Pulitzer Prize Winners 2014

The 2014 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced. Here are the winners of the book categories (links go to the library catalog):

goldfinch_tarttFictionThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

HistoryThe Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor

BiographyMargaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall

tomsriverGeneral NonfictionToms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

Poetry3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri

DramaThe Flick by Annie Baker (will be published August 5, 2014)

internalenemy margaretfuller 3sections

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A Year in Reading Suggestions

Booklist Online just published a list of reading suggestions that I loved and wanted to share. These aren’t suggestions about particular titles or even specific genres; they’re ideas that provide a framework while leaving plenty of room for choice.

The list as published suggests one of these idea for each month, but there’s no need to do them in order, or even to read one a month: you could take much longer to do this project, or, if you’re ambitious and have the time, read all twelve books in one month. (If you do that, please come back and leave a comment telling us which you liked best!)

  • Read a book published the same year you were born.
  • Read a book recommended on a blog. Like our very own Robbins Library blog, for example!
  • Read a book that has been made into a movie. There are so many to choose from these days…
  • Reread your favorite book from childhood.
  • Read a book from another country. Check out the display of international books in the fiction room.
  • Read that classic you never read. 
  • Read a book you found via a library database, website, or social reading account. Access library databases through the library website; try Books and Authors or NoveList for good reading suggestions. Several Robbins librarians also contribute to a Goodreads account, where you can see what we’ve read and what we thought of it. There are more reading suggestions and links on our Book Recommendations page.
  • Read a genre or format you don’t usually read. Mystery, memoir, romance, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, graphic novel or graphic memoir…
  • Read a book from an opposing viewpoint. Ann Coulter, meet Al Franken. Al, meet Ann.
  • Read a selection from a local book club. Did you know the library has six (6) book groups? Of course you can read the books without coming to the meeting, but we’d love to see new faces!
  • Read an award winner. Remember to check the Book Recommendations page for links to several awards, including the Pulitzer and the Man Booker prize, among others.
  • Read someone else’s favorite book. Organized book clubs are great, but a book club of two can also be fun. Ask a grandparent, parent, kid, sibling, cousin, friend, teacher…or librarian.

What do you think? Are any of these ideas exciting or inspiring? Let us know if you embark on this reading project – we’d love to hear from you!

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National Library Week, April 13-19

Along with the beautiful spring weather comes National Library Week! This year it’s April 13-19, and we’ve got a display up where you can tell us why you love the library, and how you know the library loves you. Come visit! And while you’re here, check out a book*, attend a program (see the calendar), use a library laptop, browse the magazines and newspapers, or just sit and read in the beautiful Reading Room.

*In addition to books, you can also check out audiobooks on CD, Playaways, music CDs, TV shows and movies on DVD, magazines, and more! Or “visit” the library from home and download an audiobook or e-book.

Last year the honorary chair of National Library Week was Caroline Kennedy, and this year it’s an equally recognizable name: Judy Blume. Blume is a longtime advocate for libraries and the author of such enduring favorites as Are You There, God? It’s Me, MargaretForever, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

Watch Judy Blume’s National Library Week video or read more about her.

“Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.” –Judy Blume, 1993

Happy National Library Week! Twitter users can follow along all week at #NLW14.

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Please Please Mr. Postman: Come Write Letters at the Library


When was the last time you wrote a real, paper-and-pen letter? Whether you’re a regular pen-pal or can’t remember the last letter you wrote, come to the library on Monday, May 5 and join in a letter-writing session in the Community Room from 4:30-6:30pm. This is a casual, drop-in event for ages 13+. We’ll have lots of paper, cards, and envelopes, but if you have special stationery at home, feel free to bring that to use.

If your letter-writing skills are a bit rusty, here are some ideas:

E-mail and social media are part of our everyday lives now, but that doesn’t mean we have to let letters fall by the wayside. It’s still lovely to receive a letter in the mail, and it’s equally lovely to sit down and write one. So bring your favorite pen, pencil, markers or crayons* and join us in the Robbins Library Community Room on Monday, May 5 from 4:30-6:30.

*Maybe don’t write to your senator in crayon.


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Not-So-Young Adult Book Group on 4/14

584599Please join the Not-So-Young Adult Book Group next Monday night, 4/14 at 7pm for a discussion of The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein.

Copies are still available if you haven’t started it yet. I’ve finished reading it and I think there’s some great fodder here for discussion. Even if, like me, you consistently performed poorly in science all through high school (and college!) you still may be fascinated by this kid’s science project.

Also at Monday’s meeting, we’ll be voting on upcoming books so if you have recommendations, bring them to the meeting or post here in the comments.

The Not-So-Young Adult Book Group is a book group for adults in which we discuss books written for teens. No registration is necessary – just show up!

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This just in – New book published on Arlington history



Attention all history enthusiasts or anyone interested in the history of Arlington.  A book was just published  –    Arlington’s Cultural Heights: 1900-1925.    Visit the “Little Table” display (Look for a petite table wrapped with goldfish paper)  where you’ll find copies (we’re getting more very soon –  I promise).  And you can always reserve a copy.

New publication

New publication

A little bit about the book:  Beginning in the 1870′s, two very distinct residential neighborhoods developed in the western end of Arlington  then known as Arlington Heights and Crescent Hill.  Arlinton’s Cultural Heights: 1900-1925  highlights the founders and lives of the many remarkable folks who settled there.  You’ll discover the story of this creative community of reformers, educators, writers, artists, craftsmen, musicians, actors, dramatists, and architects  that existed back then – right in our midst.

In addition, the authors – Doreen Stevens, Aimee Taberner, and Sarah Burks –  will do a  presentation this month.

Tuesday night April 22 at 7 pm in the Community Room.



There will be a book signing following the program and refreshments will be served.


Come and celebrate Arlington history!

Questions?   Contact Ellen @ 781-316-3233.


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Spring Staff Picks

artoffieldingThe Staff Picks book group is reading The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach this month. The discussion will be at the Fox Branch Library on Wednesday, April 16, at 7pmThe Art of Fielding, as its title suggests, has a little something to do with baseball, but don’t let a lack of enthusiasm for sports stop you from reading it – like The Brothers K by David James Duncan, there’s much more to this story than baseball. There are plenty of copies available for checkout at the circulation desk, or you can request the book through the catalog. Laura will lead the discussion; as always, this book discussion is free and open to the public.

aboveallthingsOur May book is Above All Things by Tanis Rideout, a tale of historical fiction and adventure described as The Paris Wife meets Into Thin Air.” The discussion will be on Wednesday, May 15, at 7pm in the Robbins Library Conference Room. Reserve your copy now or pick one up from the circulation desk (starting mid-April).

I’ve heard a rumor that June’s pick might be nonfiction. Till then, we hope you pick up one or both of these thought-provoking novels, and come discuss with us!

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