All posts by Jill Kenny

Hot off the presses…

These are a few new books that I would read if I had more time!  Check them out!


Cover image for Hunted$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1585772/one

Cover image for The five year lie$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1593822/one


Cover image for Stolen pieces$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1597209/one

Cover image for A nest of vipers$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1596726/one


Cover image for There's going to be trouble :$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1585789/one

Cover image for Thorn tree$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1588529/one


Cover image for Loneliness & Company :$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1596037/one

Cover image for The ministry of time :$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1592331/one


Cover image for Archangels of funk :$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1589228/one

Cover image for Red side story$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1579019/one


Cover image for The library of borrowed hearts$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1579008/one

Cover image for One last shot$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1589236/one


Cover image for Ella :$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1586939/one

Cover image for The girl from the Grand Hotel :$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1599510/one


One Book Chelmsford – Peter Swanson visit, Mystery Improv, Art mysteries, NY mysteries and scandals

Join us for a special event featuring our 2024 One Book Chelmsford author Peter Swanson! Space is limited so please register.

Peter Swanson will be in conversation with fellow mystery writer Connie Hambly Johnson.

Peter Swanson is the Sunday Times and New York Times best selling author of ten novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year. His books have been translated into over 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science FictionThe Atlantic MonthlyMeasureThe GuardianThe Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

In his latest novel, The Kind Worth Saving, Swanson revisits the characters from The Kind Worth Killing as a private eye starts to follow a possibly adulterous husband, but little does he know that the twisted trail will lead back to the woman who hired him.

A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts with his wife.

Connie Hambly Johnson is a past president and featured speaker of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime, a member of Mystery Writers of America, and co-chair of the New England Crime Bake.

Register for a spot here: CLICK HERE

Other programs related to mystery that are coming up:

 Panelists on this fun, fast-paced improv game in which authors brainstorm on their feet to create a brand new mystery will be:

Sharon Daynard: Sharon Daynard is the author of Murder Points North. Her short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US and Canada. Her short stories include “The Boss of Butler Square” which received Honorable Mention for the 2019 Al Blanchard Award and “Widows Peak”, a 51-word story, which was short-listed for a Derringer Award for Best Flash of 2004 and has been used to help teach minimalist writing in college classes. She is a managing partner at Potter’s Field Publishing and the co-creator of Evidoozle, an online evidence board-based playing card game. She holds degrees in Environmental Sciences and Geology and often incorporates elements from them in her stories. She is a past president of SinCNE and a former co-chair of the New England Crime Bake.

Kate Flora: Flora’s fascination with people’s criminal tendencies began in the Maine attorney general’s office. Deadbeat dads, people who hurt their kids, and employers’ discrimination aroused her curiosity about human behavior. The author of twenty-four books spanning many genres including crime fiction, true crime, memoir, and nonfiction, and many short stories, Flora’s been a finalist for the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer awards. She won the Public Safety Writers Association award for nonfiction and twice won the Maine Literary Award for crime fiction. Flora has taught writing for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Brown University Continuing Education, The Cambridge Center for Adult Education, the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and for Grub Street in Boston. She’s a former international president of Sisters in Crime, and a founder of the New England Crime Bake and the Maine Crime Wave conferences. She blogs with the Maine Crime Writers. Flora divides her time between Massachusetts and Maine, where she gardens and cooks and watches the clouds when she’s not imagining her character’s dark deeds.

J.A. (Judith) McIntosh: writes legal suspense and mysteries for thinking adults who like to see people get what they deserve.  An attorney for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Children and Families  representing the state in child custody matters and in child abuse and neglect cases,  her novels are about this area of law and its heartbreaking consequences on families. Her books are primarily about people trying to make the best of an awful situation and their attempts to connect with others and get what they need.  All does not turn out well. She lives in a small town, much like her fictional Meredith, Massachusetts, and has lived here most of her life.  Most of her family lives here also, an atypical situation in the twenty-first century.  As the town has less than 10,000 people, she knows a large percentage of the population.

