Engaging Methuen Readers

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An “Outlander” Fan and the Binge Watch Dilemma

Cover image for OutlanderAs an Outlander fan, of both the books and the series, I often have to wrestle with the Book vs Film dilemma. Diana Gabaldon has written a series of 8 books depicting the life and times of a family. This is no ordinary family but one that includes a nurse who had time-traveled from the 20th century and fallen in love with a Scottish laird who leads his clan with strength and loyalty through years of trials both in Scotland and the New World, North Carolina.

Because these books are so dense and filled with imagery and detail, it would be almost impossible to do justice to all of the myriad side plots and characters that Gabaldon weaves throughout this series. The producers of the film version have been faced with the Cover image for Outlander. Season 1, v. 1, Widescreenchallenge of winnowing down the main story and guiding the viewers on a journey of action and romance, without losing the underlying love and tenderness of the multitude of characters that populate the community known as Fraser’s Ridge. The producers and filmmakers adhere to the adage put forth in PIrates of the Caribbean by none other than “Jack Sparrow” – “they’re just guidelines”.

It must be understood that Gabaldon, in her writing, is able to allow us to really feel and understand the emotions and reasoning that propel the characters to do the things they do, and this is truly an enhancement over the film version. However, as one who is watching with a film-only spouse, the temptation is always there to insert a “wasn’t that way in the book” comment. While it might not have been that way in the book, it doesn’t take away from the acting and the writing that brings the story to life on the screen.

All in all, it’s just a guideline…sit back, relax and know that even if it didn’t happen that way in the book, it’s still darn good and because I’ve read the books I can understand more clearly the motivations and humor that shore up the story. I’m good either way!!

∼ Kirsten,  Head of Reference Services

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2019-2020 Nevins Library Book Group Schedule

It’s that time of year again…back to school for kids and back to book clubs for adults!

Do you enjoy reading books? Or want to find new and different books to read? Join one of Nevins Library’s Adult Book Clubs!

We have books in a variety of different genres and topics that the clubs and groups read. More information about all of the Book Groups can be found on our website (with descriptions and sometimes the books/themes we’ll be reading).

And the dates that they’re happening can be found on our Calendar of Events (and even if you don’t plan on participating in any of the Book Groups, go see the Calendar of Events anyway. It’s awesome!!)

Bestseller Book Group – Meets the 1st Tuesday of Each Month @ 7 PM 

Contact Pat for more information.

Thursday Evening Book Discussion – Meets the 1st Thursday of Each Month @ 7 PM

Contact Krista for more information.

Stranger than Fiction (Non-Fiction) Book Group – Meets the 2nd Monday of Each Month @ 7 PM

Contact Tatjana for more information

LGBT Book Discussions – Meets the 2nd Thursday of Each Month @ 7 PM

Contact Krista for more information

Sociable Seniors – Meets the last Friday of Each Month @ 10 AM

Contact Tracy for more information

Wednesday Afternoon Book Group – Meets the 3rd Wednesday of Each Month @ 1 PM

Contact Sarah for more information

NEW-ish Forever Young-ish Book Group – Meets the 3rd Thursday of Each Month @ 7 PM

Contact Amy for more information.

You can always call us at 978-686-4080 to find out more about any of these groups as well.

We hope to see you at one or more of these if they spark your interest!!

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Get it All: Fiction and Non-Fiction combos

Have you ever read something in a novel that you were curious about and wanted to explore further?  Satisfy your curiosity (and widen your understanding) by pairing a fiction with a non-fiction  book on the same subject.  Here are some pairings to try:

Cover image for The atomic city girlsCover image for The girls of Atomic City : the untold story of the women who helped win World War IIThe Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard  FICTION

The Girls of Atomic City: the untold story of the women who helped win World War II by Denise Kiernan  NON-FICTION




Cover image for The Last Kind Words Saloon : a novelCover image for Dodge City : Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the wickedest town in the American WestThe Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurtry  FICTION

Dodge City:  Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the wickedest town in the American West by Thomas Clavin NON-FICTION




Cover image for The only woman in the roomCover image for Hedy's folly : the life and breakthrough inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the most beautiful woman in the worldThe Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict  FICTION

Hedy’s folly: the life and breakthrough inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the most beautiful woman in the world by Richard Rhodes  NON-FICTION




Cover image for The wanderersCover image for Endurance : a year in space, a lifetime of discoveryThe Wanderers by Meg Howrey FICTION

Endurance:  a year in space, a lifetime of discovery by Scott Kelly  NON-FICTION



What fiction/non-fiction titles would you recommend that would go together well?

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Author Event: Juliette Fay

Author Event: Juliette Fay

Tuesday June 11, 2019  7pm – 8pm

We are excited to welcome author Juliette Fay to the Nevins Library!  She will be here to talk about her latest book, City of Flickering Light, which promises to transport the reader back to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the raucous Roaring Twenties, as three friends struggle to earn their places among the stars of the silent screen.

