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Take a Virtual Vacation with these Travel Shows on Hoopla Digital

7 Mar

After a stressful day, sometimes I find it can be hard to shut off my brain, at those times I often find it comforting to read a book, but another favorite way to unwind is by watching a travel show and drifting off to sleep imagining my own virtual vacation.  Here are a couple shows that Hoboken Library Resident Card Holders can check out from Hoopla and take a relaxing virtual trip, no passport required.

The Kimchi Chronicles

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The Kimchi Chronicles stars Marja Vongerichten who was the daughter of a Korean woman and an American GI who was adopted by Americans, but returned to Korea to find her birth mother.  The Kimchi Chronicles moves between showing Marja sampling mouthwatering food and experiencing Korean culture while exploring Korea with friends and relatives, and her and her talented French husband Jean Georges creating Korean-inspired dishes back home.  Several of their celebrity friends, including Hugh Jackman and Heather Graham, make appearances in some episodes.  I enjoyed how each episode focused on a different ingredient such as pork or areas such as Seoul.  If you are like me and can’t get enough of Korean delicacies check out a previous post were I discussed Edward Lee’s Korean/Southern Fusion Cookbook/Memoir, Smoke and Pickles.

Café SecretsSeason 1 and Season 2


Café Secrets is a charming series about the Café culture in New Zealand with popular Kiwi food writer and former café owner, Julie Le Clerc.  Each episode features recipes from the café owners as well as some of Julie’s own café classic recipes.  The series is a bit heavy on product placement, but this didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the show.  I appreciated that the series explored not just the cafés, but also the local communities, with Julie taking part in local events from participating in a fashion show to helping out in a community garden.  Those looking for more New Zealand travel/cooking shows may want to check out New Zealand with Nadia Lim (the Masterchef New Zealand winner travels and cooks her way around her native country) and Cook the Books (featuring a variety of New Zealand Cookbook authors, including Julie Le Clerc in one episode).

The Shelbourne HotelSeason 1 and Season 2


The Shelbourne Hotel is a Dublin landmark which recently celebrated its 190th birthday.  The TV series gives a behind-the-scenes looks of the running of the hotel as it celebrates holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, has special events like a historic tasting menu, and hosts celebrities like a Rugby team.  From living through my own renovations at the library and at home it was interesting to see how the hotel coped with their own restoration of their historic structure.  The show portrays the hotel in a very positive light so don’t expect juicy gossip, but it is perfect for those looking for a quaint virtual trip.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

The 5 Books I Plan to Read for Summer 2017

16 Jun

Nothing makes a librarian happier than recommending books to others, so I was delighted when my niece FaceTimed last week to ask for summer reading suggestions. She starts high school in the fall and is required to read a nonfiction book and a fiction book during the summer, which she will do while she is away at camp. This also inspired me to think about my own summer reading, so I will tell you about the books I suggested for my niece, and what I plan to read.

(Don’t forget that the Hoboken Public Library is here for all your summer reading needs, with print books, eBooks, audiobooks, and more. Our Summer Reading Programs for all ages kick off Thursday June 22, where what you read this summer puts you in the running for prizes! And of course, we will celebrate our reading successes once summer ends.)

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My niece: isn’t she a cutie? ❤

Recommendations for My Niece

My suggestion for nonfiction was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. (Click here to find this title in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, large print, and eBook.) This book about Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose still-growing HeLa cell line has been used in more than 60 years of scientific and medical progress, has been a sensation since it was first published. It is a hybrid of biography about Henrietta, her family, and where she grew up in rural Virginia; history of racist practices against poor blacks in medical settings (Henrietta’s cells were taken during a medical exam and used in research without her or her family’s knowledge and consent); and science writing that is accessible and makes the reader think. This book is absolutely brilliant, and ranks among the best nonfiction I have ever read.

immortal-life

This book assigned in high school classes, and a friend that teaches high school science gave this book a thumbs-up for teens. I think it will be a challenging and educational read for my niece. However, she is forbidden from watching the recent HBO movie adaptation that stars Oprah instead of reading the text. (This Librarian always prefers the book to the movie.)

hate-u-give

For fiction she wanted straight YA. I first suggested The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which I am currently reading. Starr is a young African American woman straddling two worlds–her gritty urban neighborhood and her pedigreed suburban private school–whose childhood friend Kahlil is shot and killed while unarmed during a traffic stop by a police officer.

The heavy subject matter yielded a nose wrinkle from my niece, and I understand her feeling. Most people want to read light, fun books in the summer. (As you read further into this post, you will see that I am not one of these people!) This book is intense, and has moved me to tears a few times while reading, but The Hate U Give is an impressive debut by Angie Thomas.

dimple-rishi

My next YA fiction suggestion was When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (available in print and as an eBook). I haven’t read this book, about two Indian-American teens whose parents are planning an eventual arranged marriage for them who meet in a summer program before college. Rebecca and Liberty from Book Riot’s All the Books podcast say that this book is adorable, and I plan to read it myself. My niece may like the romantic elements and the teen characters. 

I will be writing letters to my niece at camp to check in on her reading progress, and to talk about what she ultimately chose to read.

Next up are books I want to read this summer.

Inspired by the American Crime Story Anthology Series

I watched American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson last year and was riveted. Perhaps the series resonated because I remember the Bronco chase broadcast live on TV in 1994 (and was miffed that the chase interrupted ABC’s TGIF lineup) and the extensive trial coverage. 

In 2018 there where will be two more installments of the American Crime Story series, and I may change my cable cord-cutter status to watch them. The first is about the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace in August 1997 that was part of a killing spree by Andrew Cunanan. (Filming for this series is underway, and photos of Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan are online.) The source book is Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Manhunt in FBI History by Maureen Orth, which reports on Cunanan’s crimes leading up to his encounter with Versace. I love a good true crime story (click here to read my review of The Lost Girls by Robert Kolker) and want to read about this case before the show airs.

vulgar-favors

The next American Crime Story will cover Hurricane Katrina. I have written about media inspired by this devastating storm, so I am very interested in this story. The source text is The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Douglas Brinkley. This is a well-researched, dense volume that will likely take me all summer to get through. I am reading the first chapter now, which discusses the establishment of New Orleans as a port city, its flooding history, and how the vulnerable Louisiana coastline has eroded over the past 200 years.

great-deluge

In case you are wondering, the source for American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson was The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin.

A Wildcard Pick

My father will happily tell you that he has been exposing me to 1960s music since my early childhood. In the car, the radio was always tuned to 101.1 FM, which was New Yorks’ Oldies station. Now that he’s upgraded to satellite radio, he always listens to the 60s on 6 channel, and sometimes First Wave (the 1980s alternative channel, which is my influence on him).

This exposure has definitely fostered my appreciation of 1960s music. In particular, I am a fan of Otis Redding. This past spring Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould was published. I want to read this well-reviewed biography to learn more about one of my favorite artists, who died in a plane crash before his signature song “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was released in 1968 and became a hit.

otis-redding

So, this is my summer reading list. I am also duty-bound to read the books for the Library’s Mile Square City Readers Book Club, the Lady Memoir Book Club at Little City Books, and the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge I’m following. So I have no shortage of books to read!

Tell me reader, what are you reading this summer?

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

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