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November 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Li-yan lives with her family in a remote Chinese mountain village. Ritual shapes her entire life – until she makes a startling choice to give her illegitimate baby up for adoption. Li-yan’s daughter, Haley, grows up in California with a tea cake as her only clue to her origins. “Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins, and across the ocean, Li-yan longs for her lost daughter.” – Book flap 

 

Katherine

convenience store womanConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Keiko is not “normal.” She thinks in a very logical/literal sort of way, and feels pressured to fit into society, despite not understanding society’s expectations. So she fakes it. Her job as a convenience store worker suits her well, but she is worried about what will happen if she doesn’t meet society’s expectations that she either marry or get a better job.
I enjoyed this book mainly because it was so interesting. Keiko does not think like I do, and her exploration and experience of the world is just so different. I was hooked. It is also a short book and doesn’t drag on.

 

Sarah

The Tomten Astrid LindgrenThe Tomten by Astrid Lindgren
This warm and inviting picture book is by Astrid Lindgren, the famed children’s book author of the Pippi Longstocking series. The Tomten is a little gnome-like fellow who discreetly watches over the farm in the woods during the cold dark of winter. With lulling repetition he visits the farm animals and the family to reassure them that he is watching over and caring for them. This book is a gentle exploration of the promise of spring during the depths of winter. A charming, quiet story to share with your little ones.

 

Cheryl

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

With colder days upon us, and flurries that remind us of the urgency to “put summer to rest” I’ve gathered up the last of the seeds and pods to tuck away for spring’s rebirth. ‘Til then, after a summer of the garden’s resplendent bloom, I will need to settle for bulbs and books! The Language of Flowers, a novel written by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, tells us of the Victorian custom of communicating messages via flowers. It gives us a detailed look at the ‘language of flowers’ through the eyes of an emancipated from foster care eighteen year old girl.  Victoria is a young woman consumed by fear, anger, and hostile behavior. Raised in multiple placements, Victoria is unable to place her trust in relationships, and is unable to give what she does not have within her. Through the broken, yet committed determination of a woman who is willing to love just a little bit more, she is taught about flowers and our fragile lives. The Language of Flowers is a story of foster care, told in past and present, beautifully interspersed with the magic of flowers. Short chapters with deep themes!  A fascinating read on a quiet afternoon with a cozy fire and some bulbs growing on the window sill!

 

Kelly H.

The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Kayla Butts is sad, if Avery has anything to say about it. She’s chubby, weird, and doesn’t hang with the right crowd. Avery Armisted is awful, if Kayla has anything to say about it. She’s spoiled, mean, and too caught up in her social media. The two clash; societal reject verses spoiled brat. However, Avery’s father doesn’t see this. Mr. Armisted decides that his daughter would benefit from a trip to Spain alongside her former best friend Kayla. After a perilous plans journey (including a lost passport and a lot of running) they arrive. Mr. Armisted expects to get work done and Kayla and Avery anticipate beautiful views and even more beautiful Spanish boys. What they actually find, could be more groundbreaking: a family secret.

 

Kelly R.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

A great, lighthearted, and engaging pre-holiday read with a dab of drama thrown in for fun. The main character, Olivia, is a pastry chef in a big city restaurant with a penchant for dying her hair crazy colors when she is stressed out. After an unfortunate incident at work that involves a flaming dessert she escapes to a little town in Vermont with her giant dog Salty and stays with a good friend, intending to stay only for a short time.  She finds a small town full of quirky characters who make her feel right at home.  She also finds a job and a place to stay as a baker at the local country inn run by a rather cranky owner. The cherry on top with this book is the recipes sprinkled throughout the story and included in detail in the back of the book because, of course, the author Louise Miller is a professional pastry chef herself. Louise is also New Englander making her home in Massachusetts.

 

 

 

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belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

Cool reads for hot summer nights

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

Six Wakes Mur LaffertySix Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Six crew members. One ship. One Killer. On a spaceship, far from earth, someone is murdering the crew. And the crew’s newly-awakened clones need to figure out which of them is the killer? Nominated for the 2018 Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards.

