All posts by Kristen

Faves on hoopla

I’ve been listening to some solid music lately. Some new artists, some classic artists, some new stuff by older artists and some Prince (hey, that’s what I’m into right now).

I’m exploring this collection of music through the Traverse Area District Library’s latest and greatest digital offering called hoopla. OMURGERD, you didn’t know TADL has a pretty great and growing collection of free digital books, movies, magazines, and information on anything you could or would ever want to know about, and MUSIC!? It’s true, we do.

TADL started offering hoopla about a month ago and it’s been amazingly popular with library cardholders. Basically, it’s an online service to stream or download music, movies, tv shows, and audiobooks on your device or PC.

Personally, I think it’s the coolest offering next to Zinio digital magazines. And it’s definitely the easiest to use. All you need is a valid TADL card and to live in the taxing district, which is Grand Traverse County, Almira, Inland, and Elmwood Townships.

With this new service, there is never a waiting list, you can borrow up to 10 items per month and begin streaming content immediately.You can also download content to view at a later date (in case you won’t have WiFi in your igloo or ice fishing shanty).  At the end of the lending period the item just “poof” disappears from your device, so don’t even fret about an overdue item or a fine.

I’m definitely feeling the music collection right now but there are some pretty legit movies, tv shows, and audiobooks available through hoopla too. The entire collection seems to get better all the time, with more than 150,000 titles in the system and new ones added weekly, including 11,000 audiobooks, around 40,000 movies and TV shows, and100,000 music titles, The best part is that all of this material is absolutely free.  It’s an excellent supplement to the library’s physical collection with brand new music releases like Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities to Love  and music by the “better than Drake” Childish Gambino. He’s the best rapper living, his words, not mine, although Troy does seem to know how to lay it down.  And then there is Prince, all of him, and of course the guitar shredding of Grammy nominated St. Vincent.

hoopla music favs

1. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
2. Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
3. Pretty much the entire works of Prince
4. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

So, those are my current hoopla faves, my picks.  Go ahead, grab your TADL card, log in, and start browsing hoopla for yours.

Library Lurve: Not So Traditional Holiday Movies

I’ll be hosting my brother and his family during the holidays and it’s always a tradition for us to make homemade pizza and sack out on the couch for family movie night. Sure, I love the holiday movie classics but over the years I’ve come to enjoy some more recent movies that have joined the ranks among my holiday favorites. Some may be a little unexpected and hopefully offer a pleasant surprise to inspire your own movie night this holiday season.

Ready? Ok, here they are, my top 5 holiday movie picks (available at your library…for FREE! Srsly, free).


1. Edward Scissorhands (1990) written and directed by Tim Burton
The ultimate Tim Burton movie as far as I’m concerned. The costume design, the make-up, the Depp. It’s a touching story of an almost human creation who is first accepted by his suburban neighbors and then cast away and shunned but not before he creates the most beautiful snow angel for the most beautiful snow dance ever. This movie brings tears to my eyes for many reasons.

2. The Family Stone (2005) written and directed by Thomas Bezucha
Experience an entire family’s worth of drama overflowing with legit moments of genuine emotion and awkwardness in all things that are love and family. Fly your freak flag!

3. Rare Exports (2010) written and directed by Jalmari Helander
I first saw this movie on the big screen at the State Theatre. It was a little more demonic than I had anticipated, which I loved! It’s a Finnish film offering an exceptionally odd sense of humor. This movie will forever change the way you think of Santa.

4. Gremlins (1984) directed by Joe Dante and written by Chris Columbus
What if your cute, fuzzy Christmas gift turned into pure evil? Well, that’s what you can look forward to in this comedy/horror film starring Billy and Gizmo. I must admit when I was younger and first watched Gremlins I was more horrified than amused. But, watching it now…it’s pretty funny.

5. The Royal Tenenbaums (2010) written and directed by Wes Anderson
Add this move to your annual playlist for full enjoyment of this Anderson masterpiece. With each viewing I find something new and surprising that I hadn’t noticed before. An estranged family of former child prodigies reunite in their childhood home after the news that their  father is terminally ill. It’s a movie about a weird family and what better way to celebrate the holidays than hanging out with your own weird family while you watch and celebrate another on the screen.

Library Lurve: Holiday Gift Guide

Need some holiday gift ideas? We’ve pulled together a great list of new and recommended titles for all ages (youth, teen, adult) to offer some inspiration during this holiday gifting season. Check out the books listed below from us, your library, then shop and buy local at your community book stores for your gift giving needs. Happy Holidays!

youth gift guide 14

1. A Cookie for Santa by Stephanie Shaw This picture book features the Gingerbread Boy meeting Santa; a cheery Christmas tale.  
2. Eerie Elementary by Jack Chabert This series of illustrated early chapter books is fun and engaging.
3. Flora and the Penguin by Molly Schaar Idle Flora is back with a new friend, Penguin!  This wordless picture book is beautifully illustrated to tell a story of learning to treat each other with respect and kindness.
4. Little Kids First Big Book of Animals by Catherine Hughes This introduction to animals is well suited for the younger child.  With big, bright pictures splattered across the pages along with short, concise information this book is sure to be a hit with animal lovers.
5. Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins Squirrels, hawks, power lines and change highlight this delightful animal fantasy story where nothing is as it seems.  Newberry Award medal winner Perkins has delivered yet another captivating tale.
6. Rags, Hero Dog of WWII: A True Story by Margot Theis Raven Rags (a stray dog) and a U.S. soldier in France find comfort and companionship in one another. Rags stays with Sergeant Donovan throughout the war, carrying messages for the troops and raising spirits with his company.
7. The Quest for the Diamond Sword:  An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book One by Winter Morgan A great read for your Minecraft enthusiast!  This first chapter book in a series is filled with adventure, mystery and crafty challenges.
8. Rain Reign by Ann Martin Rain Reign is the story of Rose (Rows), who has Asperger’s Syndrome and is fascinated by homonyms. During a storm her beloved dog, Rain (Reign) runs away and Rose must find the courage to step outside her self-imposed boundaries to save Rain.
9. Tickles, Pickles, and Floofing Persnickles: Reading & Writing Nonsense Poems by Jill Kalz This book is a fun way to introduce basic poetry forms and terms though the use of original nonsense-themed poems.
10. Who? by Leo Lionni Along with titles Where?, What?, When?, this board book series, illustrated by the award-winning Leo Lionni, features friendly mice discovering other animals, places, objects, and seasons in their world.

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1. Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin This nonfiction title reads like a spy thriller. Sheinkin opens with FBI agents confronting Harry Gold in his home, rifling through his papers, and poking holes into his double life. Harry becomes the thread that ties the story together. The story covers everyone involved in creating the atomic bomb, from Oppenheimer to Roosevelt to Stalin. This book would appeal to fans of the military, U.S. and world history, and spy novels.  
2. Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales Edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant This anthology of stories includes works by some of today’s top young-adult authors. It explores the intersection of fear and romance, ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders and the cover looks cool and creepy too. 
3. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories Edited by Stephanie Perkins Twelve holiday stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Years, there’s something here for everyone. Including works by: Jenny Han, David Levithan, Laini Taylor, Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman, and more.
4. Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand In this captivating young adult edition of her award-winning #1 NY Times bestseller, Hillenbrand tells the story of a man’s breathtaking odyssey and the courage, cunning, and fortitude he found to endure and overcome. History buffs and fans of the movie will enjoy this book. 
5. Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor Sky and River have lived on an island since they were very young. On Sky’s sixteenth birthday they are “rescued” and taken to California. There, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she has just met. With no frame of reference for our modern world, Sky struggles to adapt. This gripping story of love and survival is lyrical and haunting.
6. Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston Carbon eating dragons are flourishing in our industrialized world. Michigan, long a bastion of industrialization, has been overrun with dragons and abandoned by people. Owen, a dragon slayer in training, moves to a small town in Canada with his aunt and father. There, Owen and his bard, Siobahn, fight to keep the dragons from encroaching further on humans. This fantasy adventure is set in the modern world and will appeal to adventure readers who don’t mind a bit of school and family issues mixed in. 
7. V is for Villain by Peter More Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad’s basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn’t measure up at his high school, either, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm. Being moved into the ‘remedial’ program is a new low for him. Until he starts to question the status quo. Could he have finally found a direction for his life? Villainy is in the eyes of the law makers. Who says they are right?
8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart Cadence Sinclair Eastman doesn’t remember what happened the summer she was 15. She is the eldest Sinclair grandchild. Beautiful. Privileged. Damaged. Liars. In the summertime all the Sinclairs live on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. They live a life of carefree luxury. They are cracked and broken. A story of love and romance. A tale of tragedy. Which are lies?  Which is truth?
9. The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple They’re strong, powerful, and if you cross them, things will quickly go very badly for you. Only one thing scares them—growing up. Because in the world of the Wrenchies, it’s only kids who are safe… anyone who survives to be an adult lives in constant fear of the Shadowsmen. All the teenagers who come into contact with them turn into twisted, nightmarish monsters whose minds are lost forever. Not for the faint of heart, the images are dark and disturbing and some may find the language offensive. Give this to older teen readers who want something unique that they won’t soon forget.

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1. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of his characters, illuminating the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. 
2. The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel A brilliant collection of contemporary short stories that demonstrate what modern England has become. Enjoy the classic wicked humor of Mantel, found in each story–which range from a ghost story to a vampire story to near-memoir to mini-sagas of family and social fracture.
3. Bird Box by Josh Malerman Michigan author, Malerman, shares his propulsive, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller, set in an apocalyptic near-future world. It’s been hailed as a masterpiece of suspense from a brilliant imagination.
4. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters Set in London in the early 1920’s where ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change, impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers at their genteel Camberwell villa where the lives of all will be transformed.
5. Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi In this follow-up to bestselling Plenty, Ottolenghi continues to explore the diverse realm of vegetarian food with a wholly original approach. From inspired salads to hearty main dishes and luscious desserts, Plenty More is a must-have for vegetarians and omnivores alike.
6. Redeployment by Phil Klay Redeployment takes readers to the front lines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.
7. Sparrow Migrations by Cari Noga Local author and recipient of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, Noga offers a braided narrative of ordinary people transformed by an extraordinary event, the “Miracle on the Hudson” – and by each other. 
8. Station Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse.