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Celebrate International Tabletop Gaming Day: Books, Movies, and More that will get you Gaming!

29 May

June 1st is International Tabletop Gaming Day. With our modern world where technology feels like it can isolate as well as connect us, now seems the perfect time to gather round and spend time bonding with family and friends while gaming.

Role Playing Games: Dungeons and Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons Art
One of my favorite bonding activities as a kid was playing Dungeons and Dragons with my dad and my sister on the weekends. It was like getting to take part in some of my favorite fantasy novels. I’ve been brushing up on the basics and look forward to playing the game with my son and husband. In the Elfish Gene: Dungeons and Dragons and Growing Up Strange, Mark Barrowcliff looks back at his own youth and his role playing experiences; you can borrow it from Hoopla.

If you are interested in playing D&D yourself, BCCLS libraries have you covered with  Guides and Monster Manuals. Plus you can borrow items looking back on D&D’s history such as Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History which looks at the evolving artwork associated with the game. You can also borrow the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon series (sweet Saturday Morning Nostalgia) on DVD. A few BCCLS Libraries also have the live action film adaptation, but like many critics and fans, I found the movie disappointing and not an accurate representation of the game.

Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy: Raiding the Temple of Wisdom edited by Jon Cogburn and Mark Silcox contains essays on different philosophical concepts that can be understood through and about the game including topics like ethics, morality, and metaphysical questions on topics like the boundary between magic and science. The final section focuses on game theory. If you enjoy this pop culture take on philosophy you can checkout others in the series which uses everything Monty Python to Zelda to deepen our understanding of the things we love and the world around us.

If you’ve never played an RPG before you can get insight (and entertainment) from the many web series that are now online such as the extremely popular Critical Role featuring the high fantasy of Dungeon and Dragons.  Sirens of the Realm is a lot of fun; imagine if the Go-Go’s  or the Bangles were fantasy bards. My current personal favorite is the urban fantasy of Vampire The Masquerade: LA Nights; its third season starts streaming on Twitch on June 1, but you can watch previous episodes from season one and two on YouTube; watch the first episode now.

If you like D&D than you should love the book we are reading for our next Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Group here at the library, Nicholas Eames’s Kings of the Wyld!  Eames even drew some inspiration from the game.  Stop by the Reference Desk to pick up a copy or Hoboken Residents checkout an ebook version from eLibraryNJ; join us for the discussion on June 17 at 6 PM.  Before hand we will be watching episodes of a fun classic fantasy series starting at 4 PM.

Board Games: Clue and Monopoly
clue Monopoly
Lacking the competitive gene, unlike my younger sister a Monopoly fanatic, I wasn’t as much of a board game fan as a kid. There were a few exceptions though and my hands down favorite game was always Clue. I’ve always loved mysteries even at a young age and Clue for me was less about winning than getting to play detective and figure out which of the characters was guilty.  Now I enjoy playing board games with my son, many of which I’m pleased to see now are more about team work than winning.

My sister and I both loved the Clue movie adaptation which we watched probably about 50 times at least; you can borrow it on DVD from BCCLS Libraries. When it was shown in the theaters it had one of three different endings; you can view them all. You can also borrow a Clue comic book adaptation from Hoopla.

If you are more a Monopoly fan you can check out the Emmy Award winning documentary, Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story on DVD or streaming from Kanopy.

During the Teen Department’s Games in the Garden event, our beautiful garden space is open to teens every Thursday from 4 PM-5 PM where they can play a variety of our board games.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Biographies to Checkout for Women’s History Month: Rosemary and Goddess of Anarchy

6 Mar

For Women’s History Month I decided to review two biographies of women whose importance is frequently neglected. Rosemary Kennedy and Lucy Parsons have only recently been given comprehensive biographies. Although they remain somewhat obscure figures in American history, they have impacted modern life much more than many people realize. These are just two of the many excellent biographies that the Hoboken Library has in its collection.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter
by Kate Clifford Larson
The Kennedy’s are one of the most documented families in American history, but for decades, the public knew little about the eldest Kennedy sister, Rosemary. Unlike her highly ambitious siblings who were being groomed by their parents for elite society, Rosemary struggled with basic skills and had trouble socializing. Had she been born today, Rosemary’s could have lived a comfortable life, but because she was born into a family with impossibly high standards during a time when people with intellectual disabilities were poorly understand, Rosemary was subjected to a series of cruel treatments, the most horrific being a prefrontal lobotomy she was given at 23-years-old that left her severely disabled and isolated from the public for the rest of her life.

Despite the barbaric way in which she was treated, Rosemary’s life had a great impact on the outside world. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was so horrified by what had happened to her sister that she dedicated her life to advocating for people with disabilities and helped begin the Special Olympics. While in the Senate, Ted Kennedy cosponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act, which he dedicated to his sister who he had barely gotten to know but whose life deeply affected him. What makes Kate Larson’s Rosemary such an excellent read is that it is not just a biography of Rosemary Kennedy; it is also the story of the fight for a more humane society for people with disabilities.

You can borrow Rosemary as an ebook or digital audiobook from eLibraryNJ, eBCCLS and Hoopla.

Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical
by Jacqueline Jones
Goddess of Anarchy
During her life, Lucy Parsons was one of the most well-known speakers on America’s public lecture circuit and at times, the most prominent African American woman in such a position. However, Lucy Parsons has remained an obscure historical figure who has not had a strong biography until Pulitzer Prize nominee Jacqueline Jones uncovered newly discovered documents about her early life. With this new insight in Goddess of Anarchy, Jones illustrates the life of a fearless speaker and activist with a very complex legacy.

Parsons identified as an anarchist, communist, and revolutionary. She was a fierce advocate for the downtrodden and oppressed and was involved in many volatile labor struggles. Her controversial statements and writings led her to spend many nights in jail, but she amazingly lived to be 89-years-old and spent her entire life trying to advance her revolutionary beliefs. At a time when black women were mostly shut out of intellectual life, Parsons’ ability to inspire a crowd was incredibly admirable.

Parson leaves behind a difficult political and racial legacy. Although she was born into slavery, she lied about her background and claimed to be Mexican and Native American. Spending much of her life in Chicago, she identified with city’s white working class immigrants and was accused of downplaying issues of discrimination against African Americans during the time of Jim Crow. There are also questions about whether her violent rhetoric hurt the progress of the causes she believed in. Regardless of what the reader conclude about Parsons, she is a fascinating figure whose role in women’s history in worth exploring.

You can borrow Goddess of Anarchy from eBCCLS as an ebook.

Looking for books for the younger members of your family?  You can get some great suggestions for biographies for children in our previous blog post: Well Behaved Women Don’t Make History.  For more books for adults and some also appropriate for teens we have Heroines You Should Know.  What are some of your favorite biographies about women who have changed history for adults or kids? Share them in our comments!

Written by:
Karl Schwartz
Young Adult Librarian

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