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!

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.

Summer Doldrums–Sorted! August Movies of the Month on hoopla and DVD

The dog days are definitely dragging on. Do you feel like you’ve been there, done that with your summer viewing? If you don’t have the energy to trawl through whatever’s available on TV right now (face it, you know there’s nothing), then hoopla and the Abbot Public Library have some ideas for you! 

Too heat-beat to budge from the couch–or really to move anything except your fingers? hoopla’s got a fabulous little curated collection right at your fingertips. Explore August Movies of the Month for a spectrum of offerings, from an Academy Award winner to a couple of indies to an almost cult-status tween favorite. You can revisit 2016’s Moonlight and recall the historic mixup at the 2017 Oscars. Lad: A Yorkshire Tale certainly didn’t achieve such dizzying heights of acclaim, but as an endearing coming-of-age story in the cool, green landscape of God’s Own Country, it should satisfy.

Or, if you like, travel to the southern end of the Eastern Hemisphere and take in a South African-flavored romance that’s a bit off the beaten track: Forever. With 1,013 viewer reviews averaging 4.5 stars, you probably won’t regret following the path less traveled! And who could say no to Anne Hathaway in her early-career charmer Ella Enchanted? With elements of sci-fi, fairy tale, and fantasy (as well as romance), this is one for the whole family on a balmy summer’s evening.

If you find that you need a good stretch, then hop off the couch and try out APL’s curbside service for the DVD versions of a number of the titles recommended on hoopla: Moonlight, Florence Foster Jenkins, Legally Blonde, and The Last Word are ready for you to place on hold and pick up when they’re ready! And if you don’t see your choice on that list, remember that you can get some of the rest of the titles via interlibrary loan, through APL: A Small Act, Human Capital, Knock Knock, and The Rover! And right now, all DVDs have no checkout fee, too–our treat!

Here’s hoping we’ve helped you beat those summer doldrums!

If you’re new to hoopla, have a look here to get started. If you don’t currently have a library card, you can get started here. It’s easy!

Creature Features! Summer Film Favorites from hoopla and the APL DVD Collection!

Summer is still very much with us, and you just may be craving the sort of  blockbuster viewing that the season usually provides. Something to take your mind entirely off of the pressures of real life and plunge you into the midst of impossible drama and adventure. Something with fabulous special effects to engross the senses and take you somewhere else, far from the world as it is. If you haven’t yet made it to a drive-in theater, or if you’re eager for more of this sort of thing, APL has you covered! Whether you prefer streaming video or watching DVDs, you’ll find “creature features” on hoopla and via our easy Curbside Pickup Service.

hoopla dishes up ravening dinosaurs, alligators, and sharks galore (also see this week’s Shark Week post) with its specially-curated Creature Feature category. Here, you can wander at will in unabashedly B-movie territory–because who doesn’t secretly love them, however bad the reviews may be? If you’d like a dollop of literature with your sci-fi/fantasy/horror experience, you might go for Journey to the Center of the Earth or Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island, both of which reimagine classic 19th-century novels in modern terms. Or perhaps try a comic take on H. P. Lovecraft’s famously weird tales with The Last Lovecraft: The Relic of Cthulhu, in which the author’s last living relative must reckon with the fearsome monster.

Once you’ve exhausted the 47 possibilities represented in hoopla, hop over to our library catalog for a bijou, hand-selected list of DVDs that are sure to give you those chills and thrills you crave! Get reacquainted with Godzilla and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, or opt for a real-life adrenaline rush with the documentary Shark Dive. If you’re in the mood for something a little gentler than Jaws, have a look at a critically-acclaimed, fantastical film full of tall tales: Big Fish. There are vintage heebeegeebees to be had too, if you want to try the classic film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

If you’re new to hoopla, take a look at our FAQs page to get started. And if you haven’t tried our Curbside Pickup Service, learn all about it here and check the updates here. Oh–and you’ll be happy to know that there’s currently no fee for DVD checkouts!

