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Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club 2019

Scythe by Neal Shusterman The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden Boneshaker

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club 2019
Going into our second year, Waltham’s Sci-fi/Fantasy Book Club continues to explore the magical, the scientific, and the just plain bizarre. Meetups are every second Monday of the month, 7:15-8:45pm. Books can be found at the First Floor Circulation Desk. No registration required! Nerd or not, all are welcomed! Snacks provided!

1/14/2019: Scythe by Neal Shusterman
2/11/2019: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
3/11/2019: Neuromancer by William Gibson
4/8/2019: Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
5/13/2019: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
6/10/2019: Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
7/8/2019: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
8/12/2019: Kraken: An Anatomy by China Miéville
9/9/2019: The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
10/21/2019: Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
11/18/2019: The Martian by Andy Weir
12/9/2019: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

100 Years After the Armistice: November 11, 1918- November 11, 2018

The New York Tribune November 10, 1918 from the collection of the Library of Congress
The New York Tribune, November 10, 1918 from the collection of The Library of Congress

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, (“the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”), exactly one hundred years will have passed since the Armistice, signalling the end of World War I, aka “The Great War”. Armistice Day, known as Veteran’s Day in the United States, is a reminder of a bloody and brutal war which was supposed to end all wars, but which actually helped laid out a blueprint for future history and conflicts in the 20th and 21st Centuries. As we pause to remember, one hundred years later, please use our guide for resources related to the First World War.

Museums, Local Exhibits, and Digital Collections

Images

Wake up America! from The Library of Congress Collection Back our Girls Over There from The Library of Congress Collection Two Unidentified African American Soldiers from The Library of Congress collection

American Library Association Field Truck from The National Archives collection

Newspapers and Articles

Music

Books
There is an extensive list of books about World War I. This is by no means an exhaustive list but some that I, and others, recommend.

Non-Fiction: call #s: 940.3 – 940.409

Fiction

DVDs

Documentaries

Movies

More Information from Our Subscription Databases

posted by Laura

Staff Reads — November 2018

Book Projector Treble Clef

Laura:

  • Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar: This fast paced book about the life of the slaves of the United States’ first First Family, is riveting and presents a whole picture about slavery in the early years of this country. I’ve always admired the bravery of slaves who dared to run away from their owners, but this book gave me a new appreciation for what goes into that decision and the consequences. I also saw the Washingtons (especially Martha and her grandchildren) in a new (and not positive) light.
  • Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta, downloadable audiobook narrated (mainly) by Carrie Coon and Finn Wittrock, and featuring six “guest star” narrators: This character driven novel is the story of Eve Fletcher, experiencing empty nest syndrome after her son, Brendan, goes to college. This book easily could have relied on so many tropes, but it manages to send a lot of them on their head, and gives a lot of character development to minor and secondary characters. I appreciated, for example, that Eve’s ex-husband, while not the best husband to her, was actually portrayed as a decent and complex person. I usually don’t like the use of multiple narrators in audiobooks to portray different points of view, but it works well here.
  • Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, downloadable audiobook narrated by Mariska Hargitay, with supplemental material narrated by Miranda and McCarter: This behind the scenes of the hit stage show is the perfect companion for fans of Hamilton: The Musical or musicals, in general. I read, quickly, through the print version of this several months ago as we planned for Watch Read Listen but I was able to listen to it with a new appreciation after having the pleasure of seeing the show. Since Hargitay is the narrator, I was a little disappointed that the Law and Order dun dun didn’t sound at the start of each chapter.
  • Yiddish Civilization: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation by Paul Kriwaczek: When I was a child, my grandmother often liked to tell bawdy jokes or relay family secrets by spelling everything. I made the fatal mistake of admitting that I could spell and knew what she was saying and that’s when she switched to speaking Yiddish when telling these secrets. Though born in this country and a native English speaker, the Yiddish language and culture was such an important part of my grandmother’s life and she passed on the love to me. Though sadly, I never became fluent enough to understand the jokes or family gossip. This book is a detailed and fascinating history of both the language and those who spoke it. If you’re interested in learning more, I also recommend visiting the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst.
  • Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin: These collected food essays by a late writer for The New Yorker and other magazines are humorous and very relatable. I love to cook and read food writing, but some food memoirists take themselves very seriously and it was nice to read one that had a good sense of humor. I would suggest this for any foodie who watched Julia Child, mainly for her entertaining personality and who wanted solace after any cooking disaster.
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: This plot driven novel, full of descriptive detail about rural Alaska in the 1970’s, is perfect for anyone who reads for a sense of place and who doesn’t mind characters suffering until the last few pages. When Leni is 13 years old, her Vietnam vet father, Ernt, moves the family to Alaska. He becomes more of a survivalist, and the entire family must deal with the consequences of his PTSD. The details of their new life and surroundings are exquisite and the book is very fast paced, despite its length. However, if readers are looking to read about a teenager living with a parent with PTSD, due to the war, I recommend The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson as an alternate title.

Pat O.

