Watch Read Listen: July

Turn up the summer heat with these picks.


Blue Lights (Kanopy)
Set in Northern Ireland, a police squad battles crime as well as those who don’t want to be policed. (Amber)

Lucha Mexico
For those who aren’t familiar, lucha libre is the professional wrestling style that originated in Mexico during the 20th century. It features (mostly) masked wrestlers, truly impressive high flying acrobatic moves and so much more. In my household we stan Pénta El Cero Miedo aka Pentagón Jr. as the best luchador, but this documentary features the stories of several other fantastic luchadors including Shocker, Blue Demon Jr., Sexy Star, and El Hijo Del Perro Aguayo. (Liz)

So Weird (Disney+)
An older Disney Channel show all about the paranormal and other weird stuff that happens in daily life. It follows one family for the whole series, so those bonds get explored in a really great way. (Hazel)
Check out our Disney+ Roku to watch.


Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala
A small town cozy mystery that’s also full of yummy Filipino recipes! Lots of good friendship and family connections and I never could have expected the twist at the end! (Hazel)

Bright Sword: A Novel of King Arthur by Lev Grossman
This highly anticipated fantasy adventure does not disappoint! Don’t let the hefty page count deter you–the action, dialogue and plot are positively crackling with energy. (Jen)

Elements of Style: Designing A Home and A Life by Erin Gates
I checked out this book because I needed inspiration for decorating my new home. To my surprise, it ended up being more than just a decorating book. The author combines design advice with stories of her own kitchen renovation disaster, her past struggles with anorexia, and her conflicting feelings about starting a family. It felt like I was listening to a best friend. Her best advice: none of our homes or lives are perfect. I feel so validated. (Tessa)

The Fisherman by John Langan
A short page turner about love, grief, and the creeping dread of the unknown. And fish. (Roy)

Full of Myself by Siobhán Gallagher
Did the author watch my entire life and then turn it into this masterful graphic memoir about struggling with one’s body image? No, she did not, but it certainly felt like it. This validated so many body image related feelings that a lot of people struggle with on a daily basis (I certainly do), and I am grateful to the author for sharing it with the world. (Liz)

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center
Chick Lit about a portraitist who suddenly is stricken with face blindness. Cute story. Love Peanut & Dr Nicole. (Deb)

The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch
Disclaimer: Asperger Syndrome was previously used as a term for a neurodevelopmental disorder with similarities to Autism Spectrum Disorder, but in 2013 the name was removed from the DSM-V as a separate diagnosis. People who had previously been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome would now be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This memoir was published in 2012, so the author uses the term Asperger Syndrome, with which he was diagnosed with well into adulthood. A married father of two at the time, the diagnosis explained his growing list of quirks, tendency to meltdown in social situations, and refusal to compromise on things. After receiving his diagnosis, Finch spent two years learning about his Asperger Syndrome in a quest to become a better father and husband. This is a well written, very funny, humanizing and endearing medical memoir that anyone interested in family dynamics, Autism Spectrum Disorder or self improvement would enjoy. (Liz)

Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez
A fun love story with some family complications. (Kelly)

Winnie Nash Is Not Your Sunshine by Nicole Melleby
Need a good cry? 12 year-old Winnie Nash has been sent to live with her grandmother for the summer, but she’s been told to keep secrets, not to tell her grandma she’s gay, but she really needs to go to Pride. She’s dealing with a lot of emotions and doesn’t know what to do. Emotional, powerful, and resonating. I may have cried a few times. (Ash)


Dying of Politeness by Geena Davis, narrated by the author
I only vaguely recognize Geena Davis as a celebrity name, but I decided to read her memoir anyways. What a story she has! So many groundbreaking roles and I love her work on trying to create gender equality in Hollywood. (Hazel)

The Sevens Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Alma Cuervo, Robin Miles, and Julia Whelan
Aging Hollywood star (reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor & Ava Gardner) schemes a relatively unknown journalist into writing her biography. It seems there’s a reason for the choice, but it remains hidden until the very end. There are some teeny foreshadowed hints, but they’re so subtle, I didn’t notice them in the moment, only hindsight. I thought this might be a shallow read but I was pleasantly surprised. (Deb)

The Spindle of Fate by Aimee Lim
Twelve-year-old Evie’s mom has disappeared and her family and friends believe the worst has happened. When Evie is visited by a talking monkey who tells her that her mom isn’t dead, but trapped in Diyu, the netherworld of Chinese mythology, Evie travels there to try to save her. Gritty and darkly funny. (Jen)

Watch Read Listen: June

Looking for something to kickoff a summer of watching, reading, and listening? We’ve got you covered.


