Author Archive

Book to Film: In the Heart of the Sea

Friday, November 13th, 2015

In the Heart of the SeaNathaniel Philbrick is the author of many nonfiction titles, including:

Perhaps his most popular title is In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. This book details the sinking of the whaleship “Essex” by an angry sperm whale in the year 1820, and how the young men aboard endured against all odds. In the Heart of the Sea was on the New York Times Bestseller list when it was published in 2000 and also won the National Book Award for nonfiction.

Philbrick’s book is also the basis for the Warner Brothers motion picture “In the Heart of the Sea,” scheduled for release on December 11, 2015. The film is directed by Ron Howard and stars Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Tom Holland. There is still time to read the book before you see the movie!

Watch the trailer for “In the Heart of the Sea”:

Which Nathaniel Philbrick book is your favorite?

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The Kennedy Assassination

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination coincides with the release of several new books on the topic. Five Days in November and The Kennedy Detail are both written by Secret Service agents who were on JFK’s detail. End of Days by James L. Swanson presents an hour-by-hour account of the day Kennedy was killed, while A Simple Act of Murder by former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman examines the evidence and witness testimonies to sort out the myths and misinformation about the murder.

If fiction is more your style, The Third Bullet by Stephen Hunter follows Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger as he exposes the mastermind behind a third bullet that mysteriously exploded. And in Top Down by Jim Lehrer, a young reporter endeavors to determine the day’s outcome if the security bubbletop from John F. Kennedy’s parade car had been in place. There’s also the alternate history book 11/22/63 by Stephen King, in which high-school English teacher Jake Epping is enlisted by a friend to travel back in time to prevent Kennedy’s assassination.

Finally, on DVD try Parkland, the true story behind that tragic day told from the vantage point of individuals who are forced to make split-second decisions after this incomprehensible event (based on the book by Vincent Bugliosi). Or The Day Kennedy Died, in which the minute-by-minute story of the death of a president is told through rarely seen film and photographs shot on the tragic day.

For more books on JFK’s assassination, check out our online booklist.


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Local Indie Spotlight: Tricia L. McDonald

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

7646524Life With Sally: Little White Dog Tails is a collection of stories about Sally, a miniature white bull terrier. Sally’s “mom” was never a dog person, but when she picks her up at the airport they form a bond that only a dog lover would understand. Sally is funny and sweet with a bit of OCD. Dog lovers will chuckle and see themselves in the way the owner Tricia interacts not only with Sally, but all her lovable pets –three dogs and three cats. More adventures can be found in Life with Sally: Still Spinnin’ Tails.

McDonald’s book is part of the Local Indie @ KDL collection, housed at the Cascade Township and Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branches. It was created to give independent authors, filmmakers and musicians the opportunity to be added to our shelves and to be featured by staff in order to increase viewers, readers and listeners.

Click here to browse our Local Indie @ KDL collection.

Reviewed by Helen at Kent District Library’s Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branch


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Local Indie Spotlight: Dani Meier

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

book_front_cover_150x143Real Dads: Men Embracing Nonviolence is a moving collection of photos that were taken by amateurs and professionals around Michigan for a 2010 Father’s Day contest. The pictures celebrate dads of many backgrounds who each signed a pledge to be a loving, strong and nonviolent role model. The photos are interspersed with stories of fathers stepping up at critical moments in their lives.

Meier’s book is part of the Local Indie @ KDL collection, housed at the Cascade Township and Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branches. It was created to give independent authors, filmmakers and musicians the opportunity to be added to our shelves and to be featured by staff in order to increase viewers, readers and listeners.

Click here to browse our Local Indie @ KDL collection


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Lincoln: Fact and Fiction

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Team of RivalsThe new movie about Abraham Lincoln has everyone talking about our 16th president! You can read more about his life in Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (this book was the basis for the movie). Or try Manhunt by James L. Swanson, which follows the twelve-day chase for Lincoln’s killer.

If fiction is more your style, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter is an alternate history where Lincoln escapes assassination by John Wilkes Booth only to face impeachment. In The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O’Brien, Detective Temple McFadden discovers diaries belonging to Mary Todd Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth that reveal a conspiracy behind Lincoln’s assassination. And for something really different, try Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith which features Lincoln’s valiant fight against the forces of the undead (also available on DVD).

What is your favorite book about Lincoln?


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Tracing Your Roots

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

GeniInterested in genealogy?

Geni is a web-based application with a simple interface that allows you to build your family tree and invite others to contribute. Relatives who are added to your tree can sign up for an account and add more family members. The basic tools are free, although you have the option of paying for a pro plan with advanced features. Geni keeps your information private so only the people in your family can log in and see your tree.

Geni was highlighted on Time magazine’s list of the 50 Best Websites of 2008 and on PC magazine’s list of the Best Free Software of 2009.

If you’d like to dig a little deeper into your ancestry, check out these genealogy resources offered by KDL:

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Find Movie Recommendations with Nanocrowd

Saturday, September 12th, 2009


Looking for movie suggestions? Try a movie recommendation engine like Nanocrowd. Just input the name of a movie you’ve enjoyed, and Nanocrowd suggests six nanogenres — groups of keywords related to the movie. Click on the three-word category you prefer, and Nanocrowd generates a list of movies. Choose a different nanogenre and you’ll get a new list of movies.

Not a fan of Nanocrowd? Other movie recommendation engines to try include TasteKid, Clerkdogs, Jinni, and IMDb. What’s your favorite way to find movie suggestions?

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Online Image Editors

Friday, July 17th, 2009

phoenixIf you want to edit your digital photos but don’t want to spend big bucks for the software, try an online image editor!

One tool to try is Aviary Phoenix. This image editor can do everything from basic photo retouching to more complex effects. The advanced interface includes options like filters, layers, magic wand selection, and blending. You have the option of uploading your photos or entering the URL for an image that is already online. Aviary does not require you to sign up for an account to use the tools, but creating an account allows you to save your creations online. Aviary’s suite of tools also includes vector and effects editors. And a bonus: Aviary has free tutorials to help you, ranked by difficulty from beginner to expert.

Other free online image editors are Adobe Photoshop Express, Sumo Paint, Pixlr, and Picnik. What is your favorite image editor?

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Download Free MP3s from Amazon

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Amazon MP3s

Looking for some new music but short on cash?

Check out Amazon’s Free MP3 downloads section to choose from over 800 songs — completely free and completely legal to download. Amazon regularly adds freebies, so check back often for new items!

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Use Eraser to Securely Delete Files

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

What happens to a file on your computer when you delete it?

Many people assume that deleting means it is gone, but often that’s not the case. The marker that points to your file may have been removed, but until the data is overwritten by something else, it still exists. If that is news to you, you’re not alone. A recent study by a New York computer forensics firm found that 40% of the used hard drives sold on eBay contain personal data that is easily recovered — everything from family photos to corporate financial data!

Enter Eraser, a free software program that that allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times. Eraser allows you to choose from several different overwriting methods, including the one used by the Department of Defense. Now that’s secure deletion! You can even schedule Eraser to run routine wipes of your free disk space. Once installed, Eraser makes “shredding” your files as easy as a right click.

Note: Mac users have had the “secure empty trash” option, based on a multiple pass DoD method, since OS 10.3 — no special program needed!

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