Post-Turkey Viewing: Holiday Movies on hoopla – And Don’t Forget Your Bonus Borrows!

With Thanksgiving Day nearly upon us, we here at the Abbot Public Library are beginning to think about our post-prandial plans. Wash the dishes—tick. Take a long walk—tick. Eat pie—tick, tick. And after that? Get cozy with some films that’ll help get us in the mood for the rest of the holiday season—big tick. If you’d like to join us, read on!

Thankfully, hoopla has anticipated our cravings and has curated a collection of 62 “Best of Holiday” titles. There’s a smorgasbord to choose from. Of course, there are the romances: some from Lifetime, and at least one from Harlequin (A Very Country Christmas). Kids’ options abound, with everything from Caillou’s Holiday Movie to the family-friendly, dog-centered Alone for Christmas—which is also a Bonus Borrow title through the end of this month! You can also catch some of the BBC series Christmas specials you may have missed: Call the Midwife: Christmas Special 2018, The Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclass, and Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays.

Indulge in some classics like the 1955 Miracle on 34th Street and The Snowman, or watch the likes of Katherine Hepburn and Henry Winkler in One Christmas, which is based on an autobiographical short story by Truman Capote.

And if, after the tribulations of 2020, you just need a holiday-themed laugh, we have you covered. For ex-con shenanigans, try All Is Bright, starring Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, and Sally Hawkins. Or join a New Zealand family as they attempt to return Santa to the North Pole in Kiwi Christmas.

If you’re running low on borrows this month, don’t forget that you can watch, read, or listen to anything in hoopla’s special Bonus Borrows collection through the end of November—without using any of your monthly allotment!

If you’re new to hoopla, you can visit our FAQs page to get started. If you do not have a library card, go here.

Happy holiday watching to you and yours!

Something Witchy This Way Comes: Fictional Books and Movies About Witches

Witches are portrayed in books and movies in many different ways, and have been showing up in literature for a long, long time. Take Circe from The Odyssey or Morgan Le Fay in the legends of King Arthur. Now, real witches may not have actually been portrayed in The Crucible by Arthur Miller (whose birthday happens to be today!), but you can see the relationship between witchcraft and society during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. If you’re interested in reading or listening to the play, you can check it out in the following formats: print, book on CD, Overdrive ebook and e-audiobook, and hoopla e-audiobook, and the movie adaptation

For other fictional portrayals of witches and witchcraft for teens and adults, check out the titles below! Print copies can be reserved on your online account for Curbside Pickup (read the full instructions here). Currently there is no check out fee for DVDs, so now is a good time to reserve them! For electronic versions of titles, all you need is your library card to access them on Overdrive/the Libby app or hoopla.

Fans of the beloved Bewitched series, starring Elizabeth Montgomery as witch and housewife Samantha Stevens, will enjoy the film adaptation (which currently has no check out fee!) with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. For more magical romances, try one of hoopla’s October Movies of the Month, You Cast a Spell On Me, about a warlock who is having problems with his powers after meeting a mortal with whom he has an instant connection; or Hallmark channel’s The Good Witch, about Cassie Nightingale, a mysterious new resident of Middleton who seems to have the magic touch with helping the people in the small town.

also on hoopla

In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you’ll find out how the character from the popular TV show found out about being a witch, much like how Harry Potter discovers he’s a wizard in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Local residents will appreciate the Salem setting in the movie Hocus Pocus, which even has some scenes shot in Marblehead! Read Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel in ebook format on Overdrive or hoopla, or listen to the e-audiobook on Overdrive. 

Click the item covers below for more portrayals of witches, including more witch stories set in Salem or Massachusetts, fairy tale retellings, and more macabre tales to give you goosebumps!

also on hoopla
book or movie

See It in September! New DVDs in the APL Collection

The whirl of back-to-school–under new circumstances–may have you in a bit of a post-summer tizzy. If so, you may want to set aside a bit of time for cinematic self-care with one or more of the Abbot Public Library’s brand-new DVDs. They’re currently fee-free, and you can check them out for two weeks (with renewals if there are no other patrons waiting), so if a demanding autumn schedule upends your movie-night plans, no need to stress!

