Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Romantic Era


The Romantic Era was a time of contradictions. In many ways it was a reaction against the Enlightenment and the Industrial Era. The new ideas of the Romantic Era were introspective and individualistic. They were nature-loving and nostalgic. They idealized the past, specifically the Medieval era. These artists sought to evoke a feeling, they used drama, subjective and creative, to construct a mood.


The following lists artists and writers of the Romantic Era:

Edvard Munch - love and angst
Call number: 759.81 MUNCH

Turner : the extraordinary life and momentous times of J.M.W. Turner
Moyle, Franny.
Call number: 759.2 TURNER, J. MOYLE

Why the romantics matter
Gay, Peter, 1923-
Call number: 700.4145 GAY

The romantic revolution : a history
Blanning, T. C. W.
Call number: 940.28 BLANNING

Call number: 820.9 R759

The great romantics : selected poems : Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats.
Call number: 821.08 G7863

Old man Goya
Blackburn, Julia.
Call number: 759.6 GOYA, F. BLACKBUR 2003

The self as mind : vision and identity in Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keats
Rzepka, Charles J.
Call number: 820.91 R999s

The symbolic imagination : Coleridge and the romantic tradition
Barth, J. Robert.
Call number: 821 C693zb16

The art of William Blake.
Blunt, Anthony, 1907-1983.
Call number: 759.2 B636b


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Adult Summer Reading Patron Reviews: World War II Edition

Welcome back, Adult Summer Readers! This week we have a selection of books that share the theme of being set during or around World War II. There's nonfiction, literary horror, an alternate universe, romance, and historical fiction. And thank you again for all the book reviews you've been sending! Every one you write increases your chance of winning a Kindle Paperwhite Grand Prize. Remember you can also attend and log any of our summer programs too, or simply continue logging books you've read through August 17th.

If you still haven't joined our Summer Reading Program, now's the perfect time to do so! Register here and simply begin logging the books you've read this summer. Every adult who registers wins a prize at 3, 6, and 9 books logged.

Until next time, happy reading!

The Light Over London 
By Julia Kelly
This is a romantic story l really enjoyed and l usually don’t like romance novels. It takes place in England in two separate eras, WWII, and current 21st century issues. The characters, two very different couples, are linked by a diary located in early twentieth century furniture. It was found by a recently divorced antiques dealer. She gets lost in the story and so do you, the reader. The language is descriptive and the scenes of London and Cornwall very charming. This book has an unlikely ending. I recommend it.

~Nancy R.

The Calculating Stars 
By Mary Robinette Kowal
Set in the 1950s in an alternate universe where space exploration is brought on by a meteorite striking Earth near Washington D.C., a former WASP pilot from WWII, Elma York sets her sights on being one of the first women to become an astronaut. Elma and her engineering husband are influential figures in the International Aerospace Coalition’s mission into space. The main goal: colonizing another planet and soon. The meteorite brings not only weather and geographic changes, but social changes as well, albeit not without a fight from more conservative minds. Intelligent and skilled women from all over the world participated in the space program and had to fight to overcome gender inequality and racial segregation. I highly recommend this book for people who enjoy space related books (like Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly) and strong female characters.

~Lex P.

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom 
By Thomas E. Ricks 
Fascinating look at two men that shaped the world we live in today. Churchill through his personality and vision helped guide England through WWII and Orwell took what he saw during the Spanish Civil War and WWII and wrote two of the most influential and prescient novels of the last century: Animal Farm and 1984. Weaving the two men together, Ricks gives an excellent tale of two incredible men that almost died (more on that when you read it) before making their changes.

~Cameron L.

The Devil Aspect 
By Craig Russell
If I had to assign this book to a genre in might be "literary horror", but it is actually much more than that. Set in Prague and the Czech countryside in 1935, the book features two protagonists, one a young psychiatrist seeking to plumb the depths of the human soul in search of the origins of evil; the other a seasoned detective seeking to solve a series of gruesome murders committed by a Jack the Ripper wannabe known as Leather Apron. Eventually their paths collide. The careful reader may anticipate the twist (and there is quite a twist), at the end, but it probably won't affect her overall enjoyment as she watches the plot unfold. The specter of the coming Nazi invasion hovers. The final chapter is haunting and begs the question "who are the real monsters?"?.

~Joy H.

The Flight Girls 
By Noelle Salazar 
I just finished an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC). The book comes out July 2. Nice WWII book. Nothing disturbing. Strong female characters and friendships about a woman pilot. First novel by Salazar.

