Fact or Fiction? 4 websites to help you vet the daily news

https://mediabiasfactcheck.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/logo.png?w=150&h=150Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC News) is an independent online media outlet dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practices.




FactCheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. FactCheck monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.



Snopes aims to debunk or confirm widely spread stories in American popular culture such as urban legends urban legends, Internet rumors, e-mail forwards and other stories of unknown or questionable origin.



PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics.

5 Real Life Romances

Who wouldn’t want a good love story for Valentine’s Day – especially one that is true!  Here are five books about how true love happens in real life.


Eve of a Hundred Midnights : the star-crossed love story of two WWII correspondents and their epic escape across the Pacific by Bill Lascher. When the Japanese started bombing Manila on New Year’s Eve in 1941, newly married journalists Mel and Annalee Jacoby barely escaped, then spent the rest of the war just one island ahead of the ever-invading Japanese troops as they continued their reporting. A love story of daring and dedication.

Image result for GEOGRAPHY OF THE HEART FENTON JOHNSONGeography of the Heart by Fenton Johnson.  The story of two men – one a descendant of Appalachian folk and one a descendant of Holocaust survivors – who met, fell in love, lived, loved, and experienced death during the AIDS epidemic.  A testament to how humans could and should treat each other.


http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3202551Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home by James Carville and Mary Matalin.  Carville and Matalin speak in alternating voices, addressing both politics and the personal as they move from raising a family in high-pressure Washington, DC to post-Katrina New Orleans.  A fascinating look at the last two decades in American politics and an intimate primer on grown-up relationships and values from our nation’s famously ideologically mismatched, and intensely opinionated couple.

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3802147The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino. The husband-and-wife stars of the popular “Fixer Upper” television program share the story of their life together, from how they met in Waco, Texas to their success as entrepreneurs and television personalities.


http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3230717Romance is My Day Job: a memoir of finding love at last by Patience Bloom. Who knows the ins and outs of romance better than a Harlequin editor?  Using the characters and plots from classic romance novels, television shows, and movies, Bloom compares and contrasts her up-and-down love life from age 15 to happily ever after at age 41.

8 Novels About Revenge to Read While Waiting for the Super Bowl

Many a fan note that it is fitting payback for the New England Patriots to compete in this year’s Super Bowl.  The theme of revenge or vengeance makes for compelling reading  and we’ve picked a few novels — some older and some newer — to whet your appetite for a “dish best served cold.”

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3762116Redemption Road by Jon Hart. In a town on the brink and on a road with no mercy, a boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother, a detective finally confronts her troubled past, a good cop walks free after serving 13 years in prison and the unthinkable happens on the altar of an abandoned church.  This stand-out crime thriller by Edgar Award winning Hart explores the human capacity for resilience and trust in the face of heartbreaking betrayal.

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3596218Woman of the dead by Bernhard Aichner.  A grieving widow and professional mortician discovers there was more to the hit-and-run accident that took her husband’s life than she originally thought, and vows to find out and get revenge on those responsible.   A number one bestselling author in her native Austria, Aichner’s gritty and fast-paced story featuring an unconventional heroine is the first in a trilogy.

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2888007Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. When a beautiful woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, her diary reveals hidden turmoil in her marriage and a mysterious illness; while her husband, desperate to clear himself of suspicion, realizes that something more disturbing than murder may have occurred.  This stellar best-selling novel is a disturbing and unique story about revenge.

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3504707The Revenant by Michael Punke.  This novel is based on the life of American frontiersman, fur trapper, hunter and explorer Hugh Glass. While on an expedition in 1823, Glass is attacked by a grizzly bear and left for dead by his fellow trappers, yet he survives and treks through the wilderness to seek justice and retribution.


http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2081512Carrie by Stephen King.  A repressed teenager uses her telekinetic powers to avenge the cruel jokes of her classmates.  This is the creepy story that launched King’s career.



http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2683104True Grit by Charles Portis.  Pursuing a murderer who has escaped into Indian Territory, U.S. Marshal Rooster J. Cogburn teams up with a bounty-hunting Texas Ranger and Mattie Ross, a cantankerous young lady who is bent on avenging her father’s death.  This eccentric and unflinching tale from acclaimed comic writer Portis is an American cult classic.


Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.  A Russian princess, a Hungarian count, a Swedish beauty, and an assortment of Americans, English and French are brought tohttp://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/960963gether on the elegant Orient Express.  Just after midnight, the train is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift and millionaire Samuel lies dead in his compartment. Detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again. One of Christie’s most famous mysteries, this novel was inspired by two real-life crimes and the author’s own experience being stranded on the Orient Express during Christmas of 1931.

Image of itemThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. This classic tale of justice and retribution tells the story of Edmond Dantes wrongfully imprisoned in an unreachable sea fortress.  Dantes discovers a hidden treasure that he uses to finance elaborate vengeance on the people who wronged him.

Staff Favorites from 2016

Here is our year end roundup of the stand-out reads and listens of 2016

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3731023The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh follows the adventures of an orphaned girl. It takes the folklore of the Russian witch, Baba Yaga, and weaves it into a tale that kept me sitting in my car in the garage, waiting to find out what happens next!  – Melissa, Children’s Services



Superhero by Laurie Berkner.  In true Laurie Berkner fashion, this is a fun, witty, get-up-and-singable collection of amazing songs for kids!  I was hooked on the first listen.  Favorites include Juniper Square, the Bicycle Song, and a dance remix of We are the Dinosaurs.

Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well by Jennifer Gasoi.  Jennifer has a great blend of modern and jazz-style technique that lends itself well to a wide variety of musical styles.  The music is a ton of fun for kids and their grown-ups!  – Katrina, Children’s Services


Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier. Telgemeier has outdone herself in this engaging graphic novel of family, friendship and tradition. A must read for all ages!  – Bonny, Teen Services



http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3148348Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is an action packed series in the YA fantasy/supernatural genre. Crown Prince Dorian offers eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien her freedom in exchange for her loyalty.  Sardothien is very strong female lead, and a kind of anti-hero. I always want to know what’s going to happen next, and want to start the next book in the series after I’ve finished one!

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama is a manga series where what’s left of mankind has hidden in a giant, three-walled city, trapped in fear of the bizarre, giant humanoids known as the Titans. Little is known about where they came from or why they are bent on consuming human-kind, but the sudden appearance of an enormous Titan is about change everything. I got started on this by watching the anime first, but the manga story goes beyond what’s in the anime. Definitely a page turner. – Kristen, Circulation Services


Beauty Behind the Madness by The Weeknd.  This album tells a story both lyrically and musically that is meaningful, honest and gripping, especially as we deal with the opiate crisis.  I hear something new and surprising every time I listen to it.  – Katrina, Children’s Services


http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3315972The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution” by Jonathan Eig.  A fascinating look at how the birth control pill came to be and how the social and political atmosphere of the time helped shape a really important scientific discovery.  Very interesting, too, since most of the development of the pill happened in our own backyard:  the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology was located in Shrewsbury, and one of the doctors who helped develop the pill lived in the house right next door to the Northborough Library.  – Danielle, Circulation Services


http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3957190Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton is the 25th Anita Blake-Vampire Hunter novel, a series which I have followed for years.  Anita Blake is a powerful female character who, although both a necromancer and a vampire executioner, is eternally linked to a vampire and a werewolf. Hamilton’s work is where 50 Shades of Gray, Dracula and “The Wolfman” meet! It’s a kind of acquired taste, if one can stomach it without cringing or blushing! Melissa, Children’s Services



The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. The protagonist of this novel is Anil, an Indian doctor who is a medical resident in Texas. He is torn between two cultures while trying to fulfil his role as the eldest son in his family after the sudden death of his father. This is a rich story that allows you to experience the complexities of straddling two different cultures. – Geneinde, Circulation Services




I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is a haunting novel where soul-rendering pain gives way to hope, gives way to confusion and utter terror.  This is a rollercoaster of a whodunnit, and definitely worth your while!  Consider listening as it is read very well by the narrators. Katrina, Children’s Services.


http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2539586Katahdin: An Historic Journey by John W. Neff. This book about Mount Katahdin in Maine encompasses history, lore and legend and retraces the steps of Native Americans who considered the mountain a sacred place. It also illustrates the resolve of those who were involved in early conservation efforts to save the North Woods, particularly Maine Governor Percival Baxter, for whom Baxter State Park is named. It has inspired me to climb the mountain in the coming year and see for myself where Henry David Thoreau first encountered what he described as a “wholly wild place.” – Chris, Director