Kim Herdman Shapiro: is an author, journalist, graphic artist, and vlogger. She has worked in both print and broadcast journalism, as well as creating one of the first ever digital e-zines with her Microsoft Award-winning travel site, Footloose. Although she grew up in Vancouver, she has lived and traveled to many different places around the world. Some of these places are detailed in her book, Gelato with the Pope: and other adventures of a travel writer in Europe. She has spent the last seven years filming across Canada for What the Hell is a Toque: and other questions on the great Canadian roadtrip, where she shows her two sons what it means to be Canadian. For the past twenty years, she has lived with her husband and sons in New England. At present, her writing life is focused on her two mystery series, one based in British Columbia and the other her home for the past 25 years: New Hampshire.  She also serves on the board of Sisters in Crime New England and works as their Public Relations Director.

Register for a spot here: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, April 16th at 7pmVIRTUAL-Curators of Crime — Art-Inspired Murders & Mysteries

Authors Connie BerryNina WachsmanLane Stone, and M.A. Monnin will discuss the real-life art, artifacts, and art crimes that inspired their mystery novels.

Connie Berry is the author of the best-selling Kate Hamilton Mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. Her latest novel, THE SHADOW OF MEMORY, was a finalist for the Edgar Award’s Lilian Jackson Braun award.

Nina Wachsman is the author of a series of historical suspense set in 17th Century Venice. She has multiple ties to Venice, as an artist, visiting every two years for the world’s fair of art at the Venice Biennale. THE GALLERY OF BEAUTIES, her debut novel, was nominated for an Agatha for Best Debut, and a Silver Falchion for Best Historical. The second book in the series,  THE COURTESAN’S SECRET,  received 5-star recommendations from the Historical Fiction Company and the Historical Novel Society.

Lane Stone is the author of The Big Picture art thriller trilogy. Book one, THE COLLECTOR, was followed by THE CANVAS. She is also the author of several cozy mystery series. Stone  has a post-graduate certificate in Antiquities Theft and Art Crime.

M. A. Monnin is the author of the Intrepid Traveler Mystery series, including Agatha Best First Novel nominee DEATH IN THE AEGEAN. Her 3rd in the series, DEATH IN ST. GEORGE’S, releases in May 2024.

Register for a spot on zoom to receive a link to join: CLICK HERE


Thursday, April 18th at 6:30pm

Are you interested in finding out about being tarred and feathered, shot by the Black Hand in Little Italy,  being caught in a great fire or ravishing flood, participating in a riot, attending some fascinating trials, or encountering some of the most unsavory characters who ever lived in New York City?  Of course, this doesn’t count meeting all the ghosts that haunt the City. Then, this is the presentation for you.  Don’t worry, it isn’t as gory as it sounds.

Presenters: Susan & Art Zuckerman, Licensed Tour Guides, Radio Talk Show Hosts, Authors, College Professors, Historians, Lecturers, World Travelers

Register for a spot on zoom and receive the link: CLICK HERE

April is full of mystery at our library!

Book Brunch – March Madness 2024

March Madness is in the air, whether you are into college basketball or reading!

Last Friday, Julie and I shared many, many books with our book brunch friends.  We usually share up to 10 new books each, but I added the “madness” this month by adding 3-4 read-alikes for each book we highlighted.  This seemed like a great idea, until I put together this mega- list of books in different genres- and realized that I have provided 2+ years of reading in one list.

I’m sharing the mega-list (every title is a hyper-link to our catalog, for you to put the books on hold), as well as the visual list with covers (if you like to “browse by book covers”).

Our next book brunch will be Friday, May 17th (and I promise to make the list more manageable!).

Julie’s picks:

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store – James McBride

Read-alikes: historical fiction, race relations, community secrets

Decent People – De’Shawn Charles Winslow

Before all the world / Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Moon lake : an East Texas gothic / Joe R. Lansdale

Another Brooklyn : a novel / Jacqueline Woodson

The Clinic – Cate Quinn

Read-alikes: psychological thriller, unreliable narrator, creepy setting, estranged siblings

The Shining– Stephen King

The Institution – Helen Fields (coming out April 2024)

The Resort– Sarah Ochs

I’ll Be You – Janelle Brown

The Warm Hands of Ghosts-Katherine Arden

Read-alikes: historical fiction, bond between siblings, war nurses, magic/supernatural

London Séance Society – Sarah Penner

The Dutch House – Ann Patchett

Held – Anne Michaels

A Deadly Education – Naomi Novak

Family, FamilyLaurie Frankel

Read-alikes: found family, adoption stories

Three Junes – Julia Glass

Commonwealth – Ann Patchett

We are all Completely Besides Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

