Tag Archives: tori amos

All the Hoopla about the Holidays!

8 Dec

I find Hoopla is my go to for fun holiday reads, movies and more.  I often recommend it to patrons for holidays from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to Lunar New Year since Hoopla has lots of enjoyable holiday books.  Since my family celebrates Christmas, I thought I’d look at a few of the things I’ve been checking out this holiday season.

The Twelve Jays of Christmas
by Donna Andrews
Donna Andrew’s avian themed mysteries are always a hoot.  This year I’m listening to her latest audio book of The Twelve Jays of Christmas narrated by Bernadette Dunne who brings Meg Langslow, a blacksmith and mom of twins, and her extended family of quirky characters to life.  In this book, Meg must juggle a troublesome wildlife artist, Roderick Castlemayne, and her brother Rob’s surprise elopement plans along with the usual holiday festivities.  Many of Andrews other Meg Langslow mysteries are also available including several holiday themed audiobooks. You can read my blog post about her previous novel, Murder Most Fowl.

Inside Lyndey’s Kitchen:  Celebrating Christmas
If you are always looking for new holiday dishes to wow your friends and family like I am, then you may enjoy Inside Lyndey’s Kitchen: Celebrating Christmas.  They star Australian cooking host, Lyndey Milan. Broken down into three half hour episodes, she looks at classic, contemporary, and “lazy” dishes you can prepare.  On my must try list are her appetizers featuring duck breast with sour cherries and white gazpacho with scallops.  Also beautiful looking and delicious sounding is a raspberry terrine for dessert.  My favorite food, mushrooms, are featured in a Christmas morning mushroom custard.  Several other of Lyndey’s baking and travel series are also available from Hoopla.  As mentioned in a previous post our library patrons also have access to a variety of cooking and crafting videos from Craftsy that feature everything from roasting to bread making.

Midwinter Graces
by Tori Amos

I can remember as a freshman in college having to get up at 4 AM to stand in line for tickets for a Tori Amos concert.  I may not be willing to do that anymore, but she has always remained a favorite.  In Midwinter Graces, Tori puts her own unique spin on classic carols with her versions of Star of Wonder, Coventry Carol, and Emmanuel.  Plus enjoyable are her lush original songs like A Silent Night with You.  You can also borrow Tori’s latest Ocean to Ocean from Hoopla.  Also check out my previous blog post on eclectic holiday albums you can enjoy.

What favorite holiday items have you checked out from Hoopla for the upcoming winter holidays that you celebrate?

And don’t forget you also can check out a variety of holiday related items from our other ebook and streaming media services including Kanopy and Freegal!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services

Defying Gravity: Upside Down, Patema Inverted, and The Light Princess

2 Dec

Upside Down

upside-down
Upside Down
is a 2012 film starring Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess that although having an intriguing science fiction premise will appeal to those who might not typically be science fiction fans.  Adam and Eden are from two different twin planets.  The upper planet is prosperous and wealthy while the lower planet lives under poor conditions.  Matter and people from each planet are affected by the planet that they come from.  Adam and Eden meet on a mountaintop between their two worlds and despite being literally drawn in two different directions find a connection.  Their sweet romance and gentle humor carries Upside Down.  Some reviews I read felt the story stayed too small with such a large concept, but I found it a refreshing change from stories about superheroes and I liked seeing how a large concept can effect two individuals.  Upside Down reminded me of the British film Ex Machina, which was released this past year and dealt with the topic of Artificial Intelligence in a way that hinted at a larger impact on the outer world, but dealt with it on a smaller psychological scale.  I loved the visually unique look of the film.  Upside Down is available from Hoopla and on DVD from BCCLS libraries.

Patema Inverted

patema-inverted
Patema Inverted is a 2013 anime (Japanese animated film) that also features two characters, Age and Patema who are affected by two gravities.  In this case though they are both from a future version of Earth where an experiment has caused an alteration of gravity where some people and matter are pulled in the opposite direction.  Now the totalitarian nation of Aiga, where Age is from feels that the “Invert” group is being punished for their past sins and seeks out to destroy Patema and the others living in hiding who they believe will destroy their current way of life.  It was interesting to see how a similar concept could be handled in a very different way; while Upside Down dealt more with the idea of social issues and ideas of economics that could be applied to the industrialized world’s relationship with developing world countries, Patema Inverted takes the idea of gravity and uses it as a metaphor for intolerance and shows how things can appear completely different from another’s perspective and the need for open-mindedness towards others. Patema Inverted is available to Hoboken and other BCCLS cardholders through Hoopla and on DVD.

The Light Princess

light-princess
The Light Princess is a Scottish fairytale by George MacDonald.  The story is similar to Sleeping Beauty with a cursed princess, but instead of falling asleep for a hundred years, the Light Princess gets her name from the fact that she is cursed with not being effected by gravity so she floats and risks being carried away by a breeze. She can only regain her gravity when she can cry, something she also has lost the ability to do.   It was adapted recently as a musical with book and lyrics by Samuel Adamson and lyrics and music by Tori Amos.  Tori Amos’s Little Earthquakes is one of my favorite albums so I would have loved to see it, but since I couldn’t fly to London (antigravity powers would be an advantage sometimes) I had to be satisfied with the excellent cast recording instead.  Although you miss out on seeing the clever staging of the floating Princess, the beautiful buoyant music and dramatic story are conveyed through the recording.  Amos and Adamson gave the story a strong feminist viewpoint with a heroine whose fairytale ends with more than simply finding her Prince.  You can listen to The Light Princess and other music by Tori Amos on Hoopla or borrow the CDs and the original MacDonald fairytale from BCCLS Libraries.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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