Check out all the great things we’ve added to the library in September and October!
- Everything All at Once : How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem, by Bill Nye
- Before I Had the Words : On Being a Transgender Young Adult, by Skylar Kergil
- The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson
- Unbelievable : My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History, by Katy Tur
- The Infographic Guide to Science, by Tom Cabot
- Bold Women of Medicine : 21 Stories of Astounding Discoveries, Daring Surgeries, and Healing Breakthroughs, by Susan Latta
- The TB12 Method : How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance, by Tom Brady
- Do No Harm : Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery, by Henry Marsh
- Spaceman : An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, by Mike Massimino
- Myers+Chang at Home, by Joanne Chang (cookbook!)
- A Girl and Her Greens : Hearty Meals from the Garden, by April Bloomfield (cookbook!)
- The Cubs Way : The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse, by Tom Verducci
- Theft by Finding : Diaries (1977-2002), by David Sedaris
- The Unwomanly Face of War : An Oral History of Women in World War II, by Svetlana Aleksievich
- The Vietnam War : An Intimate History, by Geoffrey C. Ward
- The Stranger in the Woods : The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, by Michael Finkel
- Killers of the Flower Moon : The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann
- The Locals: A Novel, by Jonathan Dee
- The Child Finder, by Rene Denfield
- Dinner at the Center of the Earth, by Nathan Englander
- Less: A Novel, by Andrew Sean Greer
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
- Gwendy’s Button Box, by Stephen King
- A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapeña
- Provenance, by Ann Leckie
- Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
- Five-Carat Soul, by James McBride
- Gather the Daughters, by Jennie Melamed
- Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
- The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn
- The Golden House: A Novel, by Salman Rushdie
- New People, by Danzy Senna
- The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware
New Middle School/Young Adult Fiction
- Wonder Woman : Warbringer, by Leigh Bardugo
- The One Memory of Flora Banks, by Emily Barr
- Refugee, by Alan Gratz
- Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green
- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee
- Genuine Fraud, by E. Lockhart
- Warcross, by Marie Lu
- Bang, by Barry Lyga
- Tower of Dawn, by Sarah Maas
- One of Us is Lying, by Karen McManus
- When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon
- The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes
- Miles Morales : Spider-man, by Jason Reynolds
- I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika Sánchez
- They Both Die at the End, by Adam Silvera
- The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, by F.C. Yee
- Patina by Jason Reynolds
- Children of Exile by Margaret Peterson Haddix
New Graphic Novels
Chief Information Officer Dan Weir:
1.) Profiles in Courage by John Kennedy and Ted Sorenson. Awesome book. Loved the stories of each leader/senator. Reminded me a lot of my US History course and what was said then versus what Kennedy thought.
2.) After You by Jojo Moyes. Fun lighter reading with happiness at the end. A good book to warm the soul. Moyes has great ironic humor. The scene of her confronting her ex-boyfriend and his new fiance is great.
3.) Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Excellent book! Loved the nerdiness and the journey they went on to history and the future (metaphorically of course). Lots to think about in both directions.
4.) Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbot. A different perspective on this tragic topic. Fun at times but mostly unnerving and sad. How did people think like that? Regardless, a good read for historians who want a twist.
Art Teacher Molly Pascal ’05:
Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris. If you enjoy dry humor and laugh-out-loud observations, this book is for you.
Director of College Counseling Kate Boyle Ramsdell:
As is my way, I started a number of books and did not finish any of them yet. My favorite of the group was H is for Hawk. It’s an intense read, and I’ll admit to being drawn to it for three reasons 1) The cover illustration, 2) My 5 year-old’s fascination with hawks and raptors, 3) My own experiences with the loss of my dad. The author weaves in and out of an autobiographical narrative about the loss of her father and her resolution to grieve through the acquisition and training of a goshawk. She is a remarkably talented and incisive writer. I would highly recommend it, but would also share that it’s not a light read.
Director of Achieve Nora Dowley-Leibowitz:
I read Anna Kendrick’s memoir, Scrappy Little Nobody. It was super funny, and shockingly personal. I’ve always been drawn to her because she seems pretty regular, and like someone I would be friends with, and the book confirmed all of these things. She is funny, genuine, and surprisingly insecure at times. It did get a bit repetitive about halfway through, but a fun and easy beach read.
Archivist Isa Schaff:
I reread Still Life by Louise Penny. This is the first book of an award winning mystery series centered around Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Surete’ du Québec, and a village of Three Pines (near the Vermont border). Louise Penny has created an engaging community, populated by three dimensional characters who develop from book to book, sometimes in surprising directions. Most of the stories happen in or around Three Pines, but also in Montreal and Québec which I know a bit, and therefore my enjoyment of the book is increased. I have learned a lot about the history, the culture and the people of Canada. What sent me back to Still Life is having read the latest installment (the 13th) of the series, Glass Houses. I realized that I wanted to follow again the path of each character, now that I know so much more about them.
English Teacher Gia Batty:
This summer afforded me the time and space to read and listen to an excessive amount of books. Here are my top three:
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper. I know, I know, a book about dictionaries? Really? Yes, this was a great read. Kory Stamper is an editor at the offices of Merriam-Webster in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her book takes you behind the scenes of the lives of lexicographers. Ever wondered who writes the definitions or how they decide which words end up in the dictionary? You’ll love this book. Stamper is smart, funny, and thoughtful, and you’ll never look at a definition the same way again!
Women and Fiction: Short Stories By and About Women edited by Susan Cahill. This book (originally published in 1975) has been in my possession for decades. I have packed and unpacked it several times and found a home for it on a shelf in five different offices in three different schools. It wasn’t until my most recent office move that I rediscovered and finally read it. It is an incredible collection of short stories by a wide range of female writers. The best part of the anthology is Susan Cahill’s introduction to each story. She shares stories, many of which I had never heard before, about each author’s journey to becoming a writer. There are surprises in this anthology too—a story I’d never read by Alice Munro (“The Office”) that captures the struggle of finding the time and space to write while your children are close by. There’s a beautiful story called “Winter Night” by Kay Boyle that I am still thinking about. I could go on… If you like short stories and especially if you are female, you must read this collection from start to finish.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer. I heard Greer read an excerpt of this book on the New Yorker Fiction podcast and I knew instantly that I wanted to know more about his hapless protagonist, Arthur Less, and his incredible (and ridiculous) trip around the world. This is a book about writing, traveling abroad, falling in love and being a flawed human being. I loved it.
Math Teacher Efe Osifo:
I read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and I was blown away! It’s a YA realistic fiction about 16-year-old Starr Carter. Starr, an African-American girl, witnesses a close friend of hers get murdered by the police. What ensues after is a nationwide protest as details of the case (Only Starr knows what really happened) take place. The book is moving and discusses a great deal about micro-aggressions, interracial relationships, inner-city communities, gang life and multiple identities in a fast-paced, engaging way. It connected with me on many many levels and there is going to be a movie soon!
Head of the Upper School Michael Denning:
Einstein: His Life and Universe: As I awaited the solar eclipse that dominated the imaginations of so many this summer, I became immersed in Walter Isaacson’s magnificent biography of Albert Einstein, Einstein: His Life and Universe. A brilliant storyteller, Isaacson brings to life this most influential of individuals—his joys, passions, triumphs, bad habits, struggles and shortcomings as a friend, father, colleague and partner. I picked up this work hoping to learn more about physics and Einstein’s theories, and I am grateful to Isaacson for making these complex ideas accessible. As I worked my way through this book, however, I found myself focusing on not only Einstein’s amazing ideas, but also Isaacson’s descriptions of Einstein’s character and what we can learn from the habits of heart and mind of Time magazine’s “Person of the Century.”
English Teacher Charles Danhof:
Tom Wolfe, Kingdom of Speech: Interesting and well-written rant on the “truth” behind the study of linguistics and the origins of speech, showing historical information in a light-hearted manner.
Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Beautifully written and complex novel about many characters on the inside (and outside) of society in a culture often dealing with war, corruption, loss, and other atrocities.
History Teacher Nahyon Lee:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert. This book details and explains the wondrous world that we live in, but also the fragility of it and the risk our planet faces (including not just plants and animals, but us) if we continue to treat it the way we do.
First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung. This book is not for every Nobles student. It tells the story of one survivor of the Cambodian genocide. The author is a young child, and her stories about her family and what she saw and experienced is sad, touching, moving and powerful. She also has so much hope for her family.
History Teacher Elizabeth Herman:
My favorite thing that I read this summer was Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits. I loved the way it wove together individual characters from multiple generations of a family against the backdrop of decades of Chilean history.
Jennifer Do-Dai ’21:
My favorite book that I read was Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor about a boy with a dream who gets a chance to experience the world he’s dreamed about since he was five. It was an amazing book that made you not want to put it down, with a great plot.
History Teacher Brian Day:
1) Shattered – Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, Jonathan Allen and Arnie Parnes – A good account of the inner workings of the Clinton campaign.
2) Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick – This book chronicles the Pilgrims’ voyage to and settlement in America. It details the developing relationships between the settlers and the Native Americans and how these relationships ultimately deteriorate over the course of several decades, resulting in King Philip’s War.
3) Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing – This book details the remarkable story of Shackleton’s crew when stuck in the Antarctic. How they survived under such dire circumstances in truly incredible.
Art Teacher John Dorsey:
Thunder and Lightning by Lauren Redniss. Beautifully, gorgeously illustrated book of short essays, each dealing with natural weather phenomena: fire, fog, wind, etc. Redniss draws on historical footnotes, onsite reporting, and narrative accounts to layer information and stories that remind me of the best of Annie Dillard, but with the added bonus of her exuberant, if sometimes melancholy, illustrations that add another layer of meaning on top of her writing.
11/22/63 by Stephen King. I have difficulty with horror writing but King’s work in the detective/fantasy genre is outstanding. This work, which deals with the sci-fi phenomena of time travel, is a wonderful book that combines meticulous history research and King’s natural propensity for realistic dialogue. At 850 pages, it will feel like an accomplishment to get through it, but truthfully, it reads so easily that it feels like a book half that length. Ultimately, it gets you to answer the question, if you could go back in time and save President Kennedy from assassination, would you?
Science Teacher Christine Pasterczyk:
The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner – A Latina woman is haunted by trauma; her life is intertwined with the lives of two siblings in their late 20s whose father survived the Holocaust in Hungary; as each character struggles to find his or her voice, this novel explores the idea that “the pain of the untold story is far greater than even the most difficult truth.”
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova – The story of a gifted musician whose life is shattered by forces of political oppression in mid-20th century Bulgaria; a story of courage, survival, forgiveness, compassion and hope.
Romance Language by Alan Elsner – A coming-of-age story that flashes back to the Communist period in Romania, specifically focused on the revolution that removed Ceaușescu from power in 1989. I enjoyed the story and was amazed by how unaware I was of events that took place in my own lifetime.
Librarian Emily Tragert:
I read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, which follows two young noblemen on their Grand Tour of Europe in the late 18th century. This book is action-packed, romantic, funny and surprisingly heartfelt: a perfect summer read!
Librarian Ella Steim:
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann – Part history, part mystery, part true crime. Fast-moving and fascinating writing about a terrible, little-known aspect of American history.
Moonglow, by Michael Chabon – Multi-generational family story, beautifully written.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman – Moving, thoughtful, and unsettling.
Librarian Talya Sokoll:
One of the best books I read this summer was Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed. If you like dystopian novels, especially ones like The Handmaid’s Tale, this is the book for you! Melamed creates a world on an isolated island that has ostensibly survived an apocalyptic event due to the island people’s worship of and devotion of their ancestors. The population is tightly controlled and girls and women are oppressed at the hands of their fathers and the men on the island. Everyone has always obeyed the rules until a young girl overhears something that indicates a huge breach of trust and an absolute betrayal from the town’s elders. And then the carefully crafted world unravels and all heck breaks loose.
Lizzy Rueppel ’18:
Big Little Lies, that book was awesome! American Spirit by David McCullough: Every American should read this book.
Griffin Zink ’20:
Every single episode of “How I Met Your Mother” for the second time.
Harry Roberts ’20
Every single episode of “White Collar” for the second time.
Mimi Cabot ’18
Baby Driver is a film that is so perfect. The music matched up to every step, it was amazing. Also, Tribe by Sebastian Junger opened my eyes to things like community, war, soldiers, PTSD, what it means to sacrifice and how devastation brings people together.
Thank you all so much to everyone who played Harry Potter trivia the week before last! We got so many great answers to our “expert-level” question, “Is Severus Snape good or evil?” and we wanted to share some with you!! Thank you to everyone who responded!
Overwhelmingly, most people said they thought Snape was good, even though he did bad things. They cited such examples as protecting Harry in book one from Quirrell’s spells, his love of Lily Potter, the trust placed in him by Dumbledore, sending him Godric Griffyndor’s sword and (trying) to teach Harry Occlumency. Some said that Snape did good things, despite not being a good person, saying, “he is neither good or evil, but more evil than anything else.” A few cited some examples of his evilness, including his terrorizing of students, his time as a Death Eater, and that his desire to make amends came from his love of Lily, rather than any sense of “moral repentance.” As one respondent said, “getting pantsed [as a teenager] doesn’t justify becoming Neville’s worst fear.” However, as Sirius Black says, “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
Dan Epstein explored Snape’s dual nature in two essays, where he provided arguments for both sides. He noted that Snape does many good things including: protecting Harry even though he dislikes him, acting as a double agent by spying on Voldemort for Dumbledore at great personal risk, and teaching Harry Occlumency to help him combat Voldemort. He mentioned that, “Snape’s first words to Harry were, ‘Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?’ In Victorian Flower Language, asphodel is a type of lily (like his mom) that means regrets at the grave. Wormwood means absence or sorrow. It you combine them together it could mean, ‘I regret Lily’s death and I am sorry.’” However, Dan also noted the evil things he has done, including bullying students in class, and terrorizing Neville, as well as deliberately trying to get the students to figure out that Professor Lupin was a werewolf.
Good, evil, or somewhere in-between? There is one thing we can all agree on: Severus Snape is a complicated, fascinating character.