Game Changer (Dropout TV)
The funniest game show I’ve ever seen! During every episode the rotating cast of contestants play a different game, but they don’t know the rules and have to figure out how to play as the game goes on. (Rachel)

I Saw the TV Glow (currently in theaters)
A haunting masterpiece about growing up longing to be someone else, who you really are. The loneliness of growing up queer in the nineties. A love letter to Buffy, and the nostalgia of youth. (Ash)

Jury Duty (Amazon Prime)
I know I’m late but I absolutely loved this show, especially the last episode! (Renee)

La Chimera (currently in theaters)
This Italian film was a wild adventure and an unexpected delight. Josh O’Connor (young Prince Charles from the Crown TV series) stars as a British archaeologist who gets involved in an international network of stolen Italian artifacts during the 1980s. If you are familiar with the Etruscan civilization, this film will be an extra treat. 5 out 5 stars. (Tessa)

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story (Hulu)
Will Richie ever reunite with the band? Will Jon get his voice back? This nostalgic four-part series looks back on Bon Jovi’s glory days and ends with JBJ’s surgery to repair his possible career-ending vocal injury. (Amber)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

Wrinkles (also available through Kanopy)
Simultaneously funny and heart wrenching, this Spanish animated film centers around a character with early Alzheimers whose family relocates him to a retirement home. Based on the comic book by Paco Roca, this story approaches aging and its accompanying illnesses with honesty and tenderness. (Tessa)


Dead and Gone (Detective Annalisa Vega, #3) by Joanna Schaffhausen
Many mysteries wrapped into one! Written by a local Waltham author! (Deb)

An Education in Malice by S.T. Gibson
A modern retelling of Carmilla. Gothic, with Sapphic vampires. Need I say more? (Ash)

Four Against Darkness by Andrea Sfligoi, edited by Craig Whiting
Are you a fan of TTRPGs but can’t for the life of you get a group together? Do you enjoy sword and staff fantasy stories and are curious about how Table Top Role Playing Games Work? This book is a great way for you to scratch that role-playing itch in a singleton adventure designed to last about an hour. You only need the rules, some graph paper, a pen, and some D6s (a standard 6 sided game die for you non-nerds out there). A delightful bit of fun that can help make your days a little bit more adventurous. (Alanna)

The Mars House by Natasha Pulley
I’m about halfway through this sci-fi arranged-political-marriage novel and loving it! Has my favorite feature in sci-fi: snarky funny historical footnotes. (Renee)

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley
A twisty, smart time travel adventure with a slow-burn romance. Excellent in print and audio! (Jen)

Minor Feelings by Kathy Park Hong
This book is a great choice for fans of poetry, language, Asian American identity and the arts in general. Kathy Park Hong is a master of her craft. (Liz)

Once In A Millennial: On Friendship, Feelings, Fangirls, and Fitting In by Kate Kennedy
This book is hitting me right in the millennial feels. Kennedy is a few years younger than I am, but many of our experiences align. It’s a validating trip down memory lane! (Dana)

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
SUCH a sweet graphic novel about loving yourself and exploring and accepting your queerness. Highly, HIGHLY recommend. (Renee)

The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard
I’ve been on a pirate kick of late, and this is what I needed. Focusing on the Golden Age of Piracy, the book details how a bunch of pirates came together to form a nation separate from England, France and Spain, as well as how it fell apart. If you’re looking for the true story behind the history of folks like Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, and Samuel Bellamy, this is good place to start. (Greg)

Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke
I read this like a collection of daily meditations, and it always really brightened my day! It’s told from the perspective of a knight writing to his children, teaching them life lessons chapter by chapter before he goes to battle. Lots of wisdom that’s told in a historical fashion but still perfectly applicable to today. (Rachel)

Sheine Lende by Darcie Little Badger
Prequel to Elatsoe that is even better than the original story! Lots of good family and friend content. Plus ghost dogs! (Hazel)

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Honestly one of the most beautiful short stories I’ve ever read. You can read this book in one sitting, yet get swept into protagonist Bill Furlong’s life. By the end, it feels like you’ve spent weeks in his shoes. This story shows how impactful and profound a single person’s actions (or inactions) can be, and how small things done with sincerity and care can make a world of difference. (Molly)


As You Wish by Cary Elwes, narrated by the author and others
The story of making the infamous Princess Bride movie was very entertaining. It includes the voices of the people involved, telling the story from their perspectives in addition to Cary Elwes’ point of view. Very cool! (Hazel)

Classy created by Jonathan Menjivar (podcast)
Blew through this eight segment limited series podcast about class in the United States in two days. So good and so thought provoking. (Janet)

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon, narrated by Jane Oppenheimer
Wow! 1789. Maine. Midwife Martha Ballard gets called to examine the body of a man found dead in the icy Kennebec River. What ensues is part mystery, part small-town early America in all its gossipy glory, but also stories of sexual assault and feminism. Martha Ballard suffers no fools. She and her husband are more tolerant & liberal than my imagination assumes of people in the 18th century. And the ending! Whew! (Deb)

Lingthusiasm created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne (podcast)
A podcast all about linguistics! I like to nerd out over how language works, so this is the perfect monthly listen for me. The two hosts pick a topic each month, like “how do vowels work?” or “why do people gesture when they talk?” and discuss it for 30-40 minutes with fun examples. They also explain all the terminology they use, so no expertise required to listen! (Rachel)

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, narrated by Lesley Manville
A fun story about how a bunch of retirees get mixed up with solving a murder in their picturesque UK-based retirement village. Narrated beautifully by Lesley Manville, the story regularly switches between the points of view of the four club members, police, and those immediately involved with the mystery. While overall a light-hearted book (despite the topic) it doesn’t shy away from the complex series of emotions around getting older, death, and how to move through a world that is constantly changing around you. At just over 12 hours with chapters averaging about 10 minutes, its an easy pick for people who can only grab a few minutes of an audiobook at a time. (Alanna)

True Biz by Sara Novic, narrated by Lisa Flanagan and Kaleo Griffith
Set in a school for the deaf, this is a compelling read about language and belonging. (Ash)

The Women by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Julia Whelan
Story of a combat nurse in Vietnam. Gritty, brutal, heart-wrenching, difficult, honest. (Deb)

Watch Read Listen: May

May the force of good watching, reading, listening be with you this month.


