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Breakout the Seedcakes and Blackberry Tarts: Celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Tolkien’s Birth!

6 Jan

January 3 is the 125th birth anniversary of J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien who was born in 1892 in what is now South Africa in Bloemfontein.  Tolkien’s hobbits celebrated their byrding days (birthdays) by giving gifts to others rather than simply receiving gifts themselves.  Tolkien has clearly gifted the world with his writing; his work has been translated into over 60 languages as well as having been adapted as movies and even video games.  This is the perfect time to come in and check some out some of his writing and works he inspired today.

The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again

The first and perhaps the most accessible of Tolkien’s novels set in middle earth, The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit whose life is changed when Gandalf the Wizard transforms his safe ordinary life into one of adventure.  My first encounter with it was the cartoon from the late 1970’s, which is available at some BCCLS libraries.  Also available to check out is Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings published as three volumes (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) which continue to be influential on many contemporary writers and is the archetype of High Fantasy.  If you would like to start listening to them right now visit Hoopla for digital audiobook copies.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Films Directed by Peter Jackson

You can borrow several of the ambitious films that Peter Jackson directed including The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from HPL.  I saw The Lord of the Rings trilogy with my father who was overjoyed with the special effects laden and visually stunning adaptations of books he had loved as a teenager.  The Hobbit movies were a bit controversial with some fans due to the addition of new characters and plot lines to allow for three films; check them out and see what you think.

Video Games Set in Middle Earth

Not satisfied with merely reading or watching about Middle Earth, immerse yourself in the epic battles with Lego The Lord of the Rings for the Xbox 360 or PS3.  The game allows you to unlock over 80 playable Lego versions of Middle Earth characters.   This game is rated E 10+.  For those looking for a more adult game check out Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor for the PS3, PS4, Xbox One, or Xbox 360 rated M; you play as Talion, a Ranger of the Black Gate and is set prior to the events in Lord of the Rings.  Also available is the rated M game The Lord of the Rings. War in the North for Xbox 360.

The Story of Kullervo

If you are already a fan of Tolkien and looking for something new then you might be intrigued by The Story of Kullervo.  Although only recently published, The Story of Kullervo is an early short story from circa 1915, which is based on part of the Finnish epic Kalevala.   Also included are transcripts of Tolkien’s talks on Kalevala.

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski

Tolkien was part of a literary club in 1932 called the Inklings, who first met at Oxford University. The Inklings critiqued each other’s works and debated the hot topics of the time.  The Fellowship focuses on four of the groups most famous members and it is an interesting look at some of the forces that shaped Tolkien and his work.  Looking for more in-depth insight into Tolkien’s work?  You can also borrow from HPL The Tolkien Companion by J. E. A. Tyler and Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Upcoming Console Games and Their Current Counterparts

28 May

There are some great new console games set for release in 2014.  Hoboken Public Library will be adding these to our collection as soon as we can, but we already have a considerable collection of games for PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Wii U.  So, here are some upcoming console releases along with similar games currently in our collection.











Upcoming:  Destiny

Systems:  Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3

Release Date:  September 9, 2014

Website: Destiny the Game

When a company like Activision (Call of Duty) is backing the renowned game-makers at Bungie, it’s difficult not to be enthralled.  Destiny will undoubtedly be a next-gen flagship although it’s set to be released on both new and old consoles.  With the incorporation of some RPG archetypes such as character classes, Destiny promises to breathe new life into the often stale and overdone first-person shooter genre. But, despite a nifty new system of character specialization, Destiny looks less like a militarized mock-up of a sci-fi RPG and more like a shooter game (Halo series) with some added style.  Destiny’s setting is also strikingly similar to that of Halo, a wide universe of sprawling structures and mammoth military craft.  These similarities are not necessarily a bad thing, and Destiny looks like it will only be building upon Bungie’s past successes.  Plus, the gameplay looks action-packed, graphically engrossing, and just plain fun.  And, I am sure there will be plenty of aliens to kill.

If blasting aliens sounds like a dream come true, check out these current counterparts of Destiny from Hoboken Public Library or through interlibrary loan:

If you were more excited when I mentioned sci-fi RPGs, check out these titles:












Upcoming:  Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS

Systems:  Wii U, Nintendo 3DS

Release Date:  TBA – 2014

Website: Smash Bros.

Back in 1999, Nintendo released the original Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 which soon became the nucleus of teenage slumber parties worldwide.  Never before had Nintendo fans been able to pit Pikachu against the likes of Luigi, and suddenly, gamers had an awesomely entertaining avenue by which to settle their differences through virtual four-way battles of epic vitriol.  In 2001, Nintendo expanded the possibilities by releasing the follow-up title, Super Smash Bros. Melee on Gamecube.  This game more than doubled the cast of characters that take part in these enthralling throwdowns. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008) on Wii was the logical follow-up to Melee, refining the game where it faltered and further expanding character options outside the world of Nintendo.  Finally, Nintendo has announced the next installment in the series, set to be released in 2014.  This one promises to please by building upon what Nintendo fans already love, fights with their favorite characters and friends.  It also will expand the Smash Bros. model a little more by featuring a multitude of mighty characters from both inside and outside Nintendo.  Classic Capcom character Megaman has already been announced, and Sega staple Sonic will be reprising his role from Melee.  Punch-out boxer Little Mac will also be entering the arena.

If you’re keen on fighting your friends with classic characters, check out these current counterparts from Hoboken Public Library or through interlibrary loan:














Upcoming: Mad Max

Systems:  Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3

Release Date:  December 31, 2014

Website: Mad Max Game

At last!  The futurist tale of post-apocalyptic Earth is becoming a video game.  For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Mad Max is based on a series of films about the world after oil shortages have plunged it into continual chaos.  The films feature a plethora of ad hoc contraptions and crafty vehicles of destruction.  The game will hopefully have much of the same hell-raising action but in a free-roam virtual environment where players employ their skills both on-foot and behind the wheel of various murder machines.  It is also slated for a release that coincides with the new film, Mad Max: Fury Road.

If frantic skirmishes in a post-apocalyptic world sounds like your cup of tea, check out these current counterparts of Mad Max from Hoboken Public Library or through interlibrary loan:

If you’re more interested in the films, check those out as well:

-Written by Joseph Emery, Library Assistant

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