 

Sarah

Astronomy by Ian Ridpath

Astronomy: A visual guide by Ian Ridpath
Astronomy features gorgeous illustrations and imagery illuminating everything one could ever want to know about space. The text does not fall short on history either with highlights the history of our understanding of space, stars, and our solar system. Included in this book are star charts and a month by month guide to the night sky. Check it out along with our new telescope and then join us at Bryant Field on Wednesday August 7 at 8:30 pm for a guided tour of the night sky conducted by a member of the NH Astronomical Society.

Cheryl

her right footHer Right Foot by Dave Eggers
At the library words come in abundance, in books and in the conversations with patrons about those books.   So it was, in conversation, that a patron shared a suggestion that I “read the book – you will like it.”  I tucked the book, Her Right Foot, in my bag for a later look. Once the work of the day was done I reached in to take a look and found myself totally and delightfully absorbed. Her Right Foot is written by Dave Eggers, full of historical and fascinating facts about the Statue of Liberty, and playfully illustrated by Shawn Harris.  If you have a few moments during your next library visit, treat yourself to this absorbing book. This best loved immigrant to the United States continues to shine her light brightly.  A timely read for July!

Kelly H.

red white and royal blue

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
When in the midst of the American presidential re-election and the royal family’s royal wedding, the last thing First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz can think of is his sworn enemy, Prince Henry Of Wales. This is, of course, before he comes face to face with none other than the bratty prince himself at the royal wedding of Prince Phillip.  After too many flutes of champagne and a press worthy dance between the Prince and the First Daughter, Alex decides (with some help from gravity) to topple the royal wedding cake onto himself and the Prince. Mortified, his presidential mother’s team of advisers and the royal family’s advisers decide the best option to avoid scandal is to have the two royal twenty somethings kiss and make up by faking a friendship of newsworthy proportions. The two agree and begin their tour of amity. But as the boys begin to act more and more like friends, they begin to realize that their distaste for each other was a cover-up for much stronger feelings. As their relationship grows, the Prince and First Son must decide what they value; royalty or loyalty.

Liz

every soul a starEvery Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
In keeping with the library’s, summer reading, space theme the book Every Soul A Star is a gem of a YA space related read that is a delightful mixture of a coming of age story and astronomy. The book centers around the perspectives of three teens, Aly, Bree, and Jack, who all find themselves at Moon Shadow campground because it has a perfect view of a total solar eclipse. As all of their storylines intertwine the teens have a chance to grow into the futures that seem to lie ahead of them beyond the pages of the book. This plot paired with Mass’s details and descriptions of the solar eclipse makes for this to be a great easy read. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves to look up at the stars or the moon in the night sky, or anyone just interested in an interesting story with a good serving of space and science on the side.

Kelly R

hidden figuresHidden Figures 
A great rainy day movie that the whole family can enjoy (rated PG).  Hidden Figures is the little known true story of the struggles of three brilliant African American women who worked for NASA during the very beginning of our country’s part in the Space Race. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson played a big part in the successful launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn. They not only had to overcome racial discrimination of the time but also just being women working in male dominated NASA was a struggle. This story chronicles decades of their lives leading up to the successful launch and orbit of Friendship 7.  Pop the popcorn and settle in for an out of this world ride back in history with this movie.

 

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A book and a place: A celebration of the beauty of New Hampshire and the books we are loving at BPL

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

This month we are exploring our beautiful state. We encourage everyone to share pictures, tips, and suggestions about places to see in New Hampshire. Be sure to pick up and fill out a recommendation card at the library so you can be entered to win $25.00 for your next road trip!

Stop in and see what your neighbors and the staff of BPL are recommending too, you never know what hidden gems might become your next favorite spot to getaway!

We also are very excited to host our first local artist, Leroy Zutter. His nature photography  highlights the beauty of New England and will be on display throughout the month of June so don’t miss it!

Eileen

Artemis Fowl by Eoin ColferArtemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Coming to theaters in August! “A genius. A criminal mastermind. And he is only 12 years old.” Now Artemis Fowl is after fairy gold but standing in his way  is Captain Holly Short, LEPrecon. “He needed a plan. Something audacious and brilliant. Something that had never been attempted before. Artemis was not unduly worried on that front. His brain had never let him down before.”

