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Monday, March 25, 2024

Hot This Week: March 25

Check out this week's lists!

Video
  1. Wonka (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Oppenheimer (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Migration (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. Barbie (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. Dune (Blu-ray | 4K)
  6. Anyone but You (Blu-ray)
  7. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Poor Things (Blu-ray)
  9. The Holdovers (Blu-ray)
  10. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Blu-ray | 4K)
Music
  1. Ariana Grande, Eternal Sunshine
  2. Morgan Wallen, One Thing at a Time
  3. Noah Kahan, Stick Season
  4. SZA, SOS
  5. Zach Bryan, Zach Bryan
  6. Taylor Swift, 1989
  7. Taylor Swift, Lover
  8. Morgan Wallen, Dangerous: The Double Album
  9. Taylor Swift, Midnights
  10. 21 Savage, American Dream
Fiction
  1. The Women, Kristin Hannah (PAABP | eB24M)
  2. Fourth Wing, Rebecca Yarros (PA | ABP | eB24M)*
  3. Iron Flame, Rebecca Yarros (PA | ABP | eB24M)*
  4. Empire of the Damned, Jay Kristoff (PA)
  5. A Fate Inked in Blood, Danielle L. Jensen (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  6. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  7. The Hunter, Tana French (PA | ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  8. Three-Inch Teeth, C.J. Box (ABP | eB12M | eB24M)
  9. Never Too Late, Danielle Steel (ABP | eB12M | eB24M)
  10. Remarkably Bright Creatures, Shelby Van Pelt (PA | ABP | eB26C)
Nonfiction
  1. Blood Money, Peter Schweizer (ABP)
  2. Outlive, Peter Attia, MD, and Bill Gifford (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  3. The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul (PA | ABP | eB26C)
  4. The Wager, David Grann (PA | ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  5. Reading Genesis, Marilynne Robinson (ABP | eB24M)
  6. Oath and Honor, Liz Cheney (AB24M | eB24M)
  7. Burn Book, Kara Swisher (AB24M | eB24M)
  8. The Return of Great Powers, Jim Sciutto (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  9. Bad Therapy, Abigail Shrier (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  10. Attack from Within, Barbara McQuade (ABP | eBP)*
Fiction/Nonfiction Format Key:
PA = Playaway (physical)
ABP = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, perpetual license
AB12M = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, 12-month license
AB24M = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, 24-month license
eB12M = hoopla Flex eBook, 12-month license
eB24M = hoopla Flex eBook, 24-month license
eB26C = hoopla Flex eBook, 26-circulation license
* = CD audiobook currently unavailable

Contact your sales rep for more information about hoopla Flex.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Hot This Week: March 18

Check out this week's lists!

Video
  1. Wonka (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Migration (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Dune (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. Anyone but You (Blu-ray)
  5. Poor Things (Blu-ray)
  6. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Oppenheimer (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Barbie (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. Priscilla (Blu-ray)
  10. Wish (Blu-ray)
Music
  1. Morgan Wallen, One Thing at a Time
  2. Noah Kahan, Stick Season
  3. SZA, SOS
  4. Taylor Swift, 1989
  5. Taylor Swift, Lover
  6. Zach Bryan, Zach Bryan
  7. Morgan Wallen, Dangerous: The Double Album
  8. 21 Savage, American Dream
  9. Taylor Swift, Midnights
  10. Olivia Rodrigo, Guts
Fiction
  1. The Women, Kristin Hannah (PAABP | eB24M)
  2. Fourth Wing, Rebecca Yarros (PA | ABP | eB24M)*
  3. Iron Flame, Rebecca Yarros (PA | ABP | eB24M)*
  4. Never Too Late, Danielle Steel (ABP | eB12M | eB24M)
  5. The Hunter, Tana French (PAABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  6. A Fate Inked in Blood, Danielle L. Jensen (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  7. Three-Inch Teeth, C.J. Box (ABP | eB12M | eB24M)
  8. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  9. First Lie Wins, Ashley Elston (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  10. Remarkably Bright Creatures, Shelby Van Pelt (PA | ABP | eB26C)
Nonfiction
  1. The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul (PA | ABP | eB26C)
  2. Blood Money, Peter Schweizer (ABP)
  3. The Wager, David Grann (PA | ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  4. Outlive, Peter Attia, MD, and Bill Gifford (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  5. Oath and Honor, Liz Cheney (AB24M | eB24M)
  6. Burn Book, Kara Swisher (AB24M | eB24M)
  7. Bad Therapy, Abigail Shrier (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  8. Attack from Within, Barbara McQuade (ABP | eBP)*
  9. White Rural Rage, Tom Schaller and Paul Waldman (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  10. Elon Musk, Walter Isaacson (AB24M | eB24M)
Fiction/Nonfiction Format Key:
PA = Playaway (physical)
ABP = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, perpetual license
AB12M = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, 12-month license
AB24M = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, 24-month license
eB12M = hoopla Flex eBook, 12-month license
eB24M = hoopla Flex eBook, 24-month license
eB26C = hoopla Flex eBook, 26-circulation license
* = CD audiobook currently unavailable

Contact your sales rep for more information about hoopla Flex.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Classic Artists Back in the Spotlight

Written by Jon Williams

Occasionally some new music surfaces that is a pleasant surprise coming from an artist that hasn’t been heard from in a long time. Recently there have been two such examples from beloved icons that have brought their names back to the forefront of pop culture conversation.
 
On February 1, Billy Joel dropped a new single, “Turn the Lights Back On.” Other than a couple of singles and a collection of classical piano pieces, this is the first new pop music from Joel since 1993’s River of Dreams, which he intended as his final album—the last song, “Famous Last Words,” includes the lyrics “These are the last words I have to say / Before another age goes by.” While it’s just a single for now, Joel has not closed the door on another album being on the horizon.
 
Joel released 11 albums prior to River of Dreams, starting his solo career with Cold Spring Harbor in 1971. While the album was not particularly successful, at least in part due to a mastering error (which has since been rectified with a remaster), it did include the classic Joel hit “She’s Got a Way.”  He followed it up with 1973’s Piano Man, the album (and title track) that would inspire his lifelong nickname. He won the first of his five Grammy Awards for the hit single “Just the Way You Are” off of 1975’s The Stranger, and he won Album of the Year for 1978’s 52nd Street. SmartBrowse his name on our website for all of his studio albums, live performances on both CD and video, and compilations showcasing his wealth of hits.
 
One of Joel’s earliest and strongest influences was the music of the Beatles, who have also recently released a new track. Released on November 2, “Now and Then” is hailed as the last Beatles song. Like “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” it started life as a demo recording made by John Lennon, to which Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr added parts to in order to fill out as a Beatles song. While working on updating these songs for the Anthology release, the remaining Beatles abandoned “Now and Then” as the original recording was too hard to use at the time. But the fact that they had started working on it meant, fortunately, that George Harrison had put together some guitar parts they could add when technological advancements made the recording viable at long last.
 
“Now and Then” is included on the updated 1967-1970 compilation, which, along with its counterpart, 1962-1966, has been rereleased with additional tracks and several incredible remasters. These collections are a great way to sample or revisit the Beatles’ classic catalog, and of course their full albums (like Please Please Me, A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver, the White Album, and Abbey Road) are always popular with library patrons. Those looking for an even deeper dive may be interested in the individual members’ solo albums, such as John’s Imagine and George’s Cloud Nine. The surviving members continue to write and record to this day—Paul’s latest album is McCartney III from 2020, while Ringo just put out the EP Rewind Forward in October 2023.
 
These classic artists have been hugely popular for decades, and these new tracks will help to introduce their music to yet another generation of listeners. Make sure your collections are complete with their albums, compilations, videos, and more.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Hot This Week: March 11

Check out this week's lists!

