Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Why You Should Try Romance

Unfortunately, there are a lot of negative, preconceived notions about romance novels. And these negative ideas are often from people who’ve never even tried a romance novel. Are you one of those people? Maybe you think that romance novels are silly or fluffy, or that they contain nothing of substance. It’s okay. I was once one of those people, too.

But recently I decided that I would try a romance, and I was determined to find one I liked. Surely, I thought, there must be something out there for me. After all, romance contains within it almost any type of book you could want: historical, suspense, paranormal, western, erotic, fantasy, contemporary, and Scottish, to name a few. Romance is also the second most popular type of book that sells in the US, and the number of male romance readers is growing, too. Chance and luck were two big factors in what led me to the book I chose. And that’s fitting, because a gambling hall plays a big part in the romance series that made me fall in love with the genre.

At first glance, A Rogue by Any Other Name: The First Rule of Scoundrels by Sarah MacLean looks like your typical romance novel. There’s a girl in a flouncy dress on the cover, she’s holding a flower, and there’s a lot of shades of pink. But I was barely five minutes in before the storyline and excellent writing grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It’s a tale of long-awaited revenge, of bucking societal norms, and of the secrets of London’s Upper Crust. The heroine, Penelope, is smart and independent. There’s nothing about her that would make you think of the swooning, fainting heroines of Romance. Her opposite, Bourne, will likely please fans of Jane Eyre’s brooding Rochester. In short, there’s nothing silly or fluffy about these characters.

Really, give a Romance Novel a try.
The writer of the Rule of Scoundrels series, Sarah MacLean, is a bestselling author, a Harvard graduate, and a columnist for The Washington Post. Aside from being smitten by her Rule of Scoundrels series, reading it made me realize a few things. In romances 1) the woman has power, 2) the man adores her and, 3) the ending is optimistic. Remind me again why romances are silly? If you’re still skeptical, you should try reading a romance, too.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

WooReads Patron Reviews: Books to Make You Laugh

The following patron reviews feature fiction and nonfiction books that are described as fun, funny, humorous, and enough to make you laugh out loud. Go on and try one. Couldn't we all use a laugh?

Also, great news!  We've reached over 4,000 books read toward our community goal of 5,000 read by May 31st!  Keep logging your books, WooReaders, because you know every book counts: mywpl.beanstack.org.  If you haven't joined our WooReads program yet, there's still time.  And you can log all books read since September of 2018.  Need more incentive?  This year we're giving out a Kindle Paperwhite as the Grand Prize, with lots of little prizes along the way for books logged and reviews written.

Happy Reading, Friends!

Takedown Twenty: A Stephanie Plum Novel 
By Janet Evanovich 
Fun read, a little shocking. Bounty hunter, she gets in such trouble. Her grandmother makes me laugh out loud too.

~ Karen S.

Maphead: Charting The Wide Weird World Of Geography Wonks 
By Ken Jennings
Really enjoyed this book and learning more about this subject. Humorous and light-hearted narrative that gives you some insight into the wide world of geography.

~ Camila G.

A Cat Was Involved: A Chet and Bernie Mystery 
By Spencer Quinn 
This unique mystery series has a dog as its narrator, which is quite fun and funny. This novella is a prequel that explains how the dog and his human teamed up.

~ Judi P.

Everybody's Got Something 
By Robin Roberts
What a journey she has gone through. This book will make you smile, laugh and cry!

~ Doren C.

The Rosie Project
By Graeme Simsion
This clever book was well-written. I thought I was going to hate it because of the topic. The story was laughable; the characters were well-developed and believable. The author portrayed the main character so well. The main character's social deficits are realistic and funny.

~ Shannon S.

Bookface: Thinking Outside the Book

Books aren't just for reading anymore! Well, we still want you to read books, but we also want you to be creative with them, too. Enter the bookface:

WPL patron bookface

You need a few things to create a bookface:
  • First, you need a book with a partial face on the cover (check out our Bookface Book List)
  • Second, you need a camera, preferably a smart phone
  • Third, you need to strategically take a selfie or have someone else take a picture of you so it appears that your face is an extension of the book and completes the picture
  • Fourth, you need to share it on Instagram and tag your post using #mywplbookface so we can share it on social media!
We hope you find this quick tutorial helpful. Browse our Facebook albums from our 2017 Summer Reading Program and our 2018 Summer Reading Program for inspiration!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

WooReads Patron Reviews: Books in a Series Edition

Everyone loves books in a series! Checkout these patron mystery, fantasy, and science fiction book reviews to discover some new series and authors to add to your list.

And for our weekly update we're happy to announce that the Worcester Public Library community has reached 76% of its reading goal!  That leaves only 24% of 5,000 books to read by the end of May.  Don't forget to log your books, and remember that this year we're awarding a Kindle Paperwhite as the Grand Prize.  If you're not sure how to log your books, feel free to call or stop in and a friendly librarian will be happy to assist you.

Until then, Happy Reading!

One Under
By Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

I love this series, and I lament the fact that it can be somewhat difficult to find the books. It is a police procedural mystery series set in the UK, and what I love about it are the stories which are usually pretty solid mysteries, and the humor. I probably don't get about 1/3 of the jokes because they are UK-centric, but I love the ones I do get.

~Judi P.

Terminal Uprising
By Jim C. Hines
Terminal Uprising: Book Two of the Janitors of the Post Apocalypse is a fun, light science fiction novel. I enjoyed the humor and the idea that knowledge of plumbing and cleaning would be the tools that save the universe. There are lots of interesting themes hidden behind the humor in a world where aliens and humans armed with mops and vacuums have to work together, overcoming their mutual distrust, and cleaning up the messes of their predecessors.

~Mary R.

Field Of Bones: A Brady Novel Of Suspense
By J. A. Jance
2nd book by new writer. She gets into her poor victim's life so you feel intensely when something happens. This starts with a boy finding a human skull in desert. Upon checking the scene police find more. Hard to put down, good to the end.

~Karen S.

A Conjuring Of Light
By V.E. Schwab

This series is one of the best I've read. Truly captivating, descriptive, imaginative, thrilling, heart-rending. V.E. Schwab is one of the most talented authors I've come across. Each book was better than the last and I never grew bored or felt the series was being dragged on like I have felt with others. I have thoroughly enjoyed each one. 11/10 would recommend.

~Camila G.

By Maj Sjowall

Intriguing Swedish mystery with unusual writing style. This book is the first of the Martin Beck series which I intend to pursue. -entertaining- (a friend gave me the book)

~Agnes W.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Dementia Resource Center

In conjunction with Dementia Friendly Worcester: A New Community Effort, Worcester Public Library is helping to make Worcester a dementia friendly community. Dementia Friendly Worcester seeks to create a safe, supportive, and respectful place for those living with dementia and their caregivers to ensure they thrive and remain in the community.

Being a library, we have always offered books on dementia and Alzheimer's. Books are a great way to learn about these topics whether the book focuses on current research in the field or someone's personal account with the disease. To assist Dementia Friendly Worcester in their efforts, we have created a Dementia Resource Center on the 2nd floor of the Main Library to offer our patrons access to information beyond what they can find in books.

Dementia Resource Center
2nd Floor of Main Library

The Dementia Resource Center offers patrons access to pamphlets and brochures that cover a variety of topics such as the different types of dementia, caring for someone with dementia, and local resources. Much of this material was generously supplied by the Worcester Senior Center and National Network of Libraries of Medicine - New England Region and created by the National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer's Association. Both the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association offer valuable and reliable information on dementia. We also offer copies of the Caregiver's Guide produced by the Central Massachusetts Family Caregiver Support Program. 

We have added a few books to the center on dementia and Alzheimer's from our circulating collection as well. More books on this topic can be found in the Dewey Classification 616.831 on the second floor and on this Booklist

We hope you find the Dementia Resource Center a useful place to find information on dementia, information for caregivers, and most importantly, information regarding local resources in the area. 

What Does Bill Gates Read?

What Does Bill Gates Read Book DisplayBill Gates, founder of Microsoft and for many year the richest man in the world, writes a blog describing the books he's reading. He started this blog in 2012. His interests are diverse: in 2018 alone he read books about education, economics, meditation, warfare, genetics, leadership, and many more subjects.  You can find his book blog here. It is a thoughtful discourse on books that delve into who we are, how we got this way, and the ideas that can improve the world. He celebrates innovators and deep thinkers.

His most recent post, published this week, is about a book written by his wife, Melinda Gates. The book is titled The Moment of Lift : How Empowering Women Changes the World and you can read about it in his blog here and on evoke ("A community of optimists") here.

The Worcester Public Library currently has on display some of the books Gates has recommended. You can find them on the 2nd floor near the elevator.  Some of the titles available there to borrow are Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fall or Succeed by Jared Diamond, Awakening Joy by James Baraz and Shoshanna Alexander, and Whistling Vivaldi : How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele.

Read them and learn what Bill Gates knows!

WooReads Patron Reviews: Family Friction

You know what they say: You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family. Read over these patron reviews and decide if there's a book you'd like to try. You might find a fictional family you wish (or don't wish) you could be a part of. And while you're reading, don't forget to log what you've done in Worcester Public Library's WooReads Adult Reading Challenge. We've almost reach 73% of our goal of reading 5,000 books as a community by May 31st! Remember that our grand prize this year is a Kindle Paperwhite. You can even win smaller prizes along the way just for logging books or for writing reviews like these.

Haven't joined the WooReads Adult Reading Challenge yet? If you do, remember you can log books starting back from September 2018 until now. Every book counts towards reaching our goal.

Happy reading!

The Great Alone 
By Kristin Hannah
I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end. I seriously couldn’t get enough and was sad when it ended. A great story of the family who is dealing with household abuse and trying to escape it while trying to survive in a small, remote, close knit community of Alaska.

 ~Kim W.

The War Outside 
By Monica Hesse
What a book. I felt so much while reading this. I was excited by this book because I love historical fiction and I have never read any historical fiction about the internment camps in America. I was excited that it had both Japanese and German experiences represented in this book. But this book was about so much more than that. It was about what it means to love and to sacrifice for love. It was about friendship and connection in the hardest of times. It was about complex families. I really loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone interested.

~Cynthia O.

By Barbara Kingsolver
Two families (and their contemporaries) in two different centuries and therefore two different social milieu brought together by residing in the same house wrestle with what is means to feel sheltered - at home - and what it takes to feel the freedom of being unsheltered. A thoughtful work asking serious questions.

~William C.

The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes 
By Anna McPartlin
This is a lovely, funny story about an Irish family (set in Ireland) grappling with the imminent death of one of their own. The author does an outstanding job of showing what hospice offers and how it can help healing. The family in the story moves through their fears and sadness about saying goodbye to her to loving her through her dying. Highly recommended.

~Judi P.

The Cornwalls Are Gone 
By James Patterson
Her family is missing, is it her fault? She must find them before they are murdered. Twists and turns till the end of course.

~Karen S.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Bookmobiles around the world

April 10th is National Bookmobile day. Bookmobiles are an essential part of the library, as they connect the community with essential resources for lifelong learning. There are bookmobiles all around the world and not all of them are motorized!

WPL has two bookmobiles: Libby & Lilly
The City of Worcester has offered bookmobile services since 1940. In 1991, the bookmobile was discontinued. Fortunately, 21 years later the WPL bookmobile returned. On June 4, 2012, WPL introduced Libby. Libby contains collections for all ages.
Libby`s schedule
Lilly, WPL`s second bookmobile, was introduced in January 2014. Lilly contains books, audiobooks, and DVDs for preschoolers through teenagers, as well as storytime kits for parents and caregivers to borrow. There are tablets and a touchscreen computer for patrons to use onboard.

Bibilioburro (Columbia)
Founded in 1997 by school teacher Luis Soriano, the Bibilioburro delivers books to residents of rural Columbia. Soriano, along with his two donkeys (Alfa & Beto) has gained world-wide attention. He also built a library in his home town of La Gloria.

ECHO Library (Greece)
The ECHO Library visits multiple refugee camps in Greece while thousands of asylum seekers wait for their claims to be heard. ECHO`s goal is to provide them with the opportunity to learn skills that will aid them as they try to rebuild their lives.
Il Bibliomotocarro (Italy)
In 2003, retired school teacher Antonio La Cava converted a motorbike into a bookmobile because he thought the school system had not encouraged kids to read enough. Every week he travels through the villages of Basilicata (southern Italy) bringing books to children & adults.

Bibliobus (Africa)
The Children of Africa Foundation has 9 bookmobiles that travel the country. These buses are equipped with books and computers, and are part of a nation-wide initiative to educate every child in Africa.

Don`t forget to log your books for the WoodReads Adult Reading Challenge! Help Worcester reach 5,000 books by May 31st! You can log the books you`ve read since September 2018. If you read 20 books you`ll be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite!

What will you do with your tax refund?

