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Three Great Book Choices You Can Check Out from Home: Blue Plate Special, Space Opera, and Mittens

19 Sep

Yesterday I posted about Read an eBook Day.  Today I thought I recommend two books I’ve enjoyed and one recommendation from my son who is also an ebook fan.  A great feature of eBooks is that they are perfect to borrow on rainy days or when you are feeling under the weather and don’t want to or can’t leave the house to stop in at the library in person.  Share with us in the comments if you checked out an ebook or digital audiobook recently and want to recommend it to our readers!

Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites

by Kate Christensen
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I decided to read Blue Plate Special when I was craving something to read late at night before bed and did a quick search on eBCCLS; this seemed like a great choice since I had enjoyed Christensen’s novel, The Last Cruise, and am a fan of Foodie Memoirs. I enjoyed Christensen’s writing, but her life had a lot of trauma, complications, and was dominated by bad relationships – including an abusive father that made this a bit of dark read. I can see how the complexity of her own life has led her to be able to create such rich and nuanced characters in her fiction. Recipes are included in each section of her autobiography which was broken into the different places she has lived which include everywhere from California, New York, Iowa, and Paris. She mentions several times about journaling and I felt that she had kept logs of her life because of how detailed reflected events were recounted.  Christensen is one of three sisters and I felt her sibling’s lives sounded as interesting as her own with one, an aspiring ballerina and the youngest one, who winds up temporarily becoming part of a religious cult on the other side of the world.  Blue Plate Special ends with Christensen’s move to New England something she chronicles in How to Cook a Moose that I will pick up when the memoir mood strikes me again.

If you want even more foodie memoirs/fiction check out some of our previous posts. Three of the authors I wrote about previously you may recognize now from Food Network shows including Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Baked in Vermont, Molly Yeh’s Girl Meets Farm, and Jessica Tom as a contestant on the Next Food Network Star. You can borrow Jessica’s Tom’s novel Food Whore from eBCCLS and Gesine Bullock-Prado’s memoir My Life from Scratch from eLibraryNJ.

Space Opera
by Catherynne M. Valente
read by Heath Miller
Space Opera
If you are thinking you don’t have time to read an ebook, consider listening to one instead.  They are a relaxing way to commute to work (you might even wish that there was more traffic so you could get through one more chapter) or pass the time while doing some of your daily chores (I love listening to them while I’m folding laundry).  You can listen to Catherynne M. Valente’s latest novel Space Opera as a digital audiobook read by Heath Miller from Hoopla. I have written several times previously about Catherynne M. Valente, including her works Radiance and her Fairyland series, which I am fans of.  Valente’s worlds and characters are always highly original and quirky and those of Space Opera are no exception. Space Opera is set after a brutal intergalactic war tore civilizations apart; now in order to keep order, species must prove their worth not with military might but by competing in a singing competition like one you’ve never imagined.  This year humanity’s only hope is two thirds of a washed up glam rock band.  If you love Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy than you will enjoy Space Opera!

Mittens
by Lola M. Schaefer
Pictures by Susan Kathleen Hartung
Mittens
This pick comes from my son, Tommy, who just started first grade this month.  One of the great things you can borrow for kids from Hoopla is Read-Along ebooks. Think of them as an ebook/audiobook hybrid for emergent readers. It lets children hear books read and allows them to read along.  You can either have the pages automatically turn or turn them yourself. You can even pick how fast the pages are read. Over the summer we tried to read at least one book a day together and we’ve been transitioning from me reading to him to him often reading to me, with me giving assistance when he gets stuck on a word. The Read-Along ebooks provide a fun way for beginning readers to feel more confident about learning to read themselves.  First my son has them read the book and then he tries to read the books himself.  He loves cats and recently got a new kitten of his own so was enamored with the story of Mittens who must adjust to moving into a new home.  Since he was starting a new school this year it provided a good opportunity to discuss concerns about being in a new space himself; books can be a great way to get kids to open up about things. Besides the Mittens series, you can also borrow books in the Tommy approved Biscuit series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli if you have puppy dog fans in your house.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Cat Fiction and Nonfiction for Feline Fanciers

28 Feb

You may remember I wrote a post about service dog’s for National Guide Dog Month, which is in September, but my heart truly belongs to another furry beast, the cat.  My beloved fur baby Vlad passed away recently and in his honor I wanted to look at some fun feline fiction and nonfiction available from BCCLS Libraries for all the cat ladies (and cat guys) out there.

The Cat Who Series by Lilian Jackson Braun

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I once read that mystery books with cats on the cover tend to sell more.   The charming story of retired journalist Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum who solve crimes is probably my favorite in the cozy/cat genre.  The first in the series The Cat Who Could Read Backwards was published in 1968, but the majority of the books were published between the late 1980’s to mid 2000’s.  The last novel was set to be published in 2008, but The Cat Who Smelled Smoke remains a mystery due to being first postponed due to the author’s failing health and then her passing in 2011.  Although this left certain plot lines unresolved, the previous 29 books are perfect for curling up with some cocoa on a chilly winter evening.  The series was so popular, there was even a parody written by Robert Kaplow, The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun published in 2003.

Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

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Another mystery series doesn’t just feature a cat protagonist, it also was “co-written” by a feline author, Sneaky Pie Brown, who along with his human companion Rita Mae Brown have created a 26 book series with 27 (Probable Claws) scheduled to come out in May.

Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat by Kaori Tsutaya and translated from the Japanese by Amy Hirschman

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If your cat is too busy taking naps in sun beams to write a bestselling mystery series, they can still assist you in creativity with Kaori Tsutaya’s Crafting with Cat Hair which allows you to make cat hair finger puppets and appliques from the piles of cat hair that you have left behind post brushing.  As someone who once was the owner of a herd of three shedding Persians, I was greatly amused by this book and Tsutaya creativity.

Dinner Pawsible: A Cookbook of Nutritious, Homemade Meals for Cats and Dogs by Cathy Alinovi

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I have been guilty of occasionally splurging and treating my furry friends to gourmet food, but with Dinner Pawsible you can create your own yummy well balanced meal for your furbabies that can be healthier and less expensive than what you buy at the store.  The sixty recipes for cat and dog food were created by a veterinarian certified in food therapy and an advocate for pet food safety and are based on the National Research Council requirements for dogs and cats, but still always check in with your own vet, especially if your pet has special dietary restrictions before changing their diets.

Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself by Carin Oliver

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If the winter’s chill is keeping you in and has you looking for fun projects than check out Carin Oliver’s Cat Castles.  Included are instructions for making cardboard trains, ships, food trucks, rockets, and other hideaways for your feline friends along with information for scratching pads that can divert sharp claws away from your furniture.  Let other plebian cats curl up in shoe boxes, your cat can lounge and play in style with these easy to assemble and inexpensive crafts.

James Dean’s Pete the Cat Picture Book Series

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Our Hoboken Public Library Patrons may remember Pete the Cat won the library’s election that our Children’s Department ran for kid’s pick for Story Book Characters for President race.  For those not familiar with our first kitty pick, Pete the Cat is a cartoon cat with a talent for the guitar. Originally a self-published work, the books in the Pete the Cat series have sold more than seven million copies and have spent a combined 230 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list according to a 2014 Publisher Weekly article; that is a lot of feline fans!

The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter

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Older children (ages 10 and up), may want to instead check out Erin Hunter’s imaginative fantasy series which debuted with the novel Into the Wild and features a world shared by four tribal cat clans.  Hunter takes typical cat behaviors and creates an elaborate mythology and social structure around them.

Let us know about some of your feline favorites in our comment section!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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