Vet on Call! Visit Herriot Country via Overdrive/Libby, Acorn TV, and DVD

Remember the days when a trip to a petting zoo or small farm was an absolute delight? Perhaps it still is! There’s much to be said for the therapeutic value of low-stress contact with farm animals, whether you’re feeding a pony a carrot, trying your hand at milking a goat, or simply sinking your fingers into a lamb’s soft wool.

While the life of a country vet is far from placid, as Alf Wight (writing as James Herriot) could attest, there are many such moments of grace–and even more humor–to be found in his semi-autobiographical series of books set in the scenic Yorkshire Dales. Beloved the world over for nearly 50 years, four of the five titles (as published in the U.S.) were inspired by a beloved British hymn: All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Creatures Great and Small (also available on hoopla), All Things Wise and Wonderful, and The Lord God Made Them All (the final title is Every Living Thing). As promised (see this previous post), all of these are now available for your listening pleasure on Overdrive/Libby! Relax into the world of Darrowby and its surrounding farms as mellow-voiced Christopher Timothy brings Jim Herriot and the various eccentric village characters to vivid life. It’s hard to imagine tales less in keeping with the current state of affairs, and therein lies their charm. That’s not to say that they’re sentimental or that sad events do not intrude, but the tales do radiate a comforting sense that “there’ll always be an England.”

If you’ve streamed The Yorkshire Vet on Acorn TV (as previously suggested) and have become engrossed in the day-to-day drama and humor of the Herriot/Wight practice as it operates today, then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a brand-new series 6 available! It just premiered on July 20th and offers 8 all-new episodes, some featuring Alf Wight’s affable protégé, Peter Wright.

And if you’re up for some 1970s-80s TV nostalgia, it’s hard to do better than the renowned BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small (starring no less than Robert Hardy of Harry Potter fame, alongside Christopher Timothy and Peter Davison), which spins its particular brand of charm over seven seasons two Christmas specials. Now that the library is offering Curbside Pickup, you can place holds on the DVDs in the library catalog here, and get them with no rental fees! New to curbside pickup? Have a look at this post for all the details.

Savour a slice of Herriot heaven and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Keep Cool and Carry On: Ice-Cold Movies on hoopla!

No doubt about it–it can be scorching hot out there, even by the seaside, now that July is in full swing! If you’re about ready to dump an ice bucket over your head, hang on. Save that ice for a cooling beverage and pop on over to hoopla, where the Abbot Public Library has curated some Arctic (and Antarctic) titles to seriously cool you off.

Have a look at the collection titled 2020 APL Keep Cool and Carry On for some heat-beating film adventures. If you’re wishing yourself far, far away in the frozen tundra, grab your explorer’s gear and hitch a ride to the South Pole with some spellbinding documentaries. 

Award-winning Antarctica: A Year on Ice gives you a window onto an alien world and those who live there–both animal and human–through the lens of talented nature photographer Anthony Powell. Climate change-conscious Antarctica: Ice and Sky  is an entrancing biopic of Claude Lorius, whose research as a glaciologist was vital to our understanding of the deleterious effects of human industry.

Or head north to the Arctic Circle for more tales of derring-do with Across the Ice. You’ll be keeping company with intrepid explorers Sebastian Copeland and Eric McNair Landry as they chase a Guinness record, kite-skiing the length of Greenland. Get your snowshoes on for an extreme trek across 4000 kilometers of the Canadian Arctic with Adam Shoalts (Alone Across the Arctic.) Some frigid thrills await in feature film Icequake: Panic in the Alps,where a wedding party finds themselves in a nail-biting predicament . Whew! You may just break out in a frozen sweat!

Looking for something a little less white-knuckle and just a shade or two warmer? Lose yourself in a late-life romance between a Czech widow and a charming “ice-swimmer” after a dramatic rescue in Ice Mother. Or watch a comically awful father-son relationship unfold as they try to connect over a shared hobby–ice fishing (Frozen Stupid with Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine.)

So tune into hoopla and keep your cool–all you need is your library card!

