Thursday, December 31, 2009
it's the the beginning of the "Best" season: Best books, best movies, best songs, best ads, best supporting role by a politician's spouse, best green and yellow toys with 2 USB ports for 4-year-olds, etc. Don't get me wrong, I love those lists. But what with the multitude of "Best Books of the Year," I always wait for the "Best of 'The Best Books of the Year.'" This year VQR (Virginia Quarterly Review) has combined the lists from 10 reputable sources, including the NY Times, Washington Post and Publisher's Weekly and ranked the books in order of most appearances. A nice touch, I think. Leading the list is Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, with 6 hits. (If you hurry, there's a rental copy available right now, or at least there was at 11:35 am...)
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Staff Reads Blog - We're really working hard at putting quality reading, listening, and viewing suggestions out there for our patrons to enjoy. The blog covers a wide range of topics, from summer reads to classics, graphic novels to history, and includes movies, music, and books. With about 10 suggestions a month, you can keep current with what the librarians are reading and see what's catching our attention!
Twitter - Want to stay updated on events at the library, weather-related closings, and other cool things that catch our eye? Follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/wellesleylib
Facebook - For the many of you who are already on facebook, become a fan of the Wellesley Free Library and get a stream of information collected from our events, blog posts, tweets, hour updates, and more.
del.icio.us - Helping us maintain a list of websites that we find useful in answering your questions is this innovative website that allows users to "tag" a website with words that helps us find it again when the need arises. Check out our list of websites that we've found useful and pick up some new tricks!
Reference Home Page - We've been hard at work redesigning our Reference Home Page on the Library's website. Check out some of the great highlights like a guide to business resources, a listing of online resources by subject, book lover's links, and more!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Don't have time to read a book? Looking for some humorous reviews now that Kirkus is going out of business? Try the Digested Read column in The Guardian. They read the book so you don't have to! Yes, there are a lot of British titles covered here, but The Guardian is a British newspaper after all. If you can't keep up with all the current literature, try the Digested Classics column. Both columns are written by John Crace, a features writer for the newspaper. Last week the column covered Going Rogue by Sarah Palin. Sorry to all Sarah fans out there, but they don't seem to like her book very much.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The exhibit in Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry featured Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in their IMAX theatre. How wonderful it was to immerse myself in the World of Harry Potter by seeing the movie and then reminiscing about the first five with the Exhibit. It makes you want to have a Harry Potter movie marathon! Since Boston's Museum of Science isn't showing the movie, watch it at home on DVD OR actually reread some of the books, and then make your journey to Boston.
Word of Advice: Rent the audio for the exhibit so you don't miss any of the interesting facts behind the costumes and props. It will be a wonderful way to bring in 2010! SH
Monday, December 14, 2009
Kirkus Reviews: Closing after 75 years
With its reputation for sharp-tongued (or penciled) book reviews, the magazine will be missed by librarians everywhere. In looking for ripe examples of their more colorful put-downs, I realized that those truly knife-twisting reviews were more the exception than the rule. Whether good, mixed or ugly KR's reviews rarely failed to deliver thoughtful, forthright and entertaining prose.
Here then are some (un)representative taglines I did find...
*Any author who loves Venice can't be all bad, no matter how lacking he is in subtlety or how clumsily he handles suspense. Never mind. Relax, have a cappuccino and enjoy the scenery.
*A questionable mishmash of cultural, scientific, literary, psychological and political material gives birth to an atmospheric but unnatural doppelganger to Shelley's classic.
*Not a single overweight, ill-dressed or remotely ordinary character disturbs the high gloss. The mystery , by the way, is settled before the big question: How will Nora's New Year's Eve party go?
*A novel of leaden purpose rather than spirit.
*Stylistically two-dimensional, with frozen surfaces that resist the reader.
*Manufactured suspense, along with pages of invented and hackneyed dialogue, vitiates this account of the varieties of heroism.
*Mawkish morass of gloom, lightly frothed with escapism.
*One constant is the dialogue: stilted and unnatural throughout, as are the characters' responses to their many mind-blowing adventures.
*Gingerbread characters, cookie-cutter plotting.
*About half a book, and pretty thin at that.
We'll miss Kirkus.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Join our Online Book Clubs and keep up with your reading this holiday season. Daily, Monday through Friday, you'll receive a five-minute selection from a chapter of a book via email. By the end of the week, you'll have read 2-3 chapters. Every Monday a new book begins. Choices include fiction, non-fiction, business, mystery, and science fiction. Go to http://www.wellesleyfreelibrary.org/; click on Reference Services; choose Books and Reading; then Online Bookclubs. Happy reading!
Friday, December 4, 2009
In regards to books, some of the larger digital archiving projects are Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive (which goes way beyond books), and Project Gutenberg. A problem that exists with most digital projects, however, is that the efforts are spread out, and the methods of searching for books so diverse, that you're never quite sure what is truly available on the internet. Thankfully, John Mark Ockerbloom has come to the rescue with his digital books compilation site, The Online Books Page, which consolidates diverse resources from across the 'net (even diving into the Invisible Web) and brings them into an easily searchable format. Ockerbloom's project is really humming, and you can see the daily updates of what's being added to the plethora of ebooks daily.
For the food enthusiast, Michigan State University's Feeding America project will be of interest, with important cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th century, such as Fannie Farmer's barn-burner of a cookbook, The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook.
Many, many more projects like these exist, so I'll try to keep you updated on any new and interesting digitization project sites I come across. I hope you enjoy!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, comes to theatres on December 11. Based on John Carlin's 2008 nonfiction book Playing the Enemy : Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, the movie is directed by Clint Eastwood.
A Single Man, based on the 1964 novel by Christopher Isherwood, is directed by Gucci fashion designer turned filmaker Tom Ford and stars Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Ginnifer Goodwin. The film is due out on December 11.
Sherlock Holmes, due out December 25, is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective. It stars Robert Downey Jr., Rachel McAdams, and Jude Law and is directed by Guy Ritchie.
Up In the Air is based on Walter Kirn's 2001 novel about a career transition counselor who is also a very frequent flier. The film stars George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Jason Bateman and is directed by Jason Reitman.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The Economist has just released its annual predictions for the world in 2010 regarding Business, Finance, Science and more. The highlight of this yearly publication is its The world in figures: Countries where the magazine predicts that the top growth % will take place in Qatar, China, and the Congo. Believe it or not, all of this is yours to read free on their website OR stop in the library and take a look at our copy! SH
Monday, November 23, 2009
The winner of the National Book Award for Fiction was announced last week. This year's winner was Colum McCann for Let the Great World Spin. The setting of the book is 1974 in New York City and the lives of ten people intersect as Philippe Petit crosses between the Twin Towers on a tightrope.
According to its website, the mission of the National Book Awards is: "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America. "
Other finalists for the fiction award were :
American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
Far North by Marcel Theroux
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Another list for your reading pleasure.
The Bolter. Osborne, Francis.
Dreaming in Hindi. Rich, Katherine Russell.
Little Bee. Cleave, Chris.
Blame. Huneven, Michelle.
Losing Mum and Pup. Buckley, Christopher.
Zeitoun. Eggers, Dave.
Say You're One of Them. Akpan, Uwem.
Some Things that Meant the World to Me. Mohr, Joshua.
The Invisible Mountain. De Robertis, Carolina.
Strength in what Remains. Kidder, Tracy
Reserve your copies today! SH
Everything closed for the holiday? You can still browse, check out, and download digital books from home 24/7 with Overdrive. You can even decide on your own lending period! Choose from historical, juvenile, literature, romance, biography, business and careers, health and fitness,and more! To try it out, go to www.wellesleyfreelibrary.org and click on the Overdrive icon. A valid Wellesley Free Library card is required.
Monday, November 16, 2009
We have books and films about these and other cutting edge topics here at the Wellesley Library. Click on the titles below to read reviews and find availability through our catalog.
The Way We Eat : why our food choices matter by Peter Singer 2006
Just Food : where locavores get it wrong and how we can truly eat responsibly by James E. McWilliams 2009
America's Food : what you don't know about what you eat by Harvey Blatt 2008
Raising Less Corn, more hell : the case for the independent farm and against industrial food by George Pyle 2005
The end of Food by Paul Roberts 2008
Feeding the Planet : environmental protection through sustainable agriculture by Klaus Hahlbrock 2009
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan 2008
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan 2006
Food Politics by Marion Nestle 2002
The Future of Food (DVD) 2004
We Feed the World (DVD) 2009
Who, Where, and When Are You
Are you looking for answers to Life's Basic Questions? Are you undergoing a severe existential crisis? Have no fear; the Internet can help you! Want to know Who you are? Just dial Whoozy.
