The Librarian’s List
Who: Erica Joncyk
Where: The David M. Hunt Memorial Library in Falls Village, CT, which opened on Main Street in 1891. Originally built as a private school, it functioned as a combination grammar school and library for many years. It holds a popular sale of slightly tattered new books on the first Saturday of every month from 10 AM to 1 PM.
What I’ve Been Reading:
Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai. Written in oral-tradition style by the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner. The book starts with the history of Kenya and chronicles Wangari’s efforts to help start ‘the green belt movement’ and plant over 30 million trees across Kenya. Inspiring!
Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes. The story of an upper-middle-class woman’s life from the end of the 19th century to the 1920’s (just before the Crash), this novel received the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1931 ( I am on a quest to read as many Pulitzers’ as I can before I die.) Mind you, this book is dated, but much of what was happening then is repeating itself now, which is uncanny.
The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing, The book group I belong to chose this 1950 novel and I found it to be a downer. It reinforced every negative notion I ever had about South Africa. But the writing style was so masterful I could not put the book down.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. The 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner was my favorite read of 2007. An amazing book about hermaphrodites, Detroit and the 1970’s. The book went all over the place and I could taste, smell and feel every passage.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, This 1989 thriller is an Oprah recommendation, and she sent two copies our way. It’s part of her program: she sends paperback copies to all public libraries for free, which is nice. The story involves the building of cathedrals in the Middle Ages, and it is rich in the details of the everyday lives of the working class.
What I’ve Been Listening To:
Tipperary by Frank Delaney. Not all authors can pull off reading their own stuff, butFrank can. He has a wonderful accent and enunciates beautifully. I’ve learned a lot from this book about Ireland from the 1860s - 1920s, the land wars, and architecture.
“Not Enough Indians” by Harry Shearer. A satire on the gambling casinos in the Northast, which is purportedly written by a Native American makes the whole story funny. You’re not sure who’s making fun of whom. It starts off “iffy,” but by the middle I was hooked.
My favorite books by local authors
Ireland and Tipperary by Frank Delaney, who has a house in Kent,CT. He is a scholarly writer whose breadth of knowledge of his native Ireland is amazing. We have had the pleasure of his visiting the library and reading from his works. He’s not only smart, but charming (and so is his wife.) He will be reading at the library again in May. .
Glass Houses, by Jane Haddam, who writes mysteries in Litchfield, CT. Her protagonist is Gregor Demarkian, an Armenian-American retired FBI agent, who gets involved in interesting murders in the Baltimore area.
What Our Patrons Are Borrowing at the Hunt Library
Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Peony in Love by Lisa See
Double Cross by James Patterson
T for Trespass by Sue Grafton
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert