This Week’s Best Seller Lists — September 28, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of September 28, 2014.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — September 21, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of September 21, 2014.

Adult Summer Reading

I am happy to announce that the drawing for the Adult Summer Reading winners happened on Wednesday, August 27th. We had twenty grand prize winners and we issued thirty free ice cream cone coupons for Lizzies. We had one hundred and twelve entries! Thank you to our participants who helped make this a success.

I want to thank the Friends of the Waltham Public Library and Lizzie’s Ice Cream for their generous contributions to the effort.

Prizes included gift certificates to More Than Words , Gourmet Pottery, and Cafe On The Common.

Here are some of the books that our adult summer readers enjoyed along with their reviews:

First, the entries that were submitted online: I asked our readers to rate these titles in beach chairs. One beach chair would be the lowest review and then five beach chairs would be the highest.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Our reader gave this 3 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: The novel is engaging for young adults and adults alike, especially if you have a strong background about the 1980s. However, I am not much of a video gamer so a lot of the references were lost on me. Additionally, I thought the ending did not send a strong message for readers.

The Hunger Games-Mockingjay by Suaznne Collins
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: While I did not feel that this was the strongest of the three in the Hunger Games trilogy, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Suzanne Collins is a terrific author and I was so pleased to see the path that Katniss, Gale and Peeta took. I would highly recommend this book to others!

I Shall Be Near You: A Novel by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Our reader gave this 3 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: This novel chronicles a woman who follows her husband into battle during the Civil War. I thought it was well written, but dragged on at times.

Track of the Cat: by Nevada Barr
Our reader gave this 3 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: Murder in a national park in the Southwest

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
Our reader gave this 5 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: Great story! Starts off with delivery of mysterious suitcase. Story told by two different characters living 50 years apart. Romance, sex, heartbreak, science, intrigue, and history. Violet and Vivian are great characters!

Belle Cora by Philip Margulues
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: The story of Anabella Godwin, also known as Belle Cora, and the events that shaped her life. The story explains events that led her to choose to become a madame, and why she ultimately chose to stay in this profession. Even though some may question the morality of her career choice, she certainly represented a strong, independent, opinionated woman in an era when women were not expected to be any of these things.

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: Very interesting style and fun read. Written in the form of letters sent between residents of a small island country where letters of the alphabet are being banned from use after they fall off an important historical sign that displays a short saying using all of the letters in the alphabet. As more letters continue to fall from the sign, the citizens of the island try to get the banning edicts revoked and communicate with less and less words and letters available to them. As the book is written in the form of messages between residents, the writing of the novel reflects the writing of the citizens and letters banned from use by the residents are also gone from the narrative.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: This sequel to Maggie’s Lament shifts focus to the main character’s best friend who is trying to go about living his life after discovering that he’s been living in a world full of dangerous fairies his whole life.

In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Our reader gave this 5 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: This book takes a snapshot view of the rise of Hitler’s power by looking at the experiences of the American ambassador to Germany and his family, beginning in 1933. Rife with intrigue, the reader gets a look at the power struggle going on not only in American political circles, but in Hitler’s organization circles as well. This is a painless way to learn history. We not only learn how pivotal events effect one particular family, but what is going on in the world as well.

Off Course by Michelle Huneven
Our reader gave this 5 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: I’ve read all of Michelle Huneven’s books and really enjoyed them.

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
Our reader gave this 4 out of 5 beach chairs
The book summary/review: Unique take on the classic coming of age novel. Jess and her family set out on a road trip leading up the Rapture. This story is told with humor and sympathy. A fresh book from a new author.

Here are some of the highlights from our entries submitted in person:

A Soft Place To Land by Susan Rebecca White
The book summary/review: A beautiful story of the complicated love between two sisters. After the parents’ death they are separated. It’s fun and the ending is sad.

Backwards by Todd Mitchell
The book summary/review: There’s this kid who is trapped inside a dead body and then realizes that the person’s life is going backwards leading up to the suicide. He needs to learn how to find himself before we can repair this kid’s life.

Three Girls and Their Brother by Theresa Rebeck
The book summary/review: An expose of how a mother uses her family to create her own celebrity and ends up pretty much dstorying the children’s lives. They in turn learn how to mend the who sad nastiness and become family again.

Heading Out To Wonderful by Robert Goolrick
The book summary/review: A story of a doomed love affair that ends in the worst way.

The Scent of Jasmine Jude Deveraux
The book summary/review: A naive young woman becomes involved with an escaped “murderer” falls in love with him and helps him clear up the mystery of who the real betrayers are.

His Until Midnight by Nikki Logan
The book summary/review: Quick easy read. Totally unbelievable but fun.

Cross My Heart by James Patterson
The book summary/review: Best and most tense story in the Alex Cross series! Plenty of twists and turns! Fast read…didn’t want to put down!

Seize the Storm by Michael Cadnum
The book summary/review: A rich family finds a pile of cash on board an abandoned yacht which was owned by bad dealers. They then become involved in an illegal transaction which leads into one man being killed by a shark.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
The book summary/review: Despite the sex part, the book showed what the youths think about, and taught not to see us too much, but enjoy being ourselves. (and be smart).

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson
The book summary/review: Lisbeth Salander is accused of murdering Mikael Blankin’s 2 friends, Mia Johanssen and Dag Schenssary, who were going to expose the sex traffickng in Sweden. This is a really awesome thriller!

Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Phillip Sendker
The book summary/review: Easy read, thought provoking love story! Must read!

Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
A romantic novel. Good book!

Walking In Circles Before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe
The book summary/review: “Humorous.” A “talking dog” has more common sense than the protagonist. LA, West Coast, crazies, doggie daycaare, young romance. Doggy knows best! A refreshing diversion.

Third Class Superhero by Charles Yu
The book summary/review: A collection of various of scenarios per chapter that describes one of the character’s tales that is the same as the book’s tale. All of these scenarios depict the reality of the utmost realistic human potential to be a superhero, how it is a very hard job to make a lasting probabilities, choices of possibilities, taking risks, chances in order to develop as a person and going beyond their own boundaries to make a powerful impact to the best of your ability, all while trying to find your true sense of self/identity. Awesome book!

Kiss And Tell by Fern Michaels
The book summary/review: Another great, Fern Michaels, Sisterhood, Revenge novel!

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
The book summary/review: Good story about the closing of a restaurant. The author captures working class people. Interesting book.

The Light In the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
The book summary/review: Really good book. Murder mystery. Suspenseful to the very end!

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Great book. Love story-what else. Easy reading with a twist to a happy ending.

Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham
The book summary/review: First person novel. Narration of literary life. Celebration of deceased novelist and long held secrets. Great book!

How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
The book summary/review: Set in a science fictional universe, Charles Yu attempts to search for his dad after a long time of disappearance. As he finds out, he must make the choice of either living in the time loop for fear of safety and taking risks or to live in the present moment where his former past self (earlier in the book) shoots his present self (later becomes new self). It’s all based on what he chooses to do rather than be determined to live by it. Interesting, fascinating book. Awesome!

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith
The book summary/review: Wonderful, light summer reading. The further adventures of Precious Ramotswe of the #1 Ladies’ Detective agency.

That Perfect Someone by Johanna Lindsey
The book summary/review: Thinking she is finally rid of the person she was contracted to wed as a child, the heroine finds herself falling for a man turned Pirate who is in love with one of her own friends. The plot twists and turns in the usual “Mallory” series the author continues to capture the reader’s delight. An easy, fun read for the beach.

The Drifter by Susan Wiggs
The book summary/review: Wonderful, typical Wiggs! Emotion packed, mystery and suspense. Goodness reigns over evil. Romance between two people hurt when young by parents careless with their own.

Five Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness and Wealth by Vivien Sung
The book summary/review: Various of cultural Chinese things and how they came to be via folklore/legend/myths. Also, association with the symbolic item to attain luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness or wealth can be anything that is similarly, identically pronounced as said.

Temptation Ridge by Robin Carr
The book summary/review: Finding love in a small town

Weekends With Daisy by Sharron Kahn Luttrell Excellent. True Story. Training of a service dog by outside family on weekends and a prison inmate Monday through Friday.

Beach Lane by Sheryl Woods
A must read! Friendship turns to love against past insecurities. A terrifying health situation arises; one that proves their love against tough odds including past relationships. What seems insurmountable takes the love to the TOP.

