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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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Author Event: Carla Neggers

Author Event: Carla Neggers

Saturday September 29th 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Best-selling author Carla Neggers will be visiting the Nevins Library to talk about her new book, IMPOSTOR’S LURE, the latest in the popular series featuring FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan.

About the book:

Newlyweds Emma and Colin are suspicious when prosecutor Tamara McDermott is a no-show at a Boston dinner party. Matt Yankowski, head of HIT, Emma and Colin’s small, elite Boston-based team, is a friend of Tamara’s, and he needs them to find her.  In London, a woman who was supposed to meet Emma’s art-detective grandfather to talk about forgeries is discovered near death. Her husband, who stayed behind in Boston, has vanished. The couple’s connection to Tamara adds to the puzzle.  As the search for Tamara intensifies, a seemingly unrelated murder leads Emma, Colin and HIT deep into a maze of misdirection created by a clever, lethal criminal who stays one step ahead of them.  As Emma draws on her expertise in art crimes and Colin on his experience as a deep-cover agent, the investigation takes a devastating turn that tests the strengths of their families and friendships as well as their FBI colleagues as never before. Impostor’s Lure is full of clever twists that will keep readers guessing right to the stunning conclusion!

Carla is the author of more than 75 novels, which have been translated into dozens of languages and sold in over 35 countries.  Copies of this book and others will be available for purchase and signing.  Refreshments will be served.

To register for this program, CLICK HERE.  For more information, contact Sarah at 978-686-4080 x20 or ssullivan@nevinslibrary.org


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One Minute Book Review: Warriors by Erin Hunter

Cover image for Into the WildAs a child, I’ve grown up reading Warriors since the third grade. I’m now in my second year of college, and I continue to keep updated with the series. I just can’t bear to leave these characters and their intricate plots behind. In my opinion, Warriors may be simply written but the ideas and the themes are definitely complex. After all, what’s so childish about politics, murder, and forbidden love?
Characters are pushed to their breaking point, and if the series were written for an older audience, I think we would see even more turmoil. However, as it’s marketed for children, most scenes are limited to the true gore and turmoil it could’ve portrayed. The authors could’ve gone further and beyond if they targeted an older audience. Personally, I believe targeting the books to an older audience would have allowed the authors freedom to expand their horizons on more “adult” topics. And as the series carries on, it loses the edge and spunk that the first mini-series held.  Are the ideas underdeveloped? Yes, truthfully, they are. Is Warriors worth the read then? It definitely still is.

                                                                                                                                     ∼ Samm, Library Page
Warriors Series by Erin Hunter
(first title in series:  Warriors:  Into the Wild)
New York : HarperCollins, 2003


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Book Review: 1-800-Where-R-You Series by Meg Cabot

Cover image for When lightning strikesThe book series opens on our protagonist, Jess Mastriani, getting into a fight over her best friend, Ruth. Jess is a tomboy, who constantly gets into fights at school, causing her to have detention everyday. While she sees these fights as justified, the teachers and guidance counselors see them as her allowing her temper to get the best of her. She defends those who aren’t able to defend themselves. This is a recurring theme in the series.

At the end of the school day, after her detention, Jess expects Ruth to drive them home. Ruth, however, has decided to walk home. Just as it starts hailing, they take cover under metal bleachers, and Jess is struck by lightning. Thus our story begins and Jess develops extrasensory perception to find missing kids. She wakes up the next morning knowing where two missing kids from the back of a milk carton are. Jess is an all around strong, kick-butt character who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty or handle things on her own.

Her story isn’t without romance though.   Her crush, Rob Wilkins, whom she met in detention, is a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks and is eighteen, two years older than Jess. And to top it all off, he’s on probation. Ruth comically refers to him as “The Jerk”.

As the series progresses we see Jess save lives, almost gets killed, arsons, and deal with her great aunt Rose. The series has a wide range of locations — from her small town in Indiana, to the summer camp she is a counselor at, to the back woods of her town, to New York and a Military base, and to a biker bar named Chick’s.  Jess is never at a loss for words or adventure, almost always with Rob or Ruth tagging along behind her.

This book series is well written, diverse, and without a doubt one of my favorite book series. I would recommend this series to anyone looking for realistic young adult science fiction or wild adventure.

Bistany, Nevins Library Page

First in series:  When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot


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Destination Maine: a literary travel guide for the whole family

Destination Maine:  Vacation Land!

Summer has sprung, the kids are out of school and we’re getting hot to trot.  The cool ocean waves, the tall shady pine trees, fresh blueberries and luscious lobster all beckon us to the classic New England vacation state, Maine.  Before you head out there, be sure to stop by your library and pick up books for the whole family to enjoy.

