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Five Book Friday!

And it’s time again, beloved patrons, for the Peabody Elementary Schools Art Show here at the Main Library!

The Elementary Schools Student Art Show is scheduled for May 8 — 28 in the Peabody Institute Library’s Main Reading Room.  Anyone who comes to visit the Main Library during this time will have the opportunity to enjoy artwork from Peabody’s eight public elementary schools!  The art show is one of our favorite events of the year, filling the library with color, imagination, and a myriad of mixed media artwork.  Come on by and see for yourself!

And now, here are some of the books that have slogged through this damp spring to make it to our shelves, and are eager to pass the weekend by your side.

Sing To It: New Stories: Multiple-award-winning author Amy Hempel is a master of the short story, as proven in these fifteen stunning stories. Each of these bite-sized bits of fiction introduce characters, lonely and adrift, searching for connection. In “A Full-Service Shelter,” a volunteer at a dog shelter tirelessly, devotedly cares for dogs on a list to be euthanized. In “Greed,” a spurned wife examines her husband’s affair with a glamorous, older married woman. And in “Cloudland,” the longest story in the collection, a woman reckons with the choice she made as a teenager to give up her newborn infant. Quietly dazzling, these stories are replete with moments of revelation and transcendence. Kirkus Reviews gave this collection a starred review, cheering it as “A dizzying array of short fiction…Hempel packs a lot into her narrow spaces: nuance, longing, love, and loss. The brilliance of the writing resides in the way Hempel manages to tell us everything in spite of her narrator’s reticence, teaching us to read between the lines.”

Lights All Night Long: A moving stories about brotherhood, family, and the many meanings of home, Lydia Fitzpatrick’s debut is getting rave reviews from a number of outlets.  Fifteen-year-old Ilya grew up in a decrepit mining town in Russia, learning English from the Die Hard movies.  As an adult, he has arrived in Louisiana for what should be the adventure of his life: a year in America as an exchange student. The abundance of his new world–the Super Walmarts and heated pools and enormous televisions–is as hard to fathom as the relentless cheerfulness of his host parents. And Sadie, their beautiful and enigmatic daughter, has miraculously taken an interest in him.  But Ilya’s brother Vladimir is instead consuming his thoughts. The two have always been close, spending their days dreaming of escaping to America. But when Ilya was tapped for the exchange, Vladimir disappeared into their town’s seedy, drug-plagued underworld. Just before Ilya left, the murders of three young women rocked the town’s usual calm, and Vladimir found himself in prison. With the help of Sadie, who has secrets of her own, Ilya embarks on a mission to prove Vladimir’s innocence. Publisher’s Weekly gave this book a glowing review, calling it “A glittering debut. . . . The murder mystery is intricate and well-crafted, but the highlight is the relationship between the two brothers—the shy brainiac and the charming addict—and in the smoldering, seething resentment felt by young people. This is a heartbreaking novel about the lengths to which people go to escape their own pain, and the prices people are willing to pay to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones.”

Inspection: If you, like us, loved Bird Box and Unbury Carol, then you’ll be as delighted as we are about Josh Malerman’s newest release. J is one of only twenty-six students, at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.  Each student thinks of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father, and J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know. But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them? Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.  Unsettling, intriguing, and compulsively readable, this is a book that is sure to keep you up past your bedtime.  Booklist agreed in their starred review, calling this story “Fast-paced, tension-filled [and] with lots to think about . . . Malerman’s latest has all of the claustrophobic tension his fans crave, but this time the monsters are 100 percent human.”

Little Darlings: Another creepy play on fairy tales and folklore, Melanie Golding’s new novel is a thoroughly unsettling tale about changelings and children. Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things. A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies. Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.  This book also earned a starred review from Booklist, who called it  “A modern story of ghosts and fairy tales . . . Golding beautifully blends the supernatural with the everyday, keeping readers riveted to the page as they question what is true.”

The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris: Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. From the Spanish flu to the 1924 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Los Angeles to the 1930 “parrot fever” pandemic, through the more recent SARS, Ebola, and Zika epidemics, the last one hundred years have been marked by a succession of unanticipated pandemic alarms. Mark Honigsbaum combines reportage with the history of science and medical sociology to artfully reconstruct epidemiological mysteries and the ecology of infectious diseases. We meet dedicated disease detectives, obstructive or incompetent public health officials, and brilliant scientists often blinded by their own knowledge of bacteria and viruses. We also see how fear of disease often exacerbates racial, religious, and ethnic tensions, all of which harm humans, while diseases continue to rampage humanity.  Kirkus gave this engaging and enlightening book a starred review, noting that it is both “Lively, gruesome, and masterful….Honigsbaum mixes superb medical history with vivid portraits of the worldwide reactions to each [pandemic] event.”

 

Until next week beloved patrons…Happy Reading!

Five Book Friday!

And we wanted to remind you, beloved patrons, that the Friends of the Library are again selling beautiful geranium and impatiens plants, just in time for Mother’s Day and
Memorial Day.  The money raised from these sales will be used to help the Peabody Institute Libraries to offer some of the best programs and services in the area.   You can find the form on our website, in person at the Library, or right here, by clicking this link.

Orders must be prepaid and received at the Main Library by Wednesday, May 8. Plants may be picked up at the Main Library on Saturday, May 11. Make checks payable to: Friends of the Peabody Institute Libraries.  You can then deliver or mail the form to any one of our libraries.  Thank you for your assistance, and we sincerely hope your flowers bring you color and joy!

And now, on to the books!

Boy Swallows Universe: Trent Dalton’s debut is being celebrated by authors and critics across the country for its realistic depiction of Australia in the 1980’s, along side a fantastical story about the power of love in its many forms. Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his stepdad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim—a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes—who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother. Exiled from the people who may be able to help him, Eli is just trying to follow his heart, learn what it takes to be a good man, and train for a glamorous career in journalism. Life, however, insists on throwing obstacles in Eli’s path—most notably Tytus Broz, Brisbane’s legendary drug dealer. But the real trouble lies ahead. Eli is about to fall in love, face off against truly bad guys, and fight to save his mother from a certain doom—all before starting high school. A novel about friendship, brotherhood, family, and romance, this is a story that earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who said it “makes the typical coming-of-age novel look bland by comparison…In less adept hands, these antics might descend into whimsy, but Dalton’s broadly observant eye, ability to temper pathos with humor, and thorough understanding of the mechanics of plot prevent the novel from breaking into sparkling pieces…This is an outstanding debut.”

In the Night of Memory: Linda LeGarde Grover’s introduces readers to a new generation of the Gallette family she crafted in her other words, and deals with the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, the trauma of loss, and the long and painful history of Native/American women in the United States in a beautiful and wonderfully accessible manner. When Loretta surrenders her young girls to the county and then disappears, she becomes one more missing Native woman in Indian Country’s long devastating history of loss. Habsence haunts all the lives she has touched—and all the stories they tell in this novel. After a string of foster placements, from cold to kind to cruel, Azure and Rain, Loretta’s two daughters, find their way back to their extended Mozhay family, and a new set of challenges, and stories, unfolds, creating a nuanced, moving, often humorous picture of two Ojibwe girls becoming women in light of this lesson learned in the long, sharply etched shadow of Native American history.  This is a powerful, heart-rending, but ultimately, uplifting book that Ms. Magazine celebrated for the way it “brings together themes of missing women, family and community, complicated histories and collective wisdoms.”

Loch of the Dead: Readers of Oscar De Muriel’s McGray and Frey series can delight in this fourth mystery, which brings a boatload of gothic atmosphere and a fun, twisty adventure for the two sleuths to solve. A mysterious woman pleads for the help of our devoted  Inspectors. Her son, illegitimate scion of the Koloman family, has received an anonymous death threat―right after learning he is to inherit the best part of a vast wine-producing estate. In exchange for their protection, she offers McGray the ultimate cure for his sister, who has been locked in an insane asylum after brutally murdering their parents: the miraculous waters that spring from a small island in the remote Loch Maree. The island has been a sacred burial ground since the time of the druids, but the legends around it will turn out to be much darker than McGray could have expected. Murder and increasingly bizarre happenings will intermingle throughout this trip to the Highlands, before Frey and McGray learn a terrible truth.  Nothing is what is seems in this book, and readers will be hard-pressed to guess what is coming next–or to keep from turning pages to discover the next revelation!  Kirkus Reviews gave this book a stellar review, describing it as “Steeped in history, myth, and medical lore, murky as the deepest loch, miles from the remotest civilizing forces, this provides all the thrills of an amusement-park concession for grown-ups who want to test their limits.”

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming: In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await—food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today. Frightening, but also deeply informative, this book is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation. Indeed, The New York Times called it “the most terrifying book I have ever read. Its subject is climate change, and its method is scientific, but its mode is Old Testament. The book is a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet.”

Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse RaceAt the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest, toughest horse race”―an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. On a whim, she decided to enter the race. As she boarded a plane to East Asia, she was utterly unprepared for what awaited her.  Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that re-creates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan, and many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their jeeps.  Told in breathtaking, breathless prose, this is the story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this amazing race.  Kirkus Reviews called this tale “Feisty and exhilarating . . . Horse lovers will adore this inspiring and spirited memoir.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–Happy Reading!

Five Book Friday!

We also wanted to let you know, beloved patrons, that our elevator will be out of service all day on Monday, April 8.  Our West and South Branches will be open and functioning as usual.  Our staff will also be on hand to help you access any area of the library over the course of the day.  We are very sorry for the difficulties this will cause, but we hope that the results (namely, a fully functioning elevator) will be worth it!

But now, on to the books!

The ParadeDavid Eggers has not only made great contributions to literature himself, but his work with young writers and literacy programs is ensuring that lots of other young wordsmiths will also be making contributions as well.  And thus, we’re quite excited to showcase his newest novel. An unnamed country is leaving the darkness of a decade at war, and to commemorate the armistice the government commissions a new road connecting two halves of the state. Two men, foreign contractors from the same company, are sent to finish the highway. While one is flighty and adventurous, wanting to experience the nightlife and people, the other wants only to do the work and go home. But both men must eventually face the absurdities of their positions, and the dire consequences of their presence.  These men are introduced only by numbers, and their pasts are hidden from us, replicating the odd, and subtly disconcerting tone of the state in which they are working. The result is a story that Kirkus described as “An unassuming but deceptively complex morality play, as Eggers distills his ongoing concerns into ever tighter prose.”

The Lost Night: Andrea Bartz’s debut has muscled its way onto a number of ‘best of’ lists, and is raising the eyebrows and pulses of readers, as well.  In 2009, Edie had New York’s social world in her thrall. Mercurial and beguiling, she was the shining star of a group of recent graduates living in a Brooklyn loft and treating New York like their playground. When Edie’s body was found near a suicide note at the end of a long, drunken night, no one could believe it. Grief, shock, and resentment scattered the group and brought the era to an abrupt end.  A decade later, Lindsay has come a long way from the drug-addled world of Calhoun Lofts. She has devoted best friends, a cozy apartment, and a thriving career as a magazine’s head fact-checker. But when a chance reunion leads Lindsay to discover an unsettling video from that hazy night, she starts to wonder if Edie was actually murdered—and, worse, if she herself was involved. As she rifles through those months in 2009—combing through case files, old technology, and her fractured memories—Lindsay is forced to confront the demons of her own violent history to bring the truth to light.  We love ourselves a good unreliable narrator here at the Free For All, so this book is on our To Be Read list, as well!  Milwaukee Magazine gave this book a great review, noting “.If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers with strong female protagonists, like Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects or Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, put The Lost Night on your must-read list.”

A Woman Is No Man: Here is another stunning debut from Brooklyn-based author Etaf Rum, that looks at the immigrant experience inside one very unique family.  Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.  In Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man. But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.  The New York Times Review of Books wrote a powerful review of this book, describing it as “A dauntless exploration of the pathology of silence, an attempt to unsnarl the dark knot of history, culture, fear and trauma that can render conservative Arab-American women so visibly invisible…. The triumph of Rum’s novel is that she refuses to measure her women against anything but their own hearts and histories…. Both a love letter to storytelling and a careful object lesson in its power.”

