Blog

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

On April 18, 1942, sixteen B-25 bombers took off from an aircraft carrier and bombed Tokyo in what would be known as the Doolittle Raid. Thirty Seconds over Tokyo (1943) is a nonfiction, firsthand account of that secret mission as told by pilot Ted W. Lawson. The mission showed that the Japanese mainland was vulnerable to attack, served as revenge for Pearl Harbor, and boosted morale. Lawson's detailed retelling of the attack brings to life this harrowing event.




The Grand Design

Physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow bring the latest thinking about the nature of reality to the general, non-scientific public in this interesting and entertaining book. The Grand Design (2010) traces mankind's progress from mythology to science. And do we really have free will? Observer created reality, quantum, string, and M theory are presented. The big bang and multiple universes are discussed.

There is no math in this book, which helps by making the theoretical concepts accessible to those without a masters in physics. The authors have presented much to think about in a very brief book (200 pages or 4.5 hours). In the end, the explanations of our reality in The Grand Design are only theories. And those theories are, so far, unprovable.

Read the ebook or listen to the audiobook via Overdrive today.



Series Spotlight: Brands We Know

Star Wars, Crayola, Nintendo, Netflix: have you ever wondered how these and other popular brands came to be? Check out the series, Brands We Know by Sara Green, for fun facts, timelines, and colorful photos to learn all about pop culture and your favorite companies, restaurants, and stores. With 23 available, which ones will you explore?

There are even more to explore in Hoopla: check out one of the 34 books available to read instantly. 



Lost in Shangri-La

In May 1945, a plane took off from an American military base on the perimeter of Netherlands New Guinea en route to buzz the interior. Recently, they had discovered a civilization lost to time that had not had contact with the outside world in thousands of years. To boost morale, one of the officer's greenlighted this sightseeing tour, loaded up the plane with curious personnel, and embarked. Unfortunately, after dipping low into a valley, the plane failed to climb over the next ridge and crashed. Only two men and a woman survived. Injured and surrounded by unfriendly natives, they were stranded. This is the true-life story of the daring rescue mission to extract them from the land that time forgot.

Check out Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II (2011) by Mitchell Zuckoff today. Find the ebook and audiobook on Overdrive. Also browse of list of True Adventure titles.

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.



Dragon Hoops

Gene Luen Yang is a comic author and writer who has written award-winning graphic novels as well as for the most iconic comic book character Superman. In Dragon Hoops (2020), Yang follows his local high school basketball team, telling their stories and comparing their athletic feats to those of the comic heroes who inspired him when he was young. Yang proves that it is the story of the hero that matters most, not the fancy cape or superpowers.

This is a great read for readers who enjoyed Ghost by Jason Reynolds, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, or Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.

You can also read Dragon Hoops on Overdrive today. 


Stamped from the Beginning

This was quite the undertaking—over 19 hours of audio over a couple months. I'm glad I read the remix, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (2020) by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, first. Aimed at teens, it's much more conversational and casual, and it gave me an outline to track my progress through this original, more academic version. Still, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (2017) by Ibram X. Kendi is very worth the time: it is full of eye-opening historical and current events and topics.

Visit Hoopla to borrow the audiobook of Stamped from the Beginning instantly and visit Overdrive for the ebook version. If you too are interested in the remix Stamped, you'll find both the audio and ebook version on Overdrive.

For more antiracism reading ideas, browse our lists for adults, teens, and kids.



In the Garden of Beasts

Take a fascinating and frightening look at the early years of Germany under Nazi rule. The perspective is from the Dodd family. The Dodds moved from Chicago to Berlin when Professor William Dodd became the U.S. ambassador.

1933 Berlin is a glittering, exciting, and prosperous capital. The Dodds are expected to make connections with Berlin's elite by hosting lavish dinner parties at their own expense. And Dodd is supposed to get Hitler to be less vocal about the Jews.

While America turns a blind eye, Dodd slowly begins to see what's really going on behind the scenes in Berlin. His warnings and reports to the State Department are ignored. Then, Dodd's daughter, Martha, a free spirit, starts dating Rudolph Diels. He's handsome, cultured, important, and the head of the Gestapo!

This book is nonfiction but reads like a riveting suspense thriller once it gets going. Check out In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (2011) by Erik Larson on Overdrive today: read the ebook or listen to the audiobook. Then, check out our list: we've got more titles of nonfiction that reads like fiction.



