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Engaging Methuen Readers


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In the Garden

If you are like me and are seeking solace in gardening, you may be chomping at the bit to start planting vegetables and flowers.  New England’s Spring weather is iffy at best, and this April was the coldest on record, complete with frost warnings and even snow.  Cold weather vegetables can be cautiously planted earlier in the Spring, but traditionally, New England gardeners wait until after Memorial Day to start planting their warm weather vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  The following are some books (ebook and print) that can help inspire you and answer your gardening questions.  Ready, set, go — get your hands dirty!

Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening by Deborah Martin
A beginner’s guide to starting a healthy garden.  This is a classic in the field!

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
Ten new features in this all new updated edition.  Anyone anywhere can enjoy a square foot garden!

Pollinator Friendly Gardening by Rhonda Fleming Hayes
Gardening for Bees, Butterflies, and Other Pollinators.  Help protect threatened butterflies, bees and other pollinators and have an alluring colorful garden, too.  It’s a “win-win” solution!

Container Gardening Secrets: tips for the beginner by Danielle Long
A great tool that will help the novice gardener to learn the techniques that are required to have a successful container garden. It is also a great text for those who have limited or no garden space that wants to grow some vegetables and herbs for home consumption or simply want to add some color to their home with some great flowers.

Grow Food for Free by Huw Richards
The sustainable, zero-cost, low-effort way to a bountiful harvest.  Grow your own vegetables from kitchen scraps!

Covering Ground by Barbara Ellis Unexpected ideas for landscaping with colorful, low-maintenance ground covers.  A pretty, practical and sustainable way to transform your ordinary lawn.

All titles are available in ebook format through Overdrive or it’s app, Libby


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On Walking…

It’s free, it’s fun, it’s still allowed… it’s walking! During our current circumstances I, like many people, have rediscovered the simple joys of taking a walk outdoors. Walking is good for our physical health (provided we practice our social distancing), and just as importantly, it helps us to clear our minds and focus on the here and now.  On my own recent walks, I have discovered many delights, from local architectural details to wildlife, that I would normally miss when driving. Speaking of which, even the drivers seem more polite these days, stopping for me at crosswalks in a most unhurried fashion!

Here are some books on the subject of walking — from the history of it, to personal narratives of “wild” walkers and a memorable fictional character who is on both a figurative and literal journey.

Cover image for Wanderlust :Wanderlust : a history of walking by Rebecca Solnit (2000)
A cultural history of walking explores the practice, from ancient Greece to the present, delving into Wordsworth, Gary Snyder, Rousseau, Jane Austen, and other cultural and literary icons to show how this basic activity has been imagined throughout history.

 

 

Cover image for On trailsOn Trails:  an exploration by Robert Moore (2016)
A groundbreaking exploration of the role of trails in shaping culture, order and history draws on the author’s international travels and findings in myriad disciplines while exploring examples ranging from tiny ant trails and continental hiking paths to interstate highways and the Internet.

 

 

Cover image for WalkingWalking by Henry David Thoreau (1862)
This essay, published posthumously, is considered by many to resemble a concise version of “Walden.” Thoreau considers walking to be an effective way to explore both his inner and outer worlds. As he rambles through the woods, his thoughts ramble far and wide until they encompass his hopeful vision for the entire American continent.

Also available as an ebook in Libby (Overdrive)

Using her wits and skills as a hunter to get by, a woman describes her solo 10,000-mile trek across the Gobi desert where she encountered mafiosos, drug dealers, thieves on horseback, temperature extremes, dehydration, ringworm and dengue fever.

 

Cover image for The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry :The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012)
Recently retired, Harold Fry lives in a small English village with a wife who seems irritated by everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next until a letter arrives in the mail from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy, in hospice, is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply, but a chance encounter at the corner mailbox convinces him that he must deliver it in person. So Harold sets off on a six-hundred mile journey because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie will live.

 


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Cleaning Your Refuge

Cover image for Making space, clutter free :There’s nothing like a quarantine at home to get you motivated to do some Spring cleaning!  One book on this topic that I have found to be inspiring is Making Space, Clutter Free by Tracy McCubbin.  I have read many books on this subject.  What I like about this one is that McCubbin addresses the reasons behind why we clutter in the first place, both psychological and societal.  She is also refreshingly honest about decluttering being a process rather than some magical, one-day affair.

Some other books that I have found to be helpful are:

The Clutter Cure by Judi Culbertson also addresses the root causes of clutter.

Essential: essays by The Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.  This collection of short essays from their website, The Minimalists, is great for dipping in and out of.  This one encompasses an entire lifestyle,  including technological and financial clutter as well.  Or, you can listen to their podcast about living a more meaningful life with less.

Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver.  Like The Minimalists, Carver is advocating for simplifying your entire life so that you can focus on your personal priorities.


