All posts by Julia Sullivan

Chelmsford Library’s Best Books of 2022

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 Author Spotlight

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!

Book Brunch: Hungry for New Reads!

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.

Need more recommendations? Check out our Reading Room blog, or sign up for a Book Group!

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:


The Real Librarians of Chelmsford

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?

I have Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner on my nightstand, with Robin Ha’s Cook Korean! so I can try making some of the recipes Zauner writes about.




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!




Which Book to Read based on Taylor Swift’s Midnights

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.

Trick or Treat? Halloween Books for Every Reader

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.


Cozy Mysteries

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?






Spine-Chilling Thrillers

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.








Hair-Raising Horror

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







Real Librarians of Chelmsford

We asked Jill…

What was your first library?

Kellogg Hubbard Library, Montpelier, VT.  My memories of this place are about the building and being in the space.  The children’s room was in the basement with multiple nooks with books and I remember there being vines inside, which I thought was magic.


What is on your nightstand right now?

1-3 library books at all times. Currently, Billy Summers by Stephen King, Home Winemaking and The Mediterranean Diet. TBR Piles (a couple) of books from used book sale .”




What book do you like to recommend to patrons?




Why do you love working in the library?

“I’ve always been drawn to libraries, books and the world of information – talking about it, reading about it and learning about it.  Being surrounded by books and the quiet calm of a library is one of my favorite things.”

Fall Reading Challenge Kickoff!

This fall, Chelmsford Public Library is challenging you to get social! Our Fall Reading Challenge not only encourages readers to try new books and revisit classics, but also share what you’re reading with us online!

Use the prompts in the list at the bottom of this post. Then, show us your choices and photos for each prompt by tagging us on:

If you don’t know where to start with the challenge, we have suggestions to get cozy with as the weather grows colder.

Fall in love with a romance book!

Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson is a hot new romance novel to put you in the mood for Halloween.

PhD candidate Phoebe Walsh has always been obsessed with true crime. She’s even analyzing the genre in her dissertation—if she can manage to finish writing it. It’s hard to find the time while she spends the summer in Florida, cleaning out her childhood home, dealing with her obnoxiously good-natured younger brother, and grappling with the complicated feelings of mourning a father she hadn’t had a relationship with for years.

It doesn’t help that she’s low-key convinced that her new neighbor, Sam Dennings, is a serial killer (he may dress business casual by day, but at night he’s clearly up to something). It’s not long before Phoebe realizes that Sam might be something much scarier—a genuinely nice guy who can pierce her armor to reach her vulnerable heart.

Cook a new cookbook dish and show it off.

Tieghan Gerard’s cookbook Half Baked Harvest is chock full of hearty recipes that will satisfy your fall cravings. Filled with seasonal produce and easy meal prep, this cookbook is a great pick for trying something new.

While it might be a trek to get to Tieghan’s barn-turned-test kitchen, her creativity shines here: dress up that cheese board with a real honey comb; decorate a standard salad with spicy, crispy sweet potato fries; serve stir fry over forbidden black rice; give French Onion Soup an Irish kick with Guinness and soda bread; bake a secret ingredient into your apple pie (hint: it’s molasses). And a striking photograph accompanies every recipe, making Half Baked Harvest Cookbook a feast your eyes, too.
Whether you need to get dinner on the table for your family tonight or are planning your next get-together with friends, Half Baked Harvest Cookbook has your new favorite recipe.

Reread a book you’ve read for school.

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

What Book Should You Read for Hispanic Heritage Month? *Quiz!*

At Chelmsford Public Library, Hispanic American Heritage Month celebrates the works and contributions of authors from Central and South America, as well as the great books they have published. Take this quiz for a recommendation on which book to start with, and come into the library for even more picks from our librarians!


What is something you love about reading?

  1. Strong, emotional characters
  2.  Fast paced, twisting plots
  3.  Blending our world with fantasy
  4.  Learning about other people’s lives


Why do you like to read?

  1. To feel inspired
  2. For thrilling suspense
  3. To think about the world we live in
  4. To laugh


Which character sounds most interesting to you?

  1. One who perseveres through hardship
  2. One who takes matters into their own hands
  3. One who navigates impossible events
  4. One who finds their niche in the world


Which genre is your go to?

  1. Historical Fiction
  2. Mystery/Thriller
  3. Sci-Fi/Magical Realism
  4. Memoir/Nonfiction


If you answered mostly A’s

You should read Isabel Allende’s Violeta!

Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life will be marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth. Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses all and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling. . . .

Told through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humor will carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.


If you answered mostly B’s

You should read Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno Garcia.

Mexico in the 1970s is a dangerous country, even for Maite, a secretary who spends her life seeking the romance found in cheap comic books and ignoring the activists protesting around the city. When her next-door neighbor, the beautiful art student Leonora, disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.
Mexico in the 1970s is a politically fraught land, even for Elvis, a goon with a passion for rock ’n’ roll who knows more about kidney-smashing than intrigue. When Elvis is assigned to find Leonora, he begins a blood-soaked search for the woman—and his soul.

Swirling in parallel trajectories, Maite and Elvis attempt to discover the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, encountering hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies. Because Mexico in the 1970s is a noir where life is cheap and the price of truth is high.


If you answered mostly C’s

You should try out Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.


If you answered mostly D’s

Your next read should be Hola Papi! by John Paul Brammer.

John Paul, or JP, is the author behind a popular advice blog, and is now bringing his wisdom to the page. In ¡Hola Papi!, JP shares his story of growing up biracial and in the closet in America’s heartland, while attempting to answer some of life’s toughest questions: How do I let go of the past? How do I become the person I want to be? Is there such a thing as being too gay? Should I hook up with my grade school bully now that he’s out of the closet?

¡Hola Papi! is for anyone—gay, straight, and everything in between—who has ever taken stock of their unique place in the world.


Check out these reads and more at Chelmsford Public Library!

Caution: Banned Books Ahead

Challenges against books in libraries and schools are being reported at record rates across the country, especially against books written by LGBTQ authors and authors of color. PEN American reports that in the past year, more than 2,500 books have been banned in schools and cities nationwide. In response, libraries across the country celebrate the freedom of choice patrons deserve when browsing our collections.

Chelmsford Public Library is proud to house books that broaden our perspectives and give us insight into others’ lives. Read on for our recommendations for restricted books.

Lawn Boy, Jonathan Evison

Banned: for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit

In this funny, angry, touching, and ultimately deeply inspiring novel, bestselling author Jonathan Evison takes the reader into the heart and mind of a young man on a journey to discover himself, a search to find the secret to achieving the American dream of happiness and prosperity. That’s the birthright for all Americans, isn’t it? If so, then what is Mike Muñoz’s problem? Though he tries time and again to get his foot on the first rung of that ladder to success, he can’t seem to get a break. But then things start to change for Mike, and after a raucous, jarring, and challenging trip, he finds he can finally see the future and his place in it. And it’s looking really good.

Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson

Banned: because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students

Melinda is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Banned: because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Check these, or another one of our challenged books, out today!