Ashley:

Dana:

  • My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan: I really loved the first part of this book – the author’s descriptions of Oxford made me feel like I was actually there. My interest in the story shrunk as I read, though it held me long enough to finish.
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: I just could not get into this one and gave up after 50 pages. I think I was in the mood for a book with a little more going on, and a more likable protagonist than this one has.
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn: I spotted this one while checking in books and the title made me laugh. It’s mostly a parenting book with a touch of memoir thrown in, and it pretty much boils down to: communication is important.
  • The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke: This book was the latest title for Overdrive’s Big Library Read. The premise caught my eye – a sixteen-year-old girl accidentally time travels to East Berlin in 1988 – especially because I was in Berlin while I was reading it! It’s got magic, romance, history, and even a few German curse words for good measure. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
  • Achtung Baby by U2: I couldn’t stop listening to this one before and after my recent trip to Berlin. The first track (“Zoo Station”) was in my head the whole time I was at the Berlin Zoo with my toddler. It’s such a good album.
  • The Great British Baking Show: A bit late to the party, I started watching Season 5 on Netflix this month. I love Noel Fielding! I always end up craving cake while I watch, though.
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?: What a fantastic documentary about Mr. Rogers. I didn’t think it was possible, but I love him even more after watching this.

Casey:

Janet Z.

  • A Girl’s Guide to Missiles: Growing up in America’s Secret Desert by Karen Piper: Karen Piper’s account of growing up on a U.S. missile development compound in the Mojave Desert is a great read. Piper draws upon her childhood memories, interviews with family members, and extensive archival research to explore aspects of U.S. military history that are uncomfortable, disconcerting, and fascinating all at once. I could have done with fewer details about Piper’s druggie post-college days in Oregon and other adult exploits but she apparently needed to make it crystal clear that that she did not follow in the footsteps of her evangelical, missile-designing, politically conservative parents, however much she loved them.
  • Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple: Ugh. This book was really hard to follow and none of the main characters were likeable. Need I say more?
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler, audiobook read by Jenna Lamia: I loved learning about this fascinating woman. Dare I say she may have been F. Scott’s “better half?” You be the judge. The talented narrator glides effortlessly between male and female characters of varying ages, with convincing Southern, Midwestern, French, and Italian accents to boot.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, audiobook read by Barbara Rosenblat: Gorgeously written, beautifully narrated. Made my many hours in the car over the past month fly by.
  • The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story: When I found out that Arif Mardin produced records for both Aretha Franklin and Scritti Polliti I had to learn more. Turns out he also produced for Dusty Springfield, Norah Jones, Barbra Streisand, and many other artists. I particularly enjoyed watching a wide variety of musicians express their respect and love for Mardin, who was arranging music up until the day he died.

Debora H.

  • The Lost Family by Jenna Blum: I read this because we hosted the author in September. It’s a story about both a man’s family actually lost in WWII and his second family, lost in his grief, silence, and trauma. I didn’t love all the characters, but I did love the writing.
  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan: WWII as a genre is my go to and this book did not disappoint. Set in Italy during the Nazi occupation, this is the story of Pino Lella, a young man who ends up as a driver for a Nazi official, gathering intelligence and feeding it to the resistance. It’s also a love story, beautifully told.

Kelly:

Mary V.:

  • Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh: I like this author because her stories are suspenseful with unpredictable twists. This is the story of Anna who is a new mother. Both of her parents died within the last year. The police determined that both deaths were suicides. Anna believes it was murder and is determined to find out exactly what happened.
  • Instructions For a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell: This book was in the book drop during one of our heat waves and it just caught my attention. Although the story takes place during a heat wave, the heat has little to do with anything. It takes place in Ireland. A man leaves his house to buy a newspaper and never returns. His wife of fifty years doesn’t know what happened to him. She gathers her children and together they discover what happened. I enjoyed reading it.
  • Dark Tide Rising by Anne Perry: This is the newest William Monk novel. A man wants Monk’s help in paying a ransom to kidnappers who have abducted his wife. Monk and five of his trusted staff plan to meet the kidnappers, pay the ransom and rescue the man’s wife. However, they are attacked and are unsuccessful. Monk believes that one of his men must have alerted the kidnappers. He pursues the kidnappers while trying to determine which of his men betrayed him.
  • The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd: This is the latest Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery which takes place in 1920. Ian is not on police business when he comes across a man who has just been murdered. As he investigates the murder, he discovers two more murders that are similar. He races against the clock to determine the connection among the three murders before someone else is murdered.
  • Diana’s White House Garden by Elisa Carbone: This is a children’s book from the book drop. Since it was about Eleanor Roosevelt and the White House, I borrowed it. It is based on Diana Hopkins who lived in the White House with her father, Harry Hopkins, Franklin Roosevelt’s chief advisor. She is ten years old and wants to help with the war effort. She plants one of the first Victory Gardens. It’s American history and a cute story. It is nicely illustrated by Jen Hill.

Kim:

  • Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza: A great look at what it takes to be a woman running for office. Our country still seems to have concerns about working mothers, arguably with women generally, and especially those with political ambitions and this book really gets it right. Please tell me if you locate any other novel about a woman running for national office! I can’t think of any…
  • Goop Clean Beauty: Easy to read information about what we put on our skin and into our bodies. I’ve been trying to phase out anything that isn’t cruelty free (did you know that if a company sells in China they are required by law to test on animals to sell there?) and vegan, and focus on ingredients that aren’t questionable in their long-term effects both for skincare and cosmetics.
  • Feminasty: the Complicated Woman’s Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy without Drinking Herself to Death by Erin Gibson: The title says it all, right? Erin is whip-smart, caustic, and sometimes vulgar…not to mention well informed. Her essay topics run the gamut from Mike Pence to living with herpes to a list of women-owned cosmetic companies you can feel good about giving money to. Her honest, tell-it-like-it-is style is endearing and empowering. Erin also hosts a podcast, Throwing Shade, with Brian Safi and they delve into women’s issues and gay rights. I cannot recommend this book enough for everyone.
  • The Haunting of Hill House: It got rave reviews, but I felt very mixed feelings about it. Something about the script or the acting annoyed me, I can’t tell which was the problem. The first batch of episodes focuses on one sibling, and I didn’t enjoy that much. It really slowed down the progression of the story. Your mileage may vary.
  • Making a Murderer (season 2): Again, mixed feelings. Could’ve used more aggressive editing to cut down on the length overall. If you liked the first season, great. Just be aware that this is much more of a legal drama. It mostly follows his new, high-profile attorney in her efforts to break down the forensic evidence presented in the case against Steven Avery. It also covers Brendan Dassey’s attempts to convince courts that his confession was coerced. It’s very upsetting to imagine the kind of conspiracy that they appear to upturn.
  • Blackkklansman: Everyone should know the story of Detective Ron Stallworth’s successful infiltration of the KKK as a black man. I love John David Washington (of Ballers fame, and also Denzel’s son) and Adam Driver (aka Klyo Ren and former Girls castmember) so seeing this in theaters was a no-brainer. The film is somewhat heavy-handed in its digs at politics today, but it offers great screenwriting, superb performances and overall it’s a very Spike Lee film. If you have a heart you will leave the theater with tears in your eyes thanks to Lee’s content before the credits.
  • Halloween (2018): Not bad. I found it to be just slightly too short to really care or feel terror, but I think overall it was a good watch if you want a scary movie.
  • Calypso by David Sedaris: I always prefer to hear Sedaris read his own stories. His voice just soothes me. He’s one of my favorite authors and Calypso doesn’t disappoint. This book covers a lot of dark topics (suicide of his sister, the death of his mother) with loads of typical glass-half-empty kinds of light (feeding your tumor to a turtle for instance). You might cry, but you will also laugh and wrinkle your nose in disgust, but you’ll also feel warmed by all of it..that’s Sedaris’ gift. The Sedaris family simply fascinates me and I always enjoy getting a peek into David’s head.

Always Young (At Heart) Adult Book Club, 2019!

Untwined by Edwidge Danticat The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Do you still love reading young adult (teen) novels, even though you were in high school before Harry Potter received his letter from Hogwarts? Join us in early 2019 for the new book club, Always Young (At Heart) Adult and share your love of YA literature with other adults. We meet once a month on Wednesdays at 7:15 pm, starting on January 9.

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2019 Waltham Public Library Thursday Night Book Club Selections

The Tree Bird of Humingbird Lane by Lisa See The View from Flyover Country by Sarah Kendzio Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Announcing the 2019 reading list for the Waltham Public Library Thursday Night Book Club! Meetings are once a month on Thursdays at 7:15 pm. Books are available at the First Floor Circulation Desk during the month before the meeting. The book club is open to everyone. No registration required. And we always provide snacks!

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Initiating Inspiration Book Group 2018-2019

The Initiating Inspiration Book Group is a partnership between the Waltham Public Library and the Agape Spiritual Community of Waltham.

This group meets every other month on the fourth Monday at 7:15.  The group ends at 8:45.

Copies of the books are available at our Circulation Desk on the first floor of the library.

Please call 781-314-3425 and press “2” at the prompt to check availability.

Print this list!

Monday, November 27, 2018

Image result for boy erased image

Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision:  either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he prayed to every day of his life.  Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin.  Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.

 

Monday, January 28, 2018

Image result for how will you measure your life

How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon   How Will You Measure Your Life shows you how to sustain motivation at work and in life to spend your time on earth happily and fulfilled, by focusing not just on money and your career, but your family, relationships and personal well-being.

 

 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Image result for brene brown daring greatly

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown Researcher and thought leader Brene Brown encourages us to dare greatly:  to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.

 

 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Image result for before happiness

Before Happiness:  The Five Hidden Keys To Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, And Sustaining Positive Change by Shawn Achor  Why are some people able to make positive change while others remain the same? In his international bestseller, The Happiness Advantage, Harvard trained researcher Shawn Achor described why happiness is the precursor to greater success. This book is about what comes before both. Because before we can be happy or successful, we need to first develop the ability to see that positive change is possible. Only once we learn to see the world through a more positive lens can we summon all our motivation, emotion, and intelligence to achieve our personal and professional goals.

 

Monday, September 23, 2019

How To Relax:  By Thich Nhat Hanh   Thich Nhat Hanh says that when we relax, we “become calm water, and we will reflect reality as it is. If we’re not calm, the image we reflect will be distorted. When the image is distorted by our minds, it’s not the reality, and it causes lots of suffering.” Relaxation is essential for accessing the tranquility and joy that lead to increased personal well-being. With sections on healing, relief from nonstop thinking, transforming unpleasant sounds, solitude, being peace, and more, How to Relax includes meditations you can do to help you achieve the benefits of relaxation no matter where you are.

 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Image result for buddhas brain

Buddha’s Brain:  The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom by Rick Hanson Buddha’s Brain joins the forces of modern neuroscience with ancient contemplative teachings to show readers how they can work toward greater emotional well-being, healthier relationships, more effective actions, and deepened religious and spiritual understanding. This book will explain how the core elements of both psychological well-being and religious or spiritual life-virtue, mindfulness, and wisdom-are based in the core functions of the brain: regulating, learning, and valuing. Readers will also learn practical ways to apply this information, as the book offers many exercises they can do to tap the unused potential of the brain and rewire it over time for greater peace and well-being.

