Cheshire Library Blog

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Book Club Picks – Literary Fiction



A selection of great fiction for your book club to enjoy.

spool of threadA Spool of Thread – Anne Tyler – “It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . .” This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor.those who leave

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay – Elean Ferrante –  In this third Neapolitan novel, Elena and Lila, the two girls whom readers first met in My Brilliant Friend, have become women. Lila married at sixteen and has a young son; she has left her husband and the comforts her marriage brought and now works as a common laborer. Elena has left the neighborhood, earned her college degree, and published a successful novel, all of which has opened the doors to a world of learned interlocutors and richly furnished salons. Both women have attempted are pushing against the walls of a prison that would have seen them living a life of misery, ignorance and submission. They are afloat on the great sea of opportunities that opened up during the nineteen-seventies. Yet they are still very much bound to each other by a strong, unbreakable bond.

ordinary graceOrdinary Grace – William Kent Krueger – Looking back at a tragic event that occurred during his thirteenth year, Frank Drum explores how a complicated web of secrets, adultery, and betrayal shattered his Methodist family and their small 1961 Minnesota community.lila

Lila – Marilynne Robinson – Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church–the only available shelter from the rain–and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security.

when i found youWhen I Found You – Catherine Ryan Hyde – While duck hunting one morning, childless, middle-aged Nathan McCann finds a newborn abandoned in the woods. To his shock, the child—wrapped in a sweater and wearing a tiny knitted hat—is still alive. To his wife’s shock, Nathan wants to adopt the boy…but the child’s grandmother steps in. Nathan makes her promise, however, that one day she’ll bring the boy to meet him so he can reveal that he was the one who rescued him.

Fifteen years later, the widowered Nathan discovers the child abandoned once again—this time at his doorstep. Named Nat, the teenager has grown into a sullen delinquent whose grandmother can no longer tolerate him. Nathan agrees to care for Nat, and the two engage in a battle of wills that spans years. Still, the older man repeatedly assures the youngster that, unlike the rest of the world, he will never abandon him—not even when Nat suffers a trauma that changes both of their lives forever.

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Take Your Dog To Work Day – June 26, 2015


TYDTWDay-DogToday has been designated as Take Your Dog to Work Day by Pet Sitters International.  This day was dog at workestablished in 1999 as a way to recognize dogs as great companions and to encourage adoption by showing non-dog owners the joys of owning a dog.  Will you be taking your dog to work?  Do you have any activities planned?  What’s the best thing about taking your dog to work?  Let us know how your day went!

The Cheshire Library has about 1900 items featuring dogs –  DVDschildren’s books, adult books, – there’s something for everyone.  We have books on training, on service dogs, fiction books with dogs incorporated in the story, whimsical storybooks for children, movies about dogs.  Take a look at what the Cheshire Library has to offer here .  Below is a small sampling of what you can find at the library.


Dogs, How to choose and care for a dog – Laura S. Jeffrey

A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a stray – Ann M. Martin

Lulu Walks the Dogs – Lane Smith

Night of the Howling Dogs – Graham Salisbury (YA)

Dogs in the Dead of Night – Mary Pope Osborne

Dogs – Emily Gravett

My Dog’s A Scaredy Cat – Henry Winkler

Not Afraid of Dogs – Susanna Pitzer



Dogs Never Lie About Love – Jeffrey Moussaieff

The Possibility Dogs: what a handful of unadoptables taught me about service, hope and healing – Susannah Charleston

War Dogs: tales of canine heroism, history and love – Rebecca Frankel

Bad Dogs Have More Fun: selected writings on family, animals, and life – John Grogan

Old Dogs, New Tricks: understanding and retraining older and rescued dogs – David Taylor

Must Love Dogs – Claire Cook

Isle of Dogs – Patricia Cornwell

The Dogs of Babel – Carolyn Parkhurst


All Dogs Go To Heaven

Must Love Dogs

Dogs Decoded

Through a Dog’s Eyes

Chilly Dogs

Hachi: a dog’s tail


The Shaggy Dog




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My Angry Birds Obsession

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to Angry Birds.

It started innocently enough. When I got my new iPhone, my daughter said the game was fun and urged me to download the app. Why not, I thought. Everyone else was doing it.

At first, it seemed harmless. Cute little angry birds smashing fat, smug-looking pigs into oblivion. I quickly became adept.

And then new birds were introduced. They did cool things like explode and split into three separate birds. I learned which were good against glass and which against the wood structures those grinning little pigs erected. The exploding bird was great for stone. I got an unholy satisfaction from blowing pigs up.

IAngry5 even found a great book, Learn to Draw Angry Birds. Now I could doodle Angry Birds in the moments when I couldn’t play the game.

Soon, it was no longer enough to just win a level with one star. I had to get three stars. ON EVERY GAME. I would try for hours to get that lone two-star game up to three stars. One-star wins began to feel like losses.

That should have been a warning sign, but I was too far gone. I conquered all the levels in the original Angry Birds game. I needed more. On to Angry Birds Rio. I ran my phone down playing Angry Birds.

My daughter must have seen my plight, for she intervened. She introduced me to Trivia Crack.

Gee, I thought. Everyone else is doing it. It seems harmless…


If you can’t get enough of Angry Birds, here are some more titles to feed your addiction… Um, I mean, give you more information.

