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.

 

 

June is Pride Month

June is Pride Month

The Heart’s Invisible Furies: A Novel by John Boyne

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery — or at least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?
Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his many years, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.

Less : A Novel by Andrew Sean Greer

Who says you can’t run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes—it would be too awkward—and you can’t say no—it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.
QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?
ANSWER: You accept them all.
What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last. Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story.


Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington

 

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.

What We’re Reading at Home

What We’re Reading at Home

We’ve been busy reading while we #stayhome. See what our staff has been reading below.


Emily

The Book of Essie by Meghan by MacLean Weir

The youngest daughter of a famous reality show evangelical family becomes pregnant. Essie helps her mother manufacture an engagement to a classmate in order to cover for the public, all the while providing the true story to a reporter with her own background trauma from religious fanaticism. An absorbing read with a trio of central characters you won’t want to leave behind. This book will appeal to adult and high school-age fiction lovers, reality TV junkies.


Phoebe

Flight Season by Marie Marquardt

This novel trails two characters trying to navigate their own personal worlds. It is a cleverly designed novel that allows insight into each of the characters minds. I finished this book in one go because it was so captivating. Young Adult readers who like self realization novels with a touch of romance would love this!


Michelle C.

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman

I found myself drawn into the Netflix miniseries “Unorthodox” about a young woman growing up in the Hasidic Jewish Community of Williamsburg, NY in present day.  It was a limited series, only four episodes, I think, but I was fascinated to learn about this religious community, their beliefs and traditions. That led me to the book upon which the series was based, an autobiography also titled Unorthodox and written by Deborah Feldman. I found her coming of age story to be fascinating and a triumph about how to follow your own path in the most extraordinary of circumstances. The description of Jewish food, the kosher preparations they follow, the clothing and hairstyles allowed by single and married women and what they represent, were all very interesting to me in addition to the main story itself.  Readers of biography, history, and religious and women’s studies will love this book.


Carolyn

Camino Island by John Grisham

I listened to and really liked Camino Island, which is about a young woman is recruited to recover priceless F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts that were stolen during a daring heist. I thought it was interesting that the book was loosely inspired by Amelia Island in Florida and that the town with the bookstore in the book was modeled off Fernandina, Florida. I recommend it for anyone looking for a good mystery.


George

The Sherlock Holmes Handbook or The Methods and Mysteries of the Worlds Greatest Detective by Ransom Riggs

The book is a reader’s companion to the casework of Sherlock Holmes and it explores the methodology of the world’s most famous consulting detective. Written in a lively fashion, it covers everything from analyzing fingerprints to bee keeping. 224 pages, but can be read in a Pittsburgh rainy afternoon. The Sherlock Holmes Handbook will appeal to Baker Street Irregulars of all ages. Fun read.


Blair

The Bad Seed by William March

I’m just finishing The Bad Seed, the novel by William March.  I had just re-watched the film of the same name – powerful performance by Nancy Kelly as the mother of the murderous Rhoda – and wondered about source material.  The book is vastly different from the film but it is a deep and abiding portrait of a mother faced with the horrific circumstances involving a child (think “The Exorcist”).  It is complex because the mother is as responsible for what occurs as the child. Great stuff!


Lynne

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

I recently read The Glass Hotel. Beautifully written and with intriguing characters. From the author of Station Eleven— which was even better. I’m currently reading Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffith (which just won the Edgar Award for 2020); a slightly spooky mystery — can’t wait to find out whodunit!

 


Richelle

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

This well-written story keeps you guessing until the end. It’s a modern mystery with a mid-level pace and several red herrings thrown in to keep readers engaged. I could barely put the book down & enjoyed several late-night reading sessions! Mystery lovers will enjoy this title.

 


Dustin

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

I enjoyed it because it had elements of true crime as well as history. It tells a piece of the story of how to FBI came to be through the narrative surrounding a number of unsolved murders.

 


Laura M.

