Staff Reads July 2020

Book Projector Treble Clef

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  • Autopsy of a Boring Wife by Marie Lavoie: This book is a fun and light read, perfect for those of us who are having a hard time concentrating.  I picture Diane Keaton in the main role; the housewife whose husband has left her for a younger woman.  The novel takes place in Quebec  and our main character is anything but boring.
  • Cut Me Loose by Leah Vincent: This memoir is very moving and, I must warn you, there are some upsetting scenes.  Leah can not bear the shackles of being a traditional ultra Orthodox female who is not allowed to go to college and who is expected to serve her husband and produce children as her primary role.  The lack of support that she gets from her family when she is unable to live such a circumscribed life causes Leah alot of pain.  This book documents her struggle to find an identity that is comfortable and that makes sense for her.  Recommended for fans of Unorthodox:  The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman.
  • Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst: This eccentric story tells about Jeanne Darst’s life growing up with an alcoholic mother and a self absorbed writer father who can not always attend to his family’s needs.  Jeanne herself becomes an artist and an alcoholic who has to come to terms with her family, her own alcoholism, and her identity.  I loved this book and I felt for the family and for Jeanne on her journey to selfhood.  Recommended for fans of The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Donna Tartt is such an amazing writer that I simply don’t have the words. This novel is a Pulitzer Prize winner.  The goldfinch refers to a painting by Carel Fabritius that currently hangs in the Hague.  The goldfinch has a chain attached to its foot which is an apt metaphor for some of the chains that the main character, Theo has to bear in his difficult life.  Theo has and loses a wonderful, art loving mother.  His father is less loving; an alcoholic actor who deserts the family.  We meet all sorts of interesting and flawed characters and see Theo’s destiny so closely entwined with the painting.  I don’t want to spoil the plot and tell you what happens with the painting.
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft: This Newbery Award winning graphic novel is an easy and edifying read.  The main character, Jordan, is a young man who is transferring to an upscale, mostly white school.  He is the new kid and he has to come to terms with a whole different universe.  He has a lovely family, two parents who want the best for him, but who don’t always see things the way he does.  Jordan wants to go to art school, but his mother wants him to go the prestigious school.  He has to take public transportation to get there and he has to find his place as the new kid in the new school and as a kid who has left his neighborhood school behind.  Heartwarming and witty, this is recommended to anyone who ever wondered how to fit in.  Illustrations are all done by the author and the illustrations that are supposedly Jordan’s own originals are delightful.
  • Afterlife by Julia Alvarez: This novel is so compulsively readable that I finished it practically before I started.  Our main character, Antonia, has lost her husband Sam, and is still dealing with her grief.  In the meantime, her three sisters are having their own issues as one of the sisters, Izzy, seems to have gone off the deep end.  Antonia lives in Vermont and has some serious worries about some illegal workers and their struggles.  The relationships of the sisters feel so universal to me as they quibble and argue and love each other as best as they can.  The sisters’ family came from the Dominican Republic, and yet, they are firmly ensconced in the United States unlike the migrant workers in Antonia’s neighborhood.  Antonia has a strong literary bent as she is a writer and a former teacher and her literary references throughout the novel are delightful to read.  Two of her sisters are therapists and so, have a more ‘therapy’ oriented view which one who studies great literature might question.  What would a therapist say about Hamlet or King Lear or Desdemona in the current era?  Antonia ponders these sorts of questions and more in this heartwarming book that deals with the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of family life.



  • Just Mercy the film: Based on the book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. This is an origin story that’s hard to watch and incredibly important to see. It’s a dramatization of the founding of the Equal Justice Initiative by attorney Bryan Stevenson. If you’re not familiar with their work, take a look at their website: In the film, Stevenson is a newly minted, Harvard-trained Black lawyer who moves to Montgomery, Alabama with funding to provide free legal services to those who have been wrongfully convicted or sentenced, including men on death row. The main story is about Johnny D McMillian, a Black man who was illegally convicted of killing a white woman and placed on death row. The entire case against him rested on the convoluted and implausible testimony of a white felon who said he saw McMillian standing over the victim. Attorney Stevenson eventually uncovers the truth, which is that the white felon was temporarily placed on death row in the cell next to the kill room as a way of pressuring him to pin the crime on a man he’d never seen, for a murder he knew nothing about. Stevenson doggedly pursues justice, eventually winning freedom for McMillian. The film doesn’t shy away from the stark realities of death row: the preparation of an inmate for the electric chair, the way cells are organized so that inmates can’t see each other while talking, the random and inhumane exertion of power imposed by the guards. The film’s message is clear: we live in a racist society, built on a racist legacy. EJI’s fight is against a well-oiled system of oppression. This film will haunt you and make you see what he – and we – are up against.


  • Once You Go This Far by Kristen Lepionka: The 4th book featuring PI Roxan Weary. I really liked this one! Although i had a suspicion of the guilty person as soon as we were introduced to them, the entire story kept me guessing.
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager: Another twisty mystery/thriller/horror novel from this author. Maggie Holt returns to a home her family fled when she was a child because it was haunted. Her father even wrote a best selling book about the experience, and her life has never been the same because of that book. She doesn’t remember her time in the house as a kid, and doesn’t think a word of the book is true, but after her father dies, she goes back to find out if it’s really haunted.
  • The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman: You can tell that Naomi who is a mentee of Margaret Atwood is very influenced by the author. This book read very similarly to Atwood. Sometimes it was interesting, sometimes it was a little too heavy handed.
  • The Last One by Alexandra Oliva: An interesting book to pick up during a pandemic. Our main character (i’m not sure we ever learn her real name) enters a reality competition out in the wilderness, somewhat like survivor, but less intense. What she doesn’t realize is that while she is alone in the wilderness, a pandemic is wiping out the world’s population. Even when she stumbles upon recently abandoned towns, she assumes it is just part of the game. I definitely wanted to find out how it ended!
  • The Half of It on Netflix: This is an adorable movie about a young gay woman, centering on her relationship with her father and a straight boy at her high shcool who she happens to share a crush with. It’s gentle, and sweet, and all about friendship.
  • The Bold Type Season 4B
  • Love, Victor on Hulu: A spin off of Love, Simon, originally planned for Disney+ but moved to Hulu. I have to say, i don’t like Victor very much. Just because you are confused about your sexuality/coming out does not give you a free pass to be a jerk to the people who are kind to you. If i’m to continue watching, i want a kid who is less of a jerk.



  • Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany: A strange yet very hopeful look at language, about how it can divide us, and how it can be a bridge of empathy between us. I’ll have to reread it again.
  • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff: Set in 1950s America, this story revolves around a black family fighting against everyday racism and supernatural horrors, all during the Jim Crow era. Terrifying and surprisingly heartfelt, I highly recommend it.
  • Devolution by Max Brooks: A bunch of rich tech-savvy hipsters set up a suburban neighborhood in the American Northwest wilderness. When a natural disaster separates them from the rest of the world, they discover Bigfoot is real, there is more than one of them, and they are not friendly. A fascinating, well researched drama about what is admittedly a very ridiculous topic.




Janet Z.


  • Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof by Alisa Solomon: Gives a lot of context to the classic show as well as the Sholem Aleichem stories.
  • Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore: Great riff on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  First book by Moore I’ve read since Lamb, which I loved.
  • Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga: Beautiful, thoughtful, and descriptive.
  • Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead: Great follow up to The Underground Railroad.  Elwood’s story after heading to a reformatory is one that sadly still rings true today.
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: Heart wrenching and descriptive tale told in two verse about two sisters, one living in New York and the other living in the Dominican Republic, who only learn of each other’s identity after a tragedy.
  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi: A fantasy novel that is incredibly grounded allowing the reader to think about who is considered a monster.  Though the tone is different, this could serve as a readalike to Sweep by Jonathan Auxier, which is another look at monsters in literature.  I love the fact that Jam, the main character, happens to be a transgender female but it’s just a part of and not her entire identity.  It also contains my new favorite line in a book, “‘If you really want to know,’ one of the teachers added, taking pity on Jam’s frustrated curiosity, ‘there’s always the library.'”
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy: Riveting, descriptive look at the Turner family, living in Detroit from the 1940’s to 2008 with a dash of magic realism thrown in.
  • The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Féret-Fleury: A quiet novel about a woman, Juliette, who loves watching people read on the Metro in Paris and finds herself in a position to match the perfect books with the perfect people.
  • Lovebirds (movie): I loved the chemistry between Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as a couple caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • The Great Mouse Detective (movie): I think I was just a shade too old when this was released and just caught this for the first time.  I think it would have scared the daylights out of me as a kid!
  • The Babysitters Club (Netflix): I had loved these books when I was in middle school but acknowledge they’ve since become dated.  The new show is perfect, updating the stories and main characters for 2020 (even the part about Claudia having her own phone line).  I love all of the changes, and daresay that I enjoy this more than the original books.  (I’m trying to ignore the fact that the parents are my age)

Tell Us What You’re Reading June 2020


On Monday, June 15, we held another “Tell Us What You’re Reading” meeting of the  Waltham Public Library Virtual Book Club.  Everyone who participated shared titles of books that they’re reading as well as some shows and movies that they’ve been watching.  We had a wonderful conversation and all of us came away with some more titles for our “To Be Read” lists.  Below are the titles that attendees shared.
Join us on Monday, July 13 at 7:00 pm or Thursday, July 16 at 2:30 pm (or both!)  to share any titles that you’re reading!  E-mail Laura ( for the meeting link.



Civic Engagement/Social Justice: This list includes organizations and resources for all who want to improve the quality of life in their community. Tip O’Neill said that “all politics is local”, and when one benefits one’s community, the effects ripple out to improve life for all. There are, of course, organizations and resources that present an even wider scope here. Although we have collected a wealth of information here, it is our intention to update and enhance this list as necessary. 

Some of the descriptions have been taken from the organizations’ mission statements. 

Waltham Based Organizations

Waltham Concerned Citizens Waltham Concerned Citizens was founded in 1981 to work for peace and justice. Links From Waltham Concerned Citizens Here are links for immigration information, peace information, economic resources, human rights and more. 

Progressive Waltham Working for a better minimum wage, environmental reform, social justice and more. 

Waltham Energy And Climate Action Now! (WECAN) We are a coalition of concerned people and groups. We are also the Waltham node of 350Mass, a climate action network made up of engaged volunteers who work with the media, organize events, educate their communities, lobby lawmakers, and more.

Waltham Government

Waltham City Council A listing of city councilors and contact information. 

Click Here For the Latest Streaming Updates From City Officials Find out what your city officials have to say about Covid-19 in Waltham. Brought to you by WCAC (Waltham Cable Access Corporation).  Here is the City’s YouTube Channel.

City Of Waltham Covid-19 Rsources The city has been keeping an updated list of resources that are much needed during this time. 

City Of Waltham Contacts Directory A list of city departments and contacts. Click on the link to learn more. 

City Of Waltham OpenGov OpenGov is a data visualization platform that enables municipalities to streamline and present its budget and financial data in a more meaningful manner. Integrating financial data with a data platform will provide users with an engaging and favorable experience when examining the financial information of the City of Waltham.

Waltham Voting

Waltham League Of Women Voters Mission: Empowering voters. Defending democracy. Find out how you can help by clicking on the link. 

Absentee Voting In Waltham If you will not be around on the big day, but want your voice to be heard, click here. 

City Of Waltham Polling Places Wondering where your polling place is located? Click this link. 

Waltham Public Library

Waltham Public Library We provide resources to help you pursue all that you need to be engaged in the well-being of your community. We provide access to a range of newspapers including but not limited to The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Waltham News Tribune. Our sources are reliable and our staff are constantly providing updates through our social media which you can also reach here. During the time of Covid-19, we have a wealth of timely online resources for you that are available 24/7. 

Real Talk Opportunities for Waltham teens to be engaged in their community and talk about their concerns. 

Waltham Public Library Electronic Databases Includes Legal Resources, trustworthy articles and reference information, consumer information, educational information and more. This is where you can find the up to date and historical newspaper collections. 

The Library’s subscription to the Boston Globe can be accessed here. 

Minuteman Network Access to the New York Times can be found here.

Pride Online At Your Library A resource list prepared for you by the Waltham Public Library 

Gale One File:  Diversity Studies  A wealth of information available from the Waltham Public Library for you.

Gale OneFile:  Criminal Justice  A wealth of criminal justice information available for you from the Waltham Public Library.

Watch CDC 

Watch CDC WATCH CDC works towards a more just community in the Waltham area by promoting affordable housing, providing adult education and leadership development, and empowering underrepresented residents through civic engagement. 

Watch CDC Resources en espanol 

Watch CDC Covid-19 Resources

Waltham Community Health

Charles River Community Health Waltham Covid-19 Resources

Healthy Waltham The vision for Healthy Waltham is to foster a community of wellness where all people have the opportunity and support to thrive and prosper. 

Waltham Conservation/Agriculture

The Waltham Land Trust The Waltham Land Trust’s mission is to create a legacy of land conservation in Waltham by promoting, protecting, restoring, and acquiring open space. 

Waltham Fields Community Farm Waltham Fields Community Farm (WFCF) promotes local agriculture and food access through our farming operations and educational programs, using practices that are socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable. We encourage healthy relationships between people, their food supply, and the land from which it grows. 

Waltham Youth

The Waltham Partnership For Youth Our Mission: To leverage and coordinate the assets of our vibrant community to ensure that all Waltham youth have access to the resources they need to thrive. 

Waltham House (Home For Little Wanderers) Waltham House is the first residential group home designed specifically for LGBTQ youth in New England, and one of only three of its kind in the nation. 

Waltham Family School The Waltham Family School is a comprehensive family literacy program that dramatically improves educational opportunities for children by integrating early childhood, adult education and parenting skills.

Africano Waltham We seek to highlight the importance of intercultural respect and celebration among communities of African and non-African descent alike. This takes the form of a diverse Cultural Arts Education Program-–cultural edutainment—that works with children and families from underserved communities (e.g., low income, African immigrant communities) in the Waltham area.

Waltham Public Library Children’s Room  Link to the Children’s Room Instagram Page

Waltham Public Library Teen Room Link to the Teen Room Instagram Page

Waltham Boys And Girls Club Click this link to find out about volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club. You can find more about the organization on their website as well. 

Family Access Community Connections The mission of Family ACCESS is to strengthen children, families and the community by providing programs that nurture child development, promote effective parenting skills, and support working parents. We actively engage a racially, economically, and culturally diverse population in Newton, Waltham and surrounding communities.

Waltham Animal Rights/ Pets

The Cat Connection This Waltham organization is a place to help cats find good homes. There are lots of opportunities to help. Click to find out more. 

Waltham Census

The Census The census is so important to community funding which is vital especially during the time of Covid-19. For each person not counted, communities could miss out on $2,400 of federal funding, 

Waltham News

The Waltham Daily news Tribune This is a link to wicked The Waltham Public Library can link you to full issues current and past here. 

The Waltham Patch Local news, posts by neighbors and more. 

Next Door Waltham Local news, posts by neighbors, events, items for sale and for free and more. 

Waltham Cable Access  Watch the best shows, meetings and events from our Public and Government channels, all in High Definition. Our HD Channel is available on Verizon Channel 2147 and RCN Channel 613.

Waltham MA Community Group  Local news, neighborhood recommendations, a way to stay in touch with your community.

Waltham Seniors

The Waltham Council On Aging Waltham Council on Aging shall promote individual input seeking support for elder services through legislation, grant proposals and activity in policy making; to identify the needs of the community’s elderly population and available resources to meet such needs; to educate the community at large in the needs of the elderly; to design, promote and implement needed services and to coordinate with existing local services for the elderly. Click on the link to find out more. 

AARP Waltham Click this link to find out about volunteering at the American Association of Retired Persons Waltham. You can also find more information on the website. 

Meals On Wheels Waltham MA The Meals on Wheels Coordinator welcomes Waltham citizens and retired citizens to help prepare or deliver meals to the city’s homebound elders. 

Waltham Civic/Political Organizations

The Waltham Lions Club The Waltham Lions Club was chartered in 1939 and our motto as Lions is “To Serve”. We raise funds within our community mainly to assist with eye research and to prevent blindness. 