The Last Romantics – Tara Conklin

The Fox Wife – Yangsze Choo

Read-alikes: historical fiction, magical realism

Unraveling – Karen Lord

Curse of Saints – Kate Dramis

The Fervor – Alma Katsu

The Bone Roots – Gabriella Houston


Everyone on this Train is a Suspect – Benjamin Stevenson

Read-alikes: locked-room mystery, Agatha Christie fans

There Should Have Been Eight – Nalini Singh

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Mother-Daughter Murder Night – Nina Simon

The Golden Spoon – Jessa Maxwell


Three-Inch Teeth – C.J.Box

Read-alikes: atmospheric landscape, lots of animals, honorable main character

The Poacher’s Son – Paul Doiron

Tamarack County – William Kent Krueger

Cold Hearted River – Keith McCafferty

Boar Island – Nevada Barr


The Ascent– Adam Plantinga

Read-alikes: Thriller, crime novel, locked-room setting

I will Find You – Harlan Coben

Kingdom of Bones – James Rollins

November Road – Lou Berney

Device Free Weekend – Sean Doolittle

Bride – Ali Hazelwood

Read-alikes: paranormal romance, vampires, werewolves, fated mates

Wolf Gone Wild – Juliette Cross

Lover Reborn – J.R. Ward

Not the Witch You Wed – April Acher

Overbite – Meg Cabot


The Women – Kristin Hannah

Read-alikes: historical fiction, Vietnam, female friendships, war nurses

The Lotus Eaters – Emily Clements (not out yet)

The World Played Chess– Robert Dugoni

Dust Child – Mai Phan Que Nguyen

Absolution – Alice McDermott

Jill’s Picks

The Fury – Alex Michaelides

Read-alikes: locked-room mystery, theatrical, false pretenses, atomospheric

Here in the Dark – Alexis Soloski

The Night of the Storm – Nishita Parekh

The Guest List – Lucy Foley

The Chateau – Jacklyn Goldis


Behind You is the Sea – Susan Muaddi Darraj

Read-alikes: Palestinian-American culture, immigrants

Evil Eye – Etaf Rum

Her First Palestinian – Saeed Teebi (on order)


Only if You’re Lucky – Stacy Willingham

Read-alikes: dark academia, psychological thriller, toxic relationships

The IT Girl – Ruth Ware

Before We Were Innocent – Ella Berman

The Girls Are All So Nice Here – Laurie Elizabeth Flynn


The Kamogawa Food Detectives – Hisashi Kashiwai

Read-alikes: cozy mystery, food-related, overwhelming emotional resonance

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World – Laura Imai Messina

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune – Roselle Lim

Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Tosikazu Kawaguchi

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop – Satoshi Yagisawa

The Fortune Seller – Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Read-alikes: dark academia, tarot readings, twisty suspense

The Book of Love – Kelly Link

The Rachel Incident – Caroline O’Donoghue

The Maidens – Alex Michaelides


The Moorings of Mackerel Sky – MZ

Read-alikes: magical realism, mermaids, atmospheric, local myths

Shark Heart – Emily Habeck

Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E. Harrow

American Mermaid – Julia Langbein


Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice – Elle Cosimano

Read-alikes: humorous mystery, women sleuths, action-packed fun

Play the Fool – Lina Chern

Racing the Light – Robert Crais

A Good Day to Pie – Misha Popp


End of Story – A.J. Finn

Read-alikes: literary mystery, psychological suspense, puzzles

The Mystery Writer – Sulari Gentill

Augusta Hawke – G.M. Malliet

The Last Word – Taylor Adams

Leave No Trace – A.J. Landau

Read-alikes: thriller, action-packed, National Parks, conspiracies

Wolf Trap – Connor Sullivan

Perfect Shot – Steve Urszenyi

The Switch – Joseph Finder


The Disappearance of Astrid Bricard – Natasha Lester

Read-alikes: historical fiction, haute-couture, Gilded age, Paris/NYC, families

The Winthrop Agreement – Alice Sherman Simpson

Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl – Renee Rosen

The Address – Fiona Davis

The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre – Natasha Lester


What the Book Brunch attendees are reading:

Love and Hot Chicken – Mary Liza Hartong

The Teacher – Frida McFadden

A True Account – Katherine Howe (MA author)

Yellowface – R.F. Kuang

Murderbot diaries (series) – System Collapse #7 /Martha Wells

The Great Divide – Cristina Henriquez

After Annie – Anna Quindlen

Women of Good Fortune – Sophie Wan

To Have and to Heist – Sara Desai

The Art Thief (non-fiction) -Micheal Finkel


Virtual Decluttering Workshops every month in 2024 with Jamie Novak

If you haven’t check out one of these programs on getting organized, you should mark your calendars now!  Jamie gets you moving around your space and getting rid of things you might not have thought you didn’t need!  Even if you don’t, it’s a mental decluttering as well.  See below for the upcoming programs each month through the end of 2024!  We host our declutter workshops the first Thursday of each month on zoom at 7pm.  If you register and miss it, we’ll send you the recording to view at another time!