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Books for the Green Energy Revolution

Maybe you’ve noticed and maybe you haven’t, but alternative energy is all the rage. Who wants to live on an overheated planet? Not this librarian! Green energy doesn’t have to be super expensive. In fact, the library has resources that can help you get it cheap and even build it yourself. Start with these excellent picks from the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium!

Cover image for Careers in green energyCareers in Green Energy by Laura Mars

Sure, solar panels can be expensive, but they also pay well! Whether or not you can personally use green energy on your home right now, you can still contribute to the revolution (and make a little green of your own on the way.)

Cover image for Do-it-yourself projects to get you off the grid :Do-It-Yourself Projects to Get You Off the Grid: Rain Barrels, Chicken Coops, Solar Panels, and More from Instructables.com; edited by Noah Weinstein

I told you there would be a book that showed you how to build a solar panel! If you’re not familiar with Instructables.com, then it’s worth your while to click over before you borrow this book. It’s a great resource for all things DIY, and it hosts a thriving community of DIY solar-panel makers.

Cover image for The energy wise home :The Energy Wise Home: Practical Ideas for Sustainable Living by Jeff Dondero

From insulation to efficient appliances to renewable energy for your home, this book covers it all from soup to nuts. If you want to start at the top and learn everything there is to know about making your home as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible, this is your book.

Cover image for The homeowner's energy handbook :The Homeowner’s Energy Handbook: Your Guide to Getting Off the Grid by Paul Scheckel

Getting “off the grid” may be the holy grail of the sustainability movement, but you’ll find that you can cherry-pick what works best for you from this useful and interesting book.

Cover image for Musings of an energy nerd :Musings of an Energy Nerd: Toward an Energy-Efficient Home by Martin Holladay

The Energy Nerd had a great blog where you can still read all about how to make your home more efficient. After all, reducing your use is a great first step to becoming more environmentally conscious!

 

Cover image for Real Goods solar living sourcebook :

Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook: Your Complete Guide to Living Beyond the Grid with Renewable Energy Technologies and Sustainable Living by John Schaeffer

With an introduction by 350.org’s Bill McKibben, this book is a standout for alternative energy aficionados. If you’ve read through the basic energy-saving books and want more, then this is where to turn.

Cover image for Renewable energy :Renewable Energy: a Primer for the Twenty-First Century by Bruce Usher

What’s all this renewable energy business about, anyway? If you want to have an intelligent conversation about sustainable power, then this is the book you need to read first. You’ll be glad you did when you can fluently explain the history of humanity’s energy use and how humanity can transition from burning things for fuel to a more advanced system.

Cover image for Self-sufficiency for the 21st centurySelf-Sufficiency for the 21st Century by Dick & James Strawbridge

Don’t be intimidated by the intense title: there is some great green energy advice in these pages! You might pick up some other lifestyle tips at the same time, but don’t let that stop you.


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Program: Hiking the White Mountains

Hiking the White Mountains

Monday February 10th, 2020 at 7pm

From Adams to Washington and everything in between!

Join us as Patricia Ellis Herr, author of Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure, talks about winter hiking in the White Mountains.

Copies of her book will be available for sale and signing.

 

Patricia (Trish) Ellis Herr has been hiking the White Mountains of NH with her two daughters, Alexandra and Sage, since the summer of 2008.  Trish, Alex, and Sage have been hiking the Four Thousand Footers nearly every week year-round, and the daughters are closing in on accomplishing the Grid (all 48 4Ks during each month of the year).  Alexandra and Sage are featured in Trish’ book UP: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure, published in 2012 by Random House imprint Broadway Books.

To register for this program, CLICK HERE.  For further information contact Kirsten at 978-686-4080×13 or  kunderwood@nevinslibrary.org


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Mocktail Books To Rock Your Dry January

I’m a big fan of Dry January, the movement to abstain from alcohol for one month a year. No matter what your reasons are – weight loss, pregnancy, health, tolerance decrease, or just plain old fun – good for you! It takes a lot of willpower to avoid alcohol.

But just because you can’t get drunk doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! If you’re looking for new stuff to drink, we’ve got you covered with these non-alcoholic beverage recipe books. Cheers!

Drinking for Two: Nutritious Mocktails for the Mom-To-BeDrinking for Two: Nutritious Mocktails for the Mom-To-Be by Diana Licalzi and Kerry Criss

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t drink alcohol while you’re pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t blow off some steam! These mocktails are both delicious and nutritious.

Dry: Non-Alcoholic Cocktails, Cordials and Clever ConcoctionsDry: Non-Alcoholic Cocktails, Cordials and Clever Concoctions by Clare Liardet

A lot of the recipes in this particular book are absolutely new…and absolutely delicious! Do yourself a favor and try this magical collection of easy-to-find syrups and nonalcoholic spirits.

Mocktails, Punches, and Shrubs: Over 80 Nonalcoholic Drinks to Savor and EnjoyMocktails, Punches, and Shrubs: Over 80 Nonalcoholic Drinks to Savor and Enjoy by Vikas Khanna

The DK reference brand never disappoints! The sheer quantity of drink recipes available here is staggering. Before long, you’ll be making up your own recipes!