Video
  1. Wonka (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Dune (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. Oppenheimer (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. Thanksgiving (Blu-ray)
  6. The Marvels (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Barbie (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Trolls Band Together (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. Priscilla (Blu-ray)
  10. The Holdovers (Blu-ray)
Music
  1. Twice, With You-th
  2. Morgan Wallen, One Thing at a Time
  3. Noah Kahan, Stick Season
  4. SZA, SOS
  5. Taylor Swift, 1989
  6. Taylor Swift, Lover
  7. 21 Savage, American Dream
  8. Zach Bryan, Zach Bryan
  9. Taylor Swift, Midnights
  10. Olivia Rodrigo, Guts
Fiction
  1. The Women, Kristin Hannah (PAABP | eB24M)
  2. Three-Inch Teeth, C.J. Box (ABP | eB12M | eB24M)
  3. A Fate Inked in Blood, Danielle L. Jensen (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  4. Fourth Wing, Rebecca Yarros (PA | ABP | eB24M)*
  5. Iron Flame, Rebecca Yarros (PA | ABP | eB24M)*
  6. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  7. Wandering Stars, Tommy Orange (PAABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  8. First Lie Wins, Ashley Elston (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  9. Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  10. After Annie, Anna Quindlen (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
Nonfiction
  1. Blood Money, Peter Schweizer (ABP)
  2. Burn Book, Kara Swisher (AB24M | eB24M)
  3. Attack from Within, Barbara McQuade (ABP | eBP)*
  4. The Wager, David Grann (PA | ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)
  5. Outlive, Peter Attia, MD, and Bill Gifford (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  6. Grief Is for People, Sloane Crosley (PA | ABP | eB24M)*
  7. White Rural Rage, Tom Schaller and Paul Waldman (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  8. Oath and Honor, Liz Cheney (AB24M | eB24M)
  9. Why We Remember, Charan Ranganath (ABP | AB12M | eB12M | eB24M)*
  10. The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, Tim Alberta (ABP | eB26C)
Fiction/Nonfiction Format Key:
PA = Playaway (physical)
ABP = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, perpetual license
AB12M = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, 12-month license
AB24M = hoopla Flex digital audiobook, 24-month license
eB12M = hoopla Flex eBook, 12-month license
eB24M = hoopla Flex eBook, 24-month license
eB26C = hoopla Flex eBook, 26-circulation license
* = CD audiobook currently unavailable

Contact your sales rep for more information about hoopla Flex.

Friday, May 5, 2023

The National Continues to Push the Envelope

Written by Jon Williams

Last week the indie rock band the National thrilled fans worldwide with the release of their ninth full-length album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein. The title was created by frontman Matt Berninger. Struggling to write lyrics for a new album, he turned to his bookshelf for inspiration and found a handful of words and phrases that spoke to him in Mary Shelley’s classic novel. It was the breakthrough he needed. The result is an 11-track disc that features contributions from Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers, and Taylor Swift.
 
Although the members (Berninger [vocals], brothers Scott [bass] and Bryan Devendorf [drums], and twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner [guitar/piano]) all grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, the band formed in Brooklyn in 1999. They released two albums (The National and Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers) and an EP (Cherry Tree) as they honed their craft and refined their sound.
 
After signing with Beggars Banquet Records in 2004, the National hit their stride. In 2005, Alligator raised their profile by appearing on several publications’ lists of albums of the year (and eventually the decade). They saw similar critical acclaim from the breakout album Boxer in 2007, and skyrocketed into the public consciousness when an instrumental version of “Fake Empire” was used in Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for the presidency. They followed that up in 2010 with High Violet, and their tour in support of that album was chronicled in the 2013 documentary Mistaken for Strangers (currently unavailable) made by Tom Berninger, Matt’s brother.
 
Now bona fide indie darlings, their music began to show up in more and more places, including over the closing credits of an episode of Game of Thrones, the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack, and on The Bob’s Burgers Music Album. They scored their first Grammy nomination for 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me, and won Best Alternative Music Album for the 2017 follow-up, Sleep Well Beast. Then, instead of taking a break as they had planned, they came back quickly, in 2019, with I Am Easy to Find, a collaboration with director Mike Mills, who used the album’s soundscape as the background for a short film of the same name.
 
The band hasn’t been idle since. They wrote the music for the 2021 film Cyrano, which features their single “Somebody Desperate.” They’ve also kept busy individually with side projects, some of which have been quite notable. In 2020 Matt Berninger released a solo album, Serpentine Prison. Aaron’s high-profile projects included cowriting and coproducing Taylor Swift’s Grammy-winning album folklore and its follow-up, evermore (which featured the National on the track “Coney Island”), as well as Ed Sheeran’s latest, among several others. He also recorded an album (also featuring a Taylor Swift appearance) with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon as Big Red Machine, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?
 
And we may hear more from the National as they kick off a world tour this month. Members of the band have said they wrote a lot of good songs that didn’t make the new album, and hinted that it may be released soon in some form. In the meantime, fans new and old have plenty of music to dig into. Click the links above for their albums, or SmartBrowse on our website for more.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Ups and Downs for Ozzy Osbourne

Written by Jon Williams

On February 1, the legendary hard rocker announced his retirement from touring, citing spinal injuries that have left him unable to endure the necessary travel. While Ozzy said the announcement was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to share,” at least it was followed up rather quickly with some good news. On February 5, he won two Grammy Awards: Best Metal Performance for the song “Degradation Rules,” and Best Rock Album for his most recent, Patient Number 9—a star-studded affair featuring contributions from Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Zakk Wylde, and the late Taylor Hawkins, to name just a few.

Ozzy’s career began in the late 1960s when he joined up with guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward in a band that went through many names before finally settling on Black Sabbath, after the film of the same name. Inspired by that movie, they decided to take on a heavier sound and explore darker themes in their music. As a result, their self-titled debut album, released in 1970, is generally considered to be the birth of the heavy metal genre.

They refined that sound on their second album, Paranoid (currently unavailable on CD), released later in 1970 (early 1971 in North America). Propelled by now-iconic hits like “Iron Man,” “War Pigs,” and the title track, it is regularly cited among the best (and most influential) rock and metal albums of all time. The band followed that up with Master of Reality in 1971, their third album in quick succession, then took a quick break before returning with Black Sabbath Vol. 4 in 1972, incorporating new sounds. They would go on to put out four further albums—Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973, currently unavailable on CD), Sabotage (1975), Technical Ecstasy (1976), and Never Say Die! (1978)—before internal conflicts drove Ozzy from the band. He later reunited with most of the original members to tour and record the 2013 album 13.

After leaving Black Sabbath, Ozzy’s musical career would go on to reach even greater heights. Forming a new band including guitarist Randy Rhoads, his 1979 debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, contained the rock classics “Crazy Train,” “I Don’t Know,” and “Goodbye to Romance.” His second, 1981’s Diary of a Madman, included “Flying High Again.” Sadly, those were the only two albums to feature the guitar work of Rhoads, who was killed in a plane crash (along with two members of the band’s touring crew) early in 1982; the album Tribute, featuring a collection of songs recorded live, was released in 1987 in his honour.

Saddened by his friend’s passing, Ozzy nevertheless soldiered on. Jake E. Lee came on as guitarist for 1983’s Bark at the Moon and 1986’s The Ultimate Sin (currently unavailable on CD). He then teamed with Zakk Wylde for the first time on 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked, a partnership that has endured, in various forms, through to now. He was the primary guitarist on four more Ozzy studio albums—No More Tears (1991), Ozzmosis (1995), Down to Earth (2001), and Black Rain (2007)—in addition to several live albums, and has performed and recorded with him ever since.

Heavy metal is something of a niche genre, but Ozzy’s outlandish persona and antics gave many people at least a passing familiarity with him. He became a full-fledged household name with the 2002 debut of the MTV reality series The Osbournes (currently unavailable on DVD). Depicting the regular daily life of Ozzy, his wife and manager Sharon, and their kids Jack and Kelly, the show ran for four seasons and brought the singer even further into the spotlight.

