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This Week’s Best Seller Lists — October 19, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of October 19, 2014.

What Are We Reading? October 1, 2014


What books have we read? What music have we checked out or downloaded? What have we watched?

  • Libby: “(Re)Watching on DVD: Moneyball and Trouble with the Curve, my personal solace for the Red Sox being in last place.”
  • Nancy W.: “I’m currently reading The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee“.
  • Laura: “I’m currently reading Soldier Girls by Helen Thorpe, a non-fiction narrative about three women in the National Guard who were deployed to both Afghanistan an Iraq. It really touches on what it’s like to be female in the military as well as both the horror and boredom associated with deployment, and the feeling of not quite fitting in upon arriving home. This is a great read for anyone interested in gender studies, the military, or who wants a better understanding of what’s going on in the world. I’ve also recently read the intense and exceptionally detailed memoir/graphic novel Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I read the parody graphic novels, Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown, which imagines an alternate universe in which Darth Vader raises Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. The results are both funny and heartwarming.”
  • Janice: Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion by Derek Hough. “Those who are DWTS fans (or Dancing With the Stars, for the uninitiated) will recognize Derek Hough as one of the series’ favorite pro dancers. His new book takes us from his first dance lessons at age 11 through his years in England, where he was mentored by the parents of fellow pro Mark Ballas. This book is actually a very inspirational and uplifting guide to getting the most out of your own talents and learning from your challenges.”
  • Paula: “I recently finished 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman. Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus from Philadelphia set in motion a very dangerous plan to travel inside Nazi Germany, rescue 50 Jewish children and travel back with them to the United States. This is an amazing story!”
  • Maureen:
    • “Just finished listening to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (digital download). This amazing story takes place in Nazi Germany late 1930s-1940s. Liesel Meminger is living in a foster home where her foster father teaches her to read and opens a wonderful world to her despite the extremely meager existence they are experiencing. Death is the Narrator and it is mesmerizing, Liesel “steals” her books from the Mayor’s wife, who turns a blind eye to the stealing even leaving particular books for Liesel. Liesel reads these books to herself,her family,a Jewish boy,(they are hiding in the basement) and to neighbors when sharing the time together in the bomb shelter. Through her experiences Liesel comes to know the true meaning of what makes us all family. A truly wonderful story, one that will stay with you for a long time.”
    • “Currently reading Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof. A quirky cast of characters makes this debut novel a true delight. A small college town inhabited by some really quirky characters where a small orphan boy, Henry, drops into their midst and changes their lives. It beautifully written with some humorous as well as somber moments.”
    • “Just finished reading Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes. The latest Richard Jury mystery,( your typical English Pub mystery) involving 2 past murders and 2 present murders that seem to be connected. It is up to Jury and his zany friends to once again put the puzzles pieces together and solve the mysteries.”
    • North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo is another debut novel set in and around Boston filled with mystery and intrique. It starts out as a murder mystery and turns into something much more sinister and compelling. The main character is Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred confident woman of Russian descent who doesn’t shy away from confrontation. She is sharp witted and gutsy determined to find the truth and risk her life in the process. A great read and my thanks to Pat O. for the recommendation!”
  • Louise: “Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects is aptly named. Camille Preaker works for a second rate newspaper in Chicago. Hoping to boost her lackluster career, she reluctantly accepts an assignment in the town where she was raised. Camille has to try and investigate a series of brutal murders. She also has to try and stay sane while staying in her mother’s outwardly perfect, inwardly tension filled home. This novel will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.” Louise is also currently listening to The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
  • Virginia:
    • “If it’s September it must be time for the new Jack Reacher thriller from Lee Child. This one is called Personal. It is a quick & fairly satisfying read as Jack hunts down an assassin in London for the U.S. Army. Despite the well-honed suspense & sudden bursts of violence, the recent books are no longer edge-of-your-seat, can’t-put-it-down stories like the author’s earlier thrillers. A fun read anyhow.”
    • Fatal Conceit by Robert K. Tanenbaum. Over the years I’ve read many of this author’s continuing series about ‘Butch Karp, N.Y. District Attorney’. I’ve always enjoyed the twists & turns and the memorable characters. But this time? Not so much. I was really disappointed to find that this conservative author has gone off the political deep end with his hatred of the Left & the Obama administration. The thriller is spoiled with some despicable characters representing the whole Democratic party. So sad to see this series ruined by the writer’s politics.”
    • The Price of Silence : a Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness by Liza Long (non-fiction). One in every five American children will suffer from some sort of mental illness during childhood. Long tells the true story of her son as they battle to get an accurate diagnosis & appropriate treatment for the boy’s condition. The book covers many aspects of childhood mental disorders including the stigma & self-stigma visited on mothers, to blame them for their child’s disorder. Insurance companies do everything they can to avoid helping the situation until many parents are forced to turn their children over to the state so they will qualify for affordable care.. It is a sad reality in this well-written & researched book.”
    • “I also enjoyed reading two YA comics. Yes, it’s true, I am a comic book fan. I read Nightwing : Old Friends, New Enemies about the career of Batman’s sidekick Robin after he got too old to continue as a juvenile action hero. I also read Guardians of the Galaxy as the costumed heroes encounter new universes & a slew of super villains. The Young Adult area has a fine collection of Marvel & DC trade paperback comic books & I really enjoy them.”

