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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
BluePlateSpecial
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

Delicious Digital Memoirs for you to Download

16 Mar

Hoboken Library Patrons have a banquet of eBook choices to sample thanks to eLibraryNJ, Cloud Library, and Hoopla. Here are three foodie memoirs with recipes I devoured recently. Let us know in the comments what some of your favorite books from the eBook services are.

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti

voracious
Voracious is based on Cara Nicoletti’s popular blog Yummy Books. Both feature recipes that corresponded with a variety of books that she loved (or occasionally hated). The memoir is broken into three sections: Childhood, Adolescent and College Years, and Adulthood.  Some entries focus more on her connection to the food and others to the books. She goes from breakfast sausage and Little House in the Big Woods to Wine-Braised Leg of Lamb with Wild Mushrooms in honor of The Secret History. She even has a fava bean dish for Silence of the Lambs. I think it would be interesting to see someday if she were to write a follow up about what her books/recipes would be for the period of Middle Age and Senior Years. Nicoletti currently works as a butcher, following in the footsteps of her grandfather who owned a butcher shop. This informs her picks for dishes which often have a head-to-tail sensibility that embraces the use of lard and other bits we often shy away from today. Her background as a former pastry chef is also seen in scrumptious sounding desserts. Two dishes I’d be most interested in baking myself are her Goat Cheese Pumpkin Pie and Blackberry Hazelnut Coffee Cake. Hoboken and other BCCLS patrons can borrow this book from Cloud Library! BCCLS will be incorporating their eBCCLS service into Cloud Library in upcoming months so now is the ideal time to check it out, if you haven’t before.

Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm by Molly Yeh

molly-range
Molly on the Range’s title is slightly misleading in that it does not just cover Yeh’s life on sugar beet farm on the North Dakota/Minnesota border, but also her time studying classical music at Julliard and her childhood in a Chicago suburb. This, however, added rather than subtracted from my enjoyment of the book since it was interesting to see her maturing and the contrast of her rural versus city life. Many of the recipes reflect Molly’s Jewish and Chinese heritage as well as including vegan and gluten free recipes reflecting the dietary preferences of her husband and in-laws. Molly on the Range is available to Hoboken and other BCCLS patrons from Hoopla. Although Hoopla does not have as large a selection of bestsellers as the other two services, it has the great feature of never having to wait for holds and it has a substantial selection of digital audiobooks. I recommend reading it on a device with a larger screen if possible since you will want to enjoy the lovely photographs and fun drawings accompanying the recipes. Yeh also authors the award-winning blog My Name is Yeh.

Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen by Edward Lee

smoke-pickles.jpg
Since I practically have an addiction to kimchi and am also a fan of southern cuisine I was excited to check out Edward Lee’s memoir/cookbook. Edward was raised by Korean immigrants in Brooklyn, but found a home in Louisville, Kentucky, where he took over the culinary destination 610 Magnolia. Edward’s a multiple James Beard Award nominee so as you might imagine his recipes are culinary masterpieces. Though one suggestion he has for aging meat in a second fridge may seem daunting to many home chefs, he frequently gives alternatives to some of the trickier techniques. His multicultural dishes include things like Chicken-Fried Pork Steak with Ramen Crust, Collards and Kimchi, Braised Beef Kalbi with Grits, and Miso-Smothered Chicken. Besides the fascinating dishes, I found his keen wit and insight about his life’s journey highly enjoyable. Smoke and Pickles is available on Hoopla and eLibraryNJ. eLibraryNJ is a great choice for Kindle users since unlike the other two services, users can check out books in Kindle format, as well EPUB which is compatible with most tablets.

Need help with checking out these eBooks? Stop by the Reference Desk, or come to our OpenTech Times on Mondays from 1 PM to 3 PM!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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