In this issue:

  • First Saturday recap
  • Carmel Valley Book Club ballot
  • Be grateful, be healthy
  • Greatest generation
  • Young adult spotlight
Editor's note: This month's newsletter is chock full of links to product pages at Amazon Smile. As a reminder, when shopping with Amazon Smile, you can select FOCVL as a recipient to receive a small percentage of your purchase price; it doesn't cost you anything extra, and you only need to register once. It's an easy way to support your library while buying books or doing any of your holiday shopping.

First Saturday: From Ireland to Appalachia

At our November First Saturday event, music filled the Library when John Weed and Stuart Mason (from the Celtic group Molly's Revenge) set fiddle and guitar ringing with Appalachian and Celtic tunes.  Their music explores the connections between Ireland and America, both ancient and modern.

The show featured material from the new Molly's Revenge album "Lift" as well as songs from the lively repertoire of Little Black Train and from Stuart's two solo albums. Great musicianship, story-telling and charm got feet tapping and smiles all around, from young and old alike. One highlight was seeing John's son join the duo, signaling the passing down of this great music from one generation to the next.

Huge thanks go out to John and Stuart for a wonderful morning. To see videos, photos and more information about their music, check out

Stay tuned for an announcement about our December First Saturday, which also promises to be a memorable event!

Carmel Valley Book Club Ballot 


The Carmel Valley Library Book Group is a sophisticated, well-traveled and well-read book group that eases through their books intermixing film and conversation. This group has met at the library for almost 15 years; they gather every Thursday at 2:30pm and they're always accepting new members.

This group typically discusses a book for several weeks or more. They read fiction, non-fiction, history, and biography. For a sampling of their style, here are the nominees from an official club ballot in October 2016 to choose the next book to read:

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (1859)Late one moonlit night, Walter Hartright encounters a solitary and terrified woman dressed all in white. He saves her from capture by her pursuers, and determines to solve the mystery of her distress and terror. This gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness and mistaken identity has never been out of print since its publication. 

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925) It is a June day in London in 1923 and the lovely Clarissa Dalloway is having a party. Whom will she see? Her friend Peter, back from India, who has never really stopped loving her? What about Sally, with whom Clarissa had her life's happiest moment? Meanwhile, the shell-shocked Septimus Smith is struggling with his life on the same London day. Luminously beautiful, Mrs. Dalloway uses the internal monologue of
the characters to tell a story of inter-war England. With this, Virginia Woolf changed the
novel forever. 

The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters by Laura Thompson (2015) The Mitford sisters – the intertwined stories of their stylish and scandalous lives - recounted in masterly fashion by Laura Thompson - hold up a revelatory mirror to upper-class English life before and after World War II.

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (1962) In this authentic, taboo-breaking novel, Lessing brings the plight of women's lives from obscurity behind closed doors into broad daylight. The Golden Notebook resonates with the concerns and experiences of a great many women and is a true modern classic, thoroughly deserving of its reputation as a feminist bible. Lessing won a Nobel prize in 2007.

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (1951) Set in London during and just after World War II is the story of a flourishing love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah Miles. After a violent episode at Maurice's apartment, Sarah suddenly and without explanation breaks off the affair. 

Nutshell by Ian McEwan (2016): Classic story of murder and deceit - but from a very different narrator! 

Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001) Three children lose their innocence as the sweltering summer heat bears down on the hottest day in 1935 and their lives are changed forever. Cecilia Tallis is of England's privileged class; Robbie Turner is the housekeeper's son. In their moment of intimate surrender they are interrupted by Cecilia's hyperimaginative and scheming 13-year-old sister, Briony. And as chaos consumes the family, Briony commits a crime, the guilt of which she shall carry throughout her life.

The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford (1915) Handsome, wealthy, and a veteran of service in India, Captain Edward Ashburnham appears to be the ideal "good soldier" and the embodiment of English upper-class virtues. Ford's masterpiece is a searing study of moral dissolution behind the façade of an English gentleman – and its stylistic influence lingers to this day. 

