Summer Reading Challenge: One Week Left!

Copy of Copy of A Universe of Stories_ promo flyer.pngThe summer reading challenge is almost over!
Make sure you complete any leftover activities (you don’t have to complete them all) and bring your bingo sheet to the reference desk for those last raffle tickets!

Remember:  Friday, August 30th is the last day!!!!!!

We’ll be contacting winners on the first week of September.

Thank you for participating and we’ll see you all next summer!

The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.

-Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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Registration open for next Cookbook Club meeting!

Our next meeting will be October 28 from 6:30-8pm in the Robbins Library Community Room. We’ll be cooking from Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook by Dorie Greenspan.

If you’re interested in attending, pick up a copy of the book at the front desk. When you decide which recipe you want to make for the meeting, email me at with the name and page number of the recipe. RSVP by October 23.

More information, and a list of recipes that have already been chosen, can be found on the Cookbook Club Page.

Bon appétit!

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QBG Reads… Amberlough

Join us on Wednesday August 28th for a discussion of Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly.

“A double-agent sacrifices all his ideals in order to save his smuggler lover before a government coup takes over their decadent city in Lara Elena Donnelly’s glam spy thriller debut


The Smuggler: By day, Aristide Makricosta is the emcee for Amberlough City’s top nightclub. By night, he moves drugs and refugees under the noses of crooked cops.

The Spy: Covert agent Cyril DePaul thinks he’s good at keeping secrets, but after a disastrous mission abroad, he makes a dangerous choice to protect himself…and hopefully Aristide too.

The Dancer: Streetwise Cordelia Lehane, burlesque performer at the Bumble Bee Cabaret and Aristide’s runner, could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted.

As the twinkling marquees lights yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means — and people — necessary. Including each other.

“Exploring the roots of hatred, nationalism, and fascism, while at the same time celebrating the diversity, love, romance, fashion, and joy the world is capable of producing.”

We’re also voting on our next batch of books, so this is a good meeting to show up for!

There are still copies of the book at the circulation desk here at the Robbins Library!

Queer Book Group / Social reads great LGBTQ-themed books, both fiction and non-fiction, and hosts LGBTQ-themed social events. New members are welcome! Come make some new friends & expand your community!

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Not-So Young Adult Book Group Reads Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (September 16)

The next NSYA group meeting will take place on Monday, September 16 at 7pm in the 4th floor’s conference room. We’ll be discussing Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi.
Children+of+Blood+and+BoneGoodreads description:
“They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.”

Copies of the book are available at the front desk.

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Searching for Dark Matter in the Sky

Dark matter is believed to comprise five sixths of the matter in the universe, and is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for new fundamental physics. Dark matter does not interact directly with light, making it very difficult to detect except by its gravity.

On August 15, the community is invited to Robbins library for a presentation on dark matter.  MIT Professor Tracy Slatyer will describe how dark matter collisions might create observable signals, and how scientists can attempt to pick out those signals from telescope observations. Understanding these observations may either reveal the new physics of dark matter, or help us probe the deep history of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Prof. Slatyer is a theoretical physicist who works on particle physics, cosmology and astrophysics. Her research is motivated by questions of fundamental particle physics — in particular, the nature and interactions of dark matter.  Prof. Slatyer’s research includes hands-on data analysis as well as theory. She has pioneered new techniques to disentangle faint possible dark matter signals from astrophysical backgrounds. She was awarded the 2017 Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics by the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society.

Tray Slatyer joined the MIT Physics Department in July 2013 after completing a three‐year postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Dr. Slatyer completed her undergraduate work with honors in theoretical physics at the Australian National University in 2005 and her doctoral work in physics at Harvard in 2010. She was promoted to Associate Professor at MIT in 2018.  This presentation is made possible through a collaboration with Science for the Public. 

Light from Darkness? Searching for Dark Matter in the Sky
Thursday, Aug. 15, 7:00 pm, Robbins Library Community Room.  

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NSYA Book Group Meeting – Reminder (August 19)

37863426The next NSYA book group meeting will take place Monday, August 19 at 7pm in Robbins Library’s conference room (4th floor). We’ll be discussing  The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix.

Copies of the next book,  Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi, are on their way and will be available to pick up after the meeting.

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Top Tropes

This month we asked our librarians what their favorite narrative tropes are!

