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Engaging Methuen Readers


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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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Feats of Clay

Ah, March! Theoretically it’s warming up, but who’s to say when a snowstorm will hit? This time of the year defines unpredictability. What better time to develop a hobby? Get your hands dirty and make something gorgeous! Here’s everything you need to start making pottery – aside from the clay and equipment, of course.

pottery1The Craft of the Potter by Michael Casson

From hand-building to wheel-throwing, this book will introduce you to the mystical, manual art of pot creation. Become one with the ancient tradition of earthenware! Though some of its focus is on stunning examples of genius in clay throughout the ages, this book also features step-by-step guides to various pottery techniques.

 

 

pottery2Fired Up With Raku by Irene Poulton

Raku is how you make jaws drop. This stunning Japanese pottery finish technique relies as much on the will of the furnace as on the skill of the artist. What you create will be a collaboration between you and the spirit of fire. Plus, it’s metal as heck! (Seriously. A lot of the glazes you use in pottery are metal-based.)

 

 

pottery3.jpgThe Big Book of Ceramics by Joaquim Chavarria

If you’re looking for a good, all-in-one roundup of everything pottery, then look no further. This book is the soup-to-nuts guide to all things clay, including firing techniques, custom design strategies, and the history of claywork. Also, color photos!

 

 

BONUS:

sewingpotterySewing Pottery by Machine by Barbara Warholic

What? You say you’re not interested in getting fancy expensive dirt under your nails? Good! You can make pottery using nice, soft, clean, warm, cheap fabric. It’s true! It’s not hugely difficult to learn how to sew pots and the results look incredible. Plus, all you need is fabric, cord, and a sewing machine. What could be simpler? Now you can use your old clothes to make stylish storage solutions for all your yarn! #metacrafting


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Snow-ence Fiction

Massachusetts just had its first big snow of the season – but not its last! We greet snow with a unique mixture of delight and misery. Our mixed feelings produce a sense of mystical wonder surrounding white-frosted pines, falling flakes of crystal ice, and yeti. This may be why snow features so prominently in speculative fiction. If you just can’t get enough stark, ominous white snowscapes in your life, try these reads.

 

snowpiercer_vol_1_the_escape_coverSnowpiercer by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette

This list would not be complete without this graphic novel classic, which was recently turned into a gripping, atmospheric film. Humanity is doomed: worldwide arctic temperatures have made the planet uninhabitable. The last survivors travel endlessly on a train that represents the last vestige of the technological marvel that was civilization. But there *is* a kind of society: one that privileges the few first-class travelers and grinds the rest underfoot. When the third class passengers revolt, the first class discovers that there’s nowhere to run…

 

01The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

Young Lyra, a child of mysterious nobility, haunts the Oxford halls with her daemon. But a great conspiracy is afoot that threatens the very essence of humanity, and Lyra is at its heart. In order to prevent disaster, she will have to journey into the Arctic north, befriending armored polar bears and witches.

 

 

41mckp1f7fl-_sx332_bo1204203200_Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Also published as Let the Right One In, this book has been the subject of two films. There’s a new girl next door. Oskar is immediately fascinated, and not only because she seems old beyond her years. Eli only comes out at night…and she’s interested in Oskar for a much darker reason. As snow falls on Sweden, a young boy will come to know that some horror resides in which promises you make and keep.

 

 

6068551Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

The wolves behind Grace’s house watch her every winter. But one in particular is more than just hungry. In the summer, he’ll turn into a human, and when that happens, he and Grace will meet again. This time, sparks will fly. Steamy romance will…romanticate. This book draws a lot of valid comparisons to Twilight. It’s Twilight with snow and a wolf. So if you love Stephanie Meyers, you’ll love this. If not, well, better go with Snowpiercer.


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Book to Screen

We live in a magical age. The wonders of the written universe, previously confined to the boxes between our ears, now cascade across the silver screen in hi-def, 3-D glory. Several book-to-film adaptations will hit the ground within the next year, and what better way to celebrate than to rush the theater?

Except, of course, to wait for a public library to loan DVD copies six months after release.

Here, for your viewing and borrowing pleasure, are the books coming out on film that we’re most excited about.

January

The Leisure Seeker

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Michael Zadoorian’s famous 2009 travelogue finally makes it to its destination: the screen. Like the book, this film will follow the freewheeling adventures of two escapees from a retirement home.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

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The final installment of the Maze Runner trilogy sees our heroes trapped in…well…another maze. The book’s plot is fairly complicated, in a way that involves the big evil villainous organization actually being named “WICKED,” so we won’t go into it here. Basically, it’s the third book in a series by James Dashner and is targeted toward young adults.

