New Arrivals at HPL: Check Out the Library’s New Ereaders & Tablets, and Some New Books about New Moms–The Book of Life, On the Whole, and Shiver of Light!

13 Aug

Did you know Hoboken Public Library Adult Resident Cardholders can checkout ereaders and tablets which feature a variety of fiction and nonfiction books?  The Hoboken Public Library has a variety of technology available for Hoboken residents to borrow.  A Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite, a Samsung Galaxy Note, and 2 iPad Airs are available with over a hundred titles and will be updated on a regular basis with many new books and best sellers.  To learn more about these and other devices the library has to lend click on our technology lending page. This is the perfect way to checkout both new technology and new books!

Below I’ve listed a few of the books that I’ve enjoyed that you can read on our tablets and ereaders.  All three of these works, one memoir and two fantasy novels, deal with the trials and triumphs of being new moms.

The Book of Life, by  Deborah Harkness

The Book of Life is the final novel in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy following A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night.  The series revolves around the relationship between reluctant witch/historian, Diana, and geneticist/vampire, Matthew.  Fans of the previous two novels will also enjoy this one, but those new to the series will want to start with the first novel, A Discovery of Witches.  It is difficult to discuss The Book of Life without revealing some spoilers for the previous two books so for those new to the series you may want to jump ahead to my next review.  In order to blend in better with humans, “creatures”, including vampires, witches, and daemons are not supposed to interact so Matthew and Diana’s love is forbidden.  For those that like romance there is plenty especially in the latter two books, but other readers may be drawn to the unique description of genetics as it applies to the supernatural as they try to unravel the mystery of how Diana and Matthew are able to conceive children even though it is supposedly impossible.  The All Souls Trilogy also contain a nice influx of history as well; Harkness is an academic specializing in accounts of science and magic from 1500-1700.   Although The Book of Life and A Discovery of Witches are set in the present, the Shadow of Night is set during that time period.  The Book of Life begins a bit slowly and it takes a bit to remember who all of the many characters are (Harkness helpfully includes a character list for each of her books on her website). The Book of Life chronicles Diana’s pregnancy and the first few months of the babies’ lives.  The life in the title reflects not only this experience but a significant book, Ashmole 782, which she has been searching for throughout the All Souls series.  The Book of Life deals with issues of prejudice, nature vs. nurture, and the complex relationship between parents and children.  The Book of Life will resonate with many readers including those not commonly drawn to fantasy works.

On the Whole: A Story of Mothering and Disability, by Ona Gritz

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Ona Gritz until recently worked at the Hoboken Public Library as the Young Adult Librarian.  She is a talented poet, children’s book author, and memoirist.  Although we will all miss her here at the library, we can’t wait to see what new stories she will have for us now that she will be writing full time.  Gritz writes an online column for Literary Mama and this work builds on some of the shorter pieces she had written for the online magazine.  On the Whole is part of a collection from Shebooks of short novella length fiction and nonfiction written by women.  If you’re a mom you may find it is hard to find enough time to read a long novel or memoir, but the length to me was perfect, long enough to feel substantial and worth my time, but not requiring more time commitment than I currently have. I know when I first had my son, I often felt overwhelmed at first; Gritz captures this feeling, but also adds her own unique perspective as a mother with a disability (cerebral palsy). I enjoyed how even in this short piece she captures effectively the relationships that define motherhood, not only between the mother and child, but also between her and her husband, and between her and her own mother. On the Whole is a great quick read for those looking for an engaging, well-written, inspiring look at motherhood.

A Shiver of Light, by Laurell K. Hamilton

I had written about Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series previously in my blog post about adult series about fairies.  In her latest novel Merry had given birth to triplets.  Since A Shiver of Light is a fantasy novel, the triplets can each have multiple fathers and are already manifesting some magical powers.  But despite this conceit that may seem a bit farfetched, I found Hamilton’s dealing with Merry’s concerns and experience as a new mom to be very moving and relatable.  The emotions and protectiveness she feels for her new children will be familiar to many mothers and fathers.  There are still some sexy romantic elements in A Shiver of Light that fan’s of Hamilton’s work have come to expect, but they are not as prominent as in many of her other works.  To me this allowed the stories of her relationship with the men in her life to become more complex than sometimes they had felt previously.  It also showed another side of Merry’s Aunt, who had mainly been depicted as a sadistic, uncaring queen of the dark Sidhe, but now is shown to be more than simply a twisted Disney Villain like caricature.  A surprising loss occurs at the end of A Shiver of Light, which seems like it will lead in to the next book in the series and add to the political intrigue Merry faces.

Besides the books above there are over a hundred more to check out on our new ereaders and tablets. There is a little something for everyone with Stephen King’s latest Mr. Mercedes for those who liked to be scared, Robert Galbraith’s (J.K.Rowling) The Silkworm for those who love a good mystery, and Linda Lael Miller’s The Marriage Pact for those who enjoy a little romance.  Those who prefer nonfiction also won’t be disappointed with works including author Tom Robbins’s autobiography Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Jonathan Bush and Stephen Baker’s Where Does it Hurt?: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Fixing Health Care, and Helen Rappaport’s The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra.  Ona’s On the Whole is only available as an ebook, but for those who prefer paper you can also check out the other books mentioned from the library as print books.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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