The literary world is a little emptier today after the death of renowned Swedish author Mankell, a master of Nordic noir and creator of the character Kurt Wallander, the morose and self-doubting police inspector investigating crimes in a changing Sweden. Mankell also wrote non-Wallander novels, plays, children’s books and screenplays. If you haven’t read any of his work and enjoy literary crime fiction that digs much deeper than your average ephemeral thriller, start with the first Wallander novel, Faceless Killers, and see if you get hooked. Check Our Catalog 
This week is Banned Books Week, a time that libraries take a look  at which books have been challenged and by whom. Since 1982, about 11,300 books  have been challenged for content that some consider to be offensive - content that includes sex, drug use, homosexuality, politics and offensive language. Here is a list of contemporary books  that are challenged; readers can find many  in our network.
This year TCPL is kicking it old school - remembering a time  in which Boston was known for banning not only books but also songs, plays and movies. Founded by Puritans, Boston has a long history of censoring books, which began in the 1600s. As other morally conservative immigrants came to Boston, primarily the Irish, who began arriving in the 1820s, the practice of banning books continued. But the actual phrase "banned in Boston" originated in the late 19th century when American moral crusader Anthony Comstock began a campaign to suppress vice. The phrase “banned in Boston” became known nationwide to mean anything that was lurid or “naughty.” Boston began to be thought of as not as sophisticated as other cities that didn’t practice widespread banning , which now extended to music and film. (“Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers was banned here as well.)
As the practice of banning died down in the late 1960s, Boston began to have a more liberal reputation. The books in this display (which can be found on the second floor of the main library) are some of the works that Boston banned from the 1880s to the 1960s. Check one out and ask yourself, would this be considered “naughty” today?
How a daring band of misfits mastered the lost secrets of strength and endurance. This is a really engaging non-fiction read that tackles several diverse ideas and weaves them together with a very compelling story. It opens in WWII with the kidnapping of a Nazi general from the heart of occupied Crete. It travels back to the origins of the Greek mythical heroes and takes a detour visiting moden urban heroes practicing parkour. It challenges conventional wisdom about hydration (how much is what you know based upon messaging from beverage manufacturers?) Mostly importantly, this book inspires a fresh look at our past and what we can each, personally create of our ourselves and our collective future. I've found myself talking about it frequently since I read it and was inspired by it during my recent 400+ bicycle adventure from Bar Harbor to Boston. Check Our Catalog 
A horror-fantasy novel about librarians (who are also formidable gods) - with a bit of humor and romance too? I’m in! Author Scott Hawkins has been likened to Joe Hill and Neil Gaiman, and I think his first foray into fiction deserves this comparison. It takes a few chapters to really figure out what’s going on, but if you stick with it, the payoff is huge. Mysterious protagonist Carolyn is making plans to take over the library, which wields immense power over the universe, after the librarians’ brutal adopted Father disappears. But she has a lot of competitors who are also vying for control of the Library - some of her adopted siblings among them. Throw in a couple of “average” mortals - Steve, a plumber whom Carolyn manipulates to help her, and Erwin, an ex-military officer who tries to control the escalating violence, and you’ve got yourself one surreal adventure. I'm hoping that Hawkins continues the characters' stories sometime in the future, but, if not, this story is still a great standalone novel. Check Our Catalog 
Flora 717 is a sanitation worker bee, navigating the strict hierarchy of her beloved hive. She’s also curious, ambitious and unusually talented. A rare chance to rise above her low-caste estate comes when circumstances threaten the hive’s survival. Work and sacrifice conflict with an overwhelming maternal love and lead her to unthinkable and dangerous deeds. Paull’s imaginative prose protects the story from artifice. You’ll never look at the lowly honey bee in your backyard in the same way after reading this thrilling tale. Check Our Catalog 
Elmore Green is an only child, and he likes it that way. He has his own room, his own jellybeans, and best of all, his parents think he is “simply the funniest, cleverest, most adorable person they had ever seen.” Everything changes one day when the new small person arrives. The new small person follows Elmore around, copies whatever he does, and licks his jellybeans -- but he also shares his toys and keeps Elmore company when he’s had a scary dream. Lauren Child’s charming illustrations and humorous story perfectly capture the relationship between two young siblings and show how everything’s somehow funnier “with two people laughing than just one.” Check Our Catalog 
Desperate to conquer your addiction to the hit HBO series The Wire? Everyone curious to see how the show works in book form - here it is. While Baltimore has been replaced by Dempsey, New Jersey and Rocco and Strike fill in for McNulty and Bodie, Price's work paints for us the same tortured image recognizable to those who have experienced The Wire: an American inner city on fire. Check Our Catalog 
My name is Nick Weinstein. I’m a scriptwriter for a low budget sci-fi TV series, Chronicles of the Intrepid. The people I wrote in my scripts exist. I know because I met them right there in the flesh. I could reach out and touch them. Whenever I kill one of them off, they actually die. To me, it’s just putting down words on a page. To them, it’s getting eaten by a Borgovian Land Worm, or shot to smithereens by a rogue robot, or being eaten by a bear. Think about that. Just writing down “BOB is consumed by badgers” in a script means that somewhere in the universe, some poor schmuck named Bob is chased down by ravenous mustelids. Sure, it sounds funny when I write it like that. But if you were Bob? It would suck. And then you would be dead, thanks to me. I need to find out how to stop this from happening. Lives depend on it. Check Our Catalog 
Never have I enjoyed a book so much in which the all of the main characters were so unsympathetic. But that was part of its charm. We do want to know what happens to these broken people - alternating between an eagerness for punishment for their sins and a hope that they can start anew. The book, a fairly straight suspense/crime novel, centers upon a woman’s disappearance, and another woman’s experience as a very unreliable witness. We actually jump between three women’s perspectives, which come together nicely near the end of the book. I was kept guessing until the very end. So if you’re still on the waiting list for this gripping piece of entertainment, stay strong. It’s worth it! Check Our Catalog 
A hilarious and entertaining investigation into the messy realm that is modern dating, Aziz Ansari provides comic relief upheld by facts, anecdotes and research. Reading the book is not unlike watching one of his stand up specials, as he projects his humor on different cultural perspectives of relationships, online dating and texting. What makes Modern Romance so enjoyable is Ansari’s own lens and light judging of the socially awkward, weird and desperate in all of us. Anyone who has ever waited for a text, anticipated a date, or played mind games will find many moments of relatable laughter in Modern Romance. Check Our Catalog 
Abruptly evicted from their apartment in the city, the author and her husband scramble to find a home for their growing family out in the country. A departure from “The Lottery,” the dystopian short story for which Jackson is best known, Life Among the Savages tells the true story of Jackson and her patient, somewhat oblivious, husband raising four young children in rural Vermont. Fans of Betty MacDonald’s Onions in the Stew or Tina Fey’s Bossypants will enjoy this hilarious and eloquent account of a writer trying to maintain some semblance of order in the midst of chaotic family life. Check Our Catalog 
Edward Bunker knows about the Animal Factory. Having spent his formative years behind bars in some of this country's most notorious prisons, his knowledge came naturally. Luckily for us, instead of submitting to the dark abyss of prison life, Bunker invested his time in writing. The results are some of the most vivid portrayals of convict life, both in and out of prison, that I have ever read. Ostensibly a tale of two men trying to survive their time in San Quentin, Animal Factory is a searing indictment of a society that would rather see men transformed into animals than into rulers of the free world. This book is available through interlibrary loan using the recently updated Commonwealth Catalog .