~Tricia L.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Adult Summer Reading Patron Reviews: Fun Reads & Beach Reads

Here are some books that WooReaders like you said are either fun reads or are good for beach reading. We have fiction and nonfiction, romances and sci-fi. Look over the list and see if there's one you'd like to try this summer.

If you're part of our summer program and you've already won all three levels of prizes, the last being a t-shirt for logging nine books, don't forget that more participation increases your chances of winning a Kindle Paperwhite Grand Prize! You can even log attending one of our many summer programs. Still haven't joined Summer Reading? You can do so here.

Until next time, happy reading!

Judgment Road
By Christine Feehan
First in her new Torpedo Ink Series, I was intrigued. I wasn't disappointed. Supernatural people on motorcycles was a long awaited plot line that made for fun reading. Can't wait for the next one to come out.

~Paula A.

Brokenomics: 50 Ways To Live the Dream on a Dime 
By Dina Gachman 
It didn’t give me 50 ways to live the dream on a dime at all, but it was a fun read. Don’t get it looking for serious advice, though.

~Adelaide G.

The Castaways
By Elin Hilderbrand
The Castaways is an enjoyable beach read. Not my favorite so far of Elin Hilderbrand’s but enjoyable enough. The characters are interesting and I always love to read about Nantucket!

~Rebecca G.

The Kiss Quotient
By Helen Hoang
Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient is the perfect light summer read for fans of contemporary romance novels. Stella Lane has Asperger's and prefers the intricacies of creating algorithms that predict customer purchases to the awkwardness of dating. Ever the practical thinker, Stella decides to hire an escort as a means to practice dating and simultaneously satisfy her mother's pleas for grandchildren. Stella is unlike any of the clients Michael Phan has ever worked with and, despite his rule about single meetings with clients, something pulls him towards her. Hoang creates well-developed, complex characters in an appealingly, well-written story (with a healthy dose of steamy scenes) that will delight readers interested in reading diverse romances.

~Caitlin S.

By Lisa A. Nichols
Catherine Wells is the sole survivor of an accident in deep space. Nine years later she managed to return to Earth but she can't remember any of what happened to her or her crew mates. Now she is helping to send a new mission back to where the planet where it all happened. At the same time, Catherine is beginning to have black outs where she wakes up in strange places with no recollection of how she got there. I found this to be fast paced and enjoyable; a good summer light read for Sci-Fi fans.

~Mary R.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

30th Anniversary of Seinfeld

The show about nothing turns 30 this year. Seinfeld, created by stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and writer Larry David, continues to be a part of pop culture three decades later. You can catch reruns on TV or binge-watch the whole series through select streaming services.

The first episode of Seinfeld premiered on July 5th, 1989 on NBC. The title of the pilot was "The Seinfeld Chronicles." The episode is based on Jerry`s confusion over whether a woman (Laura) he met in Michigan  is coming to visit him because she`s interested in him romantically or just wants to see the sights. It turns out that Laura is engaged and Jerry gets dragged into a five hour boat ride around Manhattan. Thus began the show about nothing.

In the pilot, Kramer (Michael Richards), Jerry`s neighbor, was originally named Kessler. He`s based on Larry David`s neighbor, Kenny Kramer. While living in Manhattan, David and Kramer both came and went as they pleased through each other`s apartments. Kessler`s name was changed when Kenny Kramer signed off to allow Castlepoint to use his last name.

George Costanza (Jason Alexander) is Jerry`s long-time friend. The name Costanza came from Jerry Seinfeld`s real-life friend, Mike Costanza. Many actors were up for the part including Nathan Lane and Danny DeVito. Alexander prepared for the role by wearing wire-rimmed glasses and resurrecting his New York accent. 

Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is partly based on Larry David`s ex-girlfriend. The two were able to remain friends after their relationship ended, just like Jerry and Elaine. She had story lines just as funny as her male counterparts, but also brought a feminine energy to the show; and who else had dance moves like her?

Lastly, Jerry Seinfeld, star of the show. While the show was supposed to be about nothing, Seinfeld and David pitched it to NBC as a show about how a comedian gets his material.  He described the show to the Associated Press as full of "aimless wandering."

