May 10th 2013
At the Central Library we've compiled a display of staff picks: books we find fascinating,  absorbing, or just plain fun.  So if you've been looking for something to read, consider (among other titles): The Plot Against America by Philip Roth is an alternative history of the twentieth century (Lindbergh defeats Roosevelt in the 1940 election) that the NYT called "sinister, vivid, dreamlike, preposterous and, at the same time, creepily plausible." Gods, Graves and Scholars by C.W.  Ceram is a... Read Post
May 6th 2013
What do the words algebra, benzene, and cipher have in common? They're all derived from Arabic.  Who was the first scientist to posit that light was composed of particles? Newton? Think again. In the centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire, when much of the knowledge of antiquity was lost to Western Europe, science and learning thrived in the Arab world, which not only preserved knowledge of the classical world but also made original breakthroughs in chemistry, physics, mathematics... Read Post
April 24th 2013
The last post I made was just before New Year’s: the weather was cold, and I was thinking about hot chocolate and holiday recipes.  Now, with April just starting the weather is (slowly) getting warmer and I’m starting to think about ice coffees and starting my garden. I’ll be honest, I’ve never had much of a green thumb, but with help from a few good gardening books, my family and I have been able to create a nice outdoor space, and grow a range of flowers and vegetables from calla lilies and... Read Post
April 23rd 2013

I didn't submit my suggestions in time to be included in the last post but I'll throw a few out there now. I recently saw Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery [1993], which was a lot of fun. Woody re-teams with his erstwhile muse Diane Keaton, and the inspired addition of Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston makes the whole thing even better. Carol and Ted (Keaton and Alda) are sure that their elderly acquaintance Paul (Jerry Adler) has committed the perfect murder. Hard-boiled author Marcia Fox... Read Post

April 22nd 2013
After last week, a lot of us could probably use a break from reality: a few minutes or a few hours of not thinking about the horrors of last week. I asked my colleagues what makes them laugh, cheers them up when they're down, or just makes them forget their worries. Here are a few suggestions. East Branch Director Marilyn suggests A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  I have to second that: Confederacy is one of the craziest, best-written pieces of inspired lunacy that I have ever... Read Post
April 16th 2013
We're all stunned and saddened by yesterday's bombings at the Boston Marathon.  The attacks were cruel and senseless.  The only bright moment yesterday was when people ran towards the blasts to apply tourniquets or help people on to their feet. It's nice when it's possible to be proud of human beings. Actually helping others is one of the best things someone can do in a situation like this, not  just for the inherent decency of doing so, but also because it reminds us we're not helpless. The... Read Post
April 1st 2013
Reginald Bakeley's Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop has won this year's Diagram Prize for oddest book title, joining such illustrious tomes as Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers, Bombproof Your Horse (do-it-yourself seems to be a recurring theme) and Highlights in the History of Concrete. The book's U.S. editor, Clint Marsh, told the BBC, "Reginald and I take this as a clear sign that people have had enough of goblins in their chicken coops." We at SPL are very happy for Mr.... Read Post
March 21st 2013

Did you know that the Library subscribes to LearningExpress Job & Career Accelerator, a resource that combines everything you need for a successful job search into one easy-to-use online application?  With this innovative job-hunting system, you can: Explore detailed information on over 1,000 different occupations Match your interests and skills with the career that's best for you Search over five million up-to-the-minute local and national job postings Search for internships,... Read Post
March 19th 2013
It's Diagram Prize time again! Which book will win the coveted Oddest Title of the Year Award? Below are a few of the contenders. Click here for more!

March 16th 2013
Last year I wrote about Irish books for St. Patrick's Day. This year, it's Irish movies.   The country's contributions to film are much less well-known than its literary achievements, but almost as noteworthy.  I consider  films to be "Irish" if they meet at least two of three criteria: an Irish cast, an Irish director or screenwriter, based on an Irish literary work or on Irish historical events. Neil Jordan is best known for his 1992 shocker  The Crying Game.  I however am forever grateful... Read Post
March 15th 2013
Our thanks to the mayor for recognizing the essential and ever-changing role libraries play in the life of this city: http://www.thesomervillenews.com/archives/36202  
March 9th 2013
We're getting ready for Somerville Reads 2013 - our next One City, One Book program, which will take place in the early Fall - and we need your input! Which of these books would you most like to read and discuss as a community? You can read about each book below, then vote for your pick at the bottom of this post.

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.... Read Post
March 6th 2013
Courtesy of storycorps.org

It should come as no surprise to this city’s residents, but members of this diverse and vital community have a story to tell. And your library is going to help them tell it – thanks to a grant from the American Library Associaton and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which will enable us to launch our own version of the “StoryCorps @ your library” program. StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and... Read Post
March 4th 2013
We knew you could do it, Somerville! Our fair city has won the library card sign-up competition that ran all last month against Lexington, Belmont and Arlington. Arlington challenged us to see who could get a higher percentage of card sign-ups in February 2013 compared to February 2012. Community pride was at stake – and we must say, you did your library and your community proud. Because of this campaign, Somerville now has 1,054 new library card owners. Arlington, Belmont and Somerville were... Read Post
March 4th 2013
The Somerville Public Library is introducing a new collection, Muslim Journeys, which is currently available for browsing and checkout at the Central Branch of the library. This bookshelf collection aims to familiarize residents and visitors with the places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the U.S. and around the world. It is intended to address both the need and desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural... Read Post