October - February Patron Picks
It is time once again to share the titles that patrons have found engaging. We enjoy learning what people are reading. If we know particular books or authors are well-liked, we can order similar books. You can share your favorites by placing them in the Awesome Box at the ground floor checkout desk. You can also write a review on a yellow “What Did You Think” form at one of the service desks or complete the online Patron Review Form. Don’t forget about the items you have downloaded or streamed on Overdrive or Hoopla. Even if we can’t display a physical copy, we can include your review.
If you are not comfortable entering the library, you can request items for curbside pickup during our regular hours (Monday-Thursday 9-9; Friday and Saturday 9-5). To reserve a book, place a request in the online catalog, fill out a request form, or call the reference desk at 978-674-4121.
Click on an item for more information.
By Lisa C.
The Measure by Nikki Erlick
This is an excellent book. If you knew when your life would end you may live differently. It is a very thought-provoking topic.
By George L.
Innocence by Dean Koontz
This book is the best read I’ve ever experienced. It is a true metaphor for life’s wonders and woes. You can feel the unconditional love Addison and Gwenyth share and the absence of judgement on any level. At the same time, you can see how as a human race we fear, get angry, hate, and rage due to judgements that are false assumptions. If the entire planet read this book, we would see a massive shift from fear to love.
Anonymous patrons left reviews of the following books.
The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton
This is the very first book by the author of “Mythology”, a staple in every public library. In “Mythology” Hamilton pays scrupulous attention to the Greek or Roman authors by whom the myths were transmitted to us. In this book, she discusses several of the most prominent of the Greek authors who lived before or during the Peloponnesian War. The two books do complement each other, although not in any very direct way. Most of the excerpts from the works of the various Greek authors seem to be her own translations, which is impressive. She wrote the book in 1930 and published a revised and extended version in 1943, which is the version that I read. She has a profound admiration, not so much for the ancient Greek way of life as such, but for what she sees as its astonishing innovations in a humane culture.
Since the book was republished in 1943 it is, necessarily, a work of scholarly propaganda, in the same way that, e.g., several of C. S. Foresters’ novels and short stories were fictional propaganda. These days, when we expect propaganda to be simplistic, on social media, and only originating with the enemy and never “our side”, most readers tend not to be able to recognize even the most obvious propaganda in a well-written and scholarly work which is now of limited interest to many modern readers. But the propaganda is intrinsic and ubiquitous and is strongly encouraging us, the readers, to courageously defend that culture, some vital part of which we were so lucky as to inherit from the Greeks. She wants us to understand that we are standing on the shoulders of giants and we ought to be worthy.
She makes a very strong argument for Greek sculpture as being exceptional in its idealized realism. Much other art, associated with other civilizations, she argues is either unrealistic or un-idealistic. I do think that the examination of what art a culture chooses to construct to represent itself does indicate something about the values of that culture. At present, much public art being made in the US seem to lack realism and idealism, sometimes both at once. One also thinks of advertising in the US, the enormous banners in the Boston train station advertising a new medicine for erectile disfunction, and entirely dominating any of its architectural features, for instance.
She compares Greek literature with English in a few ways, focusing mostly on the relative realism and terseness of Greek literature. When she discusses the individual authors, she may often select an English writer to compare to: Pindar is like Kipling in some ways, Aeschylus like Shakespeare, Aristophanes resembles W. S. Gilbert.
The book is erudite and opinionated. It seems very likely that this work strongly influenced Mary Renault’s novels of early classical Greece: “The Praise Singer”, about the events that preceded the Persian Wars in Ionia and Athens, and “The Last of the Wine”, a novel of the Peloponnesian War.
The Echo of Greece by Edith Hamilton
A summary of the author’s previous work, examining Greek and Roman culture, and the Christian culture which derived from both, but principally from Roman culture, in Hamilton’s opinion. I have yet to read any of Hamilton’s books about Christianity, but that would properly round things out.