A bit about the book:

It’s July 1921, “flickers” are all the rage, and Irene Van Beck has just declared her own independence by jumping off a moving train to escape her fate in a traveling burlesque show. When her friends, fellow dancer Millie Martin and comedian Henry Weiss, leap after her, the trio finds their way to the bright lights of Hollywood with hopes of making it big in the burgeoning silent film industry.

At first glance, Hollywood in the 1920s is like no other place on earth—iridescent, scandalous, and utterly exhilarating—and the three friends yearn for a life they could only have dreamed of before. But despite the glamour and seduction of Tinseltown, success doesn’t come easy, and nothing can prepare Irene, Millie, and Henry for the poverty, temptation, and heartbreak that lie ahead. With their ambitions challenged by both the men above them and the prejudice surrounding them, their friendship is the only constant through desperate times, as each struggles to find their true calling in an uncertain world. What begins as a quest for fame and fortune soon becomes a collective search for love, acceptance, and fulfillment as they navigate the backlots and stage sets where the illusions of the silver screen are brought to life.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.  Refreshments will be served.

To register for this event CLICK HERE.  For further information, contact Sarah or Fran  at  978-686-4080  or

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Author Event: Jane Healey “The Beantown Girls”

Author Event: Jane Healey

Thursday March 28th, 2019 7pm-8pm

Please welcome author Jane Healey to the Nevins Library!  She will be discussing her newest book THE BEANTOWN GIRLS!

A bit about the book:

A novel of love, courage, and danger unfolds as World War II’s brightest heroines—the best of friends—take on the front lines.

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.  Refreshments will be served.

To register for this event, CLICK HERE.  For more information, contact Sarah or Fran at 978-686-4080 x16 or

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Immigration Stories

Immigration StoriesWhether you or your family came to the United States a year ago or a century ago, this is a country of immigrants, so it’s no wonder that stories about the immigrant experience resonate so strongly with readers. Even if our knowledge of our family’s immigration story is hazy and passed down through many generations, literature that illustrates the challenges, triumphs, and emotions of resettling in a new homeland compels us to view life through a lens very different from our own.

From the story of an escape from a shantytown in Zimbabwe depicted in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names to the harsh landscape that faces a young Norwegian immigrant in Peter Geye’s The Lighthouse Road, these stories shed light on the immigrant experience. Many people come to this country without knowing much if any English, and one of their first priorities upon coming to the country is to learn the language.

In our own community, there are newcomers who need help learning English and adjusting to their new country and culture. There is a long waiting list at many of the programs in the area, and Literacy Volunteers of Methuen is no exception; we are nearing 70 prospective students waiting for a tutor.

Through Literacy Volunteers, tutors are paired with a student and they work with this student for two hours a week, to give them dedicated attention and specialized teaching suited to the student’s unique needs. If you would like to help someone, please consider attending an orientation for the Literacy Volunteers of Methuen fall training. There are three orientations to choose from:

Saturday September 23, 10-11 a.m.
Wednesday September 27, 7-8 p.m.
Thursday September 28, 10-11 a.m.

After that, the six-week training program will begin on October 11 at 6:30 p.m. If you have any questions about the program or training, please contact Kathleen Kenny at 978-686-4080, ext. 32 or

Other fiction titles you may enjoy include: These stories portray the experiences of immigrants from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, China, and many countries in between.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Song of the Water Saints by Nelly Rosario

The Lightning Keeper by Starling Lawrence

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

A Free Life by Ha Jin

The Mortifications by Derek Palacio

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

Towelhead by Alicia Erian

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

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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!

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Aloha, Nevins Buzz readers!

On this date, August 21st, in 1959 President Dwight Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii to the Union. Thus completing the 50 states of America we know today.  Get to know the lush, beautiful Aloha State by perusing the fiction, non-fiction books and movies listed below.

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The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
A descendant of royalty and one of the largest landowners in Hawaii, Matthew King struggles to deal with his out-of-control daughters–ten-year-old Scottie and seventeen-year-old Alex–as well as his comatose wife, whom they are about to remove from life support. (Also, check out the movie version of this book).

Eddie Would Go  by Stuart Holmes Coleman
The story of Eddie Aikau, Hawaiian hero and pioneer of big wave surfing.

This is paradise: stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila
“A visceral, poignant, and elegantly gritty work of debut fiction set in Hawaii, in the vein of Junot Diaz’s Drown and Danielle Evans’s Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self.  This is the real Hawai’i: life is not the paradisical adventure that honeymooners or movie-goers see. Danger lurks on beautiful beaches, violence bubbles under the smooth surf, and characters come face to face with the inevitability of change and the need to define who they are against the forces of tradition and expectation.”

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
An examination of Hawaii’s emblematic and exceptional history, retracing the impact of New England missionaries who began arriving in the early 1800s to remake the island paradise into a version of New England.

