Engaging Methuen Readers

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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,

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

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

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

   GertrudeGermanwind and wind,
   Beau, kind, kindred, queuemankind,

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;
   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,
   We say hallowed, but allowed,
   Peopleleopardtowed but vowed.

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

   Petalpenal, and canal,

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

   Worm and stormchaisechaoschair,

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

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,

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

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,
   Putnutgranite, and unite.

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

   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.

PsalmMaria, but malaria.
   Youthsouthsoutherncleanse and clean,

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

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

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

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,
   Monkeydonkeyclerk and jerk,

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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One Thousand!

1000 what you ask.

Here at the Nevins Library we don’t just have this awesome blog from which you can get book (and more) recommendations. We also have a Tumblr Blog called A Book A Day

And, on A Book a Day we just hit 1000 books/movies/podcasts/albums and more recommended!!!

Here’s just a taste of what sorts of books you can get recommendations for on it.

Mystery/Thriller Monday


When it comes to Mysteries I have read a lot, and I love recommending them. I’ve recommended everything from Police Procedurals to Cozies, to very very Thrillers.

Totally Random Non-Fiction Tuesday


I’m a sucker for prose random non-fiction (i.e. non-fiction meant to be consumed by those who don’t know anything about a topic). Here’s one of my favorite books, but, I’ve also recommended everything from books about space to World War II to all about the DC Universe. (There have also been some changes to Tuesday in the new year, but, have no fear, Non-Fiction will still be recommended).

Weird & Wonderful Wednesday


Science Fiction and Fantasy get their own day. This particular book isn’t totally indicative of what is usually recommended, but it’s one of my favorites. I’ve also recommended everything from Zombies, to Speculative Fiction, and everything in between.

Youthful Thursday


Who doesn’t like children’s books. And, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t still read them either. I mean, I liked it as a kid, I like it now. Honestly, there could be so many different favorite ‘Youthful’ tomes that I’ve read since it covers both children’s books as well as middle readers, middle grade, and young adult books. But, King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub and he won’t get out is my favorite picture book repeating phrase. Go Page!!! (Like Totally Random Non-Fiction Tuesday, this particular day is going through some changes in 2019).

Not A Book Friday


I mean, we’re all here for books right, but, sometimes you just want to sit around and watch something, or listen to something. This here is the day for you then. Everything from an underrated classic (with a librarian protagonist) like The Mummy to Die Hard (the non-christmas Christmas movie), and sometimes a great Soundtrack or Podcast as well. (And one amazing website).

Comic Book Saturday


Comic books are my Kryptonite. And I’ve read a lot of them. (They really help up my books read per year too *shifty eyes* Shhh… don’t tell anyone). But, in all seriousness. Whether you’ve been reading Superman and Batman and X-Men all your lives, or you want to know about some amazing non-cape wearing graphic novels. I recommend graphic memoirs, and from all genres (there’s mysteries, so so many fantasies, some science fiction, and basically, if you can find it in a prose book, someone has written a graphic novel in that genre too).


So, come visit us at A Book A Day. You don’t have to have a Tumblr account, and if you still use an RSS feeder you can even get updates every day that way.

I will say that you’ll probably want to have some scrap paper nearby though, for all the additions to your TBR.

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3 More Amazing Podcasts

Traveling for the holidays?  Whether you’re on a plane, train, in a car or waiting in a line, here’s a wonderful way to mentally escape the wait…. podcasts!

I never know whether to start or finish with my favorite of the podcasts. If you’ve read my previous two posts on the subject, My 3 Favorite Podcasts, and 3 More of My Favorite Podcasts (and a Podcast Network), you’ll know that I like a lot of podcasts. Thankfully they don’t update every day, so, at some point in 2040 or so I’ll probably catch up with all that I want to listen to.

This time I’ll start with the podcast that I currently think is amazing.

Unobscured with Aaron Mahnke

There were two places it seemed as though we went to every single year during elementary and middle school (and once in high school, but that one was different, we actually got to see all about the History of Salem’s sea heritage, it was amazing), Salem and Lexington (and Concord). (Spoiler alert, if you have a town/city green that’s closer than Lexington go to that, stand there, imagine a statue at one end, you have now approximated visiting Lexington Common where the Revolutionary War started, and, it was probably easier to park as well).

So, The House of the Seven Gables, Salem Witch Trials, etc. I may not be able to rattle off all the names of the accusers and the accused when it comes to the Witch Trials, but, when they were said in this podcast, I found myself nodding along. From Hawthorne to Putnam to Nurse to Proctor and everyone in between, this podcast isn’t just about the trials, but, all this history that is woven above, below, and inside and out of the trials.

I’m on the sixth episode and, I thought that I knew a lot about the Trials, but, I really, really, really didn’t.

