Archive for the ‘Readers Corner’ Category


Friday, July 10th, 2015

book coverIn Lea Wait’s first installment of her Shadows mysteries, Shadows at the Fair, antiques dealers seem to be dying at an alarming rate at antiques expositions.

One local antiques dealer is killed in a one car accident, two Scranton Pennsylvania antiques dealers die of smoke inhalation, another dies from substance abuse and the most recent victim died from poisoning.

Maggie Summer, the owner of Shadows Antiques, is totally unaware of these tragedies when she arrives at the prestigious Rensselaer County Spring Antiques Fair.

Maggie isn’t clueless for very long as rumors are flying everywhere but the recently widowed Maggie doesn’t intend for murder to interfere with selling her antique prints. That is until one of the dealers at the show is murdered and her friend, Gussie’s 20 year old nephew, Ben, who has Down’s Syndrome, is accused of the murder.

To help Gussie and Ben Maggie needs to find out who killed the antiques dealer. But who can Maggie trust when anyone could be the killer?

From Library Journal
Her discreet search for clues accompanies a similarly low-key dissemination of information about old prints and other antiques. Fans of John Dunning’s mysteries about the rare book world (e.g., Booked To Die) may also enjoy this solid, middle-of-the-road start to a new series. Wait is a fourth-generation antiques dealer and has sold antique prints for over 25 years.

The New York Times Book Review Cannily draws on its author’s professional experiences in the antiques trade… The fairground setting beckons like a weekend in the country…

Collection Connections: Harper Lee and Truman Capote

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Harper Lee

Harper Lee

On July 14th, Harper Lee’s eagerly awaited, much-hyped book Go Set a Watchman will be released.

The long-lost manuscript was written before Lee wrote her only published book, To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960.

The story follows an adult Scout Finch who travels from New York to Alabama to visit her father, Atticus, 20 years after the events of Mockingbird.

When I think of Harper Lee, I always think of Truman Capote. They became friends in the early 1930s in Monroeville, Alabama. They lived next door to each other: Capote with aunts and uncles, Lee with her parents and siblings, and shared a love of reading and writing.

Truman Capote

Truman Capote

Capote is the inspiration for Scout’s friend, Dill, in Mockingbird, and Lee accompanied him to Kansas to research In Cold Blood.

But by the time of his death in 1984, at the relatively young age of 59, the two had not been in communication for years.

Apparently, I am not the only person who is fascinated by this literary friendship: in Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story (2007), author Kim Powers imagines the final years of Capote’s life in which he reaches out to her in mysterious ways.

This novel attempts to answer tantalizing questions like what happened between them? And who really wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?

Though Capote wrote novels, short stories and plays that are now considered literary classics, he achieved fame with In Cold Blood, the journalistic story of two men who killed a family (in cold blood). Capote called it a “nonfiction novel” and it is considered a pioneering example of the true crime genre.

Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory

I have been haunted by the reading of that book and it nearly turned me away from him, but fortunately someone told me that most of his work was not like In Cold Blood, so I did read other works by Capote.

My all-time favorite is A Christmas Memory, a poignant short story about a seven-year old boy and his elderly aunt, making fruit cakes to give away.

Curtis has this story in stand-alone volumes, but also in The Complete Stories of Truman Capote and in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A Short Novel and Three Short Stories.

By the way, be sure to drop by the Bestseller Express (7-day) shelf after July 14, as Curtis should have lots of copies of Go Set a Watchman!

— Pamela Bobker

book cover

Book review for the CSA cookbook by Linda Ly

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

the-csa-cookbook-2There was a fascinating article in the source section of the Maine Sunday telegram called “a farmer in Rockport turns vegetables into high fashion”.

She essentially plays with her food, by designing it to be worn, rather than eating it. It was such a fascinating idea!

I had never thought of wearing my food, but I have spent lots of time thinking about how to prepare my food, especially when I run into a food that I’m not familiar with.

This year I agreed to split a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share with my son, and in that share, there are vegetables I don’t know how to cook, including Kohlrabi.

I turned to a new cookbook in the Curtis Library collection, called, “The CSA Cookbook : no-waste recipes for cooking your way through a community supported agriculture box, farmer’s market, or backyard bounty” by Linda Ly.

There is a wonderful recipe for Kohlrabi home fries, so now I know at least one way to prepare Kohlrabi, but this cookbook goes much further by using a vegetable from the head to the toe.

