Friday Reads: The Magician’s Assistant


“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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. 

This blog written by Donna Burgess, Reference Librarian and co-leader of “Books on the Half-shell,”  the library’s monthly fiction book club.


Ann Patchett’s third novel, The Magician’s Assistant,  is a selection in the Falmouth Fiction book club, series, “Magic and Magicians.”

Set in Los Angeles, California and Alliance, Nebraska it is both a love story and an awakening. The magician’s assistant of the title is named Sabine. An assistant to the magician Parsifal for twenty years, Sabine was in love with him, even though he was gay, and as is announced in the opening sentences, “Parsifal is dead. That is the end of the story.”

Throughout their relationship Parsifal maintained that his family had all died in a car accident in Connecticut. So it came as a shock when Sabine learned that he had a family in Nebraska! His mother, Dot and her daughter, Bertie arrived in LA   through contact with Parsifal’s lawyer. They decided to meet Sabine.

Having spent too much time in bed grieving the loss of Parsifal, Sabine decides to give Dot and Bertie a tour of the LA, (“a city where there are no laws against pretending to be something you weren’t!”) She finally decides to accept Dot’s invitation to visit Alliance and learn about Parsifal’s past.  We learn that Parsifal’s given name is Guy, that there was a tragic event in his past that triggered his move away from Nebraska and his shutting out his past.

The contrast between the palm tree lined streets of L.A. and the windswept snow –clogged streets of Alliance heighten the contrast between the personalities of Dot’s family and Sabine.

Although there is little magic performed throughout the book, Sabine does manage to astonish Dot and her family by pulling an egg from her ear! Perhaps the magic is the relationships that develop between Sabine and Dot’s family.

The book sparked a lot of discussion in both the evening and morning book groups. One member stated at the beginning of the meeting she didn’t really care for the book. After listening to the discussion she realized how much there was to the story.

And that my readers, is what book clubs are all about.





Welcome John D’Agata!

We’re pleased to welcome talented essayist John D’Agata for a writing workshop on Saturday, November 18 at 3:30 pm.

A creative nonfiction writing workshop that intentionally combines different forms of the genre—personal essays, travelogues, biographies—will encourage exploration in essay-writing. Participants will examine and discuss short 1-page essays, as well as receiving feedback on their personal essays. There will be also be some discussion on finding an agent and publisher, giving a reading, and surviving as a writer in the world.

There may be spaces available at the time of the workshop. Please stop by the Hermann Room at 3:30 pm if you are interested.


“D’Agata . . . has spent the last 15 years trying to use the essay as Defoe used the novel: to get out of the impasse over what’s real and what’s not, and to solve the anxiety over the veracity of the media we consume, this time by foregrounding that anxiety itself, and asking us to confront it head on. His trilogy, A New History of the Essay, is a thoughtful alternative road map to how we might think of the essay and its role in the current moment.”—Los Angeles Times

“John D’Agata is a champion of the essay, a crusader for lost forms, a defender of nonfiction as an art. . . His project—that of reshaping the genre of creative nonfiction—is a bold one, and in these anthologies, the [essay] becomes a spiritual vessel, a portal to deeper truths.”—Iowa Review

“Quixotic … ambitious….What D’Agata has in mind, on one level, is to push the conversation, to throw a thought-bomb into the center of the room.”—Lit Hub

“John D’Agata is a groundbreaking literary activist. It is due to him and these anthologies that the most exciting writing today is happening in the realm of nonfiction, in particularly the realm of the essay, which he has, near-single-handedly, rescued from the literary dustbin and turned into a vital contemporary art form. A New History of the Essay is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of nonfiction.”—Heidi Julavits

John D’Agata is an innovative essayist (Halls of Fame, 2001) and dynamic anthologist, (The Lost Origins of the Essay, 2009). He is the author of Halls of Fame, About a Mountain, and The Lifespan of a Fact, as well as the editor of the 3-volume series, A New History of the Essay, which includes the anthologies The Next American Essay, The Making of the American Essay, and The Lost Origins of the Essay. His work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, an NEA Literature Fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation Fellowship. He holds a B.A. from Hobart College and two M.F.A.s from the University of Iowa, and recently his essays have appeared in The Believer, Harper’s, Gulf Coast, and Conjunctions. John D’Agata lives in Iowa City with a dog named Boeing, and he teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa where he directs the graduate Nonfiction Writing Program.

