What Are We Reading? November 26, 2014

Welcome to a special Thanksgiving edition of “What Are we Reading” featuring an entry from our new director, Kelly Linehan!

  • Jan: “I read The River by Beverly Lewis. This is a new work by a very prolific author of Amish fiction. She has written for readers of all ages and is well known for her stories about this fascinating group of people. This latest work concerns two sisters who left their community for the outside, or English, world. When they return for a family occasion they discover they both have secret problems that go back a long way. Solving them is difficult when they don’t quite fit in with the way of life they left behind.”
  • Jeanette:
    • Death of a Kingfisher (sound recording) by M.C. Beaton. “My first Hamish Macbeth mystery. Enjoyed it and look forward to more.”
    • Cross Fire (sound recording) by James Patterson. “Always enjoy Alex Cross mysteries.”
    • I Remember Nothing (sound recording) by Nora Ephron. “Love Nora Ephron’s take on life…I agree with many of her views. Sad that she is no longer with us!”
    • In Too Deep: an Arcane Society Novel (sound recording) by Jayne Ann Krantz. “Couldn’t get into this story, maybe at another time.”
    • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates (sound recording) by Wes Moore. “Another book with “Other” in the title. Very interesting to have someone with “your” name growing up nearby whose path in life takes a different route. Quote from a book summary: ‘Told in alter­nat­ing dra­matic nar­ra­tives that take read­ers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of sur­pris­ing redemp­tion, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a gen­er­a­tion of boys try­ing to find their way in a chal­leng­ing and at times, hos­tile world.'”
    • What the Dog Saw (sound recording) by Malcolm Gladwell “Interesting compilation of the authors writing from The New Yorker. Kind of like a short story book, you can pick and choose the ones you’re interested in reading.”
    • “We are watching the first season of The Blacklist. (We’re) fans of James Spader took us a couple of episodes to get into the characters but enjoying it so far.”

    “Here are a few Children’s Book that caught my eye down at rear circ when I was checking them in.”

