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Engaging Methuen Readers


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Asteroids: Friends or Foes?

February 28th @ 7 PM

Since the first spotting of a ‘minor planet’ in 1801, astronomers have discovered more than 750,000 small rocky bodies orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids.

What are Asteroids? How are Asteroids and Meteorites related? What can we learn about Asteroids from the missions that NASA and JAXA (Japanese Space Exploration program) are readying to land on asteroids? Not to mention, when might one of them strike Earth with enough force to create widespread damage?

Join us as Kelly Beatty helps us explore the science (and science fiction) surrounding asteroids. Examples of meteorites will be on display as well.


Kelly Beatty has been explaining the science and wonder of astronomy to the public since 1974. An award-winning writer and communicator, he specializes in planetary science and space exploration as Senior Contributing Editor for Sky & Telescope magazine. Beatty enjoys sharing his passion for astronomy with a wide spectrum of audiences, from children to professional astronomers, and you’ll occasionally hear his interviews and guest commentaries on National Public Radio and The Weather Channel.

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Are You Ready for “The Chaos”?

A poem by Gerard Nolst Trenité (Some say it’s amazing, others not so much, read it for yourself and see):

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
   I will teach you in my verse
   Sounds like corpsecorpshorse and worse.

I will keep you, Susybusy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
   Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
   Queer, fair seerhear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
   Just compare hearthear and heard,
   Dies and dietlord and word.

Sword and swardretain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it’s written).
   Made has not the sound of bade,
   Saysaidpaypaidlaid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
   But be careful how you speak,
   Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak ,

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
   Wovenovenhow and low,
   Scriptreceiptshoepoemtoe.

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughterlaughter and Terpsichore,
   Branch, ranch, measlestopsailsaisles,
   Missilessimilesreviles.

Whollyhollysignalsigning,
Sameexamining, but mining,
   Scholarvicar, and cigar,
   Solarmicawar and far.

From “desire”: desirableadmirable from “admire”,
Lumberplumberbier, but brier,
   Topshambroughamrenown, but known,
   Knowledgedonelonegonenonetone,

OneanemoneBalmoral,
Kitchenlichenlaundrylaurel.
   GertrudeGermanwind and wind,
   Beau, kind, kindred, queuemankind,

Tortoiseturquoisechamois-leather,
Reading, Readingheathenheather.
   This phonetic labyrinth
   Gives mossgrossbrookbroochninthplinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
   Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
   Peter, petrol and patrol?

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquetwalletmalletchalet.
   Blood and flood are not like food,
   Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
   Discountviscountload and broad,
   Toward, to forward, to reward,

Ricocheted and crochetingcroquet?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.
   Roundedwoundedgrieve and sieve,
   Friend and fiendalive and live.

Is your r correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.
   Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
   Buoyantminute, but minute.

Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
   Would it tally with my rhyme
   If I mentioned paradigm?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
   Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
   Rabies, but lullabies.

Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
   You’ll envelop lists, I hope,
   In a linen envelope.

Would you like some more? You’ll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
   To abjure, to perjureSheik
   Does not sound like Czech but ache.

Libertylibraryheave and heaven,
Rachellochmoustacheeleven.
   We say hallowed, but allowed,
   Peopleleopardtowed but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between moverploverDover.
   Leechesbreecheswiseprecise,
   Chalice, but police and lice,

Camelconstableunstable,
Principledisciplelabel.
   Petalpenal, and canal,
   Waitsurmiseplaitpromisepal,

SuitsuiteruinCircuitconduit
Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it”,
   But it is not hard to tell
   Why it’s pallmall, but Pall Mall.

Musclemusculargaoliron,
Timberclimberbullionlion,
   Worm and stormchaisechaoschair,
   Senatorspectatormayor,

Ivyprivyfamousclamour
Has the a of drachm and hammer.
   Pussyhussy and possess,
   Desert, but desertaddress.

Golfwolfcountenancelieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
   Courier, courtier, tombbombcomb,
   Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker“,
Quoth he, “than liqueur or liquor“,
   Making, it is sad but true,
   In bravado, much ado.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
   Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
   Fontfrontwontwantgrand and grant.

Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
   Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
   Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
   MindMeandering but mean,
   Valentine and magazine.

And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
   Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
   Tier (one who ties), but tier.

Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
   Prison, bison, treasure trove,
   Treason, hover, cover, cove,

Perseverance, severanceRibald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.
   Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
   Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffetbuffet;
   Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
   Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.

Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
   Evil, devil, mezzotint,
   Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,
   Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
   Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
   Funny rhymes to unicorn,
   Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.
   No. Yet Froude compared with proud
   Is no better than McLeod.

But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
   Troll and trolleyrealm and ream,
   Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
   But you’re not supposed to say
   Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
   How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
   When for Portsmouth I had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
   Episodes, antipodes,
   Acquiesce, and obsequies.

Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,
   Rather say in accents pure:
   Nature, stature and mature.

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
   Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
   Wan, sedan and artisan.

The th will surely trouble you
More than rch or w.
   Say then these phonetic gems:
   Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget ’em
   Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
   Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight-you see it;
   With and forthwith, one has voice,
   One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does *. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
   Realzealmauve, gauze and gauge,
   Marriagefoliagemirageage,

Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry fury, bury,
   Dostlostpost, and dothclothloth,
   JobJobblossombosomoath.

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowingbowing, banjo-tuners
   Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
   Puisnetruismuse, to use?

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
   SeatsweatchastecasteLeigheightheight,
   Putnutgranite, and unite.

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyrheifer.
   DullbullGeoffreyGeorgeatelate,
   Hintpintsenate, but sedate.

GaelicArabicpacific,
Scienceconsciencescientific;
   Tour, but our, dour, succourfour,
   Gasalas, and Arkansas.

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
   Bona fide, alibi
   Gyrate, dowry and awry.

Seaideaguineaarea,
PsalmMaria, but malaria.
   Youthsouthsoutherncleanse and clean,
   Doctrineturpentinemarine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
   Rally with allyyeaye,
   EyeIayayewheykeyquay!

Say aver, but everfever,
Neitherleisureskeinreceiver.
   Never guess-it is not safe,
   We say calvesvalveshalf, but Ralf.

Starry, granarycanary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
   Face, but preface, then grimace,
   Phlegmphlegmaticassglassbass.

Basslargetargetgingiveverging,
Oughtoust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
   Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
   Do not rhyme with here but heir.

Mind the o of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
   With the sound of saw and sauce;
   Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

Pudding, puddle, puttingPutting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
   Respite, spite, consent, resent.
   Liable, but Parliament.

Seven is right, but so is even,
HyphenroughennephewStephen,
   Monkeydonkeyclerk and jerk,
   Aspgraspwaspdemesnecorkwork.

A of valour, vapid vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
   G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
   I of antichrist and grist,

Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
   Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
   Polish, Polish, poll and poll.

Pronunciation-think of Psyche!-
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
   Won’t it make you lose your wits
   Writing groats and saying “grits”?

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlockgunwale,
   Islington, and Isle of Wight,
   Housewifeverdict and indict.

Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying latherbatherfather?
   Finally, which rhymes with enough,
   Thoughthroughboughcoughhoughsough, tough??

Hiccough has the sound of sup
My advice is: Give it up!


For more information on this amazing poem. The best page that I’ve found is THIS one.


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Great Backyard Bird Count 2019

How Many Birds Can You Find?

 

During President’s Day weekend this year, February 15th-18th, there is an amazing science project that families or individuals can do (and the statistics that you all will compile help professional scientists with their work).  It’s called the Great Backyard Bird Count.

You don’t have to come to the library to be a part of it, you don’t even have to leave your home or neighborhood. It’s easy to participate:

1. Login or Register for the count via www.birdcount.org (you can do this at home, or, if you’d like some help, come on up to the Reference Desk and we can get you all set up).

2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC (Monday’s even a holiday for most). You can even count for longer than 15 minutes if you wish!

3. Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist on eBird for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period.

4. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking “Submit Observations” on the home page. Or download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device.

The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley

A Field Guide to the Birds by Roger Tory Peterson

All the Backyard Birds: East by Jack L. Griggs

The Birds of America by John James Audubon

For more Info (and a really, really cool checklist), here’s a PDF file you can print out at home (we’ll have some here too!!).

