What The Director Is Reading

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman When Britt-Marie’s husband leaves her, she is left adrift, with no employable skills, no family and no home. Low on social skills and obsessed with cleaning, Britt-Marie doesn’t seem to have a lot to offer. When the employment office manages to get her a job in the dying town…

Jen Recommends: Watergate: A New History – Garret M. Graf

Watergate: A New History – Garret M. Graf I’ve been a Watergate junkie since college and have consumed over the years, every book, documentary, podcast, and movie I could find on the subject. In recent years however, the stories behind these scandals have lost their appeal due to the extreme unlikelihood that we’ll ever see…

Alissa Reviews: Smile and Look Pretty by Amanda Pellegrino

Amanda Pellegrino’s novel Smile and Look Pretty exposes the precariousness of industries which rely on the exploitation of assistants to maintain status quo. Cate, Lauren, Max and Olivia are four close friends who are all assistants to powerful figures in various entertainment industries. These twenty-something women all had big dreams when starting their careers, and…

Alissa Reviews: The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka’s new book, The Swimmers, is a little bit of a puzzle. It is beautifully written, and heartbreaking in its clarity. Is it a novel? Is it essays? Is it a collection of three novellas? Maybe it does not matter what it is, but it is a little jarring when the first “novella” or…

Jim Reviews: The Salvage Crew by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

After finishing a reread of Martha Wells’ Murder Bot Diaries series I was looking for something similar to read. You may not know this but the library has access to a program that helps you pick new books to read: Novelist. I availed myself of its services and it suggested among other things The Salvage…

Alissa Reviews: True Biz by Sara Nović

True Biz is Sara Nović’s latest novel, and takes the reader on an amazing journey. The story is told from the perspective of three narrators. One is February Waters, the headmistress at an Ohio boarding school for Deaf students. February is a hearing ally to the Deaf community, who grew up with a Deaf mother.…

Alissa Reviews: The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth.

Sally Hepworth’s latest novel, The Younger Wife, is an engaging domestic suspense story that will appeal to everyone who loves Sally’s writing as much as I do. The book begins at the wedding of Stephen Aston and Heather Wisher, and the narrator is an unnamed wedding guest. Stephen’s adult daughters Tully and Rachel are bridesmaids,…

Today In History Reading List

In our Today In History Reading List feature, we take the events of a particular day in history and try to give you a work of fiction and a work of non-fiction relating to those events. 1689 – Bostonians Rise Up And Imprison Edmund Andros, the governor of the Dominion of New England In the…

We’ve Got A New Feature: Book News!

We have added a Book News widget to the Read This blog. It’s located under the picture of the library in the right sidebar. It will be a regularly currated list of interesting book news from around the web. Think there’s something that belongs in the list? Email us and let us know: danversref@noblenet.org.

Meg Reviews: Heartstopper – Alice Oseman

Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series is the most comforting read I’ve picked up in a while. The young adult graphic novel romance series currently has four volumes with a fifth on the way (although if you’re too impatient to wait for the fifth to be published, author Alice Oseman releases updates three times a month on…

Meg Reviews: Honey Girl – Morgan Rogers

A friend of mine recommended Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers to me after I ranted about a different romance novel I disliked, and it was the perfect palate cleanser! At its most basic core, this is a lesbian spin on the classic “waking up married to a stranger in Vegas” trope, but it is so…

Jim Recommeneds: The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Phoenix Park Murders that Stunned Victorian England – Julie Kavanagh

The Irish Assassins by Julie Kavanagh One sunlit evening, May 6 l882, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke, Chief Secretary and Undersecretary for Ireland, were ambushed and stabbed to death while strolling through Phoenix Park in Dublin. The murders were funded by American supporters of Irish independence and carried out by the Invincibles, a militant…

Alissa Reviews: The Henna Artist – Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, is the first book in the Jaipur Trilogy, and is currently being adapted for a TV series. The novel tells the story of Lakshmi, who escaped an abusive marriage at age seventeen and fled to the city of Jaipur. She establishes herself as a henna artist to the women…

What The Director Is Reading

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. Winner of the Printz Award for best teen fiction of the year, this thriller features part-Obijwe native Daunis Fontaine, newly graduated from high school and about to start college in the fall.  When a brutal murder-suicide thrusts her into the midst of an FBI investigation into drug dealers and fatally…

Alissa Reviews: The Sisters Sweet – Elizabeth Weiss

The Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss. The Sisters Sweet is the debut novel of author Elizabeth Weiss. The story is set in Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, and narrated by Harriet. Harriet and her twin sister Josie are the daughters of Maud and Lenny. Maude is a former Vaudeville performer, whose rise to fame…

Jim Recommends – From My Nightstand

Some of the books that I have setting on my nightstand waiting to be read The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo the Transformation of Western Civilization by Paul Strathern Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of Galileo in 1642, something happened that transformed the entire culture of western civilization. Painting, sculpture,…