For example, the recipe for Beetza Beetza, (beet pizza), you use the entire beet by first incorporating a layer of beet leaves and then topping it with the roasted beets, and voila!, you’ve used the entire vegetable!

Remember, play with your food!

— Paula Tefft

You will have so many why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moments as you cook your way through this inspired book. Linda translates the nose-to-tail ethos into garden speak so well that the only thing to go hungry will be your compost pile.
— Ian Knauer, author of The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food

This is a must-have book for home cooks who prepare and serve fresh, healthy food raised in healthy soil. Linda’s enticing recipes use every part of a beet or broccoli or leek to provide the rich garden experience we all want.
— Joanne Neft, author of The Art of Real Food

Review: Vaughn Hardacker’s “Sniper”

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Novel-CoverIn Vaughn Hardacker’s thriller, “Sniper”, someone has gunned down four people on the Boston Common and Boston homicide detective Mike Houston and his partner Anne Bouchard are assigned to the case.

Houston a former U.S. Marine scout and sniper can see similarities in the crime scene and the training he had as a marine.

When the sniper strikes again the similarities are confirmed but this time the killing brings with it a more personal note for Mike.

People that Houston knows and has close ties to are being killed.

The sniper has even called to let Mike know that the killings ARE personal and that Houston will eventually be the target.

The final confrontation becomes a deadly sniper to sniper showdown on a remote lake in Maine.

“From its initial horrific crime to its hold-your-breath climax, Sniper is a full-throttle thriller. Hardacker has written a page-turner that feels authentic both technically and in its very human cast of characters. Fans of Stephen Hunter’s Bob Lee Swagger won’t want to miss this outstanding debut!”
—Steve Ulfelder, Edgar-nominated author of Shotgun Lullaby

“Tense, taut, and genuinely chilling. Hardacker instills this disturbingly sinister tale of vengeance and terror with true Boston heart and authenticity.” —Hank Phillippi Ryan; Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and Mary Higgins Clark award–winning author of The Wrong Girl

Just Added to the Bestseller Express…

Friday, May 15th, 2015


American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith and Renewal by Taya Kyle

And the Good News is…Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side by Dana Perino

Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation by Melissa Rivers

A Bone to Pick: The Good and Bad News about Food, with Wisdom and Advice on Diets, Food Safety, GMOs, Farming and More by Mark Bittman

Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams and Drugs with the Grateful Dead by Bill Kreutzmann

Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw


Cash Landing by James Grippando

The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child

The Ghost Fields: A Ruth Galloway mystery by Elly Griffiths

The Green Road by Anne Enright

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk

Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Sponsored by Curtis Friends, Bestseller Express titles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be checked out for 7 days.

Exclusively for Curtis cardholders, they cannot be reserved or renewed so you’ll have the best access to new titles, but you will have to read fast.

The Bestseller Express books are located in the New Books Room, across from the Lending Services desk.

Click on titles to check current availability and then come in to the library today!

Ken Gloss, Brattle Book Shop – Wednesday, June 17, 6 pm

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

GlossKenneth Gloss, proprietor of the internationally known Brattle Book Shop in Boston’s Downtown Crossing section, will give a free and open talk Wednesday, June 17 at 6:00 P.M. on the value of old and rare books.

Ken, who is also a frequent guest appraiser on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, will talk in part about the history of his historic bookshop (, which goes back to around 1825. He is the second-generation owner.

Ken will talk about and show some of his favorite finds and describe some of the joys of the “hunt,” as well as explain what makes a book go up in value. He has many fascinating anecdotes to share as well as guidelines for what to look for when starting a collection. There is also a Q&A session before the conclusion of his talk.

Following the talk and question-and-answer session, he will give free verbal appraisals of all books that attendees have brought with them or will do so at his shop in Boston.

brattleThe Brattle Book Shop is one of America’s oldest and largest antiquarian bookstores. 2015 is the 66th year of Gloss family ownership.

Kenneth Gloss succeeded his late father, George Gloss, a well-known figure both in Boston and national antiquarian circles.

He had worked in the store since childhood and chose to go into the book business rather than pursue a doctorate in chemistry.

He became the sole proprietor upon his father’s death several years ago.

“I found that books were in my blood and that I would never be really happy if I abandoned the business.”

Among the many organizations in which Kenneth Gloss is a member are:

  • the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America
  • the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
  • the New England Antiquarian Booksellers of America
  • the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers Association
  • the Committee for the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair
  • and the Boston Society

He also is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as serving on the Board of Overseers of the USS Constitution Museum.

roadshow_ss_frostbook2The Brattle Book Shop is proud to have been a contributor to the WGBH Annual Auction each year that the station has held this fund drive.