Statewide Election 2018

Vote Button

There is a statewide general election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Eligible voters will be voting for Governor, US Senator, US Representatives, State Senators and Representatives, and several other offices. This year, there are 3 ballot questions for voters to ponder. Every vote counts, especially in local elections, so remember to cast your vote on Election Day! Here is what you need to know:

Voter Registration Information

  • The last day to register to voter in order to be eligible to vote on November 6 is Wednesday, October 17. Don’t be late! There are several ways that you can register.
  • Check your voter registration status online through the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Waltham residents may also check their registration status at the Waltham City Clerk’s office, 781-314-3120.
  • Register to vote in person at your city or town clerk’s office. Waltham residents can register to vote at the city clerk’s office at City Hall, Second Floor on 610 Main Street.
  • Pick up mail in voter registration forms at the library. If you want to be eligible to vote on November 6, make sure they reach your municipal election commission by October 17.
  • Are you renewing your Massachusetts driver’s license in the near future? You can multi-task and register to vote during the renewal process at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
  • Register to vote online.
  • Don’t have a permanent address? Citizens, regardless of housing status, are allowed to register to vote. According to this site, shelters, street corners, and parks are acceptable to use as a registration address.
  • Massachusetts participates in the Address Confidentiality Program. If you are a citizen but are concerned about your safety being compromised by revealing your address by registering to vote, the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office can help with that. Contact 617-727-3261 or 1-866-SAFE-ADD for more information.
  • Going out of town? Don’t use that as an excuse not to vote! Request an absentee ballot at the city clerk’s office, download a form, or pick up a form at the library.

Where and When to Vote

Staff Reads September 2018

Book Projector Treble Clef

Dana:

  • How to Stop Time by Matt Haig: Matt Haig is one of my favorite authors, and he didn’t disappoint with this, his most recent novel. It’s about a man who ages at a far slower rate than the average human, so while he looks to be in his 40s, he was actually born in the 1500s. It’s a great combination of history, romance, and science fiction, with dashes of mystery and adventure. And it’s now on my “To Read Again” list.
  • The Dry by Jane Harper: I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book if it hadn’t been for my book club. I’m still not sure how I felt about it. I didn’t love it, but it was suspenseful enough to keep me flipping pages til the end.
  • The Wave by Todd Strasser: A novelization of a true story of a high school history teacher’s experiment with fascism gone awry. I found the book to be pretty badly written, but the story itself is a good wake-up call for how easy it can be to get swept up in a movement.
  • You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson: A collection of essays about race, gender, and pop culture by comedian Phoebe Robinson. It made me laugh and also made me think, which is always a good combination!
  • Listening:

  • I really love the CD collection at our library! This month I’ve been revisiting some classics, like David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders f and XX by Rage Against the Machine as well as new releases by old favorites like In Your Own Sweet Time by The Fratellis.
  • Also, in an attempt to lighten up my generally political podcast-filled commutes, I’ve started listening to the Ride Home Reactions podcast . Each episode is about 20 minutes of movie reviews, recorded on the podcasters’ ride home from the theater. It’s fun, and they have great insights!
  • Watching:

  • Ready Player One: Oof, I did not like this movie. I enjoyed the book so much and it just did not do the book justice. Maybe if I hadn’t read the book first I would have liked it, but I’m just glad I didn’t spend the money to see it in the theater!
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix)
    A super cute movie based on the YA novel of the same name. I read the book before watching, and think they did a great job staying true to the story. I felt a little torn while reading the book, but the movie made me Team Peter for sure.

Mary V.:

  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz: This is two mystery stories in one book. The first mystery takes places decades ago and is similar to an Agatha Christie mystery. The second murder takes place in the present time. I had never read this author, but I did like this book.
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz: A woman enters a funeral home to plan her funeral and is killed shortly thereafter. The author has placed himself in the book. He is recruited by a private investigator to shadow him during the investigation and the write a book about it.
  • A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo: An Amish teenager commits suicide by hanging herself in her family’s barn. A little later, another Amish teenager is found burned to death in his family’s barn. This is the newest Kate Burkholder mystery and Kate is hampered by silence in the Amish community as she strives to find answers and connections.
  • The Grell Mystery by Frank Froest: This is a mystery in the Detective Club series. It takes place and was written in 1913. There are too many characters. I was so confused about who everyone was that I gave up and asked by brother James who committed the murder. I rarely don’t finish a book I start, but I was not enjoying this one.
  • The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz: This is a Sherlock Holmes mystery. If you like Sherlock Holmes, I think that you would like this.
  • Desolation Mountain by William Kent Krueger: This is the newest book in the Cork O’Connor series. A US senator from Minnesota is travelling to Cork’s hometown of Aurora to attend a town meeting about restarting mining on the Native American reservation in Aurora. The senator is against mining the land and there is a group in favor of it. Her private plane goes down on Desolation Mountain. The government insists that it is pilot error, but Cork is suspicious and believes that there is a conspiracy to hide the truth when several Native Americans who were first at the crash scene are missing.
  • The Shadow of His Wings by Father Gereon K Goldmann: This is an autobiography of a Franciscan seminarian who was drafted into the German army. He was allowed to be a non-combatant, but had harrowing experiences on the battlefield as a medic. It is story of a man who believes in the power of prayer. He manages to practice his faith and be ordained a Franciscan priest in spite of great obstacles. He was held as a prisoner of war for more than two years and suffered great deprivations during captivity. He was falsely accused of being a Nazi, but through determination. prayer and effort was exonerated.
  • The Cabin at The End of the World by Paul Tremblay: This novel takes place in northern New Hampshire. Seven year old Wen is vacationing at a lakeside cabin with her dads, Andrew and Eric. She is looking forward to her eighth birthday party when four strangers arrive and terrorize the small family by breaking into the cabin wielding horrible hand made weapons and making unreasonable demands. It is very violent and eerie, but I could not stop reading it. There are occasional flashbacks to relieve the ongoing blood and gore.

