Celebrate National Cat Day With These Cat Stories!

October 29th is National Cat Day, and what better way to appreciate cats than a good cat book? Take a look at our previous blog post, Cat Stories To Purr-use!, or browse through the titles below! 

If you’re feline like a good cozy, Rita Mae Brown and Lilian Jackson Braun both have a series of cozy mysteries with cats! The Mrs. Murphey Series by Rita Mae Brown, which you can check out in ebook or e-audio format, features Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her cat, Mrs. Murphy in the small town of Crozet, Virginia. In the first title, Wish You Were Here, victims receive a postcard with a tombstone and the message, “Wish you were here,” before being found dead. Mrs. Murphy and her corgi companion, Tucker, help find clues to save their human friend.

In Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series (previously mentioned in Cat Stories To Purr-use!), read or listen along as Jim Qwilleran solves mysteries with her siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum in Pickax City, Moose County, Michigan. 

Black cats have the unfortunate connection with bad luck if they cross your path. In Black Cats and Superstitions, Chloe Rhodes explores the stories behind legends and superstitions and how fear of the supernatural leads people to performing rituals and wearing or hanging talismans to repel evil spirits.

Reserve Your Halloween Library Items Today To Get Them Before the Building Closes to Staff Next Week!

You may have read our important update about the building being closed to staff next week for air duct cleaning, which means if you want to check out physical copies of Halloween titles (or any titles for that matter), this Saturday, October 24th, is the last day to pick up physical materials before Halloween via the Abbot Public Library’s Curbside Pickup Service.

Likewise, if you have any items you would like to return before the building’s closure, please put them in a library return bin by 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 24th. After 3:00 pm, the library return bins will be closed to ensure they don’t overflow with uncollected returns.

If you would like to reserve any title(s) available in Marblehead for Curbside Pickup this Saturday, you should reserve them on your library account today. Don’t forget to click “Limit to Available” when searching so you only see titles that should be ready for pickup by Saturday. 

Please wait for a notification that your items are ready for you before you make an appointment for Curbside Pickup, either online or by calling 781-631-1481, Ext. 201 during Curbside Pickup hours (weekdays 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm and Saturday 9:30 am – Noon and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm). 

Below are some titles that are currently available in Marblehead, and therefore are able to be reserved for Curbside Pickup for this Saturday. Reserve these titles online or search the catalog for available titles you’d like to check out for next week. 

Halloween is definitely not the same this year. Plan a safe stay-in Halloween with help from the following books about decorating and Halloween crafts for all ages! 

Search through more available books, including some ebooks, about Halloween decorating here

Children who want to read books about Halloween next week can borrow some of these titles, including collections of spooky stories or fiction titles about witches, vampires, characters celebrating Halloween, and other related books. 

There are plenty of selections for adults as well, from the cute Halloween cozy mystery to terrifying thrillers and horror stories. Browse through available Halloween fiction and horror, which include: 

We also have plenty of titles to choose from online, some which have been mentioned in previous blog posts such as our witch fiction and Summertime Hocus Pocus posts. Reserve any available physical titles for Curbside Pickup this week, or check out what our online collections have to offer you to help you celebrate a safe Halloween.

What’s Brewing for International Coffee Day?

Today is International Coffee Day, and to help celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of some coffee-themed items you can reserve for Curbside Pickup or check out online in digital format through Overdrive/the Libby app or hoopla. You’ll find fun fiction titles set in coffee shops, caffeinated cozy mysteries, and even some books on the history of coffee and how to make your own at home! So sit back and relax with some coffeehouse or coffee-themed music from hoopla as you make and enjoy your cup o’ joe. 

When it comes to making your own craft coffee at home, it can be overwhelming just to figure out what equipment you need. Craft Coffee: A Manual: Brewing a Better Cup at Home (which you can reserve in print format for Curbside Pickup or read as an ebook with no wait on hoopla) can help you figure that out, as well as what coffee to get and how to make it the way you want it every day. Treat yourself to a specialty coffee from one of the recipes in Coffee: The Ultimate Guide for The Coffee Lover. Or learn the science behind the bean in Lani Kingston’s How To Make Coffee. And if having tasty coffee isn’t enough, you can even make coffee-flavored treats to go with your morning brew. Pudding cups, waffles, coffee-braised ribs – these are just a few of the recipes in Cooking with Coffee by Brandi Evans. 

If you’re curious about coffee, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood’s The Coffee Dictionary: An A-Z of Coffee, From Growing & Roasting To Brewing & Tasting has everything in the alphabet you need to know about coffee! Learn about the techniques and equipment you can use to make it, and the beans and roasts to use. You can also learn about coffee from different places. Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour will reveal coffee experiences from espresso bars, plantation tours, urban roasteries, and cafes from 37 different countries around the world. Stop in New York with Erin Meister in New York City Coffee or Louisiana with Suzanne Stone for New Orleans Coffee. And if all of these titles make you want more, peruse the rest of the Coffee & Tea items on hoopla.

