Maya Angelou 1928-2014

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

What a voice Maya Angelou provided us for so many years. We are sad to learn of the death of this poet (and so much more) who inspired so many. If you would liked to be introduced to or revisit her works you can select from the following titles available from our collection:

All God’s children need traveling shoes

All God’s children need traveling shoes [electronic resource]

Amazing peace: A Christmas poem

Celebrations: Rituals of peace and prayer [sound recording]

Celebrations: Rituals of peace and prayer [electronic resource]

The complete collected poems of Maya Angelou

The complete collected poems of Maya Angelou [electronic resource]

Even the stars look lonesome

Gather together in my name

Great food, all day long : cook splendidly, eat smart

Great food, all day long : cook splendidly, eat smart [electronic resource]

Hallelujah! The welcome table: A lifetime of memories with recipes

The heart of a woman

The heart of a woman [electronic resource]

I know why the caged bird sings

I know why the caged bird sings

I know why the caged bird sings

I know why the caged bird sings

I know why the caged bird sings [electronic resource]

I know why the caged bird sings [sound recording]

I shall not be moved

King, a musical testimony [sound recording]

Letter to my daughter

Letter to my daughter [electronic resource]

Madea’s family reunion [videorecording]

Mom & me & mom

Mom & me & mom [electronic resource]

Mom & me & mom [electronic resource]

Mother : a cradle to hold me

Phenomenal woman: Four poems celebrating women

A song flung up to heaven

A song flung up to heaven

Soul looks back in wonder

Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now

Posted by Lisa

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — May 25, 2014

Here are links to the best seller lists for the week of May 25, 2014

What’s the Staff Reading? (or watching or listening)

As you prepare for the long weekend, check out what some members of our staff are reading or enjoying from our DVD collection:

  • Lisa: “I just read the Dairy Queen series (YA): Dairy Queen, The Off Season and Front and Center. They were fabulous!”
  • Gerry C.: Gerry is listening to Missing You by Harlan Coben and W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton. “Coben doesn’t disappoint!” Gerry is also reading The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida.
  • Laura: “I just finished The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, a great suggestion from my co-worker, Nancy D! I also recently read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, a YA/adult hybrid about a fan fiction writer navigating her way through her freshman year of college and family struggles. I just started Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise by Sam Irvin, a biography of the author of my favorite children’s series.”
  • Virginia: “Here’s what I just finished reading:
    • Field of Prey John Sandford’s 24th ‘Prey’ series featuring Minnesota police investigator Lucas Davenport. It was like all of his books a non-stop read but it is a little grisly so reader beware.
    • Finding Me the true story by Michelle Knight who was kidnapped & held prisoner in a Cleveland neighborhood for 11 years. It pulls no punches & is extremely violent. But it is also enlightening as to how much a person can go thru yet remain hopeful that the bad times will finally end & good will survive.
    • Daniel Palmer’s thriller Desperate. I couldn’t put it down. An Arlington Mass. couple arrange for a young. woman to bear them a child but then something goes terribly wrong. The narrator actually works in Waltham. I finished this in one day. There is a totally unexpected twist at the ending which will leave you saying “Wow!”.
    • Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther, a true story about a woman who was raised in a Christian cult & the religious abuse she suffered. Even after she left the cult the teachings haunted her & controlled her life. This is about her liberation from a cruel background which she had to fight to overcome.
  • Pat O: Pat is almost finished with North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo. “It’s a good story with lots of local color.”
  • Janice: “My most recent read was The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel. This was the basis for the movie-fascinating story of the little-known near loss of art pieces during WWII.”
  • Jacquie: Jacquie is reading The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.
  • Libby: Libby has just read Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara, just watched Going Postal and is listening to the music CD The Outsiders by Eric Church.
  • Paula: Paula recently read The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian, a historical mystery taking place in 1943 Italy.
  • Marie: Marie has recently shared that she will be re-reading her favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
  • Nancy D.: “I am currently reading My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner.”
  • Maureen: Maureen just finished reading The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh and is currently reading The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. She is listening to The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult on Playaway and just finished listening to The Ripper by Isabel Allende, courtesy of our digital media catalog!

