2015 Waltham Public Library Book Club Selections

Announcing the 2015 reading list for the Waltham Public Library Book Club!*
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*The Waltham Public Library Book Club meets on the third Thursday of each month (except December) from 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm in the library’s Trustee Room. Copies of the books are available at the Main Circulation Desk during the month before the respective book’s meeting. For more information about the Waltham Public Library Book Club, please contact Laura Bernheim at, 781-314-3435 or Louise Goldstein at, 781-314-3429.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — November 9, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of November 9, 2014.

What Are We Reading? November 4, 2014

Welcome to a special Election Day “What Are We Reading”!

  • Jeanette:
    • “We finished watching the Northern Exposure TV Series – found the last season to be a little silly – stretching for story lines after Rob Morrow aka Dr. Joel Fleischman left. Actually there were a few long boring episodes before he finally left too! Got tired of his kvetching and whining!”
    • The Beekeeper’s Apprentice [sound recording] / Laurie R. King
      “Really liked this book – I listened to it on CD’s – I got to disc #11 and the murderer was getting ready to strike – put in the final disc only to find it wouldn’t play because there was a crack in it! Talk about suspense…Couldn’t wait to get a replacement so I could finish it. So many adaptations about Sherlock Holmes between books, movies and television, it was fun to look at it how his “apprentice” coped with him. Looking forward to more of the Mary Russell mysteries.”
    • Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin “Really Liked this book. I didn’t realize that Alice “from” Wonderland was based on a real girl! This was a Fascinating Read! I may have to read Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll one of these days.”
    • Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos “Interesting but a little weird. Story about three siblings who grew up grieving about their mother’s disappearance when they were children.”
    • The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin “Excellent book by someone who really knows the meaning of the word “Spectrum” she experienced many of them.”
    • The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida “Another good book about autism – a memoir by a 13 year old boy with autism. He answers a lot of questions.”
    • The Farm by Tom Rob Smith “Started reading this then realized I had the wrong book – I meant to request
      My Gentle Barn : Creating a Sanctuary where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope by Ellie Laks. Couldn’t get into the story family problems etc etc…so gave up on The Farm and will wait for My Gentle Barn.”

    “I read or at least started to read 3 books with the word ‘Other’ in the title – Don’t think I’ll look for others!”

    • The Other by David Guterson “Didn’t get too far into this one – maybe another time. John William Barry from a wealthy Seattle family, drops out of college and moves into the woods to disappear. He enlists the help of Neils Countryman from Ireland, who shared the love of the outdoors with John to help.”
    • The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay (author of Sarah’s Key “This was the story about a young man who found secrets about his past that lead to changes in his life.
      Didn’t finish this one either.”
    • The Other Typist: a Novel by Suzanne Rindell “Liked the old time references to typing pools and old manual typewriters – brought back memories. The story set in the 1920’s is about a typist for the NY City Police Department – who is influenced by another typing pool member into the world of speakeasies etc after work.”
  • Virginia:
    • Behind the Gates of Gomorrah: a Year with the Criminally Insane by Stephen Seager. “This is a very interesting book written by a psychiatrist working at Napa State mental hospital in California. The constant violence is not surprising but the fact that medical professionals endure and thrive in this atmosphere is very impressive. Dr. Seager chronicles his nail-biting rookie year at a hospital for criminals judged too insane to stand trial for their horrific crimes as he uneasily comes to care about mass murderers.”

