Tuesday, November 30, 2021

New Releases: December Edition

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

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding
Sonya used to perform on stage. She attended glamorous parties, dated handsome men, rode in fast cars. But somewhere along the way, the stage lights Sonya lived for dimmed to black. In their absence came darkness—blackouts, empty cupboards, hazy nights she could not remember. Haunted by her failed career and lingering trauma from her childhood, Sonya fell deep into an alcoholic abyss. What kept her from losing herself completely was Tommy, her son. But her love for Tommy rivaled her love for the bottle. Addiction amplified her fear of losing her child; every maternal misstep compelled her to drink. Tommy’s precious life was in her shaky hands. Eventually Sonya was forced to make a choice. Give up drinking or lose Tommy—forever.

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
In 1917, in the snowy mountains of occupied Korea, an impoverished hunter on the brink of starvation saves a Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. In an instant, their fates are connected—and from this encounter unfolds a saga. In the aftermath, a girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. When she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, who scrapes together a living on the streets of Seoul, they form a friendship. As they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence, and Jade becomes a performer with a romantic prospect of noble birth. Soon Jade must decide whether she will risk everything for the one who would do the same for her.

Tell Me How to Be by Neel Patel
As the one-year anniversary of Renu's husband’s death approaches, she is watching soap operas and simmering with resentment. She keeps wondering if, 35 years ago, she chose the wrong life. In Los Angeles, her son, Akash, tries to kickstart his career and commit to his boyfriend. When his mother tells him she is selling the family home, Akash returns to Illinois. Together, Renu and Akash pack up the house, retreating further into the secrets that stand between them. Renu sends a message to the man she almost married, sparking an emotional affair that calls into question everything she thought she knew about herself. Akash slips back into bad habits as he confronts his darkest secrets―including what happened between him and the first boy who broke his heart. 

Featured Nonfiction for December

A Killer by Design: Murderers, Mindhunters, and My Quest to Decipher the Criminal Mind by Ann Wolbert Burgess
In this book Burgess reveals how her pioneering research on sexual assault and trauma caught the attention of the FBI, and steered her into a serial murder investigation in Nebraska. Over the course of two decades, she helped the new Behavioral Science Unit identify, interview, and track down violent offenders, including Ed Kemper ("The Co-Ed Killer"), Dennis Rader ("BTK"). As one of the first women within the FBI, Burgess knew many were expecting her to crack—but she was determined to protect future victims. This book pulls us into the investigations, interweaving never-before-seen transcripts and crime scene drawings alongside her recollections to provide insight into the minds of criminals and their victims. 

Call Us What We Carry: Poems by Amanda Gorman
Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning.

Agent Sniper: The Cold War Superagent and the Ruthless Head of the CIA by Tim Tate
Michal Goleniewski, cover name Sniper, was one of the most important spies of the Cold War. For almost 3 years, as a Lieutenant Colonel at the top of Poland’s espionage service, he smuggled thousands of top-secret Soviet bloc intelligence documents, as well as 160 rolls of microfilm, from behind the Iron Curtain. Then, in January 1961, he abandoned his wife and children to make a dramatic defection across divided Berlin with his East German mistress to the safety of American territory. There, he exposed more than 1,600 Soviet bloc agents operating undercover in the West―more than any single spy in history. The CIA called Goleniewski “one of the West’s most valuable counterintelligence sources."

Sunday, November 21, 2021

WPL's Chess Guide

Thanks to the hit Netflix series The Queen's Gambit, Chess has become the game to learn. Where do you go when you need resources to help you learn something? The library, of course! WPL has several books about Chess, for both beginners and those looking to improve their game. Additionally, we are hosting a Beginner Chess class on Zoom this winter where you can learn the fundamentals of this complex game. We also have Chess tables and sets that you can practice with at the Main Library. 

Beginner Chess 

Tuesdays, Dec. 7, Jan. 4, & Feb. 1

Register here

Attend this three-part online class to learn the fundamentals of chess. You will learn the basics, including:

  • Setting up the chess men
  • Using the pawns
  • Chess pieces and how they move to win
  • Special moves
  • Ten tips for playing a better game
  • How to win a game of chess in 4 moves

Students need access to Zoom. Since teaching is done online with examples, interaction, animations and quizzes, a chess set is not necessary. Open to ages 16 and older.

Instructor Glenn Davison presents this class with the enthusiasm of a lifelong chess player who plays often and offers many interesting details about the game of chess. He has taught dozens of chess classes to beginners and has been a member of the Massachusetts Chess Association and the US Chess Federation.

Chess Tables at the Main Library

Improve your game by practicing at one of the Chess tables at the Main Library, available on the first and third floors. A Chess set is always set up on the first floor, and more are available to borrow at the welcome desk and third floor reference desk. 

If you'd like a break from Chess, try one of the other games at the Board Game Center on the first floor: Sorry: Simpson's Edition, Stratego, Battleship, Uno, Red Sox Monopoly, Trouble, Scrabble (Russian & English), Clue, Catchphrase, Checkers, Toppling Tower and Scattergories. 

Learn the Game 

Borrow these books and many more with a CWMARS library card. Need a card? Sign up for free! Click here for more information.

Magnus Carlsen's Most Instructive Games 

Study the tactical wizardry, strategic inventiveness, technical expertise and legendary fighting spirit of Magnus Carlsen, the greatest Chess player of the 21st century. 

The Lasker Method to Improve in Chess 

An efficient toolkit as well as an entertaining guide that teaches amateurs that they shouldn’t waste energy on rote learning but just strive for a good grasp of the basic essentials of endgame play, strategy, openings, tactics and defense. 

With his famous light touch and humor, Moskalenko explains the themes and concepts of his countless subjects in great detail. Subsequently, he presents a multitude of typical examples and rounds off with large exams to test your understanding.

300 Most Important Chess Positions 

An guide to understanding the most important Chess positions in the opening of a game, the middle game and the endgame.

Rules, skills and strategy, from beginner to expert, demonstrated in over 700 step-by-step illustrations. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

WooReads Fall Reading Challenge for Adults: Patron Book Reviews


Enjoy this week’s adult patron book reviews submitted through the WooReads Fall Reading Challenge for Adults. This challenge ends on November 30, so be sure to sign up and log the books you’ve read since September 1. Readers who log at least 9 books will be automatically entered into a drawing for two chances to win a L.L. Bean Boat and Tote zip-top bag embroidered with the WPL logo. These coveted totes have been gently-used for our book club in a bag kits but have found new life as an exciting prize for our dedicated readers!

This week's featured booklists from Reader's Corner are Nordic Noir, featuring Scandinavian crime fiction at its best, and Murder-free Mysteries for those of you who enjoy lighter mystery reads.

Raising Them by Kyl Myers

Wow. Dr Kyl eagerly welcomes us into their world of gender creative parenting. This book isn't a "how to" - it's a memoir of their journey thus far as a parent. I chose to read this book because I want to help combat gender stereotypes and teach my own children about inclusivity. It was wonderful to read Kyl and Brent's thinking as they dove headfirst into the gender creative world. ~Amanda C.

This book covers world history including Europe, the Middle East, India, China, and Africa from the rise of Islam to the Renaissance. This book gives a lot of history on the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) empire, which I knew nothing about. I’ve read this book several times and it’s always fascinating. ~ David B. 

If you've read other financial literacy books, you're familiar with many of the talking points offered in this book. But, I also feel that Tiffany added some insight that I wasn't familiar with (i.e. the FIRE movement, building wealth, etc.). A great read re: achieving financial wholeness. ~ Mary T.

With the ever increasing need for clear communication, this book opened my eyes to how even the simplest changes can provide better digital communications. ~ Eric B.

Friday, November 5, 2021

WooReads Fall Reading Challenge for Adults: Patron Book Reviews


Our patron book reviews this week feature ghost hunters, Greek myths, witchcraft and Danny Trejo-what a selection! If you'd like to submit reviews, log the books you've read, and have a chance to win a L.L. Bean Boat and Tote zip-top bag embroidered with the WPL logo, sign up for the WooReads Fall Reading Challenge for Adults. This challenge ends on November 30th, so now is the time to sign up and log all of the books you've read since September 1st. 

This week's featured booklists from Reader's Corner are Books for Native American Heritage Month, which highlights poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books written by Native Americans and Mysteries and Thrillers by Indigenous Authors, which promotes and supports Indigenous mystery and thriller authors.

Onibi: Diary Of A Yokai Ghost Hunter by Atelier Sentō

What an adorably spooky collection of stories! I would love to see this animated or made into a film! The artwork and colors really brought the pages and characters to life! Amazing! I want to read it again already! ~ Sarina S.

Other than the epic scene in Breaking Bad, I did not know much about Danny Trejo, but was intrigued by reviews of this book. I was not disappointed as he is a strong individual who, once finding a path forward, did not veer from it and success followed. Not to say he did not face challenges after becoming sober and leaving prison, but he'd adopted a new way of looking at the world, and in time came to see himself and his history more clearly. It's a fascinating life and well worth the read. ~ Linda J.
Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian

Good read! A woman asks for a divorce after being mistreated by her husband. She was denied a divorce and is accused of witchcraft. I didn’t want to put it down!              ~ Karen S.

Circe by Madeline Miller

This was such an interesting book! I loved the writer's style and the story was so compelling. ~ Diane G.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Big Library Read: Five Total Strangers


From November 1-15 library users can participate in The Big Library Read featuring Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards. 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. 

A page-turning thriller, Five Total Strangers focuses on Mira, who just needs to get home for the holidays. But when an incoming blizzard results in a canceled connecting flight, it looks like she might get stuck at the airport indefinitely. And then Harper, Mira's glamorous seatmate from her initial flight, offers her a ride. Harper and her three friends plan to drop Mira off on their way home. But as they set off, Mira realizes her fellow travelers are all total strangers and every one of them is hiding something.

Soon, roads go from slippery to terrifying. People's belongings are mysteriously disappearing. Someone in the car is clearly lying, and may even be sabotaging the trip—but why? And can Mira make it home alive, or will this nightmare drive turn fatal?

Don’t miss a live, virtual event with author Natalie D. Richards on November 8 at 2pm ET. Register today.

To borrow the title, go to mywpl.org. Under Resources, select eBooks and Digital Media. Click on OverDrive to check out Five Total Strangers from the catalog. 

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

Readers also have a chance to win a tablet, Libby swag and signed books by the author if they use #biglibraryread on social media from November 1-15.