New in Nonfiction: Spine-Tingling True Spy Stories

If you find spy stories thrilling and captivating, the Abbot Public Library has recommendations from our newest collection additions.

Our previous post on nonfiction spy stories introduced brilliant British historian and writer Ben Macintyre. His series of books on 20th century espionage were very highly regarded.

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy is Ben Macintyre’s newest book, very much anticipated by his numerous readers and fans. It is a story of the most celebrated female spy (alias Agent Sonya), who had worked for the Soviet Union. Her long (1907-2000), very effective espionage work, full of many accomplishments, and her colorful personal life make her an excellent subject for a nonfiction spy thriller. Ben Macintyre has excelled at creating a narrative centered around this very complex and extraordinary person. You can find a review in The New York Times here. Reserve a print copy for Curbside Pickup or check it out in ebook format on Overdrive.

Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs by Nancy Greenspan is a biography of one of the most infamous spies of the Cold War, another true-life story of a spy who belonged to the same ring as Agent Sonya. 

A brilliant scientist and a Nazi fighter, Klaus Fuchs immigrated to Great Britain and soon joined the atomic bomb research project… at the same time handing the materials over to the Russians. Unlike previous biographies of Klaus Fuchs, Greenspan’s book features a biographical account of a very complex character, portraying him as a passionate person with very strong ideological beliefs that motivated him to share secrets with Cold War enemies of the British and Americans. Very well researched due to access to numerous German, British, and American archives, as well as Fuchs’s correspondences, the story, full of tension, captures readers entirely. Here is The New York Times review.

In addition to spies, the library also owns books on American spymasters and the Intelligence Agency itself, their accomplishments and failures:

Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings by Trevor Barnes is an incredible story of the CIA and the British Intelligence Service cooperation in cracking the most damaging spy ring of the Cold War in the 1960s. Barnes uses tools and his skills as a fiction writer to make this real-life story as fast-paced and compelling as fiction.

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War: A Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson, war correspondent and writer, is a story of the spying world during WWII and, later, the Cold War, through the eyes and lives of four remarkable, very talented American spies who helped shape the earliest CIA operations. Read The New York Times review here.

The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future by Chris Whipple is a fascinating behind-the-scenes story of the CIA recounted through the actions of its directors. The book is well-documented and based on interviews with every living CIA director. It delivers an informative history of the agency, describing how it works and what the director’s job is.

Reflecting on some of the operational failures, the author proposes some reforms to improve the agency’s performance. Here is a NYT review.

As always, these books can be reserved through the library, either in print or digital format, and sometimes both. 

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

To obtain a print copy, please carefully read the instructions for Curbside Pickup.

Popular Titles on CD Audio at APL

Everyone has been saying that 2020 has been an “unprecedented” year, and they’re not wrong. Here at the APL, we realize that, in the midst of it all, you may have missed a few fabulous listens along the way. If you have an inkling that you did, you may want to check this curated list  of CD audiobooks in the catalog. Most of these titles are not brand new–some were published in the spring, some over the summer, but we think it’s worth highlighting them now.

If you’re addicted to the adrenaline rush of the thriller, then there are several strong options for you. In The First to Lie, Hank Phillippi Ryan serves up a novel of betrayal and obsession with revenge that plays out among several characters pushed to life-or-death breaking points. The tale is expertly narrated by Audie Award-winner Cassandra Campbell, who has the likes of Where the Crawdads Sing to her credit.

You can return to a world of espionage with a long-awaited fourth series entry from Olen Steinhauer after an eight-year hiatus. In The Last Tourist, CIA agent Milo Weaver must re-engage with a group of assassins he thought had been successfully eliminated. His quest takes him to the Western Sahara and involves a new young CIA analyst in a nail-biting plot.

In a novel that resonates eerily with our present reality, Paul Tremblay offers a thriller-cum-horror tale in Survivor Song. Set here in Massachusetts, the novel centers on a terrifying, fast-spreading, almost supernatural pandemic with zombie associations. In this case, you may just feel a bit better about the current state of affairs after you’ve finished listening to award-winning Erin Bennett’s narration!

For a gentler listening experience, Phaedra Patrick–beloved author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper and other quiet novels of self-discovery and second chances–has published The Secrets of Love Story Bridge. After heroically rescuing a woman from drowning, the protagonist, a confirmed sceptic about love, begins a quest to discover her story and find her again. If you’re feeling a little battered by this year’s events, then perhaps a hot cup of tea and a date with this charmer is in order.

Don’t miss two other titles, either: Richard Ford’s short story collection, Sorry for Your Trouble, which considers Irish-American experience in both historical and contemporary permutations, and Alicia Keys’ memoir, More Myself: A Journey, “an intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression.”*

We hope there’s something for everyone to discover here! You may place holds on any of these CD audiobooks and get them via our popular curbside pickup service. If you do not yet have a library card, you can get started here.

Please note that the building is closed to staff for air duct cleaning this week, but we will resume Curbside Pickup Service on Monday, November 2nd. 

*Description from the publisher.

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.

Reserve Your Halloween Library Items Today To Get Them Before the Building Closes to Staff Next Week!

You may have read our important update about the building being closed to staff next week for air duct cleaning, which means if you want to check out physical copies of Halloween titles (or any titles for that matter), this Saturday, October 24th, is the last day to pick up physical materials before Halloween via the Abbot Public Library’s Curbside Pickup Service.

Likewise, if you have any items you would like to return before the building’s closure, please put them in a library return bin by 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 24th. After 3:00 pm, the library return bins will be closed to ensure they don’t overflow with uncollected returns.

If you would like to reserve any title(s) available in Marblehead for Curbside Pickup this Saturday, you should reserve them on your library account today. Don’t forget to click “Limit to Available” when searching so you only see titles that should be ready for pickup by Saturday. 

Please wait for a notification that your items are ready for you before you make an appointment for Curbside Pickup, either online or by calling 781-631-1481, Ext. 201 during Curbside Pickup hours (weekdays 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm and Saturday 9:30 am – Noon and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm). 

Below are some titles that are currently available in Marblehead, and therefore are able to be reserved for Curbside Pickup for this Saturday. Reserve these titles online or search the catalog for available titles you’d like to check out for next week. 

Halloween is definitely not the same this year. Plan a safe stay-in Halloween with help from the following books about decorating and Halloween crafts for all ages! 

Search through more available books, including some ebooks, about Halloween decorating here

Children who want to read books about Halloween next week can borrow some of these titles, including collections of spooky stories or fiction titles about witches, vampires, characters celebrating Halloween, and other related books. 

There are plenty of selections for adults as well, from the cute Halloween cozy mystery to terrifying thrillers and horror stories. Browse through available Halloween fiction and horror, which include: 

We also have plenty of titles to choose from online, some which have been mentioned in previous blog posts such as our witch fiction and Summertime Hocus Pocus posts. Reserve any available physical titles for Curbside Pickup this week, or check out what our online collections have to offer you to help you celebrate a safe Halloween.

Open Online Only From Monday, October 26 – Saturday, October 31 Due To Air Duct Cleaning

Abbot Public Library will be open online only from Monday, October 26th through Saturday, October 31st to allow the cleaning of our air circulation ducts to take place in the building, which is one of the two major projects we mentioned in our Message to the Marblehead Community that need to occur before we can begin offering limited collection browsing, by appointment only, inside the building. This building closure means staff will be unable to answer the phone, accept returns, or offer Curbside Service during this week.

Please note that Saturday, October 24th , from 9:30 am – Noon and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, will be the last day to pick up or return physical library items before this closure, as the library remains closed on Sundays for Curbside Service. If you would like to pick up items, please make an appointment ahead of time online or by calling 781-631-1481, Ext. 201 during Curbside Service Hours.

Saturday, October 24 until 3:00 pm will be the last day to return library materials or pick up from our Curbside Pickup Service before our week-long closure of the building to staff for air duct cleaning on October 26-31.

Since staff will not be able to be in the building during the duct cleaning, we are closing the library return bins during this time. Please return your items by 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 24th or wait until after we reopen for Curbside Pickup Service on Monday, November 2nd. There will continue to be no late fees for overdue materials.

If you need assistance during our building closure, please contact staff via email at mar@noblenet.org.

We appreciate your understanding and are eager to bring expanded library services to you during this unprecedented time.

In the meantime, please enjoy our free online services of ebooks, e-audiobooks, video streaming, and more by visiting our website or our eBooks, Movies, and More! blog page and clicking on the appropriate button. Take a look at our “App Map” below to find out which services offer what types of digital materials. 

Coming Soon to a Library Near You! New DVDs at APL

Autumn is a season of anticipation. We’re all on the lookout for the leaves to turn, for a season of holidays to begin, and maybe even for something fresh to curl up and watch when the rainy, blustery days keep us indoors. Have a look at the latest DVD offerings in the catalog, our October Watch List–if they haven’t yet dropped, they will very soon, and you’ll want to be the first to get your name on the holds list!

First off, the BBC roundup. David Tennant returns as an investigator in Deadwater Fell, a series that will get under your skin very much as Broadchurch did. Eve Polastri and Villanelle’s mutual obsession gets even more complicated in Season 3 of Killing Eve. The delightfully creepy Dead Still gives us mystery with a macabre twist: the sleuth is a postmortem photographer in Victorian Ireland (really!). And who could resist another instalment of the ever-engaging prequel to Inspector Morse, Endeavour (Series 7), which brings the story into a new decade–the 1970s.

Outlander (Season 5) bridges the ocean between the UK and its colonies as the intrepid hero and heroine strive to make a place for themselves in the New World. And if you missed the Emmy-winning Succession, you’ll find both Season 1 and this year’s Season 2 at APL–catch up so you’re in the know! 

There are some real gems among the newest feature DVDs, as well. Autumn is the time for all things bookish, and if you’re in the mood for something charming and heartening, The Booksellers is just the ticket. You’ll get a peek into New York’s rare book world alongside the likes of Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, and Gay Talese. Hope Gap is autumnal in tone as it takes a heartbreaking yet ultimately affirming look at a middle-aged couple’s crumbling marriage. Driveways, starring the late Brian Dennehy, offers a redemptive portrait of friendship between young and old.

And there’s more! Get this month’s viewing all set by placing holds on your favorites and utilizing our popular Curbside Pickup service. And if you just can’t wait, you’ll find Dead Still, Deadwater Fell, and plenty more on our Acorn TV video streaming service! If you haven’t tried it before, have a look at our FAQ section to get started.

Grab some mulled cider and enjoy!

Dig Up Some Facts About Prehistoric Creatures for National Fossil Day!

As part of Earth Science Week, National Fossil Day was created to promote the importance of preserving fossils. The National Park Service, the American Geosciences Institute, and hundreds of other museums, institutions, organizations, and other groups provide activities to help the public understand the scientific and educational purposes of fossils. Abbot Public Library has a number of items in the library catalog, on Overdrive/the Libby app, and on hoopla for all ages that relate to fossils of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.

Here are a sampling of books for kids on fossils, paleontology, dinosaurs, and other prehistoric creatures: 

also available on hoopla
also available on hoopla

Also check out the Pebble Plus Dinosaurs books, which includes 4D titles featuring different species of dinosaurs, including T. Rex, Velociraptor, Apatosaurus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and others.

For adults who would like to learn more about these subjects, check out the following items about dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, including humans! 

also available on hoopla
in print format from other NOBLE libraries
also available on hoopla

Check out these feature films and documentaries on hoopla for various age groups…

… or reserve DVDs for Curbside Pickup (currently with no charge!).

For more information about fossils, paleontology, dinosaurs, and prehistoric animals, browse through the items in these collections and searches: 

Horror Stories, Astronomy, and More – See What’s New At Abbot Public Library!

Many of the new titles that came into the library’s physical collections last month, some of which were previously mentioned in past blog posts, are able to be checked out not only in print but also in ebook or e-audiobook format on Overdrive/the Libby app or on hoopla. View all the new arrivals on the library’s website

While the teen collection mostly expanded on Overdrive with ebooks and e-audiobooks, children can enjoy physical copies of new picture books, reader books, concept books, graphic novels, fiction, biographies, and nonfiction; and adults can reserve for Curbside Pickup new graphic novels, fiction, paperbacks, biographies, nonfiction, large print, books on CD, and DVDs (currently with no checkout fee!).

For fantasy loving adults, you are now able to check out the 16th volume of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Peace Talks, which is also in ebook and e-audiobook format on Overdrive/the Libby app. Read how Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, joins the White Council’s security team during negotiations between the Supernatural nations. Or take a trip back in time to Victorian London in Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (also an Overdrive ebook and hoopla ebook and e-audiobook). This novel explores what inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, including his relationship with a talented actress and his walks on London streets terrorized by the Ripper. Perfect in time for October is Stephen King’s collection of horror novellas, If It Bleeds (also in large print, book on CD, and Overdrive ebook and e-audiobook format).

Sometimes real life is just as interesting as fiction. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is the true story behind the pseudonymous Twitter account created by a grief-stricken writer who rebuilt their life. Less able to hide their identity are Harry and Meghan in Omid Scobie’s and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family (also an ebook and e-audiobook on Overdrive/Libby) or Donald Trump in True Crimes and Misdemeanors: the Investigation of Donald Trump by Jeffrey Toobin (also on Overdrive in ebook and e-audiobook formats). 

Look to the sky in The Last Stargazers: the Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers by award-winning astronomer Emily Levesque (hoopla ebook and e-audiobook), exploring the human side of astronomy and how curiosity, creativity, and passion are just as important as telescopes and machines. Rebecca Giggs looks in the opposite direction in her book, Fathoms: the World in the Whale, an exploration of the condition or our oceans and how whales experience ecological change.

There are plenty of books to choose from, and reserving them for Curbside Pickup is easy! Just log into your account (if you don’t have an online account, email mar@noblenet.org for assistance) to place your holds, wait to be notified your items have come in, and then either register online for a time to pick up your items or contact the library at 781-631-1481 during service hours (Monday through Friday from 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm and Saturday from 9:30 am – Noon and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) to set up a pickup appointment. Your materials will be checked out in advance of your appointment and be waiting for you by the time your scheduled time slot starts! Read the full instructions here.

Books, Movies, Magazines, and More for National Yoga Month!

Did you know September is National Yoga Month? Even though today’s the last day, you can continue this healthy routine all year round. Abbot Public Library has hundreds of yoga items to reserve for Curbside Pickup or check out online via our various services, which can help teach poses and routines you can use every day. Starting last month, we even resumed our monthly children’s program Story Time Yoga with Lindsey Kravitz on our new YouTube Channel, which you may have read about on our previous blog post. Watch last month’s video below!

Kids have plenty of yoga-related items to choose from through the library catalog, Overdrive/the Libby app, and hoopla. Back in April, we discussed a few children’s selections in our Continuing Yoga for Kids at Home post from before we continued our yoga story time program online. Some physical books on the way to the shelves which you can reserve in advance for Curbside Pickup include:

The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath: a Fairy Tale to Help You Feel Better by Susan Verde, art by Jay Fleck (available now on hoopla)

Dinos Don’t Do Yoga: A Tale of the New Dinosaur on the Block by Catherine Bailey; illustrations by Alex Willmore 

Teach Your Child Yoga: Fun & Easy Yoga Poses for Happier, Healthier Kids by Lisa Roberts

Yoga for Kids written by Susannah Hoffman; foreword by Patricia Arquette (available now on hoopla)

While you’re waiting for these to come in, there are plenty of other titles to choose from which will be available sooner. Doreen Cronin’s and Scott Menchin’s Stretch is a rhyming book that describes different ways of stretching. Kids will be mimicking plants, animals, and objects with the poses in Thia Luby’s Children’s Book of Yoga. These children’s yoga DVDs currently don’t have a checkout fee. Get a whole family workout from Yoga for Families, a dinosaur-themed routine from Yoga for Kids: Dino-Mite Adventure, and learn stellar practices from Yoga for Kids: Outer Space Blast-Off. Don’t want to wait? Everything on hoopla can be checked out right away! Stretch in the shape of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet with Alef-Bet Yoga For Kids by Bill and Ruth Goldeen or get a magical workout with Unicorn Yoga. You can even watch movies and Read-alongs!

Kids aren’t the only ones who can enjoy borrowing yoga books, movies, and more from the library. Yoga For Everyone: 50 Poses For Every Type of Body by Dianne Bondy has customized routines based on body type. Learn to sleep better and longer with Yoga for Better Sleep: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science–Postures, Breathing Exercises, and Mindfulness Practices For All Ages by Mark Stephens. Wake up with Waking Energy: 7 Timeless Practices Designed to Reboot Your Body and Unleash Your Potential by Jennifer Kries.

Yoga At Home: Inspiration for Creating Your Own Home Practice by Linda Sparrowe will teach you yoga practices from leading experts of Yoga Journal, accompanied by Sarah Keough’s photography. You can reserve print copies of Yoga Journal magazine through your online account, or check them out online through Overdrive/Libby. For a little humor, check out Dan Borris’s Yoga Dogs which teaches poses through the hilarious imagery of canines posing.  

Peruse through more yoga items for all ages in the library catalog or online through Overdrive/Libby and hoopla. There’s even a How To Do Yoga Great Course video series which you can stream through our RB Digital service

See It in September! New DVDs in the APL Collection

The whirl of back-to-school–under new circumstances–may have you in a bit of a post-summer tizzy. If so, you may want to set aside a bit of time for cinematic self-care with one or more of the Abbot Public Library’s brand-new DVDs. They’re currently fee-free, and you can check them out for two weeks (with renewals if there are no other patrons waiting), so if a demanding autumn schedule upends your movie-night plans, no need to stress!

Latest in are 17 recently-released titles that span the genres: documentary to docudrama,  romance to comedy, action/thriller to road-trip feature. Here’s hoping that our unique list, See It in September, will offer plenty to entertain you. You’ll be linked directly to the catalog, where you can place your holds right away!

If jazz is your beat, you’re in for a very special treat. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool collects the artist’s music, home movies, manuscripts, and paintings for a close-up new look at his life. For timely social justice-themed films, The Infiltrators and Burden offer challenging perspectives on U.S. border detainment and the power of friendship and radical transformation across a racial divide.

Crowd pleaser The High Note explores themes of family, women’s ambition, and romance, all wrapped up in a fantastic soundtrack propelled by Tracee Ellis Ross. For another music-lover’s gem, have a look at Military Wives, a comic tribute to women’s resilience and friendship, with the brilliant Kristin Scott Thomas in the lead role. The pleasures of travel and a droll male friendship will also delight, as Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take you on a Trip to Greece. (Oh, and if you enjoy that, try the duo’s Trip to Italy and Trip to Spain, also ready for you at the Abbot Public Library!)

Recent weather events may draw you to the hurricane-related thriller Force of Nature, starring Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth, and Mel Gibson, while The Outpost spins a classic David-and-Goliath tale into a thriller pitting a few American soldiers against the ferocity of the Taliban militants.

If you’re in the mood for something quieter and more contemplative, you’ll also want to see the father-son road trip in Ireland that is End of Sentence, a film of reconciliation that has pleased critics and the public alike. If nothing else, the scenery will enchant you!

Once you’ve made your selections, placed your holds, and received notification that your holds are ready to pick up, visit this page or give us a call at 781-631-1481 to schedule your curbside pickup appointment

Happy viewing!