Hawaii by James Michener
Hawaii’s prehistory and history appears through the eyes of its natives, missionaries and Asians who came to influence it.

Lost kingdom: Hawaii’s last queen, the sugar kings and America’s first imperial adventure by Julia Flynn Siler
Siler brings to life the ensuing clash between a vulnerable Polynesian people and relentlessly expanding capitalist powers. Portraits of royalty and rogues, sugar barons, and missionaries combine into a sweeping tale of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s rise and fall.

For your viewing pleasure, check these DVD’s out:

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Magnum, P.I.

Hawaii Five-O (the classic series and the reboot)

Who could forget these classic TV show’s from the 70’s and 80’s that introduced Hawaii to millions of viewers?

Blue Crush
Ann-Marie, a big-wave surfer on the North Shore of Oahu, drives to make a comeback after nearly drowning in a surfing competition. Her life becomes more complicated by her romance with a handsome football player. Ann-Marie and her surfer buddies work as maids at a posh resort and share a beach shack with Anne-Marie’s wayward young sister. Ann-Marie struggles between her need to prove herself and her desire to take the easy way out.

Wild Hawaii
From its hot molten core to the mega sized waves battering its coast, Hawaii is an untamed and very wild bit of paradise that continues to transform itself and challenge expectations.

Jake Shimabukuro: life on four strings
Follows ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro over the course of a musical season, capturing dynamic performances before sold-out crowds, intimate moments of life on the road, and visits to his native Hawai’i, where he has risen from local hero to international star.

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The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

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Were you looking for a light frothy novel for a beach read?  Well, this is not it…However if you want an engrossing, dramatic, over-the-top saga of love, desire, music, history, intrigue, war, fashion,politics and Life with a capital “L”… you have found your summer read!  Set in Paris during the Second Empire, Queen of the Night unwinds the story of Lilliet Berne (one of the many names our heroine adopts in her checkered career), as she moves from mid-west American farm-girl, to circus bareback rider, to Parisian courtesan, to a job as a maid to the Empress Eugenie, and finally to become the toast of the European opera world.   This novel is lush with description, packed with historical characters, and full of plot twists and turns.  The story is not wrapped up in a neat package, it keeps you wondering and guessing, and turning the pages until the very end.

If this is your kind of story you might also like some of these titles, found elsewhere on our shelves:

Cry to Heaven / Feast of All SaintsCry to Heaven by Anne Rice

Before she wrote about vampires, Anne Rice wrote meaty, exciting historical novels.  This one is set in the world of 18th century Venice, among the “castrati” tenors, men who were idolized for their beautiful, haunting voices, but lost their manhood in the bargain.



Image of itemBel Canto by Ann Patchett

Patchett’s rich story is about a group of party-goers taken hostage by terrorists in the Presidential Palace of a small South American country.  Included in the group of hostages is a world-famous opera singer who was there to entertain the guests.  Strange alliances form among the jailers and the captives, as the lines blur and relationships change.



Image of itemAmadeus (a film)  directed by Milos Foreman

The man who murdered Mozart?  This film is based on Peter Schaffer’s award-winning play, and tells the story of Antonio Salieri, a second-rate composer in 18th century  Vienna whose jealousy and hatred of his nemesis, Mozart, knows no bounds…






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What’s Your Four?

whats your four

Children who read just four books over the summer fare better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books. Because of this, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Nevins Memorial Library are challenging residents to choose 4 books to read over the summer months, and to share their selections on social media through a campaign called “What’s Your Four?”

Summer reading provides free family fun for all of our residents. More importantly, it helps Methuen and surrounding areas’ young students stay ahead academically.

To get us started one of our Amazing Reference Librarians told us a little bit about What Her Four favorite books this summer were:

Dead Wake by Erik Larsen:

An interesting look at the Lusitania and the controversies surrounding the sinking of this great vessel.



The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics by Stephen Coss – Who knew that the concept of vaccination for small pox started here in Boston by a physician who was almost put out of business and run out-of-town by those in charge who could not believe that something like inoculation could prevent the spread of such a deadly disease. Ben Franklin also makes an appearance and the beginnings of our print media can be traced to this time.


Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War by Pamela D. Toler, PhD – this is a companion book to the series Mercy Street which ran on PBS this past spring. It follows the fine women who risked their lives and reputations to deliver compassionate care to soldiers on both sides of the conflict in the Civil War. Many of the scenes of the series are directly taken from some of the lives and diaries of the women in this book.


Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America by Amy Belding Brown — The book follows the difficult path taken by Mary Rowlandson, a frontier minister’s wife who is captured by early Native American Indians and taken on a journey during which her faith is sorely tested but she also learns a great deal of compassion about this race of people she has been taught to hate.  This is a novelized account of real events from the 1600’s which took place in and around Massachusetts.


Have you read 4 great books this summer? (Or 3, 2, or 1?) Share them with us here in the comments. Or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr using the hashtag #WhatsYourFour.

For more information: