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June 8, 2015
I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist
by Halbreich, Betty with Rebecca Paley
746.92 Halbreich HAL
Recently I watched the library’s copy of a DVD called Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, which is about the history and magic of the famous New York City department store Bergdorf Goodman.
One of the many people featured in the documentary included Betty Halbreich, who might be called a super personal shopper, although she herself doesn’t like that term. Betty has worked at Bergdorf’s for more than forty years, and is still going strong at the age of 86. Amazing!
In some ways, Betty’s life has been a privileged one. She was born to affluent Jewish parents in Chicago, but although her mother and stepfather were doting, they weren’t always available, and she was often lonely. Her mother’s closet was her refuge, and the wonderful garments in it were her playmates. Later Betty married the son of rich hotel owner who took her to New York City, and she lived a life where her only duties, outside of wife and mother, were shopping and lunching with the wives of her husband Sonny’s friends. Betty was good at shopping and always seemed to know instinctively what would look good on her.
But life with Sonny became increasingly difficult, and Betty struggled to leave her marriage, only succeeding when their two children became independent. A nervous breakdown followed and then new struggles. Betty needed to find meaningful work, but, as a daughter and a wife, she had always been discouraged from working. Finally she landed at the famous department store.
Betty asserts that her job there became her salvation. She’s now an institution at the store and some of her young customers are the granddaughters of women who were customers in her early days. She’s a tough lady who’s an excellent judge of clothing, and although some people fear her honest opinions, others eagerly seek out her counsel. Her goal is to treat each person as an individual and to help her fill the psychological needs underlying her quest for beautiful clothing.
--Recommended by Georgia Silvers, Warren Library
June 1, 2015
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes From The Best Little Bakery in the South
by Day, Cheryl & Griffith
If you are a baker or a novice at baking you are going to love this bakery cookbook by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. The couple has a bakery in Savanah, Georgia and to celebrate their tenth anniversary they have written this cookbook with more than 100 recipes. Of course it starts with breakfast with recipes for homemade jam, peach cobbler muffins, and buttermilk cornmeal pancakes. Each recipe begins with a short note from the couple about the dish. The photos in the book will have your mouth watering and wanting to try every recipe.
And there's now a follow-up: Back in the Day Bakery, Made With Love
--Recommended by Denyce Malone, Flanner House Library
May 26, 2015
Think Like a Freak
by Levitt, Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner
The economist and the journalist whose collaboration produced the Freakonomics books are at it again, this time encouraging the reader to apply their quirky approach to problem analysis. They urge us to set aside preconceptions and approach problems with the open-mindedness of a child, admitting to ourselves and to others that we don’t know everything.
So much of public policy today is motivated by a quest for bettering the lives of the citizenry, but is structured without regard for the often perverse incentives built into the policy, creating unintended consequences and exacerbating the original problem. A more thorough analysis – like a freak would suggest – would analyze incentives as they apply differently to every affected party.
The authors provide many fascinating examples of this, including the reason Nigerian scammers are so obvious about their identity. Spoiler alert – they save time by eliminating all but the truly gullible prospects. The examples are all interesting and are drawn from many unexpected areas of modern society.
--Recommended by Melinda Mullican, Wayne Library
May 18, 2015
Bones on the Ground
by O,Maley, Elizabeth
With the state’s bicentennial quickly approaching, there will likely be renewed interest in Indiana’s history. We may hear a lot about the state’s founders and the new settlements they created, but what is not often talked about is the numerous Native American tribes who struggled to maintain possession of their lands in the face of widespread white settlement. While the U.S. adopted an Indian policy and white settlers pushed further west, many Native Americans fought their intruders, while others adopted their ways. Very little remains from the tribes, and the answer to what happened to them is different depending on which point of view you hear.
Bones on the Ground presents the story of the Old Northwest Territory from before the American Revolution through the removal of the Miami from Indiana in 1846. Sketches of people and places such as the Battle of Tippecanoe, the Potawatomi Trail of Death, William Wells, and Little Turtle are presented in first-person narratives and biographical sketches. O’Maley does an incredible job of bringing these vibrant characters to life and showing both sides of the expansion story. If we think only of the white settlers who marked their new territory, we’re neglecting the Native Americans who called our state home long before it was indeed a state.
--Recommended by Carrie Voliva, Pike Library
May 11, 2015
The 39 Steps
by Buchan, John
Written in 1915, this book served as the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 classic film. It’s been said that the film was 80% Hitchcock and 20% Buchan. Too bad, because the book as written stands up at least as well as the film 100 years on! A classic man-on-the-run thriller, the hero, Richard Hannay, dodges the police and foreign spies on his way to save the life of the Greek premier. But, that’s not the most of his worries. Escapes from London, the Scottish heath, a foreign agent’s bomb factory and a master of disguise (or worse – remember, it was written in 1915) make this as much a page turner as it was for the readers of Blackwood’s Magazine. The 39 Steps is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, and a dramatized version on on CD. Of course, the Library also owns DVDs of Hitchcock’s version.
— Recommended by Gregg Jackson, Southport Library