Archive for the ‘About Reading’ Category

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?

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

April 13, 2020


This book has been on my To Be Read list for a very long time, but I’m so glad I waited until now to read it. During this strange COVID 19 stay-at-home time, when focusing has been a bit of a struggle, I needed a book that would completely capture my imagination, and hoo boy, was this that book. This is a dark, gothic, complex, sometimes funny, often tragic, mystery set in Barcelona in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. In many ways it is about the love, and the power, of books. It is also about resilience, in the wake of the devastation of the Spanish Civil War – making it an especially powerful read right now. The plot is way too complicated to attempt to explain here, but if you want a book that will take you far out of the here and now, this is a very good one to try.

You can find the ebook here and the audiobook here on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Wait list

Staff Favorites – Lightning Round

March 27, 2020


What are the last 5 books you’ve read?

Lock every door by Riley Sager

Nothing to see here by  Kevin Wilson 

The husband’s secret by  Liane Moriarty 

Before she knew him by Peter Swanson

The Wife by Alafair Burke 

What did you think of them?

They were so good!! They are also all available on Libby/Overdrive. 

Happy New Year! Happy reading!

January 1, 2020

[Lesley] I don’t set any reading resolutions (though there are lots of reading challenges out there – try one listed at the end of this post!), but this time of year always finds me adding new books to my to-read list. Between “best of” lists and previews of books to-be-published there are so many titles I hadn’t heard of or that I had forgotten about or that I didn’t realize I wanted to read. Here’s some of the titles I have added recently – if they turn out to be recommendable, you’ll see them again here later in the year!

Disappearing Earth, by Julia Phillips
The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli
Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer (and Dead Astronauts, #2 in the Borne series)
Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo
The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, by Ada Calhoun
Catherine House, by Elisabeth Thomas
The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel

Just the tip of the iceberg! What are you looking forward to reading in the new year??

Book Challenges
How to plan for your 2020 reading challenge (Bookish):
Book Riot’s 2020 Read Harder challenge:
Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge Listopias:
Reading Challenge Addict blog list of 2020 reading challenges:

Read it again, Sam

April 11, 2019


“Read a lot. Expect something big, something exalting or deepening from a book. No book is worth reading that isn’t worth re-reading.”
― Susan Sontag

“A good book is like really loved item at a really good restaurant, every time you go there you order it to see if it tastes like you remember, only to find out it is even BETTER than you remembered!” 
― K.A Cameron

I love to read something new: a great recommendation for a book just out, the next book in a series that I’ve been waiting for, a surprise topic discovered on library shelves by serendipity. I have found that I also enjoy re-reading books I have loved.

It’s not something I have always done regularly. I have books I have read several times but they are few (Wuthering Heights, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, On the Road, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Catcher in the Rye). For a long time I felt that there are just too many books to read to take time re-reading things. I was so wrong!

Over the past few years I have mixed it up. I still read mostly new-to-me books whether newly published or just something I haven’t read before. I re-read a few titles each year as well though. Hardly a waste of time that could be spent on the new titles, re-reading is like reading on steroids. While the text of the book is the same, you – the reader – are not. The rewards can be astounding in what you learn about who you were and are, finding layers of emotion, thought, illumination that you could only discover on a later reading.

Some of my re-reads in the last year:
To Kill a Mockingbird Audio version available on Hoopla
Ender’s Game Audio version available on Libby/Overdrive
Anna Karenina Ebook and audio versions available on Hoopla
For Lack of a Calling
The Golden Compass Audiobook available on Libby/Overdrive
The Art of Possibility