Category Archives: eBooks

Multimedia Roundup: Top Titles of 2017

Here are the most popular Multimedia titles checked out at Chester County Library and the Henrietta Hankin Branch this year!*

DVDs1
Moana
La La Land
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Sully
The Girl on the Train

Adult Books on CD
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Adult Music CDsblue-and-lonesome
25 by Adele
Blue & Lonesome by The Rolling Stones
Now That’s What I Call Music! 60
1989 by Taylor Swift
Now That’s What I Call Music! 59

eBooks
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Goldfinch by Donna TarttGoldfinch
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

eAudiobooks
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
1984 by George Orwell

 

 

*Source: http://chescolibraries.org/news/most-popular-titles-2017

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for November

Big Little Liesbig little lies

I love the fact that this is a miniseries and I am kind of hoping that they do not make a second season, as is rumored (though I’m sure I would watch anyway). Since it’s based on a book and the “first” season completely covers the material, there’s a concrete beginning, middle and end. No need to mess with something so perfect as this! The plot is enticing, and you will find yourself theorizing on the various mysteries going on amongst the children and parents of Otter Bay Elementary. The acting is fantastic; Nicole Kidman got a lot of attention for the series, but I found Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline to be the most compelling. The Monterey scenery with its beautiful bay views from these women’s luxury homes will make you want to get up and move there immediately (if only we could all afford it). The best part about this series, however, is the soundtrack and the innovative way the music is integrated into the action of the show. This was definitely one of my favorite TV shows of 2017.

The Ocean at the End of the Laneocean at the end of the lane.jpg
by Neil Gaiman

A fantastical and somewhat terrifying allegory for childhood. A small boy finds magic, wonder, and terror all contained within the country lane on which he lives. The story reminded me so much of how big a world the street that I lived on seemed as a child and the endless possibilities for adventure and discovery that my neighbors and I found there. I found myself believing that the narrator was truthful about what had happened to him, but at the same time… maybe it was just an elaborately imagined tale to cope with different things going on in his life, something that he convinced himself was real? Each scenario is somehow plausible, and the dual possibilities make the text even more interesting. I don’t think this story is extremely scary, but don’t be fooled by the fact that the protagonist is seven years old. This does not preclude him from danger, even from those who are supposed to protect him. A great tale for dark and cold winter!

Also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on OverDrive and Libby.

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Nobel Prize in Literature 2017: Kazuo Ishiguro

 

Congratulations to author Kazuo Ishiguro, who has been named this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature! Ishiguro was chosen for his “novels of great emotional force… [he] has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world” (The Nobel Prize in Literature 2017).

If you’d like to become familiar with this newly-minted Nobel Laureate, you can check out one of his books on CD. We also have also have ebooks and eaudiobooks available via OverDrive, which you can access using the OverDrive or Libby apps, or via https://chester.overdrive.com/. Enjoy!

 

“The Nobel Prize in Literature 2017”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 10 Oct 2017. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/index.html&gt;

Images from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for September

The Graveyard Bookthe graveyard book
by Neil Gaiman
Read by Neil Gaiman

Summary: Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

I think any Harry Potter fan would really enjoy this book. Orphaned boy? Check. Mysterious prophecy? Check. Magical underworld? Check. Someone out to kill said orphaned boy? Check. My only criticism is that I think Gaiman could go into more depth with world-building in this book, and I’m hoping he’ll eventually write a sequel (or sequels?) so that he can. I enjoyed Gaiman’s narration and the voices he did for the different characters; whenever I think of the name “Nobody Owens,” I now think of it in Gaiman’s British accent. There’s also something great about listening to characters express their lines in a book in the way that the author imagined it. Definitely worth checking out no matter what age you are!

Also available as an ebook and audiobook using the Libby and OverDrive apps here.

Episodesepisodes

Summary: Husband and wife writing team Sean and Beverly can’t wait to bring their successful British television series across the pond to make it big in America. But in true Hollywood fashion, it quickly becomes a laughable, cliched sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc who not only messes with their beloved show, but rocks the foundation of their relationship. So now, even if they survive the absurdity of show business, will their marriage survive Matt LeBlanc?

Matt LeBlanc must feel pretty vindicated that this show has gotten great critical reception after his disastrous Joey spinoff. He plays a fictionalized version of himself in a timeline where he just kept going from bad project to bad project after Joey, rather than taking a break and being more selective as he did in real life. He is driven by the desire to be taken seriously, but often finds himself accepting projects for the money. This version of LeBlanc is a less lovable Joey Tribbiani, and this show in general is far more cynical than Friends ever was. It really demonstrates that LeBlanc has great comedic range, however. Joey tended toward more bombastic and expressive outbursts, while the fictional LeBlanc is far more subdued but still funny. It also helps that the show is well-written and the other cast members are great– I was a fan of Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig from the excellent show Green Wing, and have also really enjoyed Kathleen Rose Perkins’ character Carol. Also, like all good shows, this one knows when to exit: the last season is airing now.

