Friday, January 29, 2021

Langston Hughes: Poet of the Harlem Renaissance

Langston Hughes was born on February 1st, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. In the 1920s he was one of the most talented and prolific writers to emerge during the Harlem Renaissance, which was a revival of African American art and literature in Harlem, Manhattan. 

It was during the Harlem Renaissance that Hughes wrote one of his most popular poems, “The Weary Blues.” Like many of his works, this poem fused the rhythms of jazz, blues, and African American speech. His work often focused on the lives of poor African Americans, and in the 1940s he debuted one of his more popular characters, Jesse B. Semple, who was also known by the name Simple. Simple is described as a philosopher and an African American Everyman who would share his troubles in exchange for a drink. Though the character of Simple did not directly challenge racism, he illustrated the difficulties an African American man faces in a racist society and the quiet determination needed to overcome those difficulties. This theme can be seen in another of Hughes's popular poems, "I Too."

For decades, Hughes was the most popular African American writer in the United States. He was both a poet and an author, and he wrote short stories, novels, children’s books, magazine and newspaper articles, plays, and much more. In recognition of his work he toured Africa in the 1950s on behalf of the State Department, and in 1961 he was admitted into the exclusive National Institute of Arts and Letters. More recently, Hughes was featured on the postage stamp and on a Google Doodle. These more modern recognitions show that, though Langston Hughes passed away in 1967, his words still resonate with us today. To learn more about him, check out this book list that includes several works written by and about him.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Today's adult patron book reviews focus on science fiction and fantasy. If you're new to the genres, read these reviews to figure out what kind of story you want to start with. If you like to discuss science fiction, try our Science Fiction Book ClubWPL's Science Fiction Book Club has been meeting since 2018. They love to talk about spaceships, aliens, first contact, artificial intelligence, and alternate history. Remember to log the books you've read for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. It's a great way to keep track of what you've read, and you can also write reviews that will help other readers decide on what to read next. 

Containment by Christian Cantrell

Science fiction readers often classify SF books as "hard SF" or "social SF" or "science fantasy". "Containment" is *very* hard science fiction, and I think it would appeal to engineers, computer folks, and fans of stories about planetary colonization. ~ Melody F. 

3/5 stars. Black Sun had interesting characters, and great fantasy world building. The chapters alternate in different point of views of the main cast, with everything weaving together in the end to tell the tale of a young man’s journey to his final destiny. My criticism with the book though was that there was no major source of conflict. This story is an excellent example of how reading about the journey is better than the ending and I would recommend it to dark fantasy fans. ~ Yucheng Z. 

Vox by Christina Dalcher

I enjoyed this book! Reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale. ~Carolyn D.

A short fantasy book about living practically and pragmatically as a princess and subverting traditional roles for girls. ~ Eun Sol L.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

New Releases: February Edition

Did one of the book covers on our homepage catch your eye? They are all new titles being released in February 2021, and all are well-reviewed and anticipated. You can either watch the video below or read the description of each, then click the linked title 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 February

When a witch falls in love with the trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this debut novel that reimagines Norse myth. Angrboda's story begins with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to give him knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless. She flees to a remote forest, where she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki. Her distrust of him grows into love and their union produces three children with secret destinies. But as Angrboda recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life--and possibly all of existence--is in danger. 

Gibby's brothers have been to war. One died there. The other came back a decorated killer with a recent stint in prison. Jason won't speak of the war or his prison time, but he wants a relationship with his younger brother. He coaxes Gibby into a day at the lake: hours of sunshine, whisky, and women. But the day changes when they encounter a prison bus on a stretch of road. Drunk, one of the women taunts the prisoners, leading to a riot on the bus. The woman is murdered soon after. Given his history, suspicion turns to Jason; but when the second woman is kidnapped, the police suspect Gibby, too. 

It’s 2008, and the inauguration of Barack Obama brings new hope. In Chicago, Ruth is married to a man who wants to start a family, but she's never gotten over the baby she gave up as a teen. She knows that to move forward she must face the past. Returning home, Ruth discovers the town of her childhood is plagued by unemployment and racism. As she digs into the past, she befriends Midnight, a white boy looking for connection. But just as she is about to uncover a secret her family wants to keep hidden, an incident strains the town’s racial tensions and sends Ruth and Midnight onto a collision course.

Featured Nonfiction Titles for February

Gates shares what he's learned in more than a decade of studying climate change and investing in innovations, and shares a vision for how the world can build the tools it needs to get to zero greenhouse gas emissions. He explains why he cares about climate change and what makes him optimistic that we can avoid the most dire effects of the climate crisis. Gates says, "We can work on a local, national, and global level to build the technologies, businesses, and industries to avoid the worst impacts of climate change." 