A beautifully crafted novel, Echo tells the intertwining stories of Friedrich, a 12-year-old in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power; Mike, an 11-year-old orphan in depression-era Pennsylvania; and Ivy, the daughter of migrant workers in Southern California, one year after Pearl Harbor. The thread connecting the kids’ stories is music, specifically a harmonica with almost magical qualities. The characters’ stories are richly told, and Muñoz Ryan’s writing makes the book a joy to read. Echo is perfect for ages 10-14 and is enthusiastically recommended for fans of historical fiction and/or magical realism! Check Our Catalog 
There is a good reason the Boston Globe has called Boyle one of the very best American novelists since Twain. His stories at their best capture several ways of looking at ourselves and our times. His latest novel is set mostly in current-day Northern California. It follows the intersecting lives of three individuals: retired high school principal Sten Stenson, his mentally disturbed son Adam, and a simple-minded right-wing anarchist conspiracy theorist, Sara. Sara and Adam become lovers, despite the nearly 20 year difference in their ages. Sten struggles to come to grips with his personal relationship to violence, as an ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, and struggles to relate to his ill son. Sara is blinded by the passion (and phsyical beauty) of Adam, and is hungry for attention. A penetrating and very engaging look at American psyches. Check Our Catalog 
While Patton, Eisenhower, Bradley, Montgomery, MacArthur, Nimitz and a host of field commanders were waging war across the world, George C. Marshall was running it, overseeing logistics, training and personnel as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1939-1945. Marshall’s achievements were summed up by an admiring Harry Truman: “he won the war.” Churchill called him the “Organizer of Victory.” But in this fascinating and fair biography Marshall’s legacy is critically reviewed and found wanting. Even the “Marshall Plan,” for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize, was not authored by him. Whatever the reality, his life and work left a deep imprint on American life and the world during the mid-twentieth-century years of crisis and trial. Check Our Catalog 
“Smart, stoned neurofiction for the posteverything world” is how Cory Doctorow summed up this engaging thriller. Set in the near future, a group of friends designed a drug to solve many of the world’s longest-lasting problems. The drug allows the user to directly communicate with their own, personal god. Were it to make it to the market it could eradicate all religion - who needs an interpreter when you can have a private conversation with your deity? However, at a celebratory party on the cusp of introducing this drug to the world, something goes horribly wrong and one of the friends is murdered. They make a pact to hide the drug and never let it hurt anyone else. Fast-forward 10 years. A smart-drug revolution and the evolution of 3D printers has empowered any high-school student to easily print, modify, and even invent their own drugs. Lyda is a resident of a psych-ward when she discovers that the original drug has very likely been released. She has to track it down, deal with past and current lovers, figure out motivations of her past-friends, and dodge authorities, across international boundaries to try and reconcile with her past. An exhilarating read! Check Our Catalog 
It's the summer before starting middle school, and Astrid is ready to spend it hanging out with her best friend, Nicole. The two have always done everything together, so why would this summer be any different? For one thing, Nicole has no interest in attending roller derby camp with Astrid and has signed up for dance camp instead. Over the course of the summer, Astrid learns that friends sometimes grow apart, and she learns how to work harder than she’s ever worked in pursuit of roller derby glory! A spunky graphic novel with heart, Roller Girl perfectly captures what it’s like to be a girl with an edge, at an age when everything is in flux. Check Our Catalog 
Misadventures in Hunting, Fishing, and the Wilds of Suburbia.
Heavey has chronicled his tales of hapless (and hilarious) incompetence as suburban outdoorsman on the back pages of Field & Stream for years. This collection of his best yarns explores the often absurd relationship between the great outdoors and the duties of the modern dad. Whether he’s discussing the always useful “Rut Strategies for the Married Hunter” or helpfully exploring the moral issues of “The Art of Lying” his prose is a masterful blend of humor and pathos. These make great out-loud reads. Warning: you’ll find a few stories here that will find you heading for some quiet place to weep. Check Our Catalog .
How do libraries survive the age of Google while simultaneously bracing for slashed budgets? In BiblioTech, John Palfrey provides a guide for libraries in the digital age. Some of his proposed ideas might be met with resistance from those hanging on to the library of their youth; however, “nostalgia can actually be dangerous,” Palfrey cautions. “Thinking of libraries as they were ages ago and wanting them to remain the same is the last thing we should want for them.” Instead, Palfry posits, libraries should embrace advances in technology to lead the way in providing easy-to-use, easy-to-access digital information. A thought-provoking and timely read for library users, supporters, and critics. Check Our Catalog