 

February

Annihilation

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If you haven’t read Jeff VanderMeer, you’re missing out. His work falls into the elite category of literary science fiction, something not exclusive to space opera geeks or hardcore Trekkies. Annihilation is an atmospheric, unsettling, and sophisticated read. It’s definitely one to check out before the movie drops in February.

Fifty Shades Freed

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Meet Mrs. Anastasia Grey, now the wife of mega-rich quasi-reformed sadist Christian Grey. The plot, which is a ridiculous mess, encompasses the same violence and jealous shenanigans that we’ve come to expect from the series, except now there’s a baby in the mix too. If they were real people, their lives would be a train wreck, but they’re not, so just have fun with it. Here’s the book. It is, as you probably know, the third in the series that begins with Fifty Shades of Grey.

Peter Rabbit

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Fans of the classic Beatrix Potter story will love or hate that Peter is coming to screen in CGI. The plot, which was endearingly simply in the book, has also been souped up significantly by the addition of a neighbor to Mr. MacGregor who both loves animals and – potentially – grouchy old farmers. Will Peter and Mr. MacGregor finally become friends? Will this adaptation live up to the book’s reputation? We’ll see in February!

The War With Grandpa

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The mischievous hijinks of a boy and his grandpa, which have delighted readers since 1984, are sure to translate well to the big screen. Expect a lot of slapstick, a little poignancy, and Robert DeNiro.

 

March

Red Sparrow

Trained against her will as a femme fatale for the Russian government, Dominika rebels against her training when she meets the man who steals her heart. Thus, through the power of love, Dominika becomes a double double agent. The spy games thrill and so will Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika, but it’s hard to imagine the movie being a better ride than the book.

A Wrinkle in Time

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Disney has taken on Madeline L’Engle’s trippy, spiritual sci-fi classic A Wrinkle in Time and turned it into what looks like a faithful adaptation. Considering that the book incolves space-time travel, basically magic and psychic powers, this is a significant achievement. The trailer even features an especially creepy ball-bouncing scene. (If you haven’t read the book, you don’t know what I’m talking about. Just trust me. It’s spookier than it sounds.)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Love, Simon)

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Ah, young love. Ah, young closeted love. Ah, young closeted love being blackmailed by a malicious classmate in a high school where coming out may or may not be a good option. Somehow, the situation becomes humorous and hilarity does ensue. The book is a critical and popular hit and the movie, renamed “Love, Simon,” may do well with the teen crowd.

Ready Player One

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This is a story whose day has come. Ernest Cline’s story of retro video games, immersive VR, and a real world that just sucks for the little guy resonates now like never before. That said, the book already has a significant cult following and anticipation for this film is high.

Death Wish

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They killed his family and now he’s going to kill them! An ordinary man hunts down the people who hunted down his family. Sadly, the library does not stock any copies of Brian Garfield’s original novel, Death Wish. Though it’s based on the 1972 book, this movie is primarily a remake of a former move by the same name that was also based on the book.

 

April

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

It’s a tale of love, humor, and a book club up to no good in German-occupied British territory during World War II. The book was a New York Times bestseller and perennial book club favorite, and the movie promises to be a wonderful first date event for hundreds of couples nationwide.

 

May

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

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Sometimes, you just have to run to the ends of the Earth. That’s what Bernadette does when she’s confronted with the unpleasant reality of her life in the form of a family intervention. Lost without her mother, Bernadette’s daughter Bee immediately launches into detective mode. The movie will be directed by Richard Linklater and will hopefully be as hilarious and heartwrenching as the book was.

 

August

Crazy Rich Asians

Rachel Chu thinks she’s doing pretty well at life. She’s got a career in academia and a nice boyfriend who wants her to meet the family. They’re some of the richest people in Singapore and to say that they’ve got drama is to vastly undersell the concept of drama. Also, her nice boyfriend happens to be one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia and every other woman she meets wishes she was dead. The book’s author, Kevin Kwan, set out to introduce America to the wealthy elites of Singapore. The movie is bound to be larger than life.

The Meg

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It’s a giant shark movie based on a giant shark book. Let’s not overthink this one. If you don’t have enough giant shark in your life after seeing this movie in August, check out the rest of the Meg series.

 

September

The House With A Clock In Its Walls

John Bellairs is known for his creeptastic children’s books, one of which this movie is based upon. The film will star Jack Black and feature a clock that can end the world.

Boy Erased

This film is based on a memoir, and the memoir is about the author’s experience in religious ex-gay conversion therapy, so brace yourself: everything depicted on screen actually happened. It’s likely to be intense.

The Darkest Minds

The kids who don’t die of disease develop strange superpowers, and of course the government wants to lock them up and study them. The book is a YA hit and the movie comes out in the same rough time frame as another “X-Men” film.

 

October

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Steig Larsson may be gone, but his series lives on. This installment sees Lisbeth Salander facing down a shadowy organization and probably looking super-cool.

