KDL Blog ‘Books & More’ Category

January LibraryReads Staff Picks

Saturday, December 19th, 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. The My Name Is Lucy Barton: A NovelLibraryReadsFavoriteMy Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout
    “Set in the mid-1980s, Lucy Barton, hospitalized for nine weeks, is surprised when her estranged mother shows up at her bedside. Her mother talks of local gossip, but underneath the banalities, Lucy senses the love that cannot be expressed. This is the story that Lucy must write about, the one story that has shaped her entire life. A beautiful lyrical story of a mother and daughter and the love they share.”
    Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

  3. The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
    “Sara arrives in the small town of Broken Wheel to visit her pen pal Amy, only to discover Amy has just died. The tale of how she brings the love of books and reading that she shared with Amy to the residents of Broken Wheel is just a lovely read. Any book lover will enjoy Sara’s story and that of the friends she makes in Broken Wheel. If ever a town needed a bookstore, it is Broken Wheel; the healing power of books and reading is made evident by this heartwarming book.”
    Barbara Clark-Greene, Groton Public Library, Groton, CT

  5. The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A NovelThe Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin
    “Benjamin transports readers to 1960s Manhattan. This story gives us the chance to spy on Truman Capote’s close friendship with Babe Paley and his society “swans,” and the betrayal and scandal that drove them apart. I loved the description of the Black and White Ball.”
    Emily Weiss, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH

  7. Ashley Bell: A NovelAshley Bell: A Novel by Dean Koontz
    “This is a thrilling novel that caught me by surprise. Bibi Blair was diagnosed with brain cancer and astounds her doctor by being cured the day after her diagnosis. Why was she saved? A girl named Ashley Bell can provide the answers she seeks. Reality and dreams mix together in this unique narrative. Readers will be compelled to rush through to get to the ending.”
    Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA

  9. American Housewife: StoriesAmerican Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis
    “In a series of short stories, Helen Ellis picks up the rock of American domesticity and shows us what’s underneath. While it’s not always pretty, it is pretty hilarious, in the darkest, most twisted of ways. The ladies in these stories seem to be living lives that are enviable in the extreme, but then slowly, the layers are pulled away, and the truth is revealed.”
    Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT

  11. The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in BritainThe Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
    “A slightly more curmudgeonly Bill Bryson recreates his beloved formula of travel writing and social commentary. This book is a lovely reminder of all the amazing natural beauty and historically significant sites found in the United Kingdom. Even though Bryson extols the virtues of his adopted homeland, he never lets up on the eccentricities and stupidity he encounters. Bryson’s still laugh-out loud funny and this book won’t disappoint.”
    Susannah Connor, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ

  13. The Things We Keep: A NovelThe Things We Keep: A Novel by Sally Hepworth
    “A sweet story of love and loss set in a residential care facility. Two of its youngest residents, a man and a woman both diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, fall in love. Their story is intertwined with the stories of other residents and employees at the facility, including a recently widowed cook and her seven-year-old daughter. A moving and improbably uplifting tale.”
    Elizabeth Eastin, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton, NY

  15. Ornaments of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques MysteryOrnaments of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery by Jane K. Cleland
    “The Josie Prescott mystery series—featuring likable characters and fascinating facts about antiques—continues to please in this latest entry. Josie is dealing with her annual Christmas party while trying to unravel the mystery of a missing relative and the disappearance of two valuable seventeenth-century miniatures. A nicely twisted mystery in a fun and festive setting.”
    Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

  17. Even Dogs in the WildEven Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin
    “Readers rejoice! John Rebus has come out of retirement. Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox are working an important case and ask for his help. Then an attempt is made on the life of his longtime nemesis, Big Ger Cafferty. Are the cases connected? A top notch entry in a beloved series.”
    Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC

  19. What She Knew: A NovelWhat She Knew: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan
    “Rachel Jenner is out for a walk with her son Ben when, after allowing him to run ahead to a swing, he vanishes. The investigation focuses on Rachel due to her recent divorce, and as a result, Rachel becomes undone. This is a psychological thriller full of suspense that will have you guessing until the very end. When all is revealed, the characters and action of the crime will stay with you long after you read the final page. I recommend this book to every fan of the genre.”
    Annice Sevett, Willmar Public Library, Willmar, MN


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


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Holiday Movies on Hoopla

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Are you in the mood for a holiday movie, but either haven’t borrowed one from the library or nothing on TV catches your eye? Have no fear, Hoopla is here, with a wonderful selection of holiday movies for both adults and kids! They’re all free, and there are no overdue fees.  You just need to access Hoopla through KDL, sign in with your email & password (or create one), and check out the videos that you wish to watch, up to 12 each month. Simple directions are here.


holiday innmarry me for christmassnowman

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Quick Facts about MeLCat for KDL Cardholders

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Now that MeLCat service has been restored, we thought it’d be a good opportunity to review what exactly MeLCat is, what you as a KDL cardholder can get out of it, and how the service works:

Kent District Library participates in the statewide resource sharing system, MeLCat, which makes the collections of over 400 participating public, academic and school libraries available to KDL cardholders.

  • KDL cardholders may request print items using MeLCat, but not audio or video material.
  • MeLCat requests count toward the maximum 25 holds. (Note: This is a change from the previous policy.)
  • You may only request items that are currently on the shelf at participating MeLCat libraries. You cannot place a hold on checked out material.
  • Delivery to your KDL branch will average about one week.
  • Cardholders may check on the status of MeLCat requests and renew MeLCat material that is not yet due by accessing MyMeLCat. Visit catalog.kdl.org and click on the link to MyMeLCat in the right column.
  • If a MeLCat item is overdue, KDL staff may renew it at their discretion. Please check at your branch, or call 616-784-2007.


Here are a few commonly-asked questions about the MeLCat service:

How will I know when my material arrives?
Notification will be sent using the same method as KDL holds: phone, text or email as you’ve requested. You can also check a request status using MyMeLCat.

At which branch is my item available for pickup?
You can check MyMeLCat to find out where your requests are waiting.

Why do my notices say that it’s at Alpine when I usually use another branch?
One of the challenges we are working to resolve is that MeLCat notifications indicate that material is located at the Alpine Branch, which is only true if you chose to get your MeLCat items at Alpine. Please check your MyMeLCat account to verify the location status of items or ask KDL staff for assistance.

What if my MeLCat items are not on the hold shelf at my branch?
Check your MyMeLCat account to see where you wanted them picked up. Please call 616-784-2007 to verify that those items are there, or ask branch staff to verify this for you.

Why is my hold taking so long if the item is available at a nearby library?
The MeLCat system fills requests with the first available item from any participating library in Michigan, not necessarily from the closest owning library.

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New Year Teen Series Alert

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

willtosurviveSo January is fast approaching bringing the release of new to the series books.  So yes, if you start now, you can read the first books and still catch the release of these great books!

Will to Survive by Eric Walters:  This is the third book in the series about Adam and his neighborhoods quest for survival after a global computer failure.  They have survived armed attacks and food shortages but can they survive an attack from a former ally, someone who knows all their defense strategies?  Set to be released in January.calamity

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson:  This is also the third book in the series about David and the Reckoners fight to bring down the Epics.  After the exciting events in New York, is David ready to take on one of the most powerful Epics of all time?  And salttoseawhat exactly is Calamity?  Set to be released in February.

The last one is not exactly a series but a companion book, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: this historical novel is about the tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff and the mysterious cousin mentioned by Lina in Between Shades of Gray.  Set to be released in February.

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Borrow a Launchpad (An iPad for Kids)

Friday, December 11th, 2015

LaunchpadWe are excited to announce that we now offer Playaway Launchpads, secure, pre-loaded learning tablets designed for children. The Launchpads come pre-loaded with 10 or more high-quality learning apps that your kids are sure to love.

Several branches have Launchpads available for three-week checkout to KDL cardholders: Alpine Township, Byron Township, Cascade Township, East Grand Rapids, Gaines Township, Grandville, Kentwood (Richard L. Root), Plainfield Township and Wyoming.

Some branches have a Launchpad available for use inside the library: Alpine Township, Byron Township, Cascade Township, Kentwood (Richard L. Root), Nelson Township/Sand Lake, Spencer Township, Walker and Wyoming.

“I think these are a great alternative to the circulating iPads we offer for adults,” said Tammy Schneider, Collection Development Librarian. “They are made especially for kids, and have no Internet access, so parents can be sure their child isn’t going to accidentally get to a website that’s not appropriate.”

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2016 Golden Globe nominees

Thursday, December 10th, 2015


The Hollywood Foreign Press announced its nominees for the 73rd annual Golden Globes today and we’ve got a lot of the shows in our collection already for your viewing enjoyment! Many of the movies haven’t yet debuted in the theaters or made it to DVD yet but the ones we’ve got are linked below. Many of the films were based on books, so I’ve linked to those as well. Plenty to keep you busy as the holidays approach!

And if you’re an awards-watcher, the Golden Globes take place on Jan. 10.

Best Picture — Drama

Best Picture — Musical/Comedy

Best Director

Best Screenplay

Best Actress in Motion Picture — Drama

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol (based on Patricia Highsmith’s book The Price of Salt)
  • Brie Larson, Room (based on Emma Donoghue’s book Room)
  • Rooney Mara, Carol (based on Patricia Highsmith’s book The Price of Salt)
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn (based on Colm Tóibín’s book Brooklyn)
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (based on David Ebershoff’s book The Danish Girl)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical/Comedy

  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Melissa McCarthy, Spy
  • Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
  • Maggie Smith, Lady in the Van
  • Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Jane Fonda, Youth
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Helen Mirren, Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs (adapted from Walter Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (based on Michael Punke’s book The Revenant)
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (adapted from Walter Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs)
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
  • Will Smith, Concussion (based on Jeanne Marie Laskas’ book Concussion)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical/Comedy Film

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short (based on Michael Lewis’ book The Big Short)
  • Steve Carell, The Big Short (based on Michael Lewis’ book The Big Short)
  • Matt Damon, The Martian (based on Andy Weir’s book The Martian)
  • Al Pacino, Danny Collins
  • Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
  • Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (based on Uzodinma Iweala’s book Beasts of No Nation)
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Original Song

Best Animated Feature

Best TV Series — Drama

Best TV series, Comedy

Best TV Movie/Limited Series

Best Actress in a TV Drama

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy

  • Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
  • Lily Tomlin, Gracie & Frankie

Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie

  • Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
  • Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
  • Sarah Hay, Flesh & Bone
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Queen Latifah, Bessie

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series/Movie/Mini-series

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama

Best Actor in TV series, Comedy

  • Aziz Ansari, Master of None
  • Rob Lowe, The Grinder
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
  • Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk
  • Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle (based on Blaine Tindall’s book Mozart in the Jungle)

Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie

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Race and Identity

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015



Recent events and the ongoing debates around them have forced many of us to face hard questions concerning race relations in the United States.  Many books have been written in recent years which attempt to address those questions, and many classic books that have remained in print for decades address many of these issues as well.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, was awarded the National Book Award for Nonfiction last month.  Written in the form of a letter to his son, Mr. Coates is firing on all cylinders in this attempt to address the question of our fraught history of race relations, as well as what it means to live as a black man in America today.

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander, offers a timely and original framework for understanding mass incarceration, it’s origins, and our modern caste system.

The Warmth of Other Sons, by Isabel Wilkerson, also received the National Book Award in 2010 for her acclaimed historical study of the migration of African Americans out of the Southern United States into the Midwest, Northeast, and West between 1915 and 1970.

The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore, tells the story of two boys from Baltimore who share a name and a similar history, but whose lives turn out very differently.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, by Jeff Hobbs, is about a young man from a rough neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, who attends an ivy league school only to return to his familiar life.

Classic books that deal with race and identity include Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison; Native Son, by Richard Wright; and Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin.

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The Stanford Prison Experiment

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Experiments involving human subjects are often controversial, and have caused no small amount of hand-wringing and grief, especially when it’s revealed that the subjects were not aware they were the “guinea-pigs” of an over-zealous scientist. The new DVD, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” shows that, even when the subjects have signed on and are fully aware of what they’re getting into, the results can be surprising and depressing in what they reveal about human nature. Based on a real experiment done in 1971, “Stanford” captures, in dramatic form, through its use of claustrophobic sets and camera work, an experiment run by Dr. Philip Zimbardo. The movie opens with the professors interviewing their prospective subjects, and we soon realize they are intent on screening out those who might take advantage of the extreme situation they are applying for.  The men, once chosen, are then divided into two groups: the prisoners and the guards. The latter are given numbers and primitive coverings, while the former receive khaki uniforms and, to add to their air of power, large, aviator-style sunglasses.  A university building, out of use for the summer, was converted into a “prison”, complete with cells, a mess hall, a “hole” (i.e. a closet where disobedient prisoners could be kept) and, most importantly, camera eyes mounted into various walls so the entire experiment could be watched and videotaped by Zimbardo.  The film then proceeds to show us the results of this, and it unfolds powerfully.  What struck this viewer was how the drama, despite (or maybe because of) its cramped locations and stripped-down look, echoes the familiar and not so familiar beyond its walls—the Vietnam war (still going at that time), movies (the most egregious guard almost immediately references “Cool Hand Luke” as an inspiration), and even some performance art, in which the safety of traditional art is thrown out the window in favor of far edgier viewer-artist relations.  With all these and its revealing insights into human behavior—including an ending that deepens the complexity and becomes truly bizarre—The Stanford Prison Experiment is well worth your time.

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LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites 2015 Staff Picks

Saturday, December 5th, 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 favorite titles of 2015 that librarians across the country have read, loved, and want to share with you.

  1. The Girl on the TrainLibraryReadsFavoriteThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
    “Rachel is a washed-up thirty-something who creates a fantasy about the seemingly perfect couple she sees during her daily train ride into London. When the woman goes missing, Rachel manages to insert herself into the investigation of the woman’s disappearance. In the vein of Gone Girl, this dark psychological thriller is fast-paced and features some very unreliable narrators.”
    Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL

  3. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the LusitaniaDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
    “In cinematic terms, this dramatic page-turner is Das Boot meets Titanic. Larson has a wonderful way of creating a very readable, accessible story of a time, place, and event. We get three sides of the global story—the U-boat commander, British Admiralty and President Wilson—but what really elevates this book are the affecting stories of individual crew and passengers.”
    Robert Schnell, Queens Library, Jamaica, NY

  5. The Rosie Effect: A NovelThe Rosie Effect: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
    “Don Tillman and Rosie are back again, and they’ve relocated to New York. Rosie is continuing her studies, while Don is teaching and even adding to his small circle of friends. But when Rosie announces that she is pregnant, Don is once again out of his depth. What follows are crazy situations that could only happen when Don is involved. Funny and heartwarming.”
    Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

  7. The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache NovelThe Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny
    “Louise Penny set the bar high with her last two books, but she had no trouble clearing it with this one. All our old friends are back in Three Pines where a young boy with a compulsion to tell tall tales tells one true story with disastrous results. But which story is the truth and why is it so threatening? Exquisitely suspenseful, emotionally wrenching and thoroughly satisfying.”
    Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

  9. A Spool of Blue Thread: A NovelA 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

  11. Circling the Sun: A NovelCircling the Sun: A Novel by Paula McLain
    “I couldn’t stop reading this fascinating portrayal of Beryl Markham, a complex and strong-willed woman who fought to make her way in the world on her terms. McLain paints a captivating portrait of Africa in the 1920s and the life of expats making their home there. Highly, highly recommended.”
    Halle Eisenman, Beaufort County Library, Hilton Head, SC

  13. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible ThingsFuriously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
    “Lawson’s hilarious memoir is a romp between absurdity and despondency. Passages alternate from ridiculously funny stories of her life to episodes of her sometimes debilitating depression. Lawson embraces living life, rather than merely surviving it. Why be just happy when you can be furiously so? Recommended to fans of David Sedaris and Sloane Crosley.”
    PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC

  15. The Little Paris Bookshop: A NovelThe Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel by Nina George
    “Quirky and delightful, Nina George’s book focuses on Jean Perdu, owner of the Literary Apothecary, a floating bookshop. When a new tenant in his apartment building sets in motion events that force Jean to re-evaluate his past, he finds himself floating off down the rivers of France in search of lost love, new love, and friends he didn’t know he needed.”
    Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

  17. Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A NovelKitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel by J. Ryan Stradal
    “This novel is quirky and colorful. The story revolves around chef Eva Thorvald and the people who influence her life and her cooking. With well-drawn characters and mouthwatering descriptions of meals, Kitchens of the Great Midwest will appeal to readers who like vivid storytelling. Foodies will also enjoy this delicious tale.”
    Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ

  19. A God in Ruins: A NovelA God in Ruins: A Novel by Kate Atkinson
    “In A God in Ruins, we become reacquainted with Teddy Todd, the beloved little brother of Ursula from Atkinson’s last book. As with Life After Life, this novel skims back and forth in time, and we see the last half of the 20th century through Ted’s eyes and the eyes of his loved ones. At times funny and at others heartbreaking, Atkinson revels in the beauty and horror of life in all its messiness.”
    Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT


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


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If you liked “If I Stay”… try these!

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Are you a sucker for sappy stories?  If so, then chances are you have read the book “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman.  Want more like it?  Check out these titles and more!

where she went

Where She Went

Gayle Forman


Adam, now a rising rock star, and Mia, a successful cellist, reunite in New York and reconnect after the horrific events that tore them apart when Mia almost died in a car accident three years earlier.


The Beginning of After

The Beginning of After

Jennifer Castle


In the aftermath of a car accident that killed her family, sixteen-year-old Laurel must face a new world of guilt, painful memories, and the possibility of new relationships.


This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life

Leila Sales


Nearly a year after a failed suicide attempt, sixteen-year-old Elise discovers that she has the passion, and the talent, to be a disc jockey.


Faking Normal

Faking Normal

Courtney Stevens


Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in “the Kool-Aid Kid,” who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.


Also check out the movie as well:

If I Stay

If I Stay



Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.

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