The Waltham Rotary Club The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. 

Waltham Watertown Elks Club The Elks Club provides scholarships, food, drug awareness, veterans’ services, childrens’ programs and more. 

Waltham American Legion The American Legion was founded on four pillars: Americanism, Children and Youth, National Security, and Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation 

Waltham Corps Community Center From its very beginnings in the East End of London in 1865, The Salvation Army has strived to serve suffering neighbors. Poverty has a way of making people invisible. Our goal has always been to see the hurting and the lost, and to see them through. 

Latinos En Accion Waltham Working to provide resources for the Waltham Latino Community. 

Waltham Democratic City Committee Interested in helping the local Democratic Party? Click on the link to find out more. 

Waltham Republican City Committee Interested in helping the local Republican Party? Click on the link to find out more. 

Waltham Domestic Violence

Reach: Beyond Domestic Violence Waltham Find out how to get involved in the struggle against domestic violence or to get help for someone by clicking this link. 

Waltham Spiritual/Religious Organizations

Waltham Church Of The Nazarene A Haitian Church in Waltham. Click on the link for more information. 

First Lutheran Church Of Waltham/Santuario Luterano Our Justice and Service Team plans regularly plans events to serve the local community, region, and world 

First Parish In Waltham Together we seek to create a more just, compassionate, and peaceful world through weekly worship, educational programming, community building, and opportunities to engage in social action. 

Our Lady Comforter Of The Afflicted Outreach and social justice opportunities can be found with this link. 

Chaplains On The Way Waltham Click on this link to find out how to get involved with Chaplains On The Way. 

Agape Spiritual Community Waltham Agape works for peace and justice in the community. Click on the link to learn more. 

The Waltham Islamic Society Find out about services that the Islamic Society is offering by clicking this link. 

Temple Beth Israel Waltham We enjoy a full calendar of religious, social, educational and social justice dialogue and activities for the many ways our congregants and friends connect to Judaism, to their community, and to the world at large. 

Jewish Family And Children’s Services Waltham For more than 150 years, Jewish Family & Children’s Service has been helping individuals and families build a strong foundation for resilience and well-being across the lifespan. 

Waltham Social Services

Middlesex Human Services Agency The mission of Middlesex Human Service Agency, Inc. is to improve the quality of life and independent functioning of a wide variety of clients through the delivery of an extensive system of community-based substance abuse and social service programs 

Bristol Lodge Bristol Lodge provides shelter for homeless men and women in Waltham. Click on the link to find out more. 

Community Day Center of Waltham The only drop in shelter in the Metrowest area. 

Massachusetts Resources


Covid Testing Site Locator

Covid-19 Consumer Resources From The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

Resources During Covid-19 From the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. 

Massachusetts Trial Court Resources during Covid-19 

Covid-19 Civil and Legal Resources Organized by state 

Massachusetts LGBTQ

Boston Pride Resources for the LGBTQ Community, The Latinx Community and the Black Community. 

Trans Club Of New England A Boston area transgender support organization for the transgender community. 

Human Rights Campaign Massachusetts Human Rights Campaign fights for LGBT equality in Massachusetts alongside state and local groups and lawmakers. Find out more about what HRC is doing for LGBT equality in Massachusetts and how you can get involved with the Boston community. 

Massachusetts Substance Abuse

MADD Massachusetts The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking.

Massachusetts Immigration

Refugee Immigration Ministry Building Community with uprooted people to serve the common good.(Based in Malden, MA) 

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) Our vision is a Commonwealth – and a nation – where all can thrive, no matter where they came from or how they got here, and all can fully participate in their communities’ social, economic and civic life. 

Boston Center For Refugee Health And Human Rights  provides comprehensive medical, mental health, obstetric/gynecological care coordinated with social services and legal referrals to approximately 375 individuals from over 40 countries. Interpreter services are available for more than 30 languages to aid in the healing journey of each patient and their families.

The Right To Immigration Institute The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII, pronounced “tree”) is the only group in the U.S. actively empowering students to represent people in asylum, naturalization, and status adjustment cases.. By training undergraduate students so they can become Department of Justice accredited representatives, TRII aims to make sure no one must face the immigration process alone.

Massachusetts Poverty/Social Justice

The Poor People’s Campaign Massachusetts The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting people across Massachusetts to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality of religious nationalism. 

Prisoners Legal Services Of Massachusetts This non-profit civil services organization provides help and education for the incarcerated. Click the link to find out how you can help. 

Catholic Charities of Boston As one of the largest providers of social services in Massachusetts, Catholic Charities of Boston offers over 70 programs and services in 23 locations around Eastern Massachusetts. From Lawrence to Brockton and Natick to Boston, our service sites throughout Eastern Massachusetts helped 175,000 of our neediest neighbors of all faiths last year.

Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston Our Mission: To inspire and mobilize the diverse Boston Jewish community to engage in building communities of learning and action that strengthen Jewish life and improve the world.

Massachusetts Youth

Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Massachusetts Bay Becoming a Big is more important now than ever as COVID-19 continually changes life for our community. Thousands of our volunteer Bigs are connecting with their Littles online, bringing joy and levity into a challenging time for many vulnerable families. 

The Home For Little Wanderers Our mission is to ensure the healthy behavioral, emotional, social and educational development and physical well-being of children and families living in at-risk circumstances. 

Massachusetts Animal Rights/Pets

MSPCA Angell Learn what constitutes animal cruelty. We strive to interpret and enforce the laws that do exist, and to educate people about animals’ needs in cases where the law does not provide adequate protection. 

Massachusetts Urgent Wildlife Resource Contacts  Provided courtesy of MSPCA/Angell.

Massachusetts Environmental Groups

Citizens Climate Lobby Boston Metrowest Chapter Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization empowering people to experience breakthroughs exercising their personal and political power. 

Massachusetts Climate Action Network The Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), a 501(c)3 non-profit, fights the climate crisis one town at a time, with the help of local MCAN chapters – and you! 

MCAN’s role as a facilitator of municipal-level action is unique among Massachusetts environmental groups. We empower our local chapters by enhancing communication, promoting town-level projects that improve communities, decreasing climate change-causing pollution, and reducing development time for those projects. MCAN speaks on behalf of all chapters to improve Massachusetts energy and climate policies and programs. 

Massachusetts Volunteerism/Service

Americorps Massachusetts We expand volunteerism and service in Massachusetts by providing individuals and organizations with funding, training, and support, which enables them to strengthen communities and make our Commonwealth a better place to live. 

Massachusetts Voting Resources

League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Promotes voter registration and modernization. Works to improve the electoral process and educate voters. 

MassVotes Non-partisan, non-profit organization that seeks to increase voter participation in Massachusetts. Advocates for electoral justice for the sake of building a government that istruly representative of the people. 

MassPIRG MASSPIRG is an advocate for the public interest. We speak out for a healthier, safer world in which we’re freer to pursue our own individual well-being and the common good. 

Lawyers for Civil Rights (Boston), Lawyers for Civil Rights fosters equal opportunity and fights discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants. 

Massachusetts Voter Table A wide range of voter resources, advocacy for all to vote and take part in the census. Opportunities to help out as well. 

Massachusetts Housing

A Guide To Obtaining Housing Assistance This information comes to you courtesy of Mass.Gov 

NOLO Guide To Your Housing Rights In Massachusetts Also includes legal information for Covid-19. 

Massachusetts Right To Counsel Coalition:    A campaign for justice in evictions.

Most evictions happen very quickly. Many tenants do not know how to protect themselves both before court and in court. ​And for too many people, an eviction means homelessness.

We can change this.

Massachusetts Diversity

NAACP Boston The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality and rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. 

Association Of Haitian Women In Boston The Association of Haitian Women in Boston is a community-based grassroots organization dedicated to empowering low-income Haitian women and their children. 

The Massachusetts Center For Native American Awareness Protecting & Preserving Native American Culture,Traditions and Spirituality.

American Friends Service Committee The Friends Service Committee works for peace, justice, and the rights of immigrants. 

Massachusetts Political Parties

Green Rainbow Party Massachusetts The Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) is the Massachusetts affiliate of the Green Party of the U.S. In 2002, the GRP united the Massachusetts Green Party and the Rainbow Coalition Party on the basis of their shared values and aspirations. 