Laura:

  • You’re on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir by Parker Posey: I really wanted to like this stream of consciousness by one of my favorite independent actresses but I couldn’t get into it. The writing style reminded me of the pseudonymous, Libby Gelman-Waxner, whose columns were funny, but much shorter.
  • The Babysitters Club Graphic Novels by Raina Telgemeier and Gale Galligan, based on the original series by Ann M. Martin: I was obsessed with the Babysitters Club back in the day and was very excited when Raina Telgemeir adapted four of the titles into graphic novels, about 12 years ago. Telgemeier’s original four titles have been re-issued and Gale Galligan has taken over the reins and produced some of the later titles. In Mary Anne Saves the Day (Telgemeier), Claudia and Mean Janine (Telgemeier), and Dawn and the Impossible Three (Galligan), the two graphic novelists do a good job of staying true to the original books while also avoiding the factors that make Ann M. Martin’s series dated. There are also some original plot points, indicating that the graphic novels could be heading in a new and different direction. If you can’t get enough of The Babysitters Club nostalgia, I also recommend checking out The Babysitters Club Club Podcast, Arglefumpph Book Reviews on Youtube, and Babysitters Club Snark-Fest on Live Journal.
  • Ship It by Britta Lundin: Claire is a fan fiction writer who writes slash fiction about her OTP (that’s one true pairing for you shipping and/or fan fiction neophytes) from her favorite show, Demon Heart. A PR disaster ensues when she asks Forest, the lead actor, about it at a convention and he insists that his character is not gay. Claire soon finds herself involved in the show, and she and Forest start to learn more about themselves and their perception of others. A great look at fan culture as well as identity. This is a good readalike for fans of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl.
  • On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder: Yale history professor Snyder outlines 20 ways to combat tyranny using examples from twentieth century history. Very thought provoking.
  • I’ve been checking out some cookbooks and trying new recipes:

  • Pimp My Noodles by Kathy Kordalis: I’ve made Soy Eggs and look forward to making Ten Minute Ramen and Quick Prawn Laska.
  • The Great British Bake Off: Perfect Cakes and Bakes to Make at Home by Linda Collister: I’ve made the Maple Walnut Biscuits and the season 7 technical challenge, Viennese Whirls. Warning! The latter is very sweet!
  • I Love Pumpkin: I look forward to making Pumpkin and Mushroom Soup.
  • Mary Berry Everyday: I worship at the altar of Mary Berry! There are too many tempting recipes in this book to list!

Debora H.:

  • The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian: I read this in 4 days; I simply couldn’t put it down. This is Chris Bohjalian at his best – think Midwives, not The Night Strangers. Because this author always does his homework, I learned a lot about flight attendants…and alcoholics. The novel is about Cassie Bowden, a flight attendant who drinks so much, she often has black out periods where she has no memory of what she’s done. She wakes up one morning in Dubai to find the man she slept with the night before murdered next to her. This is a tense thriller that will keep you up at night.
  • Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen: This book is both sweet and sad and I loved every lyrical word of it. Harry Crane’s wife dies in a freak accident and to escape, he heads to Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains to literally live in the trees. There he meets a little girl, Oriana, who has lost her father and together with Oriana’s mother, Amanda, the two help each other reenter the world of the living. The power of libraries features big as well, something of course well appreciated by me.
  • Electric City by Elizabeth Rosner: I read this book because I grew up with the author. I recommend this book because it’s a great read. Electric City is the nickname for Schenectady, NY and the author deftly moves back and forth in time between a 1965 coming of age story about Sophie Levine and the mostly untold story of 1919 scientist Charles Steinmetz, the inventor of the first electric car. This is a story of both the individual characters and the city they inhabit.

Kerry: I’m reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. It’s a quick read but a thought provoking one. What would we do if we lost ten years of our memory? The main character finds herself in a completely different world in 2008, thinking it is still 1998, newly married and expecting her first child. Ten years, a divorce and three kids later she tries to put the pieces of the puzzle back together. The story unfolds in a unique yet relatable way. Great read for a rainy day!

Ashley:

Kim:

  • Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay: The story of a family and their interaction with four strangers in the remote woods of northern New Hampshire. This book is dark and terrifying. You probably won’t see the next move coming…even if you think you might know what’s next some of the time, you’ll still feel dread until what’s done is done, and even after.
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid: What a story. Can’t say much without giving it away. Worth reading in one sitting, and I’m considering rereading it. Once you know the ending you’ll want to start it over too. Like it says on the back of the book “you’ll be scared but won’t know why,” and yea, you should be. The book offers a lot of philosophical discussion and elements but is firmly rooted in the horror camp.
  • Hereditary (DVD/Bluray): This is the story of a family dealing with death and spirits. A slow burn that remains moody and eerie throughout. And though the film takes its time, you get to know the family and the payoff is worth it. I loved that the film didn’t spell everything out for the viewer or give some big backstory to tidy up the story at the end. You get small moments and bits of backstory, and it is just enough to give the story meaning. I also love that this film didn’t go for the cheap thrills and tropes that are often in horror movies. The acting was excellent (except for the older brother’s cry) and there’s zero camp.
  • The Year of Less by Caitlin Flanders: A memoir of the author’s attempts to live without shopping for a year while traveling and saving more. You’ll want to revisit your budget after. I loved it and if you have any interest at all in these types of challenges, it’s a great read.

