Whether you are looking for stirring, real-life accounts of the strength and courage of women during WWII, or would like to read a sweeping historical novel like Kristin Hannah’s bestseller, this list will provide you with a great book to pick up next:
|The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Aleksievich: In this classic work of journalism, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexiavitch relays the first hand oral accounts of women on the front lines, on the home front, and in occupied territories during WWII.|
|Behind Enemy Lines by Martha Cohn: Tells the courageous, true story of a young Jewish woman living in France during the German occupation who joined the French military to pose as a German Nurse and obtain valuable information for the Allied forces.|
|Marianne in Chains, by Robert Gildea: The author relays first hand accounts of daily-life and daily struggle in German occupied France, just as Kristin Hannah depicted in the struggles in Vianne’s Carriveau.|
|Resistance, by Agnes Humbert: A courageous and painful first-hand account of one of the brave women that joined the resistance during the German occupation of France, as Isabelle did in The Nightingale.|
|A Train in Winter, by Caroline Moorhead: A poignant collection of interviews and primary sources uncovering the dark but hopeful history of the female resistors in German-occupied France. they hailed from all over France from many different backgrounds and occupations, but all were united in their hatred and defiance of the occupiers. A remarkable celebration of the power of female friendship and conviction.|
|The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman: A New York Times Bestseller, The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the story of the Zabinski family, polish zookeepers, who, after their animals have been killed at the hands of the German occupying forces, begin to house Jews in the depths of the Zoo to keep them from being deported or killed. This is a brave and thrilling story.|
|All the Light There Was, by Nancy Kricorian: A moving story of an Armenian Family in Paris at the height of the German occupation, it depicts the gathering of provisions, and the children’s active resistance to the occupying forces, amidst the ever-increasing urgency of their situation.|
|All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr: A beautiful, atmospheric story of love and loss in World War II France. A blind young woman falls in love with a German boy amidst the devastation of the Nazi occupation of France.|
|The Kites, by Romain Gary: Inspired by the author’s own experiences in the French resistance, The Kites tells the story of a young boy in Normandy thrust by his love for a Polish girl to resist the German forces that have disappeared her family. This novel was originally published in 1980, but has been published in English by award-winning translator Miranda Richmond Mouillot in 2017 for the first time.|
|The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah: At once an epic story of human survival and love, and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America. With her trademark combination of elegant prose and deeply drawn characters, Kristin Hannah has delivered an enormously powerful story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the remarkable and enduring strength of women. About the highest stakes a family can face and the bonds that can tear a community apart, this is a novel as spectacular and powerful as Alaska itself. It is the finest example of Kristin Hannah’s ability to weave together the deeply personal with the universal.|
|Suite Francaise by Irina Nemirovsky: A moving and poignant account of a cast of French people fighting for survival in myriad ways (scrounging for provisions, resisting, collaborating) during the occupation of France beginning in 1940. The author, herself a french citizen and a Jewish woman, was deported to the camps in Germany where she died before completing all three parts of the novel. Her daughters saved the two parts she had completed, and published her novel forty years later.|
|Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan: Set in Italy during the German’s fight for control of Italy, This riveting novel tells the story of Pino, a young boy who is conscripted by the German forces to be a driver for one of Hitler’s top Generals. As he gains loyalty in his position, he becomes a spy reporting back activities to the Allied forces.|
There’s always room for one more Best of the Year list – especially if that list is made up of picks from your favorite librarians! Here is a list of fiction, nonfiction, audio and video that kept us going last year – there are favorites here for everyone! If you need more recommendations for your TBR list, contact us anytime through our Bookwise service!
Coming up in January, we have a whole host of new programs aimed at getting your 2018 resolutions off to a winning start! Are you planning a new diet? Hoping to finally make headway in your cleaning and organizing? Looking for some practical tips to remove stress and find peace in your life? Join us for a great line-up of programs at the library this month! All of these programs are free and open to the public:
Healthy Body, Healthy Planet: Want to improve your eating habits to help prevent heart disease and diabetes, help manage your weight AND benefit the environment, all at the same time? Certified Plant-based chef Tracie Hines will join us at 2PM on Sunday, January 7 to instruct attendees on the basics and benefits of plant-based nutrition. She’ll also handout recipes to try at home and have a better chance of success!
The Importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle: On Wednesday evening at 7PM January 17, join Dr. Renee Barille, registered dietitian and nutrition professor from the UML College of Health Sciences for a presentation sharing tips and tricks that will help you to begin and continue a healthier lifestyle this year, and make your resolutions a reality! This program brought to as part of the Chelmsford Board of Health’s Wednesday Wellness Series.
