Funny Scary Movies

Like some laughter with your suspense? Some giggles with your frights? Check out these quirky horror comedies from the SPL collection.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
A slacker must man up to save his friends and family from a zombie invasion. (DVD)

Ready or Not (2019)
To fit in with her husband’s family, a new bride must first survive her wedding night. (DVD and Blu-Ray)

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Five friends in a secluded cabin. What could go wrong? (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Coraline (2009)
A girl discovers a door into an alternate existence, but will she be able to find her way back home? Based on the book by Neil Gaiman. (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Happy Death Day (2017)
A college student is doomed to relive the day of her murder until she solves the identity of her killer. (DVD) Sequel alert: Happy Death Day to You (2019) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Get Out (2017)
When a young black man visits his white girlfriend’s family for a weekend, the meeting takes a terrifying turn. (DVD)

Young Frankenstein (1974)
Made more for laughs than frights, this film spoofs the Frankenstein story. (DVD)

What We Do In the Shadows (2015)
This mockumentary documents the “real life” of a group of modern day vampires. (DVD or stream through Hoopla)

From Page to Screen: Recent Book to Movie Adaptations

Everyone knows that the book is almost always better than the movie, but it is still compelling to see how the original is brought to life on the screen! Whether you prefer literary or classic fiction, young adult or horror, detective stories or thrillers, there is something for everyone in this list of movie adaptations from the last year or two. To read or to watch first? It’s up to you.

People who love heartwarming dog stories will enjoy Garth Stein’s 2008 bestselling novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain. Canine Enzo narrates the ups and downs in the life of his favorite human, Denny, an aspiring race car driver. Much of the story is told in flashbacks from the perspective of an aging Enzo, who believes he will be reincarnated as a man (and hopefully a race car driver) once he dies. The well-received 2019 film stars Milo Ventigliamo and features Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo.

The long-awaited follow up to Stephen King’s The Shining (1977), Doctor Sleep picks up many years later with an adult Danny Torrance, who has struggled with alcoholism in the wake of the traumatic events of his childhood at the Overlook Hotel. Now a hospice worker, he meets with a teen who shares his paranormal gifts. The two unite to fight a cult who would exploit their gift in order to achieve immortality. The 2019 film was directed by Mike Flanagan (creator of The Haunting of Hill House) and stars Ewan MacGregor.

A perennial favorite, Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma has made the journey from page to screen before, perhaps most memorably in 1995’s Clueless. The story of a rich, clever young woman who tries to act the matchmaker with her less fortunate friend, it combines witty social commentary with romantic tension and a comedy of manners. The 2020 version, directed by Autumn de Wilde, depicts a world of unconscious privilege for a select few that seems oddly contemporary, despite the Georgian England setting.

Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2013 novel The Goldfinch tells the story of Theo Decker, who loses his mother in a museum bombing at the tender age of thirteen. During the chaos of the event, he steals a painting (the titular Goldfinch), which he keeps as a physical reminder of his loss. The bestselling novel was adapted for the big screen and released in 2019. If you haven’t read the book yet, you may want to do so before watching the movie, as many who did not found the plot confusing.

In the engrossing thriller The Good Liar, a career con artist gets more than he expected when he attempts to swindle a wealthy widow. Nicholas Searle’s 2016 debut novel generated buzz when it was published in 2016. It was released as a motion picture in 2019, starring veteran actors Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen.

In Just Mercy, lawyer Bryan Stevenson recounts his real life experiences representing clients, most of whom are black and poor. His bestselling 2014 book exposed the injustices of the system, bringing much needed attention to the issues of systemic racial bias, mass incarceration, children being convicted as adults, and more. The 2019 movie (starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx) focuses on the wrongful conviction of Walter McMillan, who spent six years on death row for a crime he did not commit.

Another beloved classic that recently found its way to the screen once again, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women tells the story of the four March girls in the years following the Civil War. The appeal of the book has always been the strength of the book’s central female characters. Although they choose different paths, they are not relegated to the sidelines.  The critically acclaimed 2019 film, adapted and directed by Greta Gerwig, emphasizes the message of female empowerment. Nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay); won for Best Costume Design.

In Jonathan Lethem’s atmospheric detective story Motherless Brooklyn, private detective with Tourette’s Syndrome investigates the murder of his mentor/boss, a small time mobster.  The book was adapted for screen by Edward Norton, who also directed, produced, and starred in the 2019 motion picture. Set in 1950s New York, it’s a modern day film noir reminiscent of L.A. Confidential.