Children’s picture books:

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One Morning in Maine by Robert McClosky
An exciting day, the loss of Sal’s first tooth, is realistically recaptured by this fine storyteller and in the large, extraordinary blue-pencil drawings of Penobscot Bay.  Pair with Blueberries for Sal, another classic by McClosky.

The Wicked Big Toddlah by Kevin Hawkes
A year in the life of a baby in Maine who is just like any other baby except that he is gigantic. Silly fun!

L is for Lobster by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds ; illustrated by Jeannie Brett
A Maine alphabet!

 

For Older Children:

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Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord
When the state of Maine threatens to shut down their island’s one-room schoolhouse because of dwindling enrollment, eleven-year-old Tess, a strong believer in luck, and her family take in a trumpet-playing foster child, to increase the school’s population.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community founded by former slaves that the town fathers–and Turner’s–want to change into a tourist spot.

The Young Man and the Sea by Rodman Philbrick
After his mother’s death, twelve-year-old Skiff Beaman decides that it is up to him to earn money to take care of himself and his father, so he undertakes a dangerous trip alone out on the ocean off the coast of Maine to try to catch a huge bluefin tuna.

For Teens:

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The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
In the late-eighteenth century, eleven-year-old Matt befriends an Indian boy of the Beaver clan who helps him survive alone in the wilderness.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
“Perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet online when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. The two 17-year-olds strike up an e-mail relationship from opposite sides of the country and don’t even know each other’s first names. What’s more, Ellie doesn’t know Graham is a famous actor, and Graham doesn’t know about the big secret in Ellie’s family tree. When the relationship goes from online to in-person, they find out whether their relationship can be the real thing”

Need by Carrie Jones
Depressed after the death of her stepfather, high school junior Zara goes to live with her grandmother in a small Maine town, where new friends tell Zara the strange man she keeps seeing may be a pixie king, and that only “were” creatures can stop him from taking souls.

 

For Adults:

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The State We’re In: Maine Stories by Ann Beattie
This is about more than geographical location of Maine, and certainly is not a picture postcard of the coastal state. Some characters have arrived by accident, others are trying to get out. The collection opens, closes, and is interlaced with stories that focus on Jocelyn, a wryly disaffected teenager living with her aunt and uncle while attending summer school. As in life, the narratives of other characters interrupt Jocelyn’s, sometimes challenging, sometimes embellishing her view.

Town in a Blueberry Jam by B.B. Haywood
“In the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has a mostly idyllic life, tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father, and occasionally stepping to to solve a murder or two… Candy is just as shocked as the rest of the locals when two murders occur back-to-back… When her friend, a local handyman, is accused of the murder, Candy investigates to clear his name…But as Candy sorts through the town’s juicy secrets, things start to get very sticky indeed…”

The Hungry Ocean: a SwordBoat’s Captain’s Journey by Linda Greenlaw (Non-Fiction)
The female captain of a swordfishing vessel chronicles the experience of a month long fishing voyage.

Also, check out the 2016 Maine Literary Awards for more titles.

What other books summon up summer in Maine to you?

 


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Review: “The Voyage of the Basilisk”

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In this third installment of the memoirs of Lady Trent, hero and dragon naturalist Isabella must navigate treacherous seas, international politics, and quasi-Victorian concepts of propriety in order to study the dragons of many continents. From sea-serpents to fire-drakes, any dragon that needs studying is worth endangering life and limb for.

This was unquestionably an entertaining book. Written in a Victorian-esqe style, it was a convincing anthropological tale of a world analogous to ours. While its criticisms of 19th-century class and gender mores wasn’t necessarily original, it was still fun to root for a heroine who was on the right side of future history. A little gender studies-worthy cultural mix-up is handled with aplomb and enriches the story.

But I kept expecting more from this book, which had clearly been so thoroughly researched. I don’t know if I’d feel differently if I’d read previous Lady Trent stories, but this just felt oddly light in the loafers. Maybe I’m too used to Hollywood, where she’d get the guy and be accepted into the Highly Literate Society and overcome all barriers triumphantly to a gigantic round of applause, all within ninety minutes. This wasn’t really that kind of instant-gratification story. In fact, Isabella doesn’t get even half of what she wants in the end, though she achieves enough in the way of small victories to be satisfied for the moment. That’s definitely in keeping with the book’s emphasis on realism – as if to counterbalance the magical implications of dragons and ancient civilizations and all that, the book is studiously, stubbornly magic-free – and many readers will appreciate it.