Latest in are 17 recently-released titles that span the genres: documentary to docudrama,  romance to comedy, action/thriller to road-trip feature. Here’s hoping that our unique list, See It in September, will offer plenty to entertain you. You’ll be linked directly to the catalog, where you can place your holds right away!

If jazz is your beat, you’re in for a very special treat. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool collects the artist’s music, home movies, manuscripts, and paintings for a close-up new look at his life. For timely social justice-themed films, The Infiltrators and Burden offer challenging perspectives on U.S. border detainment and the power of friendship and radical transformation across a racial divide.

Crowd pleaser The High Note explores themes of family, women’s ambition, and romance, all wrapped up in a fantastic soundtrack propelled by Tracee Ellis Ross. For another music-lover’s gem, have a look at Military Wives, a comic tribute to women’s resilience and friendship, with the brilliant Kristin Scott Thomas in the lead role. The pleasures of travel and a droll male friendship will also delight, as Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take you on a Trip to Greece. (Oh, and if you enjoy that, try the duo’s Trip to Italy and Trip to Spain, also ready for you at the Abbot Public Library!)

Recent weather events may draw you to the hurricane-related thriller Force of Nature, starring Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth, and Mel Gibson, while The Outpost spins a classic David-and-Goliath tale into a thriller pitting a few American soldiers against the ferocity of the Taliban militants.

If you’re in the mood for something quieter and more contemplative, you’ll also want to see the father-son road trip in Ireland that is End of Sentence, a film of reconciliation that has pleased critics and the public alike. If nothing else, the scenery will enchant you!

Once you’ve made your selections, placed your holds, and received notification that your holds are ready to pick up, visit this page or give us a call at 781-631-1481 to schedule your curbside pickup appointment

Happy viewing!

Blimey! New BBC Content on hoopla

There’s just something about British programming that really cuts the mustard. Mystery, period dramas, police procedurals, genius comedy: our cousins across the pond have captured our imaginations and always seem to leave us longing for more. If you’re already a devotee of Acorn TV, then you know exactly what we’re talking about. If not, you’re in for a treat: check out our FAQs page to find out how to get started. But if you’re looking for further brilliant telly, then hoopla has even more content on offer!

You can get your Brit fix from a number of already-curated collections. For a sprinkling of series from various genres, your first stop should be hoopla’s New from BBC category. Included here are the sorts of lifestyle documentaries that are not commonly available without charge in the US, like Top Gear and George Clarke’s Old House, New Home. With these, viewers can get a sense of what the British themselves are actually watching, not just what is commonly exported for Americans’ entertainment.

Crime Solving Sleuths offers tasters for a number of series, from the gritty, like Silent Witness (in which the sleuth confronts her own demons whilst demanding justice for victims), to the classic and charming, like The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, to the historically and literarily informed The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher.

Further collections bring you even more to savor, all with a delectable British twist. Well-wrought romances bloom in Love Against the Odds; female protagonists win the day in the likes of bucolic, nineteenth-century Cranford and–on the opposite end of the spectrum–Absolutely Fabulous (have a look at hoopla’s Strong Female Characters). Before They Were Stars curates excellent films featuring the likes of Colin Firth, Olivia Coleman, and Idris Elba before they became well-known here in the States, and Britain at War takes us back to Blighty and offers some unique perspectives on a perennially fascinating period–not least of which is the biopic Wodehouse in Exile, a dramatization of the beloved Jeeves and Wooster series author’s exile from his beloved England.

So say “cheerio” to any fears that you’ve already seen every last British program this side of the Atlantic, and get stuck into some seriously satisfying viewing. If you haven’t tried hoopla, visit our FAQs section to get started. If you’d like to explore the Abbot Library’s BBC DVD collection, you can do so here and get your selections (right now with no charge!) via our convenient curbside pickup service.

Reading on Broadway

Pull up a front row seat as the curtain opens…to reveal these fantastic scripts and stories made for the stage! 