 

Sarah

Shinrin Yoku The Japanese art of forest bathing by Yoshifumi Miyazaki

Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese art of forest bathing by Yoshifumi Miyazaki
” I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.” -Henry David Thoreau

What is forest bathing? Perhaps you saw it mentioned in the Belmont Conservation Commission’s news in the town newsletter back in February 2018 and never explored it further (see more here: https://bit.ly/2KoYs1B ). Shinrin Yoku translates to “forest-bathing.” The term was coined in the 1980’s as a new form of preventative medicine. The Japanese people have integrated the restorative and refreshing nature of being in the forest as a daily practice in wellness. This eclectic and beautiful book explores what forest bathing is (no fear, it does not involve actually taking a  bath in the forest!), how to do it, why it works, and continuing scientific research on the positive effects and benefit to the human body of regular forest bathing. It also includes how to bring some of the benefits of the forest into your home through essential oils derived from trees and plant-life naturally found in forests.

Cogswell Mountain Conservation Area in Gilmanton, NH
The Cogswell Mountain Trails are nestled behind the Gilmanton Year Round Library, and are a quick, easy (trust me!) hike that beginners or people who are just warming up for the season can do in an afternoon. The John and Ursula Allen Tract picks up right behind the Gilmanton Year Round Library (you can park your car there) and the Beaver Pond Loop skirts an area of water where you can view beaver dams. There is a picnic area with a table towards the top, so stop at the Gilmanton Cafe or at the Iron Works Market and pick up some sandwiches to complete your afternoon! Here is a link to the map so you can find all of the trails that lead to the summit of Cogswell Mountain. It’s a beautiful, quiet place to be out in nature with a change in scenery but not far from home: https://bit.ly/2HNl7CO

Cheryl

New Hampshire Veteran’s Cemetery Boscawen, NH
One of my favorite road trip destinations is the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery located in Boscawen, NH. Previously a state forest of 104 acres, this land is heavily forested, with 14 acres to date developed to pay tribute to veterans and their families.  (Bug spray is a must on evening walks!)
This is truly a place of beauty and serenity.  From the moment you drive up, and behold the grand flag, to the splendor of the monuments, there is much that soothes. Lawns and gardens are meticulously cared for and 65 monuments are in place along a Memorial Pathway that winds amongst the trees, commemorating all of the branches of the United States Armed Services.
Memorial Day marks the beginning of the annual 100 Nights of Remembrance, a simple yet powerful tribute to all as the live sounding of taps takes place every evening at 7:00 p.m. precisely. September 11th  concludes the 100 Nights, and taps is again sounded every Sunday at precisely 1:00 p.m.. Take a stroll, sit a spell, and inhale deeply!   A beautiful place to hit the pause button!

Kelly H.

julian

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julian appears to be a regular little boy who enjoys spending time with his Abuela. But he has a simple wish; to be a mermaid like the ones he sees on the train. So the young boy suits up in his own mermaid attire, with a floral headpiece and a tablecloth tail, ready to meet the world as a mermaid. Read this short story for a wonderful “tail” about the importance of expression and acceptance, told through beautiful art and a young boy’s dream.

The Jeff Marden Town Forest
The Town Forest is place of memories for me. I would walk in it with my parents and friends, my brother’s Boy Scout friends would do projects and hang out there, and I would walk my neighbor’s dog there. The Town Forest was always welcoming and felt like a place that I could enjoy even if I wasn’t too fond of going outside. This forest is also a prime spot for photo taking.

 

Liz

Norse Mythology by Neil GaimanNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
From the beginning of everything to the creation of the world to the end through Ragnarok, this book by Neil Gaiman is a beautiful and captivating re-telling of old Norse myths, or the ones that haven’t been lost to the ages or forgotten. Each chapter is filled with a new enthralling tale, such as the origin myth of how Thor was united with Mjolnir, his famous hammer. Along with fun tales including Loki’s time as a horse, and Thor donning a wedding dress. Apart from the actual story, the writing style of Gaiman is beautiful, as always, and the way the separate tales flow together, as more than just a collection of stories, paired with the attention to detail in each by Gaiman and his team really makes the book a work of art and a fantastic read! If you have any interest in the history of not just Norse, but Egyptian, Greek, Roman, or any other ancient myths, or if you just feel like you want a little bit more of the background mythology on Loki and Thor after Avengers: Endgame this book could be for you!

