Have a Hearty Harvest

Use the recipes in these new cookbooks to make something delicious out of the last produce of the season.

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street: The New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimball (formerly of America’s Test Kitchen)

The Moosewood Restaurant Table: 250 New Recipes From The Natural Foods Restaurant That Revolutionized Eating In America

Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman

Sweet: Desserts By London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh

Trim Healthy Table: More Than 300 All-New Healthy and Delicious Recipes From Our Homes To Yours by Pearl Barret & Serene Allison

World War I and America

wwi&a logo

JMRL is delighted to have the opportunity to take part in the national initiative World War I and America. This initiative coincides with the 100th anniversary of the nation’s 1917 entry into the war, and seeks to explore its lasting legacy.

We hope that you will join us in one or more of the events planned in this series:

Reading Lists:

To learn more about World War I, check out the audiobooks and ebooks in our OverDrive collection.

Featured Events:

Read Local: William Walker’s Betrayal at Little Gibraltar
Sunday, October 22 at 2pm
Central Library
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, join local author and educator William Walker as he discusses his book about the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France, Betrayal at Little Gibraltar.

Page to Screen Movie Night
Wednesday, October 25 at 7pm
Gordon Avenue Library
Paths of Glory (1957)

Central Film Series
Thursday, October 26 at 7pm
Central Library
War Horse (2011)

Books on Tap
Thursday, November 2 at 7pm
Champion Brewing Company
Discussion of A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Veterans and Mental Health
Sunday, November 5 at 2pm
Central Library
Join us for a presentation about mental health by the Mitchell Hash Foundation. The Mitchell Hash Foundation helps those who struggle with thoughts of suicide as well as educates the general public about suicide. This talk will focus on the mental health needs of veterans.

WWI and America Book Group
Tuesday, November 7 at 11am
The Haven
Join retired JMRL librarian and Vietnam veteran Bob Bjoring to listen to and discuss selected stories from the World War I and America reader in conjunction with veteran war experiences. No registration necessary. The World War I and America reader is also accessible online.

Film Screening and Discussion – All Quiet on the Western Front
Monday, November 13 at 6pm
Northside Library
Screening of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and discussion led by University of Virginia Associate Professor Carmenita Higginbotham.

The Human Side of War
Wednesday, November 15 at 6pm
CitySpace
Charlottesville High School students present excerpts from videos and podcasts produced in partnership with local Vietnam veterans.

Books Sandwiched In
Friday, November 17 at 12pm
Northside Library
A book review, usually of non-fiction titles, presented by a guest speaker. It is not necessary to have read the book to attend the program. Independent scholar Rick Potter will discuss the history and provide context for the book.
The Englishman’s Daughter: a True Story of Love and Betrayal in WWI by Ben Macintyre



These programs are part of World War I and America, a two-year national initiative of The Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Sometimes it is better to imagine a past than remember it.”

houseBooks on Tap read House of Stone  by Anthony Shadid at  Champion Brewery on October 5. A memoir about the months he spent restoring his family home in Marjayoun in southern Lebanon, the book was published shortly after he died from an asthma attack while reporting near the Syrian border. A memoir differs from an autobiography in that it typically focuses on a signal aspect of the writer’s life, such as sailing around the world or kicking an addiction. Or as Gore Vidal wrote,“a memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.” Oddly, Shadid at times hides himself in the story, not delving into the pain of the separation from his first wife and daughter and only alluding to the other duties he has during this time frame. On the other hand, he is a writer, so he will write to process these feelings and the book as a whole reflects his reporting: chronological and fact-driven.

Shadid intercuts the struggles he has hiring tradesmen, buying supplies and understanding his neighbors with family history, tracing how the grand house was built, declined and rebuilt. He admires the great-grandfather who financed and built the house, the great-grandmother who maintained it as a widow and the grandmother who was born there but came to America to save the ensuing generations, who include doctors, lawyers and award-winning reporters.

The negotiations about the house provide humor as nearly every request explodes into a fight. This instant anger may be born of trauma, from the 1975 civil war to the Israeli occupation to Rafik Hariri’s assassination. It is also a useful rage, giving one the upper hand in negotiations. One of our readers noted that Americans need to know about this tendency if they are ever to help negotiate peace in the area.

While most people liked the book, those that didn’t agreed that it could have used a map and photographs. However, Shadid does define the Levant and the way of life practiced there until the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Some of us struggled with the transitions between the family history and the modern-day restoration, but one astute reader among us noted that this structure mirrors the history of the house itself. As the family story progresses, the house goes from good to bad while during Shadid’s personal story the house goes from bad to good.

And what a family story. Over four generations, Shadid illustrates the pull of the area: the beauty of landscape, the interconnected lives of the residents, the limited options presented by the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the ensuing civil wars and the general  instability of life near the Israeli and Syrian borders. Again and again he returns to his family’s position in the town and the intermarriages which make him known to the residents before he even officially moves in. One book club member was struck that despite the bombing, occupation and ruin the house faces, everyone knows who the abandoned structure belongs to. Which turns out to be many people. Shadid is warned time and again by family in America and people in Marjayoun that he should under no circumstances rebuild the home because too many descendants have a claim on it and could cause trouble just after Shadid pours money into the project. Despite this foreshadowing, nothing comes of the warnings. Just the opposite happens, at the end of the book Shadid brings his second wife and their son to the house, declaring that no matter where they live, “this is home now.”

Our book club members recounted their own tales of the pull of the family place, from Switzerland to Lebanon itself. One woman generously shared her own experience of marrying into a Lebanese family in Kansas, who were drawn to the area in the 1920s when it was open territory with little infrastructure. Peddlers back in Lebanon, that serviced the new settlements, later opening grocery and furniture stores. Much like Shadid, her American-born son now feels more comfortable in Lebanon. Another club member reported similar chain migration in his area of West Virginia.

We also discussed the current state of migration to the US and the fact that, because of travel bans and xenophobia, Shadid’s family couldn’t do today what they did in the early 20th century, meaning that many of them would have died young and poor. Central Library recently screened the documentary Eight Borders, Eight Days which follows migrants from nearby Syria as they try to get to Europe in 2015. Shadid’s great-grandfather lived as an Ottoman gentleman, something that only a few Marjayoun residents are still able to do and are noted for it. While Shadid frequently alludes to the glory days of the empire,  everything collapses (as one member pointed out) and certainly other parts of the empire suffered.

Finally, we discussed the imagined past mentioned in the blog post title. As we struggle with preserving, contextualizing and assimilating history in Charlottesville, we have to acknowledge that because history is all too often remembered from a single perspective it is indeed imagined more than remembered.  

Next month we will be reading Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms as part of JMRL’s WWI centenary programs.  To get a free copy of the book to keep, please email Sarah at shamfeldt @  jmrl . org.  We’ll also be choosing books for spring 2018, so bring your suggestions!

More Information:
About the author
About the book
New York Times Obituary
Shadid’s guided tour of the house
Cemento tile making
Lebanon timeline
House of Stone book club kit
Shadid’s previous book Night Draws Near
Articles by Shadid

Books on Tap Information:

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