The Making of the American Essay

Request a copy

The Making of the American Essay is the final volume in John D’Agata’s landmark series, A New History of the Essay.

For two decades, John D’Agata has been exploring the contours of the essay through a series of innovative, informative, and expansive anthologies that have become foundational texts in the study of the genre. The breakthrough first volume, The Next American Essay, highlighted major work from 1974 to 2003, while the second,The Lost Origins of the Essay, showcased the essay’s ancient and international forebears. Now, with The Making of the American Essay, D’Agata concludes his monumental tour of this inexhaustible form, with selections ranging from Anne Bradstreet’s secular prayers to Washington Irving’s satires, Emily Dickinson’s love letters to Kenneth Goldsmith’s catalogues, Gertrude Stein’s portraits to James Baldwin’s and Norman Mailer’s meditations on boxing.

Across the anthologies, D’Agata’s introductions to each selection-intimate and brilliantly provocative throughout-serve as an extended treatise, collectively forming the backbone of the trilogy. He uncovers new stories in the American essay’s past, and shows us that some of the most fiercely daring writers in the American literary canon have turned to the essay in order to produce our culture’s most exhilarating art.

The Making of the American Essay offers the essay at its most varied, unique, and imaginative best, proving that the impulse to make essays in America is as old and as original as the nation itself.


Welcome Jessica Keener!

We’re pleased to welcome authors Jessica Keener and Anne LeClaire on Thursday, November 16 at 3:30 pm for a celebration and discussion about Jessica’s new novel, Strangers in Budapest. Jessica’s new novel will be released on November 14, 2017.

Anne LeClaire is a bestselling author and acclaimed writing workshop instructor. She will interview Jessica about her new book and both authors will take questions from the audience at the end of their conversation. Strangers in Budapest and The Halo Effect will both be on sale from Eight Cousins and signings will follow the event.

Register for this event to receive an email reminder. Registration is not required.

Reviews & Interviews

BU Today said of Jessica Keener“Jessica Keener has had a rich and varied literary life, including stints as a freelance journalist for the Boston Globe, a literature and writing teacher, and author of numerous short stories that have appeared in such publications as Wilderness House Literary Review and Night Train. Her debut novel, Night Swim (Fiction Studio Books), comes after a nearly two-decade-long gestation. Over that period, several excerpts were published as stories, to critical acclaim.” Read the full review here.

“Full of seduction and intrigue, this thrilling novel is a perfect homage to a city in transition.”
Real Simple

“With chills lurking around each corner, this second novel by author Jessica Keener is the perfect page-turner for late autumn.”
Boston Magazine

“A slow burn of an international psychological thriller. Recommended for fans of Chris Pavone.”
Library Journal

“Keener immerses the reader in Budapest’s post-communist period in all its tumultuous glory . . . the author combines strong characters and a riveting plot to craft a memorable novel.”
Publishers Weekly

“Keener’s second psychological novel, set in modern Hungary, dramatizes both national and personal outcomes of harrowing past events. Budapest becomes a powerful symbol of past horrors, lush culture, and an uncertain future. Reminiscent of Hilary Mantel’s Eight Months on Ghazzah Street . . . and similar in tone and theme to Kim Brooks’ historical novel, The Houseguest.”

“In Keener’s Strangers in Budapest, the city is as much a character as any, and as Annie and others begin to cave under its crumbling weight, what’s revealed where East meets West is a story about the implacability of the past—present, progress, and denials notwithstanding.”
Foreword Reviews

“Annie and Will, a young American couple with a new child, repair to Budapest to forge their future and escape their past. What they find is a city smothered by heat and tangled in history. When their paths cross with a mysterious elderly man named Edward Weiss, Annie discovers that she’s caught up in a life of tragedy that forces her to confront the losses in her own past. Strangers in Budapest is a beautifully written mystery propelled by well-crafted and fully imagined characters. Atmospheric and ominous, this novel asks us what we’re willing to do to start over in a new world when the old world won’t let us go.”
Wiley Cash, bestselling author of The Last Ballad 

