Coming Soon to a Library Near You! New DVDs at APL

Autumn is a season of anticipation. We’re all on the lookout for the leaves to turn, for a season of holidays to begin, and maybe even for something fresh to curl up and watch when the rainy, blustery days keep us indoors. Have a look at the latest DVD offerings in the catalog, our October Watch List–if they haven’t yet dropped, they will very soon, and you’ll want to be the first to get your name on the holds list!

First off, the BBC roundup. David Tennant returns as an investigator in Deadwater Fell, a series that will get under your skin very much as Broadchurch did. Eve Polastri and Villanelle’s mutual obsession gets even more complicated in Season 3 of Killing Eve. The delightfully creepy Dead Still gives us mystery with a macabre twist: the sleuth is a postmortem photographer in Victorian Ireland (really!). And who could resist another instalment of the ever-engaging prequel to Inspector Morse, Endeavour (Series 7), which brings the story into a new decade–the 1970s.

Outlander (Season 5) bridges the ocean between the UK and its colonies as the intrepid hero and heroine strive to make a place for themselves in the New World. And if you missed the Emmy-winning Succession, you’ll find both Season 1 and this year’s Season 2 at APL–catch up so you’re in the know! 

There are some real gems among the newest feature DVDs, as well. Autumn is the time for all things bookish, and if you’re in the mood for something charming and heartening, The Booksellers is just the ticket. You’ll get a peek into New York’s rare book world alongside the likes of Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, and Gay Talese. Hope Gap is autumnal in tone as it takes a heartbreaking yet ultimately affirming look at a middle-aged couple’s crumbling marriage. Driveways, starring the late Brian Dennehy, offers a redemptive portrait of friendship between young and old.

And there’s more! Get this month’s viewing all set by placing holds on your favorites and utilizing our popular Curbside Pickup service. And if you just can’t wait, you’ll find Dead Still, Deadwater Fell, and plenty more on our Acorn TV video streaming service! If you haven’t tried it before, have a look at our FAQ section to get started.

Grab some mulled cider and enjoy!

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.

A Little Summertime Hocus Pocus

If you weren’t ready for Christmas in July, what about Halloween in August? You may remember that last summer, Marblehead was overrun with ghosts, pumpkins, and cobwebs during the filming of the upcoming Netflix original, Hubie Halloween. To get back into that spooky spirit, here are some Halloween Items you can check out online or reserve for Curbside Pickup!

Another movie filmed in Marblehead and the surrounding areas, Hocus Pocus features a trio of evil witches who are brought back from the dead and wreak havoc on Salem, Massachusetts. You can enjoy the book version, Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel, as an ebook or audiobook on Overdrive or an ebook on hoopla. The book contains the original tale as well as a new adventure that takes place one generation later.

This year, Salem’s Haunted Happenings will be quite different. You can read about Salem and its Halloween happenings in J. W. Ocker’s A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts, which you can reserve  in print format for Curbside Pickup or read on Overdrive as an ebook. The book includes the occult enthusiast’s experiences visiting the attractions and historical sites, as well as black-and-white photos which give a glimpse into Witch City.

If you want to stay safe and healthy at home this October 31st, you can make your own Halloween celebration! Listen to Halloween music on hoopla to get in the groove and have a good motivational backdrop for crafting and making decorations and costumes. The Spirit Of Halloween – 62 Classic Halloween Songs has theme songs from Harry Potter, The Addams Family, Corpse Bride, GhostBusters, and more! Some of these as well and others can be found in Halloween Treats – 50 Spooky Songs And Tunes For The Spirit Of Halloween!. For music geared towards kids, try this trio of Kidz Bop Halloween or Drew’s Famous – The Very Best Halloween Songs For Kids, or even Mickey’s Monster Mash.

Creative Costumes & Halloween Decor: 50 Projects to Sew & Craft will give you ideas not only of costumes you can easily make, with designs for tabards, gowns, and full suits; but it will also give you ideas for how to decorate your house with common household items and popular craft materials such as papier mache, felt, craft foam, floral materials, and polymer clay. You can make it even more simple and decorate with origami from Origami for Halloween.

Some other ways to decorate are carving pumpkins, creating a haunted house, and making festive fall quilts. If you need more ideas, reserve some of these Halloween decorating items for Curbside Pickup, which include Martha’s Halloween Ideas (DVD), Halloween: The Best of Martha Stewart Living, Spooky & Bright : 101 Halloween Ideas, and Better Homes and Gardens Halloween : 101 Frightfully Fun Ideas.

