Category Archives: Cafe Parlez

Dear Reader: Monday, Apr. 23

So, how was your Earth Day? Ours was very lazy, what with the rain and it being Sunday and all. Thank you to the people who showed up Saturday to sign up for the Rochester clean-up day. We appreciate all of your hard work.

The May Book Page has just arrived. Anna Quindlen is on the cover. Inside is the usual stellar collection of interviews, reviews, and news. Oh, and a crossword puzzle on the back. Sharpen your pencils!

Here is a cute video about RIF: Book People Unite! Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for the link. (If you’re an Etsy shopper, check out Bookshelves of Doom’s Etsy shop. She takes postage stamps and makes lovely pendants out of them. We received a nice Moomintroll one for a birthday present.)

Tonight at 6, the Junior Friends will have a pizza party, sponsored by the Plumb Law firm, as a thank you for their hard work at the Easter Egg hunt in early April. We are very proud of our Junior Friends. They’ve done several visits to Sippican Nursing Home to deliver holiday treats before Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.

The Cafe Parlez book discussion group will meet this Thursday at 6;30 to discuss Mrs. Kimble. Copies of May’s book Room are available now.

That’s it for now. See you Friday!


Leave a comment

Filed under Cafe Parlez

Coming up in August:

For the August selection of “Cafe Parlez Goes to the Movies”, we’ll be
discussing three children’s books: “Shrek”, by William Steig; ” Coraline”, by Neil Gaiman; and “Holes” by Louis Sachar. All three were made into films for children, and we’ll be discussing the changes that were made in the stories. “Shrek” is a picture book about a very repulsive ogre who searches for his true love, making people faint with his ugliness along the way. It was made into four animated films.

William Steig's original Shrek

In “Coraline”, a young girl goes through a small door in her new house and finds another mother and another father, both of whom have buttons for eyes, and neither of whom will let her leave. In 2009, it was made into a film in starring Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher. And “Holes” is something for every taste: a mystery, a fantasy, a romance, a humorous book, and an adventure
story. It was made into a film in 2003, starring a young Shia LeBeouf as the hero Stanley Yelnats. Books and movies will be available at the desk.
Our discussion will take place on Thursday, August 26 at 6:30.

The Friends of the Plumb Library will hold their annual book sale on
Saturday, September 11. Books in good condition may be dropped off at the library until Wednesday, September 8. No encyclopedias, magazines, Readers Digest condensed books, or text books will be accepted.
Volunteers are needed for set up on Friday, Sept. 10, for the sale on the 11th, and for clean-up after the sale. Contact the library at
508-763-8600 if you’d like to help. Volunteers get 1/2 off the listed

Last year's booksale

Leave a comment

Filed under Cafe Parlez, Coming events, Friends, News, Uncategorized


We have been neglecting this blog for some time, and deserve to be punished by being locked in a bookstore overnight with an unlimited credit card!  Here are some new items of interest:

1. We are writing the library’s new five-year plan, as required by the MA Board of Library Commissioners.  A small committee of community representatives have met a couple of times, and a rough draft has been presented to the Trustees.  We need more community input!  There is a survey link posted on the library’s webpage (  Click on it and complete the survey.  This will help us by telling us what direction to take the library over the next five years.

2. The Friends are planning their annual Open House, this year scheduled for Saturday, December 5 from 10-3.  As usual, there will be the silent auction, the bake sale, free coffee, tea, and cider, Earth Sisters will be selling their excellent lotions, soaps and candles.  The Dinner for Two books will be available.  We will be selling the wreaths again; place your order during the month of November.  And there will be a Christmas tree in the gazebo with blue lights on it.  To turn the lights white, make a donation to the Friends.  Each donor will be listed on the Wall of Fame.  All proceeds for the Holiday Open House go to the Friends for library programs.

3.   Charlie Tate will be giving computer classes to adults on Tuesday mornings in November.  He will cover such subjects as using Excel, creating fliers, managing photos, or whatever you wish.  Sign up at the desk, and let us know how Charlie can help.  Classes are from 10:30-11:30.  If you have a laptop, you are welcome to bring it along.

4. The nonfiction book discussion group has started up again.  Our book for November is A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard, and we will meet on Monday, November 16 at 6:30.  The Cafe Parlez book group will discuss Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30.  Please note the different day.

5.  We’ve been listening to a great book recommendation podcast Books on the Nightstand.  Their website and blog are also very good.  Check the blogroll to the right for the link.  Their pocast can be found at ITunes.

