Brand New Books: July Edition

Book publishing ebbs and flows with the seasons: late spring and early summer see a big influx of new books, as does fall, and there’s a surge before the winter holidays as well. Some times of year are a little quieter, and mid-summer is one of those lulls – but there are still more books published each year than most of us could read in a decade, so never fear! Catch up on new fiction from May and June or investigate one of the titles below.

Or maybe a book being hot off the presses isn’t important to you, and you’re reading something older – tell us about it! Leave a comment below, and remember to sign up for adult summer reading if you haven’t already; you can fill out a raffle ticket for each book you read this summer!


Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner (6/28)
A “richly plotted” (Publishers Weekly) British police procedural featuring a complex detective and a missing persons case.

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin (6/28)
“Sisters Josie and Meredith are each struggling with tough life choices testing their fragile sisterly bond as the 15th anniversary of the tragic death of their brother looms…as they begin to face the truth surrounding their brother’s death, “their relationship is called into question. This well-written and engaging story explores how relationships evolve and people can surprise us if we let them.” –Library Journal

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
The author of (most recently) the superb Instructions for a Heatwave returns with the tale of Daniel Sullivan and his various family members in America and Ireland; the story takes place mostly in 2010 but goes back as far as the 1980s as well as forward into the present. O’Farrell’s characters are tragically, beautifully real.


Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard
Pittard’s third novel (The Fates Will Find Their Way, Reunion) contains a road trip, a storm, a dog, two points of view…Library Journal says, “Pitch-perfect in language and ominous in mood.

The Black Widow by Daniel Silva
The “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) 16th novel featuring the Israeli art restorer/spy Gabriel Allon is eagerly awaited by Silva’s many fans. (If you want to start at the beginning, the first Gabriel Allon book is The Kill Artist.)

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Three couples, one ordinary day, one barbecue…what could go wrong? Find out in the new novel from Australian author Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies The Husband’s Secret, and What Alice Forgot).

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Calling all coders!

Girls-Who-Code-Facebook-LogoThe Robbins Library is launching a Girls Who Code club this fall, and we’re still looking for volunteer instructors!

Girls Who Code is a national non-profit that seeks to encourage girls to enter technology professions. Our local club will meet weekly from October-June, on Wednesdays after school.

Here’s what we’re looking for in our instructors:

  • Knowledge of programming fundamentals, such as loops, conditionals, and functions
  • Availability 3-4 hours a week during the school year
  • Experience working with middle school or high school students
  • A passion for the Girls Who Code mission
  • You do not need a computer science degree, nor do you need to be a woman to be a Girls Who Code instructor.

To apply:

Please send your resume and a letter of introduction to avillet at minlib dot net.

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Arlington Reads Together: Short List

Last week, the Arlington Reads Together committee met and selected 5 books for their short list. These books will be read over the summer and early fall, and one will be selected as the 2017 community read.

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No HorseBecoming Nicole : The Transformation of an American FamilyStation Eleven

Waking up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of RaceNight

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich
Book     large print   
hoopla audiobook (always available!)

Becoming Nicole by  Amy Ellis Nutt
ebook         e-audiobook

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Book    paperback
audiobook    large print
overdrive ebook    e-audiobook
commonwealth catalog ebook     e-audiobook

Waking Up White by Debby Irving
hoopla audiobook (always available!)

Night by Elie Wiesel
book         audiobook
overdrive ebook    overdrive audiobook
ebook from commonwealth ebook collection

Each member of the committee nominates a title for consideration. We reviewed a combination of nonfiction and fiction, new releases and older titles. Many factors go into consideration, including themes, literary merit, format availability and timeliness. These five titles explore contemporary issues, both in the larger world and at home in Arlington. Read along with us, as one of these books will be our 2017 Arlington Reads Together pick!

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QBG/Social Brings Back Game Night!

QBGGameNight-Jul16 Get your game on with QBG this Wednesday (7/27) @ 7pm in the Robbins Library 4th Floor Conference Room!

You: Bring your A-game and good sportsmanship.

Us: We’ll bring the games & snacks.

Be there for a rollicking good time!

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Arlington High School Yearbooks are now digitized

HEARYEYearbooksOnCartThis project was a collaboration between Arlington High School and Robbins Library.

Arlington High yearbooks can now be viewed online at the Internet Archive (IA)

To view them just go to:

the Internet Archive


The Robbins Local History librarian and the School librarian at Arlington High worked with an awesome team of Arlington High students who compared copies of yearbooks at both institutions –  then chose the best ones for digitization.

2015-06-19 Arlington High School Digitization Project (2)

The current digitized collection begins with the year 1927 and ends with the year 2011.



The Digital Commonwealth provided digitization services and scanned these volumes at their Scanning Lab located at Boston Public Library.  Digital Commonwealth is a non-profit collaborative organization that provides resources and services to support the creation, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage materials held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. Digital Commonwealth currently has over 130 member institutions from across the state.




