Archive for May, 2020

Autopsy of a Boring Housewife by Marie Renee Lavoie

May 28, 2020


So this book is not the type of book I usually read. I would consider this a beach read, which is timely since summer is coming up! I feel like I needed this book, to lighten up my thoughts from all that is going on right now. Witty, borderline hysterical, the story of this “boring wife,” Diane, just made me laugh out loud but also I could see myself and a lot of my middle aged friends in some of her comments and her outlook on younger women! I listened to the audiobook on Hoopla.

Autopsy of a Boring Wife

Autopsy of a Boring Wife by Marie Renee Lavoie is available as an ebook and audiobook on Hoopla.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

May 26, 2020


If you’re craving some 1970s nostalgia, this is the book for you. It is a fictionalized documentary-style story of a band in the 70s, very reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac. It is a good listen as an audiobook, with a full cast of voices for the band members, managers, and family members. Like Fleetwood Mac, the band goes through a great deal of personal drama at the same time that they find enormous success. The best thing about it for me was that it led me to revisit the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours, which you can listen to on Hoopla. The whole experience just took me back to that feeling of sitting on the floor listening to an album for hours while staring at the album cover and reading the liner notes.

Daisy Jones & the Six - ebook

Daisy Jones and the Six is available on Libby/Overdrive.


Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is available on Hoopla.

Quarantine Word of Mouth Recommendations

May 11, 2020


Our Word of Mouth display at the Library consists of books that you, our Stratham readers, recommend. Whenever one of our Library patrons returns a book and tells us it was great, we put a star on the spine of the book. You can see those stars when you are browsing the shelves for a good book, and we have an ongoing display of those starred books at the Library. It is a great way to discover books that other readers in town have enjoyed.

We thought it would be nice to do a special virtual Word of Mouth display so that you can see what others in town are reading and enjoying during this stay-at-home time.

Here are some of the recommendations (with comments by the readers when they were given) that we’ve gotten so far:

The Splendid and the Vile - ebook

The Splendid and the Vile, is a “a terrific nonfiction work by Erik Larson . It is “A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz”, covering the events leading up to, and encompassing the  horrific bombing of London (and other targets in Great Britain) by the German war machine in the 1941 time frame. In our minds, this book really is educational on many levels, and was well worth the time to read its 600+/- pages. Other books by Erik Larson include “Devil in the White City” and “Thunderstruck”, both of which I enjoyed some years ago.” The Splendid and the Vile is available on Libby/Overdrive.

The Overstory - ebook

The Overstory by Richard Powers is a “book I loved, an environmental themed novel.” The Overstory is available on Libby/Overdrive.

The Housekeeper

The Housekeeper by Natalie Barelli. One of our patrons recommended this one to one of our staff members with similar taste in books. The Housekeeper is available on Hoopla.


Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan – “I’m reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis right now and finding it very interesting.” Becoming Mrs.Lewis is available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

The Nickel Boys - ebook

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. One of our book group members recommended this book, which just won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize. The Nickel Boys is available on Libby/Overdrive.

Olive, Again - ebook

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. According to one of our readers on Facebook, “Olive, Again is excellent!”, adding “I get her! She says what she thinks!” Olive, Again, the follow up to Olive Kitteridge, is available on Libby/Overdrive.

The Silent Patient - ebook

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is “really really good!” The Silent Patient is available on Libby/Overdrive.


The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. A patron recommended this book to one of our staff members who again shares a similar taste in books. The Keeper of Lost Things is available on Hoopla .

The Things We Cannot Say

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer was recommended on Facebook with 3 exclamation points! The Things We Cannot Say is available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Another Facebook recommendation:

The Feather Thief - ebook

The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson, as part of Water Street Bookstore’s online community read. “It is really great”. The Feather Thief is available on Libby/Overdrive.

This recommendation just in from the comments below:

On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming is “one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read for its unique way of revealing truths and her use of imagination and interpretation while studying family photos, which clearly comes from her life work as an art historian and critic. Stunning.”

A double recommendation from someone in the Library book group:

Title details for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce - Available
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy - ebook

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry & The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce. “Just finished a set of books by Rachel Joyce that are fantastic!  Easy and pleasant to read, but full of reflection and lots to
talk about. You should read them in order. They are the same story but from different points of view, and really are beautifully orchestrated,”adding that the second one “totally brings out the first storyline in such depth. The 2 books together are marvelous” Both books are available on Libby/Overdrive.

