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.

Read J. K. Rowling’s Tale of The Ickabog Online And Compete To Have Your Illustrations Published!

J. K. Rowling is best known for her Harry Potter series, which you can check out online with your Abbot Public Library card through Overdrive or on the Libby app. She has even published some adult books under the name Robert Galbraith. Now she is back with a children’s book she originally shared only with her children: The Ickabog. Set to be officially published in November, she is posting her story a few chapters at a time on The Ickabog website

Not only can you read the story for free online, bit by bit, but you can compete to have your illustrations printed in the published book! Children between seven and twelve years old are invited to have a parent or guardian submit their drawings or paintings for them in the official competition run by the author’s publishers. Find out more about how to enter the competition here

Each week when a new chapter (or two or three) is published, J. K. Rowling gives suggestions for what to draw to go along with the text, but she wants kids to let their imaginations run wild! She won’t be judging the competition – the publishers will. You can still share your artwork on Social Media with the hashtag #TheIckabog. Feel free to post your artwork on the Abbot Public Library Facebook page!

If you miss reading Rowling’s Harry Potter series, check out the related items in Abbot Public Library’s Overdrive and hoopla collections of fact books, quiz books, cookbooks, music, and even a movie, including:

101 Amazing Harry Potter Facts by Jack Goldstein and Frankie Taylor

Harry Potter: A History of Magic 

The Science of Harry Potter by Mark Brake and Jon Chase (also available on hoopla)

Harry Potter: The Ultimate Quiz Book by Jack Goldstein (also available on hoopla)

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz (there’s also a Summer Treats edition!)

The Unofficial Harry Potter Fan’s Cookbook by Aurélia Beaupommier

50 Amazing Cocktails Inspired by Harry Potter by Archie Thomas

The Unofficial Harry Potter Jokebook series for Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin (or you can check out the 4-book boxed set)

The Harry Potter Spellbook Unofficial Guide by S.G. Eastment 

Mischief Managed – The Harry Potter Collection (music)

Harry Potter’s Halloween (music)

The Original soundtracks for each of the eight films

J. K. Rowling and the Birth of Harry Potter movie

YA Dystopia

Dystopia is defined as “an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives” (Merriam-Webster) and dystopian novels are a popular part of YA literature. The Hunger Games, in particular, is a series that has been pointed to as an example of YA dystopian literature since it was first released. And so, in honor of The Hunger Games prequel, which was released earlier this month (over 10 years since the first book was published!), here are a few of our favorite dystopian novels; most of which are a part of a series.

*All descriptions are from the publishers.

Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

The Loop by Ben Oliver

It’s Luka Kane’s 16th birthday and he’s been inside The Loop for over two years. Every inmate is serving a death sentence with the option to push back their execution date by six months if they opt into “Delays,” scientific and medical experiments for the benefit of the elite in the outside world.

But rumors of a war on the outside are spreading amongst the inmates, and before they know it, their tortuous routine becomes disrupted. The government-issued rain stops falling. Strange things are happening to the guards. And it’s not long until the inmates are left alone inside the prison.

Were the chains that shackled Luka to his cell the only instruments left to keep him safe? In a thrilling shift, he must overcome fellow prisoners hell-bent on killing him, the warden losing her mind, the rabid rats in the train tunnels, and a population turned into murderous monsters to try and break out of The Loop, save his family, and discover who is responsible for the chaos that has been inflicted upon the world.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them

Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (“Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever.

The Testing is accessible on Overdrive and hoopla

And here is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, the title that inspired this post!

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

Also if you like to listen to music while you read, may we suggest listening to The Hunger Games: Original Motion Picture Score or The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond to surround yourself with the world of The Hunger Games.

A Calming Classical Soundtrack

Perhaps you’d just like to be for a while. Breathe in, breathe out. Reset your anxious mind. Release negative emotions. I’m not talking about virtual yoga classes here (though what an excellent idea!). I’m talking about revisiting–or discovering anew–the soothing power of classical music.

Your “new normal” routine may not allow you to drop everything and de-stress for long periods of time–and that’s where our newly-curated 2020 APL Calming Classical Soundtrack on hoopla will stand you in good stead! Pop in your earbuds and live in a soul-soothing soundscape while going about your daily tasks. You’ll have the illusion of a “calm bubble” while still maintaining productivity and maybe saving your sanity! 

Chief among the 35 work-friendly offerings in this collection are albums featuring composers from the Baroque and Classical eras: Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Mozart. There’s a reason for that! The music of these periods tends to be highly patterned and structured, with repeated themes and variations on those themes. Ideally, as you listen, your thoughts will untangle themselves and your concentration will improve.

You might try the albums Big Bach Set, Vol. 3, Handel: Water Music, Haydn: Classical Music for Relaxation, Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, or Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35 & 39. Or go for baroque (bad pun, sorry) with a mixtape of sorts, featuring recorder soloist Lucie Horsch: Baroque Journey. And if you need to break your concentration for a while and stretch those desk-cramped limbs, you can’t go wrong with some lively Elizabethan birthday party music.

There’s plenty more to explore in the collection–good, old-fashioned lullabies, Romantic-era de-stressors like Fauré and Debussy, and even albums with “dream” or “chill” in the title–all recently released.

And if you exhaust these selections, have a look at hoopla’s The Most Relaxing Series for even more classical comfort. You can breathe out now!