Bluey (Disney+)
I’m a little late to the Bluey party, but my kids only recently jumped on the bandwagon. I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m watching it without the kids, but I’ve been referring to lessons learned in the show as examples enough that my 7-year-old has started mumbling “I kinda hate Bluey”. He loves it. I love it. It’s brilliant. (Dana)

Hope On the Street (Amazon Prime)
Docuseries following j-hope as he travels to meet street dancers and learn from them. I think this will mostly appeal to fans of j-hope and BTS (like me), but maybe you will enjoy it if you like street dance! (Casey)

Secrets of Sulphur Springs (Apple TV+)
Time travel, ghosts, a decades old connection between two families rediscovered, all in a mysterious hotel! Some very sweet friend and family moments between the mysteries. It’s full of cliffhangers, but I love it anyway! (Hazel)

Secrets of the Elephants (National Geographic)
Never thought I’d binge watch a series on elephants, but I simply could not stop. Natalie Portman does a beautiful job narrating this four-part program which explores the worlds of savanna, desert, rainforest, and Asian elephants. Especially appreciated that the subject matter experts were locals. (Janet)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

Shirley (Netflix)
So good! It tells the story of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, as she becomes the first Black candidate to seek a presidential nomination. (Seana)

Talk to Me
A pretty good horror movie where a group of friends conjure spirits using an embalmed hand. Things don’t go well for them! (Todd)


Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang
Words make genuine magic in this fantastical depiction of 19th century Oxford University, where translators hold the key’s to the English Empire’s successes and failures. It’s a long one, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable. (Liz)

The Bad Ones by Melissa Albert
A gothic horror mystery. What more could I ask for? Four people disappear in one day in a small town. Turns out people have disappeared before. Could they be connected? This was an atmospheric mystery that kept me guessing. (Ash)

Don’t Look at Me Like That by Diana Athill 
One of the best books I’ve read in years. (Janet)

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
I loved it! (Seana)

Sheine Lende by Darcie Little Badger
After reading and loving Elatsoe, I was so excited to hear about this prequel! Another interesting mystery that’s also all about friends and family connections. And, of course, ghosts! (Hazel)

Storm Peak by John A. Flanagan
Fun who-dun-it in a cool setting I’ve visited several times – Steamboat Mountain Resort in Colorado. (Deb)

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Each short chapter of this book is an ode to a species of flora, fauna, or to another natural phenomenon (Monsoon was one chapter), tied in with autobiographical vignettes. It’s delightful. (Dana)


Do Your Doo Diligence (Outside/In podcast)
Love the Outside/In podcast about the natural world but this episode was especially good. Some may not appreciate hearing how letting dogs go off-leash in the woods and on the beach is detrimental to local habitats but if it changes a few minds, it’s worth it. I love dogs, btw! (Janet)

The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar, narrated by Xe Sands
Wow. So good. I think this book made me cry, for a different reason each time, every day it took to complete it. (Deb)

Hope on the Street Vol. 1
Now that you’ve *Watched*, you can *Listen* to the album that accompanies the Hope on the Street docuseries. (Casey)

The Humans by Matt Haig, narrated by Mark Meadows
When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of a Professor, he navigates his way through the Professor’s life and his perspective is…enchanting, hilarious and insightful. (Deb)

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, narrated by Cherry Jones
A coworker recently told me that Cherry Jones narrates the Little House books, and because I love listening to her, I had to give it a listen. (Ash)

The Mona Lisa Vanishes by Nick Day, narrated by Carlotta Brentan
This nonfiction book is intended for upper elementary school children, but even adults will enjoy this exciting account of Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa heist, and the early days of forensic science.  (Seana) 

Watch Read Listen: April

There’s no fooling with these picks.


Love Lies Bleeding (currently in theaters)
I can’t stop thinking about this movie. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoyed the dark humor of Killing Eve, I think you’ll like this too. I’m obsessed. (Ash)

Star Trek Discovery (Paramount+)
The new season comes out later this month, so it’s time for a rewatch. I fell in love with the characters from their first appearance, and the story is addicting and fun! Lots of family and friend bonding. (Hazel)

The Super Models (Apple TV+)
I am possibly the only person I know who hasn’t seen Ted Lasso, but after finally signing up for an Apple TV+ trial, this is the first show I watched. I was fairly obsessed with these women in the 90s (still am), and maintain Freedom! ’90 (George Michael) is hands down the best video ever made. (Amber)


Disability Visibility: 17 First-Person Stories for Today by Alice Wong
There are so many short and sweet stories in this one collection that highlight the perspectives of many different people in the disability community. Interesting and informative! (Hazel)

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end. (Seana)

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston
Fun read, not scary, but creative plot. Reminded me of the show Imposters on Bravo. (Kelly)

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
Twists and turns throughout in true Jodi Picoult fashion. (Seana)

One Last Breath by Ginny Myers Sain
This was a spooky, atmospheric, murder mystery that kept me guessing. (Ash)

Rental Person Who Does Nothing by Shoji Morimoto
This is a delightful little memoir from Shoji Morimoto- a Japanese man who started a business where people could “rent” him to do nothing. Need someone to save a spot in line for you? Want someone to sit with you at a restaurant you want to try? Just send him a DM on Twitter/X and he’ll do it-for free! All you have to do is pay for his transportation and food. A short and fascinating look into how we connect to others in an increasingly lonely time. (Liz)

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
There’s a reason it’s on most elementary school reading lists! A great read for both children and adults, Wonder hits on every emotion and keeps you guessing what will happen next to Auggie Pullman, a fifth grade student born with a facial difference going to school for the first time. A perfect read for adult English Learners (It was our book group book this winter!), and for anyone who likes a feel-good ending. (Catherine)


City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, narrated by Blair Brown
This is a good WWII historical fiction story! It’s told in the form of a letter to the daughter of a man with whom the protagonist has a relationship. 9/10 of the story does not involve this man or relationship but you need the backstory. By the time he enters the story, I had lost track of the initial question: who were you to my father? Despite that description I really enjoyed it. (Deb)

In Search of the Antidote by Fletcher
Fletcher’s latest album is just as intimate and uninhibited as her first. (Ash)

She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She by Chelsea Wolfe (Hoopla streaming)
Words cannot describe how much I love Chelsea Wolfe’s newest album. It’s a dark, emotional album about love and despair with all her usual occult/witchy vibes. Five stars, a must-listen for the goths! (Liz)

Thicker Than Water by Kerry Washington, read by the author
Kerry Washington’s story told from her perspective in her own voice. She is so much more than Olivia Pope in Scandal! (Hazel)

The Women by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Julia Whelan
This historical fiction is set during the Vietnam War focusing on the nurses stationed in Vietnam. It tells the story of three friends who meet in Vietnam and follows their lives after they return home. Excellent! (Seana)

Watch Read Listen: March

We’re warding off the Ides of March with these hot picks.


Anatomy of a Fall (Apple TV+)
Amazing and engrossing film. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Fans of legal dramas will especially enjoy. (Tessa)

Anne With an E (Netflix)
I grew up with Megan Follows and the 1985 series Anne of Green Gables so I felt no need to watch yet another remake (are there literally NO new ideas, Hollywood?!). However, my daughter really wanted me to watch the Netflix series with her and I’m so glad I did. AoGG really is a lovely, charming story and the cast in this version is top notch. It is a delight to watch it with someone meeting Anne for the first time. (Amber)

Pachinko (Apple TV+)
This sweeping eight-episode mini series is based on the book by Min Jin Lee. While not 100% faithful to the book, the series does an incredible job of illuminating the difficulties faced by a family of ethnic Koreans living in Japan from the 1920 through the 1980s. (Janet)

True Detective: Night Country (Max)
This show is dark, literally and figuratively. Set in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska, this series begins at the start of the days of night. Part crime story, part supernatural, this series is well done and kept me on the edge of my seat. Kali Reis and Jodie Foster deserve all the awards! (Amber)
Check out our Max Roku to watch.

Do I think the world needed a Willy Wonka backstory? No, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this charming film. Would recommend for a family movie night. (Tessa)


The Apple In The Dark by Claire Lispector
Mysterious, utterly atmospheric, beautiful and strange (in the best way), Clarice Lispector’s writing is one of a kind and The Apple in the Dark may be my favorite novel by her yet. Originally published in 1961, New Directions has been coming out with amazing new translations of her work and this is their latest. And, wow, they really know how to nail a book cover- their version of an apple in the dark is everything. Read and see for yourself! (Sue)

Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
Cute, fun, partial ghost story. I always enjoy books set in places I’ve been! (Deb)

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Thought-provoking WWII fiction time-warp! (Deb)

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson
Such a great story! Strong, feisty women. Resilient kids. Jerks that get their comeuppance. (Deb)

Modern Crochet Bible: Over 100 Contemporary Crochet Techniques and Stitches by Sarah Shrimpton
Exactly as the title says, a great collection of knowledge for modern crochet. Great for beginners and experts alike with in-depth explanations of technique and tools. Beautiful and functional photography can be found on every page accompanying the techniques and included projects. Especially useful to learn how to read all the different kinds of crochet patterns to get the most out of your project search. (Alanna)

Outlawed by Anna North
So wanted to love this book, which has been accurately described by one reviewer as The Handmaid’s Tale meet Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Despite the very original premise, the plot twists were just too predictable for my taste. (Janet)

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
I usually avoid books that are more than a few hundred pages long, but am so glad I made an exception for Pachinko. This multi-generational family saga drew me in right away and I tore through all 475 pages in one weekend. A beautifully written novel, Pachinko sheds light on the living conditions and challenges faced by ethnic Koreans in Japanese society in the 20th century. (Janet)

