Staff Book Picks

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Sep 1, 2016 by jimj

Struggling single mom Vimbai is the best hairdresser in Zimbabwe’s capital until the handsome and charismatic Dumisani shows up at her salon. The young man has a lot of secrets. As those secrets are revealed they transform Vimbai and her understanding of the world. This terrific debut novel provides a fascinating lens through which we examine the economic, political, and social problems of this intriguing country. Check Our Catalog

Aug 1, 2016 by jimj

Littlefield, MA: #6 on the Wall Street Journal's "Best Places to Live". A suburban idyll. More psychologists per capita than any other town in the USA. Which, no doubt, contributes to the plethora of stable families and overachieving children. Well-attended band concerts. Beautiful Victorian homes on manicured lawns. If happiness had an address it would be here. Then the first dog is poisoned. Shock. Disbelief. And, as more dogs die, cracks begin to appear in Littlefield's civilized veneer. Residents begin to suspect one another. The psychological menace builds--even as Berne dishes out comedic flashes to keep readers on their toes. Well formed characters dot the landscape of this tense and edgy tale. And satirical social commentary, too! Check Our Catalog

Jul 26, 2016 by eileenf

On Wednesday, August 3, we are collaborating with Esther Earl’s family to celebrate Esther Day. Esther Day was started in 2010 to celebrate love for family and friends by telling those who we are close to that we love them, even if it is sometimes difficult to say out loud. It was inspired by Quincy resident Esther Earl, one of the inspirations for John Green’s popular novel The Fault in Our Stars.

Esther, an author, internet vlogger, Nerdfighter, and activist in the Harry Potter Alliance, passed away from thyroid cancer shortly after her 16th birthday in 2010. Esther had befriended author John Green and was one of the people who inspired him to write The Fault In Our Stars, which was later turned into a popular movie. Esther’s book, This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl, was published posthumously.

Shortly before Esther's death, Green uploaded the video I Love Hank: Esther Day 2010. The video was uploaded in celebration of Esther Day, a day which Esther stated she wanted to be about "family and love." It is celebrated annually on August 3, which is Esther’s birthday. One of Esther's wishes, as her time grew short, was to tell her friends and family how much she loved them. In that spirit, in addition to the games, we will have a postcard station where you can write a note to those special people in your life, and we will mail them for you. There will also be an origami stars craft activity for participants throughout the event.

Come to the main library to celebrate her legacy of love with family-friendly games (races, capture the flag, frisbee, and more) on our lawn from 2 to 8 p.m.. Find social media posts of Esther Day tributes held around the country - including ours - with the hashtag #EstherDay.

The day’s schedule:

  • 2-4 p.m. - Lawn games for children
  • 4-6 p.m. - Lawn games for teens
  • 6-8 p.m. - Lawn games for adults

Please join us for this special day. Bring your friends and family so that we can gather together and celebrate all the people we love and remember Esther Earl, who would have turned 22 on August 3rd.

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Thomas Crane Public Library.

Jul 12, 2016 by eileenf

If you're looking for book suggestions as you're participating in our Adult Summer Reading program, we can help. Below are lists, separated by geographic area and linked to our catalog so it's easy to request them. But, this is only a suggested reading list - enter any book into our logging tool for a chance to win one of six prize baskets.

The suggested reading lists are:

The baskets will all have books in addition to prizes related to the following themes:

  • Movie Night, which includes Snuggies, and boxes of Cracker Jack;
  • Tea/Coffee, with a bag of coffee, package of tea bags, and an Aeropress;
  • Paper Lovers, which includes a lined sketch pad, coloring journal, day planner, colored pencils, and erasers;
  • Techies, which includes, touch screen gloves, a TCPL flash drive, and earphones;
  • Beach Lovers, which includes a blanket, sunglasses, beach bag, and beach ball;
  • Toys/Games, which includes an electric paper airplane, decks of cards; and a magnetic poetry set.

Thank you to the Friends for sponsoring these prize baskets. Happy reading!

African Books European Books
North American Books South American Books Asian & Oceaniac Books
Jul 8, 2016 by eileenf

Thomas Crane Public Library: your gateway to amazing stories from around the globe!

