With over 450 holds in the Merrimack Valley alone, Prince Harry’s Spare has taken the world by storm. The Duke of Sussex opens up about his royal life, from the untimely death of his mother, Diana, to the turbulence that ensued after his marriage to Meghan Markle. Early reviews say, “For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.”
Chelmsford Public Library has some royal recommendations to tide you over while you’re waiting for the most talked about book so far this year.
Diana, William, and Harry by James Patterson and Chris Mooney
From the moments William and Harry are born into the House of Windsor, they become their young mother’s whole world. I’ve got two very healthy, strong boys. I realize how incredibly lucky I am, Diana reminds herself every morning. But even the Princess of Wales questions, Am I a good mother?
Diana’s faced with a seemingly impossible challenge: one son destined to be King of England and another determined to find his own way. She teaches them to honor royal tradition, even while daring to break it.
The Other Windsor Girl by Georgie Blalock
Diana, Catherine, Meghan…glamorous Princess Margaret outdid them all. Springing into post-World War II society, and quite naughty and haughty, she lived in a whirlwind of fame and notoriety. Georgie Blalock captures the fascinating, fast-living princess and her “set” as seen through the eyes of one of her ladies-in-waiting.
In dreary, post-war Britain, Princess Margaret captivates everyone with her cutting edge fashion sense and biting quips. The royal socialite, cigarette holder in one hand, cocktail in the other, sparkles in the company of her glittering entourage of wealthy young aristocrats known as the Margaret Set, but her outrageous lifestyle conflicts with her place as Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister. Can she be a dutiful princess while still dazzling the world on her own terms?
The British Royal Family believed that the dizzy success of the Sussex wedding, watched and celebrated around the world, was the beginning of a new era for the Windsors. Yet, within one tumultuous year, the dream became a nightmare. In the aftermath of the infamous Megxit split and the Oprah Winfrey interview, the Royal Family’s fate seems persistently threatened.
With extensive research, expert sourcing and interviews from insiders who have never spoken before, Tom Bower, Britain’s leading investigative biographer, unpicks the tangled web of courtroom drama, courtier politics and thwarted childhood dreams to uncover an astonishing story of love, betrayal, secrets and revenge.
Looking for more recommendations? Look below or ask a librarian!
The new year is in full swing, and Chelmsford Library has a new reading challenge! This season we are challenging readers with Book Bingo (see the full card below.) Patrons who complete any five squares are entered to win a prize. Here are what our librarians are reading this winter for the challenge.
Check out a cookbook and try a recipe:
Smitten Kitchen Keepers, by Deb Perelman
Deb Perelman is the author of two best-selling cookbooks; one of the Internet’s most successful food bloggers; the creator of a homegrown brand with more than a million Instagram followers; and the self-taught cook with the tiny kitchen who obsessively tests her recipes to make sure that no bowls are wasted and that the results are always worth the effort.
Here, in her third book, Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files, Perelman gives us 100 recipes (including a few favorites from her site) that aim to make shopping easier, preparation more practical and enjoyable, and food more reliably delicious for the home cooks.
Read a book with a blue cover:
Beautiful World, Where Are You, by Sally Rooney
Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
Read a book that’s won an award:
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, by Shehan Karunatilaka
Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida—war photographer, gambler, and closet queen—has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. In a country where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers, and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to the photos that will rock Sri Lanka. This winner of the 2022 Booker Prize is not one to miss.
Looking for more suggestions for the challenge? Ask a Librarian!
Winter reading BINGO sheet:
In 2022, Chelmsford Library patrons checked out thousands of reads across all genres. We’ve compiled the top ten books readers checked out the most last year, each having gone out over 100 times. Find out which books our readers had to have below!
10.) Wish You Were Here, Jodi Picoult
Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time. But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes. Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. The whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone.
Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.