Salt & Broom by Sharon Lynn Fisher
A witchy adaptation of Jane Eyre. Orphaned and raised at Lowood Institution, Jane Aire is now a gifted healer who teaches at the school (Mrs. Reed and family do not make an appearance in this version). She is employed by Mr. Rochester to uncover the mysteries that curse Thornfield Hall. An enjoyable cozy read that is fun to compare with the original novel. (Tessa)


Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
First page: My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 1. I’m in a coma. 2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 3. Sometimes I lie Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago. Wow. Holy plot twist. Mind-bender! (Deb)

WERS: 88.9
Boston’s Uncommon Radio station is the only radio station I listen to! A great mix of new and old, there is something for everyone on this station. (Amber)

A Window of the Waking Mind by Coheed and Cambria
An epic album from an incredibly talented band. You don’t need to know anything about the band to enjoy this rock album, just be ready for a melodic journey with some killer guitar and some truly phenomenal drums. My personal favorite tracks are The Liars Club and Ladders of Supremacy but there really isn’t a bad song on the album. Check out the rest of Coheed and Cambria while you’re at it, especially if you like bands with a unique sound. (Alanna)

Watch Read Listen: February

It’s a Leap Year, which means an extra day to Watch, Read, or Listen.


All of Us Strangers (currently in theaters)
If you want to have your heart ripped out and leave the theater feeling completely gutted – maybe you just need a really good cry – is this the movie for you! I loved it SO much and I will be thinking about it for a very long time. (Elle)

All The Light We Cannot See (Netflix)
This is one of those times when (dare I say) the adaptation was better than the book! (Elle)

Crabs! (streaming)
A ridiculous horror movie that was fun to watch. The ending song was the best part of the movie. Crabs! (Todd)

Dare Me (Netflix)
Dark drama about tensions among a high school cheer squad after a new coach takes a liking to someone other than the “top girl”. Spoiler alert: this show was canceled after season one so there is NO RESOLUTION! Luckily, there’s a book for that. (Amber)

Tierra Incognita (Disney+)
Two siblings try to discover what happened to their parents in their family-owned horror-themed amusement park. So much happens in less than 20 episodes! It’s all about friends, family, science, and mythology. (Hazel)
Check out our Disney+ Roku to watch.


The Fury by Alex Michaelides
Having loved The Silent Patient and The Maidens, I had really high hopes for this one. Alas, it was not for me. (Elle)

The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
I really enjoyed the author’s 2012 book, Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness so I was eager to read something else by her. The first 2/3 of this new book are super interesting & eye-opening. Chasing down facts got a bit tedious, but the author’s overall point is well-taken. (Deb)

Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen
I liked this new cast of characters from Tess Gerritsen and the setting (partially) in Maine. Pace was good. The mystery & uncertainty of who was trustworthy throughout the story kept you second-guessing pretty-much everyone! Long wait for the next in the series due in March 2025. (Deb)

Unstoppable! My Journey from Olympic Hopeful to Athlete A to 8-Time NCAA Champion and Beyond
by Maggie Nichols
Interesting to hear the story of Maggie Nichols and all the other gymnasts that came forward to change USA Gymnastics for the better and make them take responsibility. Maggie’s story from being a young girl to an NCAA winner is an incredible journey. (Hazel)

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
An enjoyable thriller. Suspenseful story of a Mom who witnesses her son stab a stranger outside their home. She then enters a time loop and tries to prevent the murder. (Todd)


Babel, or, the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang, read by Chris Lew Kum Hoi & Billie Fulford-Brown
Fantastic and gripping speculative fiction set in an alternate 1830s Oxford University where translators are the most powerful people in the vast British Empire. It’s a tale of colonialism, coming of age, and the power of language and listening to it. (Jen)

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys, read by Edoardo Ballerini
Fascinating. I haven’t read a lot about communism. Feels like brain-washing. (Deb)

Red Light by The Slackers
One of my favorite 90s ska bands. Forgot how much I love this album. (Todd)

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
What an absolute delight! (Elle)

Watch Read Listen: January

A new year of watching, reading, and listening!


Genie (streaming on Peacock)
Melissa McCarthy plays a magic genie set to fix a mans family for Christmas. It is pretty cheesy and I didn’t laugh as much as I regularly do with her movies, but it was an enjoyable feel-good Christmas movie with a solid message. (Elle)

The Marvels (coming to Disney+ in February)
This movie was fun. Not the best Marvel movie, and there were some gaping plot holes and times when the story seemed too rushed, but otherwise it was enjoyable. (Dana)
Check out our Disney+ Roku to watch.

The Villains of Valley View (Disney+)
A family of villains must go into hiding and try to live “normal” lives. A great show for a quick comedy break. They are my new favorite TV family! (Hazel)
Check out our Disney+ Roku to watch.


A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer
Horrifying yet inspirational. (Deb)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Honestly, I read this because it’s short and I was trying to get to my Goodreads Challenge goal. But ultimately I liked it! Cute. Clever, as only Neil Gaiman can be! I love the cat-without-a-name. (Deb)

Goats in the Time of Love: A Martha’s Vineyards Love Story with Goats, a Dog, and Some Recipes by T. Elizabeth Bell
I like to read books that take place in locales I’ve been to and this fits that bill! Cute, enjoyable. Goats are cool. (Deb)

Penance by Eliza Clark
I’m only part way through this book, and I’m still on the fence as to how I feel about it. I don’t usually like stories with unreliable narrators, but the structure of this one is intriguing, and it takes place in Yorkshire which is a bonus. Whether or not it has enough promise to keep me reading remains to be seen. (Dana)

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub
Smart, funny and pitch-perfect–this reimagining of the most troublesome Bennet sister was a terrific read! (Jen)

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by Breanne Randall
I don’t know how this one slipped by me during fall (I guess it is still technically fall, so maybe its still okay), but I have been really enjoying it. There are recipes at the end of each chapter and they sound absolutely delicious! (Elle)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Just as I was starting to think, “this is lame, overdramatic & pretentious…” PLOT TWIST! (Deb)


Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
What a journey in this short-ish memoir about the author’s relationship with her mother. Plus, hearing the author’s voice tell her own story made it very easy to connect to. (Hazel)

The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith, narrated by Robert Glenister
I love the Cormoran/Robin dynamic. That’s what keeps me coming back to this series. I can do without the cryptic quotations to begin each chapter. They don’t do anything for me so feel like a waste of time. That was more dramatic in a 1000+ page book that I was hoping I’d finish in 2023. (YAY! I did!) This one was more challenging to LISTEN to than others. Because it’s about an online cartoon and game, a LOT of the dialog is online social media & chat rooms, there was a lot of tedious syntax that needed to be narrated that your eyes would skim through if reading print. It’s also very complex trying to keep track of a high number of characters that all have multiple game personas, twitter handles, etc… not all of which are known to start out. So, if you like a long, complex who-dun-it, I suggest reading this one in print. (Deb)

I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy by Teddy Swims
Even though it’s just the start of 2024, I have no doubt this will make it into my Spotify Wrapped at the end of the year.  (Amber)

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
A remix and very digestible version of Ibram X. Kendi’s more robust Stamped From the Beginning. (Deb)

Watch Read Listen: Best of 2023

We’ve rounded up our favorite selections from the past year.


I’m undoubtedly with the majority here – but this movie was so necessary. (Elle)
I haven’t seen a movie in the theater more than once since I was in high school, until this year with Barbie. Such a fun, and yet also deep, film. I can see more viewings of this one in the future! (Dana)

Brian and Charles
This is a sweet story of an oddball who builds himself a cabbage loving robot that becomes his son and best friend. (Liz)

Lost in Paris (Kanopy)
This movie is silly and fun and its main character is a librarian who lives in snowy northern Canada and has always wanted to live in Paris. She gets her wish in a gloriously goofy, roundabout way. (Janet)

Nimona (Netflix)
The BEST animated movie this year! A stunning adaptation of ND Stevenson’s graphic novel, it is an exploration of identity (and transness) that celebrates embracing yourself and fighting for a world that accepts you for who you are. Also, sharks. (Renee)

Past Lives
This movie has it all…suspense, romance, and much insight into what it is like to leave behind your country of birth and those that you loved. (Janet)


Every Man for Himself and God Against All: A Memoir by Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog may be best know for having a delightful German accent and a recurring role on the first season of The Mandalorian, but this memoir by one of the greatest directors of all time chronicles not only his films, but his completely bonkers life from a child in the Bavarian mountains to the jungles of South America to a theater in California where he ate his own shoe to a failed meet up by the Wisconsin grave of a serial killer’s mother, and more. (Liz)

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
Looking at my list of books read this year, The Five stands out the most. I’m still blown away at how Rubenhold managed to tell such a compelling story for each woman, given the minimal historical information that can be found for individuals (especially women) who lived in poverty at that time. (Dana)

How To Read Now by Elaine Castillo
What a great perspective on reading and the world. Also, it’s nonfiction by a Filipino author. I want more of that!! (Hazel)

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
One of the best books I’ve read in a decade. (Kelly)

Miss Major Speaks: Conversation with a Black Trans Revolutionary by Toshio Meronek and Miss Major
A punchy, reflective interview-memoir taking you through several seminal events in queer history through Miss Major’s eyes. She provides a sharp insight into fighting for queer liberation today. (Renee)

My Friend Anne Frank: the Inspiring and Heartbreaking True Story of Best Friends Torn Apart and Reunited Against All Odds by Hannah Pick-Goslar
So much to say about this book, written by Anne Frank’s best friend. I was especially touched by the fact that the author reconnected with Otto Frank, Anne’s father, after the War and remained in contact with him until he passed away in 1980. (Janet)

Not On Any Map: One Virgin Island, Two Catastrophic Hurricanes, and the True Meaning of Paradise by Margie Smith Holt (Hoopla)
One of my four 5-star reviews of 2023: So amazing to read an amazing adventure about a place, in the place, I love & visit often. (Deb)

Princess Floralinda and the Forty Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir
A delightful, weird, gross, horrifying inversion of fairy tale tropes. When I first read it it didn’t make such a strong impression, but I find myself recommending it to everyone these days! (Renee)