March 7th, 2024 at 7pm:  File, Pile, Sort, Shred!

          If your tabletops are covered with stacks of paper and your filing cabinets are overflowing, then you won’t want to miss this virtual program. Join author and organizer Jamie Novak for this one-hour event when she’ll show you which papers to keep, for how long, and ways to file them once and for all! Plus, she’ll share what you can shred, regret-free. You’ll make your own retention schedule for future reference and organize papers with her during the program.

Register here:

April 4th, 2024 at 7pm: How to Organize Your Life into 1 Notebook

          Go from scattered to successful this year – with a single notebook! Join us online when organizer and author of Keep This Toss That shows you how to organize your life with a single notebook! You’ll be able to keep track of everything you need to get done, and more. Remember things, get organized, prioritize tasks, and stop misplacing important information.

Register here:

May 2nd, 2024 at 7pm: Digital Decluttering: organize and free up storage space

          Wondering how to easily delete all those emails? Tired of the “running out of space” messages on your phone? Log on and learn how to declutter your devices with best-selling author and organizing humorist Jamie Novak. During this virtual program she’ll guide you through a live tidy up and share the one thing you need to delete from your phone today.

Register here:

June 6th, 2024 at 7pm: The Great Storage Clean Out

          We all have THAT space, a closet, basement, garage, attic, or storage unit overflowing with stuff. If you are ready to sort it out (without getting overwhelmed) log on when author and organizer Jamie Novak shares her simple plan. Learn where to begin, what to do first, what to do with the things, and how to stay motivated. Plus, she’ll reveal the secret to maximizing storage space and how to find things, once they are stored.

Register here:

July 11th, 2024 at 7pm: Tiny Summer Tidy Ups

          Tidy up quickly with plenty of time left for summer fun. Join bestselling author and expert organizer Jamie Novak when she reveals the tiny tidy up tasks that make a big difference. You’ll be guided through a live tidy up session and by the end of the program you’ll have a plan to enjoy the summer, clutter-free!

Register here:

August 1st, 2024 at 7pm: Treasure in the Attic: what to do with sentimental stuff my kids don’t want

          Did the kids tell you they don’t want your candlesticks? Are you attached to your treasures, collections, and sentimental items? If so, this virtual program is for you! During this online program organizing humorist and author of Keep This Toss That, Jamie Novak reveals her method for decluttering sentimental items. By the end of this laugh-out-loud funny program you’ll have a plan for how to keep the memories without keeping all the stuff.

Register here:

September 5th, 2024 at 7pm: Tidy Your Kitchen and Bathrooms Fast

          Let’s sort out the two most used rooms of your home, easily! Join author and organizing humorist Jamie Novak online, when she shares simple steps to declutter the bathroom and the kitchen. Learn how to make this overwhelming task a lot easier with her easy ideas and get started live during the program with a mini guided tidy-up.

Register here:

October 3rd, 2024 at 7pm: 3 Steps to Sort Your Photos

          If you have too many photographs to sort, this virtual program is for you! During this online program author and organizer Jamie Novak reveals the three steps you can take today to make sense of your boxes of memories. She’ll guide you through a LIVE mini de-cluttering session and by the end of the program you’ll be prepared to successfully tackle your photo sorting project!

Register here:

November 7th, 2024 at 7pm: Clean Your Clothes Closet by the Weekend: sort, share, sell, store

          Can’t walk in your walk-in closet? Do you dread sorting your clothes? Log on and learn the 5 steps to organize any closet with expert organizer and author Jamie Novak. She’ll share her insider tips and the things every closet needs to stay clutter free. Plus, you’ll tidy live with her and learn what a capsule wardrobe is and why you may want one.

Register here:

December 5th, 2024 at 7pm: What to Tidy When Company is On the Way

          Company on the way? Just want to get organized but you don’t have a lot of time? Log on with expert organizer and author of Keep This, Toss That, when she shares what to focus on – and what you can leave for later. Learn what company notices first about your home. And see how to make the most of your efforts. Plus, during the program, you’ll be guided through a tiny task.

Register here:


Let’s Talk Books 2024 Reading Challenge Discussion Group

Massachusetts Center for the Book provided a 2024 Reading Challenge – Each month there is a theme – you choose a book to read in that theme.  Their monthly challenge, after you read, is to submit a form online – simple, and fun.  They will have prizes at the end of the year.  If you are interested in this, go to the link for more information:

We have chosen to use this reading challenge to introduce a new reading group at our library!  It’s called, Let’s Talk Books with Jill and Julie and meets the last Wednesday evening of the month at 6:30pm, with in-person and online attendance!

January’s group had a great discussion, sharing stories along with their book choices – as the theme was to share – a book you read years ago that you may feel different about now.  See the graphic below of some of the books discussed:


February’s group was a little smaller, but we had fun coming up with as many titles with colors on the fly as an activity after discussing our books.

See the graphic below for some of the books discussed:

We would love to have more people come to discuss March’s theme: A book whose protagonist has a different culture or lifestyle from you.

If you are interested – register to join us in-person or virtually (zoom) on Wednesday, March 27th at 6:30pm.  Link to register:


Book Brunch January 2024

A new year welcomed a new format for Book Brunch – in-person only in the fireplace room.  There was coffee, delicious snacks and lots of books shared.  Julie and I shared 10 books each and then heard from others what they have read recently, to create a nice list to start off the year with.  Our next Book Brunch will be Friday, March 15th at 10:30am.  Please register if you plan to come – so we have enough seats!

Click on the book titles for more information about each book (link to our catalog) and to see if a copy is available!








The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose
Goldenseal by Maria Hummel
Principles of (E)motion by Sara Read
The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson
Mom Com by Adriana Mather (book on order)
The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins
Recipe for a Charmed Life by Rachel Linden
Rabbit Hole by Kate Brody
The Lost Van Gogh by Jonathan Santlofer
The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods











Hunt on Dark Waters by Katee Robert
Curse of Penryth Hall by Jess Armstrong
Dissolved by Sara Blaedel Mads Peder Nordbo
The Other Half by Charlotte Vassell
The Vacation House by Jane Shemilt
Calamity by Constance Fay
The Road to Dalton by Shannon Bowring
Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free by Suzanne Heywood
The Book of Fire by Christy Lefteri
The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon


What others in the group are reading and recommend:

The River we Remember by William Kent Krueger
The Lioness of Boston -Emily Franklin
Land of Milk & Honey– Pam C Zhang
The Berry Pickers– Amanda Peters
There’s a Word for that – Sloane Tanen
The in-between : unforgettable encounters during life’s final moments / Hadley Vlahos, R.N.
The Maidens – Alex Michaelides
The Last Love Note – Emma Gray
The Spirit Catches you and you fall down – Anne Fadiman
Steven Spotswood – Fortune Favors the Dead – fun series/woman detective in the 40’s
The Many Lives of Mama Love(memoir)-Lara Love Hardin
Prom Mom by Laura Lippman
West with Giraffes by Linda Rutledge
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
Such Kindness – Andre Dubus III
The Inheritance – Nora Roberts
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart– Holy Ringland


A New Year = A New Book Group

Let’s Talk Books with Jill and Julie is new!  Once a month, we will be hosting a new book group – where everyone shares what they are reading in the same theme. Julie and I are the Reader’s Advisory department at the library and we are bringing book suggestions to you on multiple platforms. In the library, we provide reader’s advice at the desk and with displays, bookmarks, flyers and blog posts.  Online we share our recommendations on social media, and through our upcoming TV show.

Instead of all reading the same book and then meeting to talk about that one book, this is a group where everyone reads different books within the same theme.  The best part about this, is that everyone will leave with a list of recommended books by the group and talk about books!

Our book group is following the Massachusetts Center for the Book 2024 Reading Challenge themes.  The challenge offers options beyond just meeting at the library to discuss the book you chose in that theme.  How the reading challenge works for the masses, is to read a book in the theme, go to the website: and fill out a short form to share your thoughts on the book.  The Mass Center for the Book will host a year-end party to celebrate the participants who committed to the challenge as well as be entered in a drawing to win some totes filled with books and goodies.