The Deed by Lynsay Sands The story of a naive but “modern” thinking woman who takes control of her life once her first husband dies. She visits the king asking for a new one and gets more than she bargains for. She avoids the sinister cousin trying to usurp her position.

Arm Candy by Jill KargmanA good description of life style in New York; two different modes. One privileged wealthy, the other, creative artistic. Although I’m glad to have finished the book it would not be the kind I would choose again. The characters lived narcissistic and selfish ways of life. The ending redeemed the protagonists humanity for me.

Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark Great legal read!

Todd Strauss, Technology Librarian, presents prize to Gita Patel

Laura Bernheim, Head Reference Librarian, presents prize to Angie Emberley.

Todd Strauss, Technology Librarian, presents prize to Beverly Shea

Eva Lin, library page, presents prize to Afiya Webb

Todd Strauss, Technology Librarian, presents prize to Roberta Factor

Teen Summer Reading Program 2014 — Book Reviews

I am proud to say that there were 40 entries in the Waltham Public Library Teen Summer Reading Program open to library patrons in grades 6-12! Everyone who entered received a free ice cream courtesy of the generosity of the owners of Lizzy’s Homemade Ice Cream. Ten of our participants received gift certificates to either More than Words or Back Pages Books courtesy of the generosity of the Friends of the Waltham Public Library. In addition to contributing 40 entries, the teens who participated wrote a total of 31 book reviews. Below is a list of the titles the participants read this year, as well as links to any book reviews that were written. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun!

Here is the list of books that were read for this year’s teen summer reading program. Click on the link to read any of the teen reviews.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — September 14, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of September 14, 2014.

Primary Day 2014

Tuesday, September 9 is Primary Day. Voters will have a chance to choose candidates from their respective parties to run in the general election on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Candidates are running to be nominated for the following offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Senator in General Court (Massachusetts), Senator in Congress (United States), Representative in General Court (Massachusetts), Representative in Congress (United States), Governor’s Councilor, District Attorney, and Register of Probate. Here are some of the facts.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — September 7, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of September 7, 2014:

What Are We Reading? September 3, 2014

What books have we read? What music have we checked out or downloaded? What have we watched? Check it out!