How the School Reading list Became My Must Reads

I didn’t think I liked YA fiction. I took a class on it in library school and didn’t like many of the books we read. However, the library recently ordered over 100 digital items (downloadable electronic books and audiobooks) from the high school’s Summer Reading lists. These items become available to Waltham patrons through our digital catalog the day after they are purchased. However, we also enter them into our entire catalog so that people can know their different options (print, audiobook, downloadable e-book, and/or downloadable audiobook) when they search for a title. This has been my job for the summer reading items. My reaction to the descriptions of multiple of the realistic fiction titles has been “Ooh, I might have to read that.” Even though my teens were half my lifetime ago, the experiences of and challenges faced by the protagonists in these stories speak to issues I have faced and/or continue to face. I have already stayed up too late reading a couple of them.

If you want to try these or other items from our digital collection you will need to sign in with your card number and PIN number. If you don’t have a PIN already you can set it up through the Minuteman catalog or ask a staff member to assist you. **Note: It is best to sign in right when you enter the digital catalog because many of the items on the list are only available to Waltham patrons and you will not see them listed until you sign in.

Posted by Lisa

This Week’s Best Seller Lists

Here are the links to the best seller lists for the week of May 18, 2014.

2 for $1 MOVIES on Thursdays

Did you know the library offers a deal for movies on Thursdays?? It’s 2 for $1 day! It’s good in both the Children’s Room and the AV room so take some of each.

Spread the word! The best deal in town got even better on Thursdays.


Fiction with Local Flavor

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, we read novels that take place in New England. Here is a sampling:

Boston Marathon Bombing — One Year Later

(Michael Dwyer/AP Photo, image from

One year ago today, I was at the Red Sox game with my father and my good friend getting very excited about a walk off win. My father and I, still ecstatic about the game, walked over to Kenmore Square to cheer on the Marathon runners. Suddenly I saw police officers run towards Commonwealth Avenue, which was followed by a mysterious text from my friend (who had left the area after the game), asking, “You didn’t go to the finish line, did you?” When I answered that I was on the marathon route in Kenmore, she said, “Good. Did you hear about the explosion? Be safe!” Eventually, the race was stopped in the Kenmore area, and we were evacuated, instructed by emergency personnel and National Guard to walk away, not towards Downtown, and to stay away from Beacon Street in Brookline for several blocks. Walking through Brookline, we heard different stories about explosions, then bombs in Copley Square, a fire at the John F Kennedy Library in Dorchester, and various threats in the city (thus the evacuation of parts of Beacon Street). It wasn’t until I got home, that I heard the actual facts, there had been two bombs at the finish line, and that the other stories were either not related or not credible. As mildly confusing as my day had been, I could not (and still can’t) imagine the horror of those directly impacted and what they must be going through today. If you are reflecting on the first anniversary, here are some relevant resources.

posted by Laura

New Digital Books Available!

Browsing for something to download from the Digital Media Catalog? Log in first - at the beginning of your browsing session - instead of when you’re ready to check out.

The Minuteman Library Network offers many titles for all library users to access. And, individual libraries can also add titles just for the residents of their city or town, called Advantage titles. The Digital Media Catalog only shows titles that you, the browser, can access, so logging in opens up all those residents-only Advantage titles!

And a new big batch of Advantage titles was added today! After you log in, click on the New Titles link under Featured Collections. You’ll see what’s been added to the site most recently.

Someone beat you to something that looks good? Place a hold and get an email when it’s ready for you. Don’t be intimidated by a list that looks long, place that hold – it alerts library staff that there’s demand among our Waltham patrons! And, since Advantage titles are only available to Waltham residents, that list often isn’t as long as it looks!