We will be meeting the last Wednesday of the month at 6:30pm in the McCarthy meeting room – in-person or on zoom (HYBRID) to hear about what every is reading in the same theme.  We hope you will join us!

January, 31st : A book you read years ago that you may feel different about now -register here:

February, 28th: A book with a color in the title – register here:

March, 27th: A book whose protagonist has a different culture or lifestyle from you- register here:

April 24th: A book about nature, the environment, or climate change- register here:

May 29th: A graphic novel- register here:

June 26th: A book that inspired a film or television series – register here:

July 31st: A book by an author born outside of the United States- register here:

August 28th: A book whose title starts with the same letter as your birthday month- register here:

September 25th: A debut book by a Massachusetts author- register here:

October 30th: A book about a time in history you’d like to know more about – register here:

November 20th: A relaxing, soul-soothing book- register here:

December 18th: A well-reviewed book in your least favorite genre- register here:

Check out our calendar online, or pick up a paper copy by month in the main lobby:

Chelmsford’s Top Books Checked out in 2023

When the book you put on hold takes forever, you are most likely in good company!  Perhaps one of those books are on this list.  Libraries are sharing their lists of the most checked out books from 2023 all over the country – there are a lot of similar titles!

Here are the most checked out books at our main library and Mackay in 2023.


  1. Mad Honey: a novel, Jodi Picoult
  2. Lessons in Chemistry: a novel, Bonnie Gamus
  3. Verity, Colleen Hoover
  4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: a novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  5. Hello Beautiful: a novel, Ann Napolitano
  6. It Starts with Us: a novel, Colleen Hoover
  7. The Hotel Nantucket: a novel, Elin Hilderbrand
  8. Spare, Harry
  9. Someone Else’s Shoes, Jojo Moyes
  10. It Ends with Us, Colleen Hoover
  11. The House in the Pines: a novel, Ana Reyes
  12. Small Mercies: a novel, Dennis Lehane
  13. Happy Place, Emily Henry
  14. Horse, Geraldine Brooks
  15. The Boys from Biloxi, John Grisham
  16. The Personal Librarian, Marie Benedict
  17. Migrations, Charlotte McConaghy
  18. Demon Copperhead: a novel, Barbara Kingsolver
  19. Remarkably Bright Creatures: a novel, Shelby van Pelt
  20. Book Lovers, Emily Henry

Art on Thursdays at the Chelmsford Public Library


Have you heard about Art on Thursdays and wonder what that is? Each month, on the last Thursday, there is a VIRTUAL program on a different artist, or style, or art related topic.  The best part about this program, is that if you register, but cannot make it- the recording will be shared with registrants! If you are curious, check out the program tomorrow night – to get into the glittery spirit of the holidays.

Austrian painter Gustav Klimt is associated with a number of artist movements including Art Nouveau and Symbolism, but in the end he developed a distinctive style all his own. This program introduces audiences to the idiosyncratic artist and reviews his famous gold paintings as well as his lesser known works. Image: Gustav Klimt, Judith (detail), 1901. Belvedere Gallery, Vienna.

Register here:

About the presenter:

Jane Oneail (pronounced OH-neel) is the founder of Culturally Curious, a company that curates and presents art appreciation. Jane holds a master’s in Art History from Boston University and a master’s in Education from Harvard University. Born and raised in NH, she has worked at some of the state’s most esteemed cultural institutions, including the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, where she served as Executive Director, and the Currier Museum of Art, where she held the role of Senior Educator. Jane has also taught at the college level for more than a decade, most recently at Southern New Hampshire University. For more information visit

Here is the schedule for 2024.  Please use the links under each month to register on zoom and receive the link.  If you register for them now, zoom will send you a reminder the week before!

2024 Featured Monthly Programs:

January 25th at 7pm – Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Pop artist Andy Warhol famously elevated everyday objects – like soup cans – to works of fine art. His paintings, silkscreens and photography often focused on American consumerism, not just of products, but of celebrities and images themselves. This program will look at the abbreviated life, artwork and enduring legacy of the artist who predicted “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” Image: Andy Warhol, Campbell Soup Cans, 1960s.

