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Turn Off Your Smart Phone: Make a Goal to Read More Books

8 Aug

Summer Reading is winding up at the library as I write this and as I logged my reading, I’ve realized I have been reading less lately, which isn’t completely accurate since I’ve been reading tons of news and blogs and such online, but I’ve certainly been reading less books.  This isn’t just true of myself – I’ve realized as I’ve talked to others.  The phones most of us carry now are more like mini tablets than a means of communication. They constantly demand to be checked for the latest social media update or what latest political scandal has occurred in the news. And that paperback book on my bedside table isn’t constantly sending me push notices, instead it sits there patiently as I renew it for another two weeks and think “I’ll read it tomorrow”.  Ruminating on it now I realize I’m missing out – though since there are entertaining and some high quality things online, there is also a lot of shallow click bait that wastes my time and doesn’t add to my enjoyment of life or increase my understanding of the world in a positive way.  So I’ve decided to put my phone away at the end of the day and read more books.  I hope you’ll join me; let’s keep that pushy electronic device waiting for an hour or two and instead get lost in a good book.

Here are two books I read this summer that I enjoyed curling up with while my cell phone was tucked away in a bed side drawer.  Both deal with frequent vacation destinations that are anything but ordinary.

The Last Cruise
by Kate Christensen
I hadn’t read any of Christensen’s writing before, but after reading The Last Cruise, I definitely want to check out more of her fiction and nonfiction. The Last Cruise was beautifully written with the kind of lush language and imagery one would expect to find in poetry. It is set on an old cruise ship making one last trip to Hawaii.  The three main characters: an elderly Israeli musician, an up and coming chef, and a farm wife on a life changing vacation, were all complex and I liked the emotional journey and development that occurred for the three of them over the course of the book. I’m looking forward to taking a cruise next year, so I’m hoping the many disasters that befall the ship and its passengers are not likely to occur in real life. At the very least – not all at once – from the comfort of my own home it was exciting to see how the characters fared through the many challenges they faced.

Tricks For Free
by Seanan McGuire
I enjoyed this urban fantasy book a lot as I have the other books in the InCryptid series about a family that protects the monsters secretly living among us. Tricks for Free is the second novel focusing on Annie, the youngest of the Price siblings, and though I think I prefer her older sister as a character, I thought this novel was still fast paced and interesting. Tricks for Free is set at a Disney like Amusement Park, which was so well thought out that it felt real. It even had well-detailed associated fictional movies, songs, and characters; I’d love if McGuire crafted the stories that she based these on as they sounded so interesting. I’m looking forward to the next book when it comes out, which also follows Annie and her friends. Tricks for Free included a novella at the end focusing on Annie’s Aeslin Mice (talking mice that worship the Price family) and her boyfriend during the time she is on the run and has to leave them behind.

See the Latest Books Available at HPL
Want to see what is new at HPL?  You can always see what new books we have by browsing the shelves near the first floor circulation desk where they feature the new nonfiction and fiction.  Or you can find lists of new books and other items by going to

Hoboken Residents Can Have 10 Interlibrary Loan Requests
We appreciated everyone’s patience during the state’s recent interlibrary loan delivery issues, but are thrilled that we can again offer Hoboken Library Residents up to 10 loan requests from other BCCLS libraries at a time so even if something you want is out here, we can request it for you!

Written By:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

What is True Beauty?: Cyrus Macmillan’s The Indian Cinderella and HappyThankYouMorePlease

18 Jul

Cyrus Macmillan’s “The Indian Cinderella”, suggests that the Fairy Tale’s allegorical purpose is to reveal the importance of honesty and true beauty. This caused me to reflect on a deeper moral: Beauty is so much more than what just meets the eye. It is so much more than “acts of kindness” and outer appearance. It is a hidden truth to be sought for and deeply rooted in the heart. True beauty is being honest in the face of adversity, amid not being granted a reward because the truth is a reward in of itself. In this modern adaptation of the Classic Cinderella, true beauty is revealed.

Macmillan’s “The Indian Cinderella” is a Fairy Tale about a great Indian Warrior who has a wonderful and strange power of invisibility. It was published in his collection Canadian Wonder Tales available from Project Gutenberg Canada. Throughout the fairy tale Strong Wind, the Indian warrior, is seeking a bride to marry and help him with his good deeds and will not marry anyone who is untruthful. He therefore assesses his perspective brides by having his sister test their truthfulness. In the end he marries the only woman who tells the truth.

So, the moral of this fairy tale is that integrity and remaining true to moral convictions (no matter what the circumstances are), can grant us our deepest desires and lead us into a rich and restored life with a ‘happy ending.’ The Indian Cinderella was not forever beautiful and did not win Strong Wind’s affection by mere looks. It was her virtue, purity of heart and honesty that allowed her to see him, metaphorically unveiling her eyes to what matters most: truth.

It is seen as relevant because the moral of telling the truth serves as a symbol that beauty is not based on the outer appearance. It is through honesty and being morally good, especially not for personal gain but rather selflessness, that one’s true beauty is revealed.

When one thinks of fairytales, one does not automatically think about honesty. In fact, happy endings are usual what comes to mind. Even the classics are dripping with deceitful undertones – and that’s coming from, me, one of the most hardcore Disney fan there is. The Little mermaid – which is my ultimate favorite Disney princess and movie – has to basically hastily and forcefully manipulate/trick Prince Eric to fall for her in 3 days or else she’ll turn back into a mermaid. Aladdin lies about his identity in order to win the heart and the throne of Princess Jasmine. Even the classic Cinderella has to hide her identity and completely transform into someone she’s not in order to have one night with the Prince. In one form or another, most classic fairytale has been founded upon a level of deceit or another – in order to equate beauty. This is why I admire Macmillan’s “The Indian Cinderella”.

In the end, her honesty is what transformed her into real beauty. Now – as associative connections go – this particular moment made me think about a movie I saw titled “HappyThankYouMorePlease,” which is available for streaming from Hoopla or can be borrowed on DVD from BCCLS libraries.  There is this particular moment in the movie that embodies this very realization: the dinner scene. Not to give away any spoilers to the movie in question, but in this scene the female lead is told to close her eyes. She was asked this so that she may only hear what her date has to say, rather than also “hear” with her eyes and be clouded by the judgment they bring. It is with her ears that she listens to the truth that comes from her date’s mouth. A truth that is dripping with honesty and what ends up being the real beauty that not only connects with her soul, but also her mind. Check out the movie. It’s worth watching.

I really believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – as cliché as clichés go – and that the eyes can be the window to the soul – yet another cliché – so therefore if one’s inner self is true and honesty is beautiful, then shouldn’t that be a fairytale worth basing one’s dreams on? Integrity is so underrated nowadays that we underestimate the power and beauty that lies within it. After all, isn’t that what we want to raise our children on?

Written By:
Sherissa Hernandez
Adult Programming Assistant

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