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Celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month this October with titles from Overdrive/Libby, Hoopla, and Kanopy!

20 Oct

My husband’s maternal great grandparents emigrated from Italy so my household is proud to celebrate in October all the many accomplishments and rich cultural heritage Italians have brought to this country, so I couldn’t resist this month sharing some books and more you can check out about Italian-Americans.

Voices of Italian America: A History of Early Italian American Literature with a Critical Anthology
by Martino Marazzi
Voices of Italian America includes an authoritative study and collection of the Italian-language literature written and published in the United States from the Great Migration (1880–1920) to shortly after World War II.  This time reflects the rise of Little Italy’s in cities where Italian-Americans were in largely insular communities in which Italian continued to be the main language.

Italian Immigrants: In their Shoes
by Tyler Omoth
The Juvenile Nonfiction title, Italian Immigrants part of the Immigrants Experience series, provides children with information about the lives and challenges Italian-Americans including a timeline, quotes, and “fast facts.”

Cake Boss: The Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia
by Buddy Valastro
With his show Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro put Hoboken and Carlos’s Bakery on the map as the destination for Italian-American pastries and baked goods like Lobster Tails and cannoli.  Besides Cake Boss, also available by Valastro in print from BCCLS Libraries: Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss: Family Favorites as only Buddy can Serve Them Up and Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy’s Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets.

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power
by Susan Page
Featuring interviews with Pelosi and those who know her best Madam Speaker takes a look at the life of the First Female Speaker of the House.  Want to learn more also available are Molly Ball’s Pelosi and Queens of the Resistance: Nancy Pelosi by Brenda Jones and Krishan Trotman.

Sinatra: The Chairman and Frank: The Voice
by James Kaplan
Check out James Kaplan’s biographies on Hoboken born classic Italian-American crooner Frank Sinatra!  Also available are Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank by Barbara Sinatra and His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra by Kitty Kelley.

The Italian Americans
The 2015 PBS Documentary Series, The Italian Americans, explores the immigrant experience of Italian Americans and their impact on American history and Culture.  Also available from Kanopy: Da Feast! about the Italian American celebration of San Paulino di Nola in Brooklyn.

During the early parts of Hoboken’s history Italians specifically those from Southern Italy such as Molfetta have been one of the largest group that settled here in Hoboken.  Although some returned to Italy or their descendants moved elsewhere in America, there are still plenty of reminders of Hoboken’s proud Italian Heritage with businesses like Fiore’s (providing their delicious Mozzarella since 1913), Leo’s Grandevous (open since 1939 and just steps away from the Municipal Building where our Grand Street Branch is located), and Dom’s Bakery nearby our Main Branch since 1979.  Plus every summer residents of all backgrounds enjoy St. Ann’s Feast and the Hoboken Italian Festival celebrating the Feast of Madonna Dei Martiri.  Want to learn more about Hoboken History or get help with genealogical research; reach out to our history librarian (and proud Italian American) by emailing!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

How Modern Society Warps Our Perception of Self: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

25 Aug

If you’ve been around for say, more than a decade, then you may have noticed that our world and the way we interact with each other and with ourselves has changed drastically over a relatively short period of time. In my case, I knew a time before computers were a household item, but began using them as I became an adolescent. I grew up online, addicted to blogs and instant messaging. Just a few years later, we were introduced to social media and smartphones and now spend an alarming amount of our time online and in constant communication with the entire world. Everything we do online is watched, whether it be by friends, by strangers around the world or by corporations and governments. Try as we may, we can never truly be off-the-grid. Sometimes I wonder, how does this constant vigilance affect our personalities? When I came across Trick Mirror, I knew I had to read it, since I had been contemplating this new world we now live in and how it has affected the way we communicate, express and see ourselves.

Trick Mirror is a collection of essays written by Jia Tolentino, an American writer and editor. This book is a cultural comment on how today’s society warps our perceptions of self. The topics covered by the essays span from social media’s hold on us, to her experience on a reality show as a teenager, from the connection between drugs & religion, to how weddings have evolved into their modern (horrifying?) forms today.

I particularly enjoyed the first and last essays (“The I in Internet” and “I Thee Dread” respectively), and I must be honest: if this weren’t a library book, I would have highlighted and underlined almost every other passage. So, if you’re the type of person who also likes to do that, fear not. In addition to physical copies, we have plenty of digital copies available on eBCCLS and eLibraryNJ. You can use ebooks to highlight your favorite passages!

Written by:
Samantha Evaristo
Library Assistant, Grand St. Branch

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