The newest Woody Allen

February 5th, 2016

For a long time Woody Allen has been interested in the ideas of morality, justice and punishment. Going back at least as far as his masterpiece “Crimes and misdemeanors”, the writer/director has explored numerous times the idea that crimes are committed and, seemingly, there is no cosmic or divine judgement that falls on perpetrators. His most recent film on DVD, “Irrational man” is another (mostly) satisfying entrée in what we might call his “big question” series. Joaquin Phoenix is the driving force as Abe Lucas, a depressed and probably alcoholic professor who lands a teaching job at a small, New England college, a sort of world unto itself that appears wealthy and insulated and not used to outlandish characters. Emma Stone plays a student of his who also becomes deeply involved with him, finding, in her own rebellious way, a means to be her own person.  As usual with Allen’s films—and this is where that “mostly” qualifier comes from—people in perfectly stable relationships always seem to be utterly blind to the danger inherent in spending large amounts of time with someone other than their significant other, as if they are immune from such dangers as adultery or at least unfaithfulness. And the danger in “Irrational man” is not simply in relationships, but extends to violence as well.  Allen returns to his pet themes in more ways than one, and chance—simply being in the right place at the right time—is the axle on which the plot moves very swiftly and satisfyingly forward. For Abe finds a way out of his slump, a way to move beyond the seemingly stale and pointless discussions of philosophy that take up his time in the classroom.  Of course I will not give away anything more than that, other than to say that this time, if I may dare a theological speculation, there seems to be a bit more light in the story than we’ve seen before. To fully understand that reference, you’ll have to watch the movie. Then get back with me and tell me what you think.

This movie is rated R for one brief scene and some strong language.


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Congrats to the Write Michigan Winners!

February 5th, 2016

Write MichiganKent District Library and Schuler Books & Music are pleased to announce the winners of the fourth annual Write Michigan Short Story Contest. Almost 500 writers from across the state entered the contest: 128 adults, 250 teens and 115 in the youth category.

“We are proud of so many things in this year’s Write Michigan Short Story contest,” said Michelle Boisvenue-Fox, KDL’s Director of Innovation and User Experience. “We are proud that this is our first year where we received two story submissions from the Upper Peninsula.  Our teen contest had more submissions than our youth and adult categories combined.  We know our Michigan teens have lots to say!  And we are also proud of over 100 volunteers who gave up time over the holidays to read every submission to choose our semifinalists.”

Winners were chosen by public voting at www.writemichigan.org for the $250 Readers’ Choice award, and by a panel of judges for the $250 Judges’ Choice and $100 Judges’ Choice Runner-up awards. They will be honored at an awards ceremony at 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 19 at Cascade Township Branch of Kent District Library. Adam Schuitema, author of the novel Haymaker and the short-story collection Freshwater Boys, will present the keynote.

ADULT

Judges’ Choice Winner: Patricia Clark, Grand Rapids
Judges’ Choice Runner-Up: Danielle Adams, Comstock Park
Readers’ Choice Winner: Colleen Alles, Grand Rapids
Published Finalists:
Ellen Cassidy, Sawyer
Emily Haines Lloyd, Wyoming
Thomas Sheardy, Spring Lake

TEEN

Judges’ Choice Winner: Chloe Stegman, Grand Rapids
Judges’ Choice Runner-Up: Lauren Wilkinson, Ada
Readers’ Choice Winner: Katie Winkle, Grand Rapids
Published Finalists:
Audrey Clayton, Grand Rapids
Rachel Corley, Zeeland
Sammy D’Alexander, Cascade

YOUTH

Judges’ Choice Winner: Mae Rintala, Lake Ann
Judges’ Choice Runner-Up: Natalie Smith, Mattawan
Readers’ Choice Winner: Rachel Williamson, East Grand Rapids
Published Finalists:
Gabby DesJardins, Six Lakes
Parker Hammond, Grand Rapids
Madeline Oostema, Ada

Sponsors of the 2015–16 Write Michigan contest include Aquinas College’s Contemporary Writers Series, Meijer and Bloom Sluggett Morgan.


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Civic Theatre Passes: Sister Act

February 4th, 2016

sisteractCivic Theatre Passes: Sister Act

Starting NOW until they are gone: KDL cardholders may pick up two free vouchers per person at our Cascade Twp. and Plainfield branches for the dress rehearsal of Sister Act on Thursday, February 25 at 7:30 PM at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (30 N. Division Ave.) All dress rehearsals are general seating and vouchers must be redeemed for an admission ticket on dress night only.

Vouchers do not guarantee a seat, as dress rehearsals include open admissions sales. So arrive early; doors to the theatre open at 5:30 PM. Questions? Call KDL Patron Services at 784-2007.


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Cancelled – Saturday Book Sale

January 29th, 2016

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Update, 8 p.m.: Due to the phenomenal popularity of the Bulk Book Sale, we must cancel the Saturday event as we have sold out of merchandise! We apologize for the inconvenience, but are happy to report that the love of books is alive & well. Print is clearly not dead.