Kelly R

seasoned with grace bertha lindsaySeasoned With Grace: My generation of Shaker Cooking by Bertha Lindsay
Not just a cook book but a great gastronomic historical guided tour of Canterbury Shaker Village by one of the last living Shakers, Eldress Bertha Lindsay.  I chose this as my staff pick to go along with my NH Summer Road Trip choice “Canterbury Shaker Village.” Eldress Bertha begins with basic Shaker history with an easy to reference timeline from 1774-1987 (copyright is 1987) with a simple diagram of the village as it appeared in 1987.  I found it very interesting to discover the various dietary traditions throughout the years of the Canterbury community sometimes based on availability of foods, time to prepare them (their diet was very simple in the beginning due to lack of time as they were busy constructing initial buildings), or even moral judgement calls (fermentation for preservation was common in early days but changed later).

Eldress Bertha includes many of her favorite recipes such as summer squash casserole, baked apple casserole, bewitching salad, and Eldress Bertha’s lemon meringue pie.  A huge bonus are several great photographs sprinkled throughout the book.  I think my favorite section of the book though is the biography section where she includes a simple paragraph of noted Shakers such as Henry Blinn who drew the well-known map of Canterbury SV) and Ethel Mary Hudson (one of Eldress Bertha’s fellow last surviving CSV members). For lovers of history and local recipes this one is a treasure. NOTE: Ask about passes to Canterbury Shaker Village at the library’s front desk and we also have a very well done DVD by Ken Burns on the Shakers available to borrow.

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

May 2019 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

city of brassCity of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
This book caught my eye when we got it two years ago, but I just made room in my reading life this past month. Nahri is a con artist in 18th century Cairo who accidentally summons a djinn – and gets a one-way trip to the magical city of Daevabad and its centuries-old divisions. I devoured this and the next book, Kingdom of Copper, and now am impatiently awaiting the third, Empire of Gold.

 

Sarah

DumplinDumplin’ by Julie Murphy
While working at the local fast food joint Willowdean meets Bo, a super-cute boy her age who is enrolled in private school. Willowdean is pretty sure that Bo likes her back but she lacks the confidence to ask him out. Willowdean and her best friend Ellen decide to try what scares them the most in the hopes that it builds confidence so they both enter the beauty pageant. This pageant is a time honored ritual and is hosted by Willowdean’s mom, a former beauty pageant queen and notorious believer in slimming diets and frequent exercise. In this small town, challenging stereotypes of beauty really shakes things up but it also sets Willowdean on the road to acceptance, love, and joy. If you love Dolly Parton, big dreams, small town stories, and books about self-acceptance, this one is for you! Bonus, it is a Netflix original movie as well!

Cheryl

magnolia tableMagnolia Table by Joanna Gaines
With visions of a family gathering complete with cotton tails this month, a little meal planning was in order.  I brought home Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines and sat down a good spell!  The book is a collection of recipes for gathering, featuring 125 down to earth recipes infused with a Southern flair and seemingly served straight from the heart.  Joanna has a sweet story or sharing with most recipes and many are also accompanied by pictures. A delightful book to peruse. The pork bellies and bacon used in abundance cautioned me to reconsider some recipes and adjust others!  How fortunate we are to have our very own library at the corner of Mill and Main to make such beautiful books available!

Kelly H.

what if it's us

What If It’s Us? by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Arthur and Ben come from extremely different walks of life. Arthur’s a Georgia-born, Yale accepted, Jewish boy with a heart for the stage while Ben’s a Puerto Rican, city-slicker and summer school student whose heart remains bruised by his ex-boyfriend Hudson. At the hands of a highly opinionated universe, the two meet, talk, and bond before they are split up by a good, old-fashioned, New York flash mob. Despite the sign from the universe that the two should not be together, the boys are determined to reconnect. Through Craigslist ads, coffee businesses, another chance encounter, and some classic internet stalking, the two find each other. They decide the discovery of one another is a sign from the universe but as several below average dates kick off their relationship, the boys’ relationship rests on thin ice and leaves them asking: What if it’s us?