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
A woman named Mouse travels to rural North Carolina to clean out the house of her recently deceased grandmother. Once there, she uncovers dark secrets relating to her step-grandfather, who believed something unnatural lived in the nearby woods. Unfortunately for her, it’s still there, and it’s got plans for Mouse. Funny and terrifying. (Greg)

What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez
If Stephen Sommers masterpiece The Mummy (1999) and Agatha Christie’s Death On the Nile had a baby, it would be this. The plot twist had me LIVID, the cliffhanger ending had me FUMING, and all the ancient Egyptian-ness had my globetrotters heart SOARING! Can’t wait for part 2! (Elle)


Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, read by Charlie Thurston
One of my four 5-star reviews of 2023: So engaging from Page 1!! Dickens’s David Copperfield meets 1990’s Appalachia. Reading Dickens isn’t required, but if you have, the parallels are plentiful. (Deb)

Miss O’Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved by Chris O’Dell, read by Katherine Ketcham
Chris O’Dell is one of the first female assistants and tour managers in the world of rock and roll. A caveat: most of the rockers described here were really badly behaved and I like most of them a lot less than I did before listening to this. Still a very worthwhile listen! The narrator is wonderful. (Janet)

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong
I’ve never related so much to a book while also learning so many new things! (Hazel)

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, read by Jorgeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch
One of my four 5-star reviews of 2023: Captivating story telling! One character was so annoying that I physically rolled my eyes every time it was their turn to tell the story. That must be good writing. The culmination of the story centers around real events, making it that much more dramatic. I would tweak two tiny things about the final scenes, but that’s totally nit-picky! (Deb)

So Much (For) Stardust by Fall Out Boy (Hoopla)
Fall Out Boy’s best album since Folie a Deux and my top album by FAR on my Spotify Wrapped. Nostalgic and innovative all at once. (Renee)

Wild Dreams by Westlife (not available in the Minuteman Library Network)
This album was my most-played of the year for the second year running. Once my guilty pleasure listen, I have fully accepted that Westlife are the ~Kings of My Heart~ and this album has some bops. (Dana)

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister, read by Lesley Sharp
One of my four 5-star reviews of 2023 and recommended by my excellent colleague, Dana: SUPER intriguing writing! This story reveals itself backwards, essentially. Only one of my guesses turned out to be true. I love a book that keeps me on my toes! (Deb)

Watch Read Listen: December

We’re ending the year on a high note with these picks.


I watched this movie for the first time three years ago and am now making up for lost time. (Amber)

Pretty Freekin Scary (Disney+)
A girl accidentally gets sent to the Underworld and now has to do tasks for the Grim Reaper (who’s a woman!). But it’s also a comedy and has lots of lovely family and friends moments. (Hazel)
Check out our Disney+ Roku to watch.


Amazing Ace, Awesome Aro by Victoria Barron
A very basic overview of a-spec identities with very fun graphics. I already knew everything in it, but it was still fun to look at. (Hazel)

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll
Having grown up in the same city as Ted Bundy, I’ll always read anything based on him, even historical fiction. This was an engrossing read, and I was impressed by the author’s understanding of Washington state. (Ash)

The Chalice of the Gods by Rick Riordan
After a few spinoff series, Rick Riordan finally returns to writing Percy Jackson from Percy’s POV. Great if you loved the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians. (Casey)

Midnight is the Darkest Hour by Ashley Winstead
This was an incredibly atmospheric, southern gothic mystery, and it did not disappoint. (Ash)

Mom Rage: The Everyday Crisis of Modern Motherhood by Minna Dubin
This book made me feel SO SEEN. (Dana)

Out-island Doctor by Evans W. Cottman
First published in 1963, this biography of a teacher who chucks that life to be a medical provider to residents of the far-flung Bahama islands. The trials and tribulations of boats, Caribbean weather and customs are enlightening, humorous and challenging. (Deb)

KooKooLand by Gloria Norris
A memoir written from the perspective of the author as a child, growing up in Manchester, NH under her charismatic, but abusive father in the 1960s/70s. She writes in her voice as a child which I did not like at first, but after a few dozen pages, it was essential to the book. (Todd)

Things in the Basement by Ben Hatke
Ben goes to the basement to get his little sister’s sock and discovers a whole lot more. Creepy and lovely at the same time, from the creator of the Mighty Jack series. (Jen)

This Is Christmas, Song by Song: The Stories Behind 100 Hits by Annie Zaleski
A Christmas Behind The Music starring the songs. (Amber)

A Winter in New York by Josie Silver
I don’t read many romance novels so perhaps I am not the best arbiter, but this cute read checks all the boxes: meet cute, widower who is scared to open up to love again, NYC scenes straight out of a movie set, etc. Romance tropes aside, the plot is original and kept me rooting for a happy ending. (Amber)


Golden by Jung Kook
Jung Kook is the last member of BTS to drop his own solo project and it’s golden. (Casey)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, read by Tim Robbins
I always find a “classic” I missed in school weirder than I expected when I read them as an adult. This was no different. It’s much more stream-of-consciousness, metaphorical and symbolic than I’d have guessed. But I got the point, found it interesting. Best analogy is it’s like the 1953 version of Wall-e. (Deb)