    • Time Has Come by Jim Bakker. “As a Pre-Trib believer I was initially disappointed that this excellent book of bible prophecy is Post-Trib. Jim Bakker (of Jim & Tammy Bakker fame) explains his reasons for turning away from PreTribulation beliefs. I was interested in his reasoning but ultimately found it unconvincing. The book is very informative in translating various aspects of Revelation from the Greek. I’m waiting to read the library’s commentaries David Jeremiah’s Agents of the Apocalypse & Mark Hitchcock’s Blood Moons Rising“.
    • The Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan Kellerman & his son Jesse. “This is a totally weird book & very difficult to categorize. Kellerman (who has written many thrillers featuring Dr. Alex Delaware) has struck out in a different direction. The book is part thriller & part supernatural with an alcoholic LA police detective who is chosen to solve a peculiar murder of a serial killer because he is Jewish. The crime scene has a Hebrew word for ‘Justice’ left behind with a severed head. The chapters alternate with a tale of ancient biblical times set in Genesis which develops into a supernatural story of vengeance & revenge. The interesting thing is that these 2 stories seem to have nothing to do with one another yet by the conclusion vengeance of biblical proportions shows up in modern day LA. Well written, it features Kellerman’s spare narration & sly sense of humor.”
  • Laura: “I’m currently reading Lucky Us by Amy Bloom. I was a great fan of her book, Away. I enjoy her brand of historical fiction. I’m also reading Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton, a romance featuring a straight laced librarian as one third of a love triangle. It’s absurd and a little blush inducing but fun. I’m listening to the album Men of Steel: 50 Great Superhero Themes courtesy of the library’s Hoopla subscription.”
  • Maureen:
    • The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan “It’s the 1950s and times are tight for the Ryan family with ten kids , the Mom helps to keep poverty at bay by entering contests and winning all types of prizes. She won everything from candy bars, appliances, shopping sprees and cars to a cash prize that enabled her to put a down payment on a house just as they were being evicted from their two bedroom rental house .Evelyn Ryan had great spirit and a phenomenal sense of humor which she passed on to her kids. Terry Ryan has written a wonderful tribute to her Mother, a woman who was determined to do what ever it took to keep her family afloat and to do it in a positive upbeat way. This is Non-Fiction that reads like Fiction and will stay with you long after you close the book.”
    • The Dark Winter by David Mark “A new British crime series introduces us to Det. Sgt. Aector McAvoy, originally from the Scottish Highlands now residing in the bleak port city town of Hull in Yorkshire. McAvoy is a gentle giant who is on the Crime squad when a teenage girl is savagely murdered in Hull’s most historic church, and it is Aector who discovers that the girl and subsequent victims were all survivors of previous fatal tragedies. It is a fast paced novel with well developed characters and now I’m moving on to #2 Original Skin.”
    • The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell “It is a well written story with great character development.The Bird family grew up in in a picture perfect home in the idyllic Cotswolds in England, with their mother, Lorelei and father, Colin. Easter Egg hunts were a tradition and as time moved on, Lorelei seems unable to let go of even the tiniest trinket that belonged to her children and as a result her home becomes a prison filled with stuff she has hoarded over the years. After her death her adult children are left with the task of cleaning out their childhood home and unraveling the mystery of why their Mother became such a hoarder. It is a creative storyline with unconventional characters that compel you to finish reading to see how they all turned out.”
    • Currently reading The Long Way Home: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny “I’ve just started it but as expected Penny writes about complex characters dealing with complex emotional issues in the most perfect village in the world. Oh to live in Three Pines and have a café au lait sitting by the fire in the Bistro…doesn’t get any better than that!”
    • Just finished listening to The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman (Digital download) “Two sisters, Gwen, widowed, and Margot , divorced, join forces and become roommates in Margot’s luxurious Greenwich Village apartment, that she can no longer afford thanks to Bernie Madoff. They take in a third roommate, the affable Anthony who likes to bake cupcakes and has lost his job with Lehman Brothers. Basically it is a story about starting over and figuring out life in the 21st Century. It is really enjoyable because of the humor and characters. A nice light read.”
  • Nancy D.: Nancy has just finished The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue and Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom.
  • Todd: Todd is listening to Lagwagon’s new album Hang via the Library’s account to Freegal and is reading Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. He also watched the movie Witching and Bitching. “It’s very strange Spanish film that has a great mix of horror and comedy.”
  • Pat A:
    • “Just finished Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer (recommended by our co-worker, Anne). It is the story of a woman who has Huntington’s disease and her decision to give herself five days when her disease progresses to a certain point, and a man who has a foster child who needs to be returned in five days. Great characters.”
    • “I am now reading The Fault In Our Stars. A simple touching story of two teenagers struggling with disease. I wanted to read it before seeing the movie.”
  • Janice: “I read The Complete Gone With the Wind Trivia Book, by Pauline Bartel. The highest-grossing film of all time (adjusted for inflation) has inspired this 2nd edition of a fun book packed with everything “Windies” have to know. Just one example: Arguably the most famous dress in film history is the green velvet “drapery dress” Mammy fashioned for Scarlet out of her mother Ellen’s portiers. It was intended to work magic on Rhett so Scarlett could get the $300 in tax money for Tara. The scene spawned an iconic parody by Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman with the line “I saw it in a window, and I just couldn’t resist it.” In 2009 Carol and designer Bob Mackie donated the costume to the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.”

