Wednesday, July 28, 2021

New Releases: August Edition

Did one of the book covers on our homepage catch your eye? They are all new titles being released in August 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 for August

The Turnout by Megan Abbott
With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, sisters Dara and Marie have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were homeschooled and trained by their mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents' death in an accident nearly twelve years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara's husband. Marie teaches the younger students; Dara trains the older ones; and Charlie rules over the back office. When an accident occurs, just at the onset of the annual performance of The Nutcracker, an interloper threatens the sisters' delicate balance.

Billy Summers by Stephen King
When Billy was 12, he killed his mother's boyfriend after he kicked Billy's sister to death. At 17, he enlisted in the army. At 18, he was a sniper in Iraq and involved in the deadly battle to recapture Fallujah. For nearly twenty years, he's worked as a paid assassin. He's a good guy in a bad job, and he wants out. He takes on a very complicated, lucrative job he hopes will be his last. He's got a perfect new identity lined up and a flawless escape plan. And then something happens that changes everything. A stranger needs rescuing, and Billy sacrifices the safety of his own new life to offer her protection. 

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger. Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance. When Leonora disappears, Maite searches for the missing woman—journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of radicals and dissidents. Meanwhile, someone else is looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. 

Featured Nonfiction for August

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler by Rebecca Donner
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Mildred was 26 when she enrolled in a PhD program in Germany and saw the meteoric rise of the Nazi party. In 1932, she began holding secret meetings in her apartment—a small band of political activists that by 1940 had grown into a large underground resistance group. She recruited working-class Germans into the resistance, helped Jews escape, plotted acts of sabotage, and collaborated in writing leaflets that denounced Hitler and called for revolution. 

The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman
Scandinavia has always been a world apart. For millennia Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and Swedes lived a remote existence among the fjords and peaks of the land of the midnight sun. But when they left their homeland in search of opportunity, these wanderers—including the Vikings—would reshape Europe and beyond. Their ingenuity, daring, resiliency, and loyalty to family and community would propel them to the gates of Rome, the steppes of Russia, the courts of Constantinople, and the castles of England and Ireland. 

The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England by Julie Kavanagh
In 1882, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke, Chief Secretary and Undersecretary for Ireland, were stabbed to death while strolling through Phoenix Park in Dublin. The murders were funded by American supporters of Irish independence, and so ended what should have been a turning point in Anglo-Irish relations. A spirit of goodwill had been burgeoning between British Prime Minister Gladstone and Ireland’s leader Charles Stewart Parnell, with both men forging a pact to achieve independence in Ireland—with Cavendish to play an instrumental role. The impact of the Phoenix Park murders set in motion repercussions that would last long into the 20th century.

Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading 2021: Weekly Book Reviews


Hello WooReaders! We're in the eighth week of summer reading, which means you have two more weeks to win prizes and help feed the animals at Worcester Animal Rescue League. Sign up now for the Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading Challenge. There's still time to win a $25 gift card to a local restaurant and to be entered into the grand prize drawing for a Kindle Oasis! 

Looking for a tale with a tail? Try our Tails & Tales: Animal cartoons and comics reading list. 

Upcoming Summer Reading Event

Fantastical Beasts: A Virtual Tour with the Worcester Art Museum

Saturday, July 31 @ 2:30-3:30 pm on Zoom
Register here

The Unkindness of Ravens by M.E. Hilliard

Greer Hogan is trying to start a new life as a librarian in the tiny town of Raven Hill after her husband was murdered in New York City. But this quiet little village has lots of secrets to hide and when Greer finds her friend Joanna dead in the library, she suspects it was more than a simple accident. A clever puzzle with lots of nods to literary detectives; literary cozy fans will like this mystery. ~ Mary R. 

Conviction by Denise Mina

What a great book! From beginning to plot-twisting end I was wrapped! Great read and I would definitely recommend! ~ Mario W. 

There Are No Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach

This was ADORABLE and it surpassed my expectations. I loved the cat's voice in the tale as the narrator. I loved the details from the inside front and back covers as well - they add to the tale. It was really a great example of first-person narration. ~ Loni P. 

Lover Mine by J.R. Ward

This was definitely my favorite BDB book so far in the series. I’ve been waiting for John Matthew and Xhex to get together, and I thought it was really well done. I love how independent and headstrong Xhex is to break some of the monotony of the damsel in distress trope that’s so often in romance novels, especially those written before the 2010s. 5 stars. ~ Brianna F.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading 2021: Weekly Book Reviews


We're back with another week of adult patrons book reviews! To log reviews of your own, join the Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading Challenge. In addition to writing reviews, you can also log books and library activities you've attended. When you do, you have a chance to win all kinds of prizes! Sign up here to learn more. 

Upcoming Summer Reading Events 

Summer Treats for You and Your Pup 

Saturday, July 24 @ 2:30 - 3:30 pm on Zoom

Register here

Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club: Break In by Dick Francis 
Wednesday, July 28 @ 2:30- 3:30 pm on Zoom
Register here

Fantastical Beasts: A Virtual Tour with the Worcester Art Museum

Saturday, July 31 @ 2:30-3:30 pm on Zoom
Register here

A Most Remarkable Creature by Jonathan Meiburg 

This engaging book introduces us to the fascinating birds called caracaras: birds of prey that don't act like our aloof majestic eagles and hawks. Caracaras are more like crows or parrots. They love to hang out with their friends and are very intelligent, they eat anything and love to steal things that attract their attention. Along with their stories, we also learn about William Henry Hudson, a now nearly forgotten naturalist who championed birds in England and the world. Excellent natural history book. ~ Mary R.

Flanders talks about learning to appreciate what you have, chase after what you want, and being content with the life you lead. What others want has nothing to do with you should do. Be you, and learn to love it. She travels, talks about sacrifices, and learns along the way. Not as enjoyable as her first book, but still worth the time. ~ Cameron L.

Budgies: A guide to caring for your parakeet by Angela Davids

A very in depth step by step guide book with color photos of some beautiful birds. The best description of breeding for color I have found. All info I have read is up to date and accurate. Fun read! ~ Elaine C.

I always thoroughly enjoy Sherrilyn Kenyon's books and this one doesn't disappoint. The third Book in the Deadman's Cross series follows Valynda and Nibo's story and the many characters that live in Kenyon's World. From high seas to hidden lands and Hell itself, there in no place you can't go in a Kenyon book. ~ Paula A.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Travel Tips: Planning a Road Trip


Clean my car? Assign tasks to passengers? That’s not a vacation! Actually, it is. Getting to your destination is half the fun of a road trip; but if you don’t have a plan that helps you get from place to place, the journey can become stressful. Smarter Travel has many resources for all kinds of travel. Read below for some of their tips for road trips.

WPL has an extensive collection of travel guides, including best road trips throughout New England. Check out our travel guides here

1. Clean: Many road trips include quick meals from the drive-thru, snacks, spare change, and receipts. Don't let that add to a pile of trash already in your car. It can potentially damage your suitcase and other travel equipment (you don't want your dog's hair all over your new camera, do you?). 

2. Vehicle Maintenance: This may seem like a no-brainer, but have your car checked by a mechanic before you leave. Make sure you have extra wiper fluid and jumper cables on hand, as well as any emergency items such as a first aid kit, blankets, and water. 

3. Tasks: Divide tasks by who likes to do what. Have your foodie friends be in charge of finding local eats, while someone else helps navigate. Driver chooses the music, of course. 

4. Roadside Assistance: Sign up for a roadside assistance service. You don't want to be stranded on the side of the road searching for a tow service to call when you have an 800 number you can easily dial for help. 

5. Be Prepared: Make sure your license, registration and insurance card are on hand and updated. 

6. Be Flexible: Don't have a schedule that is too rigid or too loose. Plan for interruptions to your trip and realize you might not do everything on your itinerary, but do have a plan! Don't risk the extra time, mileage, and energy searching for a place to stay. 

View our other travel blogs here

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading 2021: Weekly Book Reviews


Enjoy this week's adult patron book reviews summitted through the Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading Challenge. Not signed up? There's still time! Why should I participate, you ask? When you log your books you have a chance to win a water bottle, tote bag, and t-shirt. One you've logged nine books, you'll also be entered into a random drawing for a Kindle Oasis. You can also log the activities you've attended at WPL for a chance to win a gift card to a Worcester restaurant. Get rewarded for reading and sign up today!

Looking for a tale with a tail? Try our Tails & Tales: Animal Mysteries reading list featuring crime fiction with cats, dogs, and other animals. 

Upcoming Summer Reading Events 

Cows on the Common, Dogs in Elm Park 
Saturday, July 17 @ 4:00-5:00 pm on Zoom
Register here

Tails & Tales Book Discussion: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey
Wednesday, July 21 @ 2:30- 3:30 pm on Zoom
Register here

Summer Treats for You and Your Pup 

Saturday, July 24 @ 2:30 - 3:30pm on Zoom

Register here

I decided to read this book after I met Dianne via a bird dissection at work. Plus the wonderful "up close and personal" pictures make a great book even better. What a special bond she formed with those animals.  
~ Jake D. 