 

Kelly R.

welcome to the world baby girl

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg
Welcome to the World Baby Girl is the first in the four book Elmwood Springs series by Fannie Flagg, the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The story begins with an introduction to Elmwood Springs, MO 1948 and its inhabitants; a virtual stroll through the small town that may spark memories for readers who grew up in a small town. Their stories are interwoven through three decades with Flagg’s usual humor, respect, and affection for her characters.  I particularly enjoyed this excerpt at the beginning…”Poor little old human beings – they’re jerked into this world without having any idea where they came from or what it is they are supposed to do, or how long they have to do it in.  Or where they are gonna wind up after that. But bless their hearts, most of them wake up every morning and keep on trying to make some sense out of it.  Why, you can’t help but love them, can you? I just wonder why more of them aren’t as crazy as betsy bugs.” – Aunt Elner, 1978 (resident of Elmwood Springs).
If you loved Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe you will so enjoy this novel.  It has the same flavor with a town full of characters whose stories are expertly interwoven with each other with a wonderful page-turning, heartwarming expertise that is truly Fannie Flagg. The best part is that there are three more books to enjoy in the series.

 

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

April 2019 Staff Picks and farewell to Katherine!

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

every note played lisa genovaEvery Note Played by Lisa Genova
Richard lives for his career as an internationally known concert pianist. His ex-wife Karina blames him for her own stunted musical career. Then Richard is diagnosed with ALS and there’s only one person willing to care for him as his disease worsens – Karina. The author, Lisa Genova, is a Harvard-educated doctor of neuroscience and has done her research. What I like best about her books, however, are the deeply real characters.

 

Katherine
This will be Katherine’s last staff pick with BPL!
She is leaving us after many years of service.
Stop in to wish her farewell before the end of April.
We will miss her!

So Far So Good Final Poems: 2014-2018So Far So Good: Final Poems: 2014-2018 by Ursula K. LeGuin
Poetry – I haven’t historically been much of a poetry reader. I haven’t (quite) gotten the point. Sometimes, I almost get the point. Here, I definitely got it. After this, maybe, I’ll be a lot more into poetry. It shows the magic of words and how they can play together. Le Guin will be missed.

Sarah

PassengersPassengers (DVD)featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt
Jim and Aurora awaken 90 years out from the slated arrival date when the hibernation pods malfunction on their spaceship which is transporting 5,000 passengers to a new home on another planet. Both Jim and Aurora face the unfathomable likelihood of living out their lives as the only two humans awake on the ship unless they can fix the ship, save their fellow passengers, and save themselves. This is a taut psychological thriller with a bit of romance and it successfully plays with the old question: who you would want to be stranded on a desert island with?Grab your popcorn and the edge of your seat because this is a wild ride!

Cheryl

Breaking WildBreaking Wild by Diane Les Becquets
Local author Diane Les Becquets (SNHU) writes a complex story of survival as Amy Raye Latour, a skilled hunter, wife and mother, sets out for a weekend wilderness getaway in the remote and rugged terrain of Colorado.  When Amy disappears and does not return to camp her companions notify the local authorities. Ranger Pru Hathaway and her dog Kono begin a missing person search.  With winter snowstorms setting in and few leads, the search takes us on a journey of sheer endurance, persistence and skilled determination.

Although adventure thrillers are not typically my kind of book, I found myself “reading fast”!  Admittedly hunting details slowed me down, but the suspense and urgency of the search kept me anxiously turning pages!

Kelly H.

The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson
Middle school soccer player Faith has been recruited to join her school’s C Level soccer team; The Bloodhounds. She hopes to play the sport she loves alongside a like-minded team, and bring home some wins but not all goes as planned. Faith is one of the youngest players on the team that consists of players whose minds couldn’t be further from their sport. Sodacan and Marie who just wanna rock out, talented Jalissa and coach’s daughter Huong, bratty and boy-obsessed Bulldog and Warthog, sturdy goalie Yarelis, brave Sammy, the bullied V, and a distant girl named Zoe make up the team of misfits. Despite their commitment to the team, the members of the group each have their own struggles. Boy troubles, grades, fading friendships, new passions, gender and sexuality struggles, anger issues, and young love remain on the players minds on and off the field. Even Faith, committed player and good sport, lets her mind drift away to a fantasy land she’s created in which she travels with medieval messenger Mathilda. This book begs the question; is teamwork really the only thing that matters?

