Tag Archives: Kate Christensen

Three Great Book Choices You Can Check Out from Home: Blue Plate Special, Space Opera, and Mittens

19 Sep

Yesterday I posted about Read an eBook Day.  Today I thought I recommend two books I’ve enjoyed and one recommendation from my son who is also an ebook fan.  A great feature of eBooks is that they are perfect to borrow on rainy days or when you are feeling under the weather and don’t want to or can’t leave the house to stop in at the library in person.  Share with us in the comments if you checked out an ebook or digital audiobook recently and want to recommend it to our readers!

Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites

by Kate Christensen
BluePlateSpecial
I decided to read Blue Plate Special when I was craving something to read late at night before bed and did a quick search on eBCCLS; this seemed like a great choice since I had enjoyed Christensen’s novel, The Last Cruise, and am a fan of Foodie Memoirs. I enjoyed Christensen’s writing, but her life had a lot of trauma, complications, and was dominated by bad relationships – including an abusive father that made this a bit of dark read. I can see how the complexity of her own life has led her to be able to create such rich and nuanced characters in her fiction. Recipes are included in each section of her autobiography which was broken into the different places she has lived which include everywhere from California, New York, Iowa, and Paris. She mentions several times about journaling and I felt that she had kept logs of her life because of how detailed reflected events were recounted.  Christensen is one of three sisters and I felt her sibling’s lives sounded as interesting as her own with one, an aspiring ballerina and the youngest one, who winds up temporarily becoming part of a religious cult on the other side of the world.  Blue Plate Special ends with Christensen’s move to New England something she chronicles in How to Cook a Moose that I will pick up when the memoir mood strikes me again.

If you want even more foodie memoirs/fiction check out some of our previous posts. Three of the authors I wrote about previously you may recognize now from Food Network shows including Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Baked in Vermont, Molly Yeh’s Girl Meets Farm, and Jessica Tom as a contestant on the Next Food Network Star. You can borrow Jessica’s Tom’s novel Food Whore from eBCCLS and Gesine Bullock-Prado’s memoir My Life from Scratch from eLibraryNJ.

Space Opera
by Catherynne M. Valente
read by Heath Miller
Space Opera
If you are thinking you don’t have time to read an ebook, consider listening to one instead.  They are a relaxing way to commute to work (you might even wish that there was more traffic so you could get through one more chapter) or pass the time while doing some of your daily chores (I love listening to them while I’m folding laundry).  You can listen to Catherynne M. Valente’s latest novel Space Opera as a digital audiobook read by Heath Miller from Hoopla. I have written several times previously about Catherynne M. Valente, including her works Radiance and her Fairyland series, which I am fans of.  Valente’s worlds and characters are always highly original and quirky and those of Space Opera are no exception. Space Opera is set after a brutal intergalactic war tore civilizations apart; now in order to keep order, species must prove their worth not with military might but by competing in a singing competition like one you’ve never imagined.  This year humanity’s only hope is two thirds of a washed up glam rock band.  If you love Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy than you will enjoy Space Opera!

Mittens
by Lola M. Schaefer
Pictures by Susan Kathleen Hartung
Mittens
This pick comes from my son, Tommy, who just started first grade this month.  One of the great things you can borrow for kids from Hoopla is Read-Along ebooks. Think of them as an ebook/audiobook hybrid for emergent readers. It lets children hear books read and allows them to read along.  You can either have the pages automatically turn or turn them yourself. You can even pick how fast the pages are read. Over the summer we tried to read at least one book a day together and we’ve been transitioning from me reading to him to him often reading to me, with me giving assistance when he gets stuck on a word. The Read-Along ebooks provide a fun way for beginning readers to feel more confident about learning to read themselves.  First my son has them read the book and then he tries to read the books himself.  He loves cats and recently got a new kitten of his own so was enamored with the story of Mittens who must adjust to moving into a new home.  Since he was starting a new school this year it provided a good opportunity to discuss concerns about being in a new space himself; books can be a great way to get kids to open up about things. Besides the Mittens series, you can also borrow books in the Tommy approved Biscuit series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli if you have puppy dog fans in your house.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Turn Off Your Smart Phone: Make a Goal to Read More Books

8 Aug

Summer Reading is winding up at the library as I write this and as I logged my reading, I’ve realized I have been reading less lately, which isn’t completely accurate since I’ve been reading tons of news and blogs and such online, but I’ve certainly been reading less books.  This isn’t just true of myself – I’ve realized as I’ve talked to others.  The phones most of us carry now are more like mini tablets than a means of communication. They constantly demand to be checked for the latest social media update or what latest political scandal has occurred in the news. And that paperback book on my bedside table isn’t constantly sending me push notices, instead it sits there patiently as I renew it for another two weeks and think “I’ll read it tomorrow”.  Ruminating on it now I realize I’m missing out – though since there are entertaining and some high quality things online, there is also a lot of shallow click bait that wastes my time and doesn’t add to my enjoyment of life or increase my understanding of the world in a positive way.  So I’ve decided to put my phone away at the end of the day and read more books.  I hope you’ll join me; let’s keep that pushy electronic device waiting for an hour or two and instead get lost in a good book.

Here are two books I read this summer that I enjoyed curling up with while my cell phone was tucked away in a bed side drawer.  Both deal with frequent vacation destinations that are anything but ordinary.

The Last Cruise
by Kate Christensen
LastCruise
I hadn’t read any of Christensen’s writing before, but after reading The Last Cruise, I definitely want to check out more of her fiction and nonfiction. The Last Cruise was beautifully written with the kind of lush language and imagery one would expect to find in poetry. It is set on an old cruise ship making one last trip to Hawaii.  The three main characters: an elderly Israeli musician, an up and coming chef, and a farm wife on a life changing vacation, were all complex and I liked the emotional journey and development that occurred for the three of them over the course of the book. I’m looking forward to taking a cruise next year, so I’m hoping the many disasters that befall the ship and its passengers are not likely to occur in real life. At the very least – not all at once – from the comfort of my own home it was exciting to see how the characters fared through the many challenges they faced.

Tricks For Free
by Seanan McGuire
TricksforFree
I enjoyed this urban fantasy book a lot as I have the other books in the InCryptid series about a family that protects the monsters secretly living among us. Tricks for Free is the second novel focusing on Annie, the youngest of the Price siblings, and though I think I prefer her older sister as a character, I thought this novel was still fast paced and interesting. Tricks for Free is set at a Disney like Amusement Park, which was so well thought out that it felt real. It even had well-detailed associated fictional movies, songs, and characters; I’d love if McGuire crafted the stories that she based these on as they sounded so interesting. I’m looking forward to the next book when it comes out, which also follows Annie and her friends. Tricks for Free included a novella at the end focusing on Annie’s Aeslin Mice (talking mice that worship the Price family) and her boyfriend during the time she is on the run and has to leave them behind.

See the Latest Books Available at HPL
Want to see what is new at HPL?  You can always see what new books we have by browsing the shelves near the first floor circulation desk where they feature the new nonfiction and fiction.  Or you can find lists of new books and other items by going to https://catalog.bccls.org/polaris/custom/whatsnew.aspx?ctx=61

Hoboken Residents Can Have 10 Interlibrary Loan Requests
We appreciated everyone’s patience during the state’s recent interlibrary loan delivery issues, but are thrilled that we can again offer Hoboken Library Residents up to 10 loan requests from other BCCLS libraries at a time so even if something you want is out here, we can request it for you!

Written By:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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