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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!!

The Best of 2018 from the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library!

We are enormously lucky to be part of NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange).  As many of you know, the NOBLE network allows you, our beloved patrons, to borrow books from the other libraries around us–including academic libraries at North Shore Community College and Salem State University–and utilize the programs and resources at our fellow NOBLE libraries.  It’s a fantastic system that we all value enormously.

So this year, we thought it might be fun to invite the other NOBLE libraries and staff members to join us in our end-of-the-year celebrations! This week, we bring you the Lucius Beebe Library of Wakefield’s list of the Best Books of 2018!

vIA http://www.wakefieldlibrary.org/about/about-the-library/#Building-Photos

The town of Wakefield was known as South Reading until 1868. During the early part of the 19th century, there was a library in South Reading known as the Social Library.  That Library was a subscription library (meaning that people had to pay to take out materials), and held mostly divinity books.  It turns out that, even in the 19th century, divinity books were not the most scintillating of reads, and the Social Library closed due to lack of support.   However, you can’t keep a good library down, and the town’s first public library was established in 1856, with a $300 budget to buy books.  Within three years, that initial $300 investment had grown into a library with some 1,678 volumes.  Lucius Beebe was the first chairman of the Board of Library Trustees.

In 1868, when Wakefield became…well, Wakefield, the Library  Cyrus Wakefield, after whom the town was named, donated a house to be used by the city, with one half dedicated as the new library space.  Lucius Beebe (pictured below, left, via the Beebe Library website) donated $500 to the purchase of new books and, as a result, the town renamed the library as the “Beebe Public Library.”

With such phenomenal support, the Beebe Library soon needed to expand, and in 1916, the townspeople purchased a lot at the corner of Main and Avon Streets for $16,000.  Junius Beebe, son of Lucius Beebe, donated $60,000 toward the construction of a new library building, to be built in memory of his parents, Lucius and Sylenda (to put that into perspective, the annual yearly income in the area at this time was right around $800).  The US entrance into the First World War delayed the construction of the building, but in 1922, the cornerstone for the new library was laid, and the building was dedicated on April 15, 1923.  The architect for the 1922 building was Ralph Adams Cram, who also designed Princeton University.  The Beebe library has continued to grow, and was expanded most recently in 1995.

The Circulation Desk, via http://www.wakefieldlibrary.org/about/about-the-library/#Building-Photos

Today, the Library is a vital part of the Wakefield community, with a number of programs and reading groups–including a reading group that will be meeting at local restaurants!  It was also was the first library in Massachusetts to sponsor a townwide reading program, “Wakefield Reads”.   Check out the Lucius Beebe Library’s website to see all the phenomenal resources they offer, from job hunting to homebound delivery to college resources.  They are also a wonderfully welcoming, friendly Library community.  I can tell you from experience, as a reader who has lingered for way longer than anticipated in the chairs in their beautiful New Fiction section!   So feel free to stop by, enjoy their beautiful space, and check out all this sensational library has to offer!

We are also pleased to highlight the Lucius Beebe Library Staff’s Favorites of 2018!   Don’t forget to check out the super page on their website for the full list!


Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg: Set in the eighteenth century London underworld, this bawdy, genre-bending novel reimagines the life of thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard to tell a profound story about gender, love, and liberation. Recently jilted and increasingly unhinged, Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. No one knows Jack’s true story–his confessions have never been found. That is, until Dr. Voth discovers a mysterious stack of papers titled Confessions of the Fox. Dated 1724, the manuscript tells the story of an orphan named P. Sold into servitude at twelve, P struggles for years with her desire to live as “Jack.” When P falls dizzyingly in love with Bess, a sex worker looking for freedom of her own, P begins to imagine a different life. Bess brings P into the London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with London’s newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of an oncoming plague abound. At last, P becomes Jack Sheppard, one of the most notorious–and most wanted–thieves in history. An imaginative retelling of Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, this utterly engrossing and emotional novel blends high-spirited adventure, subversive history, and provocative wit to animate forgotten histories and the extraordinary characters hidden within.


Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan: Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.   Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.   Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, this is an audiobook that pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation to create a wholly original novel that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.


The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm: An American woman wakes up alone in a tent in the Norwegian mountains. Outside a storm rages and the fog is dense. Her phone is dead. She has no map, no compass, and no food. How she ended up there, and the tragic details of her life, emerge over the course of this novel. We discover that Jane is a novelist with a bad case of writer’s block―she had come to Norway to seek out distant relatives and family history, but when her trip went awry, she tethered herself to a zoologist she met by chance on the plane, joining him on a trek to see the musk oxen of the Dovrefjell mountain range.  At once elegant and gripping, this storyline moves seamlessly between Jane’s life in America and the extraordinary landscape of the Norwegian mountains. As we gradually unpack the emotional debris of her past―troubled Midwestern parents, a loving courtship in New York, and a cruel, sudden tragedy that rearranged everything―we begin to understand what led her to this lonely landscape.


The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell: When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But pregnant and widowed just weeks after their wedding, with her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her late husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure—a silent companion—that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of the estate are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition—that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.  This British ghost story was the talk of the town before it crossed the pond, and is now giving American readers the shivers–as well as a deeply well-thought-out and beautifully told tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect—much like the companions themselves.


Wine Bites: Simple Morsels That Pair Perfectly with Wine by Barbara Scott-Goodman: This delightful and inspiring cookbook for those who entertain casually and frequently. More than 60 recipes for simple, tasty snacks include suggestions for an accessible wine to pair with each, while vivid color photographs demonstrate how easy these delectable dishes are to prepare. Step-by-step instructions for putting together a first-class cheese plate, creating a generous antipasti platter, or transforming pantry staples into hors d’oeuvres make this an indispensable resource for great party-givings.  We always encourage patrons to try out new recipes, and feel free to let us help you taste test!

The Beverly Library’s Best of 2018!

We are enormously lucky to be part of NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange).  As many of you know, the NOBLE network allows you, our beloved patrons, to borrow books from the other libraries around us–including academic libraries at North Shore Community College and Salem State University–and utilize the programs and resources at our fellow NOBLE libraries.  It’s a fantastic system that we all value enormously.

So this year, we thought it might be fun to invite the other NOBLE libraries and staff members to join us in our end-of-the-year celebrations!  This week, we bring you Beverly Library’s list of the Best Books of 2017.

The Beverly Library, via noblenet.org

The Beverly Library (located at 32 Essex Street in Beverly) was established in 1855, three years after the Massachusetts Legislature became the first in the nation to authorize cities and towns to expend tax funds to support free public libraries.  The institution was originally known as the Social Library, a private subscription library which traced its founding to a collection of books seized by Beverly privateers from a British merchantman during the Revolutionary War (I think that might be one of the coolest starts a library has ever had).  Elizabeth P. Sohier, a trustee of the Beverly Public Library, led the fight to establish the first state library agency in the country, and served as the State Library Commission’s first secretary.  The Essex Street site was opened in 1913, and was  designed by architect Cass Gilbert, who was also the architect of the Minnesota State Capitol, the Woolworth Building in New York City and the United States Supreme Court.  The building was subsequently enlarged in 1993.

In addition to its stunning Essex Street location, the Beverly Library also has a branch in Beverly Farms (located at 24 Vine Street, Beverly) and a Bookmobile!  On average, the Beverly Library loans over 280,000 items annually to almost 27,000 regular borrowers. The Main Library collection consists of over 125,000 books and the Beverly Farms Branch of 22,000 books.  They also have regular programs, displays, and book clubs–you can learn more about them by checking out their Events Calendar.

So why not drop by one of these days and take part in Beverly’s sensational events and their terrific selection of books and media!  If you’re looking for a place to begin, here’s a few selections from Beverly’s super-terrific Best of 2018 List (you can click on the title or this link to see the full list)!


The Poet X:  Elizabeth Acevedo award-winning novel-in-verse is on a lot of people’s Best Of lists this year, in good company with our friends in Beverly.  Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. In order to protect herself and her growing body and stretching mind, she uses her fists and her fierceness to face down the world.  But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.  Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Where the Crawdads SingDelia Owens’ work is another brilliant book about a fascinating woman who has gone overlooked and misunderstood by the world around her.  For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.  An exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World: Oh, and speaking of remarkable women! French cartoonist Pénélope Bagieu has provided us with a series of gorgeously-illustrated biographies of women who changed their world, and who can inspire us to change the world around us.  From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison, and from pioneering gynecologist Agnodice (who practiced in Athens around 350 BCE) to Christine Jorgensen, one of the first people from the United States to receive gender reassignment surgery, from Liberian social worker Leymah Gbowee to Syrian activist Naziq al-Abid, this book represents women from a broad range of experiences, nationalities, ages, and experiences, along with fascinating details of their unforgettable lives.