An email recommendation from one of our Stratham readers:

The Perfect Wife

The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce. “Just what I need for distraction!” Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo - Wait list

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo “I really enjoyed this book! The poetic, song like voice of the author placed me in Nigeria! It was full of culture and politics that played quiet roles in the background of a painful life and a marriage tortured by secrets! This book surprised me!” Available on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West - Wait list

The Witches are Coming by Lindy West. “Woaah !! What a ride! If you re a woman, you owe it to yourself to read it. Witty, gritty, so accurate and appropriate to what s going on in the world…” Available on Libby/Overdrive.


The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott. “I loved this book! A page turner for sure! It is a historical fiction written by a PHD in History. A look at life after WW1 from a women’s perspective! Enjoy- I did!” Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel - Wait list

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mantel. “I couldn’t put this book down (and I didn’t, I read it in 1 day thanks to an ailing back). Each character was fascinating, even those that appear for a page or a few sentences. The author managed to weave their stories together flawlessly. I would’ve loved for the story to delve deeper into Jonathan’s motives, but I guess that wasn’t the point. This is the kind of book in which the characters will remain with you for a long time.” Available on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz - Wait list

Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz. “This story offers a great combination of horror, sci-fi and spirituality that you won’t find in many books. I loved trying to figure out what was going on, was kept on the edge of my seat throughout the book, loved the vivid descriptions of the character’s surroundings, just thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. I recommend this book to anyone who likes sci fi or horror as it has a little of both. In fact, I would say the writers of Stranger Things “borrowed’ quite a few ideas from this book. Maybe that’s why I like that series as well. Happy reading!” Available on Libby/Overdrive

The Last Train to London

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton “Although this book is Historical fiction, it is the story of a Dutch Woman who has transported hundreds of German and Austrian children to England during WW II.” Available on Hoopla.


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. “A quick read that may make your heart ache!” Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Walking Shadows

Walking Shadows by Faye Kellerman. “I’m really happy to have found this series and this latest one didn’t disappoint me. A few new characters were introduced and I hope they appear in future books in the series. Of course Peter and Rina are always great characters , I love having the books as a series and almost feel like I know everyone.” Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.


The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman. “Another good read from Faye Kellerman. I’m just starting to read this whole series and love it! It is like a bunch of old friends that you get re-acquainted with with each book. When she first moved the family to the east coast, i wondered if it would ever be the same. Like life, the old co-workers are continuing their lives somewhere else and a few new friends have been added.” Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for Sea Wife by Amity Gaige - Wait list

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige. “Loved the book.  An exciting story on the surface-a family of four deciding to buy a sailboat and living onboard for a year, but also a story of marriage, family, children.  I highly recommend it.” Sea Wife is available at the Library and on Libby/Overdrive.

Why We Can't Sleep - ebook

Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun: “A must read for any GenX woman or anyone living with one! Accept your squishy middle aged self and stop expecting so much from her! This was the most fun non-fiction read I’ve done in a long time! Lots of references!” Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Redhead by the Side of the Road - ebook

Redhead by the side of the road by Anne Tyler: “Fun quick read!” Available on Libby/Overdrive

Title details for All Adults Here by Emma Straub - Wait list

All Adults Here by Emma Straub: “Fun read!” Available on Libby/Overdrive

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman ” I loved it!  I laughed and cried and didn’t want it to end.” Available at the Library and on Libby/Overdrive.

Anxious People

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult “It took me awhile to get into it.  There is so much information on Egyptian history that was just more than I wanted to read about.  Others might really like that because it is informative. I ended up glad that I read it.” Available at the Library and on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult - Wait list

The Searcher by Tana French “I liked it a lot.  She’s a great writer and the last two which are stand alone books I liked better than the series she wrote.” Available at the Library and on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Searcher by Tana French - Wait list

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: “I loved The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue!” Available at the Library and on Libby/Overdrive.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland: “I highly recommend this book!” Available at the Library.

The Great Influenza by John Barry: “It’s a story of the pandemic but also a history of science and history of the socio – political environment of that era. Awesome!!” Available at the Library and Libby/Overdrive

The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

What have you been reading during this stay-at-home time that you would recommend?

Cookbook Recommendations from Cindy!

May 5, 2020


It seems like we are all cooking a little more and hopefully enjoying it!  Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks.  These are all in our collection, so when we start up again, maybe you might want to take a look.  In the meantime, you can go to Amazon and see a sneak peak of them and see a few opening pages.  Also, if anything catches your eye, I could email the recipe to you!


