Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear
Our winter Story Walk story has been installed up at Sunny Meadow Farm in South Chelmsford. Dress warmly and wear some boots as you walk along a nature path and read the story. Stop at 19 different stakes and read another page together. This is an opportunity to get outside, get a little physical activity and read a story. At the end you get to link to our electronic guestbook and share your thoughts about your adventure.
The current story is called Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear by Monica Carnesi. In this delightful story of friendship, creativity, the changing of seasons and making the best of circumstances, you will meet Beatrice the bunny and their friend Bear. Bear is getting ready to hibernate for the winter and Beatrice wants to hibernate with Bear. A lovely story ensues that is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Read the story one page at a time as you walk along a simple trail. This is a fun family literacy activity that is great for all ages.
The Story Walk is located along a trail around the Community Garden located at Sunny Meadow Farm. It is near 158 Robin Hill Road in South Chelmsford.
Fall is upon us. The harvest season is nearing the end. Families will start to gather together inside for warmth, companionship, and good food. Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell is the perfect book to capture the spirit of this time of the year. Feast for 10 has been installed at the Story Walk up at Sunny Meadow Farm in South Chelmsford. Put on a warm sweater and maybe some boots and head over for a short walk while reading a delightful story along a trail and through some of Sunny Meadow land.
Read the story one page at a time as you walk along a simple trail. Wear your rainboots if it has recently rained! This is a fun family literacy activity that is great for all ages. Be sure to sign the guest book, and stop by the Children’s Desk at the library to tell us all about your Story Walk experience.
The Story Walk is located along a trail around the Community Garden located at Sunny Meadow Farm. It is near 158 Robin Hill Road in South Chelmsford.
Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry has been a breakout hit since its publication last year. It’s received accolades like the Goodreads Choice Award and was notarized as Barnes and Noble’s book of the year in 2022. With a waitlist of almost 500 in the Merrimack Valley, it might be some time before reader’s get their hands on a copy. If you’re waiting for Lessons in Chemistry, or have just finished and are looking for more books like it, read on!
Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.
But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.
Carrie Soto is Back, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
By the time Carrie retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Slam titles. And if you ask her, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father as her coach. But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning, British player named Nicki Chan.
At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked the ‘Battle-Axe’ anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.
In spite of it all: Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season.
The Vibrant Years, by Sonali Dev
When sixty-five-year-old Bindu Desai inherits a million dollars, she’s astounded―and horrified. The windfall threatens to expose a shameful mistake from her youth. On an impulse, Bindu quickly spends it on something unexpected: a condo in a posh retirement community in Florida.
The impulsive decision blindsides Bindu’s daughter-in-law, Aly. At forty-seven, Aly still shares a home with Bindu even after her divorce from Bindu’s son. But maybe this change is just the push Aly needs to fight for her own dreams.
As Bindu and Aly navigate their new dynamic, Aly’s daughter, Cullie, is faced with losing the business that made her a tech-world star. The only way to save it is to deliver a new idea to her investors―and they want the dating app she pitched them in a panic. Problem is, Cullie has never been on a real date. Naturally, enlisting her single mother and grandmother to help her with the research is the answer.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox has vanished.
When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open your heart.
Looking for more recommendations? Try one of these reads or ask a librarian!
This summer, Chelmsford Library wants you to find your voice! Explore new hobbies, learn new skills, and try new things through our collection. We have books, online tutorials, and our Library of Things. Here are a few opportunities for finding a potential new passion through reading.
Cook as You Are, by Ruby Tandoh
Ruby Tandoh wants us all to cook, and this is her cookbook for all of us – the real home cooks, juggling babies or long commutes, who might have limited resources and limited time. From last-minute inspiration to delicious meals for one, easy one-pot dinners to no-chop recipes for when life keeps your hands full, Ruby brings us 100 delicious, affordable and achievable recipes, including salted malted magic ice cream, one-tin smashed potatoes with lemony sardines and pesto and an easy dinner of plantain, black beans and eden rice.
This is a new kind of cookbook for our times: an accessible, inclusive and inspirational addition to any and every kitchen. You don’t have to be an aspiring chef for your food to be delectable or for cooking to be a delight. Cook as you are.
Fat Girls Hiking: an inclusive guide to getting outdoors at any size or ability, by Summer Michaud-Skog
“An invaluable guide…Kudos to the author for changing the narrative on inclusiveness, breaking down stereotypes, and building body positivity.” — Booklist
From the founder of the Fat Girls Hiking community comes an inclusive, inspiring call to the outdoors for people of all body types, sizes, and backgrounds. In a book brimming with heartfelt stories, practical advice, personal profiles of Fat Girls Hiking community members, and helpful trail reviews, Summer Michaud-Skog creates space for marginalized bodies with an insistent conviction that outdoor recreation should welcome everyone. Whether you’re an experienced or aspiring hiker, you’ll be empowered to hit the trails and find yourself in nature. Trails not scales!
Dare to Lead, by Brené Brown
Leadership is not about titles, status and power over people. Leaders are people who hold themselves accountable for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and developing that potential. This is a book for everyone who is ready to choose courage over comfort, make a difference and lead. When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it and work to align authority and accountability. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into the vulnerability that’s necessary to do good work.
But daring leadership in a culture that’s defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty requires building courage skills, which are uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the same time we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection and courage to start.
Brené Brown spent the past two decades researching the emotions that give meaning to our lives. Over the past seven years, she found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial start-ups and family-owned businesses to non-profits, civic organizations and Fortune 50 companies, are asking the same questions: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders? And, how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?
Renowned environmental lifestyle expert and Today Show regular Danny Seo shares 100 of his most inspiring projects for creative transformation. Have neglected items around your house? They can be the source for exciting craft possibilities! Turn your old leather belts into a cool doormat (or even a briefcase!); worn-out paperbacks into gorgeous bud vases; tennis balls into a quaint country swing; chopsticks into a handsome trivet, and many more. With full-color photos throughout to guide and inspire, Danny shows that it’s easy to be crafty, and fun to be budget- and eco-conscious.
What is the best way to get to know a librarian? By getting them to dish about books, of course! Here we will introduce you to one of the librarians of Chelmsford Public Library. This month, we spoke our new Head of Reference and Information Services, Todd Bowser. Todd (he/they) came from the Midwest by way of Rhode Island by way of Texas by way of Michigan by way of the North Shore by way of the Carolina Piedmont. After playing in bands and working in kitchens for twenty years, Todd attended UMass-Lowell as a born-again student and then earned his library science degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. They still love to cook for family and friends given the chance and own too many cookbooks. Todd’s reading habits include books on social justice issues, speculative fiction, essays and poetry. They love making music, outdoor adventures, slow cinema, and making friends through all of the above.
We asked Todd…
What was your first library?
Lexington! (Davidson County, North Carolina)
What’s on your nightstand right now?
An empty teacup; The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, which I have barely cracked.
Which book(s) do you love to suggest to patrons?
Why do you love being a librarian?
I love working in the library because it’s for everyone.
Where is your favorite place to read?
In the hammock.
Who is your favorite character from a book?
Mario Incandenza from Infinite Jest
What book should be adapted to film but hasn’t yet?
The Oryx & Crake trilogy by Margaret Atwood
What is the last book that made you laugh or cry (or both!)?
Lots of books make me laugh! I cried at the end of The Shining. (Really!)
For Chelmsford Library’s 2023 Summer Reading Challenge, we are launching a scavenger hunt! Search out and read books that fit our clues to be entered to win a prize. The scavenger hunt launches June 1st, and is due back by August 31st. Download the form below!
Want a head start? Here are some recommendations!
A book where the main events take place during a wedding, reunion, or funeral; A mystery set in a country other than your own
Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone, Benjamin Stevenson
Everyone in my family has killed someone. Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but it is the truth. Some of us are good, others are bad, and some just unfortunate.
I’m Ernest Cunningham. Call me Ern or Ernie. I wish I’d killed whoever decided our family reunion should be at a ski resort, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
Have I killed someone? Yes. I have.
Who was it?
Let’s get started.
A book that has received a starred review from a publishing journal
Chain Gang All-Stars, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Two top women gladiators fight for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America’s own.
Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America’s increasingly dominant private prison industry. It’s the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom.
In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death-matches for packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, she considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games, but CAPE’s corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar’s path have devastating consequences.
A biography or memoir by an indigenous author, a book by an LGBTQ author
A History of my Brief Body, Billy-Ray Belcourt
The youngest-ever winner of the Griffin Prize mines his personal history in a brilliant new essay collection seeking to reconcile the world he was born into with the world that could be. Drawing on intimate personal experience, A History of My Brief Body is a meditation on grief, joy, love, and sex at the intersection of indigeneity and queerness.
Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. Piece by piece, Billy-Ray’s writings invite us to unpack and explore the big and broken world he inhabits every day, in all its complexity and contradiction: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it; first loves and first loves lost; sexual exploration and intimacy; the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve.
What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place
A book based on a real person or historical event
The Lioness of Boston, Emily Franklin
By the time Isabella Stewart Gardner opened her Italian palazzo-style home as a museum in 1903 to showcase her collection of old masters, antiques, and objects d’art, she was already well-known for scandalizing Boston’s polite society. But when Isabella first arrived in Boston in 1861, she was twenty years old, newly married to a wealthy trader, and unsure of herself. Puzzled by the frosty reception she received from stuffy bluebloods, she strived to fit in. After two devastating tragedies and rejection from upper-society, Isabella discovered her spirit and cast off expectations.
Freed by travel, Isabella explores the world of art, ideas, and letters, meeting such kindred spirits as Henry James and Oscar Wilde. From London and Paris to Egypt and Asia, she develops a keen eye for paintings and objects, and meets feminists ready to transform nineteenth century thinking in the twentieth century. Isabella becomes an eccentric trailblazer, painted by John Singer Sargent in a portrait of daring décolletage, and fond of such stunts as walking a pair of lions in the Boston Public Garden.
The Lioness of Boston is a portrait of what society expected a woman’s life to be, shattered by a courageous soul who rebelled and was determined to live on her own terms.
Looking for more recommendations for our summer scavenger hunt? Come to the library and ask a librarian for more great reads! Get started now with your own scavenger hunt sheet.
Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of summer for many, and whether you plan on lounging at the beach or hiding out in an air conditioned reading nook these next few months, Chelmsford Library has picks to tide you through the heat of the summer!
For six amateur bakers, competing in Bake Week is a dream come true.
When they arrive at Grafton Manor to compete, they’re ready to do whatever it takes to win the ultimate The Golden Spoon. But for the show’s famous host, Betsy Martin, Bake Week is more than just a competition. Grafton Manor is her family’s home and legacy – and Bake Week is her life’s work. It’s imperative that both continue to succeed. As the competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s small acts of sabotage. Someone switching sugar for salt. A hob turned far too high.
But when a body is discovered, it’s clear that for someone in the competition, The Golden Spoon is a prize worth killing for…
Vickie Assistant Director of Support Services
If you enjoy the new Apple TV series, Silo, check out the book that started it all.
Thousands of them have lived underground. They’ve lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside.
Or you’ll get what you wish for.
Jess Assistant Director of Outreach
Mariel Prager needs a break. Her husband Ned is having an identity crisis, her spunky, beloved restaurant is bleeding money by the day, and her mother Florence is stubbornly refusing to leave the church where she’s been holed up for more than a week. The Lakeside Supper Club has been in her family for decades, and while Mariel’s grandmother embraced the business, seeing it as a saving grace, Florence never took to it. When Mariel inherited the restaurant, skipping Florence, it created a rift between mother and daughter that never quite healed.
In this colorful, vanishing world of relish trays and brandy Old Fashioneds, J. Ryan Stradal has once again given us a story full of his signature honest, lovable yet fallible Midwestern characters as they grapple with love, loss, and marriage; what we hold onto and what we leave behind; and what our legacy will be when we are gone.
Jill Adult Services
Four women come together to save the summer camp that changed their lives and rediscover themselves in the process in this moving new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Veil and the Peachtree Bluff series. Nearly thirty years ago, in the wake of a personal tragedy, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs and turned it into a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, June is in danger of losing the place she has sacrificed everything for, and begins to realize how much she has used the camp to avoid facing difficulties in her life.
June’s niece, Daphne, met her two best friends, Lanier and Mary Stuart, during a fateful summer at camp. They’ve all helped each other through hard things, from heartbreak and loss to substance abuse and unplanned pregnancy, and the three are inseparable even in their thirties. But in spite of their personal problems, nothing is more important to these songbirds than Camp Holly Springs. When the women learn their childhood oasis is in danger of closing, they band together to save it, sending them on a journey that promises to open the next chapters in their lives.
Trupti Borrower’s Services
Two couples, two close friends, one missing husband…
Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.
Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.
