. The author has done prodigious research into Da Vinci's life, the early years are a revelation and the background of 15th century Florence is richly described. Reading about the details of Leonardo's creative process alongside the reprints of so much of his work gives one an enhanced appreciation for his genius.

L'Appart

January 26, 2018

L'Appart by David Lebovitz is a good cure for anyone who fantasizes about moving to Paris and buying an apartment. The author has done both, purchasing a place in need of major renovations after living in Paris for ten years and falling totally in love with the city. The project is basically a nightmare from the start. Between the famously intricate bureaucratic hoops, he has to jump through to get permission for even the smallest change; to relationships with contractors, purveyors, and neighbors there is scarcely a positive way to look at the venture! His trademark humor and love of Paris carry the day.

The Woman in the Window

January 26, 2018

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn manages to surprise at every turn. Anna is severely agoraphobic (not a spoiler) and spends an inordinate amount of time tracking her neighbors out of her townhouse window. Lonely is the least of her problems, as she tries to imagine an everyday life that could include some elements of normalcy. Haunted by the past, present, and future, she is ripe for twisty and deadly mind games. But who is setting up the board and who is playing? Highly recommended for curling up by the fire and getting lost in someone's stressful life. The characters are well developed and the dialogue is sharp.