“From the first pages of Strangers in Budapest, the words ‘You must not tell anyone’ made me feel as if a hand had reached out from the shadows to pull me under, and I was swept away inexorably by this hypnotic plot, these dark scenes, and the relentless tension. Budapest is a riveting, beautiful book that throbs with plot and sparkles with excellent prose.”
Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine

“A provocative novel about the power of the past–and our interpretations and misinterpretations of it–to haunt the present. An unlikely alliance between an elderly man and a young mother, both American ex-pats living in Budapest in the 1990s, brings this dilemma to life as the two struggle with their demons in a city unable to shake its own. A wonderful book.”
B. A. Shapiro, author of The Muralist

“Jessica Keener has written a gorgeous, lyrical and sweeping novel about the tangled web of past and present. Set in a richly detailed Budapest, an American couple and their newly adopted son, there for the promise of building a business, become entangled with an irritable WWII vet hoping to settle a score. A story of confronting truths, acknowledging old wounds, and stepping into the present. Suspenseful, perceptive, fast-paced, and ultimately restorative.”
Susan Henderson, author of Up from the Blue

“What do we run away from? And what do we run toward? Two American expatriates in Budapest, a lonely young mother with a devastating secret, and an old man desperate to discover the truth about his daughter’s death, forge a shattering connection. Gorgeously told and deeply moving, Keener’s brilliant new novel is a bold, brave and dazzlingly original tale about home, loss and the persistence of love.”
Caroline Leavitt, author of Cruel Beautiful World

“In the Budapest of Jessica Keener’s gripping new novel, menace lurks down every street and infuses every interaction, until the city itself becomes a brooding, sinister presence. With lyrical prose, Keener examines grief and guilt, deception and hatred, and the search for an elusive redemption. Strangers in Budapest is a remarkable novel that continues to haunt me, weeks after I reached its powerful, unexpected conclusion.”
Lauren Belfer, New York Times bestselling author of City of Light, A Fierce Radiance, and And After the Fire

“A mesmerizing story of love and loss. Keener probes the depths to which grief and disappointment can drive a person away from those who only wish to love them.”
Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King’s Daughter

“A taut, elegantly written, magnificent novel. I can touch, taste, smell, hear Budapest. Even the car alarms are rendered with beauty and precision. Jessica Keener turns pain and redemption into a masterful work of art.”
Risa Miller, author of Welcome to Heavenly Heights

“In Strangers in Budapest, Jessica Keener’s riveting novel of conscience and suspense, multiple strands of fate and guilt, cultural memory and private trauma overlap and tighten into an ethical knot of compelling, hypnotic design. An enthralling read!”
Melissa Pritchard, award-winning author of Palermo

“This exquisite novel draws the reader in from the very first pages and refuses to let go. Not only did I feel like I was in the exotic, beautiful city of Budapest, but every emotion felt by the young mother at the center of this ominous tale became my own. In Strangers in Budapest, Jessica Keener proves once again that she is a brilliant, lyrical writer with a true understanding of the human heart.”
Ellen Marie Wiseman, internationally bestselling author of The Plum Tree, What She Left Behind, Coal River and The Life She Was Given

Strangers in Budapest is both lyrical and propulsive, capacious and rich in detail. The characters will stay with you forever. A courageous, compassionate and deeply wise novel.”
Patry Francis, author of The Orphans of Race Point

Jessica Keener is the author of the national bestselling novel Night Swim and a collection of award-winning short stories, Women in Bed. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, the Boston Globe, Agni, and other publications, and she has taught English literature and writing at Brown University, Boston University, the University of Miami, and GrubStreet. She lives in the Boston area. Learn more at

Anne LeClaire: A former actor, print journalist and radio broadcaster, Anne LeClaire is a memoirist and the critically acclaimed, best-selling author of eight novels published in twenty-four countries. She is a frequent speaker at colleges and universities, public and private schools, women’s groups, men’s groups, religious retreats, churches, hospitals, libraries, corporate events, literary festivals and conferences. She has been a keynote speaker for The Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, The Association of American University Women ad the Cape Cod Writers Conference, among others, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Ragdale Foundation. You can find more information about Anne on her website:

Strangers in Budapest

Budapest: gorgeous city of secrets, with ties to a shadowy, bloody past.  It is to this enigmatic European capital that a young American couple, Annie and Will, move from Boston with their infant son shortly after the fall of the Communist regime. For Annie, it is an effort to escape the ghosts that haunt her past, and Will wants simply to seize the chance to build a new future for his family.