9.) The Hotel Nantucket, Elin Hilderbrand
After a tragic fire in 1922 that killed 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace Hadley, The Hotel Nantucket descended from a gilded age gem to a mediocre budget-friendly lodge to inevitably an abandoned eyesore — until it’s purchased and renovated top to bottom by London billionaire, Xavier Darling. Xavier hires Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton as his general manager, and Lizbet, in turn, pulls together a charismatic, if inexperienced, staff who share the vision of turning the fate of the hotel around. They face challenges in getting along with one another, in overcoming the hotel’s bad reputation, and in surviving the (mostly) harmless shenanigans of Grace Hadley herself — who won’t stop haunting the hotel until her murder is acknowledged.
Filled with the emotional tension and multiple points of view that characterize Elin’s books (The Blue Bistro, Golden Girl) as well as an added touch of historical reality, Hotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this summer drama for the ages.
8.) The Dark Hours, Michael Connelly
There’s chaos in Hollywood on New Year’s Eve. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD Detective Renée Ballard seeks shelter at the end of the countdown to wait out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. As reports start to roll in of shattered windshields and other damage, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party. It doesn’t take long for Ballard to determine that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky. Ballard’s investigation leads her to look into another unsolved murder—a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch.
Ballard and Bosch team up once again to find out where the old and new cases intersect. All the while they must look over their shoulders. The killer who has stayed undetected for so long knows they are coming after him.
7.) Apples Never Fall, Lianne Moriarty
If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father? This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.
The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.
6.) The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah
Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.
In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli, like so many of her neighbors, must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.
5.) The Midnight Library, Matt Haig
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
4.) Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her. But 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.
Where the Crawdads Sing is now available on DVD at Chelmsford Library as well!
3.) The Last Thing He Told Me, Laura Dave
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.
2.) The Personal Librarian, Marie Benedict
In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white—her complexion is dark because she is African American.
The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go—for the protection of her family and her legacy—to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.
1.) The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles
The number one adult fiction book checked out in 2022, users circulated The Lincoln Highway 226 times.
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.
Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.
While The Lincoln Highway had 226 checkouts last year, it has less than half the circulation of Chelmsford Library’s top checked out book of 2022.
Checked out 699 times last year:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney
Looking for more popular reads with our patron? Check out one of these, or come ask a librarian!
What is the best way to get to know a librarian? By getting them to dish about books, of course! Each month, we will introduce you to one of the librarians of Chelmsford Public Library. This month, we spoke our new Assistant Director of Outreach, Lesley Kimball. Lesley is a NH – and library – native. Growing up her parents told her she could check out as many books as she could carry, leading to her use of a little red wagon, multiple tote bags, and a large backpack. She reads widely, trying authors from around the world, memoirs, Man Booker Prize winners, graphic novels, and quirky mysteries. She has a special spot in her heart for speculative fiction, sci-fi, and classic kids’ lit. Her TBR list is daunting, but she’ll never give up! In addition to reading (and talking to others about books), she writes poetry, enjoys embarrassing her teenage daughter, cooking with her husband and taking long walks with friends.
We asked Lesley…
What was your first library?
My first library was the Kelley Library in Salem, NH. My Mom and I would go every week and I was allowed to check out as many books as I could carry by myself. That library also got me started on my career in librarianship. During my undergraduate years when I was wondering what to do when I grew up, I created an internship there (thanks to one of the kindest, smartest, funniest library directors I have ever know, Ed Reed) to find out what librarians “really” did. I was totally hooked.
What books are on your nightstand right now?
Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel, She Was Like That by Kate Walbert, and A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. On Libby I’m listening to The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. I’m a pretty fast reader so those titles will change soon.
Which book do you love to suggest to patrons?