Would you like some murder with your coffee? Enjoy a nice cozy mystery as you drink your caffeinated or decaf delight. Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries begins with On What Grounds, in which coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi goes to work to find the assistant manager’s body in the back of the store. You can find many of the titles in regular print  or large print format to reserve for Curbside Pickup, or listen to the e-audiobooks right away on hoopla. 

If you’re not into murder mysteries, try the following fiction stories, which take place in coffee houses or relate to coffee in some way. In The Coffee Trader by David Liss, Miguel Lienzo partners with Geertruid Damhouder to introduce coffee to seventeenth-century Amsterdam. Sunny runs a coffee shop in Kabul in A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez. Chelsea works at a run-down old-fashioned coffee shop after separating from her NFL superstar husband in Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café by Max Lucado, with Eric Newman and Candace Lee. Katherine Reay’s character purchases and remodels the local coffee shop in Of Literature and Lattes, available in ebook and e-audiobook format on hoopla.

Whether you take your coffee with sugar or literature, there are many ways you can celebrate this popular morning beverage!

A Little Summertime Hocus Pocus

If you weren’t ready for Christmas in July, what about Halloween in August? You may remember that last summer, Marblehead was overrun with ghosts, pumpkins, and cobwebs during the filming of the upcoming Netflix original, Hubie Halloween. To get back into that spooky spirit, here are some Halloween Items you can check out online or reserve for Curbside Pickup!

Another movie filmed in Marblehead and the surrounding areas, Hocus Pocus features a trio of evil witches who are brought back from the dead and wreak havoc on Salem, Massachusetts. You can enjoy the book version, Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel, as an ebook or audiobook on Overdrive or an ebook on hoopla. The book contains the original tale as well as a new adventure that takes place one generation later.

This year, Salem’s Haunted Happenings will be quite different. You can read about Salem and its Halloween happenings in J. W. Ocker’s A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts, which you can reserve  in print format for Curbside Pickup or read on Overdrive as an ebook. The book includes the occult enthusiast’s experiences visiting the attractions and historical sites, as well as black-and-white photos which give a glimpse into Witch City.

If you want to stay safe and healthy at home this October 31st, you can make your own Halloween celebration! Listen to Halloween music on hoopla to get in the groove and have a good motivational backdrop for crafting and making decorations and costumes. The Spirit Of Halloween – 62 Classic Halloween Songs has theme songs from Harry Potter, The Addams Family, Corpse Bride, GhostBusters, and more! Some of these as well and others can be found in Halloween Treats – 50 Spooky Songs And Tunes For The Spirit Of Halloween!. For music geared towards kids, try this trio of Kidz Bop Halloween or Drew’s Famous – The Very Best Halloween Songs For Kids, or even Mickey’s Monster Mash.

Creative Costumes & Halloween Decor: 50 Projects to Sew & Craft will give you ideas not only of costumes you can easily make, with designs for tabards, gowns, and full suits; but it will also give you ideas for how to decorate your house with common household items and popular craft materials such as papier mache, felt, craft foam, floral materials, and polymer clay. You can make it even more simple and decorate with origami from Origami for Halloween.

Some other ways to decorate are carving pumpkins, creating a haunted house, and making festive fall quilts. If you need more ideas, reserve some of these Halloween decorating items for Curbside Pickup, which include Martha’s Halloween Ideas (DVD), Halloween: The Best of Martha Stewart Living, Spooky & Bright : 101 Halloween Ideas, and Better Homes and Gardens Halloween : 101 Frightfully Fun Ideas.

If you don’t want to think about decorating for Halloween yet, get comfortable with a cozy like Halloween Murder: a Lucy Stone Mystery by Leslie Meier, which you can check out in ebook format on Overdrive/the Libby app or hoopla. The book includes two Halloween mysteries set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine. More books in the series can be found in print and ebook format, including a few more Halloween stories such as Trick or Treat Murder (in print and ebook format) and Wicked Witch Murder (also in print and ebook format – these two mysteries are the ones that make up Halloween Murder), as well as Candy Corn Murder (print and ebook), and Haunted House Murder (print and ebook).

Browse through all the Halloween print books, ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, and more on the library catalog for Curbside Pickup, or online through Overdrive, hoopla, and IndieFlix!

Cool Off With Christmas in July!