Adult Summer Reading

I am happy to announce that the drawing for the Adult Summer Reading winners happened on Wednesday, August 27th. We had twenty grand prize winners and we issued thirty free ice cream cone coupons for Lizzies. We had one hundred and twelve entries! Thank you to our participants who helped make this a success.

I want to thank the Friends of the Waltham Public Library and Lizzie’s Ice Cream for their generous contributions to the effort.

Prizes included gift certificates to More Than Words , Gourmet Pottery, and Cafe On The Common.

Here are some of the books that our adult summer readers enjoyed along with their reviews:

First, the entries that were submitted online: I asked our readers to rate these titles in beach chairs. One beach chair would be the lowest review and then five beach chairs would be the highest.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Our reader gave this 3 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: The novel is engaging for young adults and adults alike, especially if you have a strong background about the 1980s. However, I am not much of a video gamer so a lot of the references were lost on me. Additionally, I thought the ending did not send a strong message for readers.

The Hunger Games-Mockingjay by Suaznne Collins
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: While I did not feel that this was the strongest of the three in the Hunger Games trilogy, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Suzanne Collins is a terrific author and I was so pleased to see the path that Katniss, Gale and Peeta took. I would highly recommend this book to others!

I Shall Be Near You: A Novel by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Our reader gave this 3 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: This novel chronicles a woman who follows her husband into battle during the Civil War. I thought it was well written, but dragged on at times.

Track of the Cat: by Nevada Barr
Our reader gave this 3 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: Murder in a national park in the Southwest

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
Our reader gave this 5 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: Great story! Starts off with delivery of mysterious suitcase. Story told by two different characters living 50 years apart. Romance, sex, heartbreak, science, intrigue, and history. Violet and Vivian are great characters!

Belle Cora by Philip Margulues
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: The story of Anabella Godwin, also known as Belle Cora, and the events that shaped her life. The story explains events that led her to choose to become a madame, and why she ultimately chose to stay in this profession. Even though some may question the morality of her career choice, she certainly represented a strong, independent, opinionated woman in an era when women were not expected to be any of these things.


Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: Very interesting style and fun read. Written in the form of letters sent between residents of a small island country where letters of the alphabet are being banned from use after they fall off an important historical sign that displays a short saying using all of the letters in the alphabet. As more letters continue to fall from the sign, the citizens of the island try to get the banning edicts revoked and communicate with less and less words and letters available to them. As the book is written in the form of messages between residents, the writing of the novel reflects the writing of the citizens and letters banned from use by the residents are also gone from the narrative.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: This sequel to Maggie’s Lament shifts focus to the main character’s best friend who is trying to go about living his life after discovering that he’s been living in a world full of dangerous fairies his whole life.


