KDL Blog ‘Books & More’ Category

Humor is All You Need

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Sorry Paul McCartney, but sometimes love humor is all you need! Here are a few picks for when you just need a laugh.


Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead



Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb

Dr Strangelove

The Royal Tenenbaums


Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

me talk pretty one day

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

hyperbole and a half

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink

Welcome to Night Vale

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Color of Magic Discworld #1 by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic

Stand-Up Comedy

“Ask Me About My New God!” by Maria Bamford

“Mr. Universe” by Jim Gaffigan

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If You Like “Downton Abbey,” Try These…

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016


As the Downton Abbey series finale approaches, (the very last episode is only a month away!) you may want to prepare yourself and your library card. KDL has just the medicine for some serious Downton Abbey withdrawal. Check out these other British series for more scheming villains and suspenseful family drama. As the Dowager Countess of Grantham says, “Stop whining and find something to do.”


The Forsyte SagaForsyte Saga

Based on the Nobel Prize-winning novels by John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga is an epic and highly praised series spanning three generations of the powerful Forsyte family at the turn of the 20th century. Beneath the family’s imposing veneer lies a festering core of unhappy and brutal relationships.

Indian Summersindian summers

Set against the sweeping grandeur of the Himalayas and tea plantations of Northern India, this epic drama tells the rich and explosive story of the decline of the British Empire and the birth of modern India, from both sides of the experience.

Mr. SelfridgeMr Selfridge

Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, Harry Selfridge created a theater of retail for early 1900s Londoners where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining-or sometimes just eccentric-was showcased. Based on the book Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge by author Lindy Woodhead.


Ross Poldark rides again in a swashbuckling new adaptation of the hit series that helped launch Masterpiece in the 1970s. Captain Poldark is a redcoat who returns to Cornwall after the American Revolution and finds that his fighting days are far from over.

The Way We Live NowindexC6W0EA6V

This satire of Victorian society in London, shows the trials and tribulations of young love, the pettiness of upper class life, the raw energy and excitement of the most powerful city the world had ever seen, and the greed and corruption that lay just below its glittering surface.

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Win Tickets to Marvel Universe Live!

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Marvel Universe Live***Winners have been selected and emailed.

We are excited to offer you the chance to win a family four-pack of ticket vouchers to Marvel Universe Live! It’s easy (and fun!) to enter. Leave us a comment on this blog post and answer this question: If a librarian had a super power, what would it be? Please submit your comment by 8:00 AM on Monday, February 22. Two lucky winners will be contacted by email.

Marvel Universe Live will be playing at the Van Andel Arena March 31 – April 3. Vouchers can be redeemed at the box office for tickets to any of the following shows:
Thursday, March 31, 7:30 PM
Friday, April 1, 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 2, 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM or 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 3, 1:00 PM or 5:00 PM

Good luck!

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Listen to Love Songs

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Hoopla is more than just movies – you can listen to music, too! Hoopla has created a collection of albums that can be the perfect soundtrack for Valentine’s Day. Music albums check out for 7 days, and the albums are always available with no hold lists or overdue fines. You can stream content directly through your internet browser or download items to the Hoopla app on your mobile device. Simple instructions are here.  While you’re at it, download 5 free songs each week from Freegal. They’re yours to keep! A search for “Love Songs” from the Freegal site will bring up another terrific collection of music for Valentine’s Day – or any time.

Hoopla Valentine's Day

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The newest Woody Allen

Friday, 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!

Friday, 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.


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


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


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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Cancelled – Saturday Book Sale

Friday, January 29th, 2016


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

Wednesday, 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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February LibraryReads Staff Picks

Saturday, 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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

Friday, 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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