New in Nonfiction: Biographies

If you are a biography devotee – and there are many readers who are, as this literature genre is very popular and much loved – you might be especially interested in a few of the recently published collective biographies.

The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War by Catherine Grace Katzis a story of the historical meeting of the heads of the governments of Great Britain, the USA, and Soviet Union, which took place in the Crimea in the final months of the Second World War. The narrative is viewed through the eyes of the daughters of leaders of the British and American delegations. Not only does the book portray each of these three daughters, but it also gives fascinating backstories of each of their father-daughter relationships, as well as interactions among these three young women. Based on very thorough research that used personal letters, diaries, and oral histories, the author creates a fascinating, entertaining, and well regarded story.

Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars by Francesca Wade is a collective portrait of five revolutionary women, immensely talented and independent – Virginia Woolf and Dorothy L. Sayers among them – who lived, at various times, in the same square in London.

The author traces interconnections among the five women and their influence on each other’s work.

A combination of literary history and biography, the book is very well researched. Numerous anecdotes make for an amusing read, which received starred reviews.

Mad and Bad: The Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch.

Regency-era romance novels are a very popular genre of fiction, and in her book, Bea Koch captures a collective portrait of the most notable and trailblazing women of Regency England (1810-20), women who would become prototypes of historical romance novel heroines.  

The book reflects on the artistic and scientific accomplishments of these women: outlining biographies of the royally-connected, illuminating notable women of color, as well as Jewish women. The book is not only informative but is also fun to read.

Another recently published book of collective biographies is Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aureliusby Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, which discusses the lives of 26 major ancient stoics, whose philosophy emphasized personal success and perseverance, and believed that courage, justice, and wisdom were the requirements for living a happy life.

Kirkus Reviews esteemed the book highly, saying, “At a time when public nobility is hard to come by, this is a good reminder of the power of ethical leadership.”

For those interested in political science, along with biographies, Abbot Public Library offers the following:

His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hopeby Jon Meacham, which portrays the life of the recently-deceased Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. Check this title out in print, book on CD, ebook, or e-audiobook format. 

Eleanorby David Michaelis is the first major single-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt in more than a half century. The work earned a good review from The NYT.

As always, these books are available in the library catalog, either in print or digital format,and sometimes both.

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/Libby with your library card. 

To obtain a print copy, carefully read the instructions for reserving a copy and scheduling an appointment for Curbside Pickup.

Please note that Curbside Pickup will be unavailable from Sunday, October 25 through Sunday, November 1, as the building is having air duct cleaning and therefore staff will be unable to be in the building. We will resume Curbside Pickup services on Monday, November 2.

Something Witchy This Way Comes: Fictional Books and Movies About Witches

Witches are portrayed in books and movies in many different ways, and have been showing up in literature for a long, long time. Take Circe from The Odyssey or Morgan Le Fay in the legends of King Arthur. Now, real witches may not have actually been portrayed in The Crucible by Arthur Miller (whose birthday happens to be today!), but you can see the relationship between witchcraft and society during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. If you’re interested in reading or listening to the play, you can check it out in the following formats: print, book on CD, Overdrive ebook and e-audiobook, and hoopla e-audiobook, and the movie adaptation

For other fictional portrayals of witches and witchcraft for teens and adults, check out the titles below! Print copies can be reserved on your online account for Curbside Pickup (read the full instructions here). Currently there is no check out fee for DVDs, so now is a good time to reserve them! For electronic versions of titles, all you need is your library card to access them on Overdrive/the Libby app or hoopla.

Fans of the beloved Bewitched series, starring Elizabeth Montgomery as witch and housewife Samantha Stevens, will enjoy the film adaptation (which currently has no check out fee!) with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. For more magical romances, try one of hoopla’s October Movies of the Month, You Cast a Spell On Me, about a warlock who is having problems with his powers after meeting a mortal with whom he has an instant connection; or Hallmark channel’s The Good Witch, about Cassie Nightingale, a mysterious new resident of Middleton who seems to have the magic touch with helping the people in the small town.

also on hoopla

In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you’ll find out how the character from the popular TV show found out about being a witch, much like how Harry Potter discovers he’s a wizard in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Local residents will appreciate the Salem setting in the movie Hocus Pocus, which even has some scenes shot in Marblehead! Read Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel in ebook format on Overdrive or hoopla, or listen to the e-audiobook on Overdrive. 

Click the item covers below for more portrayals of witches, including more witch stories set in Salem or Massachusetts, fairy tale retellings, and more macabre tales to give you goosebumps!

also on hoopla
book or movie