If you don’t want to think about decorating for Halloween yet, get comfortable with a cozy like Halloween Murder: a Lucy Stone Mystery by Leslie Meier, which you can check out in ebook format on Overdrive/the Libby app or hoopla. The book includes two Halloween mysteries set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine. More books in the series can be found in print and ebook format, including a few more Halloween stories such as Trick or Treat Murder (in print and ebook format) and Wicked Witch Murder (also in print and ebook format – these two mysteries are the ones that make up Halloween Murder), as well as Candy Corn Murder (print and ebook), and Haunted House Murder (print and ebook).

Browse through all the Halloween print books, ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, and more on the library catalog for Curbside Pickup, or online through Overdrive, hoopla, and IndieFlix!

Cool Off With Christmas in July!

Winter is often a time of joy, when people come together to sing carols and spend time with family and friends. Often throughout the year, we forget what is important. The spirit of giving and the season to spend time with those you love can be celebrated all year long. So, to instill these feelings we experience during the popular winter holiday, here are some ebooks, audiobooks, music, and movies about the Christmas season! 

Ebeneezer Scrooge is the quintessential Christmas grumbler in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (also available on hoopla), a story that has inspired countless retellings as books (see these ebooks on hoopla), movies (seven of which are available on hoopla), and even holiday plays such as the one shown at North Shore Music Theater. The unforgettable ghostly quartet that visits the greedy guy, led by the spirit of Scrooge’s deceased partner, Jacob Marley, are enough to change a man’s entire outlook and remind him of what is important in life, especially at Christmastime.

John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas is a popular modern classic which inspired the movie Christmas with the Kranks (available to watch on hoopla with no wait!), starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee-Curtis. If ever there were characters who forgot what the holiday season was about, it’s the Kranks. They decide to skip Christmas and set sail on a caribbean cruise. But will they go through with their holiday plans, or will something remind them of why this time of year is so special despite all the holiday hassle?

Mystery fans will love to cuddle up with some Christmas cozies on Overdrive and hoopla. Get ready for A Little Yuletide Murder with Jessica Fletcher in book 11 of the Murder, She Wrote Series. Who killed Santa Claus? All Jessica Fletcher wants to do is enjoy a nice holiday in Cabot Cove, but someone killed the guy who plays the small town Santa Claus every year, and Jessica wants to wrap up the case by Christmas. 

Baker and amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen is on the case in Joanne Fluke’s dessert-filled delectables, which can be checked out on Overdrive or hoopla. Included in the holiday-themed titles are a spectacular Christmas ball, a deceased Mrs. Claus, and recipes for delicious desserts!

If you’re more into movies than books, stream one of the many holiday movies available on hoopla! Not only will you find the aforementioned Christmas with the Kranks and various versions of A Christmas Carol, but you’ll find family friendly movies like Small Town Santa, in which the sheriff arrests a home intruder who claims to be Santa Claus; or Christmas with the Andersons, to show how you can enjoy the holiday even if you lose your job. For more mature movies, Christmas Kiss or Back to Christmas might be the romantic movie you want to see.

All these titles are just the tip of the iceberg! Check out even more on Overdrive/the Libby app or on hoopla!

Need a Clue? Find “New” Classic Golden Age Mysteries on hoopla!

Why do so-called “Golden Age” mysteries–written by a handful of British authors in the 1920s and 30s–appeal so strongly? Considering that they flourished specifically in the post-World War I era, it could be argued that these highly-crafted, ingenious puzzle-stories gave their first readers a sense of control after the horror and chaos of a senseless conflict. In these tales, good clearly triumphs over evil; evil is usually confined to a single murder (or perhaps a few related ones); and the good detectives (with whom the reader identifies) seldom die. It’s a comfortingly controlled world. One that, despite the dastardly deeds committed therein, still offers us a welcome respite from the messiness of real life.

Unfortunately, as you may have discovered, the oeuvre is somewhat limited. But if you think you’ve devoured every last crumb of classic mystery fare available, from Agatha Christie to Dorothy Sayers to Margery Allingham, don’t despair! Here’s your clue to discovering more delights. Republished under the auspices of the renowned British Library, the eight anthologies of short mystery fiction available on hoopla offer you tales from the era that have been out of print since before World War II. Herein, you’ll find bite-sized pleasures from familiar authors like G. K. Chesterton and new-to-our era writers like J. Jefferson Farjeon. Occasionally, you’ll even chance upon something from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his contemporaries a generation earlier. 