First Man

It’s easy to identify Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon, but who was he? The book and the movie both seek to answer this question.

 

 


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BYO Library!

Ever seen a Little Free Library? They’re the adorable tiny houses full of books that have been popping up on street corners and in front of houses for the last decade. Now, libraries are starting to adopt them. In case you want to get ahead of the trend, here are some books that will show you how to build and place your own free library exchange.

 

download (1)The Little Free Library Book by Margaret Aldrich

Obviously, this is the best book for starting your LFL. It’s got a description of that they are and what they do, as well as some construction plans.

 

There’s not much difference between a big birdhouse and a mini-library. This book will teach you how to build a birdhouse, but you may as well turn it into a book house!

 

51NDwMxRN8L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Do you feel weird asking people to put books into your itty bitty library for free? Time to get in the mood and get hip with the fine art of saying “please!” In case you’re wondering, then yes, this is that Amanda Palmer.

 

 


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eBooks Galore!!

With a new look for our Overdrive website in February (same great content, slightly different look), I thought that I’d  give a refresher on all the amazing ways that you can get both eBooks and eAudiobooks. We’ll start with the most well-known eBook and eAudiobook provider.

Overdrive is our biggest provider of eContent. It has both eBooks and eAudiobooks. In addition to bestselling fiction it also has quite a number of Romances, more childrens’ books every day, and even some Comics (including from DC Comics, Woo!!). You can read and listen to them on your computer,  through your browser, or on almost any mobile device with their free Overdrive App (Scroll down to the bottom for all the various platforms you can use Overdrive on!)

 

 

Axis360 is a part of the Commonwealth eBook Collections. It has both Audiobooks and eBooks, mostly bestselling fiction, that can be read and listened to through the Axis360 App (Again, the links are at the bottom!!)

 

 

 

Biblioboard is a part of the Commonwealth eBook Collections as well. It has everything from the For Dummies series to a good portion of the Dark Horse Comics Graphic Novels to many many Primary Sources and Historical Documents. All Available through your browser or their App.

 

 

If you’re looking for items of a more academic bent EBL has many items to help with academic research as well as items that can help with personal interests, from cooking to gardening. (It’s also part of the Commonwealth eBook Collections). Go to EBL

 

safari

Finally, Safari has almost 5000 technology, digital media, and business books and videos online and ready on-demand in your browser to help you out of that pickle. Go to Safari

Remember all you need to access all these awesome resources is a Nevins Library card and something to read/listen to them on. And, in most cases, that can even be your computer!!

And if you have questions about using any of the above resources (or our other Online Resources) come see us up at the Reference Desk and we’ll try and get you all set up!!


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Reading in a Non-Material World

Is this the real life? Is it just fantasy? These books call into question all that we know and experience, from the things we care about to the very air we breathe. These aren’t tales of parallel universes – instead, they deal with minds trapped in worlds within the world, embedded in realities that are as real as we believe them to be.

Image of itemReady Player One by Ernest Cline

The Earth is a wreck. The cities are miserable places. Being alive in general isn’t a great experience. Luckily, there’s virtual reality! Plug into OASIS, where knowledge of pop culture and classic video games can earn you vast wealth and save you from your bleak life…or put you directly in the cross hairs of ruthless enemies.

 

 

 

 

Image of itemSophie’s World by Jostein Gaardner

Part philosophy primer and part coming-of-age novel, this unique book is not to be missed. Young Sophie tries to catch herself blinking in the mirror, but she’s never fast enough…until one day. As she learns about philosophy from her mysterious tutor, she begins to question the reality of the world she sees.

 

 

 

 

Animal Man by Grant Morrison

To make a long story short, comic book hero Animal Man, who can borrow the abilities of any animal, realizes that his life is an elaborate fiction engineered for maximum drama by an
unscrupulous comic book writer. When he does, he needs to come to terms with his existence. Does he reconcile himself to being fictional? Or does he confront his creator and demand justice for the death of his family?

 

 

 

Image of itemThe Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

In a world where literary authors have the same social status as rock stars, Jane Eyre is a literary enforcer. Her job is routine: stop militant Baconians from bombing performances of Shakespeare plays, detect criminal forgeries of Byronic verse, and things like that. But when someone starts kidnapping literary characters from within the pages of their own books, she’ll need to go deeper into her books than ever before!

 

 

Image of itemSnow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Any one of a number of cyberpunk novels could qualify for world-within-a-world status, but Snow Crash is one of the most famous. Hiro is a pizza boy and hacker, skilled with swords and code alike. But there’s an ancient, deadly neurolinguistic virus moving through the virtual world, and it threatens to end the fun…permanently. Only Hiro can uncover the plan of the dangerous religious fanatic behind it all.