Angry   Angry2   Angry3    Angry6     Angry4

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Getting Past Captain Underpants

My son was not as instantly attracted to books and reading as myself or his little sister. While he loved picking out books and being read to, once it came time to read on his own he was easily discouraged. He had the skills to read, but had trouble sitting still or focusing on decoding the more challenging words. I offered him every style of easy reader and early chapter book imaginable. Thankfully, as a librarian with many friends that happen to teach, I had plenty of resources. The book that finally caught his attention is one that many try to steer clear of because of its silly and sometimes disgusting humor. However, if he was going to read, and do so happily, I was going to encourage it regardless of the book in question.

captainunderpantsAs you might have guessed, that book was Captain Underpants. He has now read the boxed set of the series through more than a few times, and expanded to other books, all of which I like much better. Now he still loves that silly humor, but he also loves jokes and anything vaguely monster, hero, or adventure. So, for fellow parents that fear the draw of the Captain, there are some great follow up books that a fan might easily and happily transition to. The number of easier chapter books and graphic novels that will appeal to the fans of Captain Underpants is growing, with volume and quality. If you are trying to ease your young reader away from the underwear clad superhero, here are some great options to keep them reading. If the book belongs to a series, which most of them do, I have listed the first book in that series. And on a side note, do not be afraid to introduce harder books via audiobooks! I hooked both my kids on the Magic Tree House series by listening to the audio book collection in the car.captainsquish

Squish 1: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Introducing SQUISH—a new graphic novel series about a comic book-loving, twinkie-eating grade school AMOEBA trying to find his place in the world (or at least trying to make it through a school day).

Sardine in Outer Space by Emmanuel Guibert
Sardine and her uncle, Captain Yellow Shoulder, sail their ship, The Huckleberry, across the universe meeting up with monsters and aliens in order to confront Supermuscleman, who is trying to take over the galaxy.

captaingeorgeGeorge Brown, Class Clown: Super Burp by Nancy E. Krulik
When fourth-grader George starts at a new school, he vows to become a model student instead of the class clown he has always been, but just as his plan is going really well, he is overtaken by a magic burp that turns him back into a mischief-maker.

The Fake Cape Caper by Greg Trine

Melvin Beederman, superhero in charge of Los Angeles, attends the Superhero’s Convention in Las V egas, leaving his young sidekick to keep Los Angeles safe from evil bad guys and bullies.

Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight
Fourth-grader Frankie Piccolini has a vivid imagination when it comes to cleaning his disastrously messy room, but eventually even he decides that it is just too dirty.

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There is an increasing number of wonderful books for this reading level and age group as of late. If you have already read all of these and are still looking for me you might also want to try: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne, The High and the Flighty by Catherine Hapka and Lisa Rao, Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy: The Hero Revealed by William Boniface, Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons by Troy Cummings, Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Wiley & Grampa’s Creature Features by Kirk Scroggs,Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon, Looinverse: Stranger Things by David Lubar,  My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara, Galaxy Zack: Hello Nebulon by Ray O’Ryan, and Attack of the Giant Hamster by Paul Harrison.

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Behind the Scenes at CPL – Selecting New Books

With more than 100,000 items on our shelves, Cheshire Library is a busy place!  If you’ve ever wondered how many people it takes to keep our collection humming, you can find out in a new series of posts about what goes on behind the scenes at CPL. Today’s subject is Collection Development – or Buying New Stuff.Photo Apr 23 copyWe have several librarians who are in charge of maintaining the different collections here at CPL. Designated staff members are tasked with ordering Adult print materials, Children’s print materials, Teen print materials, Adult audiovisual materials,  Children’s audiovisual materials, and Periodicals. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the selecting and ordering of Adult print materials.

Photo Apr 23Deborah Rutter is the Deputy Director of Cheshire Library, and a large part of her job revolves around the development of our Adult print collection. With a dizzying number of books being published each month, Deb must carefully read professional publications like “Library Journal” and “Baker & Taylor Forecast” for reviews and publishing news, in order to select upcoming titles that would be popular with our patrons. Deb says books about gardening, home decor, history, travel, and self-help are always in demand here at CPL, so she always makes sure to order the latest titles in those subjects!

Fiction buying can be a little trickier. In addition to reading professional publications, Deb can often be seen perusing the “New York Times Book Review”, “Book List”, and lots of other book-related websites to stay of top of what’s got “buzz” in the publishing world. Of course, purchasing the latest books by popular authors is a given. Deb also checks to see what the print runs of upcoming books are, and whether they are being released simultaneously as audiobooks in addition to print. Both of these factors can be helpful in figuring out the predicted popularity of a new book.

Photo Apr 23-2Once there’s a list of books to buy, it’s time to decide how many copies we should purchase. A lot of this has to do with our current book budget, but a book with an outstanding review, or lot of patron requests, will also help determine how many copies we should buy.

Patron suggestions are always welcome. We buy many of the books that people request, so if there’s a book you’d like to see in our collection, let us know! There’s a handy form on our website for exactly that purpose. Book orders are made about twice a month, as a rule, so suggestions for purchase can often be accommodated quickly.

Selectors have a tough job. Our collection at Cheshire Library is curated with a lot of care and thought, and it shows.  In the next behind-the-scenes post, we’ll find out what happens AFTER the books arrive!


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