Find Product Reviews With Consumer Reports Online!

Consumer Reports, an independent nonprofit member organization, is available for you to use from home with your library card! Find detailed reviews and ratings for products related to Appliances, Cars, Health, Money, Babies & Kids, Electronics, and Home & Garden. Need a new washing machine? Consumer Reports has rated 132 different machines based on water efficiency, noise, and capacity. Is your lawn mower on the fritz? Find one that “makes the cut” from the 125 rated push, self-propelled, or robotic lawn mowers and tractors. 

Check out the “Latest News” section for informative articles on a variety of topics and products. Want to know how to choose and wear a mask? Do you need to find ways to stay safe from germs when you go to the grocery store? Articles related to these questions and more can be found here. You can also sign up to have news and tips sent right to your email!

Find comprehensive topic guides on current subjects in “Issues that matter to us,” including the coronavirus, car safety & efficiency, data privacy, food safety, and more! You can also easily search for products, or find an A to Z list of products, from air conditioners to yogurt.

Take a peek inside the June 2020 Consumer Reports to read articles from the current issue and find back issues in the Archive.

Need help finding something in the online version of Consumer Reports? Email the Library Reference Staff at mar@noblenet.org!

Keep the Home Fires Burning: Audio and Video for Lockdown

So, here we are. Still (mostly) at home. Hoping that our domestic self-quarantining will help win the war against our invisible enemy. We might like to imagine ourselves as citizens of a contemporary home front–the ones making it possible for front-liners to do their jobs, chiefly by cheering them on, wearing our masks, and staying out of the way.

Even so, it may all feel somewhat less than heroic. To bolster morale, you might turn to APL’s new hoopla collection of home-themed listens: 2020 APL At Home: Domestic Listens for Lockdown. Here, you’ll find a variety of approaches to the idea of “home”: biographies imagining life as a metaphorical journey from–or return to–home (see Josh Grogan’s The Longest Trip Home and Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage by Caroline Jane Knight), or perhaps a history of early American women’s domestic lives in the newly-released Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England. Also set close to our home here in the Northeast is an autobiography of boyhood that documents farm life during the last great world conflict–Home Front: A Memoir from World War II by C. D. Peterson.

You can also explore “home” as a cultural concept in Domesticity, where “Ann Tudor examines the joy and the sorrow, the guilt and the satisfaction of domestic life, all of it related in her usual wry voice.” 

Or, if you’re in a philosophical frame of mind, try New York Times-bestselling author Erica Bauermeister’s House Lessons: Renovating a Life, a collection of biographical essays that “takes listeners on a journey to discover the ways our spaces subliminally affect us.” 

If you’d like to enjoy a bit of Bill Bryson’s brilliant-but-curmudgeonly humor as he ranges through an eccentric history of domestic architecture and culture, have a listen to At Home: A Short History of Private Life on Overdrive or through the Libby app. For this book, Bryson challenged himself to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”

For a spot of escape from your own humdrum domestic sphere, tune in to several of Acorn TV’s documentary offerings showcasing the home life of days gone by–and modern attempts to relive or conserve those realities: 1900 Island, Victorian House of Arts & Crafts, or Keeping the Castle.

And keep those home fires burning!

*Quoted material from authors and/or publishers.

Jane Austen in Quarantine

There’s been a little flurry of Austen-flavored memes lately, like this one: and why not? From a modern perspective, affluent Regency men and women were probably past masters at social distancing and spent a good deal of time indoors (well, at least the women did). The recent, timely release of the latest Emma adaptation has gifted viewers with a bit of gentle escapism wrapped up in confectionary costumes and sparkling dialogue. So, Janeites, unite! Now is the time to brew a cuppa, pull up your chaise longue, and succumb to some therapeutic Austen-mania!

To start with, why not revisit the classic 1990’s adaptation of Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam? The heroine Jane thought “no one but myself will much like” has enjoyed perennial popularity. And there’s so much comfort to a story in which nothing worse than a few matchmaking mishaps and some snarky words at a picnic mar the sunny landscape.

For a bit of sly genre-bending fun, Northanger Abbey (starring the now-famous Felicity Jones) is just the ticket. Tickle your gothic funny bone and cheer on Catherine as she emerges from her novel-induced paranoia to find true love. Imagine being cooped up in a creepy (well, not so creepy, really) abbey with Henry Tilney. Life could be worse! Another house takes center stage in Mansfield Park, a sprightly adaptation that will make you fall in love with one of Jane’s less popular novels–and possibly with Jonny Lee Miller!

Jane herself was no stranger to domestic seclusion. Lucy Worsley invites us into Jane’s many and varied domiciles in her fascinating study Jane Austen at Home: A Biography. Expertly narrated by Ruth Redman, the book examines Austen’s legacy through the lens of her life indoors, from Steventon to Bath to Chawton. If you fancy a turn around the hedges–or are just feeling a bit claustrophobic–have a look at Austen Country: The Life and Times of Jane Austen and let images of the Hampshire countryside soothe your spirit.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that a stir-crazy Janeite in possession of hoopla access won’t be in want of suitable entertainment!