How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman Find Mark Bittman’s books on Hoopla. Place a hold on the physical book in the Library.

I’ve had this book in my collection for a long time and I will hazard a guess that there is not a week since I’ve owned it that I haven’t picked it up.   It’s full of basic recipes with many suggestions for interesting twists and variations.  Sprinkled throughout the book, he has tables with hints, such as “13 fish and shellfish dishes that go great on greens” or “6 simple additions to pasta with butter and parmesan”.  In addition he has an Equipment section – a list of basics for your kitchen.  He also includes a Techniques section – Basics of Roasting and others.  It is not filled with recipes requiring obscure or hard to find gourmet ingredients.  It is for every day, creative cooking with ingredients that most people already have on hand or are available from the nearest supermarket.  

Barefoot Contessa.  How easy is that? by Ina Garten Place a hold on the physical book in the Library. Check out another book by Ina Garten on Libby/Overdrive.

Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten

Well, I have to admit I love Ina Garten and Barefoot Contessa, her television show.  This was the first book of hers I purchased and it is well-used and the pages are spotted, wrinkled, and much of the cover is chewed at the edges from my birds (never leave any paper products alone with an unattended bird)!  I like everything about this book.  The layout is great, the recipes are complete on 1 page (no turning the page to get to the next step!), lovely photographs, and easily read type.  The recipes themselves are straight forward and she provides hints and suggestions for all.  This book was published in 2010 and more than a few have become staples in my kitchen.  The Lobster and Shells, Scalloped Tomatoes, and Easy Cranberry & Apple cake are a few the come to mind.  

Old-School Comfort Food by Alex Guarnaschelli Place a hold on the physical book in the Library

A favorite Chef of mine is “Iron Chef” Alex Guarnaschelli , from the Food Network (also a judge on Chopped).  One of my great joys of cookbooks is when they are storytellers.  It’s like reading a letter from a friend with stories of past events, family or just a little of this and that.  This book is filled with old family photos, copies of handwritten recipes and illustrations, and of course beautiful photos of the food.  Her introduction sets the stage with childhood memories, the long road to becoming a chef and more.  I was hooked at once.  The first chapter is “what kinds of stuff I like to use in the kitchen” and off we go!  The recipes are wonderful, well-written and easy to follow.  She also uses side-bars of old-school tips.  “Put your flour for dusting and rolling your dough into a strainer and sprinkle the rolling surface like you’re crop dusting.  An even layer of flour for rolling and you will likely use less flour for rolling and there won’t be any clumps or excess flour which can make the texture tough”  Another chapter I particularly liked was “make it from scratch for the fridge door”  things like: butter, pickles, barbecue sauce, mustard, hot sauce and others. I don’t see myself making my own butter anytime soon, but the barbecue sauce sounds great!

The Farm: Rustic recipes for a year of incredible food by Ian Knauer Find another book by Ian Knauer on Hoopla. Place a hold on the physical book in the Library.

I had never heard of Ian Knauer until I read a foreward  of his new cookbook by Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet magazine.  I was a huge fan of the magazine and her.  Ian was a tester for recipes at the magazine and eventually promoted to a food editor (a test cook for the magazine).  He was clearly near the front of the popular “farm-to-table” movement at the time.  Quoting Reichl, “Most cookbooks are about the end product, making good food to put on your table. But a great cookbook offers you more than that – it helps you appreciate the process”.  This cookbook is all that and more.  Wonderful stories of farm life, beautiful photography.  The recipes are great with short stories about where the idea came from for the recipe, hints for its success and why.  I made a dried-fruit stuffed pork loin with apple-mustard cream for a holiday meal and it was great!  He has a nice chapter on preserving that he titles “A Jarful of Sunshine, a Bottleful of Sin”.  That made me smile.

What’s Cooking at Scamman Farm? by Stella Scamman Place a hold on the physical book at the Library.

Last, but definitely not least is the Scamman Farm cookbook.  What a treasure trove of recipes!  This is one of those cookbooks you’ve seen from churches, fire departments, schools…etc.  When my father was on the board of our local Senior Center, they did one every year.  Recipes, many passed down through the years, compiled in a loose leaf book.  This book is a gem!  There are so many great recipes and I’ve made lots of them since 2012 when I got the book.  There are great illustrations and family photos.  It has the same cute stories about the recipes and where they came from.  I’ve made the Moussaka multiple times, it’s great…just cut the ingredients in half, unless you’re feeding a hoard!