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Finding Inspiration in Other People’s Bookshelves

22 Apr

If you are an avid reader, you’ve perhaps been a little frustrated by this disruption of your daily routines. No longer able to take a quick trip to the library and stroll through the stacks looking for your next great read, you have probably found yourself looking at your own collection at home. It’s always great to reread the books you love. But what if you’ve already gone through your whole collection? Or what if you just want to read something different? If you’re tired of your own collection at home, look for some inspiration in your friends’ bookshelves!

“But I can’t visit my friends!” you say. “And even if they tell me what’s on their shelves, how am I going to get a copy?”

All great questions, but it seems that you have forgotten about the library’s ebook and digital audiobook collection! If you’re one of those people who have only read physical books, now is the perfect time to try out something new. Trust me, I used to be one of those people, and while I still prefer the feel of a physical book, I have to say, that ebooks have won me over, too.

So let’s start this game. I’ll share some titles off of my shelves and you can check them out from eBCCLS, eLibraryNJ or Hoopla. If you’re not sure how to use these services, you’ll find this information on the Hoboken Library Download and Streaming Web Page which includes tip sheets and how to videos.

Gut by Giulia Enders
If you want a fun and easy way to learn about the body (or well, at least a part of it), I highly recommend Gut by Giulia Enders. If you’re not interested in our digestive system – well, you should be. So many new studies are coming out that demonstrate the importance of our gut and its microbiome, as well as its strong connection to our brain. The gut really affects us more than we think it does. Read this book to learn more about the connection between our gut and our physical and mental health. You can check it out as an ebook from eLibraryNJ and  Hoopla.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
With the Fire on High
I have both The Poet X and With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo on my shelf, and while National Poetry Month is the perfect time to highlight The Poet X (you can learn more about that book in a previous post), I’d like to also shine the spotlight on With the Fire On High. If you like stories that incorporate cooking in them, you’ll love this one. This YA novel tells the story of Emoni Santiago, a teen mother who despite all the hardships and responsibilities she has, still dreams of a career in the culinary world. You can find this book (and The Poet X) as an ebook or audiobook on eBCCLS, eLibraryNJ and Hoopla.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Convenience Store Woman
If you’ve ever read anything by a Japanese author, it’s probably been a Haruki Murakami book (no shade, I am a huge fan myself). Now, however, is the perfect time to check out all the other great authors emerging from Japan whose works are finally being translated into English, especially female authors. Sayaka Murata is one of those authors. Her book Convenience Store Woman is a wonderful tale of a woman who struggles to fit into society. She finally finds her place as a convenience store clerk, where she has strict rules to follow and can easily copy her coworkers mannerisms. Her life goes on like this for almost twenty years, until a strange young man walks into the store one day. An intriguing read with sharp observations of society. You can read and/or listen to this book on eBCCLS, eLibraryNJ and Hoopla.

The Odyssey by Homer (Translated by Emily Wilson)
Speaking of translations, how about The Odyssey? I realize this recommendation is a bit out of left field and you may be thinking, “Okay, I expected a classic on this list, but I didn’t think you’d go that classic!” Hear me out. I first read parts of the Odyssey in school, but I happened to have read them in Portuguese. As a fan of mythology, I enjoyed it, so I bought a copy in English. The problem? When I tried to read it again, I just wasn’t into it. It’s the same story, what was wrong? Translations matter. So I’m going to recommend a new translation of The Odyssey – one by Emily Wilson, the first woman to translate The Odyssey into English. I had heard about her translation on a podcast and came across some articles on it. I haven’t yet read it myself, but perhaps it’s time to give The Odyssey another try – this time from a new perspective. You can read Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey from eBCCLS.

Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
If you’ve read any of the blog posts I’ve written in the past, you might have noticed that I’m a big fan of poetry, so of course I had to include something from my poetry collection. Oceanic is a wonderful ode to the natural world. Nezhukumatathil, to me, is a poet in constant awe – in awe of scallops, in awe of love, and yes, even in awe of a perfect manicure. You may find the poem “Love in the Time of Swine Flu” particularly relevant if you are loving in this pandemic. You can let yourself be awed by these poems in ebook format from Hoopla.

Now it’s your turn! What books on your shelves do you recommend?  Share them in the comments!

Written by:
Sam Evaristo
Circulation Assistant



Celebrate Poetry Month!: Poetry by David Elliott and Patricia Hruby Powell

15 Apr

April is poetry month! This month, the Hoboken Public Library Young Adult Department challenges you to become more aware and develop an appreciation of poetry. Poetry does not always rhyme and is not just a couple of verses to put on a greeting card. What better way to celebrate poetry month than to check out poetry through the Hoboken Public Library? We have a variety of digital resources including Hoopla, eBCCLS, and eLibraryNJ. Through these online digital resources, you can access these fiction books that are written in verse. Whether it is an adaptation of Greek mythology or the telling of a true love story that changed the country, these books are bound to attract many readers. 

Bull by David Elliott
Any true fans of Greek mythology will love David Elliott’s adaption of the Greek myth of the Minotaur. A Minotaur is a half-human and half-bull creature. Asterion is a Minotaur, whose story started before he was born. His birth was evidence of the revenge and betrayal of King Minos. The mastermind behind everything is Poseidon, the god of the sea, because King Minos angered him. So, instead of directly taking out his revenge on the king, he instead inflicted it on his wife, Queen Pasiphae. He did this by sending a bull to seduce the queen and therefore produce Asterion, the minotaur. Asterion understandably grows up estranged from his family but is still able to build a bond with his sister, Ariadne. The book captures this Greek story through verse and freestyle rap. The reader gets to take in the story through the voices of seven characters that play out throughout the book. The reader gets to see whether the bond between a brother and sister is strong enough to fight fate.  This title is available from eBCCLS as an ebook and  digital audiobook, eLibraryNJ as an ebook, and Hoopla as an ebook.

Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell
Loving Vs Virginia
Come and see how love conquered all and even changed a country in this historical verse fiction. Patricia Hruby Powell introduces Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving separately and together through her use of free verse. According to the law at this time, Mildred is considered “colored,” and Richard is considered “white” because of their skin tone. At this time, it is legal to keep people of different skin colors from loving or marrying each other. But this brave couple did just that through a legal loophole. They traveled from Virginia to Washington D.C. to get legally married. Trouble would not have been in the equation of their marriage, if they stayed in Washington D.C., but they went right back home to Virginia. Once they settled into married life, Richard and a pregnant Mildred were ripped apart and put in jail! Powell balances the external influences of Brown v.s Board of Education and the civil rights movement on the Lovings’ fight to live their lives as a married couple in the state they grew up in.  You can borrow Loving Vs. Virginia as an ebook or digital audiobook from Hoopla.

If you missed it, check out our blog post from last week with inspiration to write your own poetry.

Have a fiction book in verse to recommend?  Share it in our comments!

Written by:
Elbie Love
Young Adult Library Associate

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