Oh, and by the way, if you’d like access to our expansive DVD collection full of the coolest (and hottest) titles, you’re in luck! Please see the post “What You Need to Know for Curbside Pickup” for all the details. And–good news–during Curbside Service, there is no fee to borrow DVDs!

If you’re new to hoopla, have a look at our FAQs page for pointers. And if you don’t currently have a library card, you can easily get started here.

Best of British: Watch UK Telly on hoopla!

Perhaps you’ve heard Noël Coward’s comic line “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” The dog days of summer might just as well tempt you indoors, though, and if so, there’s plenty of British television fare to keep you sane while you stay in shade. Did you know that, while you have access to excellent programming via Acorn TV, the Abbot Public Library also offers access to British TV and movies through hoopla? Brilliant!

Tune your telly (oops–laptop/Smart TV/mobile device) to hoopla’s curated British Drama list for 45 feature-length films you just may not have seen yet, or perhaps might like to see again. Here, you’ll find modern, book-based classics like Wolf Hall and Rebecca rubbing shoulders with historic crime drama Gunpowder (starring Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington as Guy Fawkes) and spy thriller Page Eight (with Rachel Weisz and Bill Nighy). You’ll get to sample some TV series openers, too. Another category that might tempt you is hoopla’s Masterpiece Theatre collection, 99% of which hails from the British Isles!

No one does a TV series quite like the Brits, and they’re available in abundance on hoopla if you just know where to look. For strictly BBC content, try this search, and–blimey–152 results! There’s Absolutely Fabulous, a pop culture touchstone with guest appearances from the likes of Elton John and Naomi Campbell (this one’s not currently available on Acorn TV). You’ll also find cozy favorites like Father Brown (also available only on hoopla), ready to whisk you away from current stresses to a country parish brimming with murder and mayhem.

So settle in with a cuppa, flick on the AC, and get your British on with hoopla!

Oh, and by the way, if you’d like access to our ample collection of British DVDs, they are once more available to you! Please see the post “What You Need to Know for Curbside Pickup” for all the details. And — good news – during Curbside Service, there is no fee to borrow DVDs!

If you’re new to hoopla, visit our FAQs page for an easy how-to. If you don’t currently have a library card, you can get started here.

Enchanting Eccentrics Part 2: Watch on hoopla and Acorn TV

Summer blockbusters are all well and good, but if you’re not really in the mood for a creature feature or epic save-the-world adventure, take heart: the Abbot Library may just have some congenial viewing for you! Charming-oddball flicks may not always have quite the box-office stamina of superhero films, but they’re sure to reward the discriminating viewer who’s not afraid to take some cinematic chances on unlikely heroes.

So, if you’ve got a good sense of humor, quite a bit of heart, and are up for the challenge, have a look at our newly-curated collection on hoopla–2020 APL Enchanting Eccentrics (Film). Here you’ll find French, British, and Swedish films with protagonists ranging from a piquantly mischievous ingénue to a suicidal curmudgeon to an entire village-worth of stubborn Welshmen and women. 

Amélie captured hearts and tickled funnybones on both sides of the Atlantic when it was first released in 2001, and it has certainly lost nothing of its appeal. Sweetly off-kilter since childhood, the title character toggles between an emotionally distant father, a reclusive but wise old painter, and the amour she worships from afar–a misfit like herself with a peculiar photographic obsession.

A Man Called Ove brings Fredrik Backman’s beloved book to life, rendering the world-weary Ove with striking–often heartbreaking, but never sentimental–precision, all the while pitting the  dark humor of his perspective against the irrepressible liveliness of a neighboring young family. 

For something a bit more frothy, yet with an abundance of World War I-era period charm, you might turn to one of film history’s longest-titled movies: The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. Starring a youthful Hugh Grant and sparkling Tara Fitzgerald, this mock-epic romp showcases idiosyncratic British (excuse me, Welsh) local pride at its best. 

If you listened to the previously-recommended book The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (yet another candidate for longest title!), you might want to judge for yourself how well it translated to the big screen.

