Monday, November 30, 2020

Weekly DVD Picks

WPL has a great selection of DVDs for movie night! We have the latest blockbusters as well as the classics you can't get enough of. Watch the trailers for the films below. If you like what you see, click on the title. You'll be directed to our catalog where you can place a hold. 

If you don't want to wait for a specific title to be available, try our Grab and Go DVD service. Each DVD bundle has a theme. You can grab these to go at the circulation desk at the Main Library. Bundles cannot be requested in advance. The titles will be a surprise. If you would rather request specific titles, please do so through our catalog at

Get rewarded for borrowing movies from WPL! Use #movienight @worcesterpubliclibrary on Facebook. Each post will be entered into a monthly drawing for WPL gear!

How to Build a Girl (R)

Watch the trailer here

Johanna Morrigan is a bright, quirky, sixteen-year-old who uses her colorful imagination to regularly escape her humdrum life. Desperate to break free from the overcrowded flat she shares with her four brothers and eccentric parents, she submits an earnestly penned and offbeat music review to a group of self-important indie rock critics at a weekly magazine.

Deerskin (Not Rated)

Watch the trailer here

Language: French 

In this dark comedy of middle-aged masculinity gone awry, a recent divorcee becomes obsessed with a vintage-fringed deerskin jacket that begins to exert an uncanny hold on him. Set in a sleepy French alpine village, he falls into the guise of an independent filmmaker and befriends a trusting bartender who becomes his collaborator on a movie that will document a surprising new goal he sets himself.

The Wretched (R)

Watch the trailer here

Following his parents' separation, a rebellious teenage boy is sent to live with his father for the summer in an idyllic tourist town. The quiet town offers him little solace, and his problems become more disturbing when he makes a chilling discovery about the family renting the house next door.

Sometimes Always Never (PG-13)

Watch the trailer here

Alan is a stylish tailor with moves as sharp as his suits. He has spent years searching tirelessly for his missing son Michael who stormed out over a game of Scrabble. With a body to identify and his family torn apart, Alan must repair the relationship with his youngest son Peter and solve the mystery of an online player who he thinks could be Michael, so he can finally move on and reunite his family.

Enter the Forbidden City (Not Rated)

Watch the trailer here

Language: Mandarin

Yue Jiu, the most famous opera singer in all of Imperial China, is expelled from the capital city for vulgarity. He heads south, where he encounters Wang Runsheng, a promising young opera singer for the Chuntai Troupe. When the Emperor invites all of China’s opera troupes back to the capital city for a celebration, Yue Jiu and Runsheng are forced to choose between their reputations, their safety, and their love of opera.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Weekly Reads Episode 34

Join Librarians Devon and Joy for Weekly Reads. This week's suggestions include a book set in Amsterdam, the story of a mill town in Mexico, Maine, an historical fiction set in 1960s Brooklyn, a graphic novel memoir, and of course a coming soon title!

Featured Titles for Episode 34:
Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains by Kerri Arsenault
How to Catch a Queen: Runaway Royals, Book One by Alyssa Cole
House on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine

Friday, November 27, 2020

Urban Fiction Series Available Now!

If you're an Urban Fiction fan and hate reading series out of order, have we got some news for you! We now have several full series available for checkout. All you have to do is order ahead online by clicking the links below or call 508-799-1655, option 3, to reserve your copies. The library will notify you when your items are ready, and you can pick up your books during regular business hours - no appointment needed! Here is just a sampling of some of the series that are available.

Murderville: First of a Trilogy by Ashley & JaQuavis
Liberty is dying, but she wants to survive until her 25th birthday when her sister has promised to visit her. Liberty wants A’shai to tell her a story, to help her remember what brought them to this point. A’shai walks her though their past, reliving their journeys through the streets. The story will take them from an arranged marriage, through Mexico’s drug cartel, child brothels, hustling in Detroit, to escaping the high-powered heads of L.A.’s underworld.

The series continues with
Murderville 2: The Epidemic by Ashley & JaQuavis
Murderville 3: The Black Dahlia by Ashley & JaQuavis

White Lines by Tracy Brown
Jada left home at sixteen, running from her own demons and the horrors of physical abuse from her mother's boyfriend. Life seemed good when she was with Born, the neighborhood kingpin whose name was synonymous with money, power, and respect. But his love couldn't save her from a crack addiction. Jada goes from addict and prostitute to survivor and back again before she finds the strength to live for herself and come out on top. 

The series continues with:
White Lines II: Sunny by Tracy Brown
White Lines III: All Falls Down by Tracy Brown

BFF's Forever by Brenda Hampton
Kayla, Evelyn, and Trina have been on-and-off-again girlfriends for many years, but the lines of true friendship have been crossed, the knives that went into another friend's back cut deep, and trust no longer applies when one woman has an affair with another's man. Once the lines of friendship have been crossed, will this trio be able to regain the bond of loyalty they once shared?

The Banks Sisters Complete by Nikki Turner
Meet the Banks sisters: Mona, Bunny, Tallhya, and Ginger. One of the few things they have in common is their love for their grandmother, Me-Ma. When Me-Ma has a heart attack, the sisters discover that she left the house and her money to the church. Now the pastor wants them out, unless they can find the money to buy the house back. The sisters devise a plan that could get them plenty of dough--if they can stay away from law enforcement that's looking for a group of female bank robbers. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Grab & Go DVD Bundles

Let WPL help you plan your next movie night. With our Grab & Go DVD service, you can pick a themed bundle hand-selected by our librarians.

Want a good laugh? Take the comedy bundle. Want an adrenaline rush? Take the action bundle. Other categories include: TV shows, romance, family favorites, horror, and documentaries. You can grab these to go at the circulation desk at the Main Library. They cannot be reserved in advance. The titles will be a surprise. If you would rather request specific titles, please do so through our catalog at

Featured December Releases

Did one of the book covers on our homepage catch your eye? They are all new titles being released in December 2020, and all are well-reviewed and anticipated. Read below for a description of each, and click the linked title if you'd like to request a copy or get your name on the wait list. And don't forget to watch for more featured releases next month! 

Featured Fiction Titles for December

Afghanistan, 1970s. Born to an American mother and an Afghan war hero, Daniel has spent his life navigating a complex identity. After years in Los Angeles, he is returning home to Kabul at the helm of an agency dedicated to eradicating the poppy fields that feed the world’s opiate addiction. But on a drive out of Kabul, Daniel accidentally hits and kills a young Kochi girl named Telaya. He is let off with a nominal fine, in part because nomad tribes are ignored in the eyes of the law, but also because a mysterious witness named Taj intercedes on his behalf. Wracked with guilt, Daniel begins to unravel, running from his crumbling marriage and escalating threats from Taj, who turns out to be a powerful opium khan. 

Berlin 1944: a serial killer stalks the bombed-out capital of the Reich, preying on women and laying their bodies in front of war memorials. All of the victims are linked to the Nazi party. But according to one eyewitness, the perpetrator is not an opponent of Hitler's regime, but rather a loyal Nazi. Jewish detective Richard Oppenheimer, once an investigator for the Berlin police, is reactivated and forced onto the case. Oppenheimer is not just concerned with catching the killer and helping others survive, but also his own survival. Worst of all, solving this case is what will certainly put him in the most jeopardy. With no choice but to further his investigation, he searches for answers and a way out of this dangerous game. 

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family, they’ve grown up under the guidance of nuns preparing them for simple lives. At night, their secret stash of romance novels and magazine cutouts helps them keep their dreams of the future alive. When they’re of age, the sisters set out with a fierce determination to prove themselves worthy to a society that has never accepted them. Their journey propels them out of poverty and to the caf├ęs of Moulins, the performance halls of Vichy—and to a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris. But the sisters’ lives are again thrown into turmoil when World War I breaks out, forcing them to make irrevocable choices. 

Featured Nonfiction Titles for December

In the days before Homeira gave birth to her son, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of frequent suicide explosions. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital. But the joy of her son’s birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children and fought for women’s rights. Devastating in its power, this book is a mother’s letter to a son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story she challenges you to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival. 

