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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
Gut
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)
Odyssey
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
Oceanic
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

 

 

Foreign Films You Should Stream: Sweet Bean, Beach Flags, and Cleo from 5 to 7

26 Feb

In addition to having access to thousands of books, one of the best things about having a Hoboken Library Card is having access to Kanopy. Kanopy is a streaming platform that offers tons of great movies and videos to watch. Every month, Hoboken resident cardholders can have access to 10 films for adults from Kanopy and unlimited high quality kid’s movies, TV, and animated story books from Kanopy Kids for free!

What I love about Kanopy is that there is an abundance of indie and foreign films to watch – films that would otherwise be difficult to find. I love watching foreign films in particular, since they provide a glimpse into different locations, stories and cultures. So I, of course, was thrilled that a foreign film won Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. Living in America, with a strong and prolific movie industry, we can sometimes forget that there is so much more out there beyond our borders.

There are all sorts of foreign films on Kanopy, so there is sure to be something for everyone. Here are a few selections:

If you like contemporary dramas…

Sweet Bean
Sweet Bean
Sweet Bean” is a Japanese movie from 2015 directed by Naomi Kawase. It is based on the novel by Durian Sukegawa (the book’s title was translated to “Sweet Bean Paste”). The movie follows the story of Sentaro, a man who runs a dorayaki shop. Dorayaki are a Japanese sweet, made with two small pancakes around a filling of red bean paste. When looking for a new hire, an elderly woman applies for the job, handing him over her own homemade red bean paste. An unlikely friendship forms between them and a young schoolgirl who is a frequent customer of the shop. We discover the pasts that they hide, and by the end of the movie, we’re left with the wonder of being alive. A beautiful, moving film.

If you like animated shorts…

Beach Flags

Beach Flags

Image from Kanopy.com

Beach Flags” is a short animated film from Iran, written and directed by Sarah Saidan. It follows the story of Vida, a young lifeguard, who wants to be the one in her group to be chosen for an international competition in Australia. Vida is clearly the best among her peers, but her status as best is challenged when a newcomer, Sareh, arrives. Vida’s competitive streak is evident, but she discovers there is more to Sareh than meets the eye. A tale of young women, ambition and friendship in a country that restricts their freedoms.

 

If you like classic movies…

Cleo from 5 to 7
Cleo from 5 to 7
Cleo from 5 to 7” is a French New Wave film from 1962 directed by the world-renowned Agnès Varda. The story takes place from 5pm to 7pm on a particular day when Cléo, the title character, is waiting for the results of a medical test that might confirm her fears of a cancer diagnosis. It’s an interesting film with a theme of existentialism and a fascinating look into how women were perceived in 1960’s France.

Sweet Bean and Cleo from 5 to 7 are also available on DVD from BCCLS Libraries.

Written by:
Samantha Evaristo
Circulation Assistant

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