The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible...On Schindler's List

Watching a news story a few days ago featuring filmmaker Steven Spielberg and the 20th anniversary of both the making of the movie Schindler's List and the USC Shoah Foundation reminded me of a wonderful book I had read recently. The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible...On Schindler's List is a memoir written by Leon Leyson, the youngest boy on Oskar Schindler's "list." Mr. Leyson died in January 2013, only seven months before the book was published. This touching memoir is aimed at ages 9-14, but teens and adults would enjoy it as well. To read a wonderful book review on the USC Shoah Foundation site, click here.


Say what you will about Chris Brown's personal life but there is no denying that this young man has talent. He is an entertainment triple threat, he sings, acts and dances.  Not only does he do these activities but he does them well and sometimes figures out how to combine two out of three. For example in Battle of the Year, Brown acts and dances.

Although Chris Brown has five albums to date, he as not released another album since Fortune in 2012.  Fortune, mixed hip-hop beats, R&B soul and dance club style electronica.  To say the least, this album will be sure to get you bobbing to the beat or even up out of your seat dancing.  Some of the tracks live up to the parental advisory warning but if you are like me and listen beyond the lyrics; you will be energized by the dance songs.

Out of the World Book Club - May 2014

East Lansing Public Library - Local History Room

May's title is Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey.

Upcoming titles for the group are:

ELPL servers down for maintenance

Library staff will be performing some routine maintenance on the library's servers between 5-6pm this evening. During that time access to the library catalog, MeLCat requesting, Hoopla, 3M Cloud, Overdrive and Zinio will be unavailable. We hope to be back up and running at 6pm - we'll post again when maintenance is complete.


David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

As an avid audio book listener, I always enjoy when the author reads their work.  Malcolm Gladwell's latest is no exception.  In David and Goliath, Gladwell examines how what we might see as a disadvantage is really an asset.  In his typical style, he tells a story using what we think we know about a topic and sheds a different light on it.  The chapter titled "You wouldn't want your child to be dyslexic, or would you?" was particularly interesting to me.  While this book did not get as many 5 star reviews as his past titles, I still would recommend it to any Gladwell fan.

Love In the Future

When people used to ask me who my favorite music artists were I’d say, “I love the Johns, John Legend, John Mayer and Jon B.”  I would get a few strange looks considering Jon B was a 90s artist that has rarely been seen since but I stayed true to my loyalty.  John Mayer’s voice and guitar playing skills got me every time.  John Legend made being Ordinary People, sound like the greatest possibility of a love story.

Although I have seen John Legend in concert at least three times, my love for his music faded.  Sometime around his album Wake Up! my fandom waivered.  I really wanted to like this album, the songs were collaborations with The Roots, a band of musical geniuses, but this one fell short. 

So when John Legend’s new album, Love In The Future was released in 2013 I was apprehensive to take a listen.  To my ears delight, the old John Legend that I once adored was back! I have listened to this album for three days straight. The soulful crooner returned to what he does best, signing about love.  

Why Should I Care

2013 - 2014 could almost be deemed the year of the selfie, but what does that mean and why should I care? The way selfies are portrayed in pop culture make them seem like frivolous acts of narcissistic celebrities, teens and young adults plastering images of themselves all over social media. To the average observer, the above statement reigns true, but there are segments of the population who have taken the onslaught of images and turned them into something more…art and power.

The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

From the author of The Silver Lining's Playbook comes a new story about a band of quirky misfits struggling to find their way in the world. When 38-year-old Bartholomew Neil loses his mother to cancer, he isn't quite sure how to cope. Bereft and alone in the world, his days are spent in the company of Wendy, his grief counselor, and Father McNamee, a priest at his church and a close friend of his mother. 

After discovering a "free Tibet" letter from Richard Gere in his mother's room (she was a devoted fan), Bartholomew begins writing to the actor. At first, he recounts stories from his past, talking often about his mother and her illness. As his letters progress, they become less about the past as Bartholomew's life begins to gain momentum. He writes to Gere when Father McNamee abruptly defrocks himself and leaves the church in order to care for Bartholomew, how he moves in to Bartholomew's home and prays for hours on end, drinking full bottles of Jameson Irish Whiskey for reasons unknown to him. He begins to suspect that his grief counselor, Wendy, is involved in an unhealthy relationship. He finds a friend in Max, a man desperately upset over the death of his cat, at a group counseling session, and another in Max's sister, who just happens to be the "Girlbrarian" at his public library, a woman who caught his eye many months before for her extra-careful book handling and precise shelving habits.

After clues emerge that his biological father is alive and well in Montreal, the characters in Bartholomew's story begin to converge. The story takes shape as Bartholomew, Father McNamee, Max and the Girlbrarian embark on the trip of a lifetime to find Bartholomew's father and perhaps swing through Ottawa to see cat parliament (clearly Max's idea). At once hilarious and touching, this is a coming of age story that should not be missed. Matthew Quick's latest comes highly recommended by this "Girlbrarian".  

The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier

This is a gorgeous little cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier, who is also famous for her food blog,  The book, and recipes, are organized by season, so that you can easily pick out the best recipes to try no matter when you are reading the book.  Dusoulier focuses on vegetarian recipes but omnivores and meatlovers will find plenty to love in this book.  

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish

I had not heard of David Rakoff or read any of his works, when I watched an episode of The Daily Show in the summer of 2013.  His good friend and author Sarah Vowell was on the show promoting David Rakoff's posthumous novel Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish.  You can watch the interview on Comedy Central's website.  As the show sometimes does, an extended version of the interview was on their site, which I had to watch after seeing the first half.  During the extended version they read a section from the book, which was really interesting and very funny (contains explicit language).  The next day, I checked out the book from the library and enjoyed every minute of it.  The entire novel contains rhyming couplets which are witty and fun.  Unfortunately, author David Rakoff died of cancer in August 2012 and we will never know what other amazing works he might have created.  

The library has a copy of the book and audiobook.

I Hope They Serve Beer In...

Have you ever met someone that constantly does things that make you say “I can’t believe they got away with that?”  Well Tucker Max is definitely that guy! I hope they serve beer in hell follows him through his ridiculous escapades and give you an inside peek into what it’s like to be the jerk that gets everything you want.  As I read this book all I kept thinking was, “are there that many women with low self esteem and how does this guy get himself in and out of these crazy situations unscathed?”

Initially I thought of this book as slightly too preposterous  to keep reading but then I found myself being sucked into the train wreck of absurd adventures.  If you rolled all lowbrow comedies, college/fraternity/sorority shenanigans and a string of bad dates together you would get this book.  However, I must forewarn you that his accounts are graphic in nature.

I cannot however speak to how the movie turned out.  I have yet to watch it and think I might like my imagination of the outlandish activities better.


Practice Your English - most  Wednesday nights 7:00 - come and meet people from around the world, as we listen to each other and practice speaking in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere

Books and CDs on learning English, accent reduction and more.

Mango Language Learning Center - Learn English with this online resource.  You must have an ELPL Library card to sign in.

Readers for new adult English readers - simplified versions of classics and fiction.

Local ESOL Resources:

Tutoring:  List of tutors available at the English Language Center, B230 Wells Hall at MSU
                 Volunteer English Tutoring Program  at MSU.

English Language Center at MSU - classes - also has a list of tutors available

Capital Area Literacy Coalition - has help with English Language Learning and U.S. citizenship

Capital Area District Library - offers English classes, citizenship classes and more

Friendship House MSU - offers classes and fellowship

A+ English Language School - located in East Lansing, offered by Okemos Community Education.  Classes - fee charged.