Monday, March 30, 2015

What's New in Mystery and Fiction for April?

Donna Leon

Falling in Love

The latest in the series featuring Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti.

David Baldacci

Memory Man

A man with perfect memory must solve his own family's murder.

Ann Packer

The Children's Crusade

A California family's story over the course of five decades.  

Lisa Scottoline

Every Fifteen Minutes

A psychiatrist tries to help a high-risk patient and becomes a "person of interest" in a murder investigation.  


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Spotlight: Kill Chain

Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise of the High-Tech Assassins
by Andrew Cockburn

A critical narrative on the history of drone warfare by Harper Washington editor Cockburn.  Assassination by drone is a subject of deep and enduring fascination. Kill Chain  explores how this practice emerged, who made it happen, and the real consequences of targeted killing. 

Cockburn uncovers the real and extraordinary story of how and why using drones has become our principal way of waging war. Uncovering its origins in long-buried secret programs, and the breakthroughs that made drone operations possible, Cockburn examines the ways in which the technology works and, despite official claims, does not work. Taking the reader inside the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests, military, CIA and corporate, that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. 

Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy, and the multi-billion dollar contracts they spawn, have been put to the test. Drawing on sources deep in the military and intelligence establishments, Andrew Cockburn's Kill Chain unveils the true effects, as demonstrated by bloody experience, of assassination warfare, a revelation that readers will find surprising as well as shocking.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Spotlight: Dead Wake

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania 
 by Erik Larson 

Erik Larson author of Devil in the White City tells the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania. On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds", the fastest liner then in service. Her captain, William Thomas Turner placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. 

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot 20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and small all converge to produce one of the great disasters of history. 

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history. 

Wellesley Friday Morning Book Group

All are welcome to come and join in the discussion! Our group meets on the third Friday of each month from 10-11AM. This month we are reading Behind the beautiful forevers, New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo's powerful account of the staggering gap between the haves and have-nots in India. New participants are welcome to join at any time. For more information, Contact Deb Berenbaum at 781 235 1610 x1220 or

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Listen List: Outstanding Audio Narration 2015

Looking for a great new audiobook?  The American Library Association recently announced the 2015 Listen List, a collection of audiobooks read by extraordinary narrators.  Check out the full list here!

The Bees by Laline Paull
Read by Orlagh Cassidy
Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as dangerous, but her courage and strength an asset. She finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Read by R. C. Bray

 Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Read by Robert Glenister
 When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. When Quine is found brutally murdered, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John
Read by Kirsten Potter
 In a world ravaged by a pandemic, this small troupe moves between  settlements, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What we're discussing on Mar.26: Race and Reunion

What the critics say:

''Race and Reunion'' demonstrates forcefully that in the year 2001, it still matters very much how we remember the Civil War.”
--NY Times
This book will be the standard for how public perceptions of the Civil War were formed and propagated in a manner directly analogous to today's doublespeak and spin control.
--Publishers Weekly
The main thrust of Blight's book is that, in the end, the white supremacist vision won.
--Southern Cultures
The book’s pages will continue to be underlined, annotated, and coffee-stained because the questions it posed were the very questions that Americans have asked themselves again and again, generation after generation. What did the Civil War mean? How can we make sense of such an unprecedented struggle?
--Civil War Monitor
As Blight makes abundantly clear, white healing and reunion came at an enormous cost, one that we are still paying today.
--New England Quarterly
Indeed, even after the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and others to raise the modern and historical profile of African Americans including Ken Burn's thoughtful Civil War television series--the force of reconciliationist memory remains strong. "To this day, at the beginning of the twenty-first century," Blight warns, "much of Civil War nostalgia is still rooted in the fateful choices made in the latter two decades of the nineteenth century."
--Canadian Journal of History
The book shows us how Southerners, decisively whipped on the battlefield, managed, nevertheless, to wrest a victory on the intellectual, social, and economic fronts. They did this by willfully manipulating the national press, historiography, and literature to show that the war had been about states rights, the right to property, and the right to live an agrarian life free of the class strife that supposedly plagued the industrialized North
--African American Review
In the end, the author persuasively shows that Northern and Southern advocates of reconciliation triumphed by forging a highly romanticized narrative of new nationalism based upon the bravery and sacrifice of Union and Confederate soldiers. Everyone was a hero and no one a villain. Controversial subjects such as slavery were conveniently forgotten.
--Civil War Times
The initial price of Civil War reunion was the perpetuation of white racism--a price the majority of Americans were willing to pay in 1913. But the hidden costs mounted. Fifty years later, Martin Luther King, Jr., called for a renewed commitment to fulfill the promises of emancipation--a genuine rebirth of freedom, a struggle to which many remain committed.
--American Prospect

Did the South win the peace?
Come to the second meeting of the Non-fiction Book Discussion Group on Thursday, Mar. 26 at 10 am in the Arnold Room. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Main Library Book Chat

Tuesday March 10, 2015
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM

decorative imageRead any good books lately?  Want to get ideas on future titles?  The book chat is a great venue to discuss your recent favorite reads with others.  Leave with a list of new titles to discover.  
All are welcome.  For more information, contact Megan Flynn at or 781-235-1610 x1274. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Beware the Ides of March

by Barry Strauss
    The assassination of Julius Caesar is one of the most dramatized events in history, but what actually happened on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. is even more gripping than any rendering for stage or screen.
 Thanks to William Shakespeare, the death of Julius Caesar is the most famous assassination in history. But what actually happened on March 15, 44 BC is even more gripping than Shakespeare’s play. In this thrilling new book, Barry Strauss tells the real story.

Shakespeare shows Caesar’s assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. The real killing, however, was a carefully planned paramilitary operation, a generals’ plot, put together by Caesar’s disaffected officers and designed with precision. There were even gladiators on hand to protect the assassins from vengeance by Caesar’s friends. 
Brutus and Cassius were indeed key players, as Shakespeare has it, but they had the help of a third man, Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar’s entourage, one of Caesar’s leading generals, and a lifelong friend. It was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar.

Caesar’s assassins saw him as a military dictator who wanted to be king. He threatened a permanent change in the Roman way of life and in the power of senators. The assassins rallied support among the common people, but they underestimated Caesar’s soldiers, who flooded Rome. The assassins were vanquished; their beloved Republic became the Roman Empire.

The exciting, dramatic story of one of history’s most famous events, the death of Julius Caesar a thriller filled with murder, lust, betrayal, and high politics.