KDL Blog ‘Books & More’ Category

The Muscle Shoals Story

Monday, January 19th, 2015

If you are a fan of the classic rock or R & B music of the last 50 years or more, there’s a good chance you will love the new documentary Muscle Shoals: The Incredible True Story of a Small Town with a Big Sound. Centering on a town—Muscle Shoals, Alabama—and a man—producer Rick Hall—the movie takes us through the golden years of music that was, incredibly, recorded in a small town, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but, to be more exact, the far northwest corner of Alabama, a place unto itself but in the same region as those famous centers of music, Nashville and Memphis.

That sense of place is important, as the film makes clear, and it has no doubt contributed, in some mysterious way, to the amazing production of music there, with artists ranging from Wilson Pickett to Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keys. Director Greg Camalier uses archival footage and photos and a wide gamut of music to tell us how Rick Hall (see photo), overcoming several tragedies in his personal life, including poverty and death and, starting humbly with a small studio, went on to record the giants of popular music. But he didn’t do it alone—he had the amazing help of The Swampers, a group of white, Alabama-born musicians who very often surprised the African-American singers they were backing with the talent and harmony they found with the singers. We learn all this through the words of Hall and his musicians, but also through interviews with a number of the great singers who recorded there, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Clarence Carter, as well as Steve Winwood and Bono.

“Muscle Shoals” inspires the viewer both in the presentation of some great music, but also in its celebration of how that music, in many different ways, can bring people together, can chase away sorrows and even bridge long-held racial divides. It shines a bright light on yet another hidden corner of the cultural landscape of America.


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Early Lit Bits: Booklists

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Cool Picture Books: Our Youth Staff Love these Books; Your Kids Will Too!




This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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New Zinio Magazines Available

Friday, January 16th, 2015


Our Zinio digital magazine service now has even more of your favorite titles! We’ve added subscriptions to the following new magazines that you can download and enjoy for FREE on your computer or mobile device:


Allrecipes Better Homes and Gardens The Economist HGTV Magazine

The New Yorker Parents Vanity Fair Vanity Fair

Click here to view a complete list of all titles offered through Zinio.


Happy Downloading!


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New Year, New Teen Books

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

firefightAfter a lack of really super great teen reads last year, I am looking forward to 2015 books!  My favorite book of 2013 was Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson so I am THRILLED that the sequel, Firefight, is out!  I actually re-read Steelheart so I am really excited to see where the next book takes us.  I feel like it might be a different type of book since there were some great reveals at the end of the first book which should change the way the main character, David, and the Reckoners function as a team.darkestpart

Another book that should be on everyone’s reading list is Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of The Forest.  This beautifully crafted book just came out and really showcases how great Holly Black is at world building.  Siblings Hazel and Ben are just so different and how they interact with each and the boy who sleeps in the glass coffin feels so real.  The book reads like a fairy tale but features a strong female, Hazel, as a knight.  Plus the cover is gorgeous!



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New Juvenile Booklist: Snow Party!

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Looking for a book to snuggle up with and read together during this snowy January? Check our Snow Party! booklist for these titles and more!


Check out other great booklists at KDL Recommends For Kids.


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February LibraryReads Staff Picks

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

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. A Spool of Blue Thread: A NovelLibraryReadsFavoriteA Spool of Blue Thread: A Novel by Anne Tyler
    “In this book, we come to know three generations of Whitshanks — a family with secrets and memories that are sometimes different than what others observe. The book’s timeline moves back and forth with overlapping stories, just like thread on a spool. Most readers will find themselves in the story. Once again, Tyler has written an enchanting tale.”
    Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

  3. A Touch of Stardust: A NovelA Touch of Stardust: A Novel by Kate Alcott
    “With the background of the making of Gone with the Wind, this is a delightful read that combines historical events with the fictional career of an aspiring screenwriter. Julie is a wide-eyed Indiana girl who, through a series of lucky breaks, advances from studio go-fer and assistant to Carole Lombard to contract writer at MGM. A fun, engaging page-turner!”
    Lois Gross, Hoboken Public Library, Hoboken, NJ

  5. My Sunshine AwayMy Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
    “A crime against a 15-year-old girl is examined through the eyes of one of her friends—a friend who admits to being a possible suspect in the crime. This is a wonderful debut novel full of suspense, angst, loyalty, deceit, and most of all, love.”
    Alison Nadvornik, Worthington Libraries, Columbus, OH

  7. The Secrets of Sir Richard KenworthyThe Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn
    “At a dreaded music recital, a cellist catches Sir Richard Kenworthy’s eye, and he determines to marry her. Iris Smythe-Smith is a smart cookie and rightly suspicious of Sir Richard’s motives when he comes courting, but finds herself falling for his charm. Things seem to be working out well until Iris finds out what a big secret Richard is keeping.”
    Sharon Redfern, Rockville Public Library, Vernon, CT