  • Kelly: “I just finished Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. If you like the HBO series GIRLS, you’ll LOVE this book. I thought it genius. Crazy, but genius. The short essays are easy to read, amusing, and eclectic, although certainly best for a mature audience who isn’t easily fazed/horrified.”
  • Pat O.: Pat just finished Five Days Left by Julie Timmer.
  • Laura:
    • “I recently read the novel, Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley. In 1959, Sarah Dunbar is one of ten African-American teenagers to integrate Jefferson High School in a small town in Virginia. The treatment that Sarah and the others endure at the hands of many of the white students and even some of the teachers is appalling and gut wrenching to read. Although this book is technically a work of fiction, Sarah’s experience is all too real and leaves a lasting impression. Fans of this book may also enjoy the non-fiction book Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick, which is about the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas and the relationship between the two students in this picture on the first day of school.”
    • “I’m currently listening to the book The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, courtesy of the library’s Hoopla subscription. Outside of Sydney, Australia, housewife and Tupperware maven, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, discovers a letter from her husband to be opened upon his death. Even though he’s very much alive, and the contents have enormous consequences for her and two women who seemingly have little connection to the Fitzpatrick family. To see any more would be to give it away, but Moriarty is great at building a scene and developing her characters. Caroline Lee brings everything to life with her delightful narration.”
    • True confession time. I have a (slightly unhealthy) obsession with 1970’s and 1980’s television shows. In many cases, the cheesier the better. I’ve recently begun a binge watch of The Love Boat, an old favorite. Okay, so it made no sense that a teenage girl was being raised on a cruise ship, the ship’s doctor spent more time hitting on passengers than he did treating them, the yeoman purser (whatever that is, exactly) just cracked bad jokes all the time rather than do any work, the cruise director had her heart stomped on by every male passenger, and the ship’s bartender managed to be at every bar on the boat at the exact same time. A Love Boat binge watch has been an enjoyable and mindless way to relax at the end of the day, and maybe dream of warmer weather!”
  • Paula: Paula has read Almost a Woman by Esmeralda Santiago (the sequel to When I Was Puerto Rican) and Imagined London:A Tour of the World’s Greatest Fictional City by Anna Quindlen. She is currently reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and has watched The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire.
  • Gerry:
    • Love Letters by Debbie Macomber. “This is the third book in the Rose Harbor Inn Series. It is a cozy story about the loves and heartaches of the guests who stay at the Rose Harbor Inn in Cedar Cove, a town in Washington State. It is also the continuing story of the Inn’s owner Jo Marie Rose. I enjoy Debbie Macomber’s easy writing style and how she makes you care about her characters. I feel like they are friends.”
    • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption (sound recording) by Lauren Hillenbrand “This is the true story of 26 year old Louis Zamperini and his imprisonment and torture during World War II in Japanese prison camps. Although the subject of this book was difficult to hear, I recommend it for all to read or listen to. A movie version of this book will be released in December 2014.”
    • The Fall Season 1 Starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. “This British TV series is set in Northern Ireland. It is a psychological thriller that examines a serial killer who stalks his victims and a female detective who is brought in to catch him. After each episode we had to take a break from this gritty program. We are hooked!”
    • Mr. Peabody and Sherman. “The DVD of the movie based on the television show of the same name.”
    • Gerry is also currently listening to the audiobooks Open Season by CJ Box and The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva.
  • Virginia:
    • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk (non-fiction). “This intense, scholarly book is written by a local Boston psychiatrist who specializes in PTSD. It includes details about the structure of the brain especially when it has been traumatized. One chapter covers EMDR as a treatment for flashbacks & it also reveals the fact that modern day psychiatric medications do very little to help resolve trauma.”
    • Losing Tim : How Our Health & Educational Systems Failed My Son with Schizophrenia by Paul Gionfriddo (non-fiction). “This is the sad true story of a boy named Tim who, as the subtitle reveals , suffered from schizophrenia by the time he was 10 years old. It took another ten years to get a precise diagnosis so he was badly served by the school system which constantly punished him & suspended him for behavior over which he had no control. Because of the lack of coordinated cohesive treatment Tim ended up denied an education & later spent years on & off in jails due to the inability of mental health facilities & programs to deal with his particular needs.”
