Engaging Methuen Readers


The Life-Changing Magic of Anti-Clutter Books

Just because we *love* the topic of organizing so much, here’s another post on the topic… (Editor)

How hemmed in by your stuff are you? As your kids drag back-to-school supplies and new clothes into your home, do you find yourself despairing, yet again, of any potential that you might ever manage it?

Don’t give up hope! These books are here to guide and inspire you until your life is once again in a state of blissful, organized happiness.

1573321The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

You’ve heard of this one. Kondo is a Japanese tidying expert who advocates keeping only what you really, really love. This book spent a long time on the New York Times Bestseller list for a good reason: everyone can benefit from its great advice!


823337The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter by Linda Cobb

Before there was Marie Kondo, there was Linda Cobb! With gentle humor, Cobb tackles a subject that, at its worst, brings most of us to tears. She takes cleaning room by room, just like your mom told you, but her accumulated knowledge goes way beyond dusting and organizing dishware by size. If you like her timeless style, be sure to check out her other housekeeping books, too.


1088946Simplify Your Space by Marcia Ramsland

Did you know that clutter naturally stresses you out? If your desk at work has been driving you crazy, then the mountain of papers and pile of pens may have something to do with it! Get to a zen state of calm with the help of this decluttering staple.



971549Cleaning: Plain & Simple by Donna Smallin


Bottom line: you should clean! This doesn’t have to be an onerous task and it doesn’t have to involve enormous quantities of bleach. Donna Smallin reveals the best household hacks in history, from white vinegar against ants to baking soda in the detergent. You’ll never look back!


806198Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff by Lori Baird

Need space? It’s there! Our final spotlight features myriad ways of storing, stowing, and generally organizing the things you own. (Let’s face it: you won’t be able to get rid of everything!) As many a grateful reader has learned, this book is particularly useful for families.



Everyone can benefit from a regular once-over. Whether you’re getting rid of old stuff or finding space for new stuff, these books are on your side!



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Books and Beer. And Maybe Some More Beer.

The plus side of having a beer nerd on staff (the only plus side that I can discern) is that if you want to celebrate Oktoberfest with a blog post, you have someone who will go way over the top in preparation. Let’s just set aside the fact that Oktoberfest is traditionally celebrated in Germany in late September and ends the first weekend in October.

Humor me.

The leaves are turning, there is apple picking, pumpkin carving, reading by the fire. And there is beer. In my quest to successfully pair books with beer, I wanted to stay local. If you live near the Nevins Memorial Library, all of these breweries can be reached within 30 minutes of driving.


Beer: Smuttlabs Biere De’Shire

Book: Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

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In 2007 Smuttlabs was created as a small batch/experimental/fun-things-that-can’t-be done-large-scale deal by Smuttynose (Hampton, NH). Their stuff is harder to find if you’re not from the area, but if you can make it to Smutty or their neighboring restaurant, Hayseed, it’s easily accessible right now.

Saisons are my jam. Historically brewed in Belgian farmhouses during the off-season and then primarily consumed by farm workers as a form of payment, they actually taste like you’re on a farm. Biere De’Shire was brewed with Brettanomyces which means even more of that funkiness. Medium orange/honey color with fruity flavors and a bit of spice. The Brett doesn’t come through super strong and it’s actually a little sweet for a saison, so if you’re not a fan of the typical funkiness associated with Brett I’d still give it a try.

Starting with a bonfire of one Guy Fawkes Day and ending one year later, Return of the Native is mostly people running around outside. Okay, it’s definitely so much more than that, but Hardy was absolutely obsessed with creating pastoral literature that yearned for a time before the Industrial Revolution. If you’re a fan of crazy love triangles before a time in which they were acceptable, descriptions of the outdoors which are beyond compare, and most characters that you love dying (definitely a precursor to George R.R. Martin) then sip on some farmhouse funk and imagine you’re there. It’s more beautiful than it sounds, I promise.


Beer: Earth Eagle Brewings Rhubie

Book: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Image result for earth eagle rhubie        Image result for me talk pretty one day

Earth Eagle Brewings in Portsmouth, NH will take you by surprise. Approaching it, you might think that it’s a colorfully painted garage behind a homebrew store. Don’t let appearances deceive; it happens to be home to some incredible food and many gruits, including this amazing sour. “What is a gruit?” you may ask, for they are far and few between. Before hops were extensively used in the brewing process, one could make an herbal medley (depending on what was available and the desired flavor of the resulting beverage) to preserve the drink. If you’re interested in why gruits were phased out, you can read a whole lot about the emancipation of German princes during the Protestant Reformation. All you need right now: Gruits are good. They are still a thing. They are in Portsmouth. Go find them.

Like Biere D’Shire is good if you’re not used to saisons, Rhubie is great for sour newcomers. This gruit uses wormwood for preservation and is dry-hopped with rhubarb and sumac. The rhubarb comes through for a fruity, juicy taste. Mildly funky and moderately sour, the sourness doesn’t stick around like many of the palatte-wreckers out there.

I paired this with a compilation of short stories by one of America’s leading humor writers, David Sedaris. The tales relate Sedaris’ life growing up in Raleigh, living in New York, and then moving to Normandy with his partner and knowing no French. The journey is both sweet and sour. While you may know Sedaris from public radio, his prose is juicy, mildly funky, and sometimes sour, just like Rhubie.


Beer: The Tap Brewing Company Joshua Norton

Book: Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson

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Located in downtown Haverhill, The Tap produces a wide range of beers on their limited system, similar to Earth Eagle. They distribute more widely though, so Joshua Norton will be easier to find in bottles than the other beers listed here. The brewpub is located in an old leather factory, Haverhill previously being known as the “Queen Slipper City” for its shoe production. Now the building houses a 10 barrel system that pumps out some pretty great stuff.

Joshua Norton was the English-born, self-proclaimed king of the United States in the mid-1800s. He was pretty crazy and the story is really interesting, but I’m not exactly sure why a Russian Imperial Stout was named after him. Drink this and you won’t care. Dark brown in color, this seasonal winter beer has notes of chocolate and coffee with a bit of smoky flavor. The body is lighter than most stouts. It ages well, so if you find it whaling on the shelves of some store that doesn’t rotate their stock, go for it.

In M.T. Anderson’s Symphony for the City of the Dead there’s the added bonus of a local author. Anderson often appears at book signing events in the area to promote his work and is hilarious in his speeches. Despite his humor, he manages to hit some pretty intense topics in his writing, such as this latest non-fiction (yes, it’s Young Adult – read it anyway). When Leningrad had been trapped for almost three years by Hitler’s Wehrmacht and the Soviet government, the culmination of terror hit in the winter of 1943-44. Dmitri Shostakovich memorialized the terror that the citizens faced in his Leningrad Symphony. Obviously I had to pair this with a solid Russian Imperial Stout.


Go books and beer!

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Read for the Record

Join us for the 11th anniversary of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®, a global movement towards transformative change in early education.  On October 27th, children and adults around the world will highlight the importance of children’s literacy by participating in the world’s *largest* shared reading experience. This year’s campaign book, “The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” by Julia Sarcone-Roach, is a classic tale of a bear’s epic journey and the mystery surrounding one delicious sandwich.

Join the movement today at and come to the Nevins Library’s special storytime event at 10am on October 27th.


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Author Visit: Salem Witch Trials of 1692

Nevins Library presents:

Salem Witch Trials of 1692 with M. E. Kemp

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

@ 7:00 PM


The Salem Witch Trials is one of the more interesting periods of our Massachusetts history.  Author M.E. Kemp has done extensive research on the Salem Witch Trials, at first for her historical mystery book Death of a Bawdy Belle.  She now continues her research constantly to discover and share new information in her lectures.

This is sure to be an fun and informative talk about The Salem Witch Trials of 1692!

Copies of M.E. Kemp’s books will be available for purchase & signing.

Refreshments will be served.  Click here to register

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Author Visit: A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts

Nevins Library Presents:

A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts

with Joseph M. Bagley

October 24th @7:00 PM


The Nevins Library is happy to welcome Joseph M. Bagley, City Archeologist of Boston,to talk about his book “A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts” and the history that inspired it.

We all know the big events that happened in Boston. The Battle of Bunker Hill, Paul Revere’s ride, the Great Fire of 1872. This book highlights the finds that have been made over the past 40 years that showcase the everyday people who lived in Boston. From drinking cups to ancient spears to chinaware. From ancient fishing grounds to Jazz Age red-light districts. This book lets us peer into the past of those people who didn’t make it into the text books, but shaped our great state just as much.

Joseph M. Bagley has been the City Archeologist since 2011, and a professional archaeologist since 2002. With a decade of archaeological fieldwork on Native American and Historic archaeological sites throughout New England and years of dedicated research on the archaeology of Boston, Joe brings an expert knowledge of the entire human history of Boston to the City Archaeology Program.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase. Click here to register

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LibraryReads October 2016: top ten books librarians love!


October 2016 LibraryReads List

NewsOfTheWorldblogNews of the World: A Novel

by Paulette Jiles

ISBN: 9780062409201

“Readers fortunate enough to meet Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an old ex-soldier who makes a living reading the news to townspeople in 1870s Texas, and Joanna, the Indian captive he is charged with returning to her relatives, will not soon forget them. Everything, from the vividly realized Texas frontier setting to the characters is beautifully crafted, right up to the moving conclusion. Both the Captain and Joanna have very distinctive voices. Wonderful storytelling.”

Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY


The Trespasser: A Novel

by Tana French

Published: 10/4/2016
ISBN: 9780670026333

“Aislinn Murray is beautiful, lives in a picture-perfect cottage, and has a boy she’s crazy about. Antoinette Conway is a tough member of the Dublin Murder Squad who knows no one likes her and says she doesn’t care. When Aislinn is murdered, Conway and her partner Steve Moran take the case and start listening to all the stories about Aislinn. Which ones are true? Was she in love and with whom? Are the stories we tell ourselves and others anywhere near the truth? Great read from Tana French.”

Kathryn Hassert, Chester County Library, Exton, PA


Small Great Things: A Novel

by Jodi Picoult

Published: 10/11/2016
ISBN: 9780345544957

“A black neonatal nurse is charged with causing the death of a white supremacist’s newborn baby. The story is told from the points of view of the nurse, her attorney, and the baby’s heartbroken father. As always, Picoult’s attention to legal, organizational, and medical details help the tale ring true. What sets this book apart, though, are the uncomfortable points it makes about racism. The novel is both absorbing and thought-provoking, and will surely spark conversations among friends, families and book clubs.”

Laurie Van Court, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO



by Connie Willis

Published: 10/4/2016
ISBN: 9780345540676

Crosstalk is the perfect romantic comedy for the digital age. Briddey works for a cell phone provider that is constantly searching for the next great way to help people “connect” – nevermind that she is already inundated by calls, texts, social media, and unannounced visits from her colleagues, friends, and nosy family. When she undergoes a procedure to telepathically sense the emotions of her seemingly perfect boyfriend, things go awry and she ends up connected to the wrong person. A perfect screwball comedy from a master writer!”

Patricia Kline-Millard, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH


The Other Einstein: A Novel

by Marie Benedict

Published: 10/18/2016
ISBN: 9781492637257

“Einstein. Just hearing that name likely brings a smile to your face, as you picture the mischievous wild-haired scientist with the twinkle in his eye. In The Other Einstein, readers get a view of the woman behind the genius, his first wife Mileva Maric, a strong willed and brilliant physics student who refused to let society dictate her life’s path, but who lost her way when love came on the scene. Benedict has penned an engaging tale that will likely inspire readers to investigate the true story behind Maric’s genius and her personal and professional relationship with Einstein.”

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

9780399184512_TheMothers_JKF.inddThe Mothers: A Novel

by Brit Bennett

Published: 10/11/2016
ISBN: 9780399184512

“In a contemporary Black community in California, the story begins with a secret. Nadia is a high school senior, mourning her mother’s recent death, and smitten with the local pastor’s son, Luke. It’s not a serious romance, but it takes a turn when a pregnancy (and subsequent cover-up) happen. The impact sends ripples through the community.The Mothers asks us to contemplate how our decisions shape our lives.The collective voice of the Mothers in the community is a voice unto itself, narrating and guiding the reader through the story.”

Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO

todaywillbedifferentblogToday Will Be Different

by Maria Semple

Published: 10/4/2016
ISBN: 9780316403436

“I went into Today Will Be Different expecting the mockery of Seattle’s ridiculous idiosyncrasies What I got was different, but just as good. Eleanor is sympathetic and the story revolves around family conflicts and disappointments, as well as Eleanor’s awareness of the inevitability of aging and its effects on herself and marriage. Her relationships with those closest to her are also the ones with the most secrets, and with the potential for the most harm and the most hope. I’d recommend this to readers who love family-centric women’s fiction with a sharp eye for the quirks of marriage and parenting.”

Jessica Werner, The Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA

All the Little Liarsblog

All The Little Liars: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery

by Charlaine Harris

Published: 10/4/2016
ISBN: 9781250090034

“The narrative of Aurora Teagarden was thought to be over. In a surprising, but welcome return,All the Little Liarspicks up right where we left off with Roe. Newly remarried, Roe is dealing with a plethora of issues. With a missing brother and troublesome father in town, Roe is searching for answers. Pregnancy, family problems, and more make for a suspenseful, fast, and comforting read. Harris’ writing shines best when she portrays the minutiae of small-town lives and the inner workings of families, friends, and relationships. I can’t wait for the next book.”

Mei-Ling Thomas, Rochester Hills Public Library, Rochester, MI

smoke and mirrorsblog

Smoke and Mirrors

by Elly Griffiths

Published: 10/18/2016
ISBN: 9780544527959

“Thrilled for another opportunity to enjoy DI Stephens and Max Mephisto joining forces against crime and intrigue. It may appear light hearted with its theatrical/magician twist, but these detective stories are full of dark happenings. Solving the gruesome murder of two local children dampens the holiday spirit in this small town. The lead characters are very enjoyable and the theater setting so unique. I enjoyed the love interest/overprotected daughter story line as well! Very much looking forward to the next installment.”

Carol Ward, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Solon, OH

Motion of Puppetsblog

The Motion of Puppets: A Novel

by Keith Donohue

Published: 10/4/2016
ISBN: 9781250057181

“A young couple find themselves caught in a web of magic and horror. Kay is an acrobat and goes missing. Her husband cannot believe that she has disappeared and searches the city in vain all the while not guessing that she has been spirited away by a puppet master in the toy shop that fascinated her during their walks. Kay begins life anew as a puppet and soon begins to befriend the other puppets at night when they come to life. Will the evil that has charmed Kay be stronger than her husband’s love? Donohue writes a frightening account reminiscent of Grimm’s fairy tales and it will keep you up reading til dawn.”

Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX


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In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by James Marshall III

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Light haired, blue-eyed Jimmy McClean doesn’t look like other Lakota boys. Ruthlessly teased for looking too white, and accepted by neither his Native America nor Caucasian peers, Jimmy is miserable at school. Then his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, tells him about Crazy Horse. He was originally called Light Hair, and not fondly, until he proved himself as a warrior. Their summer road trip to visit the famous battle sites teaches Jimmy a lot about Crazy Horse and a lot about himself.

Ingeniously blending contemporary reservation life with the oral tradition of the Lakota tribe, James Marshall III proves his expertise on both Crazy Horse and Lakota life in a unique format. Tales of Crazy Horse are told amidst Jimmy and his grandfather’s journey, culminating in a moment of truth. With gorgeous jacket design and chapter heading illustrations done by Jim Yellowhawk, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in a compelling historical fiction.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years

Click here to find In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse in our library catalog!