Four Hundred Souls is a “community” history of African Americans. The editors have assembled 90 brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period. The writers explore their time periods through a variety of ways: essays, stories, vignettes, and polemics. Though themes of resistance, hope, and reinvention course through the book, these pieces from 90 different minds reflect 90 different perspectives, deconstructing the idea that Africans in America are a monolith. Instead it shows the range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness.

This is the story of the author's search for his grandfather and namesake, delving into the world of the small-town mob, an intricate web that spanned midcentury America and stitched together cities from Yonkers to Fresno. Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is where "Little Joe" Regino and Russ Shorto built a local gambling empire on the earnings of factory workers for whom placing a bet-on a horse or pool game-was their best shot at the American dream. Also a riveting immigrant story, this book is deeply personal, as the author's father helps him piece together their patriarch's troubled past. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

WooRead Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


This week's adult patron book reviews feature fiction and nonfiction. Take a look at what our patrons think about these compelling stories and decide if one should be your next read. When you're done, don't forget to log your books for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. We still have time to reach our community goal of 3,000 books read by the end of May! If you like to chat about books, try our book clubs. There's something for every reader, including mystery, romance, and science fiction. It's a perfect break from your day, so pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea, and join us for a great book talk! 

The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale 

This book discusses the history and evolvement of modern policing. Essentially, policing is used to control the population into "civil obedience," and have done more harm than good for poor/low-income/minority/under resourced communities. Highly recommend. ~ Mary T.

Part Pinocchio, Blade Runner, Mad Max & Tank girl. I devoured this book in little over a day. Compulsively readable and heartbreaking. ~ Myla S.

 The Devil's Elixir by Raymond Khoury

Book is full of adventure and mystery with a series of twists and turns. Really good book!
~ Miriam V
Inferno: A memoir of motherhood and madness by Catherine Cho

A first-person account of what it is like to descend into postpartum psychosis and eventually crawl out of it. The author brought her journal with her while in treatment which gives the book an authentic feeling of what it's like to not know what happened to you or why. Includes the reactions and devastating effects to relationships of those around the mother who is struggling with this diagnosis. A must-read for anyone treating postpartum women, and a good reason to advocate for programs that include treatment for the mother-infant bond. ~ Linda J.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Staff Picks with Devon & Joy: Resolutions Edition

Join Librarians Devon and Joy for this month's Staff Picks review. This episode focuses on New Year's Resolutions, and both librarians share a resolution with some matching titles for each. Books discussed  include one by a choreographer sharing career habits, a chronicle of our environment's past and present, a guide that Roseanne Cash called "brilliant," a pocket primer on climate change, a collection of different ways to see things, and essays from women in the climate movement.  

What are your New Year's Resolutions? Comment below and we'll suggest some books to help you along! 

Staff Picks for January: Resolutions Edition
Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time by Ben Ehrenreich
The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson
The Art of Creative Thinking: 89 Ways to See Things Differently by Rod Judkins
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

NEW! Introducing Magazine Bundles to go!

Miss browsing our large magazine collection? Looking to explore new ideas or cozy up with old favorites? The Main Library is offering Magazine Bundles, handpicked by library staff, allowing you to read, flip, or skim to your heart’s content! Find ideas for your DIY projects or catch up on current events! 

To borrow a bundle, all you need to do is fill out this form, and staff will select up to five magazines from the genre of your choice. Magazines are selected from the most recent copies available on the shelf at the time of your request. You will be notified when items are ready for pickup at the Main Library.

To borrow issues from a specific date, please place holds through our catalog.


For English language magazines, we offer a wide variety of selection from the following categories –

  • Business, Politics & Current Events

  • Computers, Science & Technology

  • Crafts, Hobbies & Home Improvement

  • Food, Health & Nutrition 

  • Lifestyle, Fashion & Entertainment

  • Popular Magazines

  • Sports & Fitness

The Main Library carries a small collection of magazines in languages other than English, including Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish, and we are happy to bundle five of the most recent copies on the shelf from any of these languages.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Kanopy: Exploring World Cinema


Explore global cinema with Kanopy, a streaming service available free with your WPL card. Kanopy has an extensive collection of award winning films from around the world, including timeless classics and short films. You can watch 3 movies per month, and have 72 hours to watch the movie as many times as you like. If you do not have a Kanopy account, create one hereIf you enjoy discussing films, try our Film Discussion Club

Shanghai Triad

Language: Mandarin 

An absorbing tale of the Chinese underworld in the 1930's, focusing on a pampered night club singer, who takes on a young boy to be her servant. 


Language: Spanish 

Well into their 30s, Juan and Benjamin still can't seem to finish veterinary school or leave their parents' homes. Instead, they wallow in comfortable limbo in the district of Satelite, a Mexico City suburb. On a fateful Christmas Eve, however, they decide it's finally time to distinguish themselves by executing the most infamous cultural artifacts heist in all of Mexican history, looting the country's iconic National Anthropology Museum.


