This week at Eight Cousins . . .
I lived in the United Kingdom for seven years. A couple weeks after the flood, I felt a little nostalgia when I realized that not one person had offered me tea. Don't get me wrong! People have been amazing with offers of help including bringing food while we cleaned out the office and offers of dinners in and dinners out. But there is just something about being handed a cup of tea when it feels like your world is in chaos.
When Pamela Rothstein and Nell Fields reached out and said they wanted to do a tea for Eight Cousins, I was excited (and still am!) for many reasons. First, working with Pamela and Nell is always a delight. Second, a tea allows us something that all of us at Eight Cousins have been missing: the chance to chat with all of you. Third, we are thrilled for any opportunity to bring attention to literacy and cultural literacy programs that we believe are necessary in a thriving, civically minded, socially engaged, critical thinking community. Finally, I'm very much looking forward to having a cup of tea.
All donations from the Book Plates tea will benefit Eight Cousins Literacy Projects, such as our annual Giving Tree, Books for Babies programs, developing a social justice library with No Place for Hate, and other community-driven literacy projects.
We hope you will be able to join us. We need to hear what you've been doing, how you fared in the storm, what you've been reading. We look forward to sharing our most recent store updates. We are delighted at the opportunity to highlight and publicly thank our community partners and fellow literacy advocates. We want to hear your ideas for future literacy, reading, and book projects in Falmouth.
~ Eight Cousins
PS We will *not* have our normal pick up time at the Wood Lumber Millwork Showroom on Thursday, March 22. Please find us at the Book Plates Tea instead!
The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues
Mathematical genius Isaac Severy has apparently committed suicide and his final equation is nowhere to be found. A few days after his death, Severy's adoptive granddaughter, Hazel Severy, receives a strange letter from him; it seems to contain clues to locating this final equation.
Of the entire Severy clan, Hazel is the least likely to be chosen by her grandfather -- she doesn't have the "math gene" that the other family members possess, she is a liberal arts-type person, and she is the owner of a struggling bookstore. As Hazel begins to unravel her grandfather's clues, it's apparent she is not the only one searching for this prized equation.
What could possibly be the value of this equation, why had Severy hidden it, and why was Hazel selected as the candidate to locate it? We follow Hazel as she works her way through a maze of clues and uncovers Severy family secrets along the way. Being unfamiliar with the math in this mystery did not at all detract from the story -- it's a wonderful blend of mystery, family dynamics, art, and, for those with the skills, mathematical theory. Highly recommended!
Before We Were Yours
I love Southern stories and listening to the audio version of this book with the reader's gentle Southern drawls was a treat!
Before We Were Yours is based on the true story of the corrupt Georgia Tann and her Tennessee Children's Home, which ran from the 1930s until 1950. Ms. Tann was a broker of children. She took them from their families with or without permission and sold them to families desperate for children. The children were treated poorly. Some adoptive families were continually blackmailed for more money. It is a grim story and still not fully public as it implicates many public officials.
The story alternates between the lives of Rill Foss in 1939 and Avery Stafford in the present day. Rill narrates the story of the Foss children who were taken from their parents one night when their father had to leave them to seek medical care for their mother while she was delivering a child prematurely. Avery is a young woman of privilege and the daughter of a US Senator; her story illuminates the present day consequences of Ms. Tann's actions.
While the subject matter is devastating, Before We Were Yours leaves the reader/listener with hopefulness.
For newspaper junkies . . .
The Return of the Moguls: How Jeff Bezos and John Henry are Remaking Newspapers for the Twenty-First Century
If you missed Dan Kennedy at the Museums on the Green, we still have copies of his book -- one that is as interesting and entertaining as his presentation.
As the internet and online news sources seem ready to devour the paper editions of major newspapers and change the way our news is delivered, two billionaires, Jeff Bezos and John Henry, purchased The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, respectively.
Why would these two successful businessmen invest in what is looked upon as a dying institution? Kennedy, a professor in journalism at Northeastern University, acknowledges that the newspaper business is at a crossroads and explores whether or not these new moguls can keep our journalism tradition alive in the 21st century.
A "must-read" for those who agree with Thomas Jefferson on the importance of a free press: ". . . if it were left to me to choose between a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X is a book in verse about Xiomara, a teen who lives in Harlem. Xiomara is a poet and she pours all the words she is forbidden to say out loud into her private leather-bound journal. Although the school poetry club seems like it might be the perfect place for her to practice expressing herself, even that activity is forbidden and must remain hidden. With the silence and the secrets bearing down on her, Xiomara fights to be true to herself and respect her family, honor her traditions and honor the words inside of her. Speaking her words, her truth, her poetry gives her power to break free. Reading her words, her truth, her poetry is inspiring. And empowering.
Upcoming author events
March 24, 2 p.m.
Museums on the Green
Shallow Graves: The Hunt for the New Bedford Highway Killer
March 28, 7 p.m.
Museums on the Green
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
Falmouth Reads Together
Are you participating in this year's Falmouth Reads Together discussion?
Step 1: Read the book
Step 2: Talk about the book with your friends, families, and reading groups.