Streaming Video

Streaming video has become old hat these days. Still, it’s nice to know that the library has streaming services available. Recently, I took it upon myself to see just what kind of offerings Hoopla has available for patrons of the Everett Public Library. And what I found might amaze you! Well, not really. In fact it’s not that surprising at all, but here it is.

Many of the movies offered by Hoopla are not first run blockbusters. In fact, popular fiction titles are few and far between. But for a person such as myself who is entertained by bad movies and can find good in mediocre movies, there’s a treasure trove of entertainment to be viewed.

Take for example The Radioland Murders. I discovered this movie some years ago and was never able to locate it again. Here we find a murder mystery set in the 1930s with lots of Art Deco, live radio broadcasts, full orchestras in the studio and a killer on the loose. The cast includes a variety of talented actors and the script is well written and entertaining. If you like live radio shows such as The Shadow, you’ll get a kick out of watching the shows be produced, seeing how the sound effects are made, and witnessing the stress of actors receiving scripts just moments before they have to speak the lines. In brief, if you enjoy murder mysteries this movie is well worth checking out. Thank you, Hoopla, for finding this treasure for me once again.

Another title I tried out was The Red House starring Edward G. Robinson. The movie was listed under film noir and I thought it might be based on a mystery by A.A Milne that I had read a few years back. This 1947 film, which in fact has nothing to do with the Milne book, focuses on middle aged siblings who own a small farm. Locals refer to them as the mysterious Martins. Next to their farm stands the Oxhead Woods, which turns out to be the real center of the mystery.

When high school senior Nath goes to work for the Martins, he simply wants to earn some cash. The couple’s adopted daughter Meg obviously has feelings for Nath, but he is planning to marry his girlfriend Tippy and doesn’t even notice Meg’s interest. Early on it becomes apparent that Mr. Martin, Pete, is obsessed with the woods and he tells everyone to avoid them. Something happened in his past in a red house in the woods and Pete hears screaming whenever he’s in those woods. But we don’t learn more about this for quite some time.

Ultimately, the movie is a psychological thriller and I don’t really want to give any more details so as not to give away the thrill of it to. Suffice to say, any time you watch an older movie that apparently has the soundtrack from a hygiene film, well, you know what you’re in for. Kidding aside, The Red House, while sometimes predictable, is still an enjoyable ride.

My final foray into Hoopla came in the guise of a spy thriller/action/comedy titled Operation Endgame. In this movie featuring a talented cast, the director couldn’t decide what type of movie he was making. While the original intent was probably for a spy spoof, the humor never grew much beyond occasional funny dialog. The action seems fine, the gore level adequate. The plot, involving a secret American intelligence group whose members are all trying to kill each other, was sufficiently twisty to satisfy my need for surprise and novelty.

It’s difficult to say much about the plot of this one without giving too much away. What I liked best is that anything could happen, any character could suddenly die. This took away the predictability that this type of movie often suffers from. I moderately recommend this film to anyone who enjoys spydom.

So there you have it. Oh, and let us not forget the best feature of Hoopla: It’s free! So you can take a chance on a movie that may or may not be outstanding. And, I recommend that you do so. But please, do not start with Nude Nuns with Big Guns (I did not make this up!). Slide into an easier title first before tackling the big guns.

My Life is Murder

Whose life is murder? Alexa Crowe, that’s who. Alexa is a retired Australian police detective whose old boss keeps asking for her help with his toughest cases. And Alexa – who planned on spending her retirement baking bread, except that her expensive German bread machine refuses to work (she’s trying to fix it, but always seems to need one more part she doesn’t have), and whose companion on these days is a stray cat who just appears in her kitchen – finds it impossible to refuse the siren song of detective work.

Alexa, charmingly played by actor Lucy Lawless, is the main character in the Australian television crime drama My Life is Murder. I’d been hearing good things about this series from my friends, so I was delighted to discover that the first season is available on Hoopla, one of the library’s free video apps. (Click HERE for information on how to use Hoopla.)

I’ve watched the first two episodes, and I’m enjoying this series very much. It’s a lighthearted series with a lead actor who doesn’t take herself too seriously, perfect for these dark times we’re living in. I’m not interested in watching or reading anything depressing these days – give me pure entertainment to take my mind off the news, please!

The supporting characters are played by terrific actors and I enjoy that it takes place in Australia, a country I’ve never visited. And My Life is Murder is one of the best names I’ve ever heard of for a crime drama – I would have watched the first episode for the name alone!

All the News that’s Fit to Read (for Free)

While normally we might just glance at the news, or even actively try to ignore it, recent events have turned many of us into news junkies. As newfound social distancing rules sink in, we are turning to online sources of news more and more. Newspaper websites definitely have a lot to offer, but often require pay subscriptions and can be cluttered with ads.

