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A Book For Every Month Part One:  Timely Reads to get you Through the First Half of 2020

15 Jan

I’ve been waiting for 2020.  Gone are the awkward to mention about Nauhts and 10’s; we are back to the roaring 20’s!  I was talking to one of my colleagues recently how I had just gotten done with several Christmas related novels and that I like reading books synced to the time of the year.  I was thinking some of our readers might enjoy that too, so I went on a hunt for books that we could enjoy for the first half of the year beginning a new decade.

January: The Speech: The Story behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream
by Gary Younge
The Speech

With Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday this month and Black History month in February it is the perfect time to reflect on the speech that had such a defining impact on the civil rights movement.  As we go through a period when protests have sometimes resulted in violence, King’s powerful words are not only an important piece of history, but also an example for our current times.  Check out The Speech at HPL!

February: Chocolate Covered Murder: A Lucy Stone Mystery
by Leslie Meier
Chocolate Covered Murder

Whether you have a sweetie, but you feel overwhelmed having to pick out that “perfect” gift or you are single and tired of being bombarded with ads for cards and candy, Valentine’s Day might have you seeing red for reasons other than lacey hearts.  A great murder mystery could be the perfect antidote to the February doldrums.  Check out Chocolate Covered Murder, where Lucy must uncover who murdered a candy store owner during their New England town’s Valentine’s Day celebration.

March: The Love Object: Selected Stories
by Edna O’Brien
Love Object
For March I wanted to find something to celebrate both Women’s History Month and St. Patrick Day and I think I’ve found a true gem.  Booklist Review, describes Edna O’Brien as “an Irish national treasure, having secured a place in the pantheon of top-notch twentieth-century Irish writers of fiction” and Publisher Weekly states, “O’Brien, who introduced an Irish female perspective to the 1960s literary landscape, has produced stories over the last half-century that resonate with charm and acerbity, lyricism and terseness, nostalgia and brute force.”  In The Love Object, O’Brien gifts us with 31 stories written over four decades.  I’d take that over trite green beer any day.

April: Lower Your Taxes — Big Time!
by Sanford Botkin
Lower Your Taxes
You may be taking part in Easter, Passover, or another Spring Celebration this April, but one thing all of us Americans will be stuck preparing for is tax day when we find out if we owe money or will be getting it back from the government.  You might consider checking out Lower Your Taxes — Big Time!: Wealth-Building, Tax Reduction Secrets from an IRS Insider by Sanford Botkin.  We also have here Pogue’s Basics: Money by David Pogue and Gaby Dunn’s Bad with Money for more financial advice.  Of course always talk with your accountant or other financial advisor before making any important changes.

May: The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father
by Kao Kalia Yang
Song Poet
In The Song Poet, Kao Kalia Yang recounts the life of her father, Bee Yang, a Hmong song poet who was a refugee who came to Minnesota.  The Hmong are a group living across several countries in South East Asia, it is their tradition that a song poet is someone who keeps and recounts the lives of his people and through him keeps their memories alive.  This is a fitting way to celebrate May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and next month’s Father’s Day.

June: Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America
by Nathaniel Frank
Until very recently when October became the prime month, the most popular month for weddings in the US was June.  This may date back as far as ancient Rome when couples celebrated Juno and his wife Jupiter (the goddess of marriage).   Today June is also when we celebrate Gay Pride Month.  You can check out Awakening by Nathaniel Frank to learn about the history of the movement that just five years ago finally culminated in a Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex couples to marry.  The book looks back to the 1950s when it was difficult to feel safe simply in coming out and then moving through the decades as the movement took shape for marriage equality.  The library has some great wedding planning books including The Knot Yours Truly: Inspiration and Ideas to Personalize your Wedding by Carley Roney, Style your Perfect Wedding, and Modern Wedding: Creating a Celebration that Looks and Feels Like You by Kelsey McKinnon.