A trope is a commonly used theme or plot device. Check out TV Tropes for some incredibly specific examples or the library database NoveList under “Browse By” –> “Themes.” for a less exhaustive, but more manageable list.

Some of my favorite tropes are:

Unreliable narrator – Sometimes you know they’re not telling the truth, or the whole truth, and sometimes you have no idea they’re unreliable until it’s revealed in a shocking twist. I don’t want to give examples because knowing that a narrator is unreliable is so often a spoiler!

Time Slip – When the characters move from one time period to another, like in many of Susanna Kearsley’s novels such as The Winter Sea.

Chosen family – There’s something very satisfying about people cobbling together a family in an untraditional way. A great recent example is the newly-released City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Band of survivors – Very common in post-apocalyptic books like Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, or shows like The Walking Dead and Lost.

New in town – I’m a sucker for any story in which someone moves to a new place and has to make friends and start a new life, or moves back to their hometown to start over. This trope is common in regular fiction and romance. A few examples are The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins, and The Best Man by Kristan Higgins.

Forced proximity – A romance-specific trope in which people are kind of stuck together, like at a weekend house party in the country, or maybe someone gets injured while out walking and has to recuperate at the nearest house like in Mary Balogh’s The Proposal.

Anything speculative, anything with time travel (historical or future). Examples: Doctor Who, Russian Doll, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, My Real Children by Jo Walton, Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen, Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald, Paradox Bound by Peter Clines.

Reality that’s slightly off-kilter; our world but different. Examples: Greenglass House by Kate Milford, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, Slade House by David Mitchell, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Books about books, and fairy tale retellings/twisted fairy tales. Examples: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, anything by Neil Gaiman or Kelly Link or Kelly Barnhill, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

One of my favorite tropes is when girls or women dress up as boys or men in historical fiction to accomplish their goals for adventure. L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack series (YA) and Sena Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife are examples.

I really enjoy historical fiction that focuses on marginalized communities.  They’ve always been around, but well researched novels that give you a sense of what life was like for these communities is always fascinating.  Sarah Waters novels are especially great for this.

What are your favorite tropes?  Let us know in the comments!

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One Month Left to Join the 2019 Summer Reading Challenge!

You still have one more month to join our summer reading challenge, and that’s more than enough time to complete many of the activities listed for a chance to win out-of-this-world prizes!

Even better:
From now until the end of summer, teens and adults get 1 free coupon for frozen custard from Abbott’s Frozen Custard in Arlington Center!

Stop by the reference desk at Robbins Library to sign up and if you’ve already started, ask about your coupon.

To access our original post with instructions and a list of prizes, click here.

Updated A Universe of Stories_ social media

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Reminder: Wayfarer Film Series Presents: Fantastic Planet (Tuesday, July 30)

81w85eQHmaL._SL1500_Travel the world and experience international cinema with the Wayfarer Film Series at Robbins Library! Catch a glimpse from beyond the continent, snack on fresh popcorn, and enjoy a variety of films you might have missed at your local theater.

Description from Criterion website:

Nothing else has ever looked or felt like director René Laloux’s animated marvel Fantastic Planet, a politically minded and visually inventive work of science fiction. The film is set on a distant planet called Ygam, where enslaved humans (Oms) are the playthings of giant blue native inhabitants (Draags). After Terr, kept as a pet since infancy, escapes from his gigantic child captor, he is swept up by a band of radical fellow Oms who are resisting the Draags’ oppression and violence. With its eerie, coolly surreal cutout animation by Roland Topor; brilliant psychedelic jazz score by Alain Goraguer; and wondrous creatures and landscapes, this Cannes-awarded 1973 counterculture classic is a perennially compelling statement against conformity and violence.

Tuesday, July 30
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Robbins Library Community Room

This film is in French with English subtitles, is rated PG, and has a runtime of
72 mins. For additional information contact Nick Glade at


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QBG Paints Rainbow Rocks! 

Wednesday July 31st at 7pm in the Robbins Library’s 4th floor Conference Room
Join us for a crafty night of painting rainbow rocks! (They don’t have to be rainbow – paint whatever design you like!) We’ll have rocks & paint pens available on a first come, first served basis. Not into rocks or painting? Bring your own craft from home to work on or color in one of the coloring books we’ll provide!
Hope to see you there!
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