Happy Counting!!

Some Great Black History Month Reads

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This gallery contains 9 photos

Cover of Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss


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Style Guides That Will Make Your Heart Pound

Welcome to February, dear readers! This is the Doldrums of the year, so dull and uncomfortable that Hallmark had to invent a romantic holiday just to spice it up. Just kidding. Hallmark didn’t invent Valentine’s Day! Like many of our other annual holidays, this nominally Christian saint’s feast day began as a pagan fertility festival.

But let’s say you’re not the Lupercalia type. Maybe you’re single, maybe you’re over it, maybe it’s past V-Day and you’ve got a long, cold slog to Spring ahead of you. Why not start that book you’ve always been talking about? No time like the present! (And it’s not like you have anything else to do.)

So fall in love with these style guides! They’re not your classic Strunk and White – heavens, no. These guides pop, fizz, and use the Oxford comma correctly. Settle in for hours of editorial bliss as you determine how you may best explore the world of the correctly conjugated gerund.

1. The deluxe transitive vampire: the ultimate handbook of grammar for the innocent, the eager, and the doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

As long as you’re diving headfirst into the terrifying world of proper grammar, you may as well do so with the lords of the night on your side. This classic uses entertainingly spooky examples derived from literary horror to drive home important lessons about verbs and infinitives.

 

 

2. Grammar snobs are great big meanies: a guide to language for fun and spite by June Casagrande

If the predicate nominative makes you itchy under the collar, then this is your grammar guide. Engage in the debate about hyphens. Revel in anecdotes about the passion and peril of grammar snobs. In the process, you will acquire something new to smugly correct people about at parties.

 

 

 

3. Spunk & bite: a writer’s guide to punchier, more engaging language & style by Arthur Plotnik

You’ve done the work. You’ve tried your best. Why aren’t people enjoying what you write? The answer lies in that most elusive element of E.B. White’s famous grammar manual: style. In short, unless you’re living in 1942, Strunk and White don’t have much to tell you.

Enter Plotnik. This author and publishing exec will show you how to punch up your writing and hook your reader. (Hint: brevity.) This is the book to read if you just can’t seem to get an agent sold on your draft.

 

4. Eats, shoots & leaves: the zero tolerance approach to punctuation by Lynne Truss

Who doesn’t love punctuation mix-ups that result in the generation of murderous pandas? I don’t know about you, but I’d read that book just for a better answer to what’s black, white, and red all over?

Focusing on punctuation, this book is less a manual and more a witty exploration of the many reasons that commas are an important part of a safe and just society. Also, you’ll learn a thing or two.


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LibraryReads February 2019: top ten books librarians love!

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February 2019  LibraryReads List

The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

Published: 2/5/2019 by Celadon Books
ISBN: 9781250301697

“Led on a dark path, readers will quickly guess that there’s more to Alicia’s story than what meets the eye. But the big surprises lie in the deep betrayals and the shock of an ending. Dark, twisted, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Ruth Ware.”

 

 


The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

by Anissa Gray

Published: 2/19/2019 by Berkley
ISBN: 9781984802439

“A beautifully written novel told from the viewpoints of three sisters whose dysfunctional childhood has left deep wounds. Family also serves as a source of strength as the women face the damage done and try to heal. For readers who enjoy Tayari Jones and Jessmyn Ward.”

Janine Walsh, East Meadow Public Library, East Meadow, NY

 


Daughter of Moloka’i

by Alan Brennert

Published: 2/19/2019 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250137661

“Fans of Moloka’i and new readers will adore this interesting, heartfelt sequel. Taken from her parents as an infant, Ruth is adopted by a loving family who experiences more than their fair share of upheaval and heartache balanced with love and joy. Readers of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko may enjoy.”

Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY

 


Finding Dorothy: A Novel

by Elizabeth Letts

Published: 2/12/2019 by Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780525622109

“In examining the meeting between Judy Garland and Maud Baum, Letts weaves two narratives: Hollywood in 1938-39, and Baum’s childhood and marriage to L. Frank Baum, author of the book that inspired the movie. A fascinating behind-the-scenes story for Oz fans.”

