Booklovers Blog

Welcome to Middletown Thrall Library's blog for Booklovers!
Here you'll find reading suggestions, forthcoming title lists, and more!

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New Large Print Titles

July 2021

The following large print titles are due out in July 2021.

You can explore and reserve books in the library system catalog by following the cover or title links below.

Featured Titles

Dream Girl - Laura Lippman The Shadow - James Patterson The Sanatorium - Sarah Pearse Survive the Night - Riley Sager Nine Lives - Danielle Steel That Summer - Jennifer Weiner

Additional Titles to Consider...


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July 2021 Titles

The following titles are due out in July 2021. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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June 2021 Titles

The following titles are due out in June 2021. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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May 2021 Titles

The following titles are due out in May 2021. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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April 2021 Titles

The following titles are due out in April 2021. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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March 2021 Titles

The following titles are due out in March 2021. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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February 2021 Titles

The following titles are due out in February 2021. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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Best Books of 2020

Our Booklovers web guide has been updated with a variety of "best book" lists for 2020.

Explore fiction, nonfiction, biographies, and more, and discover new and interesting authors along the way!

These "Best Books of 2020" links include lists from...
Please follow this link to begin exploring the lists.

When you see an author or title that interests you, please call our Reference librarians at 341-5461.

If we own an item, and the item is ready to be checked out, we can reserve it for curbside pickup when we're open.

Our list of holiday hours and closings are available at this link.

If the item is available at another library, our librarians can check to see if that item can be sent to Thrall for eventual curbside pickup.

We wish you and your familiy a safe, joyful, and peaceful New Year!
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January 2021 Titles

The following titles are due out in January 2021. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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2020 National Book Awards

This year's winners and finalists have been announced by the National Book Foundation.

You can follow the links below to explore winning titles and authors in the Thrall/RCLS library catalog, where you can also check availability or reserve items:

Young People's Literature

You can also explore previous finalists and winners (by year) via this link.

For more about the National Book Awards, please follow this link.
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Holiday 2020 Titles

The following titles are due out in December. Please use the links below to place your holds now.


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December 2020 Titles

The following titles are due out in December. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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November 2020 Titles

The following titles are due out in November. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Louise Glück "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal."

More from
News Coverage
Library Items - Thrall + RCLS books by Louise Glück:
Other Websites about Louise Glück:
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October 2020 Titles

The following titles are due out in October. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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September 2020 Titles

The following titles are due out in September. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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August 2020 Titles

The following books are due out in August. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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Starting Monday, July 13th:

Expanded Access to Library System Materials!

Starting Monday, July 13, 2020, Thrall patrons can place requests on items from Thrall as well as these RCLS libraries through the online catalog: Once items have arrived, you will be notified.

For more details on curbside services, please follow this link.

If you have any difficulties finding items or placing holds on items, please feel free to call Reference (Mon. - Fri. 9:30 AM - 4 PM) at 341-5461.

You can also ask us questions online!

We look forward to hearing from you!
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July 2020 Titles

The following books are due out in July. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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June 2020 Titles

The following books are due out in June. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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2020 Pulitzer Prize Winners

The 2020 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced!

You can follow any of the title or author links below to explore this year's winners in the library system catalog.

Once RCLS libraries reopen, you can use these links to check availability or place holds.

You might also like to explore our OverDrive collection for winners and finalists in electronic formats.

Biography & Autobiographies
General Nonfiction
For more winning books and authors...
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POETRY 2020 - Part Four
National Poetry Month

April 2020

Part Four: Becoming a Poet

Welcome to Part Four of our month-long celebration of National Poetry Month!

If you've missed our earlier posts, please follow these links:
Part One,   Part Two,   Part Three

In this final part, we're going to turn you into a poet!

Well, at least we're going to try!

Perhaps you've written some poetry in the past, or had a vague sense you could but never acted on it.

The truth is EVERYONE can be a poet. Yes, everyone! With a little knowledge, effort, persistence, and belief in yourself, you can do it! You can write poetry!

All of our thoughts are valid. All of us have experiences, histories, dreams, preferences, realizations, ideas, emotions, people we met/know/knew, things we learned and lost, situations that changed our lives, unique perspectives no one else precisely shares.

As individuals, these rich ingredients and aspects enable us to speak on a wide range of topics in ways only we can know and say.

