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The Disaster Diaries –One Man’s Quest to Learn Everything Necessary to Survive the Apocalypse

23 Mar

Knowing that the physical Hoboken Public Library would be inaccessible to me for the at least next two weeks, I took a quick peek at my home bookshelves to look for something I haven’t gotten around to cracking open yet. Aha! That’s when I spotted The Disaster Diaries –One Man’s Quest to Learn Everything Necessary to Survive the Apocalypse by Sam Sheridan.  You can listen to it as a digital audio book on Hoopla.  Our digital resources are always available, even when the building is closed.

I’m not sure when or where I acquired this, but how fortuitous! The book is blurbed as the story of a guy who has a background in mixed martial arts, emergency medical and firefighting skills. He claims that after becoming a father, thoughts of disaster spurred him on to learn further survival skill sets.

To clear up any misconceptions before you get your hopes up too high, the specific pandemic we now find ourselves in, that of being forced to adapt our behaviors to inhibit the spread of a virus was not a situation Sam Sheridan considered when writing his book.

So far, things have been inconvenient, economically unpleasant, psychically frightening, and uncertain. They have not, as of yet, required wilderness survival or combat skills.  Sheridan uses ridiculous scenarios (think zombie apocalypse) to provide a launching point for his real life strategies that are based on scientific studies or the advice of real-life experts. This is not without entertainment value in the world we find ourselves in, with access restricted to sports, art and community.

Physical preparedness, stockpiling food and water, learning to use weapons, wilderness medicine, and even some urban “survival” skills (stealing a vehicle / stunt car driving) are covered. As are the mental attitudes necessary to weather the storm.

TEOTWAWKI – The End of the World as We Know It. Are you ready? Do you need to be? I recommend this book as infotainment and hope we’ll all be able to meet up soon in the Hoboken Public Library.

Written by:
Victoria Turk
Reference Librarian

Have any timely reads about getting through tough situations?  Share them in the comments!

A Book Where Language is the Star: Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

24 Dec

Night Boat to Tangier
I picked up Night Boat to Tangier after I saw it chosen on the New York Times list of the 10 Best Books of 2019. It’s a relatively small volume, and flipping through it, I saw a lot of white space and dialogue.

A quick read, I thought. I can’t remember which conversation caught my eye, but I was hooked.

The plot concerns two older Irish thugs, Charlie Redmond and Maurice Hearne, who are waiting in a ferry terminal in Algeciras, Spain. They are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter, Dilly, to pass through the terminal either coming or going on a boat to Tangier, Morocco.

The book hopscotches back and forth from the terminal waiting to fill-in of the backstory behind the lives of the two men and how they came to be waiting in the present moment.

Language is the star: gritty, salty (language), menacing, melancholic, lyrical and poetic.

Charlie and Maurice go a long way back, and use their own linguistic shorthand as they discuss friendship, aging, the nature of death, and more.

One strange plot coincidence didn’t ruin the book for me, but rather made me think about why the author included it. I still haven’t quite figured that out.

On the whole I enjoyed that language and the way the story was told, but this left me feeling a bit melancholic myself.

Written by:
Victoria Turk
Reference Librarian

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