Here are some other choice quotes from Nobles community members:
- “Snape is good, yet spite, anger and frustration lead him to single out Harry and co for harsher treatment as retribution for his torment at the hands of Jams and co. in the earlier books. However, […] he loved Lily Potter all along and sacrificed himself for Harry and the gang.” – Ben Heider
- “Ultimately, Snape gives his life for Harry in a final act of love for Lily. I think that everything Snape did was based on his love and grief.” – Annie Ellison ’19
- “Snape was willing to do anything to keep the love of his life and her family safe…[and] he spent countless hours [with Harry] making sure Harry would be safe from the part of Voldemort that lived inside him.” Betsy Matthew ’20
- “Snape sacrificed his humanity for the greater good. He has to play a role the he despised, kill one of his best friends, and do terrible things to convince the death eaters that he supported their cause. The ultimate level of enlightenment is to sacrifice your life for a just case; that is exactly what Snape did.” – Dominic Manzo
- “He gave his life to good and without him Harry couldn’t have survived.” – Grace Taylor ’21 and Antonia Gomez ’21.
- “He dedicates his life to saving Harry.” – Gracie Sheehan ’22
- “He spends his entire life protecting Harry (who he doesn’t really like) for his betrayal of his true love. He is a great wizard drawn to the dark arts, but ultimately dedicates his life to love. He worked as a spy for Dumbledore to fight Voldemort and help Harry.” – Sean Wrenn ’18
- “Snape is in no way a morally good character. While people might argue that he fought against Voldemort in the end and saved Harry, his motivation for doing so is entirely selfish.” – Catherine Kasparyan ’18
- “Snape isn’t a moral person, good vs. evil is not something that truly figures into this personality. He is simply a person guided by his own (sometimes misguided) emotions […] Human beings are products of our experiences and more often than not, infancy and our parent’s ideals influence greatly. In an attempt to sooth his shattered ego and twisted heart Snape turned to the familiar, both embracing his family legacy and attempting to reject Lily from his heart. […] Trying to condemn Snape is futile, his complexity does not allow for such a black and white view. And honesty, is it important? Harry and Neville are the only living people with the right to judge Snape, having been his most specific victims.” – Ana Laura Delgado ’18
We asked and you answered! Thanks for all your responses!
Class IV Dean and English Teacher E.B. Bartels ’06:
I rewatched Edward Scissorhands on a thirteen-hour plane ride back from Japan. I hadn’t seen it in about ten years, and I forgot how depressing it is, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Remember Johnny Depp pre-Pirates of the Caribbean? He’s actually a good actor. Who knew!?
Classics Teacher Mark Harrington:
“Travelers” on Netflix–Season 1 is 12 episodes–time travelers, so you have to be into that, but great characters and premise.
English Teacher Thomas Forteith:
I read and enjoyed Fools by Njabulo Ndebele. It’s rather depressing but also a very powerful portrait of a corrupted teacher and impoverished township in South Africa under apartheid in the 1960s.
Bronwyn Jensen ’20:
I watched “The OA” and it was really good but sorta messed with my perception of life as we know it. Also, major cliffhanger at the end.
Director of Technical Theater Jon Bonner:
Listened to The Martian again on Audible… so good! It’s so much better than the movie. There are so many details and things that they change… book all the way!
Director of Admission Brooke Asnis ’90:
News of the World by Paulette Jiles. Incredible, haunting book. My favorite in years.
Summary: “1870, North Texas, rainy and cold. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels from town to town giving readings from the latest newspapers, bringing the news of the world to isolated towns on the Texas frontier. In Wichita Falls, he is asked to return a captive girl to her relatives near San Antonio, 400 miles to the south. The old man and the ten-year-old start out on a hazardous journey, no less risky because the girl considers herself now a Kiowa and does not have the slightest desire to return. Bandits and Comanche raids and violent weather make as many difficulties as the ten-year old girl who can’t speak English, eats with her hands and knows how to use a revolver. In the end, he finds he must return her to relatives who don’t want her, even though he and the girl have become trusting friends. A story of courage and honor and the truth that these two things are often the possession of even the unlikeliest people.“
Katie Giordano ’17:
I finished watching “Weightlifting Fairy,” which is a Korean Drama. It was really interesting, and the characters were funny and flamboyant and goofy, portraying college love and exploring gender stereotypes.
Science Teacher Bob Kern:
I saw the movie Hacksaw Ridge, the true story of a conscientious objector who served in WW2 as a medic and without carrying a gun. It was well done and well acted and a great lesson about sticking to your beliefs in spite of all circumstances.
Assistant Controller Rachel Weinstock:
I’ve binge-watched “Call the Midwife,” a BBC TV show based on a memoir by a midwife based in London’s East End in the late 1950s. It chronicles the lives of young lay women living in a convent as they try to provide the best healthcare possible to the very poor. It’s funny and poignant and beautiful, and also a really fascinating period show…and season six premieres on April 2!
Kiara Curet ’17
I watched the live action Beauty and the Beast movie over break and as you know it was amazing! I also watched the Vampire Diaries.
English Teacher Alden Mauck:
I read a John D. McDonald detective story featuring Travis McGee, The Deep Blue Goodbye … that was for fun and distraction; I also reread The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood featuring Offred… that was less fun and less distracting.
History Teacher Jenny Carlson-Pietraszek:
Kaffir Boy is an autobiography written by Mark Mathabane, a Black South African who grew up during apartheid in a homeland called Alexandra. Trevor Noah’s autobiographical short stories compiled in Born a Crime provide insight into the same time period in the same country – even into the same homeland – from the perspective of a mixed-race South African. Interesting paired reading/listening.
Casey Goldstein ’19:
I watched Moana on the plane ride back from China…definitely one of my favorite Disney movies! Crazy good soundtrack, and was pretty unique in terms of animated adventures. Also super funny!
Librarian Talya Sokoll:
I read Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, an amazing, quick read, that felt like a combination of The Chronicles of Narnia and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The students at the boarding school in Every Heart a Doorway have all traveled to different, fantastical worlds and now, upon their return, want nothing more than to go back. Nancy, the newest student, is just like those children, but her arrival at the school brings certain truths to light, and exposes certain horrors that had otherwise been ignored.
Head of Upper School Michael Denning:
Madeleine Albright, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937–1948
Autobiographical Prague Winter is based on Albright’s recollections of growing up as the daughter of Czechoslovak diplomats during the period from the fall of the nascent Czechoslovakian Republic through Nazi Occupation to life behind Stalin’s Iron Curtain. As the child of prominent Czechoslovak leaders, Albright had a front-row seat from which she witnessed the terrible suffering that unfolded in her country during this period. As a person who lost many family members in the Holocaust, not to mention her country, Albright uses her experiences, and those of her family and fellow Czechoslovak citizens, to warn us of the democracy’s fragility.
Director of Academic Support Gia Batty:
I listened to the book Idaho by Emily Ruskovich. It is a story told through many different voices of a heinous crime and its effect on those involved. The mountains of Idaho’s panhandle is the backdrop, and the description of the landscape and the family home on the top of Mount Lily was beautiful. The narrator of the audiobook had a very strange voice, so I would recommend reading this book, rather than listening to it!
Bookstore Manager Amy McHugh:
Over break I read two books: Truly, Madly, Deeply by Liane Moriarty. This fiction book was about three different families and how their lives came together through one tragic event. I thought it was a page turner and it really showed you just how unpredictable life can be. You think you have your life all planned out and in the blink of an eye it changes! I also read, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. A great read, however this book was not what I expected, but I really enjoyed it. You will read about race, family, how people view other people and their upbringing.
Librarian Emily Tragert:
I read Ted Chiang’s short story collection Stories of Your Life and Others, which was amazing. Chiang is a technical writer for a software company, and you can see aspects of that in his writing–his stories are methodical and intricate–but he is also a master of plot. His stories build subtly and quietly to an emotional climax that somehow feels inevitable and surprising at the same time. One of the stories in this collection was the basis for the movie Arrival, which came out last year.
Spring break is almost here and if you are looking for something to watch, read or listen to, the library has a bunch of new books, DVDs and other fun things for you to borrow.
Don’t like physical objects? Books too heavy for your flight? Check out an iPod! We can pre-load it with audio books, or you can sync it to your music collection! Ask a librarian for more details.
Are you going on a Nobles trip and can’t bring your phone? Check out a good, old fashioned digital camera! Or a newfangled GoPro!!
New Young Adult Fiction
New Books about Art, Music, Film and more!
New Books about Sports!
Yesterday marked the final day of Black History Month. To celebrate, the library put together a series of displays throughout the month of February highlighting black pioneers, innovators and artists you may not know. Here is the complete list of who we highlighted, along with what they are known for. To learn more, please ask one of your librarians for more information.
- Vivien Thomas (1910-1985), pioneer in cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins University. For a great book about Vivien Thomas, check out: Breakthrough!: how three people saved “blue babies” and changed medicine forever.
- Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), educator, philanthropist and civil rights activist. Bethune also served as a policy advisor for President Roosevelt and founded Bethune-Cookman University.
- Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. For an overview of the Black Lives Matter movement, check out this book! For a great new novel, check out The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (which we will have in the library shortly).
- Kehinde Wiley (1977- ), portrait painter. Wiley is known for his large format Renaissance-inspired portraits of contemporary people of color. Check out his book here.
- Bass Reeves (1838-1910), legendary U.S. Marshal. Sometimes called “The Real Lone Ranger”, he is said to have captured over 3,000 felons during his long career. Check out a wonderful picture book of his life here.
- Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), the first professional African-American and Native American sculptor. For a wonderful novel in verse about Ms. Lewis, click here.
- Kimberlé Crenshaw (1959- ), civil rights activist and scholar, who introduced the idea of intersectionality to feminist theory in the 1980s.
- Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992), prominent transgender and AIDS activist who was one of the first to fight back in clashes with the police during the Stonewall riots. For a great article about Ms. Johnson, click here. For more information on the Stonewall Riots, check out: The Gay Revolution: the story of the struggle by Lillian Faderman.
- Gordon Parks (1912-2006), photographer, composer, author and filmmaker. Parks is best known for his photojournalism work, which focuses on poverty, civil rights, and urban life in 20th-century America. We have a number of books about Mr. Parks in the library, swing by to check one out!
- Hiram Revels (1827 – 1901), the first African American U.S. senator. Revels was elected to the Senate in 1870, and later served as a college president and a minister.
- Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), an advocate for civil rights, pacifism and gay rights. Rustin was one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington and was a major influence on the civil rights movement’s policy of nonviolent protest.
- Lonnie Johnson (1949- ), inventor and engineer. He has worked for the U.S. Air Force and NASA and invented many clean energy technologies. His most famous invention, however, is the Super Soaker water gun.
- Cece McDonald (1989- ), a trans rights activist who was sentenced to prison for manslaughter after protecting herself during a hate crime. After her release she began to speak out for trans rights and against mass incarceration.
- Hattie McDaniel (1893-1952), singer, actor and radio personality. In 1938, she became the first African-American person to win an Academy Award for acting.
- Zipporah Potter Atkins (17th century), the first African-American person to own property in Boston. Atkins purchased land in the North End in 1670 using money inherited from her parents and lived on the property for almost 30 years.
Music can have such a huge impact on a person’s life, especially during the teenage years. Recently, people have been posting on social media about their top influential albums that they listened to as teens. We thought it would be fun to ask Nobles employees, “What was your favorite album from when you were a teenager?” and “Why was it so important to you?” Here are their answers…
English Teacher Thomas Forteith:
Nothing’s Shocking by Jane’s Addiction because it rocks! And because “Summertime Rolls” makes me think of good-time high school romance!
History Teacher Brian Day:
Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen. It gave a voice to those who aren’t always heard, and it empowered me with the feeling that I, too, could be heard.
Director of Graduate Affairs Greg Croak ’06:
Mezmerize by System of a Down. I generally think people assign too much value to the “importance” of music and often confuse it with other literary genres. This System of a Down album aurally kicks you in the face from start to finish and that’s exactly what my soul needed when I was 17.
Math Teacher Bill Kehlenbeck:
I received Meet The Beatles as a gift for my 11th birthday just around the time (late January/early February) that they were first appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show. It remained my favorite album for many years, as it inspired me to learn all of the lyrics and guitar chords of every song on the album, which led to my lifelong love of singing and playing rock & roll! (By interesting coincidence, I was listening to the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album this very morning as I drove to school.)
ATS Coordinator Alycia Scott-Hiser:
AC/DC, Back in Black. It spoke to my inner rebellious rocker.
Dean of Middle School Diversity Initiatives Erica Pernell:
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album is one that is still impactful for me, even as an adult. Lauryn Hill writes about love, justice, growing up, spirituality and materialism. She moves through different genres of music (reggae, hip hop, soul, r&b) while telling her story of growing up as a woman of color and an artist. I’m amazed at how it still speaks to me, with meanings shifting and changing as I get older.
Director of Achieve Nora Dowley-Liebowitz:
Fiona Apple. TIDAL. Best album EVER. So much teenage angst in an album, not to mention the beautiful songwriting and gorgeous orchestration. SHE. JUST. GOT. ME (as a 17 year old). Best Song – “Never is a Promise.” This song is the first time I ever felt the mic drop.
Assistant Director of Communications Kim Neal:
U2’s Joshua Tree. Amidst the other mainstream music I was listening to, this album stood out as really important: it was passionate, political and provocative, and it made me feel and think about a broader world and issues. Seeing U2 in concert is epic; they’ve connected with each other and their fans for decades because they are the real deal. And well, because Bono. Not only does he have an unbelievable voice, but he has always used his influence and resources for political and humanitarian justice.
Writer and Content Manager Lexi Sullivan:
Flogging Molly’s Drunken Lullabies. On repeat. For my entire adolescence. I once hugged the bassist (and promptly walked into a wall) and I still want “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” played at my funeral. This album, introduced to me via an Irish guy named Desmond (who once borrowed my blanket to watch a meteor shower), may be the actual spark that led me down the path to getting my master’s in Irish literature and culture.
Director of College Counseling Kate Ramsdell:
Indigo Girls – Indigo Girls (1989). I was introduced to the album (then a cassette tape!) by seniors on my high school swim team. We’d blast “Closer to Fine” on our way to school from morning practice. I felt cool being with them. When my friends and I were seniors we went to an Indigo Girls concert in Central Park, which was its own rite of passage for us as we left high school and friends we’d been in school with since kindergarten, and headed off to college.
Social Studies Teacher Fred Hollister:
Among many favorites of somewhat different sub-genres (rock more generally), I would have to say it was The Allman Brothers’ double LP, Live at Fillmore East, from 1971. While some live albums are not as good as the studio renderings of songs (musicianship, the vocals, sound quality, all of the above), this was the first album where I experienced the live versions of their catalog to that point (one album released as the Allman Joys followed by two studio efforts as the Allman Bros.) being taken to a completely different level. All the original members were still alive (Duane Allman and Berry Oakley would each be killed in motorcycle accidents over the next few years) and the band was really tight on all of these recordings. Bluesy rock, jam band length on several cuts, ballads and instrumentals – it was all there. Still remains one of my two favorite albums of all time these many years later. Seminal to me.
Science Teacher Mike Hoe:
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album is incredible. Lauryn Hill’s music is real & honest, she talks about tangible/relevant issues, and the interludes between each song with kids discussing big topics (i.e. love, family, etc.) are awesome. I still listen to this album pretty frequently to this day. This album is truly a way to use music as an outlet to be heard about life issues.
English Teacher E.B. Bartels ’06
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel: To be perfectly honest, I first got into Neutral Milk Hotel when I was in ninth grade because a bunch of junior boys who I thought were really cool and edgy and cute loved the band. But it was really my sophomore year, when I was taking driver’s ed, that I fell in love with this album, because my driving instructor would always put it on during my driving lessons, and so I associated this album with growing independence. “Holland, 1945” makes me feel that rush I got driving a car alone for the first time—I could go anywhere or do anything. I was in control.
Director of Technical Theatre/Design Jon Bonner:
How’s it Goin’ (band: Bim Skala Bim). The lyrics, beats, and instrumental arrangements had me. There is so much going on with band of eight or nine players, but it all mixes so well!
Assistant Director of Graduate Affairs Michael Polebaum ’08:
Bruce Springsteen – The Rising. As a kid still trying to come to grips with losing a cousin on 9/11, this album gave me hope that there would be a better tomorrow.
Collection Management and Technical Services Librarian Emily Tragert:
American Idiot by Green Day. At the height of the Iraq War and the Bush administration, this album helped me make sense of my feelings of frustration and alienation. I had the CD in my car senior year and I think it was the only thing I listened to for months on end.
History Teacher Hannah Puckett:
One that comes to mind – and that I’ve been revisiting recently – was the Dixie Chicks’ album Home, which came out in 2002. Compared to their previous albums, it was a lot less country-pop and a lot more bluegrass. It represented a return to their Texan roots. I went to high school in California, but I was born in Texas, and this album helped me reconnect to and find pride in my first home.
Archivist Isa Schaff:
Elvis is Back. I just “discovered” Elvis when I was 13 through an old movie of his (he was more part of the culture of my sister’s age group than mine) and this was the first album I owned. When people ask me how I learned English when I lived in Italy, I always point out that I mainly did it listening to Elvis. I spent hours and hours and hours, trying to decipher what he was saying (he mumbles!) [and yes, language classes helped with the grammar].
Director of Foster Gallery John Dorsey:
L.A. Woman, The Doors. The Doors enjoyed a comeback in the early eighties and I totally rode the wave. I must have read No One Here Gets Out Alive a dozen times. Aligning yourself with a band was important back in the day and The Doors fit the bill. L.A. Woman was my favorite album of theirs, with its cool, slow riffs, two 7-minute epics (one on each side), and the knowledge that it was the last album they ever produced.
History Teacher Jenny Carlson-Pietraszek:
Rick Springfield’s Centerfold was the first album I owned. purchasing it with my own money and listening to it over and over made me feel independent and free!
Bookstore Manager Amy McHugh:
New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough. It was the first concert I ever went to see- but I went to see Tiffany & New Kids opened for her. I was hooked on them ever since! I still listen to them and I still go to their concerts with my sister, we love to relive our youth and love the fact we still know every word to every song!!!
Receptionist Carol Derderian:
Carole King – Tapestry – It was a great time. All my friends and sisters love to sing those songs together and knew every word.
History Department Chair Nahyon Lee:
Joshua Tree by U2. Seems important right now since they are starting their Joshua Tree 30 Years tour! They will be in Boston this summer! In my opinion, the album’s lyrics are incredible and the first two minutes of “Where the Streets Have No Name” doesn’t compare to any other openings of any other songs (but I’m biased!). U2 stated that the album was inspired from American politics and landscape – they were critical about some of U.S.’s foreign policy but also fell in love with American landscape and the people. You can hear this reflection/soul-searching in their songs – something I think many us in high school did – who are we? Lastly, the album ends with “Mothers of the Disappeared,” which reflects U2’s politics. I had an opportunity to hear them sing this piece in Santiago, Chile, where Bono asked Pinochet and his government to answer for their crimes. This album made me more conscious about social issues around me and overseas, as well as US foreign policy, that I didn’t know about when I was in high school.