  9. Half the WorldHalf the World by Joe Abercrombie
    “Fifteen-year-old Thorn, determined to become a king’s soldier, is fighting not just physical opponents, but her world’s social mores. Girls are supposed to desire nothing more than a wealthy husband. Period. Thorn’s struggles to achieve her dream make for a riveting read. Second in a series, this book reads very well as a standalone.”
    Cynthia Hunt, Amarillo Public Library, Amarillo, TX

  11. Finding Jake: A NovelFinding Jake: A Novel by Bryan Reardon
    “Stay-at-home dad Simon Connelly receives the call every parent dreads: there’s been a shooting at his children’s school. Through flashbacks and present-day narratives, he mines his memory for clues to what may have happened. This is a refreshing take on the well trodden “bad kid” novels, and an excellent thriller to recommend to all who liked Defending Jacob or We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
    Alissa Williams, Pekin Public Library, Pekin, IL

  13. A Darker Shade of MagicA Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
    “Fantasy fans should enjoy this atmospheric novel, where London is the link between parallel universes, and magician Kell is one of two Travelers who can move between them. Now something sinister is disturbing their equilibrium, and Kell must try to unravel the plot with only feisty street thief Delilah Bard as an ally.”
    Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

  15. A Murder of MagpiesA Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders
    “Loved this mystery! The acerbic narrator is 40-year-old British book publishing editor Samantha, whose best author goes missing after writing a tell-all book about a famous French fashion designer who died under suspicious circumstances. Very funny, and great secondary characters as well.”
    Ann-Marie Anderson, Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR

  17. The Siege Winter: A NovelThe Siege Winter: A Novel by Ariana Franklin & Samantha Norman
    “I couldn’t have been more excited when I learned Franklin wrote a new book. This wonderfully written novel takes place during King Stephen and Empress Matilda’s tumultuous civil conflict to claim England, no matter what cost to themselves or their subjects. The story conveys the brutality of the period without sacrificing the complex nature of the time and the people.”
    Elizabeth Carroll, Madison Public Library, Madison, WI

  19. Dreaming Spies: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock HolmesDreaming Spies: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes
    by Laurie R. King
    “Considering that King is one of the finest mystery authors writing today, it’s no surprise that the latest in the Russell/Holmes series is an engaging read. Intrigue follows the duo as they board a liner bound for Japan and meet up with a known blackmailer and a young Japanese woman who is not all that she seems. Great historical research and rich atmosphere!”
    Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI


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


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Golden Globes!

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Wow, what a night!  Last night we welcomed Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Hollywood into our homes as the Golden Globes took center stage and ushered us into one of the great American seasons… award season!  Per usual, Tina and Amy absolutely killed it for maybe a final time, there were surprises like The Grand Budapest Hotel winning best comedy or musical, and we learned that Benedict Cumberbatch has mad hops (see photobombing gif below).


Here are some highlights worth mentioning…

The Grand Budapest Hotel won for best comedy or musical

Prince was there (and was awesome) and Allison Janney got really excited.

Boyhood won best drama

Eddie Redmayne won for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything

J.K. Simmons won best supporting actor for his amazing performance as a drumming instructor in the breathtaking drama Whiplash.

For a complete listing of winners and nominees click here.


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Early Lit Bits: Music Minute

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Celebrate thankfulness with Gratitude Attitude by Recess Monkey. Talking with your child about respect, gratefulness and saying “thanks” is a great way to demonstrate appreciation and increase their vocabulary.

Click here to reserve a copy of this CD with your KDL card.



This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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January 15: Meet 5 Michigan Authors

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

The second of our new seasonal Michigan Authors Nights will be held at 6:00 PM on Thursday, January 15 at the Cascade Township Branch. The authors will sign, sell and read from their masterpieces, and also take questions about the writing and publishing process. We debuted this event in October with books on faith and baseball, Michigan wine, a pot-dealing teenage detective and a memoir of escape from war-torn Czechoslovakia. The evening was fast-paced, fascinating and fun.

You never know, your next favorite author could live in your neighborhood.

Here’s the January line-up:



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Write Michigan Voting Begins!

Friday, January 9th, 2015

WriteMichigan-blackThe finalists in our third-annual Write Michigan Short Story Contest have been selected; now it’s your turn to vote.

Vote for your favorite story among the semifinalists at writemichigan.org. You may vote for up to one adult, one teen and one youth entry per week between now and Saturday, January 31.

Readers’ Choice and Judges’ Choice winners will be announced on February 2. The awards ceremony featuring Susan Dennard, author of the Something Strange and Deadly series, will take place at 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 21 at Schuler Books (2660 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512).

All finalists’ stories will be included in a collection published by Schuler Books & Music.


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