Update, 2:33 p.m.: Our children’s books are now sold out.

If you are looking to stock your home library, this sale is for you! We are hosting a Bulk Book Sale  from 12:00 – 8:00 PM on Friday January 29, and 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 30. The sale will take place at the Kent District Library Service Center (814 West River Center Dr. NE in Comstock Park) and will feature thousands (and thousands!) of books and other items. Books will be sold for $6 per bag and $8 per box. Single items will be sold for $.50. Bags and boxes will be provided.

You don’t want to miss this sale!


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Wordless Picture Books

January 27th, 2016

At first you might think to yourself, “What is the point of a book with no words?” But inside you’ll find stunning artwork and a story that can change with every reading.   Especially when read together with an adult, these books help to develop early literacy skills and to widen a child’s vocabulary base.

How to Read a Wordless Picture Book with Your Child 

  • Point to the pictures and objects in the story.  Pointing helps develop their understanding that words have meaning.
  • Develop new twists in the story-line to introduce new vocabulary, or topics that your child is interested in.
  • For younger children, wordless picture books help them learn the mechanics of a book.   They will master following the pictures from left to right and turning the pages long before they read a printed word.
  • Finished reading? Have your child create their own wordless picture book and tell the story aloud.

Wordless Picture Book Gems to Check Out

chalkChalk by Bill Thompson

journeyJourney by Aaron Becker

bluebirdBlueBird by Bob Staake

rainstormRainstorm by Barbara Lehman

foxesgardenFox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam

adogA Boy, A Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer


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Win Tickets to Monster Jam!

January 25th, 2016

Monster JamWe are excited to offer you the chance to win a family four-pack of ticket vouchers to Monster Jam! It’s easy to enter. Leave us a comment on this blog post and tell us where you find out about events that you or your family attend. These can be library events or other community programs. Please submit your comment by 9:00 AM on Monday, February 8. Two lucky winners will be contacted by email.

Monster Jam will be playing at the Van Andel Arena March 4-6. Vouchers can be redeemed at the box office for tickets to any of the following shows:
Friday, March 4, 7:30 PM
Saturday, March 5, 2:00 PM or 7:30 PM
Sunday, March 6, 2:00 PM

Good luck!


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February LibraryReads Staff Picks

January 23rd, 2016


You already know that your local KDL staff provide great recommendations when you’re looking for your next favorite book. Now library staff across the nation have connected to offer LibraryReads, a nationwide “Top 10” list of favorite titles each month! Check out these upcoming titles that librarians across the country have read, loved, and want to share with you.

  1. Salt to the SeaLibraryReadsFavoriteSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
    “Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, Salt to the Sea rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful—a must read.”
    Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL
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  3. Black Rabbit HallBlack Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
    “Young Amber Alton and her family adore Black Rabbit Hall, and the joy and peace it brings to them all. That is, until a tragic accident changes everything. Three decades later, Lorna decides her wedding must be celebrated at the crumbling hall. As the book moves between these two time periods, secrets slowly unfold. Perfectly twisty with interesting characters and a compelling story that kept me up too late.”
    Deborah Margeson, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO
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  5. A Girl's Guide to Moving On: A NovelA Girl’s Guide to Moving On: A Novel by Debbie Macomber
    “Leanne and her daughter-in-law Nichole both leave cheating husbands to start over. They learn that it is never easy and that hardships abound, but they meet many wonderful people on their way to happily-ever-after. Believable characters and an enjoyable story made this perfect for relaxing reading—definitely one of Macomber’s best. An excellent choice both for long-time fans of the author and for those who have never read her novels.”
    Linda Tilden, Cherry Hill Public Library, Cherry Hill, NJ
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  7. Be Frank With Me: A NovelBe Frank With Me: A Novel by Julia Claiborne Johnson
    “Meet Frank. Frank is an odd 9-year-old boy who has a higher IQ than Einstein’s and dresses as if he were on a movie set in the early 1920s—and he is someone with whom you are sure to fall in love. Frank’s reclusive mother is an author whose publisher has just sent Alice Whitley to serve as an assistant and ensure the next book is completed. The relationship between Frank and Alice is magical. Readers will devour this book and want more. Just magical.”
    Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, MI
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  9. Flight of Dreams: A NovelFlight of Dreams: A Novel by Ariel Lawhon
    Flight of Dreams chronicles an author’s imagined scenario on the ill-fated last flight of the Hindenburg, which was shrouded in mystery. Lawhon does a masterful job by giving meticulous detail of the ship and delving into the lives of many of the characters on board. I read with mounting dread and intensity as the storyline of the disaster unfolded. Historical detail and wonderful storytelling make this a must read for historical fiction lovers.”
    Kristin Fields, Farnhamville Public Library, Farnhamville, IA
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  11. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
    “Everyone loves Lizzie—she is the confidant, the late night go-to, and she is always there and hungry for attention. Lizzie becomes even more obsessed and needy when she no longer feels insecure about being overweight and it becomes painfully obvious that she will always feel bad about herself. It is a candid and sad look at how we mistreat people with different body types.”
    Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX
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  13. Fighting Dirty (An Ultimate Novel)Fighting Dirty (An Ultimate Novel) by Lori Foster
    “What. A. Ride! I absolutely loved this book. I loved finally getting Armie and Merissa’s story. I also enjoyed being able to go back and revisit past characters and getting to know future ones! The story was fast-paced and dreamy. Armie’s fight with himself over his emotions wasn’t drawn out, nor did it get tedious to read. All around, this book was an absolute pleasure, and I can’t wait to read more from Foster!”
    Jessica McCroskey, Holston River Regional Library, Johnson City, TN
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  15. Find HerFind Her by Lisa Gardner
    “WOW. Find Her is intense. Those initial pages are a testament to the strength of Lisa Gardner’s writing. I had to know what was going to happen! At times it was so bleak and dark, and yet I still had to know what Flora and Stacy were going to be doing. A very suspenseful, twisty, unpredictable page-turner.”
    Allie Williams, Parnell Memorial Library, Montevallo, AL
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  17. The Opposite of Everyone: A NovelThe Opposite of Everyone: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson
    “Fans of Jackson’s Someone Else’s Love Story will be pleased to see William’s acerbic friend Paula take center stage. A successful divorce lawyer, Paula’s carefully constructed life starts to fracture when family secrets come to light, forcing her to try to come to terms with the power of her story to hurt and heal, and a growing need for family connections. A wonderful cast of offbeat, memorable characters make this book a winner.”
    Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY
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  19. The Girl in the Red CoatThe Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer
    “There is not much more terrifying than losing your child. There’s the terror, the guilt, and then the relentless and unending chasm left behind by your child. I am grateful to not know that pain, and yet what Beth, the main character of this book, went through, resonated with me. I have had so many things on my to-do list, and yet I found myself delaying laundry and dusting and research so that I could find out how this story would unfold.”
    Kim Dorman, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ

 

See http://libraryreads.org for more information and find your next great read!

 


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The 5th Wave

January 22nd, 2016

The film The 5th Wave, based on the first book in Rick Yancey’s popular teen series, comes out on January 22nd.

If you’ve already read the book, don’t worry! You can keep yourself busy while you wait for the movie’s release by checking out other similar teen novels.

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Trapped inside a chain superstore by an apocalyptic sequence of natural and human disasters, six high school kids from various popular and unpopular social groups struggle for survival while protecting a group of younger children.

Through a series of dangerous and violent misadventures, teenage loser Alfred Kropp rescues King Arthur’s legendary sword Excalibur from the forces of evil.


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Cheers to the Winner!

January 21st, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen,

A tip of the hat to you all! When we asked for your finest home brews, we were not expecting the inundation of creativity and deliciousness you sent in! 24 entries were dropped off to Gravel Bottom Brewing (their largest home brew competition to date!) for a blind tasting that spanned two days, with 10 judges including Angela Steil, the world’s youngest cicerone!

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“We were very impressed by the creativity of all the submissions. With beers inspired by all sorts of great books, from Lord of the Rings to 50 Shades of Grey and everything in between, judging was a very entertaining experience, of course it doesn’t hurt that the beer quality was great as well.  We are very thankful for all who participated, both as brewers, but also as judges.  With such strong competition this year, I can’t wait to see what next year brings!” commented KDaLe organizer Joshua Bernstein.

Beers were judged on their aroma, appearance, flavor, mouth feel and inspiration. It was a tough couple of days but someone had to be declared the winner. With perfect scores across the board, we are pleased to announce that David Beerens and Nick Rodammer’s James and the Giant Peach Gose won first place and will be brewed at Gravel Bottom Brewing!

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James and the Giant Peach Gose will be released at the KDaLe Wrap-Up Party on February 24th at Gravel Bottom Brewing. We invite you all to come and try the winning beer and celebrate the success of another KDaLe season with food, music and of course, great beers.

1st Place – James and the Giant Peach Gose brewed by David Beerens and Nick Rodammer
“Outstanding!”

2nd Place – Winnie the Brew “Hunny” Saison brewed by John Britt
“Nailed the theme, beautiful looking beer.”

3rd Place – Mort, Short for Mortimer Stout brewed by Jacob Peacock
“A well-written description paired with a solid brew. Pleasant nose!”

Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all who entered! We look forward to seeing you on the 24th.


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KDL Welcomes New Board Member

January 20th, 2016

Andy ErleweinThere’s a new face on KDL’s Board of Trustees.

Andrew Erlewein now represents the City of Rockford and Cannon, Algoma, Courtland and Grattan Townships. His term runs through December 31, 2019.

Andrew has a background in actuarial and computer science. He is an Assistant Vice President at Aon Risk Services, serving the risk management needs of industrial clients. He lives in Rockford with his wife, 2 children and puppy.

“My family and I have been active Kent District Library patrons since moving to Rockford, and I look forward to contributing my talents to the future success of the KDL,” said Andrew. “I especially would like to reach out to the Kent County citizens who may not realize what benefits the library has to offer them.”

 

 


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