In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Our reader gave this 5 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: This book takes a snapshot view of the rise of Hitler’s power by looking at the experiences of the American ambassador to Germany and his family, beginning in 1933. Rife with intrigue, the reader gets a look at the power struggle going on not only in American political circles, but in Hitler’s organization circles as well. This is a painless way to learn history. We not only learn how pivotal events effect one particular family, but what is going on in the world as well.
Ready

Off Course by Michelle Huneven
Our reader gave this 5 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: I’ve read all of Michelle Huneven’s books and really enjoyed them.

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: Unique take on the classic coming of age novel. Jess and her family set out on a road trip leading up the Rapture. This story is told with humor and sympathy. A fresh book from a new author.

Here are some of the highlights from our entries submitted in person:

A Soft Place To Land by Susan Rebecca White
The book summary/review: A beautiful story of the complicated love between two sisters. After the parents’ death they are separated. It’s fun and the ending is sad.

Backwards by Todd Mitchell
The book summary/review: There’s this kid who is trapped inside a dead body and then realizes that the person’s life is going backwards leading up to the suicide. He needs to learn how to find himself before we can repair this kid’s life.

Three Girls and Their Brother by Theresa Rebeck
The book summary/review: An expose of how a mother uses her family to create her own celebrity and ends up pretty much dstorying the children’s lives. They in turn learn how to mend the who sad nastiness and become family again.

Heading Out To Wonderful by Robert Goolrick
The book summary/review: A story of a doomed love affair that ends in the worst way.

The Scent of Jasmine Jude Deveraux
The book summary/review: A naive young woman becomes involved with an escaped “murderer” falls in love with him and helps him clear up the mystery of who the real betrayers are.

His Until Midnight by Nikki Logan
The book summary/review: Quick easy read. Totally unbelievable but fun.

Cross My Heart by James Patterson
The book summary/review: Best and most tense story in the Alex Cross series! Plenty of twists and turns! Fast read…didn’t want to put down!

Seize the Storm by Michael Cadnum
The book summary/review: A rich family finds a pile of cash on board an abandoned yacht which was owned by bad dealers. They then become involved in an illegal transaction which leads into one man being killed by a shark.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
The book summary/review: Despite the sex part, the book showed what the youths think about, and taught not to see us too much, but enjoy being ourselves. (and be smart).

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson
The book summary/review: Lisbeth Salander is accused of murdering Mikael Blankin’s 2 friends, Mia Johanssen and Dag Schenssary, who were going to expose the sex traffickng in Sweden. This is a really awesome thriller!

Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Phillip Sendker
The book summary/review: Easy read, thought provoking love story! Must read!

Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
A romantic novel. Good book!

Walking In Circles Before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe
The book summary/review: “Humorous.” A “talking dog” has more common sense than the protagonist. LA, West Coast, crazies, doggie daycaare, young romance. Doggy knows best! A refreshing diversion.

Third Class Superhero by Charles Yu
The book summary/review: A collection of various of scenarios per chapter that describes one of the character’s tales that is the same as the book’s tale. All of these scenarios depict the reality of the utmost realistic human potential to be a superhero, how it is a very hard job to make a lasting probabilities, choices of possibilities, taking risks, chances in order to develop as a person and going beyond their own boundaries to make a powerful impact to the best of your ability, all while trying to find your true sense of self/identity. Awesome book!

Kiss And Tell by Fern Michaels
The book summary/review: Another great, Fern Michaels, Sisterhood, Revenge novel!

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
The book summary/review: Good story about the closing of a restaurant. The author captures working class people. Interesting book.

The Light In the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
The book summary/review: Really good book. Murder mystery. Suspenseful to the very end!

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Great book. Love story-what else. Easy reading with a twist to a happy ending.

Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham
The book summary/review: First person novel. Narration of literary life. Celebration of deceased novelist and long held secrets. Great book!

How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
The book summary/review: Set in a science fictional universe, Charles Yu attempts to search for his dad after a long time of disappearance. As he finds out, he must make the choice of either living in the time loop for fear of safety and taking risks or to live in the present moment where his former past self (earlier in the book) shoots his present self (later becomes new self). It’s all based on what he chooses to do rather than be determined to live by it. Interesting, fascinating book. Awesome!

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith
The book summary/review: Wonderful, light summer reading. The further adventures of Precious Ramotswe of the #1 Ladies’ Detective agency.

