Engaging Methuen Readers

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Local Author Event: “Implant” by Dr. Robert E. Kellan

Local Author Event: Dr. Robert E. Kellan

Wednesday June 6th, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Dr. Robert E. Kellan has been practicing opthamology in Methuen for just over 30 years.  He has now taken his personal experiences from developing an implant for cataract patients to setting up an eye center in Lithuania and put them into his first book IMPLANT.

A bit about this espionage thriller:

Internationally acclaimed eye surgeon Alex Kirby designed his cataract intraocular lens to help people recover their sight.  He never thought it could be adapted for surveillance or that he’d find himself deeply involved in the tangled world of international espionage.  In the field for the first time, Kirby quickly learns no mission goes according to plan, especially in a world of beautiful CIA agents and Russia’s brutal Federal Security Force.  For the State Department’s audacious plan to succeed, sacrifices will be required – possibly including Kirby’s own life.

Come hear Dr. Kellan talk about this book, and the events that inspired him to write.  He is generously donating 20 books that will be signed to the first 20 people to arrive at this event!  Refreshements will be served.

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

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Author Event: Hank Phillippi Ryan

Author Event: Hank Phillippi Ryan

Wednesday, September 13th  6:30 PM – 8:00 PM


Hank Phillippi Ryan is coming back!  Our last scheduled event was upended by the winter weather, but we should not have that problem this time!

Hank will be here to talk about her latest novel, now available in paperback:  SAY NO MORE.

A little about the book:

When Boston reporter Jane Ryland reports a hit and run, she soon learns she saw more than a car crash–she witnessed the collapse of an alibi, and now she’s under pressure to tell all to the police. She’s also digging up the inside scoop for an expose of sexual assaults on Boston’s college campuses for the station’s new documentary unit, and is working with a victim to reveal her heartbreaking experience on camera. But, a disturbing anonymous message–SAY NO MORE–has Jane really and truly scared.

Homicide detective Jake Brogan is on the hunt for the murderer of Avery Morgan, a hot-shot Hollywood screenwriter. As Jake chips his way through a code of silence as shatterproof as any street gang, he’ll learn that one newcomer to the neighborhood may have a secret of her own.

A young woman faces a life-changing decision–should she go public about her assault? What’s really going on behind closed doors at a prestigious Boston college? And when will the killer strike again? Jane and Jake–now semi-secretly engaged and beginning to reveal their relationship to the world–are both on a high-stakes quest for answers. Can they handle the consequences of the truth?

Books will be available for purchase & signing.  Refreshements will be served.

To register online for this event, click here.  For more information or to reserve a spot, call/email Sarah at 978.686.4080 x20/

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What’s Your Four this Summer?

Cover image for Station elevenSummer is always a great time for doing some concentrated reading. For me, it happens up at the lake house in between projects. This year, like last year, I was happy to share my “four” in the #WhatsYourFour program for the ReadsinMa program for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).  This program is meant to highlight the need for kids to read just four books over the summer to increase their success in reading comprehension tests in the fall.


Cover image for The FiremanI started out reading two novels portraying different dystopian futures caused by pandemics which leave the planet populated by groups of people who strive to keep their families and friends safe and secure. While they were interesting and engrossing they did make me feel the need to take a break and move to something a little lighter so I picked up a thriller by Catherine Coulter, Devil’s Triangle. This is a fast paced novel that explores the possibility of an invention of DaVinci and Tesla falling in to the wrong hands and wreaking havoc on the planet.


Cover image for The devil's triangleFinding myself again in the area of annihilation of the planet it was time to refocus onto something uplifting and so my final choice was Hidden Figures, the story of several black women who contributed untold amounts of hours and brain power to the fledgling space race and the organization of NASA. Along with their story the author relates the coinciding issues of race in the country during the 50’’s and 60’s. This was a great read which is why it was also made into a motion picture which garnered several Oscar nominations.


VacationCover image for Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition‘s over now but I still have several options in my book bag….thank God for renewals!!  I encourage everyone to visit MBLC’s Read Four website and follow the instructions to share your four. Let’s see what everyone is reading this summer and spread the word of how important it is for kids to read over the summer.  Have Fun!

