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MPPL's staff blog about books, movies, music and the talent behind them.

What to Read from Home – Staff E-Book Picks

Staff E-book Picks collage

For comfort reads, stories to make you laugh, and books to help you experience a different life, the next in our series of staff picks of what to try through the OverDrive or Hoopla digital services features e-books with little or no wait. Don’t miss parts one and two, and check back twice each week for spotlights of what to read, watch, or listen to. For even more ideas, follow along on Goodreads or contact us for a suggestion that is personalized just for you!

Spies of Shilling Lane book coverLaura recommends
The Spies of Shilling Lane 
by Jennifer Ryan
“drama, suspense, and humor with enjoyable characters”
ebook (also e-audio)
Worst Best Man book coverJenny and Denise recommend
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
The Wedding Planner meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding in this fun, somewhat steamy romp”
ebook (also e-audio)
Little Book of Hygge book coverCathleen recommends
The Little Book of Hygge
by Meik Wiking
“a cozy blanket of a book that inspires better living”
ebook (also e-audio)

 

Storied Life of AJ Fikry book coverNancy recommends
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin
“when you want to fall in love with reading again, treat yourself to this bittersweet and quirky story about second chances”
ebook (also e-audio)
Hazel Wood book coverLiz recommends
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
“a character tries to stay a step ahead of a mysterious curse in this compelling contemporary YA fantasy”
ebook (also e-audio)
Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King book coverChelsea recommends
The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King
by Jerome Charyn
“a fun romp featuring Teddy Roosevelt, his upbringing, and his rise to becoming a Rough Rider”
ebook (also e-audio)

 

5 Love Languages book coverDenise recommends
The 5 Love Languages
by Gary Chapman
“partners living in close quarters will find new understanding of each other”
ebook (also e-audio)
Displacement book coverCathleen recommends
Displacement by Lucy Knisley
“themes of cherishing life, laughter, and legacy offer particular resonance in challenging times”
ebook
Chalk Man book coverLaura recommends
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
“creepy chalk figures, murder, and mystery in a small English village”
ebook (also e-audio)

 

Jane Eyre book coverLiz recommends
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
“my standby classic comfort read!”
ebook (also e-audio)
Get a Life Chloe Brown book coverChelsea, Denise, and Liz recommend
Get a Life, Chloe Brown
by Talia Hibbert
“charming characters both with their own past life and relationship baggage; a bit on the snarky side, and I want to be Chloe’s new best friend!”
ebook (also e-audio)
Atomic Habits book coverJenny recommends
by James Clear
“digestible yet informative guide on understanding how habits are created and the small steps you can take to form new ones”
ebook (also e-audio)

 

What to Watch from Home – Staff Digital Picks

Staff Digital Picks Movies & TV

Are you feeling separation anxiety from the Library’s extensive DVD collections and need something to watch? Now is the time to explore digital movies and TV available free to you through Hoopla and Kanopy with your library card. Our staff is eager to help with customized suggestions for what you might enjoy watching, and you can begin my taking a look at their first round of personal favorites.

Hearts Beat Loud DVD coverHearts Beat Loud – available on Kanopy and Hoopla

A personal all-time favorite, ideal if you’re looking for a hopeful story about first love, new love, family, grief, and dreams set on top of a soulful soundtrack. As a bonus you get Nick Offerman playing an endearing dad dedicated to connecting with his very hip teen daughter! ~Jenny

Illusionist DVD coverThe Illusionist – available on Hoopla

Something to take you far and away from the troubles of today; a captivating blend of romance, mystery, and wonder, with lots of atmosphere; based loosely on a short story by Steven Millhauser. ~Nancy

Illusionist DVD coverHis Girl Friday – available on Kanopy and Hoopla

When life in this decade seems a little much, I turn to the classics. Watching the dialogue zing between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell is always a mood-lifter. ~Cathleen

Force Majeure DVD coverForce Majeur – available on Kanopy and Hoopla

(Swedish) Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes, this movie plops a perfect family into an avalanche amid their skiing vacation. Humorous, sad, and poignant. Watch with someone who would save you from a catastrophic event. ~Al

Hunt for the Wilderpeople DVD coverHunt for the Wilderpeople – available on Kanopy and Hoopla

A heartwarming adventure story featuring a grumpy man and a mischievous foster child who has been thrust into his life. Written and directed by Oscar winner Taika Waititi. ~Chelsea

Ferrante Fever DVD coverFerrante Fever – available on Kanopy

A few years ago Elena Ferrante’s Italian Neapolitan series took the literary world by storm. Interviewing authors, public voices, and booksellers, director Giacomo Durzi explores how the series became a worldwide bestseller and its impact. This documentary also sheds a light on the Italian literary scene. ~Jenny

Bull Durham DVD coverBull Durham – available on Hoopla

Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner are so much fun. Such a fabulous throwback and so totally 80’s! Best line of the movie: ‘”The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness” Love it! ~Denise

Still Life DVD coverStill Life: A Three Pines Mystery – available on Hoopla

After listening to the book, I was excited to see it was made into a movie. The author served as an executive producer, and it followed the book pretty closely. Entertaining, and similar in tone to a Hallmark mystery. ~Kelda

Lady Bird DVD coverLady Bird – available on Kanopy

Missing your mother-daughter bond during this time of quarantine? Watch Lady Bird for a touching, yet raw, look at a tumultuous and loving mother-daughter relationship during the daughter’s last high school year. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll enjoy. ~Al

Bridget Joness Diary DVD coverBridget Jones’s Diary – available on Hoopla

A fun, light-hearted movie with a great cast and lots of laughs. ~Nancy

Mandy DVD coverMandy – available on Hoopla

If you are in the mood for revenge, fury, colorful backdrops, and Nicolas Cage! ~Chelsea

