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You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

14 Nov

eyeswerewatchinggod
Their Eyes Were Watching God has always been a favorite read of mine ever since college. It’s so much more than the title and I am fascinated with novels that are more than what their titles imply. Of course, the title plays a major role within the book but it’s not what resonated with me the most about the book.

There is this quote that always stood out to me even as I got deeper into the plot.

“She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she know how not to mix them” (Hurston 72).

I have always touched upon this idea of identity, self and truth in many of my other posts, and how this all overlaps in one way or another. This is because truth and what is truth and how truth and beauty can not only be subjective but also incomprehensibly unbiased deeply intrigue me. How can something beautiful to all be ugly to one, but then in the end beauty and ugly are truths that everyone feels and agrees with. Now I know this may seem confusing and complex, but stay with me. What I mean is that the meaning of beauty remains the same but what is defined as beautiful is what changes.

On this note I love noticing things that are hidden within novels that others may not see. As farfetched – far-reaching – as this may seem I feel as though the title has a lot less to do with religion and a lot to do with keeping one’s eyes one oneself. There is a part of the book where her hair is tied together – no pun intended – with the word “glory” to which to me seems biblical, spiritual, and almost godlike. Wrestling with this and how it connects with other blogs I have written, I went on a symbolic and metaphorical word journey.

How does her hair and all its “glory” relate to having an inside and an outside? It could simply mean that she has her organs and then she has her looks, or she had her soul and then her spirit, or even she had a reality and then an appearance – if we look into the literal. I think it meant that she had vulnerability and she had strength. This can tie into having a reality that you portray about yourself and an appearance that you show to the world. We all appear as someone to others and it can be a form of truth of who we are but it’s not all of it.

We all have an inside and an outside. What I find fascinating is that they can’t be mixed. Of course she has her own reasons within the book as to why she knows not to mix them, but it’s an enlightening concept that really hit me with this novel.

All this to say – as my downward spiral did not serve this book justice – this book is definitely worth a read and is much more than just college material.

Besides the book in print you can also check out from BCCLS Libraries a movie adaptation starring Halle Berry and an audiobook on CD.  Ebook and digital audiobook versions are available from eLibraryNJ, and a digital audiobook version from Hoopla.  If you are interested in learning more about the author, you can check out the documentary, Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun available to stream from Kanopy.

Written By
Sherissa Hernandez
Adult Programming Assistant

What books have you read for school that resonate with you even more now?  Share them with our readers in the comments!

Game On or Game Over?: Video Gaming Documentaries Available from Kanopy

30 May

My video gaming is mostly confined to using Pokémon Go as a way to entertain myself during my walk to and from work;  I like AR (Augmented Reality) games since they can make everyday reality a bit more fun.  My husband is more of a traditional console gamer and recently has gotten into VR (Virtual Reality) gaming on the Oculus (you can check out the VR experience for yourself during our Makerspace Mondays).  My son is part of the new generation who enjoys watching let’s play videos of game run throughs and gaming tournaments as much as playing the games himself.  The many ways we enjoy gaming continues to expand.  Kanopy has a variety of thought provoking documentaries that offer both positive and critical views of games and gaming culture that are available for you to stream.

State of Play: The World of South-Korean Professional Video Gamers
state of play
all images in this post from kanopy.com

Could someday professional video game tournaments replace the Super Bowl or the World Cup?  Thousands of Koreans attend the Proleague in Korea every year. The documentary State of Play follows three Korean gamers specializing in Starcraft, who are at different stages of their video game careers.  The documentary is also available from Hoopla.  If you enjoy this documentary you can also check out A Gamer’s Life: The Lives of Professional Video Game Players.

GTFO: Get the F**k Out – Women in Gaming
gtfo

GTFO was an Official Selection at the SXSW Film Festival; it looks at misogyny in the realm of professional gamers, game designers, and players online.  The film captures a variety of experiences of those who have felt discriminated against or harassed.  The documentary was interesting, though I would have liked to have seen more men interviewed to give more insight into why the behavior is so often occurring and why it is seen as OK by those who are the perpetrators.

Gaming in Color: The Queer Side of Gaming
gaming in color

Much like GTFO, Gaming in Color examines the discrimination faced by some gamers, especially those who identify as LGBTQ, but it also looks at some of the positive experiences that queer gamers have had as well.  It briefly shows a few of the games which have begun to incorporate same sex relationships and visits GaymerX, which seeks to be an inclusive video game convention.  Gaming in Color is also available from Hoopla.

Besides these three documentaries you can find ones on topics like violence in video games with Returning Fire: Interventions in Video Game Culture and Joystick Warriors: Video Games, Violence & the Culture of Militarism; the impact of gaming on education in Mind Games – The Power of Video Gaming; and even the marketing potential of Virtual Reality in Infinite Reality with Jeremy Bailenson (part of the Stanford Executive Briefings Series).

If you are looking for historical perspectives on gaming than click over to Hoopla where you can learn about the history of gaming with the documentary Gameplay: The Story Of The Videogame Revolution.  Learn if the myth of the buried ET games is true and about the demise of Atari with Atari: Game Over.

Whether you agree or disagree with the perspectives in these documentaries, they open up important conversations about the future of gaming and how it will impact our lives.

And if you want to check out a new game, stop by the Hoboken Public Library where you can borrow everything from Super Mario Maker for the Wii U to Call of Duty WWII and God of War for the Playstation 4.

Written by
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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