Sunday, May 1, 2011

June Book Choices!

It's time to vote for our first summer book of 2011!

The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell | Paperback, 320 pages

What happens when two New Yorkers (one an ex–drag queen) do the unthinkable: start over, have a herd of kids, and get a little dirty?
Find out in this riotous and moving true tale of goats, mud, and a centuries-old mansion in rustic upstate New York—the new memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, author of the New York Times bestseller I Am Not Myself These Days. A happy series of accidents and a doughnut-laden escape upstate take Josh and his partner, Brent, to the doorstep of the magnificent (and fabulously for sale) Beekman Mansion. One hour and one tour later, they have begun their transformation from uptight urbanites into the two-hundred-year-old-mansion-owning Beekman Boys.
Suddenly, Josh—a full-time New Yorker with a successful advertising career—and Brent are weekend farmers, surrounded by nature's bounty and an eclectic cast: roosters who double as a wedding cover band; Bubby, the bionic cat; and a herd of eighty-eight goats, courtesy of their new caretaker, Farmer John. And soon, a fledgling business, born of a gift of handmade goat-milk soap, blossoms into a brand, Beekman 1802.

The Bucolic Plague is tart and sweet, touching and laugh out loud funny, a story about approaching middle age, being in a long-term relationship, realizing the city no longer feeds you in the same way it used to, and finding new depths of love and commitment wherever you live.

Did you know Josh and Brent have a TV show on Planet Green called The Fabulous Beekman Boys? It airs on Tuesdays @ 10 | 9 c (if you have U-verse like me it's 465 or HD 1465). They are currently airing season 2 episodes. If you missed season 1, you can see the top 10 moments from the first season here. You can also watch a recap of episodes on August 11th. They will be re-airing a lot of the episodes before the season finale.

Take the video tour of the Beekman Mansion with Brent here. Or, visit the slideshow of photos.

You can also watch their goats live on the goat cam!

There are lots of other things to check out...see for yourself!

Read the prologue to The Bucolic Plague here. The first paragraph has me hooked:
The last time I saw 4 a.m., I was tottering home in high heels and a matted wig sipping from the tiny bottles of Absolut I always kept in my bag for emergencies. Emergencies like "last call."

Now, a little more than a decade later, I'm digging through the backpack I've propped up on the front fender of my pickup truck, counting baby bottles of fresh milk.

Ok, it's obvious! I'm pulling for this book to win the vote. We need something funny and uplifting for once!

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb | Paperback, 912 pages

What if you were a 40-year-old housepainter, horrifically abused, emotionally unavailable, and your identical twin was a paranoid schizophrenic who believed in public self-mutilation? You'd either be a guest on the Jerry Springer Show or Dominick Birdsey, the antihero, narrator, and bad-juju magnet of I Know This Much Is True. Somewhere in the recesses of this hefty 912-page tome lurks an honest, moving account of one man's search, denial, and acceptance of self. This is no easy feat considering his grandfather seemed to take parenting tips from the SS and his grandmother was a possible teenage murderess, his stepfather a latent sadist, and his brother, Thomas, a politically motivated psychopath. Not one to break with tradition, Dominick continues the dysfunctional legacy with rape, a failed marriage, a nervous breakdown, SIDS, a car crash, and a racist conspiracy against a coworker--just to name a few.

A stretch, both literally and figuratively from his Oprah-christened bestseller, She's Come Undone, Lamb's book ventures outside the confines of the tightly bound beach read and marathons through a detailed, neatly cataloged account of every familial travesty and personal failure one can endure. At its heart lies Freud's "return of the repressed": the more we try to deny who we are, the more we become what we fear. Lamb takes Freud's psychological abstraction to the realm of everyday living, packing his novel with tender, believable dialogue and thoughtful observation.

(Not to discourage interest, but notice that this book is almost 1000 pages long.)

Lucky by Alice Sebold | Paperback, 272 pages

In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus. What propels this chronicle of her recovery is Sebold's indomitable spirit - as she struggles for understanding ("After telling the hard facts to anyone, from lover to friend, I have changed in their eyes"); as her dazed family and friends sometimes bungle their efforts to provide comfort and support; and as, ultimately, she triumphs, managing through grit and coincidence to help secure her attacker's arrest and conviction.

In a narrative by turns disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring, Alice Sebold illuminates the experience of trauma victims even as she imparts wisdom profoundly hard-won: "You save yourself or you remain unsaved."

Linda is hosting the June meeting.
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