    • Yours for Eternity: a Love Story on Death Row by Damien Echols (non-fiction). “Having already read the biography of Damien Echols several years ago I was delighted to find a new book by Echols & his eventual wife Lorri Davis whom he wed while on Arkansas death row. Their relationship is illustrated by the many letters they sent to one another as Echols languished on death row for a horrific crime he did not commit. The story of the West Memphis 3 is well known mainly due to the documentary called ‘Paradise Lost’ which revealed the outrageous injustice which saw a teenaged Echols & two of his friends charged with the murder of 3 little boys. There was no evidence to convict them but public hysteria prevailed & Bible Belt bigots insisted they must be guilty because they wore black clothing & listened to heavy metal music. Echols was tortured & tormented in prison, living in a tiny cell for 22 hours a day. He suffered terribly but during these dark years he received letters from Lorri Davis who had seen the documentary made about the railroading of the WM3 & was horrified by the injustice. They discovered they were kindred souls & very quickly fell in love. These letters helped them to create a world of their own where Echols could transcend the grueling endless hours of incarceration. This book does a wonderful job at portraying the human spirit as it endeavors to survive as years go by. After 18 years Echols was finally released although Arkansas refused to admit that they had made a mistake in prosecuting him. Davis took over control of his case as lawyers came & went. Echols was released in 2011 suffering from intense PTSD.”
    • Will Not Attend : Lively Stories of Detachment & Isolation by Adam Resnick (non-fiction). “This is a hilarious book by a writer for David Letterman & SNL who is also a screenwriter. Resnick does not like people. Any people. Ever since he was small he has spent his life avoiding social interaction & this book relates unfortunate episodes with unpleasant people in his life, including a nightmarish trip (against his better judgment) to Disney World.”
    • An Atheist in the FOXhole by Joe Muto (non-fiction). “This is a snarky hilarious true story of a young liberal who, just out of college, goes to work for the conservative Fox News in NYC for 8 years, 5 of the years working for Bill O’Reilly. Eventually his conscience gets the better of him & he turns spy, an informant as to just how ‘unbalanced’ & ‘unfair’ the network really is. Written with a good deal of suspense & sarcasm, this is a delightful read & very informative of a behind-the-scenes TV production.”
  • Maureen:
    • “Just finished reading: The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene. A chic lit story that takes place in the English countryside, Jenny Davis is at a car boot sale looking for vintage teacups for her upcoming wedding. She falls in love with a set only to discover two women are right behind her looking at the same set. They decide to buy them jointly and share the use. This is the beginning of new friendships and how lives become woven together. A charming, well written book that relieves your stress at this time of year!”
    • “Now reading: Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom. Emmy lives in California with her mother, Kate. Emmy has spent her entire life believing that her father was dead and that her mother had no family. Now at sixteen she discovers she has a Dad and an Aunt & Uncle who live in Washington. So Emmy is being sent to eastern Washington to spend the summer getting to know her Aunt & Uncle that she and her Mom lived with when Emmy was a baby. Emmy is reluctant to go but grows to love her birthplace, her new found family and the Native American boy , Reuben, who lives next door. I am 3/4 of the way through and looking forward to finishing this debut novel.”
    • “Am listening to: the digital download of And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass. Kit Noonan has reached a fork in the road. Underemployed with no clear sense of purpose, he is floundering, until his wife urges him to take some time away to work out the secret of his father’s identity. That search leads him back to his stepfather Jasper in Vermont – a self-sufficient outdoors man who effectively raised him along with two stepbrothers. Glass writes so well that you are completely swept up in the lives of her complex and interesting characters. The narrator is great and I am thoroughly enjoying this as I knit away!!”
  • Louise: The Language of Flowers by Vannesa Diffenbaugh: “I had the privilege of reading the book and listening to the audio version. This tale of a foster child growing up in California will touch your heart as she struggles with connection. In one of her placements, Victoria Jones actually does find some hope with the emotionally scarred Elizabeth. She learns about flowers and the Victorian (note the pun on Victoria’s name) language of flowers. Elizabeth goes through a series of difficult foster and group homes but still manages to find meaning and hope in her life. This book is beautifully written and, even if you forget the Latin names of the flowers as I do, you will still find a lot to love. I recommend this book to fans of White Oleander by Janet Fitch. White Oleander is a beautifully written, poetic novel about a daughter who ends up in foster care. Her mother is charged with the murder of a lover who scorned her and we follow Astrid as she struggles to create a life for herself. Please do see the movie as well.”
  • Todd: Todd is reading American Plague : the Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby and has been listening (courtesy of the library’s Freegal subscription), the new Swingin’ Utters album, Fistful of Hollow