Living in the Fallout by Far From Finished
They were a Boston punk band who haven’t played together in years, but are re-uniting for a few shows at Faces in Malden to celebrate the life of their former bandmate, Paul Christian, who recently passed away. (Todd)

Making It So by Patrick Stewart, read by the author
Patrick Stewart is a much more interesting man than I thought! (Hazel)

The Woman in Me by Britney Spears, read by Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams does an incredible job narrating Britney’s new memoir. This slim volume seems like the CliffsNotes of her life story, but what Britney does share is incredibly sad. I hope she has found a sense of peace and can live the life SHE wants now. (Amber)

Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane, read by Robin Miles
I’m a nerd for local history (spoiler alert!), and have been wanting to read Lehane’s new novel, which centers on the Boston Public Schools’ efforts to desegregate by forcing busing between Southie and Roxbury. I usually have a hard time with audiobooks for various reasons, but figured I’d give this one a try. I think I made it 2 chapters in before giving up…the reader’s performance was a bit grating and her “Southie accent” tended to sound a bit more New Yorkish. I switched to ebook format on this one. (Dana)

Watch Read Listen: November


The Fall of the House of Usher (Netflix)
If Succession was made by Edgar Allen Poe. The Usher family is a power clan who have eluded justice in all its forms. That is about to change, however, as someone-or something-begins kill off each member of the family in exceedingly brutal fashion. A fascinating tribute to Poe’s works, but be warned, it is quite gory at times. (Greg)
Mike Flanagan does not disappoint with this modern retelling of Edgar Allen Poe classics. (Ash)

Game Changer (, YouTube)
An awesome game show that asks the question: what if a game show had different rules every time? The first few episodes are free on Youtube, and then the rest are on the Dropout streaming service which I also highly recommend! (Renee)

Party Girl (Kanopy)
Super fun 90s film starring Parker Posey, whose librarian godmother bails her out of jail. Lots of great scenes in the godmother’s old-timey library, complete with card catalogs, stamp machines, and imposing posters of Melvil Dewey. The fashions and dance music are also awesome! (Janet)

V/H/S/85 (Shudder)
The newest installment of the V/H/S found footage shorts series starts is a great way to get some bite sized scares in during the Halloween season. (Liz)
Check out our Shudder Roku to watch.

Yellowstone (Peacock, Paramount+)
Amber sold it to me as “The Sopranos set in Montana”, and boy was she right! Glad I jumped on the bandwagon (finally) because this show is super well done. (Elle)


All-Of-A-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
All-of-a-Kind Family is a children’s book about a family of five American Jewish girls growing up on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1912. First published in 1951, this story of a family of new immigrants feels relevant even today. The girls’ relationship with the local librarian is particularly endearing. (Janet)

Black Sheep by Rachel Harrison
Fans of Netflix’s Sabrina will enjoy this atmospheric gothic tale. (Ash)

The Blood Years by Elena K. Arnold
I’m excited to dive into this historical fiction inspired by the stories the author’s grandmother shared of growing up in war-torn Romania. (Jen)

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle
Scary and engrossing Halloween read about queer resistance to a cult. Almost to the end and can’t put it down! (Renee)

Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson
There’s Filipino magic, and also wonderful family and friendship connections. Plus it takes place in New England! (Hazel)

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Beautifully written, but heavy content. (Kelly)

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
I went into this knowing absolutely nothing of the story and finished completely dazed. It is so intense, with a conspiracy that runs generations deep, I don’t know how Scorsese is going to cram it all into a 3-hour movie. (Elle)

The September House by Carissa Orlando
Margaret and Hal have bought thier dream house after years of renting. Problem is, it’s haunted. Like, the walls ooze blood type of haunted. Most folks would run towards the hills, but Margaret isn’t most people, and is determined to make this house her home. Even if the walls bleed a little…and dead children roam the halls…and her husband goes missing. Funny, frightening, and heart wrenching. (Greg)

Soup of the Day: 150 Delicious and Comforting Recipes from our Favorite Restaurants by Ellen Brown
It’s soup season! I can’t wait to expand my soup resume with some of the recipes in this book. (Liz)


99% Invisible: Big Dig episode (podcast)
This episode goes back in time to the 1960s roots of the most expensive highway project in American history. So interesting, especially the interviews with the Big Dig’s chief architect: a self-professed hater of highways. (Janet)

Pageboy by Elliot Page
Very interesting to hear about Elliot Page’s journey in his own voice and also very intense! (Hazel)

Pod Meets World (iHeart)
Have early ’90s nostalgia? Revisit episodes of Boy Meets World with members of the cast. (Ash)

Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O’Connell’s Urgent Mission to Bring Healing to Homeless People by Tracey Kidder, narrated by the author
A really well-written and insightful perspective into the many hurdles unsheltered folks face. (Deb)

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, narrated by Jorgeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch
Captivating story telling! One character was so annoying that I physically rolled my eyes every time it was their turn to tell the story. That must be good writing. The culmination of the story centers around real events, making it that much more dramatic. I would tweak 2 tiny things about the final scenes, but that’s totally nit-picky! (Deb)

We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy
Interesting story of a girl who was raised alongside a chimpanzee as her “twin”. While the writing is a bit convoluted, the story is mostly fun and sometimes really messed up. (Deb)

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