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Frozen Literary Treats to Check Out from the Hoboken Public Library: The Ice-Cream Makers, Sweet Spot, and The Everything Ice Cream, Gelato, and Frozen Desserts Cookbook

20 Sep

I’ve always been a huge fan of ice cream; I’ve taught two ice cream making classes at the Library and even recently had a poem published in a collection of ice cream poetry. If like me you are mourning the end of the warm weather, you can keep the summer months going a bit longer by checking out some of these cool literary treats.

The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest van der Kwast/ translated by Laura Vroomen

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The Ice-Cream Makers is the second novel and international best seller by Indian born, Dutch author Ernest van der Kwast.  It tells the story of a family of Italian ice cream makers who for several generations has been creating frozen treats in the Netherlands during the summer months.  The extensive research done by the author comes through in the details of their lives and will make you think twice about wanting to open up your own shop due to all the hard work it requires.  The tension and drama in The Ice-Cream Makers comes from the relationship of the two brothers who both are in love with the same girl as well as the one brother, Giovanni’s eschewing of the family business to instead become immersed in the world of poetry while his dutiful brother instead stays and creates ever more elaborate flavors such as fig and blue cheese.  I found the portions of The Ice-Cream Makers dealing with Giovanni and the poetry festivals he was involved with to be some of my favorites.  I am curious to check out his similarly delicious sounding debut novel from 2010 Mama Tandoori, inspired by his Indian mother.

The Everything Ice Cream, Gelato, and Frozen Desserts Cookbook by Susan Whetzel

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After reading van der Kwast novel, you might be craving some actual ice cream so go to eLibraryNJ and check out The Everything Ice Cream, Gelato, and Frozen Desserts Cookbook as an eBook.  Food Blogger Whetzel’s entry into the Everything series of books will provide you with what you need to know to make ice cream and more including tips on storage and a brief history of ice cream.  She includes basic ice cream recipes for flavors like vanilla and several for chocolate, as well as more fanciful flavors like Sage Blackberry Swirl Gelato, Orange Infused Olive Oil Gelato, and Cucumber Mint Frozen Yogurt for those with an adventurous palate.  Besides granitas and sorbets, which are always dairy free, there is a whole section on vegan ice cream including scrumptious flavors that will tempt those beyond vegans and the lactose intolerant such as Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake and Pineapple White Chocolate Macadamia.  For diabetics and others watching their sugar intake there are tasty recipes including Peanut Butter and Jelly, Decadent Dark Chocolate Raspberry, and Coffee Chip.  Plus you can learn to make ice cream accouterments like your own homemade magic shell, waffle cones, flavored whip creams, and sugar cookie cups to make your desserts even more special.  For those looking to make a celebratory treat there is a section on ice cream pies and cakes perfect for your loved one’s next birthday.  Recipes for milkshakes and their slightly healthier siblings smoothies are also featured in this work that truly does seem to live up to its “everything” claim.

Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America by Amy Ettiger

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For those looking for a fun nonfiction account about ice cream, you will enjoy Amy Ettiger’s Sweet Spot which takes a look at the history of ice cream and its creation and enjoyment across the USA.  She speaks to everyone from Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s fame to Andrew Zlot, a water buffalo farmer, making made-from-scratch gelato.  Ettiger goes beyond interviews and research; she learns to make ice cream at a famous Penn State ice cream making boot camp and even rides along with an ice cream truck in Brooklyn, where she learns about the ice cream truck turf wars in the process.  A few quirky recipes, including Salty Butterscotch Ice Cream, and photographs are sprinkled throughout the book.  An index for those looking for specific topics and a list of consulted works are included, however, her account though informative, takes a very personal conversational tone which is makes it good for casual non-fictions readers.  Those who enjoy foodie memoirs should find this work a sweet treat.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

HPL Patrons Can Borrow These LGBTQ Fiction Ebooks Right Now!

