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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Christmas Books and Movies

I’m a sucker for a media tie-in/novelization, and at Christmas time it seems like nearly all the Christmas movies are in someway or somehow created directly from, or inspired by Christmas books.

Some of these movies won’t be surprising to most, they’re either classics, or they don’t hide that they’re from books. But, with a lot of them, the only way you can tell is from a quick flash of an author’s name and their book’s title during the credits.

They fall into three categories:

The Famous Ones

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

There are three, count them, three movies with this title or a title very much like it that you can watch. I’m talking about the original 25 minute short with Boris Karloff and Thurl Ravenscroft (speaking and singing respectively).

It’s based on the book by Dr. Seuss, and, you can’t go wrong with either watching the movie or reading the book because the two stories are so similar. Just, I beg you, don’t watch the Jim Carey version!

A Christmas Carol

Definitely go read this book if you haven’t yet. There are a bunch of different and great versions of this. Personally, the one with Patrick Stewart, and the Muppet Christmas Carol are my favorites.

Luckily, whether you like George Scott, Jim Carey, or any of the other takes on the classic story, there seems to be a Christmas Carol for everyone.

The Polar Express

This (at the time) was a groundbreaking movie because it melded live action motion capture with animation.

Like the Grinch, the author, Chris Van Allsburg was one of the producers, and, you can tell that in how close the book and movie are in theme, tone, and plot.

It’s a Wonderful Life

In the final one of the famous movies, this is a definite classic, and, the only one on this part of the list that I didn’t know was based on a story. It’s based on “The Greatest Gift” short story by Philip Van Doren Stern.

The Surprising Ones

Ah, we’ve gotten to the Hallmark/Lifetime/Up/Etc. movies. Quite a few of these are based on one book or another. Some of them tout that, but, a lot of them don’t.

Here are just a smattering of them:

Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses

The movie is a Hallmark one, and, we’re starting with an easy one because it’s based on a book of the same name by Jenny Hale.

It’s about Abbey and Nick. Abbey gets hired to decorate Nick’s family’s mansion, and, well, Nick is a bit of a grump about it at first.

Hale writes a lot of Christmas romance books, but, also has some set in the summer as well. She also has “Coming Home for Christmas” which was on Hallmark in 2017 and also based on a book of hers of the same name.

Debbie Macomber’s Dashing Through the Snow

When you’re Debbie Macomber, you get to have people know from the outset that the movie is based on your book.

This movie (and book) is about Ashley and Dash, who wind up having to share a car so that Ashley can get home. There’s even a bit of a suspenseful subplot that goes on, and –the– cutest dog ever on television.

She also has at least two or three other (very obviously titled) Christmas movies.

The Nine Lives of Christmas

Based on a book of the same name by Sheila Roberts. Zach is a fireman and committment-phobe who adops a stray cat (yay, it’s a cat and not a dog movie!!) and then happens to meet a Veterinary Student who may just break his phobia.

And, it also looks like Sheila Roberts has gone cross channel, and has a Lifetime Christmas movie as well called, “On Strike for Christmas”. Gutsy.

The Mistletoe Secret

The Mistletoe Secret is based on a book of the same name by Richard Paul Evans. Aria convinces a famous travel writer to come to her hometown for Christmas, but, instead there’s some big ole twists and turns in there when the travel writer’s ghostwriter shows up first.

Richard Paul Evans doesn’t just have a Christmas movie in this millenium either. But, back in 1995 his book “The Christmas Box” got turned into a movie too.

The Book/Movie being Semi-Simultaneous Published

Miracle on 34th Street (the 1947 version, also known as, the only one that I will acknowledge).

I did not know that the film and book came out at the same time. I guess if Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick can do it, so can Valentine Davies (he wrote the movie and the novelization of it).

If these aren’t enough movies to keep you busy until the 25th, here are a couple of good links for this years (and previous years) Christmas movies that are based on books:

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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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Romance Author Panel

Nevins Library presents

Saturday February 3rd, 2018  1pm-3pm

Love is in the air, and in the library!  Come and meet a panel of wonderful romance authors, here to talk about their latest books!  We can fall in love with their characters, get swept away by their settings, and ask the eternal question:  Will they or won’t they?

Scheduled to appear:

Loreen Augeri:  The author of three historical romance novels, she will be talking about her most recent book: Not a Gentleman.  In this book, Nicholas has captured Juliana in order to deliver her to her betrothed, but their hearts are reaching for each other instead.

Patricia Barletta:  The second book in her Auriano Curse series, Moon Shadow, finds Antonio, Duke of Auriano is on his way to Paris to visit his sister, but when a highwayman steals the moonstone pendant that curbs the devastating effects of the family curse, he vows to find the thief and retrieve what is his. When Solange Delacroix steals from the handsome stranger her precarious life tips into spiral of danger.

J.B. Mullins:  Her debut is titled Dear, and this is where we meet Amanda and Steven.  These two imperfect people are instantly drawn together, which in turn, leads them toward spiritually intimate awakenings that will be disastrous if either of them are not fully prepared and ready.

Satin Russell:  Her second romantic suspense novel is Secret Need where Liz wants nothing to do with Alex – her childhood bully.  However, he finds her intriguing and would love for her to give him a chance.  But when they discover big secrets in their small Maine town, they are forced to rely on each other to survive.


The books will be available for purchase and signing.  Refreshments will be served.

