Fun Summer Reads!

invisibilityreal snacksgolem

As the end of the school year approaches, many of you might be wondering how to spend your ample free time.  For those of you who love to read, here are some suggestions for the summer!

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan (recommended by Talya Sokoll)
If you liked Every Day by David Levithan than you will enjoy his newest book, co-written with Andrea Cremer, author of the Nightshade series.  Stephen was born invisible to the world, cursed by a person he has never met.  Elizabeth wants to be invisible and moving to New York City is one way to do so.  Then Elizabeth and Stephen meet, and she can see him.  What comes next is an epic, impossible love story, filled with curses. Stephen’s invisibility makes their chances for happiness exponentially more unlikely.

The Program by Suzanne Young (recommended by Talya Sokoll)
It is a cross between Thirteen Reasons Why and The Hunger Games. Sloane lives in a world where suicide is contagious and rampant among teenagers.  Any teen who is headed down a dark path is sent to “The Program” where their depression is eradicated, but so are all their memories related to their sadness.  Sloane will do anything to save herself from being sent to the program, will she succeed?

Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler (recommended by Talya Sokoll)
This memoir tells the coming-of-age story of Aaron Hartzler, who grew up in an Evangelical Christian family. He believes that at any moment Jesus might swoop him up to heaven.  At first he believes this wholeheartedly, but as he gets older he grows more and more skeptical until his lack of belief interferes with his ability to connect with his family.

Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (recommended by Violet Richard)
This novel is especially interesting to me because it was written by my college roommate.  During her freshman year at Carleton College, Helene met her future husband Kareem who is Muslim.  This complicated things because Helene was Jewish. However, she and Kareem embraced and celebrated one another’s differences and pushed through adversity.  Golem and the Jinni to some degree is autobiographical in the sense that two mythical beings (one with Jewish and the other with Muslim traditions) become unlikely friends during the turn of the century in New York. This is a great book and a quick read.

Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk by Lara Ferroni (recommended by Erin Twohig)
Growing up with three siblings meant that anytime my mom bought us junk food, it went fast. It was rare to have Oreos, Goldfish, Pop-Tarts and Twinkies sitting on the kitchen shelves.  I happily came across this little treasure of a book at the Dedham Public Library. Ferroni helps recreate favorite not-so-healthy childhood snacks by using more nutritional ingredients like chia seed meal and flaxseed oil.  Vegan and gluten-free options are included as well!

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre
Ben Macintyre tells the story of five extraordinary spies at the center of a ruse to fool the Germans about D-Day. (From the New York Times)

Upcoming Titles of Interest

These books will be released over the summer and should be great summer reads.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
She Left Me the Gun: My Mother’s Life Before Me by Emma Brockes
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Returned by Jason Mott
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

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The First Annual Summer Reading Book Fair

Stop by the library for our first annual summer reading book fair!  Check out a wide variety of book recommendations from your very own faculty!  You can chit the books right at the library check-out desk.  Thanks for stopping by!


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Favorite books of 2013 (so far)

penumbra white bicycleme earl and the dying girl In-the-garden-of-Beasts





It is hard to believe, but we are almost halfway through 2013! One of my personal goals for this year is to read as many books as possible (I’m currently at 68).  I thought I would share some of my favorites:

1. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
A mashup of old and new, this book explores how we currently access information (perfect for a librarian!) and how we’ve accessed information for thousands of years.  It also deals with code-breaking, the dawn of printing, ancient books and a secret society thriving below the streets of New York City.

2. In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson
I have to give Mr. Henderson credit for recommending this amazing, horrifying and thoroughly researched history of  William E. Dodd, America’s ambassador to Berlin in 1933, right when Hitler took over and gained power, but before the world knew of his terrible plans.  This book covers many aspects of Dodd’s time as ambassador and it owes its thoroughness not only to Dodd’s extensive diaries, but also the diaries of his daughter, Martha, a free spirit who fell in love with Berlin at first, but eventually came to realize the horrible acts being committed.

3. The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna
A wonderful, short novel about a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome aching to break free from her smothering mother and live her own, independent life. One of this year’s “Printz Honor Books for Excellence in Books Written for Teens Based Entirely on Literary Merit.”

4. Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
At turns hilarious and heartbreaking, this book tells the story of Greg, who wants nothing more than to finish high school as invisible as he started, spending time with his best friend Earl and making horrendus movies that no one will ever see.  When his mom forces him to reconnect with Rachel, his childhood friend who is dying of Leukimia, Earl is less than thrilled.  But over the course of the novel, Earl begins to care about Rachel and ultimately works towards making meaning in the short time she has left.

5. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Josie Moraine has not had a happy childhood.  Growing up in 1950s New Orleans, the daughter of a local prostitute, Josie has had to fend for herself for years.  Now, her only goal is to get out of New Orleans and go to college, but the obstacles she faces are enormous.  When she gets embroiled in a murder mystery she not only worries about her future but her life.

All these books are available in the library.  Come check them out if you are interested!

Happy Reading,

Ms. Sokoll

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Celebrate National Volunteer Week!

This week is National Volunteer Week!  We just want to take this time to say thanks to our amazing group of parent volunteers, who as a group have provided over 430 hours of valuable service to the library this year.  Thank you so much to: Aura, Bronnie, Camellia, Caryn, Helen, Kat, Lauren and Nicole.  Your service is imperative to the continued success of our library!

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New DVDs

The library has recently added a number of new DVDs, including TV series, feature films, documentaries and educational films.  Click here for a complete list.

hobbit les mis life of pi wreck

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What Did You Read Over Spring Break? – Faculty Edition

What book(s) did you enjoy reading over spring break? What made them so great?

English teacher Peter Raymond:
Lights by Anton Chekhov, Lights
“This early work prepares for later masterpieces.”

English Teacher Julia Russell:
Swamplandia by Karen Russell
“Such good writing!   Young female protagonist battling alligators and the loss of her mother in the swamplands of rural Florida–absolutely stunning writing.”

Assistant Controller Rachel Weinstock:
Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King
“This is book about the painting of the Sistine Chapel and other artwork of that time.  The technical aspects of fresco and the story behind the story of the various panels and decorations in the fresco were fascinating.”

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
“It uses humor as an integrator of the unbearable facets of mankind and the U.S.; also superb play with author as character.”

History Teacher Chris Kaimmer:
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
“Fascinating, terrifying popular history about the rise of a serial killer during the creation of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.”

Head of School Bob Henderson:
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.
“Stunning account of the American Ambassador to Germany in the 1930’s and their experience as witnesses to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis.”

Counselor Jen Hamilton:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“I have always meant to read it and somehow never did until now… it was timeless, brilliant, sad…. I loved it.”

Science Teacher David Strasburger”
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
“Fun and engaging historical fiction — sort of a thinking person’s version of The Tudors.”

English Teacher Richard Baker:
Act of the Damned by Lobo Antunes (my new favorite contemporary  author).
“Very Faulknerian in style and plot ( a Portuguese As I Lay Dying). Best
book I’ve read in 10 years. May leapfrog onto my “Top 25” list. Probably
not a book many students would like.  :)”

Science Teacher Bob Kern:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
“I usually don’t enjoy fantasy type books but after watching the Lord of
the Rings movies and enjoying them, I thought I’d give this book a try. It
was interesting, reads very quickly and is an ideal book to read while you
are recuperating from a long winter…”

Archivist Isa Schaff:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“I reread (for the umpteenth time) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It
is my favorite book of all time because it unites great writing, humor
and memorable characters. This year is also the 200th anniversary of the
publication of the book and I could not let it pass unread.  I also read Pride Prejudice and Jasmine Field by Melissa Nathan  in preparation for a talk I am giving to the JASNA Maine region on P&P (working title: “I Understand You Perfectly: Modern Writers’ and One Reader’s Interpretation of Pride and Prejudice”)

English Teacher Thomas Forteith:
Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
“A graphic novel written and illustrated by brothers from Brazil, I loved the artwork!  It was cool to see elements of South American magic realism in comic book form.  I was personally moved by the narrative revolving around the transformative power of becoming a father.”

English Teacher Alden Mauck:
Tenth of December by George Saunders
“Recommended to me by my daughter, Hannah ’06,  Tenth of December is a collection of short stories that range from rescue fantasy to almost outright sci-fi.  Interesting and provocative, a bending of the traditional short story.”

English Teacher Sarah Snyder:
Tenth of December by George Saunders
“A collection of short stories that are all quite amazing – at times funny, poignant, and disturbing.”

History Teacher Jenny Carlson Pietraszek:
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding
The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
“I read one trashy fun adult book (Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination) and two great kids books (The Secret Zoo, and The Candymakers).  [My daughter] Lucy first read The Secret Zoo and loved it, so then my girlfriend and my other daughter and I read it.  Zoe and I read The Candymakers, and I think Lucy and Rali will read it soon, kind of fun for whole family to read the same book and talk about it!”

Science Teacher Chris Averill:
The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner
“It is similar to The Hunger Games a fun and fast read!  You can get the first two on the Nobles library Overdrive!”

Director of Community Service Linda Hurley:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
“Beautifully written young adult romance about two kids with cancer. Full of references to classic literature and poetry. I have never been to Amsterdam but would love to go now!”

Learning Specialist Gia Batty:
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
“I am teaching Jonathan Safran Foer’s (Krauss’ husband) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close this quarter and a friend told me that they both were writing these books at the same time.  In fact, they were published within a month of each other in 2005.  I had to re-read Safran Foer’s book earlier this month to get ready to teach it and, after that, I thought that it was finally time to finish The History of Love. It’s a wonderful (and pretty short) book about a book.  Well, it’s about much more than that.  It’s a wonderfully complicated, emotional and beautiful story of two characters whose lives are connected in the most incredible way.  It’s concise, well-written and haunting in that you keep thinking about these characters and Krauss’ language long after you finish the book. I loved it!”

Librarian Talya Sokoll:
The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project
“A follow up to their acclaimed play (The Laramie Project) about the murder of Matthew Shepard for being gay in Laramie, Wyoming, this new play looks at the current feelings of the townspeople and how being part of such a national story has affected their lives and views of the horrible tragedy.  It also contains interviews with the two men convicted of Matthew’s murder, which were not part of the original text.”

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What to do over spring break?

It is almost time for spring break! If you are wondering what to do with your extra time, here are some suggestions:

Read a new book:

Tenth of December by George Saunders (SC Sau)
A collection of short stories by the highly acclaimed author of Pastoralia and In Persuasion Nation.  Highly recommended by Mr. Bussey and considered “the best book you will read all year” by the New York Times.


After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey (070 Hai)
Hainey, the deputy editor of GQ, writes a memoir of losing his father at the age of six and the shady circumstances that surrounded his death.  As an adult he goes on a journey to find the truth behind how his father died.

The Dinner by Herman Koch (FIC Koc)
Two couples in Amsterdam come together over dinner, at first to seemingly have a pleasant conversation, but ultimately to discuss the consequences of a terrible act committed by both their sons.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (FIC Pic)
Sage Singer is a baker who just wants to be left alone.  Josef Weber is an elderly man who meets Sage in a grief support group.They make a connection over their shared loss, but when Josef asks Sage for help, she must make a choice between right and wrong.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (FIC Sae YA)
When Aristotle and Dante, two loners, meet one summer, they forge a friendship that teaches both of them what kind of people they want to be.

His Name was Raoul Wallenberg by Louise Borden (940.53 Bor)
Raoul Wallenberg was a humanitarian from Sweden who worked in Budapest, Hungary during World War II making false passports for Jews to escape and saving tens of thousands of lives.  This book tells the story of his life and examines the sketchy circumstances surrounding his ultimate fate.

Watch an award-winning or nominated movie:

Argo – won the Oscar for best picture (791.43 Arg DVD)
Anna Karenina – nominated for best picture (791.43 Ann DVD)
Brave – won the Oscar for best animated movie (791.43 Bra DVD)
Paranorman – nominated for best animated movie (791.43 Par DVD)
Pitch Perfect – not nominated for anything, but really awesome (791.43 Pit DVD)

Catch up on your favorite TV shows:


The Putnam Library has recently acquired a selection of full TV series including:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The TV show from 1997-2003 that (in my opinion) is responsible for the current vampire craze. (791.45 Buf DVD)

Once Upon a Time – a current ABC show about characters from a cursed fairytale land that live in present day Maine, unaware of their true identities. (791.45 Onc DVD)

Six Feet Under – a dark, sometimes funny show, about a family running a funeral home in California. Stars the actor who plays Dexter before he was Dexter. (791.45 Six DVD)

Veronica Mars – stars a young Kristen Bell as a teenage detective. (791.45 Ver DVD)

Popular – this was the first show from Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee. (791.45 Pop DVD)

Freaks and Geeks – this TV show from 1999-2000 starred many actors you may be familiar with, including James Franco, Jason Segal, Seth Rogen and more. (791.45 Fre DVD)

If you are interested in any of these materials, feel free to come get them from the library!

Happy Spring Break!

Ms. Sokoll

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Celebrate the 2013 Oscars!

It is almost time for the 2013 Academy Awards.  On February 24, this year’s best movies will be awarded (or not) the highest prize in film, the Oscar.  Come by the library and check out our Oscar display, filled with movies and books that represent this year’s nominees. In the meantime. check out these interesting Oscar facts:

Did you know…?

  • This year’s best actress category includes the youngest and oldest nominees ever?  Emmanuelle Riva, 85, is nominated for her role in Amour and Quvenzhane Wallis, 9, is nominated for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
  • Meryl Streep has the most acting nominations (17 noms, 3 wins) but Katharine Hepburn has the most acting wins (4).
  • Walt Disney has won the most awards overall (26).
  • The actual Academy Award weighs 8.5 pounds and is made of gold-plated tin, except during World War II when they were made of plaster.
  • The shortest acceptance speech was given by Joe Pesci for his 1991 win in Goodfellas.  It was two seconds long, he said, “It’s my privilege.  Thank you.”  The longest came from Greer Garson in 1943 and was seven minutes long.
  • Two actors have won awards posthumously (after their deaths): Peter Finch for Network and Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight.
  • Woody Allen is the most nominated writer in Oscar history (15 times) but he has only appeared at the ceremony once, after Sept. 11th, to urge filmmakers to continue making movies in NYC.
  • Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to ever win an Oscar for best director, for The Hurt Locker in 2010.

Sources:, Ms. Sokoll’s brain.

Happy Reading! (and watching)

Ms. Sokoll

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Announcing Three New Databases

We are happy to announce that the Putnam Library has added three new databases to our collection.  They are:

The World Almanac Online – contains online access to the yearly published World Almanac.

Great Empires of the Past – contains information on Ancient Empires such as Greece, Egypt, Rome and more!

Classroom Video on Demand – contains hundreds of free movies on a variety of topics, including English, music, dance, theater, history, science, math, PD and more.

To access these databases go to and click on “Online Resources”  Then scroll down until you find the databases.  The username and password information is located next to the database link.

For more information about these databases or for a tutorial on how to use them,  please come see Ms. Sokoll in the library.

Happy Searching!

Ms. Sokoll

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Popular Library Reads

The Putnam Library has a wide variety of popular materials. Check out this year’s most frequently checked out items:


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (FIC Fly)

The Tale of the Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (FIC Shi)

I Think I Love You by Alison Pearson (FIC Pea)




Middle School Fiction:

Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney
(FIC Coo MS)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (FIC Col MS)

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (FIC Rio MS)



Young Adult Fiction

Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth (FIC Rot YA)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (FIC Tay YA)




30 for 30 ESPN films (796 Thi DVD)

Jazz: A Ken Burns Production (781.6504 Jaz DVD)

The Kids Are Alright (791.43 Kid DVD)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (791.43 Har DVD)

Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement (323.4 Eye DVD)

Breaking Dawn: The Twilight Saga Part One (791.43 Bre DVD)

Downton Abbey: Season One (791.45 Dow DVD)

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