Tag Archives: frank sinatra

Celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month this October with titles from Overdrive/Libby, Hoopla, and Kanopy!

20 Oct

My husband’s maternal great grandparents emigrated from Italy so my household is proud to celebrate in October all the many accomplishments and rich cultural heritage Italians have brought to this country, so I couldn’t resist this month sharing some books and more you can check out about Italian-Americans.

Voices of Italian America: A History of Early Italian American Literature with a Critical Anthology
by Martino Marazzi
Voices of Italian America includes an authoritative study and collection of the Italian-language literature written and published in the United States from the Great Migration (1880–1920) to shortly after World War II.  This time reflects the rise of Little Italy’s in cities where Italian-Americans were in largely insular communities in which Italian continued to be the main language.

Italian Immigrants: In their Shoes
by Tyler Omoth
The Juvenile Nonfiction title, Italian Immigrants part of the Immigrants Experience series, provides children with information about the lives and challenges Italian-Americans including a timeline, quotes, and “fast facts.”

Cake Boss: The Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia
by Buddy Valastro
With his show Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro put Hoboken and Carlos’s Bakery on the map as the destination for Italian-American pastries and baked goods like Lobster Tails and cannoli.  Besides Cake Boss, also available by Valastro in print from BCCLS Libraries: Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss: Family Favorites as only Buddy can Serve Them Up and Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy’s Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets.

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power
by Susan Page
Featuring interviews with Pelosi and those who know her best Madam Speaker takes a look at the life of the First Female Speaker of the House.  Want to learn more also available are Molly Ball’s Pelosi and Queens of the Resistance: Nancy Pelosi by Brenda Jones and Krishan Trotman.

Sinatra: The Chairman and Frank: The Voice
by James Kaplan
Check out James Kaplan’s biographies on Hoboken born classic Italian-American crooner Frank Sinatra!  Also available are Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank by Barbara Sinatra and His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra by Kitty Kelley.

The Italian Americans
The 2015 PBS Documentary Series, The Italian Americans, explores the immigrant experience of Italian Americans and their impact on American history and Culture.  Also available from Kanopy: Da Feast! about the Italian American celebration of San Paulino di Nola in Brooklyn.

During the early parts of Hoboken’s history Italians specifically those from Southern Italy such as Molfetta have been one of the largest group that settled here in Hoboken.  Although some returned to Italy or their descendants moved elsewhere in America, there are still plenty of reminders of Hoboken’s proud Italian Heritage with businesses like Fiore’s (providing their delicious Mozzarella since 1913), Leo’s Grandevous (open since 1939 and just steps away from the Municipal Building where our Grand Street Branch is located), and Dom’s Bakery nearby our Main Branch since 1979.  Plus every summer residents of all backgrounds enjoy St. Ann’s Feast and the Hoboken Italian Festival celebrating the Feast of Madonna Dei Martiri.  Want to learn more about Hoboken History or get help with genealogical research; reach out to our history librarian (and proud Italian American) by emailing Stephanie.Diorio@hobken.bccls.org!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

Dewey Decimal Challenge: Book 4 – Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings by Craig Brown (The 000s)

1 Feb

Like so many people, I love to peek behind the curtain into the lives of the world famous. I think that there are several reasons why people love celebrity culture: 1) it gives us something to talk about–celebrity gossip is lighthearted without any dangerous landmines to navigate; 2) watching or reading about the luxurious lives of the rich and famous can help us to mentally escape from our own, perhaps less-charmed, circumstances; and 3) witnessing instances of regular human behavior from celebrities gives us hope that perhaps one day we will be cavorting with the up-and-coming stars of our day.  While I am nowhere near someone like my sister-in law’s level of celebrity expert (she attends Hanson meet-and-greets to this day and once fiercely whispered to me that Sofia Vergara – who? – and her son had just entered the Rhode Island mansion that we were touring), I do enjoy reading the latest superstar scoop on sites like Jezebel during my train ride home each evening.

Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings by Craig Brown (082 BRO)


For this week’s pick, we are in the 080s, the land of general collections. You might seek out the 080s if you are in the mood for short passages that don’t require the same commitment as an in-depth study of a particular subject.  Our book this week is Craig Brown’s Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings, which details the encounters between peers that take place in the celebrity social circle. These meetings often reveal the subjects’ vulnerabilities and eccentricities. The format of the book is unique in that it illustrates the idea of six degrees of separation.  For instance, Brown describes the first meeting between Laurence Olivier and J.D. Salinger in one passage, and, in the next, describes J.D. Salinger’s first encounter with Ernest Hemingway, and so on.  It is very interesting to study the differences between one person’s separate encounters with two different people. As many of us know from personal experience, people react differently depending on with whom they are interacting, and this certainly shines through on these pages. In addition, many of these encounters, on the surface, seem pleasant enough, but this is frequently a façade in the celebrity world in order to keep up appearances. For example, upon meeting Nikita Khrushchev, Marilyn Monroe professes to be delighted but is in fact repulsed by Khruschchev who she brutally describes as “fat and ugly” with “warts on his face.” This temperamental quality seems to be standard in individuals who have made it big.

There were many celebrities mentioned in the pages of Hello Goodbye Hello whom I had never heard of prior to reading. There were also celebrities whose names I did recognize but whom I know very little about. I particularly enjoyed reading the passages on Elvis Presley’s strained meeting with the star-struck Beatles as well as his odd request from President Richard M. Nixon. Despite being a regular user of drugs, Presley requested a meeting with the then President in order to talk about obtaining a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs special agent badge. He claimed to be worried about the country’s youth and said that he hoped to restore respect for his country’s flag, which he thought was threatened by anti-American sentiment. Nixon accepted his request, seeing Presley as a high-profile ally in his quest to increase his popularity with the young people of America. Presley’s wife later claims that he only wanted the badge in order to safely transport his drugs without fear of being arrested!

Another passage that will stay with me long after I put this book down focuses on Frank Sinatra and his brutality. Prior to reading Hello Goodbye Hello, I knew nothing about Sinatra’s violent nature, but it is on full display in Brown’s passage regarding Dominick Dunne. And while it may be an unpopular opinion in Hoboken, Sinatra’s birthplace, I believe that a beautiful voice does not excuse an individual from civility. His ego takes him far beyond the realm of other celebrities mentioned in this book to a dark and dangerous place that is, honestly, a bit unsettling.

With that being said, I recommend this book if you enjoy reading about famous writers, artists, actors, musicians, politicians, etc. When you mix together a sense of entitlement, a little insecurity, and a lot of eccentricity, you get a ticking time bomb, which can lead to very entertaining first encounters.

-Written by Sharlene Edwards, Senior Children’s Librarian

Click here to read past posts about Sharlene’s Dewey Decimal Challenge!

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