Today In History Reading List – February 14

In our Today In History Reading List feature, we take the events of a particular day in history and try to give you a work of fiction and a work of non-fiction relating to those events. 748 – Abbasid Revolution The Abbasid revolution over threw the Umayyad Caliphate and establised the Abbasid Caliphate which lasted…

Alissa Reviews: A Little Hope – Ethan Joella

A Little Hope by Ethan Joella A Little Hope is a beautifully written novel, with an unusual balance of joy and heartbreak. The book begins with a young family, Greg and his wife Freddie, and their young daughter Addie. Greg and Freddie are reeling from Greg’s recent diagnosis of multiple myeloma, and trying to keep…

A Listen List For Your Commute and Walks

Here are some of the staff’s favorite audiobooks. Perfect for your commute, a quiet walk or a workout at the gym. Where possible we’ve linked them to our digital download services Overdrive (aka Libby) or Hoopla but they are often available in other audio formats as well. Check our catalog. Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa…

Julie’s Favorite Reads of 2021

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny Chief Inspector Gamache finds his holiday with his family interrupted by a simple request. He’s asked to provide security for what promises to be a non-event. Then Gamache starts looking into Professor Abigail Robinson and discovers an agenda so repulsive he begs the university to cancel the lecture.…

Meg’s Favorite Reads of 2021

Kindred by Octavia E Butler Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned across the years to save…

Jen’s Favorite Reads of 2021

A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris In this follow-up to his previous volume of diaries, Theft by Finding, the award-winning humorist chronicles the years 2003-2020, charting the years of his rise to fame with his trademark misanthropic charm and wry wit. The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich From one of our most innovative and…

Shilpa Reviews: Crow – Barbara Wright

Crow by Barbara Wright This middle grade historical fiction novel was written in 2012 and covers the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot and only successful coup on American soil. The local elected government in Wilmington that included  African American Alderman and white officials who supported them were threatened and banished from the town. White Supremacists completely…

Ari’s Favorite Reads of 2021

Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit By Colby Cedar Smith This novel in verse captures one young woman’s struggle for independence, equality, and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants in tumultuous 1930s Detroit The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow. By Alyssa Palombo When her secret lover, Ichabod…

Shilpa’s Favorite Reads of 2021

Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America by Maria Hinojosa. Emmy Award-winning NPR journalist Maria Hinojosa shares her personal story interwoven with American immigration policy’s coming-of-age journey at a time when our country’s branding went from “The Land of the Free” to “the land of invasion.” Nubia. Real…

Angelina’s Favorite Reads Of 2021

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner Anne Glenconner has been at the center of the royal circle from childhood, when she met and befriended the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, the Princess Margaret. Though the firstborn child of the 5th Earl of Leicester, who…

Director’s Favorite Reads Of 2021

Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown As World War II comes to a close, the United States and the Soviet Union emerge as the two greatest world powers on extreme opposites of the political spectrum. After the United States showed its hand with the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, the Soviets refuse to…

Fran Reviews: Doctors and Friends – Kimmery Martin

Fran’s comment: This eerily prescient novel about a global virus is a well written but troubling read. The saving grace is the relationship and input of the doctor friends that give it a much needed human perspective. The healing power of their friendship is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. About the…

Chris S. Recommends: The Production of Space – Henri Lefebvre; translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith

“Henri Lefebvre has considerable claims to be the greatest living philosopher. His work spans some sixty years and includes original work on a diverse range of subjects, from dialectical materialism to architecture, urbanism and the experience of everyday life. The Production of Space is his major philosophical work and its translation has been long awaited…

Angelina Recommends: Festival Days – Jo Ann Beard

“When “The Fourth State of Matter,” her now famous piece about a workplace massacre at the University of Iowa was published in The New Yorker, Jo Ann Beard immediately became one of the most influential writers in America, forging a path for a new generation of young authors willing to combine the dexterity of fiction with the…

Chris S. Recommends: The Complete Cosmicomics – Italo Calvino

“In Italo Calvino’s cosmicomics, primordial beings cavort on the nearby surface of the moon, play marbles with atoms, and bear ecstatic witness to Earth’s first dawn. Exploring natural phenomena and the origins of the universe, these beloved tales relate complex scientific concepts to our common sensory, emotional, human world. Now, The Complete Cosmicomics brings together…

Chris S. Recommends: Água Viva – Clarice Lispector

“A meditation on the nature of life and time, Água Viva (1973) shows Lispector discovering a new means of writing about herself, more deeply transforming her individual experience into a universal poetry. In a body of work as emotionally powerful, formally innovative, and philosophically profound as Clarice Lispector’s, Água Viva stands out as a particular…

What Julie is Reading

I just finished Louise Penny’s latest – but it’s not a Three Pines/Gamache book. She wrote a political thriller with Hillary Clinton. I don’t usually read thrillers, but decided to try State of Terror because I love Louise’s writing. And it was great! Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop. Highly recommend. I am…

