standing Westerly Library

As we get ready to say goodbye to 2021, I thought it would be fun to reminisce about some of our favorite books and movies from the past year. I polled the staff members here at Westerly Library and Wilcox Park, and they came through with a ton of great suggestions to add to your “to read” and “to watch” lists!

Fiction is always a popular genre, and we had plenty of new favorites. Our executive director, Brigitte, enjoyed “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett and “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson. Marilyn, one of our book gurus at circulation, recommended “The Murmur of Bees” by Sofia Segovia, a historical fiction novel set in Mexico during the flu pandemic of 1918. Morgan loved “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab, which received a great deal of praise upon its release earlier this year. Our bookkeeper Sara enjoyed the audiobook version of “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman, which she described as “a very funny, sad and relatable book”. Finally, books by author Kristin Harmel were widely loved: Local history librarian Nina liked “The Book of Lost Names” (2020), and Stacey, our director of development, loved “The Forest of Vanishing Stars.” I don’t read a ton of fiction, but I’ve been tearing through most of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, including “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” and her newest novel, “Malibu Rising.”

If you enjoy mysteries, Keara at circulation points to “Fortune Favors the Dead” by Stephen Spotswood, a fast-paced and funny noir novel. Stacey liked “Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Cosby, another book that critics praised this summer. Both of our Colleens on staff recommend the YA thriller “The Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley. Graphic novels continue to grow in popularity, and Kendra particularly enjoyed “Cyclopedia Exotica” by Aminder Dhaliwal, a “satirical,” “playful” and “provocative” work of socio-cultural criticism.

For nonfiction fans, Susan in collection management raved about the memoir “Between Two Kingdoms” by Suleika Jaouad, and children’s associate Meagan liked Alex Trebek’s memoir “The Answer Is ...”. Kate in circulation suggests “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” by Oliver Burkeman, and I really loved “Eat and Run” by ultra-runner Scott Jurek.

Finally, let’s talk movies and TV. Brigitte watched “Tenet” (2020) and “The Little Things” (2021). All ages can enjoy the new Pixar film “Luca,” which was recommended by Colleen (as well as my 3-year-old daughter and not-3-year-old husband). There are plenty of older titles too, like “The Age of Adaline,” which our marketing director Kelli has seen and loved many times, and “Cold Mountain” (2003), a period war film recommended by Paul, from our parks department. Morgan has been into “The Great British Bake-off,” which will make you want to whip up all sorts of goodies in the kitchen. Allynn recommends the Canadian series “Murdoch Mysteries,” Marilyn recently got into the older, British medical show “Doc Martin,” and Colleen is watching a newer British comedy: “The Other One.”

Check these and more out at the library!

Top requested books

1. “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles

2. “Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty

3. “The Judge’s List” by John Grisham

4. “Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult

5. “The Dark Hours” by Michael Connelly

6. “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr

7. “The Last Thing He Told Me” by Laura Dave

8. “State of Terror” by Hillary Rodham Clinton

9. “Better Off Dead” by Lee Child

10. “Mercy” by David Baldacci

Top requested DVDs

1. “No Time to Die”

2. “The French Dispatch”

3. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”

4. “Dune”

5. “The Last Duel”

6. “The Crown: the Complete Fourth Season”

7. “The Many Saints of Newark”

8. “Cry Macho”

9. “Dangerous”

10. “Jungle Cruise”

This week

TUESDAY — 12-12:45 p.m., Minute to Win It Grab & Go – These fun and silly challenges, geared toward ages 8-12, are designed to be completed in about a minute or less and are played with common household objects! Available for pickup in the Kids Room while supplies last; 1-4 p.m., Community Resource Advocate – Our volunteer Community Resource Advocate is available to help connect you with local services/resources. Email her at; 2-3:30 p.m., Virtual Tech Social – We meet on Zoom every Tuesday to address your tech questions. Preregistration is required; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Club – The Knit and Crochet Group is meeting weekly upstairs in Reference.

THURSDAY — 10-11 a.m., Anti-Hate Youth Art Party – Join us in the 3rd floor Terrace Room, where participants will be supplied with materials to create public anti-hate messages for their community. They may leave them with the library for a pop-up art show in January, have them be entered in the #USvsHate competition, or take them home! Kids and Teens are also welcome to drop off artwork to the Kids Room or Teens Space that day as well.

FRIDAY — Library will close early at 5 p.m. for New Year’s Eve.

SATURDAY — Library is closed for New Year’s Day.

Cassie Skobrak is a reference librarian at Westerly Library and Wilcox Park.

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