Ken has appeared as a guest appraiser on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow numerous times over the years and has been a popular guest on WBZ Radio as well as other radio, TV, and cable stations numerous times. His bylined articles continue to appear in various antique journals and in print and online consumer publications.

The Brattle Book Shop is also the recipient of several “Best of Boston” awards in the categories of Best Book Shop or Best Antiquarian Book Shop.

In addition, it has been included in a list as one of North America’s best bookstores.

For further information about this talk and more about book-collecting, appraisals and future free and open talks, please visit their website at or call them toll-free at 800-447-9595.

Kathy Lynn Emerson’s mystery, “Face Down o’er the border”

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

face downThe year is 1577 in Kathy Lynn Emerson’s mystery, “Face Down o’er the border”.

Susanna, Lady Appleton, gentlewoman and herbalist receives word that her dear friend and sister-in-law, Catherine Lady Glenelg has been accused of murdering her mother-in-law in Scotland.

Susanna must travel to Scotland to clear her friends name and discover who the real murderer is.

Unfortunately Scotland’s political unrest and the country’s mistrust of anyone from south of the border proves a problem for Susanna.

Hampering Susanna’s efforts are the fact that Catherine has disappeared with a notorious spy and Catherine’s son has been commanded to appear at the royal palace to become the reluctant schoolfellow of the young king.

Editorial Reviews

Emerson’s engrossing 16th-century mystery (her 11th, after 2006’s Face Down Beside St. Anne’s Well) plunges readers into the middle of Scottish domestic drama and political intrigue from the first page. — Vividly realized strong female characters, well-paced plot, seamless dialogue and intriguing historical details add up to a compelling period tale.

Mystery Review – "Live free or Die"

Friday, April 10th, 2015

live free or dieIn Jessie Crockett’s award winning mystery , “Live free or Die”, Gwen Fifield, Winslow Falls, New Hampshire’s volunteer fire chief, thinks life is exceptionally good until an arsonist decides to change that.

Luckily no one had been hurt until the latest fire at the Winslow Falls museum.

When an autopsy is performed it’s discovered that the museum’s curator didn’t die in the fire but had been murdered before the fire was set.

Having no experience investigating fires Gwen is more than willing to hand the case over to the state fire marshal, Hugh Larsen.

Because he’s an outsider, Hugh asks Gwen for her help in questioning the townspeople who seem to want to blame a new immigrant family.

Finding an artifact from the museum in their possession makes the case against them even stronger.

On further investigation, it’s found that the family is innocent and the killer is one of their own.


“I read sometimes 1 book a day. I never do reviews on Amazon.
However I loved this book and really want to plug it for the author. (Whom I have never heard of, or met) It had wicked sharp humor, razor sharp sarcasm, it was a little chickish (long on love interest but not overly so. I am a guy so take that in to account)”.

“Live Free or Die” is fun. Like an episode of “Murder She Wrote,” suspects and red herrings abound. There are strange clues; the mysterious visit of a former US president; a connection to the Know Nothing Party; old stamps. Jessie’s strength is clearly in plotting – I never knew what was going to happen next, yet the intricate plot hung together like a sturdy old afghan. Aside from Gwen and Hugh, and maybe Gwen’s curvaceous, meddling sister, the small town characters were more Mayberry than Fargo. That might or might not float your boat. But there were enough scenes of horror, romance and intrigue to offset these comic touches”.

Ethel didn’t douse her cereal with the milk of human kindness
— Live Free or Die by Jessie Crockett

Mystery Review: Janet Evanovich’s “Explosive 18”

Friday, March 13th, 2015

explosive 18In Janet Evanovich’s, “Explosive 18”, Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is on its normal course, with mayhem, murder, good guys and definitely some bad guys.

The difference this time is that the murder has an international twist to it.

Returning from her nightmare Hawaiian vacation Stephanie learns that her seatmate on the plane has been murdered in Los Angles and an assorted collection of thugs, psychos and the FBI are looking for a photograph the dead man was supposedly carrying.

Everyone thinks Stephanie has the photograph, Stephanie has seen it, but no longer has it.

Now she’s become a target. If that’s not enough, the bonds bus, Vinnie’s temporary office, goes up in smoke, Lula falls in love with one of the skip clients, Joyce Barnhardt moves in with Stephanie, Stephanie can’t decide between Morelli and Ranger, and everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii, “it’s complicated”, is the only response Stephanie will give.

“Lucille must have fed him a Vallium smoothie this morning.”
― Janet Evanovich, Explosive Eighteen

Book Review: What The Dead Know

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

what the dead knowIn award winning author Laura Lippman’s stand-alone mystery, What the dead know, a middle-aged woman is involved in an accident on the Baltimore Beltway and flees the scene.

Later she is picked up wandering on the shoulder of the Interstate.

In the hospital the woman refuses to reveal her name but claims that she is Heather Bethany one of two sisters who disappeared from a shopping mall 30 years ago.

For years Heather, if she is Heather, has been living under different assumed names.

Why has she decided to reveal herself?

And why does every clue Heather gives the police wind up in a dead-end — an incoherent dying man, a house that is no longer there and a missing grave.

With her usual skill Laura Lippman unravels the layers of Heather’s past until the reader is finally told what really happened to Heather and Sunny on that fateful day 30 years ago.

Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Edgar-winner Lippman, author of the Tess Monaghan mystery series (No Good Deeds, etc.), shows she’s as good as Peter Abrahams and other A-list thriller writers with this outstanding stand-alone.

Deftly moving between past and present, Lippman presents the last day both sisters, Sunny and Heather, were seen alive from a variety of perspectives.

Subtle clues point to the surprising but plausible solution of the crime and the identity of the mystery woman.

School Library Journal: The narrative threads unravel into the various accounts of that Saturday’s events, the aftermath of the disappearance, the investigation, and Heather’s own increasingly desperate attempts to evade further disclosure.

This novel is a page-turner. Tantalizing revelations are dropped at chapter ends before veering into another part of the narrative, back and forth in time.

Characters are well defined and varied, each with a different perspective on the nature of grief. Ultimately, after all of the half-truths and deceptions are played out, unexpected but moving forgiveness wins out.–Jenny Gasset, Orange County Public Library, CA

There are, of course, an infinite number of places where one is not, yet only one place where one actually is.
— Laura Lippman, What the Dead Know

Mystery Review – “A Test of Wills”

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

todd-a_test_of_willsIn Charles Todd’s first mystery, A TEST OF WILLS, set in 1919 England Inspector Ian Rutledge is returning from the Great War suffering from shell shock.

Rutledge is also carrying the heavy burden of being forced to have a young Scot executed for refusing to fight.

Hoping to salvage his sanity Rutledge returns to Scotland Yard.

But back on the job a jealous colleague has discovered Inspector Rutledge’s secret and sets the wheels in motion for him to be assigned to a case that will ultimately spell disaster for him no matter how it turns out.

A retired military office in Warwickshire has been murdered and the main suspect is a decorated war hero who is also a friend of the Prince of Wales.

Despite the demons in his head Rutledge goes about his investigation leaving no one immune to his scrutiny. Rutledge’s main problem appears to be that his prime witness is a war ravaged ex-soldier and who Rutledge sees as himself if he ever lost control.

A Test of Wills is not only a unique psychological suspense/mystery but it has a vivid sense of atmosphere.

Click here for availability.

Todd has written a first novel that speaks out, urgently and compassionately, for a long-dead generation….A meticulously wrought puzzle.”
—New York Times Book Review

An intricately plotted mystery. With this remarkable debut, Charles Todd breaks new ground in the historical crime novel.
—Peter Lovesey, author of The Circle

You’re going to love Todd.
—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

Euphoria! Now on the Bestseller Express shelf!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

euhphoriaThe new book by Lily King is now available on the Bestseller Express.

Named one of the New York Times 10 best books of 2014, Euphoria gives a fictional account of a field trip made by anthropologist Margaret Mead to New Guinea in 1933.

King has taken the known details of that event and created this exquisite novel about the rewards and disappointments of intellectual ambition and physical desire.

This is a gem of a book at 266 pages, so you know you can read it in one week!

Click here for current availability.

Other recently added titles:

Sponsored by Curtis Friends, Bestseller Express titles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be checked out for 7 days.

Exclusively for Curtis cardholders, they cannot be reserved or renewed so you’ll have the best access to new titles, but you will have to read fast.

The Bestseller Express books are located in the New Books Room, across from the Lending Services Desk.

Click on titles to check current availability and then come in to the library today!

The truth you find will always be replaced by someone else’s.
― Lily King, Euphoria

January 2015 Mystery Review

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

without warning coverMaine author David Rosenfelt who is most noted for his Andy Carpenter mysteries and non-fiction books about dogs notably, “Dogtripping” also writes standalone mysteries. “Without warning” David’s latest standalone deals with a long ago murder in Wilton, Maine.

Katie Sandford’s husband was convicted of the murder of Jenny Robbins the wife of the Wilton chief of police, and who subsequently died in prison. Katie, the editor of the local newspaper, and Jake Robbins, Wilton’s police chief, have been working to put life back together after the tragedy but that may be coming to an end with the aftermath of a hurricane.

Burying a time capsule every 50 years has become a tradition in Wilton but the hurricane has unearthed the latest capsule. Supervising the opening of the capsule falls to Katie and Chief Robbins but they are not prepared for what they find inside. Someone predicted Jenny’s death and there are more predictions that are still happening even after Katie’s husband’s death. Was Katie’s husband innocent after all? Together Katie and Jake attempt to prevent the next predictions from coming true but the mind games that are being played have no rules and have life and death consequences.

“The novel steps into Michael Connelly ground as Robbins learns that the savage murders he’s investigating are about him. The cop and reader struggle to figure out why. So effective is this approach that it’s almost disappointing when the air of mystery evaporates as the plot becomes clear. The novel is a tad too long, and Rosenfelt’s most engaging quality—a sense of humor in the face of growing menace—sometimes feels a bit inappropriate. Still, this is highly recommended for readers craving that elusive “something different.” –Don Crinklaw

“Riveting.”—Publishers Weekly

“Relentless.”—RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

“Creepy.” “Edgy” “Shuddery” What more could anyone want?”—Booklist

New Titles on the Bestseller Express! 1/21/15

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Boston Girl by Anita Diamant: From the Bestselling author of The Red Tent comes an unforgettable novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: In the vein of Gone Girl, this dark psychological thriller is fast-paced and features some very unreliable narrators.

Deep Down Dark: The untold stories of 33 men buried in a Chilean mine, and the miracle that set them free by Hector Tobar: This gripping account provides an informative edge-of-the seat reading experience about the historic disaster and rescue operation.

The Wild Truth: The untold story of sibling survival by Carine McCandless: The sister of Chris McCandless, whose story was told in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, provides the missing pieces to his story.

Paying Guests by Sarah Waters: Readers will keep turning the pages to see just how tense things can get, and how far fear and passion can push someone.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion: Sequel to the popular Rosie Project.

Sponsored by Curtis Friends, Bestseller Express titles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be checked out for 7 days.

Exclusively for Curtis cardholders, they cannot be reserved or renewed so you’ll have the best access to new titles, but you will have to read fast.

The Bestseller Express books are located in the New Books Room, across from the Lending Services desk.

Click on titles to check current availability and then come in to the library today!

Downton Abbey Selected Resources for Historical, Cultural, and Social Links

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Behind the Scenes

book-cover-1Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey: The Official Backstage Pass to the Set, the Actors, and the Drama by Emma Rowley

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

Biographies and Memoirs

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by Margaret Powell

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by the Countess of Carnarvon
Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey
by the Countess of Carnarvon

Servants’ Hall: A Real Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by Margaret Powell

The Bolter by Frances Osborne

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary Lovell


Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England by Judith Flanders

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth-Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge

The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy by David Cannadine

The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age by Juliet Nicolson

The Real Life Downton Abbey by Jacky Hyams

The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret by Catherine Bailey

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl

Twentieth-Century Castles in Britain by Amicia De Moubray

Upstairs & Downstairs: An Illustrated Guide to the Real World of Downton Abbey by Sarah Warwick



Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey’s Elegant Meals by Larry Edwards

The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea by Helen Simpson

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines

Adult Fiction: Classics

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Howard’s End by E. M. Forster

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

book cover 5

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Adult Fiction: General

American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

Ashenden by Elizabeth Wilhide

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Rutherford Park by Elizabeth Cooke

Snobs by Julian Fellowes

Summerset Abbey by T. J. Brown

The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt

The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn

The New Countess by Fay Weldon

The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax


DVD cover manor houseDownton Abbey

Gosford Park

Howards End

Manor House

Secrets of Highclere Castle

The Age of Innocence

The Edwardians

The House of Mirth

The Remains of the Day


Masterpiece: Downton Abbey


Wikipedia: Downton Abbey

Internet Movie Database: Downton Abbey