 

Thanks for sharing your super list, Beverly!  Happy New Year to each of your delightful staff members!

And speaking of upcoming events…

We are truly lucky, beloved patrons, to live in an area that is rich with libraries, and we here at the Free For All love fostering relationships between our libraries and our patrons.  We share books and dvds, cds, and magazines.  We also share recommendations and programs from our NOBLE friends, because you are as welcome in their Libraries and you (and their patrons) are in ours!

So, with that in mind, we wanted to share with you some upcoming programs being held at the Beverly Library, to which you are most cordially invited.  Information for registering for these programs can be found on the posters below–just click on them to enlarge the images.  And if you have any questions, give our Beverly buddies a call at (978) 921-6062.  We hope you are able to attend, and pass on our best wishes if and when you do!

The Lynn Public Library’s Best of 2017!

We are enormously lucky to be part of NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange).  As many of you know, the NOBLE network allows you, our beloved patrons, to borrow books from the other libraries around us–including academic libraries at North Shore Community College and Salem State University–and utilize the programs and resources at our fellow NOBLE libraries.  It’s a fantastic system that we all value enormously.

The Lynn Public Library

So this year, we thought it might be fun to invite the other NOBLE libraries and staff members to join us in our end-of-the-year celebrations! This week, we bring you the Lynn Public Library’s Favorite Books of 2017!

Although Library services were available in Lynn as early as 1815, it wasn’t until a bequest was made to the city in 1896 that plans for a permanent Library were developed.  After some debate about the style, size, and scale of the building, construction began in 1898, with local architect George A. Moore overseeing the project.  The Library opened in 1900; that same year, the trustees commissioned a mural by Francis Luis Mora, a prominent Uruguayan-born American  painter, who was most likely the first Hispanic artist elected to the National Academy of Design (his self-portrait appears on the left).  This would be Mora’s first public mural, and, as a result, he received a commission for the Missouri State Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair)in 1904, as well as for the Governor’s Mansion of New Jersey, in the Sears family’s country home (of Sears & Roebuck fame)  in Brookline, Massachusetts, and painted the portrait of Warren Harding that is still on display in the White House.  He would later go on to teach at what would become Parsons The New School for Design, with Georgia O’Keeffe as one of his students…see what great things can come from Libraries?!

Today, the staff of the Lynn Public Library is dedicated to serving the needs of a diverse population whose interests range from scholarly research to cultural pursuits to entertainment.  Their collection numbers almost 125,000 volumes, with over 30,000 in the Children’s Department alone. The large Reference collection is known for its emphasis on Lynn history, genealogy, and the Civil War, and offers a wealth of services and information for patrons.  Their Calendar of Events is packed with events for teens, adults, and kids, from book clubs to crafting events, so feel free to check them out!

And, without further ado, is just a small sampling from the  Lynn Public Library’s staff’s favorite reads from 2017!

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Anderson

Warcross by Marie Lu

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Behind Closed Doors by B.A Paris

Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

The Store by James Patterson

Hard Core Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Mangrove Lightning by Randy Wayne White

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Murder Games by James Patterson

Black Book by James Patteson

Chew Approved by The Chew

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!: Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives by Ree Drummond

The Lucius Beebe Library’s Best of 2017

We are enormously lucky to be part of NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange).  As many of you know, the NOBLE network allows you, our beloved patrons, to borrow books from the other libraries around us–including academic libraries at North Shore Community College and Salem State University–and utilize the programs and resources at our fellow NOBLE libraries.  It’s a fantastic system that we all value enormously.

So this year, we thought it might be fun to invite the other NOBLE libraries and staff members to join us in our end-of-the-year celebrations! This week, we bring you the Lucius Beebe Library of Wakefield’s list of the Best Books of 2017!

vIA http://www.wakefieldlibrary.org/about/about-the-library/#Building-Photos

The town of Wakefield was known as South Reading until 1868. During the early part of the 19th century, there was a library in South Reading known as the Social Library.  That Library was a subscription library (meaning that people had to pay to take out materials), and held mostly divinity books.  It turns out that, even in the 19th century, divinity books were not the most scintillating of reads, and the Social Library closed due to lack of support.   However, you can’t keep a good library down, and the town’s first public library was established in 1856, with a $300 budget to buy books.  Within three years, that initial $300 investment had grown into a library with some 1,678 volumes.  Lucius Beebe was the first chairman of the Board of Library Trustees.