These particular and powerful thoughts and expressions help make poetry such an endlessly fascinating and insightful enterprise: everyone potentially has a variety of things to say, ranges of styles and preferred words to phrase those ideas, and points of view that can express things in new light and from fresh angles.

Beyond being individuals, we are also members of communities, which in turn are part of towns/villiages/cities and states and countries and the larger world.

We exist in various times and conditions in the larger timeline of human history. We go different places, interact with diverse arrays of persons, organizations, and conditions.

This gives even further personal context to who we are, what we've seen, what we know and imagine, and all that informs us dynamically throughout our lives and everyone we encounter. Our influences can influence others as well.

With all that in mind, each of us already has "what it takes" to be a poet - inspirational memories, knowledge, occurrences, creative impulses, and aspirations to draw upon once we attune ourselves to that spectrum with inclinations to write and express as we could, given enough patience and perseverance.

Once you realize this, the only thing you need next is some basic awareness of how poems work. We have three free publications that can help you get started:
There's not much technical stuff to memorize when you're just starting out. It does help to be familiar with a few basic concepts, such as stanza (what you could consider a "paragraph" in a poem), rhythm (patterns of accented/unaccented syllables in words as you read a poem aloud), and rhyme scheme (how words in some poems can sound alike, or not, at the end of each line in a poem).

Instead of studying glossaries of such "literary terms" and "poetic devices," perhaps the best way to "know how poems work" is simply to read good poems by known poets.

In Part Three of this series of posts, we highlight and The Poetry Foundation: these are two of the best websites to begin reading poems and, if you like, learn more about poetry itself.

Many readers new to poetry are surprised - when they really look at a famous poem close up - how simple yet effective it can be. Sometimes people with say, "I could have written that!"

And, there would be truth in that: you could have written something like that, but, in all likelihood, you might have chosen other words and ways to voice those thoughts.

One stellar example of simple, honest, direct poems, is this one by Emily Dickinson, a certified master of wit and brevity:

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They 'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

(source: Project Gutenberg)

What a great poem! It's conversational - as if the "speaker of the poem" (the narrator, like in a story) is talking directly to us. It's at once personal, engaging, real, and enjoyable.

There are many other fine examples out there in both classic and contemporary poetry. Since poetry today can take a wild variety of forms, it can be easier and less daunting to start out with classic poems.

Classic poems also offer us some appreciable understanding of what it is to be "timeless poetry": what makes a poem so wonderful, so universal in what it says, and how it says it, that it can still be enjoyed decades or hundreds of years after it was written.

When you're ready to begin writing, don't pressure yourself to produce a poem. You'll see that will come naturally in time.

Just grab a notebook, some paper, a pen or pencil - or you can start up your word processor (such as the free LibreOffice or OpenOffice, or something simpler like WordPad or Notepad on Windows) and start putting your thoughts down into words.

Having a dictionary and a thesaurus around can be very helpful. Sometimes we'd like to use a word but are not quite sure as to its meaning, or spelling, or usage. A good dictionary solves that fast!

Good dictionaries also give us some history of the word - its "etymology" - and that can help us understand those words, how they were formed, and even what they may have first meant when they first came into existence.

Other times, we might have a sense of what we want to say, and we'll write something down, but the words don't quite seem right.

There are almost always "better" ways to express ideas. You will know best, in time.

For now, a thesaurus can work wonders, reminding you - or revealing to you - comparable words (synonyms).

If you don't have a dictionary or a thesaurus, no problem! We have a directory of, as Shakespeare's Hamlet once said... There you can easily find dictionaries and thesauri online (such as and and some other things you might find helpful, such as rhyming dictionaries.

Eventually, as someone new to playing the piano develops more familiarity and confidence and begins to be able to play a song all the way through, so it will be with you and your poetry: eventually, through persistence and belief in yourself and your ideas and expressions, you will be able to put words on a page in such a way that it will become a poem.

Do this every day, or every week, or any chance inspiration strikes (and it will, once you allow it), and you can have enough poems to fill up a notebook!

But, now what? You reach this point, having poems you're pretty proud of, poems that sound and feel great when you read them aloud, but what do you do next?

Perhaps you have no interest in publishing them. Maybe they're too personal or you aren't ready for the world to read them. No problem!

You might consider sharing them first with one or several of your closest friends. If you feel more comfortable and encouraged in doing that, perhaps you will reconsider the prospect of publication.

