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My Summer Reading List for 2015!

Posted on May 29th, 2015 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services

Every summer I like to challenge myself to read eight books I wouldn’t normally read within the months of June, July, and August. Some of the books have been chosen by Boston schools as either previous, or current, summer reading books and others are books I’ve been interested in for awhile but haven’t gotten around to reading yet. There is always a mix of fiction and non-fiction. As I finish each book, I  will post a review here on this blog (and here on our Bibliocommons catalog: Summer Reading 2015) so that everyone can see what’s going on and determine whether or not something on my list will be of interest. So, without further ado, here is my personal summer reading list for 2015:




the illustrated man


The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury


The tattooed man moves, and in the arcane designs scrawled upon his skin swirled tales beyond imagining: tales of love and laughter darkness and death, of mankind’s glowing, golden past and its dim, haunted future. Here are eighteen incomparable stories that blend magic and truth in a kaleidoscope tapestry of wonder–woven by the matchless imagination of Ray Bradbury.





one flew over the cuckoo's nest


One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey


In this classic of the 1960s, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, back by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Nurse Ratched uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story’s shocking climax.



caine mutiny


The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk


The novel that inspired the now-classic film The Caine Mutiny and the hit Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Herman Wouk’s boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II. In the intervening half century, The Caine Mutiny has become a perennial favorite of readers young and old, has sold millions of copies throughout the world, and has achieved the status of a modern classic.





Monkey: A Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en


Probably the most popular book in the history of the Far East, this classic combination of picaresque novel and folk epic mixes satire, allegory, and history into a rollicking tale. It is the story of the roguish Monkey and his encounters with major and minor spirits, gods, demigods, demons, ogres, monsters, and fairies.






bel canto


Bel Canto by Ann Patchett


In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.







harvey milk


The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts


Known as “The Mayor of Castro Street” even before he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk’s personal life, public career, and final assassination reflect the dramatic emergence of the gay community as a political power in America. It is a story full of personal tragedies and political intrigues, assassinations at City Hall, massive riots in the streets, the miscarriage of justice, and the consolidation of gay power and gay hope.




when I was a soldier

 When I Was a Soldier by Valérie Zenatti


What is it like to be a young woman in a war?
At a time when Israel is in the news every day and politics in the Middle East are as complex as ever before, this story of one girl’s experience in the Israeli national army is both topical and fascinating. Valerie begins her story as she finishes her exams, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves for service with the Israeli army. Nothing has prepared her for the strict routines, grueling marches, poor food, lack of sleep and privacy, or crushing of initiative that she now faces. But this harsh life has excitement, too, such as working in a spy center near Jerusalem and listening in on Jordanian pilots. Offering a glimpse into the life of a typical Israeli teen, even as it lays bare the relentless nature of war, Valerie’s story is one young readers will have a hard time forgetting.





Beowulf by Unknown; Translated by Seamus Heaney


The national bestseller and winner of the Whitbread Award. Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the classic Northern epic of a hero’s triumphs as a young warrior and his fated death as a defender of his people. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed in the exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels in this story to the historical curve of consciousness in the twentieth century, but the poem also transcends such considerations, telling us psychological and spiritual truths that are permanent and liberating.





Zombie Awareness Month

Posted on May 5th, 2015 by Anna in Books, Resources


Viewing that May is Zombie Awareness Month, I thought it would be beneficial for everyone if I went over what to do should the apocalypse actually happen. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), families should always be prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse, just as they would be prepared for natural disasters. Here are three things you need to do:


1. Always have an emergency kit ready to go on a moment’s notice:

This should include, but is not limited to, the following:

-Water (1 gallon per person per day)

-Food (non-perishables like canned goods)

-Can opener (not the electric variety!)

-Medications (for all people and pets, if needed)

-Change of clothes and a blanket for each person

-Important documents (such as birth certificates and drivers licences)

-First aid kit (Nothing can heal you from a Zombie bite, obviously, but you’ll want this for every other cut and scrape that might happen during your escape.)

-Battery powered radio

-Supplies for your pets including food and water


-Cellphone with charger

-Extra batteries

-Extra cash (During an apocalypse we must assume that there will be a power outage, in which case, ATMs and cash registers might not take your credit or debit cards. Always have backup cash on hand!)

-And if you don’t need it, don’t take it! (Remember, there may be a time when you’ll have to be running on foot and you’ve already got enough to carry.)


2. Work with your family and/or your friends on an emergency plan:

-Identify what types of disasters, aside from Zombies, could happen where you are (This includes things like hurricanes and flooding.)

-If you get separated, know where to meet up (for this, you’ll want to know your disasters. If flooding is a possibility, you clearly won’t meet up on the beach!)

-Know the best way to escape your area, and then map out several other options in case the first is blocked by Zombies or a downed tree across the road.

-Give everyone in your group a list of emergency contacts from other family members or friends to the fire department and police.


3. Read these terrifyingly good books found at the Boston Public Library: 

(There’s something for everyone on this list!)



Zombies Vs. Unicorns





















pride and prejudice and zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies










is this a zombie

Is This A Zombie?










zombies dr

Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection : Field Notes by Dr. Robert Twombly










marvel zombies

Marvel Zombies










zombies don't cry

Zombies Don’t Cry










zombie survival guide

The Zombie Survival Guide










alice in zombieland

Alice in Zombieland











Graceling – A Review

Posted on March 25th, 2015 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff


Title/Author: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Read by: Anna, a Teen Central Librarian

Summary: Katsa is a Graceling, graced with the extreme skill to kill. Her uncle, the king, has been using her to keep control over his lands since she was a young girl. But then she meets Prince Po and finds a friend where she never expected to find one. With Po, she’ll work to break free from the bindings the king has placed on her and head off on a wild adventure that will teach her more about herself than even she knew was possible, all while keeping friends and family safe from unknown dangers.

Series/Standalone: Book 1 in the Graceling trilogy (but can also be read as a standalone)

Genre/sub-genre: Fantasy

Diversity: Characters are diverse in the fact that a select few are different than the rest, some have disabilities as well, though skin colors don’t play a factor, eye colors do.

Relatable characters: Yes

Would I re-read?: Yes

Personal thoughts: I loved the cover. I loved the fact that Katsa was a strong girl in mind and body, who didn’t lack emotions, who knew what she didn’t want in life and was strong enough to stick to that all the way through the book. Yes, there is a bit of romance here, but it’s never overwhelming, and the couple are friends first and foremost. The story was brilliant. Even I didn’t see how the puzzle pieces fit together until the very end. The world building was fantastic, and all of the characters were well rounded. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy.

TBOM Spring Reads!

Posted on October 2nd, 2013 by Anna in Books, Programs

Hi all! Interested in joining our Teen Book of the Month book discussion group held in the Central Library’s Teen Room? Below are the novels we’ll be reading from January – April. Once we select books for May and beyond we’ll list them in another blog post, but if you want a say in what we read, you’ve got to join the group! What does it take to join our group? 1) get the book we’re reading next. 2) read said book 3) come to the book discussion and talk about why you liked or didn’t like it. It’s that easy and it’s a lot of fun! Plus, we have snack food at all of our discussions!


Rootless by Chris Howard

Book discussion on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 3pm

17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using scrap metal and salvaged junk, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan’s never seen a real tree—they were destroyed more than a century ago—his father used to tell him stories about the Old World. But that was before his father was taken . . .

Everything changes when Banyan meets a woman with a strange tattoo—a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can’t escape the locusts—the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn’t the only one looking for the trees, and he’s running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he’s forced to make an uneasy alliance with Alpha, an alluring, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.


Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Book discussion on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 3pm

Incarceron — a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology — a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber — chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison — a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device — a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn’s escape is born …

Born of Illusion

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Book discussion on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 3pm

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna’s powers intensify, she begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?


Push by Sapphire

Book discussion on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 3pm

Relentless, remorseless, and inspirational, this “horrific, hope-filled story” (Newsday) is certain to haunt a generation of readers. Precious Jones, 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child, meets a determined and highly radical teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.

Book Reviews! The Reformed Vampire Support Group & Shiver

Posted on November 2nd, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of real vampires. They don’t sparkle. They don’t run fast. They don’t have superhuman strength. They’re just not cool. Instead, they’re constantly sick. They throw up a lot. They’re weak. They must avoid sunlight and drink the blood of guinea pigs to keep themselves going.

Sounds glamorous doesn’t it? But what happens when one of their own is killed and the slaying leads to an illegal werewolf fighting ring? Wait… werewolves exist? Yep. They change shape with the full moon and don’t have any health hangups. Lucky them.  So now it’s up to a bunch of weak vampires to travel a far distance, in daylight, to save the life of a werewolf and capture the humans believed to have slayed a vampire.

For those of you who might remember, I actually read the sequel to this book first several months ago, which focused on the werewolves, rather than the vampires. I have to say, I enjoyed The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group much better than this one. This was good, but it took me about ten chapters to get into it. I needed to see some action, and with sick characters who can barely do anything, it took awhile for anything to actually happen. That was my biggest problem with the book. Once the story got going and the pace picked up, it was a very enjoyable read.  

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

Grace was bitten by werewolves when she was a child. But she never turned into a wolf. Instead, as a teenager, she keeps an eye on the wolf pack that roam the woods just outside her house, especially on the one wolf with the yellow eyes who saved her life the day she was bitten. But when another teenager is attacked and killed, the men of the small town go on a hunting spree in order to kill the nuisance wolves. Grace arrives home to find a boy on her deck, bleeding out from a gun shot wound which heals almost instantly. She recognizes his yellow eyes as that of the wolf who’s been watching her for years from the woods. His name is Sam and he’s a werewolf struggling to hold onto his human body just so he can be with Grace. However, the colder it gets outside, the more his body wants to shift to keep him warm. Then all hell breaks loose when he learns how he was picked to be bitten as a child, as more and more teens are becoming werewolves and the older wolves are making their final shift into their wolf form for the rest of their lives. Is there a cure for Sam and the other newly changed humans? Can they even find the new wolves before they wreck havoc on the town and its inhabitants? And what will happen to the love between Sam and Grace if Sam makes his final shift into wolf forever?

This is the first book in a series. The second is titled Linger, and a third is on its way to the printing presses. I enjoyed every moment of this book! It was a fast read with the chapters flipping the point of view between Sam and Grace. Most of the chapters were short, which seemed to make the book go by that much faster. I loved the way she treated the werewolf myths, that instead of shifting on a full moon, they shifted when it got cold out. They are humans during the late sprint, summer, and early fall, before shifting to wolf to keep warm. This was a richly built world you can step into as if you were going through the closet to Narnia. A fantastic read I would highly recommend!