Libertarian Association Of Massachusetts Interested in helping your local Libertarian Party? Click the link to find out how. 

Legal Information/Massachusetts

Massachusetts Laws by Subject 

Massachusetts Legal Forms By Subject All kinds of great free legal information can be found here including by state. An invaluable resource. 

Massachusetts Know Your Rights

ACLU Rights Of Protesters We intervene—through police departments, the courts, and the dissemination of Know Your Rights materials—so that the right to public expression is respected for everyone. 

National Organizations/Other Resources

Safety Dos And Donts From The Should you decide to join a protest during this time of the pandemic, here are some important measures that you can take to keep yourself and those around you safe from Covid-19. 

Code Pink CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs. 

Black Lives Matter Working to fight discrimination and misinformation. Click on the link to find out much more. 

Resources From Oprah Winfrey As America unites in response to the continuing civil unrest following the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, influential community leaders have come together to provide a list of organizations to use as resources if you would like to learn more about the ongoing fight for racial and social justice. 

Resources from The National Museum Of African American History And Culture Education on how to be anti racist. 

Black History Year Podcast Black History Year connects you to the history, thinkers, and activists that are left out of the mainstream conversations. 

Anguish And Action: Resources from President Obama President Obama provides a variety of resources for being informed, becoming engaged and taking action during this difficult time 

Native American Lifelines The mission of Native American LifeLines is to promote health and social resiliency within Urban American Indian communities. Native American LifeLines applies principles of trauma informed care to provide culturally centered behavioral health, dental, and outreach and referral services. 

The Case For Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates Coates makes a beautiful, detailed case for reparations for the black community who have been taken advantage of and treated so badly during this nation’s history. 

The Antidefamation League ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. 

Email And Tweet Them Hold your elected representatives accountable to keeping Black lives safe. This page finds their contact info, creates, and sends an email or tweet to them.

Black Latinas Know Collective We are a collective of Black Latina Scholars, producers of innovative knowledge, contributors to the study of Latinidad and blackness.


The Conscious Kid Parenting and Education through a Critical Race Lens. Diverse #OwnVoices Books. Black and Brown Owned. COVID-19 #RENTRELIEF For Families.

Voting Resources–National

Fair Fight 2020 Promotes fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourages voter participation in elections, and educates voters about elections and their voting rights. 

Register To Vote Vote.Org can check whether or not you are registered to vote, get you registered, help you to get an absentee ballot or to vote by mail. 

Opportunity Youth United Committed to fostering a culture of civic engagement that starts with registering to vote and showing up at the polls every year and includes staying informed and active in all areas of civic life. 

ACLU The ACLU is engaged in advocacy and litigation across the country to get | rid of harmful voter suppression laws. 

All Voting is Local Fights to remove discriminatory barriers to the ballot.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Works to eliminate language barriers for voters across the country. Provides a voter hotline in nine Asian languages, election resources for people to check their voter registration, understand their ballot, and know their voting rights ahead of time.

Black Voters Matter  Advocates to expand voting rights/access, including expanded early voting, resisting voter ID, re-entry restoration of rights and strengthening the Voting Rights Act. 

Brennan Center for Justice Think tank working to counter the power of special interests by empowering voters and small donors. 

Campaign Legal Center Nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that protects and strengthens our democracy in the areas of campaign finance, voting rights, political communication and government ethics. 

Carpool Votes Connects volunteer drivers with anybody who needs a ride to claim their vote. 

Common Cause Provides voting tools on how to register or to check your registration. Works to counter voter restrictions and gerrymandering 

Election Protection National, nonpartisan coalition of over 100 local, state and national partners. Tools to protect the vote includes polling locations, absentee ballot information, & a hotline to report problems on voting day. 

Call (866) OUR-VOTE if you think someone is illegally being denied their vote. 

Fair Fight (led by Stacey Abrams) Promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in targeted voter registration and other voter outreach programs and communications.. 

Fair Vote Works on electoral reforms at the local, state, and national level through strategic research, communications and collaboration. A non-profit, non partisan organization with a history of working with scholars, civic leaders, policymakers, and journalists from across the spectrum Works to empower Americans through voter registration, digital campaigns, information, and projects that harness the power of music and culture.

NAACP Give us the ballot” advocacy. Current support for H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Reclaim Our Vote Nonpartisan phone bank, post carding & textbanking campaign created by the Center for Common Ground.

Rock the Vote Nonprofit and nonpartisan organization devoted to getting the youth vote to the polls. The organization has pioneered ways to make voting easier for young adults by simplifying and demystifying voter registration and elections. 

Southern Poverty Law Center Voting Rights Practice Group works across the Deep South in collaboration with community partners and organizers to engage and mobilize voters, restore voting rights to returning citizens, pursue electoral policy reforms, and bring litigation to challenge unconstitutional and discriminatory voting practices. 

Spread the Vote Helps people get IDs ahead of Election Day. Helps people to navigate their state’s ID laws and assists with everything from application fees to driving you to the DMV to get your ID. 

The Sentencing Project Advocates for the rights of prisoners, with a focus on voting rights. 

United States Election Project The mission of the project is to provide timely and accurate election statistics, electoral laws, research reports, and other useful information regarding the United States electoral system.

VoteRiders Informs and helps citizens to secure their voter ID as well as inspires and supports organizations, local volunteers, and communities to sustain voter ID education and assistance efforts. 

Voto Latino Voter registration and education Outreach to young voters through sophisticated digital advertising, such as the first text-to-register voter registration campaign and VoterPal.

Anguish And Action: Resources from President Obama President Obama provides a variety of resources for being informed, becoming engaged and taking action during this difficult time. 

ACLU Rights Of Protesters We intervene—through police departments, the courts, and the dissemination of Know Your Rights materials—so that the right to public expression is respected for everyone. 

Safety Dos And Don’ts From The Should you decide to join a protest during this time of the pandemic, here are some important measures that you can take to keep yourself and those around you safe from Covid-19.

Animal Rights/Pets

PETA: People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals Working towards treating animals in a humane way. 

The Humane Society Of The United States An association for the humane treatment of animals. 

Best Friends: Save Them All Mission To bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. 


World Wildlife For nearly 60 years, WWF has worked to help people and nature thrive. As the world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in more than 100 countries. At every level, we collaborate with people around the world to develop and deliver innovative solutions that protect communities, wildlife, and the places in which they live. 

Domestic Violence/National

National Domestic Violence Hotline We answer the call to support and shift power back to those affected by relationship abuse. 

Legal Information LawHelp helps people of low and moderate incomes find free legal aid programs in their communities, answers to questions about their legal rights and forms to help them with their legal problems. 

Legal Aid Society National Directory LSC is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. 

Legal Information Institute We believe that everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost. This non-profit organization is based at Cornell University. Lots of free helpful information here. 

Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook This Handbook is a resource for prisoners who wish to file a federal lawsuit addressing poor conditions in prison or abuse by prison staff. It also contains limited general information about the American legal system. This Handbook is available for free to anyone: prisoners, families, friends, activists, lawyers and others. 

American Immigration Lawyers Association Lawyer Search 

Medicare For All: National Nurses United National Nurses United, with more than 150,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S. history. 

Thugs For Humanity This is a list of Community Bond Relief Organizations, Pro Bono Legal Services, and Legal Advice to help you if you are arrested and placed into custody while protesting on the ground. Know your rights, stay safe, and support each other.

New Sources/National/International

Associated Press 

Center for Public Integrity The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom investigating democracy, power and privilege. Our reporting focuses on the influence of money and the impact of inequality on our society. 


BBC World News America 

AP Fact Check Fact-checking and accountability journalism from AP journalists around the globe. 

FactCheck.Org We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. 

Politifact From the beginning, PolitiFact focused on looking at specific statements made by politicians and rating them for accuracy. 

On The Media with Brooke Gladstone While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, OTM tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency that has built trust with over one million weekly radio and podcast listeners. OTM can be heard weekly on more than 400 stations and has a biweekly podcast. It has won the Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting and investigative reporting, the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism, it is the only back-to-back winner of the Bart Richards award for media criticism, it is the winner of several Mirror Awards, and it has a Peabody Award for its body of work. 