Murder By The Book: The Crime that Shocked Dickens’ LondonIn May 1840, Lord William Russell, well known in London’s highest social circles, was found with his throat cut. The brutal murder had the whole city talking. The police suspected Russell’s valet, Courvoisier, but the evidence was weak. The missing clue, it turned out, lay in the unlikeliest place: what Courvoisier had been reading. In the years just before the murder, new printing methods had made books cheap and abundant, the novel form was on the rise, and suddenly everyone was reading. The best-selling titles were the most sensational true-crime stories. Even Dickens and Thackeray, both at the beginning of their careers, fell under the spell of these tales–Dickens publicly admiring them, Thackeray rejecting them.  One such phenomenon was William Harrison Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard, the story of an unrepentant criminal who escaped the gallows time and again. When Lord William’s murderer finally confessed his guilt, he would cite this novel in his defense.  In this recounting of the case and its literary roots, Claire Harman combines a thrilling true-crime story with an illuminating account of the rise of the novel form and the battle for its early soul among the most famous writers of the time.  Kirkus Reviews gave this wonderfully-researched book a starred review, calling it “An endlessly fascinating, bookish tale of true crime in Victorian England . . . Lovers of Drood, Sherlock, Jack the Ripper, and their kin real and fictional will relish the gruesome details of this entertaining book.”

An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System; A Tale in Four Lives: A terminal cancer patient rises from the grave. A medical marvel defies HIV. Two women with autoimmunity discover their own bodies have turned against them.  Through these fascinating human stories, Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Matt Richtel takes us on a journey of the human immune system winding from the Black Plague to twentieth-century breakthroughs in vaccination and antibiotics, to the cutting-edge laboratories that are revolutionizing immunology. Based on extensive new interviews with dozens of world-renowned scientists, Matt Richtel’s new work is both an investigation into the deepest riddles of survival and a profoundly human tale that is movingly brought to life through the eyes of his four main characters, each of whom illuminates an essential facet of our immunological defense system. Kirkus also gave this book a starred review, hailing it as  “An expert examination of the immune system. … Richtel illuminates a complex subject so well that even physicians will learn.”

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

Five Book Friday!

Before we get to the books, beloved patrons, we wanted to let you know about a very special event taking place at our West Branch next week.

As some of you may know, the West Branch Children’s Librarian of Dale Sampson will be retiring on April 4.  Miss Dale has been a true treasure for the library for twenty-nine years, and while we will miss her enormously, we are also so happy to see her begin a new chapter in her adventures!  To that end, the West Branch will be hosting an Open House on Tuesday, April 2, from 3:00pm – 6:00pm to give all of Miss Dale’s patrons a chance to wish her well and thank her for all she has done for the Library, for Peabody, and for all the readers whose lives she has touched.  Please help us send her off in style with well wishes, some refreshments and lots of good cheer!

And now, on to the books!

Oksana, Behave!A delightful coming-of-age novel, an immigrant story, and a moving historical narrative all rolled into one, Maria Kuznetsova’s fiction debut is a vibrant treat on every level.  When Oksana’s family begins their new American life in Florida after emigrating from Ukraine, her physicist father delivers pizza at night to make ends meet, her depressed mother sits home all day worrying, and her flamboyant grandmother relishes the attention she gets when she walks Oksana to school, not realizing that the street they’re walking down is known as Prostitute Street. Oksana just wants to have friends and lead a normal life—and though she constantly tries to do the right thing, she keeps getting herself in trouble.  As she grows up, she continues to misbehave, from somewhat accidentally maiming the school bus bully, to stealing the much-coveted (and expensive-to-replace) key to New York City’s Gramercy Park, to falling in love with a married man. As her grandmother moves back to Ukraine, her father gets a job at Goldman Sachs, and her mother knits endless scarves, Oksana longs for a Russia that looms large in her imagination but is a country she never really knew. When she visits her grandmother in Yalta and learns about Baba’s wartime past and her lost loves, Oksana begins to see just how much alike they are, and comes to a new understanding of how to embrace life and love without causing harm to the people dearest to her. But will Oksana ever quite learn to behave?  Critics and readers have been lining up to praise this comic saga, with Publisher’s Weekly cheering, “Kuznetsova’s standout debut offers a fresh and funny look into the life of a bold young immigrant woman. . . . This accomplished and frank work is a new take on an immigrant girl’s complicated coming-of-age.”

A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland: For black American women, the experience of being bound has taken many forms: from the bondage of slavery to the Reconstruction-era criminalization of women; from the brutal constraints of Jim Crow to our own era’s prison industrial complex, where between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women increased by 700% (according to The Sentencing Project). For those women who lived and died resisting the dehumanization of confinement–physical, social, intellectual–the threat of being bound was real, constant, and lethal. Yet Black women freedom fighters have braved violence, scorn, despair, and isolation in order to lodge their protests throughout the course of American history, and in this stirring and enlightening work, DaMaris Hill honors their experiences with harrowing yet hopeful poetic responses to her heroes, from Zora Neale Hurston, Lucille Clifton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Grace Jones, to Eartha Kitt, and others.  This is a work that celebrate the modern-day inheritors of their load and light, binding history, author, and reader in an essential legacy of struggle. Booklist gave this powerful collection a starred review, and named it one of their Top Ten Diverse Nonfiction Titles, noting how “In this distinctive inquiry in verse, Hill reflects on black women who resisted violent racism and misogyny, ranging from the notable and notorious to the lesser-known yet no less heroic.” 

GingerbreadHow many fairy tales and children’s books can you remember that feature gingerbread?  More than one, I’m willing to bet.  Inspired by this oddly ubiquitous food, Helen Oyeyemi has crafted an enchanting tale of family legacies and recipes.  Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (or, according to many sources, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. The world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend Gretel Kercheval —a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.  Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Oyeyemi is a marvelous storyteller, and her books always dance on the line between reality and fantasy in a marvelously unique manner.  The New York Times Review of Books agrees, calling this novel “Exhilarating. . .Gingerbread is jarring, funny, surprising, unsettling, disorienting and rewarding. . .This is a wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel that requires some effort and attention from its reader. And that is just one of its many pleasures.”

Make Me A City: Another unique blend of history and fiction, Jonathan Carr’s novel brings us to the city of Chicago in the 19th century, and shows how the greatest of moments can come from the smallest of events.  The tale begins with a game of chess—and on the outcome of that game hinges the destiny of a great city. From appalling injustice springs forth the story of Chicago, and the men and women whose resilience, avarice, and altruism combine to generate a moment of unprecedented civic energy. A variety of irresistible voices deliver the many strands of this novel: those of Jean Baptiste Pointe de Sable, the long-unheralded founder of Chicago; John Stephen Wright, bombastic speculator and booster; and Antje Hunter, the first woman to report for the Chicago Tribune. The stories of loggers, miners, engineers, and educators teem around them and each claim the narrative in turns, sharing their grief as well as their delight. As the characters, and their ancestors, meet and part, as their possessions pass from hand to hand, the reader realizes that Jonathan Carr commands a grand picture, one that encompasses the heartaches of everyday lives as well as the overarching ideals of what a city and a society can and should be.  With it’s multi-layered narratives and rich characters, this is another debut novel that is earning praise.  Kirkus Reviews delighted in the ways that “The rise of Chicago in the 19th century provides the frame for a trove of colorful stories and characters in this entertaining debut novel.”

The Woman in the Dark: It’s so refreshing to have a woman in the title of a thriller (instead of another Girl).  In any event, Vanessa Savage’s heady psychological thriller brings all the delightful darkness of the gothic tradition into the present day.  Sarah and Patrick are happy. But after her mother’s death, Sarah spirals into depression and overdoses on sleeping pills. While Sarah claims it was an accident, her teenage children aren’t so sure. Patrick decides they all need a fresh start and he knows just the place, since the idyllic family home where he was raised has recently come up for sale. There’s only one catch: for the past fifteen years, it has become infamous as the “Murder House”, standing empty after a family was stabbed to death within its walls. Patrick believes they can bring the house back to its former glory, so Sarah, uprooted from everything she knows, pours her energy into painting, gardening, and giving the rotting old structure the warmth of home. But with locals hinting that the house is haunted, the news that the murderer has been paroled, strange writing on the walls, and creepy “gifts” arriving on the doorstep at odd hours, Sarah can’t shake the feeling that something just isn’t right. Not with the house, not with the town, or even with her own, loving husband — whose stories about his perfect childhood suddenly aren’t adding up. Can Sarah uncover the secrets of the Murder House before another family is destroyed?   Find out in this twisty treat that Good Housekeeping called “‘Claustrophobic and compelling.”

Until next week, Beloved Patrons–happy reading!