Morningstar Investment Research Center Database  -- If you’ve received a tax refund this year, or are looking forward to receiving one in the coming weeks, you’re probably considering options about what to do with these funds. Paying off any outstanding credit card balances is a wise first step. After that, consider investing this money to start an emergency fund or for longer term investment goals. Research is key to making informed choices when it comes to investing. The library has a subscription to the Morningstar Investment Center database that you can use to research stocks, bonds, ETF’s and mutual funds. You can access Morningstar remotely from home for free using your Worcester Public Library card and PIN.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Read All About It: Journalists on the Job

If No News, Send Rumors

 Journalists travel all over the world in pursuit of their stories, from the halls of power in Washington D.C. and Moscow, to the war zones of Vietnam, Somalia, and Iraq. They go undercover and in disguise to some of the most dangerous places on Earth. They are eye-witnesses to the profound depths of the human heart and to the vagaries of nature. They report back to us about small-town elections and bloody revolutions, and about broken traffic lights and the devastation of tsunamis. 

War Reporting for Cowards
    And sometimes the treacheries and absurdities are to be found right here at home, in the behind-the-scenes decisions of America’s newsrooms. 

    To experience their lives - however viscerally - here are some of our books by and about investigative journalists. These books feature accounts from World War II, the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s, the 2016 presidential campaign, and from terrorists’ training camps. What made the headlines and what was edited out… and why? 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

WooReads Patron Reviews: Books Set in the South

This week's collection of WooReads Patron Book Reviews features books set in the South: North Carolina, Louisiana, and Georgia.  Take the time to let your mind and imagination travel to somewhere a little warmer.  And while you're reading, don't forget to log what you've done in the Worcester Public Library's WooReads: Adult Reading Challenge.

The Challenge goes until May 31st, when we hope to reach our community goal of 5,000 books read.  With 1,609 left to go, every book counts.  Remember, if you log more than 20 books for this challenge you will be entered to win a Kindle Paperwhite!  To catch up, you can log all books read from September 2018 and on.

See you at the library!

Where the Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
Meh. A big disappointment after all the buildup. I thought the book would be much better... Maybe because the narrator's voice, when she read dialog, was almost comical, I found the book hard to take. The ending WAS a surprise, however, so I am glad I stuck with it.

~Jeri G.

The Chef 
By James Patterson
God, an exciting read. Mardi Gras time in New Orleans, a terrorist on the loose. Lots of twists and false leads as Caleb Rooney tries to stop the plot, and run his food truck.

~Karen S.

Sweet Tea and Sympathy: The Southern Eclectic Series #1 
By Molly Harper
Why I chose this book: I've read Molly Harper's paranormal fantasy series and enjoyed them immensely (she's one of my favorite authors). In preparation for the upcoming release of Book 3 in the Southern Eclectic Series, which is not paranormal, I wanted to feature the first two books in the series. Gallery Books provided a review copy.

Review: Sweet Tea and Sympathy is an emotional, comedic story of one woman's confrontation with failure. Fans of Molly Harper will appreciate her recognizable wit and sarcasm (at one point, I laughed so hard I was crying). Harper's humor is something I absolutely love about her writing - her perspective and commentary can make even the most painful moments hysterical. And the character Harper creates in Margo is so relatable that, after a few chapters, it felt almost like she was a close girlfriend.

Margo is a single young professional event planner whose career is everything - and she is at the top in her field, but she has no personal life and is not truly happy. Sound like a good cross section of society? One could easily read Sweet Tea and Sympathy as a critique of societal norms and expectations. Margot's career is derailed when a chef she hires insists on serving shrimp, which Margot had specifically prohibited. Harper engineering hilarious chaos that result's in unemployment for Margot. Enter here long lost relatives who want to hire Margot to plan funerals at their funeral parlor and bait shop (they have different entrances). Margot moves from Chicago to Georgia, where she gets to know her father and his family, navigates the waters of a very small town, and falls for the principal of the elementary school.

More than humorous, Sweet Tea and Sympathy perfectly characterized the struggle of balancing a successful career and personal fulfillment. Uncomfortable in so many circumstances, such as not being in control of everything, Margot takes one step back for every two steps forward in accepting and ultimately embracing a new, less stressful, more personally gratifying life in Georgia.

Fans of Harper and readers who enjoy personal journeys can find a story to dive into in Sweet Tea and Sympathy.

My advice? Get the whole series and tell everyone to leave you alone for a few days. (I say this with confidence, though I haven't yet read the next book.)

Also posted to my blog: Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk.

~Victoria D.