2020 marks twenty-five years since one of the greatest wildlife conservation and restoration achievements took place: the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone. Absent for seventy years, they returned to Yellowstone in 1995 when the government reversed its extermination policy and began the reintroduction of wild wolves. In the following decades, scientists studied their behaviors and built a one-of-a-kind field study. This is the incredible story of the wolves’ return to Yellowstone as told by the people responsible for their reintroduction, study, and management. Featuring a foreword by Jane Goodall, beautiful images, and contributions from over seventy 70 wildlife conservation leaders around the world. 

Tina is a global icon of hope. For decades, she has shined as an example of someone who can generate hope from nothing, break through all limitations, and achieve success that endures. And now, with this book, she shows how anyone can overcome obstacles to fulfill their dreams. She shows how we can improve our lives, empowering us with spiritual tools and advice to enrich our unique paths. Drawing on the lessons of her own experiences--rising out of sorrowful lows to stratospheric heights--she illuminates the practical principles of Buddhism and how they have helped her elevate from despair, adversity, and poverty to joy, stability, and prosperity.

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Any day spent reading a book is a good day! Sometimes, it's difficult to find your next read. That's what we're here for! Check out these reviews from our adult patrons for suggestions. If you prefer a specific genre, try our Bundle Book service. A librarian will select five books for you based on your reading preferences. Log your books for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page to help us reach our community goal of 3,000 books read by the end of May 2021. Logging your books is a great way to keep track of all the stories you've read. If you log twenty, you'll be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite! 

A Deception at Thornecrest by Ashley Weaver

This is a satisfying mystery series set in 1930s England. Wealthy Amory and her playboy husband Milo have retreated to their country estate for the last few weeks of Amory's pregnancy. The quiet village is busy preparing for an annual festival when Amory is surprised by a visitor claiming to be married to Milo. Murder soon follows and Amory feels compelled to sort it all out. Family relationships play a large role in the novel. Fun cozy for fans of the Her Royal Spyness series and the Kurland St. Mary books. ~ Mary R. 

Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera

This is a fabulous book! It is deep on many levels. Great read with amazing characters. ~ Joan M. 

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

This is a great book. Love the authors dry sense of humor. I also learned quite a bit about the inner workings of running a bookshop. ~ Carolyn D.

Honeysuckle Summer by Sherryl Woods

Third book of the series that was just as enjoyable as the first two! Very quick read. ~ Pam M.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Weekly Reads Episode 33

Join Librarians Devon and Joy for Weekly Reads. This week's book suggestions include a different version of Pride and Prejudice, a poetry anthology by indigenous North Americans, a WWII-era book set in Minnesota, a memoir of escaping the First Liberian Civil War, and of course a coming soon title! 

Featured Titles for Episode 33:
Longbourn by Jo Baker
When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry edited by Joy Harjo
Confessions in B-Flat by Donna Hill
The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir by Wayetu Moore 
Prudence by David Treuer

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


WooReaders love a good mystery! This week's adult patron book reviews have readers asking "whodunit?" If you'd like to read these books, click the title. You'll be brought to our catalog where you can place a hold. If you want suggestions on what mystery books to read next, try our Book Bundle service. Select mystery as your preferred genre and a librarian will select five books for you. Get rewarded for your reading by logging your books for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New PageIf you read 20 books, you'll be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite! You'll also help us reach our community goal of 3,000 books read by the end of May 2021. 

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves

Inspector Vera Stanhope, driving home in a blizzard, discovers an abandoned car with an infant in it. Rescuing the baby brings Vera into a tangled web of her own upper class relatives, and a murder. Vera is a mass of contradictions - a middle aged woman, cranky and disheveled, but obsessed with her police work and with finding the murderer of a young single mother. This mystery is a great read. Vera is realistic and her loyal team is well developed. Added bonus-- the Northumberland setting. ~ Mary R.

Loved this book! Interesting story about young women killed in Salem, MA who were related to victims of the witch hysteria of the 1600s. Looking forward to more books by this author. ~ Miriam V.

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich 

Fun read with bounty hunter Stefanie Plum. Gets into her usual troubles, looses a few cars, and gets the criminal in the end. Good, relaxing, fun read. ~ Karen S.

Gone for Good by Harlan Coben 

What do you do when you find a current picture of your dead brother? What happened to your ex-girlfriend all those years ago? Who killed her? And who is attacking people you care about now? This book was one that could not easily be put down. ~ Jean P.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Weekly Reads Episode 32

Join Librarians Devon and Joy for another episode of Weekly Reads. This week's suggestions include a mystery with ghosts set in Vermont, a story of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, a coming-of-age tale, the life of an unconventional woman in 1800s Japan, and of course a coming soon title! Tune in next week for another round of Weekly Reads.

Featured Titles for Episode 32
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson
The Orchard by David Hopen
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World by Amy Stanley

Thursday, November 12, 2020

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page

Now is a great time to come together as a community through reading. We can learn something new and see the world from perspectives different from our own. Help us reach our goal of 3,000 books read by May 2021 for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. If you're worried that you don't have the time to read, try an audiobook that you can listen to during your commute or when you're running errands. Try a short story that you can read in a day or two. If you're unsure of what to read, try our Book Bundle service. A librarian will select five books for you based on your preferences. You can also find a great book through one of our book clubs and have the opportunity to discuss it with others! 

I absolutely loved this book! It was so interesting to see how President Snow got to be the man we knew him as in the Hunger Games trilogy. Definitely a worthwhile read, especially if you loved the trilogy. ~ Katelynn S.

I'd rate Lagoon a 1.5/5 stars. Nothing much happened in the story besides the three main characters meeting the alien and not doing much about it. I didn't really like any of the characters. They were bland and boring to read about. It was a short read, which I am glad about. ~ Yucheng Z.

This is a heavy book! And I'm not just talking about its size. The fabric of America is intricately woven with racism, discrimination, and prejudice. How did we get here? Did racist ideas create racists, or did racists create racist ideas? Ibram X. Kendi delves deep into America's complex racial history and examines how racism/racist policies have evolved and continue to exist. It's thought provoking, filled with tons of information, and worth the read. Strongly recommend! ~ Mary T.

Fun to read and look at the ornaments! She has a nice picture and story about each. ~ Karen S.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Saluting the WWII Veterans of Worcester Public Library


Worcester Telegram, December 10, 1944

You may not know this but Worcester Public Library had a proud tradition of service in the Second World War, both overseas and in special duties on the home front. As seen in previous blog posts, our librarians have been busy examining interesting items from our Worcester Room and Local History collections relating to Worcester Public Library. Today we would like to share some of Worcester Public Library's World War II history with images from our library scrapbooks and Staff Association newsletters. 

Worcester Public Library (then known as Worcester Free Public Library) supported the war efforts on the home front in a variety of ways. First of all, the library assisted with collecting books for armed service members first through the Victory Book Campaign and later through the Worcester Civitan Club's book drive for the Massachusetts Victory Book Committee. 

Worcester Evening Gazette, date unknown

When several of the employees went off to war, others stepped up to the plate. For instance, women took on the responsibility of driving our bookmobile or "traveling library" when Alfred C. Cote, the former driver, was inducted into the U.S. Army.

Worcester Telegram, July 1, 1943

Worcester Telegram, July 21, 1943

Our head librarian at the time, Emerson Greenaway, acted as chairman of the Civil Defense Library Service for our region of Massachusetts. Worcester Public Library served as the region's central civilian defense library and as such, librarians created a special Civilian Defense collection and relevant booklists. Subjects included camouflage, defense gardening, civilian morale, rationing, and more. Several librarians also attended Air Raid Precaution classes to keep their branches safe in the event of an air raid. 

Finally, our library's Staff Association contributed to improving staff morale by creating a quarterly newsletter known as The Grapevine. Employees in Worcester and those serving their country enjoyed this newsletter from March 1941 until publication ended in 1945. 

The Grapevine, Spring 1944

By the end of the war, approximately 50 current and former library employees had actively served in the military or affiliated civil service positions. Even though the vast majority who served were men, several of our female employees took positions in the WAVES (the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service a.k.a. the women's division of the U.S Navy), including Helen D. Hutchinson, the head of the adult department at Worcester Public Library. Other librarians such as Josephine A. Kasheta, assistant in the reference department at Worcester Public Library; and Alice M. Cahill, formerly the head of children's work at the Billings Square branch; served as U.S. Army camp librarians at Camp Edwards and Fort Devens respectively and later set up base libraries in Europe. According to the final edition of The Grapevine from 1945, Josephine A. Kasheta eventually became Command Librarian in charge of 13 libraries in Germany!