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (1895) Sexually innocent Jude is trapped into marriage by seductive Arabella. The marriage is a failure, and Jude's welcome freedom allows him to pursue his obsession with his pretty cousin Sue Bridehead, a brilliant charismatic free-thinker who would be his ideal soulmate if not for her aversion to physical love. When Jude and Sue decide to lead their lives outside marriage they bring down on themselves all the force of a repressive society. Caused a furor on its publication. Hardy exposed his deepest feelings in this bleak, angry novel and, stung by the hostile response, he never wrote another. 

Code of the Woosters by PG Wodehouse (1938) Aunt Dalia demands that Bertie Wooster help her dupe an antique dealer into selling her an 18th-century cow creamer. Dalia trumps Bertie's objections by threatening to sever his standing invitation to her house for lunch, an unthinkable prospect given Bertie's devotion to the cooking of her chef, Anatole. 

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939) Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled debut brings to life the city LA underworld – and Philip Marlowe, the archetypal fictional detective. Old man Sternwood, crippled and wheelchair-bound, is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer and he wants Marlowe to make the problem go away. But with Sternwood's two wild, devil-may-care daughters prowling LA's seedy backstreets, Marlow's got his work cut out - and that's before he stumbles over the first corpse. 

Want to read and discuss one of these books with the club? Or just want to see which book wins? Stop by the Buckeye on Thursdays at 2:30!  And for more information about this book club, other book clubs, and tools such as MCFL’s Book Club To Go Kits, inquire at the library or check out this page on the MCFL website.

Be Grateful - It's Good for You!


This is the time of year when we focus on the things we're grateful for.  But it's not just an excuse to take a few days off work: having a mindset of gratitude can help you sleep better, improve your self-esteem, strengthen your relationships, and enhance your overall physical and psychological health. Science says so.

If you're looking for some inspiration or guidance on how to develop a more grateful outlook on  life, allow us to suggest the following books - each of them available through links to our Amazon Smile page, where FOCVL gratefully receives a small percentage of sales:

1. Gratitude by Oliver Sacks. This is a collection of essays by the recently deceased author who had one of the most unique and insightful voices on illness, emotion,and spirituality. Sacks's reflections on his life and mortality in the months before his death are moving, compelling, and rank among his finest work. 

2. The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan. Former magazine editor Kaplan spent twelve months practicing gratitude, and this book describes the positive transformations of her marriage, career, and health along the way.

3. Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life by Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson. Addiction and recovery are the prisms through which Williams and Jackson explore the power of a grateful heart to create overall health and wellness. 

Remembering World War II

Need another reason to feel grateful? How about recognizing the generation that saved the world? December 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and America's entrance into World War II. Beginning next month and for the next four years, a wide variety of veterans' organizations will be commemorating milestones of WWII, and this is a perfect opportunity to dust off a history book and refresh our memories about just how monumental this period of time was to shaping the course of Western Civilization.  (And if you're looking for a recommendation on where to start, this is a great single-volume overview.)

With each passing year we are losing the heroes of the WWII generation, so it is more critical than ever for us to recognize and honor their service and sacrifices. Take a moment to recall their accomplishments, and while you're at it, be sure to thank a vet for his or her service to preserving peace and freedom throughout the world.

Readin' It Teenstyle: Young Adult Spotlight

Our regular reviewer is busy studying for finals, but her younger sister Giana is eager to jump in and help out. The good news that Giana's now a teenager, so we don't even need to change the title of this segment! Here is her book recommendation for November.

Hello, I’m Giana, the sister of the usual young adult spotlight writer Sophia. I’m filling in while she finishes some schoolwork. My apologies if this book review is not as “pun-ny” as it usually is; I’m afraid that Sophia is the family pun master, not me.

The book I’m reviewing is one that I just recently finished, and I’m already quite a fan of it. The book is called Alabama Moon, and tells the story of a ten year old boy named Moon who spent his entire life living in the woods with his father. One fateful day, however, his father, knowing that he will soon pass, tells his son to go to Alaska (keep in mind that he is currently living in Alabama). After his father dies, Moon sets out to find a way to Alaska, but his plans are seemingly destroyed as he is caught by the police and sent to a boys home. Still determined to get to Alaska, Moon needs to find a way to break out. Little does he know many challenges still await him. Ultimately he learns to use his wilderness survival skills to make his home in the civilized world.

Thanks for your support of the Carmel Valley Library - now go read something!

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls."
- Aesop
Copyright © 2016 Friends of the Carmel Valley Library, All rights reserved.

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