Credits

Teen Summer Reading Program 2014 — Book Reviews

I am proud to say that there were 40 entries in the Waltham Public Library Teen Summer Reading Program open to library patrons in grades 6-12! Everyone who entered received a free ice cream courtesy of the generosity of the owners of Lizzy’s Homemade Ice Cream. Ten of our participants received gift certificates to either More than Words or Back Pages Books courtesy of the generosity of the Friends of the Waltham Public Library. In addition to contributing 40 entries, the teens who participated wrote a total of 31 book reviews. Below is a list of the titles the participants read this year, as well as links to any book reviews that were written. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun!

Here is the list of books that were read for this year’s teen summer reading program. Click on the link to read any of the teen reviews.

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

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

Primary Day 2014

Tuesday, September 9 is Primary Day. Voters will have a chance to choose candidates from their respective parties to run in the general election on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Candidates are running to be nominated for the following offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Senator in General Court (Massachusetts), Senator in Congress (United States), Representative in General Court (Massachusetts), Representative in Congress (United States), Governor’s Councilor, District Attorney, and Register of Probate. Here are some of the facts.

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

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

What Are We Reading? September 3, 2014

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

  • Louise:
    • “I just read a memoir entitled Riding Fury Home by Chana Wilson. This memoir is beautifully written and, ultimately redemptive. Wilson has a difficult relationship with her suicidal and frequently hospitalized mother. The title of this novel is apt as Chana has to come to terms with the anger and frustration of her childhood and, ultimately, forge a relationship with her mother that is positive and healing.”
    • “While I was on vacation, I read a fabulous psychological suspense novel called The Silent Wife by A.S. A. Harrison. Unfortunately, Ms. Harrison died after writing this masterpiece in her sixties. If you like a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, then pick up this book.”
    • “A friend of mine recommended Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand. Hildebrand is a very popular author who writes fiction that takes place in Nantucket. This particular novel is a fictional version of a woman whose husband, like Bernie Madoff, was involved in a large scale ponzi scheme. The main character, Meredith, did not realize that her husband was a crook. She takes refuge at her best friend Connie’s summer home in Nantucket. Meredith does not know if she will end up going to prison for her husband’s crimes or if her son will be held accuntable. For all she knows, she too will be locked up.”
    • “One of our patrons recommended that I read Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall. This is a wonderful young adult novel written in a sort of free verse form. Do not let this frighten you as the novel is easy to follow. Our main character, sixteen year old Tessa Reynolds, falls into a coma after getting hit in the head playing dodge ball at gym. She has a near death experience in which she is in heaven…which looks just like the mall where her parents are both employed. We are taken through Tessa’s childhood up to the moment when the dodge ball hits her. A lovely, bittersweet read.”
    • “I just read a wonderful book by Patti Callahan Henry called The Stories We Tell. This is a very good read, about a woman who seems to have it all and the accident that changes everything. We struggle along with Eve Morrison to try and figure out what is true and what is simply illusion. The writing is very descriptive and the characters are well developed. Lovely descriptions of Savannah and of the struggle to come to terms with a changing marital landscape.”
  • Jeanette:
  • Virginia: “Having read all of Karin Slaughter’s six Grant County thrillers (which ended with the devastating murder of the main character) I moved on to her more recent Will Trent series of seven books. Set in Atlanta this series revolves around an agent for the Georgia Bureau if Investigation who is deeply flawed & who has to operate around his severe dyslexia. Life is a challenge for Will Trent but his natural intelligence makes up for his inability to read. The first book in the series Triptych is a straight-forward crime thriller but as the series proceeds, imagine my surprise when I discover that characters from Grant County turn up in Atlanta living new lives which cross paths with Trent & his partner Faith Mitchell. Each thriller stands alone but it is a lot more fun to read them all in chronological order : Triptych, Fractured, Undone, Broken, Fallen, Criminal, and the last of the series which I am reading now Unseen. All of these books feature nail-biting suspense with a good deal of violence & mayhem. I highly recommend both series.”
  • Laura:
    • “I very much enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This non-linear novel captures the human spirit with beautiful descriptive prose as it examines life before and after the Georgian Flu wipes out 99% of the earth’s population. Arthur Leander, an actor who died onstage of a heart attack on the eve of the flu outbreak, is the link between the book’s seemingly unconnected main characters. I normally don’t pick up post-apocalyptic literature, but this book drew me in from the first scene. I highly recommend it.
    • “I’m about halfway through The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear, a novel about the early days of World War I, as seen through the eyes of a young British (and recently married) woman. This is a great look at how war affects those on the home front, and the role of women in the early part of the 20th century.”
    • “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve become quite the fan of the movie Frozen and I’ve spent the week listening to the soundtrack at home and in the car, courtesy of the library’s subscription to Hoopla, which allows patrons to check out popular albums and stream them on their devices and computers for no charge.”
    • “Following a recommendation from my co-worker, Maureen, I’ve been watching the DVD for the first season of the British show, Broadchurch starring Dr. Who himself, David Tennant, and Olivia Colman as detectives in a small town investigating the murder of a young boy. The murder investigation brings out a lot of secrets in a seemingly idyllic community.”
  • Maureen:
    • “Just finished reading, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty: a well developed character novel that really sets you thinking ,’can good people do very, very bad things, and what, exactly, are we responsible for, and for how long?’”
    • “Reading now The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry: I always enjoy this author stories and have just started this one that involves secrets and suspicion, family and friendship…pulls you in right from the beginning!”
  • Todd:
  • Gerry C.:
    • Rio DVD: “Disney animated musical comedy adventure about Blu, a male blue macaw who is taken to Rio to mate with a free-spirited female macaw, Jewel. They eventually fall in love and together escape from being smuggled by Nigel, a cockatoo. A fun family movie.”
