Embracing Defeat

If you are interested in World War II or the aftermath of World War II in Japan, then this is a great in depth look at all levels of Japan's reconstruction. From how the Americans and Japanese worked together to restructure the government to how the public managed from day to day, John W. Dower covers it all. It includes how American influence changed Japanese daily life and how the public viewed these changes. It even includes individuals with memorable stories, such as a soldier who sent money back to the government so he would owe them nothing and would take nothing from them because they surrendered.

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (2005) is lengthy and in depth, but the information it holds is fantastic if you are interested in Japan after World War II.

Listen to Embracing Defeat on Hoopla today.



Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Season 1

Blooregard Q. Kazoo is an imaginary friend who lives with his best friend Mac, but Mac is getting older, and his parents want him to get rid of Bloo. They take Mac and Bloo to a foster home for imaginary friends, where unwanted imaginary friends are taken to be adopted by new families.

Madame Foster, the owner of the home, cuts Mac and Bloo a deal: if Mac comes every dayBloo can stay at the home without being adopted. Thus begins the chaos of Mac coming to the home every day and interacting with the wildly creative cast of imaginary creatures and the antics that he and Bloo cause daily. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (2004, rated TV-Y7) is filled with wonder, creativity, and beautiful animation from the opening to the end credits.

Watch season 1 of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends on Hoopla today.


The Vor Game

Miles Vorkosigan is a military cadet about to be stationed to his first assignment. His father is a famous general and has a long list of accomplishments. Miles isn't so lucky; at first look, he is seen as a failure by his peers due to the physical abnormality he was born with. He must work harder, think harder, and be better to get the recognition he feels he deserves.

The world in The Vor Game (1990) by Lois McMaster Bujold is an expansive one with a rich history and backstory around it. Miles is very sarcastic but endearing in what he wants and expects from others. If you are looking for a great series that has an interesting main character and world, then this is a good option to explore.

Listen to the book on Hoopla today.



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Regular Show. Season 1

Regular Show (2009-2017) is anything but regular. It follows two best friends a blue jay, Mordecai, and a raccoon, Rigby, who work as groundskeepers at a park together. They work at the park, but they spend most of their time trying to get out of work or slacking off whenever they can at the behest of their boss, a gumball machine named Benson. Their antics usually lead to some aspect of the park getting destroyed, leaving them to clean up the mess afterwards.

While it is unusual for a kids show to feature mainly adults, it helps with the charm of the show because they have many nods to adult items and drinks being switched for more family friendly ones. The adventures they go on are fun and the dialogue and characters are enjoyable. Look at Regular Show if you are looking for a more mature but silly animated show.

Watch season 1 of Regular Show(rated TV-PG) on Hoopla today.


The Venture Bros. Season 1

Doctor Venture lives in the shadow of his father's past accomplishments in super science struggling to make new inventions. At the Venture compound with his two sons, Hank and Dean, and his bodyguard Brock, he works on inventions, even selling his father's old ones to shady parties to keep the lights on. His inadequacies are not the only trouble he must worry about: his archnemesis the Monarch, a man in a butterfly costume with a flying cocoon, tries to kill him every week.

The Venture Bros. Season 1 (2003-2004, rated TV-MA) is a wild ride looking at super scientists, villains, bureaucracy, and incompetency with old school Hanna-Barbera cartoon cameos creating a cult classic comedy worth watching. Watch it on Hoopla today.


1776

This is a great in-depth look at how George Washington and American troops emerged victorious and gained independence in the American revolution. 1776 (2005) looks at both sides of the war, both English and American, through journals, diaries, articles, and other war documents to paint a vivid picture of what happened.

David McCullough even puts in clarifications to some of the facts that were written by soldiers at the time so they more accurately reflect what happened in battles. The writing is very accessible and easy to follow compared to some historical books that are bogged down by dated language. If you are a fan of history, this is a great book to look at for more information on the American revolution.

Visit Overdrive to read the ebook or listen to the audiobook today.


1984

Big Brother is always watching, thoughts against the state are a crime, and if you act out of line you disappear without a moment's notice. This is the world of 1984, a dystopian society where every action you take, every conversation you have, may be your last and you may not even realize it. Winston is one who falls in line typically but recent changes has him seeking pleasures that are hidden and taken away from society regularly. This beautifully suspenseful novel will keep you on your toes as Winston skirts the line between being safe and getting caught.

Check out 1984, the 1949 classic written by George Orwell. Visit Overdrive to read the ebook or listen to the audiobook.



Redline

This film is a high-octane thrill ride from start to finish, featuring the fastest racers in the universe as they compete in the most dangerous car race, Redline. JP is one of the daredevil racers chosen to take part in this no holds barred race where anything goes. Does he have what it takes to get to the finish line with his trusty muscle car and fantastic pompadour hairstyle?

Even if you are not typically a fan of racing movies, Redline (2009) is a must see for the animation alone. It took 7 years of production to get this quality and it shines through every aspect in the movie. Watch Redline on Hoopla today.


The Bad Beginning

The Bad Beginning (1999) is the start of the downright dreadful, disastrous, and dangerous turn of events that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire must endure after the passing of their parents in a tragic fire. They are sent to live with the dreadful Count Olaf, who cares more about the inheritance the children have than their wellbeing. The Baudelaire siblings must work together to thwart the evil doings of Count Olaf and figure out what really happened with the fire that killed their parents.

Lemony Snicket's writing gives the story character and makes the reader long for more with his unique style and prose.The Bad Beginning kicks off A Series of Unfortunate Events. Read the ebook on Overdrive or listen to the audiobook on Hoopla.



Avatar: The Last Airbender

In Avatar: The Last Airbender the world is filled with war and chaos as the Fire Nation tries to continue its conquest of the Earth and Water Nations. The main tool for war are benders who control the various elements of fire, water, earth and air, and only the avatar can use all of them, but he is missing. The story follows Katara and Sokka from the Southern Water tribe who find Aang, a young airbender who is also the avatar, trapped in an iceberg. Aang needs to learn to master all the elements so he can stop the Fire Nation and restore order to the world.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008) is a great animated series for all ages. There is something for everyone in the story, with fun memorable characters and fantastic fight scenes. Binge watch season 1 (2005-2006) on Hoopla today or check out seasons 1 - 3 on dvd. You can also read the comics!

And check back soon for my review of the sequel, The Legend of Korra. 

Promare

Combine part mecha anime, part social commentary on equality and justice, and add sharp visuals and vibrant colors to get Promare (2019, PG-13). The Burnish are a group of people that control fire and are seen as a terrorist group of people by the public. They are opposed by the freeze force and rescue squad who use ice to cool them down when they cause fires. The two sides collide ideologically throughout the film with a multitude of actions scenes throughout.

For better or worse, it follows the similar Trigger/Gainax studio style show/movie where its characters are somewhat one dimensional, but it makes up for it with its action scenes and outstanding visuals.

Watch Promare on Hoopla today. In Japanese with English subtitles.


The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

Just finished playing a Legend of Zelda game and are longing for more? If so, this is the perfect book for you. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (2013) is jam packed with pictures, lore, and information regarding the various Zelda titles. It goes in depth into how some of the environments were created and how it impacts the greater Zelda universe.

If nothing else, the book is just a joy to look at for its art style alone and design choices. Read it instantly on Hoopla today.

Millennium Actress

This Japanese anime movie is centered on the life of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a retired actress who is being interviewed about her career.  Chiyoko recounts the story of a man she tried to find throughout her life without knowing his name or face.  The story flows from the past and present when Chiyoko is telling the story, and it transitions beautifully from one scene to the next.

Millennium Actress (2019, rated PG) was directed by the award winning director, Kon Satoshi, who also directed Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers.

Watch Millennium Actress  on Hoopla today. In Japanese with English subtitles.



Good Omens

Good Omens (2011) is the brainchild of two legendary authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, who created a fun, humorous story of an unlikely duo. An angel from heaven and a demon from hell must work together to stop the apocalypse. Going against orders, they are trying to maintain the status quo so they can maintain their current lives and friendship. The unlikely duo bounce off each other with their dialogue, making it a joy to see on page how the story will unfold.

Visit Overdrive to read the ebook or listen to the audiobook.

The book has been turned into a TV show on Amazon Prime. Sign up for a free trial or place a hold on the dvd or our Roku with Amazon Prime to see the adaptation.



Impractical Jokers

Four lifelong friends compete against one another to see how they can embarrass each other.  If you refuse to do what the others tell you to say, then you lose.  If you lose the most, you have a punishment you must do.

The premise is simple, but the execution is hilarious.  They place the group in real life situations where the public has no idea what is going on, leading to fun and embarrassing interactions.  It is always a treat to see what they are going to have to do next and who is going to be the "big loser" at the end.

Binge watch Season 1 (2011-2012) of Impractical Jokers on Hoopla, then continue on to Seasons 2 and 3.