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry wrote A Raisin in the Sun in 1959. Set in Chicago, it is the story of a black working class family struggling with economic pressures and living in a small apartment. Sadly, the grandfather has died, and they must carefully decide what to do with the life insurance money. They choose to invest in a home, but are met with brutal racism as it is in a white community. The title is a quote from the Langston Hughes poem Harlem.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child created by J.K. Rowling and written by Jack Thorne

Harry Potter leaves the pages for the stage in this script for the eighth volume featuring the famous wizard. Years after the end of Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione are now sending their own children to Hogwarts.

Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

This hit Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, who was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. Miranda was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton

Accessible on Overdrive as an ebook and audiobook. You can also listen to the Original Broadway Soundtrack on hoopla.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

First in the Wicked Years Series, this highly imaginative portrayal of L. Frank Baum’s Wicked Witch of the West was adapted to become a popular Broadway play. Set before Dorothy’s arrival, Elphaba (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (later known as Glinda) are good friends but unfortunately love the same man. Familiar characters emerge as this interesting perspective of the tale unfolds. The play won multiple Tony Awards and a Grammy.

Listen to the 2003, 2013, and 15th Anniversary 2019 soundtracks on hoopla!

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

This play opened in 1947 and takes place in New Orleans. Blanche DuBois was going through financial hardships and moved to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella, and her husband, Stanley. Blanche becomes involved with Stanley’s friend, Mitch, until rumors come to light about why Blanche was fired from her teaching position and how her husband died. There are disturbing scenes depicting cruelty in the flawed characters. This play won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Awards.

Accessible as an ebook and audiobook.

The Importance of being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The play first premiered in 1895 in London. It was Wilde’s most successful play. Written by the king of the epigram, it abounds with humor. The story is about Algernon Moncrieff and his good friend, Jack Worthing. Jack wants to propose to Algernon’s cousin, Gwendolyn, but has told her his name was Earnest, and she seems to love him more for that fact. Meanwhile, Algernon is intrigued to meet Jack’s niece, Cecily, in the country, and Cecily thinks Algernon’s name is Earnest. This is a light hearted romantic comedy. 

Accessible as an ebook and audiobook

Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Written as a monologue and starring the writer, this funny and moving story debuted in 2013 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before going on to theatre in London, and eventually becoming a BBC series which she won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series. She is engaged with the audience during the story, sharing her events with us.

If you want to be swept away in even more screenplays, check out our The Majesty and Magic of Live Performance post, as well as this drama collection on Overdrive/Libby as well as these screenplays, drama movies, musicals, and soundtracks on hoopla.

Rediscovering IndieFlix: Off the Beaten Path…On the Right Track

If you’ve noticed an uptick in your Netflix binging over the past few months (who hasn’t?), then perhaps you’re in the market for some bite-sized–and possibly more challenging–fare. You’ve racked up a good bit of mileage on that popular-entertainment highway–why not stray off the beaten path for a while?

IndieFlix, the very first video streaming option offered by the Abbot Library, has since been joined by Acorn TV and hoopla, but it merits more than a cursory glance. It’s a hidden gem, with thousands of movies, series, documentaries, and film shorts to sample. Be forewarned–much of this stuff really is indie. You’ll probably be finding yourself in pretty unfamiliar territory: Cannes this is not. But the fascination of the selections on offer lies in their quirkiness. Where else would you find an animated short starring “a sofa-bound dog [who] is shocked to learn that a huge world lies outside the door–the maddening, unbreakable door?” Such is the premise of Cooped, which clocks in at less than half an hour and is squarely in the bite-sized category. 

There’s a range of more serious titles on offer as well, from socially-conscious picks like The Millennial Dream to arts-inspired choices like The Artist’s Toolbox, 14 episodes of interviews with the likes of Isabel Allende and John Legend. Typical comedy, horror, foreign, and romance genres are well-represented–and if it’s a bit of nostalgia you’re after, titles like Flash Gordon, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Roy Rogers will beam you back to the black-and-white era.

So, grab your Marblehead library card and check out a 7-day unlimited-viewing pass today–and either binge or graze to your heart’s content. You might just find that you’re right on track!

If you don’t currently have a Marblehead library card, begin here. And if you have any further questions about IndieFlix or any of our digital services, please feel free to contact the reference staff at mar@noblenet.org.

Anxious Anglophile Therapy: Acorn TV + hoopla

We know you’re out there. Those who flicked on the Queen’s calm, collected, compassionate (and historically rare) televised addresses to her nation on the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who followed the unexpected drama of the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 illness and recovery. Maybe there’s an ancient rootedness, an age-old solidity about the United Kingdom that–despite the recent upheaval of Brexit–appeals to us in our comparatively young and volatile New World. Or perhaps the Brits just have a knack for making us laugh, a good enough therapy in itself. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying Americans’ fascination with and rapacious consumption of British programming!

For Anglophiles, there’s just nothing like Acorn TV. Shows that were once available only on DVD or through subscription streaming are now just a couple of clicks away for Marblehead library card holders. Even better, they’re always available and free. No holds, no waits, no fees. Check out a 7-day pass, and you can blissfully binge-watch until it’s time to check out another pass: no monthly limits or checkout caps. Whether your “comfort genre” is comedy, historical drama, mystery, or documentary, you’ll find plenty to your taste. If you’re the sort who finds solace in schedules (especially in this time of disruption), Acorn TV offers you one, so that you can keep track of offerings that are “Recently Added,” “Coming Soon,” and “Leaving Soon”–you’ll never miss a trick! You can of course browse by category, one of which is currently “Soothing Documentary.” The British really are unapologetic about the value of comfort in these anxious times! 

For those who are already passionate fans of Acorn TV and feel as though they’ve exhausted its possibilities for the moment (though that would take some seriously committed bingeing!), the Abbot Public Library’s newest digital service, hoopla, offers yet more tempting BBC fare. Have  a look at this search of hoopla’s TV category and this one of BBC movies, with 150 and 63 results, respectively. Odds are you’ll find a previously unseen treasure, as there are plenty of titles you may well not have encountered on Acorn – series and films that were popular in the UK but not as widely known in the US.

So, brew yourself a cuppa, butter some toast, and settle in for some seriously brilliant British telly. No therapist’s bills here–just let those plummy accents soothe your stressed-out psyche!

If you’re new to Acorn TV and/or hoopla, have a look at our FAQs page to get started right away! If you need to sign up for a Marblehead library card, you can start here. And do feel free to contact Reference staff at mar@noblenet.org with any further questions.

Comfort Food TV

Are you craving a little cinematic culinary comfort? Longing to savour a sumptuous series? The Abbot Public Library has curated a select menu of foodie-approved film and television fare just for our patrons! If you’re in the mood for a side of romance with an at-home dinner date, you may just try Ang Lee’s Eat, Drink, Man, Woman or Chocolat (this one starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, and Judi Dench). Or perhaps you’d like to escape our troubled present and time-travel to a Victorian dining room with Christopher Kimball in Fannie’s Last Supper, a recreation of one of Fannie Farmer’s decadent 12-course meals. We invite you to sample all of these films and more from our library-curated film collection on hoopla2020 APL Comfort Food Cinema

For some tasty kitchen-sink drama, you might also try Acorn TV’s series Delicious or Pie in the Sky; to sample menus from great British country houses of the past, take a look at Lords and Ladles. Just open your RBDigital app and search for the titles!

If your tastes run to food-filled adventure, then tune in to another of the library’s special hoopla collections: 2020 APL Comfort Food TV. Here, you can sink your teeth into some food/travel documentaries like Paul & Nick’s Big American Food Trip or No Passport Required. If tea is, well, your cup of tea, travel round the world to learn all about it with Victoria Wood’s Nice Cup of Tea on Acorn TV (again, search the title in your RBDigital app). Or get in the kitchen and get your hands messy with the pros of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country–further selections to be found in the hoopla 2020 APL Comfort Food TV collection. Your culinary quest awaits!

If you’re eager to tickle your tastebuds with these offerings (and much more) but have not yet signed up for hoopla or Acorn TV, please take a look at our FAQ page to get started. Bon appetit!