Apeirogon by Colum McCann. Not only did this novel (based on two true stories) describe the experience of living at the point of contact between Israel and Palestine with more force and depth of feeling than anything else I’ve ever read, the construction of the novel itself is an artistic marvel. If someone isn’t sure they want to read the book, I still recommend they watch the interview with Colum McCann and the two men whose stories he has brought to stunningly beautiful and sorrowful life: https://www.facebook.com/mjnewground/videos/apeirogon-discussion-with-colum-mccann-bassam-aramin-rami-elhanan/809581509902753/
Why do you love being a librarian?
I love connecting with people through conversations and experiences rather than through transactions. As a librarian, I get to talk to people about what they’re reading, what their interests are, what they are proud of and excited about, and what they love about living in their community. It doesn’t hurt that I love the types of work needed to create a people-centered library: getting the best books and materials, holding fun and educational activities and events, working with local organizations, and even troubleshooting the copier (well, maybe not that one).
Top three “desert island” books?
- The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Apeirogon, by Colum McCann
- The Complete Poems 1927-1979, by Elizabeth Bishop
- Desert Island Survival Guide, by Anonymous.
Oops, that’s four.
Which book you would most like to read again for the first time?
Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Who is your favorite character from a book?
The White Queen in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
What is the last book that made you laugh?
A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling
The year is wrapping up, and the Chelmsford Library’s staff have been waiting to share their favorite books with you! From mystery to graphic novels, fiction and nonfiction, we’ve read books from all over. Here are some of our staff’s favorite reads from this past year.
Vickie Assistant Director of Support Services
Profiles in Ignorance, by Andy Borowitz
The winner of the first-ever National Press Club award for humor, Andy Borowitz has been called a “Swiftian satirist” (The Wall Street Journal) and “one of the country’s finest satirists” (The New York Times). Millions of fans and New Yorker readers enjoy his satirical news column “The Borowitz Report.” Now, in Profiles in Ignorance, he offers a witty, spot-on diagnosis of our country’s political troubles by showing how ignorant leaders are degrading, embarrassing, and endangering our nation.
Lesley Assistant Director of Outreach
Balladz, by Sharon Olds
Songs from our era of communal grief and reckoning–by the Pulitzer Prize and T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry winner, called a poet for these times, a powerful woman who won’t back down (San Francisco Chronicle). It is Olds’s gift to us that in the richly detailed exposure of her sorrows she can still elegize songbirds, her true kin, and write that heaven comes here in life, not after it.
Jess Head of Reader Services and Programming
Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver
Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.
Jeff Marketing and Community Relations Specialist
Greywaren, by Maggie Stiefvater
This is the story of the Lynch family. Niall and Mór escaped their homeland for a new start, and lost themselves in what they found. Declan has grown up as the responsible son, the responsible brother–only to find there is no way for him to keep his family safe. Ronan has always lived on the edge between dreams and waking… but now that edge is gone, and he is falling. Matthew has been the happy child, the brightest beam. But rebellion beckons, because it all feels like an illusion now.
This world was not made for such a family–a family with the power to make a world and break it. If they cannot save each other or themselves, we are all doomed
Wes Borrower Services
Revenge of the Librarians, by Tom Gauld
Confront the spectre of failure, the wraith of social media, and other supernatural enemies of the author.
Tom Gauld returns with his wittiest and most trenchant collection of literary cartoons to date. Perfectly composed drawings are punctuated with the artist’s signature brand of humour, hitting high and low. After all, Gauld is just as comfortable taking jabs at Jane Eyre and Game of Thrones.
Jill Adult Services
Mad Honey, by Jodi Picoult
Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father’s beekeeping business. Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.
Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.
Jianna Adult Services
Have I told you this already? by Lauren Graham
Candid, insightful, and wildly entertaining essays about life, love, and lessons learned as an actress in Hollywood, from the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and New York Times bestselling author of Talking as Fast as I Can. Filled with surprising anecdotes, sage advice, and laugh-out-loud observations, Graham’s latest collection of all-new, original essays showcases the winning charm and wit that she’s known for.
Julia Adult Services
Nona the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir
Her city is under siege.
The zombies are coming back.
And all Nona wants is a birthday party.
In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona’s not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger’s body, and she’s afraid she might have to give it back.
Amy Youth Services
Those Kids from Fawn Creek, by Erin Entrada Kelly
There are twelve kids in the seventh grade at Fawn Creek Middle School. They’ve been together all their lives. And in this small factory town where everyone knows everything about everyone, that’s not necessarily a great thing.
When Orchid Mason arrives and slips gracefully into Renni’s chair, the other seventh graders don’t know what to think. Orchid–who was born in New York City but just moved to Fawn Creek from Paris–seems to float. Her dress skims the floor. She’s wearing a flower behind her ear.
Fawn Creek Middle might be small, but it has its tightly knit groups–the self-proclaimed “God Squad,” the jocks, the outsiders–just like anyplace else. Who will claim Orchid Mason? Who will save Orchid Mason? Or will Orchid Mason save them?
Stephanie Youth Services
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
Andrea Youth Services
Finding Freedom, by Erin French
Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot on a 25-acre farm, a teenager falling in love with food while working the line at her dad’s diner and a young woman finding her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill. This singular memoir–a classic American story–invites readers to Erin’s corner of her beloved Maine to share the real person behind the “girl from Freedom” fairytale, and the not-so-picture-perfect struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and that make Erin’s life triumphant
Here are more selections from our favorite books of the year. Looking for more recommendations? Ask a Librarian!
Indigenous Heritage Month may be over, but Indigenous authors create fascinating and impactful stories year round! Here are our picks for reads across mystery, thriller, literary fiction, and nonfiction to celebrate the works of Native American writers.
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
A groundbreaking thriller about a vigilante on a Native American reservation who embarks on a dangerous mission to track down the source of a heroin influx.
Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.
Murder on the Red River by Marcie Rendon
Renee “Cash” Blackbear, a 19-year-old, tough-as-nails, resilient Ojibwe woman, has lived all her life in Fargo, sister city to Minnesota’s Moorhead, just downriver from the Cities. Her life revolves around driving truck for local farmers, drinking beer, playing pool, smoking cigarettes, and solving criminal investigations through the power of her visions. She has one friend, Sheriff Wheaton, who’s also her guardian and helped her out of the broken foster care system. Together they must work to solve a murder across cultures in a rural Midwest community layered in racism, genocide, and oppression.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.
Interested in learning more? Check out some of these other books at the library!
Thanks to all who joined us for our Book Brunch book share program this month! Jess and Jill shared some new titles coming into the library, and attendees (readers just like you!) told us what they have been reading and recommending.
With the temperature dropping, it’s been the perfect time to get cozy with a new read. This fall has delivered, with brand new titles hitting shelves from authors like Jodi Picoult, Frederik Backman, Kevin Wilson, and Barbara Kingsolver. Books from genres across the board are now available at the library, from Sulari Gentill’s mystery Woman in the Library to Becky Smethurst’s nonfiction read A Brief History of Black Holes.
Join us for the next Book Brunch in the New Year on January 20th at 10:30am.
Register to join us in person or online: https://chelmsfordlibrary.libcal.com/event/9976457
What is the best way to get to know a librarian? By getting them to dish about books, of course! Each month, we will introduce you to one of the librarians of Chelmsford Public Library. This month, we talked to one of our Adult Service Specialists, Julia Sullivan. Julia enjoys a large range of fiction, and is willing to give any genre a chance. When she’s not reading, she can be found roller skating, playing music, or trying out new recipes in the kitchen. We asked Julia…
What was your first library?
My first library was the Woburn Public Library, before it was renovated. It looked like a castle, and the children’s room was tucked away in the basement. As much as I loved how cozy it was then, it’s so beautiful now! It matches the old with the new just like Chelmsford Public Library, and has an incredibly rich archive. I would absolutely recommend stopping in if you’re in the area!
What books are on your nightstand right now?
What book do you love to suggest to patrons?
