Members of the library staff have been spending the last year reading books relating to various genres, so that we can help suggest the perfect books for you to read! This last month, members of the library staff read a variety of memoirs:
- Staff Pick: Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
Hardcover, Paperback, Re-issued edition featuring afterward by Ann Patchett
When Lucy Grealy was nine years old, she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of cancer, which resulted in several hospital visits and the permanent disfigurement of her face. Grealy had countless restorative surgeries, many of which were unsuccessful, and remained extremely unsure of her self worth. Grealy writes with harrowing and vivid detail about her cancer treatments, bringing the reader into the clinics with her. Despite her extreme insecurity, Grealy comes across as a funny and warm narrator. A good read for someone who likes to read medical memoirs or books about body image issues. The hospital scenes are extremely powerful, but can also be upsetting. Grealy, who died in 2002, became friends with the author, Ann Patchett, and was the main inspiration for Patchett’s 2004 memoir, Truth and Beauty.
readalikes: The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity by Ashley Montagu, My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Still Alice by Lisa Genova
- Paula’s Pick: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Hardcover, Audiobook, DVD
Princess Leia herself takes her one woman show into a funny and sardonic memoir about growing up with her famous parents, her personal life, life on the Star Wars set and her addictions. Listen to the audiobook to get the full effect of Fisher’s humor.
readalikes: Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, Stories I Only Tell my Friends by Rob Lowe
- Anne’s Pick: My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope by Ellie Laks with Nomi Isak
As a child, Ellie Laks loved animals and constantly took in a lot of strays, to the chagrin of her parents. As an adult, she became horrified at the condition of animals in a petting zoo, and later founded Gentle Barn, an animal sanctuary that is home to mistreated animals and a volunteer refuge for children at risk. Laks also delves into detail about her personal life, including a failed marriage and a tense relationship with her parents.
readalikes: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot, Wild by Cheryl Strayed
- Jeanette’s Pick: I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High by Tony Danza
Hardcover, Large Print, Audiobook, E-book
The actor recounts his year teaching high school English in Philadelphia. Danza’s teaching was also the basis for a reality show. Jeanette recommends listening to the audiobook.
readalikes: Among Schoolchildren by Tracy Kidder, Educating Esme by Esme Raji Codell
- Jeanette’s Pick: New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell
Hardcover, Large Print, Audiobooks, Downloadable Audiobook
The former The Boston Globe book critic looks back on her life, which includes contracting polio as a young child.
Readalikes: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy by Geralyn Lucas
- Jeanette’s Pick: The Second Mayflower Adventure by Warwick Charlton
Read the back story of the ship known as the Mayflower II in Plymouth and its journey from England in 1957 told through the point of view of the man behind it. Fun fact: Waltham teenager, Joe Meany, was a passenger on the 1957 voyage.
readalike: The Shining Sea by George C. Daughan
- Gerry C’s Pick: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Hardcover, Paperback, Large Print, Audiobook, Downloadable Audiobook, E-book
A sportswriter recalls his visits with his former professor, who was suffering from ALS.
readalikes: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Driving Mr. Yogi by Harvey Araton
- Maureen’s Pick: Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook CD, Playaway Audiobook, E-book
A blogger uses illustrations to tell the story of her life. Good read for someone who likes dysfunctional family memoirs.
readalikes: Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonay by Stefanie Wilde-Taylor, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
- Maureen’s Pick: Ever by My Side by Nick Trout
Hardcover, Audiobook, E-book
With gentle humor, a veterinarian chronicles his life, using his pets as starting off points.
readalikes: A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home by Sue Halpern, Marley and Me by John Grogan
- Doreen’s Pick: The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne
Hardcover, Audiobook CD, Downloadable Audiobook
Hanagarne writes about his remarkable life, talking about his Tourette’s syndrome, being raised in the Mormon faith, his love of weightlifting, and his decision to become a librarian. Each chapter starts with an anecdote from his public library job which will make library staff and patrons alike laugh.
readalikes: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen, The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin, Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg
- Doreen’s Pick: Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
Hardcover, Large Print, Paperback, Audiobook, E-book
Ann Patchett’s memoir details her friendship with Lucy Grealy. This is a great companion book to Autobiography of a Face. Read Lucy’s sister, Suellen’s reaction to both books.
readalikes: She Matters by Susana Sonnenberg, At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard
- Louise’s Pick: Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra
A New York attorney recounts her life in an abusive household and in the foster care system as she strives to not be separated from her brothers and sisters.
readalikes: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Dibs in Search of Self by Virginia Axline, Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber, Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- Laura’s Pick: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Hardcover, Large Print, Audiobook CD, Playaway Audiobook, Downloadable Audiobook, E-book
This is a collection of autobiographical essays, some of which have been previously published. A lot of essays detail the evolution of Patchett’s writing career.
readalikes: On Writing by Stephen King, High Tide in Tucson by Barbara Kingsolver, One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty
- Laura’s Pick: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp
Read the whole story about the family that inspired The Sound of Music. Using her humor and faith, Maria writes about her integration into the Trapp family, their evolution as a singing group, the pre-World War II days of Europe, and the family’s move to the United States.
readalikes: Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott, Funny Woman: The Life and Times of Fanny Brice by Barbara Grossman
Here are links to the best seller lists for June 22, 2014.
Here are links to the best seller lists for June 15, 2014
Here are links to the best seller lists for June 8, 2014.
Check out what we’re reading and borrowing from the library.
- Todd: Todd is reading The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen and the graphic novel, Locke & Key, Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.
- Kate: Kate has read Straw Bale Gardens : The Breakthrough Method for Growing Vegetables Anywhere, Earlier, and with No Weeding by Joel Karsten/ “I’m excited about trying it out next year, when I can get a running start.”
- Etched In Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived An Unbearable Childhood On Long Island by Regina Calcaterra. This is a very moving story about a very difficult childhood. This is a great pick for people who enjoyed The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. The love that the siblings have for each other is their saving grace. Ms. Calcaterra went on to become a very successful professional who advocates for children in foster care.
- A great pick for lovers of chick lit such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, Sex and The City, In Her Shoes: Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham. Many people will recall, Lauren Graham played Lorelai Gilmore in the much loved WB series, The Gilmore Girls. This novel about a struggling young actress in NYC does not disappoint. We watch her struggle to make it that is narrated with much wit and eloquence.
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Oh, my gawd, this is such delicious, delectable fun. Great pick for lovers of novels about the ultra rich such as Dominic Dunne, Jane Stanton Hitchcock and Julian Fellowes. Honey, this is the Shanghai version of Downton Abbey. Read this book!”
- Mary R.: “I recently read Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent and Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Both Great Reads!! Happy Reading!”
- Laura: “I recently read Afternoons with Emily by Rose MacMurray, a novel about a fictional woman and her friendship with the poet, Emily Dickinson. The story behind the writing and publication of the book is as interesting as the life of Emily Dickinson. MacMurray was a poetry teacher with a large appreciation for Emily Dickinson. She left a manuscript that her daughter and husband published after her death. As an English major, I studied a lot of Emily Dickinson in college, and it was interesting to read a fictional (yet most likely accurate) account of her life. I’m currently reading Ann Patchett’s latest memoir, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. Patchett is one of my favorite writers and I greatly enjoyed her previous memoir, Truth and Beauty. As with all of her books, I have been taken into her world right from the first sentence. I’ll be sad when I’m finished.”
- Nancy D.: Nancy recently read The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman.
- “Warlord by Angus Donald. This is the fourth of a continuing chronicle of the life of Robin Hood and King Richard the Lion-heart as told by Robin’s protege Alan Dale. These books are a delight for fans of medieval England adventures and historical fiction.
