Archive | November, 2015

HPL Staff Gives Thanks

25 Nov

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I asked my colleagues at the Hoboken Public Library what books or TV shows or digital media they were thankful to find this year. Following are their favorites, which are available at the library or through interlibrary loan.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

-Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian



Photo by Shannon Campbell

Shannon Campbell, Children’s Librarian
After 19 years of education, with an astronomical amount of papers, projects, and presentations, I finally graduated this year in May. I spent the entire summer knowing that in the upcoming fall, I had no professor or class to report to, no looming deadline hanging over my head for a paper or project. It felt freeing, and absolutely scary. I didn’t have the next step all laid out like I had for the previous 19 years. I looked to everyone and everything for advice and comfort, and found it in the book Graduates in Wonderland: True Dispatches from Down the Rabbit Hole, by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale. The story is constructed through a series of emails the girls send to each other the years following graduation. They talk about their successes, failures, fears, goals, dreams, people and places they have fallen in love with, and people and places they fell out of love with. It very much expressed the mindset I was in at the time. The cherry on top of the cake was my friends and I had sent the book to each other with notes in the margins reflecting our feelings on any of the topics as we read through it. It was very much like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but book-club style! Not only did I have the authors to look to for comfort, but I also had my friends through their words. That particular copy had been to NYC, Shanghai, California, and of course, Hoboken. To sum up what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving: my supportive friends, my education, and the authors of this book that perfectly express the scary (and amazing) journey of entering into adulthood.
Carolyn Hartwick, Account Clerk
I am grateful for a June 24 Staff Picks – British Edition post by Clay Waters.  One of his recommendations was for the British television series Life on Mars starring the delightful John Simm.  At the time I was a bit lost with no Sherlock, Doctor Who, or Walking Dead to catch up on so I binge-watched the 16 episodes in early July and then hummed David Bowie tunes to myself for the rest of the summer.  It was a great show, delivered quickly though BCCLS interlibrary loan, and something I am glad didn’t pass me by thanks to the Hoboken Library Staff Picks blog!
Heidi Schwab, Emerging Technology Librarian and Program Coordinator
What I took away from the award-winning documentary The Wolfpack is that even though the brothers, their mother and sister were living in a very bad situation, there is such a sweetness and kindness to them. It is amazing how they protected their mother and were sympathetic to their mentally-ill father who kept them locked up.  After growing up basically prisoners they retained their innocence and positive look at the world. This is a perfect Thanksgiving movie because we learn that even people who grow up in terrible circumstances can grow up to be positive and relatively happy in a way.
Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

This year I am thankful that I read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I read and enjoy a lot of books every year but there are very few that live up to the phrase “page turner.” This book is so surprising that the minute I finished I wanted to start over from the beginning to see how the pieces fit together. It’s not an easy read. There’s war, torture and loss. But also friendship, love and hope. Highly recommended.




Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

I’m thankful that we will be offering some great new services next month to our patrons: JobNow and HelpNow from Brainfuse.  Help Now provides students with online homework help from qualified tutors between 2 PM and 11 PM.  There are also always available video tutorials and practice tests for exams like the GED and SAT.  There is assistance for adults with skill building and who may need help with essays, business letters, or other writing.  JobNow provides assistance for job seekers with their resumes, interview coaching and more.  Check them out starting in December!




Rosary Van Ingen, Adult Circulation Services Department Head

My pick for the #gratitude post is The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. This novel, set in post-WWI Europe, celebrates love, friendship and family. This book never fails to remind me of the beauty and power of friendship.




Sharlene Edwards, Senior Children’s Librarian

I am so happy to have recently picked up The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. When it was published last year, I put it on my mental to-read list and continued on my adult fiction kick.  My to-read list is predictably long and unrealistic, and I would have most certainly forgotten about Auxier’s juvenile fantasy novel if I hadn’t spied HPL’s Young Adult Librarian hurriedly reading the last ten pages before starting her work day.  I brought it with me on my train ride home that night, and, by the end of page one, I knew I was going to fall completely in love with Auxier’s creepy Victorian tale about two young orphans who find themselves desperate for food and shelter at the door of an infamously strange house in the woods. Quickly the children learn that there are sinister forces at work in their new residence. The occupants, an unhappy family who is burdened by a mysterious illness, are under the dark thrall of a wishing tree. After finding myself in a bit of a reading slump, Auxier’s beautifully written novel reminded me of the power of artful storytelling.