In 1868, when Wakefield became…well, Wakefield, the Library  Cyrus Wakefield, after whom the town was named, donated a house to be used by the city, with one half dedicated as the new library space.  Lucius Beebe (pictured below, left, via the Beebe Library website) donated $500 to the purchase of new books and, as a result, the town renamed the library as the “Beebe Public Library.”

With such phenomenal support, the Beebe Library soon needed to expand, and in 1916, the townspeople purchased a lot at the corner of Main and Avon Streets for $16,000.  Junius Beebe, son of Lucius Beebe, donated $60,000 toward the construction of a new library building, to be built in memory of his parents, Lucius and Sylenda (to put that into perspective, the annual yearly income in the area at this time was right around $800).  The US entrance into the First World War delayed the construction of the building, but in 1922, the cornerstone for the new library was laid, and the building was dedicated on April 15, 1923.  The architect for the 1922 building was Ralph Adams Cram, who also designed Princeton University.  The Beebe library has continued to grow, and was expanded most recently in 1995.

The Circulation Desk, via http://www.wakefieldlibrary.org/about/about-the-library/#Building-Photos

Today, the Library is a vital part of the Wakefield community, with a number of programs and reading groups–including a reading group that will be meeting at local restaurants!  It was also was the first library in Massachusetts to sponsor a townwide reading program, “Wakefield Reads”.   Check out the Lucius Beebe Library’s website to see all the phenomenal resources they offer, from job hunting to homebound delivery to college resources.  They are also a wonderfully welcoming, friendly Library community.  I can tell you from experience, as a reader who has lingered for way longer than anticipated in the chairs in their beautiful New Fiction section!   So feel free to stop by, enjoy their beautiful space, and check out all this sensational library has to offer!

We are also pleased to highlight the Lucius Beebe Library Staff’s Favorites of 2017!   Don’t forget to check out the super page on their website for the full list!

Madame Zero: The Guardian dubbed Sarah Hall as  “one of the most significant and exciting of Britain’s young novelists”, and this collection of nine works of short fiction will help you see why.  Each of these stunning, insightful tales plumbs the truth of what it means to be female in this world, as well as what it means to be human.  A husband’s wife transforms into a vulpine in “Mrs. Fox”…A new mother runs into an old lover in “Luxury Hour.” In “Case Study 2,” a social worker struggles with a foster child raised in a commune.  In beautiful, rich prose, full of observations and striking clarity, Hall has composed nine wholly original pieces—works of fiction that will resonate long after the final page is turned.

Ill Will: This tale about intertwined crimes–one in the past and one in the present–mades Dan Chaon’s novel one of the most acclaimed psychological thrillers of the year, as well as being a selection at the Beebe Library.  A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears that his adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. Despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning. Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses his patient’s suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but as the two embark on an amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence–and paranoid enough to put everything he values at risk.

Her Body and Other Parties: Carmen Maria Machado’s debut book of short stories took the literary world by storm this year, and is a celebrated part of the Beebe Library’s staff picks for the year.  A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.  Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

Get Out: One of the most important, talked-about, and thought-provoking move of the year, Jordan Peele’s debut horror film is also among the Beebe Library staff’s favorites of the year.  When Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young African-American man, visits his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) family estate, he becomes ensnared in the more sinister, real reason for the invitation. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.  This is a movie with a social message that is genuinely entertaining, a horror movie that operates on so many more levels than the visceral, and a moving take on the State of Things that you won’t soon forget.

Be sure to check out the rest of the list over at the Lucius Beebe Library website!

The Beverly Library’s Best Books of 2017!

We are enormously lucky to be part of NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange).  As many of you know, the NOBLE network allows you, our beloved patrons, to borrow books from the other libraries around us–including academic libraries at North Shore Community College and Salem State University–and utilize the programs and resources at our fellow NOBLE libraries.  It’s a fantastic system that we all value enormously.

So this year, we thought it might be fun to invite the other NOBLE libraries and staff members to join us in our end-of-the-year celebrations!  This week, we bring you Beverly Library’s list of the Best Books of 2017.

The Beverly Library, via noblenet.org

The Beverly Library (located at 32 Essex Street in Beverly) was established in 1855, three years after the Massachusetts Legislature became the first in the nation to authorize cities and towns to expend tax funds to support free public libraries.  The institution was originally known as the Social Library, a private subscription library which traced its founding to a collection of books seized by Beverly privateers from a British merchantman during the Revolutionary War (I think that might be one of the coolest starts a library has ever had).  Elizabeth P. Sohier, a trustee of the Beverly Public Library, led the fight to establish the first state library agency in the country, and served as the State Library Commission’s first secretary.  The Essex Street site was opened in 1913, and was  designed by architect Cass Gilbert, who was also the architect of the Minnesota State Capitol, the Woolworth Building in New York City and the United States Supreme Court.  The building was subsequently enlarged in 1993.

In addition to its stunning Essex Street location, the Beverly Library also has a branch in Beverly Farms (located at 24 Vine Street, Beverly) and a Bookmobile!  On average, the Beverly Library loans over 280,000 items annually to almost 27,000 regular borrowers. The Main Library collection consists of over 125,000 books and the Beverly Farms Branch of 22,000 books.  They also have regular programs, displays, and book clubs–you can learn more about them by checking out their Events Calendar.

And, just as we in Peabody have Breaking Grounds, the Beverly Library is right near the Atomic Cafe, as well as number of small restaurants, cafes, and shops–so why not pay them a call and tell them we say Hello?  You can also check out their selections for the best books of 2017.  The full list can be found on their website here, and a few selections can be found below!

Beverly Library’s Best Books of 2017:

Startup : a novel: Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he’s about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running.   Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news.  Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband–who also happens to be Katya’s boss–as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she’s been away.   Before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack’s bad behavior collides with Katya’s search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack’s scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it’s up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold.  Doree Shafrir’s debut has been hailed as one of the most anticipated books of the year, and which Wired.com called “a dramedy-of-errors, a Shakespearean yarn of secrets, sex, miscommunication, misogyny, and money…Crack this one open on the beach and you just might find yourself a little more enlightened when you return to the workplace.”

Boundless This is one of those books that proves just how far comics have come, and the real power that they have to convey stories, and move readers with images as well as text.  This collection of short stories from Jillian Tamaki features stories about the virtual realities and real-world stories of a number of ‘normal’, and beautifully unique women: Jenny becomes obsessed with a strange “mirror Facebook,” which presents an alternate, possibly better, version of herself. Helen finds her clothes growing baggy, her shoes looser, and as she shrinks away to nothingness, the world around her recedes as well. The animals of the city briefly open their minds to us, and we see the world as they do. A mysterious music file surfaces on the internet and forms the basis of a utopian society–or is it a cult? In addition to earning top praise from the staff at the Beverly Library, Boundless also earned a starred review from Booklist, who called it “A profoundly honest, bittersweet picture of human nature, made all the more haunting by her enchanting artwork.”

Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World: Historians are some of the best people to help us avoid the mistakes in our past, and in this fascinating work, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman addresses how we can avoid the endless rounds of depressing jobs and needless purchasing in order to live a better life.  Bregman offered two TED talks in the past three years on the concept of universal basic income, an idea which seemed utterly far-fetched originally, but is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders the world over.  Using this idea, and building on some engrossing and enlightening global examples, Bregman argues that every progressive milestone of civilization–from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy–was once considered a utopian fantasy.  Bregman’s book, both challenging and bracing, demonstrates that new utopian ideas, like the elimination of poverty and the creation of the fifteen-hour workweek, can become a reality in our lifetime. Being unrealistic and unreasonable can in fact make the impossible inevitable, and it is the only way to build the ideal world.  This is a challenging, thought-provoking work that won praise from economists, academics, and reviewers alike (no mean feat, that!), with The Guardian noting that Bregman’s book “is not a dry, statistical analysis-although he doesn’t shy from solid data-but a book written with verve, wit, and imagination. The effect is charmingly persuasive, even when you can’t quite believe what you’re reading . . . Listen out for Rutger Bregman. He has a big future shaping the future.”

 

Check out this link for the rest of the Beverly Library’s picks for the Best Books of 2017–or pay them a visit today!