"Ensign," Worcester Telegram, September 26, 1943

"Camp Librarian," Worcester Evening Gazette, September 24, 1942
"Another WAVE," date and publication unknown

The following images are from various issues of The Grapevine and share updates from the war front.

The Grapevine Winter 1943

The Grapevine Winter 1943

The Grapevine Final Edition 1945

The Grapevine Final Edition 1945

The Grapevine Final Edition 1945

The Grapevine Final Edition 1945

Sadly, at least one former library employee was killed in action during the war. First Lieutenant Hudson F. Packard, a fighter pilot with the 357th Fighter Squadron 355th Fighter Group, was shot down over Germany in May 1944. He is buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium.

Several library employees returned to work after the war, including Helen M. Hutchinson and our bookmobile drivers, Jeremiah G. Glavin and Alfred C. Cote.

On this Veterans Day, we salute the employees of Worcester Public Library who served in World War II, as well as remember those who supported our library veterans here at home. Thank you veterans!

Read more:
"Bookmobile Driver to Resume Law Work." (1946, October 2). Worcester Evening Gazette.
"Camp Librarian." (1942, September 24). Worcester Evening Gazette.
"Driver and 'Gas' Crises Threaten Bookmobile." (1943, July 1). Worcester Telegram.
"Ensign."(1943, September 26). Worcester Telegram.
"Miss Hutchinson Rejoins Library Staff Sept. 1."(1945, August 6). Worcester Telegram.
Stedman, Dorothy. (1942, March 22). "Civilian Defense Library Set Up." Worcester Telegram
Stedman, Dorothy. (1944, December 10). Library Exhibits Photos of Employes in Service." Worcester Telegram.
Thompson, Rose. (1943, July 21). "Bookmobile's Women Drivers Like Their Job." Worcester Telegram.
Worcester Public Library Staff Association. (Winter 1943). The Grapevine.
Worcester Public Library Staff Association. (Spring 1944). The Grapevine.
Worcester Public Library Staff Association. (Final Edition 1945). The Grapevine.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Weekly Reads Episode 31

Join Librarians Devon and Joy for another episode of Weekly Reads. This week's suggestions include a thriller with social commentary, a book about the discrimination in algorithms that affect us, an award-winning urban fantasy, an account of the original Stockholm syndrome, and of course a coming soon title! Tune in next week for another round of Weekly Reads.

Featured Titles for Episode 31:
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Six Days in August: The Story of Stockholm Syndrome by David King
A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection by Steve Martin and Harry Bliss

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
Trail of Lightning: Sixth World, Book One by Rebecca Roanhorse

Thursday, November 5, 2020

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Plot twists, cover ups, and rumors are keeping WooReaders on the edge of their seats with this week's reviews. Below are books that adult patrons couldn't put down, so you might want to give them a try! Worcester is working towards a community goal of 3,000 books read by May 31, 2021 for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. You can help us reach this goal by logging the books you've read since September. If you'd like to participate, click here to create an account. 

Death in a Cold Hard Light by Francine Mathews

Merry is meeting her future in-laws when she gets the urgent call to return to Nantucket and help investigate a suspicious death. Is Merry's father involved in a cover up? Is someone running a heroin ring on the island? I enjoyed the setting and description of the off season, but the main character can be a bit annoying. Over all, a good plot with interesting twists. ~ Mary R.

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg

I listened to this audiobook read by Graeme Malcolm. It was very clear which character was speaking, he did a wonderful job as usual. The story was suspenseful at times and kept me changing my mind as to who the murderer was. ~ Katherine R.

A young married couple with twins is struggling. An ex-girlfriend comes to the wife and starts a rumor that her husband might be a murderer. Great book, didn’t want to put it down. A must read if you like suspense! ~ Karen S.

This book is full of twists and turns. It's wonderful to see how seamlessly the author brings it all together. Wonderful and fast paced. ~ Miriam V.