Lost track of Where you are? Go to Bing and ask "Where am I?" And for those who just must know When, trudge on over to the Death Clock to find out exactly when you are expected to die (and watch the seconds tick, tick, tick away).
I'm not making this up...
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
This year's Nobel Prize for Literature was won by Herta Müller, a Romanian-born German novelist and poet. Born in 1953, Müller grew up in Romania as a member of the German-speaking minority there. She was able to emigrate to West Berlin with her husband in 1987 but much of her work concerns the oppressive culture in Romania under Nicolai Ceausescu.
Here's a list of some of her work:
The Land of Green Plums
Traveling on One Leg
Our expanding graphic novel collection has moved to a new space in the library. It's busted the seams on the old book display table and moved to the shelves next to our Science Fiction & Fantasy collection. You'll find more space for great graphic novels to be displayed, reading guides and, coming soon, staff suggestions.
If you enjoy reading graphic novels, be sure to check out this new collection and follow along with our staff suggestions on our blog at http://wellesleystaffreads.blogspot.com/
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Did you know that you can use Playaways in your car? These innovative digital format self-playing audio books are an increasingly popular item at both Branches and the Main Library. Each Playaway has a universal headphone jack that can be used with most of the commonly available car adapters on the market, including cassette adapters and FM transmitters.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Amazon, not to be left behind, added its Top 100 Editors' Picks for 2009 and Top 100 Customer Favorites for 2009 on November 2 as well.
Now it's your turn to make your list and request your picks from the Wellesley Free Library. SH
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
What’s more, in most cases, the service is free. Last year we were able to get 8,845 items. We were charged for 650 of them which means over 92% of items were obtained at no charge.
Due to the state’s budget woes, we presently have to pass on charges to the patrons in those few cases where there are charges. If you want to obtain something via Interlibrary Loan, but do not want to pay any charges, just ask us to stop at free libraries.
What kinds of things are we able to get for free? his fall we obtained copies of maps of bicycle trails in all parts of Massachusetts from the Library of Congress. e borrowed September 1945 microfilm for the Oregonian newspaper and the Austin Statesman newspaper for patrons doing research on how the Nagasaki bombing was reported at the time.
If you want to borrow something not owned by Minuteman, contact the Reference Department (781-235-1610 x1117) to make your ILL request.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean
by Edward Kritzler
At the end of the fifteenth century, the Spanish Inquisition forced many Jews to flee the country. The most adventurous among them took to the high seas as freewheeling outlaws. In ships bearing names such as theProphet Samuel, Queen Esther,andShield of Abraham,they attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding.
Dangerous Waters, modern piracy and terror on the high seas
by John S. Burnett
Entire ships, cargo, and crews simply vanish, hijacked by pirates working for multinational crime syndicates; these modern-day ghost ships turn up later carting illegal immigrants to the United States or running drugs. Burnett probes this dangerous world of thievery and mayhem, from the life-and-death struggles of brave captains and their crews, to the pirate hunters with bounties on their heads, and to the shadowy groups themselves who employ these ruthless, modern-day mercenaries.
Terror on the Seas
by Daniel Sekulich
Visiting such ports as Mombassa and Singapore, voyaging through the notoriously piratical waters off Somalia, and, yes, interviewing a real pirate, the adventurous Sekulich vividly renders the contemporary realities of an ancient maritime scourge.
The Republic of Pirates
by Colin Woodard
Woodard, a journalist and author, recounts the lives of early eighteenth century Caribbean pirates known as the "Flying Gang." He draws from archival materials from Britain and the Americas to describe the Golden Age of Piracy and four of its most prominent figures: pirates Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy, Edward "Blackbeard" Thatch, Charles Vane, and Woodes Rogers, who was sent to confront them.
The Pirate Hunter
by Richard Zacks
Captain Kidd has gone down in history as America's most ruthless buccaneer. However, Captain William Kidd was no career cut-throat; he was a tough, successful New York sea captain who was hired to chase pirates. Across the oceans of the world, the pirate hunter, Kidd, pursued the pirate, Culliford. One man would hang in the harbor; the other would walk away with the treasure.