This Book is absolutely AMAZING! My Mother is also reading it and she is up all hours of the night because she cannot put this book down. ~ Doren C.

Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

Funny and imaginative. A quick and very entertaining read! ~ Michele F. 

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee 

Brilliant book spanning 3 generations of family who emigrate from Korea to Japan. I got to go to a reading/talk by her at the Brattleboro Book Festival in VT. She is awesome! ~ Jen M. 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading 2021: Weekly Book Reviews


Enjoy this week's adult patron book reviews submitted through the Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading Challenge. Don't forget that for every week you read, the Worcester Public Library Foundation will donate to the Worcester Animal Rescue League! We've reached our goal of $100 each week since Summer Reading started, so keep logging those books and help us reach our goal of $1,000 donated by the end of summer! Kid & teen readers count too, so it's something the whole family can do!

Looking for a tale with a tail? Try our Tails & Tales Poetry reading list featuring poetry about animals or from the perspective of animals. 

Upcoming Summer Reading Events 

Books to Big Screen Discussion Club: Jaws 
Wednesday, July 14 @ 2:30- 3:30 pm on Zoom
Register here

Animal Origami 

Thursday, July 15 @ 3:00 - 3:30pm on Zoom

Register here

Cows on the Common, Dogs in Elm Park 
Saturday, July 17 @ 4:00-5:00 pm on Zoom
Register here

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain by Sy Montgomery 

The snow leopard has long been my favorite animal, after my dog Bridget, of course. Sy Montgomery is a naturalist who has researched many animals around the world. In this book, she describes the challenges of learning more about this elusive creature.  ~ Sharon D.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 

I felt very immersed into this amazing historical fiction saga. I learned so much about those war years and how people truly sacrificed, at a very high cost, thinking only of others and not themselves. This could apply to our present situation -in our own country and amongst ourselves! ~ Jane O. 

Ferrets by Dr. Wendy Winsted

I had to read this book 3 times. There were so many cute ferret pictures to distract me, but totally worth the read! You can tell the author really cares about these little cuddle bugs.
~ Elaine C.

This is a good summer read. It has adventure and a good moral to the story. It is a YA book but I really enjoyed it. ~ Joan M. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Travel Tips: Apps to Download

Many useful apps can help you plan your vacation and deal with any interruptions along the way. Learn about where to stay, what to do, and get reviews from other travelers. There’s even an app that helps you remember to pack everything you need. The best part? They’re all free!

WPL has some useful digital services that you can use with your WPL card to keep you occupied while traveling. With the Libby app and the Hoopla app, you can listen to audiobooks or read ebooks during your trip. If you’d rather watch a movie, download the Kanopy app, which lets you watch three movies per month for free. This gives passengers something to do, keeping the “are we there yet?” to a minimum.

Not sure how to use or download apps? We have Drop in Tech Help with a Librarian every Wednesday at the Main Library from 5:30-6:30 pm on the second floor. You can also try our Demystifying Ebooks & Audiobooks class on July 9 and August 13.

Trip Advisor 

Find recommendations for hotels, rentals, restaurants, things to do, travel forums, and trip reviews. 


As the name says, use this app for road trips to find all the best stops along the way.

Google Translate

Whether traveling abroad or in your home country, this app will help you communicate with those who speak a language different from your own. 

Perfect for road trips, this app uses the National Weather Service's forecast to show travelers weather on different routes and lets drivers add stops and interactively change departure time to find the safest time to travel.


Helps you build a packing list so you never forget anything for your trip again! 


With data from over 160 countries, this app helps you plan a trip abroad. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Using Microfilms for Research

Did you know that the Worcester Public Library has newspapers and magazines on microfilms you can use for research? Our newspaper collection includes the Telegram and Gazette from late 1800 onwards and other local and national newspapers like the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Our magazine collection on microfilm includes hundreds of magazines with full-text articles, some obscure titles going back to the early 1900s. 

16mm microfilm reels
You may wonder what is unique about these microfilms! If we stored these old items from 1800s in print format, most of them would be too fragile to handle today. Also, they would take up rows and rows of shelving. Microfilms allow us to preserve these delicate collections for future generations in a format that is easy to use, take up very little space and are excellent sources of historical information.

35mm microfilm reels
Genealogists tracing family histories can find a wealth of information when they are looking for obituaries and death notices. If the ancestor’s death was in any way unusual, it may have even been written up as a news article where they might find clues to their ancestor's lives. 

