Friday Reads: Greywater Green Landscape

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

(Pictured:  author Laura Allen.  Source: Storey Publishing)

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Yesterday, I read an article in the Cape Cod Times about problems with the water system in Falmouth that have come to light since the Long Pond water treatment plant went into operation last October (“Officials Under Pressure to Fix Water Issues” Cape Cod Times, August 23, 2018 pps. A3, A5).  Water superintendent Stephen Rafferty was quoted as saying water usage increased “a million gallons a day” this July as compared to last July.  That is a chilling fact that will only get worse as our population grows.  Rafferty cited lawn irrigation as a “major draw on the system.”

There are many steps people can take to reduce their water usage.  Using greywater instead of fresh drinking water for lawn irrigation is one of them.  What is greywater you ask? Greywater is the water that runs down the drain after washing dishes in the sink, doing laundry or taking a shower.  It is not water from a dishwasher (the chemicals are too harsh) or from a toilet or laundry that includes poopy diapers.

If you have any interest at all in this important issue, I highly recommend the book Greywater Green Landscape by Laura Allen that we added to our collection this spring.  The blurb from the back of the book states, “Save thousands of gallons of water annually and have a beautiful yard no matter the weather by capturing and reusing water from sinks, showers, and washing machines.  This empowering and easy-to-use manual offers practical, long-term strategies for water management, with easy, do-it-yourself instructions and step-by-step photography to guide you through construction and installing a variety of systems throughout your house and garden.”

Options for capturing and using greywater run the gamut from simply collecting water in a bucket and pouring it on your garden to installing a high-tech fully automated system.  Depending upon the complexity of the system you want to use, you may need a permit.  The State Environmental Code 2C Title 5 states, “Greywater from residential, commercial and public facilities may be discharged or reused in accordance with the provisions of 310 CMR 15.262,” otherwise known as title 5.

Allen’s book will help you assess your situation by considering your greywater sources, your level of interest, your needs, an understanding of your soil, the best plants to use, various greywater systems (of course), help with codes and regulations and even plant-friendly soaps.  Clear diagrams, photos, a list of resources and an index make this book attractive and very practical.  You can find it on the new nonfiction shelf with the call #627.52 ALL.

2018 Hugo Awards

The Hugo Awards 2018 for best science fiction have been announced! Check out this year’s winners, which include many books by women of color, including N.K. Jemisin, the first author to win Best Novel three (!) times in a row for the Broken Earth trilogy. You can view the complete list of the finalists and winners online.

Best Novel

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin 

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women. Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.


Best Novella

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.


Best Related Work

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin

No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s blog, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her wonder at it.


Best Graphic Story

Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda

Maika Halfwolf is on the run from a coalition of forces determined to control or destroy the powerful Monstrum that lives beneath her skin. But Maika still has a mission of her own: to discover the secrets of her late mother, Moriko.



Read it First!

Film Adaptations Headed to Theaters Near You

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times—the book was better! There’s nothing like debating the differences between a favorite book and its translation to the screen. But if you don’t know your beloved series is coming out as a movie, or that the fun looking preview you saw was adapted from a book, how can you join the debate? The library is here to the rescue! Here we will be exploring the movie adaptations soon to hit your local theaters and give you the chance to read before you view. This month, there are 7 books to movies, so set aside plenty of time to read and watch your way through August!

Coming This August

Crazy Rich AsiansReserve a copy

American Rachel Wu is excited to join her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, on his summer trip back to Singapore to see his family. Once there, she is surprised to find out that not only is his family exceedingly rich, but he is the country’s most sought-after bachelor. Instead of a relaxing vacation, Rachel finds herself navigating the ins and outs of upper-crust Singapore society and Nick’s suspicious family. This is the first in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan.

Meg: a novel of deep terrorReserve your copy

In 1956, Jonas Taylor was conducting a deep sea dive in the Mariana Trench on a top-secret mission for the Navy when he watched his colleague be eaten by a shark. Not just any shark, a megalodon, the largest shark species ever known and one thought to be extinct since the time of the dinosaurs. When he escaped to the surface, no one believed him. Now, Jonas is approached with an offer to revisit the Mariana Trench again, and prove that this threat is still out there. But he finds the situation worse than before and now these ancient creatures are returning to wreak havoc on mankind.