How do you publish poetry? There are several routes you can go: Self-publishing used to be a bit of a controversy years ago, since, before the Internet, the only way poets could ever achieve wide recognition was to get published multiple times in notable literary journals. For many readers and critics, this is still a preferred path for aspiring poets, since it maintains a sense of competition (your book of poems versus dozens to hundreds by other poets) and evaluation (a publisher decides your work meets a publication's standards).

One thing to be aware of are "vanity presses" and any publications inviting you to be published as long as you agree to buy their books. These offers may have the potential to be mostly for-profit operations where quality is not necessarily a prime consideration or even a requirement. They make money, your poem gets published. Everyone feels good, for a while, and for some people that is enough, to see their name in print (hence the "vanity" of this form of publication).

Wherever you submit, be sure to read their guidelines very carefully, be alert as to any restrictions, possible submission or reading fees, response times, whether or not they allow you to submit your poem elsewhere simultaneously, whether or not they will consider poems which have been published elsewhere (e.g. online).

Be especially intent to determine whether "all rights" remain yours after any publisher published a poem of yours - that your poem has the potential of being publishable elsewhere someday.

The Writing section of our Ready Referece Center includes websites featuring calls for manuscripts with various content preferences, requirements, along with any other special considerations or directives.

Ultimately, you will have to decide which route is best for you, when the time comes for that.

For now, just write! Express! Luxuriate in the power and beauty of words!

Permit yourself to be inspired and inspiring!

Let your poetic mind and heart and soul soar!

Believe in your voice, its relevance and validity, that it deserves to be read and heard!

Become the poet you always had the potential to be!

Set the poetry already inside you free!
Comments? or Questions?

POETRY 2020 - Part Three
National Poetry Month

April 2020

Part Three (of Four)

Welcome to Part Three of our month-long celebration of National Poetry Month!

If you've missed our earlier posts, you can find them here (Part One) and at this link (Part Two).

In this part, we're going to take a tour of some very notable poetry websites - ones so good you'll want to revisit them again and again!

First, we're going to take a look at the Academy of American Poets website (

This is one of the most complete and valuable poetry websites online. You can use it to...
  • search for poems by title, keyword, or the name of poem. If you scroll down their page, you can also filter results by a variety of criteria, including topics, themes, and poetic forms.
  • search for poets by first and/or last name
  • read the poem of the day - a great reason to revisit this website daily! You can also register at their website to receive a poem every day in your e-mail.
  • search "materials for teachers" - includes some definitions of literary terms, lesson plans, essays, and more
And, of course, they also have a dedicated National Poetry Month page where, among many other things, you can read...
Next up is The Poetry Foundation. In addition to being the publisher of the magazine Poetry, they are "an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture." Established in 2003, they " evolved from the Modern Poetry Association, which was founded in 1941 to support the publication of Poetry magazine."

With that kind of history, and their critically-acclaimed Poetry publication, you can see why this indeed is a "notable poetry website" you will want to check out repeatedly.

Like, enables you to search for poems or poets.

You can also use their Explore Poems search to discover poems by topics or themes.

They also offer an impressive amount of content, including... Amazing, right? Definitely a website to bookmark and revisit along with!

Now, this third website is technically a "database" where you can search for articles - but not just any articles: these are some of the most in-depth and insightful explorations of poems and poets you may ever find!

It's Poetry for Students, something members of Thrall can access for free when they log in with their library card numbers (without any spaces).

Poetry for Students is part of the larger "Literature for Students" portal, but it truly stands on its own, as you'll see.

The official description states this databases "features discussion and analysis of poems of all time periods, nations, and cultures" and "provides an overview of the poem and discussion of its principal themes, images, form and construction."

Wow. Just let that soak in for a moment: "all time periods, nations, and cultures." Do they really live up to that claim? Yes!

In fact, Poetry for Students is one of the most sought-after reference works by students in high-school and college because it has such a reputation for being comprehensive and incredible when it comes to providing "literary criticism" (scholarly commentary and analysis of literary and poetic works).

Now, once you log in, you'll see several book cover images. Simply click or tap the Poetry for Students cover to begin.

After this, don't fret to much about what you'll see next. At first sight, the list of multiple volumes running off the page might be daunting.

NOT to worry! There's a simple "Search within Series" search box off to the right side that instantly renders all those volume instantly searchable!

In that box, you could search for a poet, such as Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost, or for a kind of poem, such as a sonnet, which will show you articles about famous sonneteers including William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Pablo Neruda, among others.

You could also search for a poem, if you know it's title (e.g. "Hope Is the Thing With Feathers" or "The Road Not Taken") - be sure to put quotes around the title so search results remain relevant.

"Hope Is the Thing With Feathers" is a great example of how in-depth Poetry for Students gets: that's a 12-line poem (three stanzas, four lines each), and the main article on the poem is FOURTEEN PAGES LONG.

These articles REALLY get into it! In fact, most articles offer background about the poet, perhaps some related history, and then you'll get a line-by-line summary of the poem along with explorations of themes in the poem.

As if that's not enough: you'll also get a closer look at the poetic style employed, a Critical Overview (which often offers deep and valuable insights), and more, such as a list of sources cited in the article as well as a "For Further Study" section.

You can download PDFs of articles as well when you click/tap their icon located above the article where there's a downward arrow pointing at a rectangle.

So that's three websites, so far. Our tour of poetry can't possibly stop here, right?

Poetry is not a street or a town or a state or a country or even a world: it is a veritable multicultural multiverse of thought and expression!

We're just getting started. When you are ready for more, please follow this link for our Poetry menu ( - another good website to remember, bookmark, and revisit!

There you'll find some of the Poetry Guides we mentioned in Part One and Part Two of our four-part Poetry 2020 series.

We hope you enjoyed this online tour of notable poetry websites! Please stay tuned: Part Four is coming very soon!
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Getting Back to the Future...

Future Title Watch - March, April, May 2020 in Future Title Watch!

Many readers look to our monthly Future Title Watch publication, where they can discover new fiction and nonfiction releases and plan ahead for their next reads.

If it's been a while, and you'd like to catch up, you can follow this link and download PDFs of any monthly issue you'd like.

As you'll see, we've published quite a few issues over the years! And there's good reason for going back to other issues you might have missed: most issues highlight both fiction and nonfiction authors, enabling you to learn a little about their writing styles as well as some of their most popular titles.
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Listen to This!

We've created an online collection of highly-recommended eAudioBooks over at the RCLS OverDrive eBooks service, which is free to members of Thrall!

Selections include both fiction and nonfiction titles, and you can use the "filters" at OverDrive to further limit topics:
Most eAudioBooks can be listened to immediate right within your Web browser - no downloads necessary! They "stream" just like online videos elsewhere and simply require a live Internet connection when you access them in that manner.

To access OverDrive, please have your library card handy and log in with your library barcode number (without spaces).

When prompted for your PIN, that will be the last four digits of your telephone number when you registered for a library card, unless you changed it.

Titles which are listed as "available" can be borrowed and viewed immediately.

For those titles which are curently checked out to other readers, you can add yourself to a wait list by following the "Place a Hold" link for any given item.

For even more eAudioBook possibilities, you can follow this link for a list of topics at OverDrive.
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May 2020 Titles

The following books are due out in May. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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Beyond the Bestsellers

Spring 2020 Edition

Three Ways to Enjoy!

Our latest Spring 2020 edition of our popular quarterly publication is available, and in three different ways!

Use any or all of them to discover new and interesting titles and authors often not found on limited "bestseller" lists!

Online Edition (includes title + author links to the library catalog:

Beyond the Bestsellers - Spring 2020 - Online Edition

Downloadable / Viewable / Printable PDF (the one normally available in print at Thrall):

Beyond the Bestsellers - Spring 2020 - Print Edition PDF

Thrall OverDrive eBook Collection (borrow or place holds and read electronically):

Beyond the Bestsellers - Spring 2020 - OverDrive eBooks Collection

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POETRY 2020 - Part Two
National Poetry Month

April 2020

Part Two (of Four)

Welcome to Part Two of our month-long celebration of National Poetry Month!

If you're relatively new to poetry, we know it can be a challenge to try to figure where you might just "jump in" due to the enormity of poets and poetry styles out there.

No worries! We have an easy two-page guide called "Meet the Poets" you can download to begin learning about some of the more popular and "accessible" (easy to understand) poets you might want to explore first.

For example, there's the ever-popular Maya Angelou, whose down-to-earth, honest, and eloquent voice resonates throughout everything she has written, in her critically-acclaimed fiction and biographies and especially within her memorable poetry.

