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Westerly Library is now available by appointment only. Some sections of the first floor will be available for browsing material and to utilize the public computer lab, by reservation only. During this initial reopening phase we are unable to accommodate walk-ins. To make a reservation please call 401.596.2877 ext 930 for Circulation and ext 311 for the computer lab. Please check back for updates! Library Takeout Service is still available via the Books & Materials tab for contact-free pickup and the book drop is now open for material returns.

Staff Picks

August 2020

Sara C. recommends:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I listened to the playaway but I think I would have preferred reading this one. It was an interesting prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy.

From thehungergames.fandom.com: The novel is set in the world of Panem 64 years before the events of the original Hunger Games trilogy on the morning of the reaping of the 10th Hunger Games—well before the lifetime of the story’s protagonists Katniss Everdeen. The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days—as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet—provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.

Young adult fantasy

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The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

I love historical fiction especially when it involves art. I am really enjoying it and I look forward to reading more by this author.

From goodreads.com: In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain--a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present. 

Historical fiction

 

Stacy C. recommends:

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

From amazon.com: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink…

Young adult ficiton

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

From amazon.com: Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won't let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

Fiction

 

Allynn W. recommends:

Hinterland (2013-2016 television series)

Here is a DVD set in my favorite place in the world, Aberystwyth. Kind of gritty police procedural set against a remote seaside town. From imdb.com: A noir crime drama set in Aberystwyth, Wales, where troubled DCI Tom Mathias solves murders while searching for redemption.

Drama

 

Bethany A. recommends:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

From amazon.com: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute...and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

Young adult

 

Cassie S. recommends:

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

It's a fascinating - and heart wrenching - look at a family of 12 children, 6 of whom are diagnosed with schizophrenia. The book examines the challenges that the diagnosed children face, as well as the impact it has on the other children and the family as a whole, made more complicated by the fact that doctors and scientists still did not fully understand the disease. It's a heavy subject, which the author tells with a great deal of compassion, and ultimately it is a story of hope, as we see how the Galvin family informed decades of research on schizophrenia and helped improve treatment for future generations.

Biography

 

Keara B. recommends:

Kingdom (2019– television series)

It is gruesomely fantastic. I greatly enjoy Korea/Chinese/Taiwanese period dramas/ series.

From imdb.com: While strange rumors about their ill king grip a kingdom, the crown prince becomes their only hope against a mysterious plague overtaking the land. Warning: Contains Graphic content.

Drama

 

Brigitte H. recommends:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

From amazon.com: For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.

Fiction

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The Culper Ring Series by Brad Meltzer (The Inner Circle, The Fifth Assassin, The President's Shadow)

From bradmeltzer.com about The Inner Circle: Beecher White, a young archivist, spends his days working with the most important documents of the U.S. government. He has always been the keeper of other people’s stories, never a part of the story himself...

Until now.

When Clementine Kaye, Beecher’s first childhood crush, shows up at the National Archives asking for his help tracking down her long-lost father, Beecher tries to impress her by showing her the secret vault where the President of the United States privately reviews classified documents. After they accidentally happen upon a priceless artifact-a two-hundred-year-old dictionary that once belonged to George Washington-hidden underneath a desk chair, Beecher and Clementine find themselves suddenly entangled in a web of deception, conspiracy, and murder.

Soon a man is dead and Beecher is on the run as he races to learn the truth behind this mysterious national treasure. His search will lead him to discover a coded and ingenious puzzle that conceals a disturbing secret from the founding of our nation. It is a secret, Beecher soon discovers, that some believe is worth killing for.

Thriller

 

Betsey M. recommends:

You (2018– television series)

From imdb.com: A dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is transfixed by.

Drama


Caroline B. recommends:

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks

It’s the new book by Max Brooks who also wrote World War Z which is another favorite of mine.

Publisher’s summary: As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined… until now. The journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing—and too earth-shattering in its implications—to be forgotten.

Science fiction

 

Amanda S. recommends:

Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

From goodreads.com: The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.

Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.

Mystery

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Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard

From goodreads.com: This new classic of American country cooking proves that the food of Deep Run, North Carolina—Vivian's home—is as rich as any culinary tradition in the world.

Organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level--from beginners to confident cooks—Deep Run Roots—features time-honored simple preparations, extraordinary meals from her acclaimed restaurant Chef and the Farmer, and recipes that bring new traditions to life. Home cooks will find photographs for every single recipe.

As much a storybook as it is a cookbook, Deep Run Roots imparts the true tale of Southern food: rooted in family and tradition, yet calling out to the rest of the world.

Cookbook

 

Colleen W. recommends:

The Room (2003 film)

The Room is a masterpiece among bad movies. Prepare yourself, and make sure that you're not confusing this with the Oscar Best Picture nominee Room, because this film is bad. But, it's so bad it's good. Your questions will not be answered, plot lines will go unresolved, new characters will appear and disappear with no explanation - it should be frustrating, but it's hilarious. Though originally created to be an epic drama, The Room turned into a hilarious comedy and a cult classic.

Drama

 

Nina W. recommends:

Schuyler Sisters Series by Beatriz Williams (The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Tiny Little Thing, Along the Infinite Sea)

These novels focus on the three Schuyler sisters. These books were very entertaining, gripping reads. I went through all three of them really quickly, one after the other! Another nice thing about them is that each novel is also quite different from the others so there was variety among them. 

First we have The Secret Life of Violet Grant, (from the publisher’s summary) in which Vivian Schuyler lands a great job at a magazine, but in the Manhattan of 1964, is dismissed by her editor and her ambitions aren’t taken seriously. However, a mysterious package arrives on her doorstep from overseas and leads her to explore the life of an aunt she never knew, which might give her the big break she has been waiting for. 

Novel #2, Tiny Little Thing: Tiny Hardcastle nee Schuyler tries hard to conform to the life she's been groomed to live. She's married to a promising up-and-coming politician, and when she starts to see the cracks in her life she doesn't know what to do. To make matters worse, someone has discovered an indiscretion from two years ago and is trying to blackmail her.  

Novel #3: Along the Infinite Sea: In the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler's problems are in a class of their own. To find a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries—the result of an affair with a married politician—she fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction. 

But the car's new owner, the glamorous Annabelle has her own secrets: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle's life before the Second World War stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts. 

Historical fiction

 

Sandra K. recommends:

Mr. Robot (2015-2019 television series)

Elliot is a brilliant cyber-security engineer by day, and vigilantly hacker by night. If you’re worried about the role of technology and omnipotent corporations in your life, this is a series for you. And that’s all you need and should really know going into this show, one of those series where I’d say it’s best to go in fresh and spoiler free for max enjoyment.

Drama

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Simple Happy Kitchen by Miki Mottes

Absolutely adorable and shows you how easy and fun a vegan diet can be! From amazon.com: Simple Happy Kitchen is this first illustrated guide for a plant-based vegan lifestyle. It is packed with humorous and engaging illustrations designed to help you and your family learn more about plant-based nutrition. The book takes the reader through simple steps needed to live a healthy, nutrient-filled, compassionate life.

Cookbook