Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

Feel free to comment on posts, re-blog and enjoy. To ensure a civil and focused discussion, comments will be held for a brief period before being published.



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Check It Out!
a movie review by Kristin S.



 
Featured movie

Ex Machina
 
What's the basic plot?
A programmer wins a mysterious contest and is taken to his eccentric CEO's remote mansion to complete a challenge. The challenge? To prove whether an android is sentient or not, using whatever questions he can devise.
Ex Machina scene
 
Why you might like it
This visually stunning sci-fi piece is both fast-paced and introspective. Like most good science fiction, it centers on the question, "What makes us human?" However, the further down the rabbit hole the movie draws you, the more you aren't sure what to expect from its answer. There's a tension in the dynamics between the three main characters that quickly leads you to wonder if something else is happening behind the scenes. 

The cinematography is stunning. Frequent wide shots leave the characters feeling lost in an environment that is both vast and uncertain. The movie makes use of visual language just as often as spoken to tell its story by framing shots on things like the cracked glass in the corner of Ava's room that allude to a darkness beneath the bright facade. The mansion's architecture is a mixture of futuristic and natural, with large slabs of stone and lush trees paired with glass walls and diffuse floor lighting, and this backdrop gives the film a distinct visual flavor. The CGI used to create Ava is both interesting and well executed, but it's used with a subtlety that doesn't overshadow the acting within the scenes.   

Overall, this movie does an excellent job of balancing philosophy and suspense, and keeps the viewer guessing throughout. If you're a fan of shows like "Westworld", definitely give this a shot. 
Ex Machina scene
  
Reasons you  might not like it
This movie can be dark and tense at times, which isn't everyone's cup of tea. It addresses sexuality and adult themes in ways that can be brash or vulgar. There is a creeping feeling of danger and distrust throughout the film. Don't go into this if you need a happy ending. 

There's also a painfully awkward dance scene. 
Ex Machina scene
 
Who's in it?
Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson
 
Where to watch it
Every title I recommend is available for you to watch instantly, for free, using our digital library services. "Ex Machina" can be accessed using our Hoopla service, with a direct link here:
https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12454577

Don't have a library card? Don't worry! You can sign up for a virtual library card from home by following these instructions.

Let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments below!


Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Apr 17, 2020 at 11:51 AM
  
Check It Out! hoopla digital
by Kristin S. 

hoopla digital

hoopla digital is a free library service that lets you check out materials on your computer, smartphone or tablet. Hoopla has a wide range of content, including:
eBooks
Digital audiobooks
Music
Movies
Television shows
Comics

Everything on Hoopla is available instantly, meaning no hold lists. There are no fees or fines. When an item is due, it simply disappears off your device. 

Aurora Public Library patrons can check out up to 14 items each month. Your checkout limit resets to max on the first day of a new month, even if you still have items from the previous month checked out.


Watch the video or check out the steps below to get started with hoopla!




 1) If you are using a computer, visit hoopladigital.com. If you are using a smartphone or tablet, search your App Store or Play Store for the Hoopla app and download it. 
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 1
 

2) Choose "Get Started Today" on a computer, or "Sign Up" on a phone or tablet.
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 2
 

3) Enter your email and choose a password
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 3
 

4) Choose Aurora Public Library (CO) - Be sure to select Aurora, Colorado
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 4
 

5) Enter your library card number
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 5
 

And you're done!

To find an item, choose the category you'd like to browse from the menu. You can also search for a specific item by typing the title in the white search bar beside the word "Everything" (on a computer), or by touching the magnifying glass and typing your search there (phones or tablets).
How to use Hoopla
 

To check out an item, simply select it and hit "Borrow".
How to use Hoopla
 

It will say beneath the item how long you may borrow the item for. Books and audiobooks you will have access to for 21 days, music for seven days, and movies for three days.
How to use Hoopla
 

To view the items you have checked out, click "My Hoopla" then "Currently Borrowed" (on computer) or use the back arrow to return to the home screen (phone or tablet).   
How to use Hoopla

If you have any questions, please visit hoopla's help page or click here for information about how to connect with APL staff.

