Staff Reads October 2020

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!

Watch “We’ll Tell You What We’re Reading” every month on our Youtube Channel!



  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru: I loved the writing and gorgeous artwork in this graphic novel, inspired by a radio serial from the 1940s.
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Joe Morton’s narration on the audio book version really brings alive the description and characters of this historical novel with a magical realistic touch.
  • You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria:  This is a breezy and fun romance behind the scenes of bi-lingual comedy co-starring telenovela star, Ashton and soap opera star, Jasmine. I really enjoyed this!
  • Logan Likes Mary Anne (graphic novel) by Gale GalliganThe Babysitters Club is the series that keeps getting re-born in many forms, to the delight of this BSC fan. My least favorite book of the original series was probably Logan Likes Mary Anne but I was quite happy with the graphic novel version. Logan is a much more realized character, here, and his relationship with Mary Anne seems much more realistic, as well.
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: This book was intense (in a good way). I thought Jones did a great job at addressing so many issues, including how the justice system treats Black men, how loved ones of prisoners handle the situation, and the  different makeup of families. The book is narrated by Roy, Celestial, and Andre and while a lesser writer could have made Celestial and Andre into unsympathetic characters given certain plot elements, Jones does a great job of getting us to understand everyone’s stance and situations.
  • Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson:  This is the story of ZJ (“Little Man” to his father) whose father is suffering from long term effects of the many concussions he received as a professional football player. Told in verse like so many of Woodson’s novels, this is a beautifully lyrically written book that is heart wrenching.
  • Devolution by Max Brooks: This “researched” book about a Sasquatch massacre in a Pacific Northwest planned community lends itself well to the audiobook format. NPR personalities playing themselves during segments of Fresh Air and Marketplace really fooled me into thinking I was listening to the radio in my car.
  • Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds: I mainly enjoyed this romance/time travel story about high school student Jack and his continued trips to the past to prevent the death of Kate, a college first year he meets at a party. Jack is very likable and the side characters are well developed. My only complaint is that I wish Kate had a bit more agency especially when it came to decisions about medical treatment.
  • Parachutes by Kelly Yang: This book made me very angry, which I believe was its purpose. Claire Wang, who lives in Shanghai, moves to LA to live with Danni De La Cruz and her mother in Los Angeles in order to attend a prestigious private school (which Danni also attends on a full scholarship). The alternating voices really give you a sense of what both Danni and Claire are dealing with at school. The book takes on a lot of heavy topics such as classism, xenophobia, sexism, and rape culture. Very powerful book, if a hard read.


  • Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman: The prequel to both Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic is as lush and gorgeous as I’d expect from Alice Hoffman. A perfect read for October.
  • This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling: The sequel to These Witches Don’t Burn. Set in present say Salem, it’s a perfect read for October.
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson: This read more like a YA dystopia than the literary fiction it’s trying to be. A young woman living in religious colony, cut off from the rest of the world accidentally brings on a plague, in a place where witches are hunted and burned.
  • Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour: This has been called a follow up to We Are Okay, even though they do not share characters or setting. It’s another meditation on grief and loneliness, this time with a bit of magical realism, and I really liked it.
  • Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis: Teenager is sent to a creepy small town where her father filmed his most famous horror film. Are the monsters and legends real? This was a little creepy, even though I didn’t like the main character at all (she was really unobservant) I wanted to keep reading to see what happened.
  • We Are Okay by Nina Lacour: A well written reflection on loneliness, although I had trouble connecting with the main character for the first three quarters.
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle: I think I’m in the minority of not connecting with this. I enjoyed only two of the essays. I guess motivational speakers just aren’t for me? Too many heavy handed metaphors and EVERYTHING Is sooooooooo IMPORTANT. It was kind of exhausting to be in her head.
  • The Companion by Katie Alender: This one was a little unnerving, and a fun take on the “orphan goes to stay at a big spooky house” trope.
  • The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix: I loved The Haunting of Hill House, and am enjoying this incredibly unsettling show too.
  • Teenage Bounty Hunters on Netflix: It’s much funnier and sweeter and nuanced than the trailer leads you to believe. I’m really enjoying it.


  • Bronte’s Mistress by Finola Austin: This was an engaging read. The story is based on the real life affair between 25 year old Branwell Bronte, the brother of the more famous Bronte sisters, and the fortysomething mistress of Thorp Green Hall, Lydia Robinson; making Lydia a real life Mrs. Robinson (remember The Graduate?). According to the author, the novel was meticulously researched and is as historically accurate as possible. Lydia is a mother in mourning, having lost both her young daughter and mother in the same year. When she meets Branwell, her son’s new tutor, she’s lonely and vulnerable. Their affair sparks a passion in her that she’s never experienced before and endangers both of their positions in the world.
  • Artemis by Andy Weir: This is the second book by the author of The Martian and it was just as fun to read. Set on the moon’s first colony, the lead character, Jasmine Bashara (Jazz), is an underemployed porter who smuggles on the side. She’s principled, but also has to make money, because living on the moon is expensive. She gets offered an obscene amount of money to pull off a high level crime and the book’s fast pace takes the reader through what happens next including murder, mob control, life threatening situations, and the possible destruction of the entire colony.


  • Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, by Cho Nam-Joo: This book in translation follows the life of Kim Jiyoung, a young stay-at-home mother who is driven to psychosis. The book was a Korean best seller, and according to the New York Times, its examination of the everyday sexism and misogyny the characters experience inspired a feminist wave in South Korea. The book was really good, even though it was maddening to read.
  • Little Wonders, by Kate Rorick: When the perfect PTA president of her son’s exclusive preschool is caught on camera having a tantrum-like meltdown, it turns her whole world upside down. It also changes the life of the woman who filmed and inadvertently shared that moment with the whole internet. As the mom of a preschooler, I enjoyed reading about the misadventures of these fictional preschool moms, and felt especially grateful that I don’t have to navigate the cutthroat world of their fictional elite preschool in a well-to-do Boston suburb.
  • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae: I’ve been on a bit of an autobiographical-essay-collection kick lately. This one caught my eye as, like Issa Rae, I am also an awkward introvert, and it can be somewhat comforting to read about the awkward misadventures of others. I also like reading memoirs by authors who have different races/backgrounds/geographical locations/cultures than I do, so that I can learn a little about the experiences of others and broaden my understanding of the world. This book was the best of both worlds, plus it was funny and witty, which is always a bonus.
  • The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli: I bought Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda on sale a few months ago, and I’ve been successfully pulled into the world of Creekwood/the Simonverse. I’m pretty sure I’m reading the series out of order, but it doesn’t feel like that matters too much. The Upside of Unrequited was ridiculously cute and happy.
  • The Last Flight, by Julie Clark: I’m finding that thriller/mystery stories are a welcome escape from real life right now! This page-turner is about two women, both trying to escape dangerous situations, who trade plane tickets at the airport to help each other and themselves. Their plan goes awry when one of their planes crashes, and one discovers that the other’s life isn’t at all what it seemed.
  • When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents & Worried Kids, by Abigail Gewirtz: I mostly skimmed this one for parts that are relevant to the stage of parenting I’m in now. There were some good pointers for conversations with kids of various ages about topics like racism, climate change, Covid, etc. which I found helpful.
  • Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS, by Maria Sherman: I mean, I didn’t have high expectations going into this book, but when you all but ignore Westlife – one of the best selling musical acts both in the world and in history – I’m going to think your book is kind of trash. 
  • Wow, No Thank You: Essays, by Samantha Irby: Irby’s essays make me laugh so easily, especially as I reach an age where I can relate to her pieces about aging. It’s an enjoyable break from some of the other books with heavier topics I’m in currently in the middle of.
  • On the Basis of Sex: I watched this movie the weekend after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away. The movie tells the story of her early career, beginning with her first year of law school and culminating in an historic courtroom victory in 1972. I found it inspiring, and it made me love and mourn RBG even more.
  • Enola HolmesA fun (if a bit long) movie about the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes. Raised by her mother to be strong and independent, Enola is living her best life until her mother disappears. Her older brothers return and make arrangements to send their unladylike sister to a finishing school for girls, but Enola is determined to go to London to find her mother. There’s a bit of everything – clever dialogue, fight scenes, a potential love interest – but I think it would have been even better had it been shorter.
  • St. Elmo’s FireJust… wow. Neither my husband nor I had ever seen this movie, and decided on a recommendation from a podcast to watch it. The movie certainly has not aged well! I was so annoyed by so many of the characters that I left the room halfway through so I could read in peace.
  • Incredibles 2We recently introduced our son to Jack-Jack, and he can’t get enough of those scenes in this movie. It’s been on heavy rotation in our house, accompanied by the glorious sound of toddler belly-laughs.
  • Ackley BridgeMy mom recommended this show a while ago, and I’m in love with it. It takes place at a school in Yorkshire, a new venture that combines the two previously segregated schools in town. In addition to examining the sometimes rocky integration of the school’s Asian and white students, it also looks at the ups and downs of life in a depressed former mill town. Plus, the Yorkshire accents are heaven.
  • Silicon ValleyI started out half-watching this show – getting distracted from my reading while my husband watched it – and ended up maybe three-quarters-watching it. It’s entertaining and funny, but I found some of the characters annoying and the plot felt like it was repeating itself in later seasons.
  • Lovecraft Country (HBO): I’ve never read Lovecraft, nor do I know much about Lovecraftian things beyond Cthulhu, but the premise of this show intrigued me enough to watch: a young Black man fights Lovecraftian creatures as well as everything that came with Jim Crow-era America.
  • Ted Lasso (Apple TV): I love this show. Love. It. It’s about an American football coach who is hired to take over as manager of a bottom-of-the-table Premier League football/soccer club in London. The Ted Lasso character got his start in a commercial for NBC when they got the rights to show Premier League matches in the States (in which he takes the helm of the club I support – Tottenham Hotspur), but you don’t have to follow English football to like this show. The characters are great, and the show is often heart-warming. I usually watch it right after Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, so that I don’t feel quite as depressed about the state of the world.