Eight months after their move, their efforts to assimilate are thrown into turmoil when they receive a message from friends in the US asking that they check up on an elderly man, a fiercely independent Jewish American WWII veteran who helped free Hungarian Jews from a Nazi prison camp. They soon learn that the man, Edward Weiss, has come to Hungary to exact revenge on someone he is convinced seduced, married, and then murdered his daughter.

Annie, unable to resist anyone’s call for help, recklessly joins in the old man’s plan to track down his former son-in-law and confront him, while Will, pragmatic and cautious by nature, insists they have nothing to do with Weiss and his vendetta. What Annie does not anticipate is that in helping Edward she will become enmeshed in a dark and deadly conflict that will end in tragedy and a stunning loss of innocence.

Atmospheric and surprising, Strangers in Budapest is, as bestselling novelist Caroline Leavitt says, a “dazzlingly original tale about home, loss, and the persistence of love.”

Friday Reads: Magazines to Go!


“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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. 


I am going to make a couple assumptions here and I would love it if someone would write back to tell me I am wrong … I assume that you don’t know the library has Skeptical Inquirer: the magazine for science and reason.  It is one of a large collection of magazines we offer covering a wide variety of interests, which brings me to my second assumption.  I also assume you don’t know back issues of magazines can be checked out.

Was there a recipe, craft project or knitting pattern you want to try or an interesting article you want to peruse while sitting in your favorite spot?  Go for it!  You can bring home past issues of magazines for two weeks, just like books.  The current issues, which we put in plastic covers, stay in the library until they are replaced with newer ones.  For most magazines we keep one year’s worth of back issues underneath the display shelf (or behind, depending upon your point of view).

Our magazine collection probably has several titles you haven’t heard of, for instance:

Art Margins
scholarly articles about contemporary art, media, architecture & critical theory

The Christian Centurythinking critically, living faithfully
applies Christian thought to contemporary topics of interest, such as gun-ownership

Film Comment
filmmaking in the U.S. and abroad, published by Film Society of Lincoln Center

Modern Farmer
for today’s cutting-edge food producers and consumers:  farmers, chefs, home-cooks

Hockey News:  the international hockey weekly
all about North American conference teams with special issues such as “Season Opener” and “Yearbook”

Z Magazine
an independent political monthly magazine from Hull, Massachusetts, in its 30th year

And here I will include Skeptical Inquirer: the magazine for science and reason, which “focuses on what the scientific community knows about claims of the paranormal as opposed to media sensationalism.  The journal promotes scientific research, critical thinking and science education.”  (Magazines for Libraries, 2014, p. 613)

We have all the star titles you would expect to find as well.  Look for your favorite filed alphabetically.   Or, if you have a topic of interest, anything from art to the zodiac, just ask a reference librarian and we’ll see what we can find for you.



Friday Reads: Just Mercy


“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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. 


This week the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club discussed Just Mercy:  a story of justice and redemption by Bryan Stevenson.  It is the second book in our six-month series devoted to social justice.  Each month we will read about a different aspect of social justice.  In Just Mercy, the topic was criminal justice.  But let me quote the author for a more in-depth description:


This book is about getting closer to mass incarceration and extreme punishment in America.  It is about how easily we condemn people in this country and the injustice we create when we allow fear, anger, and distance to shape the way we treat the most vulnerable among us.  It’s also about a dramatic period in our recent history, a period that indelibly marked the lives of millions of Americans – of all races, ages and sexes – and the American psyche as a whole. (p.14)


Stevenson’s personal narrative describes his first 30 years after Harvard Law School when he started the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama – a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal counsel to prisoners wrongly accused of crimes.   Over that time the EJI grew from just two lawyers, Stevenson and a friend from Harvard, to over 40 attorneys who, together, tirelessly fight for racial justice and the fair treatment of children in prison, and against mass incarceration, and the death penalty.  Through his experiences we learn just how many ways minorities, the poor, the mentally ill and other vulnerable members of our society can be treated unfairly when they are in the wrong place at the wrong time and members of the judicial system want a quick conviction.  The results can be catastrophic: innocent people being imprisoned, put in solitary confinement and on death row or even executed.  Many suffer physical and sexual abuse from wardens and other inmates.  Their families and communities acutely feel the injustice as well.