You might not know it but armed only with your Everett Public Library card you actually have access to the full text of tons of newspapers from around the world. While these resources general don’t have graphics or photographs, they do provide the text of all the articles written. Just what you need to keep abreast of current event. Here are two of these electronic resources to get you started.

NewsBank is a comprehensive collection of newspapers and other news sources at the regional, national and international level. While you can browse but title, including the full text of the Everett Herald and Seattle Times, you can also search by region and country. NewsBank really shines in its topic coverage. It brings together relevant articles from all over the world under one topic heading. It has done an admirable job recently by doing this for the recent Covid-19 pandemic, bringing all recent news available from a variety of news sources in one place.

ProQuest (found on our E-Resources page) is another great source for finding full text articles from newspapers. Among its many offerings, it has the full text of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal the day they are published. In addition, it brings together many newspapers from our region in its Western Newsstand Collection.

So, while we stay at home, stay connected with the news using your library card. No subscription required.

eBooks for Kids

Carnivores, animals that eat flesh, seem like an unusual subject for funny children’s books. But there are so many good books out there with this theme! In the following list we go from picture books letting you know it’s not a good idea to eat your classmates, to a beginning-reader chapter book about four carnivores trying to fix their “bad-rap” reputation, to non-fiction titles about some fierce (and not-so-funny) carnivores.

All of these titles can be found in our ebook collection and their descriptions are from our catalog. If you haven’t found it on our website already, we have created a page that links to our kids and teen electronic book selection.

Enjoy!

Picture Books

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
It’s the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But it’s hard to make human friends when they’re so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . . Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds
The lion is king of the jungle!
The great white shark is sovereign of the seas!
The timber wolf is emperor of the forests!
But . . . it’s lonely at the top of the food chain. It’s difficult to fit in when plant eaters can be so cruel—just because you ate a relative of theirs that one time! What’s a carnivore to do? Aaron Reynolds’s roaringly funny text is perfectly paired with Dan Santat’s mouthwatering illustrations, creating a toothsome book that’s sure to stand out from the herd.

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean! By Kevin Sherry
When a giant squid takes inventory of all of the creatures in the ocean, he realizes that he’s way bigger than most of them! Of course, there are bigger things lurking around . . . but maybe this giant squid with a giant touch of hubris doesn’t really care?

Beginning Chapter Books

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
They sound like bad guys, they look like bad guys . . . and they even smell like bad guys. But Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are about to change all of that…
Mr. Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. They are going to break two hundred dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr. Snake please stop swallowing Mr. Piranha?!

Non-Fiction

Running with Wolves: Our Story of Life with the Sawtooth Pack by Jim Dutcher and Jamie Dutcher
Discover the wonder of wolves from Emmy-award winning filmmakers Jim and Jamie Dutcher as they tell their story of the six years they watched, learned, and lived with the Sawtooth wolf pack. Adventure, friendship, and family come together in this riveting memoir as two award-winning filmmakers take you through the experience of the years they spent living in the wild with a real-life wolf pack.

National Geographic Readers: Sharks! by Anne Schreiber
He’s quick. He’s silent. He has five rows of deadly teeth. Chomp! Meet the shark-the fish who ruled the deep before dinosaurs roamed the Earth! This fish has soft cartilage so he can glide, twist, and turn before his prey can say “gulp!” Cool photos bring kids into the shark’s world. Fun facts go deep into the shark’s scary science.

National Geographic Readers: Deadliest Animals by Melissa Stewart
Did you know that a tiny golf ball-sized creature called the blue-ringed octopus contains enough venom to kill 26 adult humans? Or why the Sydney funnel web spider is one of the most dangerous creatures in the world? In this Level 3 book, kids will be fascinated by 12 species that you hope you’ll never come across! Sharks, snakes, jellyfish and more-these creatures are among the most threatening-and interesting-in the world!

Comics Wherever, Whenever

IMG_8307

Did someone say dinner?

I realize I’m not breaking any news by saying it’s been a strange few weeks, but man…it’s been a strange few weeks! If you’re like me, staying home may have seemed like a fun idea for the first forty-five minutes. Then began the fidgeting, the laps around the living room, the trips to the snack cabinet, all while scolding the dog that 2 p.m. is not dinnertime. Even removed from the stressful headlines and creeping anxiety, long days at home are not easy for me! If you, like me, might be looking for an escape, then let me lead you to the wonderful world of Hoopla’s digital comics and graphic novels. 

