Some (hopefully) New-To-You Titles To Read and Listen to This Winter

Winter is such a generous reading season – it lends itself so well to staying in bed, cozying up on the couch, grabbing a favorite wintery warm beverage and getting lost in a book. While many of us reach for familiar titles and genres (I happily re-read Rosamund Pilcher’s Winter Solstice every winter!) this season, consider trying something out of your normal reading zone. I’ve been participating (loosely, I admit) in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenges for 2 years now and they’ve gotten me into titles I’d never have picked up on my own. Here are a few that may move you into some exciting and unfamiliar territory:

  • Kaveh Akbar’s Calling a Wolf a Wolf. I know, I know, it’s poetry, but stay with me. I know that’s very, very scary. But this is one of the best books of poetry I’ve read in recent years (I’m a poet and I read a lot of it!) and it’s highly accessible. The entire book is about Akbar’s journey with alcoholism. It’s deft, thought-provoking, mysterious and beautiful. This is NOT your high school English class poetry! If you dig that book, try Ada Limon’s The Carrying (available on Hoopla). 
Calling a Wolf a Wolf
  • Some of us read all fiction and some of us read all nonfiction! I place myself in both camps, but if you’re a real fiction lover and want to dip your toe into the world of nonfiction, try World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks and Other Astonishments. It’s a short book of very beautiful, poetic essays by Aimee Nezhukumatathil (available on Hoopla). Or really lean in and try a graphic novel memoir! You can do this! The Best We Could Do is a perfect entry into the world of comic-strip -form books. It’s a memoir about Vietnam immigrants after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s by Thi Bui. She’s also illustrated a gorgeous picture book, The Pond that I’d highly recommend for both the kiddos and their grownups! And finally, try The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone’s Underdog by Rick McIntyre, also available on Hoopla. Fascinating story of the abundant return of the once-rare wild wolves to Yellowstone National Park. 
World of Wonders
  • If you fall solidly in that other camp (geeks unite!), try Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit. If you loved The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (and who didn’t!) you’ll love Savit’s beautiful and heartbreaking Holocaust novel. The audio (which won ALA’s prestigious Odyssey Award for best audiobook for children in 2017) and the e-book are both currently available. In the too-scared-to-go-to-sleep fiction sub-genre, Zoje Stage got some fame for her unnerving book, Baby Teeth (great book!) and her newest does not disappoint. Wonderland is a true wintery tale that will chill you to the bone. Finally, give Ann Patchett a spin. All of her books are heart-eyes! Her newest book, in audio-form, The Dutch House read by Tom Hanks is perfection.
The Dutch House
  • 2020 has been quite a year and there are plenty of suggestions out there on how to soothe and calm yourself during this very trying time. I find listening to and reading children’s books to be one of the most soothing. Remember bedtime stories? Or storytime at the library? I actually never was read to OR taken to storytime (and my father was an English teacher and a librarian, for shame!) but I can imagine how nice it would have been and so I happily create that sensation for myself now as an adult. I recently listened to Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan, a classic children’s book (and a beautiful film starring Glenn Close as Sarah). Close is also the narrator of the whole collection (3 books total) available on Hoopla. The Anne of Green Gables series is another sure-to-soothe set. Various audio versions available here on Libby and on Hoopla aren’t my favorite (truly, the Audible version read by Rachel McAdams is the very best and it’s currently free!) but the others will do in a pinch. Right now I’m listening to Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary read by Stockard Channing (brilliant and available on Hoopla!) I’d also highly recommend Pax by Sara Pennypacker, a sweet little book about a boy and his fox also on Hoopla. Set the handy timer on the Hoopla app and drift off into a dreamy sleep. 

Hope these titles help you create some warmth, delight and joy this winter!

Continue Reading Some (hopefully) New-To-You Titles To Read and Listen to This Winter

Health & Fitness from Home

Looking for ways to incorporate a fitness routine into your lifestyle? Did you know that Hoopla offers a variety of health & fitness workout videos to keep you moving?  All titles are available immediately with no wait! Access is easy with your library card.

Check out the fitness collection





Full Body Workout


Jillian Michaels Workouts


Pilates & Toning


Qi Gong & Tai Chi


Virtual Walks


Prenatal Fitness


Fitness For Kids


And of course, if none of these other routines work for you, you can always keep it classic…

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What to Watch Right Now!

Hoopla has some great Bonus Borrow television shows and movies that you can watch right now!

If you are looking for some series that can help you get a good stretch in then there are currently two excellent yoga options being offered via Hoopla’s Bonus Borrows Core Power Yoga: Calorie Blast Yoga and Gaiam: Rodney Yee A.M. Yoga For Your Week.

For some sketch comedy laughs you can now enjoy the first full season of Robot Chicken created by Seth Green and Matt Senreich which has won six Emmy Awards.

Or maybe you want something entertaining to watch with your kids – then look no further than the movie adaptation of The Paper Bag Princess.

If you want something a little more educational for your children’s viewing pleasure Hoopla also currently has Martin Luther King, Jr. made by Wonderscape Education.

Don’t forget to browse through all of Hoopla’s current Bonus Borrows to see what other audiobooks, ebooks, and music you can enjoy right now!


Northland Public Library

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Important (and helpful!) updates coming to Hoopla and OverDrive!

Hoopla Digital and OverDrive have recently announced a few updates that will be extremely helpful to many patrons.

Here are the changes:

  • Hoopla is now available on Chromecast. Stream all of your favorite Hoopla movies and shows right to your TV! Using Chromecast, a device that plugs into the HDMI port on many TVs, patrons can cast borrowed video titles onto a larger screen right from the Hoopla App on their phone or tablet.
  • Hoopla is updating its iOS app. These updates will be available in the next few weeks.
    • Content tabs will now appear on the main screen, which will allow for faster discovery and quicker access to content.
    • The Browse feature will combine genres and collections and will assist patrons in finding all titles related to a collection of interest.
    • A trending search feature will be added to show patrons the most relevant search terms. This will help make their searching easier!
    • Quicker download speed in the iOS app! It will be easier for patrons to now when the download of a borrow item is complete.
    • An updated favorites feature: Grouped by content kind an artist, making it easier to find.
    • Updated help screen.
  • OverDrive will change “Bookshelf” on the OverDrive site to “Checkouts” on December 15. This is a major point of confusion that we covered in a previous post.  This new update should alleviate the confusion between a user’s bookshelf on the website and their bookshelf in the OverDrive app.

Pam (Baldwin)

Continue Reading Important (and helpful!) updates coming to Hoopla and OverDrive!