  • Too Much And Never Enough by Mary Trump: This book provides a psychological view of the current president that is seen through the lens of the family dynamics.
  • Exodus by Deborah Feldman : For fans of Unorthodox, this is a very interesting follow up that shows us Deborah’s life after her ‘exodus’ from the ultra Orthodox community in which she was raised.
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett read by Tom Hanks: This audiobook was a double treat; a fabulous story by Ann Patchett, read by Tom Hanks.  This is a kind of modern day Cinderella story, complete with a wicked stepmother.  There are other elements, however, a mother who leaves her family, a brother and sister who both suffer at the hands of the stepmother, and the Dutch house itself.  This is Ann Patchett at her best and I recommend this book to anyone craving an absorbing novel that will keep you turning pages or listening to the narrator all the way through.
  • Mrs Everything by Jennifer Weiner : The story of two sisters growing up in 1950’s Detroit focuses on limits and expectations, changing societal mores and the choices that Jo and Bethie make as they grow.
  • The Cult of Trump by Steven Hassan: Steven Hassan once was a member of the Moonies, a cult that drew in lots of young Americans in its day.  He now works full time helping people to get out of cults and recover from their experience.  This book analyzes the Trump Presidency from the point of view of someone who knows about cults and how they work.  I recommend this to anyone who is interested in this subject.
  • Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout: Wow. Elizabeth Strout never lets me down.  She really knows how to create a small town,  characters who practically walk off the page and come to life, make us laugh, cry, wince and marvel by turns depending on which part of which story one is reading.  Fabulous!  Note: You may want to read My Name is Lucy Barton first as Lucy is referenced throughout the book.  This book can be read as a standalone as well, totally up to the reader.
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama: I listened to the audio version of this book which is read by Michelle Obama.  She has a great reading voice and is very inspiring.  I was left with questions about what was not in this memoir but that happens to me with pretty much every political/personal memoir that I ever read.  Worth reading.
  • An Unorthodox Match by Naomi Ragen: I love this book.  You will find yourself rooting for the love that wants to blossom between the two main characters in this book.  I love everything that Naomi Ragen writes and this book is no exception.
  • My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout: I have loved every book by Elizabeth Strout that I have ever read and this is no exception.  Lucy Barton had a tough childhood that included poverty and difficult parenting.  This novel is an exchange between mother and daughter when Lucy’s mother visits her in the hospital.  The two have not talked in years.  The book is bittersweet, believable, and beautiful.
  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: This book alternates between Memphis Tennessee in 1939 and modern day Aiken, South Carolina.  Lisa Wingate was inspired to write this book because of a terrible chapter of Tennessee history in which children were actually taken from their parents and put up for adoption with wealthy families.  I highly recommend this novel; great story line, and it gives  us an insight into a chapter of history that actually occurred in Tennessee.
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine  by Gail Honeyman: I loved this book.  Eleanor, who was raised by an incredibly abusive mother, is actually hilarious and unique.  She comes into her own in this novel and begins to make some connections for the first time in her life.  A story of love, connection and hope.  Great for fans of a Man Called Ove.
  • Giver Of Stars by Jojo Moyes: The audiobook version of this book is beautifully narrated.  I am one hundred percent sure that reading this in book form would also be a great experience.  Jojo Moyes based this novel on an actual program that was started by Eleanor Roosevelt as part of the WPA, the Packhorse Librarians Of Eastern Kentucky.  This book has a great story line, wonderful characters, and shows the great good that books can bring to society.
  • The Romance Reader by Pearl Abraham: Oh, how I loved this book.  Rachel is being raised in a hasidic family, but she loves to read ‘forbidden’ romances.  She has to struggle to be a lifeguard in her family because they do not approve of her wearing bathing suits.  She lets herself get talked into a marriage that makes her miserable.  Her mother is a hoot and you will love Rachel’s spunk.  I was very upset when the book was over.  I just wanted to keep hearing Rachel’s spunky voice and her mother’s unique perspective.  Great read.
  • Welcome To Me: California lottery winner Alice Klieg (played by SNL alum Kristen Wiig), has gone off her meds.  She decides to create a television show that is all about herself.  This movie is quirky, funny and delightful.  True fact:  I have watched this three times because I enjoyed it so much.
  • Going Clear:  Scientology and the Prison of Belief : A very interesting documentary about Scientology that I recommend to anyone who is interested in this subject.
  • Paradise Hills: Kind of like a newfangled Stepford Wives.  Very Creepy!
  • Small Apartments : This is a very quirky, darkly funny movie that includes Billy Crystal. 
  • Elsa And Fred : A sweet love story about two older people who need some connection.  A little bit saccharine but, Shirley Maclaine is always a treat at least for this movie watcher.
  • Trump My New President:  A Look At the Lives Of Trump Voters : I really appreciated this documentary because there was no commentary or opinion.  The filmmakers let the Trump supporters do the talking and explain why they support Donald Trump. 

Federal and Statewide Election 2020

Vote Button

There is an election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Eligible voters will be voting for President, US Senator, US Representatives, State Senators and Representatives, and several other offices. This year, voters in Massachusetts will also have 2 ballot questions to consider.  Here is information that you need to know to participate in this important election.

Starting October 7 at 7:00 pm, view “How to Vote/Cómo Votar” on the Waltham Public Library Youtube Channel.

Voter Registration Information

  • The last day to register to vote for the November 3 election is October 24. Don’t be late! There are several ways you can register.
    • Online through the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office.  Online registration must be completed no later than 11:59 PM on October 24.
    • By Mail. You can print out a mail in registration form here or by calling 1-800-462-VOTE (8683). You can also pick up a mail in registration form at the Waltham Public Library at the holds pickup table on the ground floor. All mail in voter registration forms must be postmarked no later than October 24.
    • In Person: You can register in person through your town/city clerk. Waltham residents can currently visit the City Clerk’s office by appointment only. If you have questions about the City Clerk’s appointment system, contact City Clerk Robert Waddick ( or Assistant City Clerk Joseph Vizard ( You may also call 781-314-3123 or 781-314-3121. If you are not a Waltham resident, please check the website for your town/city clerk’s office about rules for visiting. According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth (page 12), all local election offices must offer in person voter registration on October 24 from 2 pm – 4 pm and 7 pm – 8 pm.
    • Automatic Motor Voter Registration: If you’re renewing your Massachusetts Drivers License or ID, you will be automatically registered to vote. (Always best to double check though. According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, it can 2 to 3 weeks to get confirmation of the voter registration.)
  • Not sure if you are registered? Check your registration status through the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Waltham residents can also contact the Waltham City Clerk’s office at 781-314-3123 or 781-314-3121.
  • Don’t have a permanent address? Citizens, regardless of housing status, are allowed to register to vote. According to this site, shelters, street corners, and parks are acceptable to use as a registration address.
  • Massachusetts participates in the Address Confidentiality Program. If you are a citizen but are concerned about your safety being compromised by revealing your address by registering to vote, the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office can help with that. Contact 617-727-3261 or 1-866-SAFE-ADD for more information.
  • Are you registered to vote and your name isn’t on the voter list at your polling place? You have the right to request a provisional ballot. “Provisional ballots are sealed in an envelope and kept separately from other ballots until the voter’s eligibility can be determined. If a provisional voter is determined to be registered, their ballot is unsealed and counted” According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 54, Section 76C, “A provisional ballot cast by an individual whose voter information is verified before 5:00 p.m. on the third day after a presidential or state primary or the twelfth day after a state election shall be removed from its provisional ballot envelope, grouped with other ballots in a manner that allows for the secrecy of the ballot to the greatest extent possible, and counted as any other ballot.”

How and Where to Vote

  • In Person on Election Day (November 3): Between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM at your polling place.
    • Find your polling place online with your address.
    • Waltham residents can call the City Clerk at 781-314-3123 or 781-314-3121.
    • If you know your ward and precinct number, you may refer to this list of Waltham polling places:
      Ward Precinct Polling Place
      1 1 PLYMPTON SCHOOL 20 Farnsworth Street
      1 2 WALTHAM HIGH SCHOOL 617 Lexington Street
      2 1 KENNEDY MIDDLE SCHOOL MUSIC ROOM  655 Lexington Street
      2 2 KENNEDY MIDDLE SCHOOL MUSIC ROOM  655 Lexington Street
      3 1 MACARTHUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 494 Lincoln and Lake Streets
      3 2 NORTHEAST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 70 Putney Lane off Warwick Avenue
      4 1 FITZGERALD SCHOOL AT REAR 140 Beal Road at Candace Avenue
      4 2 FITZGERALD SCHOOL AT REAR 140 Beal Road at Candace Avenue
      5 1 BRIGHT SCHOOL GYMNASIUM/MALONE ARCHIVES RECORD CENTER 260 Grove Street – Corner of Clark & Bright Streets
      5 2 BRIGHT SCHOOL GYMNASIUM/MALONE ARCHIVES RECORD CENTER 260 Grove Street – Corner of Clark & Bright Streets
      6 1 CHARLES A. LAWLESS HOUSING 110 Pond Street
      6 2 CLARK GOVERNMENT CENTER 119 School St. Corner of School & Lexington St.
      7 1 NATHANIEL AT BANKS SQUARE 948 Main Street – Corner of Main & South Street
      7 2 NATHANIEL AT BANKS SQUARE 948 Main Street – Corner of Main & South Street
      8 1 WHALEN HOUSING 84 Orange Street
      8 2 SOUTH MIDDLE SCHOOL 510 Moody Street
      9 1 ARTHUR J. CLARK HOUSING 48 Pine Street
      9 2 CUTTER STREET POLLING BOOTH 8 Cutter Street
  • In Person Early Voting (October 17 – 30): All early voting in Waltham is held at the Malone Archives and Records Center/Bright School at 260 Grove Street. All Massachusetts residents can access early voting site information at the Secretary of the Commonwealth Early Voting page starting October 9.
  • By Mail
    • Request a Mail-in Ballot (no later than October 28)
      • Download a Vote by Mail Application from the Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth Voting by Mail Page
      • Call 1-800-462-VOTE (8683) to request a Vote by Mail Application.
      • Instead of an application, write a letter to your Town/City Clerk’s office to request a Mail-In Ballot. The letter must include your name, the address where you are registered to vote, the address where you want the ballot mailed, and your signature. Note: Electronic signatures are not accepted. Waltham residents can send the letter to City of Waltham City Clerk; 610 Main Street; City Hall Second Floor; Waltham, MA 02452
    • Return your Mail in Ballot (must be postmarked by November 3)
      • All 2020 Vote by Mail Ballots will include a pre-addressed, postage pre-paid return envelopes. The United States Postal Service recommends mailing your ballot back at least 7 days before Election Day.
      • Waltham Residents may also drop off ballots in the drop box labeled, “City Business Only” in the back of City Hall (610 Main Street).
      • You can “Track your Ballot” online after you return it to make sure it was received and accepted.