I always suggest The Lager Queen of Minnesota by Ryan Stradal. It is such a sweet family story, and the women it describes are strong and compassionate.
Why do you love being a librarian?
I love getting the opportunity to work with the community. I feel like every interaction I have helps people for the better, and sometimes these are in small, unexpected ways. It’s very fulfilling! It doesn’t hurt that I get to see the new books right as they come in, either!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Where is your favorite place to read?
The beach! Every summer I go to Hampton Beach, and I sit in the sand with a book until I’ve finished it or the sun has set – whichever comes first! I love the sound of the waves, and I don’t have to worry about anything other than the plot twist I’m reading that day.
Which book you would most like to read again for the first time?
The first time I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, it took my breath away. I would love to read it with fresh eyes as an adult, and experience its beautiful, heartbreaking writing for the first time again.
What is the last book that made you laugh or cry (or both!)
Julia Armfield’s Our wives under the sea made me cry, then laugh, then cry again in the span of a few pages. I plan on listening to the audiobook soon as well, the narrators have gotten amazing reviews!
In celebration of Taylor Swift being the first artist to have all ten spots on Billboards Top 100, Chelmsford Public Library has compiled a list of book recommendations for your favorite songs off her new album, Midnights. Read on to see which book you should read next!
Lavender Haze –> In Five Years, Rebecca Serle
Dannie Kohan is a type A lawyer making her way in Manhattan, and is now engaged. Just like in Lavender Haze, she rejects the pressure to take on traditional roles in her life. She is perfectly on track to achieving her five year plan, until she has a vision of her life five years in the future, and she wakes up married to a different man. She brushes this off until she meets the man in her vision, and accepts that love isn’t always something so cut and dry.
Maroon –> Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton
Travel, champagne, and high rises fill nights for both Taylor and Social Creature’s Louise. For Louise, this began with the spark of a deep friendship with the rich Lavinia. However, the next day always brings pain and toxicity. Louise and Lavinia’s friendship becomes toxic and obsessive, and ultimately takes a turn for the tragic that makes their glamorous fantasies end forever.
Anti Hero –> The Days of Abandonment, Elena Ferrante
In Anti Hero, Taylor mourns in the expectation that she must be perfect according to impossible societal standards, or else be labelled as a public villain. In Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment, a woman must grapple with her own downward spiral after her husband leaves her. As her life falls apart, she becomes the villain in her own life out of grief, and must contend with the fact that her life will never return to what it was.
Snow on the Beach –> An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
Imagery and nostalgia are central in Taylor’s Snow on the Beach as she recalls past love. Celestial is forced to live in this picture perfect image of love when her husband Roy is arrested and sentenced to serve 12 years. Celestial realizes she cannot survive on memories of her love alone, and leans on her childhood friend and best man Andre for support. When Roy is released after five years, Celestial must navigate her changing feelings for both the men in her life.
You’re on Your Own Kid –> Black Buck, Matteo Askaripour
In Black Buck, Darren is truly on his own as the only Black man at his new tech startup job. In order to be taken seriously, he creates a ruthless salesman persona that is unrecognizable to his loved ones, similar to Taylor’s dilemma as she rises to stardom. However, after tragedy strikes Darren’s home life, he creates a plan to help more young Black people enter America’s sales force, ultimately changing the game.
Midnight Rain –> We are Not Like Them, Christine Pride, Jo Piazza
Midnight Rain explores when people have different expectations in relationships, for better or for worse. One wants an easy, always positive love, while the other is used to fights and drama and intensity. Pride and Piazza’s We Are Not Like Them explores when a friendship is tested on different morals and values. Riley is ambitious. She chases her dream of becoming a TV Journalist and setting a path into journalism as a Black woman. Her childhood best friend, Jen, wants a simple life with a husband and kids. When Jen’s police officer husband shoots a Black teenager, Jen and Riley’s relationship is severely tested.