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — November 2, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of November 2, 2014.

New Library Director!

The Trustees of the Waltham Public Library are pleased to announce that Kelly Linehan has agreed to be the new Library Director at the Waltham Public Library.

Here are a few of the talents she’ll be bringing with her:
• Bachelor’s degree in Theater & English Lit from Regis;
• MLS from Simmons;
• Grew up in Waltham and was a Student Page here WPL;
• Has been working full-time in Cambridge for 10 years, most recently as Manager of Public Services for 5 Cambridge libraries, supervising branch staff;
• Previously also worked in Winchester & Watertown public libraries;
• Certified in Mental Health First Aid;
• Very proficient with technology, marketing and social media;
• One of 40 librarians selected from a national pool to participate in ALA’s Leading the Future, a 4-day immersive leadership development program;

Please stop in and meet her during an Open House on Wednesday, December 10th 3-7pm in the Lecture Hall at the Library, 735 Main Street.

Election 2014

Election Day is near! On November 4, 2014, registered voters will have the opportunity to vote for a new Governor. Voters will also be choosing people for other state offices, people to represent them at the United States House of Representatives, and on a series of ballot referendums. Here is some information to help you navigate on Election Day:

Where Do I Vote? | Candidates | Ballot Questions | Televised Debates

Where Do I Vote?

The Candidates
(note – all names are listed in the order they’re listed on the ballot)

Governor/Lieutenant Governor

Attorney General

Secretary of State (of the Commonwealth)



Governor’s Councillor (Third District)

Senator in General Court (Third Middlesex District)

Representative in General Court (Ninth Middlesex District)

Representative in General Court (Tenth Middlesex District)

District Attorney

Register of Probate

Representative in U.S. Congress

Senator in U.S. Congress

Ballot Questions
There are four statewide ballot questions on this year’s ballot. There are booklets in both English and Spanish with details about each question located in our Community Information Room on the first floor. The Secretary of the Commonwealth site also has
information about each ballot question.

  • Question 1
    Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing
    “This proposed law would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gasoline tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, (1) be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index over the preceding year, but (2) not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon.”
    A Yes Vote would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.
    A No Vote would make no change in the laws regarding the gas tax.
  • Question 2
    Expanding the Beverage Container Deposit Law
    “This proposed law would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law, also known as the Bottle Bill, to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic non-carbonated drinks in liquid form intended for human consumption, except beverages primarily derived from dairy products, infant formula, and FDA approved medicines. The proposed law would not cover containers made of paper-based biodegradable material and aseptic multi-material packages such as juice boxes or pouches.
    The proposed law would require the state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to adjust the container deposit amount every five years to reflect (to the nearest whole cent) changes in the consumer price index, but the value could not be set below five cents.
    The proposed law would increase the minimum handling fee that beverage distributors must pay dealers for each properly returned empty beverage container, which was 2¼ cents as of September 2013, to 3½ cents. It would also increase the minimum handling fee that bottlers must pay distributors and dealers for each properly returned empty reusable beverage container, which was 1 cent as of September 2013, to 3½ cents. The Secretary of EEA would review the fee amounts every five years and make appropriate adjustments to reflect changes in the consumer price index as well as changes in the costs incurred by redemption centers. The proposed law defines a redemption center as any business whose primary purpose is the redemption of beverage containers and that is not ancillary to any other business.
    The proposed law would direct the Secretary of EEA to issue regulations allowing small dealers to seek exemptions from accepting empty deposit containers. The proposed law would define small dealer as any person or business, including the operator of a vending machine, who sells beverages in beverage containers to consumers, with a contiguous retail space of 3,000 square feet or less, excluding office and stock room space; and fewer than four locations under the same ownership in the Commonwealth. The proposed law would require that the regulations consider at least the health, safety, and convenience of the public, including the distribution of dealers and redemption centers by population or by distance or both.
    The proposed law would set up a state Clean Environment Fund to receive certain unclaimed container deposits. The Fund would be used, subject to appropriation by the state Legislature, to support programs such as the proper management of solid waste, water resource protection, parkland, urban forestry, air quality and climate protection.
    The proposed law would allow a dealer, distributor, redemption center or bottler to refuse to accept any beverage container that is not marked as being refundable in Massachusetts.”