PapillonReserve your copy

The (possibly) true story of Henri Charrière, a man who escaped the penal colony of French Guiana after enduring innumerable hardships. This tale has everything; forced labor, daring open water escapes, treacherous quicksand, cannibalism and, possibly, a grain of truth in it all. Many contend that, although Charrière did indeed spend time in French Guiana, much of his account is greatly exaggerated. Either way, it makes for a riveting story.

The Miseducation of Cameron PostReserve your copy

After her parents are killed in a car crash, Cameron is sent to live with her conservative aunt and grandmother in Montana. Though she desperately tries to suppress her burgeoning sexuality and remain invisible in this traditional community, she finds beautiful Coley Taylor impossible to ignore. When Cameron and Coley strike up a relationship, her aunt sends her away to God’s Promise, a gay re-education camp. There, Cameron must defy the camp counselors and her loved ones in order to remain true to herself.

Juliet, NakedReserve your copy

The story of a boy, a girl, and a reclusive singer. When Duncan’s girlfriend, Annie, dares to publicly criticize the latest album of Duncan’s absolute favorite singer, Tucker Crowe, she unleashes a chain of events that will change all of their lives.

The WifeReserve your copy

On a flight to Helsinki to support her husband as he receives a distinguished international literary award, Joan Castleman realizes her marriage is over. Having spent 40 years nurturing his career, Joan’s desire to pursue her own writing, and her own life, becomes undeniable. As she spends the plane trip remembering their life together, the true extent of her sacrifices becomes all the more apparent.

The Little StrangerReserve your copy

Hundreds Hall, which has housed the Ayres family for over two hundred years, has seen better days. When Faraday, the local country doctor, visits to tend to the Ayreses maid, he befriends the family and tries to help them out of their financial straits. But the Ayreses cannot part with their old ways and soon strange and inexplicable events begin to haunt the family. Are they going mad or is Hundreds Hall reacting to their changing circumstances?


Friday Reads: 97 Orchard


“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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The library’s Narrative Nonfiction Book Club had another lively time at our meeting this month when we discussed 97 Orchard:  an edible history of five immigrant families in one New York tenement by Jane Ziegelman.  Actually, I was a little surprised at how enthusiastic many members of the group were about the book.  I expected them to find it interesting and informative, but I underestimated just how much they would connect with parts of it.

97 Orchard tells the story of five families who lived in the tenement building at 97 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan from the late 1800s until the 1930s.  The building is now the New York Tenement Museum and the author, Jane Zeigelman, is the director of the culinary program there. Through meticulous research using a wide variety of resources Ziegelman discovers the significance of foods in the lives of the Glockner family from Germany, the Moores from Ireland, The Gumpertzes, who were German Jews, the Rogarshevskys, who were Lithuanian Jews, and the Baldizzi family from Italy.

At times the reader feels as though she is in the cramped tenement apartment at the supper table or buying ingredients alongside the mother of the family from the pushcart vendor on the street, the writing is that compelling.  At other times, though, the style is journalistic as the perspective pans back to show how these families fit into the broader fabric of the city and their unique food cultures intertwined with established American food norms.

The group was delighted to learn several factoids, such as: corned beef and cabbage is not a traditional dish from Ireland – rather it is Germanic in origin; schmaltz is fat from a goose or chicken and “the greatest contribution made by German bakers to the American kitchen came in the form of yeast-baked cakes, which began to appear in East Side bakeries during the second half of the nineteenth century.” (p. 30) Have you used Fleischmann’s Instant Yeast in your baking?  Three Fleischmann brothers who immigrated from Vienna: Max, Charles and Louis,  are responsible for bringing yeast to our country.  Louis created quite the sensation in New York City with his Vienna Bakery and neighboring café, which was the place to be for the elite class in the 1880s and 90s.  

You can find 97 Orchard on the Staff Picks shelf.  Join us next month when the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club discuss Mrs. Sherlock Holmes:  the true story of New York City’s greatest female detective and the 1917 missing girl case that captivated a nation by Brad Ricca.  Pick up a copy of the book at the reference desk and plan to meet us on Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 10:00 – 11:00 in the Hermann Foundation meeting room at Falmouth Public Library.