Looking Ahead To April

Somehow, beloved patrons, March swept by in a blast of wind and a few drifting snow storms, and suddenly, we find ourselves preparing, in a handful of days, for April.   We’ve organized a pretty intriguing calendar of events, classes, and programs for you at our branches, and in the various departments of our Main Library–please, consider this your formal invitation to register for any and all of them that interest you!

Image result for april
Via Dribble

In addition, please let us know what classes, events, or performances you would like to see at the Library in the coming months.  We strive everyday to provide for the needs of our community, and we can best do that with your input and advice.

So, without further ado, let’s look at all the neat things going on in the Libraries in April!


At the Main Library:

Wednesday, April 17, 7:00 – 8:00pm: Guided Meditation

So often in our hurried lives we become ungrounded, unfocused and scattered. Please come for an evening of relaxation as Reiki Master Teacher Valerie York leads us in a guided meditation to ground and call back our energy. Space for this class is limited, so be sure to sign up online, or call the Main Library to reserve your spot.


In the Teen Room:

Tuesday, April 2, 6:30 – 8:30pm: Truth or Fail Trivia Night

Created by author and YouTube personality Hank Green, Truth or Fail Trivia is the perfect game for trivia aficionados to come compete for prizes and brainy glory!


In the Creativity Lab:

Monday, April 8, 6:30 – 8:30pm: Make A Laser-Cut Dog Tag

The Creativity Lab’s laser cutter uses a powerful laser to cut through materials like wood, acrylic, and linoleum. In this class, you will learn how to use our laser cutter by making a custom wooden dog tag, luggage tag, or keychain. Materials will be provided.  This class is limited to patrons aged 18 and over.  Please register in advance.


At the West Branch:

Wednesday, April 24, 1:00 – 2:00pm: Heritage Films presents “The Colonials and British at Lexington and Concord”

Come join us for a 40 minute film presentation by local historian and filmmaker Dan Tremblay of Heritage Films! This particular film will focus on the history of the The Colonials and British at Lexington and Concord.


 

Do You Know What Tomorrow Is?

It’s Pajama Day!

That’s right, if you are visiting the Library tomorrow, keep your eye out for your friendly Library staff in their fancy-dress PJ’s, comfy, cozy, and all in support of a good cause.

Image result for boston bruins pj drive

From Our Official Press Release:

The Peabody Institute Library has teamed up with the Boston Bruins to participate in their annual pajama drive to benefit DCF Kids and Cradles to Crayons. The Boston Bruins PJ Drive runs from February 1 through March 15, 2019. The library will be collecting new pairs of pajamas for babies, children and teens. New pajamas can be dropped off at any of the Peabody Library’s 3 locations: the Main Library on 82 Main St., the South Branch on 78 Lynn St. or the West Branch at 603 Lowell St.

The PJ Drive’s goal is to collect 12,000 pairs of new pajamas for children and teens in need.  “It’s hard to imagine that so many kids and teens don’t know the comforting feeling of putting on PJs before settling down to sleep. We’re happy to be part of an effort to change that,” said Director Melissa Robinson.

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) works with the Boston Bruins to coordinate library participation in the drive.  Libraries from around the state use the Massachusetts Library System’s delivery service, typically used to send books and other library materials, to send their PJs to area collection locations which increases libraries’ ability to participate in the drive.

So feel free to bring a new pair of pajamas for babies, young children, and teens to the library between now and March 15, and help us help those young people in our community who deserve some more coziness, comfort, and security in their lives.Image result for boston bruins pj drive

Announcing the NOBLE Book Awards 2018!

Who better to give tips on great books than your local librarians? This year, we all decided to get in on the fun of Book Awards by celebrating our favorite reads of 2018.  After a nomination Library staff voted for their favorite books of 2018 for different age groups and categories.  Here’s a list of the winners and runners up, and a link to the shortlist of nominated books, all linked to the library catalog to make it easy to find and request them!  Stop by any NOBLE library for more information on these excellent books, and to talk to staff members about their favorite reads!


First place

The woman in the window : a novel by A.J. FinnIt isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . . Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Runners-up

An American marriage by Tayari Jones: When her new husband is arrested and imprisoned for a crime she knows he did not commit, a rising artist takes comfort in a longtime friendship only to encounter unexpected challenges in resuming her life when her husband’s sentence is suddenly overturned.  An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control. By the author of Silver Sparrow.

