The Exiles Christina Baker Kline

The Exiles

A powerful, emotionally resonant novel that captures the hardship, oppression, opportunity and hope of four women’s lives—three English convicts and an orphaned Aboriginal girl—in nineteenth-century Australia.

While most English convicts transported to Australia were men, 25,000 were women. Kline explores the development of Australia from a fresh perspective, telling the story of this fascinating, blood-soaked land and its legacy with the grace, beauty, empathy, and insight—and the rich, full-bodied characters—that are the hallmarks of her work.

A Piece of the World kline

A Piece of the World

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists. Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

Orphan Train Kline

Orphan Train

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude? As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

For more information about Christina Baker Kline’s book, click here.


Children's Book Week 2020 art

You don’t have to convince anyone over at HPL about the magic and fun of great children’s books. We love the idea of heading off on an adventure, or having a good laugh, or being inspired by great people’s lives.

Denise Martens, HPL’s head children’s librarian, has put together a list of books that do just that. Learn all about the animals in the forest and about the greatness of Kobe Bryant. Read the story of Black life in America. Immerse yourself in a rainbow dream world. And have a laugh with the newest installment of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

All available at HPL!

Animal Families Forest

Animal Families: Forest
By Nosy Crow
Illustrated by Jane Ormes

Find out the different names for mother and father animals that live in the forest — and then lift the flap to find the babies and learn what they are called. This striking, satisfying introduction to animal families features screen-printed artwork and bold neon ink to capture the attention and imagination of babies and toddlers.

The Undefeated

The Undefeated
By Kwame Alexnader
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree. Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Deep End

The Deep End (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 15)
By Jeff Kinney

In The Deep End, book 15 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series from #1 international bestselling author Jeff Kinney, Greg Heffley and his family hit the road for a cross-country camping trip, ​ready for the adventure of a lifetime. But things take an unexpected turn, and they find themselves stranded at an RV park that’s not exactly a summertime paradise. When the skies open up and the water starts to rise, the Heffleys wonder if they can save their vacation—or if they’re already in too deep.

Coco the Crocodile

Coco the Crocodile
By Ankh

Bunny becomes fast friends with Coco the Crocodile in a rainbow dream world. But what happens when Coco comes to life in Bunny’s real world? Find out in this wordless graphic novel where the artwork brings the story to life.


Who Was Kobe Bryant

Who Is Kobe Bryant?
By Ellen Labrecque

Kobe Bryant was just an eighteen-year-old high-school basketball player when he decided to enter the National Basketball Association’s draft. Though he was the thirteenth overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets, he would never play a single game for them. Instead, Kobe was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would spend his entire twenty-season career, winning five championships and numerous awards. Author Ellen Labreque takes readers through each exciting moment, from his iconic dunks to his 81-point game–all the milestones that span Kobe Bryant’s legendary career and legacy.


The Dirt Diary

The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski

A hilarious tale about the weight of responsibility that comes from a secret-filled diary…

Rachel can’t believe she has to give up her Saturdays to scrubbing other people’s toilets. So. Gross. But she kinda, sorta stole $287.22 from her college fund that she’s got to pay back ASAP or her mom will ground her for life. But Rachel picks up more than smelly socks on the job. As maid to some of the most popular kids in school, Rachel suddenly has all the dirt on the 8th grade in-crowd. Her formerly boring diary is now filled with juicy secrets. And when her crush offers to pay her to spy on his girlfriend, Rachel has to decide if she’s willing to get her hands dirty…

The Dutch House

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

Ann Patchett, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth, delivers her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are.


Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance by Adonia E. Lugo

Bicycle/Race paints an unforgettable picture of Los Angeles—and the United States—from the perspective of two wheels. This is a book of borderlands and intersections, a cautionary tale about the dangers of putting infrastructure before culture, and a coming-of-age story about power and identity. In the tradition of City of Quartz, this book will forever change the way you see Los Angeles, race and class in the United States, and the streets and people around you wherever you live.


Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

New Kid by Jerry Craft

New Kid by Jerry Craft

Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature! 

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

This middle grade graphic novel is an excellent choice for tween readers, including for summer reading.