Kelly R.

Victoria & Abdul

Victoria & Abdul (DVD) featuring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal

Victoria and Abdul tells the true story of a very unusual friendship between Queen Victoria and a visiting young clerk from India.  Abdul, not truly understanding royal protocol and with innocent honesty, endears himself to the aging monarch.  Victoria begins to rely on Abdul’s counsel a bit too much in the eyes of her inner circle of royal staff and family members and they set out to put an end to Abdul’s access to their queen.  A very well done period film that gave a wonderful look into the daily life of Queen Victoria and who can go wrong with Dame Judi Dench in the starring role?

 

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

March 2019 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

NakedMoney.inddNaked Money by Charles Wheelan
Another local author for me! Charles Wheelan teaches at Dartmouth College. This 2016 book covers what money is and why it matters for laypeople. It takes an abstract subject and provides common sense insight and understandable examples. I was especially interested in the section on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.

 

Katherine

StarlessStarless by Jacqueline Carey
This epic fantasy was one of the best, if not the best book I read last year. It was fortunately (for me, anyway) lacking in the unusual explicit content of some of the author’s previous books, and in fact was fairly PG-13 as far as any sexual content goes. The world-building was exquisitely done – there are many cultures at play here, and each one is unique, vivid, and without a clear parallel to human culture. The same can be said of the characters – all the major characters are well-developed, frequently flawed, and still likable or at least sympathetic. I enjoyed the mythological aspects of the story as well. One quibble I did have was a diagnosis scene that clearly references chakras and blockages therein. In a less carefully constructed book, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. However, that page or two is the only real complaint I had in the long and hefty book. It was also an extremely engaging read – there were plot twists and action aplenty, and plenty of deep emotional drama between characters to keep you involved. Recommended for fans of Tolkien or George R. R. Martin.

Sarah

looking for alaska john greenLooking for Alaska by John Green
Miles “Pudge” Halter has decided to attend his father’s private school Alma Mater. While there he falls in with a group of friends that orbits around enigmatic Alaska Young. Miles connects with Alaska over literature and philosophy but ultimately fails to really “see” her. When a cataclysmic event happens, Miles is left reeling and trying to understand the purpose of suffering in life, his relationship with Alaska, who Alaska really is, and how to create meaning in a seemingly pointless world. John Green writes from a teen perspective but with a depth that is relatable across generations.


Cheryl

A Long Way HomeA Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
This  month I share with you the absorbing memoir of 5-year old Saroo. Accidentally separated from his family in India, he finds himself asleep on a train and wakens far from home on the busy streets of Calcutta. With little knowledge of address and names from where he came, penniless as well a young child might be, the streets quickly absorbed him. He was later placed in an orphanage where Saroo was adopted and moved to Australia.
Fast forward 25 years, and the story is of Saroo living a successful and meaningful life, yet memories of his birth family remain etched deeply in his heart. With an absolute loving respect for his adoptive parents he begins a search for his family in India, a seemingly impossible task with few childhood memories of long ago.
I found find this memoir inspirational, heart wrenching yet joyful, and a truly enjoyable book!

Kelly H.

dear evan hansen by Val EmmichDear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich
If there were any two words to describe Mark Evan Hansen, they would be “nervous wreck”. He has only one friend (who’s fair-weather at best), no semblance of guts to talk to his long-time crush, and the worst luck in history. His constant state of anxiety results in his therapist deciding that Evan should write himself letters to motivate himself. Begrudgingly, with a bit of a push from his mother, Evan writes the letter, talking to himself about his life, his low expectations, his wishes to be better, and his admiration for his longtime crush, Zoe Murphy. He prints it fast, hoping to leave school and finds his letter in the hands of school bad-boy Connor Murphy. Ticked off at Evan’s love towards his sister, Connor runs off leaving Evan in a long-lasting anxious state. He attends school in fear until he is called to the principal’s office, where Mr. and Mrs. Murphy are waiting for him. The couple tells him between sobs that their son had taken his own life and, because of Evan’s awful luck, they’ve assumed Evan’s note to self was their son’s suicide note. Awestruck and nervous, Evan concedes and begins the spiral of lies he can’t escape from; “We were best friends.”