Come celebrate the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Read Around the World during our Adult Summer Reading program. Expand your worldview and read great books from authors and settings in countries all over the globe. Watch our website and Facebook and Twitter feeds for inspiration. From now through September 1, adults are encouraged to read as many books as they can from different countries. You’ll get a peek into other people’s experiences and also win the opportunity to take home some cool prizes!

Here’s how it works:

  • Pick up an informational brochure at any public service desk at any one of our branches. 
  • Log the books you read online. You will need an email address; if you don't have an email address simply visit the Reference Desk or Device Advice Tuesdays from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Main library for help with setting one up.
  • Each book read earns a chance to win one of six prize baskets, which will contain books and other goodies - come by the library to see them as the summer progresses. A raffle for the baskets will be held at the end of the program.
  • We'd like to give a huge thank you to the Friends of the Library for purchasing the raffle baskets for this program!

Come to the top floor of the main library, call 617-376-1316, or email quref@ocln.org if you have any questions.

This summer, why let the kids have all the fun?

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Jun 29, 2016 by jimj

When the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in 1936 Ty Cobb was the first inductee. Baseball royalty. By far the most thrilling player of his era many argue that he was the greatest to play the game. He was also one of its most controversial. Noted for fights both on and off the field, an aggressive style (he attempted to “create a mental hazard” for the opposition), he was a fierce and fiery competitor. And after his death in 1961 something strange happened to his reputation: he became a virulent racist, who hated women and children, and was in turn hated by his peers. Leerhsen’s biography, winner of the Society of Baseball Research’s 2015 Casey Award, takes on a formidable reclamation project and tells us how this happened and how wrong the received history is. Full of whimsical detail this is the biography that America’s first sports celebrity deserves. The Boston Globe called this “the best book ever written on this American sports legend.” Check Our Catalog

Jun 22, 2016 by michellew

One morning, Sophie Dupont finds a hastily written goodbye note from her wealthy, playboy lover, Wesley.  When his brother Stephen arrives, he realizes that Sophie has been left not only heartbroken but also pregnant.  Captain Stephen Overtree proposes marriage to Sophie 'in name only' to preserve her honor and give legitimacy to his brother's child.  Just as they begin to fall in love, he is called back to the battlefront.  Wesley returns soon after, determined to win Sophie back, and she must choose between the two brothers.  This sweet and romantic story, set in Devon, England in 1815, contains no strong language or graphic violence and is a relaxing summer holiday or beach read.  The characters are complex enough to keep you engaged and Klassen builds enough situational and romantic tension to keep the love triangle from being predictable. Details of the countryside and the historical backdrop also help keep things interesting. Recommended for fans of Jane Austen or regency fiction. Check Our Catalog

Jun 20, 2016 by eileenf

In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside a gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, FL, killing 49 and injuring 53. When violence like this happens, many people sit in front of their TVs or computers, asking themselves, “What can I do to help?”

The Huffington Post has several suggestions on how to help Orlando shooting victims and their families. They include:

Books for Kids 
Books for Adults 
  • Donating Money. Equality Florida, Planting Peace, CrowdRise, and OneOrlando are just some of the organizations accepted contributions to directly aid the victims.
  • Donating Blood. Orlando has received a massive amount of blood donations from residents, but blood is always needed. Weymouth has the closest Red Cross donation center, located at 208 Main St., and there are drives happening daily in the South Shore and Boston.
  • Resisting Islamophobia and Homophobia. The Anti-Defamation League clears up myths regarding Muslim people. GLAAD has information and resources about LGBTQIA acceptance.
  • Talking About It. The GLBT National Help Center can help if you need to talk about the tragedy.

This reading list for children and their caregivers has books about dealing with death and trauma. This adult reading list offers suggestions for understanding gun culture, bigotry, and coping with traumatic events.

Jun 14, 2016 by jimj

How can you not love a book whose last chapter chapter begins, “In the morning we ate more piranhas”, right below a marvelously detailed pen-and-ink drawing of a Bird-eating spider eating a . . . bird. In this great travel book, subtitled, A Journey Between the Orinoco and the Amazon, O’Hanlon recreates the 19th century Englishman’s dogged exploration of a place where no person with any sense (but a lot of adventure) should visit. With a prim Colombian scientist and a handful of ne’er do wells only along for the money, the author mixes minute observation of this bizarre area of the world and its host of strange critters with humorous insights about himself and his incongruous crew. Curiosity and hilarity ensue. And let us not forget the long-expected rendezvous with the legendary Yanomami who are expected to murder them with poison arrows that eat flesh. A narrative with a difference and an edge. Check Our Catalog

May 31, 2016 by megana

Young and newly widowed archaeologist Charlotte leaves home with no forwarding address, fleeing the oppressive attentions of her grieving in-laws. She washes up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she rents a room on a houseboat with two other oddballs: elderly and a bit odd Grace, widowed a few years previously after a long and happy marriage, and 17-year-old Chloe, who has basically run away from home. This motley threesome becomes a family of sorts, caring for each other through Charlotte’s mourning process, Chloe’s unplanned pregnancy, and Grace’s sudden stroke. It may sound like a made-for-TV movie, but this book is a beautifully told study of loss, memory and redemption. Check Our Catalog

May 19, 2016 by eileenf

It’s the last day of civilization, and famed actor Arthur Leander dies of a heart attack. This sets in motion the events of the story, with several characters and timelines weaving in and out, painting an elegiac ode to the survival of art in this brave new world. The author considers this book literary fiction, rather than sci-fi/fantasy, and her care with the book's ideas and characters make this statement ring true. If you’re looking for an action-packed, apocalyptic tale, you may want to read Stephen King's The Stand or Robert McCammon's Swan Song. If you’d like a thoughtful meditation on what artists would do to keep our culture alive after a pandemic kills 99% of the world's population, this is the book for you. Listen to the author read a short selection from this great read in the clip below (from the 2014 National Book Award Finalists ceremony). Check Our Catalog

May 4, 2016 by jimj

Alexander von Humboldt was one of the last polymaths. He died at a time when scientific disciplines were hardening into tightly fenced and more specialized fields. Largely forgotten in the English-speaking world, at one time he was the most famous scientist of his age. His portrait was placed in the Great Exhibition in London and hung in palaces as remote as that of the King of Siam in Bangkok. His birthday was celebrated as far away as Hong Kong and one American journalist claimed, “Ask any schoolboy who Humboldt is, and the answer will be given.” Humboldt’s idea of nature as a living organism animated by dynamic forces set the stage for the modern environmental movement. This arresting biography of an ecological visionary and humanist will go a long way in restoring this strange genius to the public. Check Our Catalog.

Apr 25, 2016 by cathyd

I enjoyed listening to the women’s perspective of the Space Race and early days of NASA. This is the entertaining story of the wives of the heroes of the Mercury missions through the Apollo moon walks. These mostly military wives were transformed overnight into American celebrities. Pressured to conform to an ideal of “perfect American housewife,” these very human women had to deal with stresses of intense media attention - two families even went so far as to build their dream homes with no front windows.  With husbands gone for long stretches, the ever present possibility that they could be widowed at any time, and without any official support for their roles, they formed a close-knit band of friends that endured the tragedies and triumphs of their unique position in history. The audiobook reader has a pleasant voice and does a nice job with the accents.  The narrative and anecdotal stories of these strong women acting “happy, proud and thrilled” for the media, while hiding various secrets (such as a previous divorce, a pronounced stutter, or a genuine desire to drive their husbands’ Corvettes) brings them to life and gave me a richer, more sympathetic understanding of this fascinating time in American history. Check Our Catalog

Apr 13, 2016 by claytonc

The story of seven lives intersecting on a rainy, cold November day in 1999 in Seattle. The setting is the street demonstrations outside World Trade Organization meetings - the year the protests were huge, had amazing solidarity across diverse organizations, shut down the city, and elicited an overwhelming police response, including the National Guard. This debut novel tackles themes both personal and global, from father/son relationships, race relations, nonviolent principles and conflict, and first world / third world confrontations. Raw language fuels intense moments of action. Full of rage and a cry for humanity, the limits of compassion are explored and set against the ever-present challenge of hard reality. Check Our Catalog

Apr 11, 2016 by jimj

It’s hard to imagine a world without a weather forecast. Or a time when the vagaries of nature were considered solely the mysterious purview of the Divine. Modern climate models are indescribably complex. They combine advanced mathematics, Newtonian physics, thermodynamics, radiative transfer, particle microphysics, chemistry and biology to create forecasts that can them be projected on to increasingly tiny squares of the earth to suggest how the climate might evolve in the years ahead. All the formulas are processed by supercomputers. It is a system that for sheer complexity would have baffled, amazed and thrilled nineteenth-century scientists, who had little more to go on than their barometers, thermometers and weather maps. Moore tells the fascinating story of the pioneers who codified the atmosphere, quantified it, painted it, mapped it, described it and predicted it as never before. A tale full of powerful personalities, serendipity, unbelievable attention to detail and sheer genius. Check Our Catalog

Apr 9, 2016 by amandap

April is National Poetry Month for kids and grownups alike!

Nursery Rhymes

    Poetry Books

    Novels in Verse

Have you been reading some poetry this month? Writing some poems? Not sure where to start? Not sure if poetry is for you? Take a look at books of poetry and some online poetry resources and find out!

You could spend all month just reading Shel Silverstein and still have plenty to read come May. You could also branch out, discover some new poets and poems. No matter what you like, we've probably got some poetry you'll enjoy. You can find poetry collections full of different poets, poetry books all by one person. You can find poems from the United States, England, Africa, Finland, Japan, China, and more! How about novels told in poems instead of prose? Sure, we can help you find those too. Some poems are serious, some are funny. Some are even different shapes, like stars or sharks or piles of leaves. 

Take a look at the book suggestions in the sidebar to the right, or you can explore some of the websites below:

Mar 31, 2016 by claytonc

Charlie Asher almost died in A Dirty Job. Thanks to Audrey, his Buddhist-nun lover, he survived, but now he’s stuck inside a fourteen-inch high body made from lunchmeat and spare animal parts. He doesn’t want to scare his adorable seven-year old daughter, Sophie, so he hasn’t seen her in a long time, which is really sad. Did I mention that she’s the Luminatus and has (or at least recently had) dominion over Death? In most author’s hands this would be the entire book. For Moore, this is just where it starts - it gets a lot freakier from here. While it’s certainly not required that you read Moore’s books in any logical order (logic only loosely applies in these quarters), if you like this, you’ll want to seek out more from this wonderful, zany mind. Check Our Catalog

Mar 23, 2016 by megana

A minor payroll fraud turns into a risky year-long undercover investigation for Welsh Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths. Assuming the identity of down-on-her-luck, intermittently homeless Fiona Grey, she abandons her regular life and descends into the dangerous world of highly organized crime. In the world of police procedurals, Fiona is a unique character with her mysterious origins and unusual history of mental illness. This is the third book in the series but you could either start with this one or go back to Talking to the Dead if you like to read books in order. This series has it all: absorbing plots, an arresting narrative voice, and exceptional writing. Don’t miss them! Check Our Catalog

Mar 18, 2016 by claytonc

The lead voice of the Pretenders waited for her parents to die before telling this story about her early years. Born in Ohio and a student at Kent State when the students were shot by the National Guard in May, 1970, Hynde was a flower child who hung out with scary bikers then moved to London and was tight with the burgeoning punk movement, almost marrying Syd Vicious (to help with her legal troubles). I listened to this as an audiobook, read by Rosanna Arquette, and thought it was wonderful. Brutally honest, self-reflective, and un-apologetic (mostly), I gained a newfound respect for this singer and her work. The drug use is rather extreme and she is not sympathetic to many (except non-human animals - she’s been vegetarian for decades), there are no blinders on here - it is raw, unfiltered, and remarkably clear. Check Our Catalog

Mar 1, 2016 by jimj

Lonely and depressed A. J. Fikry owns a bookstore on Alice Island off the coast of Massachusetts.  His wife has died. He’s a literary snob and only stocks titles that satisfy his old-fashioned tastes. Rather unsurprisingly, he has few friends and fewer customers. Then his most valuable possession, a first edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s Tamerlane, is stolen. But everything changes when someone unexpected shows up in the children’s section of his bookstore. Plot twists abound and are wonderfully all tied up with the perfect amount of humor, sadness and grace. An old-fashioned story of books, bookstores and the people who love both. Check Our Catalog


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