Evelyn Del Ray is Moving Away

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

From Newbery Medalist Meg Medina comes the bittersweet story of two girls who will always be each other’s número uno, even though one is moving away.

Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela’s best friend. They do everything together and even live in twin apartments across the street from each other: Daniela with her mami and hamster, and Evelyn with her mami, papi, and cat. But not after today—not after Evelyn moves away. Until then, the girls play amid the moving boxes until it’s time to say goodbye, making promises to keep in touch, because they know that their friendship will always be special. The tenderness of Meg Medina’s beautifully written story about friendship and change is balanced by Sonia Sánchez’s colorful and vibrant depictions of the girls’ urban neighborhood.

How to be an Antiracist

How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves. Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

Book of the Little Ax

Book of the Little Axe by Lauren Francis-Sharma

Ambitious and masterfully-wrought, Lauren Francis-Sharma’s Book of the Little Axe is an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion.

In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rendón quietly but purposefully rebels against the life others expect her to lead. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house, for it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she, alone, views as her birthright. But when her homeland changes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners―Rosa’s family among them―will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom.

Redhead by the Side of the Road

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler


From the beloved Anne Tyler, a sparkling new novel about misperception, second chances, and the sometimes elusive power of human connection.

Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, cautious to a fault behind the steering wheel, he seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life. But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend (he refuses to call anyone in her late thirties a “girlfriend”) tells him she’s facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah’s door claiming to be his son. These surprises, and the ways they throw Micah’s meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever. An intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who finds those around him just out of reach, and a funny, joyful, deeply compassionate story about seeing the world through new eyes, Redhead by the Side of the Road is a triumph, filled with Anne Tyler’s signature wit and gimlet-eyed observation.

The Cardboard Kingdom

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters–and their own inner demons–on one last quest before school starts again.

In the Cardboard Kingdom, you can be anything you want to be–imagine that!
The Cardboard Kingdom affirms the power of imagination and play during the most important years of adolescent identity-searching and emotional growth.




1 – The Darwin Affair

Darwin Affair Book Cover

London, June 1860: When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later—and only a block away—Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot. Was Victoria really the assassin’s target? Are those closest to the Crown hiding something? And who is the shadowy figure witnesses describe as having lifeless, coal-black eyes?

2 – The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half

From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

3 – Midnight Sun: Twilight Series, Book 5 by Stephenie Meyer

Midnight Sun

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

4 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore

Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence?

5 – How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

How to be an Antiracist

From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves. “The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”—The New York Times

6 – The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds

Causing mass hysteria as listeners of its 1938 radio broadcast believed a Martian invasion of Earth really was taking place, H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds is perhaps the most famous novel of its genre. This 1898 story has spawned films, radio and television series and comic-book adaptions, and its popularity endures today.

7 – Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson


In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

8 – The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. Enter Xander Spence–he’s tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. But just when Xander’s loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?

9 – Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison

Playing in the Dark

An immensely persuasive work of literary criticism that opens a new chapter in the American dialogue on race — and promises to change the way we read American literature. Morrison shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree—and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires.

10 – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow

Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.


11 – Untamed by Glennon Doyle


There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this?

12 – Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary Trump

Too much and never enough

In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric.

13 – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. What Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

14 – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

15 – Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

twice in a blue moon

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment WeeklyMy Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it.




What have people been reading around Hartford this past month? Here’s HPL’s top ten e-books checked out this past month:

1. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

How to be an Antiracist

From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a groundbreaking approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

Named one of the best books of the year by  The New York Times Book Review • Time • NPR • The Washington Post • Shelf Awareness • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly


2. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half

From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. A story of absolute, universal timelessness …For any era, it’s an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it’s piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be….” – Entertainment Weekly


3. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

The Glass Hotel

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, an exhilarating novel set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events-a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea.

New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Bustle, Buzzfeed, GoodReads, Houston Chronicle, Writer’s Digest, Medium, Washington Independent Review of Books, The Millions, Boston Globe, USA Today, and Women’s Day Most Anticipated Book of 2020


4. White Fragility: Why It Is So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

White Fragility

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.


5. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys

Winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize

In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.


6. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

Ann Patchett, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth, delivers her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are.

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, The Washington Post; O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Refinery29, and Buzzfeed.


7. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.


8. White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

White Rage

From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America.


9. So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want To Talk About Race

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.


10. Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I'm No Longer Talking About Race

Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today.


Some great titles just fell outside of this month’s top ten:

11. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness Michelle Alexander
12. The Family Upstairs: A Novel Lisa Jewell
13. Untamed Glennon Doyle
14. 28 Summers Elin Hilderbrand
15. Camino Winds John Grisham
16. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: The Hunger Games Series, Book 0 Suzanne Collins
17. Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man Mary Trump
18. The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir  John Bolton
19. Love Hard Nalini Singh
20. The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work Vishen Lakhiani


The Library Book
by Susan Orlean
Published 2018
Review by Kaitlin


Available at Downtown Library


Spring 1986 alarms sounded at the Los Angeles Public Library and a heavy smoke billowed out of the great building.  Hundreds of thousands of books were lost and even more damaged.  To this day, the mystery of who started the legendary fire, remains unsolved.

The Library Book combines a mix of many different subjects to create an exquisitely woven, page-turning novel.  Starting with the fire itself, running through the history of the Los Angeles Public Library and its many librarians and finishing up with the future of the library in the years to come, The Library Book has a little bit for everyone, as do modern libraries today.

Deadly Class- Reagan Youth
by Rick Remender; Illustrator: Wesley Craig  &  Lee Loughridge
Published 2014
Review by Johana

Held at the Dwight Library.


The premise feels familiar, young teen orphan having a hard time growing up and fitting in at school, but then you mix in the fact that the school Marcus has been recruited to is a school for assassins.  Normally the cliques consist of jocks, preps, nerds, and so on but in this high school you attend classes with children of Yakuza members, KBG agents, white nationalists, South American Drug Lords, CIA/FBI agents, and so on. Though the writing’s is fun and fast-paced it’s really the illustrations that shine in this book. This novel takes place in the 80s and the illustrators do an amazing job getting you to feel the underbelly of that timeline from the grittiness and color palette choices.  This author uses memories from his own youth such as drug usage, isolation, violence, depression, poverty and just amps it up to an even darker level.  I look forward to continuing the series.

The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings 
by Amy Tan
Published 2004
Review by Johana

Available at the Downtown Library



Though I’m a huge fan of Amy Tan, I’m not the biggest fan of memoirs so I skeptically picked up this book and boy was I blown away.  Being able to see things through the mind of Tan and seeing what inspires, motivates, and challenges her was phenomenal.  If you’ve read her previous works this book provides insight into what went into the creation of them and if you haven’t read then it provides the reader with a view into the the mind of a writer.  How for Tan a word isn’t chosen solely based on it’s meaning but also the way it feels on the tongue when saying it, the sound of it, the nostalgia even.  

Tan delves into her relationship with her mother, her cultural identity, history of family mental diseases, along with other difficult times in her life but it doesn’t come off as critical of others.  In her sharing of this we see her also trying to analyze herself and her life.



The following titles – and more – will be on the shelves of Hartford Public Library, beginning December 24. If the title is not at your closest branch, place a hold and it will be delivered there for you. All our titles are in our catalog; you may search it at any time.

(Summaries from publishers)


Love for Imperfect Things: How to accept yourself in a world striving for perfection 
by Haemin Sunim (12/24)

Available at Camp Field, Downtown, and Dwight.

Many of us respond to the pressures of life by turning inward and ignoring problems, sometimes resulting in anxiety or depression. Others react by working harder at the office, at school, or at home, hoping that this will make ourselves and the people we love happier. But what if being yourself is enough? Just as we are advised on airplanes to take our own oxygen first before helping others, we must first be at peace with ourselves before we can be at peace with the world around us.

In this beautiful follow-up to his international bestseller The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Zen Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim turns his trademark wisdom to the art of self-care, arguing that only by accepting yourself–and the flaws that make you who you are–can you have compassionate and fulfilling relationships with your partner, your family, and your friends. With more than thirty-five full-color illustrations, Love for Imperfect Things will appeal to both your eyes and your heart, and help you learn to love yourself, your life, and everyone in it.



My Greek Table: Authentic flavors and modern home cooking from my kitchen to yours
by Diane Kochilas (12/24)

Available Downtown.

Inspired by her travels and family gatherings, the recipes and stories Diane Kochilas shares in My Greek Table celebrate the variety of food and the culture of Greece. Her Mediterranean meals, crafted from natural ingredients and prepared in the region’s traditional styles—as well as innovative updates to classic favorites—cover a diverse range of appetizers, main courses, and desserts to create raucously happy feasts, just like the ones Diane enjoys with her family when they sit down at her table.

Perfect for home cooks, these recipes are easy-to-make so you can add Greece’s delicious dishes to your culinary repertoire. With simple-to-follow instructions for salads, meze, vegetables, soup, grains, savory pies, meat, fish, and sweets, you’ll soon be serving iconic fare and new twists on time-honored recipes on your own Greek table for family and friends, including:

— Kale, Apple, and Feta Salad
— Baklava Oatmeal
— Avocado-Tahini Spread
— Baked Chicken Keftedes
— Retro Feta-Stuffed Grilled Calamari
— Portobello Mushroom Gyro
— Quinoa Spanakorizo
— Quick Pastitsio Ravioli
— Aegean Island Stuffed Lamb
— My Big Fat Greek Mess—a dessert of meringues, Greek sweets, toasted almonds and tangy yogurt

Illustrated throughout with color photographs featuring both the food and the country, My Greek Table is a cultural delicacy for cooks and foodies alike.


Zero Sugar Cookbook: Lose up to a pound a day and eat your way to a lean & healthy you!
by David Zinczenko (12/31)

Available at Camp Field.

With Zero Sugar Diet, #1 New York Times bestselling author David Zinczenko continued his twenty-year mission to help Americans live their happiest and healthiest lives, uncovering revolutionary new research that explained why you can’t lose weight—showing that it’s not your fault! The true culprit is sugar—specifically added sugars—which food manufacturers sneak into almost everything we eat, from bread to cold cuts to yogurt, peanut butter, pizza, and even “health” foods.

Now, with Zero Sugar Cookbook, Zinczenko shows how you, too, can melt away belly fat, boost your energy levels and metabolism, improve your gut health, and take control of your health.




The Boy
by Tami Hoag (12/31)

Available Downtown and at Dwight.

When a 7-year-old boy is brutally murdered at the same time his 13-year-old babysitter goes missing, detectives Nick and Annie sift through a grieving mother’s troubled past to uncover the truth. By the best-selling author of Night Sins.





Is there something else you would like to see on our shelves? Let us know!

December is a slow month for new releases, so our usual Tuesday post wasn’t published. As a special bonus, however, a few staff members and I are sharing our reviews of some of the books we have read over the past year. All of them are available at HPL, so check them out!


Adult Fiction

Available Downtown and as an e-book.

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
by Stuart Turton
Review by Bridget

Be prepared for mild, but not unpleasant confusion when you read The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton.  This creative novel will pull you in as you literally travel within eight different characters – each of whom has some connection to the death of Ms. Hardcastle. The plot and timelines can be a challenge to follow, but readers who enjoy a good mystery will find it worth the effort as the author slowly reveals the entire narrative through the eyes and experiences of different characters and points of view.  The timeline is both linear and circular – lots of jumps between recent past and present.  This is a period piece, set in what seems to be the early 20th Century on an aging English manor estate; it’s a murder mystery, but with a good dose of mystical fantasy. This is Turton’s first novel, an impressive debut!  I’ll certainly keep an eye out for future books by this author.


Available Downtown, at Park, and as an e-book.

Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel
Review by Johana

Station Eleven is the kind of book that once you finish you need to give yourself a minute to pause for everything to sink in…..and then once that moment‘s over you want to push it into everyone’s hands to read so you can discuss the overwhelming magnificence of it.  Right from the beginning this book grips you with intrigue when a famous actor playing King Lear suffers from a heart attack on stage and dies.  We then learn that there has been an outbreak of some kind and that it’s not only fast acting but also  spreads quickly, resulting in the death of 99% of the world’s population.   The main parts of the story are told 20 years into the future and told through the perspectives of multiple characters, including a group of musicians and actors striving to keep art and Shakespeare alive in this new electricity-less world.  We meet a paparazzo turned doctor, religious cults, a comic book writer, a woman that had been 8 years old when she played an extra during the King Lear performance, an archivist, and other fascinating characters.  “Survival is Insufficient,” is the main theme that resonates in this novel.  Mandel does an impressive job weaving everyone’s story, jumping back and forth through timelines, while still maintaining the reader thoroughly invested.  This book might be written off as another apocalyptic story but the care and attention to plot, philosophical queries, well-developed characters, and the feeling you get that this future seems completely plausible makes this a truly exquisite, enjoyable, and unforgettable book.


Available at Camp Field, Downtown, and as an e-book.

Time’s Convert
by Deborah Harkness
Review by Jennifer

It is hard to beat historical fiction written by a history professor. Every aspect of Time’s Convert is well researched, and gives an enjoyable twist on the early US history lessons with which we are familiar. Fans of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy will enjoy this addition to the stories of the extended Bishop-Clairmont family. The chapters alternate between Phoebe Taylor’s conversion into a vampire, and the story of her fiancé, Marcus Whitmore, when he transformed in the 18th century. Added in is time with the characters who were introduced in the trilogy. Diana and Matthew’s twins are growing up, and their respective witch and vampire tendencies are beginning to take hold. Those not familiar with the first books will be able to enjoy Marcus and Phoebe’s story with only a few questions as to who a character may be (I had read the trilogy, but didn’t remember all of the characters). Even if witches, vampires, and daemons are not generally your go-to choice in literature, this is a very well written book, with characters you will wish you could meet in real life.

The original trilogy comprises A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. I chose to read A Discovery of Witches because the author’s name sounded familiar. It turns out she was a professor at my university while I was there, and the university is mentioned in The Book of Life.


Adult Non-Fiction

Available at Camp Field, Downtown, Dwight (Large Type), the Library on Wheels, as an e-audio book, and as an e-book.

Educated: A Memoir
by Tara Westover
Review by Kaitlin

Growing up in rural Idaho in a strict Mormon family, Tara’s father thinks the end of the world is coming. Her father views the government as dangerous and forbids his children from public places including schools, hospitals and the majority of the town.  As Tara ages, she finds the drive to pursue her calling: she wants to go to college.  She teaches herself enough grammar and algebra to pass the ACT and applies to Brigham Young University, where she is accepted. From then on, her perspective on the world changes and she starts to create her own ideas and options instead of mirroring those of her family.

When I first started seeing how often this book was being checked out and placed on hold here at HPL, I knew that there had to be something special happening in those pages.  I heard a few people mention what an amazing story she told about going to college after never going to grade school and my interest was piqued, as personally, I could not even imagine facing that kind of challenge.  I placed the book on hold and waited patiently for my change to read it.  A few days later, it came in.  I rushed home, made some tea, sat on my couch and began to read.  Immediately, I was hooked and didn’t put it down for two days.  Not only is the story so incredible, Tara’s perspective on education and personal growth is refreshing.  In an interview with Bill Gates afterwards, she states, “I think education is really just a process of self-discovery—of developing a sense of self and what you think. I think of [it] as this great mechanism of connecting and equalizing.”  She points out that through her own genuine curiosity she was able to learn about the world and more importantly, about herself.  Having an open mind, continuing to better ourselves and do things that scare us are important lessons I’ve taken from Tara.


Young Adult Fiction

Available at all branches, and as an e-book.