MSCR blog 11.15

Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

This year I am thankful to have founded, with Rosary, the Mile Square City Readers book club. We have a wonderful, opinionated group that brings fresh perspectives and interesting insights to the books we read. I have tried to start a few book clubs in the past that didn’t last too long, and I’m excited to have this great club to talk books with once a month.

The Bad Guys Won!: Revisiting the 1986 New York Mets

20 Nov

I am a New York Mets fan, so I was overjoyed when the Mets made the playoffs this year after several down seasons. I wore blue and orange to the library to show my support. The day after games I came to work bleary eyed and clutching coffee after staying up late to watch west coast games and games that went into extra innings.

Back to the Future II predicted that the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series in 2015, but that was not to be. In reality, the Mets lost the title to the Kansas City Royals. But the Mets have a young pitching staff with priceless playoff experience and I am excited about what the future holds for Queens.


A friend told me about The Bad Guys Won! by Jeff Pearlman, which is a history of the World Champion 1986 Mets team. I read the book during the 2015 Mets playoffs run to send some 1986 luck their way, and to learn more about the team and the Mets’ history. I was only four years old in 1986, and my idea of appointment television was Fraggle Rock, so I did not watch that World Series. Also, I was most likely sent to bed long before first pitch.

Before reading the book, I knew that the 1986 Mets team liked to party; that they won 108 regular season games; that Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner bobbled a ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson that allowed the winning run in Game 6 of the World Series; and that the roster included famous Mets such as Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, and Dwight “Doc” Gooden.

This book was well-researched and included interviews with the players and coaches. The first chapter opens with the Mets’ flight to New York from Houston after clinching their World Series spot that includes epic levels of partying, a midair food fight, and some vomit. That story was the perfect way to introduce the team and bring readers into the story.

The narrative descriptions of the World Series game were exciting to read. It also showed the Mets could be as frustrating to watch then as they are now. One entertaining story was when the Mets were down 5-3  in Game 6 and a Red Sox victory seemed imminent, a rally started. Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell, and Ray Knight (who would later score the winning run on Mookie’s grounder) all got on base with two outs and all told the first base coach Bill Robinson that they were “not scoring the last out of the World Series”, in so many words with various expletives.

Something else I liked about the book was that it wasn’t too heavy on baseball statistics. Personally the emphasis on statistics is my favorite aspect of baseball, but if you don’t understand what OBS is then it can seem like a foreign language. If you are a baseball stats nerd like me, then you should read Moneyball by Michael Lewis, or see the film adaptation by the same name.

The Bad Guys Won!, which was published in 2004, made me think about how sports have been changed by modern technology. In baseball, officials have access to video replays for contested plays that could change the game for better or for worse. (Mets fans recently experienced this in NLDS Game 2.) Social media is prevalent and many players are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Smartphones have made it hard to conceal any bad behavior by players off the field, as websites like Deadspin and TMZ Sports will get the story plus any incriminating images and video. The 1986 Mets, in particular a small segment of players that called themselves the Scum Bunch, were very lucky to precede those sites.

In recent years baseball has been rocked by steroids and performance enhancing (PED) drug scandals that culminated in the 2013 Mitchell Report, an independent investigation of drug use in the sport that led to several player suspensions. Roger Clemens, who pitched for the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series and appears in the book, was named in that report.

This book is a great choice for any Mets fans, particularly those who followed the 1986 season. If you’re more interested in Bill Buckner’s bobble, watch season 8 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which revisits that infamous play.

My theory is that the Mets will win the World Series in 2016. Why? Because it will be 30 years after the legendary 1986 New York Mets team won the title. The Royals won their last title in 1985. If it worked for them, it can work for the Mets.

I’ll let Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard close out this post with a tweet he posted after the World Series:


-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

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