    A Yes Vote would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks with certain exceptions, increase the associated handling fees, and make other changes to the law.
    A No Vote would make no change in the laws regarding beverage container deposits.
  • Question 3
    Expanding Prohibitions on Gaming
    “This proposed law would (1) prohibit the Massachusetts Gaming Commission from issuing any license for a casino or other gaming establishment with table games and slot machines, or any license for a gaming establishment with slot machines; (2) prohibit any such casino or slots gaming under any such licenses that the Commission might have issued before the proposed law took effect; and (3) prohibit wagering on the simulcasting of live greyhound races.
    The proposed law would change the definition of “illegal gaming” under Massachusetts law to include wagering on the simulcasting of live greyhound races, as well as table games and slot machines at Commission-licensed casinos, and slot machines at other Commission-licensed gaming establishments. This would make those types of gaming subject to existing state laws providing criminal penalties for, or otherwise regulating or prohibiting, activities involving illegal gaming.
    The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.”

    A Yes Vote would prohibit casinos, any gaming establishment with slot machines, and wagering on simulcast greyhound races..
    A No Vote would make no change in the current laws regarding gaming.
  • Question 4
    Earned Sick Time for Employees
    “This proposed law would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions.
    Employees who work for employers having eleven or more employees could earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while employees working for smaller employers could earn and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.
    An employee could use earned sick time if required to miss work in order (1) to care for a physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition affecting the employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; (2) to attend routine medical appointments of the employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; or (3) to address the effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee’s dependent child. Employees would earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, and would begin accruing those hours on the date of hire or on July 1, 2015, whichever is later. Employees could begin to use earned sick time on the 90th day after hire.
    The proposed law would cover both private and public employers, except that employees of a particular city or town would be covered only if, as required by the state constitution, the proposed law were made applicable by local or state legislative vote or by appropriation of sufficient funds to pay for the benefit. Earned paid sick time would be compensated at the same hourly rate paid to the employee when the sick time is used.
    Employees could carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the next calendar year, but could not use more than 40 hours in a calendar year. Employers would not have to pay employees for unused sick time at the end of their employment. If an employee missed work for a reason eligible for earned sick time, but agreed with the employer to work the same number of hours or shifts in the same or next pay period, the employee would not have to use earned sick time for the missed time, and the employer would not have to pay for that missed time. Employers would be prohibited from requiring such an employee to work additional hours to make up for missed time, or to find a replacement employee.
    Employers could require certification of the need for sick time if an employee used sick time for more than 24 consecutively scheduled work hours. Employers could not delay the taking of or payment for earned sick time because they have not received the certification. Employees would have to make a good faith effort to notify the employer in advance if the need for earned sick time is foreseeable.
    Employers would be prohibited from interfering with or retaliating based on an employee’s exercise of earned sick time rights, and from retaliating based on an employee’s support of another employee’s exercise of such rights.
    The proposed law would not override employers’ obligations under any contract or benefit plan with more generous provisions than those in the proposed law. Employers that have their own policies providing as much paid time off, usable for the same purposes and under the same conditions, as the proposed law would not be required to provide additional paid sick time.
    The Attorney General would enforce the proposed law, using the same enforcement procedures applicable to other state wage laws, and employees could file suits in court to enforce their earned sick time rights. The Attorney General would have to prepare a multilingual notice regarding the right to earned sick time, and employers would be required to post the notice in a conspicuous location and to provide a copy to employees. The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Attorney General, would develop a multilingual outreach program to inform the public of the availability of earned sick time.
    The proposed law would take effect on July 1, 2015, and states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.”