Important Dates

  • October 17 – 30: In Person Early Voting
  • October 24, 2020: Last day to register to vote for the 2020 General Election.
  • October 28, 2020: Last day for mail in voting applications to reach City Clerk’s office.
  • November 3, 2020: Last day for mail in ballots to be postmarked
  • November 3, 2020: In person voting for General Election (if you have not voted early or mailed in a ballot)
  • November 6, 2020: Latest day that mail in ballots need to reach City Clerk’s office.

Rides to the Polls

The Candidates

(List of all candidates running in Massachusetts on November 3, 2020. Candidates listed here are listed in order as they are listed on the ballot (alphabetical by last name). All of the web pages for candidates — including incumbents — are for their campaign websites unless one is unavailable)


United States Senator in Congress

Representative in Congress, Fifth District

Massachusetts Governor’s Councilor, Third District

Massachusetts Senator in General Court, Third Middlesex District

Massachusetts Representative in General Court, Ninth Middlesex District

Massachusetts Representative in General Court, Tenth Middlesex District

Register of Probate, Middlesex County

The Ballot Questions

  • Question 1, “Right to Repair”(From Ballotpedia): “Question 1 (2020) would require manufacturers that sell motor vehicles equipped with telematics systems to install a standardized open data platform beginning with model year 2022. The initiative defines telematics systems as “any system in a motor vehicle that collects information generated by the operation of the vehicle and transmits such information, in this chapter referred to as ‘telematics system data,’ utilizing wireless communications to a remote receiving point where it is stored.” Vehicle owners could then access telematics system data through a mobile device application and give consent for independent repair facilities to access that data and send commands to the system for repair, maintenance, and diagnostic testing. Question 1 (2020) would also require that manufacture authorization for mechanical data through the open data platform by owners and independent repair facilities be standardized across all makes and models and administered by an independent party. The Massachusetts Attorney General would also have to prepare notices that motor vehicle dealers present to prospective owners that explain the car’s telematics systems and the requirements under the new law. Denial of access to mechanical data by a manufacturer would result in treble damages or $10,000 in compensation to the vehicle owner.”
    (From Massachusetts Information for Voters 2020 Ballot Questions): “A YES vote would provide motor vehicle owners and independent repair facilities with expanded access to wirelessly transmitted mechanical data related to their vehicles’ maintenance and repair. A NO vote would make no change in the law governing access to vehicles’ wirelessly transmitted mechanical data.”
  • Question 2, Ranked-Choice Voting(From Ballotpedia): “Question 2 would enact ranked-choice voting (RCV) for primary and general elections for state executive officials, state legislators, federal congressional representatives, and certain county offices. RCV is a voting method in which voters rank candidates according to their preferences. If a candidate receives greater than 50% of all first-preference votes, the candidate is declared the winner and the tabulation ends. If no candidate receives a simple majority of first-preference votes, then the candidate receiving the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the eliminated candidate are eliminated, and the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots are tallied as their first-preference in the following round. The process is continued until a candidate wins a simple majority (50%+1) of the vote. If there is a tie for last place, the candidates’ support from earlier rounds would be compared to determine who should be eliminated. Currently, statewide elections in Massachusetts use a plurality voting system. In Amherst and Easthampton, ranked-choice voting has been adopted but not implemented. Cambridge has used RCV since 1941 to elect the nine-seat city council and the six-seat school board.”
    (From Massachusetts Information for Voters 2020 Ballot Questions): “A YES vote would create a system of ranked-choice voting in which voters would have the option to rank candidates in order of preference and votes would be counted in rounds, eliminating candidates with the lowest votes until one candidate has received a majority. A NO vote would make no change in the laws governing voting and how votes are counted.”

More Information

Staff Reads September 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!

Check out our Youtube Show, “We’ll Tell You What We’re Reading!

Deb F.

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: This was SOOO well-done. By complete coincidence, I started listening to this on audiobook right after finishing So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and narrated by Bahni Turpin. Turns out, Bahni also narrates The Hate U Give, a great young adult fiction story that really walked the walk of the principles in So You Want To Talk About Race. It was a terrific pairing, albeit accidental!
  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: Some books can provide “windows” to view another’s reality; books that reflect a reader’s own life are considered “mirrors”. For me, this book was both: a mirror because it was about Librarians, but a window because the characters worked in Depression-era Kentucky & delivered books on horseback! I listened on audio and it was so good that I was really anxious to get back in the car & hear what would happen next and had to sit in my driveway to finish it because I knew I was only a few minutes from the end!


  • Godshot:  A Novel by Chelsea Bieker: Lacy Mae, the fourteen year old narrator of this beautifully written novel, has a difficult story to tell. She is living in an impoverished town near the Napa Valley that is suffering a terrible relentless drought.  The raisins that were the lifeblood of the community are no longer growing successfully.  Her grandfather commits suicide in despair.
    A preacher comes to town and, seemingly miraculously, there is a long rain.  Lacy’s family become regular church members.  When the drought resumes, more is asked of the church members.  Unfortunately, the desperate residents comply rather than question their prophet.  Lacy has to grow up fast and to make some very difficult decisions about her path.
    I loved this book and heartily recommend it with a caveat; there is sexual abuse in this novel.
    I would classify this as a beautiful pro feminist piece of fiction that explores mother daughter relationships, coming of age and false prophets.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: Zora Neale Hurston was a brilliant African-American writer and anthropologist during the Harlem Renaissance.  This love story takes place in the American South and our heroine, Janie, is a woman ahead of her time.  She is not satisfied to just live in a docile and obedient fashion with any man, but follows her heart instead.  This is an uplifting story about a strong, resilient, spunky young woman who is able to break free of others’ expectations and be who she is meant to be.  I plan to read more by Zora Neale Hurston and I regret that she did not get the appreciation for this novel during her lifetime that she gets today.  
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (audiobook): I had been meaning to read something by Celeste Ng for a long time, and I am so glad that I listened to this book.  It is the 1970s and the Lee family’s middle daughter, Lydia has disappeared.  The Lees have to come to terms with a lost daughter, lost hopes and difficult family dynamics.  A beautiful novel about families, prejudice, fears and hopes that is highly relatable and very sad. Do not read this if you are wanting light reading but do read this if you want a beautiful novel about family dynamics, American society, the sexism that women are subject to, and the prejudice that people have when facing others who are different from themselves.
  • All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg (audiobook): The death of a rather criminal patriarch shakes up his entire family who must come to terms with the emotional scars that he has left behind.  I really enjoyed this book as it had some humor, some pathos, and some healing all in one.  
  • Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett (audiobook): This is a one of a kind novel about taxidermy, suicide, family pain, and redemption.  Beautifully written with believable and well developed characters.  Warning:  a lot of graphic taxidermy details that might not be palatable to all readers.
    I heard about this novel in the library’s Tell Us What You’re Reading book club and I am so glad to have listened to this book.  I plan to read more by this author.
  • Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld (audiobook): Just started this audiobook and I am already thoroughly engrossed and can hardly wait to hear more.  Sittenfeld writes about Hilary Rodham Clinton and posits a situation where Hilary and Bill date, are seriously considering marriage, but decide to part due to Bill’s ‘problem’ with cheating.  Great narration, too!
  • Mama Day by Gloria Naylor: I recommend this book to anyone who likes a great story, a talented author, a bit of mysticism and magic, and strong female characters.  Gloria Naylor apparently based this novel on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  The narration of this novel is very interesting because we are hearing from people both living and dead and it gives the book a poetic and mystical feeling that I really enjoyed.
    I plan to read other works by Ms. Naylor because I know that I will be in good hands!
  • The Miseducation Of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth: Beautifully written coming of age novel about a teenage  girl who loses her parents in a tragic car accident. Her Aunt comes to live with her and, unfortunately, Aunt Ruth is a born again Christian who sends Cameron to a place that tries to degay teenagers. And, unfortunately, there are still misguided Aunt Ruths who believe in sending their children to these sorts of places. Cameron is an athletic, intelligent, spunky heroine and I was rooting for her from the very first page of this enticing and thoughtful novel.
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: This book begins with a fire and a general suspicion about who set the fire.  Two families intersect in this novel about norms and outliers; the Richardson family and a single mother and her daughter; Mia and Pearl.  Mia is an itinerant artist who has moved herself and her daughter many times.  The Richardsons are an upper middle class family in Shaker Heights, Ohio.  One of their children, Izzy, is more impulsive and true to herself vs. social norms than the rest of the family.  She calls things like she sees them and is deemed ‘crazy’ by various Richardsons.  Her mother is hardest of all on Izzy.
    Pearl spends much time with the Richardsons and Pearl and Mia grow more and more intertwined; until a dispute about a baby happens.  Everything changes then.  A great read with a very interesting plot.
  • Dirty Dancing: I watched this movie twice in a row.  The dancing, the music, the Catskills, the joy, Jerry Orbach as a dad.  This movie is such an uplifting, funny (schlocky in the best sense of the word) delight.
  • Gloria Bell: Okay, this is my third time watching this film where Julianne Moore falls into a very unfortunate romance.  Great movie about divorce, blended families and keeping one’s spirit going during difficult circumstances.
  • Mystic Pizza: This is the movie that put Julia Roberts on the map.  This is great when you want to see a coming of age novel about friendship, maturation from teenager to young adult, Mystic Connecticut and a secret recipe for the greatest pizza in town.
  • The Miseducation Of Cameron Post: Some changes from the beautiful novel but this movie keeps the spirit of the book and I loved the acting and would watch this again. The acting is very believable and the scenery is gorgeous.  I do recommend seeing the film and reading the novel because both are beautiful in their own way.  This is a coming of age novel about a young teen who loses her parents in a tragic car accident.  Her Aunt Ruth, a born again Chrisitian, is horrified about Cameron’s sexuality and sends her to a place that attempts to encourage teens to pray away the gay.
    Luckily for all of us, Cameron is a strong and spirited young woman who works to find her way to herself during a very difficult situation.  She befriends a couple of her fellow inmates and they support each other through the trials and tribulations of this experience.  This movie is very timely as there are still many in the world who believe that this is an appropriate way to ‘help’ those who are gay.
  • In The Aisles: A lovely film (German film with English subtitles) about a group of people working in a big box store.  We learn about their lives, their tragedies, their romances and we grow to love them.
  • The Party: A great little dark comedy about a woman who is celebrating a promotion; except the celebration turns dark rather quickly. You will not see the ending coming until…the very end!
    Don’t fast forward now that I said that.  Hilarious in a dark sort of way.  Great acting!
  • The Wedding Plan: This is not exactly the same as Muriel’s Wedding, a film that I adored, but if you liked that one, you will love this one.  Our heroine, a very observant Jewish woman, is having problems finding a match.  She decides to plan her wedding party anyway and to have total faith that a groom will appear.  Delightful, lovely, charming, and funny. 
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God: I really enjoyed this movie with Halle Berry playing Janie and excellent casting in all roles including the wonderful Teacake (her true love).  I felt that it was very true to the book and enjoyed every minute.  This is a romantic and, ultimately, feminist story of a woman truly following her heart and coming into her own.