A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman.  Listen to this very genuine and heartfelt novel about a very basic, unassuming man whose heart has been broken.  I laughed, I cried, and I just loved Ove. – Julie, Children’s Services





The Martian by Andy Weir. This novel was filled with suspense throughout which kept me wanting more. It was also written fairly simply, so it was a quick fun read.  Mike, Circulation Services




The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland. This novel is a first-person fictionalized account of the life of Artemisia Gentileschi: a 17th century Baroque painter, student of Michelangelo’s nephew, and good friend to Galileo. The novel follows two decades of Artemisia’s life as she navigates the male-dominated world of art in Renaissance Era Florence and as she deals with her distant father, unfaithful husband, and unruly daughter. A thoroughly engaging look into the life of a fascinating but relatively unknown artist. Spencer, Adult Services


http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3500303The Soul of an Octopus: a Playful Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. A fascinating look at the unique problem-solving, emotional and social intelligence of octopus. Through her many experiences with octopuses at the New England Aquarium and undersea dives, Syd Montgomery reveals the highly developed consciousness of the octopus, their unique capabilities, and the strong emotional connections they can form with their human caregivers.  Montgomery raises interesting parallels between their souls and human souls. You will never look at an octopus the same again! Donna, Adult Services.


http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3730243Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and be Your Own Personby Shonda Rhimes. What if you said “yes” to everything, especially to the things that challenge you or make you feel uncomfortable?  Follow along with Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) as she shares the unexpected and positive outcomes of the year where she said “yes” to every invitation and request.  Shonda’s conversational, down-to-earth manner evokes the feeling of conversing with your best friend.  In telling her story, Shonda unassumedly encourages you to make it your own.  Listen to this one, especially for the re-broadcast of her 2014 Dartmouth College commencement speech. Deborah, Adult Services

8 Asian American Authors to read in May

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month commemorating the cultures, struggles, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.  Try one of these author’s books this month.

Image result for ha jin

Jīn Xuěfēi is a contemporary Chinese-American poet and novelist using the pen name HA JIN.  His novel Waiting won both the Pen/Faulkner and the National Book Awards in 1999.  In 2014, Jin was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Jin’s latest novel, A Map of Betrayal is tale of espionage and conflicted loyalties that spans half a century in the entwined histories of two countries–China and the United States–and two families as it explores the complicated terrain of love and honor.  Jin lives in the Boston area and is a professor of English at Boston University.

CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI is an award-winning and bestselling Indian-American author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Divakaruni’s works are largely set in India and the United States, and often focus on the experiences of South Asian immigrants. She writes for children as well as adults and has published novels in multiple genres.  Divakaruni’s recently published novel, Before We Visit the Goddess,  sweeps across the 20th century from the countryside of Bengal, India, to the streets of Houston, Texas exploring  the complex relationships between mothers and daughters. Divakaruni lives in the Houston area and teaches at The University of Houston.

CHANG-RAE LEE is a Korean American novelist.  His work captures the painful realities of the Asian-American immigrant experience with tenderness through his examination of identity, alienation, and assimilation.  Lee’s first novel, Native Speaker, won numerous awards including the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. His most recent novel, On Such A Full Sea is set in a dystopian future version of America where the main character, Fan, is a Chinese-American laborer working as a diver in a fish farm. Lee is a professor of creative writing at Standford University.

AMY TAN is a Chinese-American writer who explores the complex facets of Chinese-American identity as well as the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships troubled by cultural and generational differences.  Tan’s first novel, The Joy Luck Club, became a best-seller and was adapted into both a play and a film. Her most recent novel The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’€™s intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village. Don’t miss Tan’s amazing personal story on her website.

PATRICK ROSAL is the author of four full-length poetry collections. His collections have been honored with the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award, Global Filipino Literary Award and the Asian American Writers Workshop Members’ Choice Award. Rosal’s poems often reflect on his own lineage, unflinchingly looking at nationality and family and how our present is haunted by the ghosts of complex pasts, and urging readers to do the same.  Rosal’s most recent poetry collection Brooklyn Antediluvian will be published this month.

