August 2023

Summer isn’t over yet! Here’s what we’ve enjoyed in the last of the long, summer days.


All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers
A decent mystery/thriller with twists and turns in mostly all the right places. I would have given it a solid 4 out of 5 stars, but then the ending made me feel physically ill. I kind of wish I could scrub this one from my brain. (Dana)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This book is about the love story between Celestial and Roy and the sudden twist of fate that changes their lives in an instant. Much of this story is told through the letters they write to each other. Beautifully written and incredibly sad. (Seana)

Blindsight by Peter Watts
A crew of astronauts encounter an alien lifeform so different from humanity that it raises disturbing implications about what it means to be alive. A cosmic horror story that is refreshingly free of H.P. Lovecraft’s influence, it ‘s a good read for anyone who likes their sci-fi to be scary. (Greg)

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle
My first 5-star read of the year. A young woman has grown up in a town whose economy revolves around a conversion therapy camp. It’s creepy and funny, and perfectly encapsulates the horror that is the reality of conversion therapy. (Ash)

Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers by Junauda Petrus, illustrated by Kristen Uroda
I think the title sums it up – a picture books for children and adults to read and talk about. I loved the review by School Library Journal: “A reverie of a book, offering criticism delivered with honey about our current state of affairs. It’s not at all as far-fetched as it sounds”. (Molly)

The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno
I wasn’t allowed to watch wrestling as a child, but I married someone who is interested in it. This easy to read nonfiction graphic novel has been enlightening on the art of professional wrestling- it’s part theater, part acrobatics, part fighting and 100% fascinating. (Liz)

The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand
This is one of her best yet – thoughtful storyline and more in-depth look at friendships through the year. (Kelly)

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
As Goodreads puts it, “Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders”. This book will have you on the edge of your seat from chapter 1, and has everything from nail biting action to much needed romance. (Karina)

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
This is middle grade fiction. I started reading the first chapter aloud with one of our middle school friends who had to read it this summer for school. I was instantly hooked! (And so was my middle school friend.) (Seana)

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (two reviews)
I found this because it’s the Teen book club pick. It was amazing and made me feel all the feelings. I’m so glad there’s more Filipino American stories out there! (Hazel)

This is Waltham High School’s summer reading selection, but it’s a story that can engage, entertain, and enlighten all ages. It’s brutally honest about the complicated stuff in life, like familial relationships and expectations, trauma and substance use disorders, diaspora, and the amorphous nature of our identity and our perception of the world as we strive to become our best selves. There are also sparks of love, friendship, and humor throughout! All of this AND insights into the ongoing socio-political saga of the Philippines. Patron Saints gives us a gripping insider look at Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte’s “War on Drugs” and how it has dramatically deteriorated human rights for many Filipino citizens today. (Lauren)

The Postcard by Anne Berest, translated by Tina Kover
The size of this book was pretty daunting, but having read it I’m amazed Berest was able to fit this story into only 464 pages. It’s the tale of her family, focusing on the bit starting in Russia in 1919 and ending in France around 1945. The book bounces between that history and present day, when Anne and her mother are investigating who sent a mysterious postcard listing the names of their family who had been killed during the Holocaust. It was hard to read in places, but is an amazing story of survival. (Dana)

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Fajardo-Anstine seamlessly weaves through generations and shows us that the past never dies – it just transforms. We are the product of our ancestors, and whether or not their stories were recorded on paper they live on in us – and if we are present enough to listen they will guide us. (Molly)


Babylon Berlin (Netflix)
Babylon Berlin is a gorgeous and graceful neo-noir television series set in Berlin during the Golden Twenties. It’s dark and twisted, but beautiful to look at. The mysterious plot trails a police commissioner who wrestles with shell-shock from his service in WWI and who is committed to investigating and dismantling Berlin’s biggest pornography ring. The story unwinds slowly, and in a delightfully confusing and dramatic way. (Lauren)

Heartstopper (Netflix, based on the graphic novel by Alice Oseman)
Great follow up to season 1 and Ace by Angela Chen makes an appearance! (Hazel)

Lost in Paris (Kanopy)
Fiona is a Canadian librarian who travels to France to visit her 88-year-old aunt who, it turns out, is missing. Hilarity and a whole lot of physical comedy ensue. (Janet)

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Prime Video, based on the book by Jenny Han )
I dont know how many times I said out loud (while watching it!) THIS IS SOO BAD – yet I could not stop watching it… (Elle)

Till tells the story of the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till and the activism of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Incredibly well done and still incredibly relevant. Why this movie and its lead actress weren’t nominated for Oscars is a mystery. It’s really that good. (Janet)

True Detective (Max)
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, the Louisiana bayou and occult murders? Sign me up! (Liz)
Check out our Max Roku to watch.

What We Do in the Shadows (Hulu)
A funny mockumentary about four vampires living on Staten Island and the poor human servant that has to deal with their crazy ideas. You’ll definitely like it if you like anything by Taika Waititi, and shows filmed like The Office. (Karina)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah (Netflix)
Adam Sandler plays a minor role in this film that stars his real-life daughters and wife. I love finding movies that my daughters and I equally enjoy and this is definitely one. Funny, modern, and sweet, it’s a delight. (Amber)


American Heartbreak by Zack Bryan
Given that Zack Bryan is slated to play Gillette next summer (with Jason Isbell opening), I am late to the Zach Bryan party. Better late than never, I am obsessed. (Amber)

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, narrated by the author
This had been on my TBR for quite some time after two years of consistent public praise. I have to say I was rather disappointed in it, not for Michelle’s storytelling (which was very well done), but for the story itself. (Elle)

Finding Me by Viola Davis, narrated by the author
Viola Davis is 1000% a storyteller! Less than ten minutes in I was crying. It’s heartbreaking, uplifting, relatable, hilarious, human. I am so glad I listened to the audiobook version to actually hear her tell her own story. Fun Fact: she won a Grammy for this audiobook narration! Yes – it’s that good. (Elle)

One Life by Megan Rapinoe, narrated by the author
For World Cup season I decided to read more about the people on the US National Team. I love the way Megan Rapinoe tells her story and uses her platform as an athlete for social justice. (Hazel)

The Retrievals (podcast)
This is not specifically a true crime podcast, but the experiences of hundreds of women at a Yale fertility clinic is nothing short of criminal. If binge listening is a thing, then that’s what I did. (Janet)

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