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Engaging Methuen Readers


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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

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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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4 Things You Didn’t Know About Sherlock Holmes

That’s right, kids: it’s Sherlock time! The world’s greatest detective (other than Batman) was born on January 6, 1854. He is now 165 years young and still the most filmed fictional character in the world. Here’s a little Sherlock trivia for true fans and movie nights.

1. He’s been on screen more than 254 times

As of 2012, Holmes had been portrayed on film an average of three times per year since his TV debut in 1938. This statistic comes to us courtesy of the good people at Guinness Book of World Records, who must have spent an awfully long time counting up Holmes appearances. That figure doesn’t even count more modern Holmes portrayals, such as the spoof that currently stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

In case you’re dying to see some obscure Holmes on screen, then the MVLC library system can connect you with such wonders as Young Sherlock Holmes, where Sherlock is a hip teen; The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, where Gene Wilder tries desperately and hilariously to live up to the real deal; and Sherlock Gnomes, which only gets away with that pun because it’s for kids. See the whole list here!

2. Holmes claimed he used drugs because he got bored between cases

Sherlock was addicted to both cocaine and morphine, which were technically legal in Victorian England. That said, their adverse health effects were well known to the medical community. Holmes’ friend, the medical doctor Watson, wasn’t anywhere near as bumbling in the books as he’s generally portrayed on-screen, and he voiced considerable alarm at Holmes’ drug use. In return, his friend shot him down with one of the lamest excuses in literature: he was bored. Here’s what he had to say in Chapter 1 of The Sign of the Four:

“My mind,” he said, “rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession,—or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”

Maybe do a puzzle instead?

3. The TV show House was based on Sherlock Holmes

Suspend your disbelief for a minute and consider that Gregory House solved unsolvable medical mysteries through deduction, had a drug problem, and had a friend named Wilson. House is a close match for Home, which sounds like Holmes. Wilson and Watson are also close. House even lives at an address numbered 221b. Best of all, Hugh Laurie himself confirms that the surly doc was modeled on the Victorian detective.

4. Sherlock has never been played by a woman…until now!

It’s not surprising that a male detective from the Victorian era is generally played by guys. At the same time, there’s been a female Watson, a female Doctor Who, and lots of modernized adaptations of Sherlock Holmes himself. If Holmes can be a grumpy doctor, a garden ornament, and a New Yorker. Why not a lady?

In fact, a female Sherlock, who lives in Japan, is set to release on HBO Asia.

There’s one caveat that needs pointing out, however. Holmes hasn’t been played on-screen by a woman, but literature is a completely different story. In the Eleanor Arnason story Holmes Sherlock, an alien woman studying Earth literature adopts the stylistic peculiarities of Sherlock Holmes when she becomes enchanted by Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries. Incidentally, this alien’s people are universally homosexual and female-led. You can read the entire story here!

 


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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

the-death-cure

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

annihilation-2018-us-poster

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

the-war-with-grandpa_robert-kimmel-smith

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

https://i.imgur.com/N0KDCYn.jpg

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.