KDL Blog ‘Books & More’ Category

Spring 2015 KDL Kaleidoscope

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

The Spring 2015 issue of the KDL Kaleidoscope program guide is now available online, and printed copies will be available soon at your local branch library. You’ll find all you need to know about spring programs and get some great information on library resources and staff recommendations.

It’s sure to be an exciting season at KDL, and you don’t want to miss a thing. Check out the KDL Kaleidoscope today!

 


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Oscars Preview Day 3

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Today we will look at two of the more controversial movies in the Best Picture category. David (our classic movie connoisseur) looks at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s biopic Selma, and Sara (YouTube sensation!) discusses the emotional gravity of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper.

Selma

SelmaSelma Cover is the first major motion picture made about Dr. King and the work he did. Given that, and the fact of King’s status in the history of this country, one should pay attention. But when it comes to the Oscars, there is more to this than King’s status as a leader against racism. The movie itself is a moving and honest portrayal of both a time — the 1960s — a movement — civil rights — and a man. The virtues (and the flaws) of these various elements are shown, though it’s always clear which side history is on, especially from the perspective of 50 years on.  Some have complained that some of the details, historically speaking, are wrong; as a non-historian, I can’t make judgments on that, other than to point out it is a movie and not a documentary. One can always hope that a movie of this kind will send audiences to their history books. Finally, the acting is wonderful, the irony being that three of the major roles are played by British actors. But never fear: they convince us.

— David from KDL’s Plainfield Township Branch

American Sniper

American SniperAmerican Sniper Cover, an Oscar Nominee in six categories, is breaking every record! In just its first three weeks of nation-wide release, it eclipsed Saving Private Ryan to become the biggest war-themed film of all time and topped $250 million in sales by the close of Super Bowl weekend! This unprecedented feat explains why it is in the running for the Oscar’s Best Motion Picture of the Year award. Clint Eastwood has already won 2015 Best Director for Sniper from the National Board of Review, and star Bradley Cooper was named the 2015 Critic’s Choice Award for Best Actor in an Action Movie. Cooper is also an Oscar nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.

We librarians love to see a book-to-movie well received by the public, especially when the book, American Sniper: the Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, is powerful enough to capture the attention of even the most reluctant reader. The seamless portrayal of the book’s storyline makes the film an obvious contender for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as for the Achievement in Film Editing award. Eastwood and Cooper went to extremes to conceptualize and properly portray the life and experience of Chris Kyle, his men and his family in this film. Viewers are given a glimpse into the turmoil and conflict American soldiers struggle with, as devotion to family and dedication to greater service often pull them to extremes, mentally and emotionally.

As powerful as the visuals are, it may be the Achievement in Sound Editing and Achievement in Sound Mixing awards that truly give credence to the absolute impact of this film. Many theaters showing Sniper have literally been packed to capacity — not one open seat. Yet, you will not hear a sound from the audience. From the start, viewers feel they are part of the action, caught up in the conflict and intensity unfolding before them, and the audio serves to amplify the emotion of each moment. Viewers are left stunned at the conclusion, trickling out of the theater deep in thought, conscientious of the sacrifices made by our veterans, and hopefully, more aware of the struggles many are facing today.

Whether or not American Sniper is proclaimed a winner in any of the six Oscar categories remains to be seen, but it has definitely been proclaimed a winner by the American public!

— Sara from KDL’s Nelson Township / Sand Lake Branch


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New Juvenile Booklists

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Not quite ready for The Hunger Games yet? Check out some of these titles from our Not Quite Ready for The Hunger Games booklist instead!

Raider's Ransom: Flood and Fire                The Sky Inside                The Line

 

Looking for a few nonfiction titles? Check out a booklist inspired by KDL Lab: Inspire, Create, Hack, Tinker, Make: Activities for All Ages. Get creating!

The Kid's Book of Simple Everyday Science             Gross Science Projects               Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors

 

Check out more great booklists for children of all ages over at KDL Recommends for Kids!


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Oscars Preview Day 2

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Yesterday Julia and Jennifer gave their pitch for Boyhood and Birdman, respectively.  Today Marlys discusses the marvelous The Grand Budapest Hotel directed by the unique Wes Anderson and I give some love to the drum madness that is Whiplash.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Grand Budapest Hotel CoverA luxurious, if decaying hotel located in the mountains of Eastern Europe. A cast of quirky but endearing characters. A stolen painting. A frame-up for murder and an improbable jailbreak. Add magnificent scenery and an all-star cast (Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton & Owen Wilson – among others), and you have SOME of the reasons why The Grand Budapest Hotel garnered nine –count ‘em – Oscar nominations.

