At the Westerly Library & Wilcox Park: Books to help you navigate real life | Guest Columns

I know I’m not alone in saying—despite my father’s insistence that I would be incapable of holding down a job without it—I have not used trigonometry once in my adult life. There are plenty of people for whom this is NOT true, but in my line of work it simply hasn’t happened. On the other hand, there are countless things that I didn’t learn until well into my adult years and wish I had known earlier. Like how to do my taxes (or correctly fill out a W-4). How to winterize my home and garden. How to cut a mango without slicing off my fingers. Lucky for me, there are many books at the library that teach these very same skills and more.

New to the adult world? “Your Turn: How to Be an Adult” by Julie Lythcott-Haims offers strategies to ease the transition and help you live your best (grown-up) life. Similarly, “The Little Book of Life Skills” by Erin Zammett Ruddy is a practical guide to mastering the little things that make your life easier and better, from arranging a cheese board to gracefully exiting an uncomfortable situation. Round it out with “The Twentysomething Handbook” by Nora Bradbury-Haehl, and you’ll be at least somewhat prepared to navigate these bewildering years.

Back when there were actually affordable houses on the market, it was easy for first-time homebuyers to feel overwhelmed with the process of buying and taking care of their own home. “100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know” is a great resource to help you maintain both the inside and outside of the house. “The Useful Book” by Sharon and David Bowers aims to teach you everything you should have learned in home economics or shop classes, from how to boil and peel an egg to basic plumbing and household repairs. If you are hoping to buy a house in these crazy times, you may want to check out “Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home” as well.

There are many, many more. There are books we don’t want to admit we need, such as “Am I Dying?!: A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms — and What to Do Next” by doctors Christopher Kelly and Marc Eisenberg. It’s described as a “lighthearted guide for the hypochondriac in all of us,” and is arguably better than Googling your symptoms, since it’s written by actual medical professionals. There are books that nearly everyone needs, like “Don’t Overthink It” by Anne Bogel, which will help you stop second-guessing your every decision. Then there are books that nobody really needs (but are still good for a laugh), like “How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England” by Ruth Goodman.

And if you do actually want to learn trigonometry? Obviously I can’t personally help, but I can find a book for you on that as well.

Top requested books

1. “City on Fire” by Don Winslow

2. “The Paris Apartment” by Lucy Foley

3. “The Hotel Nantucket” by Elin Hilderbrand

4. “What Happened to the Bennetts” by Lisa Scottoline

5. “Dream Town” by David Baldacci

6. “Finding Me” by Viola Davis

7. “22 Seconds” by James Patterson

8. “It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover

9. “The Sparring Partners” by John Grisham

10. “The Match” by Harlan Coben

Top requested DVDs

1. “Licorice Pizza”

2. “Uncharted”

3. “Dog”

4. “The Beatles: Get Back”

5. “The Batman”

6. “Succession: The Complete Third Season”

7. “The King’s Daughter”

8. “Morbius”

9. “The Worst Person in the World”

10. “Sanditon Season 2”

this week

MONDAY— 4-4:45 pm, Couch to 5k Run Club – It’s week seven of our Run Club. We meet at the fountain in Wilcox Park for our group run; 6-7 pm, The Story of the Gerda III | Rescuing Jews During WWII – We’re excited to partner with the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, and the Mystic Seaport to tell this fascinating story of a Danish lighthouse tender that played a critical role in carrying Jews to safety during October of 1943. This program will take place on Zoom, and advanced registration through our website is required.

TUESDAY — 10-10:30 am, Family Storytime – Join us in the Terrace Room for a family storytime, geared towards kids birth through 11 years when accompanied by a caregiver; 1-4 pm, Community Resource Advocate – Our volunteer Community Resource Advocate is available via email at to help connect you with local services/resources; 1-2 pm, Afternoon Book Discussion – This month’s selection is “Her Hidden Genius” by Marie Benedict. This is a hybrid program, meeting in the library Auditorium and on Zoom. Email for more details; 2-3:30 pm, Virtual Tech Social – We meet on Zoom every Tuesday to address your tech questions. Preregistration is required; 5:30-7:30 pm, Knit and Crochet Club – The Knit and Crochet Group is meeting on the 2nd floor of the library.

WEDNESDAY— 5-7 pm, Westerly High School Student Exhibition – Join us in the Hoxie Gallery for a closing reception to “Meet the Artists”; 5-7 pm, Digital Literacy Classes – Free computer classes with Spanish support, presented by the Providence Public Library and RI Office of Library and Information Services. Registration is required; 6-7 pm, Author Talk with Karen Brooks | The Good Wife of Bath – Join us for a virtual author talk and Q&A. This program is in partnership with Savoy, and will be held on Zoom. Registration is required.

THURSDAY— 10-11 am, Drop-in Art Class with the Olean Center – This art class is free for all ages. Today we’ll be painting shutter frames to hold a photo of your choice; 4-4:30 pm, Teen Book Club – Join the teen librarian via Zoom or in person for book discussions, recommendations, and creative writing tips! For more information and to register please email; 5:30-6:30 pm, Zumba in the Park and Library – Enjoy a free Zumba class with Yvonne Brown and Tina Pagliusi; 5:30-7:30 pm, Chess Club – Players of all skill levels are welcome.

SATURDAY — 10 am-5 pm, Virtu Art Festival – Don’t miss the 26th annual Virtu Art event, featuring work by artists from around the country; 10:30-11:30 am, Zumba in the Park and Library – Enjoy a free Zumba class with Yvonne Brown and Tina Pagliusi.

SUNDAY— 10 am-5 pm, Virtu Art Festival – Don’t miss the 26th annual Virtu Art event, featuring work by artists from around the country.

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


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