Archive | Audiobooks RSS feed for this section

Breakout the Seedcakes and Blackberry Tarts: Celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Tolkien’s Birth!

6 Jan

January 3 is the 125th birth anniversary of J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien who was born in 1892 in what is now South Africa in Bloemfontein.  Tolkien’s hobbits celebrated their byrding days (birthdays) by giving gifts to others rather than simply receiving gifts themselves.  Tolkien has clearly gifted the world with his writing; his work has been translated into over 60 languages as well as having been adapted as movies and even video games.  This is the perfect time to come in and check some out some of his writing and works he inspired today.

The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again

hobbit
The first and perhaps the most accessible of Tolkien’s novels set in middle earth, The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit whose life is changed when Gandalf the Wizard transforms his safe ordinary life into one of adventure.  My first encounter with it was the cartoon from the late 1970’s, which is available at some BCCLS libraries.  Also available to check out is Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings published as three volumes (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) which continue to be influential on many contemporary writers and is the archetype of High Fantasy.  If you would like to start listening to them right now visit Hoopla for digital audiobook copies.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Films Directed by Peter Jackson

lord-of-the-rings-film.jpg
You can borrow several of the ambitious films that Peter Jackson directed including The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from HPL.  I saw The Lord of the Rings trilogy with my father who was overjoyed with the special effects laden and visually stunning adaptations of books he had loved as a teenager.  The Hobbit movies were a bit controversial with some fans due to the addition of new characters and plot lines to allow for three films; check them out and see what you think.

Video Games Set in Middle Earth

lego-lotr.jpg
Not satisfied with merely reading or watching about Middle Earth, immerse yourself in the epic battles with Lego The Lord of the Rings for the Xbox 360 or PS3.  The game allows you to unlock over 80 playable Lego versions of Middle Earth characters.   This game is rated E 10+.  For those looking for a more adult game check out Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor for the PS3, PS4, Xbox One, or Xbox 360 rated M; you play as Talion, a Ranger of the Black Gate and is set prior to the events in Lord of the Rings.  Also available is the rated M game The Lord of the Rings. War in the North for Xbox 360.

The Story of Kullervo

story-kullervo
If you are already a fan of Tolkien and looking for something new then you might be intrigued by The Story of Kullervo.  Although only recently published, The Story of Kullervo is an early short story from circa 1915, which is based on part of the Finnish epic Kalevala.   Also included are transcripts of Tolkien’s talks on Kalevala.

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski

fellowship-inkling.jpg
Tolkien was part of a literary club in 1932 called the Inklings, who first met at Oxford University. The Inklings critiqued each other’s works and debated the hot topics of the time.  The Fellowship focuses on four of the groups most famous members and it is an interesting look at some of the forces that shaped Tolkien and his work.  Looking for more in-depth insight into Tolkien’s work?  You can also borrow from HPL The Tolkien Companion by J. E. A. Tyler and Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Celebrate Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday!

7 Sep

One of my favorite childhood memories was my mom reading James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my sister and me.  I loved the whimsical (and sometimes a bit scary) fantasies.  This September 13 marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.  In Manchester, England the weekend before they are celebrating with a two day event complete with a giant inflatable peach, visit from the BFG, Willy Wonka’s Garden, and more.  The Hoboken Public Library has a variety of Dahl’s books, books on CD, and movies to spark your imagination; here are just a few to get you started.

James and the Giant Peach

james-giant-peach
James and the Giant Peach was one of my two favorite books as a child (the other was E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web).  James accidentally grows an enormous peach and finds friendly talking insects inside who travel with him on a thrilling journey.  You can take out the book from the Hoboken Public Library and the movie adaptation from BCCLS libraries.

The BFG

bfg.jpg
The movie adaptation of The BFG was in theaters this summer.  The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant, who unlike other giants doesn’t want to eat little children, but instead sends them good dreams.  He befriends a little girl named Sofie who helps him stop the less friendly giants from causing mayhem.  If you enjoyed the film, borrow the book or book on CD today at the Hoboken Public Library.

Matilda

matilda
Matilda isn’t any ordinary girl, she has telekinetic powers which she uses to deal with her horrible parents and headmistress.  The musical adaptation of Matilda has been playing on Broadway since April of 2013, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to get tickets soon since it scheduled to end its run on January 1. You can borrow Matilda as a book or its movie adaptation on DVD from the Hoboken Public Library

The Witches

witches.jpg
Roald Dahl’s The Witches is perfect if you are looking for a spooky Halloween read.  A boy must help his grandmother stop witches from turning all of the world’s children into mice.  You can borrow the book in print or on CD from HPL and the movie adaptation from BCCLS libraries.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

charlie-choc-factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably Dahl’s best known work; it features a group of children who get a dream tour of a magical chocolate factory.  Remember not only Dahl, but the recently passed actor Gene Wilder in the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (my preferred version, despite being a huge Tim Burton and Johnny Depp fan and the author’s disapproval of the adaptation).  You can also borrow Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Play adapted by Richard R. George if your little aspiring thespians would like to act the book out.  The library has the book’s sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator that reveals what happens after the elevator went into space.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

chitty-chitty
I was surprised and delighted recently when I learned the screenplay for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Roald Dahl along with Ken Hughes.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fun fantastic story about an inventor of whistling sweets and his flying car.  It was my favorite musical as a kid and I will probably have the songs from it stuck in my head all day.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is based on a children’s novel by James Bond author Ian Fleming.  Dahl also wrote the screenplay for the Bond film You Only Live Twice.

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life

ah-sweet

Image via Amazon

Adults can always enjoy rereading Dahl’s children’s classics, but for those looking for something written for a more mature audience you can borrow from our library Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, a collection of darkly humorous short stories he wrote in the 1940s and 1950s.  Also available for adults at our library is Dahl’s Two Fables.

The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant

irregulars
Dahl may have not only written a screen play about a spy, he may have been one himself!  You can read about his involvement with the British Secret Service in Conat’s The Irregulars.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

%d bloggers like this: