Archive for August, 2019

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School by Julie Falatko

August 27, 2019


Sometimes books find us when we need them. This is a story of just such a book. It was a dreary Friday afternoon in March. With the energetic chaos of February school vacation week programs behind her your friendly neighborhood children’s librarian was feeling just a bit run down. There were books to be bought, budgets to be tracked, programs to be promoted, statistics to be compiled, meetings to be scheduled, and any number of other things that needed attending to. Really, it had just been one of those weeks where for every item she emphatically checked off her to-do list two more magically appeared in its place. And then, just as it was all getting to be a bit too much. It appeared in the check in bin. The book that would turn the whole week around. The book that would soon be pushed into the arms of many a library co-worker with only a cursory exclamation of “you have to read this! It’s so good!” (And dear reader it was so good. They thought so, and if you’ve continued reading this far into this rather unusual book review I believe it highly probable you will too)

Which book is it you ask? What great piece of literature could possibly inspire such a lengthy lead up? Well prepare yourself my friends, for you too may find that Julie Falatko’s “Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School” is just the book you never knew you needed. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Two Dogs in a Trench Coat,” really, really? Yes, really. I will endeavor to describe it just a bit, but honestly if you are in need of a laugh, you should just take my word for it and check this one out!

Do you have a deep love in your heart for office supplies, this book is for you. Do you wonder just what your dogs are thinking when you leave them to go to work or school, this book is for you. Do you enjoy wacky hijinks, this book is for you. Do you want a book that provides kid friendly jokes but also includes an astonishing number of Golden Girls references, this is that book. Is everyone in your household a little stressed about going back to school, and you’d like something that you could all enjoy reading aloud together? You know what I’m going to say. Put it on hold already

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School is available on audio on Hoopla, and both eBook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

Image result for two dogs and a trench coat

The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders

August 16, 2019


Charlie Jane Anders is good at strange. This world — discreet hemispheres of day and night — is apocolyptic but it’s not that simple. And, of course, safety and danger, good and evil, friend and betrayer, are also not simple. There is a deeply disturbing undercurrent of finding out that what you have been told, what you have trusted, is actually not at all reality. To think that you have made choices and shaped your life and actions in one way or another based on lies is a betrayal beyond that of friends (though that is bad enough and there is a ton of it in this book!). Ender’s Game (on the list of top sci-fi novels of all time) by Orson Scott Card is a genius example of this.

Anders maintains great tension between the two halves of this planet, the two cities, the two characters Sophie and Mouth, and the two species. I especially like how the liminal space between day and night is an ongoing metaphor for other in-between states.

Strange, suspenseful, and really good storytelling.

A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety, by Donald Hall

August 6, 2019


I’m biased when talking about anything Donald Hall but I loved this book as a continuation in the conversation begun in his other memoirs and essays. Hall is/was a genius of understated, simple poetics that rose above its own simplicity and earthiness. His poetry should be assigned life-reading (imho) and the idea of him and Jane Kenyon writing in the same house, producing these two bodies of work, is beyond imagination.

I have found his works of memoir even more moving in some ways. The poetry is stripped away and we see the man in all of his flaws (of which he has many), in all of his base humanness, and in his lusts and losses.

Donald Hall died in 2018 and this collection of essays shows his age. Still, his wit is sharp (and sometimes cutting) and he turns its blade as often on himself as others. An intimate and funny portrait of a man nearing ninety, and the end of his life.

click here to check availability in our library

May I also suggest:
The Best Day, the Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon (this one broke my heart)
Unpacking the Boxes: a Memoir of a Life in Poetry
Life Work
String Too Short to be Saved
Here at Eagle Pond
Seasons at Eagle Pond