In Postcard Killers, NYPD detective Jack Kanon is on a tour of Europe’s most captivating cities, but he’s not just any tourist. Kanon is hunting his daughter’s killer, who has left a string of corpses through Europe. Bestselling authors James Patterson & Lisa Marklund teamed up for the 2010 novel, later adapted for screen as The Postcard Killings, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Famke Janssen.

The 1981 book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz is a collection of terrifying tales retold from American folklore. Illustrated with macabre drawings by Stephen Gammell, it served as a gateway to horror for generations of children and spawned two sequels. The 2019 movie, directed by Guillermo del Toro, brings to life six interwoven tales inspired from the original book collection. Bonus watch: Aficionados of Schwartz’s books will enjoy the documentary Scary Stories, which focuses on the history and impact of Schwartz’s books.

Natasha, a pragmatist whose family is in imminent danger of being deported to Jamaica, meets Daniel, son of immigrant parents, in The Sun is Also a Star. Is their meeting fate or coincidence, and which of the infinite possibilities that follow will come true? For fans of thoughtful romance. The 2016 bestselling young adult novel by Nicola Yoon was followed by the screen adaptation in 2019.

Bee’s mother has disappeared, and she is determined to find her. Maria Semple’s popular novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette?highlights the tension between women’s opposing roles in life, and shows the lengths one women will go to rediscover herself. The 2019 film was directed by Richard Linklater, and stars Cate Blanchett in the title role.

 

 

LGBTQ+ Movies

LGBTQ+ Movies from Kanopy & Hoopla

Kanopy, the library’s newest streaming service, offers a wide variety LGBTQ+ themed feature films and documentaries including:

The surprise Oscar winner for Best Picture (2016), Moonlight  is a multi layered coming-of-age story, depicting the struggle of growing up black, gay, impoverished, and living with addiction. Tender, lyrical and raw, the movie portrays three chapters in a young black man’s life as he comes to terms with where he came from and who he is.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post tells the story of a young woman who is sent to gay conversion therapy center by her conservative guardians. Although subjected to dubious therapies there, she also finds a community of people like her. Based on the popular novel by Emily M Danforth, and winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018.

Wise Kids follows three childhood friends during the transitional summer after high school graduation. While preparing for their Baptist church’s passion play, one deals with a crisis of faith, another coming to terms with his sexuality, and the last with the fact her friends may make different choices than she expected.

Longtime partners Stella and Dot make a run to Canada to get married after Dot’s granddaughter places her in a nursing home due to her declining health. Along the way, the pair picks up a hitchhiker heading home to see his dying mother. Cloudburst poignantly explores the themes of aging and marriage equality with humor and grace.

A gay couple takes over the care of a teenage boy with Down’s Syndrome in the 1970s and provides a loving home. However, when authorities become aware of the situation, they are forced to prove to a biased system that they are fit custodians. Based on a true story, Any Day Now asks compelling questions about the true nature of love and family.

Vito is a compelling portrayal of prominent gay rights activist Vito Russo from the time of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 until his death from AIDS in 1990. Russo’s book The Celluloid Closet revealed that the way gay people were depicted in film exacerbated society’s biases against them. With archival footage and interviews, this documentary provides a history of gay rights in America during that time period.

Unlike much of the Western World, Russia has made few steps toward gay equality. Documentary Campaign of Hate shows the threats, verbal abuse, and violence that the Russian LGBTQ population endures. The passing of the 2013 “Gay Propaganda” law legitimizes the bias towards this community, and the film makes the case that the government does so for its own political gain.

Hoopla also offers movies and documentaries with LGBTQ+ themes, such as:

Charlize Theron won an Oscar for her portrayal of real life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the docudrama Monster. The survivor of an abusive childhood, Aileen prostitutes herself to pay the bills for herself and her girlfriend. After killing a client in self defense, she finds that she has a taste for it.

Approximately 1% of the U.S. population identifies as asexual, or experiencing no sexual attraction. The documentary A(sexual) explores this unique sexual orientation, using interviews with researchers as well as people who identify as asexual.

In Other People, David has broken up with his boyfriend and his career isn’t going well, but he doesn’t want to burden his mother with the sad tale since she’s got an even bigger problem: terminal cancer.

The Freedom to Marry documentary focuses on the movement to make same-sex marriage the law of the land. It reveals the history of the movement and profiles key leaders as they present their case to the Supreme Court.

Being black, poor, and gay can be risky in more ways than one, so the young people in Check It banded together to form their own gang in inner-city Washington, DC. This documentary highlights the lives of several gang members as they try their hands at an unlikely way out of gang life: fashion.

With changing societal norms and advances in medicine, it has become possible to transition genders at a younger age. The documentary Growing up Trans reveals the struggles and choices that several young people and their families face as they do so.

Let’s Get Cooking

Let’s Get Cooking

With everyone at home, it’s become more necessary than ever to get cooking. Fortunately, the library offers digital magazines, ebooks, and even tv shows for food inspiration. And unlike many online recipes and food blogs, you can skip the annoying pop-up ads!

Flipster Magazines

Read magazines on your computer, tablet, or phone with Flipster. There are several food related choices, and if you don’t find inspiration from a current magazine, you can view back issues as well.

For more information, including how to access back issues, see Flipster FAQ.

Overdrive Magazines

You may already be familiar with using Overdrive to get ebooks, but did you know that you can check out magazine issues as well? Check out these popular titles for creative cooking ideas!

Access via the Overdrive website on your computer or the Libby app on your device.

Overdrive Cookbooks

There are thousands of cookbooks available on Overdrive. To avoid wait lists, try browsing the Always Available cooking collection. This includes cookbooks from popular authors, such as Bobby Flay and Ina Garten, and respected institutions like America’s Test Kitchen. Peruse cookbooks for special equipment, like instant pots or air fryers, and special diets, like vegan, keto, and paleo. There are recipe collections for budget eats, quick eats, and more! Although the specific titles pictured may not be available, similar titles will be.

Hoopla

Whether you prefer ebooks or television episodes, Hoopla’s collection is always available. Check out several cookbooks from New York Times best selling author Mark Bittman, including How to Cook Everything Fast. If slow cooking is more your speed, try a cookbook from the popular Fix-It and Forget-It series, like the Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook. If you can’t get enough of celebrity cooking, you may like Daphne Oz’s The Happy Cook or Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table.

If you prefer to watch cooking shows for inspiration, you may want to try episodes from:

and more!

Quirky Fiction

If you have a soft spot for socially awkward yet loveable misfits, check out these ebooks!


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeywell

Contrary to the title claim, Eleanor is definitely not fine! Having survived a traumatic upbringing, her poor social skills tend to keep people at a distance. When she develops a crush on a local musician and a colleague manages to breach her defenses, her life finally begins to change.


How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper

Andrew works for the local council cleaning the houses of people who die alone. His colleagues think that he has a family of his own, but in truth Andrew lives alone with few social ties beyond his online train group. Tension ensues when his boss wants each staff member to host a dinner party as a team building exercise, and Andrew develops feelings for a coworker.


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman is a genetics professor who takes an analytical, organized approach to most things, including finding a mate. Can a meticulously designed questionnaire help Don find love, or will he learn that love, like life, is unpredictable? Bonus reads: If you enjoy The Rosie Project, you may want to check out further adventures with Don in The Rosie Result and The Rosie Effect.


The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

Susan Green prizes order, efficiency, and predictability, and lives her life accordingly. That is, until a needy upstairs neighbor, an unexpected pregnancy, and the loss of her mother combine to throw her tightly controlled world into disarray. Can Susan learn to embrace the gifts of life’s inherent messiness, or will she become undone?


Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Meet the Spellmans, a family of private investigators that put the “fun” in dysfunctional. All Isabel has ever known is working for the family biz, but when her parents can’t stay out of her business she decides it may be time to look for a new job. First, she has to solve a cold case that leads to a disappearance much closer to home. Bonus reads: Check out the box set of the first four ebooks in the series.


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Nina, the introverted only child of an adventurous, absentee single mom, manages her anxiety by adhering to a schedule and staying close to home. When the father she never knew dies, she inherits something more than a bequest: the chance to be part of a family.


A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

Can a persistent cat, demanding new neighbors, a teenager who needs help, and the plight of an old adversary give meaning to the life of the neighborhood curmudgeon? Ove is about to find out. Bonus reads: Backman specializes in quirky characters; check out the irascible grandmother in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and the busybody title character in Britt-Marie Was Here.


Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Told in a series of interconnected stories set in Crosby, Maine, this Pulitzer prize winning novel illuminates the life of the complex title character. Difficult yet thoughtful, demanding yet unexpectedly kind, Olive takes shape through the diverse perspective of other characters, reminding us that to be human is to be multi-faceted. Bonus read: If you loved this book, don’t miss the sequel Olive, Again.