    • Rio 2: “This DVD is a sequel to Disney 2011 Rio. The adventures continue with Blu and Jewel enjoying life with 3 children in Rio. Eventually Jewel believes they should go to the Amazon to help find more blue macaws. Fast moving fun, upbeat music. And return of their nemesis from Rio, Nigel. I loved watching both of these DVDs with my granddaughter one day and my grandson another!!”
    • Cinderella II: “A Disney DVD. Cinderella is my favorite Disney movie so when I saw this at the library I couldn’t believe I hadn’t watched it. My granddaughter is a princess-fan and since she was visiting, we watched it. The story picks up after Cinderella and the prince move to the palace with all of Cinderella’s mice friends and her fairy godmother. The mice are tired of the old story book they read so decide to write a new story book about all that has happened at the palace since Cinderella became a princess. If you like the original Cinderella you will find this sequel fun to watch.”
    • Every Turtle Counts by Sara Hoagland Hunter is a story about seven-year old Mimi who discovers a frozen sea turtle on the beach. She doesn’t realize she has stumbled on one of the rarest animals on earth. All she knows is she has to save it. Every Turtle Counts” is the story of an autistic child who, with the help of a devoted mother, rescues the turtle. This book tells an interesting story with beautiful illustrations done in soft colors. We enjoyed this book very much.”
    • Mr. Selfridge is a PBS Masterpiece presentation, starring Jeremy Piven. This is a story about American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, the colorful visionary founder of London’s lavish department store, Selfridge’s. Pioneering, reckless and with boundless energy, Harry Selfridge created a theater of retail for London in the 1900s. We love this series. It is fast moving and the cast is brilliant. Can’t wait to see what happens as we continue watching!!”
    • Cuckoo’s Calling written by J.K. Rowling published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith: “Cormorant Strike a private investigator is hired by the adopted brother of a famous supermodel Lula Landry to investigate his sister ’s supposed suicide. Although the police investigation says it is a suicide, Strike begins an investigation of his own to see if there could have been foul play involved. After listening to 4 (of 13) discs, I had enough of this book. I found Strike’s investigation tedious with endless interviews of different people recounting their encounters with Lula. It is slow and I often had the feeling , who cares! I never cared about most of the characters, especially Lulu or the story. I would not recommend this book”
    • Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods is #30 in the Stone Barrington Series: “I have read/listened to many in this series.
      Stone Barrington is an elite New York lawyer and playboy. In this book he proves once again he is a man who wears many hats. Stone travels to Los Angeles for the biggest political convention of the year. When his current girlfriend summons him for help, he easily slips into the role of a discreet, behind the scenes powerbroker at the Democratic National Convention.
      Romance, intrigue are all about Stone Barrington. Stuart Woods seems to pump these books out. Although I am still drawn in by his characters, I found his earlier books were better.”
    • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri: “Story is about the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home. The name they give their first born Gogol brings many conflicts for the parents and seems to haunt Gogul on his own paths through his life. I felt so many emotions reading this book. Sadness, anger, confusion. It makes you think about what is really important and to make things count before it is too late.”
    • The Namesake - the movie. “Saw this after reading the book. Did not like this at all. It leaves so much detail out and rushes through some of the most important points of the book making the movie confusing as it rushes from one event to the other never really linking them.”
  • Anne: Anne has recently read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown and is currently reading Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer.
  • Marialice: Marialice has been enjoying watching The Inbetweeners through the library’s subscription to Hoopla.
  • Kate:
    • “Recently I’ve read a couple of almost-historical novels about loss and war. I borrowed Andrew Sean Greer’s The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells after reading his The Story of a Marriage with the book group. I found out that Greer usually writes about time travel, and for some reason that got my interest. The story starts in 1985, just after Greta has lost her twin brother to AIDS and broken up with her longtime love. She’s severely depressed. As a result of electroshock therapy treatments, Greta finds herself waking up inhabiting the lives of two other Greta Wells, one in 1918, and one in 1941. The New York apartment is the same, she’s basically unchanged, and the cast of characters is the same, but her relationships with her brother and boyfriend are not; their fates vary too. She cycles through the three Greta’s lives, and finds her actions changing with the times and circumstances. I enjoyed the book, but found it harder to suspend disbelief than I did with the “Time Traveler’s Wife”, which I loved. I’d point out Greta Wells to readers who like stories with relationship, social, and psychological themes, and don’t mind time travel.”
    • “Hearing the buzz about JoJo Moyes, and having a copy of The Girl You Left Behind available, I gave it a go. Moyes has created two connected stories: Sophie is in France in 1914, desperate to be reunited with her husband, who has been taken away by the Germans; In 2006, Liv slogs through life in the immaculate modern apartment designed by her now-dead architect husband. The two women are linked by a portrait of Sophie that plays a pivotal role in each of their lives. I found Sophie’s story of wartime struggle absorbing, but Liv’s behavior seemed silly and self-absorbed to me. Just the same, Moyes knows how to keep a reader’s attention to the end. Fans of historical fiction, tales of loss and survival, and parallel storylines might like The Girl You Left Behind. Additional hooks are art and architecture. I am now determined to find a few stories that do not feature miserable women!”
  • Marie:
  • Paula: “I just finished reading My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (downloadable e book). This memoir begins with her early years in the Bronx, her years at Princeton and Yale and concludes with her appointment to the Supreme Court. I really enjoyed reading about this amazing woman’s life!”
  • Doreen: “I’m reading The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. Love this book. Very well written.Focus is on three Australian families. Cecelia has the burden of her husband’s secret which she accidentally discovers in a letter. Story of the secret unfolds. Focus is on how Cecelia and her husband deal with it. The secret also affects another family in the story which adds another very serious element to the story.
    Great descriptions. Melbourne life and setting a large part of the story which I’m enjoying. Dark underlying theme, but with humorous behavior observations of the characters.”

