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Engaging Methuen Readers


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To The Audiobooks I’ve Heard On My Ride To Work

Image result for libby overdrive logo

Time spent behind the wheel of my car is time not spent engaged in productive activity, such as learning to play the flute or weeding geraniums. Whether I would become a musician or gardener with the time I now spend driving every day is an open question. However, there is still an opportunity to become, if not well-read, then at least familiar with a broad range of literature. This is especially true when the drudgery of the automobile is paired with Libby, the free library audiobook app.

Libby is an access portal for OverDrive, which is probably the most popular e-book and e-audiobook lending platform currently in existence. OverDrive hit the market early and hit it hard, rolling with every technological upgrade and innovation and shift. Within five years, CD audiobooks gave way to MP3s downloaded through OverDrive’s media app and loaded onto iPods, which in turn gave way to downloaded and then streaming audiobooks that never left the efficient angular nest of the smartphone. And it was all free.

I lean heavily on Libby for my audiobook joy. One of the things I most appreciate about it is that my demands are usually not met. If I had my way, I’d read nothing but bizarro apocalypse science fiction, in the same way that if I had my way I’d eat nothing but sushi and chocolate covered potato chips. Research conducted by me indicates that a diet of extreme, gore-oriented science fiction is about as good for your mind and social skills as a diet of carbohydrates and raw fish is good for your physical longevity. Literary fiction uplifts and transforms. It fosters empathy, cognitive skills, conversational awareness. That’s why it’s good, for my sake, that OverDrive is a veritable desert of screamingly weird garbage. When a book is available – and that is an event worth jumping for – it is normally an example of either Literature or Education. Currently, I am listening to Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, a collection of short stories that wrestles with identity and place and is definitely Literature. My last audiobook, A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard, was Education, albeit satisfyingly gory and strange. The combination has populated my dreams with pregnant ambulances agonizing about their relationships with their fathers, so I assume that whatever is supposed to be making me a better person is working.

I hear these books out as I plow microscopic furrows in the asphalt to and from my place of employment, usually listening at double or triple speed. That’s how I know I was born into the right era: I can listen to an audiobook at thrice the speed of speech. (Or half, if I’m working my way though a children’s book in Spanish.) Without the magic of audiobooks, my available reading opportunities would be consumed and expelled with my car’s exhaust every day.

In a world where I could ride the train to work, I could be more productive. I could pair my audio commute with my latest crochet project, for example, rapidly reducing my holiday gift and personal reading lists simultaneously. But I don’t live in a world where eco-friendly travel infrastructure is considered a priority, alas. I live in a world where I sit rigidly in a confined space, watching an hour-long movie about all the ways that other cars can barely miss my front fender. And in that world, audiobooks are more than entertainment. They’re a heartbeat in a sensory deprivation chamber. They’re the lone bulb in my mental safe room.

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Stranger than Fiction!: NL’s non-fiction book club

Truth is stranger than fiction  Non-Fiction Book Club @ Nevins Library

If you enjoy reading non-fiction, you’ll love our newest book club–

“Stranger than Fiction” will meet at the library on the 2nd Monday of the month from 7-8pm.  We’ll read across all topics within nonfiction (ex. Biographies, True Crime, Travelogues) except for religion and politics, because after all, we want to start a discussion, not a fight!  Some months we’ll be discussing a single title, other months there will be a theme and a list of suggested books on that topic from which participants can choose.

Please join us for our first meeting on Monday September 12 in the Trustee’s Room at the Nevins Library.  Come prepared to share a favorite non-fiction book with us and to discuss which topics we will cover (and when) in the future.

For more information, contact Tatjana 978-686-4080 x12.

Click here for our events calendar.


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What’s Your Four?

whats your four

Children who read just four books over the summer fare better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books. Because of this, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Nevins Memorial Library are challenging residents to choose 4 books to read over the summer months, and to share their selections on social media through a campaign called “What’s Your Four?”

Summer reading provides free family fun for all of our residents. More importantly, it helps Methuen and surrounding areas’ young students stay ahead academically.

To get us started one of our Amazing Reference Librarians told us a little bit about What Her Four favorite books this summer were:

Dead Wake by Erik Larsen:

An interesting look at the Lusitania and the controversies surrounding the sinking of this great vessel.

 

 

The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics by Stephen Coss – Who knew that the concept of vaccination for small pox started here in Boston by a physician who was almost put out of business and run out-of-town by those in charge who could not believe that something like inoculation could prevent the spread of such a deadly disease. Ben Franklin also makes an appearance and the beginnings of our print media can be traced to this time.

 

Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War by Pamela D. Toler, PhD – this is a companion book to the series Mercy Street which ran on PBS this past spring. It follows the fine women who risked their lives and reputations to deliver compassionate care to soldiers on both sides of the conflict in the Civil War. Many of the scenes of the series are directly taken from some of the lives and diaries of the women in this book.

 

Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America by Amy Belding Brown — The book follows the difficult path taken by Mary Rowlandson, a frontier minister’s wife who is captured by early Native American Indians and taken on a journey during which her faith is sorely tested but she also learns a great deal of compassion about this race of people she has been taught to hate.  This is a novelized account of real events from the 1600’s which took place in and around Massachusetts.

 

Have you read 4 great books this summer? (Or 3, 2, or 1?) Share them with us here in the comments. Or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr using the hashtag #WhatsYourFour.

For more information: http://summerlibraryprograms.com/read-four.htm