Our large group had a thoughtful and moving discussion about Just Mercy.  Some of us found it very difficult to read because of all the unfairness and corruption Stevenson uncovers, but we all were glad that we read such an important account from one with a reliable and even voice.  Just Mercy is read in high school and college English classes across the country, including here at Falmouth High School.  You can learn more about the author and the book at

Join us next month for Across Many Mountains by Yangzom Brauen, a memoir about racism and religious oppression in Tibet.

Funeral and Memorial Readings

Over the years we have often been asked for words or poems that might be read at a funeral. Recently we were asked again, and decided it might be useful to write a blog entry on this topic. We hope the list of books below might be helpful during the difficult time of planning a funeral or a memorial service.

The Book of Eulogies edited with commentary by Phyllis Theroux. This is a collection of memorial tributes, poetry, essays, and letters of condolence. It includes an index, so should you know a specific author that your loved one used to read, you can find all the names of the writers in the index. Perhaps unexpectedly, but helpfully, there is an entire section of tributes devoted to animals who have died.

Funeral and Memorial Service Readings, Poems and Tributes edited by Rachel R. Baum is sorted by the type of tribute you are planning. Thus there are sections, among others, for mothers, fathers, children, friends, soldiers, and pets.

Readings & Poems edited by Jane McMorland Hunter. Included in this volume are sections of readings and poems that would be appropriate for a funeral or a memorial service. The two sections are “a quiet door” and “love and go on” and include poems by Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti, and A. E. Housman among others. One of the loveliest things about this particular book are the illustrations. (One used to illustrate this blog.) In the introduction the author writes: “Death is one of the certainties of life, as is the fact that at some stage each of us will almost certainly have to deal with the loss of someone close. The pieces here deal first with death itself and then with solitude, but the dividing line is deliberately hazy; somehow we have to find a balance between shedding tears and moving on, remembering and being sad or forgetting and smiling.”

Bartlett’s Poems for Occasions edited by Geoffrey O’Brien with a foreword by Billy Collins.  There are sections for “death and mortality” and “grief and mourning.”

The Art of Losing: poems of grief & healing edited by Kevin Young. This volume includes “150 devastatingly beautiful contemporary elegies that embrace the pain, heartbreak, and healing stages of mourning.”

The Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series offers two possible volumes. One is Poems of Mourning selected and edited by Peter Washington and the other is Poems of the Sea selected and edited by J. D. McClatchy. Because we live by the sea Poems of the Sea feels appropriate for many an occasion, but for a person who loved the ocean you might just find the perfect poem to read aloud at a funeral or a memorial service.




Young Adult & Children’s Books on The Point

Joining Mindy today on The Point’s monthly show on books were Sara Hines of Eight Cousins Books and Mary E. Cronin. The topic was books for children and young adults, and below you will find a list of books that were mentioned, as well as listener picks. We know we discovered lots of new titles we want to read! Miss the show? You’ll be able to listen online!

Jill Erickson, Head of Reference and Adult Services at FPL, took this month off from the book show, but will return next month with Peter Abrahams who will be joining Mindy and Jill to discuss books in translation.


Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Dusky Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

I am Gandhi (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer

Martin Sandler books

Journey by Aaron Becker

The Little Sock Pirate by John Whelan; illustrations by Clara Urbahn



Brick by Brick by Giuliano Ferri

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: a story about knitting and love by Michelle Edwards; illustrated by G. Brian Karas

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Robert; illustrated by Christian Robinson

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: future author extraordinaire by Susan Tan; illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali

Patina Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down (book in verse) due out in October



Parrots over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

River Friendly, River Wild by Jane Kurtz and Neil Brennan

Flood by Alvaro F. Villa

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Posted by John David Anderson

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman

Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman

Doing Her Bit: a story about the Woman’s Land Army of America by Erin Hagar; illustrated by Jen Hill

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stann Yogi; illustrations by Yutaka Houlette

The Reading Without Walls Challenge

The Nantucket Sea Monster: a fake news story by Darcy Pattison

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl



The Cookie Loved ‘Round the World: the story of the chocolate chip cookie by Kathleen Teahan

One by Kathryn Otoshi

Big Hair Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates and Megan Bair

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton

Mad Scientists Club by Bertrand R. Brinley

Shadow Man by Melissa Scott


Our New Assistant Director Has Arrived!

