Wednesday, April 28, 2021

New Releases: May Edition

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

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
Boston, 1662. Mary is twenty-four-years-old. In England she might have had many suitors, but here in the New World Mary is the second wife of Thomas, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas drives a fork into the back of Mary's hand, she resolves that she must divorce him. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, Mary soon becomes an object of suspicion. When tainted objects are discovered in her garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs dies, and when their servant runs screaming from her home, Mary must fight to escape both her marriage and the gallows. 

Arsenic and Adobo: A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery, Book One by Mia P. Manansala
When Lila moves back home to recover from a breakup, she's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's restaurant and has to deal with matchmaking aunties. But when a nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex) drops dead after a confrontation with Lila, her life turns into an Agatha Christie case. With the cops treating her like she's the only suspect, and the landlord looking to kick her family out and resell the storefront, Lila's must conduct her own investigation. Armed with nosy aunties, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Lila takes on the twisted case.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Ryland is the sole survivor on a desperate mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his name, let alone his assignment. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a long time. And he’s just awakened millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes an impossible task confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. 

Featured Nonfiction Titles for May

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel
Bechdel tells the story of her fascination with every fitness craze from Jack LaLanne in the 60s to the oddness of present-day spin classes. Readers will see their pasts flash before their eyes through a panoply of running shoes, bicycles, and skis. As Bechdel tries to improve herself, she turns for enlightenment to philosophers and literary figures, including Jack Kerouac, whose search for self-transcendence appears in conversation with the author’s own. The artist and not-getting-any-younger exerciser concludes the secret to superhuman strength lies in facing her interdependence with others.

Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir by Brian Broome

This book shows a powerful new talent in Broome, whose years growing up in Ohio as a Black boy harboring crushes on other boys propel forward this unforgettable debut. Brian’s recounting of his experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveal an outsider trying to find his way in. Indiscriminate sex and escalating drug use help to soothe his hurt, usually to uproarious and devastating effect. A no-nonsense mother and broken father play crucial roles in this story. But it is Brian’s voice that shows the depth of vulnerability for young Black boys that is often near to bursting.

Everybody: A Book about Freedom by Olivia Laing

The body is a source of pleasure and of pain, vulnerable and radiant with power. In her 6th book, Laing charts the struggle for bodily freedom, using the life of the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to explore gay rights and sexual liberation, feminism, and the civil rights movement. Drawing on her experiences in protest and alternative medicine, and traveling from Berlin to the prisons of McCarthy-era America, Laing grapples with complicated figures of the past―among them Nina Simone, Christopher Isherwood, Andrea Dworkin, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag, and Malcolm X. Despite its burdens, the body remains a source of power, even in an era as technologized as our own. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

WooRead Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Hello WooReaders! Time for another round of adult patron book reviews submitted through WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. This community challenge is a great way to keep track of the books you've read and events you've attended. Log 20 books or 3 activities to be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite! Get connected with the WPL community and sign up today!

Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson 

This book was written last year, shortly before the author/subject passed away at the age of 95. She wrote the book with a perspective on her life in relation to the current racial issues our country is facing. Cicely chose her roles very carefully, and did not begin her acting career until she was in her 30's and was a single mother. She did stage work until her 80's! She highlights a difficult relationship with Miles Davis, and many accolades she received without the minutia that some biographies entail. Enjoyable read! ~ Linda J.

Loved this book! One of my favorites. ~ Carolyn D.

The Professor and The Madman by Simon Winchester

Who would have thought that the history of writing of the Oxford English Dictionary would be so interesting? The Professor and the Madman relates the story of OED editor James Murray and contributor Dr. William Chester Minor. Dr. Minor, veteran of the American Civil War, was incarcerated in an insane asylum for having murdered a man in London. Minor's work finding illustrative quotes for the entries in the dictionary gave him a new purpose in life. ~ Mary R.

Loved this book! Great mix of archeology and adventure plus a bit of romance. ~ Miriam V.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn A New Page


Enjoy this week's adult patron book reviews submitted through WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. Some books offered just the right amount of twists and turns, while some had one too many. You're not going to love every book you read, so we're here to help you find your next great one! Join librarians Devon and Joy every first and third Saturday of the month on Facebook for fiction and non fiction book reviews. If you like any of the books they review, visit our catalog to place a hold. You can also try our Book Bundle service, Grab and Go books, or visit our Staff Picks page. So many options, so many books!

Gone for Good by Harlan Coben 

Love his books. I think this is a favorite. As a young boy Will looked up to his brother. All is great until a neighbor girl is murdered. His brother is suspected but then disappears. Will believes he is OK and just in hiding. Gets tense and leads us to a surprising ending. ~ Karen S.