    A Yes Vote would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions.
    A No Vote would make no change in the laws regarding earned sick time.

Gubernatorial Debates

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — October 26, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of October 26, 2014.

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

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

Kate’s Last Day

photo from Waltham News Tribune

We are sad to say goodbye to our director, Kate Tranquada, who is leaving the Waltham Public Library after 27 years of service. Kate has pretty much done it all at the library, from driving our bookmobile, to being our Young Adult Librarian, to becoming Head of Reference, and then moving on to administration first serving as assistant director before becoming director in 2008. Kate has also led the Waltham Public Library Book Club since 2003, and has been very popular with its members. (From what I’ve heard from Kate, the feeling is indeed mutual). Kate has made an impact on both the staff and patrons, and we will all miss her.
Please enjoy this article from the Waltham News Tribune about Kate and her tenure at the Waltham Public Library.

Privacy Concerns about E-book Borrowing

Do you borrow e-books and downloadable audio books through the library via our subscription to Overdrive?
If so, and you use the Overdrive Media Console app on your mobile device or Adobe Digital Editions on your computer, you may be interested in recent news about Adobe Digital Editions Version 4 and possible security breaches. There has been a lot of information out there, not all of it accurate, but the bottom line is that with the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions, Adobe has been tracking the content of its users.

Borrowing E-books
Those of you who have downloaded the Overdrive Media Console app or Adobe Digital Editions in the past will recall that you needed to create an account with Adobe in order to authorize the software to download e-books from the library. Most of you probably only signed into the account once in order to authorize your device and likely forgot that you ever set up a username and password with Adobe. As long as you used an app or Adobe Digital Editions on a device that was authorized, however, you were always logged into your Adobe account. Allegedly, anyone using the older versions of Adobe Digital Editions is not affected by the security breach. Users can use the Overdrive Read option which allows them to read e-books directly in their browsers. There is, of course, always the option to download Kindle books from Overdrive to read on a Kindle app, but in that case, the user is just allowing Amazon rather than Adobe to access his or her content. Amazon is just more up front about it. According to a statement from Overdrive, the company’s CEO met with representatives from Adobe who claimed that an update to Adobe Digital Editions Version 4 is in the works.

Public Libraries and Privacy
As public library employees, we strive to maintain your privacy as much as possible, and we were not happy to hear this news. In fact, state law requires us to keep information about your library record private. This means we can’t share any information about items checked out to your card to anyone, including your significant other or parents. This also means we can’t share information about your computer habits. To further protect your privacy, we have installed software on all of our public computers that erases all information such as passwords and downloaded files every time the computer shuts down. Our public desktops shut down after each use, and we ask all laptop users to turn their computers off before returning them.

The Online World
Unfortunately, we can’t control what third party vendors and other websites do with your information, whether you’re using a computer in the library or at home. If you want to watch a Youtube video and don’t want Google to know about it, make sure that you log out of your Google account before visiting Youtube. If you see an interesting link on Facebook, for example, and don’t want Facebook arranging ads based on that link, visit the link after you’ve logged out of your Facebook session. It’s always best to assume that any third party website that requires you to use a username and password is using your information for some reason. It’s usually only for marketing research but it is always good to read the fine print.

You Can Choose What you Do Online
We know that many of you share a great deal online and possibly have no concern about this issue. People’s reading habits have hardly been secrets. Social media sites such as Good Reads and Library Thing have allowed users to share their reading habits with the masses, willingly. Even Bibliocommons, a Patron Online Catalog used by several library systems such as the Boston Public Library, allows patrons, if they choose, to share information about books they have checked out. The difference, of course, is that users of the above mentioned products are all voluntarily sharing information. Some of those checking out e-books through Overdrive or other library digital media platform may not necessarily be so willing. If you are not one of those who’s comfortable with sharing information on the Internet, always be aware anytime you are asked to create a username and password.

Further Reading:

posted by Laura

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