That Perfect Someone by Johanna Lindsey
The book summary/review: Thinking she is finally rid of the person she was contracted to wed as a child, the heroine finds herself falling for a man turned Pirate who is in love with one of her own friends. The plot twists and turns in the usual “Mallory” series the author continues to capture the reader’s delight. An easy, fun read for the beach.

The Drifter by Susan Wiggs
The book summary/review: Wonderful, typical Wiggs! Emotion packed, mystery and suspense. Goodness reigns over evil. Romance between two people hurt when young by parents careless with their own.

Five Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness and Wealth by Vivien Sung
The book summary/review: Various of cultural Chinese things and how they came to be via folklore/legend/myths. Also, association with the symbolic item to attain luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness or wealth can be anything that is similarly, identically pronounced as said.

Temptation Ridge by Robin Carr
The book summary/review: Finding love in a small town

Weekends With Daisy by Sharron Kahn Luttrell Excellent. True Story. Training of a service dog by outside family on weekends and a prison inmate Monday through Friday.

Beach Lane by Sheryl Woods
A must read! Friendship turns to love against past insecurities. A terrifying health situation arises; one that proves their love against tough odds including past relationships. What seems insurmountable takes the love to the TOP.

The Deed by Lynsay Sands The story of a naive but “modern” thinking woman who takes control of her life once her first husband dies. She visits the king asking for a new one and gets more than she bargains for. She avoids the sinister cousin trying to usurp her position.

Arm Candy by Jill KargmanA good description of life style in New York; two different modes. One privileged wealthy, the other, creative artistic. Although I’m glad to have finished the book it would not be the kind I would choose again. The characters lived narcissistic and selfish ways of life. The ending redeemed the protagonists humanity for me.

Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark Great legal read!

Todd Strauss, Technology Librarian, presents prize to Gita Patel

Laura Bernheim, Head Reference Librarian, presents prize to Angie Emberley.

Todd Strauss, Technology Librarian, presents prize to Beverly Shea

Eva Lin, library page, presents prize to Afiya Webb

Todd Strauss, Technology Librarian, presents prize to Roberta Factor

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — September 14, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of September 14, 2014.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — September 7, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of September 7, 2014:

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — August 31, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of August 31, 2014.

National Archives Publications Available Online

NARA Publications Available Online

Due to budget restraints the National Archives has discontinued the printing of free publications. However, many of them are available in PDF versions online. The following is a list of the most popular.

(2014)
- posted by Jan

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — August 17, 2014

Here are best seller lists for the week of August 17, 2014.

Robin Williams 1951-2014


What can be said about someone who makes you so happy…even though their life isn’t always very happy. Robin Williams had so much to give and he gave as much as he could. So sorry to hear of his death! I saw Robin’s first appearance on Happy Days with the Fonz and I’ve been a fan ever since. I laughed so hard I almost fell off the couch. Thank you Robin Williams for years of entertainment, you will be remembered for eternity.
I hope you are at peace now! Nano Nano! One of your biggest fans! Jeanette

Here is a small sampling of what the library has to offer featuring Robin Williams:

What Are We Reading? August 12, 2014

Check out what we read recently.