Director of Excel Ben Snyder:
Temptations – Psychedelic Shack – 1969/70. I was in middle school living outside of Detroit when this album came out. At that time Detroit (and the country) was engulfed in all sorts of conflict both at home (civil rights movement/riots etc) and abroad (Vietnam War) and that album – esp. the song “Ball of Confusion” – helped me make some kind of sense of it all (not that any of it made sense).
English Teacher Alden Mauck:
Album: The Skull and Roses album by The Grateful Dead. The Reason: Come on! It’s the Dead! The first album of theirs that I owned… but not the last!
Science Department Chair Jen Craft:
Favorite album: Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991). What can I say? I was an angsty teenager in Mississippi and this captured it. One of my first real rock shows too – life-changing.
Associate Director of Academic Support Sara Masucci:
10,000 Maniacs, Our Time in Eden. I don’t know that I can say why it was so important to me, but hearing Natalie Merchant’s voice takes me right back to high school and listening to “These Are Days” over and over.
Director of Academic Support Gia Batty:
I loved The Replacements album Let it Be. So good. When I hear any song from this album it shoots me directly back to my 1989 self at Trumbull High School. Every single song on here is good and triggers distinct memories of driving to a party, getting ready for school, driving to school, doing nothing in my room… I originally had it on cassette and this was the first CD I bought for the brand new stereo I got when I turned 18.
English Teacher Kim Libby:
Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill came out when I was in middle school, but it continued to resonate. I appreciated hearing the edge in the voice of a female artist and a pushing back against common, tidier themes associated with relationships.
Information Services and Systems Librarian Talya Sokoll:
I was in high school during the prime years of Emo music. For me, Emo really resonated with my experiences as a teenager and made me feel like someone out there got me. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that other people had the same struggles and could understand what I was going through. The seminal album for me was The Place’s You Have Come to Fear the Most by Dashboard Confessional. It was like they ripped the lyrics directly from my soul.
Library Director Erin Twohig-Canal:
Music played such a huge role in my life during high school – sharing mixed tapes with friends, listening to songs in the car, and scanning the music aisles at my local bookstore was where it was at. I loved the alternative scene like The Lemonheads, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Smiths, but hands down, Morrissey’s Vauxhall and I album was one of my favorites. I have to laugh at myself because it was so annoyingly emo of me to love such sad songs like “The More You Ignore Me the Closer I Get” and “I am Hated for Loving.”
As active consumers of media, we must all take steps to ensure that the news we are reading is current and authoritative. This is true of most everything we read (especially when writing research papers!), but it is especially important when we are informing ourselves of events and issues at the local, national and global level. It is also important to remember that there is a difference between news with a bias or point of view and news that is inaccurate or false. All news sources have a bias of some sort; this just means that it is important to read news presented from many different points of view. Avoid news from unreliable sources (regardless of political point of view; this is a bipartisan issue) that don’t employ journalists, fact check or share their sources.
Our top tips for evaluating news are:
- Read the whole article before you repost. Get past the click-bait headline!
- Evaluate the source and author. The most reliable sources employ journalists and editors.
- Check the publication date. This is important to make sure you’re getting current news.
- Google it to see if other news sources are reporting it.
- Think before you share. Be skeptical! Sites like factcheck.org, politifact.com and snopes.com can help with this.
A good place to find multiple points of view on any issue or news story is allsides.com, where you can see liberal, conservative and centrist pieces all in one place.
If you’re looking for reliable news sources, you can go to the Putnam Library website or contact a librarian.
Looking for a last minute present for that book loving friend or family member? Here are some suggestions!
For your friend filled with wanderlust
- Epic Bike Rides of the World
- Great City Maps
- Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders
- Wild, Beautiful Places: Picture-Perfect Journeys Around the Globe
For the sports fan in your life
- The Baseball Whisperer: A Small-Town Coach Who Shaped Big League Dreams
- Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre
- Hockey Strong: Stories of Sacrifice from Inside the NHL
Books for people who like books! (like librarians!)
- Boundless Books: 50 Literary Classics Transformed into Works of Art
- Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers
- Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created
Tantalizing new cookbooks
- Around the World with the Ingreedies: A Taste Adventure
- How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking
- Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
- Born to run
- Scrappy Little Nobody
For the lover of pop culture
- Hamilton: The Revolution
- The Star Trek Encyclopedia
- TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time
Great New Fiction:
- Swing Time by Zadie Smith
- The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett
Be the Change:
Looking for a good book to read over Winter Break? Swing by the library to check out our latest display, containing selections from many year-end, best of lists, including BuzzFeed, The New York Times, NPR and more! And if you need some gift ideas, click on the books below for recommendations.