Edited and introduced by scholar Martin Edwards, each title in this set of British Library Crime Classics presents an array of stories sharing some familiar plot elements. Everything from the favorite country house murder to the not-so-bucolic countryside/village crime to the slightly grittier London mystery is well-represented in the series. And if it’s full-length tales you’re after, you can devour a pair of them from the largely-forgotten writer John Bude republished together just this year: Death in White Pajamas & Death Knows No Calendar.

So if you need a half-hour’s calm amid the present storms, dip into one or all of these classics, select a story at will, and settle in for a slice of pitch-perfect whodunit heaven.

You can access these British Library Crime Classics and more for free with your Marblehead library card on hoopla. If you don’t currently have a Marblehead card, get started here.

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.

The Fashion World in Books and Movies

Escape to the fashion world – the world of beauty, glamorous clothes, dazzling accessories, and the people who create them.

Start with a visit to the Christian Dior fashion house to learn about its history and look at some of the collections created there. 

If you are much into tattoo designs and its history, watch a documentary on the “godfather of modern tattooing:” Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World.

Discover the secrets of Tiffany’s art appeal, enjoy the beauty of art works and behind-the-scenes creation of those works in Crazy about Tiffany’s.

British designer Ozwald Boateng is a subject of A Man’s Story, an artist of versatile talents and interests: he was a clothing designer for Hollywood’s leading actors, costume designer for multiple film productions and series, and was also chosen to design uniforms for the British Airways.

Watch a movie or read a book about Iris Apfel, an intensely original fashion icon with a decades-long presence in the fashion world, whose work gained immense recognition.

All these films are available on hoopla, brought to you by the Abbot Public Library. You only need your library card to check them out and enjoy. If you need a card, find out how to register online.

If you would like to take a closer look and get more familiar with the lives and work of some fashion designers or models,check out these ebooks:

A stylish memoir of Isaac Mizrahi, American fashion designer and the Chief Designer of the Isaac Mizrahi brand, his life, and his professional career. Included therein are accounts of famous people – designers whom he worked with and Hollywood actors and others for whom he designed.

In ebook and audiobook format on Libby/Overdrive and as an ebook on hoopla

A social history of the French Riviera in the 1930s, with the famous French designer Coco Chanel being at the center of the circle of the rich and famous.

Check it out on Overdrive/Libby

Famous fashion supermodel (and wife of quarterback Tom Brady) Giselle Bundchen writes a book about her life journey and shares her secrets of dealing with challenges and stress in her work and private life.

Check it out on Overdrive/Libby

A posthumous memoir of the legendary fashion photographer and eccentric fashion icon Bill Cunningham.

In ebook and audiobook format on Libby/Overdrive.

If you would like some practical advice from fashion gurus, consider these books:

If you wonder what a smart fashion designer is capable of, read the Maddie Springer fiction series by Gemma Halliday, in which fashion designer and amateur sleuth Maddie Springer solves mysteries and tracks down killers.

All these ebooks can be found in Overdrive/Libby. You only need your library card to check them out and download them.

New and Upcoming Mysteries, Suspense Novels, and Thrillers!

The Abbot Public Library is continuing to expand its fiction ebook collection to keep you up-to-date with your favorite mystery and suspense authors!

Make sure to add Don Winslow’s newest book, Broken, to your reading list. As an international bestselling book, Broken connects themes of crime, corruption, vengeance, justice, loss, betrayal, guilt, and redemption in this heart-stopping novel.

Just in is John Sanford’s Masked Prey.  In book 30 of his Prey series, Lucas Davenport investigates a vitriolic blog that seems to be targeting the children of U.S. politicians.

Amos Decker and his perfect memory return in book 6 of David Baldacci’s Memory Man series. In Walk the Wire, Decker returns to solve a gruesome murder in a booming North Dakota oil town.

Out next week are John Grisham’s, Camino Winds and James Patterson’s Revenge. Get swept away to paradise for a little sun, sand, mystery, and mayhem back on Camino Island in Grisham’s legal thriller. Or, join former SAS soldier, David Shelley, as he discovers the shocking death of a young woman and helps to protect the family he once served in their quest for revenge.