6.  We are putting out a reading challenge for 2010: read 1 book that you would not normally have read, and either email a short review to me, or comment on the blog.  There will be a random prize drawing chosen in December 2010 from the names of anyone who posted or emailed a review or a title.  In other words, we (who hate romances) will read and report on one romance during the year.  And Diana Gabaldon’s newest book doesn’t count, because we’ve read her books before and liked them, and they may count as a time travel/fantasy/historical fiction, all of which we read and enjoy.  We also can’t decide if a Regency romance will count, either, as we have read and liked some of those, too.  More on this later, as the new year approaches.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cafe Parlez, Coming events, Friends, Nonfiction book group

Cafe Parlez for February

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re discussing Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.  We have Magic Bars, Mystery Mocha Cake, Pumpkin Bread, pink 7-Up, and the usual tea and water.   Jen is giving the announcements.  The packet contains the “also-reads”, two biographies, a bibliography of her writings, and the questions. 

Jen asked people for their family superstitions.  HJ just mentioned the one about a bird flying into your window means someone in the house is going to die.  Then there’s the wishing chip, blowing out candles on a birthday cake, paying the wind if you’re sailing, saying the alphabet while twisting the stem on an apple to find the initial of the one you’ll marry, not saying “MacBeth” backstage.

Did anyone like the book?  Every one did.  M says that Sally acted out of character a couple of times.  Maybe it was because of the stress, but she wouldn’t have thrown the spaghetti sauce down the sink.  There were more times when things didn’t add up.  TD thinks it was out of character for her to bury her sister’s boyfriend!  Now there’s discussion about the difference between the movie and the book, especially when it concerns the boyfriend.  T says the lilacs were him because they used their beauty and scent to lure people to his evil.

Why did the aunts only have names at the end?  Maybe because that was when they became real people to the sisters.  The women always kept the name of Owen, because they were the strength of the family. 

Where in MA did the aunts live?  People think it’s Salem, the author’s from that area.  But in the movie, they talk about an island, maybe Martha’s Vineyard.  TD wonders why they change the story so much, when the book is so good.  It wasn’t necessary to change it so much. 

Everyone (except the aunts) were regular people in regular houses on regular streets.  Does this demonstrate that mystery and enchantment are everywhere?  We’re losing it in our modern society.  Some kids that don’t play with video games or watch too much tv still have that sense of fantasy.  Why do some kids read and some don’t?  Again, it’s the influence of technology.

Free will – is it subservient to destiny?  MD thinks they went hand-in-hand in this book.  Is there a curse on the women

Inner and outer realms?  What are they?  The magic, in the house, extra-ordinary life makes up the inner realm.  Ordinary life make up the outer realm.  The aunts are symbolic of the inner realm.  Why did the little girls not want to leave the house when they went to visit?  The house was a cool place to hang out in, and the aunts were cool people. 

Next month’s book is The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry, and we’ll meet on March 26.  Books are available at the desk, so come on over.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cafe Parlez

Cafe Parlez for January

A new year, a new book!  Tonight we’re discussing The Widow’s War by Sally Gunning.  This book takes place on Cape Cod.  Tonight’s goodies are Indian Pudding (made by L), Anadama bread, spice cake, cheese, little biscuit tart things, cider, tea/coffee, and water. 

Right now, the discussion is about all the work that women then had to do.  Also about the way Lydia is treated.  As a widow, she owns nothing.  They are also discussing the shunning of Lyddie.

Is Lyddie a woman of her time?  Most people think not, that she has too many opinions.  Maybe there is too much 20th century thought forced on this woman.    Some are surprised that she can read and write.  L thinks that Lyddie just doesn’t want to be controlled by anyone. 

How religious was Lyddie?  Not very, since she slept through one service and worked through another.  She blames Sam Cowett, but that’s not fair.   She was headed that way.  The church fathers weren’t very comforting when her husband died. 

Is Eben forward thinking in regards to women?  Not as much as he thinks he is.  He would have been a good husband to Lyddie, but he can’t consider why a women would want to own property and have their own business.  However, he challenges her and makes her think. 

Great discussion!  Join us next month for Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.  And don’t forget the Nonfiction Book Group and their February selection The Soiling of Old Glory, by Louis Masur.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cafe Parlez

Cafe Parlez for December

The last Cafe Parlez for 2008 and we’ve got delicious yummies coming out of our ears!!  Fruit, cheese, crackers, Moroccan soup, chocolate, cranberry nut bread – excellent!  There is a paperback swap, and door prizes. 