Historical Waltham Maps

Good News!
The Waltham Public Library is now officially a part of Digital Commonwealth! This is a non-profit group that provides digitized versions of historical resources in Massachusetts. Over 130 institutions are now members. The first phase of Waltham’s involvement is Historical Maps. We have provided 14 maps covering 1831-1923. They can be sorted by title or date and can be easily enlarged. Click here or go to our online resources page and select “Maps” or “Genealogy”.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — November 16, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of November 16, 2014.

2015 Waltham Public Library Book Club Selections

Announcing the 2015 reading list for the Waltham Public Library Book Club!*
Printer Friendly List

*The Waltham Public Library Book Club meets on the third Thursday of each month (except December) from 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm in the library’s Trustee Room. Copies of the books are available at the Main Circulation Desk during the month before the respective book’s meeting. For more information about the Waltham Public Library Book Club, please contact Laura Bernheim at, 781-314-3435 or Louise Goldstein at, 781-314-3429.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — November 9, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of November 9, 2014.

What Are We Reading? November 4, 2014

Welcome to a special Election Day “What Are We Reading”!

  • Jeanette:
    • “We finished watching the Northern Exposure TV Series – found the last season to be a little silly – stretching for story lines after Rob Morrow aka Dr. Joel Fleischman left. Actually there were a few long boring episodes before he finally left too! Got tired of his kvetching and whining!”
    • The Beekeeper’s Apprentice [sound recording] / Laurie R. King
      “Really liked this book – I listened to it on CD’s – I got to disc #11 and the murderer was getting ready to strike – put in the final disc only to find it wouldn’t play because there was a crack in it! Talk about suspense…Couldn’t wait to get a replacement so I could finish it. So many adaptations about Sherlock Holmes between books, movies and television, it was fun to look at it how his “apprentice” coped with him. Looking forward to more of the Mary Russell mysteries.”
    • Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin “Really Liked this book. I didn’t realize that Alice “from” Wonderland was based on a real girl! This was a Fascinating Read! I may have to read Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll one of these days.”
    • Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos “Interesting but a little weird. Story about three siblings who grew up grieving about their mother’s disappearance when they were children.”
    • The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin “Excellent book by someone who really knows the meaning of the word “Spectrum” she experienced many of them.”
    • The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida “Another good book about autism – a memoir by a 13 year old boy with autism. He answers a lot of questions.”
    • The Farm by Tom Rob Smith “Started reading this then realized I had the wrong book – I meant to request
      My Gentle Barn : Creating a Sanctuary where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope by Ellie Laks. Couldn’t get into the story family problems etc etc…so gave up on The Farm and will wait for My Gentle Barn.”

    “I read or at least started to read 3 books with the word ‘Other’ in the title – Don’t think I’ll look for others!”

    • The Other by David Guterson “Didn’t get too far into this one – maybe another time. John William Barry from a wealthy Seattle family, drops out of college and moves into the woods to disappear. He enlists the help of Neils Countryman from Ireland, who shared the love of the outdoors with John to help.”
    • The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay (author of Sarah’s Key “This was the story about a young man who found secrets about his past that lead to changes in his life.
      Didn’t finish this one either.”
    • The Other Typist: a Novel by Suzanne Rindell “Liked the old time references to typing pools and old manual typewriters – brought back memories. The story set in the 1920’s is about a typist for the NY City Police Department – who is influenced by another typing pool member into the world of speakeasies etc after work.”
  • Virginia:
    • Behind the Gates of Gomorrah: a Year with the Criminally Insane by Stephen Seager. “This is a very interesting book written by a psychiatrist working at Napa State mental hospital in California. The constant violence is not surprising but the fact that medical professionals endure and thrive in this atmosphere is very impressive. Dr. Seager chronicles his nail-biting rookie year at a hospital for criminals judged too insane to stand trial for their horrific crimes as he uneasily comes to care about mass murderers.”

    • Time Has Come by Jim Bakker. “As a Pre-Trib believer I was initially disappointed that this excellent book of bible prophecy is Post-Trib. Jim Bakker (of Jim & Tammy Bakker fame) explains his reasons for turning away from PreTribulation beliefs. I was interested in his reasoning but ultimately found it unconvincing. The book is very informative in translating various aspects of Revelation from the Greek. I’m waiting to read the library’s commentaries David Jeremiah’s Agents of the Apocalypse & Mark Hitchcock’s Blood Moons Rising“.
    • The Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan Kellerman & his son Jesse. “This is a totally weird book & very difficult to categorize. Kellerman (who has written many thrillers featuring Dr. Alex Delaware) has struck out in a different direction. The book is part thriller & part supernatural with an alcoholic LA police detective who is chosen to solve a peculiar murder of a serial killer because he is Jewish. The crime scene has a Hebrew word for ‘Justice’ left behind with a severed head. The chapters alternate with a tale of ancient biblical times set in Genesis which develops into a supernatural story of vengeance & revenge. The interesting thing is that these 2 stories seem to have nothing to do with one another yet by the conclusion vengeance of biblical proportions shows up in modern day LA. Well written, it features Kellerman’s spare narration & sly sense of humor.”
  • Laura: “I’m currently reading Lucky Us by Amy Bloom. I was a great fan of her book, Away. I enjoy her brand of historical fiction. I’m also reading Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton, a romance featuring a straight laced librarian as one third of a love triangle. It’s absurd and a little blush inducing but fun. I’m listening to the album Men of Steel: 50 Great Superhero Themes courtesy of the library’s Hoopla subscription.”
  • Maureen:
    • The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan “It’s the 1950s and times are tight for the Ryan family with ten kids , the Mom helps to keep poverty at bay by entering contests and winning all types of prizes. She won everything from candy bars, appliances, shopping sprees and cars to a cash prize that enabled her to put a down payment on a house just as they were being evicted from their two bedroom rental house .Evelyn Ryan had great spirit and a phenomenal sense of humor which she passed on to her kids. Terry Ryan has written a wonderful tribute to her Mother, a woman who was determined to do what ever it took to keep her family afloat and to do it in a positive upbeat way. This is Non-Fiction that reads like Fiction and will stay with you long after you close the book.”
    • The Dark Winter by David Mark “A new British crime series introduces us to Det. Sgt. Aector McAvoy, originally from the Scottish Highlands now residing in the bleak port city town of Hull in Yorkshire. McAvoy is a gentle giant who is on the Crime squad when a teenage girl is savagely murdered in Hull’s most historic church, and it is Aector who discovers that the girl and subsequent victims were all survivors of previous fatal tragedies. It is a fast paced novel with well developed characters and now I’m moving on to #2 Original Skin.”
    • The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell “It is a well written story with great character development.The Bird family grew up in in a picture perfect home in the idyllic Cotswolds in England, with their mother, Lorelei and father, Colin. Easter Egg hunts were a tradition and as time moved on, Lorelei seems unable to let go of even the tiniest trinket that belonged to her children and as a result her home becomes a prison filled with stuff she has hoarded over the years. After her death her adult children are left with the task of cleaning out their childhood home and unraveling the mystery of why their Mother became such a hoarder. It is a creative storyline with unconventional characters that compel you to finish reading to see how they all turned out.”
    • Currently reading The Long Way Home: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny “I’ve just started it but as expected Penny writes about complex characters dealing with complex emotional issues in the most perfect village in the world. Oh to live in Three Pines and have a café au lait sitting by the fire in the Bistro…doesn’t get any better than that!”
    • Just finished listening to The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman (Digital download) “Two sisters, Gwen, widowed, and Margot , divorced, join forces and become roommates in Margot’s luxurious Greenwich Village apartment, that she can no longer afford thanks to Bernie Madoff. They take in a third roommate, the affable Anthony who likes to bake cupcakes and has lost his job with Lehman Brothers. Basically it is a story about starting over and figuring out life in the 21st Century. It is really enjoyable because of the humor and characters. A nice light read.”
  • Nancy D.: Nancy has just finished The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue and Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom.
  • Todd: Todd is listening to Lagwagon’s new album Hang via the Library’s account to Freegal and is reading Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. He also watched the movie Witching and Bitching. “It’s very strange Spanish film that has a great mix of horror and comedy.”
  • Pat A:
    • “Just finished Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer (recommended by our co-worker, Anne). It is the story of a woman who has Huntington’s disease and her decision to give herself five days when her disease progresses to a certain point, and a man who has a foster child who needs to be returned in five days. Great characters.”
    • “I am now reading The Fault In Our Stars. A simple touching story of two teenagers struggling with disease. I wanted to read it before seeing the movie.”
  • Janice: “I read The Complete Gone With the Wind Trivia Book, by Pauline Bartel. The highest-grossing film of all time (adjusted for inflation) has inspired this 2nd edition of a fun book packed with everything “Windies” have to know. Just one example: Arguably the most famous dress in film history is the green velvet “drapery dress” Mammy fashioned for Scarlet out of her mother Ellen’s portiers. It was intended to work magic on Rhett so Scarlett could get the $300 in tax money for Tara. The scene spawned an iconic parody by Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman with the line “I saw it in a window, and I just couldn’t resist it.” In 2009 Carol and designer Bob Mackie donated the costume to the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.”

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — November 2, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of November 2, 2014.

New Library Director!

The Trustees of the Waltham Public Library are pleased to announce that Kelly Linehan has agreed to be the new Library Director at the Waltham Public Library.

Here are a few of the talents she’ll be bringing with her:
• Bachelor’s degree in Theater & English Lit from Regis;
• MLS from Simmons;
• Grew up in Waltham and was a Student Page here WPL;
• Has been working full-time in Cambridge for 10 years, most recently as Manager of Public Services for 5 Cambridge libraries, supervising branch staff;
• Previously also worked in Winchester & Watertown public libraries;
• Certified in Mental Health First Aid;
• Very proficient with technology, marketing and social media;
• One of 40 librarians selected from a national pool to participate in ALA’s Leading the Future, a 4-day immersive leadership development program;

Please stop in and meet her during an Open House on Wednesday, December 10th 3-7pm in the Lecture Hall at the Library, 735 Main Street.