Friday Fiction, Best of the Year Edition: Are you joining a New Year’s reading challenge or just planning to spend more time reading this year? Join us for Friday Fiction on January 19 at 10:30AM! We’ll highlight some of 2017s best reads and also suggest some new and upcoming titles to build your 2018 TBR list!
Mindfulness and meditation workshops: Be mindful with us this year! Learn to remove stress, meditate, be more present and improve overall health and wellness in a dramatic way with these two workshops. Attend both and achieve a greater chance of success!
- Mindfulness and Meditation with Beth Kurland, Sunday January 21 at 2PM (books will be for sale at this session)
- Mindfulness and Mediation with The Art of Living, Wednesday January 24 at 7PM
Career Workshops: Thinking about changing, or starting, and new career path this year? Come to a new series of career workshops, beginning January 23, from 6:30-8 PM. Chelmsford Public Library is hosting this series put on by the Lowell Career Center. If you’re a job seeker, these workshops are meant to help you get the edge you need to complete in your job search. January’s workshop will focus on LinkedIn and the steps needed to have a successful LinkedIn campaign.
Clutter Control 101 with Dave Downs: Tackle that clutter and get all of that “stuff” under control once and for all in 2018 using the tips from this engaging and informative program presented by humorist Dave Downs! Guaranteed to leave you with new ideas, methods and hints to reverse the tendency to bury yourself in treasures!
Let the Chelmsford Library help you reach your goals in 2018!
Here we are in the thick of another holiday season trying to figure out which books are going to be favorites for the people on our list. Well, scratch the task of matching books to readers off your to-do list! We’ve put together this list of our fiction favorites from the last 12 months that will make great gifts this year.
Check out all of the complete lists on our Reading room page, and, while you’re there, check out our other blog posts, like this one, for even more recommendations. And of course, contact us directly, in the library or through our Bookwise service for reviews or recommendations anytime!
Great books to give if they like:
Sometimes, it’s great to sit back and let you do the recommending! As part of our Adult Summer Reading program this past summer, we let the participants do just that. Below is a list of books they recommended as part of their entries. Read through their reviews – maybe one of them will appeal to you too!
|The House at the End of Hope Street, by Meena Van Praag: My new favorite book – It’s about women who need hope in their lives, and a special house (and the special people) that help them find it.|
|Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston: It is set in Florida in the early 1900s and is the story of Janie’s journey in life – surviving an arranged marriage , the husband’s death, a younger man and a hurricane – Super Read!|
|Blankets, by Craig Thompson: I did not like the book as it did not seem to flow well together. The beginning was funny. Synopsis: Loosely based on the author’s life, chronicles Craig’s journey from childhood to adulthood, exploring the people, experiences, and beliefs that he encountered along the way.|
|Always, by Sarah Jio: Kailey is engaged to be married to Ryan. 10 years ago the love of her life, Cade, disappeared with no trace. She sees him living as a homeless man who doesn’t remember his past life. She gets him help and now she must choose between her new life with Ryan or the life she could have had with Cade.|
|The Shack, by William Paul Young: I love this story. It is real love, but with a twist, forgiveness and healing after a family’s worst nightmare-a kidnapped child. I reread this every year over the summer.|
|Wonder by R. S. Palacio: I think this is a book everyone needs to read. Great example for young adults and older adults. Such a great message, “Never judge someone based on what they look like.”|
|Little White Lies, by Robert Parker: “I feel somewhat traitorous to Mr. Parker but I am enjoying the Ace Atkins “Spenser” novels as much as the original series. He does a great job of the quick repartee that is hallmark of all the Spenser books.”|
|Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher: “It is not really a plot driven book, but the characters are so well-drawn that you could go on reading about them forever. And it was a long book, but I would have been happy for t to go on.”|
|Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the House of Dread Desire, by Neil Gaiman: a writer is horribly bored with writing books about real life – real life is living in a dark house in a dark forest with ghosts and goblins in the basement mysterious faces staring out of the mirrors. He keeps adding sarcasm and humor to his stories. He’s advised to write fantasy and scifi. No no! he says – I only want to write about real life. Finally, he gives in, writing about businessmen, stock brokers, a blonde housewife burning the toast while husband is immersed in the newspaper. HIs non-real life fantasy book is wildly successful!|
|Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon: I’ve read it 3 times!Time travel, standing stones, Scotland in the 1700s. In the third book of the series is one of the greatest scenes in literature where they meet after twenty years. I’ve re-read these few pages over and over again and cry every time – just thinking about the scene makes me cry! And yes, the tv series is good too, but not as good as the book.|
|One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey: Phenomenal characters and plot. Big Book, but a guaranteed page-turner! I felt for every single person, even Nurse Ratched!|
|Knuckler, by Tim Wakefield: I am an avid Red Sox fan and it was fun to read about the player’s during Tim’s time with the red socks.|
|The Patriot Threat, by Steve Berry, It was a very good story with an excellent mix of characters, past history, modern events, facts, fiction and intrigue. I enjoy finding out at the end what parts are facts!|
|The Photograph, by Beverly Lewis: It’s about an Amish Family whose parents died leaving 3 girls on their own. The youngest girl runs away and the story follows the search to bring her back to the Amish life.|
|Perfect Strangers, by Roseann Sdoia. We also got to hear her speak at the library! The book reminded me of the goodness of people and showed how – in spite of horrific tragedy and sorrow – people can support each other and carry each other through.|
We’ve always tried to design new and innovative programming that meets the needs and desires of our community. This fall, we’re debuting a new line-up of programs, in new time-slots. Of course, we have had programs after-hours, but four after-hours programs in a season, including a coffee house with live music, a jazz night, a trivia night and a live-action board game inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft? How about a fantastic series of discussions on science led by real experts in their fields on timely topics such as climate change and radiometric dating? How about workshops on tasting chocolate, preserving fruits and veggies, or brewing beer?