Lauren McLaughlin, Wilton Library Association, Wilton, CT

 


The Girls at 17 Swann Street: A Novel

by Yara Zgheib

Published: 2/5/2019 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250202444

“A mesmerizing glimpse inside a rehab program for victims of anorexia. This fictional account of one young woman’s life-saving journey is eye-opening with its descriptions and statistics. For readers who enjoy fiction about social and psychological issues, and books by Wally Lamb and Chris Bohjalian.”

Marilyn Sieb, L.D. Fargo Library, Lake Mills, WI

 


Good Riddance

by Elinor Lipman

Published: 2/5/2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780544808256

“An annotated yearbook is an interesting plot device, and Lipman populates it with likable characters that you can’t help but root for and with “villains” so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh at them. Perfectly paced, engagingly written, and fun. For fans of Adriana Trigiani.”

Lorri Steinbacher, Ridgewood Public Library, Ridgewood, NJ

 


The Huntress: A Novel

by Kate Quinn

Published: 2/26/2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780062740373

“This is a novel I can happily recommend to patrons who like historical fiction. It excels in both plotting and character development. Nina Markova, a bomber pilot stranded behind enemy lines, becomes the target of a Nazi assassin. For fans of Jackdaws by Ken Follett and Up In Honey’s Room by Elmore Leonard.

Maria Gruener, Watertown Regional Library, Watertown, SD

 


Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos

by Lucy Knisley

Published: 2/26/2019 by First Second
ISBN: 9781626728080

“This wonderful graphic novel is also the most honest, comprehensive, revealing, and helpful book on pregnancy, miscarriages, birth, breastfeeding, and everything in between that has ever been written. I wish I had had this book as I was leveled with morning sickness for nine months.”

Jesica Sweedler DeHart, Neill Public Library, Pullman, WA

 


The Last Romantics: A Novel

by Tara Conklin

Published: 2/5/2019 by William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062358202

“A fresh look at family dynamics, this is the story of four siblings and their love for one another spanning their entire lives. For fans of The Nest by Cynthia D’aprix Sweeny and The Past by Tessa Hadley.”

Jennifer Dayton, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

 


The Priory of the Orange Tree

by Samantha Shannon

Published: 2/26/2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781635570298

“Brilliant world building; multi-dimensional characters; magic; friendship; plots; secrets; romance; and battles between good and evil…. this book has it all. The best new fantasy I’ve read in years. I eagerly await the next installment. For fans of Naomi Novik.”

Alexa Newman, Algonquin Area Public Library, Algonquin, IL

 

Courtesy of LibraryReads.org


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Bookish Confessions: Just Read!

Okay, seriously folks, we’re a month into 2019 whether I am ready for it or not.  It being February in New England, it is cold, snow is on the horizon, and the greys and browns of the landscape are, well, blah and uninspiring.  Being the summer girl that I am, I don’t believe in waking up before it’s light outside and I would prefer to hibernate in my bed with a slew of good books surrounding me and a hot cup of tea in hand.  That being said, it’s the perfect time to tackle the TBR (to be read) list.

I entered 2019 in a kind of limbo state where I feel neither here nor there. This is reflected in my reading plan for the year:  I want to read ALL the good books out there… kind of like the person who comes into the library asking if we have any “good books” here.  In the past, I printed or downloaded all the reading challenges I could find (GoodReads, BookRiot’s Read Harder challenge, Classics Club challenge, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, etc) and charted my progress in both handwritten and electronic reading logs.  I had a crazy, convoluted reading schedule that involved reading many types of books at once at different times of day and sometimes in different formats.  In the infamous words of Susan Powter, “Stop the Insanity!” (insert gif)  I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO READ ALL THE GOOD BOOKS IN THE WORLD.  And, that’s a good thing really, because it means I won’t ever run out of good books to read.

This year, I pledged on GoodReads to read 100 books, and if they happen to coincide with any other challenges out there, great.  That’s it… nothing too specific. I will simply read books that appeal to me and can ease, excite or inform my mind.  Maybe this will be the year I learn to merely skim a “required” book  (like a book club assignment) when it doesn’t happen to rock my world.  Let this be my reading manifesto for year 2019.

Happy reading!