Tell us in the comments what your currently enjoying from hoopla!
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Apr 15, 2020 at 3:41 PM
  
Family Book Club with Miss Tess

"A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd
Chapters 1 - 10

Want to read along and join the discussion? Check out "A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd on Hoopla Digital!
 
A Snicker of Magic

Discussion Questions

1. From the mother’s story, what kind of magic would you want? (I would want to bake some magic into pies and cakes!)

2. Have you ever been the new kid(s) at school? Can you relate with Felicity and Frannie Jo?

3. Chocolate chip pork rind ice cream?? Yuck! What flavors would YOU create at Dr. Zook’s Ice Cream Parlor?

4. A boy in Felicity’s class asked why they called themselves the Brothers Threadbare. Later, Aunt Cleo tells Felicity “threadbare” means shabby, worn-out, well-used… Felicity’s teacher (Miss Lawson) tells the students they’ll need to figure out why the brothers called themselves that on their own. Do you have any guesses?

5. What would your talent be at a talent show?

6. What do you think of Jonah (the Beedle)?

7. Do you think Roger Pickle will come back?

8. What do you think of Oliver Weatherly, owner of Dr. Zook’s and original Beedle?

9. If Oliver offered you Blackberry Sunrise ice cream, would you take it? Why or why not?

10. Do you think the last sentence in chapter 10 is foreshadowing? That means when something is stated early in the book and comes true later on. 

11. What are you enjoying most about this book so far? Any predictions you would like to make?


Comment from Miss Tess: I love the silly words used in this book. Like Felicity says, “Why the hayseed you call yourself a Beedle…?” and “too spindiddly an offer to pass up.” It would be fun to be like Felicity and write down all the words we like from this novel!
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Apr 13, 2020 at 8:59 AM 2 Comments
  
**Video may contain spoilers**
Join APL staff each week for a discussion of some of their current reads! Each week they will discuss a book from a different genre. Join the discussion live on at Facebook.com/AuroraLibrary each Friday at 1 p.m. (MST) and leave your thoughts in the comments below! (See discussion questions below - questions may contain spoilers!)

The next discussion will be at 1 p.m. on April 17, 2020 on our Facebook page and will feature "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte (available instantly on hoopladigital.com).



Dicussion questions for "If She Knew" by Blake Pierce
- Do you think Kate’s judgements/actions would be any different if she was still an agent?
- Why do you think Kate’s daughter Melissa wants to follow in her footsteps?
- How did the death of Kate’s husband Michael impact her job as an agent?
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Apr 12, 2020 at 8:10 AM
  
Classic Videogames to Consider Replaying 
By Stacy H. 

Vintage Games

Recent stay-at-home orders for the state have kicked my spring cleaning into high-drive! However, when I found my childhood Sega Dreamcast stashed away in my closet, I wasn’t prepared to spend the rest of my weekend sucked into a 10-hour playthrough of “Sonic Adventure” - but I am very glad that I did. The vivid worlds and bright characters were a blast from the past, providing me with a much needed nostalgic escapism and a breath of fresh air.   

Here’s 11 retro video games you should consider replaying, whether you still own them or repurchase as a digital download , during the stay-at-home orders and safely practice our social and physical distancing! 

1. Battletoads 
Battletoads
Released/Console: 1991, Nintendo Entertainment System 
Game Description: An original beat 'em up game starring three humanoid toads (distinctly reminiscent of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) who must embark on a quest to defeat an evil queen and rescue their friends. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Coming TBA to XboxOne 
Reviews:
"Toads kicking butt." -  Steve H. 

"This game is EPIC!!” - Robbie H. 

"If you're looking for fun and challenging beat 'em type games, this is the one - crazy fun, yet crazy difficult!"  - Stacy H. 

 

2. Final Fantasy X 
Final Fantasy X
Released/Console: 2001, PlayStation 2 
Game Description: Travel through the land of Spira as you try to return to your home while also challenging the very embodiment of Sin. JRPG. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita 
Review:
“Now more than ever, people need a healthy dose of escapism. Final Fantasy X is a 40+ hours adventure consisting of just the main game itself. When you add in side quests and trophies, you are looking at hundreds of hours of content. There is a reason this game has been rereleased so many times along with it's sequel, Final Fantasy X-2. The story of Tidus and Yuna is an infectious one and the land of Spira is a sight to behold. Travel from tropical island locales to caverns long forgotten to time. The time of the traditional turn-based JRPG is no longer here, but Final Fantasy X can bring you back to that glorious time. Summon powerful Aeons and conjure a variety of spells to defeat your enemies. Let me know your thoughts if you play the game or already have! My favorite character easily had to be Auron by the way.” - Brandon F. 

3. Legend of Dragoon 
Legend of Dragoon
Released/Console:
1999, PlayStation 1 
Game Description: 10,000 years ago a civilization of flying warriors enslaved the human race. In a final bid for freedom the humans harnessed the spiritual forces of Dragons and eventually triumphed over their captors. For eons, tranquility and harmony have reigned. But the past and the future are about to collide. Now in the land of Endiness, guide a group of warriors as they find themselves in a war between nations and help uncover the Legend of Dragoon. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3 
Review:
“My favorite game of all time is a 4 disc JRPG for the PlayStation called Legend of Dragoon, released in 1999 to compete directly with the Final Fantasy series. It received solid reviews and still has a dedicated cult following today who are continually hoping for a remaster.” - Erik B. 

4. Paper Mario 
Paper Mario
Released/Console: 2001, Nintendo 64 
Game Description: To save the Mushroom Kingdom, rescue Peach, get the castle back and defeat Bowser, you as Mario must locate the seven Star Spirits in this role-playing adventure game. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Wii, Wii-U 
Reviews:
"One of the best Mario games, in my opinion, with a ton of replayability! There's something about the world that's incredibly immersive and draws me in for hours. What I really like about this game is that it's more of a role-playing game, styled with unique puzzles and has a fun turn-based battle system." - Stacy H. 

"This easily holds up as one of the games on this list which has aged the most gracefully. Thanks to a sharp sense of humor ahead of it's time and a extremely unique art style, you can enjoy this game as if it came out today. Travel between numerous charming and gorgeous environments with a entourage of entertaining characters. If you can't get enough, move onwards to “Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door” for the GameCube.” - Brandon F.  

 

5. Pokémon Snap 
Pokemon Snap
Released/Console: 1999, Nintendo 64 
Game Description: You, as Todd Snap, explore Pokémon Island to take pictures of the Pokémon for Professor Oak's scientific research. 
Age Rating:
Rereleased?: Wii, Wii-U 
Review:
"Pokémon Snap for the N64 is as close to perfect as you can get in my humble opinion. Who knew that throwing together one’s love of photography and one’s love of Pokémon would be a match made in heaven? You play as a photographer and set off on a Pokémon Safari to snap pictures of the creatures in their natural habitats. Unlike National Geographic though, you interfere with nature to get the best shots… a lot. “Pester” balls can be thrown at Pokémon to annoy them or trigger certain events, like making a Pokémon evolve or explode (looking at you, Electrode) while apples can be thrown to make a Pokémon stay still for a better picture. What else can I say? It’s all in good fun and no Pokémon were harmed in the making. It’s great for all ages and it’s probably the most relaxed you’ll ever be playing a Pokémon game - even when it does get stressful to achieve the perfect shot!" - Justine C. 

6. Pokémon Yellow 
Pokemon Yellow
Released/Console: 1998, Gameboy 
Game Description: An enhanced version of Pokémon Red and Blue, Pokémon Yellow focuses on defeating the eight gym leaders, the Elite Four and, ultimately, Team Rocket. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Switch as “Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee!” – though technically this was not an official rerelease, both games are essentially the same and follow the same formula that Yellow did!  
Reviews:
“I really like that Pikachu follows you around; and it’s cuter than the other games.” - Jordan G. 
 
"When I was 10, I received “Pokémon Yellow” as a Christmas present and proceeded to play until the batteries died on my Gameboy Color. Released as an enhanced version of the classic “Blue/Red” games, “Yellow” not only presented the now classic Pokémon journey but also gave the players new twists and challenges to test their wits again. Even after decades of Pokémon game releases and new innovations, “Yellow” stands the most important test of time for a video game, it is still fun to play. The original version on Gameboy and the re-release “Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu” for the Nintendo switch are both excellent ways to spend a quarantine." - Erik B. 

7. Sonic Adventure 
Sonic Adventure
Released/Console: 1998, Sega Dreamcast 
Game Description: The first of the 3D Sonic the Hedgehog videogames. Play through all six of Sonic's character stories (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big the Cat and E-102 Gamma) to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds before Doctor Robotnik does. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: GameCube as “Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut,” PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Steam for Windows. 
Review:
"This was the game that started my love of video games - though the controls can be a little dated at times and graphics are, for lack of better description, super goofy, the nostalgia factor makes this game a great replayable game. Replaying this as an adult, it makes sense to me why I quickly grew so attached to the creative world of Sonic the Hedgehog." - Stacy H. 

8. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Released/Console: 1992, Sega Genesis 
Game Description: Defeat Dr. Robotnik and save the creatures of Mobius while zooming through levels at super sonic speed! Platformer 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii-U, Sega Genesis Mini 
Review:
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was the first game I've ever played and is responsible for my love of gaming. Blazing fast speed, catchy music, gorgeous graphics and a character with attitude - what else could have I wanted? If you end up enjoying this one, you can then move onto either Sonic 1, Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Sonic CD or any of the Sonic Advance games for Gameboy Advance.” - Brandon F. 

 9. Spyro the Dragon 
Spyro
Released/Console: 1998, PlayStation 1 
Game Description: In the first of his titular series, players take on the role of Spyro, the small purple dragon with a big attitude. Journey across five distinct home worlds, rescue imprisoned elder dragons and recover your lost dragon gem horde while fighting against the villainous plotting of the despicable Gnasty Gnorc. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as “Spyro Reignited Trilogy.” 
Review:
“Very nostalgic. It's calm and peaceful, and there's enough content to last a few days. It's a fun game no matter what the age, and it's a game you can easily pick up and put down whenever you'd like.” - Megan P. 

10. Super Mario 64 
Super Mario 64
Released/Console: 1996, Nintendo 64 
Game Description: As Mario, the player must explore Bowser's castle to find Princess Peach and rescue her. The first in the Super Mario series to feature 3D graphics and gameplay. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Nintendo DS, Wii, Wii-U 
Review:
"I was playing Super Mario 64 before my hands were even big enough to properly hold the controller (I mean, we can agree the Nintendo 64 controller was weird, but still). For reference, the game debuted in 1996 and I was born just three years earlier in ‘93, so I was probably five or six by the time I started being able to play it and not just watch. That being said, it was one of the first video games I ever played and it holds some of the fondest memories of my childhood. I loved playing as Mario and returning the baby penguin to its mother, swinging Bowser by the tail and chasing around the yellow rabbit. I wanted a Chain-chomp of my very own because I thought they were “cute puppies” and I warily eyed the grand piano in my grandmother’s living room after a harrowing run-in with a terrifying, presumably man-eating piano in the game. Seriously, look it up. I’m sure that very piano has scarred many a child from those days. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia talking, but Super Mario 64 was a delight and a fresh installment in the franchise because it was one of the first to divert from the side scroller setup Mario is famous for. The 3D models might not have aged well (looking back at pictures I can’t believe that’s what the graphics looked like), but the gameplay more than makes up for it. You can spend hours traversing the castle and unlocking its secrets without even entering a level. If you’re a fan of the Mario series, this is a must-play. Unpopular opinion: Mario Odyssey’s got nothing on this." - Justine C. 

11. Typing of the Dead 
Typing of the Dead
Released/Console: 2001, Sega Dreamcast 
Game Description: A modification of Sega's arcade classic “The House of the Dead 2”, where the weapons are replaced with keyboards and game consoles. Taking the role of a secret agent, you must fight through waves of zombies by quickly typing words, phrases and answering riddles. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Although not the original game, there is a Steam download on Windows as “Typing of the Dead: Overkill”  
Review:
"This is game is honestly ridiculous and definitely not a typical typing game. My favorite part is that there are no weapons, all the characters wear Sega Dreamcast's strapped to their backs and use keyboards strapped in front of them." - Stacy H. 

Special thank you to all my friends, family and coworkers who helped recommend a strong variety of games!  
 

Tell us your favorite vintage video game in the comments below!
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Apr 10, 2020 at 2:16 PM
  
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