Question…? –> Normal People, Sally Rooney
Taylor’s Question…? is all about young love surviving, even in the face of peer pressure and unsureties that love can last. Have they felt this way before? Are you the only one they’re interested in? Normal People asks these same questions of their lovers, Connell and Marianne, as they navigate their first college relationship.
Vigilante –> They Never Learn, Layne Fargo
Scarlett Clark in They Never Learn dresses for revenge at her prestigious university, and her cat eye really is sharp enough to kill. By day she teaches English, but by night she gets away with murdering the worst men her campus has to offer. When Carly, a freshman, comes to Scarlett looking to exact revenge on her roommate’s attacker, her fantasy might become reality.
Bejeweled –> Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy Jones & The Six shimmers as brightly as Taylor, submerging readers into the glitz and glam of rock and roll stardom in the 1970’s. Daisy Jones has no interest in being somebody’s muse, she wants to be the somebody. Daisy rises to fame as the people around her realize her star power, and she sparkles in the rock and roll scene.
Labyrinth –> It Ends with Us, Colleen Hoover
Labyrinth explores the fear of navigating a new relationship after getting hurt in the past, something It Ends With Us is all too familiar with. Lily has always worked for the life she wants, despite the obstacles that have stood in her way. Once she meets Ryle, her world opens up with new possibilities. Will her new chance at love be put at risk when her her first love, Atlas, reappears in her life?
Karma –> Instant Karma, Marissa Meyer
Karma is Taylor’s boyfriend, cat, and relaxing thought, to name a few. However for Pru Barnett in Instant Karma, karma is a power she has to cast upon those she thinks are lazy, rude, and deserving of it. Pru goes wild with the power of putting bullies and vandals in their place. Perceived slacker Quint, however, cannot be karma’d by Pru’s powers. Each time she attempts, her spells backfire. Pru comes to learn that there a line between vengeance and vanity, and that people may actually be a mix of the bad alongside some good.
Sweet Nothing –> Less, Andrew Sean Greer
Arthur Less, Greer’s protagonist in his Pulitzer Prize winning book Less, can’t seem to catch a break, much like Taylor in Sweet Nothing. He considers himself to be a failed novelist, His boyfriend of the past nine years just got engaged to someone else, and suddenly he has no choice but to accept the dozens of literary invitations from around the world he’s been ignoring. Even with all these mishaps and external struggles, Less is a story about how love can always be a place to return home to.
Mastermind –> Mr. Fox, Helen Oyeyemi
Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox and Taylor’s Mastermind both play with the fear of letting go of control. John Fox, a writer who always kills his heroines, becomes sucked into the narrative of his own novels, followed by his wife. They go back and forth between writing the story, as Fox learns what love can be when he allows his relationships with both his characters and his wife to be that of equals.
As the weather begins to chill and the days grow shorter, it is the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book! From Thrillers to Romances, Chelmsford Public Library has recommendations to give you puzzling tricks or warm-hearted treats this Halloween season.
The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen
The 14th installment of the Royal Spyness series takes Georgie to a frightening cottage hosting new mysteries.
It’s fall 1935, and Lady Georgiana O’Mara is back from her honeymoon and settling into her new married life until Darcy is called away on another of his assignments. Suddenly at loose ends, Georgie jumps at a chance to join her friend Belinda is looking at the cottage she just inherited in Cornwall. However, the cottage turns out to be more of a shack. The friends are deciding what to do when they run into Rose, a childhood friend of Belinda’s. Rose announces she is now the mistress of one of the nearby mansions, and insists that Georgie and Belinda stay with her. However, something is off about life at the mansion. Will Georgie figure out what is going on before tragedy strikes?
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge
Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.
Terrifying True Crime
Lost Girls: an Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker
Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever, and the dangers remain all too real. Lost Girls is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.
Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction.
But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.
Frighteningly good Romance
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.
But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.
On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?
Scream worthy Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die