As for me, I wanted her to shack up with the dude, fight the bad guys with cutlasses, and rule over a dragon sanctuary with the power of sea-serpents. I’m a big explosions kind of girl. Victorian-style literature in general has always been too staid for my taste, and while I enjoyed this and recognize that it’s a sophisticated and interesting piece of work, I’ll probably gravitate back toward Stephen King and David Wong after this.

Also Read:

6381205Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti’s soulless state makes her something of a social outcast. But when she is attacked by a vampire, the sheer level of transgression of manners is simply intolerable. Time to investigate!

 

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Kindred Nature: Victorian and Edwardian Women Embrace Nature by Barbara Gates

Real women rebel, too! This book recounts the impact of pioneering woman naturalists who lived during eras when their achievements weren’t necessarily celebrated.

 

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

The British realm is locked in a deadly game with Napoleon’s army, and Napoleon has one enormous advantage: dragons. But when the HMS Reliant captures a French ship bearing an unhatched egg, the tide will turn…


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Did you miss our Spring Fling with Books Thursday Night?

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That’s okay, because I’m here to present to all you gentle readers a list based on the books that were talked about last night. If you have any questions about them, feel free to drop by the Reference Desk and speak to one of us (or any one at the Reference Desk. We’re all librarians who love to talk about books!)

Now, in no particular order our books that we flung Spring-ily:

http://catalog.mvlc.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/1393471Krista

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux
House by Tracy Kidder
Dead Wake by Erik Larsen
As Always, Julia ed. by Joan Reardon

 

Snow Crash

Anna

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
The Stand by Stephen King
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

 

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The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Dangerous Women ed. by George R.R. Martin
The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

 

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Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron
Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen
Lock In by John Scalzi
Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 by Sarah Vaughn
Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick

 

tl;dr We would very much like it if you came to the Reference Desk and talked to us about books!


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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.


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Book Review: The Sixty-Eight Rooms

Fans of adventure and mystery of The Magic Tree House series are sure to love The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone. This first installment, based on the author’s love of the Thorne Miniature Rooms in the Art Institute of Chicago, is enthralling in its mystery. The story focuses on Ruthie and Jack, best friends who visit the Art Institute on a school field trip and discover that the rooms are more magical than they could ever have imagined. After finding a key that allows wonders beyond belief, they are able to enter these tiny rooms themselves. In each that they visit, they come closer to unlocking the secret of the magic behind these worlds. How does the magic allow them to shrink down to enter these dollhouse rooms? How are there worlds beyond each? Will life ever be the same for Ruthie and Jack? The wonder will pull you in as well while you accompany them on their journey of discovery.


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Book Review: “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

This book review is by our teen contributor, Abigail. 

DIVERGENT is a science-fiction novel set in a dystopian Chicago. The plot follows 16 year-old Beatrice Prior, a curious girl with a wandering heart. Her residential city is split into five sectors, each belonging to a different “faction.” Beatrice is born into Abnegation, the selfless faction. However, there are 4 other factions: Dauntless, the Brave; Erudite, the Intelligent; Candor, the Honest; and Amity, the Peaceful. The story opens up with Beatrice anticipating the dreaded school day ahead of her at her bland, cold home. At school, she must take the “Aptitude Test.” The test is a simulation that wires your brain to make decisions that link to more intense decisions. After taking the test, Beatrice is told by her test administrator, Tori (a Dauntless), that she is Divergent. Being Divergent means that your mind can’t be controlled; that you belong in more than one faction. In Beatrice’s case, she has aptitudes for Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite. But which will she choose at the Choosing Ceremony that night? After making her decision, Tris later finds out that the main antagonist (Jeanine Matthews, leader of the Erudite) is out to kill Divergents, to make their society become more stable and under-control. Will she succeed?

********** My Rating:  4 Stars Common Sense Media’s Rating:  5 Stars I give this novel a well-deserved 4-out-of-5 star rating. I love this trilogy, because as you get deeper into the series, there is a definite gain of self-discovery that encourages girls to be brave, be courageous, be intelligent, and overall, be themselves. Character development was thoughtfully planned, and as Beatrice realizes that she’s more than a “Stiff” (tease for the Abnegation children), the reader gets to realize that with her. As I read the book, I slowly started to connect with the characters, and if a book doesn’t do that to you, then the author isn’t doing their job. So, why don’t you go to the Nevins Memorial Library this weekend and pick up a copy? Especially with it’s sequel, Insurgent, already in theaters!

***** Thank you so much Abby! You may request your copy of Divergent from Nevins Library here: Regular Print Large Print En Espanol Books on CD DVD