Debora H:

  • They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery: This was a fascinating look at the protest movements born out of the many police killings of Black people in cities across America, starting with the response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The movements have evolved over time: from believing change could come from within the system, to knowing that the entire system had to change; from making sure the public knows about police killings to doing political organizing. Protesters like Martese Johnson learned that, even though he was a college student serving on the University of Virgnia’s Honor Committee, he wasn’t safe from police harassment. And even when protesters succeeded in getting the president of the University of Missouri to resign for failure to address racist incidents on campus, they soon realized that nothing had changed with regard to the culture on campus. One incident Lowery writes about is when protester Bree Newsome literally climbed the flagpole outside the South Carolina state house to take down the Confederate flag. Although the flag was put back up 45 minutes later and Newsome was arrested, two weeks later, state legislators debated the issue and ultimately voted to take the flag down for good. The protesters make savvy use of social media to get their message out. One trending hashtag, #iftheygunmedown, encouraged Black youth to post photos of themselves with family, or at graduation, or in their service uniforms, or reading to children side by side with photos that showed them doing something less positive like partying. The goal was to combat the media tendency to post negative photos of the victims of police shootings, often to perpetuate the myth that the young person was a thug. Bad mouthing the victims of police shootings, rather than the shooters themselves, often leads to the impossible dilemma of trying to defend the honor of the victims. Lowery notes, “the protest chants were never meant to assert the innocence of every slain Black man and woman.” He adds, “Who is the perfect victim? Michael Brown? Kajieme Powell? Eric Garner? Sandra Bland? Freddie Gray? Young activists reframed the question: Does it matter?” Does it matter? I think not. These are human lives lost because of an entrenched system of racism that won’t die unless we all take active steps to change it. The book ends just before the 2016 election and there is an especially poignant quote from a young activist: “The protests will continue…Regardless of who is elected, we’re going to work to continue this level of engagement with the next administration; there’s just too much at stake.” The protests have continued, yes.
  • Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta: Boy, was this a disappointment. I read it because I had loved The Leftovers, but this book doesn’t measure up. It’s just plain stupid. The main character, Eve Fletcher, is likeable enough, but she’s poorly imagined and acts more like her teenage son than a fortysomething mother. Even the one moment when there is an impending crisis of Eve’s son walking in on his mother’s threesome simply disappears after the build up. It has a happy, but not very believable ending.


  • Normal People by Sally Rooney: This novel that follows the on-again, off-again relationship between two young Dubliners made nearly every best-of list in 2019 has been made into a critically acclaimed tv show on Hulu.
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: Longlisted for the 2020 Man Booker Prize, this is a relevant and timely novel about race and privilege.
  • Drinking French by David Lebovitz: Go from day (cafe drinks) to night (aperitifs and cocktails) in this gorgeous book about French culture. Santé!
  • That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life by Marissa Mullen: I love, love, love cheese boards and I love, love, love this book. Step-by-step instructions are accompanied by pretty pictures and illustrations that focus on simple ingredients to make fun themed boards.
  • Perry Mason: This series shows us how Perry Mason became Perry Mason and is one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. Great writing, great acting, great score, this show is worth the price of a monthly HBO subscription on its own.
  • My Life is Murder: I must confess that I did not watch Xena: Princess Warrior so I had no idea how utterly charming Lucy Lawless is until now! This Australia series set in Melbourne, features Lawless as a retired police detective that gets pulled back in to help with hard-to-solve cases.
  • Dublin Murders: Based on Into the Woods and The Likeness by best-selling author Tana French, this series is set in Dublin and focuses on a present day crime that seems to be connected to the disappearance of two local children in the 80s. A second plotline arises about halfway through this eight-episode season.
  • Nice White Parents: A new podcast from the makers of Serial about equality in public schools. Although this series focuses on public schools in New York City, the issues at hand are surely occurring in some variation in every single public school in this country.




  • The Cactus by Sarah Haywood: A fun, light beach read with quirky but likeable characters.
  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren: A funny, silly rom-com, literally set on the beach. I kept thinking this would be a cute movie. The plot’s a little out there, but very enjoyable overall.
  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone : a Therapist, Her therapist, and Our Lives Revealed  by Lori Gottlieb: I loved this true story about one therapist’s journey through therapy. I found the idea of therapy through the eyes of a practicing therapist fascinating. Her story, and that of her patients, was equally amusing and moving; I laughed and I cried. Gottlieb is a great writer.
  • The Body: a Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson: What a fabulous book. Bryson is an incredible writer and it makes tough science read easy. I was shocked by how little I know about the body and some of the “healthy” habits I had that Bryson debunks. I have recommended this book to many people and everyone has thanked me. A highlight for me is that you can skip around chapters (I jumped around and read what was most interesting to me first).


  • The Old Guard: Based on the comic of the same name, this featured Charlize Theron kicking butt as an ancient warrior.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club on Netflix: This was amazing, adorable, and exceeded my expectations.
  • The Gymnast: Ever loved a movie so much you want everyone to see it? But you are also too scared to introduce anyone to it because you’re scared they won’t love it? This low budget indie blew me away when it came out in 2006. It’s rare to have actual dancers play dancers in film, and this, while it has a few flaws, is really beautiful. Just don’t tell me if you watch it and don’t love it.
  • The Aerialist: The sequel to The Gymnast I’ve been waiting for for 14 years! Dreya Weber, the star of both The Gymnast and The Aerialist, is an incredible performer who brings such talent and depth to this film about our bodies and how they betray us. Shot in 10 days, with almost no budget, this film is as mesmerizing as its predecessor.
  • These Woods are Haunted on Travel channel: I’ve always loved creepy stories, especially the ones told by the people who experienced them. You might enjoy this if you like the podcast, Spooked. Let’s just say I’ve lost all desire to go camping after binging both seasons. But it was fun!
  • In the Role of Brie Hutchens by Nicole Melleby: While this adorable middle grade novel is about a present day young teen figuring herself out through her love of old soapoperas, it was a nostalgia filled journey fir me, back to 2000, and the first lesbian character on daytime tv. This was a sweet middle grade novel.
  • You Don’t Live Here by Robyn Schneider
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: This was a disappointment. I was excited because I love gothic spooky house stories. But I didn’t really care for the protagonist, and well, I saw almost every “plot twist” coming. It just wasn’t actually that creepy or scary.
  • Malorie by Josh Malerman: This sequel to the exciting Bird Box was ok, it was a little too slow and introspective for me.


  • Shuri by Nic Stone: I enjoyed this coming of age novel about Shuri, best known as the younger sister of T’Challa, aka “Black Panther”. It does help to have some knowledge of either the comics or film universe of Black Panther but I don’t think anyone needs an excuse to read something by Nic Stone. Chadwick Boseman’s (T’Challa from the film) untimely death do make me remember this book, with bittersweetness.
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram: Sequel to Darius the Great is Not Okay which I loved. Fresh off a trip to Iran to visit his mother’s family, Darius is navigating a lot of relationships in his life, including his family, first boyfriend, and burgeoning friendship with Chip. Another great character driven novel. I hope there’s a third entry!
  • Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall: Recently, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which, theoretically, gave women the right to vote but, in reality, not all women, especially Black and Indigenous Women, and other women of color. This book highlights how it’s important to remember all women when fighting for women’s rights, not just straight cis white women, and how to make the movement more intersectional.
  • The Unlikely Thru-Hiker by Derick Lugo: You do not need to be a serious hiker in order to enjoy this memoir of an Appalachian Trail Through Hiker. In fact, you can be a complete poseur and wannabe hiker like me! Lugo’s prose is witty and thoughtful as he details his six month journey as well as the fact that he was one of the few through hikers of color.
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, read by Santino Fontana: I’m so done with prequels. After seeing The Phantom Menace on opening night in 1999, I really need to stop watching/reading prequels. I really didn’t need to read (or listen, in my case) to one for The Hunger Games trilogy. (It probably doesn’t help that I’m not as into The Hunger Games as  once was.) That being said, it was fast paced book and Fontana’s narration did add to the novel, in a good way.
  • Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell: Did I say that I was not that into The Hunger Games anymore? I meant to say, that I’m really not into Harry Potter, anymore! (JK Rowling’s transphobic comments and attitude about transgender women certainly has not endeared me to her works, either). Oddly, my fall of enthusiasm for the Harry Potter franchise is exactly why I’ve been enjoying this gentle parody by Rainbow Rowell so much. Wayward Son is the sequel to Carry On, which was actually the fan fiction of the fictional Simon Snow series written by the fictional Cath in Rowell’s novel, Fangirl.  (Everyone get that?) On its surface, this world may just seem like an ersatz Harry Potter but they stand up so much on their own, and (in my opinion) correct a lot of the issues that I have with the Potter books.
  • Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory: My favorite romance writer does it again! Olivia, sister to Alexa from The Wedding Date who has just moved to LA to start her own law firm, has a meet cute with Max, a US Congressman as they bond over dessert. I continue to love how Guillory’s characters always seem real and that the relationships are realistic and healthy.
  • Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi: This re-working of Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi takes events from America history that most of us were taught in school and presents them through a different lens. There is so much that we (at least my generation) were not taught.
  • BambiThis was my third time seeing this movie, and first time since I was a child.Still traumatizing.
  • Bambi IIAs direct to video Disney sequels go (or midquels, in this case), this wasn’t too bad. Patrick Stewart as Bambi’s father made me chuckle. I kept waiting for him to tell Bambi, “engage”
  • The SimpsonsI am definitely part of the Simpsons generation. I remember when they were shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show and I owned a Bart Simpson, “Don’t Have a Cow, Man” t-shirt. That being said, I haven’t watched a new episode in at least 15 years (possibly even 20). I’ve started to go back and binge watch the early seasons. In a lot of ways, the early episodes still hold up and are, in some cases, more relevant now than they were in the 1990s. However, there is a lot that has not aged well, including, but not limited to, white actors, such as Hank Azaria, voicing characters of color, such as Apu. It took the show much too long to make amends regarding that.
  • The Problem with Apu: Documentary produced by comedian, Hari Kondabolu and his complicated relationship with The Simpsons. Although he was a fan of the show, he realized the problems that arose from Hank Azaria’s portrayal of Apu, the show’s South Asian convenience store owner. Great and thoughtful documentary.

