December 22nd, 2014

Best Reads of 2014

book-506481_640Looking for last minute gift ideas? Check out “LibraryReads,” the nationwide library staff-picks list! Some have already been reviewed by our staff or chosen for book discussions. For a sneak peak at 2015, click here:

“The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin
When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.

“The Rosie Project” by  Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman, a professor of genetics, sets up a project designed to find him the perfect wife, starting with a questionnaire that has to be adjusted a little as he goes along. Then he meets Rosie, who is everything he’s not looking for in a wife, but she ends up his friend as he helps her try and find her biological father.

“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell (a YA title)
Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.

“The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt
A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo struggles to make sense of his new life. In the following years, he is entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother: a small  painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld.

“We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart (a YA title)
Spending the summers on her family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts with her cousins and a special boy named Gat, teenaged Cadence struggles to remember what happened during her fifteenth summer.

“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it

“One Plus One” by Jojo Moyes
Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell-until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them.

“Landline” by Rainbow Rowell
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show s she can’t travel with her husband, Neal and kids for Christmas. Then, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts.

“Longbourn” by Jo Baker
In this irresistibly imagined below-stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs.

What was your favorite read of 2014?



December 15th, 2014

Holiday Hoopla! ‘Tis the Season For Free Music

Christmas party

Another Holiday? Already? Well, at least CCPL has your music covered thanks to our new digital service: HOOPLA.

Let’s say you’re decorating the house or baking some goodies. You need some tunes in the kitchen, right? Keep your phone, tablet, or laptop away from flour dust and eggs and play some American country, like “Toby Keith: A Classic Christmas” (2007), or “Best Of 20th Century – Country Christmas” (2003).

If you want dulcimers or bluegrass pickin’, try “Appalachian Christmas” (2014) or “A Skaggs Family Christmas, Vol. 2” (2014). While you’re helping Santa wrap gifts and trying to decompress from all the madness of the shopping season, play The Riverside Brass Quintet nice and low. Their album “Riverside Yuletide” (2014) will make you feel like you’re listening to amazing street performers in London.

Before the family comes over on Christmas Eve, don’t forget to give yourself some R & R. Chill out in a hot bath before guests arrive, but first download the comfort of the Carpenter’s “Christmas Portrait” (1987). It’s a nice change of pace.

Now it’s Christmas Eve. This is part one of the big show. If your home is playing host this year you need a long playlist with a huge variety of 20th Century radio classics. I recommend getting on Hoopla and checking out “50 X-Mas Hits” (2014). It’s great to put on in the background of the family room. If you’re off to grandma’s house on Christmas Day and have young kids who love sing-alongs, “Disney’s Family Christmas Collection” (2008) is a lot of fun.

A big and busy family Christmas with kids isn’t for everyone. If you’re putting on an adult-only or late-night Christmas affair, I have some albums for you! If you need a little swing or pop with your party, I highly recommend the contemporary marvel that is “Christmas” (2011) by Michael Buble. If you need songs without lyrics and prefer solely orchestral music, “Tchailkovsky’s Nutcracker Suite” (2007) by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will definitely sweep you away like a dream.

During or after Christmas, if you need to set the mood for a one-on-one cozy evening, Hoopla has “Christmas Romance: 15 Romantic Holiday Favorites” (2014). It’s also a great fit for a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day dinner. It’s a surprisingly solid blend of easy listening, jazz, and lounge-style music.

Get downloading and get merry this holiday with Hoopla!

What’s your favorite holiday album?


Tags: , , , , ,