- The End Times in Chronological Order by Ron Rhodes. For fans of biblical prophecy here is an easy to understand Pretribulational countdown to future things from rapture to tribulation to the millennial kingdom.
- Redefining Realness by Janet Mock. The fascinating memoir of a young transgender woman of color who grows into womanhood despite the odds against her survival & success.
- Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha. A humorous memoir of a staid New England woman who is transplanted to Nebraska’s bible belt and her discomfort and eventual journey of faith in a ‘foreign’ culture.”
- Marialice: “I am reading Face the Music: A Life Exposed by Paul Stanley of Kiss.” Marialice just finished There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll by Lisa Robinson
- Maureen: Maureen is currently reading One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (memoir) by Jenny Lawson. She is currently listening to the downloadable audiobook, All That Is by James Salter. She just finished reading The Last letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes, and just finished listening to the digital audiobooks Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan and This Charming Man by Marian Keyes.
- “I’m reading The Second Mayflower Adventure by Warwick Charlton. As the back (of the book) states: “It was Warwick Charlton’s dream. Against all odds, and at a time when England was still recovering from World War II, Charlton dreamed of sailing a new Mayflower to America. In 1957, a reconstruction of the ship that symbolized the Pilgrims’ voyage would be a gift to show “gratitude and appreciation for what the Americans had done to help England both during and after the war.” I got interested in the book when I found out a teen from Waltham, Joe Meany was a cabin boy on the voyage!
- I’m listening to a book on CD Rage against the Dying by Becky Masterman. A quote from Lisa Gardner on the back of the case says. “…a masterful debut featuring a 59 year old retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn still tough, still determined, and still smarting to catch the one killer who got away.” – So far I agree.
- We are watching the series Prime Suspect: a female police detective investigates a series of serial murders while dealing with sexist hostility from her male comrades.” We love Helen Mirren!
- Just finished watching The Lost Room:
‘A detective investigates a mysterious motel room, which acts as a portal to an alternate universe.’ Peter Jacobson from the TV series House was great, I was twitching and jumping right along with him!”
- Anne: Anne is reading Pat and Dick: The Nixons, an Intimate Portrait of a Marriage by Will Swift and The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore. “Past read I highly recommend: What She Left Behind by Ellen Wiseman.”
- Janice: “I just finished The Great Pearl Heist by Molly Caldwell Crosby. It’s got something for everyone who likes crime stories- Edwardian England, Scotland Yard, a great parade of criminals of varying skill, and VERY expensive jewelry.”
- Gerry C.: Gerry is listening to A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connolly and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. She is reading The Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. She is watching the BBC series, Call the Midwife.
- Pat A.: ” I am currently reading One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern and am also starting I Don’t Know What You Know Me From…Confessions of a Co-Star by Judy Greer.”
- Paula: “I recently read Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini: historical fiction about the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckley.”
photograph from New York World-Telegram June 6, 1944, via Library of Congress
Seventy years ago today, General Dwight D. Eisenhower led Operation Overlord, in which Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy in order to free Western Europe from the Nazi control. The five beaches were Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. On D-Day alone, 2,500 Allied troops lost their lives and 8,500 were injured.
Remember this historic event with these resources, courtesy of your Waltham Public Library.
- Check out our display in the reference area. It contains several books about the event as well as copies of The New York Times front pages from June 6, 7, and 8 of 1944.
- Reserve or check out one of these books from the library:
- Download an e-book or downloadable audiobook. Click here for help on using the digital media catalog.
- Check out these documentaries and feature films. Documentaries can circulate for three weeks and are free of charge. Feature films cost can circulate for one week and cost $1.00. (Unless it’s Thursday, then you can take two films for $1.00!)
- Use our Historic Newspaper Database to view front pages from June 1944
- D-Day Related Records at the National Archives and Records Administration
posted by Laura
Here are links to the best seller lists for June 1, 2014