Selected ebooks and streaming media from the Waltham Public Library 

Books on hoopla 

New American Creed by David Kames 

United States Civics by various authors 

Taking Action For Civil And Political Rights by Eric Braun 

Key Civil Rights Laws by Kathryn Ohnaka 

Rise Up: The Art Of Protest by Jo Rippon and Marie Copeny 

The Immigrant Rights Movement by Walter J. Nicholls 

Incarceration: Punishment Or Rehabilitation? by Erin McCoy 

International Human Rights, Global Policy And Global Development by various authors 


The Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities To Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, And Engage In Collective Healing by Annaleise A. Singh 

Youth Civic And Political Engagement by Martyn Barrett and Dimitra Patchi 

Titles about Discrimination Here 


Just Do It: Environmental Activists Engaged In Non-Violent Protest 

Social And Systemic Injustice Titles Here 

Podcasts of Interest 

Boston Connection Podcast Boston Connection é um projeto de quatro amigos (Fernando, Luiz, Matheus e Rafael) para aproveitar as longas conversas e transformar em algo produtivo. Aqui discutiremos esportes, política e o que for notícia no ‘triângulo’ São Paulo, Uberlândia e Boston. 

All Rev’d Up​ All Rev’d Up explores where faith intersects politics and culture. Reverend Irene Monroe and Reverend Emmett G. Price III come from different black faith perspectives, they’re of different generations, they hail from different parts of the country, and they come together in this podcast to talk about faith in a different way. 

Under The Radar With Callie Crossley​ Under the Radar with Callie Crossley looks to alternative presses and community news for stories that are often overlooked by big media outlets. In our roundtable conversation, we aim to examine the small stories before they become the big headlines with contributors in Boston and New England. 

Women Veterans Rock! 2020 Season Of Civic Engagement Podcast Series examines the challenges, opportunities and barriers facing America’s Women Veterans as they transition from military service back into civilian life. 

Democracy Now: The War And Peace Report On Democracy Now!, you’ll hear a diversity of voices speaking for themselves, providing a unique and sometimes provocative perspective on global events. 

All My Relations Podcast All My Relations is a team of folks who care about representations, and how Native peoples are represented in mainstream media. Between us we have decades of experience working in and with Native communities, and writing and speaking about issues of representation. You can meet our full team here

Top 15 Transgender Podcasts You Must Follow In 2020 List provided by 

Queer WOC: The Podcast #QueerWOC, is the community podcast for all things Queer Women/Folks of Color community and healing. Based in Syracuse, NY. Hosted by Money, the Family Therapist, and Nikeeta, the workers rights organizer. 

In The Thick with Maria and Julio The Futuro Media Group presents a new political podcast where journalists of color tell you what you’re missing from the mainstream news. Co-hosted by award-winning journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela.

Nannan Podcast Nannan with Emmy is a podcast created with the goal to combine the voices of women evolving in Haiti. Emmy sits with the women who inspire her, discussing issues which impact women. They discuss many subjects ranging from productivity and creativity to personal care, managing relationships, love, body image, and much more

Eight Podcasts About Civics And U.S. History For Kids

Science Fiction and Fantasy by Black Authors

Science Fiction and Fantasy owes a great deal to Black voices. Explore new frontiers, both wondrous and terrible, from these well renowned authors and their colleagues.  What are some of your favorites?  Tell us in the comments below.

posted by Greg

Pride Online at Your Library

Kanopy offers great curated lists of Movies and Documentaries

Overdrive has put a spotlight on LGBTQ books and audiobooks for June

Hoopla curated lists of Movies, Ebooks, and Comics,

NEW Adult Fiction

All My Mothers Lovers by Llana Massad

Cantoras by Carolina DeRobertis 

The Editor by Steven Rowley 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune 

Kept Animals by Kate Milliken 

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrove 

On Swift Horses by Shannon Pufhal

Paris 7AM by Liza Wieland 

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Right After the Weather by Carol Anshaw 

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

This Town Sleeps by Dennis E Staples

The Travelers by Regina Porter

The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood 

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat June 

NEW Adult Non-Fiction

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Naturally Tan by Tan France

Out East by John Glynn

NEW Young Adult Fiction

By Any Means Necessary by Candace Montgomery

Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

Destroy All Monsters by Sam J Miller

The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirder

Hold My Hand by Michael Barakiva

How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox

How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom by S. J. Goslee

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junaude Petrus

We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia

Ziggy, Stardust, and Me by James Brandon

posted by Ashley

Marvelously Mindful

Here are some marvelously mindful resources for you from the Waltham Public Library.


Mindfulness For Happiness by Tara Ward (ebook)  Easy, enjoyable exercises for you.

I’m Spiritual, Dammit! By Jennifer Weigel (ebook)  A lighthearted look at spirituality.

Guided Meditations For Sleep, Anxiety, And Self Healing by Ana Selavy  This ebook has a series of soothing scripts to help you feel less stressed.

Mindful Compassion by Paul Gilbert, Choden  (ebook) This New Harbinger Publication has two elements that we all can use; mindfulness and compassion.

How To Meditate by Pema Chodron  (audiobook) read by Pema Chodron  Louise is a big fan of Pema Chodron and loves this simple and soothing audio.

The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield read by Jack Kornfield (audiobook)   Kornfield has a lovely way of phrasing things and his voice is very soothing.  He has a nice sense of humor which does not hurt either. 

Gaiam:  Athletic Yoga: Yoga For Runners (video)  Runners!  You can watch this any time and increase your running ability and flexibility.  Fabulous!

Mindful Me:  Mindfulness And Meditation For Kids by Whitney Stewart and Stacy Peterson  (ebook) A simple and helpful guide to help reduce the stress that kids may be experiencing.  Adults will benefit too!

Little Flower Yoga For Kids by Jennifer Cohen Harper (ebook)   Oh, even the title is adorable here!

A Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workbook  (ebook)by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.  A very popular, practical and useful tool to keep that stress down.  Simple to use.

Mindful Solutions For Stress, Anxiety, And Depression by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.(audio) read by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.  Relax and learn some ways to reduce that stress.  

The Compassionate Mind Guide To Managing Your Anger by Russell L. Kolts (ebook) Compassionate ways to get your mind into a better place using compassion based therapy.

Overdrive (Libby by Overdrive)

When Things Fall Apart:  Heart Advice For Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (ebook)  Louise has read this book and found it relaxing and inspiring.  Two sticks of incense up!

The Art Of The Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl (ebook) This well reviewed memoir will help all of us to learn about and benefit from the concept of leisure time.  This is something that we are not always so skillful about in our go go go culture.

10% Happier:  How I Tamed The Voice In My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, And Found Self-Help That Actually Works:  A True Story by Dan Harris  This book, beloved by many, is a very personal and inspiring story.  

Yoga Journal (2020 periodical)  Wow!  You can enjoy this great periodical from the comfort of home!


The Mindfulness Movie:  The Benefits Of Mindfulness                                             

Meditating With The Dalai Lama    Who better to meditate with then the Dalai Lama?

Meditation, Yoga, And Guided Imagery: Episode 15 Of The Science Of Natural Healing from The Great Courses

Mind Body Connection:  Part Of The Series:  Yoga For Health  Yoga on demand!

Freegal (music audio)

Mindfulness Zen     Relax and chill with this mindfulness zen music.

Mindful Rest    Let the worries of the day dissipate and have some mindful rest.

Child’s Pose:  A Yoga Playlist   Beautiful relaxing music for anytime.

Music Therapy For Stress Reduction  Listen anytime and feel the tension melt away.

Climb Every Mountain:  Inspirational Songs from the Inspirational Players ooh, this one has so many beautiful songs including What The World Needs Now, Morning Has Broken, The River is Wide and more.

Relaxation titles  Click here to find a variety of relaxing music from Freegal to play anytime, anywhere.

Other Free Resources

The Waltham Public Library partners with Matthew Carriker, Protestant Chaplain at Brandeis University and founder of The Agape Spiritual Community for mindfulness programs, our initiating inspiration book group, and more.

Agape is offering some free virtual programs. Find more information here

The Cambridge Insight Meditation Center is currently offering some free virtual drop in programs.  Find more information here.

