April 16th, 2014
Posted by: Beth
The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence recently announced the awards shortlist:
The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. The winners (one for fiction, one for nonfiction) are announced at an event at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference.
April 15th, 2014
Posted by: David
“The Great Beauty,” which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for 2013, has been compared favorably to a classic Italian film, Fellini’s “8 ½,” made decades before, and the comparison shows how well-received this film has been and how Italian film continues to dazzle and intrigue viewers from around the world. Directed and co-written by Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty, like Fellini’s earlier masterpiece, centers on a man (“Jep” played by Toni Servillo) who is trying to find his way in a world that has been good to him (he’s a writer) but that doesn’t seem to be very good itself. Blessed with an apartment in Rome overlooking the Coliseum, he throws lavish parties, sleeps in late, and seemingly has the world as his oyster. To try and describe the plot of this film would be pointless though, since rather than engaging in a traditional narrative arc, Sorrentino gives us an episodic structure showing numerous facets of the world Jep is living in—a world of beautiful women who offer themselves to him, (but that he walks away from), of mentally ill children of friends lost in their own literary worlds, of avant-garde artists and writers and magicians, of a man grieving over his dead wife (and the diary she wrote), of a cardinal alleged to be a great exorcist but who wants to talk about cooking, and, finally, in the closing scenes of the film, a nun (or “future saint” as some call her) who barely talks yet embodies more discipline and insight than almost anyone else in the story.
At 142 minutes, the film takes its time with all these characters and episodes, but the story is helped immensely by the beauty of its cinematography and the feeling that Sorrentino will eventually take us beyond the conventional wisdom that the rich and socially elite of Rome (as elsewhere) are vapid party-goers interested only in the tiny world of their set. That set of people has access to much of the “great beauty,” but whether they appreciate it in its deepest forms or not is another matter, and by the end of the film we can at least say we know some of that beauty exists, some of it in the present, but some of it in the past, living on in memories as simple and humble as that of a first kiss.
(This film is not rated, but does contain some nudity)
April 15th, 2014
Posted by: Kip
Need a new fantasy series to get you hooked? Have you waited long enough for the new George R.R. Martin novel? Try these new series of fantasy and adventure!
The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley is the first book in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series. When the emperor of Annur is assassinated by an unknown enemy, his daughter and two sons work to reveal the assassin and survive the new world.
Star Wars author Drew Karpyshyn’s new novel is Children of Fire. This epic fantasy focuses on three magical talismans that were lost and a protective magical barrier that is fading with time.
Speaking of George R.R. Martin, fans of the Song of Ice and Fire series will enjoy Scottish author Anthony Ryan’s debut novel, Blood Song. The first in the Raven’s Song trilogy, Blood Song is about Vaeliln Al Sorna who has trained his whole life to be a warrior in the Brothers of the Sixth Order.
Australian fantasy author Jay Kristoff’s The Lotus War series is not as new as the others on this list, but is just as imaginative. Check out Stormdancer and Kinslayer for novels of Japanese-influenced steampunk fantasy.
April 13th, 2014
Posted by: Katie
That cookbook you were returning to the library that got wedged behind the backseat of your car and forgotten over the winter. The novel you only allowed yourself five pages a day to read because you never wanted it to end. The country-western CD your daughter put in her backpack last spring and found this spring.
Has your love of books and other KDL materials made it difficult to let go of some of your checked-out items by their due date? Put that love to work for you Sunday, April 13 through Saturday, April 26. Cardholders with KDL fines (not just KDL cardholders) are invited to visit a branch, and for every 10 minutes spent reading or listening in the library, $1 in overdue fines will be waived up to a maximum of $10 (does not apply to lost or damaged items or collection fees). You can even read off fines for other people!
** Patrons must do their reading at a KDL branch to receive waived overdue fines. See your local branch for more information.
April 12th, 2014
Posted by: Morgan J.
Please share with all your musician friends! We’re taking applications from bands who want to perform at this year’s Kentwoodpalooza on Thursday, June 12 at the Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch. Bands play in rotating sets from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, and we’ll feed and keep you hydrated. Sound like a good time? Click here for the application.
* Applications and demos must be submitted by Saturday, May 3.
April 12th, 2014
Posted by: Sheri
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.
- We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
“This brilliant and heartbreaking novel tells the story of a prestigious family living on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Full of love, lies, secrets, no shortage of family dysfunction, and a shocking twist that you won’t see coming. Though this book is written for teens, it shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking for a fantastic read.”
—Susan Balla, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT
- All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr
“Set during World War II Europe, this novel is sobering without being sentimental. The tension builds as the alternating, parallel stories of Werner and Marie-Laure unfold, and their paths cross. I highly recommend this beautiful and compelling story.”
—Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN
- The Bees: A Novel by Laline Paull
“This book is set entirely in a beehive, but the novel and its characters are so beautifully rendered that it could have been set anywhere. Societal codes and social mores combine with the ancient behavior rituals of bees, bringing forth a remarkable story that is sure to be a book club favorite.”
—Ilene Lefkowitz, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ
- Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl
“Billie leaves college to take a job with a soon-to-be disbanded food magazine. What follows is an intriguing story involving dusty archives, long-forgotten letters written during World War II to the illustrious James Beard, and a young woman in New York City who learns to trust her culinary talents. This novel is a delectable feast.”
—Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI
- The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow
“Two women’s stories, separated by close to 100 years, connect through a patchwork quilt. Carolyn finds a quilt in her mother’s attic and is intrigued by its origin, and quiltmaker Maria’s story is told through transcripts. Trenow carefully stitches together a novel about family secrets, using many interesting details about fabrics, needlework, and textile conservation. A strong sense of place and well-told story make this book superior women’s fiction.”
—Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY
- Bird Box: A Novel by Josh Malerman
“Close your eyes! Don’t look! Something is out there that will drive you mad if you see it. Is it an alien invasion? An environmental toxin? Two sisters, Malorie and Shannon, embark on a journey seeking safety and other survivors. I was unable to put this book down. Horror at its best, not graphic, but truly creepy and scary. Highly recommended for fans of psychological suspense.”
—Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX
- Bittersweet: A Novel by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
“As unlikely a pair of roommates as you’re ever likely to meet: plain, working class Mabel Dagmar and beautiful, privileged Genevra Winslow. Mabel spends the summer in the Winslows’ idyllic lakefront property in Vermont, dreaming of being one of them—only to discover that being a Winslow is not all sunshine, yachts, and ease. Being a Winslow means keeping very disturbing family secrets.”
—Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH
- Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurantant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg
“As Wizenberg tells the story of how she and her husband opened the successful pizza restaurant Delancey, I felt like I was hanging out with a close friend. She also shares delicious sounding recipes for the everyday food they made at home during the hectic days of launching the restaurant. Wizenberg’s writing is so sincere and relatable.”
—Michelle Marx, Eagle Valley Library District, Avon, CO
- Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones
“The continuing adventures of P.I. Charley Davidson and Grim Reaper (not as mutually exclusive as one would think) are just as delightful as in previous books, with new characters including a wonderfully snarky new demon. Jones expands on Charley’s existing relationships and supernatural powers. It’s the perfect paranormal-romance-mystery blend that you never knew you always wanted.”
—Donna Matturri, Pickerington Public Library, Pickerington, OH
- The Blessings by Elise Juska
“This finely-crafted story is told through a series of Blessing family members’ points of view over a two-decade span of time. A deceptively small book with very big themes, this novel is gentle and wise. It made me look at my own close and extended family with new eyes; now I see the ways in which we are alike, not the ways in which we are different. A transformative reading experience. Highly recommended.”
—Janet Schneider, Great Neck Library, Great Neck, NY
See http://libraryreads.org for more information and find your next great read!
April 11th, 2014
Posted by: Adam
Finding appropriate reading material for a child is not always an easy task for a parent. Mom and Dad certainly strive to identify literature that encourages their children’s interest in reading, yet sometimes it can be difficult to determine if a book is either content- or reading-level appropriate. As much as we’d love to read everything before our kids get their hands on them, in all likelihood that’s not going to happen. Luckily, there are a couple of online resources that parents can refer to for help (in addition to talking with your local KDL librarian).
Story Snoops and Common Sense Media are two websites that are helpful tools for parents to utilize in navigating the vast amounts of books available for children. They provide reviews of a wide range of youth and teen fiction. In addition to the reviews, each website gives recommendations for what age level is appropriate for reading a particular book based on its content. Both also have some of their own unique features. For example, Common Sense Media has a “Great Handpicked Alternatives” generator that provides titles that are similar to a particular book in subject content, but might be directed to a different age- or reading-level. Story Snoops has a section for each book it reviews called “the scoop,” which describes the book’s content in a way that’s essentially a “head’s up” or “spoiler” of what subject matter a reader will encounter over the course of the story.
April 10th, 2014
Posted by: Morgan J.
I read local author Tanya Eby’s book Tunnel Vision and Other Stories from the Edge at the same time I was reading a collection of stories by an unnamed famous late author nearly everyone in the world loves and will probably love for all time. (I have never gotten that feeling of loveyness for this particular author, but nonetheless was in the midst of giving it another shot because, even though I’m not one to go with the proverbial crowd, I am willing to concede that sometimes the reader just has to be ready for that particular author. Like Mists of Avalon. First time I read it: nada. Second time: magic.)
And do you know what I did? I put that much-beloved author’s book down – for a second time – and picked Tanya Eby’s book back up and finished that one. That’s how good she is: Short stories that are original, whose dialogue purrs like a newborn Himalayan and should stand the test of time right alongside ol’ whatshisname.
Tanya’s book is part of the Local Indie @ KDL collection, housed at the Cascade Township and Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branches. It was created to give independent authors, filmmakers and musicians the opportunity to be added to our shelves and to be featured by staff in order to increase viewers, readers and listeners.
Click here to browse our Local Indie @ KDL collection.
April 10th, 2014
Posted by: Adam
Looking for something new to read during Spring Break? Check out some of the new adult booklists available through KDL:
For these lists and more, check out the KDL Recommends section under Books and More.
April 9th, 2014
Posted by: Heidi
The East Grand Rapids Branch is currently CLOSED due to a power outage. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope to be open for usual hours tomorrow, April 10.
UPDATE: Power has been restored and the branch will reopen at its normal time on Thursday, April 10.