Empire of Blue Water
by Stephan Talty
Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, natural disaster, and a cast of characters more compelling, bizarre, and memorable than any found in a Hollywood swashbuckler—including the notorious pirate L’Ollonais, the soul-tortured King Philip IV of Spain, and Thomas Modyford, the crafty English governor of Jamaica—Empire of Blue Waterbrilliantly re-creates the passions and the violence of the age of exploration and empire.
True Tales of Pirates and Their Gold
by Edward Rowe Snow
Edward Snow wrote for the Boston Herald for many years and published many books on about shipwreaks,treasure, and sea mysterys. Anybody who likes Pirates of the Carrabean, will love his true stories of real pirates.
The Privateers, a raiding voyage to the great South Sea
by Fleming MacLeish & Martin L. Krieger
The Story of the 1708 expedition of Captain Woodes Rogers who, awarded letters of marque against the Spanish, set out to hunt the famed Manila Galleon which, once a year carried the gold of South America to Manila and returned with the riches of the Indies.
by Barry Clifford & Paul Perry
Captain "Black Sam" Bellamy and his band of pirates terrorized the high seas, looting gold from more than 50 ships and loading it onto the WHYDAH, a captured slave ship, before running aground and sinking in the Great Storm of 1717.
Pirates, Privateers and Rebel Raiders of the Carolina Coast
by Lindley S. Butler
Chronicles the adventures of some of the nation's most famous maritime figures, from Blackbeard to Confederate raiders.
The History of Piracy
by Philip Gosse
A thorough overview of worldwide piracy concentrating on the Mediterranean and Caribbean, but including the Far East. Even three cases of female pirates are covered.
Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates
by Robert C. Ritchie
Armed with tales of hidden treasure and cold steel cutlasses, professor Robert Ritchie weaves a wonderful tale of the time of the pirates as they plundered shipping and coastal towns from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean in search of excitement and riches.
by Patrick Pringle
Pringle's 1953 volume separates the fact from the fiction and examines the lives and deeds of Henry Morgan, Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, Anne Bonney, and other maritime marauders.
The Pirates Pact
by Douglas R. Burgess Jr.
Burgess recounts the stories of the political and business figures who supported the pirates and their voyages of plunder and murder, describing how the colonial governors in North America and the West Indies engaged in pirate brokering, selling privateering commissions that legitimized the armed seizure of treasure-laden ships as far away as the Red Sea.
The Pirate Wars
by Peter Earle
Professor Earle mines British Admiralty records to find that the romance of the pirate life was certainly not an invention of those who made the mistake of choosing to live it. Piracy was a costly and deadly business, a fact of which those responsible for making shipping safe and profitable were well aware.
Under the Black Flag
by David Cordingly
Widespread piracy began in the Western world in 1650 and ended abruptly around 1725. Cordingly, formerly on the staff of the National Maritime Museum in England, describes who became pirates, what they wore (scarves or handkerchiefs around their head, just like in the movies); and how they lived.
Pirates Predators of the Seas
by Angus Konstam
Chock-full of great photos and artwork Konstam dispels falsehoods and illuminates the truth. Shipwreck, betrayal, torture, chests of stolen gold, this exciting book has it all.
The Age of Piracy
by Robert Carse
Carse an experienced sailor has prowled the most inaccessible areas of the Caribbean in search of the former haunts of the great buccaneers. All the great names are here, Morgan, kidd, Teach, Lafitttes, Hawkins, Drake and many others. Carse looks at how they lived, sailed, fought, and divided their spoils.
Raiders and Rebels
by Frank Sherry
From 1692 to 1725 pirates sailed the oceans of the world, terrorizing seamen and plundering ships laden with the riches of India, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Beneath these well known facts lies the true story of pirates. They were common men and women escaping the social and economic restrictions of 18th-century Europe. Sherry does a great job showing the evolution from early buccaneers to king's privateers to outright pirates and describing the joy and pain of daily priate life as well as the reality of the pirate's activities.
Sack of Panama : Captain Morgan and the Battle for the Caribbean
by Peter Earle
The book covers not only the scandalous events in the Colonial West Indies, but also the alarmed reacions of diplomats and statesmen in Madrid and London.While Morgan and his men were laying siege to Panam , the simmering hostilities between the two nations resulted in vicious political infighting that rivaled the military battles in intensity.With a wealth of colorful characters and international intrigue, The Sack of Panam is a painstaking history that doubles as a rip-roaring adventure tale.
Monday, October 26, 2009
comprehensive guided tour of the website and a list of compatible devices is available online.