**Snow date for this event will be Saturday, February 24 at 1pm**

To register for this program, CLICK HERE.  For further information, contact Sarah at 978-686-4080 x20 or

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Operation Delta Dog @ the Nevins Library

Operation Delta Dog @ the Nevins Library

November 15,  2016 from 7:00 PM—8:00 PM

How do dogs become service dogs?
How do these service dogs help Veterans’?

Find out this and more when
Operation Delta Dog visits Nevins Library.

Click here to register

Peaked your interest?  Click here for the Operation Delta Dog website and read/view more about service dogs with these suggested titles at your local library.

Service Dogs:  a guide to choosing and training your own service dog by Dee Bogetti (Non-Fiction)


Through a Dog’s Eyes (DVD – PBS Documentary)
Follows the inspiring stories of people with disabilities as they experience the heartwarming and sometimes challenging process of being matched with and receiving a service dog.


Weekends with Daisy by Sharron Kahn Luttrell (Non-Fiction)
A volunteer service dog trainer discusses her relationships with an endearing yellow Labrador puppy and its felon partner in the Prison PUP program, describing coming to terms with the inmate’s past and the program’s requirement to release the dog after training.


Service Dogs by Linda Tagliaferro (Children’s Non-Fiction)
Describes the history, selection, training, and accomplishments of different dogs who help people with medical problems.


Primal Force by D.D. Ayres (Adult Fiction)
Jori Garrison trains dogs for Warrior Wolf Pack, which provides service animals for disabled veterans.  She just wants to live her life in peace with her beloved dogs. No men, no complications. But it’s hard to play it cool when a lethally hot male is on her tail–and the attraction is fierce, mutual, and dangerous.


 Until Tuesday:  a wounded warrior and the golden retriever who saved him by Luis Carlos Montalván
Shares the inspiring story of how a sensitive golden retriever emerged from a difficult past as a prison pet and trainee at a home for troubled youths to become a dedicated service animal to the author, a decorated and traumatized Iraq War veteran.


A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Munroe (Adult Fiction)
Young Miller McClellan struggles with his older brother’s return from the war with PTSD and his family’s financial difficulties, a situation that escalates over the holiday season when Miller becomes lost in the woods at the side of his brother’s service dog.

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NML Book Group: Romance

October is National Reading Group Month.  In the spirit of  celebrating the joy of shared reading,  we’ll be posting info about the various book groups at the Nevins Library throughout this month.

In all romance novels the plot revolves around the love relationship and the inevitable happy ending but contrary to popular opinion, they are not all alike.  Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any location and time with varying levels of sensuality-ranging from sweet to scorching hot.  Not just boy meets girl, some even feature vampires, werewolves, and extraterrestrials.

Some of the sub-genres that will be discussed include action/adventure, historical (regency, medieval, highlander, Victorian, etc), fantasy/futuristic, suspense/thriller/mystery, paranormal, erotica, western, humorous and contemporary.

The Romance Book Club meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm.  Copies of the tImage of itemitle for discussion are made available at the Circulation Desk a month prior to each meeting.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday November 3rd at 7pm and the book discussion will be on “Luckiest Lady in London” by Sherry Thomas.

New members are always welcome.  For more information and to register, contact Pat Graham at 978-686-4080 ext. 16 or

Cover of Romatic Times Magazine featuring Elizabeth Hoyt

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Recommended Reading Website:

August is National “Read-A-Romance” Month, so it seems like an appropriate time to recommend this penulitmate readers’ advisory website for romance fans.

Romantic Times is a genre magazine, website, newsletter and blog specializing in the vast array of romance novels that are being published today.  The website includes book reviews and “top picks” as well as news in the romantic lit world and upcoming publications.  RT has expanded their genre coverage to include mystery, paranormal, inspirational, young adult, science fiction, and erotica as well as mainstream romantic fiction.

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Books Being Made Into Movies 2015

Here are a few of the great books being made into movies this year.

Madame Bovary Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel of an unfaithful wife and the tragedy she causes, will hit the screen this June in a film starring Mia Wasikoswka. Check it out in fiction or large print here at the Nevins.

Paper towns A romance by the massively popular young adult author John Green will be in theaters this July. Get ready by looking  for Paper Towns or another of Green’s novels in our YA section.

into thin air Jon Krakauer’s true-life account of the 1996 Mt. Everest climbing disaster is expected to be released this September. Krakauer is one of the current masters of gripping nonfiction, and this story will keep you on the edge of your seat even if you do know the ending.

Black mass Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, and Kevin Bacon, should also be in theaters this September. Let’s see if they finally get the Boston accents right!

Brooklyn And, finally, Irish author Colm Toibin’s evocative novel about Eilis Lacey, an Irish immigrant to Brooklyn in the 1950s, is expected to be released this November. Meanwhile, check out our copy in fiction and read (as The New Yorker so aptly put it) how “to emigrate is to become a foreigner in two places at once.”

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A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland

In A Dance Through Time, Elizabeth Smith falls asleep in Gramercy Park, NYC in 1996 thinking of 14th century Scotland and the Laird of the MacLeod Clan only to find herself thrust backward in time and into handsome Laird Jamie’s arms. Humor pervades the story in both the romantic, saucy banter between Elizabeth and Jamie, and the “fish out of water” scenario which each experiences in their due time. The author also takes care to add some wonderful, and at times odoriferous, historical details to remind the reader which time period they are in, but they do not distract from the easy flow of the story. The theme of family and belonging, whether it be blood kin or clansmen, runs throughout the book and contributes to a feeling of warmth and inclusion. This will be an entertaining read for someone who likes their romance and fantasy on the light side.