Look for Me by Lisa Gardner

My initial thoughts: "wow, I'm liking this. Liking it for its lyrical prose, storytelling, writing style, etc." But at some point I wasn't as hooked. I felt that some sections were very repetitive (i.e. one character would say/realize facets of the investigation and then in its totality repeat it to another character), there were too many twists, and its ending is neatly packaged. ~ Mary T.

A fast paced, very entertaining read and optimistic look into the oval office! ~ Eun Sol L.

I'm amazed that the plot twist didn't reveal itself until so late in the book! I was all over the place trying to figure it out. Definitely an intriguing read! ~ Jessica M.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Kanopy: Celebrating Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day with Kanopy, a streaming service that is free to use with your WPL card. Watch films about the issues our planet faces or dive into the lives of fascinating insects and animals! Sign in to to watch on your computer or download the Kanopy app to watch on your mobile device or smart TV. Click here for directions on how to create an account. 

Saving the Dead Sea 

As the Dead Sea shrinks, engineers prepare a daring solution: connect it with the Red Sea by way of a massive desalination plant. If it works, it could stabilize the lake and ease regional tensions, but will it put the environment at risk?

Wilder Than Wild 

Reveals how fuel build-up and climate change have exposed Western woodlands to megafires and how the greenhouse gases released from the fires contribute to global warming. 

The Pollinators 

A journey around the United States following migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honey bees as they pollinate the flowers that become the fruits, nuts and vegetables we all eat. The many challenges the beekeepers and their bees face en route reveal flaws to our simplified chemically dependent agriculture system. 


Illustrates how individuals, groups, and businesses around the globe are reducing plastic straw use through education, collaboration, policy development and utilization of non-plastic alternatives. 

Learning to See: The world of insects 

In this documentary shot by photographer Jake Oelman  over a twelve year period, the audience travels deep into the rain forests of South America to discover the world's most exotic insects.

Taking Root

The story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy-a movement for which this charismatic woman became an iconic inspiration.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Thursday, April 15, 2021

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Looking for a quick way to get a book? Try our Grab and Go Books! Stop by the circulation desk at the Main Branch for a themed book bundle. This is a great way for you to let the librarians do the browsing and safely get books into your hands! Enjoy this week's adult patron books reviews featuring romance, thriller, sci fi, and women's fiction. Don't forget that you can review too! Sign up here for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page to log your books, reviews, and activities. 

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell is a page turner. I was very curious to learn what happened, and whodunit? I can't say that I totally knew the outcome, and although it seemed the ending was going to be neatly packaged, it did end with a final twist. Read this for book club, and anticipate mixed reviews/reactions. Can't wait for the discussion! ~ Mary T.
The Highlander Takes a Bride by Lynsay Sands

Sands is a master story teller she makes you a part of the family as each sibling finds love in her stories. ~ Joan M.

Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis

Though I was uncertain about this book in the beginning, it quickly gripped me, and I ended up finishing it in two days. By the end I was deeply attached to the characters and the story, and I look forward to book two! ~ Charlotte R.

What an AMAZING book! It really took you on a cultural journey that was terrifying, inspiring, and powerful. A definite read! ~ Jessica M.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Big Library Read: The Art of Taking it Easy


From April 5-April 19 library users can participate in The Big Library Read featuring The Art of Taking it Easy by Dr. Brian King. This e-book club connects readers with the same book at the same time without any waitlists or holds. Download the discussion guide to start a conversation with other readers. You can also visit the Overdrive discussion board to share your thoughts. 

From psychologist and stand-up comedian, Dr. Brian King, comes a practical, yet laugh-out-loud guide to embracing humor to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life. Dr. Brian King received a degree in psychology before becoming a world-touring comic and the host of humor therapy seminars attended by more than ten thousand people each year. In this brilliant guide, he presents hands-on techniques for managing stress by rewiring our brains to approach potentially difficult situations through a lens of positivity.

Join author Dr. Brian King on April 13 @ 1 pm ET for a free virtual event. Register here

To borrow the title, go to Under Resources, select eBooks and Digital Media. Click on OverDrive to check out The Art of Taking it Easy from the catalog. 

To read this book on a handheld device, download the Overdrive app or Libby app. 

Share your thoughts on social media with #biglibraryread for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet signed by Dr. Brian King. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Enjoy this week's adult patron book reviews submitted through WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. Through this community challenge, adult readers can log books and activities and write reviews. Log twenty books or three activities to be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite! Keep up with the latest releases and most buzzed about books with our Staff Picks and New York Times Best Sellers lists. 

