Engaging Methuen Readers

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Best Books of 2017, Part 1

Now that 2017 is coming to a close, all the purveyors of books, reading choices, and good taste have tallied up their votes for their favorite books of the year.  For those of us listmongers who can’t pass up another list of books, check out the links below to find out what people enjoyed reading this year.

Warning:  have your library account open to request books, or your book journal ready, and/or your “want to read” goodreads screen open because you’re going to find books you want to read in 2018!

Cover image for PriestdaddyPublisher’s Weekly Best Books 2017 lists top Fiction and Non-Fiction along with genre heavy hitters, teen, children’s and picture books.

New York Times “The 10 Best Books of 2017” lists their professional reviewers favorites and NYT’s Readers Recommendation Their Favorite Books of 2017 takes into account their reader’s choices.

NPR’s Best Books of 2017 has a dazzling visual display of 350 titles NPR staff and critics loved this past year.  Use the filters on the left bar to zone in on your interests.

The votes are in for 2017 GoodReads Choice Awards,  “the only major book awards decided by readers.”  Check out the Nevins Library’s GoodReads page to see what we’ve been reading this past year!

Elle Magazine’s list of their Best Books of 2017 range from “hysterically curmudgeonly essays to raw novels about love and loss”.

What were your favorite reads of 2017?  Inquiring minds want to know!


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Order online from B&N and support the Nevins Library

Image result for barnes & noble bookfairIt’s not too late to order items online from Barnes & Noble and support the Nevins Library. Even if you missed the grand event on Dec. 2nd at the Salem, NH Barnes & Noble store, you can still order items online from B&N today and a percentage of the proceeds will go to benefit the Friends of the Library.

All you have to do is visit and enter Bookfair ID 12252177 at checkout.  It’s a win-win situation!

Last year the library was able to purchase a replacement set of Shakespeare plays, more how-to books, and extra bestsellers with the proceeds from the previous year’s B&N book fair.

I know many of my friends and family will be getting books from me for Christmas this year! 🙂




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Giving Trees @ the Nevins Library

Giving Trees at the Nevins Library

Child with Giving Tree @ Nevins Library

Throughout the Merrimack Valley there are many people who are in great need of what you might take for granted – food, shelter, love, and a package under the Christmas Tree. This year the Nevins Library is sponsoring a few different opportunities for you to give to people in need of help during this season of care and compassion. During December the Library will host two Giving Trees, and continue our regular monthly food drive which supports the Friday Food Backpack program in the Methuen Public Schools. You may donate food throughout the school year by placing your donations in the basket near the front door in the Library’s main lobby. Food items are then distributed on Fridays to children whose families need help on weekends and school vacations when the kids do not have access to school breakfast and lunch programs.

The Giving Trees will be here for the holiday season. You can come to the library and pick an ornament from one of the trees, and then purchase the item identified on the ornament. Drop the item (unwrapped) back at the Library, and we will make sure the items get to a child or elder in need of some holiday cheer!  Details about our Giving Trees are below:

Children’s Giving Tree for Emmaus House

The Children’s Department of the Nevins Library has led the way for many years by hosting a Giving Tree for charity. This year we are helping provide gifts for the children served by Emmaus House in Haverhill. Did you know that the average age of a homeless person in Massachusetts is 8 years old? Through its shelters and housing programs, Emmaus, Inc. served 1,561 children from the Merrimack Valley last year, and on any given night 300 adults and children call Emmaus home. Please help ensure that these children have a happy holiday by donating gifts through the Nevins Library’s Children’s Giving Tree – stop by the Children’s Room and choose a wish list item to purchase and put under the tree by December 15, and we’ll wrap and deliver them to Emmaus!

Secret Santa for Seniors Tree for the Nevins Nursing Home

Help bring some holiday joy to the residents of Nevins Nursing and Rehabilitation Center by participating in the Secret Santa/Giving Tree at the Nevins Memorial Library in Methuen. Anonymous tags with gift ideas will hang on the tree on the Library’s main floor. Pick up a tag and purchase the suggested item (no more than $10.00 please.) Please return your unwrapped gift by December 16th in the box located next to the tree. Gifts will be distributed at a party in December with a surprise visit from Santa! This program is coordinated by Connor Aalto, who is a student volunteer at the Nevins Home.

For more information about these holiday giving opportunities, please contact Krista McLeod, Library Director at 978-686-4080 ext 10

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Book to Screen

We live in a magical age. The wonders of the written universe, previously confined to the boxes between our ears, now cascade across the silver screen in hi-def, 3-D glory. Several book-to-film adaptations will hit the ground within the next year, and what better way to celebrate than to rush the theater?

Except, of course, to wait for a public library to loan DVD copies six months after release.

Here, for your viewing and borrowing pleasure, are the books coming out on film that we’re most excited about.


The Leisure Seeker


Michael Zadoorian’s famous 2009 travelogue finally makes it to its destination: the screen. Like the book, this film will follow the freewheeling adventures of two escapees from a retirement home.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure


The final installment of the Maze Runner trilogy sees our heroes trapped in…well…another maze. The book’s plot is fairly complicated, in a way that involves the big evil villainous organization actually being named “WICKED,” so we won’t go into it here. Basically, it’s the third book in a series by James Dashner and is targeted toward young adults.





If you haven’t read Jeff VanderMeer, you’re missing out. His work falls into the elite category of literary science fiction, something not exclusive to space opera geeks or hardcore Trekkies. Annihilation is an atmospheric, unsettling, and sophisticated read. It’s definitely one to check out before the movie drops in February.