September is Happy Cat Month!

How does your cat make you happy? How do you keep your cat happy?

Post a picture of your happy cat to @walthamlibrary on twitter, instagram or facebook with the hashtag #happycatmonth!

Title details for A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen - Wait list
Title details for I Am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton - Wait list

What’s Your Library Superhero Pose?

Having a library card makes you feel like a superhero with all the amazing things it gives you access to, including technology, media resources and educational programs. This Library Card Sign-up Month, show us your best superhero pose for a chance to win a $100 gift card, courtesy of the American Library Association. Help spread the word by striking a library superhero stance, holding your physical library card or your device with your e-card. Post it to Instagram (@walthamlibrary), Twitter (@walthamlibrary), or Facebook (@walthamlibrary) using the hashtag #LibraryCardHero. Don’t forget to cover up any personally identifiable information on your library card, and please tag @walthamlibrary .

Don’t have a physical card? You can register for an ecard by simply clicking this link.

The promotion ends Tuesday, September 22, at 1:00 pm. All library lovers are encouraged to participate.

The #LibraryCardHero promotion is open to residents of the United States, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories. Employees of the American Library Association are not eligible to participate.

Free English Learning Activities Online

With many free activities to learn or practice English online, where do you start? Here are a few helpful resources and ideas for how to use them.

Remember: learning a language is like building a house. You need a variety of tools–not just one. Make regular time to practice listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Also like building a house, it helps to share the work with other people. There’s an expression: “Many hands make light work.”

Our English Language Learning (ELL) program at Waltham Public Library helps you practice English skills and connect with other learners.

Visit our calendar to learn about free online classes and programs this fall.

If you recommend other free online resources for learning English, please leave a comment on this post. Let’s have a conversation to help each other.

Language brings us together.

~Aaron Devine, Literacy Coordinator at Waltham Public Library

Contact me: (email) or 781-314-3442 (phone)

Basic Vocabulary for Beginners

Use free with your Waltham Library card (Need one? Start with an ecard today). This app offers English language instruction in your first language with notes about grammar and culture as you learn. Practice speaking out loud; review each chapter with a friend.

Click on pictures and listen to learn the ABCs, as well as words for food, clothing, the body, nature, places, and more. Repeat the words; search for examples in your home, work, and neighborhood. Say their names out loud.

Games to practice vocabulary, spelling, phrases, and description. Write down new words in a journal. Practice correct spelling and word order.

Pronunciation and Listening

This website lists every sound in American English with pronunciation guides and examples. Make a list of sounds that are difficult for you. (Notice also how many you already know!) Read the “How to pronounce” guide and then practice. Ask a friend to listen.

This website has pronunciation guides (step-by-step) and animation to show how each sound is formed in the mouth. Review challenging sounds. Then find a fun tongue twister to practice.

Listen to short dialogues with comprehension questions. Choose from easy, intermediate, and difficult. After you listen, try to continue the dialogue: in writing by yourself, or in conversation with a friend.

Structure (Grammar and Writing)

This website offers grammar lessons and quizzes organized by topic. Practice a lesson by writing in your journal. Look for examples of the lesson when you read.

From grammar-maven Betty Azar’s website: free worksheets and activities created by teachers. Also, Suzanne Woodward’s Fun with Grammar in PDF. Practice a couple of song lessons from the site. Then choose your favorite singer/band and try to make your own grammar lesson with their lyrics.

Reading and Listening Comprehension

Listen and read current events articles. Review vocabulary and comprehension questions at the end. Read an article out loud twice, taking turns with a friend. Then talk about it: try to summarize the information first; share your opinions after.

Learn about a variety of topics from experts. Use the subtitles, transcripts, and translations to build your language skills. has internationally popular social media accounts. Follow or like one and join the conversation.

Songs, Stories, and Fun with English

Music is joyful and linked to memory. On this website, you can enjoy popular music and listen for missing words in the lyrics. Try the easier choice mode first and then try write mode (which involves spelling) for a harder challenge.

This website (and phone app) helps real people record interviews and stories about their lives. Some are animated so that you can listen and follow the images to build understanding. Add closed captions (cc) to read the text, too. If you enjoy this site, consider recording your own interview with a family member, neighbor, or friend. StoryCorps has lists of questions ready for you.

Ok, ok, dictionaries are not usually fun. However, the Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary contains a picture quiz called “Name that Thing,” a word-of-the-day email, and Ask the Editor with questions and answers about the English language.

*Join Aaron for “Mango and More,” an introduction to some of these resources, streaming live on the Waltham Public Library YouTube channel, Friday, September 11 from 12-1PM. The program repeats in Spanish on Friday, September 25 from 12-1PM. In case you miss the livestream, both videos will remain available for viewing on our YouTube channel.

Tell Us What You’re Reading July 2020

In July, we held more meetings for “Tell Us What You’re Reading”. 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 for future meetings for “Tell Us What You’re Reading: Monday, August 17 at 7:00 pm and Monday, September 21 at 7:00 pm.  E-mail Laura ( for the Zoom links.

Watch the library staff on Youtube, starting Tuesday, August 25 at 2:30 pm and Wednesday, September 30 at 2:30 pm as “We Tell You What We’re Reading”.



  • The Babysitters Club (Netflix series)
  • Clue
  • Dark
  • Hamilton
  • In the Long Run
  • Knives Out
  • Last Tango in Halifax
  • Marcella
  • Murder by Death
  • Timeless

Staff Reads July 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!



  • Autopsy of a Boring Wife by Marie Lavoie: This book is a fun and light read, perfect for those of us who are having a hard time concentrating.  I picture Diane Keaton in the main role; the housewife whose husband has left her for a younger woman.  The novel takes place in Quebec  and our main character is anything but boring.
  • Cut Me Loose by Leah Vincent: This memoir is very moving and, I must warn you, there are some upsetting scenes.  Leah can not bear the shackles of being a traditional ultra Orthodox female who is not allowed to go to college and who is expected to serve her husband and produce children as her primary role.  The lack of support that she gets from her family when she is unable to live such a circumscribed life causes Leah alot of pain.  This book documents her struggle to find an identity that is comfortable and that makes sense for her.  Recommended for fans of Unorthodox:  The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman.
  • Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst: This eccentric story tells about Jeanne Darst’s life growing up with an alcoholic mother and a self absorbed writer father who can not always attend to his family’s needs.  Jeanne herself becomes an artist and an alcoholic who has to come to terms with her family, her own alcoholism, and her identity.  I loved this book and I felt for the family and for Jeanne on her journey to selfhood.  Recommended for fans of The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Donna Tartt is such an amazing writer that I simply don’t have the words. This novel is a Pulitzer Prize winner.  The goldfinch refers to a painting by Carel Fabritius that currently hangs in the Hague.  The goldfinch has a chain attached to its foot which is an apt metaphor for some of the chains that the main character, Theo has to bear in his difficult life.  Theo has and loses a wonderful, art loving mother.  His father is less loving; an alcoholic actor who deserts the family.  We meet all sorts of interesting and flawed characters and see Theo’s destiny so closely entwined with the painting.  I don’t want to spoil the plot and tell you what happens with the painting.
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft: This Newbery Award winning graphic novel is an easy and edifying read.  The main character, Jordan, is a young man who is transferring to an upscale, mostly white school.  He is the new kid and he has to come to terms with a whole different universe.  He has a lovely family, two parents who want the best for him, but who don’t always see things the way he does.  Jordan wants to go to art school, but his mother wants him to go the prestigious school.  He has to take public transportation to get there and he has to find his place as the new kid in the new school and as a kid who has left his neighborhood school behind.  Heartwarming and witty, this is recommended to anyone who ever wondered how to fit in.  Illustrations are all done by the author and the illustrations that are supposedly Jordan’s own originals are delightful.
  • Afterlife by Julia Alvarez: This novel is so compulsively readable that I finished it practically before I started.  Our main character, Antonia, has lost her husband Sam, and is still dealing with her grief.  In the meantime, her three sisters are having their own issues as one of the sisters, Izzy, seems to have gone off the deep end.  Antonia lives in Vermont and has some serious worries about some illegal workers and their struggles.  The relationships of the sisters feel so universal to me as they quibble and argue and love each other as best as they can.  The sisters’ family came from the Dominican Republic, and yet, they are firmly ensconced in the United States unlike the migrant workers in Antonia’s neighborhood.  Antonia has a strong literary bent as she is a writer and a former teacher and her literary references throughout the novel are delightful to read.  Two of her sisters are therapists and so, have a more ‘therapy’ oriented view which one who studies great literature might question.  What would a therapist say about Hamlet or King Lear or Desdemona in the current era?  Antonia ponders these sorts of questions and more in this heartwarming book that deals with the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of family life.



  • Just Mercy the film: Based on the book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. This is an origin story that’s hard to watch and incredibly important to see. It’s a dramatization of the founding of the Equal Justice Initiative by attorney Bryan Stevenson. If you’re not familiar with their work, take a look at their website: In the film, Stevenson is a newly minted, Harvard-trained Black lawyer who moves to Montgomery, Alabama with funding to provide free legal services to those who have been wrongfully convicted or sentenced, including men on death row. The main story is about Johnny D McMillian, a Black man who was illegally convicted of killing a white woman and placed on death row. The entire case against him rested on the convoluted and implausible testimony of a white felon who said he saw McMillian standing over the victim. Attorney Stevenson eventually uncovers the truth, which is that the white felon was temporarily placed on death row in the cell next to the kill room as a way of pressuring him to pin the crime on a man he’d never seen, for a murder he knew nothing about. Stevenson doggedly pursues justice, eventually winning freedom for McMillian. The film doesn’t shy away from the stark realities of death row: the preparation of an inmate for the electric chair, the way cells are organized so that inmates can’t see each other while talking, the random and inhumane exertion of power imposed by the guards. The film’s message is clear: we live in a racist society, built on a racist legacy. EJI’s fight is against a well-oiled system of oppression. This film will haunt you and make you see what he – and we – are up against.


