Archive for 2013

What to Binge-Watch over the Holidays

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The holidays are wonderful; I would argue they’re the best time of the year. With all the junk food consumed and cheesy music played, how is it possible not to fall in love with sugar comas or the nagging (and wonderful!) songs stuck in your head all month? For me, the best part is having an excuse to sit in front of the TV with loads of leftovers and desserts and finally binge-watching TV series I’ve have been dying to catch-up on. No need to worry about the at-home selection because KDL has us all covered. Try some of these titles that are available at your local branch:


MAD MEN - SEASON 1Mad MenAMC’s award-winning series is coming to a close after the upcoming seventh season and now is a great time to start watching if you haven’t already. Based in New York City during the ‘Golden Age’ of advertising, Mad Men follows advertising executive Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) as he creates slogans and lies in the changing and turbulent times of the 1960s. If you can’t get enough of bad-boy Don and his complexities, check out Brett Martin’s excellent book about the new antihero in television, Difficult Men.



UNDER THE DOMEUnder the DomeBased on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name, Under the Dome premiered almost as event programming during the summer and did exceptionally well, ratings wise.  Taking place in Maine (like almost all of King’s novels), Under the Dome tells the story of what happens to a town when it’s completely cut off from the outside world and the citizens are forced to fend for themselves. If it sounds like the plot from The Simpsons Movie, you are exactly right.



HOUSE OF CARDS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASONHouse of Cards Loosely based on a BBC series of the same name, House of Cards originally premiered on Netflix as part of their new original programming push. Kevin Spacey stars as a corrupt congressman whose greatest asset is his ability to manipulate and blackmail. His ruthless tactics gain him more and more power in Washington but as the first season ends (*spoiler alert*), his empire might be about to start crumbling around him.




BATES MOTEL: SEASON 1Bates MotelConceived as a prequel for the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic, Psycho, Bates Motel follows Norman Bates from his beginnings of moving into and owning the Bates Motel with his mother.  Considering audiences know how Norman will end up as an adult, it is interesting to see how the character evolves and what factors play into his ultimate psychotic behavior. An obvious play is the relationship between Norman and his mother, which was complicated (putting it lightly).



GOOD WIFE, THE - THE FIRST SEASONThe Good WifeA fast-paced legal thriller (in and out of the courtroom) set in the Second City. The Good Wife follows a lawyer forced to go back to work after her husband was caught in a very public scandal. Each episode can stand alone, but you won’t want to miss the overarching storyline that makes the show a perfect candidate for binge watching.




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Writers Between the Covers — and Beneath the Veneer

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Are you a nonfiction reader? Then Anthony at the Cascade Township branch has a book recommendation for you.

indexCA1IIX5MOnce you realize that Fifty Shades of Grey is not a book about interior decorating, it makes one wonder, how do writers come up with this stuff? Is it based in experience or pure creative writing? Isn’t this the realm of cheap romance novels and something to be avoided by a “great” writer? Aren’t great writers supposed to be separate from the romance writers who seem like movie porn stars, never able to cross over into “respectable” literature?

Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon say that while researching a previous book about some of the great writers of both distant and recent history, “we repeatedly found ourselves sidetracked by the ‘love’ aspect. Intriguing and surprising details emerged about their unorthodox and salacious behavior….” It led them to tell all in Writers Between the Covers, the Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads.

Long before the days of cell phones, blogging, Facebook and YouTube, letters were the main form of communicating. Undoubtedly, one’s private and public life were more easily separated but, like today, “scandals” occurred when private life became public. Still, Schmidt and Rendon claim writers “got away with unsavory behavior because, after all, they were artists. And aren’t artists supposed to be bohemian, mysterious and unpredictable?”

They provide example after example of how indeed a writer’s personal life was a base of inspiration for literary work. “Gertrude Stein only became famous after channeling the voice of her longtime love, Alice B. Toklas.… Others used the humble letter to fill the void in the days before phone sex and Internet porn…” It is those events, “often documented in titillating detail in the writer’s own hand,” that fill the pages of this entertaining book. One can only guess at what that says about current popular writers. In any case, this is guaranteed to keep the blood flowing on a cold winter night.


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Two for Tuesday – #libfaves13

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013


2 Librarian Favorites from 2013

The Rosie Project 
by Graeme Simsion

A socially awkward genetics professor who has never been on a second date sets out to find the perfect wife, but instead finds Rosie Jarman, a fiercely independent barmaid who is on a quest to find her biological father. Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut will resonate with anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of great challenges.


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can–will she? Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original–this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.


(Want to see more librarian favorites? Check out the #libfaves13 hashtag on Twitter!)


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One Month Left to Enter Teen Film Festival

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

TeenFilmContestDeadline for submissions in the Kent County Teen Film Festival is Friday, January 17. Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity to see your film on the big screen and win amazing prizes!

Selected films will be screened from 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM on Saturday, February 22 at Celebration! Cinema North (2121 Celebration Dr. NE). Check for more information. The Kent County Teen Film Festival is sponsored by Compucraft and Kent District Library.




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Looking Forward: Teen Books 2014

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Now that the best of the year lists have started appearing, it is time to start uninvitedlooking forward to what next year, 2014, has to offer.  Sophie Jordan (of Firelight fame) has a new series starting with Uninvited.  The cover is really interesting with the DNA strands woven into her hair, and the book seems relevant to the new advances in DNA testing being done now.  The book is about Davy, whose genetic testing comes back positive for the Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS).  This affects her relationship with everyone she knows, and after a tragedy even more restrictions are implemented.

mindersAnother SF book that has potential is Minders by Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty series).  Again, a very cool cover!  And this one is about criminal activity also, but the main character Sadie witnesses a crime from the perspective of Ford, a troubled youth.  Should she turn him in?

What books are you looking forward to reading?  Leave a comment below.


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Book Discussion Recommendation

Monday, December 16th, 2013

rfDo you need a good book for your book discussion group? Suzanne, our resident book group leader, has a recommendation for you.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mohsin Hamid
AF Multicultural

This short book could be highly recommended for discussions for quite a few reasons. I found it to be intriguingly written. The entire content is one side of a conversation taking place at a busy café in Lahore, Pakistan, as two men discuss the changes in the speaker’s life, the city and the world in general in current times. Because of the content of the reminiscences—of how events, including those of September 11, 2001, have affected the speaker’s worldview—it has been deemed too controversial by some patrons to whom I have suggested it. I still will recommend it—there is so much to discuss!

The family of the main character (whose name, oddly enough, is Changez) has been affected by the continual unrest in Pakistan. Their fortunes have greatly diminished, so Changez is thrilled to receive scholarships to Princeton, where he can pursue his American Dream, in the Land of Opportunity. His dedication to his studies and later in business wins him the admiration of his professors as well as his peers. Then comes September 11, and all things change for him.

Author Hamid documents the manner in which a young man–even a very thoughtful and insightful young man—might need to alter his worldview, in light of how those in the Western world treat those from the greater Middle East–and view their entire home countries– especially if they have Islamic roots. Thus the title. Hamid provides a perspective most Westerners don’t bother to consider.

(Also highly recommended by Suzanne—the DVD based on this book, though the story has been necessarily altered and expanded.)


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Storytimes in Snapshots

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

If you and your child haven’t attended one of KDL’s huge assortment of storytimes, you don’t know what you are missing! We hope these photos convey just a bit of the excitement, socializing and learning that takes place. We would love to see you and your little one sometime soon!


COM kid bunny ears





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New BookFlix Online Books for Kids

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

BookFlixWe are pleased to offer a new online resource just for kids — BookFlix from children’s publisher Scholastic!

BookFlix is an online literacy resource for grades PreK–3 that pairs fictional video storybooks with nonfiction eBooks to build a love of reading and learning.

For example, the picture book Bear Snores On is paired with the nonfiction title A Bear Cub Grows Up:


The picture book is presented in animated video format (very similar to TumbleBooks, another popular youth online resource), and children can choose to “Read Along” to display the text highlighted word-by-word as the story plays. The Read Along option is also available for the related nonfiction title, and key vocabulary words are also highlighted, and can be clicked on to display definitions:


There are also educational games such as puzzles, author profiles, and additional age-appropriate web resources available for each pairing, as well as lesson plans, curriculum correlations and other educator resources.

You can watch an overview of this new product, or try it out yourself!


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Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Recently, KDL Director Lance Werner was interviewed by Barbara Hansen on NPO Showcase. Lance promoted the many services that we offer, including our new hoopla video-streaming service and our extensive eBook collection.

The show will air on GRTV several times in the next few weeks, but you can watch it here first. Enjoy!

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Holiday Break Boredom Busters

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Happy Holidays!Staying in town for Christmas break? We can help keep your kids happy, busy and entertained! Between Life-Sized Candied Land, Fancy Nancy Soirees, a Pirate Festival  and much more, there won’t be any time for boredom. Click here for a complete list of our programs taking place December 21 – January 4.

With your bank account a bit depleted after all that holiday shopping, don’t worry about spending money keeping your kids busy… all KDL programs are free!




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