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 24, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of August 24, 2014.

Adult’s Perspective on Summer Reading Lists from Days Gone By…

Summer Reading is not like it use to be.. When I saw the book, Tess of the D’Urbervilles / by Thomas Hardy, returned at rear circ, I was transported back in time to St Mary’s High School, here in Waltham, where we had a required summer reading list. This was one of the books I HAD to read one summer…and I HATED it. The book returned was in “Book on CD format.”

So in the spirit of WPL’s summer reading for adults campaign that we tried out this summer, I decided to give it another try.
I was surprised, once I started listening, the book wasn’t that bad, the reader did a great job, it was almost like listening to poetry. So many words you just don’t hear or see in print these days, made me think. As a teen I didn’t appreciate this and found it tedious.

The subject was a bit risque as Tess was “taken advantage of”, I wondered why the nuns chose this book as back in the 60’s at Parochial Schools the thinking was a little strict when it came to boys and girls. I felt bad for Tess, in that she was ignorant to “life” and how young country maids could be abused. The attitude towards male and female relationships was different back then, women could never escape their past mistakes and they were judged harshly for it. Then again I guess it’s still a little like that now too!

Maybe I’ll try a few more of the books had difficulty enjoying when I HAD to read them. Too bad I didn’t save the lists!

posted by Jeanette

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

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

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