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All Souls: A Family Story From Southie by Michael Patrick McDonald

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In this devastatingly honest memoir Michael MacDonald, one in a family of ten, recounts his experience growing up in Southie which is one of South Boston’s public housing projects.  Described by all the residents as “the best place in the world”, McDonald has the courage to pull back this veil and tell the emotional and powerful true story.  MacDonald explores the busing riots of the 1970s, Southie’s “no snitch” culture, the loss of four of his own siblings, and the exploits of Whitey Bulgar (the town’s top gangster and father figure).  Through all of this pain and loss McDonald is still able to point out areas of hope and the strong sense of community that is still alive in Southie today.  

Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening

Vita's picture

MISTER OWITA'S GUIDE TO GARDENING is a beautifully written memoir by a first time author Carol Wall. The story is a very personal account of friendship between two people.  Less about gardening, the book is more about those accidental judgments that we make based on prejudices of race, money, education, and plain old general appearances.

I enjoyed this book.  It is about the power of friendship which can change our hearts and transform our lives; it is a reminder we all have more in common with each other than we think.

  

Picture Book Selection: And Then It's Spring

What a winter we have had in central Ohio!  Spring is finally here according to the calendar!  Celebrate by checking out “And Then It's Spring” by Julie Fogliano and award-winning artist Erin Stead.  A boy and his dog are tired of brown winter and they dig and plant seeds.  They wait and then wait and then finally it's spring and everything is green and colorful!  Great for ages 4 and up.  

50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants

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Snow is still on the ground but gardening is blooming in my heart.   The month of March finds seed catalogs, gardening books, and over wintered herbs strewn all over my kitchen and dining room.  The need is for spring!

My favorite gardening books for Ohio are authored by Tracy Disabato-Aust. Every spring I start a plant list for my garden from Tracy’s book, 50 High-Impact Low Care Garden Plants.  The book has a little bit of everything from grasses to shrubs, but all are Ohio hardy and easy care.  My favorite stand out plants are Bear’s Breeches, Variegated Aralia, Blue False Indigo, Bleeding Heart, and Hellebore.  The Dragon's Eye Pine made the list this year but where to plant, the garden is getting full!

Picture Book Selection for Fancy Nancy Readers: Tea Party Rules

Cookies!  Bear cub smells cookies while playing in the woods and finds a tea party set up with cookies to share.  The hostess of the party arrives and has very strict rules about the tea party playing before any cookies can be eaten.  Will bear ever get to eat cookies?  A funny and sweet story for hosts and hostesses of all ages, but especially those aged 4-8. 

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper

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No one is more surprised than Judd Foxman when his father passes away.  Not so much by the death, but by the nonreligious patriarch’s last wish to have the family sit Shiva, a Jewish tradition that requires his mother and siblings to spend an entire week together under one roof.  This wouldn’t be so bad if Judd’s family wasn’t so dysfunctional.  As this group of unique characters are forced to spend time together old wounds are brought to surface and they are made to deal with issues they would have rather continued to ignore.  The only family member not present is Judd’s wife who has been openly having an affair.  As Judd unwillingly reconnects with his family and struggles to deal with the reality of his deteriorating marriage what results is a novel full of biting, albeit slightly dark humor with realizations about family life and love.  

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

Jen's picture

If you're looking for something to brighten your dreary winter day, pick up Pancol's first English-translated novel. The plot revolves around two sisters - Iris, a glamorous, rich attorney's wife and her plain Jane, bookish sister Jo. The story begins when Jo's husband empties their joint savings account and leaves her for his manicurist, who he runs off to farm crocodiles with in Kenya. Jo is left to pick up the pieces of her life and raise her two daughters, Zoe and Hortense, on the meager salary she makes as a 12th century scholar. Iris and Jo hatch the perfect scheme - Jo will write a medieval historical novel that Iris will take the credit for, thus giving Jo the money she needs and Iris the fame she craves. As in life, things don't go quite as planned and hilarity ensues. It's chick lit done up en Francais; humorous, quite charming and perfect to curl up on the couch with and escape to bright, sunny Paris, if only for a few hundred pages.  

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