Seinfeld vs. The New York Public Library
In the episode "The Library" Jerry learns he has a fine for a book (Tropic of Cancer) he borrowed from the New York Public Library in 1971. Convinced he returned it, Jerry and Kramer visit NYPL where they learn Jerry`s case has been turned over to an investigations officer named Lt. Bookman. Jerry then realizes, with the help of the girl he thought witnessed the book return, that he returned Tropic of Capricorn and loaned Tropic of Cancer to George. The copy of Tropic of Cancer was taken by George`s high school gym teacher (Mr. Heyman), who is now homeless and living outside of the library. At the end of the episode, we see the dilapidated copy of Tropic of Cancer lying next to Mr. Heyman.

Seinfeld`s first episode was met with tepid reviews, but four more episodes were ordered. They did not premier until May of 1990. After showing up in the TV ratings` top five every week, thirteen more episodes were ordered, the first premiering in January 1991. From then on we saw the birth of Festivus, Vandelay Industries, Sloppy Poppy, and one-liners still being quoted today. The show about nothing turned out to mean something.

Read about Seinfeld
Read Seinfeldia: how a show about nothing changed everything
by TV historian Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, to learn how Seinfeld made TV history.
Available in print, large type, and e-audio (available through our Libby app).

Watch Seinfeld
WPL has Seinfeld on DVD! Relive the series or watch it for the first time.

Armstrong, J.K. (2016). Seinfeldia: How a show about nothing changed everything. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Tumble Books Library and Teen Book Cloud--eBooks for Kids and Teens

e-Books for Kids! 

Tumble Book Library has over 1,000 titles for grades K-6 with unique animated, talking picture books, read-along chapter books, fiction, non-fiction and foreign language titles, Math Stories, Videos (from National Geographics), TumbleTV which consists of pre-set playlists of a sequence of books and Tumble Puzzles & Games.

 e-Books for Teens 

 Teen Book Cloud offers teens of all reading levels access to a robust collection of eBooks, enhanced eBooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, National Geographic videos, and hundreds of quizzes and other teacher resources.

Both collections are available around the clock. No downloads, no waiting! As long as you can access the internet and have a valid Worcester Public Library card, you can be reading, watching, or listening to content immediately.

To access Tumblebooks Library and TeenBookCloud, click here. Call 508-799-1655x3 or visit us if you have any questions.

Adult Summer Reading Patron Reviews: Books in a Series Edition

This week's featured patron reviews are all about books in a series.  We've got something for everyone; fantasy adventure, mysteries, thrillers, and a paranormal romance.  As one patron wrote below, "What else could you want?"

And thanks to all you WooReaders for writing and sending in your book reviews!  They're wonderful to read, so keep reading, logging, writing, and make sure to attend some of our summer programs.  Remember that the more you participate this summer, the more chance you have of winning 1 of our 2 Grand Prize Kindle Paperwhites!  If you still haven't signed up for our summer reading program, you can do so here:

Until next time, happy reading!

 Dead Dry 
By Sarah Andrews 
This is the 10th book in the Em Hansen mystery series. I have enjoyed them all, but especially appreciated this one for the geological explanations of the Colorado Front Range and issues of water resources. Sara Andrews does a great job mixing the science in with the plot and character development of her books.

~Michele F.

The Lost Order 
By Steve Berry 
Any book featuring Cotton Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt is a must read. It has adventure, history and secret societies. What else could you want?

~Miriam V.

The Tethered Mage 
By Melissa Caruso 
The Tethered Mage introduces readers to a fascinating world where magic is dangerous and unpredictable. Those born with sufficient power and skill are marked from birth and are often ostracized and feared. In the Serene Empire, such children are forcibly conscripted into the Falcon army at an early age and used like weapons whenever war breaks out. Zaira, an extraordinarily rare fire mage who can reduce entire cities to ash, has managed to avoid conscription through guile, thievery and extraordinarily luck. Her luck runs out when cornered by unsavory characters she is forced to use her fire to destroy them in broad daylight. During the ensuring chaos, Lady Amaila Cornaro, the bookish daughter of a powerful noble manages to slip a magical bracelet around her wrist. This bracelet functions like the magical version of handcuffs, binding Zaira's magic until Amaila decides otherwise. Now, these two vastly different girls are bound together, whether they like it or not. Before they can adjust to their new positions, political machinations threatens the fragile peace of the Serene Empire and these two girls must work together to avoid a fiery end. 

~Micah M.

Persuader: A Reacher Novel 
By Lee Child 
An ex army MP never stays in one place for long. Gets involved with a traitor against the government. Who is it and how does he do it? Nice read.