Mocktails: The Complete Bartender's GuideMocktails: The Complete Bartender’s Guide by Kester Thompson

Any bartender who doesn’t know how to make a delicious mocktail is a bad bartender – and you don’t want to be that! Before your next big bash, brush up on your booze-free drinks with this handy, practical guide.

Party Like A Mock Star!: Have a Booze-Free Blast with No-regrets Mocktails!Party Like a Mock Star!: Have a Booze-Free Blast with No-Regrets Mocktails! by Zoe Robinette

If you’ve ever been 16, then you know the frustration of being at a party and unable to drink. Here’s your cure! This glamorous drinks guide discusses why women drink, what they drink, and why glamorous women drink mocktails.

Zero-Proof Cocktails: Alcohol-Free Beverages for Every OccasionZero Proof Cocktails: Alcohol-Free Beverages for Every Occasion by Liz Scott

Chef Liz Scott has alternatives to every cocktail out there – and they’re just as good as their alcoholic inspirations! From Cosmo to Sangria, you’ll find all your favorites here.


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New Year, New You Book Review: Boundaries by Henry Cloud

Editor’s Note:  One of my colleagues suggested this for the previous blog post,  Staff Favorite reads in 2019, but I thought it was so important that it deserved its own separate post.

Cover image for Boundaries :Boundaries:  When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud

If you find yourself drawn to the trendy buzz words “toxic”, “self-care” or the beloved classic “dysfunctional”, reading Boundaries may be suitable for you.  I consider myself to be a caring and helpful person; however, when boundaries were crossed or not present, I became the “toxic” one, the “dysfunctional” one and not taking care of myself. I continually found myself overwhelmed by others around me, whether it be their unspoken demands, their high expectations, or reckless behavior.  What I learned from this book is how responsible I was for allowing the aforementioned to overwhelm me, where to identify the boundary issues and how to set healthy boundaries. The changes I made within and around myself after reading this book have proven to make a significant difference in my well-being and presence.

Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
Updated and expanded [edition], 2017
Zondervan
ISBN: 9780310350231


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Civil War Femme Fatales

When you think of the Civil War, do you think of the crafty women who infiltrated enemy lines, risking their lives to pierce the fog of war and retrieve secrets for their side? No? Why on Earth not? The Civil War was all about female espionage. Here are seven fantastic titles, fiction and non-, about the femme fatales of the Civil War.

Cover image for Liar, temptress, soldier, spy :Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: four women undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott

This book follows four women as they hide their identities and take a big risk. As gripping as fiction, this true life story is an ideal book club pick.

 

Cover image for The spymistress :The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini

Elizabeth van Lew is a Union sympathizer in a Confederate land. Using her education and wits, she’s able to do a lot for the Richmond underground…and the political prisoners being held by the rebels!

 

Cover image for An extraordinary unionAn Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Most people would just be happy to have their freedom after a life begun in slavery. Not Elle Burns! She turns spy and discovers that espionage comes with its share of romantic entanglements in this work of romantic fiction.

 

Cover image for Stealing secrets :Stealing Secrets: how a few daring women deceived generals, impacted battles, and altered the course of the Civil War by H. Donald Winkler

Did you know that one of the ways that women smuggled war secrets out from behind enemy lines was by concealing them in their hoop skirts? It’s true! All those details and more come to vivid life in this nonfiction book.

 

Cover image for All the daring of the soldier :All the Daring of the Soldier: women of the Civil War armies by Elizabeth D. Leonard

In an era when the best women could hope for was the life of a servant, many felt that spying was a more stimulating career option. Exploding myths and painting vivid portraits, this nonfiction book is a must-read.

 

Miss Lizzie's War: The Double Life of Southern Belle Spy Elizabeth Van LewMiss Lizzie’s War: the double life of southern belle spy Elizabeth Van Lew by Rosemary Agonito

This is the spy upon whom Chiaverini’s The Spymistress is based! She was an actual person and her true-to-life story is all written down here, including the clever strategies that she used to aid the Union Army.

 

Cover image for Wild Rose :Wild Rose: Rose O’Neale Greenhow, Civil War spy by Ann Blackman

Using her Washington connections, this spy for the Confederacy charmed secrets from Union officials as easily as a wave of her fan.


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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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Space Walk into the Solar System!

Take a “Space Walk” at the Nevins Library

The Children’s Department has created an informative “Space Walk” for young children around our lovely library grounds.  Walking from page to page, you’ll learn all sorts of interesting facts about the planets in our solar system.

Nature lovers of all ages may also enjoy strolling the grounds to view the blooming day lilies and the beautifully landscaped trees and shrubs from around the world.  These were planted here by Henry Nevins when he and his family established the library in memory of his father, David Nevins Sr, in 1883.  Maps including the names and locations of the Library trees are available at the Reference Desk.