Archive for the “Books” Category

By Aimee Bender51sDB0CsDHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

This endearing book is set in California and is about Rose Edelstein, who when tasting food, can feel the hidden emotions of the person who cooked it. The book is about her relationship with her out of touch parents, disappearing brother, fake classmates and how she handles all the emotions people dump into their food. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is about being present in everyday life; and how important it is to spend time with people who you actually like. If your not, your just wasting your time. If your interested in reading this book, you can find it our catalog here, it’s available at both our branches, and it’s also available in large print.

Aimee Bender lives in Los Angeles and has also written the Girl in the flammable skirt and Willful Creatures.


Comments No Comments »

A new book club at the Central Library on Highland Avenue, for stay-at-home moms’, working moms’ and/or anyone in between is starting up! If your interested in participating in this club, follow this link and vote on your favorite book!

Book titles include:15507958

Me Before you by JoJo Moyes – “They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose. Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life–steady boyfriend, close family–who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. Will has always lived a huge life–big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel–and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is15818107 acerbic, moody, bossy–but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. ” – Provided by Publisher

Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline– “a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.”

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – “A deeply evocative story of 8683812ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.”

The Help by Kathryn Stockett –  “Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who 4667024raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.”


Big Little Lies – “Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class a19486412s Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).”

All book descriptions are taken from




Comments No Comments »

If you want to read a book, but have no idea what book, here are some sources for ideas.

A list of the most popular books in the Minuteman Library Network is here. Just be aware that since the titles on this list are so popular, you might have to wait a while for a library copy.

Here are the titles that have won the PEN/Faulkner Award in recent years.  The award is given to the best work of fiction by an American citizen in the calendar year (or at least, “best,” in the opinion of the judges).

If you love mysteries, you owe it to yourself to consider the winners of the Crime Writers’ Assocation Gold Dagger Award.

Also check out last year’s winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards. Categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Criticism, and Poetry.

Looking for a laugh? Here are recent winners of the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

And here is the 2015 list of Notable Books of the Year chosen by the editors of the New York Times Book Review.

Happy reading.


Comments No Comments »

…for June 24:

henryviiiHenry VIII was crowned King of England on this day in 1509. It was the beginning of a turbulent reign, and nearly all of the turbulence was caused by his difficulties in fathering a son: he was only the second monarch of  the Tudor dynasty, a family whose claim to the crown was shaky at best. To prevent a return to civil war it was essential Henry have at least one male heir. In his quest for sons, he married six times, beheaded two of his wives, and took England out of the Catholic Church.

His dramatic life (and those of his wives) have inspired many novels, biographies, plays and television programs. Among them I recommend the award-winning Wolf Hall, one of the best historical novels ever, narrated from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, a soldier and merchant from a working-class background who becomes an important figure at Henry VIII’s court.

If you’re in the mood to read a biography, I suggest Alison Weir’s Henry VIII: The King and His bookcoverCourt. Alison Weir is one of the most popular and readable historians  of the past twenty years, and her portrait of this “larger than life” king who during his lifetime who went “from Renaissance prince to mean old king”  gives “ample evidence of her talent” (Booklist).

If you’re in the mood to watch rather than read, you have two great options. The play A Man for All Seasons (1966) recounts Henry’s campaign to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and his abandonment of the Catholic Church from the perspective of his disapproving minister, Sir Thomas More. Paul Scofield’s portrayal of More, a man whose firm, quiet integrity costs him his life, won him that year’s Oscar for Best Actor, and the film won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

And if you haven’t yet seen the award-winning BBC series The Tudors, you’re in for a treat. There are many historical inaccuracies, but it’s very enjoyable.  Jonathan Rhys Meyers gives a riveting performance as Henry VIII. And if that’s not enough for you, there’s Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Catherine of Aragon, and  Henry Cavill in a neck ruffle.


Comments No Comments »

Children who don’t read during the summer vacation don’t do well on reading comprehension tests when school resumes. The cumulative effect can be devastating: summer non-readers can end up two years behind their peers by sixth grade. By contrast, children who read four or more books over the summer fare much better academically in the fall than their peers who read only one book or no books.  The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is challenging people of all ages to read four or more books this summer.

So what’s your four? Here are mine, chosen from my unread shelf:










Promote this campaign on social media with the hashtag #WhatsYourFour

And tell us: what are your four?


