These are some of the books Methuen readers’ put in the AWESOME BOX and recommend:
Looking for an awesome book to read? Look no further than our Awesome Book display at the Nevins Library. These are books (audio/print) that Methuen readers deemed “awesome” and wanted to share with others in the community. On the backside of the Awesome Book display, you’ll find lots of other sources for your next good read:
“You never know what you’re looking for … until it’s in a neatly-ordered binder.”
Massachusetts just had its first big snow of the season – but not its last! We greet snow with a unique mixture of delight and misery. Our mixed feelings produce a sense of mystical wonder surrounding white-frosted pines, falling flakes of crystal ice, and yeti. This may be why snow features so prominently in speculative fiction. If you just can’t get enough stark, ominous white snowscapes in your life, try these reads.
Snowpiercer by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette
This list would not be complete without this graphic novel classic, which was recently turned into a gripping, atmospheric film. Humanity is doomed: worldwide arctic temperatures have made the planet uninhabitable. The last survivors travel endlessly on a train that represents the last vestige of the technological marvel that was civilization. But there *is* a kind of society: one that privileges the few first-class travelers and grinds the rest underfoot. When the third class passengers revolt, the first class discovers that there’s nowhere to run…
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
Young Lyra, a child of mysterious nobility, haunts the Oxford halls with her daemon. But a great conspiracy is afoot that threatens the very essence of humanity, and Lyra is at its heart. In order to prevent disaster, she will have to journey into the Arctic north, befriending armored polar bears and witches.
Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Also published as Let the Right One In, this book has been the subject of two films. There’s a new girl next door. Oskar is immediately fascinated, and not only because she seems old beyond her years. Eli only comes out at night…and she’s interested in Oskar for a much darker reason. As snow falls on Sweden, a young boy will come to know that some horror resides in which promises you make and keep.
Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
The wolves behind Grace’s house watch her every winter. But one in particular is more than just hungry. In the summer, he’ll turn into a human, and when that happens, he and Grace will meet again. This time, sparks will fly. Steamy romance will…romanticate. This book draws a lot of valid comparisons to Twilight. It’s Twilight with snow and a wolf. So if you love Stephanie Meyers, you’ll love this. If not, well, better go with Snowpiercer.
The AWESOME BOX is brimming with, what else but, awesome summer reads! These are some of the books recently recommended by patrons in the Methuen community.
If you’re returning a book (or CD, DVD, graphic novel) to the Nevins Library that your really enjoyed, please drop it in the special AWESOME BOX on the counter instead of the regular book drop and we’ll let others know how great it is.
Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio
Everyone loves bacon. But he loves himself most of all. He loves how good he smells and how much everyone likes him. The other breakfast foods cheer him on in his self-love. He starts to get a big head from all of the attention he is getting though. The merchandise with his face on it, the adoring fans, the fancy cars–these all aid the growth of his narcissism. The other breakfast meats become upset that he is stealing their thunder and his old friends begin to realize how self-absorbed he has become. In the end, we find out that everyone loves bacon sooo much… that he is eaten.
This picture book is an easy read and it is hilarious. It is perhaps slightly morbid that, in the end, bacon meets his demise at the tines of a fork. He certainly meets with a deserving end however. Everyone Loves Bacon is essentially a cautionary tale against narcissism, but in the funniest way possible.
Age Range: 3-6 years old. The story portion of this picture book is very simplistic, so it would be easy to follow for preschoolers. Even elementary school children who think they are too old for picture books would likely appreciate the humorous aspect of it. The illustrations are a bold comic style that fits the personal dilemma which bacon is facing.
Editor’s Note: It’s Children’s Book Week, May 2-8 2016! Celebrate by picking up your favorite children’s book at your local library.
Incredible but true! Well, not quite yet. But while you’re just hanging out and waiting for the future to happen, why not take a look at the literature and see what we’re in for?
The hallmark feature of a dystopia is that the society in question is actually a messed-up utopia. Often, enough people who exist within that system live well enough that they don’t care to challenge the underlying issues, which may or may not involve teenagers fighting to the death on live television. We’re all familiar with The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Giver, and other popular YA dystopias. But for the serious fan of messed-up future societies, the genre has much more to offer.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A classic, this story chronicles a world that has gone through a crisis in population implosion. The result: a society where fertile “handmaids” are used to provide chosen families with healthy children.