Kelly R.

The late bloomers club

The Late Bloomers’ Club by Louise Miller

Coast into March with another easy-peasy little read by Louise Miller.  The Late Bloomers’ Club is the second book written by this author, a real life pastry chef from Massachusetts.  If you’ve read the author’s first book, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, you will enjoy catching up with some of the old characters from Guthrie, VT. The story unfolds when Peggy, the local “cake lady,” suddenly passes away.  Everyone is surprised when it is discovered that Peggy who had no next of kin leaves her old farmhouse and acreage to Nora, the owner of the  Miss Guthrie Diner and her artsy film-making sister, Kit who grew up down the road.  Along with the property comes a list of special cake orders that the sisters feel obliged to fill even though neither really knows how to bake.  The sisters feel overwhelmed with everything including the quandary of what to do with the property – keep it (which they don’t feel they can afford) or sell it to a developer.  Of course, as in most small towns, the folks in Guthrie have their opinions on both.  Mix in a dash of an hidden treasure, a pinch of romance, and a sprinkling of mysterious relationships and this story (along with its descriptive recipes) will entertain anyone in the mood to snuggle by a warm fire and have another good read before spring arrives.

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

February 2019 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

look for me gardnerLook For Me by Lisa Gardner
In Boston, four family members are murdered in their home. Missing – the 16 year old daughter and the family’s two dogs. Best selling NH author Lisa Gardner brings together two series leads, Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren and survivor turned vigilante Flora Dane to discover if the girl is victim or suspect. The new D.D. Warren book comes out on February 19.

 

Katherine

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of AlgorithmsHello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry
If you find data, computer science, or artificial intelligence even remotely interesting, read this book. Discusses a lot of what’s going on with that at the moment, where we’re headed, and ethical and practical implications.

Sarah

inside out and back againInside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
This introspective novel, written in verse, tells of Hà and her family as they escape Saigon to immigrate to Alabama during the beginning of the Vietnam War. Hà’s transition to American life is challenging and made worse by the fact that she is bullied in school and may never see her father again. Surrounded by the love of her family and the compassion of two of her neighbors, Hà finds a way to triumph, adjust, and eventually thrive in her new life. The author pulled from her own personal immigration and assimilation experience to fully illustrate Hà’s perspective. Recommended for all ages but is specifically written for middle grade readers.


Cheryl

the art of racing in the rainThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
I am delighted to share with you one of my very favorite books – one such fun one to share in the month of February while celebrating BPL’s very own Furry Valentines! Although written in 2008, The Art of Racing in the Rain stands the test of time with no threat of being bumped from my bookshelf! It is a story narrated by Enzo the dog as he approaches the passing of his life. Enzo has shared his life with his best friend and race car driver, Denny.  He has been a vigilant observer throughout his life and feels that he is now prepared and deserving to be reincarnated in his next life as a human. An emotionally gripping story of life’s trials, tribulations and celebrations. If you have ever been loved by a dog, this “tail” is for you!

Kelly H.

red queen victoria aveyardRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow is quite simply the lowest of the low. Among the lower class of a blood group known as “Reds,” Mare is a pickpocket and a thief. Even lower, she is no one’s apprentice, meaning she will be sent off to the long-fought war, controlled in the regiments of the dominant blood class: the Silvers, a blood type that results in mythical powers. Powerless, Mare steals for her family’s survival until she finds a young man by the name of Cal, who gives her enough money to satisfy her needs and offers her a job as a castle servant, at the beck and call of Silver royalty. Here, she discovers that she is not as Red as she once convinced herself she was.

Kelly R.

prague winter

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War 1937-1948 by Madeleine Albright

Biographies are always a favorite of mine, but throw in the setting of Europe 1937-1948 encompassing WWII and I am in!  Madeleine Albright is also, in my opinion, a very good writer – keeping me captivated as she intertwined her own personal childhood history with political happenings in Europe during this time.  I learned so many new things about the politics leading up to the war, enjoying her writing style with every turn of the page. This is one of those rare books I have recommended many times and would also count is as one of the few books I would read again.  Prague Winter is a great winter read.

 

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January 2019 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

gritGrit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
“Why do some succeed and others, equally talented, fail?– Publisher MacArthur Fellow,  Angela Duckworth argues that it’s “grit,” a focused persistence on a goal. “Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down and how that, not talent or luck, makes all the difference.” – Publisher

 

Katherine

in the night woodIn the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
Grieving parents confront a forest haunted by old gods in this slow, atmospheric horror with mythological and fairy-tale roots. So basically my kind of book. Also, it had a lot in common with A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Different plot and all, but same sort of themes of grief and Cernunnos. Recommended for fans of mythological fantasy, Katherine Arden, or Neil Gaiman.

Sarah

the rise and fall of the dinosaursThe Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte
“Somewhere around the world a new species of dinosaur is currently being found, on average, once a week. Let that sink in: a new dinosaur every … single … week.” – Steve Brusatte
Steve Brusatte is a leader in the world of paleontology and is the lead paleontologist for BBC’s Walking With Giants program. His natural excitement keeps prehistory accessible and intriguing. While weaving a compelling narrative about fossil hunting and scientific discoveries, he thoughtfully ruminates about our origins and the future of humanity. This book is a solid history of the evolution of dinosaurs and their eventual death, a history that is like looking into a pond and seeing your reflection in the lives underneath. 


Cheryl

downloaded_fileD.I.Y. Kit: Pyrography (Woodburning)
As the library prepared to close for a week in preparation for new carpeting, I looked forward to  some anticipated open spaces in my days! I reached for the pyrography kit available for loan at the library before heading home.
Once I found that special “me” time in my day, I sat down with the kit.  Opening it was like uncovering a buried treasure, with tools, supplies and instructions to get me started.  I supplemented the manual with a quick look at some “how to’s”  as well as project ideas on the internet, and in no time I found myself burning some holiday ornaments.
There were no mishaps and I enjoyed my play time!  I found that a “steady as one goes” and “don’t linger” with the pen to be important guidelines.  Some ornaments are sporting scorch marks which I prefer to think of as star bursts!
The New Year is always a great time to explore.  A variety of  kits are available at the library, free to borrow and try at no charge.  I encourage you to give it a try!

Kelly H.

darius the greatDarius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Darius Kellner would like to clarify a few things: he loves tea, he’s a Fractional Persian, and he is not a Soulless Minion of Orthodoxy. Unfortunately for our protagonist, this lands him with depression, bullies, and a family that he doesn’t feel at home with. Despite their bond over Star Wars and a shared mental illness, Darius and his father Stephen differ in just about every way. He’s close with his mother, but resents her as she kept him from learning Farsi and imparted the knowledge instead onto his sister Laleh, the perfect, Persian little girl. Darius has never met his grandparents but a family trip to Iran for a medical emergency changes this. Darius travels to his homeland for the first time where he meets his Babou and Mamou, who he’s never seen outside of a video call. As Darius explores the foreign city, he meets boy next door Sohrab. The two become fast friends and overtime, Sohrab becomes the place were Darius realizes he truly fits.

Kelly R.

farm city jan kr pick

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter

Yes, there’s a trend here…back to the land books for winter reads from me. This book happens to sit on a shelf at BPL right next to my December staff pick, inspiring me to make it January’s pick. Such an interesting story about a young woman from who decides to challenge herself to live off what she can produce for a year…all while living in an apartment in Oakland, CA. She starts gardening in her backyard and quickly decides to make use of an empty lot next door, surprising the neighborhood kids with how vegetables actually grow and not minding too much when they help themselves to some of the fresh vegetables. She also decides to raise animals including two pigs and meets an unlikely friend and teacher while dumpster diving behind a nice restaurant in search of food for two very hungry rapidly growing pigs. Entertaining and educational for those of us who enjoy a good how-to story.