Comments No Comments »

Ladies, are you looking to read a trashy novel that’s going to get you into the summer mood? Do you want to travel to Nantucket but don’t have the time? Try reading about it instead. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrumorand is set on the island of Nantucket, off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachuset ts. The book is set around two housewives Grace Pancik and Madeline King. Grace, with two teenage daughters, may just start a steamy love affair with her landscaper. Madeline, a famous writer, struggles to find something to write about, but may just end up betraying her elinnewbest friend, using her secret as a story line for her book.

But these aren’t the only two rumors floating around on the island, Grace’s husband, Eddie, gets himself into money trouble and illegal activity. Teenage drama unfolds into this story as well. So, if your looking for a summery scandalous escape, this is it! Elin Hilderbrand is a New York Times Bestselling Author, has written 20 books, including titles such as Summerland and Nantucket. If you already a fan of Hilderbrand, click here.


Comments No Comments »

logo2The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to producing  durable high-quality editions of the best of American writing. And it’s not just fiction: their nonfiction volumes include the World War II reporting of A.J. Liebling, the movie reviews of James Agee, and the four-volume collection of diaries and letters, The Civil War Told by Those Who Lived It. If you want to get exposure to a range of American writing but are daunted by the size and number of LOA books, sign up for “Story of the Week,” their free e-newsletter that sends an excerpt from an LOA volume to your inbox every week. I’ve been a subscriber for years. Last week LOA sent me  “The Kiss,” a short story by Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932). Chesnutt was the first African-American writer acknowledged by the white literary establishment.  “The Kiss” is about a woman who has an affair with her husband’s nephew. It’s a rather melodramatic period piece, but the treatment of adultery is interesting considering the time period: the woman achieves redemption, while the man is the one punished–he’s killed by a train.

Other memorable Stories of the Week that I’ve received via email: “Xingu” by Edith Wharton (one of the funniest short stories I’ve ever read); “Remember the Ladies,”Abigail and John Adams’ correspondence on women’s rights, and Frederick Douglass’ “Letter to His Old Master,” an extraordinary window on the personal devastation created by slavery.


Comments No Comments »

Don’t miss out on the Friends of the Library book sale this weekend! You’ll find great books at rock-bottom prices! Proceeds of the book sale help fund library programming and museum passes. The book sale begins at noon on Friday and continues to closing time on Sunday.


Comments No Comments »

…for May 12, 2016.

farley-mowatCanadian author and environmentalist Farley Mowat (1921- 2014) was born on this day in Bellville, Ontario. He wrote more than 40 books, the most famous being Never Cry Wolf (1963), supposedly an account of his experiences observing wolves in the wilderness of subarctic Canada. Mowat was often accused of not actually having spent as much time with wolves as he recounts in the book.  Mowat’s usual response was that his critics were confusing facts with truth. The book was an immediate bestseller upon publication and is credited with making  wolf conservation popular  with the Canadian public.

Related reading at SPL: Farley: The Life of Farley Mowat by James King, and Wild Harmonies: A Life of Music and Wolves by Hélène Grimaud.

Today is also the birthday of English poet and painter Dante Gabriel rossettiRossetti (1828-1882). Rossetti, together with William Holman Hunt and  John Everett Millais, founded the Pre-Raphealite Brotherhood, a literary and artistic movement heavily influenced by Romanticism that sought inspiration in medieval culture, which they believed to have an artistic integrity the modern world lacked.  Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery hosts the world’s largest online collection of Pre-Raphaelite images here.

Related reading at SPL: Essential Pre-Raphealites, which explains the movement’s guiding principles with reproductions of paintings by various members.

Related reading in the Minuteman Library Network: The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti. Christina was Dante’s sister and is generally considered a much better writer than her brother.


Comments No Comments »

mercuryMercury is moving between Earth and the Sun today, a relatively rare event known as a solar transit. It began around 7 am today and will continue until 2:42 pm Eastern Time.

Whatever you do, don’t look directly at the Sun to try watch it. In any case, there’s not much to see: just a small black dot (Mercury) on the face of the Sun. If you don’t have a solar filter for your camera or binoculars there are plenty of live streams on the Internet, such as the one here.

NASA has provided some explanations as to why solar transits matter and what scientists learn from them at their website.

One of the most important solar transits in modern history was the 1761 transit of Venus. Astronomers realized that by observing the transit from specific points around the globe, they could gather data that would enable them to calculate the Earth’s distance from the Sun. European scientists embarked on dangerous and uncomfortable voyages around the world, from England to Newfoundland and South Africa, from France to India, from Austria to Madagascar, just to watch one planet for six hours, take notes, and do some mathematical calculations.

If astronomy or the history of science interests you, check out Andrea Wulf’s history of the dangerous, adventurous voyages of these astronomers, Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens.



Comments No Comments »