April 30-May 3, 2012

“This year, in the first round alone, the playoffs have been a statistical marvel. The Bleacher Report lays it out pretty concisely here. Watching them is mentally, emotionally, and possibly, physically (depending on how you react under pressure) hard. Playing in them? Obviously, a whole lot harder.” Read “How many heart attacks does it take to win a Stanley Cup?” by Yael Borofsky

“If you loved Dujardin’s suave, mugging-for-the-camera charm in The Artist, there is plenty more here. Dujardin plays the French version of James Bond, or perhaps more accurately, Maxwell Smart. The humor comes from Dujardin’s character (Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, aka OSS 117) being clueless about everything around him. Most of the humor relies on “did he just say that?” gags, as Dujardin makes brash observations about the culture in Cairo.” Read “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies” by Daniel J. Hogan.

“There is always an idyll in these books, a sense that joy is too good to last. This is pronounced in A Song For Summer, where Ellen, the practical daughter of suffragettes who is unaccountably gifted at housekeeping, becomes the matron at an alternative school in Austria and transforms all the rich, eccentric students and teachers with her kindness and levelheadedness. Ellen falls in love with the school’s caretaker, a Czech concert violinist who has resigned his position in protest against the Reich. Everything is about to end. Ellen and Marek will find each other again after the war, changed. We, the readers, know that the beautiful valley, the children, the storks, the still lake, and Ellen and Marek cannot stay there forever. But how we wish they could.” Read “Eva Ibbotson on love and war” by Suzanne Fischer.

“Last weekend, the temperature shot up to a record-breaking, unseasonably warm 85 degrees, and I went into full-on summer break mode. I slept with the window open; woke up gleeful as if SCHOOL’S OUT FOR THE SUMMER, did my work in sundresses, and froze orange juice to make popsicles. As with everything, I wanted to celebrate with food. Ever since I ate all my Easter candy, the kitchen was back to its usual sad, no-sweets state. But with the heat, the last thing I wanted to do was crank up the oven.” Read “Summer desserts: Icebox cake” by Jill Kolongowski.

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