Books

April 23rd 2019

At the West Branch storytime, we like songs, movement, and stories, and we particularly like interactive books. (Note: some people use the term interactive books to refer to books on a tablet or another electronic version of a book.  Here, we use it to refer to books that ask the reader questions, give the reader prompts, or otherwise engage the reader in the story.)

 

Interactive books have many benefits, including encouraging the reader to be part of the story, and showing... Read Post

April 4th 2019

I love reading published collections of letters. You get to see people at their frankest and most unguarded moments. And depending on when the letters were written, they provide a window into the past, how what we now call history looked to people as it happened.

Of the many such collections we have in the Minuteman Library Network, here is one of my favorites:

The journalist Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005) (left) was an outrageous presence on the American political and... Read Post

March 6th 2019

Another St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, and while for some of you that might mean having a Guinness at the Burren and listening to Irish folk music, you might consider passing the time with a good book. I assume you’re all familiar with at least the names of the classic Irish writers such as Swift, Joyce, Shaw and Yeats, so I’m going to focus on contemporary Irish books and authors.

 Let’s start with arguably the most important Irish writer of our time: John Banville (left). He won... Read Post

November 2nd 2018
Great American Read logo

The Great American Read, the 8-part series in which PBS attempted to determine which novel is America's favorite, is over.  On October 23rd the network announced (to no one's surprise) that the winner was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

To Kill a Mockingbird was on my list of favorites too, as were many of the other titles on the list of 100 novels which were selected for inclusion in the contest.  Continuing in the spirit of competition, I hereby announce that all of my best-... Read Post

February 18th 2018
skeins of yarn

If you're a knitter the Library has so much to offer you!

Drop in knitting evenings (Mondays at the West Branch, Thursdays at the East Branch.)  Socialize with fellow knitters, work on your current project, maybe get some advice on the tricky parts. Community Scarf Projects at all three SPL locations - sit down, relax, and add a row or two! Get Cozy at the Library!  Enjoy the coziness, cocoa, and company at this winter program in which you can choose to make the craft of the day or... Read Post
January 2nd 2018

I read so many books in 2017 most of them seem to have run together in my head. But four absolutely stand out in my memory. The first one is a re-read. The other three were new discoveries.

Absalom! Absalom! by William Faulkner.

Every time I read this novel I am astounded and moved, often by passages I don’t recall from previous readings.  For those who haven’t read Absalom, Absalom!, it’s a novel within a novel. For his entire life, young Quentin Compson has heard vague,... Read Post

October 30th 2017

On the evening of October 30, 1938, CBS radio broadcast an adaptation of H. G. Well's War of the Worlds, the 1898 novel about a Martian invasion of Earth, as part of the radio drama series Mercury Theatre on the Air. Written and directed by Orson Welles (left), the program was mostly in the form of simulated news bulletins. For decades stories have been told about the panic that ensued when many listeners jumped to the conclusion they were listening to an actual news broadcast.

The... Read Post

October 23rd 2017

It's the time of year when many readers indulge in books about the supernatural, so here's a review/recommendation of the Pamela Dean novel Tam Lin, courtesy of our excellent substitute librarian, Annie Schapira:

October is a time of cool nights, warm sweaters, and scary stories, and I am a fan of all of the above.  However, my favorite book to revisit this season, Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin (1991), is not what I would consider a horror story, although its final reckoning takes place on... Read Post

June 13th 2017
Book covers of Buffering, Juliet Takes a Breath, and Fun Home

Happy pride month, Somerville! We are always looking for new and diverse books to read and and recommend.This month, we asked Autostraddle contributor, medical resident, and comic book enthusiast Lizz Rubin for some recommendations. Here’s a list of her favorite queer books right now:

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn't sure if her mom will ever speak to... Read Post

May 10th 2017

This day in 1999 was a sad day for children of all ages worldwide: Shel Silverstein died at age 67. He's best known as an author of poetry for children (most famously Where the Sidewalk Ends), but he was also a singer-songwriter, cartoonist and profilic playwright.

The author of Silverstein's New York Times obituary called his children's poems "goofy, gross and macabre yet always enchanting" and compared them to the work of Dr. Seuss and A.A. Milne.

At the website of the... Read Post

March 21st 2017
The Hate U Give book cover

First time novelist Angie Thomas has made a big splash with her young adult novel, The Hate U Give.  Released last month, the novel has already topped the New York Times's Best Seller List for Young Adult Hardcover Books, been optioned for a Hollywood film, and been acclaimed by critics and in numerous articles, such as this one in New York Magazine, this one on Fusion.net, and this one in the New York Times.  It is also currently one of the most requested books in the Minuteman Library... Read Post

March 20th 2017

On this day in 1778, King Louis XVI of France recieved at court two representatives of the newly declared United States, Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin. Their reception by an absolute monarch was an astonishing coup for a fledgling nation rejecting the very notion of monarchy, but Louis' hatred of Great Britain trumped concerns about encouraging rebellion againts kings. The fact that one of the emissaries was Benjamin Franklin made Louis' decision easier: Franklin was the equivalent of a... Read Post

January 4th 2017

Many of us will remember 2016 as the year the world lost so many vibrant talents and wonderful minds: the novelist Umberto Eco, the comedic actor Gene Wilder, the singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and completely wonderful actor and human being Alan Rickman, to name only a few. But I was perhaps most moved by the death of the multitalented Carrie Fisher, the actress and author most of us remember as the fearless, defiant Princess Leia in the original Star Wars films. She had other film roles,... Read Post

December 22nd 2016

After just returning from Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, where it was hot and humid, this New England weather is killing me. I would love to return to a sunny vacation where the authentic food was amazing, Buddhist temples await, adventures on rivers and massages at every turn. If you’re looking to take a trip to get out of this cold and dreary weather, come take a look at Somerville library’s travel books, starting in the 914 section on the second floor of the main library, you can find a... Read Post

October 31st 2016

Today is Halloween, a day for tricking or treating and dressing up, the annual celebration of all things scary. They day is believed to have pagan roots, originating from the Celtic harvest festival Samhain.

Even though Halloween will be over at midnight, you can still indulge your taste for the scary (if you have a taste for the scary).  A couple of options at SPL: The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales or Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. You could also search the catalog... Read Post

Pages