Reading

The Midnight Library

Whether it is because of a career immersed in libraries or just that libraries provide intriguing settings for the storyteller, I am always drawn to stories (even badly written ones) where the library becomes its own character integral to the plot. For instance:

  • The Star Trek episode from the 60s set in a dying planet’s library;
  • When David Tennant, as the tenth Doctor, takes Donna (personally not my favorite of The Doctor’s companions despite her importance in saving all of humanity) to a planet-sized library holding every book every written where they meet River Song (definitely among my most favorite of the Whovian characters);
  • To Joss Wheadon’s setting for Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the school library is the gateway to magical powers, as well as the entry point for the terrifying beings that only Buffy can defeat;
  • And the list goes on…leading me to The Midnight Library and the most recent The Directors’ book discussion.

Chosen Best Book of 2020 in the general fiction category by nearly 74,000 Goodreads’ members, The Midnight Library introduces the reader to Nora Seed, a young woman so wracked by regrets she attempts suicide.  But in that in-between time – between life and death – she enters the Midnight Library with its infinite collection of green covered books all of which enumerate the stories of her life, each different depending on the subtle or dramatic decisions she made.

Unlike Buckaroo Banzai in one of my favorite movies, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, where Buckaroo is simultaneously a rock star, neurosurgeon, brilliant scientist, and a test pilot who just happens to save the world from evil alien invaders, Nora experiences one-by-one what might have been as Olympic swimmer, rock star, mother, or glaciologist.  Some lives are deeply unsatisfying while others are almost, but not quite, comfortable as she is suddenly inserted into these parallel realities.

Despite an abundance of book challenges, expertly curated title lists and even a fun assortment of book bingos to choose from, The Directors (my library loving, book reading, wine drinking group of retired friends) elected to reverse engineer its own reading challenge.  We read a book recommended by one of us and then assign our 2021 reading challenge nomenclature with The Midnight Library dubbed magical realism fantasy.

Happy reading!

Reading

My Book Clubs – Number Growing

four open books stacked on one another with pages of top book fanned in the light
Photo from Pexels-pixabay

I promised myself retirement would be like my favorite summer, 1976, filled with lots of reading and time with friends.  That was the only summer after high school where I was not taking college classes or working or both.  Nearly four years into this relaxed life, my plan is working although Covid has put the nix (at least for now) on face-to-face time with friends but I am exceeding my reading goals, albeit mostly easy titles that don’t require deep contemplation.  Aiding me in the task of diversifying my reading pleasure have been three book clubs and One Book One Minnesota.

The Directors’ – My library loving, book reading, wine drinking group of retired friends who, in pre-Covid times enjoyed an outing every 2-3 months but now gather every two weeks via Zoom, decided 2021 was the right time for a book club.  While our first two titles have been mysteries with earlier posts, The Thursday Murder Club and The Bookseller, we are switching genres. Next up – Cicely Tyson’s memoir, Just As I Am.

Knit Camp Reads Club – A new venture for Knit Camp knitters who want to read (or listen) together.  The first selection is fiber related, Casting Off by Nicole R. Dickson, a nice tie in with the Knit Camp January workshop and group knit, Fiadh.

UU Common Read – With a focus on justice, the October through April titles have included An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (although I admit I opted for the young people edition); Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson with a movie by the same name; and A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota – a powerful anthology written by 17 Minnesota authors of color that I blogged about in December.

Reading

Book Club with Hugo Marston & The Bookseller

balck and white book cover with Paris elaborate bridge over the Seine in the foreground and Eifel Tower in the background

A well written mystery, with a story that evolves from an interest in antique books, to the kidnapping of a bouquiniste (a bookseller with a stall along the Seine), plus historic WWII intrigue, and, of course, murder.  There is even a little love interest scribed by Mark Pryor in The Bookseller, the first title in the Hugo Marston series.

After enjoying our first book club title, The Directors – a library loving, book reading, wine drinking group of retired friends – moved literary settings from the English countryside to Paris for our second book club choice.  The Bookseller introduced us to Hugo Marston, a former FBI profiler now head of embassy security in Paris.  The tall Texan, who is fluent in French, loves well brewed coffee and walking Paris streets, possesses a strong sense of justice but will diplomatically step out of the limelight and let the French police claim the glory after catching the bad guys.  The Directors all agreed we will be exploring the other titles in Pryor’s Hugo Marston series.

Happy reading!

Reading

Book Club: The Thursday Murder Club

When I started Knit+ Librarian, I thought I could simply resurrect my blogging skills and, violà, creativity would abound.  But I forgot that while the WYSIWYG environment is easy to navigate it also abounds in sophistication.  Depending on themes and choices, the options for style and design are wildly numerous.  So, as part of my 2021 self-improvement resolutions, I registered for WordPress Courses and, dear reader, you may see some different posts (not just knitting or baking) as I experiment with tools and techniques.  First up – learning new formatting options and inserting a YouTube video.


The Directors – a library loving, book reading, wine drinking group of retired friends – just finished our first book club discussion, something new for the new year.  Our kickoff title was the charming debut mystery, The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.  The septuagenarian and octogenarian characters are laugh-out-loud funny as they gather evidence, support the local constabulary, enjoy a cocktail and, of course as our heroes, solve the mystery.  We all agreed, later in life, we could easily conceive of living in such a retirement village as the one nestled in the hills of Kent, England.  Enjoy a book promoting interview with the author.

Knitting

Covid Cabled Fingerless Mitts

During the hazy days of August, The Directors – a library loving, book reading, wine drinking group of retired friends, discussed the practicality (or lack thereof) of fingerless mittens.  And, eureka – a winter gift idea was born.  Just as autumn arrived, I cast on the first of five pairs of mitts with colors and fibers selected for each recipient from my stash.  The Mitty pattern includes three repetitive rib rows so I propped up my iPad with enlarged font and read Elizabeth Hunter’s Elemental Mysteries while knitting.  Although I did have to pay close attention on the fourth mock cable row.  With today’s official arrival of meteorological Winter, each friend has a pair with which to experiment or re-gift. 

Stay warm.  Drink hot chocolate or lots of wine.

Reading · Travel

The Directors

We had planned a July trip to the popular destination of Nissawa. Yes, I know this Minnesota town may not be on your travel go-to list, but we enjoyed time together in August 2018 that included good conversation, shopping and attending Wine & Words. It was while we were at that first author brunch that we named ourselves, The Directors. Plus, a walk in the Grand View gardens is always a beauthiful setting. But Covid-19 foiled our 2020 plans. Initially, we simply thought to forego the large dinner/brunch gatherings but then the event planners managed a major shift from on-site to virtual and so, today, we connected online to hear the six 2020 Wine & Words authors. This year the brunch social hour had the authors video chatting from their kitchens and, appropriately, sharing drink, food, and summer canning recipes.