  • Once You Go This Far by Kristen Lepionka: The 4th book featuring PI Roxan Weary. I really liked this one! Although i had a suspicion of the guilty person as soon as we were introduced to them, the entire story kept me guessing.
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager: Another twisty mystery/thriller/horror novel from this author. Maggie Holt returns to a home her family fled when she was a child because it was haunted. Her father even wrote a best selling book about the experience, and her life has never been the same because of that book. She doesn’t remember her time in the house as a kid, and doesn’t think a word of the book is true, but after her father dies, she goes back to find out if it’s really haunted.
  • The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman: You can tell that Naomi who is a mentee of Margaret Atwood is very influenced by the author. This book read very similarly to Atwood. Sometimes it was interesting, sometimes it was a little too heavy handed.
  • The Last One by Alexandra Oliva: An interesting book to pick up during a pandemic. Our main character (i’m not sure we ever learn her real name) enters a reality competition out in the wilderness, somewhat like survivor, but less intense. What she doesn’t realize is that while she is alone in the wilderness, a pandemic is wiping out the world’s population. Even when she stumbles upon recently abandoned towns, she assumes it is just part of the game. I definitely wanted to find out how it ended!
  • The Half of It on Netflix: This is an adorable movie about a young gay woman, centering on her relationship with her father and a straight boy at her high shcool who she happens to share a crush with. It’s gentle, and sweet, and all about friendship.
  • The Bold Type Season 4B
  • Love, Victor on Hulu: A spin off of Love, Simon, originally planned for Disney+ but moved to Hulu. I have to say, i don’t like Victor very much. Just because you are confused about your sexuality/coming out does not give you a free pass to be a jerk to the people who are kind to you. If i’m to continue watching, i want a kid who is less of a jerk.



  • Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany: A strange yet very hopeful look at language, about how it can divide us, and how it can be a bridge of empathy between us. I’ll have to reread it again.
  • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff: Set in 1950s America, this story revolves around a black family fighting against everyday racism and supernatural horrors, all during the Jim Crow era. Terrifying and surprisingly heartfelt, I highly recommend it.
  • Devolution by Max Brooks: A bunch of rich tech-savvy hipsters set up a suburban neighborhood in the American Northwest wilderness. When a natural disaster separates them from the rest of the world, they discover Bigfoot is real, there is more than one of them, and they are not friendly. A fascinating, well researched drama about what is admittedly a very ridiculous topic.




Janet Z.


  • Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof by Alisa Solomon: Gives a lot of context to the classic show as well as the Sholem Aleichem stories.
  • Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore: Great riff on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  First book by Moore I’ve read since Lamb, which I loved.
  • Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga: Beautiful, thoughtful, and descriptive.
  • Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead: Great follow up to The Underground Railroad.  Elwood’s story after heading to a reformatory is one that sadly still rings true today.
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: Heart wrenching and descriptive tale told in two verse about two sisters, one living in New York and the other living in the Dominican Republic, who only learn of each other’s identity after a tragedy.
  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi: A fantasy novel that is incredibly grounded allowing the reader to think about who is considered a monster.  Though the tone is different, this could serve as a readalike to Sweep by Jonathan Auxier, which is another look at monsters in literature.  I love the fact that Jam, the main character, happens to be a transgender female but it’s just a part of and not her entire identity.  It also contains my new favorite line in a book, “‘If you really want to know,’ one of the teachers added, taking pity on Jam’s frustrated curiosity, ‘there’s always the library.'”
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy: Riveting, descriptive look at the Turner family, living in Detroit from the 1940’s to 2008 with a dash of magic realism thrown in.
  • The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Féret-Fleury: A quiet novel about a woman, Juliette, who loves watching people read on the Metro in Paris and finds herself in a position to match the perfect books with the perfect people.
  • Lovebirds (movie): I loved the chemistry between Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as a couple caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • The Great Mouse Detective (movie): I think I was just a shade too old when this was released and just caught this for the first time.  I think it would have scared the daylights out of me as a kid!
  • The Babysitters Club (Netflix): I had loved these books when I was in middle school but acknowledge they’ve since become dated.  The new show is perfect, updating the stories and main characters for 2020 (even the part about Claudia having her own phone line).  I love all of the changes, and daresay that I enjoy this more than the original books.  (I’m trying to ignore the fact that the parents are my age)

Tell Us What You’re Reading June 2020


On Monday, June 15, we held another “Tell Us What You’re Reading” 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, July 13 at 7:00 pm or Thursday, July 16 at 2:30 pm (or both!)  to share any titles that you’re reading!  E-mail Laura ( for the meeting link.



Civic Engagement/Social Justice: This list includes organizations and resources for all who want to improve the quality of life in their community. Tip O’Neill said that “all politics is local”, and when one benefits one’s community, the effects ripple out to improve life for all. There are, of course, organizations and resources that present an even wider scope here. Although we have collected a wealth of information here, it is our intention to update and enhance this list as necessary. 

Some of the descriptions have been taken from the organizations’ mission statements. 

Waltham Based Organizations

Waltham Concerned Citizens Waltham Concerned Citizens was founded in 1981 to work for peace and justice. Links From Waltham Concerned Citizens Here are links for immigration information, peace information, economic resources, human rights and more. 

Progressive Waltham Working for a better minimum wage, environmental reform, social justice and more. 

Waltham Energy And Climate Action Now! (WECAN) We are a coalition of concerned people and groups. We are also the Waltham node of 350Mass, a climate action network made up of engaged volunteers who work with the media, organize events, educate their communities, lobby lawmakers, and more.

Waltham Government

Waltham City Council A listing of city councilors and contact information. 

Click Here For the Latest Streaming Updates From City Officials Find out what your city officials have to say about Covid-19 in Waltham. Brought to you by WCAC (Waltham Cable Access Corporation).  Here is the City’s YouTube Channel.

City Of Waltham Covid-19 Rsources The city has been keeping an updated list of resources that are much needed during this time. 

City Of Waltham Contacts Directory A list of city departments and contacts. Click on the link to learn more. 

City Of Waltham OpenGov OpenGov is a data visualization platform that enables municipalities to streamline and present its budget and financial data in a more meaningful manner. Integrating financial data with a data platform will provide users with an engaging and favorable experience when examining the financial information of the City of Waltham.

Waltham Voting

Waltham League Of Women Voters Mission: Empowering voters. Defending democracy. Find out how you can help by clicking on the link. 

Absentee Voting In Waltham If you will not be around on the big day, but want your voice to be heard, click here. 

City Of Waltham Polling Places Wondering where your polling place is located? Click this link. 

Waltham Public Library

Waltham Public Library We provide resources to help you pursue all that you need to be engaged in the well-being of your community. We provide access to a range of newspapers including but not limited to The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Waltham News Tribune. Our sources are reliable and our staff are constantly providing updates through our social media which you can also reach here. During the time of Covid-19, we have a wealth of timely online resources for you that are available 24/7. 

Real Talk Opportunities for Waltham teens to be engaged in their community and talk about their concerns. 

Waltham Public Library Electronic Databases Includes Legal Resources, trustworthy articles and reference information, consumer information, educational information and more. This is where you can find the up to date and historical newspaper collections. 

The Library’s subscription to the Boston Globe can be accessed here. 

Minuteman Network Access to the New York Times can be found here.

Pride Online At Your Library A resource list prepared for you by the Waltham Public Library 

Gale One File:  Diversity Studies  A wealth of information available from the Waltham Public Library for you.

Gale OneFile:  Criminal Justice  A wealth of criminal justice information available for you from the Waltham Public Library.

Watch CDC 

Watch CDC WATCH CDC works towards a more just community in the Waltham area by promoting affordable housing, providing adult education and leadership development, and empowering underrepresented residents through civic engagement. 

Watch CDC Resources en espanol 

Watch CDC Covid-19 Resources

Waltham Community Health

Charles River Community Health Waltham Covid-19 Resources

Healthy Waltham The vision for Healthy Waltham is to foster a community of wellness where all people have the opportunity and support to thrive and prosper. 

Waltham Conservation/Agriculture

The Waltham Land Trust The Waltham Land Trust’s mission is to create a legacy of land conservation in Waltham by promoting, protecting, restoring, and acquiring open space. 

Waltham Fields Community Farm Waltham Fields Community Farm (WFCF) promotes local agriculture and food access through our farming operations and educational programs, using practices that are socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable. We encourage healthy relationships between people, their food supply, and the land from which it grows. 

Waltham Youth

The Waltham Partnership For Youth Our Mission: To leverage and coordinate the assets of our vibrant community to ensure that all Waltham youth have access to the resources they need to thrive. 

Waltham House (Home For Little Wanderers) Waltham House is the first residential group home designed specifically for LGBTQ youth in New England, and one of only three of its kind in the nation. 

Waltham Family School The Waltham Family School is a comprehensive family literacy program that dramatically improves educational opportunities for children by integrating early childhood, adult education and parenting skills.

Africano Waltham We seek to highlight the importance of intercultural respect and celebration among communities of African and non-African descent alike. This takes the form of a diverse Cultural Arts Education Program-–cultural edutainment—that works with children and families from underserved communities (e.g., low income, African immigrant communities) in the Waltham area.

Waltham Public Library Children’s Room  Link to the Children’s Room Instagram Page

Waltham Public Library Teen Room Link to the Teen Room Instagram Page

Waltham Boys And Girls Club Click this link to find out about volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club. You can find more about the organization on their website as well. 

Family Access Community Connections The mission of Family ACCESS is to strengthen children, families and the community by providing programs that nurture child development, promote effective parenting skills, and support working parents. We actively engage a racially, economically, and culturally diverse population in Newton, Waltham and surrounding communities.

Waltham Animal Rights/ Pets

The Cat Connection This Waltham organization is a place to help cats find good homes. There are lots of opportunities to help. Click to find out more. 

Waltham Census

The Census The census is so important to community funding which is vital especially during the time of Covid-19. For each person not counted, communities could miss out on $2,400 of federal funding, 

Waltham News

The Waltham Daily news Tribune This is a link to wicked The Waltham Public Library can link you to full issues current and past here. 