Language: Russian

After the siege of Leningrad in World War II, two young women search for meaning and hope during their struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.

Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog 

Language: Japanese

A Labrador retriever named Quill begins specialized training as a guide dog from an early age. He is then paired with a blind man who is initially reluctant to rely on his new partner.


Languages: Arabic, Bambara, French 

Not too far from Timbuktu, now ruled by religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Tonya, and Issan, their shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists. Kidane and his family had been spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu, but when their destiny changes abruptly, Kidane must face the new laws of the foreign occupants.

As it is in Heaven 

Languages: Italian, French, Swedish

After having a breakdown, a famous conductor returns to his remote village and inspires a church choir to enter into a singing competition. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Travel is never restricted when you're reading a book! Our patrons have traveled back in time and to other dimensions. Read the book reviews below about the fascinating places they visited. Want to do some time traveling of your own? Check out our historical fiction booklist. We're getting close to our community goal of 3,000 books read for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. We have until the end of May to reach our goal, so don't forget to log your books!

The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter 

I love the show doctor who on BBC. To be reading a book based on a tv show is a must-have for an active reader like me. I've begun to like the sci fi genre over the pandemic. The writing and story was great and made me feel like I was in a doctor who episode. 
~ Leah D. 

Loved the book. Felt her pain and despair when she finally discovers the identity of Jack The Ripper. Very well written and a fun read. Currently reading Hunting Prince Dracula. So far it has been very entertaining. ~ Miriam V. 

I'll have to admit that I was prompted to read this after seeing the recent Hulu dramedy on Catherine. I learned a great deal about the real Catherine and Russian history and am grateful to the author for his reputable historical details and authentications.
~ Linda J.

Jack Harker is a member of the air raid rescue squad in London during the Blitz. He and his fellow squad members put out fires from the bombs and search out the survivors afterwards. A new team member arrives, also named Jack, who has an uncanny ability to find people buried under mountains of rubble. Jack Harker suspects there is more to the story and begins asking questions with no answers. A moody, dark novella with lots of atmosphere and suspicions, Connie Willis is a master of evoking the blood and chaos of London's worst days, making one feel what it must have been like in the middle of the Blitz. ~ Mary R.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

New Urban Fiction Ready for Requests

We've recently added lots of titles to our Urban Fiction collection. The photo above shows a small sampling of what's new. These additions include a new book in Shaun Sinclair's Crescent Crew series, three titles by inmate-to-bestselling-author Shannon Holmes, the second book in a series by Latoya Nicole, and a stand-alone title by JaQuavis Coleman, who's considered one of the best writers in the genre (along with his wife Ashley Antoinette). Click the linked titles below for more information and to request the title! 

Cubana JaQuavis Coleman
B Careful by Shannon Holmes
B More Careful by Shannon Holmes
Bad Girlz 4 Life by Shannon Holmes
Love and War 2 by Latoya Nicole
Dirty Music by Shaun Sinclair

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Hello WooReaders! We're back for another week of adult patron book reviews. There's a great selection of titles this week, which includes fiction and nonfiction. If you'd like to read any of these books, click the title to be brought to our catalog to place a hold. Join our WooReads Adults Challenge: Turn a New Page to log your books and help us reach our community goal of 3,000 books read by the end of May. We're almost there!

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby 

Great work by Samantha Irby. Her essays are laugh out loud funny, great distraction from the current events. ~ Rebecca G.

A nice story centered around five people who spend the Winter Solstice together. Their paths converge after a series of personally unfortunate events, and during the time spent together, they learn to live, laugh, and love again. ~ Mary T.

Would highly recommend this book. Really fun! ~ Jovietthe R.
There are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz

Compelling view of life in a South Side Chicago public housing complex in the 1980's. The book follows one family for several years while the main characters, 2 brothers, are elementary and middle school age. The challenges (which is putting it mildly) that these children face on a daily basis are immense. I was so concerned about them by the end of the book that I had to google to see whether they were even still alive (they are). MANY social justice issues are portrayed in the book by an author who actually spent time, money, and great effort to try and change the trajectory of the boys' lives with some, but not complete success. Well worth reading. ~ Linda J.

Monday, January 4, 2021

New Year, New Career

If you are looking to advance your career goals in the New Year, Quinsigamond Community College has announced a new initiative that offers FREE nurse assistant, home health aide and administrative medical programs. The free nurse assistant and home health aide training programs involve a 120-hour course commitment and will prepare students for positions in long-term care and acute care facilities or to work for a home health agency. QCC courses will be held remotely for Spring 2021. To learn more, please visit the college's website by clicking here.