Winter is often a time of joy, when people come together to sing carols and spend time with family and friends. Often throughout the year, we forget what is important. The spirit of giving and the season to spend time with those you love can be celebrated all year long. So, to instill these feelings we experience during the popular winter holiday, here are some ebooks, audiobooks, music, and movies about the Christmas season! 

Ebeneezer Scrooge is the quintessential Christmas grumbler in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (also available on hoopla), a story that has inspired countless retellings as books (see these ebooks on hoopla), movies (seven of which are available on hoopla), and even holiday plays such as the one shown at North Shore Music Theater. The unforgettable ghostly quartet that visits the greedy guy, led by the spirit of Scrooge’s deceased partner, Jacob Marley, are enough to change a man’s entire outlook and remind him of what is important in life, especially at Christmastime.

John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas is a popular modern classic which inspired the movie Christmas with the Kranks (available to watch on hoopla with no wait!), starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee-Curtis. If ever there were characters who forgot what the holiday season was about, it’s the Kranks. They decide to skip Christmas and set sail on a caribbean cruise. But will they go through with their holiday plans, or will something remind them of why this time of year is so special despite all the holiday hassle?

Mystery fans will love to cuddle up with some Christmas cozies on Overdrive and hoopla. Get ready for A Little Yuletide Murder with Jessica Fletcher in book 11 of the Murder, She Wrote Series. Who killed Santa Claus? All Jessica Fletcher wants to do is enjoy a nice holiday in Cabot Cove, but someone killed the guy who plays the small town Santa Claus every year, and Jessica wants to wrap up the case by Christmas. 

Baker and amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen is on the case in Joanne Fluke’s dessert-filled delectables, which can be checked out on Overdrive or hoopla. Included in the holiday-themed titles are a spectacular Christmas ball, a deceased Mrs. Claus, and recipes for delicious desserts!

If you’re more into movies than books, stream one of the many holiday movies available on hoopla! Not only will you find the aforementioned Christmas with the Kranks and various versions of A Christmas Carol, but you’ll find family friendly movies like Small Town Santa, in which the sheriff arrests a home intruder who claims to be Santa Claus; or Christmas with the Andersons, to show how you can enjoy the holiday even if you lose your job. For more mature movies, Christmas Kiss or Back to Christmas might be the romantic movie you want to see.

All these titles are just the tip of the iceberg! Check out even more on Overdrive/the Libby app or on hoopla!

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

July is National Ice Cream Month. And no wonder, with how hot the summer can be! If you want to practice social distancing away from those long lines at the ice cream stores, here are some ebooks to help you make, enjoy, and celebrate this tasty summertime treat! 

Get the scoop on how to make ice cream in Charity Ferreira and Lou Seibert Pappas’s ebook with 25 recipes for homemade ice creams and frozen desserts. The A to Z Ice Cream: Making Ice Cream at Home for Total Beginners by Lisa Bond is another great way to start learning how to make this popular frozen dessert, as well as facts about ice cream you can share with friends and family! Find 51 recipes in Nicole Weston’s How to Make Ice Cream, including classics such as coffee and chocolate, as well as original flavors like goat cheese and honey, maple bacon, and more! Or learn from master chef Louis P. De Gouy in The Ice Cream Book, which includes over 400 recipes. We guarantee you will find The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook Ever in our hoopla collection! If you care about cows so much you don’t eat dairy products, try Vegan A La Mode by Hannah Kaminsky, with 100+ recipes made from almond, coconut, and other dairy alternatives. 

Once you have your frozen dessert in hand, enjoy while reading an ice cream-themed adult mystery or romance! Jen and Sherry try to solve the Chunky Raspberry Fudge Murder in Penelope Manzone’s cozy mystery. Listen to Lexy Baker and her grandmother, Nans, solve a mystery in Leighann Dobbs’s audiobook, Ice Cream Murder. For A Deadly Inside Scoop, Abby Collette’s wintertime mystery features a recent MBA grad who took over her family’s ice cream business and found the body of a man with an old feud with her family.

If you want something more romantic, Eileen Dreyer’s The Ice Cream Man features Jenny Lake investigating an ice cream man who may be selling something else from his ice cream truck. You could also travel back in time to Grace Thompson’s Ice Cream in Winter, about a woman trying to run a struggling ice cream shop in the winter of 1940. Or take a contemporary road trip in Tiffany Carby’s romance, $(mint)en Chocolate Chip, in which a successful blogger takes a road trip to find the best ice cream spots.

What goes well with ice cream? Dogs! In Drawing with Mark: Happy Tails & We All Scream for Ice Cream, children will learn about popular flavors of the frozen dessert, and they will be taught how to draw an ice cream cone and truck! They’ll also learn how to take care of and draw puppies and kittens. If you want to see doggos enjoying their own frozen treats, take a look at the photos in Diana Lundin’s Dogs vs. Ice Cream! Splat the Cat and Stick Dog also have something to scream or dream about ice cream in the children’s books by Rob Scotton and Tom Watson.