~Karen S.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder 
By Joanne Fluke 
Definitely will be looking into more of these aside from the good writing the cookie recipes are a bonus.

~Paula A.

Crave: A Novel Of The Fallen Angels 
By J.R. Ward 
A second great installment in Ward’s Fallen Angels series! The character development was great and I can’t wait to read more of the series. Lots of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming!

~Kayleigh W.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Biographies, Memoirs, and Cleopatra

Last month we held our first Community Book Chat: You’ve Got to Read This! and the topic of discussion was biographies and memoirs. Biographies and memoirs is such a huge topic, with so many different types of people writing and being written about, that there’s really something for everyone. Some people enjoy biographies because of their historical aspect, too. For someone like me, who has trouble reading history, I can “accidentally” learn history while being drawn into the fascinating life of an historical figure. Biographies can also help you see life from someone else’s point of view.

There are a lot of famous authors out there who’ve written multiple biographies, and some of them have won Pulitzer Prizes for their work. These writers include Ron Chernow, David McCullough, Jon Meacham, and Stacy Schiff. The first three biographers tend to focus on men of historical and political significance: figures such as George Washington, John Adams, and Andrew Jackson. When we look at memoir writers, however, the types of stories being told become more varied and diverse.

And did you know there's a difference between memoirs and autobiographies? According to the Stanford Daily, autobiographies cover the whole life of a famous person, while memoirs can be about anybody. Also, while an autobiography covers someone's entire life, a memoir focuses on a certain time or theme in the writer’s life. Another great thing about memoirs and autobiographies is that you can usually find an audio copy narrated by the author! If you haven’t tried an audio memoir or autobiography yet, I strongly recommend it. Hearing the writer’s voice adds an extra special element to the narration. For some ideas on which ones to listen to, check out my coworker’s blog post entitled Celebrity Story Time.

Now I’ll share with you what my favorite biography is: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. I picked it up because I’d heard that Schiff was a great writer, and as someone who doesn’t usually read nonfiction I need great writing to pull me in. I also already knew a little bit about Cleopatra from studying ancient Egyptian art. Or at least, I thought I knew a little bit about her. And that’s what I loved so much about Schiff’s book. It takes all the preconceived notions about Cleopatra and sets the story straight. She wades through the “facts” told by Cleopatra’s enemies after her death, and instead uses primary sources to draw conclusions as to what the Egyptian Queen was really like.

Preconceived Notion #1: Cleopatra was a great beauty. Not true. It turns out that she inherited her father’s Ptolemaic nose. What people were repeatedly impressed by were her voice and her style of oration.

Preconceived Notion #2: Cleopatra was a seductress. Wrong again. Because Caesar’s supporters didn’t understand why he liked Cleopatra, they told stories about her being a temptress. However, when they first met, Cleopatra was young and inexperienced. Caesar, on the other hand, was much older and a well-known ladies’ man. It’s easy to guess who made the first move in their relationship.

Schiff’s book holds countless amazing facts, not just about the people but also about the places. Did you know that Alexandria was considered the Paris of the ancient world? Or that Ancient Egypt permitted women to own property and file for divorces? I could talk forever about all the things I learned about from this book, but it would really be better if you read it yourself.  Or if Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt just aren't your thing, you could try some of these instead.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Adult Summer Reading Patron Reviews: Nonfiction Mix

Happy Saturday Worcester Adult Readers, a.k.a. WooReaders! Whether you're soaking up some sun or chilling with your air conditioner, take a few minutes to read this mix of nonfiction patron reviews. This week's topics include space travel and exploration, tales of a medic, a WWII spy, the opioid crisis, and last but not least The Pats. When you're done reading, make sure you're registered for our Summer Reading program. Remember if you've participated in any of our other programs, such as the WooReads Adult Reading Challenge, just use your previous login and password.

Did you hear we're giving away 2 Kindle PaperWhites as a Grand Prize to two summer readers? The more you participate, the more chance you have of winning. If you've already read nine books and won the three levels of Adult Prizes, keep reading and keep logging, write some book reviews, or learn (and log) something new at one of our summer programs.

Until next time, happy reading!

American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race 
By Douglas Brinkley 
It is a completely riveting story about the Space Age. In an age when so little seems possible. Very good read.😃

~Valdajean J.