The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews

The Meg Langslow series is always a hit! When an obnoxious actor is found dead in the woods nearby, Meg pitches in to help the police figure it out. The Falcon Always Wings Twice is laugh-out loud funny, with all of the characters that make Donna Andrews's stories so entertaining. The Renaissance Fair makes a wonderful setting for the mystery, with swords, costumes and plotting everywhere, not to mention falcons! ~ Mary R.

This book was well worth the wait. Her characters are so engaging and pull the reader into another word . The story line gets better with each book. This author is amazing! ~ Joan M.

Held me from first page to last page. At the same time, I learned much about what goes on behind the scenes when there is a conclave to elect new pope. ~ Jane O.

About how in the 30’s they would ship orphans or unattended children to the Midwest to be taken care of. A great read, sad at times. Loved it, nice ending. ~ Karen S.

Kanopy: Spring Screams

It’s April, so that means we’re halfway to Halloween! Have some screams this spring with Kanopy’s impressive selection of horror films. Sign in to to watch on your computer or download the Kanopy app to watch on your mobile device or smart TV. Click here for directions on how to create an account with your WPL card.  

Prefer DVDs? Stop by the Main Branch for a Horror DVD Bundle, available at the circulation desk. The titles will be a surprise and are hand selected by our horror-loving librarians! Bundles cannot be reserved. If you'd rather reserve specific titles, please do so through our catalog at

Join our Book to Big Screen Discussion Club on Wednesday, April 14 @ 12pm via Zoom for a discussion about "The Haunting of Hill House." Discuss the classic novel by Shirley Jackson and the 2018 Netflix adaptation. Register here

Rosemary's Baby 

A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

Two lighthouse keepers fight each other for survival and sanity on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

Santa Sangre

The story of a young circus performer, the crime of passion that shatters his soul, and the macabre journey back to the world of his armless mother. A masterfully told odyssey of ecstasy and anguish, belief and blasphemy, beauty and madness. 

Friends defy the rules of a legendary murderer and discover he is real when they start celebrating Valentine's Day.

It Comes at Night 

After a mysterious apocalypse leaves the world with few survivors, two families forced to share a home form an uneasy alliance in an attempt to keep the outside evil at bay. They soon learn that that the true horror may come from within.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Dr. Miles Bennell is baffled when all his patients come to him with the same complaint: their loved ones seem to have been replaced by emotionless impostors. Despite others' dismissive denials, Dr. Bennell, his former girlfriend Becky, and his friend Jack soon discover that the patients' suspicions are true: an alien species of human duplicates, grown from plant-like pods, is taking over the small town.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Virtual Money Smart Week, April 10-17, 2021

Virtual Money Smart Week is a national, free campaign which aims to help people better manage their personal finances with a focus on those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 This year's line-up includes:

   •  Saturday, April  10  @  11:00  a.m. EST  | Talking Cents (The University of Chicago Financial  Education Initiative)

 •  Sunday, April 11 @  11:00  a.m. EST  | Savings: A Little Can Make a Big Difference (FINRA  Investor Education Foundation)

 •  Monday, April 12 @  1:00  p.m. EST  | Bank on It: Finding Safe + Affordable Bank Accounts (The Economic Awareness Council  and The Economic Awareness Council)

 •  Tuesday, April 13 @  1:30 p.m. EST  |  Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans (U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid)

•  Wednesday, April 14 @  2:00  p.m. EST  | Tax Related Fraud + Identity Theft (Internal Revenue Service)

 •  Thursday, April 15 @  2:00  p.m. EST  | Managing Personal Finances During Covid-19  (Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center)

 •  Friday, April 16 @ 1:00  p.m. EST  |  Housing Protections  +  Resources  (Consumer Financial  Protection  Bureau)

 •  Saturday, April 17 @  11:30  a.m. EST  | Tips for Managing Money Ups & Downs (University of  Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension)

View more details at  Events are free and open to the public, but registration is advised. Questions for the panelists can be submitted during the registration process. To register for any of the events listed above, please click here

In addition, the Worcester Public Library has valuable resources to assist those wanting to improve their financial future and gain a better understanding of how to manage their personal finances. For further questions about the library's offerings, please contact Jackie, our Business Resources Librarian, at
  • The library offers monthly virtual classes on Basic Investment Research with Yahoo Finance and Personal Investing with Morningstar Research Center. Register for those classes here
  • Also, a Staff Pick's book list for Financial Literacy can be found here
  • Helpful resources to enhance a better understanding of financial literacy skills can be found here.     