The Waltham Advaita Meditation Center is currently offering free virtual meditation classes.  Find more information here.

Deva Premal And Mitten, two amazing meditative musicians, offered a free daily meditation session from Costa Rica during this pandemic. You can find all of the recordings here.

The Insight Timer App  This is a free app that Louise enjoys. 45,000 free guided meditations, meditation music, timer with musical background or chimes.  You can get this for most devices and App stores. 

DharmaSeed  You can use this for free as an app or on your computer.  Lots of guided meditations with a Buddhist focus.

The Headspace App normally costs money but is offering one year free for those who are unemployed.

Smiling Mind App offers free meditation and mindfulness for adults and children.

Ten Percent Happier Podcast With Dan Harris   Inspirational and timely podcasts from the author of Ten Percent Happier.

Deva Premal and Mitten 21 day mantra meditation journey  These two delifghtful talented musicians teach us about mantras and meditations.  Very relaxing and soothing.

Tara Brach   This beloved psychologist and meditation teacher offers many free resources on her website.Jack Kornfield  Lots of free resources for difficult times from the beloved meditation teacher and psychologist.

Light Reads


The Wedding Date, The Proposal, The Wedding Party, and Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory: (Overdrive in e-book and audiobook). I love Guillory’s romances!  They have a diverse set of characters who are well rounded and the women have so much agency.  They all take place in the same universe but they can be enjoyed on their own.  

Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight: (Hoopla audiobook)  Ooooooooooooooooooo I absolutely love Eloise!

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina: (Overdrive e-book) Lovely coming of age middle grade/young adult novel about a girl dealing with some changes in her family and navigating middle school drama.

Bridgerton romance novels by Julia Quinn: (Overdrive as e-books and audiobooks. Hoopla audiobooks)   British historical romance novels that are light, fun, and full of likable characters.  I have absolutely nothing in common with any of the characters, all of whom are connected to a sibling in the Bridgerton family, but I enjoy them anyway.

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume (Overdrive e-book and audiobook): She has some more well known titles, I think, but this is my absolute favorite by Judy Blume.  Despite the fact that she was a young girl in the 1940s, I related so much to Sally and her family.  As a 10 year old, I found myself quoting Sally’s Ma Fanny, saying, “Knock on wood” and “God Forbid” which was pretty funny for a fifth grader.


Fieldwork Fail by Jim Jourdane

How To:  Absurd Scientific Advice For Real World Problems  by Randall Munroe 

Sourdough:  A Novel  by Robin Sloan

Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caldwell

Silhouette by Robin Hale

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns  by Mindy Kaling

Telepath by Janet Edwards

The Utterly Uninteresting and  Unadventurous Tales of fred the Vampire Accountant  

by Drew Hale

The Great Canadian  Baking Show Seasons 1-3 

Also on DailyMotion


Autopsy Of A Boring Wife by Marie Renee-Lavoie  I recommend this for those of us who are feeling like, hey, can I just have something to read that is light and fluffy like lemon meringue because that is all I can handle right now.  This book is amusing, light and kind of reminds me of some of the movies that Dianne Keaton stars in these days.  Our main character is surprised when her long time husband leaves her for a younger woman.  He found her to be rather boring.  She decides to change all that.  

Doc Martin  Oh, how I love my Doc Martin!  Beautiful scenery, wit, quirky characters, romance.  Doc Martin was a surgeon in London except he has a problem:  he can not handle the sight of blood.  So, he gets a job in beautiful Port Wenn where he runs the medical office and serves all of the delightful residents.  (Several seasons available on Hoopla for your viewing pleasure!)

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland  This book is very funny and made me laugh out loud.  The Feldmans have a family reunion on a cruise ship and all sorts of secrets are revealed.  It’s light and funny and I really enjoyed this one.

How Not To Die Alone by Richard Roper  This book is hilarious and heartwarming.  If you need a laugh, give it a go. 

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper  Another hilarious book that will have you laughing out loud.  If you like Larry David’s show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or if you enjoyed Portnoy’s Complaint by Phillip Roth, give this a try.

Something Blue by Emily Giffin  Giffin writes with wit and charm.  Our main character, Darcy, learns some life lessons and this book is like a lovely, soft blanket with a bowl of hagen daz.  

Great light read!

The Assistants by Camille Perri  This spunky, fun book is very satisfying.  The underpaid female assistants, many of whom have overwhelming college loans and can barely make their rents, are tired of seeing their successful bosses rake in the dough.  You will root for them and you will laugh out loud.  This is an excellent choice for fans of The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

A Diet To Die For by Joan Hess  This is a ‘mystery’ but what makes it most fun is the characters.  Claire Malloy owns a bookstore and her teenage daughter Caron is definitely a teenager.  There is a murder but this book will provide you with a steady ‘diet’ of laughs and lightness.  No need for deep thinking or stress with this book.  This has been a long time personal favorite of mine.

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan  A totally light memoir, this book will have you laughing out loud.  Jim Gaffigan, famous for his stand up comedy, happens to know how to write.  This was actually my first ‘encounter’ with Gaffigan, and I have been a big fan ever since.  No one knows how to do jokes about food, restaurants, and eating better than Jim Gaffigan.

Tell Us What You’re Reading


On Monday, May 18, we held a special meeting of the Waltham Public Library Virtual Book Club.  Everyone who participated shared titles of books that they’re reading as well as some shows and movies that they’ve been watching.  We had a wonderful conversation and all of us came away with some more titles for our “To Be Read” lists.  Below are the titles that attendees shared.
Join us on Monday, June 15 at 7:00 pm to share any titles that you’re reading!  E-mail Laura ( for the meeting link.


Movies/TV Shows

Waltham Public Library Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Get to know more about the resources Waltham Public Library provides to keep you in the know and entertained while social distancing with our Virtual Scavenger Hunt!  Read the questions below and submit your answers on our form.  You can edit the form after submitting which allows you to do the hunt a little at a time. We’ll be closing the form on July 6, then reviewing responses. By submitting your completed scavenger hunt, you’ll get a chance to win a GIFT CARD to a local business! If you have questions, please write to Have fun! (Hint — all of the answers can be found by visiting

  • Where do you learn how to talk like a pirate?
  • Where can you listen to Fiona Apple’s new album Fetch the Bolt Cutters? What is the name of the first song listed?
  • Where can you watch Weston Woods videos? What’s the name of the video/picture book that you watched?
  • What were the titles that we read through the Virtual Book Club meetings in April?
  • Find the tool you’d use to find the highest rated mattress available for purchase. Tell us the resource.
  • How many trustees are there and where can you find meeting minutes (copy and paste the link!)?
  • Find a recipe for shepherd’s pie using one of our databases. Tell us the name of that database.
  • Follow our account on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and/or Facebook. Tell us which account you followed.
  • Find the resource that would allow you to find a Boston Globe article about Pedro Martinez coming to play for the Boston Red Sox. Read the article. Tell us the title and author of the article.
  • How do you access a digital copy of The Mirror/Waltham High School Yearbook from 1955? Who was that year’s edition dedicated to?
  • According to Novelist Plus, what are some titles that are “readalikes” for Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead? Why are they considered readalikes?

Submit your answers to
Good luck!

Staff Reads May 2020

Book Projector Treble Clef

Subscribe to Staff Reads and other book newsletters.

Looking for personalized reading suggestions?  Fill out this form and a staff member will select 3 titles just for you!

Janet Z.



  • My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.  Listen to it on Hoopla) : I read this at the very beginning of the quarantine and honestly I don’t remember much about it now, other than it’s about a high school girl who has an affair with her forty-something year-old English teacher, and then repercussions, etc.. I do remember I liked it and thought it was quite well written.
  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): Even though I had read Mary V’s review of this book back in March, I was somehow still surprised by how sad this book is. Based on true events, it follows a young girl and her younger siblings as they’re kidnapped from their family’s shantyboat and taken to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, where they were then sold to other families. It was a very compelling book, and also horrifying that this actually happened so often.
  • The Invited by Jennifer McMahon (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): I don’t read thrillers or ghost stories very often, so I’m not a connoisseur, but I thought this was a great haunted house story. I loved that one of the main characters was a history nerd with an appreciation for local history, and that there were flashbacks to the previous century. I didn’t love the ending, but thought the book as a whole was good.
  • Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words by Kimberly Harrington (Read or listen to it on Hoopla): Every now and then it’s nice to read another woman’s experiences with motherhood, especially when you have moments where you feel like you’ve found a kindred soul. I thought this was a decent collection of essays, with a few laugh-out-loud moments, and others where I wanted to give Harrington either a hug or a high-five, or both.
  • Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America; Essays by R. Eric Thomas (Read it on Overdrive.): This is a funny and touching memoir about how Thomas has grappled with being “other” throughout his life – based on race, sexuality, economic background, religion, and more. His writing style is the kind that feels effortless in its humor and reflection, and it made me want to seek out his other work (he has a daily humor column about politics at
  • Wickett’s Remedy by Myla Goldberg: After reading The Last Town on Earth right before Covid-19 hit the news, I really wanted to read more about the 1918 influenza… maybe for some kind of reassurance that people made it through a pandemic, or maybe just because I find it fascinating. I was lamenting the lack of historical fiction focusing on the Spanish flu, and some colleagues recommended Wickett’s Remedy (I love working with librarians!). It was such a good book, with a bonus of being set in Boston, and I liked the different ways Goldberg tells the story – through the main plot, plus through old newspaper articles and commentary in the margins by different voices. It was very different, and very good.
  • Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden (Read it on Overdrive.): I had read positive reviews about this book – a satire about the education system – so I was pumped when my hold on Overdrive came in. It takes place in an underfunded urban high school in Texas, and follows the daily work and personal lives of several teachers. Even though I’m not a teacher, I could appreciate the humor in many of the scenes, and found the characters very compelling.
  • Overdue: The Final Unshelved Collection by Gene Ambaum, Bill Barnes, & Chris Hallbeck (Not in Minuteman, but there are other Unshelved books in the network.): I used to follow the Unshelved webcomic pretty religiously when it was active, and even got to meet Ambaum and Barnes at a library conference (nerd alert). I’ve been enjoying reading through this collection of their comics, and feeling wistful about working in the library!
  • Yesterday: My husband and I really enjoyed this movie, about a struggling musician who wakes up after an accident to discover that no one has ever heard of the Beatles. It was very cute, with a good soundtrack.
  • Fleabag: A bit late to the party with this one, but I love it. I’m so glad I snagged the Blu-Ray of Season 1 the last day the library was open!
  • Sex Education: We started watching this show before quarantine, and were able to binge our way through the rest of it once lockdown started. Such a good show – well-developed and synpathetic characters, and I want to live in Otis’s house!
  • I’ve also been spending a lot of quality time with Kanopy Kids, namely:


  • Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang (Read it on Overdrive. Listen to it on Hoopla) : This nonfiction read is a fascinating insight into the lives of young rural Chinese women, many of whom are teenagers, who travel to the country’s manufacturing cities to work in factories. The scale of the so-called migrant movement is huge: 130 million individuals hop from job to job in massive factories (one is so large it has its own hospital) to improve both their pay and opportunities. They sleep in bunk beds in factory-owned dorms with others whom they rarely get to know; they interview for positions at the Talent Market where they lie about their experience and references are never checked; they work long hours with mandatory overtime and send money home to their parents on the farm. Chang focuses on the lives of two young women in particular, giving a sense of both perspective and story arc.


  • We Were promised Spotlights by Lindsay Sproul (Read it on Overdrive)
  • The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake (Read it on Overdrive.  Listen to it on Hoopla.): I loved this. Highly recommended for fans of Ashly Herring Blake or if you like gentle and melancholy lyrical stories.
  • Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer (Read it on Overdrive.):  This was so good! It was exciting and mysterious and I couldn’t put it down!
  • PS I Miss You by Jan Petro-Roy (Read it or listen to it on Overdrive.  Listen to it on Hoopla): Also sad! But it’s so great that we now have so many middle grade books with lesbian main characters. You’ll cry reading this one.
  • Motherland Fort Salem on Freeform/Hulu: I really love this show. I was hesitant after reading less than stellar feeviews, but I devour every episode.
  • Home Before Dark on Apple TV+: An amazing young cast, killer soundtrack and intriguing mystery make this show very compelling to watch.
  • Killing Eve season 3 on BBC America
  • Trapped: The Alex Cooper Story (Hoopla): Film version of Alex’s memoir Saving Alex about the 6 months her parents forced her into conversion therapy when she told them she was gay. Definitely an important watch, as conversion therapy for minors is still legal in 30 states.
  • I Am Not Ok With This on Netflix
  • What We Do in the Shadows season 2 Hulu (Watch the movie on Hoopla or Kanopy)
  • NOS4A2 on Hulu based on the book. (Listen to the book on Hoopla.)



  • Inheritance by Dani Shapiro (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.):  My favorite read of quarantine. Maybe of the year so far? Shapiro is a well-established, proudly Jewish author. She takes a DNA test on a whim, and everything changes. She is launched on a journey to discover the truth about her existence. This memoir (as are her others) is sweet, delicate, loving, and ever so eloquent. I loved learning about her family memories, DNA testing, and the factors that convalesced to bring Shapiro into being. I highly recommend this title.
  • Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker  (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): What a fascinating, and often upsetting, book. Kolker tells the story of the Galvin family as they grew up in the 1970s. There are twelve children, by itself a distinguishable characteristic. But that’s not the story: six of the children are diagnosed with schizophrenia. This book jumps back and forth a bit, but overall it’s a very compelling story about mental health and family dynamics.
  • Writers and Lovers by Lily King (Read it or listen to it on Overdrive.  Read it on Hoopla).:   I really enjoyed this novel about an aspiring writing set in Cambridge. It felt like a believable and honest portrayal of a young woman aging and finding her footing.
  • Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz  (Listen to it on Overdrive.): This book was a truly enjoyable read in which I learned a good amount about my canine companion’s biology and senses.
  • Setting the Table by Danny Meyer (Read it on Overdrive.  Read or listen to it on Hoopla):  Had some issues with the self-congratulatory narrative of this book. There’s no real acknowledgement of the author’s privilege, which struck me as odd and unfortunate. However, Meyer’s thoughts on hospitality are good, and they are buried throughout the memoir. I would’ve preferred digesting those bits in a listicle.
  • Open Book by Jessica Simpson (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): Okay. Not previously a Jessica Simpson fan (still not), but that’s not why I picked this memoir up. I just kept hearing how good, open, and honest this audiobook was (and it lived up to that!). Simpson spills the tea on a lot of pop culture moments I vaguely remember but enjoyed hearing about. She is open about her abuse, addiction, family troubles, and the national body shaming she endured before/during/after her career. It was a perfectly mindless kind of read overall, definitely a great distraction. I recommend the audiobook. Also, turns out my dislike of John Mayer is justified!
  • You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.):  I did not enjoy this book as much as I’ve enjoyed their other books. It felt somewhat formulaic (for them). The suspense built for SO LONG, but was all resolved within a few pages and it didn’t feel satisfying.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott  (Read or listen to it on Overdrive. Read or listen to it on Hoopla): Finally finished rereading this treasure. I can’t say anything more about it than that it is worth your time.
  • The Suspect by Kent Alexander (Read it on Hoopla.): This is a great read about how the media ran wild with a suspect in the Olympic bombing in Atlanta in the 90’s. It was very well written and engaging, but never refrains from sensationalizing the events like a certain movie about the same topic (Richard Jewell). In fact, you probably won’t recognize this story if you only saw that movie!
  • The Witches are Coming by Lindy West (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): This collection of essays were well enjoyed. Part call-to-action, part-memoir…always written with candor and often with humor. My partner and I loved this book so much…in fact, he asked to listen to her other book, Shrill, immediately upon completing this audiobook.
  • Shrill by Lindy West  (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): This was my second time reading this memoir and I loved it just as much. I find West’s voice to be so clear, she just gets to the point and doesn’t suffer fools. I highly recommend both of her books listed here, as well as the TV adaptation of this memoir!
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.):  I was nervous about this book because I’d heard the buzz for so long, but found myself having a hard time getting invested. All of a sudden 70 pages in, I was hooked. I thought I knew where some of the story was going, but I didn’t. I loved not being able to see what the reveal was going to be ahead of time. I liked this much more than I liked Everything I Never Told You. If you’re one of the few that hasn’t already read this and binged the adaptation on Hulu, why not pick it up now? It’s available on Libby/Overdrive!
  • The Last Dance (ESPN)
  • Normal People (Hulu) (Read or listen to the book on Overdrive.)
  • The King (Netflix)
  • What We Do in the Shadows (season 1 on Hulu) (Watch the movie on Hoopla or Kanopy)

Mary V.