  • Louise:
    • “I just read a memoir entitled Riding Fury Home by Chana Wilson. This memoir is beautifully written and, ultimately redemptive. Wilson has a difficult relationship with her suicidal and frequently hospitalized mother. The title of this novel is apt as Chana has to come to terms with the anger and frustration of her childhood and, ultimately, forge a relationship with her mother that is positive and healing.”
    • “While I was on vacation, I read a fabulous psychological suspense novel called The Silent Wife by A.S. A. Harrison. Unfortunately, Ms. Harrison died after writing this masterpiece in her sixties. If you like a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, then pick up this book.”
    • “A friend of mine recommended Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand. Hildebrand is a very popular author who writes fiction that takes place in Nantucket. This particular novel is a fictional version of a woman whose husband, like Bernie Madoff, was involved in a large scale ponzi scheme. The main character, Meredith, did not realize that her husband was a crook. She takes refuge at her best friend Connie’s summer home in Nantucket. Meredith does not know if she will end up going to prison for her husband’s crimes or if her son will be held accuntable. For all she knows, she too will be locked up.”
    • “One of our patrons recommended that I read Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall. This is a wonderful young adult novel written in a sort of free verse form. Do not let this frighten you as the novel is easy to follow. Our main character, sixteen year old Tessa Reynolds, falls into a coma after getting hit in the head playing dodge ball at gym. She has a near death experience in which she is in heaven…which looks just like the mall where her parents are both employed. We are taken through Tessa’s childhood up to the moment when the dodge ball hits her. A lovely, bittersweet read.”
    • “I just read a wonderful book by Patti Callahan Henry called The Stories We Tell. This is a very good read, about a woman who seems to have it all and the accident that changes everything. We struggle along with Eve Morrison to try and figure out what is true and what is simply illusion. The writing is very descriptive and the characters are well developed. Lovely descriptions of Savannah and of the struggle to come to terms with a changing marital landscape.”
  • Jeanette:
  • Virginia: “Having read all of Karin Slaughter’s six Grant County thrillers (which ended with the devastating murder of the main character) I moved on to her more recent Will Trent series of seven books. Set in Atlanta this series revolves around an agent for the Georgia Bureau if Investigation who is deeply flawed & who has to operate around his severe dyslexia. Life is a challenge for Will Trent but his natural intelligence makes up for his inability to read. The first book in the series Triptych is a straight-forward crime thriller but as the series proceeds, imagine my surprise when I discover that characters from Grant County turn up in Atlanta living new lives which cross paths with Trent & his partner Faith Mitchell. Each thriller stands alone but it is a lot more fun to read them all in chronological order : Triptych, Fractured, Undone, Broken, Fallen, Criminal, and the last of the series which I am reading now Unseen. All of these books feature nail-biting suspense with a good deal of violence & mayhem. I highly recommend both series.”
  • Laura:
    • “I very much enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This non-linear novel captures the human spirit with beautiful descriptive prose as it examines life before and after the Georgian Flu wipes out 99% of the earth’s population. Arthur Leander, an actor who died onstage of a heart attack on the eve of the flu outbreak, is the link between the book’s seemingly unconnected main characters. I normally don’t pick up post-apocalyptic literature, but this book drew me in from the first scene. I highly recommend it.
    • “I’m about halfway through The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear, a novel about the early days of World War I, as seen through the eyes of a young British (and recently married) woman. This is a great look at how war affects those on the home front, and the role of women in the early part of the 20th century.”
    • “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve become quite the fan of the movie Frozen and I’ve spent the week listening to the soundtrack at home and in the car, courtesy of the library’s subscription to Hoopla, which allows patrons to check out popular albums and stream them on their devices and computers for no charge.”
    • “Following a recommendation from my co-worker, Maureen, I’ve been watching the DVD for the first season of the British show, Broadchurch starring Dr. Who himself, David Tennant, and Olivia Colman as detectives in a small town investigating the murder of a young boy. The murder investigation brings out a lot of secrets in a seemingly idyllic community.”
  • Maureen:
    • “Just finished reading, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty: a well developed character novel that really sets you thinking ,’can good people do very, very bad things, and what, exactly, are we responsible for, and for how long?'”
    • “Reading now The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry: I always enjoy this author stories and have just started this one that involves secrets and suspicion, family and friendship…pulls you in right from the beginning!”
  • Todd:
  • Gerry C.:
    • Rio DVD: “Disney animated musical comedy adventure about Blu, a male blue macaw who is taken to Rio to mate with a free-spirited female macaw, Jewel. They eventually fall in love and together escape from being smuggled by Nigel, a cockatoo. A fun family movie.”
    • Rio 2: “This DVD is a sequel to Disney 2011 Rio. The adventures continue with Blu and Jewel enjoying life with 3 children in Rio. Eventually Jewel believes they should go to the Amazon to help find more blue macaws. Fast moving fun, upbeat music. And return of their nemesis from Rio, Nigel. I loved watching both of these DVDs with my granddaughter one day and my grandson another!!”
    • Cinderella II: “A Disney DVD. Cinderella is my favorite Disney movie so when I saw this at the library I couldn’t believe I hadn’t watched it. My granddaughter is a princess-fan and since she was visiting, we watched it. The story picks up after Cinderella and the prince move to the palace with all of Cinderella’s mice friends and her fairy godmother. The mice are tired of the old story book they read so decide to write a new story book about all that has happened at the palace since Cinderella became a princess. If you like the original Cinderella you will find this sequel fun to watch.”
    • Every Turtle Counts by Sara Hoagland Hunter is a story about seven-year old Mimi who discovers a frozen sea turtle on the beach. She doesn’t realize she has stumbled on one of the rarest animals on earth. All she knows is she has to save it. Every Turtle Counts” is the story of an autistic child who, with the help of a devoted mother, rescues the turtle. This book tells an interesting story with beautiful illustrations done in soft colors. We enjoyed this book very much.”
    • Mr. Selfridge is a PBS Masterpiece presentation, starring Jeremy Piven. This is a story about American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, the colorful visionary founder of London’s lavish department store, Selfridge’s. Pioneering, reckless and with boundless energy, Harry Selfridge created a theater of retail for London in the 1900s. We love this series. It is fast moving and the cast is brilliant. Can’t wait to see what happens as we continue watching!!”
    • Cuckoo’s Calling written by J.K. Rowling published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith: “Cormorant Strike a private investigator is hired by the adopted brother of a famous supermodel Lula Landry to investigate his sister ‘s supposed suicide. Although the police investigation says it is a suicide, Strike begins an investigation of his own to see if there could have been foul play involved. After listening to 4 (of 13) discs, I had enough of this book. I found Strike’s investigation tedious with endless interviews of different people recounting their encounters with Lula. It is slow and I often had the feeling , who cares! I never cared about most of the characters, especially Lulu or the story. I would not recommend this book”
    • Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods is #30 in the Stone Barrington Series: “I have read/listened to many in this series.
      Stone Barrington is an elite New York lawyer and playboy. In this book he proves once again he is a man who wears many hats. Stone travels to Los Angeles for the biggest political convention of the year. When his current girlfriend summons him for help, he easily slips into the role of a discreet, behind the scenes powerbroker at the Democratic National Convention.
      Romance, intrigue are all about Stone Barrington. Stuart Woods seems to pump these books out. Although I am still drawn in by his characters, I found his earlier books were better.”
    • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri: “Story is about the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home. The name they give their first born Gogol brings many conflicts for the parents and seems to haunt Gogul on his own paths through his life. I felt so many emotions reading this book. Sadness, anger, confusion. It makes you think about what is really important and to make things count before it is too late.”
    • The Namesake – the movie. “Saw this after reading the book. Did not like this at all. It leaves so much detail out and rushes through some of the most important points of the book making the movie confusing as it rushes from one event to the other never really linking them.”
  • Anne: Anne has recently read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown and is currently reading Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer.
  • Marialice: Marialice has been enjoying watching The Inbetweeners through the library’s subscription to Hoopla.
  • Kate:
    • “Recently I’ve read a couple of almost-historical novels about loss and war. I borrowed Andrew Sean Greer’s The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells after reading his The Story of a Marriage with the book group. I found out that Greer usually writes about time travel, and for some reason that got my interest. The story starts in 1985, just after Greta has lost her twin brother to AIDS and broken up with her longtime love. She’s severely depressed. As a result of electroshock therapy treatments, Greta finds herself waking up inhabiting the lives of two other Greta Wells, one in 1918, and one in 1941. The New York apartment is the same, she’s basically unchanged, and the cast of characters is the same, but her relationships with her brother and boyfriend are not; their fates vary too. She cycles through the three Greta’s lives, and finds her actions changing with the times and circumstances. I enjoyed the book, but found it harder to suspend disbelief than I did with the “Time Traveler’s Wife”, which I loved. I’d point out Greta Wells to readers who like stories with relationship, social, and psychological themes, and don’t mind time travel.”
    • “Hearing the buzz about JoJo Moyes, and having a copy of The Girl You Left Behind available, I gave it a go. Moyes has created two connected stories: Sophie is in France in 1914, desperate to be reunited with her husband, who has been taken away by the Germans; In 2006, Liv slogs through life in the immaculate modern apartment designed by her now-dead architect husband. The two women are linked by a portrait of Sophie that plays a pivotal role in each of their lives. I found Sophie’s story of wartime struggle absorbing, but Liv’s behavior seemed silly and self-absorbed to me. Just the same, Moyes knows how to keep a reader’s attention to the end. Fans of historical fiction, tales of loss and survival, and parallel storylines might like The Girl You Left Behind. Additional hooks are art and architecture. I am now determined to find a few stories that do not feature miserable women!”
  • Marie:
  • Paula: “I just finished reading My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (downloadable e book). This memoir begins with her early years in the Bronx, her years at Princeton and Yale and concludes with her appointment to the Supreme Court. I really enjoyed reading about this amazing woman’s life!”
  • Doreen: “I’m reading The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. Love this book. Very well written.Focus is on three Australian families. Cecelia has the burden of her husband’s secret which she accidentally discovers in a letter. Story of the secret unfolds. Focus is on how Cecelia and her husband deal with it. The secret also affects another family in the story which adds another very serious element to the story.
    Great descriptions. Melbourne life and setting a large part of the story which I’m enjoying. Dark underlying theme, but with humorous behavior observations of the characters.”

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — August 31, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of August 31, 2014.