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.


Can’t Hurt Me

David Goggins found the inner strength to overcome an unhappy and abusive childhood. He transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man into a U.S. Armed Forces icon. In Can't hurt me : master your mind and defy the odds (2018), he explains how he achieved his goals, and how applying perseverance, motivation, self-control, and his "The 40% Rule" will help you to succeed in life.

His book will inspire you to apply those principles to your own life. He will motivate you to believe in yourself and to realize that you are capable of overcoming the obstacles in front of you. After reading this book, you may find that not only can you reach your goals, but you might surpass them.

Read Can't Hurt Me on Hoopla or Overdrive today.



The Wisdom of Donkeys

This is a book about a man's appreciation for the donkey, one of the most soulful animals in existence. Through anecdotal accounts, Andy Merrifield shares how donkeys can show humans humility, respect, hard work, and patience. Interspersed with ancient and timeless fables of donkeys, some famous, some not, in cultures throughout the world, Merrifield shows how important the donkey is in human history. All in all, The Wisdom of Donkeys: Finding Tranquility in a Chaotic World (2009) is a love letter to an animal who can teach everyone lessons on life and how to be a better person.

Read The Wisdom of Donkeys on Overdrive today.



Toil & Trouble

In his latest memoir, Augusten Burroughs, once again, delivers a story filled with laughter, heartache, and yes...magic. In this story of moving from the big city to the country, he reveals that he is a witch. Yes, a witch! Yes, I was a bit thrown over this revelation, but through his candid telling of his own life, I grew to appreciate him even more.

As always, he includes a fantastic cast of characters you really can connect to. If you are a fan of his work, you will not be disappointed. In Toil & Trouble (2019), he reveals much more of himself to his fans than just being a witch.

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

The Rural Diaries

Hilarie Burton Morgan's book The Rural Diaries (2020) is like catching up with an old friend over coffee.
I have been a fan since she played Peyton Sawyer on One Tree Hill. I didn't follow her personal life much until a year ago when I started following the cast on Instagram. Hilarie seemed well-grounded and normal. I wondered if it was an act for Instagram or if this was actually her.

After reading her book, I'm pleased to say, it's all her. She's so normal. It's refreshing. Her words are real and authentic. She uses bad four-letter words occasionally. Her stories are heartwarming and relatable. She shares tips for gardening, recipes, and home improvement. And speaking of home improvement, she loves Home Depota girl after my own heart. She talks about being a friend, a mother, a wife, and a woman.

She is married to actor, Jeffery Dean Morgan, who I had a mad crush on when he played Denny Duquette on Grey's Anatomy. And, she co-owns a candy store in a small New York town with actor, Paul Rudd. How did this all happen? I don't want to spoil it for you. Read the book. It's just another one of the heartwarming stories that she tells. Trust me; you'll enjoy it.

I'm so glad I listened to Hilarie narrate the book. I think hearing her words, spoken by her, made her stories more enjoyable. Like I said, catching up with an old friend over coffee.

If you're a fan of Hilarie, read (I mean, listen to) the book. Even if you're not a fan, it's a truly enjoyable memoir that in a nutshell, is about a girl, her life, and a farm. Check out The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm today. Visit Overdrive to listen to the audiobook or read the ebook.



Hey Kiddo

This memoir is a moving, sad, but also hopeful story of a family affected by loss and addiction. Hey Kiddo: How I Lost my Mother, Found my Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction (2018) tells a story of how families can come in all shapes and sizes, messy and ugly, but also loving and forgiving. Throughout, Jarrett J. Krosoczka found hope and a sense of love and support. Others will feel less alone in their own struggles.
The audiobook is amazing! Using music and sound effects, this very personal audiobook is narrated by the author with family members and friends voicing the rest of the characters. In the author's notes, he gives us more insight into his family and childhood. Listen to the audiobook on Hoopla today.

The author uses mixed media art with actual letters included in with his drawings. The burnt orange undertones and pineapple wallpaper are a beautiful part of the story as the author explains in notes on his art.This powerful and unforgettable graphic novel is heartbreaking yet uplifting.

Hey Kiddo is a memoir not to be missed. Read the ebook on Overdrive.

Hey Kiddo is a National Book Award Finalist, a 2021 Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (Abe), and a Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults.

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.