  • Paula: “I just finished Chasing Mona Lisa by Trisha Goyer. The story takes during the last days of the German occupation of France and involves a plan to keep the Mona Lisa out of the hands of the Germans. This would be a good choice for anyone who enjoyed The Monuments Men.
  • Nancy D. “I just finished reading Euphoria by Lily King. Fantastic fiction book loosely based on the early life of anthropologist Margaret Mead.”
  • Laura:
    • Her Last Death: A Memoir by Susanna Sonnenberg. “Upon hearing that her mother is in the hospital in Barbados and is possibly dying, the author decides against visiting her, a decision that potentially permanently harms her relationship with her sister. Sonnenberg then reflects on growing up with her mother, a woman who introduced her to drugs and Penthouse at a young age, and who was a big liar. Sonnenberg admits up front that she changed various events and combined characters which admittedly made this reader a little skeptical. Those that enjoy the dysfunctional family memoir will most likely not be bothered and find the book entertaining.”
    • Friendship by Emily Gould. “Best friends Amy and Bev are at the dawn of 30, are struggling writers (who never seem to write anything) and are frustrated with their job prospects. When Bev becomes pregnant after a one night stand, their friendship becomes severely tested. This book has been met with a bit of chatter, due to Gould’s history as a columnist for the gossip site, Gawker. I personally was not familiar with Gould or her past until after I finished reading, which I think made for a better experience. (It seemed that some online commentators were not giving the book an entirely fair chance based on the past credentials of the author, rather than on the book itself). What I later did find fascinating is that Amy, the less sympathetic character, is Gould’s fictional version of herself. Usually, the author portrays him or herself as the “hero” of a semi-autobiographical tale (see Little Women), and I give Gould a lot of credit for turning a critical and, at times, harsh, eye on herself.”
    • “I just started Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, the author of my recent read, Landline”.
  • Jan: “I just finished Front Page Fatality by Lyn Dee Walker. This is a cute, new mystery about a cop beat reporter who gets in deeper than she bargains for. A great easy read for your lawn or beach chair with a tall lemonade!”
  • Maureen:
  • Mary V.: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd: “This is a story about 2 sisters who lived in a slave holding family in South Carolina. They became leaders in the abolition movement and later they were involved in the campaign for women’s rights. A side story involves a slave girl who was given to the older sister on her eleventh birthday. This is a novel but the sisters actually lived and worked for abolition.”
  • Virginia:“Having read & enjoyed Karin Slaughter’s stand-alone police thriller Cop Town I decided to read her series books. So I settled down to read the Grant County (Georgia) books : Blindsighted, Kisscut, A Faint Cold Fear, Indelible, Faithless and Beyond Reach. All of the books concern Sara Linton, a part-time medical examiner, her ex-husband Jeffrey Tolliver who is the rural county’s chief of police, and Lena Adams the self-destructive first female detective on his force. It is fascinating to watch the characters change and grow over the six years of the entire series. Each book involves at least one mysterious death and there are plenty of twists and turns. Each book can stand on its own but it is more fun to read them in order. I have about 200 pages left to read in the last book and I am hoping that the three main characters all manage to survive. (I’m trying very hard not to turn to the last page to see if anyone dies in the series’ conclusion.)”
  • Nancy W.: Nancy is reading Tempting Fate by Jane Green.
  • Louise:
    • “I am currently reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. This novel is a really good read. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys reading about the lives of the rich and famous, and who likes good character development and excellent descriptive writing. Supermodel Lula Landry is dead of an apparent suicide. Could she have been murdered? Private Investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin, will find out.”
    • “I recently read the book: The Reason I Jump:The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism by Naoki Higashida. I love this book. Naoki Higashida, along with his teachers and his mother, developed a system of communicating through an alphabet grid The book is beautifully written and really helps one understand from the inside what it is like to be a highly intelligent boy struggling with autism. This book will touch your heart.”
    • “Fans of that book may also enjoy: Love Anthony by Lisa Genova. This is a fictional work about a boy with autism and his impact on the people around him. Lisa Genova grew up right here in Waltham, Massachusetts. This is her third novel.”
    • “I would also recommend a gem of a book: Son Rise by Barry Neil Kaufman. This is an older book, written in the 1970’s by the father of a boy suffering with autism. The Kaufmans worked tirelessly with their son, Raun, who had a severe form of autism as a child. Raun blossomed under their tutelage.”
    • “These books all make me curious about the well known Thinking In Pictures: And Other Reports From My Life With Autism by Temple Grandin. Grandin, like Raun Kaufman, fictional Anthony, and Naoki Higashida, is someone who can really teach us about autism and what it is like. In all of these books, one is left with a greater understanding of and respect for the experience of an autistic person. There is also a great deal of hope and possibility for those diagnosed with autism and those who love and care about them.”
    • “One can not stop there: The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night Time by Mark Haddon is a fabulous novel about a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who solves a murder mystery (the neighbor’s dog) in his own unique way. This book will appeal to anyone who likes a well written novel as well as those who are curious about Asperger’s Syndrome, a more high functioning form of autism.”
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