Pulp-less Fiction: Digital Downloads

This blog is about new paperless reading materials like downloadable audio books, ebooks, and online magazines, made available to you through the Appleton Public Library. I plan to provide helpful tips on using these new products, along with reviews of audio books, music on cd, and movies on DVD and Blu-ray. There may even be an occasional post on genealogy.  The library is changing as rapidly as your access to media and the Internet. We want to keep on top of the trends and bring you information and entertainment in a way that fits your life today.   -Diana

Steampunk Saturday is September 21

Steampunk is a type of science fiction that usually features steam-powered machinery in a 19th century setting.  It has been described as “the past that never was”:  an alternative history rooted in the Victorian era’s perspective of the world, culture, fashion and manners.  In this world the internal combustion engine or electricity were never used, and fantastic machines were created to accomplish similar tasks.  Steampunk writing appears in genres such as fantasy, horror, romance and historical fiction as well as science fiction.  Examples of steampunk books are the novels of Scott Westerfeld, Gail Carriger, and Cherie Priest. 

 Leviathan     Soulless     Boneshaker

The Steampunk genre now encompasses books, comics, film, music, art, drama and even lifestyle.   It is incorporated into film in movies like Hugo, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the recent Sherlock Holmes films starring Robert Downey Jr., as well as appearing in a totally Steampunk animated movie, Steamboy.

Hugo     Steamboy


Steampunk remakes history in a way enjoyable to many people.


Please join us at the Appleton Public Library on Saturday, September 21, from 10:00am to 2:00pm to learn more about Steampunk.  Catherine Noble-Beyer will give two short presentations, one explaining what Steampunk is, the other about choosing a persona and creating an appropriate costume, with tips on adapting clothing and creating inexpensive accessories.  Jerry Beyer and Catherine Noble-Beyer will judge the costume contest.

You will have a chance to create a fascinator to wear in your hair or a military-style ribbon to pin to your costume.  Don't forget to make a mustache monocle! 

Wear your best Victorian or Steampunk outfit and enter the costume contest to win great prizes; or merely pose for your free Victorian souvenir photo. 


Victorian photo

Ken Vinson, gamer and co-author of Brass & Steel:  A Game of Steampunk Adventure will be demonstrating the game in Room D.  Stop by and give it a try, or enter to win a copy as a door prize.

Brass & Steel


We will be making mini-journals, and fantastic paper toys--Steampunk origami style.  Examples of the crafts are in the display case across from the elevator at the library, along with some unique items shared by local Steampunks.  There will be great door prizes including Steampunk books, Mustache Mania, Writer's set, and more.  The program was a lot of fun last year so we hope to see you here on September 21!


OverDrive Media Console version 3 provides new options!

The OverDrive Media Console app, version 3.0, is now available to iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch using  iOS6*; and Android devices with OS v4.0.  Older models should be able to use the previous version of OverDrive Media Console.


New features include:

  • One stop menu
  • If you are new to OverDrive, follow the prompts to learn how to use the app
  • Sync bookmarks and reading progress across multiple devices, if you sign up for OverDrive One.
  • Variable speed playback is available for audio books on devices using iOS 6
  • Updated help section
  • The Book History allows you to see a list of books that you have returned or whose loans have expired

If you are in the bookshelf, you only need one swipe to see the menu.


Tutorials for new users are very simple:

How to

The help menu gives you access to assistance on many topics, all in one place

Help menu


"Add a book" coming from the bookshelf takes you to the home page of Wisconsin’s Digital Library

Add a book from the bookshelf

The settings menu provide some new choices.

OverDrive Media Console settings

Book History allows you to see books you are done with

Book History

 These new features make a faster, streamlined experience for reading ebooks and downloading audio books.  Enjoy reading from a simpler interface.


*If you need to update iOS, go to http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4623 for instructions.  Unfortunately first generation iPads are not able to update to iOS 6 and therefore are not able to use the v.3 OverDrive Media Console.




Animated films--A Cat in Paris

While the trend for animated films is toward full CGI and 3D creation, there are still 2D films being created digitally or by hand.  In the last year or so I have begun to view and enjoy some of these “old-style” films, and would like to share some of them with you.

Nominated for Best Animated Feature of the 2012 Academy Awards, the hand-drawn film A Cat in Paris is set in the narrow alleyways and on the steep rooftops of Paris.  Black cat Dino lives with lonely Zoe, whose single mother’s important job keeps her from spending time with her daughter.  Dino spends his days with her, and comforts her when she is sad.

Zoe's bedroom

As the shadows fall every evening, Dino slips out Zoe’s window and walks along the walls for his nightly adventure assisting Nico, a successful and agile cat burglar with a warm heart, to sneak into buildings.  All is well until Zoe decides to follow the feline on his nightly rounds and falls into the hands of dangerous gangsters.

This charming film was directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol and features the voices of Marcia Gay Harden, Anjelica Huston and Mathew Modine.  The French directors met when they both opted for civil rather than military service and served their conscientious objector service at the animation studio Folimage.  This is their first full length feature film, which has been dubbed in English.

The images are rich, styled almost like cubist paintings by Jean-Loup Felicioli.  By avoiding the “realistic” perspectives caused by model sheets where characters are drawn from every angle, there is freedom to create a flow of movement that is very refreshing.  Nico and Dino stretch, lean and make incredible leaps that highlight this freedom.  The 1930s music of Django Rheinhart and Billie Holliday give a touch of film noir which goes well with the graphics.  There are also a few sly references to other films in some of the dialogue.

If you would like to view a trailer, check out the official website.  The Appleton Public Library has dvd copies to check out.  To check on availability, click here.

I hope you enjoy the film as much as I did.

Live demo of downloadable ebooks & audio books--today

One Click Digital downloadable audio books
Zinio downloadable magazines
IndieFlix streaming video independent films
OverDrive downloadable ebooks and audio books

Would you like to know more about downloadable services at the Appleton Public Library? There is a live demo today (Tuesday August 6) from 5:00-7:00 on the main floor of the library, as part of the Summer Celebration.

Join us to learn more about downloading free ebooks, audio books, and magazine subscriptions to your tablet, laptop, phone or ereader.  We will also have information on accessing IndieFlix, the free streaming video service for independent films.

Love indie films? IndieFlix has films for you

IndieFlix allows you to view thousands of independent films online in your browser.  They vary in length from a few minutes to full length (2+ hours).  Films are unlimited access, so there is no waiting and no holds.

IndieFlix choice

You need an internet-enabled computer, tablet or smart phone that allows streaming video.  If you have data limits on your phone or device, please consider whether there is a cost before downloading a free movie from Indieflix.  You can also use your Roku or Xbox to stream video—just look for the app in your app store and type in the code provided with your IndieFlix account. 

For free access from Appleton Public Library you will need to enter through the Recorded Books Gateway, which is on the Appleton Public Library website, below the picture of the InfoSoup library card.  The Gateway also provides access to Zinio, where you can get subscriptions to 100 popular magazines and download digital copies.  If you currently have a Zinio account you can use the account information to sign into the Gateway (2).  If not, you should create an account (1).  You can find out more by exploring the gateway (3).

RB gateway

Once you have logged into the gateway, click the orange IndieFlix bar, and create an IndieFlix account.

create IndieFlix account


You can search for films by title, actor, director and other parameters.  You can narrow the search using filters like length of film, genre, intended audience, film festival, country, and web series.  Channels provide a good way to browse films by genre or film festival.  There are a variety of films to fit your taste.




Quality independent films are now available to you almost anywhere.  Don't forget the popcorn!



Funding for this service is provided by the Friends of Appleton Public Library.

Friends of Appleton Public Library