KDL Blog ‘Books & More’ Category

KDL Top Ten — Freegal Downloads

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Time to face the music — Try KDL’s Freegal Music site today!  Download DRM-free MP3 files for millions of songs from Sony Music. And while you’re visiting, check out “My Library Top 10“:

Top Ten Freegal 03-14-2014

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The Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Collection

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Who was Deanna Durbin? Chances are her name is not as familiar to you as, say, Judy Garland. Though Deanna and Judy started their careers in film at the same time, Deanna, after about 10 years as a major singing and acting star, suddenly called it quits in 1948 and went to France, where she married her third husband. But she left behind a number of light comedies and musicals featuring her classically-trained voice and spunky acting style. The Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Collection puts together a sampling of her work, with six titles released between 1936 and 1947. I didn’t view all the films here, but based on the three I did watch, I can heartily recommend the set.

A great place to start is Three Smart Girls, which was nominated for three Oscars in 1936. Durbin plays one of the “smart girls” of the title, who, along with her two sisters, have to rush from their Swiss chalet to New York in order to prevent their divorced, wealthy father from remarrying. As with numerous other ’30s comedies, the action is swift and the comedy sharp, and never is a bread line seen.

First Love, a retelling of the Cinderella story in a modern setting, has Durbin playing the poor girl against snobby rich relatives who only want her to stay in her room. Keeping its (not quite glass) slipper as part of the story, the movie is great fun, even if we do know how it’s going to end.  None other than the writer Graham Greene said it was “admirably directed, amusingly written, and acted with immense virtuosity…”

It Started with Eve hinges on the comedy of misunderstanding and deception: Robert Cummings, playing a dying tycoon’s son, can’t find his fiancée in the hotel where she’s staying with her mother and, in a panic because his father wants to meet her (and thinking that dad will be dead before morning) he plucks Durbin, the coat check girl, from the hotel and brings her instead. Of course dad likes Deanna—she sings great and is wonderfully down-to-earth—but Cummings isn’t so sure, and has to stay one step ahead of the deception in order to keep his fiancée in the dark and his father happy. As with the other two movies seen here, the world shown is one of penthouses and gilded mansions, butlers and soaring songs—all the things that continued to comfort a nation beaten down by a depression and getting ready for a world war.


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April LibraryReads Staff Picks

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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 Storied Life of A. J. FikryLibraryReadsFavoriteThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
    “A middle-aged bookseller mourning his lost wife, a feisty publisher’s rep, and a charmingly precocious abandoned child come together on a small island off the New England coast in this utterly delightful novel of love and second chances.”
    —Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

  3. Frog MusicFrog Music by Emma Donoghue
    “Donoghue returns to historical fiction in this latest offering, based on the unsolved murder of Jenny Bonnet, a cross-dressing frog catcher with a mysterious past. Set in 1870s San Francisco, this brilliant book includes impeccable historical details, from a smallpox epidemic to period songs.”
    —Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, IL

  5. And the Dark Sacred NightAnd the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass
    “Four stars to Julia Glass for this, her best work since Three Junes. We become reacquainted with old characters Malachy, Fenno, and Walter and learn more about their life stories. The individuals are imperfectly human, and perfectly drawn. A wonderful, highly recommended novel.”
    —Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

  7. Silence for the DeaSilence for the Deadd by Simone St. James
    “A young nurse working in an isolated hospital for WWI veterans finds herself in over her head. Are the patients in the mysterious estate haunted by their wartime experiences, or something more malevolent? St. James is an up-and-coming author with a flair for combining horror and romance. A great choice for readers of either genre.”
    —Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

  9. By its Cover: A Commissario GuiBy its Coverdo Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon
    “In the 23rd book in this delightful series, Commissario Guido Brunetti is brought in to investigate the theft of pages and maps from rare books. Brunetti is a great character with warmth, style and elegance. Leon’s book enlightens us about Venetian customs and delivers a solid mystery.”
    —Joanne Genovese, Smithtown Special Library District, Smithtown, NY

  11. The Intern's HandbookThe Intern’s Handbook: A Thriller by Shane Kuhn
    “How did Shane Kuhn pull this off? He’s written an action-packed, twisting thriller about professional assassins, and — guess what? — it’s funny and romantic, too! In a totally quirky way, of course. You have to read it to believe it.”
    —Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

  13. Love, NinaLove, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe
    “With a unique voice, Stibbe brings 1980s literary Camden back to life in this delightful epistolary memoir. The letters that Stibbe writes to her sister are a hoot, featuring unexpected cooking advice from the great Alan Bennett, and droll commentary on just about everything from Mary-Kay Wilmers.”
    —Jennifer Estepp, Queens Library, Jamaica, NY

  15. The Axe FactorThe Axe Factor: A Jimm Juree Mystery by Colin Cotterill
    “I love this sharply-written and quirky cozy mystery. Jimm Juree is a wonderful character, slyly funny and insightful, with an oddball cast of family and friends to back her up. Set in coastal Thailand, this is a laugh-out-loud funny mystery with plenty of great twists and turns that will keep readers guessing.”
    —Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

  17. Family LifeFamily Life by Akhil Sharma
    “The Mishras move from India to New York City in the 1980s in order to give their two sons better educational opportunities. When tragedy strikes, the family tries to recover the optimism and hope that propelled them to America. Beautiful, clear-eyed and compelling, this book packs a powerful punch.”
    —Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ

  19. On the RocksOn the Rocks by Erin Duffy
    “After her fiancé dumps her on Facebook, Abby retreats to her apartment until her best friend invites her to spend the summer in Newport. This book is for every woman who’s been determined to put things back together after finding herself on the wrong side of social media, in the aftermath of a bad breakup, or elbow deep in Ben & Jerry’s when things fall apart.”
    —Sara Grochowski, Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library, Alpena, MI


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


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Michigan Thumbs Up Top 10

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

ThumbsUpTeens: It’s time for you to vote!  Below is the list of the top 10 teen books selected by a group of librarians. Read all of these books (or as many as you want) and select the ONE that you feel is the best.  Then be sure to get in your vote!  Voting is open until May 31 and can be done online.


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Early Lit Bits: Music Minute

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Jim Gill Sings Do Re MiMusic stimulates the learning receptors in the brain. It can benefit young minds in many ways, from expanding vocabularies, to increasing comprehension or defining emotions. By including music in learning games, young children can practice essentials skills while having a blast!

Here are just a few ways to incorporate music into your playtime:

Draw or Paint to Music: Encourage your child to draw what they hear. You can use familiar words that identify emotions or feelings, like happy, busy, silly or sleepy. Then expand on those words with new vocabulary choices, like content, distracted, wild or mellow. See how your child’s artwork changes with the tempo of the song playing.

Move to the Music: Add special movements to a song for specific sounds. A fun example is Jim Gill’s song, My Bonnie, from his Do Re Mi on His Toe Leg Knee CD. For every “B” sound in the song, move your arms up, and put them down on the next “B” sound. Try it with some of your favorite songs. What letter sounds can your child identify?

Clap the Beat: Clap out the rhythm to a familiar song and see if your child can identify it. Clap the next part together. Practicing this skill helps children recognize patterns and predict what comes next.

Add some music to your day, and let the learning begin!

– Sara M. at KDL’s Sand Lake /Nelson Township Branch



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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Sports Books to Try

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

The Olympics are over, Spring Training is in full swing and March Madness is coming up.  It’s always a good time for sports books.

The Perfect MileAn older book to try if you are a fan of running or history is The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb.  Until May of 1954, no one had run a sub-4-minute mile.  There were three milers in the world, Roger Bannister of Great Britain, John Landy of Australia, and Wes Santee of the United States, who were trying to be the first.  While this book tells primarily of the attempts of these men to race a mile with a record time, what stayed with me was realizing how difficult life still was in England as a result of WWII, even though the war had been over for a decade.  The title of the book comes from a later race between Bannister and Landy, after each had broken four minutes earlier that summer.  They met for the first time that year at the Empire Games in August of 1954. (This race can be seen on YouTube.)


Where Nobody Knows Your NameFrom a classic race to a classic sports writer: John Feinstein has a new book out, Where Nobody Knows Your Name.  In this book Feinstein highlights Triple A baseball.  Players, managers and unpires are evaluated while working in this transition league.  Are they looking to break into the majors? Are they rehabbing to get back to the majors? Have they been cut from the major leagues and are on their way out of sports?



The BirdStaying with baseball is another title worth a look.  One of this year’s Michigan Notable Books is The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych. That hair, the grooming of the mound, the talking to the ball… Doug Wilson brings back the excitement that Fidrych brought to baseball in his brief career.  From the epilogue of the book: “He was the most charismatic player we had during my time with the Tigers,” said Ernie Harwell, whose time with the Tigers spanned almost fifty years.


The Boys in the BoatA final new sport book to consider is The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown.  The 1936 Olympics most commonly bring to mind Jesse Owens, but rowing was another competition where the Germans were supposed to defeat all comers.  The “boys” in the title came not from New England and the schools with a strong rowing tradition, but from the Pacific Northwest — the University of Washington.  These farmers, fishermen and lumber workers had to first take on the best in the US and then the best in the world to pursue a gold medal. Reviewers have compared this book to those of Laura Hillenbrand.


Even though the weather is cold, travel with these books to someplace warm and enjoy the pursuit of excellence.


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Free Writer’s Conference: Are You Registered?

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

What: Third annual Celebrate the Mitten Writers Conference
When: Saturday, March 29, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Cascade Township Branch
Cost: Free
Lots more info here!

Time to register is running out for KDL’s popular conference for writers. Published authors including — but not limited to — novelists Kristina Riggle and Aric Davis and publishing insiders from Christian publishing giant Baker Books, literary agent and editor Credo Communications and self-published authors’ helper PublishSavvy, just to name a few, will share their experiences and tips on how to take your writing to the next level, book marketing and social media, query letters and book proposals, and more. All genres and skill levels are welcome. Separate pre-registration is required for morning and afternoon sessions and participant spots are limited. Co-sponsored by Baker Books, Credo Communications, Publish Savvy and Pot-Boilers. To register, call 616-784-2007 or click on the links below.

Register early; spots for this event go very quickly and walk-ins cannot be accommodated!

9:00 AM – 12:45 PM — Morning Session (geared to not-yet published writers, but all are welcome)

9:00 – 9:30 AM — Welcome and Introductions

  1. 9:45 – 10:30 AM — Five Things Aspiring Writers Should Know (Because There’s Not Enough Time for 10) — author and editor Shelly Beach and author Kristina Riggle
  2. 10:40 – 11:20 AM — Traditional, Self-Publish or Can I Do Both? — Shannon Janeczek, owner of  Publish Savvy; author and micropublisher Don Pearson, novelist Aric Davis
  3. 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM — You Can Do This: An Editor’s Manifesto — How to Stay Motivated and Keep Moving toward Publication Chad Allen, editorial director, Baker Books

30 minutes to network/sell books/trade business cards

12:45 – 1:45 PM – Lunch on your own

1:45 – 5:00 PM — Afternoon Session (geared to published authors, but all are welcome)

1:45 – 2:00 PM: Welcome and Introductions

  1. 2:00 – 2:45 PM — Social Media & Book Marketing Tips, Tricks and Gaffes — Children’s Author Sandy Carlson; Shannon Janeczek, Publish Savvy
  2. 2:55 – 3:40 PM — Query Letters & Book Proposals: What are They? Do I Need Them? — Shelly Beach, novelist Aric Davis
  3. 3:45 – 4:30 PM — Taking Your Writing to the Next Level literary agent and copy editor Ann Byle, science fiction author Jim Hines

30 minutes to network/sell books/trade business cards


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Upcoming Meet-the-Author Events

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Meet a war veteran and his service dog.
Reminisce about Michigan roadtrips.
Hear stories of Detroit crime fiction.
Learn about the immigrant experience through a young boy’s journey.
Read about (and meet) a divorced Northern Michigan mom who dreams of keeping her farm and writing for a living.
Listen to the fascinating history of East Grand Rapids’ Ramona Park.
Meet local poets and hear their work — and just for teens: attend a poetry workshop.

More than a dozen authors will visit various KDL branches this spring. Click here to see the complete list, plus locations, dates and times.

Until Tuesday     Enrique's Journay     Bootstrapper


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KDL Top Ten — Humor

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Double up on books at KDL!  Here are 10 of the most popular titles in our Humor section:

Top Ten Nonfiction Humor 03-07-2014

And for more good times, check out LaughFest! Enjoy great comedy and support Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.


(Courtesy of Gilda’s Club and LaughFest)

March 6 – March 16

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Genre Derby Success

Friday, March 7th, 2014

GenreDerbyLogoA big thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Genre Derby! Thanks to generous donations and corporate matches, we have an additional $6,045 to spend on books in various genres. Although each “horse” earned some money, the winner was MARE Jo Putney, earning the top prize of $3,240 for the Romance genre!

We also want to thank investment firm Edward Jones and First United Credit Union for their chaitable contributions.

Thanks again for your help in making the Genre Derby a success!


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