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.

Staff Favorite Videos on Hoopla, Kanopy, and Mango

Hoopla Logo Kanopy Logo Mango Languages Logo
Did you know that as a Waltham resident, you have access to three different video streaming services through the library?  Our subscriptions to Hoopla, Kanopy, and Mango Languages allow our patrons to watch a variety of content on your computers, phones, tablets, and televisions at no charge.  There is a lot of content and it can get a little overwhelming so here are some suggestions of what our staff have enjoyed through these services. If you need help using these services, please send an e-mail to
For more suggestions from our staff, please read our last “Staff Reads” post or review our “Staff Favorite Podcasts


  • What We Do in the Shadows, available on both Hoopla and Kanopy



  • Clue (Kanopy): This is one of my favorite movies.  I’m so excited that it’s available for free to our patrons!  There are so many good lines.  “Communism is just a red herring”  “It flames, flames, on the side of my face.”  I could go on and on and on.
  • Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Kanopy): I have a bit of a bias, I admit, but I loved learning more about this famous institution.
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Kanopy): Jimmie acquaints himself with the large house that his grandfather built in San Francisco and goes on a journey of self discovery.
  • You Can Count on Me (Kanopy): Quiet and touchingly funny movie about the relationship between an adult brother and sister.
  • The Virgin Suicides (Kanopy): So haunting and lovely.
  • Big Night (Kanopy): Warning!  You’ll be very hungry at the end of this movie.
  • The Farewell (Kanopy): Great showcase for Awkafina, who I first saw in Crazy Rich Asians. 
  • Moonlight (Kanopy): Coming of age film that won the Best Picture Oscar.
  • The Great British Baking Show (Hoopla): This is the nicest reality show ever made.
  • Call the Midwife (Hoopla): This British import makes me cry every episode and I just love it.
  • Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway (Hoopla): While theater lights are dark, enjoy this documentary about the Broadway smash hit.
  • Frida (Hoopla): Salma Hayek is great in this biopic.
  • Bride and Prejudice (Hoopla): Very fun Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice. 
  • Viva Cuba (Mango Languages): Beautiful movie about the forbidden friendship of two young children.



I’ve been spending most of my time using Kanopy Kids these last few weeks. It’s great because it has some of my son’s favorites like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and even new-to-us titles featuring favorite characters, like The Miffy Movie. Also in heavy rotation are Wild Kratts and Franklin, which makes me feel nostalgic for the 90s.

Though I haven’t been using Hoopla much, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see so many of my favorite titles. For books: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict, and 1984 by George Orwell. For movies: 13 Going on 30 and RBG! And I was amazed to see Spectrum by Westlife available under music – my favorite band from my youth and their glorious newest album!

Dana’s recap:

National Park Week April 18 – 26

It’s National Park Week!  I have been very lucky and have had the pleasure of visiting a small number of our many National Parks, including Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, The Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park.  That doesn’t even cover the National Parks and Historic Sites that we’re lucky to have in our state, including the beautiful Cape Cod National Seashore.  Visiting a National Park in person is not an option right now, so please enjoy this guide featuring a variety of online resources and do some “visiting”.

  • National Park Service and National Park Foundation
    The National Park Service (NPS) and National Park Foundation are amazing resources and have put together a lot of great initiatives so you can enjoy the National Parks from the comfort of your home.
    • Earth Day Digital Celebration
      April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  The National Parks has created a lot of videos and activities in order to celebrate.  Here are my two favorite guides:
    • “Parked at Home” Initiative
      • Junior Ranger Online Program: Those who have visited National Parks with young children may have had the pleasure of participating in the Junior Ranger program.  I highly recommend it as its informative and fun for the adults just as much as the kids.  A few years ago, my young travel companion held the distinction of being the first “Junior Ranger” of the season at the Boston Harbor Islands and the actual ranger made a big announcement to others at the visitor center to a huge round of applause.  
      • Distance Learning: Great resources for teachers who are teaching via virtual classrooms or for parents looking for some ideas for home schooling.  Even those of us who are neither teachers or parents can find something to learn.
    • Virtual Visits to a National Park
      Though nothing beats an in person visit to these amazing landmarks, these still photos and web cams are the next best thing.  Here are a few I’ve been enjoying:
      • Yellowstone live webcams: In addition to Old Faithful, “visitors” can view the various entrances to the park, different views of Mount Washburn, and the Mammoth Hot Springs.
      • Grand Canyon Tour with Elmo and Murray from Sesame Street: These Youtube videos featuring Grand Canyon Park Ranger, Amala, teaching the two Muppets about the features of the park, are very sweet.
      • Channel Islands National Park Tour with Jordan Fisher: Actor Jordan Fisher, best known for co-starring in the live productions of Grease and Rent, gives visitors a brief look at this California National Park.  Of the three I mentioned here, this was the one I had not visited (or knew) so I really appreciated it.
    • Massachusetts National Parks
      When the COVID-19 crisis is behind us, you’ll be able to satisfy your National Park itch by not traveling far.  We’re lucky in this state to be home to 15 National Parks, 5 National Heritage Areas, 3 National Trails, and 189 National Historic Landmarks!  Here are some of the highlights that you can enjoy from home:

posted by Laura

Waltham Public Library Virtual Book Club Meetings

We are pleased to announce Virtual Book Club Meetings from the Waltham Public Library!