There's also Billy Collins, a contemporary poet who was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 - 2003. He specializes in turning ordinary words into clever poems which can be insightful, humorous, and bittersweet.

Emily Dickinson is a name even non-poetry-readers know. She ranks among the most popular poets of all time for very good reasons, among them her ability to capture moments and emotions in a few words which can leave lasting impressions on readers.

Matso Basho, a 17th century Japanese poet, wrote "haiku" poems - very short poems (most often presented in 3 lines, 17 syllables per poem, with 5 on the first and last lines and seven in the middle line). Like Dickinson, he was an expert at capturing observations and feelings, often while meditating on nature or specific experiences. Haiku poems can say and mean a lot in a few words!

Mary Oliver, winner of both a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, shares much in the nature-oriented tradition of Basho and writes to be easily understood like Dickinson. Oliver also wrote a variety of essays, which often accompany her poems in collections of her published writings.

Robert Frost is another name known even to those who've not read his poems. As of 2020, he is still the winningest poet of all time when it comes to Pulitzer Prizes. He won four times! Why? Because his classic tone, delivered through ordinary language, made reading his poems easy and a joy for generations of readers, even as he never shied away from serious thoughts in some of his poems.

For even more...
You can also follow any of these links below to explore these poets at either the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, Project Gutenberg (free eBooks online), or (where available) RCLS OverDrive eBooks you can read right in your Web browser (Thrall or RCLS library card required): Missed Part One of our National Poetry Month Celebration? You can find it at this link.
Comments? or Questions?

National Poetry Month

April 2020

Part One (of Four)

April is National Poetry Month, that special time of the year people across the U.S. are invited to contemplate the beauty, power, insight, and comfort poems can bring into our lives with just a few well-chosen words.

Many readers already have a place in their hearts for poetry. Others, understandably, not so much. How we first encountered poetry helped shaped our lifelong perceptions of it.

For some, those experiences began - and prematurely ended - with poems as relatively frustrating reading assignments: purely academic exercises which focused on technicalities such as "poetic forms" (different kinds of poems), "imagery" (things described), "meter" (word rhythms), "rhyme schemes" (how a poem rhymes line to line), or interpretations - figuring what a poem meant, or could mean.

Such concepts, too quickly introduced, can reduce poetry reading to a tedious chore. Poetry, itself, is not nearly that demanding.

Yes, it's a fact: some poems are difficult! Some poets do like being elusive, challenging readers to strain after meanings.

Classic poems, written in earlier styles of present-day languages, raise other challenges. The sonorous near-perfection of a Shakespearean sonnet can be unreachable if we're not familiar with how poets wrote in earlier times.

Modern and contemporary poems can, at times, present similar difficulties, especially "free verse," which might not even resemble what some readers expect when they think of poetry: free verse is where poets can get wildly creative, abandoning rhyming and rhythms in favor of something new.

The great news here is that the poetry world is big enough to be inclusive for everyone! There is - quite literally - a poem for each and every reader out there, including you - words that will resonate in ways you will personally appreciate and remember.

Whether you've never quite developed a love for poetry or you simply haven't had time to return to reading poems, we invite you to download these free publications we created to help you develop - or rediscover - your appreciation of all things poetic:
If you're ready and interested in expanding your poetic knowledge, we invite you to download these free and informative PDFs: With each week in April we'll be exploring more about poetry and poets.

We hope you enjoyed this first segment, and we invite you back to this blog next week for Part Two of our four-part Poetry 2020 series.

You might also like to visit our National Poetry Month website for more poetic possibilities! Enjoy!
Comments? or Questions?

BookPage: April 2020 Edition


April 1, 2020

Many of you enjoy the monthly publication BookPage, which is made available in print at the library.

Since Thrall, and public libraries in general, are closed currently due to the pandemic, BookPage is making its April 2020 edition freely available online: We're grateful to BookPage for doing this, and we hope our booklovers enjoy this digital edition.

That said, we look forward to seeing you all again back at the library as soon as that's possible!
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April 2020 Titles

The following books are due out in April. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



Comments? or Questions?

March 2020 Titles

The following books are due out in March. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



Comments? or Questions?

February 2020 Titles

The following books are due out in February. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



Comments? or Questions?

January 2020 Titles

The following books are due out in January. Please use the links below to place your holds now.



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