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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.”

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — August 10, 2014

Here are best seller lists for the week of August 10, 2014

Digitized Waltham Books


Image from Harvard Business School Baker Library Waltham Watch Collection

Attention Waltham Researchers!
Looking for some historical information on Waltham? Many of our most popular books on this city’s history and residents now reside online at the Internet Archive, many of which have been digitized thanks to the efforts of the Boston Public Library Digital Services Team. Enjoy the convenience of accessing these items from almost anywhere. Click here for more explanation and links, or visit the “Local History” under “Library Departments” section of our web page.
Posted by Jan Zwicker, Archivist/Local History Librarian

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — August 4, 2014

Here are links to the best seller lists for the week of August 4, 2014.

What Are We Reading? July 28, 2014

Check out what we read recently.

  • Virginia:
    • Cop Town by Karin Slaughter (Fiction). “Atlanta 1974 : A cop killer is on the loose in the city. This brutal book is not for the squeamish. Two police women try to deal with the hostility & derision of the male police force as they attempt to hunt down the killer.”
    • Redeeming the Dream by David Boies and Ted Olson (Nonfiction). “Brilliant lawyers Boies & Olson team up to describe the 4 year 7 month mission to overturn California’s Prop 8, eventually arguing the case before the Supreme Court to find for marriage equality.”
    • Indefensible by Lee Goodman (Fiction). “Prosecutor Nick Davis is involved in 4 murders when he suddenly realizes that he could be the chief suspect in one of them, Wracked by paranoia, he decides that it is up to him to solve the murders to protect himself & his family. Very well written.”
    • The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson (Fiction). “Set in London in 1727 : Tom Hawkins is thrown into the Marshalsea debtors prison & finds that he must solve the murder of one of the prisoners if he is ever going to find his way out of the brutal gaol. A vivid description based on fact of the inhumanity of the 18th century penal system. This is the debut novel by an editor of Little Brown UK.”
  • Louise:
    • “I am just finishing Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson. This audio book (also available in book form) is a hoot! Ms. Lawson, The Bloggess, has a very zany sense of humor. She writes about her life growing up in Wall, Texas, which had an estimated population of 200 in 2000. Growing up in small town Texas with a taxidermist father and very little money is actually very funny when looked at through Ms. Lawson’s eyes.”
    • “I just finished reading We Are Water by Wally Lamb. This is a very good novel. Do not read this if you are looking for a light beach read. Do pick this up if you like: psychological fiction, a New England setting, and some dramatic twists and turns.”
    • “I recently listened to the audio book Truth And Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett.
      Fans of Ms. Patchett will enjoy the fact that she is the reader of the audiobook. This moving and sad memoir about Patchett’s friendship with Lucy Grealy, was gripping from start to finish. This book is worth reading in conjunction with Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, a title that several of our staff have read and enjoyed. Grealy, a talented writer, struggled with Ewing’s sarcoma, and surgeries that left her physically and emotionally scarred.”
  • Jan: “I just finished The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway by Doug Most. If you’re tired of the old Red Sox/ Yankees rivalry, here’s a fascinating new one for you to pick sides on.”
  • Pat A.: Pat has just finished The Unexpected Waltz by Kim Wright and is currently reading A Long Time Gone by Karen S. White.
  • Laura:
    • I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster. “Ben Blatt, a recent Harvard graduate, loves baseball. His friend, Eric Brewster, hates it. Somehow, though, Eric finds himself riding along with Ben after the latter works out an algorithm which allows them to see 30 full baseball games at every major league stadium in the United States (and Canada). Coming up against rainouts, time zone problems, and each other’s clashing personalities, the two embark on a very long yet extremely rushed road trip. The baseball games are nothing more than a side note in this funny memoir, as two friends become closer and simultaneously annoyed with one another. I personally have a goal to hit every major league stadium, though I prefer to reach it a little more leisurely than these two! Baseball stadium loving fans will appreciate this book, but the book is accessible to those who don’t know the differences between OBP, OPS, Batting Average, and ERA.”
    • Landline by Rainbow Rowell. “Georgie McCool, the owner of the best name ever, is excited that she and her television writing partner, Seth, are finally getting their sitcom picked up by a network. The problem is that they must turn in scripts around the Christmas holidays and she had made plans to go to Nebraska with her husband, Neal, and two daughters to visit Neal’s mother. She explains the situation to Neal, angrily who leaves for Nebraska with the two girls and not Georgie. Georgie, unsure if her marriage is over, takes solace at her mother’s house, and is unable to get in touch with Neal on his cell phone. She ends up using her mother’s landline and calls his mother’s landline, only to find out that she’s talking to a version of Neal from the days leading up to their engagement. As she continues her conversations with the Neal of the past and recalls the early days of their relationship, Georige learns more about herself and Neal. The premise does not do this book justice. It was a fun, quick read. Rowell writes in a very pleasant style while also taking a realistic look at marriage. It’s hopefully not giving away too much of a spoiler to state that all ends well, but not all is tied up in a neat bow, which is the case in real life. Rowell, who started out as an adult novelist, has made quite a splash recently with her Young Adult novels, Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, and she continues to delight with this adult novel.”
    • We Were Liars by E. Lockart. “This seems to be the It Young Adult Book for 2014, having received much press from the publisher and various review sources well before the publication date. In late April Library Reads listed it as the number 1 book published in May being discussed by librarians. Since I’m the former Young Adult (YA) librarian (and current Young Adult book selector) for the library, and a lover of YA books, I was pretty curious and downloaded the e-book version. Cadence Sinclair Eastman, “Cady”, is a scion of the extremely wealthy Massachusetts based Sinclair family (think a smaller version of the Kennedys). Every year, the extended family gathers on Beachwood, the small island owned by Cady’s grandparents. Through the years, Cady becomes closer with her two cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and Johnny’s not quite step cousin, Gat (the nephew of his mother’s long term boyfriend). In Cady’s fifteenth summer on the island, she falls in love with Gat, and has a mysterious accident that leaves her partly amnesiac. Two years later, Cady reconvenes with her relatives on Beachwood as she tries to piece together what happened. It’s obvious from the beginning that Cady is an unreliable narrator, and as the reader moves through the haunting and eerie story, it’s on her to separate the truth from fantasy. This book is a good suggestion for those who liked The Sixth Sense, Fight Club, Shutter Island, and most of Jodi Picoult’s titles mainly for the twist endings. Others may also enjoy the literary allusions sprinkled throughout the novel, with references to classic fairy tales and a subtle reference to Shakespeare’s King Lear
  • Maureen:
  • Nancy W.: “I just finished Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. Very good book, but a tearjerker.”
  • Doreen: Doreen just finished reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and is listening to The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. “Both excellent!”
  • Gerry C.:
  • Mary V.: Mary is reading The Fire Dance by Helene Thurston.
  • Lisa: “I have started the 1st Diary of a Wimpy Kid book (by Jeff Kinney). An excerpt from the newest upcoming one was so funny that I figured I’d see what I’d been missing.”
  • Bela: Bela has just started the book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly. “It seems very interesting.”
  • Pat O.: Pat is reading The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby. “It’s historical fiction about a young seamstress who designed clothing for First Lady Jackie Kennedy.” Pat also enjoyed North of Boston by Elizaeth Elo.
  • Marialice:
  • Jeanette:
  • Todd:
    • “I’m reading NOS4A2 by Joe Hill . It has a little bit of everything- horror, suspense, fantasy, and adventure.”
    • “This weekend, I’m going to watch Big Ass Spider! I’m pretty sure that this will be an entertaining horror film.”
  • Kate: “I’ve been on a YA dystopia kick, reading the high school’s summer book, Ready Player One (Ernest Cline), and Suzanne Collins now classic The Hunger Games. Very enjoyable!”