For further information about the Library Book Clubs, please e-mail Laura at Copies of the titles are always available through the library’s subscription to Hoopla unless otherwise noted.

Please note: All in person book club meetings are suspended until further notice.  Please continue to look in this space as we add virtual meetings.

  • Monday, April 27, 7:00 pm: Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Thursday, April 30, 7:00 pm: Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
  • Saturday, May 2, 10:00 am: America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
  • Monday, May 18, 7:00 pm: Tell us what you’re reading!
  • Tuesday, May 26, 7:00 pm: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Thursday, May 28, 7:00 pm: New Kid by Jerry Craft
  • Monday, June 15, 7:00 pm: Tell us what you’re reading!
  • Saturday, June 20, 10:00 amNews of the World by Paulette Jiles
  • Monday, June 22, 7:00 pm: Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
  • Thursday, June 25, 7:00 pmAfterlife by Julia Alvarez
  • Saturday, July 11, 10:00 am: The Turner House by Angela Flourney
  • Monday, July 13, 7:00 pm: Tell us what you’re reading!
  • Thursday, July 16, 2:30 pm: Tell us what you’re reading!
  • Monday, July 27, 7:00 pm: Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
  • Thursday, July 30, 7:00 pm: Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
  • Saturday, August 15, 10:00 am: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Monday, August 17, 7:00 pm: Tell us what you’re reading!
  • Thursday, August 20, 7:00 pm: Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon
  • Monday, August 24, 7:00 pm: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • Tuesday, August 25, 2:30 pm: We’ll Tell You What We’re Reading!  Join us on Youtube Live!
  • Saturday, September 19, 10:00 am: Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford; Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 946 9021 2108; Passcode: bdV93y
  • Monday, September 21, 7:00 pm: Tell Us What You’re Reading; Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 831 0833 8950; Passcode: K5502p
  • Thursday, September 24, 7:00 pm: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 896 7377 5397; Passcode: cA1rpL
  • Monday, September 28, 7:00 pm: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon; Zoom Link; Meeting ID:940 4675 2833 ; Passcode:  rpkyn3
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2:30 pm: We’ll Tell You What We’re Reading!  Join us on Youtube Live!
  • Saturday, October 17, 10:00 am: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie; Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 967 4622 7733; Passcode: 9HNuJx
  • Monday, October 19, 7:00 pm: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson; Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 954 0982 0000; Passcode: k2igD1
  • Wednesday, October 21, 2:30 pm: We’ll Tell You What We’re Reading! Join us on Youtube Live!
  • Thursday, October 22, 7:00 pm: The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett; Waltham residents can download the e-book and audiobook from Overdrive/Libby between September 16 – October 22, without waiting!Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 830 6428 6059; Passcode: hQ45DU
  • Monday, October 26, 7:00 pm: Tell Us What You’re Reading! Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 876 7495 8787; Passcode: g7i4S7
  • Saturday, November 14, 10:00 am: Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West; Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 938 8911 8280; Passcode: 6kGBML
  • Monday, November 16, 7:00 pm: 10% Happier by Dan Harris.Special guest, Matt Carriker and Agape Waltham; Between October 15 and November 16, Waltham residents can download the e-book or audiobook on Overdrive/Libby without waiting! Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 997 3062 3557; Passcode: rr8RET
  • Tuesday, November 17, 2:30 pm: We’ll Tell You What We’re Reading! Join us on Youtube Live!
  • Thursday, November 19, 7:00 pm: The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferante; Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 889 4923 8313; Passcode: zb2Rp9
  • Monday, November 23, 7:00 pm: Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James; Between October 19 and November 23, Waltham residents can download the e-book or audiobook from Overdrive/Libby without waiting! Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 928 2350 2823; Passcode: KcsZ2m
  • Monday, November 30, 7:00 pm: Tell Us What You’re Reading! Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 883 4862 5065; Passcode: FK3ygs
  • Saturday, December 12, 10:00 am: Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry. From November 12 – December 12, Waltham residents can access the e-book and audiobook on Overdrive/Libby without waiting! Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 947 1022 2943; Passcode: pLGEf4
  • Monday, December 14, 7:00 pm: The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 958 5402 3930; Passcode: 7Wt60U
  • Wednesday, December 16, 2:30 pm: We’ll Tell You What We’re Reading! Join us on Youtube Live!
  • Thursday, December 17, 7:00 pm: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie; Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 832 6150 5808; Passcode: v4sBQa
  • Monday, December 21, 7:00 pm: Tell Us What You’re Reading! Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 823 3770 7690; Passcode: wW9wJN

Staff Favorite Podcasts

podcast symbol

Our staff love podcasts of all different types and opinions. Please read below to get a list of what some of our staff have been enjoying. Want to see more staff suggestions? Read the latest edition of “Staff Reads”.