I’m also not sure what’s going to happen in the next seasons, since I guess that this will be one of the podcasts where each season is a little different, but hopefully around the same sort of theme/format. But, no matter if I listen to Season 2 or even if there is one, this first season is amazing.

We have tons of stuff on the Salem Witch Trials, but, I do believe that we have the book “The Witches” by Stacey Schiff that is referenced a few times in the podcast.


Last Seen

This is such a close second for a podcast that is 10 stars at the moment (out of 5).

I guess that I was technically alive when this robbery happened (the 90s), and, I was even sorta old enough to have memories of the time. And yet, it never even near registered (and there were other things during those years that I do remember vividly).

So, listening to this podcast is a revelation. It’s all about the famous theft of Dutch Paintings (and a few other things) from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the Back Bay in March of 1990 (they still haven’t found the paintings and such, and have not officially arrested anyone either).

It’s put together really amazingly. It started at the beginning, laying out the actual robbery (which, not all true crime podcasts do). And then it is going through all the different parts, not to mention, all the different theories about who could have done it, and where the paintings could be. Ooh, and when you get to the episode that has the intrigue with the FBI thrown in there. Tension. Love it.

I may have started listening to it because it’s a collaboration between WBUR and the Boston Globe, but, now I’m hooked and I’m dreading when it ends and we’re all again stuck with this seemingly unanswerable question of, ‘Where are the paintings?

We have books both on Isabella Stewart Gardner as well as on the Robbery.


Dr. Death

That is quite the title right?

For someone who is looking for a podcast that is finished (mostly) so that they don’t have to wait for new episodes, this is it.

It’s about Christopher Duntsch, who could technically be called a Neurosurgeon, and all the people that he touched in his time practicing (and, most not in a good way at all). He was the last resort for a lot of the patients he treated. But, slowly (way too slowly) as more and more patients of his started having complications after their surgeries, people inside and outside of the medical community started pushing back as much as they could (which wasn’t always enough).

And then he was put on trial, and that was one of the questions that was posed during the podcast. For a Doctor/Medical Professional where does Malpractice end, and criminality begin?  It was horribly fascinating.

It was such a macabre podcast, and yet, I’m not sure that there’s any person out there today who goes to a doctor, any type of doctor, without just a little hesitation in their step.

I couldn’t find any books on Duntsch, but, there have been a lot of articles written about what happened. Here’s one from the Texas Observer (where it all happened, and written closer to when a lot of it happened), and one more recent one (because of the Podcast) from Esquire as well.

And of course, I have the most important question of this post, because, one cannot have too many podcasts to listen to!

What’s your favorite podcast?

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2018 Friends Quilt Raffle

Need something to stay warm on those chilly December/January/February/March and beyond Months?

The Friends of the Nevins Library are holding a raffle for a beautiful and unique book-themed quilt, The Cat Who Quilted, quilted and designed by Joanne Billings.

Tickets for the raffle will be sold at the Main Desk, 6 for $5, or one for a dollar.  The winning ticket will be drawn on December 19th.

Here’s a photo of just part of it. Amazing!!! Come see the whole quilt on display on the Main Floor of the Library across from the Main Desk!!!

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Giving at the Nevins Library in 2018

Again this year we have not one, but two Giving Trees gracing the Nevins Library, as well as our ongoing monthly food drive which supports the Friday Food Backpack program in the Methuen Public Schools. 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 Opportunities 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. serves nearly 3,000 homeless men, women, and children annually, primarily from Merrimack Valley and Northeastern Massachusetts., 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 12, and we’ll wrap and deliver them to Emmaus!

Friday Food Backpack Program

We also still have going our year-round Friday Food Backpack program, you may donate food now, or 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.

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 here at the Nevins Library. When you enter the library it’s directly to the right of the Main Desk.

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 12th to the Main Desk.

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A Wrap Up of Useful Voting Resources

Phew, we’re done with another National Voter Registration Day.

If you didn’t get a chance to register, that’s okay. Here’s the webpage where you can find all the different ways you can register to vote in Massachusetts.

Just make sure that you do it before October 17th. That’s the deadline to vote in the coming election. (And you can register now even if you do not turn 18 until November 5th).

If you want to know if you are registered or need to register to vote, there’s a webpage for that as well. It also has a lot of other important information on it, such as where you should vote come November 6th, and so much more!

This year MA has early voting in at least one location in your town, no excuse required. (i.e. You don’t have to have a reason to want to vote early, you can just do it.)

Stay tuned to this page for updates on where you can vote early!

If you’ve mailed in your vote you can even track that HERE.

If you have more local questions, the Methuen City Clerk’s office is who you want to contact HERE.

Happy Voting!!!

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3 More of My Favorite Podcasts (and a Podcast Network)

I previously wrote a post that had what are still my top three favorite podcasts. But, there are so many other podcasts out there, so, here are another three podcasts that I think are worth listening to (and one Podcast Network that has too many awesome podcasts to name).


When the first episode is about a death that makes the listener go, ‘no, c’mon, really?’, it just might be a good podcast.

It’s an interesting mish-mash of true crime stories as well as looks into stuff related to crime, like in the 3rd episode about lie detectors and knowing if we are lying. And people involved in crime (on both sides). And, while some of them are very topical, others are more general, and then there are some slightly cringe-worthy ones too.

Overall, though, they’re quite enjoyable, as well as being short compared to a lot of the crime/true crime which is nice. Oh, and I almost forgot (how could I have almost forgotten), the sound design for this podcast is amazing and has been since the very first episode. With most podcasts I’m just happy if they don’t have feedback and are using a quality microphone (and maybe have figured out how to make so that all the speakers can be heard), but, this podcast uses music, and sounds, and takes me to whatever place they want to go not just with their words, but also with all the other sounds/music too.

If you’re looking for interesting books that have to do with Criminal Behavior we have a whole section on the top floor in Reference. You can either stop at the desk and we can help you find it, or, simply mosey on over to the 364s and you’ll be astounded by how many true crime books there are.

American Fiasco

I know, I know, the World Cup is over, not to mention, it wasn’t a great World Cup this year for the Men’s National Team (since, ya know, it was no cup at all). Of course, personally, I think that ’98 was even worse because they did make it, and then….what came next was heartbreaking.

This podcast tells the story of that team. And hilariously it’s told by a Brit who is obsessed with America stuff. Really amazing.

I remember the ’94, ’98, and then the Women’s ’99 World Cups in vivid detail. I loved soccer, and I totally thought that after watching in ’94 that in ’98 we’d get farther than we did. Of course, I was a kid, and so I didn’t know all the stuff going on but, listening to this, with all these names I recognized, all my favorites like Aagoos, and Balboa, and … let me tell you, in ’94 I loved Tony Meola, and Balboa and Lalas (can you tell I was defensive minded?) (Kasey Keller in ’98 was not my favorite goalkeeper).

The host talks to all manner of people in the course of this podcast. He may not be a born and raised American, but, he was here during ’94 and so forth, and so, his perspective is a unique one that maybe he wouldn’t have quite had if he were fully one of us on this side of the pond.

Did you know that we have the Encyclopedia of World Cup Soccer? I know. Awesome right?

Fatal Voyage

Most of the podcasts I’ve been reviewing in this and the previous post I wrote on podcasts I have gone looking for. Either I had a specific podcast that I knew the name of or I at least had a theme that I knew I wanted. I found this one by literally going to the ‘Search for Podcasts’ screen in my podcast app and it was there on the most listened to (or whatever the algorithm that makes that screen is). So, I tried out the first app. And it was interesting.

I only really knew Natalie Wood from Miracle on 34th Street (the first one, the good one), and somewhere in the recesses of my brain I sorta knew that she’d died in mysterious circumstances. And, I really only knew Robert Wagner as DiNozzo’s father on NCIS. So, when I stumbled onto this podcast about the mystery of what happened on the boat when Natalie Wood died, I binged (can you binge on podcasts?) on all the episodes that had been put up, and now I anxiously await the next one each week.

I’m not sure if at the end of the podcast they’ll put forth their most likely theory, or if they’ll simply leave the facts to sit at the end, but, either way, I know that I’m riveted to this podcast right now.

We have a good number of movies with Natalie Wood in them. As well as book on Natalie Wood’s life, and on Robert Wagner’s life. 

Parcast Network

And finally, I couldn’t just pick one podcast from this network that I like the most.

It has a ton.

And I have a feeling that I may wind up listening to all of them at some point.

Right now I’m listening to four of them. Unexplained Mysteries, where, they look into stuff like Mona Lisa’s smile (I did not know that Mona stood for Monna, which stood for Madonna, which wasn’t actually her name, Lisa was.) And Stonehenge. They go about it in a very historical sort of way, sometimes touching on the conspiracies that can go with some of their mysteries, but, trying very hard to stick with the facts that time has given us.

On the other side of the mystery coin is Conspiracy Theories. I was a little worried about this one, but gave the first episode a listen anyway, and found that, thankfully, the two hosts don’t believe the conspiracy theories they talk about, but do find them to be interesting stories. (Makes sense to me).

Then there’s GONE. It is what the title implies about things that are missing. Sometimes big things (a flight, although, not the Malaysian one, Unexplained Mysteries along with Conspiracy Theories tackled that one), sometimes small things. This podcast doesn’t have a ton of episodes yet, but, I really sorta hope that maybe they do the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft at some point in their run.

What’s your favorite podcast?