Photo of Fleischmann’s Yeast advertising card (1870- 1900) from the digital commonwealth.  Card owned by Boston Public Library print department.  Photo of  schmaltz from

Summer is for Reading

It’s okay to slow down

It’s healthy to forget the fact that you carry around the daily news, your mailbox, telephone, grocery list, workplace cubicle, and social life all in the small space of your pocket. Is your battery low? Oh, who cares! This summer, let’s unite under the mindset that it’s okay to throw off the weight of those unread texts and push notifications.

Reading cures what ails you

Reading is a tried and true way to forget the freneticism of life in 2018. As you navigate through summer, stop to smell the sunscreen, campfire embers, fresh soil, and fresh-cut grass. Feel free to amble. Take time to dawdle. Let the atrophy of boredom wash your harried mind clean of its worries.

Book Lists by FPL librarians are magical

Find a fantastically good time inside the pages of a book. Our librarians have been busy compiling lists that house your next great read. This summer, venture into nature to reunite or get acquainted with a time before gigabits and scrolling. Take one of these books with you, and you’ll find that it’s true: sometimes, it’s okay to slow down.

Click here to see our lists!

Friday Reads: A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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 This Friday Reads is a slight departure from my usual fare.  The other day I was scanning a cart of new books and a fun looking book cover caught my eye.  With a purple background and a tongue in cheek drawing of a Victorian couple on the cover, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, seemed like just the thing to chill out with after a hot and hectic month.  I didn’t even bother to read the summary or beyond the first blurb on the back.  Since New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen called it “A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy.” that was enough for me.

And indeed it was delightful.  Debut author Dianne Freeman captured the era well – exposing the absurdities in aristocratic etiquette.  Her characters were enjoyable and the plot was fun in this cozy mystery.

Did you know cozy mysteries or cozies are terms book mavens use to describe a particular type of mystery?  They are easy reads featuring everyday people following clues to solve a neighborhood crime, enlisting the help of neighbors, relatives or friends.  Often set in small towns or attractive locales, there is no sex, violence or grave danger.  They are very popular with readers who enjoy puzzles and seeing the average joe succeed, because all of the mysteries are successfully solved, of course!

If you were a fan of the exceedingly popular PBS TV series Downton Abbey, then this book might remind you of the witty retorts often employed in the show and of a few episodes featuring Lady Mary and one of her lovers who dies in her bed.  I won’t go any further, except to say this book is lighter and more amusing than the TV show.

This is Dianne Freeman’s first book, after a career in corporate finance, and I am happy to see that she is working on another “Countess of Harleigh Mystery”.  I look forward to that and hopefully many more.  If you are a fan of Agatha Christie or Georgette Heyer, then Dianne Freeman will likely appeal to you too.  Look for A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder on the Staff Picks shelf … and be sure to look closely at the cover.

Fun Summer Reads

July new releases are on the fun side of fiction. These reads would be great by a pool, at the lake, in a hammock, on a plane or at your favorite air-conditioned coffee shop. Wherever you’re hanging out this summer, take a good book!

1. Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One by Raphaelle Giordano


At 38, Paris native Camille feels like happiness has eluded here even though she has a good job, a loving husband and a wonderful son. She searches for the path to joy and finds Claude, a routinologist, who offers unique advice. Camille embarks on a journey full of surprising escapades, creative capers and deep meaning.

A charming, feel-good and universal story of one woman’s journey from boredom and dissatisfaction to happiness and fulfilment–for fans of Hector and The Search for Happiness and Eat, Pray, Love.

“…Funny, sweet, and not without a few important happy-life tips.” —Good Housekeeping

2. When We Found Home by Susan Mallery


It is difficult to savor life with no family, limited prospects and a past you’d rather not talk about. Callie Smith is confused when she discovers she has a brother and a sister. Her brother Malcolm grew up with affection, wealth and privilege. Her sister Keira is a streetwise 12-year-old. While Callie doesn’t love being alone, it’s safe. Warily she moves into the grand family home with her siblings and grandfather on the shores of Lake Washington, hoping for a whole new life.