Need more info?  Contact Ellen    (781) 316-3233

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Tell me again: Retellings in fiction

There are no new stories…

And yet it seems as though there are endless ways of telling and retelling stories. Retellings of ancient myths, fairy tales, and folklore are endlessly fascinating (see our Book Chat recap on the topic of Myth, Magic, and Fairy Tale for a list of some of these), and two recent projects tackle two authors you may have heard of: William Shakespeare and Jane Austen.


The “Chandos Portrait” of William Shakespeare, from the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The Hogarth Shakespeare project “sees Shakespeare’s works retold by acclaimed and bestselling novelists of today,” namely:

  • Jeannette Winterson on The Winter’s Tale (The Gap of Time)
  • Howard Jacobson on The Merchant of Venice (Shylock Is My Name)
  • Anne Tyler on The Taming of the Shrew (Vinegar Girl)
  • Margaret Atwood on The Tempest (Hag-Seed coming October 2016)
  • Tracy Chevalier on Othello (coming June 2017)
  • Jo Nesbo on Macbeth (coming February 2018)
  • Edward St. Aubyn on King Lear (April 2018)
  • Gillian Flynn on Hamlet (coming January 2021)

Portrait of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra, c. 1810.

Information on The Austen Project is a bit more minimal (there’s a facebook page and a Goodreads page), but so far four of a planned six novels have been published:

Of course, these two projects certainly aren’t the first to hit on the idea of retelling old stories; many authors (and filmmakers) have been borrowing and adapting both Shakespeare and Austen’s work for…well, since they’ve been around, really. Think of just a few of these silver screen gems:

And that’s just a handful, or a drop in the bucket, or insert-your-favorite-metaphor-here for a tiny sample of a vast number. (Speaking of metaphors, have you tried the Shakespearean insult generator yet? It’s great fun.)

What do you think of retellings and adaptations? Movie versions of books and plays? Is there one you love (or hate) that I didn’t list above? Share in the comments!

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Pokemon GO Lure Party & Gym Badges!

Lure Party Header

Calling all Pokemon trainers!
We’ll be setting off a few lure modules at the Robbins Library Lawn on Wednesday July 20th at 6PM!  Come catch some Pokemon, meet other players, & enjoy the summer weather!
You will need to have the Pokemon GO app installed & access to data on your device to participate.


In other Pokemon GO news, we are now giving out gym badges at the reference desk!  Gym badges can be earned by players who show us that they’ve taken over the Gym right behind the library at the Dallin’s Menotomy Indian Hunter statue.  Just come to the reference desk & show us your Pokemon at the gym to get a badge!  (While supplies last.)


Show us this screen at the reference desk to get your badge!


Don’t forget to check out our awesome selection of books, DVDs, video games, & more while you’re in!  Until next time – keep catching ’em all!

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Oldest house in Arlington?

The Fowle-Reed-Wyman-Belcher House may or may not be the very oldest historic house still standing in Arlington –  but it most definitely lays claim to the  longest name.

historic photo of the Fowle-Reed-Wyman-Belcher House

historic photo of the Fowle-Reed-Wyman-Belcher House

This photo of the house can also be viewed online at the Digital Commonwealth repository where  the Library’s digitized historic photos and postcards reside.

Some facts:

Considered a Saltbox, the house was built  around 1706  [practically in the                              1600s]  and has gone through changes over the years.

Squaw Sachem, a leader of the Massachuset tribe and  original settler of this area early known as Menotomy, lived nearby on lands rising above what is today’s Upper Mystic Lake.  She owned a large swath of land – some of which encompassed Charlestown, Arlington, Medford, Malden, and Winchester. – which she later sold.

The Wymans, – an Arlington family well known for their market gardening                               practice –  owned the Fowle-Reed-Wyman-Belcher property for much of the                           1800s.

This house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


a relatively modern photo of the house

a relatively modern photo of the house


Some resources…

Biographies and legends of the New England Indians by Leo Bonfanti

The Digital Commonwealth

A field guide to American houses : the definitive guide to identifying and understanding America’s domestic architecture by Virginia Savage McAlester

Historical files held at Robbins Library

The New organic grower: a master’s manual of tools and techniques for the  home and market gardener by Eliot Coleman.

Saltbox and Cape Cod houses  by Stanley Schuler

Success in market gardening; a new vegetable growers manual, by Herbert Rawson.  1910





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Ms.shelved Episode 4 is here!

In episode 4 of our vlog we talk about our progress (or lack thereof) with our reading challenges for this year. We also recommend some great books!

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Not-So-Young Adult Book Group Meets on 7/20

allthebrightplacesThe NSYA book group will meet next Wednesday night in the 4th floor conference room. We’ll be discussing All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

Copies are still available to check out at the front desk if you haven’t yet picked one up.

The Not-So-Young Adult Book Group is a book group for adults, but we read books written for teens. (No shame!) Newcomers are always welcome!


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