The story is told in flashbacks by The Author (Tom Wilkinson / Jude Law). It recounts the career of the illustrious M. Gustave H., concierge extraordinaire, and the lobby boy Zero (zero education, zero experience, zero family) whom he takes under his wing & trains as his protégé. When M. Gustave is framed for the murder of one of the hotel’s wealthy guests, Zero (along with several fellow prisoners) undertakes to rescue him and assist in clearing his name. There are villains and heroes, car chases and alpine ski chases, young love and old rivalries… pretty much everything a good movie needs.

The Grand Budapest Hotel was written & directed by Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox) If you liked those films, or others like them, you’ll LOVE this one.

— Marlys from the Wyoming Branch

Whiplash

Whiplash If I tried tell you in ten seconds what Whiplash is about, chances are you would shrug your shoulders with indifference and wonder how that could possibly be interesting. But somehow Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons make it more than interesting; they make it exhilarating and exhausting.

Whiplash (in more than ten seconds, to make it interesting) is about a drummer, Andrewy Neyman, who is enrolled in a very prestigious music school and gets mentored by an infamous drumming professor played by J.K. Simmons (pretty much a lock for Best Supporting Actor). The teaching style used by Simmons’ character can loosely be described as “old school” (putting it nicely). Not averse to playing mind games with his students or throwing cymbals at them, he believes that pushing his students is the best way to get them to achieve their true potential. He even mentions that the two most dangerous words in the English language are “good job.” In a world where every child gets a participation award, Whiplash wants to challenge what makes someone great and what is the best way to get there.

— Aaron at the KDL Service Center

 


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2015 Oscar Preview

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Here at Kent District Library we are passionate about movies… like, really passionate. We love absolutely everything about movies, from their plot twists to great acting and unforgettable romances. Librarians are also (if you didn’t know) very competitive and want our favorite movies to be recognized and win awards. Even though we might not be able to convince the Academy (who decides on the Oscar winners) who should win the Best Picture award, we want to convince you. So over the next few days employees from KDL will give their take on why their favorite Best Picture nomination deserves to win the Oscar. If you have anything to add or maybe just disagree, please let us know in the comments section!

Today Julia reflects on the authenticity of Boyhood, and Jennifer marvels at the acting and sheer madness of Birdman.

Boyhood

Unprecedented in scale, Boyhood was an ambitious project that began filming in 2002 and wrapped in 2014 — 12 years later. The film depicts a boy growing up in Texas, his single mother, his sister and his sporadically involved father. Watching Boyhood, we watch real people grow and change on the screen, without CGI or prosthetics. Shooting across a span of over a decade was a risk upon which the success of the film relied: Boyhood needed the authenticity of a cast that grew both physically and cognitively to create a story that truly reflected what it is to grow up. That risk paid off. Boyhood is an epic that reflects back a piece of our own humanity in the passage of time.

— Julia from the KDL Service Center

Birdman

BirdmanBirdman Cover is the kind of movie that you need to talk about after you leave the theater. You’re confused and inspired and overwhelmed by what you’ve just seen, and you just need to sit down and dissect it all with a friend. That’s why Birdman deserves to win best picture, because it rattles you to your core, and if you’re paying attention you’ll have enough fodder for hours of conversation and reflection afterward.

Michael Keaton stars in this story of a washed-up action movie actor named Riggan (not unlike Michael Keaton’s real career), who’s trying to redeem his career by writing, directing and starring in his own Broadway play based on an adaptation of a story by Raymond Carver. Riggan is broke and overworked, and his alter ego, Birdman, haunts him with what might have been had he sold out and made another Hollywood action movie. Is he an artist or is he a celebrity? What will his legacy be?

Not only does this film deliver the most top-notch acting performances I’ve seen all year from not just Michael Keaton but Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts, but it’s filmed in a way you’ve never seen. The camera follows the actors over their shoulders through the old winding corridors of the theater and you feel like you’re actually there. The film’s director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, takes his time with long, single camera shots and perfectly choreographed entrances and exits from the extras and the main characters, certainly no easy way to film. This style of camera work, with the scenes melding into one another and the sights and sounds all around you, makes the viewer really internalize the stressful atmosphere in a Broadway theater a few nights before the play opens, and the intense strain our main character, Riggan, is under. I won’t give away the ending, but I’ll just say it involves a loaded gun onstage on opening night and a profound ending that will make you wonder, “What the heck just happened?”

— Jennifer from KDL’s Caledonia Twp. Branch

 


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Writers Conference: Register Now!

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

WritersConference 2015 logo*NOTE: As of Monday, March 9, registration is full for the conference. A reminder will go out to all those registered a week before the conference, and some will cancel, so spots will open. If you are interested, sign up for the waiting list (link is two paragraphs down)!

Attention writers and authors: it’s time to sign up for our fourth annual all-day event, to be held from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM on Saturday, April 18 at the Cascade Township Branch.

The free conference features nine published authors and publishing pros who will share their advice and expertise, as well as opportunities for attendees to connect with one another. For complete details and to register, click here. This event always fills to capacity, so register early!

Need a nudge to register? Read this article on why you should attend a writers conference.

Sponsored in part by the Michigan Humanities Council and the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs.

michHumCouncil logo          mcaca_logo_final

 

 


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Early Lit Bits: Booklists

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Lighten up! Enjoy these playful picture books that promote movement, dance, games and fun for children and adults to share.


 

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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March LibraryReads Staff Picks

Friday, February 13th, 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 Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novel LibraryReadsFavoriteThe Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novel
    by Rachel Joyce
    “Miss Queenie Hennessy, who we met in Joyce’s first book, is in a hospice ruminating over her abundant life experiences. I loved the poignant passages and wise words peppered throughout. Readers of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will enjoy this book. There’s no fast-paced plot or exciting twists — it’s just a simple, sweet story of a life well-lived.”
    Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA
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  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
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  5. PrudencePrudence by Gail Carriger
    “I was hoping we’d be seeing Prudence in her own series. Baby P — Rue to you — is all grown up and absolutely delightful. First-time readers will think it’s a wonderful book on its own merits. However, it becomes spectacular when we get to revisit some of the beloved characters from the Parasol Protectorate. Gail Carriger is always a delight!”
    Lisa Sprague, Enfield Public Library, Enfield, CT
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  7. The Witch of Painted SorrowsThe Witch of Painted Sorrows by M. J. Rose
    “Rose weaves a passionate tale of sensuality, heartbreak and despair, exposing readers to a side of Paris that is as haunting as its main characters. The melding of time and generations transform Sandrine and La Lune into a single force to be reckoned with. The unexpected ending will leave readers wanting more.”
    Marianne Colton, Lockport Public Library, Lockport, NY
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  9. Cat Out of HellCat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss
    “Cats don’t live nine lives. They survive eight deaths. There’s something special about Roger, the cat, and it’s not that he can talk. Truss spins readers through a hauntingly, portentous tale. When my cat’s tail thrums, I’ll forever wonder what devilment will follow.”
    Ann Williams, Tippecanoe County Public Library, Lafayette, IN
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  11. Vanishing GirlsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
    “Reminiscent of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, this book begs for a re-read after you finish it. Nick, the main character, is recovering from a devastating trauma. Her family life is turned upside down, and a longtime childhood friendship is strained due to her sister’s exploits. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read multi-layered stories.”
    Sybil Thompson, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, OH
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  13. Delicious Foods: A NovelDelicious Foods: A Novel by James Hannaham
    “How can you not be immediately intrigued by a novel that opens with a teenage boy driving from Louisiana to Minnesota after both his hands have just been cut off at the wrist? When you read this novel, you’re dropped right into a world — darkly funny and audaciously bold.”
    Meghan Hall, Timberland Regional Library, Lacey, WA
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  15. The Fifth Gospel: A NovelThe Fifth Gospel: A Novel by Ian Caldwell
    “A murder on Vatican property begins this tale of religion, politics, and family. Two brothers, both priests, struggle to make sense of their friend’s murder. When one is accused, the other must go to extreme lengths to prove his brother’s innocence. Caldwell’s second novel is a book to savor. This is a heart-wrenching book you will want to read more than once.”
    Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ
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  17. The Pocket Wife: A NovelThe Pocket Wife: A Novel by Susan Crawford
    “Dana is a ‘pocket wife’ because her lawyer husband barely gives her the time of day. One afternoon, she drunkenly argues with her neighbor Celia, takes a nap, then wakes to find Celia dead. Could she have murdered Celia? Dana, suffering from manic episodes, tries to solve her friend’s murder before she loses all self-control. Highly recommended for fans of Gone Girl.”
    Katelyn Boyer, Fergus Falls Public Library, Fergus Falls, MN
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  19. Where All Light Tends to GoWhere All Light Tends to Go by David Joy
    “This beautifully written novel juxtaposes the glory of the Appalachians against the despair of everyday life. Jacob McNeely recognizes his family’s brutality, but Maggie, the love of his life, gives him hope. Achingly told, the visceral prose will stay with readers long past the conclusion. Fans of the Southern fiction of Ron Rash and Wiley Cash will fall in love with this new voice.”
    Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

 

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

 


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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Readalikes

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Did you love Fifty Shades of Grey? Dying to see the movie? Check out this list of Fifty Shades of Grey readalikes to keep you satiated. And remember that many of these books are available in a digital format for your eReader or tablet!

Because You Are Mine: A Because You Are Mine Novel       The Submissive: The Submissive Series      This Man


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Chinese New Year

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Feb_Blog_PicChinese New Year is the Chinese festival that begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ends on the full moon fifteen days later. This year’s Chinese New Year begins on Thursday, February 19. KDL has a variety of interesting books on Chinese New Year. Check them out.

 

 

 

 


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