Thursday, October 24, 2019

WooReads Adult Patron Book Reviews: Historical Fiction Edition

This week we're bringing you a selection of Historical Fiction Book Reviews, courtesy of our WooReads Patrons. From Hawaii to Norway, these books cover a wide swath of the globe. Do you want to immerse yourself in a distant time and place? Browse this list and see if one of these books is the one you've been waiting for.

If you want to join our WooReaders, and log your books and share reviews, you can do this on our Beanstack page. Share your love of reading and maybe win a Grand Prize Kindle Paperwhite in May!

Until next time, Happy Reading.

By Alan Brennert
Very poignant story about a 7 year who contracts Leprosy in Hawaii and her life when she is exiled to the Molaka'i Leper Colony.

~Jeanne C.

A Capitol Death 
By Lindsey Davis
Flavia Alba is tasked with solving a particularly nasty crime in Rome, 89 AD. The Emperor Domitian has returned from his military campaigns and wishes his people to greet him with a Triumph - a massive parade with live animals, captives, and lots of booty (much of it recycled from previous Triumphs). However, the much disliked manager of the celebration has fallen from a high cliff near the Forum. A witness reports that the victim was pushed. Flavia must sort it all out before the vindictive Emperor hears of it. Full of color and fascinating historical details, Flavia Alba is a delight.
~Mary R.

The Saboteur
By Andrew Gross
Wonderful book. Makes you feel like you were in Norway during WWII. Highly recommend this book.

~Miriam V.

A Fall of Marigolds 
By Susan Meissner 
A book club read. I enjoyed. It starts really sad about losses of people and lost dreams. Twists at the end, sweet, and surprising ending.

~Karen S.

By Tea Obreht 
This is a very slow moving book with two plot lines that get difficult to follow sometime. The last hundred pages redeems the story and gives us a wonderful twist to bring some of the pieces together. I would not read it again on the other hand if some one likes the Southwest in the 1890s this would be a good choice.

~Frances N.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Healthy Living: Carb Control

If you're working on healthy eating habits, you NEED to come to our monthly nutrition classes with Judy Palken, Registered Dietitian. She offers clear, and easy-to-follow advice on a variety of health topics to help you improve the way you eat, and in turn, improve your health. Our next class is Healthy Holiday Eating on November 9 at 1pm in the Banx Room. Register HERE.

We hosted Judy on October 12th, for her Stay Healthy with Carb Control class. Here is the information and advice she presented on how to make carb control part of your daily diet.

Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners, 1857
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Why Control Carbs?

Eating an excess of carbohydrates can contribute to:

  • Weight gain
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases
  • Inflammation

How Many Carbs Should I Eat?

According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the daily intake of carbohydrates should be 45-65% 

Below are 4 types of carbohydrate diets (information from Today's Dietitian November 2018)

  • Very low-carbohydrate diet – 21-70 g per day   
    • Ketogenic diet – < 50 g carb per day (sometimes 20-30 g carb per day). The body burns stored fat for energy, and ketone bodies are produced as a byproduct.
    • Atkins Diet – 20-40 g net carbs per day (net carbs = total carbs minus fiber)
  • Moderately low-carbohydrate diet – 30% - < 40% of calories as carbohydrate
  • Moderate-carbohydrate diet – 40% - 65% of calories as carbohydrate 
  • High-carbohydrate diet - > 65% of calories as carbohydrate 

Judy's Tips for Controlling Carbs  

  • Measure out breakfast cereal
  • Bagel – eat half, or scoop it out 
  • To serve with spreads – cucumber rounds, carrots, celery, high fiber crackers   
  • Spiralized veggies instead of regular pasta     
  • Cook your own pasta sauce, or buy a low sugar variety  
  • Choose a small potato, or a half of one  
  • Ice cream – serving = ½ cup
  • Choose high-quality carb sources – whole grain foods, legumes, fruits, vegetables  

Judy's Book Suggestion

The Hungry Girl Diet: Big Portions. Big Results., by Lisa Lillien offers ideas for low carb snacks, such as Baked Kale Chips, Easy Cheesy Noodles, Veggie Egg Mug, Deli Rolls, Feta-Stuffed Strawberries, and Upside-Down Cream Pie on pages 200 and 201.

How Many Carbs are in the Foods I Eat Everyday?

Frame of reference:  Table sugar – 1 teaspoon has 4 grams of carbohydrate  
Fruits and Vegetables
  • Apple – medium - 25
  • Orange – 17 g
  • Banana – medium - 27
  • Blueberries – ½ cup - 11
  • Raisins – 2 Tbsp - 16
  • Carrot – raw, 1 medium - 6
  • Celery – 1 medium stalk – 1.2 
  • Broccoli, raw, chopped, 1 cup – 6  
  • Butternut squash, baked – ½ cup cubes – 10.8   
  • Potato, white, with skin, baked - 1 medium – 36.5 
  • Sweet potato, baked - 1 medium – 23.6  
  • Corn, yellow, boiled – ½ cup – 15.6  
  • Chicken – 3 oz - 0
  • Egg, 1 large - 0.4 
  • Peanut butter, smooth – 2 Tbsp – 7.1   
  • Bread, whole wheat – 1 slice – 13.7  
  • Post Shredded Wheat – 1 ¼ cup – 47 
  • Brown rice – cooked, ½ cup - 23
  • Spaghetti, ½ cup packed - 23
  • Bagel –  small (3”) - 36   
  • Bagel –  med (3.5-4”) – 55 
  • Bagel –  large (4.5”) – 68.6  
  • Muffin – Dunkin Donuts, Blueberry - 76
  • Crackers – Ritz x5 – 10 
  • Saltines (5 crackers) – 12   
  • Milk, 8 fl oz – 13
  • Yogurt – plain, nonfat, 6 oz – 13.1 
  • Yogurt – fruit, nonfat, 6 oz – 32.3
  • Cupcake, w/ buttercream frosting - 30
  • Ice cream, chocolate - ½ cup – 18.6  
  • Frozen yogurt, chocolate – 18.8   
  • Gummy bears, x15 – 46 
Sugary Drinks
  • Coke – 8 fl oz - 27
  • Punch – 8 fl oz- 30
  • Orange juice – 8 fl oz - 29
  • Table sugar – 1 Tbsp - 12
  • Maple syrup – 1 Tbsp – 13.4
  • Honey – 1 Tbsp – 17.3
Shortcuts for estimating carbs
  • Bread – 15 g carb
  • Fruit - 15 g carb  
  • Non-starchy vegetable - 5 g carb    

Nutrient Analysis from: 

Information provided by Judy Palken, MNS, RD, LDN
Crystal Clear Nutrition
Crystal Clear Nutrition Facebook page; request to join!

A Celebration of Authors 2019

A Celebration of Authors 2019
The signature fundraising event of the Worcester Public Library Foundation

Please join us for an extraordinary evening of cocktails, food and conversation with four celebrated authors to benefit the programs and services of the Worcester Public Library. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019: 5:30-9:00 p.m. 
 Mercantile Center @ 100 Front Street Worcester, MA

Robin Cook 

Robin Cook’s literary career began with his first novel, The Year of the Intern, published in 1972. He wrote the book on board the nuclear powered submarine, USSN Kamehameha while fulfilling his compulsory military service after completing his general surgical training. It was followed 5 years later with Coma, which he wrote at night during the final year of his ophthalmology residency at Harvard. Coma was published the following year while Dr. Cook was a student at the Kennedy School of Government. Thirty-four other bestsellers have followed for a current total of thirty-six, all of which have been translated into some forty languages, and many of which have been adapted into theatrical films, television movies, and mini-series. To date he has sold several hundreds of million books worldwide. Dr. Cook’s thirty-seventh book, Genesis,dealing with the rapid evolution of genetic genealogy will be published in December 2019.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka 

New York Times-bestselling author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and a deep respect for his younger readers-qualties that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores. First published at the age of twenty-three, Krosoczka now has dozens of published books to his credit. Titles include several picture books, his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, the Platypup Police Squad middle-grade novels, and story arcs in the Star Wars™: Jedi Academy series. Krosocka also shares his own story of growing up amongst family addiction in his young adult graphic memoir, Hey, Kiddo, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

William Landay

William Landay’s latest novel is the New York Times bestseller Defending Jacob, which is currently in production as a limited-run television series for Apple TV starring Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery. His previous novels are Mission Flats, which won the Dagger Award as best debut crime novel of 2003, and The Strangler, which was an L.A. Times favorite crime novel and was nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award as best crime novel of 2007.

Steven Rowley

Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of The Editor and Lily and the Octopus, which has been
translated into nineteen languages. He has worked as a freelance writer, newspaper columnist, and screenwriter. Originally from Portland, Maine, Rowley is a graduate of Emerson College. He currently resides in Los Angeles.


Stephanie Pasha is currently the President of the Worcester Public Library Board of
Directors. She is the Assistant Vice President of Strategic Volunteer Engagement at WPI.

Friday, October 18, 2019

WooReads Adult Patron Book Reviews: Popular Reads Edition

Looking for some compelling weekend reads? Stop by our Popular Reads table at the Main Library. It is always stocked with notable titles and bestsellers in fiction and nonfiction. We hand-pick these titles just for you! Enjoy the book reviews below and get an idea of the types of books you may find on our Popular Reads table.

The Testaments

By Margaret Atwood

This is the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. I was totally engrossed with this book. I so looked forward to what I felt was completion of the tale. It was 400 pages which I went through in 2 days. Must read if you read the first one.

~ Frances N. 

Dreyer's English

By Benjamin Dreyer

Using the English language correctly. I think everyone should know how to do that. The author is whimsical, as well as very intelligent. This is a must read for proper grammar enthusiasts. 😊

~ Valdajean J.

Where The Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owen

An amazing book. A young girl growing up in the swamps faces many hardships. Your heart goes out to her. A murder, or accident is intertwined in the story, she's arrested and tried. A book I couldn’t read fast enough, but sad when it was finished.

~ Karen S. 

Big Sky

By Kate Atkinson

I really enjoyed this novel, which marks the return of detective Jackson Brodie. He is a few years older, with a sullen teenage son and an elderly dog. It combines Kate Atkinson's sly sense of humor and winks at the mystery genre, where a series of random coincidences will cause an old case to stir up new problems. The novel is full of the interesting and quirky characters that we expect from Kate Atkinson. Welcome back, Jackson!

~ Mary R.

Friday, October 11, 2019

20th Century Fiction that Eerily Predicted the Future

20th Century Fiction that Eerily Predicted the Future

If you think tales of horror are scary, take a look at some of these old world fiction novels that predicted the future!

Some may say that these early works of fiction predicted the future, others will say that the future was influenced by these books. Whichever outlook that you choose, the books below were published years before their ideas became reality.

Year Published/Year it came to be           

                    1984 By George Orwell : Big Brother (surveillance)

                             Brave New World by Aldous Huxley : Psychiatric Drugs

      Frankenstein By Mary Shelley: Organ Transplants (the first a kidney according the United Network for Organ Sharing)

   Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury : Flat screen TVs and Earbuds


    The World Set Free by H.G.Wells : Atomic Bombs


1726/ 1877
  Gulliver’s Travels By Jonathan Swift : Mars has two moons




                         Neuromancer By William Gibson : The World Wide Web

 The Wreck of the Titan or Futility By Morgan Robertson : eerily predicts the sinking of the Titanic with details too close to what really happened.

 Men Like Gods By H.G. Wells : Wireless communication (text message (1992) email (1971) See other forms of wireless communication here

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

WooReads Adult Patron Book Reviews: Books That (Might) Freak You Out

October means Halloween, and so we've gathered some reviews where patrons mentioned horror, being scared, witches, and maybe a couple books with creepy titles (but maybe not creepy content). This week's selection contains fiction and nonfiction, so take a look and see if there's anything you'd like to try.

If you want to get in on sharing your book reviews, make sure to join our WooReads Adult Reading Challenge: Beyond Summer. Share reviews, log your books, and be a part of our community of readers.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

My Sister, The Serial Killer
By Oyinkan Braithwaite
I have never read anything like this. This book was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the story of two sisters, one of whom is literally a serial killer. Believe it or not, somehow the book was charming, clever, and actually pretty funny. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook, the narrator does an amazing job.

~Irene U.

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
By Maureen Callahan
This was un-putdownable. I read it in one day and had to sleep with a light on for the next 3 nights. It's more eerie than I'll Be Gone in the Dark. I found the commentary on serial killers in the 21st century. The story about this individual is just harrowing and scary.

~Emily S.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death
By Caitlin Doughty
A very quick, easy, candid, and often humorous read on death. The questions come from children, and the answers are presented in a way that is easily understood. Recommend, and could also be read with/to a child.

~Mary T.

Dorcas Good: Diary of a Salem Witch 
By Rose Earhart 
Wonderful book related to the Salem witch trials.

~Miriam V.

The Chain 
By Adrian McKinty 
What started as a usual morning turns into a horror. Your child is kidnapped and you must pay ransom and kidnap another child to get her released.Tense reading as you question how far you would go.

~Karen S.

Friday, October 4, 2019

WooReads Adult Patron Book Reviews: Nonfiction

It's that time for another round of patron book reviews from WooReads: Adult Reading Challenge (Beyond Summer). This week we bring you a variety of nonfiction book reviews with a little something for everyone. Enjoy and don't forget to log your books and share your book reviews on WooReads!

The Not Good Enough Mother

By Sharon Lamb

The author is a forensic psychologist who conducts parenting evaluations for court cases where children are in foster care and a decision is pending on whether the parents are able to regain custody. The situations are very thought-provoking and we gain an excellent understanding of the many ways in which a parent can be "good enough" or not. These cases are never black & white, and Sharon's descriptions provide the intricacies that she navigates each time. As a parallel story she is questioning her own parenting because one of her grown sons became an addict, and then a parent himself, a situation she has
                                                        encountered so many times in her work.

                                                       ~Linda J.

Barnum: an American Life

By Robert Wilson

P.T. Barnum was a man of his times, practical joker, showman, museum owner, circus owner , real estate developer, business man, politician, and so much more. In this entertaining biography, Robert Wilson shows how Barnum's ideas and views changed over time, from the brash hoaxer (who may have owned the African-American slave that he showed at his museum as nurse maid to George Washington) to a temperance proselytizer and abolitionist who emphasized the educational aspects of his shows (while still making a profit). This book is an interesting take on a man usually seen as a flamboyant huckster.

~Mary R. 

Unbroken: an Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive

By Laura Hillenbrand

A WWII nonfiction book. It was one mans life, from a wild child to an an Olympic star. WWII starts, he joins. He becomes an airman, shot down. He and others that survive drift in a raft for days. Fighting sharks, trying to survive. Find land, become POW. The treatment was so terrible it was hard to read. We THANK more than ever our brave soldiers.

~Karen S.

The Stranger in the Woods: the Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

By Michael Finkel

This was a story I was interested in, and there were some interesting tidbits, but I felt it dragged on a little too much to keep my interest. I was happy to have an update at the conclusion, seeing as it was a true story.

~Linnea S.

Lost Cat: a True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology

By Caroline Paul, Wendy MacNaughton

A heartwarming story with the cutest illustrations. It is a quick enjoyable read.

~Janet B.