Engaging Methuen Readers

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LibraryReads July 2020: top ten books librarians love!


 July 2020 LibraryReads List

Cover image for Peace TalksPeace Talks

by Jim Butcher

ISBN:  9780451464415

“Eagerly awaited by wizard Harry Dresden’s legion of fans, this 16th book in the series is definitely worth the wait. Wonderful scenes feature magical illusions, and many familiar characters return for peace talks in Chicago. Not much is peaceful for Harry, as the wizards might kick him off the White Council, faerie Queen Mab wants him to do a couple of favors for vampire Lara, and Harry’s half-brother is in prison after an assassination attempt. For series fans of The Hollows, The Iron Druid Chronicles, and The Nightside.

Brenda O’Brien, Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge, IL
NoveList read-alike: The Arcadia Project series by Mishell Bake

Boyfriend Material

by Alexis Hall

Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN:  9781728206141

“Incredibly proper Oliver and drama-laden Luc are extreme opposites. Despite a case of annoyance at first sight, the two antagonists reluctantly agree that faking a relationship might help each of them out of a bind. Hall crafts a well-paced relationship that will have readers completely invested in a happy ever after. Perfect for fans of If I Never Met You and Red, White, and Royal Blue.”

Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library,Huntington Station, NY
NoveList read-alike: Jilted by Lilah Suzann

Crooked Hallelujah

by Kelli Jo Ford

Grove Press
ISBN: 9780802149121

“A well-crafted story of identity, survival, and loyalty that explores the terrain of love and heartbreak, loss and displacement for four generations of Native American women across four decades. Finding their own sources of strength, these proud, fierce women magnetically draw the reader in. For readers who enjoy Louise Erdrich and Diane Glancy.”

Janet Schneider, Peninsula Public Library, Lawrence, NY
NoveList read-alike: Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobso

The Heir Affair

by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 9781538715918

“This sequel to The Royal We follows Nick and Bex through the first years of their marriage–a challenging time for anyone, let alone a royal couple whose wedding was disrupted by a sex scandal.  As they settle into their new home, they uncover a secret that could change the future of Britain. Fans of Royal Wedding (Cabot) and Royals (Hawkins) will enjoy this funny and sensitive novel.”

Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC
NoveList read-alike: American Royals by Katherine McGee

Cover image for The Lost and Found BookshopThe Lost and Found Bookshop: A Novel

by Susan Wiggs

William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062914095

“Personal tragedy turns Natalie’s life upside down and leads her back to her childhood home,including her family’s beloved homegrown bookstore. Natalie faces the decline of her grandfather’s health, a building in need of repair, and a business in the red but also finds unexpected love. Give to readers who liked How to Find Love in a Bookshop and The Readers of Broken Wheel.”

Joyce Livingston, Collinsville Community Library,Brogue, PA
NoveList read-alike: The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson

Memorial DriveMemorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

by Natasha Trethewey

ISBN:  9780062248572

“Explores the author’s relationship with her mother, piecing together events that led up to her mother’s murder at the hands of her stepfather. For fans of No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder and The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson.”

Mary Bell, Wilbraham Public Library, Wilbraham, MA
NoveList read-alike: Blood by Allison Moorer

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-LondonOne to Watch:  A Novel

by Kate Stayman-London

Dial Press Trade
ISBN: 9780525510444

“In this hilarious and poignant rom-com debut, Bea Schumacher is a highly influential, body positive, heartbroken fashion blogger, who one day writes a blistering, viral, blog post about the lack of diversity on her favorite reality tv dating show, Main Squeeze. For readers who enjoyed Bridget Jones’s Diary and Me Before You.”

Ann-Marie Anderson, Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR
NoveList read-alike: Insert Groom Here by K.M. Jackson

Cover image for The Only Good IndiansThe Only Good Indians

by Stephen Graham Jones

Sage Press
ISBN: 9781982136451

“An own voices horror novel that begins with four young Native American men on a hunting trip that will haunt each of them in unimaginable ways. For fans of Owl Goingback’s Coyote Rage.”

Sarah Fetzer, West Palm Beach City Library, West Palm Beach, FL
NoveList read-alike: Boy in the Box by Marc E. Fit


Cover image for Survivor SongSurvivor Song: A Novel

by Paul Tremblay

ISBN:  9780062679161

“The gripping story opens with a rampant strain of virus (in this case rabies), followed by quarantines, lockdowns, fear, and irrational behavior. It hits alarmingly close to home. For fans of Severance by Ling Ma and Contagion by Robin Cook.”

Sandra Woodbury, Burlington Public Library, Burlington, MA
NoveList read-alike: Sealed by Naomi Booth


Cover image for What you wish forWhat You Wish For: A Novel

by Katherine Center

St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250219367

“Sam thought the dynamic Duncan Carpenter was out of her life forever, until he returns to the school at which she’s a librarian and makes her think she might just get her happily ever after. For fans of JoJo Moyes and Rebecca Serle.”

Tracy Babiasz, Chapel Hill Public Library, Chapel Hill, NC
NoveList read-alike: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren


 Courtesy of

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Adult Summer Reading Program 2020

The children get a Summer Reading Program with prizes, and so do the teens.  Now it’s time for the adults…

We are going digital this year for the Summer Reading Program for Adults at Nevins Library!

The main parts of the program remain the same:

Read, or listen to, a book each week of the program and get a chance to win a gift card!

The program will start July 6th and run for 6 weeks (until Aug 16th) – so there are 6 chances to win!

To participate, simply click this link and fill out the form!

It will ask for your name, how to contact you, which week you are entering, and the title and author of a book you read or listened to during the week.

Don’t have a computer? That’s okay. Call the library at 978-686-4080 and press 2 for the Main Desk. Be prepared to answer the same questions as above – we’re happy to enter you into the drawing.

Each drawing will take place on Monday morning of the next week. For example, enter your books for week #1 anytime during July 6th – July 12th, and we will draw the Week #1 winner on Monday, July 13th (the start of week #2).  The gift cards are from local establishments and provided by the Friends of the Nevins Library.

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

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Author Event: J. Courtney Sullivan

Come join us on Zoom as we hear J. Courtney Sullivan discuss her new novel, Friends and Strangers, in conversation with WBUR’s Robin Young.

Tuesday July 14th at 7pm with Zoom

From the best-selling author of Maine and Saints for All OccasionsJ. Courtney Sullivan’s Friends and Strangers is an insightful, hilarious, and compulsively readable novel about a complicated friendship between two women who are at two very different stages in life…A masterful exploration of motherhood, power dynamics, and privilege in its many forms, Friends and Strangers reveals how a single year can shape the course of a life.

ROBIN YOUNG brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her role as host of Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television and for several years was substitute host and correspondent for The Today Show.

Make sure to register for this very special event, HERE.   This event is in partnership with libraries in the Merrimack Valley and beyond, as well as Haley Booksellers.

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Calling All Local Teens!

No photo description available.Calling All Local Teens!

Have you seen the Nevins Library Young Adult Facebook page recently?

Even when our building is closed, our Teen Services Librarian, Alison, has been working hard to provide you with many online programs, activities, and fun reading suggestions this summer.

Don’t be left out, follow the NL Young Adult  Facebook page to keep informed about upcoming programs, news from the library, new materials to check out, and fun stuff related to YA literature and pop culture.

Recent events have included Netflix watch parties (links provided), a poetry contest, ongoing writing workshops, trivia, and sign-ups for the Summer Reading Challenge.

For any questions on, or suggestions for, teen services, contact Alison at

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Free Online Concert Series: America’s “Great Organ” Perseveres

Pandemic or no, the Methuen Memorial Music Hall continues to have it’s annual Wednesday evening concert series featuring its Great Organ.  This year, due to the novel coronavirus, the series will be streaming from the MMMH’s YouTube channel.

When the Great Organ, shipped from Germany at great peril during the Civil War, had its inauguration concert in the Boston Music Hall in 1863, it was considered a celebrated musical event throughout the country.  This beautiful, gleaming organ was indeed great; having some 6,000 pipes, it was then the largest concert organ in America.  The variables of changing times and maintenance issues led to a decline in the organ’s fortunes.  In 1897, Edward Frances Searles, a railroad magnate from Methuen, MA, bought the neglected organ ‘for a song’ and moved it to Methuen where he had a remarkable barrel-vaulted concert hall built for the purpose of preserving the sounds of this great American treasure.

Since 1947, the Trustees of the Methuen Memorial Music Hall have shared this sonorous object of pride with the community through tours and their annual Organ Recital Series.  This year’s series, running through August 26th,  will be streamed live through YouTube.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to hear the majestic sounds of the Great Organ and to learn about its curious history!  The music must go on!

For more information on the concert series, the remarkable history of the Organ and the Building, or to donate to this organization, see the MMMH website.

If you are a Massachusetts library patron, you may have free access to The Boston Globe and their recent (6/14/20) article on Methuen’s Great Organ, “Now Streaming From Methuen:  a treasured organ with nine lives” (Jeremy Eichler), through our online database.


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NL Staff: What We’re Listening To

One of my favorite designations for the month of June is National Audiobook Month.  Audiobooks, you kept me from helpless rage when I was stuck in traffic commuting to work, kept my mind engaged when out for a walk.  Thank you for the bibliotherapy when I needed it and for a way to “read” even more books. –Your Editor

Now, let’s hear from the staff of the Nevins Library and see what they have been listening to:

Cover image for Children of virtue and vengeanceAlison, our new Young Adult Librarian, is currently listening to Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Toni Adeyemi and narrated by Bahni Turpin. It’s the sequel to Children of Blood and Bone.  “I like to listen to audiobooks on long drives or when I’m doing chores around the apartment. I get to learn how names and foreign or made up words are pronounced when listening to them.”

Kathleen, Literacy Coordinator and Reference Librarian, latest audiobook was You by Caroline Kepnes, the basis for the Netflix series. The darkly funny inner monologue of villain/protagonist Joe make for a very addictive and compelling listen! 

Cover image for The book of lost friends :Great minds must listen alike, as both Sue and Kirsten from the Reference Department recently enjoyed The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate, as well as her previous novel, Before We Were Yours.  Sue: “They are both historical fiction which is my favorite.  Both books follow dual time periods which making listening to the books interesting since there is a narrator for each time period.  I enjoy the way her writing intersects the storylines and connects the characters.  I also enjoy hearing about the true historical inspiration for the story as well.  Did I also mention that in both books, all four main characters are strong women?”

Kirsten’s previous audiobook was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which was “very good and out of character for me since I’m usually drawn to Historical Fiction.  Was a real psychological thriller.  Thank goodness for audiobooks, I’ve listened to them on the way to work and now will listen on my walks in the neighborhood.  Better way to get me out and walking, give me a good book for the trip!!”

Cover image for The Black DahliaSarah, Head of Readers’ Services, has been getting an earful:  “I’m currently listening to The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy and read by Stephen Hoye.  Even though I own a copy in paperback, I don’t think I could read this at home at night…  and am glad to listen while driving or painting or whatever!  Also, listening to a story from a police officer’s perspective with all the racist and stereotype-filled slang of the period is eye-opening right now.  Previously I listened to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman read by Cathleen McCarron and that was an absolutely wonderful book!   That narrator was perfect – accents and emotional intonations were spot on.”

Our Business Manager, Brenna, has been listening to Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race written and narrated by Debby Irving (local, from Winchester, MA) “I am on Chapter 10 so far and it is enlightening, details and history I was unaware of.”Cover image for Waking Up White

Tatjana, Reference Librarian, has been enjoying Heartland : a memoir of working hard and being broke in the richest country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh, read by the author.  “Quite an informative memoir and social commentary on the working poor of the MidWest!  Eye-opening.”

Remember, you can always access audiobooks in several different formats, including cd, e-audio, and PlayAway, through our catalog.  Happy Listening!

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LibraryReads: Hall of Fame June 2020

LibraryReads Hall of Fame:  June 2020

The LibraryReads Hall of Fame designation honors authors who have had multiple titles appear on the monthly list since 2013. As of the October 2018 list, when an author’s third title places on a monthly list via library staff votes, the author moves into our Hall of Fame.

Alpha Night

by Nalini Singh

ISBN:  978-1984803627

“This continuation of the Psy-Changeling series features the shapeshifting wolves of Moscow and their pack alpha, Selenka, but it also brings back many characters from previous books. Another enjoyable, fast-paced paranormal romance from Singh.”