Register here:

February 29th at 7pm- Kehinde Wiley: Color & Splendor

Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama cemented his status in the contemporary art world as an artist that mixes Grand Manner portraiture traditions, intricate patterns and designs, and a vibrant, technicolor palette. His paintings, which most often depict contemporary African American subjects, examine visual codes for power and challenge expectations. This program explores the artist’s life and provides an overview of his works and inspiration. Image: Kehinde Wiley. Barack Obama (detail), 2018. Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Register here:

  • WEDNESDAY (Not Thursday) March 27th at 7pm- Fierce Females: Women in Art, Part II

Women have been barred from meaningful participation in the arts for centuries. This program celebrates the stories of an array of women artists (from the 1500s to today) who have overcome obstacles to achieve recognition and success. This program can be presented independent of Fierce Females, Part I. Image: Dorothea Lange. Migrant Mother, 1936. Museum of Modern Art.

Register here:

April 25th at 7pm- Claude Monet: Impressions from Nature

Claude Monet was the founder of French Impressionism, a revolutionary style that involves working outside and rapidly executing sketchy paintings to capture momentary effects of light and shadow. Monet returned to familiar outdoor subjects throughout his career, culminating with his beloved series on the water lilies in his garden in Giverny. This program traces the artist’s life and career and includes many of his most beloved works. Image: Claude Monet. Nympheas, 1919. Musee Marmottan.

Register here:

May 30th at 7pm – Maxfield Parrish: Myth & Whimsy

Working in the first half of the 20th century, the NH artist Maxfield Parrish skyrocketed to success as an illustrator with his distinct saturated hues and neoclassical themes. His prolific career helped to shape the Golden Age of Illustration in the US and his fantastic landscapes and ethereal figures transported audiences to other realms. This program provides an overview of the artist’s life, inspiration, and artistic output. Image: Maxfield Parrish. The Lantern Bearers, 1908. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Register here:

June 27th at 7pm – Frida Kahlo: Love, Pain and Painting

Frida Kahlo has become a household name in recent years, with movies, books and countless products dedicated to her art and likeness. This program will go beyond the artist’s famous facial hair and penetrating stare and explore her life and her work, particularly as it relates to the trolley accident she survived as a teen and her passionate and often tumultuous marriage to fellow artist Diego Rivera. Image: Frida Kahlo. Self-Portrait with Monkey (detail), 1940. Private Collection.

Register here:

July 25th at 7pm- Defining America: Illustrators and the Saturday Evening Post

The iconic Saturday Evening Post magazine reached millions of homes each week, featuring illustrated covers that spoke to the experiences of the modern American nuclear family. Explore the styles and themes of beloved illustrators including Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and John Philip Falter. Image: Norman Rockwell, Rosie the Riveter, 1943. Crystal Bridges Museum.

Register here:

August 29th at 7pm – Downeast Connections: Artists Inspired by Maine

Maine’s remote, rocky shoreline has been a beacon to American artists for generations. This program will survey the work of some of the most celebrated artists inspired by the state’s distinct landscape and way of life. The program features work by artists including Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and Ashley Bryan. Image: Frank Weston Benson, Calm Morning, 1904. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Register here:

September 26th at 7pm- Leonardo da Vinci: Invention & Creation

Leonardo da Vinci is a name synonymous with genius. His ideas and his work helped to define the High Renaissance in Italy and they still mesmerize audiences worldwide today. This program provides an introduction to the artist and some of his most celebrated works including The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. Image: Leonardo da Vinci. Lady with an Ermine, 1491. Czartoryski Museum, Krakow, Poland.

Register here:

October 24th at 7pm – Art History’s Best Dressed

Satins, silks, velvets and furs – through the years, artists have flattered their subjects with beautiful clothes rendered with awe-inspiring detail. This lighthearted program reviews some of the great fashions throughout the history of painting (with a few wardrobe malfunctions thrown in for good measure!).Image: John Singer Sargent. Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children (detail), 1896. Tate Britain.

Register here:

November 21st at 7pm- Rembrandt & Vermeer: Masters of the Dutch Baroque

The Dutch Golden Age of Painting was ushered in by a prosperous middle class and a new demand for images like still-lifes, portraits and genre scenes. The undisputed masters of the era were Rembrandt and Vermeer. This program provides an overview of the artists’ careers and an introduction to some of their most famous works. Image: Johannes Vermeer, Girl with the Pearl Earring, 1665. Mauritshuis, Den Haag, Netherlands.