  • Decent Inn of Death by Rennie Airth: When the church organist falls to her death in a stream on her way home, it is thought to be an accident. However, her friend and housemate doesn’t believe it. Enter former Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair who is visiting friends near Winchester. He looks into the tragedy and follows a circuitous route to discover answers.
  • Long Range by C J Box (Read it on Overdrive.): This is the newest Joe Pickett novel. Joe must help his best friend Nate Romanowski who is being targeted by a vengeful group of terrorists who want to kill Nate, his wife and infant daughter.
  • Sins of Two Fathers by Denis Hamill: The lives of two fathers cross paths many years ago. Now, one of the fathers wants to avenge his son who was sent to prison for something that he didn’t do by conspiring to send the son of the second father to prison for something he didn’t do. I think this is a very good story about the consequences of alcoholism and how alcohol can destroy families. However, none of the characters in this book can utter a sentence that isn’t laced with profanity. I detest profanity and I found the endless stream of profanity distasteful.
  • Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): This is a sweet story about a teenager who is obviously autistic although that word is never used. A neighbor’s dog is killed during the night and Chris Boone is determined to find the culprit. He has limited resources but immense determination.
  • Tenant For Death by Cyril Hare: This novel was written in 1937. London financier Lionel Barrymore is found strangled. Mr.  Barrymore was involved in a financial scandal. So, suspicions fall on those involved in the scandal. However, there are many other suspects who have motives for disposing of  the very unpopular Mr. Ballantine.


  • Vegetables Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen (Read this on Overdrive.): When I bought this book nearly a year ago I had no idea how much I would come to rely on it. A few weeks ago I subscribed to a vegetable delivery service. Similar in nature to a CSA, the options provided are what’s in season and what’s available that specific week so, basically, you get what you get and you don’t get upset! The vegetables in the book are organized alphabetically and there are recipes for each vegetable ranging from appetizers (parsnip hummus) to desserts  (carrot cake). What I especially love about this book is the background provided, including information on how to properly store and prep each vegetable.
  • Jazz Festing in Place on WWOZ New Orleans: The annual New Orleans Jazz Fest, scheduled to take place over two weeks in April and May, was obviously canceled this year. The local independent radio station instead held Festing in Place: full days of performances spanning the history of the festival’s 50 years in existence. The lineup included truly out-of-this world performances such as Ella Fitzgerald with surprise guest Stevie Wonder and an emotional performance from Bruce Springsteen performing with the Seeger Sessions Band the year after Katrina. WWOZ provides a two-week on-demand archive of their streaming content so, as of this writing (May 6), there is still time to go back and have a listen.
  • Homeland Season 8 (Previous seasons. Read the e-book on Hoopla) : This is the final season of the CIA spy drama starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin. Although I’ve watched the show since the beginning (2011, how is that possible??) I haven’t been as excited about the show in recent seasons because, to me, it required a bit too much suspension of disbelief and I didn’t think the writing was as sharp as it was in the first season or two. However, the show really was in top form for its final run and I found myself on the edge of my seat during several episodes. When we discovered Showtime was only available for free during April (and we were two or three episodes from finishing) we promptly subscribed.
  • BoschSeason 6 : Based on novels by Michael Connelly, the sixth season of this American detective show recently returned to Amazon Prime. Similarly to Homeland, I felt that though the show had drifted off the rails in past seasons, the current season was a return to form. I also think Titus Welliver is amazing and would likely watch him in just about anything.
  • Scott & Bailey (Watch it on Hoopla): This smart British detective series featuring strong female characters was written by Sally Wainwright, the writer of Happy Valley (also featuring strong female characters). Though the show focuses on the murders that Detectives Scott and Bailey must solve, the characters are  given subplots that add to the drama.
  • Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: I rarely watch anything on network tv (and have actually just canceled my cable subscription) and it’s even more unlikely that I watch a network show live, but this show was worth every single ‘we’re all in this together’ commercial I had to endure. The show focuses on Zoey, a  computer coder in San Francisco, and how her life changes after an MRI gone awry enables her to hear people’s thoughts in song. The musical numbers are spectacular, the writing is razor sharp, and I really can’t say enough about this show. I loved it so much I am going to rewatch every episode until the cable technician comes to take away the cable box (which is on hold because of the current situation).



  • Afterlife by Julia Alvarez (Read it on Overdrive. Read it on Hoopla): I was excited that Alvarez, one of my favorite authors, wrote a new novel and it did not disappoint.  Come discuss this book at the June 25 meeting of the Virtual Book Club.
  • Dig by A.S. King (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): This mysterious and beautiful novel focusing on multiple points of view of various teenagers covers a lot including white privilege, violence against women, and long time secrets all surrounding a typical, or not so typical family.
  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): Woodson’s lyrical writing gives great life to Melody and her family as they explore what it means to be black and how it defines their identities.  Whether Woodson is writing in verse of prose (as she does here), I love her beautiful writing style.
  • Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): This is the true story of a family, namely the family of transgender actress, Nicole Maines.  In addition to Nicole and her family’s story, there is a lot of context and history.  I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know.
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman, read by the author (Read or listen to it on Overdrive. Read or listen to it on Hoopla.): I enjoyed Gaiman’s witty take on a scary tale featuring a very resourceful and smart girl.  This book was the topic for a previous meeting of the Virtual Book Club.
  • From the Corner of the Oval by Becky Dorey-Stein, read by the author (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.): I expected a bit more from this memoir of an Obama White House stenographer.  Instead of an insider’s take on what it’s really like to work in the White House, a lot of the book seemed to be about the writer’s unhealthy relationship with a fellow staffer.
  • Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson, read by Perdita Weeks and John Sackville (Read or listen to it on Overdrive.  Read or listen to it on Hoopla): Back and forth tale using Frankenstein as a base.  I found it interesting and thoughtful though I don’t think audio was the best way to experience the novel.  This book was the topic for a previous meeting of the Virtual Book Club.
  • America for Beginners by Leah Franqui, read by Soneela Nankai (Read or listen to it on Overdrive. Read or listen to it on Hoopla.): This bittersweet, descriptive novel is about Pival, a woman traveling to the United States and her two travel companions, Satya and Rebecca.  Pival is in search of, and coming to terms with, her son, Rahi.  This book was the topic for a previous meeting of the Virtual Book Club.
  • Big Little Lies (show): I had read and enjoyed this book a few years ago but had been holding off on watching the television adaptation until now.  I was intrigued how the story would go beyond a first season, when it ran out of source material.  The second season was a little over the top, but I still enjoyed it.  I also appreciated that the characters of Bonnie and Renata were a lot more developed as characters than they were in the novel.
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Watch it on Kanopy): This is a heartbreaking movie about the friendship between Jimmie and Mont and Jimmie’s attempt to reclaim the house that he claims his grandfather built in a now gentrified neighborhood.
  • I’ve been doing some re-watches of old favorites, some of which have aged better than others:
    • Dallas: This show had already not aged well when I first binge watched it back in the late 1990’s.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it hadn’t aged well by the time the show ended in 1991.  Yet, I still love it.  Secret confession time: a part of me wanted to be a Ewing grandchild.  I liked the idea of going to a wedding in which someone was going to get pushed into a pool.
    • The X-Files: Mulder and Scully forever!  Some of the episodes are great and some are a bit miss, but the chemistry of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson is still off the charts.  The episode, “F. Emasculata” about a disease outbreak and public health concern rings a little too true, right now.
    • The Golden Girls: While there are definitely elements to this show that are a product of its time, this show was ahead of the curve in so many ways and, with the exception of some episodes, still plays well.  A lot of the jokes still land and I love that the women on this show, all of whom are senior citizens, are vibrant and proud of their sexuality.
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