The Five Silent Years of Corrie Ten Boom by Pamela Rosewell Moore

The book I’m reading is really old, but really inspiring! So inspiring that I’m reading it a second time back-to-back! During World War II, Corrie and her family were arrested and sent to a concentration camp for hiding Jews in their home in Holland. The library also has Corrie’s best-selling book The Hiding Place which launched for Corrie a worldwide ministry of travel and speaking for 30 + years. Rosewell’s book is an inspiring account of how Corrie’s ministry amazingly continued after she suffered a stroke and could no longer speak! But the book I would recommend first is The Hiding Place because that would introduce readers to this inspiring lady, Corrie Ten Boom!


Jen

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

Right now I am reading The Mirror & the Light. Although I am only about half way through it, I am enjoying it. I love the way she writes; you really feel like you are right there, talking to Henry VIII. Mantel is descriptive and the book is really well researched.  This is the third book in the Wolf Hall Trilogy, so if  you liked Wolf Hall (personal favorite) or Bring Up the Bodies, also by Mantel, you will enjoy this book!


Stephanie

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

Based on a true story, this book explores the secret Cold War plot to bring Doctor Zhivago to the world. The idea that literature can change the world prompted the CIA to try and smuggle this masterpiece out of the USSR. Prescott weaves the tales of Pasternak, his muse Olga, and the CIA to create this delicious blend of historical fiction and espionage thriller. Read if you like historical fiction, spies, and Russian literature.


Alex

So Much Longing In So Little Space / The Art of Edvard Munch by Karl Ove Knausgaard

I am reading So Much Longing In So Little Space / The Art of  Edvard Munch by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Loving this book, a brilliant writer’s thoughts and opinions about  the work and psyche of one of my favorite painters, Munch. Every sentence is rich and provocative, with many references to philosophers and other painters (including interviews with) and of course a plethora of information about Munch’s life.


 

Sage

UnTamed by Glennon Doyle

I loved this book!  Honest, raw and gave me so much to think about in regards to relationships and how to live life authentically.

 


Bette

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

I have read many books during this time but here are three I really enjoyed: Virgin River a light read from Robyn Carr. When you finish the book you can binge watch the original Netflix series of the same name based on the book. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grimes is a debut novel that delves into the family secrets of an Italian American family. I could not put down this timely family story. And also once again local author Marie Benedict’s Lady Clementine entertains while giving us a gentle history lesson.


Ellen

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

This is the perfect book for anyone who needs a laugh.  Especially if you have kids.  Comedy Lovers will really enjoy this title.  I also read, When Life Gives You Pears by Jeannie Gaffigan (writer, director & Jim’s wife). When you are a mother of five and writing partner of a well-know comedian, learning that you have a tumor the size of a pear in your head is not great news.  Well, it’s not really great news for anyone.  Even though medical scares are serious, Gaffigan is able to tell her story humor and heart. This title is really great for Biography readers.


 

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!

Let Us Help You Find Your Perfect Match

Have you ever needed help finding a good book? MatchBook is here to help with that! The librarians at Sewickley Public Library have created this easy-to-use online form that you can use to get great reading recommendations. Librarians have been the go-to resource for finding reading material for ages. Now you can get help with your book list from the comfort of your own home.

Every time a form is filled out, one of our librarians will receive a notification. They will make 3 to 5 title recommendations based on the information that you entered. Users should expect a response within one week.  The service is available for all ages and can be accessed at www.sewickleylibrary.org/matchbook.

Please note that during the COVID-19 closure, librarians are unable to request physical items for patrons. All recommendations will be available in an online format (ebook or eaudiobook). 

Let Nostalgic Gaming Take You Back

You may be familiar with the Internet Archive – a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, music, and of course the Way Back Machine, which archives websites. But did you know it is also a treasure trove of free gaming software?

That’s right! The archive is home to a gigantic software library which hosts thousands of games. You may remember classics like The Oregon TrailPac-Man, and Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego?

Read more