 

Circe : a novel, by Madeline Miller
A highly-anticipated follow-up to the award-winning The Song of Achilles follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.  

Shortlist of nominated Adult Fiction


Adult Nonfiction

First place

Educated : a memoir by Tara Westover:  Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Runners-up

I’ll be gone in the dark : one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara:  For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” She pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was, and unfortunately the gifted journalist died tragically before completing this book, which was completed from her notes.

 

Calypso by David Sedaris:  A latest collection of personal essays by the best-selling author of Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls and Me Talk Pretty One Day shares even more revealing and intimate memories from his upbringing and family life, as well as his adventures after buying a vacation house on the Carolina coast and his reflections on middle age and mortality. 

Shortlist of nominated Adult Nonfiction


Adult Graphic Novels

First place

Herding cats : a “Sarah’s scribbles” collection by Sarah Andersen:  With characteristic wit and charm, Sarah Andersen’s third collection of comics and illustrated personal essays offers a survival guide for frantic modern life: from the importance of avoiding morning people, to Internet troll defense 101, to the not-so-life-changing futility of tidying up. But when all else fails and the world around you is collapsing, make a hot chocolate, count the days until Halloween, and snuggle up next to your furry beacon of hope.

Runners-up

Anne Frank’s diary : the graphic adaptation: The only graphic biography of Anne Frank’s diary that has been authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation and that uses text from the diary–it will introduce a new generation of young readers to this classic of Holocaust literature. This adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl into a graphic version for a young readership, maintains the integrity and power of the original work. With stunning, expressive illustrations and ample direct quotation from the diary, this edition will expand the readership for this important and lasting work of history and literature.

 

McElroy, Clint
The adventure zone. Here there be gerblins by Clint McElroy:  Join Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human warrior for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle AT BEST, guided (“guided”) by their snarky DM, in a graphic novel that, like the smash-hit podcast it’s based on, will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.

Shortlist of nominated Adult Graphic Novels


Young Adult Fiction

First place

The poet X : a novel by Elizabeth Acevedo:
Xiomara Batista struggles to navigate her place in the world, with her peers, and in her neighborhood.  As an escape, she pours all her frustrations and passion into poetry, using her words to describe her fears, dreams, hopes, and rages over the injustices that are plainly evident all around her.  And when Xiomara is invited to join the school slam poetry club, she struggles with her mother’s social and religious expectations and her own vital need to be heard,

Runners-up

Children of blood and bone by Tomi Adeyemi:  Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.

 

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak: Upon their father’s return, the five Dunbar boys, who have raised themselves since their mother’s death, begin to learn family secrets, including that of fourth brother Clay, who will build a bridge for complex reasons, including his own redemption.

Shortlist of nominated Young Adult Fiction


Young Adult Nonfiction

First place

(Don’t) call me crazy : 33 voices start the conversation about mental health
Presents an anthology of essays and illustrations that illuminate such mental health topics as autism, bipolar disorder, body dysmorphia, depression, and healing in a straightforward way.

 

Mary Shelley : the strange, true tale of Frankenstein’s creator by Catherine Reef
On the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, comes a riveting biography of its author, Mary Shelley, whose life reads like a dark gothic novel, filled with scandal, death, drama, and one of the strangest love stories in literary history.

 

Americanized : rebel without a green card by Sara Saedi:  In San Jose, California, in the 1990s, teenaged Sara keeps a diary of life as an Iranian American and her discovery that she and her family entered as undocumented immigrants.

Shortlist of nominated Young Adult Nonfiction


Young Adult Graphic Novels

First place

The prince and the dressmaker by Jen Wang:  When Prince Sebastian confides in his dressmaker friend Frances that he loves to masquerade at night as the fashionable Lady Crystallia, Frances must decide if Sebastian’s secret is worth a lifetime of living in the shadows.

Runners-up

Brazen : rebel ladies who rocked the world by Pénélope Bagieu:  With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Penelope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies to forge their own path.

 

Hey, kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka: In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka’s teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett’s family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett’s life. His father is a mystery — Jarrett doesn’t know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents — two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

Shortlist of nominated Young Adult Graphic Novels


Children’s Picture Books

First place

Julián is a mermaid by Jessica love:  While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

Runners-up

We don’t eat our classmates! by Ryan T. Higgins:  When the class pet bites the finger of Penelope, a tyrannosaurus rex, she finally understands why she should not eat her classmates, no matter how tasty they are.

 

Square by Mac Barnett:  When his friend Circle asks him to do her portrait after praising him as a sculptor and genius, Square struggles to carve her likeness from a stone block.

Shortlist of nominated Children’s Picture Books


Children’s Graphic Novels

First place

Unicorn of many hats : another Phoebe and her unicorn adventure by Dana Simpson:  Phoebe and her exceptional hooved pal are back in this all-new collection of comics! Laugh alongside the lovable duo as they question the idea of “coolness,” gain a deeper appreciation for the power of friendship, and put off summer reading assignments for as long as physically possible.

Runners-up

Dog Man : lord of the fleas by Dav Pilkey:  When a new bunch of baddies bust up the town, Dog Man is called into action — and this time he isn’t alone. With a cute kitten and a remarkable robot by his side, our heroes must save the day by joining forces with an unlikely ally: Petey, the World’s Most Evil Cat. But can the villainous Petey avoid vengeance and venture into virtue?

 

Baby Monkey, private eye by Brian Selznick:  Baby Monkey, private eye, will investigate stolen jewels, missing pizzas, and other mysteries–if he can manage to figure out how to put his pants on.

Shortlist of nominated Children’s Graphic Novels


Children’s Fiction

First place

Sunny by Jason Reynolds:  Sunny, the Defenders’ best runner, only runs for his father, who blames Sunny for his mother’s death, but with his coach’s help Sunny finds a way to combine track and field with his true passion, dancing.

Runners-up

Louisiana’s way home by Kate DiCamillo: 
When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

 

Front desk by Kelly Yang:  Recent immigrants from China and desperate for work and money, ten-year-old Mia Tang’s parents take a job managing a rundown motel in Southern California, even though the owner, Mr. Yao is a nasty skinflint who exploits them; while her mother (who was an engineer in China) does the cleaning, Mia works the front desk and tries to cope with demanding customers and other recent immigrants–not to mention being only one of two Chinese in her fifth grade class, the other being Mr. Yao’s son, Jason.

Shortlist of nominated Children’s Fiction


Children’s Nonfiction

First place

Hidden figures : the untold true story of four African-American women who helped launch our nation into space Margot Lee Shetterly:  Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine. Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a history of scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world — and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments.

Runners-up

Morales, Yuyi
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales: 
An illustrated picture book autobiography in which award-winning author Yuyi Morales tells her own immigration story.

 

Lights!, camera!, Alice! : the thrilling true adventures of the first woman filmmaker: Mara Rockliff:  Meet Alice Guy-Blaché. She made movies–some of the very first movies, and some of the most exciting! Blow up a pirate ship? Why not? Crawl into a tiger’s cage? Of course! Leap off a bridge onto a real speeding train? It will be easy! Driven by her passion for storytelling, Alice saw a potential for film that others had not seen before, allowing her to develop new narratives, new camera angles, new techniques, and to surprise her audiences again and again. With daring and vision, Alice Guy-Blaché introduced the world to a thrilling frontier of imagination and adventure, and became one of filmmaking’s first and greatest innovators.

Shortlist of nominated Children’s Nonfiction


Poetry

First place

Can I touch your hair? : poems of race, mistakes, and friendship by Irene Latham: 
Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, present paired poems about topics including family dinners, sports, recess, and much more. This relatable collection explores different experiences of race in America.

Runners-up

For every one by Jason Reynolds:
Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world. Jump Anyway is for kids who dream. Kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to dream. Kids who are like Jason, a self-professed dreamer. In it, Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. He inched that number up to eighteen, then twenty-five years old..Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them. All the kids who are scared to dream, or don’t know how to dream, or don’t dare to dream because they’ve NEVER seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguish–because just having the dream is the start you need, or you won’t get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith and…jump anyway.

 

Wade in the water : poems by Tracy K. Smith:  A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, using her signature voice–inquisitive, lyrical and wry–mulls over what it means to be a citizen, a mother and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men and violence, boldly tying America’s modern moment both to our nation’s fraught founding history and to a sense of the spirit, the everlasting.

Shortlist of nominated Poetry

 

Congratulations to all our winners!!