Cathy Shields, East Lyme Public Library, Niantic, CT

Read-alike: The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston
Read-alike: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Read-alike: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Read-alike: The Last Wolf by Maria Vale

Cover image for DANCE AWAY WITH ME.Dance Away With Me:  a novel

by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

William Morrow
ISBN:  978-0062973054

“Phillips’ slow-burn romance centers around a grieving young widow who is drawn into the life of a frustrated artist. The story’s darker turns are lightened by humor drawn from the small-town Tennessee setting. Highly recommended.”

Rose Miller, Orange Public Library, Orange, CA

Read-alike: Blue Hollow Falls by Donna Kauffman
Read-alike: Blackberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne
Read-alike: Sanctuary Cove by Rochelle Alers

Cover image for The DilemmaThe Dilemma

by B.A. Paris

St. Martin’s Press
ISBN:  978-1250151360

“If you knew something that was certain to change everything, would you keep it a secret to hold on to tranquility for one more day? Paris’ driving narrative, alternating between the perspectives of a husband and wife, guarantees your book group will be divided over this very question.”

Lorri Steinbacher, Ridgewood Public Library, Ridgewood, NJ

Read-alike: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Read-alike: My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Read-alike: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Home Before DarkHome Before Dark: a novel

by Riley Sager

ISBN:  978-1524745172

“Maggie’s father wrote a famous book about the family’s paranormal experiences when she was a child living at Baneberry Hall. Twenty-six years later she returns to the house to finally face what happened long ago. This suspenseful and compelling book keeps you guessing to the very end.”

Ashley Borer, Normal Memorial Library, Fayette, OH

Read-alike: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Read-alike: The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott
Read-alike: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

Party of Two

by Jasmine Guillory

ISBN:  978-0593100813

“In the fifth book of the Wedding Date series, sparks fly between a smart, independent lawyer and a charming, impulsive senator. Guillory thoughtfully incorporates serious issues into her books while keeping the tone light and uplifting. Sweet, sexy, and a lot of fun.”

Jayme Hughes-Gartin, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, OH

Read-alike: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
Read-alike: Rumor Has It by Cheris F. Hodges
Read-alike: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Read-alike: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Read-alikes provided by NoveList and the LibraryReads community.

Courtesy of LibraryReads Hall of Fame Authors

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Juneteenth in the Valley

Juneteenth (combining the date, “June” and “nineteenth”) is the oldest,  most celebrated annual holiday of the emancipation from slavery in the United States.  The Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices and allies will be hosting a Juneteenth celebration at Doherty Field in Andover, MA on Friday June 19th, 6-7:30pm. The commemoration will include historical presentations, spoken word, community conversations, open mic, and remembrances of Black lives lost due to racial and systemic injustice.  The MVBBV encourages you to bring your families, friends, blankets, and masks for this special evening. Bottled water and light packaged snacks will be available. Parking is available.

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Virtual Author Program: Nancy Thayer

The Nevins Library welcomes back Nancy Thayer!

We love Nancy and are so glad to spend some time with her online!

Nancy will be joining us via Zoom to discuss her latest novel, GIRLS OF SUMMER (available for purchase 5/26) on

Wednesday July 8, 2020 06:30 PM  Eastern Time (US and Canada)


One life-changing summer on Nantucket brings about exhilarating revelations for a single mother and her two grown children in this sensational novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.

Lisa Hawley is perfectly satisfied living on her own. Having fully recovered from a brutal divorce nearly two decades earlier, she has successfully raised her kids, Juliet and Theo, seeing them off to college and beyond. As the owner of a popular boutique on Nantucket, she’s built a fulfilling life for herself on the island where she grew up. With her beloved house in desperate need of repair, Lisa calls on Mack Whitney, a friendly–and very handsome–local contractor and fellow single parent, to do the work. The two begin to grow close, and Lisa is stunned to realize that she might be willing to open up again after all . . . despite the fact that Mack is ten years her junior. Lisa’s children worry about the potential for their mother to suffer another broken heart, all while finding complicated potential romances of their own. As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet, and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound. Nancy Thayer dazzles again in this delightful tale of family, a reminder that sometimes, finding our way back home can bring us unexpected gifts.

To join us in this special Zoom event, you must click here to register.  You will then receive your invitation link to the event.  For questions or further information, contact Sarah Sullivan at 978-686-4080 x16 or