Fifty Shades Freed


Meet Mrs. Anastasia Grey, now the wife of mega-rich quasi-reformed sadist Christian Grey. The plot, which is a ridiculous mess, encompasses the same violence and jealous shenanigans that we’ve come to expect from the series, except now there’s a baby in the mix too. If they were real people, their lives would be a train wreck, but they’re not, so just have fun with it. Here’s the book. It is, as you probably know, the third in the series that begins with Fifty Shades of Grey.

Peter Rabbit


Fans of the classic Beatrix Potter story will love or hate that Peter is coming to screen in CGI. The plot, which was endearingly simply in the book, has also been souped up significantly by the addition of a neighbor to Mr. MacGregor who both loves animals and – potentially – grouchy old farmers. Will Peter and Mr. MacGregor finally become friends? Will this adaptation live up to the book’s reputation? We’ll see in February!

The War With Grandpa


The mischievous hijinks of a boy and his grandpa, which have delighted readers since 1984, are sure to translate well to the big screen. Expect a lot of slapstick, a little poignancy, and Robert DeNiro.



Red Sparrow

Trained against her will as a femme fatale for the Russian government, Dominika rebels against her training when she meets the man who steals her heart. Thus, through the power of love, Dominika becomes a double double agent. The spy games thrill and so will Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika, but it’s hard to imagine the movie being a better ride than the book.

A Wrinkle in Time

Disney has taken on Madeline L’Engle’s trippy, spiritual sci-fi classic A Wrinkle in Time and turned it into what looks like a faithful adaptation. Considering that the book incolves space-time travel, basically magic and psychic powers, this is a significant achievement. The trailer even features an especially creepy ball-bouncing scene. (If you haven’t read the book, you don’t know what I’m talking about. Just trust me. It’s spookier than it sounds.)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Love, Simon)

Ah, young love. Ah, young closeted love. Ah, young closeted love being blackmailed by a malicious classmate in a high school where coming out may or may not be a good option. Somehow, the situation becomes humorous and hilarity does ensue. The book is a critical and popular hit and the movie, renamed “Love, Simon,” may do well with the teen crowd.

Ready Player One

This is a story whose day has come. Ernest Cline’s story of retro video games, immersive VR, and a real world that just sucks for the little guy resonates now like never before. That said, the book already has a significant cult following and anticipation for this film is high.

Death Wish

They killed his family and now he’s going to kill them! An ordinary man hunts down the people who hunted down his family. Sadly, the library does not stock any copies of Brian Garfield’s original novel, Death Wish. Though it’s based on the 1972 book, this movie is primarily a remake of a former move by the same name that was also based on the book.



The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

It’s a tale of love, humor, and a book club up to no good in German-occupied British territory during World War II. The book was a New York Times bestseller and perennial book club favorite, and the movie promises to be a wonderful first date event for hundreds of couples nationwide.



Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Sometimes, you just have to run to the ends of the Earth. That’s what Bernadette does when she’s confronted with the unpleasant reality of her life in the form of a family intervention. Lost without her mother, Bernadette’s daughter Bee immediately launches into detective mode. The movie will be directed by Richard Linklater and will hopefully be as hilarious and heartwrenching as the book was.



Crazy Rich Asians

Rachel Chu thinks she’s doing pretty well at life. She’s got a career in academia and a nice boyfriend who wants her to meet the family. They’re some of the richest people in Singapore and to say that they’ve got drama is to vastly undersell the concept of drama. Also, her nice boyfriend happens to be one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia and every other woman she meets wishes she was dead. The book’s author, Kevin Kwan, set out to introduce America to the wealthy elites of Singapore. The movie is bound to be larger than life.

The Meg

It’s a giant shark movie based on a giant shark book. Let’s not overthink this one. If you don’t have enough giant shark in your life after seeing this movie in August, check out the rest of the Meg series.



The House With A Clock In Its Walls

John Bellairs is known for his creeptastic children’s books, one of which this movie is based upon. The film will star Jack Black and feature a clock that can end the world.

Boy Erased

This film is based on a memoir, and the memoir is about the author’s experience in religious ex-gay conversion therapy, so brace yourself: everything depicted on screen actually happened. It’s likely to be intense.

The Darkest Minds

The kids who don’t die of disease develop strange superpowers, and of course the government wants to lock them up and study them. The book is a YA hit and the movie comes out in the same rough time frame as another “X-Men” film.



The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Steig Larsson may be gone, but his series lives on. This installment sees Lisbeth Salander facing down a shadowy organization and probably looking super-cool.

First Man

It’s easy to identify Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon, but who was he? The book and the movie both seek to answer this question.



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Cold Nights, Cocoa and Cookies!

It’s getting to be that time of year when you want to curl up with a good book, have a warm cup of something and snack on some delicious cookies.  We have two new books at the library that may entice you to bake your own (which will also make the house smell delicious).

Book 1.

Cover image for The perfect cookie : your ultimate guide to foolproof cookies, brownies & bars

The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies & Bars

Learn some great recipes, new and old, to make the perfect cookies, brownies, and bars.  All recipes have been tried and tested in America’s Test Kitchen to be the best!

Book 2.

In this book not only will you see recipes for drop cookies, slice and bake, cookie bars and such, you will also learn how to make dough ahead and freeze it for those cookie emergencies.ENJOY!

Editor’s Note:  Our Cookbook Book Club’s December meeting is all about cookies.  Bake, share and learn what works and what doesn’t at the December 19th meeting.  Specially picked cookie books will be available for you to check out prior to the meeting at the main desk.  Yum!

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Novel November Displays @ Nevins Library

November offered a cornucopia of displays at the Nevins Library as we honored and celebrated Veteran’s Day, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), graphic novel memoirs, Thanksgiving, up-cycled crochet projects, and a raven in the stacks!