Worcester Evening Gazette - Sept 23, 1927
Students can use microfilms to find primary sources when they are researching historic events. Monumental events from the past, such as World War I and II and the Great Depression to name a few, can be researched easily. Students today can learn how such events shaped the world!

Microfilm machine - Scanpro
Not only do microfilms make research fun and interesting, they also allow you to transfer the information easily with the touch of a button. You can print, save or email the article so it is in your safe keeping forever. Check the local history/genealogy page and the newspapers and magazines page of our website, for what is available on microfilm at the the Main Branch. Call us at 508-799-1655 - ext 3, send us an email or chat with us if you have any questions! 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading 2021: Weekly Book Reviews


Hello WooReaders! Our patrons are really getting into the Tails & Tales Summer Reading theme! Enjoy this week's adult patron book reviews which feature tips on how to care for fish and parakeets, the pros and cons of adopting peacocks, and how to win an argument with a cat! If you'd like a chance to be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Oasis or win a $25 gift card to a local restaurant, log your books and activities for our Tails & Tales Adult Summer Reading Challenge. If you haven't signed up yet, there's still time! Click here to get started.

Upcoming Summer Reading Events 

Poetic Beasts: A Virtual Panel of Poets Discussing Animals
Friday, July 9 @ 4:00- 5:00 pm on Zoom
Register here

Barnyard Tales from Sunny Meadows Sanctuary

Saturday, July 10 @ 11:00am - 12:00pm on Zoom

Register here

Why Peacocks? by Sean Flynn

Part natural history, part memoir, blended nicely. The story revolves around a young family who moves to North Carolina and makes an impromptu decision to adopt 3 peacocks. Being that dad is a writer (crime) by trade, he investigates the presence of peacocks dating back to the bible, with a few chapters devoted to individual tales that were of interest. The family faces some trials and tribulations around their growing "farm" menagerie, all of which are handled very sensitively with the children. A great, calming summer read, in my opinion. ~ Linda J. 

A Step-by-Step Book About Training Your Parakeet by Darlene Campbell 

This is a very small but very thorough book about training techniques for parakeets, including step by step instruction. ~ Elaine C. 

How to Argue with a Cat by Jay Heinrichs

Listened to this gem. IMHO, it's good, funny and informative. If you can master the art of arguing with a cat, you can successfully argue/persuade humans with ease. ~ Mary T.

Bettas and Gouramis by David Alderton

This book was very informative and helped me pick the right place to set up a comfy place for my Betta Gary. ~ Sean T.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Travel Tips: Traveling with Pets


If a family vacation includes your furry members, then you may want to prepare for the special circumstances that are part of traveling with a pet. The Humane Society and American Veterinary Medical Association provide suggestions on what to do before and during your trip. Take a look at some of their tips below to decide if traveling is healthy for your pet and something you're well prepared for. 

By Car 
  • If you usually don't take car trips with your pet (especially dogs), start with short trips to help your pet get used to riding in a car.
  • Give your pet plenty of rest stops so they can stretch their stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. When leaving the car, make sure your pet has a collar, ID tag, and leash. 
  • Bring a human companion. It'll be helpful to share the pet care duties with a friend or family member. You'll have someone to watch your pet while you order food and use the facilities. 
  • Keep your pet in the front seat. While all animals should be traveling in a crate, if the airbag deploys, it can still hurt your pet. 
  • Having a familiar blanket and/or toy can help make your pet more comfortable during the trip.

By Air 
  • Different airlines have different rules about whether and how a pet can travel. Please research the airlines rules about pet travel before you book a trip. 
  • Get your pet used to its carrier before the flight.
  • Purchase flights with fewer connections or layovers.
  • Walk your pet before leaving home and again before checking in.

By Sea 

Different cruise lines have different rules about whether a pet or service animal can travel with you and what documents they require. Please research the cruise line rules about pet travel before you book a trip.

By Train & Bus

Pet travel is restricted on most trains or buses, with the exception of service animals. Amtrak only allows service animals on trips. Read the guidelines here. Be sure to contact the bus or train service before scheduling a trip. 


Find pet-friendly accommodations through these websites: 

Additional Resources

Tails & Tales Summer Reading 2021

We've teamed up with the Worcester Animal Rescue League! For every person who logs reading each week the Worcester Public Library Foundation will donate $1 to the shelter, up to $100 per week! 

Sign up for Summer Reading here

Virtual Program: 
Summer Treats for You & Your Pup
Sat., July 24 @ 2:30 pm EST 

Join Librarian Jess as she demonstrates how to make some tasty treats that humans & their canine friends can enjoy together!   

Register here