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Jane Austen, 200 Years Later

July 18th was the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. Love her or hate her, she has had a profound impact on literature and pop culture. I am definitely in the “love” camp, and with all of the media coverage of the anniversary, I’m feeling inspired to go back and re-read and re-watch everything Austen-related. This being the Multimedia blog, I’m highlighting our ebooks, audiobooks, and movies related to Jane.

persuasionAudiobooks
If you would like to listen to Jane Austen’s books, we have a wide selection of audiobooks in various formats that you can check out. Pride and Prejudice will always be one of my favorites, but I think Persuasion’s heroine is one of Austen’s best.

Ebooksemma
If you prefer e-reading, we have a number of titles available via OverDrive/Libby that are either authored by Jane Austen or re-imagined renditions of her books, such as the modern retelling of Emma written by Alexander McCall Smith. Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern version of Pride and Prejudice, has been quite popular.

death comes to pemberleyMovies
Ah, the movie adaptations. I love watching movie adaptations after just having finished a book, particularly for period dramas. You can check out the DVD and blu-ray selections of various Austen-related titles here. Colin Firth with always be my Darcy, but I also thought the more recent version with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden was well done. Love and Friendship, the film based on Austen’s short novel Lady Susan, published after her death, was highly entertaining. P.D. James also put a murder mystery spin on Elizabeth and Darcy’s life as a married couple in Death Comes to Pemberley, and the miniseries version has some great actors: Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, Matthew Goode and Jenna Coleman. For something more modern, I highly recommend Clueless, where Emma is turned into a hilarious story about a Beverly Hills teenager. And for something completely different, check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I hope you enjoy getting acquainted or reacquainted with Jane! If you need a primer to get you in the mood, I really loved this compilation of notes from readers of The Atlantic on their experiences with Austen.

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Libby is up and running!

Libby_Graphic_504x504-2

Just a reminder that OverDrive’s new e-reading app, Libby, is available for download in all app stores! We recommend that you give Libby a try — we’ve found it to be really easy to use.

If you have any questions about Libby or OverDrive, you can contact us at the Multimedia desk by either phone or email.

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Meet Libby – A New App for eBooks and Audiobooks

Libby_Graphic_504x504-1

We are excited to announce that OverDrive has released a new and improved app for ebook and audiobook lending called Libby. Libby simplifies the setup and lending process for ebooks and audiobooks, and was designed based on user and library feedback. Libby is available now for download in all app stores.

If you prefer to use the OverDrive app, it will continue to be fully functioning for the foreseeable future. We recommend that you download Libby and give “her” a try, though! The staff here at CCL has found Libby to be extremely easy to set up and use. Let us know what you think!

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for October

Station Elevenstation-eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel

“One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production. Jeevan Chaudhary, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside as life disintegrates outside.”

The initial scene in this book, described above, will draw you in; but you will stay because the world is irrevocably changed immediately afterward. It was fascinating to me to imagine what the world would be like if 99% of the population basically vanished in the space of a few weeks. As the book goes on, you learn how the characters survived (0r didn’t), and what happened to them in the time leading up to and immediately after the “Georgia Flu” spread. I liked the way this book emphasized two things: the way that seemingly personal decisions can affect so many over time, and the way art and culture still play such a significant role in a world that is ruled by survival.

Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive.

Gilmore Girlsgilmore-girls

“Lorelai and Rory are a mother and daughter who are sharing life’s ups and downs in a small town in Connecticut. This heartfelt, humorous drama appeals to young and old alike with it’s blend of traditional family issues and hip attitude.”

I had to pick this television series this month because my excitement over the reboot coming out on Netflix in November is only increasing every day. I very much hope that it lives up to the magnificence of the original series — but I think with Amy Sherman-Palladino back at the helm, it has a good chance. Anyway, if you haven’t seen the original seven seasons, now is your chance! If you like family-centered dramas with snappy dialogue a la The West Wing and lovable (but flawed) characters, try it out. I firmly believe that it is possible for almost anyone to be sucked into this show at least a little bit.

All summaries are from catalog.ccls.org.

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The Man Booker Prize

Recently, the shortlist of fiction titles for the Man Booker Prize was announced for 2016. Here are some titles from this year’s shortlist and previous years’ shortlists that we have available either on CD, as eBooks, or eAudiobooks.

2016 Shortlist

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh – Available as an eBookeileen

Summary: “Dreaming of life in the city while caring for her alcoholic father and working in a 1960s boys’ prison, a disturbed young woman is manipulated into committing a psychologically charged crime during the holiday season.”

 

2015 Shortlist

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – Available as a book on CD, an MP3-CD or eBooka-little-life

Summary: “When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he₂ll not only be unable to overcome, but that will define his life forever.”

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – Available as a book on CD, eBook, or eAudiobooka-spool-of-blue-thread

Summary: “‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family–their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog–is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red’s father. Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler’s hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family.”

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota – Available as an eBookthe-year-of-the-runaways

Summary: “The lives of three young men, and one unforgettable woman, intertwine over the course of one year after they immigrate from India to Sheffield, England.”

 

 

2014 Shortlist

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris – Available as a book on CD or eBook. to-rise-again-at-a-decent-hour

Summary: “Paul O’Rourke is a Manhattan dentist with a thriving practice leading a quiet, routine-driven life. Then one day someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. His biggest fear is that the online ‘Paul’ might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul’s quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future.”

How to Be Both by Ali Smith – Available as an eBookhow-to-be-both

Summary: “The brilliant Booker-nominated novel from one of our finest authors: How to Be Both is a daring, inventive tale that intertwines the stories of a defiant Renaissance painter and a modern teenage girl. How can one be both–near and far, past and present, male and female? In Ali Smith’s new novel, two extraordinary characters inhabit the spaces between categories. In one half of the book, we follow the story of Francescho del Cossa, a Renaissance painter in fifteenth-century Italy who assumes a duel identity, living as both a man and a woman. In the novel’s other half, George, a contemporary English teenage girl, is in mourning after the death of her brilliant, rebellious mother. As she struggles to fill the void in her life, George finds her thoughts circling again and again around a whimsical trip she and her mother once made to Italy, to see a certain Renaissance fresco … These two stories call out to each other in surprising and deeply resonant ways to form a veritable literary double-take, bending the conventions of genre, storytelling, and our own preconceptions.”

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – Available as a book on CD, an MP3-CDeBook or an eAudiobookthe-narrow-road-to-the-deep-north

Summary: “A novel of love and war that traces the life of one man–an Australian surgeon–from a prisoner-of-war camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway during World War II, up to the present.”

 

 

by Howard Jacobson – Available as an eBookj

Summary: “A profound, darkly comedic parable set in a future where collective memory has vanished following a historic catastrophe, and one young couple’s love affair could have shattering consequences for the human race. In a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying. After the devastation of WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED, all that should remain is peace and prosperity. Everyone knows his or her place; all actions are out in the open. But Esme Nussbaum has seen the distorted realities, the fissures that have only widened in the twenty-plus years since she was forced to resign from her position at the monitor of the Public Mood. Now, Esme finds something strange and special developing in a romance between Ailinn Solomons and Kevern Cohen. As this unusual pair’s actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme realizes she must do everything in her power to keep them together–whatever the cost. With a sense of the dramatic sweep of Michael Ondaatje and the dystopian, literary sensibility of Margaret Atwood, Howard Jacobson’s J is an astonishing feat of fiction. In this exquisitely written, beautifully playful and imaginative, and terribly heart-breaking work, Jacobson gathers his prodigious gifts for the crowning achievement of a remarkable career.”

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – Available as an MP3-CDeBook or eAudiobookwe-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves

Summary: “Coming of age in middle America, eighteen-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister.”

 

 

All summaries taken from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for September

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms knight of the seven kingdoms
By George R.R. Martin

“Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, this audiobook compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.”

While waiting for The Winds of Winter to come out, I decided to start reading Martin’s prequels to the Song of Ice and Fire series. These three novellas feature the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall (whom you may have heard name-dropped now and again as a legendary knight of the Kingsguard if you read the books, but at the beginning he was a humble hedge knight) and his squire, Egg. Game of Thrones super fans may already realize Egg’s secret identity… but I won’t give it away! While my hope in reading the books was to get some background knowledge to the secrets and intrigues of the main series, I can’t say that so far I’ve discovered anything like that. However, the novellas are entertaining and easy to read, and since Martin plans to write more, perhaps the later novellas will set up Westeros as we know it in the main series. So, if you’re looking for something to tide you over between seasons of the TV series and during the interminable wait for the next book, I would recommend checking this out!

(P.S. We also have this available as a playaway, eAudiobook, and eBook.)

Kiss Kiss Bang BangKiss_kiss_bang_bang_poster

“While fleeing from the cops, small time hood Harry Lockhart stumbles into an acting audition. He does so well he gets to go to Hollywood. While there, Harry pursues a girl he loved in high school and ends up getting caught up in twisted murder mystery. His only chance of getting out alive is a private detective named Gay Perry, who also works as a consultant for movies.”

A long time ago, I read An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England. One of the central themes of that book is that the main character is a “bumbler,” who just bumbles his way through life– almost nothing happens as he plans and he generally stumbles from one accident to the next. The main character of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Harry Lockhart (played by Robert Downey Jr.), is most definitely a bumbler. The story is entirely driven by the fact that Harry, while robbing a toy store with his friend, is chased by the cops and finds refuge in what turns out to be an audition for an upcoming movie. He is overcome with emotion because his friend was shot, which the directors take as method acting, and before you know it he’s in LA at a party for Hollywood bigwigs. He is paired with Perry, played by Val Kilmer, who is a private eye/movie consultant, to prepare him for his role. Thus begins a series of bumbles where these two find themselves wrapped up in a murder mystery/missing persons case. The comedy in this is very dark but very funny, and Downey/Kilmer are a hilarious pair. Shane Black wrote and directed this movie, and it is similar in style to his recent release The Nice Guys (which I also very much enjoyed).

All summaries from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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