Margo wrote a wonderful introduction to Hoopla last week, and while the streaming tv and music are great, it’s the comics where I get my money’s worth – a pretty easy task since the service is FREE with my library card! If you’ve never read digital comics, it is definitely a process that takes some getting used to. If you have one available, I’d suggest using a tablet or computer instead of your phone. One really nice feature that Hoopla offers is the ability to zoom in on individual cells of a comic, allowing an easier reading experience, albeit sometimes at the expense of the big picture. To activate the zoom, simply click once with your mouse on a computer, or tap the screen twice on a phone or tablet. 

Wondering where to begin? I get it! There is an almost-overwhelming number of titles to choose from, and you can’t really go wrong. But if you do want some suggestions, here are some old favorites and recent titles I’ve enjoyed.

New Kid by Jerry Craft
Well, this one feels like cheating. New Kid is an incredible read and a slam dunk recommendation for readers of all ages. The main character is endearing and relatable, his experiences are profound and enlightening, and Craft’s artwork and storytelling are skillful and moving. It is no wonder that New Kid was the first graphic novel to ever win the Newbery Medal

This incredible book follows Jordan, a young black seventh grader attending a new school, a private academy where he will be surrounded by wealthier classmates and be one of the few students of color. As Jordan struggles to adjust and adapt to this new environment and the ways that his identity and family background affect his treatment, he also has to contend with the more traditional new-school experiences: making friends, dealing with teachers and parents who might mean well, but sometimes don’t get it. In a clever bit of storytelling, Craft features Jordan’s sketches within this book, allowing the reader to see more directly how Jordan’s treatment by others makes him feel. 

No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant
In some ways, this quick moving graphic memoir takes the concept of New Kid and throws it into reverse. This book follows Hazel, a 17-year-old home-schooled senior as she embarks on a summer job clearing invasive ivy from a park in Portland, Oregon. Hazel’s life to this point has been rather sheltered and she is not completely prepared for the diverse range of experiences, backgrounds, and identities she encounters among her new co-workers. This frank book does not shy away from uncomfortable encounters in Hazel’s life and while at times her personal growth seems to come a bit too easily, I appreciate the way that Newlevant examines privilege and prejudice in a relatable coming of age story. 

I Am Not Okay with This by Charles Forsman
If you are a Netflix fan you might have stumbled upon a strange, violent, and darkly hilarious new show called I Am Not Okay with This. And if you, like me, found out the show was based on a comic, you might’ve wished you could read it. Great news! This very adult comic is on Hoopla. Truthfully, the black-and-white line-drawn style was not what I was expecting from this story, but I loved it nonetheless. 

Like the TV show, this comic follows a teenaged girl named Sydney as she grapples with her romantic feelings for her best friend, a tense relationship with her mother, the death of her father, experimentation with sex and drugs, and her violent, uncontrollable superpower. You know, the normal teen stuff! This comic is equal parts twisted and delightful and I loved every second I spent with it. 

Dept. H by Matt Kindt & Sharlene Kindt
This is one where I feel like the less I tell you the better. Of all the comics I am writing about, I find the artwork here to be the most gorgeous. Dept. H follows Mia, an investigator who travels to an undersea research station to solve a murder. Things quickly grow….complicated (and deadly!) as her romantic and familial connections to the station and its inhabitants pull her in conflicting directions. This is a taut and surprising comic that crosses genres with ease while building a fascinating world. 

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki & Steve Pugh
Are we in the midst of a Harley Quinnaissance? I think we might be! She has the big DC movie, which I really wish I could watch (release it now!) and the animated tv show on the DC Universe streaming network, which I really wish I could watch (bring it to Hoopla!). Luckily, Breaking Glass provides a delightful YA origin story for Harley. Follow Harley as she makes her way in Gotham City, makes some good friends named Ivy and Joker, and finds a way to save a drag queen’s cabaret from the evils of gentrification. I’ve always been a Marvel person, but Harley might just make me switch sides. 

Rebels: These Free and Independent States by Brian Woods, Andrea Mutti, and Lauren Affe
Let’s move on to some history. This book is actually a follow-up to Rebels: A Well-Regulated Militia, which is unfortunately not available on Hoopla. When the library is able to reopen, find it there! Luckily, both these books work perfectly well as standalones. In this newer collection, Woods tells the story of John Abbott, a young ship builder caught up in the chaos, violence, and politics of the War of 1812. This book might best be considered high drama with a side of history, but it gives fascinating context and vivid color to an oft-forgotten period in US history. 

Simon Says Vol. 1: Nazi Hunter by Andre Frattino and Jesse Lee
Listen, we know not to judge a book by its cover. This time I’m asking you not to judge one by its title. Like Rebels, this comic takes a true piece of history and embellishes, perhaps at times wildly. I don’t know how much in common this comic’s Simon has with the actual Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, so I am assuming it is all fiction. That said, this is a thrilling romp of a noire comic. It follows Simon, a Jewish artist in Germany shortly after the Nuremberg trials. Simon lost his family at the hands of the Nazis and he is now driven by a single task: to take his revenge one Nazi officer at a time. Violent vigilante justice meets unimaginable trauma in a story that feels destined for film or series adaptation. 

Of course, Hoopla doesn’t just have comics, so I also want to highlight the three albums (all on Hoopla!) that I was listening to while I wrote this.

Chika Industry Games and Jay Electronica A Written Testimony
They say good things come to those who wait, and these two albums prove it! I’ve been a fan of Chika for a few years, since she started popping up on Instagram ripping incredible freestyles and building a devoted following. Ever since, I’ve been waiting for a proper album and she delivered with Industry Games. Chika is not afraid to go dual threat and crush a hook, but she truly shines as a rapper, bundling incredible lyrical dexterity and clever wordplay with effortless swagger. This is a rising force to be reckoned with. 

On the other hand, I truly have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for Jay Electronica’s debut full length. Twelve years? As an artist, he has been elusive and enigmatic, and at times plain infuriating, so I had no idea what to expect from this album. It turns out he gave us a masterpiece. No one else rhymes quite like he does, and he brought ALL of the heat to this album, building on beautiful production, complexly layered references, and perfect delivery. If all of this doesn’t move the needle for you, JAY-Z also features on nearly every track. 

Overcoats The Fight 
I almost always listen to hip-hop, but when I don’t, I’m probably bopping to Overcoats. This duo makes the perfect blend of electro-pop and indie folk. Harmonized vocals, soaring melodies, and maybe even an occasional hand clap. What are you waiting for?

Amazing Alaska Mystery

I’m delighted to report that the new book in the Kate Shugak mystery series by Dana Stabenow, No Fixed Line, was recently published and is now available in the library’s digital collection as an Overdrive MP3 audiobook. This is one of my favorite mystery series – I love the Alaska setting and Kate Shugak is a totally original and absolutely fascinating heroine!

In this book, a major snowstorm has occurred and caused a private plane to crash. Some friends of Kate’s are nearby and rush to the plane to help out before the snow buries it. The only survivors are two small children who don’t speak English. It quickly becomes apparent that the children were kidnapped and have been abused. Who were the adults on this plane and why were they flying in such terrible weather conditions? As always, one thing leads to another and we follow along with Kate on another fascinating investigation.

There’s also a second plot in this book. A very wealthy (and evil) man Kate helped send to prison has died and left her in charge of a foundation he set up. Did he have some sort of personality change and become a completely different person because of his prison time? Or is this an elaborate plan to destroy Kate (who he really, really hated)? Kate chooses to believe the second option and begins investigating this foundation to figure out how she is being set up.

This is an exceptional series. Not only are the books set in Alaska, but Kate Shugak is an Aleut who lives on a 160-acre homestead in a generic national Park in Alaska so these books reveal an Alaska that most people never get to see (even if we visit Alaska as tourists). The supporting cast of characters is also wonderful, especially Kate’s dog, Mutt. At some point in every book, someone asks “Is that a wolf?” Kate replies, “Only half”. She’s completely serious. A lot of bad guys have Mutt’s teeth marks somewhere on their person. Did I mention that Mutt is female?

The author, Dana Stabenow, grew up in Alaska. Her author bio says she “was born in Alaska and raised on a 75-foot fish tender. She knew there was a warmer, drier job out there somewhere and found it in writing”. How cool is that?!

We also have two more books in this mystery series available as e-books if you prefer reading to listening:

Bad Blood and Restless in the Grave

Digital Magazines at the Library. No Wait. No Fees. Available 24/7!

Even with the library closed, you can still check out your favorite magazines! We have over 100 digital magazines to choose from. You can access these magazines online or on an app. 50 magazines are on Libby/OverDrive, and over 75 are on Flipster.

No needing to flip through pages of ads to find the right article. Simply click on the article and – like magic – you’re there.

These magazines cover just about every genre, including: Home & Garden, Health, Entertainment, Hobbies & Crafts, Business & Finance, Politics, News, Technology, Style, Religion & Spirituality, and more! We also have several magazines for kids!

Here is just a snapshot of which titles are included: People, Consumer Reports, House Beautiful, Sunset, Crochet World, Rolling Stone, Outside, Backpacker, Yoga, Runner’s, Guideposts, Prevention, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Marie Claire, Newsweek, Startups, Kiplingers, New York and Us Weekly.

Here’s how to Access them now:

Libby / OverDrive

Read Online | Read on Android | Read on Apple

Flipster

Read Online | Read on Android | Read on Apple