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Engaging Methuen Readers


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Have time? Try writing!

Do you have an idea for a book and want to write and publish it? Here are a few tips from our resident Library writer, Loreen Augeri:

Writing Writer Notes - Free photo on Pixabay1. Learn about the craft of writing. Read books concerning the subject, register for online courses, and join writing groups.

2. Find a block of time to write, even if it is a few minutes. They add up. Writing one page a day for a year produces a 365 page novel. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect.

3. Edit, edit, edit. Read through the novel a number of times until it is the best it can be. Have someone else read it. As the author, you know how the sentence is supposed to read, so your eyes may miss typos and grammar mistakes.

4. Search for agents and publishers (large, small, and online) that deal with your genre. They usually state to send a cover letter, synopsis, and the first few pages of the novel. Self-publishing is also available.

5. Never give up and continue writing if you want to achieve your dreams.

Loreen is the author of three historical romance books.  When not writing, reading, or walking, you may find Loreen in our Children’s Department.


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What’s NaNoWriMo, Precious?

If your friends have suddenly been seized with the writing demon, you’re not alone. National Novel Writing Month occupies the entirety of November. If you’re not a writer and don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, here’s a rundown.

What it is

National Novel Writing Month challenges writers to produce 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30. This pans out to about 1,667 words per day, but because November also includes Thanksgiving, most writers try to work faster than that.

Novels can be about anything, but it’s generally agreed that this isn’t a way to produce a finished piece. Instead, it’s a way to shake off the rust and get your creative juices flowing. Some writers have generated viable first drafts for NaNoWriMo, too. Erin Morgenstern, whose debut, The Night Circus, became a bestseller, drafted her first novel over the course of two NaNoWriMos.

That said, a lot of people don’t worry about writing a cohesive novel for NaNo. Writers have been known to produce short stories, write correspondence, generate computer code, blog, and otherwise dedicate themselves to content creation. 50,000 words of anything is a lot of writing! I’m actually counting this blog post toward my own total.

Well-known authors give pep talks throughout November to participants who register as Wrimos. It’s a creative good time that started with 21 participants in 1999.

How it started

Chris Baty was a hobbyist writer living in the San Francisco Bay area in 1999. He had the idea to challenge writers to generate a novel in 30 days, and sure enough, 21 people took him up on it. That first NaNo was set in July. However, the nice weather proved to be a distraction and the next year, Baty moved the event to wintery, unpleasant November.

2000 was also the year that Baty and a friend set up a website to organize WriMos and help them track their progress. Through a connected Yahoo group, he clarified the rules: the novel had to be new, couldn’t be co-authored, and had to be written and verified entirely within the month of November. Writers who achieved 50,000 words were considered to have “won.” That year, 140 people participated. NaNoWriMo was becoming a national phenomenon.

In 2005, NaNoWriMo was officially so big that it had to be its own company. Baty himself had written a couple of books about banging out a fast first draft, during NaNoWriMo, of course. Thousands of people participated, with membership in this de facto creative organization growing every year. In 2017, over 300,000 people participated from around the world. Tens of thousands met their goal.

How to participate

It’s easy! Just create an account on NaNoWriMo.org and get down to business. It’s not too late to catch up! Regions tend to form groups and write cooperatively, sometimes with food present. Events like all-night write-ins and kickoff parties are common. The NaNo website hosts topical and regional forums where writers can support each other.

A lot of libraries also have NaNoWriMo programs. Some of these are in the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium! Check out Hamilton-Wenham’s library NaNo program while November is still in full swing.

So what are you waiting for? Go write that novel today!


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Bunny Books For Bunny Day

The bunnies are coming! It’s that time of year again: time to find eggs, eat chocolate, and read all kinds of books about rabbits. If you really want to get into the Easter spirit, try these hopping books.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

watership_down_coverRichard Adams made this story up to entertain his children on a long trip. It became a book that’s beloved by all ages, but is probably a little too mature and bloody for most young kids. Watership Down is the tale of a brave band of warrior rabbits, led by a great leader and his clairvoyant brother, trying to make a new life for themselves after a disaster decimates their warren.

 

A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo by Marlon Bundo

Marlon Bundo by Last Week TonightMarlon is the bunny that belongs to Mike Pence, the Vice President of the U.S. In this children’s picture book, he and his bunny boyfriend resist the forces of an ignorant and bigoted bug who says that little bunnies shouldn’t be happy together. A great lesson is learned by all, including the actual V.P., whose wife wrote the picture book that this work parodies.

 

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Tgoodnight_moon_coverhis children’s classic features iconic art, a cluttered room, and main characters who are bunnies. Because why not? Odds are good that you encountered this book growing up yourself. The children of the smartphone age still enjoy its bright colors and soothing, simple story.

 

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

miraculous_journey_of_edward_tulane_coverEdward Tulane is a toy rabbit. He’s also an arrogant jerk who has no regard for anyone or anything other than himself. That will all change when he’s separated from his owner. After all, what’s a toy without someone to play with it? Follow Edward as he realizes the error of his ways and comes to appreciate life in a new way.

 

 

Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural And Cultural History Of A Misunderstood Creature by Susan Davis

stories_rabbits_tell_cover

Rabbits. They’re symbolic, iconic, domesticated, and delicious. You might be surprised at this humble creature’s place in our cultural and social landscape. Let this book enlighten you about the rabbit’s past, present, and probable future in the context of modern life. This books reconciles the many aspects of the rabbit, from Playboy bunnies to Peter Rabbit. If you’ve ever wondered what the heck is up with rabbits, this book is your go-to.

 

Bunnicula by Deborah Howe

bunnicula_cover.jpgThe new bunny is a vampire. As the other household pets become certain of the danger inherent in the family’s fluffiest new member, they struggle to devise a plan. But does Bunnicula really deserve their fear? Or is he just misunderstood?

 

 

Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakei

usagi_yojimbo_vol_1_coverWant more warrior rabbits? Look no further than Usagi, the legendary ronin samurai of Stan Sakei’s cult classic comic book. After his side loses in an epic battle, lone rabbit swordsman Usagi walks throughout Japan, taking work as a bodyguard when he can find it and righting wrongs whenever he runs into them. Lots of fighting!


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Happy birthday, Internet! Have a cyberpunk nightmare!

Cyberpunk happens when lowlifes dabble in high tech. Think cutpurses with cybernetic enhancements and prostitutes who moonlight as hackers. That may seem futuristic, but remember, ten years ago Google was exciting and new! In honor of the Internet’s birthday, here’s a taste of the unmitigated chaos that is our digital future.

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Case used to be a hacker. Kinda. He stole information with his brain, courtesy of implants that let him jack into cyberspace directly. Then he irritated his boss and his boss destroyed his brain, like you do.

The problem is that nobody’s as good at information theft as Case, and now someone important needs him for the job of a lifetime. Case is back, damage and all, but this time, he’s going to need some help…

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

This book was the basis for the hit film Blade Runner, although it varies in a few key points. Rick Deckard is an assassin, but he’s never killed a person – just androids. Runaway machines can blend in with the human population perfectly, but though they may look human, they have no empathy or spiritual connection. That may change, though. As the line between robot and human blurs, Deckard finds himself questioning everything he knows about himself.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Hiro is a pizza boy. For the Mafia. In an America that’s been carved up and essentially destroyed by corporate interests, he’s just a cog. But in the Metaverse, he’s a superstar hacker living a glamorous digital double life. That’s how he learns about the new computer virus that not only attacks circuitry, but the mind. Weirder still, the virus might also be a language, a religion, and a piece of lost Sumerian technology capable of freeing the world from its hyper-capitalist vice. It’s up to Hiro to figure it out – or save the day trying!

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

How many pharmaceutical pirates named Jack travel the world in their illegal submarine? Not many! That’s what makes the Robin Hood of illegal medicine such a cool chick. But when a batch of her drugs reprograms people to become addicted to work, Jack knows she’s got to set things right. That means figuring out where the drugs are coming from and stopping them by any means necessary!

Infomocracy by Malka Older

Even when the Internet finally takes over government, it’ll need scumbags to make sure the wheels don’t come off. Unfortunately, those are the same people who stand to gain from a little chaos. A corrupt politician. A radical dissenter. An employee of the search engine that rules us all. They will soon discover more than they wanted to know about how democracy really works.


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The Post-Holiday Season

The holidays are over and that means one thing: the sun’s coming back! Hooray! Our glad tidings and gamboling have pleased the powers. Now’s the time to get happy again. Let some light in. Have some fun!

To this end, I’ve asked several people around the library what they consider worth doing during these cold winter months and what books they’d recommend to those ends. Here are their answers.

Anna

Reference Department

1635446I play a lot of Minecraft. If you’re under 15, you are already familiar with the novelizations. However, did you know that you could learn to program Python with Minecraft, too? It’s true! You can play a highly addicting game and become a master programmer at the same time. Because winter is for geeky pursuits.

 

 

 

Tatjana

Reference Department

1533085.jpgTatjana knows how to make the days merry and bright! A hearty winter cocktail will warm your winter in style. We’re not talking about your average appletini or margherita, either. If you’ve never had hot mulled cider, then it’s time to grab your mug and fuzzy socks.

 

 

 

Kathleen

Reference Department

1660151So you got a million sweaters during the holiday, but not one of them is in any way attractive or aesthetically appealing. Time to break out that dusty old sewing kit! Stitch your things up whimsically and revel in your victory over the gift-giving season.

 

 

 

 

Gladys

Reader Services Department

1573321Sure, you’ve heard of this book, but have you taken it to heart? Tidying up really can change your life. Not only will you experience the bliss of a clean space, but you’ll have an extra few hundred dollars from all the change you’ll have found in your couch cushions.

 

 

 

Kathy

Children’s Department

862950Obviously, librarians are going to recommend that you catch up on your reading list. But if you’re all read out, to the extent that you can’t imagine a book that you haven’t read, what can you possibly do to continue reading? Librarian action figure Nancy Pearl has you covered, lustfully.

 

 

 

Amy

Teens Department

bingeLibrarians are not just about books. No, not by a long mile. Librarians are also about movies! But wait, librarian friend, I hear you say. I have no Netflix password, nor Hulu access. Alas, my life is a misery. I respond thusly: you haven’t been reading our blog. Binge away.

 

 

 

Tracy

Reader Services Department

puzzleDid you know that the Nevins Library has an active jigsaw puzzle going in our fireplace room? It’s true! So now, in addition to books and movies and cleaning up and other snuggly winter pursuits, you can stop by and help us do our puzzle. And the next one too. And the one after that.

Aren’t the post-holidays wonderful?