Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 2015 Staff Book Recommendations

October 6, 2015

The Good Girl

By Mary Kubica

Opening with a mother’s realization that her semi-estranged daughter may be missing, Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl quickly spins the reader in several directions with flashbacks, multiple character perspectives and a deceptively simple kidnapping plot.  This adrenaline-pumped thriller keeps you frantically flipping until you reach the final page (and the final revelation).

Kubica takes a unique storytelling approach to the crime thriller, starting in medias res with the return of Mia, the daughter, after months of captivity.  She suffers from stress-induced amnesia and the people surrounding her struggle to put together the puzzle pieces of what happened during the months she was gone.  The reader learns bits and pieces through flashbacks although we don’t get Mia’s own perspective until near the end.  The point of view alternates with each chapter between Mia’s mother, the detective working the case and the kidnapper.  By the end of the novel you’ll find yourself rethinking the motives of almost every character.

I recommend this novel for fans of popular literary thrillers like
Gone Girl or those looking for an introduction to the genre.


Monday, September 28, 2015

September 2015 Book Recommendations

September 28, 2015

The Host 
By Stephenie Meyer 

Ever have that book that makes you so anxious that you are yelling at the character to “run” even though you know they cannot hear you? If you like fast-paced action thrillers from the first page to the last, The Host is for you. 

When aliens perceive our planet and its inhabitants to be violent creatures capable of starting wars over nonsense and killing their neighbors, they decide to take action into their own hands by entering the minds of Earth’s inhabitants. With the world at their fingertips and humanity on the brink of extinction, what else can one do but try to survive? 

After she witnesses her parent’s demise and the world as she knows it is crumbling, it is up to Melanie Stryder to save her only remaining family, her brother. With just the two of them hiding from the creatures that took over their planet, it is up to her to keep them both safe. When night falls, Melanie uses the cover of darkness to scavenge for supplies, but despite her best efforts and the promise to her little brother to return, the worst happens. Melanie must take what happens to her next and fight for what she believes in, to save not only herself but her brother and the people she loves. Unfortunately, this means that she must endanger her own life even more than she already has. 

Jump into this thriller and see how the hopes and strength of one girl can save more than she would have ever imagined! 


September 21, 2015 

The Choice 
By Nicholas Sparks 

I am not very good at making choices, from what to wear, to what to do, to what to read, so when it came to reading Nicholas Sparks’ book The Choice, I thought it might help my indecisiveness. Let me tell you now that I was waaay wrong.

Life is about many things, but one could say that finding someone to share life with is on the top of many people’s to-do list…or not. For Travis Parker, life is about living it up with backyard BBQs and hanging out with his buddies. Of course living it up with the buddies can only last for so long, right? You would think the eagerness to move on in life would just be itching away at Travis, so when a new gorgeous redheaded neighbor moves in one would think Travis would make his move. But alas, life is not that simple, for of course the gorgeous next door neighbor is already spoken for. Gabby Holland has a steady boyfriend and soon-to-be husband, but when two roads cross is it fate to stay the course you are on, or jump to another one? 

This heart-gripping story will bring tears to even the most indifferent readers. Once the scene is set and the pieces fall into place, the protagonist is left with a decision that would make most people question not only their hearts, but their entire lives. 


September 14, 2015

The String Diaries
By Stephen Lloyd Jones

Every now and then I crave reading a scary, suspenseful book. I suppose you can call it my guilty pleasure. Tucking under the covers on a stormy night while my breath catches and my heart pounds along with the characters, as monsters seemingly real, yet, thankfully imagined, terrorize me...The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones met all of my guilty pleasure necessities and more.

In the very first pages of this creepy thriller, an SUV tears down a black highway. A wife grips the steering wheel, her husband’s blood spills out from wounds all over the passenger seat while their little girl sleeps soundlessly in the back. Time is running out. The road ahead is winding and weaving. Is he behind them? They pray not. Hope and each other are their only anchors. Their stalker, dripping with the stench of ancient wickedness has been gifted with longevity- and with monsters like him prowling through the spans of time there’s no need for vampires.

Frighten yourself with an age-old tale of obsession that preys on the conviction that wants and dark desires that must be filled no matter what the cost.  Brace yourself for a relentless ride where identities shift, time is both fleeting and endless, and trust and distortion are weapons.

Be forewarned: you’ll either finish String Diaries because you can’t wait to see what happens or because you desperately want to get off the ride.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

BIG Library Read with OverDrive E-books

From October 7th through the 21st, readers from around the world will be able to enjoy the same eBook titles at the same time--a global book club!

Yes, the Big Library Read is returning in October with two titles. OverDrive will make two popular eBooks available to public libraries and schools for guaranteed lending. During this two-week program, the Big Library Read titles are available to borrow through CWMARS digital catalog with no waiting list! All you need is a library card or student ID to get started. 

So what are the books? The genre this time around is Young Adult and the titles are The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley and In the Shadow of the Blackbirds by Cat Winters. Join in this worldwide reading event! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Find Your Next Book with Novelist Plus

Figuring out what’s next on your reading list has never been easier, or more entertaining, with access to Novelist Plus, the premier Readers Advisory resource. Whether you are a librarian, a teacher, a bookseller or a bookworm, there is something to peak your interest here. Lucky for you, with a Worcester Public library card, you can access this database from wherever you have Internet access just by visiting www.worcpublib.org and clicking on Online Databases. Novelist Plus boasts many browsable options, including Author Read-Alikes, expert articles such as “Books to Movies”, an extensive collection of book discussion guides, and Curricular Connections, an element that would certainly augment any educator’s lesson plans.  The homepage presents an array of Recommended Reading lists, arranged by genre and age group, plus there is a keyword search box for the person who needs to retrieve a book title about which they only remember a few details.  Perhaps most engaging is the outstanding “I’m in the mood for books that are…”, a feature in which you can search by the following descriptors (or appeals in Novelist-speak): Nostalgic and Bittersweet, Offbeat and Witty, Fast-paced and Strong Female, or Nonlinear and Compelling.  You can also customize a personal reading list by choosing your own appeals—have fun!

Free Adaptive Technology Training from Worcester Talking Book Library

WPL is happy to announce the Worcester Talking Book Library’s Fall 2015 series of free adaptive technology training workshops. These will take place in the 3rd Floor Computer Lab at the Worcester Public Library Main Branch on Saturday mornings from 9:45 AM to 11:45 AM. There will be four sessions as outlined below:

Saturday September 26: Topics in Outlook
Creating messages, navigating folders, attaching documents, and several other Outlook tools.

Saturday October 17: Excel Basics
Spreadsheet navigation, composing simple formulas, cell formatting, inserting and deleting rows and columns, sorting columns alphabetically and by value, automatic reading of column and row titles with the define names command, and adjusting column width.

Saturday November 7: To Be Determined
To be decided by the consensus of participants from previous sessions.

Saturday December 5: To Be Determined
To be decided by the consensus of participants from previous sessions.

To register for these workshops, as well as to seek any additional information, please contact Jim Izatt or call the Worcester Talking Book Library at 1-800-762-0085 or 1-508-799-1730.

The only prerequisite for participation is a minimum typing skill level of approximately 20 words per minute. Please remember to bring a pair of personal headphones so you can work on one of the lab computers. Reminders and registration requests for subsequent workshops will be sent out shortly before each of those workshops.

Please do not hesitate to share this message with someone whom you think might be interested in attending this workshop. Thank you for your interest!

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 2015 Staff Book Recommendations

August 31, 2015 

The Paying Guests
By Sarah Waters 

Having never read Sarah Waters before, I had no idea what I was getting into when I selected this book from the New Fiction shelves. The title was familiar, and I had heard it was good somewhere…however, YOU, dear reader, are being warned: it IS good, but once it gets going, you will not being able to put it down! 

Place in time: England, 1922. This book starts off as a cozy historical novel about an upper class widow and her adult daughter Frances pulling together to survive the post-World War I economy, the men in the family having deceased in or during wartime and leaving their finances ashamble. To preserve money, and appearances, they decide to take in lodgers or “paying guests,” and while both of them are uneasy about living with strangers in their home, they cheerfully put on a brave face (or a stiff upper lip) and welcome young couple, Leonard and Lilian Barber. Soon the awkwardness of having tenants transforms into a close friendship between Frances and Lilian, and Frances’s “interesting” past becomes the conduit through which this period-piece becomes both a love story and a thriller as well. 

Waters’ talents are many: creating care-worthy characters, setting a scene and building suspense. Also notable is her ability to convey the erotic without veering into the tawdry. Mystery, Masterpiece Theater, and Delta of Venus and more, consider The Paying Guests


August 24, 2015 

By Ferrett Steinmetz 

When you mess with physics, there are consequences. That is the premise of Ferrett Steinmetz’s stellar debut urban fantasy Flex. Some consider the existence of magic, or ‘mancy, an affront to the laws of nature and when nature is affronted She fights back. For every improbable act of ‘mancy, there is a price to pay, a stroke of bad luck that rebounds back onto the ‘mancer’s life. The cost is equal to the act. A bit of artificial whimsy might only get you a broken nail or a flat tire. But serious ‘mancy brings on serious blow back, or “Flux”. 

Paul Tsabo is an ex-cop turned insurance agent—the most unlikely mage imaginable. But one day his obsession with contracts, forms and obscure legal code turns into ‘mancy, bureaucromancy to be exact. His magic enables him to draw up top secret documents from blank pieces of paper. He can finagle rental agreements, target criminals by accessing police records; he can even send faxes back in time. What he can’t do is save his daughter, Aliyah, from painful and disfiguring burns that result from the massive flux of another magic user. The novel revolves around Paul’s mission to get his daughter the treatments she needs and also take revenge against the ‘mancer called Anathema who is flooding the city with unstable Flex, a drug made of distilled magic. It was Anathema’s Flex that caused Aliyah’s burns. Paul teams up with a spunky videogamemancer named Valentine to get the job done. 

What a page turner! Somehow a book about paperwork-magic is action-packed. Steinmetz’s humor is pitch perfect for readers immersed in nerd culture. The hilarious Valentine is a much needed foil to Paul’s drama and turmoil. Best of all, there’s a sequel coming out this fall! Don’t get left behind, this series is sure to be popular.


August 17, 2015
At just over 300 pages, Julia Pierpont’s debut novel, Among the Ten Thousand Things, is slim enough to take with you to the beach.  While the subject matter (the aftermath of infidelity) is a little bleak, the author’s lyrical yet sparse prose and vibrant dialogue make it a quick read. 
Jack Shanley is a respected New York artist with an ex-dancer wife, a teenage son and an eleven-year-old daughter.  He loses all of this through a chain of events set off by the arrival of a cardboard box full of printed e-mails between himself and his mistress.  The box is delivered to his apartment building and picked up by his daughter, Kay.  The remainder of the novel explores how this event is interpreted by each character and how they change as a result.
Most fascinating to me was the impact on the youngest child.  Kay can’t understand why everyone is so upset if, as her mother tells her, her father’s actions mean nothing.  Is this just how the grown up world works? Families are broken because it feels good for one person?  Kay’s attempts to incorporate this new information into her childish worldview make up some of the book’s most interesting scenes.  While Kay struggles to understand this new adult word, her mother battles doubt and guilt.  Can she really start over?  Should she try to make it work? She’d known for a while that Jack was unfaithful but having the dirty evidence thrown in front of her and forced onto her children is another matter.  Meanwhile the teenager, Simon, tries to experience the milestones of adolescence and struggles against the taint of his parents’ failing marriage.  Finally, Jack goes on a journey which leads him to his childhood home and a confrontation with his troubled youth.  Along the way he indulges in further infidelity, a proof that he perhaps never emotionally matured beyond his child years.
One troubling aspect of the book is the shadow-like figure of “the girl.”  Jack’s mistress is only named once and is never allowed to speak for herself on the page (except through her message to Deb and the correspondence with Jack).  As I read I couldn’t help but imagine something terrible befalling this young woman.  Among the Ten Thousand Things is a captivating novel dotted with moments of humor and grace. Recommended for fans of Meg Wolitzer and Tim Perrotta.