Critics’ Lists: Summer 2013 : NPR

July 27, 2013

NPR has been posting some wonderful reading lists on their website The lists cover a broad array of topics and include unique titles. Reading through them is a great way to find some reading recommendations. Examples of the lists include:

On the NPR website readers can find full descriptions of the books included in the lists. There are also links to when the list was discussed on air.

Books included in the most recently published list, “Fact Behind The Fiction: 5 Great Historicals For Summer“, are listed below and linked to their records in the Minuteman Library Network’s online catalog.


2013 PEN Literary Awards Finalists Announced

July 13, 2013

“The PEN American Center, the largest branch of the world’s leading literary and human rights organization, announced today the shortlists and judges for the 2013 PEN Literary Awards.”

The Finalists for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize (Fiction) and the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction are listed below and linked to their catalog records in the Minuteman Library Network’s online catalog. The full list can be read on the PEN American Center website.

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize: “To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2012—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.”

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction: “To an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in the United States during 2011 or 2012.”

Reading Suggestions for Students and Parents from College Admission Experts

June 23, 2013

The New York Times posted an article by Brennan Barnard entitled “28 Summer Reading Suggestions From College Admission Experts.” The article lists numerous books for parents and students about college as well as some general summer reading recommendations. The list is extensive and the contributors numerous, the full article can be read on the New York Times‘ website, a selection of the tiles are listed below along with links to their records in the Minuteman Library Network’s online catalog.

Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting Into College by Sally P. Springer, Jon Reider and Marion R. Franck

The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids by Alexandra Robbins

The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

I’m Going to College — Not You! Surviving the College Search With Your Child by Jennifer Delahunty

College (Un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students by Jeffrey J. Selingo

Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope






Some unique book recommendations from contributors to The New Yorker

December 30, 2012

The New Yorker magazine asked their  frequent contributors to select up to three of their favorite books published in 2012, the recommend titles are unique and worth looking through. The full list, along with descriptions and commentary, is available to read on The New Yorker website: A selection of the recommended books are listed below along with links to their records in the Newton Free Library Catalog.

The Constant Heart by Craig Nova
We Are Taking Only What We Need: Short Story Collection by Stephanie Powell Watts
Talking Heads’ Fear of Music by Jonathan Lethem
Gone to the Forest by Katie Kitamura
The First Four Notes by Matthew Guerrieri
Bewilderment by David Ferry
Shake Off by Mischa Hiller
Portrait of a Novel : Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece by Michael Gorra
Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 by Yang Jisheng
Naples Declared: A Walk Around the Bay by Benjamin Taylor
Lenin’s Kisses by Yan Lianke

New York Times “Best of 2012” Book Lists

December 1, 2012

The New York Times “Best of 2012” book lists will be published in the December 2nd Book Review section of the print edition. The lists are also available online at:

The book lists include the books named the 10 and 100 best books (nonfiction, fiction, and poetry are all covered) as well as reviews of children’s books and cookbooks. The books on the New York Times “10 Best Books of 2012” list that are available through the Minuteman Library Network are below along with links to their records in the MLN network catalog.

The 10 Best Books of 2012: The year’s best books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

FICTION UP THE BODIES By Hilary Mantel. A John Macrae Book/ Henry Holt & Company.

BUILDING STORIES By Chris Ware. Pantheon Books.

A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING By Dave Eggers. McSweeney’s Books.

NW By Zadie Smith. The Penguin Press.

THE YELLOW BIRDS By Kevin Powers. Little, Brown & Company.

NONFICTION THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. By Katherine Boo. Random House.

FAR FROM THE TREE: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. By Andrew Solomon. Scribner.

THE PASSAGE OF POWER: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. By Robert A. Caro. Alfred A. Knopf.

THE PATRIARCH: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy. By David Nasaw. The Penguin Press.

WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST? An Existential Detective Story. By Jim Holt. Liveright Publishing/W. W. Norton & Company.



Banned Books Week

October 7, 2012

“Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2012 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 30 through October 6. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. For more information on Banned Books Week, click here.” –

The 10 most challenged titles of 2011 are listed below along with links to their catalog records in the Minuteman Library Network. – List derived from

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

October 6, 2012

The shortlist for the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction were announced on October 5th. The winner of the prize will be announced on November 12th.

“The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction is the UK’s premier prize for non-fiction books. The prize aims to reward the best of non-fiction and is open to authors of all non-fiction books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.” –

Links to the nominees available for check-out through the Minuteman Library Network are listed below.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum, by Katherine Boo

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, by Wade Davis

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, by Robert Macfarlane

The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, by Steven Pinker

The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain, by Paul Preston

Strindberg: A Life, by Sue Prideaux