The Waltham Patch Local news, posts by neighbors and more. 

Next Door Waltham Local news, posts by neighbors, events, items for sale and for free and more. 

Waltham Cable Access  Watch the best shows, meetings and events from our Public and Government channels, all in High Definition. Our HD Channel is available on Verizon Channel 2147 and RCN Channel 613.

Waltham MA Community Group  Local news, neighborhood recommendations, a way to stay in touch with your community.

Waltham Seniors

The Waltham Council On Aging Waltham Council on Aging shall promote individual input seeking support for elder services through legislation, grant proposals and activity in policy making; to identify the needs of the community’s elderly population and available resources to meet such needs; to educate the community at large in the needs of the elderly; to design, promote and implement needed services and to coordinate with existing local services for the elderly. Click on the link to find out more. 

AARP Waltham Click this link to find out about volunteering at the American Association of Retired Persons Waltham. You can also find more information on the website. 

Meals On Wheels Waltham MA The Meals on Wheels Coordinator welcomes Waltham citizens and retired citizens to help prepare or deliver meals to the city’s homebound elders. 

Waltham Civic/Political Organizations

The Waltham Lions Club The Waltham Lions Club was chartered in 1939 and our motto as Lions is “To Serve”. We raise funds within our community mainly to assist with eye research and to prevent blindness. 

The Waltham Rotary Club The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. 

Waltham Watertown Elks Club The Elks Club provides scholarships, food, drug awareness, veterans’ services, childrens’ programs and more. 

Waltham American Legion The American Legion was founded on four pillars: Americanism, Children and Youth, National Security, and Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation 

Waltham Corps Community Center From its very beginnings in the East End of London in 1865, The Salvation Army has strived to serve suffering neighbors. Poverty has a way of making people invisible. Our goal has always been to see the hurting and the lost, and to see them through. 

Latinos En Accion Waltham Working to provide resources for the Waltham Latino Community. 

Waltham Democratic City Committee Interested in helping the local Democratic Party? Click on the link to find out more. 

Waltham Republican City Committee Interested in helping the local Republican Party? Click on the link to find out more. 

Waltham Domestic Violence

Reach: Beyond Domestic Violence Waltham Find out how to get involved in the struggle against domestic violence or to get help for someone by clicking this link. 

Waltham Spiritual/Religious Organizations

Waltham Church Of The Nazarene A Haitian Church in Waltham. Click on the link for more information. 

First Lutheran Church Of Waltham/Santuario Luterano Our Justice and Service Team plans regularly plans events to serve the local community, region, and world 

First Parish In Waltham Together we seek to create a more just, compassionate, and peaceful world through weekly worship, educational programming, community building, and opportunities to engage in social action. 

Our Lady Comforter Of The Afflicted Outreach and social justice opportunities can be found with this link. 

Chaplains On The Way Waltham Click on this link to find out how to get involved with Chaplains On The Way. 

Agape Spiritual Community Waltham Agape works for peace and justice in the community. Click on the link to learn more. 

The Waltham Islamic Society Find out about services that the Islamic Society is offering by clicking this link. 

Temple Beth Israel Waltham We enjoy a full calendar of religious, social, educational and social justice dialogue and activities for the many ways our congregants and friends connect to Judaism, to their community, and to the world at large. 

Jewish Family And Children’s Services Waltham For more than 150 years, Jewish Family & Children’s Service has been helping individuals and families build a strong foundation for resilience and well-being across the lifespan. 

Waltham Social Services

Middlesex Human Services Agency The mission of Middlesex Human Service Agency, Inc. is to improve the quality of life and independent functioning of a wide variety of clients through the delivery of an extensive system of community-based substance abuse and social service programs 

Bristol Lodge Bristol Lodge provides shelter for homeless men and women in Waltham. Click on the link to find out more. 

Community Day Center of Waltham The only drop in shelter in the Metrowest area. 

Massachusetts Resources


Covid Testing Site Locator

Covid-19 Consumer Resources From The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

Resources During Covid-19 From the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. 

Massachusetts Trial Court Resources during Covid-19 

Covid-19 Civil and Legal Resources Organized by state 

Massachusetts LGBTQ

Boston Pride Resources for the LGBTQ Community, The Latinx Community and the Black Community. 

Trans Club Of New England A Boston area transgender support organization for the transgender community. 

Human Rights Campaign Massachusetts Human Rights Campaign fights for LGBT equality in Massachusetts alongside state and local groups and lawmakers. Find out more about what HRC is doing for LGBT equality in Massachusetts and how you can get involved with the Boston community. 

Massachusetts Substance Abuse

MADD Massachusetts The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking.

Massachusetts Immigration

Refugee Immigration Ministry Building Community with uprooted people to serve the common good.(Based in Malden, MA) 

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) Our vision is a Commonwealth – and a nation – where all can thrive, no matter where they came from or how they got here, and all can fully participate in their communities’ social, economic and civic life. 

Boston Center For Refugee Health And Human Rights  provides comprehensive medical, mental health, obstetric/gynecological care coordinated with social services and legal referrals to approximately 375 individuals from over 40 countries. Interpreter services are available for more than 30 languages to aid in the healing journey of each patient and their families.

The Right To Immigration Institute The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII, pronounced “tree”) is the only group in the U.S. actively empowering students to represent people in asylum, naturalization, and status adjustment cases.. By training undergraduate students so they can become Department of Justice accredited representatives, TRII aims to make sure no one must face the immigration process alone.

Massachusetts Poverty/Social Justice

The Poor People’s Campaign Massachusetts The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting people across Massachusetts to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality of religious nationalism. 

Prisoners Legal Services Of Massachusetts This non-profit civil services organization provides help and education for the incarcerated. Click the link to find out how you can help. 

Catholic Charities of Boston As one of the largest providers of social services in Massachusetts, Catholic Charities of Boston offers over 70 programs and services in 23 locations around Eastern Massachusetts. From Lawrence to Brockton and Natick to Boston, our service sites throughout Eastern Massachusetts helped 175,000 of our neediest neighbors of all faiths last year.

Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston Our Mission: To inspire and mobilize the diverse Boston Jewish community to engage in building communities of learning and action that strengthen Jewish life and improve the world.

Massachusetts Youth

Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Massachusetts Bay Becoming a Big is more important now than ever as COVID-19 continually changes life for our community. Thousands of our volunteer Bigs are connecting with their Littles online, bringing joy and levity into a challenging time for many vulnerable families. 

The Home For Little Wanderers Our mission is to ensure the healthy behavioral, emotional, social and educational development and physical well-being of children and families living in at-risk circumstances. 

Massachusetts Animal Rights/Pets

MSPCA Angell Learn what constitutes animal cruelty. We strive to interpret and enforce the laws that do exist, and to educate people about animals’ needs in cases where the law does not provide adequate protection. 

Massachusetts Urgent Wildlife Resource Contacts  Provided courtesy of MSPCA/Angell.

Massachusetts Environmental Groups

Citizens Climate Lobby Boston Metrowest Chapter Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization empowering people to experience breakthroughs exercising their personal and political power. 

Massachusetts Climate Action Network The Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), a 501(c)3 non-profit, fights the climate crisis one town at a time, with the help of local MCAN chapters – and you! 

MCAN’s role as a facilitator of municipal-level action is unique among Massachusetts environmental groups. We empower our local chapters by enhancing communication, promoting town-level projects that improve communities, decreasing climate change-causing pollution, and reducing development time for those projects. MCAN speaks on behalf of all chapters to improve Massachusetts energy and climate policies and programs. 

Massachusetts Volunteerism/Service

Americorps Massachusetts We expand volunteerism and service in Massachusetts by providing individuals and organizations with funding, training, and support, which enables them to strengthen communities and make our Commonwealth a better place to live. 

Massachusetts Voting Resources

League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Promotes voter registration and modernization. Works to improve the electoral process and educate voters. 

MassVotes Non-partisan, non-profit organization that seeks to increase voter participation in Massachusetts. Advocates for electoral justice for the sake of building a government that istruly representative of the people. 

MassPIRG MASSPIRG is an advocate for the public interest. We speak out for a healthier, safer world in which we’re freer to pursue our own individual well-being and the common good. 

Lawyers for Civil Rights (Boston), Lawyers for Civil Rights fosters equal opportunity and fights discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants. 

Massachusetts Voter Table A wide range of voter resources, advocacy for all to vote and take part in the census. Opportunities to help out as well. 

Massachusetts Housing

A Guide To Obtaining Housing Assistance This information comes to you courtesy of Mass.Gov 

NOLO Guide To Your Housing Rights In Massachusetts Also includes legal information for Covid-19. 

Massachusetts Right To Counsel Coalition:    A campaign for justice in evictions.

Most evictions happen very quickly. Many tenants do not know how to protect themselves both before court and in court. ​And for too many people, an eviction means homelessness.

We can change this.

Massachusetts Diversity

NAACP Boston The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality and rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. 

Association Of Haitian Women In Boston The Association of Haitian Women in Boston is a community-based grassroots organization dedicated to empowering low-income Haitian women and their children. 

The Massachusetts Center For Native American Awareness Protecting & Preserving Native American Culture,Traditions and Spirituality.

American Friends Service Committee The Friends Service Committee works for peace, justice, and the rights of immigrants. 

Massachusetts Political Parties

Green Rainbow Party Massachusetts The Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) is the Massachusetts affiliate of the Green Party of the U.S. In 2002, the GRP united the Massachusetts Green Party and the Rainbow Coalition Party on the basis of their shared values and aspirations. 

Libertarian Association Of Massachusetts Interested in helping your local Libertarian Party? Click the link to find out how. 

Legal Information/Massachusetts

Massachusetts Laws by Subject 

Massachusetts Legal Forms By Subject All kinds of great free legal information can be found here including by state. An invaluable resource. 

Massachusetts Know Your Rights

ACLU Rights Of Protesters We intervene—through police departments, the courts, and the dissemination of Know Your Rights materials—so that the right to public expression is respected for everyone. 

National Organizations/Other Resources

Safety Dos And Donts From The Should you decide to join a protest during this time of the pandemic, here are some important measures that you can take to keep yourself and those around you safe from Covid-19. 

Code Pink CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs. 

Black Lives Matter Working to fight discrimination and misinformation. Click on the link to find out much more. 