Register here:

December 19th at 7pm- Snowy Scapes & Celebrations: The Artist’s Holiday

Through the years, artists have created works both grand and intimate, religious and secular in response to the “most wonderful time of the year.” Enjoy this special overview of the variety of ways artists have captured the magic of the season. This program includes works by Grandma Moses, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol. Image: Grandma Moses. Christmas, 1958. Smithsonian Institute.

Register here:


Apple Pie Contest 2023

The Apple Pie Contest made a successful comeback on Sunday, 11/12 after four years!

The Library’s Apple Pie Contest – back by popular demand – drew over 85 hungry tasters to sample homemade and store-bought pies and vote for the best. Twelve local bakers brought their own signature pie recipes to the tasting table. Our “Store-Bought Challenge” presented pies from Hannaford, Market Basket, Stop & Shop and Costco for the community to sample and vote for the collective favorite.

Twelve local bakers arrived with their homemade pies to be judged by our judges’ panel and the community; a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. The whole library smelled of cinnamon and apples, just like Fall should. After a round of judging on qualities from flaky, buttery crust to eye appeal to overall cooking, prizes for first, second, third and people’s choice were awarded.

Lots of people make apple pies, but do you make your own crust? Do you buy a frozen premade crust? Do you use a family recipe, or one you found online? Twelve bakers were brave enough to submit a pie following our rules:


  • All pies are to be homemade, with a homemade double crust.
  • Pie filling must be just apples, with no other fruit such as raisins, cranberries, etc. with the exception of flavorings such as citrus juice or zest.
  • Recipe must accompany the pie, including the type of apple(s) used.
  • Contestants pre-register online on or before November 9.
  • Contestants are asked to bring pies promptly at 1 PM when the library opens.
  • Judging will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Winners will be announced following the judging with ribbons and prizes awarded.

We want to thank the bakers for following the rules, making delicious pies, creating an amazing apple pie aroma in the library and sharing your creations for others to try.


Who were the judges? We reached out to local coffee shops, bakeries, stores, and town departments for volunteers, and were lucky to find four discerning judges.  Many thanks to the Director of the Chelmsford Public Library, Lesley Kimball, The Java Room owner, Candy Liu, KJ Caffé co-owner, Jake Markot and volunteer and resident, Sean Kenny (who filled in for a last-minute cancellation). The judges had the delicious yet difficult task of rating all 12 pies on appearance, taste, and originality, as well as agreeing on the finalists!  Qualities the judges considered were visual appeal, overall flavor, if the apples were tender but not mushy or undercooked, crust tenderness/flakiness, and whether the pie was a good version of a classic apple pie.  It was a lot to consider!

Which pies won? What was in their crust? What apples were used? What was their special ingredient? All were questions heard being asked by tasters as we walked among the many community members filling their plates with samples, and discussing their thoughts with others around them.

Some of the unusual ingredients from the recipes were gruyere cheese, cardamom, pecan flour, buffalo ginger, sumac, Szechuan pepper salt, orange zest, maple syrup and dark rum.  If you were here and tasted the pies – could you identify those ingredients in each pie?  There were lots of varieties of apples used as well: Empire, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Cortland, Rhode Island Greening, Fuji, Gala, Evercrisp, and Spitzenberg. What kind of apples do you use in your own pies? Do you use one variety or a combination?

The top four pies shared some similarities in their crusts – all were simple: flour, butter, salt, cold/ice water, some added sugar or apple cider vinegar, but all used different varieties of apples.

First place went to long-time participant, but first-time winner: Pat Enwight (pie #4)

Apples used: Cortland

Second place went to: Kim Money Priddy (pie #1)

Apples used: Cortland and Rhode Island Greening

Third place went to: Scott Dreher (pie #7)

Apples used: Golden Delicious and Granny Smith

People’s choice went to: Valerie Kelly (pie #6)

Apples used: Honeycrisp and Granny Smith

The store-bought pies were hidden behind the letters A, B, C and D.

As you can see from the chart – the letter B was the fan favorite…



C=Stop & Shop

D=Market Basket

Go to Costco for the fan favorite pie – but be prepared as the pie is 18”in diameter (see in the picture above)!

Thank you to the Friends of the Library for sponsoring the event and supporting the library.  Please consider joining the Friends, as your membership directly supports the programs and special events at the library.  Please click here to become a member:


If you would like to learn about more events and programs, click here to sign up for our newsletter that comes out three times a month:


If you would like to share your suggestions for next year’s event, please email Jill Kenny, Head of Programming