A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back 
By Kevin Hazzard 
Fast-paced account of an Atlanta medic’s experience treating an assortment of patients. Not for the squeamish.

~Amy K.

Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy 
By Larry Loftis 
Odette Samson was a British spy during World War II, living in France during the Occupation, and helping to coordinate the Resistance. Odette found herself falling in love with her commanding officer, Peter Churchill. Tricked and captured by a German secret policeman, Odette and Peter were placed in prison and interrogated. Without Peter's knowledge, Odette told the Germans that she, not Peter, was the circuit leader, thus saving his life. This is a fascinating true life story about a brave and intelligent woman who, even from Nazi prison, was able to save many lives.

~Mary R.

American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts 
By Chris McGreal 
This is an exceptionally well written book chronicling the story of Oxycontin coming on to the market in the 1990s through the crisis and fight to curb the over-prescription of such a harmful drug. This book can be read in addition to Dopesick as it goes deeper into the court proceedings while still mentioning some of the key players Dopesick followed in West Virginia.

~Raffaela F.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void 
By Mary Roach
An interesting exploration about the considerations for surviving in space. Many aspects were points I hadn't thought of, such as procreation and the engineering of bathroom facilities that function at zero gravity with limited resources.

~ Caitlin K.

If These Walls Could Talk
By Scott Zolak
Former QB Scott Zolak gives a "behind the scenes" look at Coach Belichick, Tom Brady, and Robert Kraft coming from a team that was usually in the cellar to a winning dynasty in not-too-many years. It was a very interesting book with lots of details about individual games and players.

~Terry D.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The New York School


The term Abstract Expressionism covers the art and artists between 1950 and 1960 that explored the concept of line and structure; pushing the question, "what is art?"


For example, many have looked at Jackson Pollock's "action painting" has been misunderstood as childlike and easy. It is more accurate to say revolutionary. Pollock's strokes undo all of the rigid adherence to the rules. If Pollock were around today, we would say he thought outside the box.

I have written about Rothko here. In what would seem like a simple application of two or three colors, Rothko explores the depths and synergy of color relationships. Without any representational intention, his audience was often left wondering how they should react.
deKooning was also classified as an Abstract Expressionist and artist of the New York School. These artists were rebels. They were considered the last Avant Garde. deKooning's art is messy. It isn't soothing. It makes you feel emotions you might not be comfortable with.

Compared to the Abstract Expressionists, the later Warhol and Lichtenstein were considered "hard line" artists. And if you look back from this perspective, these works have soft, manipulated and undefined lines.  deKooning is known for his painting, "Woman I."


The New York School was known as much for its poets as for its artists. Some notable poets were Frank O'Hara, John Ashberry, James Schuyler, and Kenneth Koch. These poets often collaborated with the artists, many reviewed art and lived in the same area of Manhattan in the 1950s and 1960s.

Some of the books of poems in our collection include:

Standing still and walking in New York, by Frank O'Hara.
The collected poems of Kenneth Koch, by Kenneth Koch, and
Other flowers: uncollected poems, by James Schuyler.

For a limited time, there is a display on the third floor of the Worcester Public Library. Please come and visit!
Art display (4)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Celebrity story time

As Summer Reading kicks off, you might find yourself looking for your next great read. Have you considered listening to an autobiography or memoir? It`s a great way to learn all about your favorite celebrity because they are reading the book to you! Just make sure to look for "read by the author." Listen when you`re working around the house, have a long car ride, or sitting under an umbrella on the beach. Even better, they can come in three different formats: E-audio, CD, or Playaway.

Forward: A memoir, by Abby Wambach 
Wambach recounts her own decisions, wins, losses, and the pivotal moments that helped her become the world class athlete and leader she is today.

Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns), by Mindy Kaling 
Mindy Kaling shares her observations, fears, and opinions about relationships, her time on "The Office", and how she deals with it all.

Karamo: my story of embracing purpose, healing, and hope, by Karamo Brown 
Star of Netflix`s Queer Eye, Karamo Brown explores how the challenges in his own life have allowed him to transform the lives of those in need.

Furiosuly happy: a funny book about horrible things, by Jenny Lawson 
Bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness with hysterical stories from her life as she tries to be "furiously happy."

Becoming, by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama, one of the most iconic women of our era, discusses her public and private life, including when she was First Lady of the United States.

Born a crime : stories from a South African childhood, by Trevor Noah
Comedian Trevor Noah tells of his upbringing during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.