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New Recipes for the New Year: COOK90, New Pizza, Flavors of Africa, and The Secret Ingredient

9 Jan

Are you stuck in a cooking rut or looking to start cooking for yourself for the first time this year? I’ve selected some books that we’ve just gotten in at the Hoboken Public Library that I’m planning to borrow in the future that you might enjoy as well.  Check out these books in the New Year and get to cook some new tasty recipes!

COOK90: The 30-Day Plan for Faster, Healthier, Happier Meals
by David Tamarkin and the editors of Epicurious
photographs by Chelsea Kyle
If your life is similar to mine as a working mom whose partner also works full time it can be a struggle to create healthy meals each days and too easy to fall back on takeout which can bring with it increased calories, fat, and sodium. COOK90 put together by the popular online recipe cite, Epicurious, seems like a great choice for anyone who has made a New Year’s resolution to cook more since it encourages users to challenge themselves to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 30 days.  I’m not sure if my husband and I will quite meet the challenge for every day, but the book seems a good way to meet our personal goal of cutting down significantly on takeout during the week.  There are over 100 recipes in the book along with strategies to help with getting you cooking more.  Dishes like cocoa oats with yogurt, honey, and hazelnuts sound like a tasty way to put the takeout menu away.

New Pizza: A Whole New Era for the World’s Favorite Food
by Stefano Manfredi
new pizza
Speaking of take out, our most frequent choice is pizza, my son’s favorite and most requested food.  My husband’s family growing up had the tradition of watching a cheesy movie every Friday along with an extra cheese pizza with pepperoni, something we often enjoy on the weekends with our son.  As much as I enjoy the delicious pizza that the tri-state area’s pizzerias are famous for; I know making my own is a healthier option.  Stefano Manfredi in his book, New Pizza, uses whole wheat flour and fresh ingredients to give his pizza a healthier twist by looking back at the way it was historically made.  Manfredi is a leading expert on Italian food who grew up in Lombardy so I’m hoping that using his recipes and techniques we can create our own tasty slice of Italy from scratch.  New Pizza will be of interest to those interested in the history of pizza as well as making it.

Flavors of Africa: Discover Authentic Family Recipes from All Over the Continent
by Evi Aki
flavors of africa
I’m a huge fan of Ethiopian cuisine and some of our favorite dishes to make are ones prepared in a traditional Moroccan tagine we got several Christmases ago, but I’m less familiar with the food elsewhere in Africa so Evi Aki’s Flavors of Africa is on my list of cookbooks to check out.  Aki grew up with traditional Nigerian dishes but she also includes recipes from all over the continent.  I find this book extra appealing with its connection to family recipes that Aki collected from her own family and friends.  With African American History Month coming up in February this seems like a great choice to checkout no matter what your background and celebrate a group of immigrants to the US who have a delicious heritage to share.

The Secret Ingredient: Recipes for Success in Business and Life
by Gigi Butler
secret ingredient
You might have heard of Gigi Butler from Gigi’s Cupcakes.  In The Secret Ingredient Butler shares not only a delicious recipe for cupcakes or other desserts in each chapter, but also discusses her journey to overseeing a successful business which started in Nashville and then became a franchise destination.  I always enjoy memoir/cook book hybrids since it gives you a sense of where the recipes come from and how they were created which makes them seem even sweeter to me.  Whether baking is a favorite hobby of yours like it is for my son and I or you are looking for an inspirational book to start off the New Year this might be a good pick for you to check out.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Our Best of 2018: Book and Video Game Recommendations from the Past Year!

2 Jan

In celebration of the New Year we decided to look back at a few of the library staff’s favorites you can check out from Hoboken and other BCCLS libraries!  I’ve linked to the print editions, but Hoboken Library Patrons can check out many of the books as ebooks and digital audiobooks from eLibraryNJ, Hoopla, or eBCCLS.

Favorite Fiction: Lost Empress by Sergio de la Pava and
Social Creature
by Tara Isabella Burton
social creature
I read a lot of good books in 2018. My favorite was Lost Empress by Sergio de la Pava. I wrote about it for the blog earlier this year. I loved this book for the intricate plot, the stunning prose and dialog, and the way it made me laugh out loud.

Another book I greatly enjoyed was Tara Isabella Burton’s Social Creature, about a toxic friendship between Lavinia, a well-off New York party girl,  and Louise, who dreams of living Lavinia’s lifestyle, but barely manages to live hand to mouth as she pursues her dream of becoming a writer in New York. I loved the decadence, the homage to social media, the upscale product placement (Cristal! Agata and Valentina!), not to mention the sex and the drugs. Some of the craziness stretched credibility, but Social Creature is definitely not easily put down.

Written by:
Victoria Turk
Reference Librarian

Favorite Nonfiction: American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment
by Shane Bauer
American Prison
In 2014, Shane Bauer spent four months working undercover as a $9-an-hour prison guard at Louisiana’s notorious Winn Correctional Center, a private prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Bauer’s experiences at Winn will horrify most readers as he documents his experiences working in a severely understaffed private prison where guards are poorly trained and inmates live in appalling conditions. American Prison is not only an incredible piece of first-person journalism; Bauer also provides a history of private prisons, interspersing his narrative with an expose on the era of “convict leasing” in which prison labor replaced slave labor on plantations and free labor in many industries. Bauer’s history has made me reevaluate my understanding of America’s justice system more than any other book I have read.

Written By:
Karl Schwartz
Young Adult Librarian

Favorite Mystery: An Act of Villainy
by Ashley Weaver

My favorite mystery this year was An Act of Villainy by Ashley Weaver.  The book is part of Weaver’s Amory Ames series which I had written about in a blog about her previous novel The Essence of Malice.  I think this is my favorite in the series I’ve read so far.  The book is set in the backstage theatrical world of London in the 1930’s; Amory is asked to investigate when a leading lady (and mistress of a friend) begins receiving menacing letters.  In addition to an intriguing mystery, I thought it was interesting to see Amory react to the relationship troubles of another couple in light of some of her own marital complications.  Honorable mystery mentions go to Diane Andrew’s Toucan Keep a Secret and Rhys Bowen’s Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding.

Other books I have loved this year and previously blogged about include for science fiction: Catherynne M. Valente’s funny fanciful Space Opera which takes Eurovision Song Competition to a galactic level; best fiction would be The Last Cruise by Kate Christensen, with it slow building suspense and well written characters; and for fantasy Kill The Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. Dawson which gives a refreshing new spin on the classic hero’s quest.

Written By:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Favorite Video Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I’m an avid gamer and have been since childhood, so I was really looking forward to the newest installation of Super Smash Bros., especially since I’m old enough to have been around and playing since the first Smash Bros. game was released in the 1990s. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which was just released on December 7, absolutely lives up to the hype of its predecessors, and since acquiring it I haven’t been able to put it down and trying to unlock a roster of 74 video game characters so I can play as whoever I want. Smash Ultimate, the fifth installment of the series, is highly recommended.

Written By:
Steph Diorio
Local History Librarian

Curious what other library patrons have been enjoying this past year? Here are the ten most frequently circulated fiction and nonfiction works of 2018 compiled by Head of Circulation Rosary Van Ingen:

Top Circulating Fiction 2018

  1. Little Fires Everywhere
  2. An American Marriage
  3. The Woman in the Window
  4. The Immortalists
  5. The Great Alone
  6. Manhattan Beach
  7. Still Me
  8. The Lying Game
  9. All We Ever Wanted
  10. The Woman in Cabin 10

Top Circulating Nonfiction 2018

1. Fear: Trump in the White House
2. The Last Black Unicorn
3. Educated: A Memoir
4. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
5. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
6. Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
8. A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
9. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
10. Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn and TensorFlow: Concepts, Tools, and Techniques to Build Intelligent Systems

What were some of your favorite items this year? Let us know in the comment section!

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