Movie Mondays: Brat Pack Book Club

I admit it—I love brat pack movies, especially Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. So when I heard that Molly Ringwald, the iconic red-headed star of those two movies, had recently published a novel, I was intrigued but skeptical. Can she write, I wondered? The answer, happily, is YES! And she isn’t the only brat packer with writing chops. Welcome to the Brat Pack Book Club!

Molly_Ringwald_Getting_the_Pretty_cover When It Happens to You (2012) by Molly Ringwald contains eight linked short stories that shine on their own or together as a novel. Ringwald writes with precision and intelligence, creating believable characters who quietly struggle with betrayal and loss, but also experience moments of beauty.

 Not ready to accept Molly Ringwald as a literary author? Then, how about as a dispenser of advice about personal style and self-confidence? If so, try Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick (2010). Interested in whether she can sing? Check out her new CD of jazz vocals Except Sometimes (2013). Continue reading “Movie Mondays: Brat Pack Book Club”

Three For Free: Dance, Dance, Dance!

Sometimes, you just need to dance – get up off of your chair, onto your feet, and shake it. These three songs, which you can download for free from Freegal,* should entice you to do just that.

Aretha-Franklin-edited

  1. “Freeway of Love” by Aretha Franklin from Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

You may know Aretha Franklin as the Queen of Soul, but she was also the Queen of Dance during the summer of 1985 when this song was a huge dance club hit. Aretha won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (her 12th!) for this song, which features Clarence Clemons on sax. My favorite memory of this song involves dancing with my best friend in the middle of a crowded dance floor at Tugs in Belltown on Halloween, surrounded by men dressed as nuns, all of us having the time of our lives. Continue reading “Three For Free: Dance, Dance, Dance!”

Three for Free: Stand-out songs by Bumbershoot 2012 performers

Sure, the rain is back and we’re hunkering down for months of gray skies here in Seattle, but I’m still buoyed by the several rainless weeks that eased us into autumn. I’ve found a simple way to tap back into that sunny time–revisiting some of the outstanding music I heard at Bumbershoot, Seattle’s annual music and arts festival.

Here are three songs that take me right back there, downloaded from Freegal, The Library’s free downloadable music service.* Continue reading “Three for Free: Stand-out songs by Bumbershoot 2012 performers”

Books for new moms

New moms barely have time to bathe or eat. How could they possibly have time to read?! They make the time, that’s how — during their children’s naps, while nursing or as they wait in line at the doctor’s or the grocery store. Reading other moms’ stories, whether fact or fiction, can ease the isolation that new moms often feel and help them stay sane during that surreal time of early parenthood.

If you’re a mom, we wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day and offer the following reading suggestions that provide various views of motherhood.

Nonfiction

Guarding the Moon: A Mother’s First Year by Francesca Lia Block
Block, author of the popular Weetzie Bat books for young adults, revels in the intense love she feels for her newborn daughter and reflects on her new life as a mother.

The Big Rumpus: A Mother’s Tale from the Trenches by Ayun Halliday
This thirty-something, hip mother Continue reading “Books for new moms”

Remembering Kurt Vonnegut

image man without a countryIt’s been almost a year since Kurt Vonnegut died, but I’ve been thinking about him a lot. I recently read the final book he published during his lifetime, A Man Without a Country. It’s a concise collection of biographical essays that feel like they were written by your cantankerous, but highly intelligent and funny, old uncle.

I felt such deep affection for the man while reading these essays. Then, when I got to page 102 and read his eloquent thoughts about librarians and libraries, I fell for him hook, line and sinker. Here’s what he wrote:

I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength, their powerful political connections or great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and destroyed records rather than have to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”