We asked Jennifer Woodward, our brand new Assistant Director, to write something about her first week at FPL for the blog, and she did! We are so delighted she is here!


“Hello! My name is Jennifer Woodward and I am the new Assistant Director here at the Falmouth Public Library. I am thrilled to be here. I spent my first week on the job getting to know the library staff and the library building, as well as learning my new tasks and more about Falmouth. The library staff welcomed me with a party which featured a pie making contest! Both Liz Farland and Tammy Amon won the coveted Golden Spatula awards.

My most recent position was the Director of the public library in Northbridge Massachusetts. I’ve also worked in a corporate library, a law library and two other public libraries in Massachusetts. I grew up in Massachusetts, mostly in Plymouth, and spent my adult years (to date) in Metrowest and Central Massachusetts.

One of my new tasks is to choose which fiction books and DVDs to buy for adults. If you have any suggestions or thoughts about what you would like us to buy,  I would love to talk to you about it!

Thank you to the library staff and Director Linda Collins for helping make my first week a successful one.  And I hope to see you at the library soon!”

Simon Says …

I am always astonished by all the science that takes place in the town of Falmouth, thanks to all of our scientific institutions. Recently I met Simon Ryder-Burbidge who is a guest student at WHOI. He and his colleagues are conducting a survey to understand how the community of Falmouth experiences “connection” to the ocean. They want to build a model for the design of community-based ocean policy, and they need your help! The survey is daunting at first, but as Simon tells me: ” It was a difficult balance to make it a manageable length without losing too much.” However, he also shares: “That being said, I’ve been very impressed by the level of participation so far. Some of the open-ended responses have been an absolute joy to read, and others very informative. People have been really generous with their time, and I do feel that something good is growing here.”

Simon and his colleagues are only looking for Falmouth residents, but Heather Goldstone, of WCAI, is also interested in your ocean stories. She writes: “Wherever you’re from, tell us your best ocean story. Throughout the summer, Living Lab Radio will be featuring your tales of ocean connections. E-mail a brief version of your story and your contact information to Living Lab Radio, or leave us a voicemail at (508) 289-1285.”

So you have two great opportunities to tell the world what the ocean means to you! You can find Simon’s survey for resident’s of Falmouth at As long as I was chatting with Simon, I also thought I’d ask him if he had any favorite books about the ocean, and this is what he told me:

“As for books, I have really been enjoying one called Cod by Mark Kurlansky (very locally relevant) at current. Blowing my mind about once per chapter so far.
Another one I really liked was Sex in the Sea by Marah Hardt. Some crazy stuff going on under the water. “
The full titles are Cod:  A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World and Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Kinky Crustaceans, SexChanging Fish, Romantic Lobsters and Other Salty Erotica. Try some ocean reading to get you in the mood for filling out a survey or telling your ocean story!
Jill Erickson
Head of Reference & Adult Services

Teen Reads for Summer

Beach weather is here and these new teen reads are ready for your eyes and ears. Suggested by Reference Librarian and YA lit reader, Kasia.

1. The Hate u Give by Angie Thomas

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. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does–or does not–say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


2. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say. Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”–No place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home. There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted — and their unborn child — to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?


3. American Street by Ibi Zoboi

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie — a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s West Side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?


4. A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho

Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl? Fin and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates. a Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones-and herself-at risk. a But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty’s disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined-and infinitely more devastating?

Cristina Moracho will visit the library for a special free author event on July 20. More information


5. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

From the author of the bestselling divergent series comes a sci-fi adventure story. On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not–their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world? Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s current gift gives her pain and power–something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows. Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive–no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive–or to destroy one another.