Louise:

  • The Humans by Matt Haig: This delicious, delightful touching novel was recommended to me by our archivist and I loved every moment. The creative premise is that there is a mathematician who has made a great mathematical breakthrough that is considered to be a threat to the universe. The Vonnodorians, an advanced civilization devoid of mortality, emotions, bodies and other annoying human tendencies, send one of their own down to become Professor Andrew Martin. His mission? To destroy anyone who may have come into contact with this theory. However, the impostor Professor begins to lose his distaste for all things human. He becomes attached to the Professor’s family, his dog, peanut butter, Emily Dickinson and more. This novel is creative, funny, heartwarming, absorbing. Highly recommended even to people who don’t usually read speculative fiction or who don’t understand the theory of prime numbers.
  • Fear by Bob Woodward: I bought this book on the day it came out. I don’t usually buy books because of my awesome position in the library but somehow, my hand reached for the book. The book is interesting and seems very factual so far. Worth getting on the list simply because Bob Woodward has so much credibility. The chapters are short and very subject specific.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: This was recommended to me first by an awesome library colleague and than by another awesome library colleague. One recommended the book format and then the other recommended the audiobook format. I went with the audiobook because the narrator, Jim Dale, is an amazing reader and I had to drive to Maine. Jim Dale could read the back of a cereal box and hold my interest and this book is much more interesting than any cereal box. The quality of the writing, the narration and the story are all superb. Harry Potter Fans will love this book. It would make a very interesting and entertaining movie but I don’t know that this is in the planning.
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: Ottessa had me at Eileen and she still has me with this darkly funny, quirky novel. The main character is beautifully drawn. She decides to take a year off with the aid of the most bizarre you.psychiatrist ever. If you like your novels unusual, beautifully written and funny, this is the one for you.
  • The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekanan: My colleague, Mary V. has already recommended this novel but I have to chime in. I listened to the audiobook and I wanted my commute to be slow. I hated getting out of the car to go into the house because it meant that I had to stop the audio book. Loved the mystery in this book trying to figure out what the truth was. If you like psychological fiction, look no further.
  • Electra: A Delphic Woman Novel by Kerry Greenwood: What an entertaining exploration of the story of Electra, daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. Greenwood posits about the psychological scarring that Electra and Orestes experienced. (I can not reveal her theory because it will spoil the book for you). She does a good job making her female characters three dimensional and understandable. Cassandra gets a good outcome in this entertaining novel and we get to watch the gods and goddesses at work which is most amusing and, sometimes, horrifying. Recommended.
  • The Real F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thirty Five Years Later by Sheila Graham: I love reading about Scott and Zelda and this book by his gossip columnist lover does not disappoint.
  • Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper: Great novel by a talented CNN anchor. Tapper’s thriller takes place during the McCarthy era and we watch some of the corruption in the political arena in this creative and interesting novel. Sure, some of it might stretch credulity, but hey, this is a work of fiction people. Very enjoyable.

English Language Learning Reading Club 2018 Meetings

Keep Calm and Keep Reading

The library is pleased to offer an English Language Learning Reading Club. Are you learning English? Do you love to read? Join us for a monthly reading discussion group as we read and discuss selected American Short Stories. We meet one Wednesday a month at 7:15 pm (19:15). This group is recommended for intermediate and advanced speakers.
If you have any questions, please call Laura at 781-314-3435.
2018 Meeting Dates

  • Wednesday, October 17, 7:15 pm: “The Monkey’s Paw”. Read it or listen to it!
  • Wednesday, November 14, 7:15 pm: “The Ransom of Red Chief”. Read it or listen to it!
  • Wednesday, December 19, 7:15 pm

Staff Reads — August 2018

Book Projector Treble Clef

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Lisa

  • I’ve read Who Was Alexander Hamilton? We read this book from the bestselling biography series for our latest Children’s book club. It was interesting and informative.
  • I also watched the PBS American Experience episode on the Chinese Exclusion Act and learned, to my surprise, the extent of the laws that prevented Chinese immigration and citizenship in the 1800s and 1900s.
  • I also have been watching old episodes of the $25,000 Pyramid (the Dick Clark era ones). My sister and I like to skip to the part where the contestants are at the pyramid. It is also interesting to see the clothes and hairstyles from the 80s.
  • I read Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons and Corduroy for one of my recent Storytimes with a button theme. This is my favorite Pete the Cat book as it incorporates math in a fun way while teaching kids that it’s okay if things aren’t perfect. It turns out the girl who gives Corduroy a home is named Lisa. I don’t know too many Children’s books with a character named Lisa. It’s just another reason for me to like this classic.

Laura:

  • The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar: Nour who is escaping Syria with her mother and sisters, tells the legend of Rawiya, a mapmaker’s apprentice who disguised herself as a boy and who follows a similar route to Nour and her family. This sad and gripping novel is frightening and hopeful, at the same time.
  • They Come in all Colors by Malcolm Hansen: The book opens in the late 1960’s when the narrator, fifteen year old Huey, is getting in trouble for an altercation with a fellow student and former friend. As Huey, whose mother is African-American and father is white, waits for his punishment, he recounts his story going back to his early childhood in the south and how he ended up in New York City. Set in the backdrop of the civil rights movement and how it resonated both in the North and the South, this character driven book is a good look at identity and subtle and not so subtle racism. Gripping and powerful.
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang: This romance tells the tale of Stella, a successful economic forecaster on the spectrum who hires a male escort to learn how to act in a relationship. It’s easy to see where this gender reversal of Pretty Woman is going but it’s still enjoyable. The two main characters have a lot of agency and it’s always refreshing to have diversity in romance novels. Stella is on the spectrum and her love interest, Michael, is Vietnamese-American.
  • A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward: This book is a collection of the advice letters sent to the Yiddosh language newspaper The Forward and served as an inspiration for Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters column. I read a graphic novel about the history of this column a few months ago, so it was great to read the letters.
  • The Peanuts Movie: I love the entire Peanuts gang, and it’s nice to see Charlie Brown kind of catch a break, for a change. I don’t understand why he still tries to play football with Lucy!