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — July 27, 2014

Here are links to the best seller lists for the week of July 27, 2014.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — July 20, 2014

Here are links to the best seller lists for July 20, 2014

What Are We Reading? July 16, 2014

Check out what we read recently.

Summer Reading For Adults

Kids do it. Teens do it. Even lots of in betweens do it. Let’s do it. Let’s have Adult summer Reading! Here’s the real song And, why not? Why shouldn’t the grown ups get a chance to read in the summer and enter to win fabulous prizes? That’s why we at the Waltham Public Library have introduced a summer reading program for our library users aged 18 and up.

We will give out fabulous prizes to randomly selected winners at the end of August. It’s easy! It’s fun! Fill out one of our entry forms at one of our circulation desks or go to this website: Click here

Not sure what to read? Come see our display of Great Books You May have Missed in the front lobby on the first floor. Try our Beach Reads display in the front lobby. Check out our Pinterest page for inspiration.

two women reading

Walter Dean Myers, 1937-2014

“We need to tell kids flat out reading is not optional” -Walter Dean Myers

To learn more about this acclaimed author of children’s and young adult books go to his website. Below is a list of the Walter Dean Myers materials that the library owns. Click on the title to see whether the item is available and/or to request the item.

All the right stuff

Angel to angel : a mother’s gift of love

At her majesty’s request : an African princess in Victorian England

Autobiography of my dead brother [sound recording]

Autobiography of my dead brother

Bad boy : a memoir

Bad boy : a memoir

The beast

Big city cool : short stories about urban youth

Blues journey

The blues of Flats Brown

Brown angels : an album of pictures and verse

Carmen : an urban adaptation of the opera

Center stage : one-act plays for teenage readers and actors

The Cruisers

The Cruisers : checkmate

Dope sick

The dream bearer

Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff

The Glory Field

Handbook for boys : a novel

Harlem : a poem

Here in Harlem : poems in many voices

Invasion [sound recording]

I’ve seen the promised land : the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jazz [sound recording]

The journal of Biddy Owens : the Negro leagues

Kick

Lockdown

Looking like me

Un Lugar entre las sombras

Malcolm X : by any means necessary : a biography

Malcolm X : a fire burning brightly

Monster

Mr. Monkey and the Gotcha Bird : an original tale

Muhammad Ali : the people’s champion

Patrol : an American soldier in Vietnam

The pick-up game : a full day of full court

Riot

Scorpions [sound recording]

Shooter

Slam!

Slam!

Somewhere in the darkness

Soul looks back in wonder

Street love

Sunrise over Fallujah

Toussaint L’Ouverture : the fight for Haiti’s freedom

What they found : love on 145th street

posted by Lisa

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