Gail TsukiyamaGAIL TSUKIYAMA was born in San Francisco to a Japanese father and a Chinese mother. Tsykiyama’s bestselling historical novels are well researched and explore the history and culture of both Japan and China.  Her novels are lyrical and moving focusing  on family, tradition, and the solace of nature and art.  Her most recent novel, A Hundred Flowers, set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution follows the struggles of Kai Ying to safeguard her family when her teacher husband is arrested and sent to a “reeducation” labor camp for criticizing the Communist Party.  Tsukiyama lives in California and is a lecturer for San Francisco State University.

VU TRAN is a Vietnamese-American writer. His work considers cultural identity in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and the ways in which historical trauma both shapes and destroys us.  Truan’s debut novel, Dragonfish, is a literary page-turner: unable to forget the mysterious Vietnamese wife who left him and blackmailed by her second husband into searching for her, a rugged Oakland cop infiltrates the sleazy gambling dens of Las Vegas to uncover his ex’s painful past in a Malaysian refugee camp.  Tran teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago.

JHUMPA LAHIRI is an Indian-American author born in London and raised in Rhode Island.  Lahiri’s debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, as well as the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year.  Her most recent novel, The Lowland,  is an engrossing family saga moving from the 1960s to the present, and from India to America and across generations, telling the story of  two very different brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn apart by revolution, and a love that endures long past death. Lahiri is a professor of creative writing at Princeton University.

10 Movies to Watch with Mom this Weekend

https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/1101660The Blind Side

Michael Oher is a homeless African-American teenager who is from a broken home. Mike is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. Living in his new environment, Mike faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome – as both a football player and student. Mike works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.

https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/595020https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2926535An Animated Duo! Although Disney is notorious for absent parents in their films,  Dumbo a baby elephant born with oversized ears becomes the world’s only flying elephant thanks in part to mom. Pixar’s Brave portrays the close and complex bond between feisty daughter Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor, as Merida chooses a non-traditional path.


Erin Brockovich

A young mother in desperate need of a job begins to work as a paralegal and stumbles across a toxic situation in the groundwater which develops into a monumental lawsuit against a giant corporation.



https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2311927Finding Neverland

Well-known playwright James M. Barrie finds his career at a crossroads when his latest play flops and doubters begin to question his future. Then by chance he meets a widow and her four adventurous boys. Together they form a friendship that ignites the imagination needed to produce Barrie’s greatest work.


https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/1141883The Kids Are All Right

A big-hearted, funny movie that combines comedic surprise with poignant emotional truth when the teenage children of a lesbian couple find the man who donated the sperm for their mothers and try to make him part of their family.



Image of itemMask

Rocky Dennis has craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, a fatal disease which causes hideous facial disfigurement.  With the help of his mother’s uncompromising love and fierce determination, Rocky overcomes pain, loneliness and prejudice to emerge as an outstanding young man who becomes an inspiration to his classmates and teachers.


Image of itemMy Big Fat Greek Wedding

A young Greek-American woman, changes her life for the better and falls in love with a non-Greek man; now that she has found happiness, she must learn to come terms with her heritage while attempting to get her family to accept her new love.



Image of itemStepmom

Natural rivals Jackie and Isabel have nothing in common-one is a peerless mother, the other “never cared to be domestic”-until circumstances force them to share a family and put aside their mutual hostility for the sake of their two children.



https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2504280Then She Found Me

Desperate to start a family, New York schoolteacher, April Epner hits a midlife crisis when, in quick succession, her husband unexpectedly abandones her and her adoptive mother dies. She gets another shock when she meets her biological mother, an eccentric, self-centered talk show host, whom at first she rejects. Then the divorced dad of one of her students begins courting April. As her life is turned upside-down, April finds herself opening up in ways she had never imagined.

Image of itemVolver

Raimunda works and lives Madrid with her husband Paco and daughter Paula. Her sister Sole lives nearby and they both miss their mother Irene, who died several years ago in a house fire along with their father. A former neighbor from their hometown reports that she has seen the ghost of Irene and both daughters do not believe her. After a murder and a family tragedy, Irene’s spirit materializes around her daughters to help comfort them.