Resources From Oprah Winfrey As America unites in response to the continuing civil unrest following the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, influential community leaders have come together to provide a list of organizations to use as resources if you would like to learn more about the ongoing fight for racial and social justice. 

Resources from The National Museum Of African American History And Culture Education on how to be anti racist. 

Black History Year Podcast Black History Year connects you to the history, thinkers, and activists that are left out of the mainstream conversations. 

Anguish And Action: Resources from President Obama President Obama provides a variety of resources for being informed, becoming engaged and taking action during this difficult time 

Native American Lifelines The mission of Native American LifeLines is to promote health and social resiliency within Urban American Indian communities. Native American LifeLines applies principles of trauma informed care to provide culturally centered behavioral health, dental, and outreach and referral services. 

The Case For Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates Coates makes a beautiful, detailed case for reparations for the black community who have been taken advantage of and treated so badly during this nation’s history. 

The Antidefamation League ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. 

Email And Tweet Them Hold your elected representatives accountable to keeping Black lives safe. This page finds their contact info, creates, and sends an email or tweet to them.

Black Latinas Know Collective We are a collective of Black Latina Scholars, producers of innovative knowledge, contributors to the study of Latinidad and blackness.


The Conscious Kid Parenting and Education through a Critical Race Lens. Diverse #OwnVoices Books. Black and Brown Owned. COVID-19 #RENTRELIEF For Families.

Voting Resources–National

Fair Fight 2020 Promotes fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourages voter participation in elections, and educates voters about elections and their voting rights. 

Register To Vote Vote.Org can check whether or not you are registered to vote, get you registered, help you to get an absentee ballot or to vote by mail. 

Opportunity Youth United Committed to fostering a culture of civic engagement that starts with registering to vote and showing up at the polls every year and includes staying informed and active in all areas of civic life. 

ACLU The ACLU is engaged in advocacy and litigation across the country to get | rid of harmful voter suppression laws. 

All Voting is Local Fights to remove discriminatory barriers to the ballot.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Works to eliminate language barriers for voters across the country. Provides a voter hotline in nine Asian languages, election resources for people to check their voter registration, understand their ballot, and know their voting rights ahead of time.

Black Voters Matter  Advocates to expand voting rights/access, including expanded early voting, resisting voter ID, re-entry restoration of rights and strengthening the Voting Rights Act. 

Brennan Center for Justice Think tank working to counter the power of special interests by empowering voters and small donors. 

Campaign Legal Center Nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that protects and strengthens our democracy in the areas of campaign finance, voting rights, political communication and government ethics. 

Carpool Votes Connects volunteer drivers with anybody who needs a ride to claim their vote. 

Common Cause Provides voting tools on how to register or to check your registration. Works to counter voter restrictions and gerrymandering 

Election Protection National, nonpartisan coalition of over 100 local, state and national partners. Tools to protect the vote includes polling locations, absentee ballot information, & a hotline to report problems on voting day. 

Call (866) OUR-VOTE if you think someone is illegally being denied their vote. 

Fair Fight (led by Stacey Abrams) Promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in targeted voter registration and other voter outreach programs and communications.. 

Fair Vote Works on electoral reforms at the local, state, and national level through strategic research, communications and collaboration. A non-profit, non partisan organization with a history of working with scholars, civic leaders, policymakers, and journalists from across the spectrum Works to empower Americans through voter registration, digital campaigns, information, and projects that harness the power of music and culture.

NAACP Give us the ballot” advocacy. Current support for H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Reclaim Our Vote Nonpartisan phone bank, post carding & textbanking campaign created by the Center for Common Ground.

Rock the Vote Nonprofit and nonpartisan organization devoted to getting the youth vote to the polls. The organization has pioneered ways to make voting easier for young adults by simplifying and demystifying voter registration and elections. 

Southern Poverty Law Center Voting Rights Practice Group works across the Deep South in collaboration with community partners and organizers to engage and mobilize voters, restore voting rights to returning citizens, pursue electoral policy reforms, and bring litigation to challenge unconstitutional and discriminatory voting practices. 

Spread the Vote Helps people get IDs ahead of Election Day. Helps people to navigate their state’s ID laws and assists with everything from application fees to driving you to the DMV to get your ID. 

The Sentencing Project Advocates for the rights of prisoners, with a focus on voting rights. 

United States Election Project The mission of the project is to provide timely and accurate election statistics, electoral laws, research reports, and other useful information regarding the United States electoral system.

VoteRiders Informs and helps citizens to secure their voter ID as well as inspires and supports organizations, local volunteers, and communities to sustain voter ID education and assistance efforts. 

Voto Latino Voter registration and education Outreach to young voters through sophisticated digital advertising, such as the first text-to-register voter registration campaign and VoterPal.

Anguish And Action: Resources from President Obama President Obama provides a variety of resources for being informed, becoming engaged and taking action during this difficult time. 

ACLU Rights Of Protesters We intervene—through police departments, the courts, and the dissemination of Know Your Rights materials—so that the right to public expression is respected for everyone. 

Safety Dos And Don’ts From The Should you decide to join a protest during this time of the pandemic, here are some important measures that you can take to keep yourself and those around you safe from Covid-19.

Animal Rights/Pets

PETA: People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals Working towards treating animals in a humane way. 

The Humane Society Of The United States An association for the humane treatment of animals. 

Best Friends: Save Them All Mission To bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. 


World Wildlife For nearly 60 years, WWF has worked to help people and nature thrive. As the world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in more than 100 countries. At every level, we collaborate with people around the world to develop and deliver innovative solutions that protect communities, wildlife, and the places in which they live. 

Domestic Violence/National

National Domestic Violence Hotline We answer the call to support and shift power back to those affected by relationship abuse. 

Legal Information LawHelp helps people of low and moderate incomes find free legal aid programs in their communities, answers to questions about their legal rights and forms to help them with their legal problems. 

Legal Aid Society National Directory LSC is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. 

Legal Information Institute We believe that everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost. This non-profit organization is based at Cornell University. Lots of free helpful information here. 

Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook This Handbook is a resource for prisoners who wish to file a federal lawsuit addressing poor conditions in prison or abuse by prison staff. It also contains limited general information about the American legal system. This Handbook is available for free to anyone: prisoners, families, friends, activists, lawyers and others. 

American Immigration Lawyers Association Lawyer Search 

Medicare For All: National Nurses United National Nurses United, with more than 150,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S. history. 

Thugs For Humanity This is a list of Community Bond Relief Organizations, Pro Bono Legal Services, and Legal Advice to help you if you are arrested and placed into custody while protesting on the ground. Know your rights, stay safe, and support each other.

New Sources/National/International

Associated Press 

Center for Public Integrity The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom investigating democracy, power and privilege. Our reporting focuses on the influence of money and the impact of inequality on our society. 


BBC World News America 

AP Fact Check Fact-checking and accountability journalism from AP journalists around the globe. 

FactCheck.Org We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. 

Politifact From the beginning, PolitiFact focused on looking at specific statements made by politicians and rating them for accuracy. 

On The Media with Brooke Gladstone While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, OTM tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency that has built trust with over one million weekly radio and podcast listeners. OTM can be heard weekly on more than 400 stations and has a biweekly podcast. It has won the Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting and investigative reporting, the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism, it is the only back-to-back winner of the Bart Richards award for media criticism, it is the winner of several Mirror Awards, and it has a Peabody Award for its body of work. 

Selected ebooks and streaming media from the Waltham Public Library 

Books on hoopla 

New American Creed by David Kames 

United States Civics by various authors 

Taking Action For Civil And Political Rights by Eric Braun 

Key Civil Rights Laws by Kathryn Ohnaka 

Rise Up: The Art Of Protest by Jo Rippon and Marie Copeny 

The Immigrant Rights Movement by Walter J. Nicholls 

Incarceration: Punishment Or Rehabilitation? by Erin McCoy 

International Human Rights, Global Policy And Global Development by various authors 


The Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities To Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, And Engage In Collective Healing by Annaleise A. Singh 

Youth Civic And Political Engagement by Martyn Barrett and Dimitra Patchi 

Titles about Discrimination Here 


Just Do It: Environmental Activists Engaged In Non-Violent Protest 

Social And Systemic Injustice Titles Here 

Podcasts of Interest 

Boston Connection Podcast Boston Connection é um projeto de quatro amigos (Fernando, Luiz, Matheus e Rafael) para aproveitar as longas conversas e transformar em algo produtivo. Aqui discutiremos esportes, política e o que for notícia no ‘triângulo’ São Paulo, Uberlândia e Boston. 

All Rev’d Up​ All Rev’d Up explores where faith intersects politics and culture. Reverend Irene Monroe and Reverend Emmett G. Price III come from different black faith perspectives, they’re of different generations, they hail from different parts of the country, and they come together in this podcast to talk about faith in a different way. 

Under The Radar With Callie Crossley​ Under the Radar with Callie Crossley looks to alternative presses and community news for stories that are often overlooked by big media outlets. In our roundtable conversation, we aim to examine the small stories before they become the big headlines with contributors in Boston and New England. 

Women Veterans Rock! 2020 Season Of Civic Engagement Podcast Series examines the challenges, opportunities and barriers facing America’s Women Veterans as they transition from military service back into civilian life. 

Democracy Now: The War And Peace Report On Democracy Now!, you’ll hear a diversity of voices speaking for themselves, providing a unique and sometimes provocative perspective on global events. 

All My Relations Podcast All My Relations is a team of folks who care about representations, and how Native peoples are represented in mainstream media. Between us we have decades of experience working in and with Native communities, and writing and speaking about issues of representation. You can meet our full team here

Top 15 Transgender Podcasts You Must Follow In 2020 List provided by 

Queer WOC: The Podcast #QueerWOC, is the community podcast for all things Queer Women/Folks of Color community and healing. Based in Syracuse, NY. Hosted by Money, the Family Therapist, and Nikeeta, the workers rights organizer. 

In The Thick with Maria and Julio The Futuro Media Group presents a new political podcast where journalists of color tell you what you’re missing from the mainstream news. Co-hosted by award-winning journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela.

Nannan Podcast Nannan with Emmy is a podcast created with the goal to combine the voices of women evolving in Haiti. Emmy sits with the women who inspire her, discussing issues which impact women. They discuss many subjects ranging from productivity and creativity to personal care, managing relationships, love, body image, and much more

Eight Podcasts About Civics And U.S. History For Kids

Next Page »