MC brought a photo album from a trip to Morocco, and sand, shells, and pot shards  from the Sahara desert. 

The point is brought up that the message was fine; it was the way it was presented.  Some people didn’t care for the book, some people thought it was the best book ever.  The gold was a bonus; the treasure was the learning process.   Every time he got near the “treasure”, something happened to stop him.  His Personal Journey was to find the treasure, which he interpreted as gold.  MTR thinks the main character was a little self-centered. 

What would have been a better Personal Legend for “The Boy”?  Why can’t his PL be riches?  The treasure was the end result, but the lesson was his journey.    You wish he was looking for something other than money, but he did promise the Gypsy that he’d give her a tenth of his treasure.

What was the difference between the Englishman and the Alchemist?  The Englishman was just focused on the gold, and the Alchemist was interested in the process and the achievement of enlightenment. 

Which payment The Boy made is “false hope”?  You have to pay a price to take a risk, so the Gypsy gave him false hopes by raising his expectations that he would win the treasure.  The Old Man was more helpful, taking his sheep, giving him good advice. 

While working for the crystal merchant, The Boy learned that he was better off following his dream, rather than sitting, waiting, afraid to follow the dream.  The Merchant seemed rather sad, but maybe that was his Personal Legend.  However, one of the obstacles to achieving your goal is the Fear of Succeeding. 

How do you know your Personal Legend?  People rush around too much.  They’re never still enough to listen to their heart, to set a goal.    Can a person be happy without a goal?  People like their ruts, but life throws you curve balls.  It’s at the end, when you look back, can you be content with where you’ve been and with the person you’ve become?  LM thinks people aren’t quiet enough to listen to themselves. 

That’s all for this month!  See you on January 29 to discuss The Widow’s War, by Sally Gunning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cafe Parlez

All Kinds of Stuff Going On!

We’ve been busy here at Plumb Library!  First off, the Nonfiction Book Group (we’ve GOT to think of a name for this group!) has started off strongly.  In October, six people got together to discuss Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed.  The discussion roamed all over the place, covering work, the class system, education, and the future of work.  Then the November book A Year in Provence brought six people together again to talk about life in Europe vs. America, the trials of having company, and what wierd food have you been asked to eat when traveling.  December’s book is Three Cups of Tea, and we meet on December 16 at 6:30.  The library is officially closed, but just come on in!  Books are available now at the desk.

FOOD FOR FINES starts December 1 and will go through the month.  Bring in any non-perishable food for the food pantry, and we’ll waive your fines.  This does not cover copying, faxing, or lost books.  Start the new year with a clean slate and help out the food pantry as well.

THE FRIENDS OF THE PLUMB LIBRARY’S HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE is Saturday, December 6 from 10 – 3.   Held in conjunction with the Plumb Corner Marketplace’s holiday festivities, and the Christmas faire at the Congregational Church, the Open House will have the Silent Auction and Bake Sale, plus refreshments.  Earth Sisters will be on hand to sell their handmade soaps, lotions, and candles, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Friends.  There will be holiday stories at 10:30 and 11:30, plus crafts for the kids.  This is an annual Event, and everyone looks forward to it.  Be sure to be here and bid, bid, bid on the Silent Auction items. (I have my eye on a lovely knitted  scarf!)

STORYTIME REGISTRATION starts December 8 – 20.  Space is limited, and Rochester residents have first preference, so call or drop by to register.

CAFE PARLEZ BOOK GROUP meets this Monday, 11/24 at 6:30 to discuss The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman.  The December book, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, is available at the desk.  The December meeting will be on Monday, December 29 at 6:30.  The 2009 title list will be available soon, though I hear that the first book might be The Widow’s War, by Sally Gunning.  Maybe we can have a field trip down Rte 6A?

As always, there are new books coming in.  Here’s a list:

A Master Class: Sensational recipes from the chefs of the New England Culinary Institute

Knitting: A Novel, by Anne Bartlett

Fleece Navidad, by Maggie Sefton

Crewel Yule, by Monica Ferris

Kissing Games of the World, by Sandi Kahn Shelton

Tis the Season!, by Lorna Landvik

Chasing Smoke, by BIll Cameron

Cross Country, by James Patterson

The Longest Trip Home, by John Grogan (author of Marley and Me)

Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Leave a comment

Filed under Cafe Parlez, Coming events, Friends, News, Nonfiction book group