Dana:

Louise:

  • The Rabbi’s Daughter by Reva Mann is a well written memoir that chronicles a young woman’s search for meaning and belonging. Reva grew up in London, the daughter of an Orthodox Rabbi and his stylish wife. Her sister was born handicapped and sent to a home, a source of pain for the entire family. Reva often feels shut out by her parents and the loss of her sister is never discussed or processed by the family. Reva rebels and has some misadventures with drugs and promiscuity. She decides to become a doula to help women have healthy birth experiences. Ms. Mann goes to school in Israel and becomes captivated by a deeply religious community. She marries a man from this community and still feels unfulfilled. Her husband is so absorbed in the precepts and tenets of his religion that Reva feels shut out even in this world. She has three beautiful healthy children and still, there is something missing. Read this book to find out how this bright and lively woman comes to terms with her self, her community and her family.
  • Falling Into The Fire: A Psychiatrist’s Encounter With The Mind In Crisis by Christine Montross: Ms. Montross chronicles some of the different patients that she works with as a psychiatrist in a hospital and in her private practice. Her analysis is thoughtful and she describes various issues such as body dysmorphia, ingesting objects, suicidality, catatonia and more. This is a deeply insightful and fascinating book by a compassionate doctor who writes beautifully.

Debora H.:

  • West With the Night by Beryl Markham: The language of this memoir is downright delicious, but when I got to the part about using her plane to track elephants in order to help hunters, I had to put it down. Still, it was a magical read.
  • The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers: This is the perfect summer read – fast-paced, engrossing, and well told. It’s the story of a Bernie Madoff-like character, Jake, and his wife, Phoebe, and the lives they lead built upon the lies he’s created. Phoebe is a mostly sympathetic character and, because the author alternates points of view, you see Jake’s side as well – and he’s not a one dimensional bad guy. You see the complexity of life – and love.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu: I used my free month and paid for one more just so I could see Season 2 of this impossible to ignore TV series. Like a bad car accident, I was drawn in week after week to see what new horrors were visited on Offred and her fellow handmaids. The hardest part of watching this show is seeing how easily it could really happen here, in this country.

Aurora:

  • Guardian of the Dead was a delightful combination of modern world, relatable characters, and mythology. Karen Healey brings the reader into a New Zealand that is fully realized and makes sense even with the mythological aspects and invented school. Though there are many amazing aspects of this book, the believability of small details – about the characters, places, mythology – was particularly well done.
  • Giants Beware! got some laughs for the antics of Claudette, the heroine determined to slay a giant. The accompanying cast of characters and adventure made this graphic comic an entertaining, light-hearted, and quick read.
  • Wonder Woman: What a wonderful film. I don’t know what I can say that about it that hasn’t already been said, so do yourself a favor and watch it (again)!
  • Thor: Ragnarok manages to have the main character lose almost everything, and yet I still want to watch it again. Even though Ragnarok, the Norse end-of-times, is a story that has been told for thousands of years, this movie keeps the viewer guessing and engaged. The new characters are all entertaining and make you want to know more about them, the witty lines that are a hallmark of Marvel films do not disappoint, and even if the rest of the film didn’t measure up (which it definitely does!), it would be more than worth the 2+ hours just to watch the sibling relationship between Loki and Thor.
  • The Librarians is a fantastic show, and I don’t just think that because I am one! The balance of entertaining plot, nerdy references of all varieties, interesting characters, and an excellent cast creates an show that always leaves me waiting for the next episode or season!

Kim:

  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara: Obviously, when someone dies before completing their work, it’s a complicated situation. I am very glad this book was released after McNamara’s passing but I do wish it had been more carefully edited. The topic of the Golden State Killer is fascinating and McNamara was a great writer. You feel the tension and the dread of the time.
  • The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich: Two narratives combine around the author’s experiences. One of a child molester/killer, and one of the author’s own experience of being molested and knowing her perpetrator.
  • Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin: I love pop-science reads and this is a fun one. If you’re interested in how habits are formed, this is a good place to start. Rubin accounts for differences in motivation to discuss why and how people make habits stick.
  • How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein: I also love history and this is a super easy read. You could just flip through to the chapter about your state if you wanted. Stein is a great writer, he makes a topic that could be too academic/dry into something really interesting. The bits of history that we can discern from our borders is just so fascinating.
  • Sharp Objects: So dark. Amy Adams is a boss. Not sure if she’s a hero or an anti-hero yet.
  • Who Is America: This show is hilarious with the kind of trolling you expect from Sascha Baron Cohen. It can be heartbreaking to reflect on the honest reactions he gets out of people, but it’s worth the watch and the laughs.
  • I’m also rewatching The Wire for the umpteenth time. If you haven’t seen it, what’s stopping you?
  • The Sinner– Definitely an interesting role for Jessica Beil and I wasn’t sure about it (not big on USA?). But it has a great rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Bill Pullman is a lead, and it came to Netflix, so I gave it a shot. With such an unreliable narrator, you won’t see where it’s going (or at least, I didn’t). It’s definitely weird, very dark, and well done.
  • Drake- Scorpion
  • Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit- The Nashville Sound
  • St. Vincent- Masseduction