Ozzy is no stranger to accolades—his two wins this year give him five Grammy Awards for his career. And Black Sabbath was enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. While his touring days may be over, he has indicated that he would like to find a way to perform without the rigours of travel. In the meantime, music fans everywhere will continue to enjoy and discover his music. Use the links above to put his music on your shelves for patrons, or SmartBrowse his name on our website for all we have to offer, including concert videos, books by and about him, and so much more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

In Memoriam: James Caan

Written by Jon Williams

The film industry lost an incredible actor and a unique, larger-than-life personality last week with the passing of James Caan. He was 82.

Born in the Bronx in 1940, Caan was determined to avoid working as a butcher like his father. He went to Michigan State University with hopes of playing football but moved on to Hofstra University when those dreams fell through. It was at Hofstra that he met Francis Ford Coppola and developed an interest in acting. In the early 1960s he started turning that interest into a career, first with some stage work and then with a series of small television roles. His first significant film role was opposite Olivia de Havilland in 1964’s Lady in a Cage, and his part in 1965’s The Glory Guys earned a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year. He landed his first starring role in the racing film Red Line 7000 for director Howard Hawks in 1965. He followed that up with another Hawks film, the Western El Dorado, which also starred John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and Ed Asner. He worked with Robert Altman in the 1967 space thriller Countdown, and with his friend Francis Ford Coppola for the first time in 1969’s The Rain People.

Many of his films in the ‘60s struggled at the box office, but Caan’s status was about to skyrocket. The 1970s started with the starring role in Rabbit, Run, an adaptation of the John Updike novel. In 1971 he played dying football player Brian Piccolo in the TV movie Brian’s Song, earning an Emmy Award nomination (as did costar Billy Dee Williams). Then in 1972 came the role with which he would forever be associated, mobster Sonny Corleone, in Coppola’s The Godfather, widely regarded as one of the best films of all time. Playing the short-tempered and violent Sonny, the oldest son and heir apparent to Don Vito Corleone, earned Caan nominations for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. He reprised the role in a cameo appearance for The Godfather: Part II in 1974. Other notable performances in the ‘70s include The Gambler, Funny Lady, Rollerball, and A Bridge Too Far, to name a few.

The ’80s started strong for Caan. In 1980 his passion project, Hide in Plain Sight, was released, the only film he directed. Next came the stylish crime thriller Thief, the directorial debut of Michael Mann. Soon thereafter, though, a series of personal issues forced Caan from the limelight. Thinking he was done acting, he paused his career for several years. He did return, though, starting with another Coppola flick, Gardens of Stone, in 1987. He dipped his toe into sci-fi with 1988’s Alien Nation, which spawned a separate TV series. He then completed his comeback with another iconic role, playing injured and stranded author Paul Sheldon against Kathy Bates’s sadistic nurse and “number one fan” Annie Wilkes in the adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery.

From then until his passing, Caan worked steadily, appearing in roles both large and small across all genres. He did straight drama (The Program), crime drama (The Yards, The Way of the Gun), and comedy (Mickey Blue Eyes, Get Smart). He appeared in Wes Anderson’s debut film, Bottle Rocket, and Lars von Trier’s avant garde ensemble drama Dogville. He starred in the modern Christmas classic Elf. He did voice work for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its sequel, as well as for the anime film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and even voiced himself in cameos for both The Simpsons and Family Guy. He also had TV roles in the shows Las Vegas, Magic City, and Back in the Game. Caan’s final movie role was as an aging mob boss in the crime drama Fast Charlie, which will release in 2023.

James Caan leaves behind an extensive body of work that fans old and new will want to explore for years to come. Click on the links above, or SmartBrowse his name on our website to find all his movies we have available on DVD and Blu-ray. Patrons can also find a selection of his films available digitally on hoopla.
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