Other offerings will quietly break your heart (Still Life, starring Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey), have you rooting for a gang of Baby Boomers-turned-bank-robbers (Golden Years, also available on Acorn TV), and revive your belief in happy endings–even for the most cantankerous and neurotic of characters (This Beautiful Fantastic–see also a previous review of the film).

If you’re ready to commit to a bit of bingeing, check out 2020 APL Enchanting Eccentrics (TV), on hoopla, featuring two BBC series that just about wrote the playbook for unconventional character-based comedy.

Over the course of three captivating seasons, The Detectorists follows the travails and triumphs of two endearing geeks (played by Toby Jones of The Hunger Games and Mackenzie Crook of Pirates of the Carribean) who are forever hoping that their next metal-detecting session will uncover a hoard of Saxon gold. Doc Martin (starring Martin Clunes)–all nine seasons of which are also available on Acorn TV–introduces an apparently opposite protagonist, a high-flying London surgeon whose suddenly-developed hemophobia sends him to a Cornish backwater. But his social awkwardness, essential loneliness, and refusal to suffer fools gladly somehow render him irresistible. 

Acorn TV offers a wealth of similar fare, a standout of which is Kingdom, starring Stephen Fry as a surprisingly sympathetic solicitor. Unlike Doc Martin, the main character is the sanest of the bunch in his Norfolk town, and he finds himself disentangling clients’ problems while coping with his own dysfunctional family. You’ll be tickled and captivated by his adventures.

Here’s hoping you find plenty of eccentric enchantment to while away the summer hours!

Escape to the Country! Find Bucolic Bliss on hoopla, Overdrive, and Acorn TV

Here in our pretty seaside town, we’re surrounded by an abundance of Atlantic natural beauty. But if you’re feeling a bit of wanderlust as summer begins and would like to seek out pastures new–at least in imagination–let the Abbot Library be your guide! You’ll find the suggestions below on hoopla, Overdrive/Libby, and Acorn TV.

If rural New England takes your fancy, you might just like Sy Montgomery’s The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood, read by Audiofile Earphones Award-winning Xe Sands and set on a New Hampshire farmstead. This gentle, true tale of a runt piglet who became a beloved village icon and even did a stint on NPR is sure to charm you. Sy Montgomery is a noted naturalist who is famous for The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness and, more recently, the soulful, philosophical How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals–neither of which is strictly rural, but both of which will nonetheless envelop the reader in the wonders of the natural world.

If you think the grass might be even greener in England (that famously “green and pleasant land”), then try world-renowned titles by Yorkshire country veterinarian Alf Wight, written under the nom-de-plume “James Herriot.” Many are familiar with the bestselling All Creatures Great and Small, adapted for TV in the late 1970s and 1980s, and starring Robert Hardy (of Harry Potter fame) and Christopher Timothy. If not, or if you’d like to revisit the famed practice in Darrowby, try this Overdrive audio version with the genial-voiced Timothy as narrator. Herriot’s evocation of the lush Yorkshire Dales in funny and poignant true-to-life tales is sure to soothe the soul. Did you know that there are further Herriot books to enjoy? You’ll find many of them here, in both audio and ebook formats. Also, keep an eye out for more audio versions (also voiced by Timothy) coming to our Overdrive collection this July.

Farm life and bucolic landscapes also feature on several high-quality Acorn TV documentaries and series. If you can’t get enough of James Herriot, you’ll love The Yorkshire Vet, which follows the real-life adventures of two vets now working in Alf Wight’s old practice, one of whom trained under Wight. Or tune in to some pleasurably educational reality TV with “The Family Farm,” filmed in the Welsh countryside. You’ll watch three urban families as they challenge themselves to live an agrarian life for three weeks. For an illuminating ramble across the whole of Wales, accompanied by a charming sheepdog and his knowledgeable human, try “Off the Beaten Track,” also on Acorn TV.

Here’s hoping you find your rural bliss!