On Sarah Palin
If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the new autobiography , Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, watch out! On the very day Palin’s book is due out (Nov. 17), there will be another book with a very similar title and a similar cover also appearing. According to its publisher, Going Rouge: Sarah Palin An American Nightmare will have an entirely different perspective on Sarah Palin than that of the autobiography. Such authors as Joe Conanson, Naomi Klein, Tom Perrotta and a dozen others are contributors. If you'd like to see some heated discussion of the legal issues involved in the Rogue/Rouge books check out the Volokh Conspiracy blog.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
First, you can check out & subscribe to our Staff Reads blog at http://wellesleystaffreads.blogspot.com/ (we've also put a link to it in the upper-right corner of this blog). It's a great resource to keep you up-to-date about what the library staff has found of note, and you can stay updated on what your favorite librarian has enjoyed! And it's not just limited to books--we suggest movies, music, spoken word, graphic novels, and more. We've really enjoyed adding our suggestions and hope you will enjoy reading them.
If you're already at the library and haven't been keeping current with our Staff Reads blog (shame on you!) there's another option: our librarians have been putting together displays that are packed with book ideas. Located next to the Reference Desk and in the New Books area, these displays feature brochures compiled by the Reference Staff, Kirkus book reviews, New York Times Bestseller lists, and tons of other information.
Last, but certainly not least, you can always ask us what you should read next--we're some of the most enthusiastic people around when it comes to books!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Would you like a second dose of Freakonomics by Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner? You're in luck! On October 20, Superfreakonomics will make its appearance on bookshelves across the country.
Don't know what Freakonomics is? Take a look at our link on the catalog to see a summary and book reviews. It was a major bestseller due to Levitt's ability to apply economics to real life issues . Both books would be great holiday gifts. SH
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
With the thousands of search engines, directories, portals and meta-search engines to guide our way through the ever-expanding web, it's become ever more necessary to find a few good guides, use them often and learn them well. Allow me to suggest a couple to add to your inner circle of search engines: Bookfinder.com searches dozens of used book search engines and web sites. Instead of separately searching AbeBooks, Alibris, Amazon, Powell's etc. you can go to one site and search them all. It's fantastic!
Argali.com does similar magic for online phone directories by searching multiple engines at once: Yahoo, Anywho,Infospace, Google, Switchboard, Superpages and more. It's the best.
It was in part the greatness of Rome that led to its eventual collapse and fall, and this singular fact has exercised the mind of the historian ever since. See what the latest take is with these recent books.
Rubicon : The Last Years of the Roman Republic
by Holland, Tom
Tom Holland's enthralling account tells the story of Caesar' s generation, witness to the twilight of the Republic and its bloody transformation into an empire. From Cicero, Spartacus, and Brutus, to Cleopatra, Virgil, and Augustus, here are some of the most legendary figures in history brought thrillingly to life.
Scipio Africanus : Rome's Greatest General
by Gabriel, Richard A.
Hannibal is known to most school children because he took elephants across the Alps in his bid to conquer Rome. Few, if any, would learn about the general who defeated him, Scipio Africanus. Gabrial describes Scipio in terms of his belief in republican principles and intense Roman patriotism. He finds much that contemporary military leaders might emulate.
Are We Rome? : The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America
by Murphy, Cullen
Murphy reveals a wide array of similarities between the two empires: the blinding, insular culture of our capitals; the debilitating effect of corruption; border issues; and the weakening of the body politic through various forms of "privatization.
The Fall of the Roman Empire : A New History
by Heather, Peter
Heather explores the extraordinary success story that was the Roman Empire and uses a new understanding of its continued strength and enduring limitations to show how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the Empire apart.
Augustus : The Life of Rome's First Emperor
by Everitt, Anthony
Augustus found Rome made of clay and left it made of marble. The world that made Augustus–and that he himself later remade–was driven by intrigue, sex, ceremony, violence, scandal, and naked ambition. Everitt has taken some of the household names of history–Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Antony, Cleopatra–whom few know the full truth about, and turned them into flesh-and-blood human beings.
The Day of the Barbarians : The Battle That Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire
by Barbero, Alessandro; Cullen, John (Translator)
A revisionist history of the relatively obscure battle of Adrianople, arguing that the course of world history changed after the clash in 378 A.D., in the eastern Roman province of Thrace, between an army of Goths and a Roman imperial army.