Check out the rest of hoopla’s ice cream-themed items, which include recipe books, fiction, music, and other entertaining items for all ages!

Cozy Mystery Reading

Check out these gentle reads with some mystery and mayhem!

The prolific writer Alexander McCall Smith is on his 20th volume of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which started in 1998. The latest title is To the Land of Long Lost Friends. Set in Botswana, Southern Africa, this series features Mma Precious Ramotswe, a private detective. With wisdom and humor, she deftly is able to solve cases. The gentle pace and likable characters make this a gem of a series. 

Brewed Awakening is Cleo Coyle’s 18th book in the extensive Coffeehouse Mystery Series, set in Greenwich Village, New York City. Clare Cosi, proprietor of the Village Blend coffee shop, and engaged to NYPD detective Mike Quinn, wakes up in Washington Square with no memory and a suspect in a kidnapping. For fans of mysteries and a good cup of coffee. Check out the audiobooks on hoopla.

Hannah Reed’s too-short trilogy, The Scottish Highlands Mysteries, is completely enjoyable. Beginning with Off Kilter, writer Eden Elliott decides to travel to Glenkillen in the Scottish Highlands to work on her book. Her friend Ami Peterson urges her to go to recover from the death of her mother and her recent divorce. But when she arrives, there is a murder, and Eden finds herself helping the Police Inspector find the murderer.

The Body in the Wake is 25th in the Faith Fairchild mystery series by Katherine Hall Page. Faith is the wife of a minister in Aleford, Massachusetts. She is also a mother, caterer (recipes included), and amateur detective. Faith gets ready to attend the wedding of her friend’s daughter at their summer Penobscot Bay Maine cottage with familiar and likable characters from the previous series. Then a body is found in the lily pond. Check these ebooks out on Overdrive or hoopla

The Whole Enchilada is the 17th book in the Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson. The first book is Catering to Nobody. This is a classic series to enjoy, featuring sleuth and caterer Gold Schulz. Set in Aspen Valley, Colorado, the series starts with divorced mother Goldy Bear and eleven-year-old son Arch. As Goldy keeps busy running her business, Goldilocks Catering, she finds herself embroiled with a mystery. Homicide detective and future love interest Tom Schulz investigates the case. Titles from the series are accessible on Overdrive and hoopla. Recipes are included!

Furmidable Foes is the impressive 29th book in Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy Mysteries. The series started in 1990 with Wish You Were Here. Funny and whimsical mysteries for cat and dog lovers set in Virginia and featuring “Harry” Mary Minor Harirsteen and her cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and dogs, Tee Tucker and Pirate. Harry is married to veterinarian husband Fair. She is the postmistress and finds herself often solving a mystery. In this volume, there is a mystery with ties to the colonial past of the area involving an artifact of a diamond-and-pearl necklace. As always, there is the delightful subplot involving the animals’ adventures.

Check out more cozy mysteries collection in Overdrive and the ebook and audiobook cozies collections on hoopla!

More Features of NoveList To Help You Choose What To Read Next!

Here are more exciting features of NoveList Plus for the avid reader! We first mentioned this useful book selection tool in a blog post back in April. Here are some features you may not know about!

NoveList has a wide variety of Book Lists. There are fiction lists and narrative nonfiction lists, each separated by age groups. You can browse through different genres such as Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, and Historical Fiction. You can also check out forthcoming titles as well as many specific subgenres.

For example, if you are interested in reading cozies, search under Adult > Fiction > Mysteries > Getting Cozy, where you will find such titles as M. C. Beaton’s The Witch’s Tree (which happens to be in Overdrive and hoopla) and Buried in Books by Kate Carlisle (available as an audiobook on hoopla).

There are extensive lists of Award Winners, which are also separated by age and include fiction and nonfiction. The most recent Pulitzer Prize winner, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, is one of the books displayed under Recent Awards, and it can be checked out on Overdrive.

As we mentioned in the previous NoveList blog post, when you see a book you like and click on the title, a wonderful feature is that you can click on the Series and get a list of the whole series in order, as well as Read-alikes listed on the side.

There are a wide variety of narrative nonfiction book lists, including Biography and Memoir, History, Travel Writing, and Nature and Science. These are also broken down into subcategories.

If you find a title you like, you can visit Overdrive/Libby or hoopla to see if the library has an electronic version of it.

Click here to access NoveList, and feel free to email the Reference Staff at mar@noblenet.org for assistance with using this resource, as well as getting further book recommendations.