On this Date in WPL History: April 5, 1960: WPL Holds Centennial Banquet

On Tuesday, April 5, 1960, Worcester Public Library held its centennial banquet in honor of serving the Worcester community for 100 years. Now of course, an esteemed organization such as ours cannot have a mere quiet meal to honor a momentous occasion. Nay, we must celebrate in style! So what did the banquet entail? Read on to find out!

Invitation to the 100th Birthday Party of the Worcester Free Public Library. 
Note the birthday candles on the image of the Elm Street library building

You may have read in previous blog posts (ex. When the Worcester Public Library Came to Town) that the City of Worcester established Worcester Public Library in 1859 with a gift of books from Dr. John Green and donations of books from the Worcester Lyceum and Library Association. The library officially opened to the public on April 30, 1860 on the third floor of the bank block at Foster Street and Main Streets and moved to the Elm Street location the following year. Nearly 100 years later, the Library Centennial Committee members decided to hold a celebratory centennial event on April 5 to coincide with National Library Week (April 3-9, 1960).

"Open Wonderful New Worlds...Wake Up and Read," National Library Week Poster, 1960 Source:

One feature of the centennial banquet would be a short play written by Mrs. John Herron entitled "Greener Pastures, or Twelve Books in Search of a Library." The characters of this play came from books that were added to the library's collection for each decade of the library's existence as well as characters from the original book donations by Dr. Green and the Worcester Lyceum. Characters included Sherlock Holmes, Eliza Doolittle, Madame Defarge, and Hamlet. According to the March 20, 1960 edition of the Sunday Telegram, the Drama Club of the Junior League and the Worcester Players Club worked to stage the play. 

"Rehearsing Skit for Library Celebration," Sunday Telegram, March 27, 1960

First page of short play, "Greener Pastures"

"Library Banquet Plan Under Way," Sunday Telegram, April 3, 1960

The banquet was held at 7pm on Tuesday, April 5, 1960 at the Bullock Memorial Hall of the State Mutual Life Assurance Company of America building (now Hanover Insurance's headquarters at 440 Lincoln Street). Over 600 people attended the banquet, with a post-event report by the Library Centennial Committee announcing that 72 dinner tickets went to distinguished guests, members of the City Council, the play's cast, and 25 library staff members. General tickets to this event cost $3.25 or almost $29 in today's money.  

Program for Worcester Library Centennial 1860-1960 Anniversary Dinner April 5, 1960

The program kicked off with an introduction by Toastmaster, Gabriel A. Namen, followed by an invocation by The Rev. Wallace W. Robbins, Minister of the First Unitarian Church, and remarks by Matthew R. McCann, President of the Library Board of Directors. Mr. McCann even read a cablegram from President Dwight D. Eisenhower congratulating the library on 100 years. Cartoonist and creator of the Li'l Abner comic strip series, Al Capp, was the main speaker for the evening's festivities. The highlights of the banquet included the presentation of an oil portrait of Dr. Green by his grandniece, Miss Mary Chandler Stone, to Matthew R. McCann Jr., and of course, the performance of "Greener Pastures."

"Portrait of Library Founder is Presented at Library Centennial Dinner. 
From left Miss Mary Chandler Stone, Thurston Taylor, and Matthew R. McCann Jr." 
Worcester Telegram, April 6, 1960

Other notable guests in attendance included Head Librarian Thurston Taylor, City Manager Francis J. McGrath, author Esther Forbes (most known for Johnny Tremain), Chandler Bullock (businessman, director of many local boards, and former library trustee), and U.S. Representative Harold D. Donohue. The Worcester Telegram and the post-event report by the Centennial Committee deemed the event a success! 

"At Library Centennial Banquet," Worcester Telegram, April 6, 1960

In 2020 we virtually celebrated 160 years of Worcester Public Library with images relating to our history throughout the years; blog posts by Local History and Genealogy librarian, Joy; and lists of 160 books that mean something to our librarians. Even though the people who celebrated the 100th anniversary are no longer present to share their stories, we still have evidence of that event in our Worcester Room and around our building. In fact, we currently have the Dr. Green portrait in our Green Room on the 4th floor of the Main Library! We look forward to celebrating 175 years in 2035!

Portrait of Dr. John Green

Additional Reading

"Al Capp to Be Speaker At Library Centennial." (1960, March 20).  Sunday Telegram.

"Library Banquet Plan Under Way." (1960, April 3). Sunday Telegram.

"Rehearsing Skit for Library Celebration." (1960, March 27). Sunday Telegram.

Kingsbury, Billings. (1960, April 6). "600 Mark Library's 100th Year." Worcester Telegram