  • Love Letters: The podcast version of the Meredith Goldstein column
  • Keep ItSocial commentary on pop culture and society
  • Awesome EtiquetteFun look at modern manners from the descendants of Emily Post.
  • Out on the LanaiAnalyzing every episode of The Golden Girls!
  • The Book ReviewInterviews with authors featured in that week’s New York Times Book Review
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class: Goes into depth about topics of which you may only know a capsule, including the flu epidemic of 1918.
  • Ewing BarbecueGen Xers watching Dallas!
  • For HarrietThoughts from Kimberly Foster about pop culture and news affecting the African-American community.
  • Musical Hell: “Diva” gives sentences in her court to some of the worst offenders when it comes to movie musicals.


  • Lore by Aaron Mahnke: My personal favorite. He looks over folktales, mysteries and historical events throughout the world, and explains how they’ve impacted modern day culture. Also, he’s a Massachusetts local, so while he explores all sorts of stories it’s New England tales that really get to shine.








  • Pod Save America, Pod Save the World, Lovett or Leave It:  (My household) loves Crooked Media and these three pods are mainstays- Jon, Jon, and Tommy are involved in 1 or more of these 3. The pods are varying levels of seriousness with humor. Lovett is pure fun though it is news related, Pod Save America is more serious and in-depth discussions about current events revolving around US politics but still with some humor. PSTW is by far the most serious of the three and it focuses on foreign affairs. Occasionally we listen to other pods by Crooked Media and I’d encourage you to check them out!
  • The Daily: Brief look at a big story to start your day. So good.
  • This American Life: About ten years ago I went through their archives and listened to every.single.episode. It was before podcasts were really a thing, (I think of TAL as the OG pod) so there wasn’t as much out there. It took a while of course (it was about 600+ episodes at the time)but it was worth it. I particularly love stories from David Rakoff (RIP), David Sedaris, and Sara Vowell. They stick out in my memory, but Ira and his team always put out amazing stories. They connect dots you didn’t think to connect, and of course, pull on my heart strings. I don’t listen as regularly these days, instead bingeing it now and then to catch up, but it always feels like home. You can still find all of their archives on their site.
  • Monster: DC Sniper
  • Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me


  • 99% Invisible: All about design, why things are the way they are.  Excellent episodes include “Ten Thousand Years”, “Weeding is Fundamental” and “The Great Bitter Lake Association”
  • Criminal: A show all about crime, best intro episode “Ex Libris”
  • Spooked: Spooky ghost stories told by the people who experienced them. Are the stories real? I don’t know, but they’re definitely fun to listen to!
  • NancyAll things LGBT
  • Headlong: Surviving Y2K: An interesting look back at what people thought would happen NYE 1999.
  • Good Christian Fun: A discussion about contemporary Christian culture from the late 90s. Discussed from a evolved, progressive viewpoint, but with a fondness for the past.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Jenny Owen Youngs and Kristen Russo recap every episode, and Jenny (a musician) writes a song related to each episode.
  • Vernonica Mars InvestigationsJenny Owen Youngs and Helen Zaltzman recap each episode of Verónica Mars.
  • Vanity Fair Still WatchingI enjoyed their recaps of Westworld and Sharp Objects.




  • Last Podcast On The Left: Hilarious and meticulously researched, covering true crime and all things spooky. A bit loud, a bit raunchy, but very very funny.
  • My Favorite Murder: Two friends and comedians hang out and discuss cases. These two are down to earth, and have a looser feel to the format.
  • This Podcast Will Kill You: Two epidemiologists go over a different disease each episode, covering the biology as well as the history. Currently they have a six part series on Covid-19.
  • Bear Brook: Investigative podcast. A wild story about how a crime can be solved, even without knowing the identity of the victims. The people interviewed, investigators and townspeople are great characters, and the story is packed with twists and turns.





Take Me out, Er, Keep Me in to the Ballgame

This is the time of year that all of us baseball fans look forward to: Opening Day!  When last year’s last place team has the same win/loss record as the previous World Series winner.  When “Wait Til Next Year” is finally here!  It’s baseball time again, and, the last few years, we’ve been treated to it a little earlier than usual, in late March.  This year was to be no exception with Major League Baseball Opening Day scheduled for Thursday, March 26.  This year, however, Major League Baseball did the right and responsible thing by delaying the start of the season so that all of us can stay safe and healthy.  That doesn’t mean, though that we won’t miss our annual spring ritual so I present to you online options to tide you over until the start of baseball season.

posted by Laura

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