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Breakout the Seedcakes and Blackberry Tarts: Celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Tolkien’s Birth!

6 Jan

January 3 is the 125th birth anniversary of J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien who was born in 1892 in what is now South Africa in Bloemfontein.  Tolkien’s hobbits celebrated their byrding days (birthdays) by giving gifts to others rather than simply receiving gifts themselves.  Tolkien has clearly gifted the world with his writing; his work has been translated into over 60 languages as well as having been adapted as movies and even video games.  This is the perfect time to come in and check some out some of his writing and works he inspired today.

The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again

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The first and perhaps the most accessible of Tolkien’s novels set in middle earth, The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit whose life is changed when Gandalf the Wizard transforms his safe ordinary life into one of adventure.  My first encounter with it was the cartoon from the late 1970’s, which is available at some BCCLS libraries.  Also available to check out is Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings published as three volumes (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) which continue to be influential on many contemporary writers and is the archetype of High Fantasy.  If you would like to start listening to them right now visit Hoopla for digital audiobook copies.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Films Directed by Peter Jackson

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You can borrow several of the ambitious films that Peter Jackson directed including The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from HPL.  I saw The Lord of the Rings trilogy with my father who was overjoyed with the special effects laden and visually stunning adaptations of books he had loved as a teenager.  The Hobbit movies were a bit controversial with some fans due to the addition of new characters and plot lines to allow for three films; check them out and see what you think.

Video Games Set in Middle Earth

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Not satisfied with merely reading or watching about Middle Earth, immerse yourself in the epic battles with Lego The Lord of the Rings for the Xbox 360 or PS3.  The game allows you to unlock over 80 playable Lego versions of Middle Earth characters.   This game is rated E 10+.  For those looking for a more adult game check out Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor for the PS3, PS4, Xbox One, or Xbox 360 rated M; you play as Talion, a Ranger of the Black Gate and is set prior to the events in Lord of the Rings.  Also available is the rated M game The Lord of the Rings. War in the North for Xbox 360.

The Story of Kullervo

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If you are already a fan of Tolkien and looking for something new then you might be intrigued by The Story of Kullervo.  Although only recently published, The Story of Kullervo is an early short story from circa 1915, which is based on part of the Finnish epic Kalevala.   Also included are transcripts of Tolkien’s talks on Kalevala.

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski

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Tolkien was part of a literary club in 1932 called the Inklings, who first met at Oxford University. The Inklings critiqued each other’s works and debated the hot topics of the time.  The Fellowship focuses on four of the groups most famous members and it is an interesting look at some of the forces that shaped Tolkien and his work.  Looking for more in-depth insight into Tolkien’s work?  You can also borrow from HPL The Tolkien Companion by J. E. A. Tyler and Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

HPL Staff: 2016 Favorites

30 Dec

Another year has come to an end. Some staffers at the Hoboken Public Library share something they loved in 2016. Make sure to visit our blog to find out what we’re reading / watching / listening to in the next year.

Cheers to a wonderful 2017!

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Image credit

 

Heidi Schwab, Emerging Technology Librarian and Program Coordinator

This holiday season I have really enjoyed the comedy program based on the Blair Tindell memoir Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs & Classical Music. This Amazon original series takes place in the world of classical music and the audience gets to experience what it is like to be part of a first-class orchestra. The music transforms you but the characters are totally down to Earth. Season 3 takes place in Venice, where we peek inside beautiful villas and amazing concert halls.  It stars Lola Kirke as a young, hungry oboist and Gael Garcia Bernal as the brilliant, exotic new maestro. Many episodes have guest appearances from real world classical music stars like Joshua Bell! 

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Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

I’ve been reading Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series since the beginning with Kitty and the Midnight Hour about a radio DJ that is a werewolf.  You may remember I mentioned it in a blog post about Halloween worthy urban fantasy awhile back. It was therefore with mixed emotions that I read the last title in the series, Kitty Saves the World.  Though I will miss Kitty’s adventures, this was an enjoyable, suspense-filled story and a fitting end to Kitty’s adventures.  Many favorite and beloved characters from previous novels return.  This is a novel that definitely pays off for fans who have stuck by Kitty as she has gone through her many adventures and finally get to find out what the vampire’s mysterious long game was all about. Marguerite Gavin, who performs the audiobook for this and others in the series, does an excellent job and her voice matched the one I’d always imagined in my mind (you can borrow if from Hoopla).  My grandmother will always read the ending of books first since if she doesn’t think the work has a good ending she won’t bother wasting time on it.  Having seen how the Kitty series ends, I can promise that the journey through the books in the series is worth your time.  Check them out from the beginning from BCCLS libraries in print or from Hoopla as audiobooks.

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Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Written as a letter to his teenage son, Coates discusses his experiences and thoughts about living as an African-American male in modern America. Reading is often talked about as a way to walk in another’s shoes and to discover different perspectives on the world. This book did exactly that for me.

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Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

Yes, Justin Bieber’s album Purpose (on Hoopla and CD) was released in late 2015 but try and tell me you didn’t hear Mr. Bieber on pop radio every single day in 2016! 🙂 I guiltily purchased this album on vinyl because “Sorry” is such a catchy tune. When I confessed this purchase to a vinyl-loving friend and fellow lady over 30, she admitted she bought it too. At that moment I felt less alone in the world. #LadiesOver30forBieber

Back to “Sorry”, my favorite track. My eldest niece made her bat mitzvah this past summer, and I made it my mission to learn the choreography to the song and bust the moves on the dance floor at the party. With the help of a hip-hop dance class in Jersey City and repeat viewings of the YouTube video I (mostly) succeeded. It was one of the highlights of my year. The party DJs, my family, and other guests were super impressed with me. However, my niece did not share those sentiments and said I was “weird.” But it’s difficult to win over a 13 year old who is in general mortified by your very existence. One day, when she gets older, she will appreciate that her aunt can recreate pop dance choreo.

 

 

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