Casey:

Mary V.:

  • An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry: This is the latest William Monk novel. Anne Perry delves into prejudice and fear of immigrants. Monk is forced to rethink his investigative techniques so that he won’t be caught up in violent bigotry. Commander Monk has never seen a more gruesome crime scene: a Hungarian warehouse owner lies in his blood soaked office, pierced through the chest with a bayonet and surrounded by seventeen candles. Monk believes that the crime is rooted in ethnic prejudices and he turns to London’s Hungarian community for help with customs as well as the language barrier.
  • Sister Eve and the Blue Nun by Lynne Hinton: This is the latest book in a series. It was entertaining, but I don’t think that I want to read the previous books in the series.
  • Murder on the Serpentine by Anne Perry: This is the newest Thomas and Charlotte Pitt Mystery. I really liked it because Charlotte and her sister, Emily involve themselves in the case. Thomas can’t tell Charlotte anything because he is head of Special Branch and everything he knows is a state secret. He has been asked by Queen Victoria to look into a death. Lack of knowledge does not keep Charlotte and Emily from becoming involved. In the earliest Pitt mysteries, Charlotte and Emily were always interfering and the sisterly bond was always my favorite part of this series.
  • The Disappeared by C. J. Box: This is the most recent Joe Pickett mystery. It involves political corruption and intrigue. It is fast paced, but I didn’t like how it ended.
  • The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs: I could not work my way through the Hamilton biography, so I read a novel about Alexander Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth. It is well written and I believe that it is historically accurate. It did not show James Madison in a positive way and I have always been a big fan of James Madison.
  • The Hamilton Cookbook by Laura Kumin: I never read cookbooks, but I wanted to know how women cooked different things in a fireplace. This book describes the techniques of food preparation and cooking equipment of the late eighteenth century. I wanted to make the lamb stew recipe, but I was unable to find any blanched chestnuts. So, I will make lamb stew the way my twentieth century mother did.
  • The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth: This book is a departure for me since there is no murder. The story involves a neighborhood in Melbourne where three families with young children are surprised when a single childless woman moves into their neighborhood. Everyone has a secret. It sounds dull, but I could not put it down. One advantage of working the ground floor desk is checking in the returned books and finding something different to read.

Deb:

  • I have to say, I jumped into Watch! Read! Listen! with both feet. When the staff first started discussing a title for this year’s Story Experience I started looking into each title on the short list, Hamilton, the musical being one. I started with Chernow’s Biography, the way that Lin-Manuel Miranda (playwright of Hamilton the Musical) did. Not being a student who enjoyed history, I’m pleasantly surprised that I have become an adult who enjoys historical books more than I would ever have imagined. I was dubious about a weighty non-fiction title, but I was pleasantly surprised again and I really enjoyed it. I’m familiar with some of the islands in the Caribbean where Hamilton spent his youth, so that helped to capture me.
  • Then I moved on to Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel’s “making of a hip-hop musical”. I was immediately stuck by how brilliant a writer and musician he is; he’s got an extraordinarily clever and quick brain! Having not yet listed to the music of the play, some of this couldn’t make its full impression, but I’m going back to The Revolution again, so I know much more will click for me during a second reading.
  • Then I delved into the music of the play. Again I was immediately struck by how clever and witty it is. The Cabinet Battles are some of my favorite parts. I think if every history teacher could make the “characters” of any given time period seem like real people with feelings and causes and ethics (or not!) and grudges it would be a lot easier to understand why wars start!
  • Alex & Eliza, the first book in a trilogy by Melissa de le Cruz was next up. This is historical fiction written for teens and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s pretty historically accurate and does a god job painting a picture of what it must have been like to be dating in the 1780’s.
  • My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray was next. This is also historical fiction but is also very historically accurate – the author does explain which anecdotes are true and which were liberties she took. Several books in now, I can start to tell them apart! As I’m getting to know these “characters” who also happened to be real people, their attitudes and personality quirks often evoked lines from the play and I think this is helping to cement the facts and feelings of each of them from this time period. This audiobook shares its narrator with that of the Alex & Eliza trilogy and that also lends great consistency for getting to know these people, so-to-speak.
  • Love & War, #2 in the teen trilogy was next. I enjoyed this one more than the 1st.
  • Now I’m listening to The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs, more historical fiction & Hamilton: the Mix Tape a music album of many songs from the musical performed by current Hip-hop stars. I’m also delving back into The Revolution to catch more references about the play now that I’ve listened to it dozens of times. And sometime next year when the 3rd book in the Alex & Eliza trilogy wraps up, I’ll read that too!

Ashley:

  • Girl Made of Stars, Ashley Herring Blake: This was so beautiful! I really love this author.
  • I’ll be Gone in the Dark, Michelle Mcnamara: Fascinating if somewhat meandering read. It’s so sad that she died so close to him finally being caught.
  • The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir: Definitely based on a certain tv famous family, but it was an interesting plot!
  • Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson: I wasn’t too into this at first. Teen girl brings back three girls from the dead, accidentally, while trying to solve their murders, but it grew on me!
  • Watching

  • Sharp Objects on HBO Not a big Gillian Flynn fan, but i’m all for southern gothic mysteries. It’s very slow and atmospheric, but well made and interesting.
  • Anne With an E season 2 on Netflix I love this show. Yes, it’s different from the books and very different from the beloved 80s miniseries (which i love( but i absolutely love this in a different way.
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