Starting over is messy. Callie and Keira bond, but aren’t with their posh new lifestyle. Malcolm feels like the odd man out in his own home. He turned a sleepy Seattle mail-order food catalog into an online gourmet powerhouse, but he can’t figure out how to help his new sisters feel secure. Becoming a family will take patience, humor, a little bit of wine and a whole lot of love.

In this emotional, funny and heartfelt story, Susan Mallery masterfully explores the definition of a modern family—blended by surprise, not by choice—and how those complicated relationships can add unexpected richness to life.

3. The Lido by Libby Page


Rosemary Peterson has lived in Brixton, London, all her life but everything is changing. The library where she used to work has closed. The family grocery store has become a trendy bar. And now the lido, an outdoor pool where she’s swum daily since its opening, is threatened with closure. It was at the lido that Rosemary escaped the devastation of World War II; fell in love with her husband, George; and found community during her marriage and since George’s death.

Twentysomething Kate Matthews feels desperately alone as a new Brixton resident. A once promising writer, she now covers forgettable stories for her local paper. When she’s assigned to write about the lido’s closing Kate’s portrait of the pool focuses on Rosemary. Their friendship blossoms as Rosemary slowly opens up to Kate.

“A delicious debut about the endearing friendship between two women who join forces to save the town pool. Refreshing, funny and heartwarming, The Lido is must read.”—Laura Dave, national bestselling author of Eight Hundred Grapes and Hello, Sunshine

28 #BlackJoy Middle Grade Novels

Back in March, I posted about 28 #BlackJoy Picture Books because #weneeddiversebooks that feature Black protagonists just living their lives. The post was inspired by my frustration with the book lists faithfully trotted out every February for Black History Month. They were all full of books about Black trauma. So I decided to make a list which turned out to be much more popular than I expected—a big thank you to everyone who commented to let me know the recommendations were useful!

I didn’t want to leave out the older kids (sorry it’s taken so long), so here are 28 #BlackJoy Middle Grade Novels. In order to highlight authors who are writing right now, the list features predominately newer titles (most published within the last five years). Most titles are #ownvoices.

As I said in my previous post books about slavery are important. Books about Jim Crow America are important. Books about the Civil Rights Era are important. Books that feature Black characters experiencing joy are also important. These #BlackJoy books are great reads for Black History Month and all year long!




Children’s Room & North Branch

P.S. Click on images to enlarge. When you click the “Click here to request!” link a new tab will open. In the new tab, click on the title of the book you’re interested in to check availability/request it.


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Friday Reads: Making Lemonade Out of Lemons, Part Three!

Our third community book experiment is underway! First we put out Cape Cod Notebook: an alternative guidebook to the beaches of Cape Cod by Betsy Medvedovsky to get people to write about their favorite beach, then we added 50 Ways To Draw Your Beautiful Ordinary Life: practical lessons in pencil and paper by Irene Smit & Astrid Van Der Hulst to let people draw in one of our books. Book three of our summer program books event is 104 Things to Photograph! This book includes 104 prompts to inspire photographers. We have added a few photos of our own to get you started! Join us by checking out the book, taking a photo, printing it out, and adding it to our book which is our latest community art project.

We’re not sure where we first read about this photography book, but here is what the publisher says:

“Featuring prompts under each of 104 display slots, this guided photo album will help photographers reach new heights of creativity as they seek out subjects ranging from the everyday to the unusual. Shutterbugs will treasure this keepsake as an open invitation to see the world with fresh eyes as well as a fantastic place to capture the results.”

We hope that we get enough Falmouth photographers to check this out and add a photo that the book ends up in our Reference Local History collection!

Library’s Historical Documents are Digitized

The preservation of the Falmouth Public Library’s historical documents is now complete.

Through a grant by the Falmouth Community Preservation Fund in 2010 , the Library was enabled to rebind documents and records dating back to 1792.

Recently, the collection was digitized by the Digital Commonwealth, a non-profit collaborative organization that helps Massachusetts libraries create, manage, and disseminate  cultural heritage materials.

The collection may be viewed in full on the Internet Archives.