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Engaging Methuen Readers


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NPR’s Book Concierge 2018

2019 is right around the corner, so this is my last chance to sneak in another Best Book’s of 2018.  The Book Concierge is NPR’s annual, interactive, year-end reading guide. You can use their descriptive filters to explore more than 300 titles NPR staff and critics loved this year.  To find my next read, I combined the filters “Comics & Graphic Novels” and “Tales From Around the World”.  Thanks to this nifty matrix, I found what will be my first read of 2019: Belonging: A German Reckons With History And Home by Nora Krug.  Always nice to have my next read lined-up!

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Source:  NPR visuals


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Find Your Next Book Here!

LImage result for booksooking for an awesome book to read?  Look no further than our Awesome Book display at the Nevins Library.  These are books (audio/print) that Methuen readers deemed “awesome” and wanted to share with others in the community.  On the backside of the Awesome Book display, you’ll find lots of other sources for your next good read:

  • LibraryReads:  the monthly nationwide library staff picks list for adult fiction and non-fiction.  Every month, we display a sign with the top ten books published this month that librarians across the country loved.  There is also a notebook with past months’ LibraryReads top ten choices.
  • All sorts of fiction and non-fiction booklists in pamphlet, sign, and bookmark formats.
  • Non-Fiction binder containing themed monthly bibliographies from the Stranger Than Fiction book group going back three years.
  • Award Winners by Genre notebook:  “from the team that brought you the Nevins Buzz blog, a stirring adventure in literary awards”
  • Binder of previous weeks’ Local Best Sellers from the Boston Globe.

“You never know what you’re looking for … until it’s in a neatly-ordered binder.”  

 


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Bookish Confessions: my year of reading challenges

I’ve always been a voracious reader, but it wasn’t until this year, that I put myself to the test and signed up for several reading challenges.  For the past decade or so, I’ve been keeping track of the books I read with the title, author, and basic plot description in various book journals.  Thank goodness I did that because I am now, prematurely I think, at the stage where I have to go back through the journals to see if I already read a book that looks somewhat familiar.  How many of you have read 3/4ths of the way through a book before realizing that you already read it?  Sheesh!

This year I decided to put the pedal to the metal and get competitive with myself and see exactly how many books I can read in a year.    In an effort to educate myself, a couple Image result for booksof years ago I started to read classic books that I missed out on in high school.   How could I have gotten through 10 years of higher education and not read George Orwell?  Aren’t all librarians required to read Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”?  When my colleague introduced me to the Classics Club and their reading challenge, it was a match made in heaven — reading classics for my own erudition and getting external credit and praise for it!  Thus, my first challenge is a doozy — reading 50 classics within a five year period.  This year, my first, I have read 5 classics, so I have to step up the pace in the remaining 4 years of this challenge.  I do feel smarter, though!

Next up, the GoodReads challenge.  As I write this post, I have read 97 out of 100 and I am on track to finish by the end of the month.  I have also combined efforts with our Nevins team on GoodReads, so you can check out what your librarians are reading.

Since it sounded fun and I thought it would bring my reading in new directions, I printed out the PopSugar 2016 reading challenge and chose to follow it privately.  Even though it had interesting parameters to meet like reading a book with a blue cover, a book based on a fairy tale, a romance set in the future, I still read what I wanted to read and let fate decide what “fit in” with this challenge.  The final result:  25 out of 40 book categories read.  I didn’t really challenge myself with this.  Maybe it was because I already had to read books I wasn’t comfortable with for the book groups I belong to?

Finally, since I was curious and place setting appeals to me, I recorded what states and countries my reading led me to.  In the United States, my reading took me on a cross-country trip through 26 of the 50 states.  Louisiana garnered the most titles, 5, most probably because I visited New Orleans in March and it is such a colorful, dynamic place to read about.  Internationally, good old literary England won out with 9 titles, although there was a good showing from the African countries (6 titles). Over all, 16 countries, not including America, were represented in the final tally.  Going outside my comfort zone, I read 6 titles that largely took place in outer space, and even one book that took place far beneath the sea — 20, 000 leagues under, in fact.

All in all, this has been a good experiment and one I am willing to embrace again for next year.  Where will your reading take you in 2017?

Happy New Year of Reading!

 

 


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Helping you help yourself: self-help books at the library

self-help-graphicTypically, we think of the New Year as a time for reflection and self-improvement, but if there’s something bothering you, there is no time  like the present to begin working to improve it!

Often, patrons will approach the reference desk asking for the “self-help section.” Due to the number of topics that fall under the umbrella of what one might consider “self-help,” books of this type are shelved in many different locations.

Some common authors and titles that patrons are looking for include books like

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – that the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki

I’ve recently written a brief guide to getting started on self-help. For each of the different topics that you may be looking to learn more about, I’ve listed the call numbers where you can find books to suit your interest, as well as some suggested titles. Whether you’re looking to improve your financial, physical, spiritual, or marital health, we’ve got books for you! Please ask at the reference desk, or find the brochures on the shelves near the large tables on the second floor.


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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an avid reader in possession of a good book must be in want of another. That, dear reader, is where Bookish comes in.” — Bookish.com

Bookish is a lively and colorful site that aims to please both the casual and the serious-minded reader with its all-things-literary articles, genre pages, and their book recommendation tool.  In this site, you’ll find special seasonal previews, staff favorites and topical recommendations, news from the publishing world, essential book lists, etc.  Bookish covers all the big genres and topics in fiction and nonfiction as well as children’s and young adult literature.

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I love the above colorful and creative image from the July 1, 2015 ‘s Red, White, and Books: Our Literary Version of the American Flag” post by Kelly Gallucci and Elizabeth Rowe.

Challenge:  What books represented in that flag have you read?  


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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?