Need something today? Place a hold for something to arrive soon, but then click the button to see Available Now. That’ll save you the roller coaster of selecting a title only to find out someone else is using it now. Narrow it down to eBook or eAudiobooks, whichever your preference, and now you have a more manageable batch to browse.

Haven’t tried digital books yet? eBooks and eAudiobooks are super versatile and completely portable. Check out a few of these guides for getting started!

How to Enjoy eBooks on your Smartphone or Tablet and on your eReader

How to Enjoy eBooks on Kindle devices Free Kindle Apps and Kindle Fire

Getting Started with Android

Getting started with iOS (iPad, iPhone & iPod touch)

Once you’ve got the one-time set-up stuff done, visit the Digital Media Catalog over and over for new books any time!

Happy Downloading, Everyone!


Point/Counterpoint Oscar Fashion

Welcome to the library’s annual tradition featuring reference librarians, Marialice Wade and Laura Bernheim, giving their brutally honest opinions about the fashions at this year’s Academy Awards. Click on the links to get a birds eye view of the fashion, request a related book, read a related article, or request the film.
Agree with us? Want to tell us we’re crazy? Sound off in the comments section.
Read about Oscar coverage as far back as 1929 by exploring our database featuring historic Boston Globe and New York Times articles.

Marialice’s Turn
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly—again

Once again, I find myself watching the Academy Awards just to make snarky remarks about the fashion or lack thereof.
This year the hair was better but I really miss necklaces on those bony sternums, especially the diamond variety. Charlize Theron had a gorgeous necklace, but a dress with weird nude colored straps.
Sometimes, I just don’t understand how an actress can sort through the many dresses thrown at her by all the great designers, pull one on, gaze into the mirror and say “yes” to the dress.

  • Like Julia Roberts. She is not known for her fashion sense, but who steered her to this peplum look? Oh yes.
  • And Anna Kendrick. Even her shoes were bad.
  • You would think after all those nominations, Meryl Streep would make better choices.
  • Who would ever think, even with the best arm candy around, that Angelina Jolie could go wrong. I did not like the placement of those sparkles.
  • Amy Adams had bad hair and an uninspired navy dress.
  • Poor Kerry Washington looked like she wrapped a sheet around her baby bump and it didn’t quite reach around. The only pregnant woman I thought who looked good was Olivia Wilde.
  • And why was the beautiful Portia De Rossi wearing a tablecloth. She must have known her wife was ordering take out.
  • Dishonorable mention also goes to Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli, and Kristin Chenoweth.
  • I know everyone loved Lupita Nyong’o and her blue dress and headband, but I would have preferred this dress on a fuller figure.
  • Naomi Watts had a great simple look without that plunging neckline so many of the dresses had.
  • Even though Jennifer Lawrence may not have the best balance, she had a great scarlet dress and another backwards necklace!
  • This Year I think I will award the first best and worst for men:

Laura’s Turn
Aw, I thought Kerry Washington looked great in her dress. I think she handled the baby bump well, and I admire any Hollywood woman who enthusiastically asks for a piece of pizza. (And did she ever get her pizza? My fellow Oscar watchers and I were yelling at the television, “Give the pregnant lady her pizza!” Never fear, she got some gluten free pizza in the green room.). Elsa Pataky’s dress, on the other hand, was not my cup of tea. (Her accessory on her arm, however — aka husband Chris Hemsworth was not too shabby) As for the rest, here are my picks for best and worst dressed:

Best Dressed

  • I thought Lupita Nyong’o looked stunning. Not everyone can wear a headband to an awards show and pull it off, but she does. And I thought the dress was flattering to her figure. I also appreciated her lovely speech in which she mentioned that “so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.” Much more sincere than the sentiments expressed by James Cameron 16 years ago during his acceptance speech for best director? (Remember when he asked everyone to take a moment of silence for the victims of the Titanic sinking and then seconds later screamed, “I’m King of the World?” Stay classy, James!) Nyong’o’s best accessory was her date, her brother, Peter, who looked very handsome and also wins a lot of points for getting in on the Ellen Degeneres self portrait. Heck, he got a better spot in the picture than his sister!
  • Sandra Bullock looked great. Her figure handles the strapless dress well, and she gets away with wearing her hair down. The color of the dress and her hair color complement each other perfectly.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith is a knockout. Surprisingly, though I was a bit disappointed with her husband, Will Smith. Normally, he’s one of the few men to make my best dressed list, but I’m not keen on his look, this year. He doesn’t actually look bad and is far from being one of the worst dressed, just that because he normally is one of the male standouts (in a good way), I have higher expectations for him.
  • Meryl Streep looks great and always manages to look classy. I like the bracelets though I’m not sure what I think of the belt. She also gets bonus points for taking two pieces of pizza! (I think one may have been for her husband, but still…)
  • June Squibb’s outfit was very flattering on her. It’s maybe a half inch too long, but otherwise it looks great. Her hair and makeup is also perfect. And kudos to her for graciously laughing at Ellen’s old age joke.
  • Channing Tatum may be my new Will Smith in terms of best dressed male. The tuxedo is a perfect fit. I’m not sure how I feel about the hair, however. Leonardo DiCaprio looked smashing, but he loses points for perpetuating the stereotype that Hollywood stars don’t eat and refusing a piece of pizza. Bradley Cooper also looked nice for the men. Jamie Foxx was handsome, as always, and his daughter, Corinne, also gorgeous, was not afraid to admit she eats by devouring her pizza. (So there, Leo!)
  • Ellen Degeneres gets honorable mention for the Glinda outfit. Judy Garland’s children seemed to enjoy it as well.

Worst Dressed

  • Agh!!! Anne Hathaway tried to blind me. Seriously, I needed sunglasses when she presented.
  • One of my fellow Oscar watchers mentioned that it looked as if Whoopi Goldberg suddenly decided that she didn’t want to wear a strapless gown and hurriedly threw on a blouse underneath it. I had missed the Golden Globes so I didn’t even realize that Julia Roberts apparently also had buyer’s remorse there about wearing a strapless gown, until Marialice pointed out to me. To debate on who wore it better would be the same as saying someone actually wore it well, which they didn’t.
  • And speaking of Julia Roberts, I kept hoping that someone would hand her a pair of scissors to cut off the piece of fabric peeking behind her right sleeve. (Though that was the least of her fashion problems)
  • Marialice may not have been happy with Liza Minnelli’s outfit, but I was less happy with Liza’s sister, Lorna Luft. Liza’s outfit actually could have been quite pretty if the blue wasn’t super duper shiny. I don’t know what would have happened to my retinas if she and Anne Hathaway were in the same shot. But, back to Lorna Luft. What on earth was going on with that red lacy stuff on top? Was she wearing red because she wanted to wear the same color as the famed ruby slippers? The elusive Joey Luft definitely wins the best dressed award among Judy Garland’s children. I noticed though that he was wearing red, as well. So did he and Lorna wear red for the ruby slippers, and Liza wore blue in honor of Dorothy’s blue and white checked gingham dress? Have I just seen The Wizard of Oz too many times?
  • I can’t believe how many people put Charlize Theron and Kate Hudson on their best dressed lists. I just kept hoping that Kate Hudson had invested in a lot of double stick tape, and I felt that Charlize Theron’s top looked too much like an unfinished bra. I agree with Marialice that the necklace looked nice, though.
  • I really want to like Chrissy Teigen’s dress, but it just doesn’t work. If I saw that on the rack somewhere, I would think it was really cute, but would realize it was not meant to be once I wore it. Truthfully, she pulls this off better than I would, but it’s just too long. If it was a cocktail dress, it would be adorable (though not really Oscar worthy, I suppose)
  • I was not a fan of Jared Leto’s look (especially the bow tie). However, unlike Leonardo DiCaprio who lost points, Leto gains points for his beautiful tribute to his mother and brother (who were also his dates), plus passing around the Oscar to all of the journalists during his press conference. You’ve come a long way, Jordan Catalano!
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