Tag Archives: Falmouth MA

Morse Pond Review: Listen, Slowly

ListenSlowlyListen, Slowly

Thannha Lai



Available now

Listen, Slowly by Thannha Lai was by far one of  my favorite books ever! I haven’t finished the ending yet so I won’t give it away 🙂  Even though I have not read the ending yet, it is probably one of the most interesting books that I’ve ever read. The story is about a girl that goes to Vietnam. The author creates a window for the reader to see through. I have never been to Vietnam, but the author makes the image so clear of how it looks, and how the people act there compared to United States citizens. Even though she doesn’t want to go at first, she discovers how special this place can be.

~ Kailei, grade 6

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Customer Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

a thousand nights A Thousand Nights

Emily Kate Johnston



Available: October 6th, 2015

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston transports readers to Arabian deserts, where readers can feel the burning sand under their feet and the hot sun beating on their backs.  A nameless girl saves her sister from being taken by Lo-Melkhiin, who has married three hundred women and has killed them. The girl instead sacrifices herself to be taken. Fans of Arabian Nights will fly through this book.

~ Emily, 17

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Customer review: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

damage doneDamage Done

Amanda Panitch

Random House Books for Young Readers


Available now

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch is one of the best mystery thrillers I have read of the YA variety.  Julia Vann had the perfect life, then the shooting happened. The next moment she is a new person, lives in a new town, and doesn’t have a brother. You have to read the book to find out what really happened in the band room, where it all started.  Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, and anyone who loves a good plot twist.

Emily ~ 17

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Staff Review: The Beautiful Bureaucrat

hpThe Beautiful Bureaucrat

Helen Phillips

Henry Holt and Company


Available 8/11/2015

This perfect little novel reads like a hallucination, or one of those weird dreams that you get just before waking. Or maybe like an Orwellian version of the movie “Office Space.”

A young couple leaves “the hinterlands” for an unnamed city, in search of employment. They both find work in a large concrete office building with no windows and limited points of entry. Neither of them is allowed to talk about their work. Her job is to cross-reference strings of numbers and letters, and then enter a date into “The Database”, but she is not to question what this work is or why it is necessary. Her only real job requirements are to have an eye for detail and good eyesight. As the stress of this mind-numbing drudgery slowly overwhelms her, she comes to the horrifying realization of what “Data Entry” actually is. She cannot even turn to her husband, as he seems to be home less and less.

The sense of menace and isolation that has been lurking under the surface since the first page becomes almost unbearable at this point. There is no way out, both literally and figuratively. She must make choices. So must he. And the choices they make, in a stroke of pure genius, turn this novel into a kind of life-and-death version of “The Gift of the Magi.” More than that, I am not giving away. You have to read it for yourself!

~ Lysbeth Abrams

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Staff Review: Half the Sky

HalftheSkyHalf the Sky

Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn

Vintage Books


Available now

Half the Sky is one of the most powerful, inspirational and important books that I have read.

I was already aware of many of the issues that Nicholas Kristoff and Cheryl WuDunn highlight in their book; still it inspired me. It “galvanized” (to use one of the words that they mention a few times) me into action, this review being my first act.

We all have a voice. Kristoff and WuDunn urge us to use it. Too many women continue to suffer, to be victims of unspeakable acts of cruelty and violence. We need to act. As uncomfortable as reading the stories in this book may be, just think: you are reading a non-fiction book; a woman or girl has lived through, or is living through, that “story.”

Despite the horror, there is hope. People, including the girls and women in these horrible situations themselves, are acting. Kristoff and WuDunn even include an appendix of organizations that support girls and women, giving you the tools you need to take immediate action.

Empowering women will help change the world. Take the time to read this book. Even if you cannot act on this particular issue immediately, you will have a valuable resource to which you can refer in the future.


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Display: All Things India

India 6India 4 India 5


India 1India 3India 2

The idea of India fascinates me. I learned European history and United States history in High School. World History was tacked on at the end of junior and senior year as kind of an addendum, but it was like a tasting menu of the rest of the world packed into a few months. The idea that all these other cultures had existed and thrived outside of Western culture was mind-boggling.

Indian literature differs from most of the other southeastern Asian literature, maybe because English colonization has given it a slightly European feel. Indian authors often write their novels in English. The first Indian novel that I really remember getting into was A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, a great big doorstop of a book. It was a great family saga that I couldn’t put down.

Recommended reading:

A Fine Balance and Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

Red Earth and Pouring Rain and Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

Memories of Rain by Sunetra Gupta

A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul

Caretaker: A Ranjit Singh Novel by A. X. Ahmad

Last Taxi Ride by A. X. Ahmad

Behind the Beautiful Forever’s: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Under city by Katherine Boo

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale by Chitra Banerjee

Tales from India: Stories of Creation and the Cosmos by Jamila Gavin

Case of the Man Who Died Laughing: A Vish Puri Mysery #1 by Tarquin Hall

Case of the Missing Servant: A Vish Puri Mystery #2 by Tarquin Hall

Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken: A Vish Puri Mystery by Tarquin Hall

Case of the Love Commandos: From the files of Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator by Tarquin Hall

Born Confused by Tanuja Desaia

LowLand by Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of Maladies: Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri

Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi

Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India by Gerald McDermott

Hundred- Foot Journey: A novel by Richard C Morais

Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Family Life: A novel by Akhil Sharma

Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

World We Found: A novel by Thrity Umrigar

Story Hour: A novel by Thrity Umrigar

Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India by Marcia Williams

And a link to a great little Buzzfeed site called 34 Books By Indian Authors That Everyone Should Read:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/andreborges/kitaabein

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Scott Blagden and Sara Farizan

Farizan_Sara_CMYK_HRsmaBlagdenScottsmallSara Farizan and Scott Blagden will be joining us for a Round table discussion about Sex, Drugs, and Violence in YA literature on Tuesday, October 15 at 7 pm. The event will take place at Highfield Hall. Here’s your chance to get to know Scott and Sara a little before the event.

Q: Are there any books or authors who inspired you?

Sara:  My mentor Chris Lynch is my Obi Wan Kenobi and he taught me a great deal, though I don’t think I am anywhere near being a Jedi master as of yet. I always loved J. D. Salinger as a teenager. Marjane Satrapi, John Irving, Richard Russo, Adam Langer, David Sedaris, Gish Jen, Walter Mosley, and Firoozeh Dumas are all kinds of awesome. And I would one day like to write a book as wonderful as The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Scott: I hate answering this question because there are so many authors I LOVE, but I will say that Adam Rapp is an inspiration, especially with regard to edgy fiction with honest, authentic voices.

Q: What’s your writing routine?

Scott: I do my best writing early in the morning, but I write anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I go to the Cape Cod Canal with a folding chair and a notebook when I’m working on first draft stuff or just brainstorming.

Sara: I write whenever I can, wherever I can. I like to be alone whether in my room, a bagel shop, or library and listen to music. The music depends on what kind of scene I am writing.  Fiona Apple has gotten me through many scenes over the years.

Q: Is there one particular character in your new book whom you relate to the most? Why?

Sara: I think all of the characters are much braver than I am. But I understand Sahar in her wanting to be with someone she just can’t be with. I think that’s a universal feeling for all young adults.

Scott: In Dear Life, You Suck, I definitely relate to Cricket. His questioning and critical attitude, his inappropriate humor, his disgust with hypocrisy, his curiosity about religion, God, and other philosophical inquiries.

Q: Cats or dogs?

Scott: No and no. I grew up with Doberman Pinschers, but I don’t want to be tied down by the responsibility at this point in my life.

Sara: I’m allergic. I wish both cats and dogs well, but I am not a pet person. I know that makes me seem like Lord Voldemort and very un-American, but there you have it.

Q: What is your secret superpower?

Sara: I am an incredible lip-syncher.

Scott: Tenacity. Rejection letters are like fuel on the fire for me. Say ‘no’ to me or tell me I can’t do something and I’ll only work harder to prove you wrong. FYI – a very necessary superpower for writers who want to get published.


The discussion on Tuesday will be open to audience members, so bring your questions about writing, teens, and touchy topics in YA lit. See you there!

Thanks to Scott, Sara, and Algonquin Books for Young Readers for help with this post.

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