Jianna Adult Services
Strasbourg, 1518. In the midst of a blisteringly hot summer, a lone woman begins to dance in the city square. She dances for days without pause or rest, and when hundreds of other women join her, the men running the city declare a state of emergency and hire musicians to play the Devil out of the mob. Outside the city, pregnant Lisbet lives with her husband and mother-in-law, tending the bees that are the family’s livelihood. Though Lisbet is removed from the frenzy of the dancing plague afflicting the city’s women, her own quiet life is upended by the arrival of her sister-in-law. Nethe has been away for seven years, serving a penance in the mountains for a crime no one will name.
It is a secret Lisbet is determined to uncover. As the city buckles under the beat of a thousand feet, Lisbet becomes caught in a dangerous web of deceit and clandestine passion. Like the women of Strasbourg, she too, is dancing to a dangerous tune. . . .
Wes Borrower’s Services
Doctor Impossible—evil genius, diabolical scientist, wannabe world dominator—languishes in a federal detention facility. He’s lost his freedom, his girlfriend, and his hidden island fortress. Over the years he’s tried to take over the world in every way imaginable: doomsday devices of all varieties (nuclear, thermonuclear, nanotechnological) and mass mind control. He’s traveled backwards in time to change history, forward in time to escape it. He’s commanded robot armies, insect armies, and dinosaur armies. Fungus army. Army of fish. Of rodents. Alien invasions. All failures. But not this time. This time it’s going to be different…
Soon I Will Be Invincible is a thrilling first novel; a fantastical adventure that gives new meaning to the notions of power, glory, responsibility, and (of course) good and evil.
Julia Adult Services
Viscount Penvale has been working for years to buy back his ancestral home, Trethwick Abbey, from his estranged uncle. And so he’s thrilled when his uncle announces that he is ready to sell but with one major caveat—Penvale must marry his uncle’s ward, Jane Spencer.
When the two meet in London, neither is terribly impressed. Penvale finds Jane headstrong and sharp-tongued. Jane finds him cold and aloof. Nevertheless, they agree to a marriage in name only and return to the estate. There, Jane enlists her housekeeper for a scheme: to stage a haunting so that Penvale will return to London, leaving her to do as she pleases at Trethwick Abbey. But Penvale is not as easily scared as his uncle, and as their time together increases, Jane realizes that she might not mind her husband’s company all that much.
Jeff Marketing and Community Relations Specialist
The mystery of a missing translator sets three lives on a collision course that will have a ripple effect across galaxies in this powerful new novel by one of the masters of modern science fiction. Translation State is at once a sweeping space adventure and a brilliant exploration of how in order to belong, we must first become.
When Enae’s grandmaman passes away, Enae inherits something entirely unexpected: a diplomatic assignment to track down a fugitive who has been missing for over 200 years. No one actually expects Enae to succeed; it’s an empty assignment meant to keep hir occupied. But Enae has never had a true purpose—no one ever expected hir to do more than care for grandmaman—so sie is determined to accomplish this task to the best of hir ability.
Reet knows nothing about his biological family. He loves his adoptive parents, but has always secretly yearned to understand his identity, the roots that would explain why he seems to operate just a bit differently. After all, no one else hungers to study the world by ripping it apart, by slicing into those around them in order to make sense of things. So when a political group approaches him with the claim that he has ties to a genetically mysterious, long-deceased family, Reet is only too eager to believe them.
Qven was created to be a Presgr translator. The pride of their Clade, they always had a clear path before them: learn human ways, and eventually, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presgr and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something different isn’t “optimal behavior”. It’s the type of behavior that will have you eliminated. But Qven rebels anyway, determined to find a way to belong on their own terms.
Looking for more? Check out these other Staff Picks to tide you through the summer!
With Mother’s Day around the corner, Chelmsford Library has put together recommendations that span the triumphs alongside the trials that come with motherhood and the mothers in our lives. Read on for a variety of fictional experiences with motherhood!
Black Cake, by Charmaine Wilkerson
We can’t choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become?
In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves.
Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right”? Will their mother’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?
With Teeth, by Kristen Arnett
From the author of the New York Times-bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things, comes a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love
If she’s being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best—driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school—while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son’s hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess—and the possibility that it will never be clean again.
Nightbitch, by Rachel Yoder
At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined – what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always traveling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind.
Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice…
With its clear eyes on contemporary womanhood and sharp take on structures of power, Nightbitch is an outrageously original, joyfully subversive read that will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. Addictive enough to be devoured in one sitting, this is an unforgettable novel from a blazing new talent
The School For Good Mothers, by Jessamine Chan
Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. What’s worse is she can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with their angelic daughter Harriet does Frida finally feel she’s attained the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she’s just enough.
Until Frida has a horrible day.
The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida — ones who check their phones while their kids are on the playground; who let their children walk home alone; in other words, mothers who only have one lapse of judgement. Now, a host of government officials will determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion. Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that she can live up to the standards set for mothers — that she can learn to be good.
This propulsive, witty page-turner explores the perils of “perfect” upper-middle-class parenting, the violence enacted upon women by the state and each other, and the boundless love a mother has for her daughter.
All My Mother’s Lovers, by Ilana Masad
Intimacy has always eluded twenty-seven-year-old Maggie Krause—despite being brought up by married parents, models of domestic bliss—until, that is, Lucia came into her life. But when Maggie’s mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home only to discover a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and, along with Iris’s will, five sealed envelopes, each addressed to a mysterious man she’s never heard of.
In an effort to run from her own grief and discover the truth about Iris—who made no secret of her discomfort with her daughter’s sexuality—Maggie embarks on a road trip, determined to hand-deliver the letters and find out what these men meant to her mother. Maggie quickly discovers Iris’s second, hidden life, which shatters everything Maggie thought she knew about her parents’ perfect relationship. What is she supposed to tell her father and brother? And how can she deal with her own relationship when her whole world is in free fall?
Looking for more stories about motherhood? Check out these other recommendations or ask a librarian!
As we reach the end of April, the weather is warming up and it’s the ideal weather to take your reading outdoors. Celebrate nature under a shady tree, on the deck, or next to windows you’re finally getting to open up. These fiction and nonfiction recommendations feature beautiful descriptions of nature that will make you plan your next outdoor adventure!
An Immense World, by Ed Yong
The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every animal is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of an immense world. This book welcomes us into a previously unfathomable dimension–the world as it is truly perceived by other animals.
In An Immense World, author and acclaimed science journalist Ed Yong coaxes us beyond the confines of our own senses, allowing us to perceive the skeins of scent, waves of electromagnetism, and pulses of pressure that surround us. Because in order to understand our world we don’t need to travel to other places; we need to see through other eyes.
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life’s lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.
In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America—majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way—and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out one of these, or as a librarian!
April is Deaf History Month, a month that sets out raise awareness of the culture, language, and history unique to the deaf and hard-of-hearing in our communities. These picks cover fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels written by deaf authors to share their experience. Try some of these books today!
Deaf Utopia by Nyle DiMarco
In this moving and engrossing memoir, Nyle shares stories, both heartbreaking and humorous, of what it means to navigate a world built for hearing people. From growing up in a rough-and-tumble childhood in Queens with his big and loving Italian-American family to where he is now, Nyle has always been driven to explore beyond the boundaries given him.
A college math major and athlete at Gallaudet—the famed university for the Deaf in Washington, DC—Nyle was drawn as a young man to acting, and dove headfirst into the reality show competitions America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars—ultimately winning both competitions.
Deaf Utopia is more than a memoir, it is a cultural anthem—a proud and defiant song of Deaf culture and a love letter to American Sign Language, Nyle’s primary language. Through his stories and those of his Deaf brothers, parents, and grandparents, Nyle opens many windows into the Deaf experience.
True Biz, by Sara Novic
TRUE BIZ (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk
True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress, who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another’s—and changed forever.
Seeing Voices, by Oliver Sacks
Like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat , this is a fascinating voyage into a strange and wonderful land, a provocative meditation on communication, biology, adaptation, and culture. In Seeing Voices , Oliver Sacks turns his attention to the subject of deafness, and the result is a deeply felt portrait of a minority struggling for recognition and respect–a minority with its own rich, sometimes astonishing, culture and unique visual language, an extraordinary mode of communication that tells us much about the basis of language in hearing people as well. Seeing Voices is, as Studs Terkel has written, “an exquisite, as well as revelatory, work.”
El Deafo, by Cece Bell
Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.
Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school — in the hallway… in the teacher’s lounge… in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?
Come to the library and check out these reads, or ask a librarian for more recommendations! If you’re looking for a way to practice your ASL, join our ASL Conversation Circle, a group that meets over zoom every second Tuesday from 7 to 8pm.