All-American Boys
by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
Review by Johana


On the cover of this book is an image of a teenager with his arms raised in the air with police lights shining in front of him.  This cover is so relevant to some major issues in this country right now and it didn’t disappoint.  The book is told through two different perspectives, Rashad a black teenager and Quinn a white teenager, and what transpires when Rashad is mistaken for stealing from a convenience store.  Quinn witnesses the violent arrest that night but struggles with what he saw because the officer involved is someone who he’s looked up to as a brother ever since his own father died.    The authors each focused on a different character to tell the story from, Reynolds told it through Rashad’s and Kiely told it through Quinn’s perspective which enhanced the confusion and frustration with both character’s stories.  This book did an amazing job of helping you understand where each side comes from and makes you think and talk about what’s occurring right now.  This book doesn’t have the answers to the problems but it does bring the topic up for discussion in a profound yet approachable manner.  I listened to this book in the audiobook format and it was worth it to actually hear the hopes and struggles of the young men in their own voices.


Children’s Graphic Novel

Available at Albany, Barbour, Camp Field, Downtown, Dwight, and Park.

The Cardboard Kingdom
by Chad Sell
Review by Johana

This book focuses on the summer spent in a neighborhood full of imaginative kids  At first glance this book comes off as simple fun read but the multiple themes each child deals with – bullying, divorce, identity, confidence – are handled realistically in a heartfelt manner.  Each child uses cardboard to construct what they want their reality to be and through that they’re able to shine.  Each chapter is told through the perspective of different child with some chapters being solely dependent on the whimsical art rather than text.  Some characters make appearances in other character stories and the results are superb.  This was a surprisingly emotional yet funny read that transports you back to a time before video games.   When afternoons were filled with nothing but long imaginative play with the kids in the neighborhood and is an amazing read which should be enjoyed by all.



Children’s Non-Fiction

Available at Albany, Camp Field, Downtown, Dwight, Park, and Ropkins.

Turning Pages: My Life Story
Written by Sonia Sotomayor, Illustrated by Lulu Delacre
Review by Johana

Sonia Sotomayor provides us with an amazing insight into the power and the influence books have had in shaping her life.  Sotomayor’s love for books and libraries shines through, “The library was my harbor, and books were little boats that helped me escape sadness at home,” all the way to the end of the book.  She tells us how books gave her the strength to deal with her diagnoses as a diabetic, comforted her when she lost her father at a young age, and also gave her the launchpad to dream.  I loved seeing how the illustrator portrays the pages of books as steps to the Supreme Court, paper boats, and the reflection of Puerto Rico.  This book was an informative, enjoyable, and inspiring read for anyone who would like a glimpse into Sotomayor’s life.  The power of books, the importance of following your passion, and believing in yourself are messages that shine through strongly.



Children’s Chapter Book

Available Downtown, at Dwight, Park, and Ropkins.

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome
by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
Review by Johana

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome is the first book in a new chapter book series inspired by Sarai Gonzalez, the breakout star of Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo” music video.  Sarai is a fourth grader full of dreams, ambition, love, and devotion to her family.  When her grandparents are forced to move Sarai decides to team up with her sisters and cousins to earn money to help them buy their house.

I’m a huge fan of the “Soy Yo” video which depicts a little girl full of confidence and unabashedly proud of her uniqueness.  This character resonates well in the book as well as her drive to persevere and stay optimistic even when things don’t seem that way.  Throughout the book we get a strong sense of how supportive and important Sarai’s family is to her as well as learn about some delicious Peruvian food.   The illustrations are lively and lighthearted showing Sarai dancing with her grandfather, scheming with her cousin and sisters, and waking up to a message hanging above her saying “You are Awesome.”  Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome is a fun, short, yet meaningful book that gets kids thinking about what they can do to make things better which is an important lesson for all.


Children’s Picture Book


Available at Albany, Camp Field, Downtown, Park, and Ropkins.

Drawn Together
Written by Minh Lê, Illustrated by Dan Santat
Review by Johana

Building a bond proves challenging between a grandfather and grandson with their difference in age, culture, and language until they discover their love for art connects them.  There are few words in this book, but the award winning illustrator does a masterful job telling the author’s story through his art.  Starting the characters in separate panels and then having them come together while still depicting the grandson’s whimsical modern style and the grandfather’s traditional Asian style.  Before you even open the book the illustrator’s attention to detail is see with the title cover font blending the Thai and Western alphabet as one.  This book perfectly illustrates how words aren’t needed to build an emotional and loving link between people.


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