Many of these programs will require registration, so check the individual details on our calendar.
And we still plan and enjoy all our traditional programs you’ve come to love too. We have great book groups, and lectures, fun and interesting gardening and nature related programming, story times for babies and children, tech help and art receptions and more that continue to be popular. Not to mention all of the fantastic Teen programs, like Haunted Halloween Cupcake Wars. Check our complete calendar for all that is happening at your library!
Here’s the latest list of books staff are recommending for readers in these waning days of summer. This one’s all fiction – stay tuned for great nonfiction selections in a couple of weeks!
|Wes: Soon I Will Be Invincible, by Austin Grossman (Funny, Science-Fiction, Adventure, Superheroes): When Doctor Impossible, an evil genius and ambitious wannabe world dominator, launches a new plot to seize control of the world, Fatale, a woman built by the NSA to be the next generation of weaponry, joins a group of misfit superheroes in their quest to destroy Doctor Impossible.|
|Danny: The Black Prism, by Brent Weeks (Action, Epic Fantasy, First book in the series): In a world where color is the basis of all magic, Kip has yet to realize his powers, but he soon begins to learn the truth behind the great rift between his father–Gavin Guile, the current Prism–and his uncle, Javen, and discovers that time is running out for the world.|
|Lisa: Lock In, by John Scalzi (Horror, Thriller, Science Fiction, Near Future): When a new virus causes one percent of the population to become completely paralyzed in body but not in mind, America pursues a scientific initiative to develop a virtual-reality world for victims, with unexpected consequences. By the Hugo Award-winning author of Redshirts.|
|Heidi: Jazz, by Toni Morrison: (American classics, Historical fiction, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Lyrical, Haunting) Jazz compels the reader to the Harlem of the 1920s in a novel framed by the story of Violet and Joe Trace, married for more than 20 years, and how they deal with the fact that he has recently shot his lover, a girl of 18.|
|Jess: The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen: (Historical Fiction, Pulitzer Prize Winner, suspenseful, spies, Southeast Asia and California) A spy for the North Vietnamese goes from exile in Los Angeles to working on a film set in the Philippines before finally being caught and imprisoned back in Vietnam. Told through a series of confessions after capture, he relates his own struggle and that of his country during and after the ugly conflict in Vietnam. I listened to this one on audio book, and the voice of the reader really captures the sardonic tone of the narrator.|
Playing Adult Summer BINGO this summer? Finish up you cards and turn them in by August 25 to be entered into a raffle for prizes like literary themed coffee mugs, tote bags and reading journals. You could also win one of 2 gift certificates to the Friends of the Library Book sale in September!
If you haven’t picked up a Bingo card yet, there’s still time to earn an entry – though many of the programs have passed, lots of activities like “Read a book to a child,” or “Read a book from a genre you think you don’t like” are available any time. Use the link in this post to download and print one for yourself, or come into the library to pick one up at the Main desk.
And don’t forget, if you need recommendations, we’re always here to help!
On Thursday July 20, an article by Philip Yancey was published in the Washington Post’s titled, The Death of Reading is Threatening the Soul. In it he articulates a crisis that many of us can probably relate to, though we have not had the patience and insight to name it. He discusses the familiar problem of being too inundated with the digital world to take time for the acquisition of knowledge which largely requires the concentrated and sustained reading of books. This argument may sound condescending, but read his article, in which he frames the argument in the context of his own personal dilemma, and you’ll find it surprisingly relateable.
In his article, he identifies a number of texts he remembers from his heavy reading days, as well as a number of books which have helped him to sort out this dilemma and formulate a plan to return to the reading he loves. We’ve collected many of the titles he mentions here, with links to our catalog so you can read them for yourself.