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Matteo Alacrán is a lucky boy: he has wealth, comfort, and everything a child could want. Except, of course, that he is also the clone of a powerful drug lord, and his sole purpose in life is to donate all of his vital organs to the 143-year-old criminal.
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
An anarchist planet. A doubter. LeGuin will make you believe that time can encompass philosophy and ethics, that an anarchist society can still survive by unyielding and unspoken laws, and that one person’s ideas can change humanity.
Statistical probability dictates the creation of new interstellar civilizations. People meet and successfully fight giant space bugs. Well-mannered aliens contact us for theological debates. Hitchhikers endure. A lot of science fiction is about the future. In fact, you could even say that all of it is about the future. Here are some of the best examples of the genre.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Welcome to the Future! We hope you’ve wound up your motorcycle and gotten the latest vaccine for this year’s viral mutations. Remember, respect the androids, even if everyone else seems to be kicking them around. They might just be the future of intelligent life on Earth.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Lightspeed travel has some odd time dilation effects, and nowhere is this clearer than in interstellar warfare. When the brave soldiers of Earth return home, will they recognize the people they are fighting for?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Sci-Fi fans may know this story in its cinematic guise as Blade Runner. In a world where android replicants are virtually identical to humans, Deckard’s job is to suss out the fake from the genuine. As he begins to doubt his own humanity, the definition of “real” becomes dangerously fragile.
The party’s got to end sooner or later, and as you might expect, it’s sort of a drag when the lights go out. Apocalypse books have captured our imaginations since well before When Worlds Collide, Day of the Triffids and Alas, Babylon. (Try Noah and the flood.) But these days, total destruction is often high literature. And, of course, it’s more fun than ever!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
All the world’s a stage, and since the Georgia Flu wiped out most people, it’s a darn empty one. As a troupe of actors travels the Great Lakes, they discover that art can save – or destroy – the survivors.
Wool by Hugh Howey
A toxic atmosphere forces all surviving humans to live in the underground Silo, but not everyone believes that the air up there really is bad. When the sheriff’s wife goes above ground, he’s faced with a choice: follow her and risk death, or remain underground and never know the truth.
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
After a nuclear apocalypse, an order of Roman Catholic monks struggles to preserve the knowledge of the modern world. But will humanity repeat its mistakes anyway?
What would the future be without zombies? I, for one, don’t care to find out! From World War Z and The Walking Dead to philosophical literature like Raising Stony Mayhall, everyone loves those shambling, moaning, unkillable flesh eaters. Here, have a few more!
Feed by Mira Grant
Political machinations don’t die with the human species. As zombies attack a Presidential candidate, bloggers uncover the terrifying truth: that someone is using the undead as weapons on the campaign trail.
The Girl with All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
What happens when zombies are smart? What about when the smart zombies are children? The tension between humans and zombies, teachers and students, and researchers and subjects blooms in this critically acclaimed book.
Breathers by S. G. Browne
After Andy dies in a car wreck, he discovers that life’s not easy for zombies. In fact, it’s downright hard to get a job, meet people, and have a decent conversation without someone screaming and trying to decapitate you. Enter the fight for zombie civil equality!
Happy merry bells of Yuletide, everybody! String your lights and play some Bing Crosby, because it is once again the coziest and most wholesome time of the year.
If you’re not sure how you’re going to survive, then this post is for you. These are tales of Christmas awkward and Christmas a little close to home, Christmas haywire and Christmas out of control. If you’re just about done with carols and fir trees, try one of these strange and refreshingly wicked reads.
The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Ya gotta believe…or life as Discworld knows it will end. When a shadowy assassin’s guild hires an expert to kill the Santa-like Hogfather, Death must take over the portly gift-giver’s role for a night. A hilarious and rollicking ride through Pratchett’s Discworld universe, with appearances by the Unseen University, Death’s granddaughter Susan, and, of course, the ever-popular Death. No familiarity with the series is necessary to enjoy this installment, but afterward, you might find yourself wanting to read the rest, too. This rollicking fantasy has also been adapted for the screen.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Herdmans are the worst. Hands-down, no question, point-blank the worst kids ever. They swear. They hit other kids. They only come to church because they hear that there are snacks. However, once there, they decide to invade the annual Nativity pageant and play all of the main characters, and who’s going to say “no” to the Herdmans? As the barbaric group runs amok over Christmas, the congregation begins to expect a disastrous play. But be not afraid! When all is said and done, everyone might learn something about the Christmas spirit from the Herdmans. Though nominally for children, this book is a hilarious winner for all age groups, and a quick read for busy adults.
The Stupidest Angel: a heartwarming tale of Christmas terror by Christopher Moore
Little Joshua saw someone killing Santa Claus – or, at least, someone dressed up as Santa Claus – and now he has just one Christmas wish: please let Santa not be dead. Unfortunately for everyone, the Archangel Raziel, the Lord’s stupidest servant, has descended to Earth to grant the sincere Christmas wish of an innocent child. Chaos erupts as Raziel, whose good nature is somewhat impeded by a tendency to take things literally, grants the child’s wish. Uproarious and twisted. We highlighted this story in a previous post, but it bears mentioning twice because it’s just that funny.
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
Once you’ve been a Christmas elf, the holidays just aren’t the same. This collection features Sedaris’ popular early essay, “The Santaland Diaries,” which has been featured on NPR several times. Dark and satirical, and with quite a bit of wry social commentary thrown in, these aren’t exactly “The Night Before Christmas.” However, many hit home. They’re also ideal for family gatherings thanks to their brevity. Read them aloud for the adults after the kids have turned in to wait for Santa.
On Christmas Eve, a spectre interrupts Edmund Gravel’s Christmas fruitcake. It is the Spectre of Christmas that Never Was, and is followed by that Spectres of Christmases that Aren’t and Never Will Be. Join him as he is whisked away on a journey strangely reminiscent of that of a certain Ebeneezer Scrooge, but with more wit and irreverence. Thrill as he witnesses Affecting Scenes, Distressing Scenes, and Heart-Rending Scenes. Anyone who has ever rolled their eyes at an overdone production of A Christmas Carol will appreciate this tongue in cheek, highly visual adaptation.
Krampus: the Yule Lord by Brom
“Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming for your head.”
I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus by S.G. Browne
There’s no good way to say it: Andy is disguised as Santa Claus and hiding from medical researchers. This is because he is a member of the living dead demographic, whose struggle for civil rights is going less than brilliantly. But when he meets a sad nine-year-old girl who really thinks he’s Santa Claus, he gets into the act! Meanwhile, an underground undead resistance needs Andy’s help to continue the cause. Can Andy achieve zombie equality and rescue Christmas? Let’s hope so! (Available in the Commonwealth Catalog – just search for “zombies eating Santa Claus”)
Fans of Dexter will likely enjoy the psychopathic Serge A. Storms as he gets into the holiday spirit. Whether racking up a body count or spreading Christmas cheer in his own inimitable way, Serge endangers the public good even as he entertains readers. This is part of a series by the quirky, gonzo-style Tim Dorsey, but don’t worry if you haven’t read the rest. It’s a good New Year’s resolution, right?
Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
Who is the mysterious man who appears in Stephanie Plum’s kitchen? And why is he also looking for Santa Claus? It’ll take half of Trenton, NJ to solve the caper! Evanovich has a massive fan contingent and many of our readers may already be familiar with her. The zany life of her star Fugitive Apprehension Agent (read bounty hunter) takes on a supernatural twist in this fun holiday installation.
These are some of the titles Methuen readers, like you, highly endorsed and put in the AWESOME BOX:
What are some items you got from the library that you think are AWESOME and want to share with others? Return the item to the AWESOME BOX and we’ll display and regularly post them on this blog.
We asked for it, and now you’ve responded! Earlier this month, we put up the AWESOME BOX above the indoor book drop for books/DVDs/audiobooks/music CDs that you thought were awesome and wanted to recommend to others.
So, these are some of the titles Methuen readers, like you, highly endorsed and put in the AWESOME BOX:
What are some books you think are AWESOME and you want to share with others? Return the book to the AWESOME BOX and we’ll display them and regularly post them on this blog.