Kirsten, Head of Reference Services


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: Stephen King’s Finders Keepers

There are fans, and then there are true fans. Finders Keepers deals with the second category: kind of fan who will re-read their favorite book seven times a year, who care more about fictional characters than they do about the real people in their lives, and who break into their favorite author’s house to execute them and steal their horde of unpublished work. That is how Morris Bellamy winds up with the unpublished work of the reclusive writer John Rothstein and over $20,000 in cash. Having killed the author and his accomplices, Morris literally buries his ill-gotten gains, intending to read them once news of the crime has receded from the headlines. But when he lands in jail on a separate charge, Morris must wait decades for his chance. Meanwhile, the Saubers family moves into Morris’ old house, and their teenaged son makes a discovery that will change all of their lives. Soon, he, too, is a John Rothstein fan, and just in time. Morris Bellamy is leaving jail and eager to discuss the details of his buried treasure…starting with where Peter has hidden it.

I’m already a heavy Stephen King reader, but Finders Keepers isn’t necessarily what I would have expected from the nominal “Master of Horror.” Mostly, this was because there wasn’t any significant supernatural presence. However, King’s trademark character development and constant themes of individual struggle, even struggle against addiction or an addict, were absolutely present. Pace-wise, it was also much tighter than some of my favorites, which meant that it didn’t eat up two weeks of my time but still managed to feel like a full, complete story. (After Revival, this was both refreshing and a relief. Whether or not he has another Stand in him, there’s life in the old boy yet.) Finders Keepers also incorporates a number of characters from Mr. Mercedes, King’s earlier crime fiction book, and even wraps the storylines together. King excels at world building and I thoroughly enjoyed how he has structured up his new series. (Whether this book ties into all his others, Dark Tower-style, is as yet unknown. However, King hints at the possibilities, which are exciting.) Anyone who enjoyed Mr. Mercedes will definitely want to continue with this latest addition to the King canon.

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“Girl on a Train” Read-a-Likes

If you sped through Paula Hawkin’s sensational bestseller Girl on the Train and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and want more twisting, gripping tales, or if you’re still in the queue for GOTT, try the below psychological suspense titles to tide you over this summer.

Precious Thing by Colette McBethIn Precious Thing by Colette McBeth, a journalist is sent out to investigate the case of a missing woman, who happens to be her childhood best friend.   Was she abducted? Did she commit suicide, leave town of  her own accord, or is something more sinister going on?

Losing you by Nicci FrenchNicci French’s compelling and tense Losing You has you following a desperate mother’s attempt to find her missing daughter in the first 24 hours of her unexplained absence.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. WatsonAnother chilling psychological thriller, Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson,  has an amnesic woman waking up each morning believing she is still in her 20s and unmarried before her husband reminds her again that she is 47 years old and reviews their marriage of 20 years with her. Then there is the call from her doctor everyday to remind her to look at her secret journal which tells her not to trust her husband…

Acover of the book "Remember Me This Way" by Sabine Durrantnd finally, hot off the presses, is the moody and menacing Remember Me This Way by Sabine Durrant.  “On the first anniversary of her husband death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place, only to discover that someone has been there before her, which forces her to realize that she didn’t really know him—or what he was capable of.” (from Novelist, 6/4/15)




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Dangerous Women, Rogues and Warriors, oh my!

RoguesCover of "Dangerous Women"  cover of "Warriors"

The great storyteller of Game of Thrones fame, George R.R. Martin, and veteran anthologist Gardner Dozois, have joined together to offer three powerful volumes of original short stories by today’s best writers in fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and suspense.

You’ll find no wilting, delicate flowers in Dangerous Women.  No Ma’am, these are stories of strong, powerful women, heroines and villains alike, by such authors as Diana Gabaldon, Joe Abercrombie, Sharon Kay Penman, and Jim Butcher.

Who doesn’t love a rogue?  In Rogues, such estimable writers as Gillian Flynn, Neil Gaiman, and Connie Willis, among others, bring to life the most delightfully devious, rapscallion characters that you will ever have the fortune, or misfortune, to meet.

Finally in Warriors, you’ll find warriors of all kinds from yesteryear, modern times and times to come.  It just might surprise you to find out who’s a warrior…Lawrence Block, Robin Hobb, Steven Saylor and Carrie Vaughn are just some of the bestselling authors who reveal their champions in lively fashion.

As an extra bonus to an already great collection of stories by a stellar ensemble of best-selling and award-winning authors, George R.R. Martin includes an original story from the land of Westeros, the world in which the Game of Thrones saga takes place, in each of the three anthologies named above.