22 Mar

At the end of February the miniseries When We Rise premiered, which chronicled the evolution and trials of the LGBT Civil Rights movement.  It is poignant to think back on all that has occurred in the last few decades.  I can remember when it was groundbreaking that Ellen came out back in the 90’s; fast forward to today when there are gay characters in many of shows I watch.  Recently I read three ebooks set during different time periods and I was struck by how the lives of different characters varied with the time of the books’ settings.  Two of these ebooks you can click over and borrow right now on Hoopla Digital if you are a HPL or other BCCLS library card holder and another is available on the tablets and ereaders for loan to Hoboken Resident Library Card Holders.

The Death of a Much-Travelled Woman and Other Adventures with Cassandra Reilly by Barbara Wilson

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The Death of a Much-Travelled Woman is the third in Wilson’s Cassandra Reilly series, which were written and set in the 1990’s.  Cassandra is a translator of Spanish Fiction and her work brings her to many different locations around the world.  Unlike the other three books in the collection, which are novels, this is a collection of short stories.  Wilson often weaves issues of the day into her fiction and it frequently has a feminist perspective, which was refreshing since many of the cozy mysteries I read seem to exist in a reality outside of our contemporary issues.  Cassandra travels all over the world in the stories including Mexico, the English Moors, and Iceland.  My favorites of the stories are one that is set in Maui which revolves around artwork Georgia O’Keefe created while visiting the island, and the other is the last story in the collection which has a very meta twist.  The first Cassandra Reilly novel Gaudi Afternoon was adapted into a movie by the same name starring Judy Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Lili Taylor, and Juliette Lewis; it can be borrowed from BCCLS libraries.  Barbara Wilson is the pen name of Barbara Sjoholm, who besides translating works in Norwegian and Danish has also written a memoir and several travel books.

Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

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You may remember I previously wrote about Alexis Hall’s terrific Kate Kane mystery series which had been previously available on Hoopla.  Unlike that series which was in the paranormal mystery genre, Looking for Group would be best described as Contemporary New Adult Fiction.  In the story Drew, a college student in England, begins playing an online game (which Hall admits is an homage to World of Warcraft) with a new group of players and feels drawn to one of them who lives nearby.  When he learns that Kit is male and not female like he expected it causes him to do some soul searching about his attraction, but in a way which reflects the fluidity that sexuality is often accepted with today.  The novel also deals with the very modern issue of friends that you spend time with in person versus online friends and the validity of both.  One of my husband’s friends from high school met his girlfriend of 10 years playing World of Warcraft but people who don’t participate in online gaming or take part in online communities can often not understand the dynamics so I liked seeing Hall handled this situation in fiction.  Even being married to a gamer, I found some of the gaming jargon a little confusing at first, but there is a glossary at the back of the story you can jump to if you need help.

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger

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Image via Amazon

I am a huge fan of Carriger’s work and have written about some of her novels in previous posts.  Romancing the Inventor is part of a series of standalone LGBTQ romance novellas that she is self-publishing that are set in the same Steampunk universe as the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series.  The first of these, Romancing the Inventor features fan favorite cross dressing inventor Genevieve Lefoux.  However the protagonist in the novel is not Genevieve, but her love interest Imogene who leaves her home to become a maid for a household of vampires, the only place Imogene believes her lesbianism might be accepted.  Too often Steampunk takes the trappings of the Victorian era like corsets and airships but has the social milieu be that of our own era.  Part of what I enjoyed about this work was that despite the inclusion of vampires and werewolves it looked at some of the class issues that were experienced during that time in history in a way that seemed more compelling and authentic than other Steampunk fiction.  Hoboken resident library card holders can check out the story on one of our ereaders or tablets we have to lend at the reference desk.  If you have never experienced an ebook before this a great opportunity to check out some different styles of ereaders and to see if the device is something you’d be interested in investing in.

Read any great LGBTQ fiction recently?  Let us know in the comment section.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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