Chelsey Recommends: Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir

Chelsey’s comment: I just finished Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and highly recommend it! “Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature…

Ari’s Historical Fiction Picks

This House is Haunted by John Boyne “This House Is Haunted is a striking homage to the classic nineteenth-century ghost story. Set in Norfolk in 1867, Eliza Caine responds to an ad for a governess position at Gaudlin Hall. When she arrives at the hall, shaken by an unsettling disturbance that occurred during her travels,…

Rachel Reads: Massachusetts Book Awards Nominees

The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published by current Commonwealth residents. As a judge for the 21st Annual Awards, I’ve been tasked with reading all fourteen fiction nominees. Read more reviews here and here. An interwoven set of linked chapters, Inheritors is also a generational saga…

What the Director is Reading

The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.” I reread this book every November. It has unforgettable characters and the descriptions of the fictional island of Thisby will draw vivid images in your mind. Based loosely on old myths and stories, the vicious, carnivorous…

Ari’s Historical Fiction Picks

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid “Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?…

Jen’s Pick: If you miss Downton Abbey…

House of Gold – Natasha Solomons “The start of a marriage. The end of a dynasty. It’s 1911 and Greta Goldbaum is forced to move from glittering Vienna to damp England to wed Albert, a distant cousin. The Goldbaum family are one of the wealthiest in the world, with palaces across Europe, but as Jews…

Rachel Reads: Massachusetts Book Awards Nominees

The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published by current Commonwealth residents. As a judge for the 21st Annual Awards, I’ve been tasked with reading all fourteen fiction nominees. Read more reviews here. Set in a (post-apocalyptic?) future, The Bear follows an unnamed father and daughter through…

Ari’s Favorite Halloween Movies and Books

Are you looking for some spooky movies and books to read this month to countdown to Halloween? Here are my favorite movies and books to watch and read for the month of Halloween! Movies to Watch Addams Family Values Clue The Nightmare Before Christmas BeetleJuice Sleepy Hollow Corpse Bride Crimson Peak Frankenstein The Shining Nosferatu…

Michelle Recommends: Wolves and Honey: A Hidden History of the Natural World – Susan Brind Morrow

“Susan Brind Morrow brings her singular sensibility as a classicist and linguist to this strikingly original reflection on the fine but resilient threads that bind humans to the natural world. Anchored in the emblematic experiences of a trapper and a beekeeper, Wolves and Honey explores the implications of their very different relationships to the natural…

What the Director is Reading

Wilmington’s Lie: the Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy – David Zucchino. I won’t lie, there are no silver linings in this work of nonfiction. It is the unflinching and highly readable account of a well planned overthrow of the Republican government in Wilmington, North Carolina by the local Democrats. There…

Rachel Reads: Massachusetts Book Awards Nominees

The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published by current Commonwealth residents. As a judge for the 21st Annual Awards, I’ve been tasked with reading all fourteen fiction nominees. Looking for an eccentric short story collection? Try Julian K. Jarboe’s Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel.…

Julie Recommends a Book List

In her September newsletter Deanna Raybourn*, author of the Veronica Speedwell series and the Lady Julia Grey series, shared an intriguing list of books, several of which I plan to read. This, in particular, sounded really interesting: The Woman Before Wallis: Prince Edward, the Parisian Courtesan, and the Perfect Murder – Andrew Rose “Prince Edward…

Shilpa Reviews: Steeped in Stories:Timeless Children’s Novels to Refresh our Tired Souls – Mitali Perkins

Who says children’s books are only for children? Rereading books from my childhood with my children has been exciting and eye-opening. Through adult eyes, the nuances jump out at me like newly discovered treasures making for fun and often lively discussions with my kids. With her immigrant background and through personal anecdotes, Mitali Perkins’ new…

What the Director Is Reading

The Traitor’s Blade by Kevin Sands, the 5th book in the Blackthorn Key series. This terrific middle grade series for older elementary/teen readers (and people like me!) features an apothecary’s apprentice in London in the mid-1600s. Every book finds Christopher and his friends using chemistry and ciphers to help solve a crime or mystery. I…

Patron Recommendation: Becoming Mrs. Lewis

“When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford professor and the beloved writer of The Chronicles of Narnia, yet their minds bonded…

Shilpa’s What’s Your Four?

Steeped in Stories – Mitali Perkins “The stories we read as children shape us for the rest of our lives. But it is never too late to discover that transformative spark of hope that children’s classics can ignite within us. Award-winning children’s author Mitali Perkins grew up steeped in stories–escaping into her books on the…

Rachel Reviews: Ghosts – Dolly Alderton

Ghosts starts and ends on Nina Dean’s birthday but, in between, the reader gets to spend a year in the life of someone trying to figure it out. She falls in love and also out of it, she starts arguments and then reconciles them, she struggles and makes mistakes and realizes big things… and then…

Chelsey’s What’s Your Four?

The Sweetness of Water – Nathan Harris “In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping…