Audiobook-I started listening to audiobooks on Hoopla since I became a member of the Warrenville Public Library District in 2014. Since we are all at home staying safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, I am listening to my favorite genre romance almost daily. It is easy enough to use headphones when my husband needs quiet for business calls, but materials on Hoopla can also be streamed thru Amazon devices, such as the Firestick or Echo. I found myself watching far too much when the quarantine began and now, I listen in while coloring, painting, woodworking, on walks, relaxing on the deck, or cooking dinner. Hoopla is a great way to get entertainment hands-free; not be stuck to the couch for days on end, and makes it easy to search for your special interest. There is something for everyone. I stick to romances, which is what makes this gal tick.
I recently listened to the Cascadia Wolves, and the Diablo Lake, series by Lauren Dane. Both of the adult-content series include: magic, werewolves, witches, big cats, alpha men, and romance. If you have little people, consider using headphones while listening.
That Boy by Jillian Dodd is family-friendly, happy, fun romance series of a girl and her neighbor growing up together. The stories reminded me of when I first met my husband.
Materials on Hoopla are available with your Warrenville Public Library Card 24/7!
Film- By now you’ve heard of Parasite, the South Korean film that won four statuettes at the 2020 Academy Awards, in addition to numerous other accolades throughout the 2019-2020 awards season. In addition to Bong Joon-ho won winning the Oscar for Best Director, Parasite became the first film in a foreign language to snag the Oscar for Best Picture. Parasite focuses on two families whose financial situations are extreme opposites. The Kim family are all unemployed and live in a semi-basement, scraping by, making their living folding pizza boxes for a local restaurant. The wealthy Park family, live in a beautiful home and can afford hired help, such as a housemaid, chauffeur and private tutors for their children. By a stroke of good luck, an educated friend of Ki-woo (son in the Kim family) recommends him an English tutor job for the Park’s teenage daughter, Da-hye. From there, through deception and intricate planning, each member of the Kim family gains employment within the Park family, while keeping their familial ties a secret. Everything goes smoothly…for a while, at least. To say more would spoil a film full of twists and startling revelations.
Parasite is successful, nail-biting work of suspense and a reflection on the gulf between the “haves” and “have-nots,” a theme that feels as relevant here in the United States, as it does in South Korea. There are moments of humor and discomfort throughout the film which will no doubt speak to audiences all over the world. As Bong Joon-ho said at the Golden Globes: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Parasite is definitely one of those films.
DVD – The Green Mile is outstanding. Released in 1999 some would say it’s an oldie, but it’s definitely a goodie. Based on the book of the same name by Stephen King, the movie is full of varying emotions.
The lives of the guards on Death Row are the starting point of the movie. As time passes, they acquire a new inmate- a tall, stocky man who is charged with the rape and murder of two young girls, appears to be uneducated, yet seems to have a mysterious and special gift. With this he is able to help others, including the guards. What happens during his time on the Green Mile and will he be exonerated before his execution?
Lead actor Tom Hanks is perfectly suited for his role as a Prison Guard. His body and facial expressions, aided by the script will have you crying until your eyes are too puffy to watch anymore. This movie has made me wonder about the reality of life on death row and whether there is a correlation to what inmates and guards do (or don’t), on a daily basis. The Green Mile can be summarized in these words: emotional and thought-provoking.
Movie – Columbus film centers around Jin (John Cho) who is stranded in Columbus, Indiana after his father, an scholar of architecture has fallen into a coma. Jin’s relationship with his father means that he knows a lot about architecture, but is at best ambivalent about the unique structures that populate Columbus. Casey (Halley Lu Richardson) is a young woman who works at the local library, who on the other hand, is fascinated by her hometown’s architecture and its place in history. Though their world experiences differ, the two meet by chance, and what develops is a relationship built on mutual dissatisfaction.
Director Kogonada utilizes the town’s architecture in each frame, letting the various buildings and structures inform his shots. The screenplay has a lot to say about architecture, and the way he balances these more informative aspects of the script with the emotionally resonant moments is masterful. Columbus is a character study of the town, as much as it is of Jin and Casey.
I was moved not only by what I saw on screen, but also by what was withheld from me as a viewer by the script and the editing. This is a film about two fragile people that never becomes maudlin or melodramatic and maintains its balance from beginning to end.
Book – Author Laurie Halse Anderson first gained notoriety in 1999 for her novel Speak, which won numerous awards and honors and is rightfully considered a modern classic in Young Adult literature. In Speak high school freshman Melinda deals with great personal trauma all the while being ostracized by her peers. I highly recommend reading the original novel, if you haven’t already.
In 2018, the Graphic Novel Speak illustrated by Emily Carroll received strong reviews owing to its meaningful remake for established fans and introducing new readers to the story.
20 years after the publication of Speak, Anderson releases Shout – a powerful memoir in free verse. Here, she shares deeply of her complicated relationship with her parents, personal experiences with sexual assault and sexual harassment, and the reactions shared by readers over the years. Shout comes on the heels of last year’s #metoo and #timesup movements promoting awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault. Anderson is not a new voice in this conversation. Since the publication of Speak, she has advocated for open conversations about sexual assault.
Shout is a quick and powerful read and will interest fans who want to see how Anderson’s experiences found their ways into her books and learn more about her life as an author. Those interested in delving into the issues of sexual assault and harassment, will find jumping off points for thoughts and discussions.
We carry a variety of Anderson’s other books in our physical and digital collections, in addition to the DVD Speak starring Kristen Stewart (Twilight films).
Book – As a fan of historical fiction, I was lucky to recently discover the work of Sarah Waters whose novels include: Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, and Fingersmith, set in the Victorian era. Additionally, the notable The Night Watch (WWII) and her most recent work The Paying Guests (WWI), are set during or directly after world wars.
Fingersmith tells the story of Sue, a seventeen-year-old orphan living in Victorian London, brought up by and among, professional thieves. A frequent visitor to her home, known to her only as “Gentleman” hatches a plot to steal the fortune of young woman, Maud Lilly. Gentleman proposes Sue help him secure the fortune by posing as a lady’s maid in Maud’s home. Maud lives a secluded life on her scholarly uncle’s country estate, where she acts as his secretary, but otherwise leads a rather aimless, dull existence. Maud agrees to assist Gentleman in exchange for a cut of Maud’s fortune, which Sue hopes to use to pay back her adoptive mother, Mrs. Sucksby. An unexpected bond and attachment forms between Sue and Maud, which threatens Gentleman’s plan as well as the rather meager lives both young women have come to accept for themselves.
This is a novel full of twists, turns and unexpected developments. Fans of Victorian literature (in particular Charles Dickens) are sure to appreciate Fingersmith, not simply because of the Victorian era setting, but because the book reads in the manner of classic Dickens novels, only with a modern twist. Readers familiar with Dickens will find his writing style reflected in Waters’s style: the use of memorable, humorous names, and a talent for creating mystery and suspense. Readers will also note Dickensian themes such as, a focus on social class, a preoccupation with orphans and their misfortune, and complex portrayals of the story’s villains. Fingersmith is long, but the plot twists and character reveals make for a thoroughly engaging read.
TV Series – The show’s slow simmer doesn’t take long to come to a flambé. The BBC’s Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) as Eve, the MI-5 Security Officer who longs for the thrill of the spy life. Eve gets more than she bargained for when the charismatic, charming, psychotic/sociopath Villanelle, played by British actress Jodi Comer (Doctor Foster), goes about her merry way across Europe savoring the killings she is assigned to…and not. The two become obsessed in a catch-me-if-you-can game, admiring the other’s intellect, wit, life and identity.
The screenplay is written by Fleabag‘s clever Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whose compelling characters we can’t turn away from. She does not rush to get through the story, which is well-paced, but I dare you not to binge this series. To boot, the action rounds out the show, so there is no lull or dull moment to be had. Top all of that with fantastic acting from both female leads and you will wish there were more shows like this.
Season 2, commissioned before the first season ended is due out later this year. Check out Season 1 located in our New Adult TV Series on DVD!
Film – I’m not normally one for the superhero action films, but I made an exception for the 2018 release Venom. First, it features the hunky Tom Hardy as the lead, which is always a valid reason to see a film. Second, the visualization of Venom himself looked amazing in the trailers, encompassing everything I so love about creature features and sci-fi stories.
Journalist Eddie Brock knows that something sinister is going on at Life Foundation, and he’ll stop at nothing to find out what Carlton Drake is hiding in his laboratory behind closed doors. Disaster strikes, and Eddie suddenly finds himself host to a symbiotic alien, Venom. With his powerful and demanding alter ego, Eddie continues searching for answers, fighting for his own survival. Carlton Drake is a far more dangerous villain than Eddie could have ever imagined, and he must join forces with Venom to try to save the world. With a truly unexpected superhero, amazing depiction of venom, and humor a bit reminiscent of Deadpool, I highly recommend this film. The bond forged between Eddie and Venom is dynamic, a real treat to see.
Waiting on a long list to get the Venom DVD from our library? Check out a Roku Streaming Player and avoid the line! You can stream Venom and hundreds of other free movies and tv shows all on one device! All you need is a TV, monitor or laptop, 2 AAA batteries (not included) and a Wireless Internet Connection. Visit the Member Services Desk for more information. Look at our Warrenville Library Mobile Menu for a complete list of all our Mobile Devices available for check-out.
DVD- This movie is based on the book by Ian McEwan, which has an amazing cast lead by Emma Thompson. She plays a British High Court judge who makes difficult and serious judgements, that affect the life and death of people on a daily basis. Stanley Tucci plays her sexually frustrated, left behind, husband. The film revolves around the child Adam Henry, played by Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk). Emma Thompson’s character has to decide a whether the hospital has legal standing to authorize Adam to undergo a blood transfusion which will save his life or, grant him the autonomy to trust in a faith that prevents him from accepting blood products.
I found this movie serious and intense. A few of the heavy hitting topics this movie works through include: religion, law, middle age marriage, affairs, and an infatuated youth of a mature woman. How courts are governed in Britain, with their customs and rules is an interesting feature, as well. Lastly, the locations depicted in the film, are beautiful.
If you are looking for an excellent, cerebral movie, this is it! If, however, you are looking for a lighthearted movie with the normally-silly Stanley Tucci and Emma Thompson, keep looking!
DVD – Death Wish is a remake of the 1974 version, which I admit I have not seen. I saw this movie on the shelf and thought, “Hey, I love Bruce Willis and the Die Hard movie collection, so why not try this one?” This is a great action thriller movie about an emergency room doctor (Bruce Willis) who is unwittingly tasked with fixing up the bad guys of Chicago. A grave situation befalls his family, at which time he has a moment of awakening and plots his revenge. The police- overwhelmed with cases and coming up empty- starting with lowly purse snatchers, and moving up to carjackers, and eventually murderers – he doles out justice as he sees fit.
This was a great action movie for Bruce Willis. Not too much CGI and a plausible storyline. It felt honest and true to the types of mistakes one might make while learning to be an everyday superhero incognito. I am somewhat confused about the role his brother plays in the film, but not enough to discourage me from watching it a second time. I think this one hits home for the action lover of the family as well as the romance/story lover of the family. An all-around A+ in my book!