Staff Reads — Labor Day 2017!

Book Projector Treble Clef

Liz: Two things I’ve read, recently. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn. Vastly different genres, but both fantastic.

Janet Z.

Pat A.:

Debora H.:

  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult: A story about how race colors every facet of life in this country – and how differently we perceive that inequality. Told in three voices in a gripping, page turner style, it is the story of Ruth Jefferson, an African American nurse who is fired from her job when a patient dies; Turk Bauer, the white supremacist who refuses to let Ruth care for his son; and Kennedy McQuarrie, the white lawyer who defends Ruth at trial.
  • The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian: Another story told in three voices, the plot revolves around what happens when a bachelor party goes horribly wrong and two men are killed. The two men, it turns out, are handlers for the two young prostitutes who have been trafficked into sexual slavery from a young age. The most compelling voice is that of Alexandra, one of the prostitutes, and we learn how she was tricked into leaving home with a man who then began trafficking her. Like so many of Bohjalian’s books, this one is well researched and has a lot of eye opening – and painful – information about human trafficking.
  • Lovers of historical fiction will find these books by Pam Jenoff – The Kommandant’s Girl and The Diplomat’s Wife – hugely satisfying. The first is set in Poland during WWII and is the story of a Jewish woman who is able to escape the ghetto and live as a non-Jew. She gets a job working for a Nazi and begins helping the resistance by giving them information she has access to. The second book is set just after WWII ends and is about a woman who survived the concentration camps only to find she has to hide from her past.
  • I love anything by Michelle Moran who has written about ancient Egypt: Cleopatra’s Daughter, The Heretic Queen, and Nefertiti; 18th Century France:Madame Tussaud; and most recently India: Rebel Queen and Mata Hari’s Last Dance.

Mary V.:

  • Never Caught by Erica Armstrong Dunbar: One of the slaves of Martha Washington, Ona Judge, escaped from the Washington household when the President and Mrs.Washington were living in Philadelphia. Her escape was successful which was a very rare occurrence. The author relies on the oral testimony of Ona Judge who told her story at the end of her life and before emancipation.
  • Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson: I liked this mystery because it takes place on Beacon Hill in Boston.
  • Girl in Disguise by Greer MacAllister: This novel is based on the life of a nineteenth century woman who was the first woman to be hired by the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
  • Revenge in a Cold River by Anne Perry: This is the latest William Monk mystery
  • Someone Wants You Dead by Dick Bartlett: Dick Bartlett is a local author. This was an enjoyable mystery that takes place in New England, mostly in Rhode Island. If you are looking for some light reading, borrow this book and support a local author.
  • Cruel Mercy by David Mark: This is the latest Aector McAvoy mystery. This one is different because it takes place in New York City where Aector has gone to find a missing brother-in law.
  • The Ripper’s Shadow by Laura Joh Rowland: This is another novel based on the murders contributed to Jack the Ripper. I thought it was very well done.


  • March Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell: This compelling graphic novel trilogy details the 1960’s Civil Rights movement as seen through the eyes of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee’s and future Congressman John Lewis. The books work well as either an introduction to those less familiar with this part of history or as a complement to what budding historians have already learned. I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Congressman Lewis and Mr. Powell speak at the American Library Association Conference in June.
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (Audiobook on CD narrated by the author): This is a beautifully but not sentimentally told memoir by the current host of The Daily Show. Noah, the son of a black woman and a white man, discusses growing up during and after apartheid in South Africa. Noah is witty and thoughtful and brings an interesting perspective to the complicated topic of race relations. I recommend the audio version to get Noah’s full effect.
  • The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon: This lovely teen/young adult novel hits so many emotions. It’s sad, hopeful, and romantic, and has managed to become one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. The book is told in alternating points of view between Natasha, a Jamaican-American teenager whose family is about to be deported and Daniel, a Korean-American boy who is trying to live up to his parents’ expectations. The two cross paths one day and have a great effect on each other’s lives. Although this is Natasha and Daniel’s story, secondary and (seemingly) minor characters get their due and contribute, strongly, to the book. This may sound corny but I wanted to hug this book!
  • Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed by Sonia Choquette: If you loved Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Wild by Cheryl Strayed and are looking for a readalike, this memoir by a woman who found herself with a pilgrimage hiking el Camino de Santiago in France and Spain will be right up your alley. The book came alive for me when Choquette described all of the fellow pilgrims and travelers she encountered on the way.
  • The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (Downloadable Audiobook read by Linda Lavin): This novel, set in Boston during the early part of the twentieth century, is a great celebration of female friendships, empowerment, and family. I really enjoyed the story of Addie Baum, who details the story of her late childhood and early adulthood to an unseen granddaughter. Anita Diamant is known for writing strong female characters and this book is not an exception. Linda Lavin’s narration is wonderful!


  • House: Two Stories: This box set has the first two House movies from the 1980s. If you are a fan of campy/comedy horror from the 80s, you’ll love this. The first House is way better than the second one. I’m going to have to watch the other two movies that are in this series.
  • Sleight: This was a pretty captivating and sad movie by the producer of Get Out.
  • This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong: I loved the first book & movie, John Dies at the End. If you enjoyed that, you should read this.
  • Tranny by Laura Jane Grace: The Autobiography of the singer of Against Me! It is about the band, her life, and her transition from Tom Gabel to Laura Jane Grace. If you have never listened to them, you should! Their older albums from when they were signed to Fat Wreck are available on Freegal.
  • Coffin Hill: A pretty good graphic novel that takes place in Dorchester and Salem. Only three volumes in this series so it is an enjoyable quick read.
  • Streets of San Francisco by Swingin’ Utters: For the last 20 years, they have been one of my favorite punk bands, and I still haven’t seen them live. This is their first album that came out in 1995.
  • Turnstile Comix by The Slow Death: Just a great melodic punk album!
  • Live in Europe by Otis Redding: I rarely like live albums. So few singers perform with the energy of Otis Redding. I’ve listened to this way too many times!


  • The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson: WWI Historical Fiction. Wonderful rich language, character-based. Two thumbs up!
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: E-Book: Woman escapes the horrors of slavery through the Underground Railroad network. Three thumbs up!
  • Wonder by RJ Palacio: E-Book: Life of a disfigured boy. Amazing boy. Shares his feelings and observations of how the world views him. Also told from perspective of family and friends. Three thumbs up!
  • Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance: Audio Book: Memoir of a family in crisis. Describes his Appalachian upbringing and struggles. Thumb up!
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt: Story about a girl faced with dyslexia. Two thumbs up!
  • Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright: A Woman’s pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral after her mother’s death. Travels with other women on the journey. They each share their own stories. Was a good light summer read. Thumb up!
  • And lots of great picture books! Here are some recent favorites:
    Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty ??????
    My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook??
    What Do You Do with an Idea by Kobi Yamada ????
    Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford ??????
  • No Comments »

    1. Comment by Jeanette
      September 4, 2017 @ 11:23 pm

      Great titles everyone…adding many to my 2BRead list!
      Miss participating along with you…Take care

    2. Comment by Jeanette Curnyn
      September 4, 2017 @ 11:23 pm

      Great titles everyone…adding many to my 2BRead list!
      Miss participating along with you…Take care

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