Best of 2019: Our Staff’s Favorite Books of 2019

31 Dec

It has been a busy year at the Hoboken Public Library.  We’ve begun preparing for our renovations of the third floor Children’s Department.  We opened our new Toybrary, in the Annex. and the Learning Center.  There have been lots of great programs including our Library Fair in June.  Our blog reached 300 posts last month.  Thanks to all our library patrons here in Hoboken and all our readers world wide for joining us this year and celebrating the written word.  We wanted to wrap up 2019 with a look at some of the favorite books our staff enjoyed this year.  They include fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, a picture book, and a book of poetry!

Throw Me to the Wolves
by Patrick McGuinness
Throw Me to the Wolves

In this murder mystery set in Britain, two detectives are starkly different in age, temperament, and policy. The suspect is a boarding school teacher known to one detective from his school days. Two parallel stories about the murder investigation and about events of times past converge. The story feels contemporary because of current events (Brexit, fatberg) and deals with the role of tabloids, social media, and the internet in society today.  I liked everything about Throw Me to the Wolves: the plotting, the observations, the language, and the humor.
~Victoria Turk, Reference Librarian

Soft Science
by Franny Choi
soft science

My favorite book this year was Soft Science by Franny Choi. It’s a poetry collection inspired by the Turing test and it’s a true testament to how creative poetry can be. There are poems in the form of a glossary, a computer code and even a collection of Twitter insults run through Google Translate several times.
~Samantha Evaristo, Outreach Assistant

The Starless Sea
by Erin Morgenstern
Starless Sea

I was eagerly looking forward to Erin Morgenstern’s follow up to her fantastic first novel, the New York Times bestselling The Night CircusThe Starless Sea happily exceeded my expectation and was my favorite book of 2019.  I enjoyed the metafiction aspects of it which included stories within stories set in both our world and an underground world where a mysterious magical library exists.  Fans of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere will enjoy this novel.
~Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Serpent and Dove
by Shelby Mahurin
serpent and dove

This is a great YA read published in 2019.  Serpent and Dove is  a story about a rebellious witch named Lou who left her coven to become a thief. She then, meets Reid a witch-hunter and they fall for each other. In a tale, of forbidden love, they show plenty of courage and have a lot of loyalty in this series. This book is a must read!
~Michelle Valle, Circulation Assistant

Written by Suzanne Walker and Illustrated by Wendy Xu

Mooncakes is my pick for Graphic Novel of the year.  The story focuses on a witch living in New England who just reunited with her childhood crush.  School Library Journal says, “This sweet, spellbinding story will appeal to fans of magic and romance.”  I was impressed that it was lgbtq inclusive with a diverse group of characters.
~Steph Diorio, History Librarian

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
Written by Sonia Sotomayor and Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Just Ask

Kids are different! In this book, by United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, kids are celebrated for being exactly who they are! Just Ask encourages compassion, empathy, understanding, and curiosity. It is also beautifully illustrated! Great for all ages. It is one of my favorite picture books of 2019.
~ Ashley Hoffman, Children’s Librarian

The Real Wallis Simpson: A New History of the American Divorcee Who Became the Duchess of Windsor
by Anna Pasternak
The Real Wallis Simpson

The Real Wallis Simpson is a kinder and more historically accurate portrayal of an often misunderstood historical figure.
~Lindsay T. Sakmann, Reference Librarian

How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s most important public intellectuals. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi combines a memoir of his life with a clear guide on how readers’ can confront the structural racism that still plagues America. Kendi’s book is destined to become a classic on high school and college reading lists.
~Karl Schwartz, Young Adult Librarian

The Borgias
Written by Alejandro Jodorowsky and illustrated by Milo Manara
The Borgias

I am excited to read The Borgias, a graphic novel, since I am such a fan of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s movies such as Holy Mountain and Endless Poetry.
~Sacha Chavez, Reference Assistant

What was your favorite book of 2019?  Share it in the comments!

For gamers, checkout BCCLS list of the Best Games of 2019!  My son’s faves have been Super Mario Maker 2 and Pokemon Shield.

Would you like to discuss great books in 2020?  We have Science Fiction/Fantasy, History, and Mystery Book Discussion Groups at HPL!

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