Borgen DVD coverBorgen – available on Hoopla

(Danish) Often characterized as a Danish West Wing, the fascinating arc of a woman who finds herself elected Prime Minister and how she learns to balance her convictions, her family life, her optimism, and her dedication to service. ~Cathleen

 

Bonus: Did you know that you have at-home access to the Great Courses series?  Here’s a timely staff suggestion to start you on your journey for answers:

Great Courses Intro to Infectious Diseases coverThe Great Courses: An Introduction to Infectious Diseases – available on Kanopy

Check out this educational opportunity if, amid our current state, you want to know more about the science of infectious diseases. Course taught by a physician specializing in the field. ~Al

How to Keep Your Book Club “Meeting”

Did you actually do the reading for book club only to have your meeting cancelled due to global pandemic? The good people of Refinery29 feel your pain!

group table and chairsWe recommend their feature How to Take Your Book Club Online While Practicing Social Distancing. Even if your group has no experience with online discussion, you will find a suggestion or two to ease the transition. Give it a try, and perhaps you won’t have to wait to show off your witty insights or to find out if everyone disliked the main character as much as you did!

funny you dont look autistic book cover

Is your group ready for a new book but does not have a way to gather enough copies? Consider participating in the current Big Library Read, a program through OverDrive that “connects readers around the world with the same book at the same time without any waitlists or holds.”

From March 23 – April 13, you have free access with your library card to Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary as an ebook or eaudiobook. Bonus materials include an author audio interview and an online discussion forum.  Also available through the OverDrive or Libby apps.

 

Staff Picks for Digital Reads and Listens

Need a new book to provide comfort, distraction, or insight during this time of social distancing? Our readers’ advisory staff have picked favorites that are available through the OverDrive or Hoopla digital book services with little or no wait! Check back twice each week for fresh digital recommendations of what to read, watch, or listen to, follow along on Goodreads, or contact us for a suggestion that is personalized just for you!

accident book coverLaura recommends
The Accident by Chris Pavone
“a clever and suspenseful conspiracy thriller”
ebook and e-audio
hollywood homicide book coverAl recommends
Hollywood Homicide
by Kellye Garrett
“a fast-paced whodunit”
e-audio
familiars book coverLiz recommends
The Familiars by Stacey Halls
“compelling and delightfully atmospheric”
e-audio

 

i love you so mochi book coverAbby recommends
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
“a sweet YA romance about following your own dreams and reconnecting with friends and family”
 e-audio and ebook
harrys trees book coverDenise recommends
Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen
for fans of A Man Called Ove
ebook and e-audio
book of joy book coverJenny recommends
The Book of Joy
by Dalai Lama XIV & Desmond Tutu
“deep happiness and light humor radiate through this wide-ranging conversation between two individuals who have faced adversity”
e-audio and ebook

 

bel canto book coverNancy recommends
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
“offers escape through fascinating characters and gorgeous writing”
ebook and e-audio
they called us enemy book coverAndrea recommends
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
“really helped to put the discomforts of self-quarantine into perspective”
ebook
spellman files book coverCathleen recommends
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
“crackling narration, interesting twists, and full-throttle hilarity”
e-audio

 

conviction book coverDenise recommends
Conviction by Denise Mina
“delightfully twisty and suspenseful with a dash of humor!”
e-audio and ebook
one more thing book coverJenny recommends
One More Thing by B.J. Novak
“hilarious and smart short stories”
e-audio and ebook
nine women one dress book coverLaura recommends
by Jane L. Rosen
“charming, feel-good story”
ebook and e-audio

 

underground airlines book coverCathleen recommends
Underground Airlines
by Ben H. Winters
“a smart, moody, tantalizing ride”
ebook and e-audio
spin the dawn book coverAbby recommends
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
“for readers who enjoy books by Sarah J. Maas or stories with fairy-tale elements”
ebook and e-audio
yellow house book coverAl recommends
The Yellow House
by Sarah M. Broom
National Book Award winner
New Orleans memoir
ebook

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society cover image
Nancy and Abby recommend
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
“a warm-hearted book with likable characters”
ebook and e-audio
The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleLiz recommends
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
by Stuart Turton
“the narrator’s voice is superb; you will be immediately immersed in the the world of the story”
e-audio and ebook

 

New for Book Clubs: The Dreamers, American Princess, and The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen

If your group enjoys reading stories of disruption – whether thoughtful, zany, or based on real-life characters – look no further than three recent additions to the Book Discussion collection. These are hand-picked reads ideal for personal enrichment or for group conversation. Be sure to check out earlier announcements, and watch for even more additions each week!

The Dreamers Dreamers book cover by Karen Thompson Walker

provocative, compelling, intricately plotted
for fans of Emily St. John Mandel, Ben H. Winters, and Richard Powers

One night in an isolated college town, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. As the mysterious illness spreads, the doctors discover those affected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, and questions of consciousness are explored in a provocative, hypnotic tale.

LibraryReads Favorite

 

American Princess book coverAmerican Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie Thornton

engaging, fast-paced, biographical fiction
for fans of Stephanie Barron, Jennifer Chiaverini, and Paula McLain

Alice may be the president’s daughter, but she’s nobody’s darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves–oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements.

 

Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen book coverThe Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen

humorous, books in translation, diary novel
for fans of Fredrik Backman, Jonas Jonasson, and Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

The riotous journal of an octogenarian who is far from reaching the end of his life traces a year in his care home in Amsterdam, revealing the ups and downs of his misadventures with the anarchic “Old-But-Not-Dead Club” and a longtime crush whom he courted to devastating effect.

Suburban Mosaic Book of the Year
Loan Stars Favourite
#1 International Bestseller

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