Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Top 5 Reasons to Listen to Audiobooks

Audiobook advantages: The 5 top reasons to 'read' audiobooks

Audiobook Advantage #1: Your house will be very clean!
I recently started “reading” books on my daily commute and discovered a few advantages to listening to a book compared to reading words on a page.  I was a little reluctant to listen to someone else do the reading (I rather like the voices in my head,) but two people convinced me to give it a try; plus I was curious as to how a narrator manages the voices of more than one character. The first person told me that she downloads audiobooks to her smartphone and listens while she cleans her house. As a result, her house is very clean because she does not want to stop listening to the book she just downloaded.   

Audiobook Advantage #2: Shorter holds lists.You will probably have more chances to get your hands on the title you want to read if you are willing to listen to it. The second audiobook fan who got me started down the audio road recommended a book she had just read and the only copy available at the time was on CD. 

Audiobook Advantage #3: Follow the Reader. Right now I’m listening to the recently released In the Unlikely Event, an adult novel by Elizabeth, New Jersey native, Judy Blume. The story begins in Elizabeth, NJ in the early 1950s when airline travel was new. Judy Blume was a young girl living in Elizabeth when a series of airline accidents resulted in the shutdown of Newark Airport. She uses these actual events to tell the fictional stories of three generations of people who were brought together by the tragedies. The reader, Kathleen McInerney, convincingly uses different voices for each character and reads at just the right pace and with the right sense of drama. This brings me to Audiobook Advantage #3: If you like a particular book and want a similar experience, you can either look for more titles by that author or you can see what else the reader has narrated.  Simply search for the reader’s name the same way you would search for an author’s name. I found two more adult novels by Judy Blume to add to my reading list and two more books narrated by Kathleen McInerney that I’m adding to my reading list.

Then there is Audiobook Advantage #4: You can read 2 books at once. I listen to one book during my daily commute and read another at home on the sofa.

Audiobook Advantage # 5: the Voices in Your Head versus the Voices on the Audio.
The people who listened to the Harry Potter books, instead of reading the words on printed pages, raved about the man who read the books. Jim Dale, the reader/performer created 134 different character voices for the Harry Potter series. That was a record until Roy Dotrice started narrating the Game of Thrones series using 224 different voices. 

If you want to read In the Unlikely Event, you can place a hold on the book or the audiobook. As of 1:00 p.m. June 15, if you place a request for the book, you will be number 12 on the waiting list. Applying Audiobook Advantage #2, if you place a request for the audiobook you will be number 4 in  line.
As for me, I’m still trying to decide if I want to apply Audiobook Advantage #1. Do I have to clean while listening at home or can I just listen on the sofa? Audiobook Guilt #1: You don't have to jog or clean while you listen, but you can and it makes the job much more fun.

Take a look at our 'All Things E' page to find sources for borrowing ebooks and e-audiobooks for free.

-Melanie Edwards

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What to Do in New York City: a Shaggy Dog Story

At the Berkley Heights Public Library Reference Desk, we get lots of questions about travel books. We have a pretty good collection of Fodor's and other publisher's books covering travel around the world. Because our town is a suburb of New York city, most residents already know how to get around in the city and where to go, but we have some books on the topic, just in case our patrons need some fresh ideas. Which reminds me of the shaggy dog story about the Montana rancher who longed to see New York city and asked his neighbor, a retired New Yorker, for advice. Everything in this story could be true and there are links to the attractions listed. The Dewey Decimal number for New York City travel books is 917.471 if you want to browse our book collection. Enjoy the story. This is dedicated to our native New Yorker, Alice at the library, who introduced me to Cel-ray soda at Goodman's Deli. To me, native Philadelphian, it tastes like old socks, but Philly sights and food is a story for another day. 

Having retired from his job as an influential NYC tycoon and man-about-town, Simon bought a small idyllic ranch in the foothills of the Rockies in Montana.  His next door neighbor, Jake, was a third generation rancher with a 40,000 acre cattle ranch.
            One day, Jake knocked on Simon’s door and asked, “What is New York City like?”
Somewhat taken aback by the question, Simon inquired why Jake was interested.

            It seems that Jake, having lived on Montana all of his life was fascinated with New York City, having seen it as the setting for many TV shows, and having read about it in numerous magazine articles.  And now, as he was approaching late middle-age, he wanted to visit NYC.

            “After having worked non-stop on my ranch for the last forty years, I’m going to be taking a two-week vacation, and I’m going to NYC.  What do I need to know so I don’t look like a hick in the” City”?  What should I do?  Where should I eat?  How do I get around? . . .
            Amused by his neighbor’s questions, Simon began to answer Jake’s questions.

            “There’s so much of everything in NYC.  There’s something to do for everybody.  Take museums for instance.  You can go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Guggenheim, or the Whitney, or MOMA, the Museum of the Barrio, . . . or any number of other museums.  Depending upon the season, you can go see various NY sports teams -  the Mets, the Rangers, the Knicks, the Giants, the Jets, the Devils, the Islanders, or my favorite team, the Yankees, play.  For sheer entertainment, you can take a Circle Line cruise around Manhattan – I recommend you do it on a clear night!  You might want to go to the top of the EmpireState Building or the Freedom Tower, visit the NY Stock Exchange, ride the Staten Island ferry, go to a Broadway show, window shop on Fifth Avenue . .  . go to the Bronx Zoo, or the Botanical Garden, or the American Museum of Natural History . . . or the Hayden Planetarium.  It’s up to you.  There’s so much to see and do, and everywhere you turn, there is world-class everything!

            After enumerating NYC’s offering for over thirty minutes, Jake excitedly began making a list of all the placed he wanted to visit, and all the things he wanted to do.  And in short order, Jake’s two weeks were filled with things to do in “the city that never sleeps.”  Then, Jake asked Simon about where to stay and what to eat,

            “Well, Jake!  There are chain hotels, boutique hotels . . . Hotels from the very expensive to the relatively inexpensive.  There are world famous hotels like the Waldorf Astoria and Plaza to budget hotels such as Holiday Inn.  And there are lots of world class restaurants representing many of the cultures of the world.  And then, there are all the dives in the neighborhoods such as Little Italy, Chinatown, the lower East Side, Harlem, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, the Upper West Side – there are too many to name!”
            One of Simon’s favorite places to eat had been the Carnegie Deli, and so he advised Jake to have lunch there one day.  And knowing how “New York” the Carnegie Deli could be, Simon instructed Jake how to act when ordering lunch.

            “When you enter, you’ll be propelled to a table and immediately asked what you want.  Just say, ‘I’ll have a pastrami on rye – and make it lean.’  You’ll also be asked what you want to drink.  Real New Yorkers drink Dr. Brown’s Cel-ray soda”

            Impressed by his friend’s knowledge of NYC, Jake asked Simon to create an itinerary that would make full use of his vacation time in NYC.

            Two months later, Jake found himself in NYC.  No longer wearing his boots, his wide-brim Stetson, and his worn Levi’s, he felt like he could fit into the hustle and bustle of NYC.  He felt comfortable riding the subway, enjoyed the special exhibit at the Met, almost fell asleep during a lunch-time folk concert in Thompkins Park, experienced a Yankee game, visited the SouthStreet Seaport, gawked at the exotic foodstuffs displayed in Chinatown grocery stores, thrilled at the view from the observation deck of the Empire State Building, was mesmerized by the precision dancing at the Radio City Music Hall . . .  By the end of his two week stay, Jake was exhausted but awed by the variety, vitality, and quality of New York life.

            On his last day in NYC, Jake, having checked off the activities which Simon had deemed “experience worthy,” discovered that the one thing he had not experienced was a lunch at the Carnegie Deli.  So before taking the “Train to the Plane,” he walked into the Carnegie Deli.

            “And what’ll you have?” asked the graying waiter, propelling Jake toward a small table across from the deli counter.

            “Pastrami on rye – and make it lean,” replied Jake, trying to act nonchalantly as Simon had instructed.

            “Very good, sir!  And what’ll you have to drink?”

            “Dr. Brown’s Cel-ray . . .”

            “Very good, sir!  And what’ll you have with your pastrami?”

            “Oh! Just a little mayo.”

            “And how are things in Montana?”          

Thanks to Ted, raconteur of long, long jokes... I promise to hold the mayo.
Happy Birthday, Alice!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What if Book Reviews Were Written Like Text Messages? BR=TM

A while ago I wrote a blog post in which I wondered...What if Book Reviews Were Written Like Wine Reviews?

Recent 'Incoming' text messages which I have had to decode by 'Googling' the acronyms sent to me by younger, hipper people (ahem, my kids) got me to thinking about...

What if book reviews were written like text messages with a bit of Twitter hashtags thrown in?
Or should I say #whatif? BR=TM ROTFL because YOLO, I literally can't even um like imagine, but here goes.

In our continuing series of posts about what is new on our non-fiction shelf, LMK if u like these books:

Get What's Yours, the Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security by Laurence J Kotlikoff
(368.4 KOT) Our BR=TM: How is that even possible? Define 'yours' #getmoreSS$$

The Teenage Brain, a neuroscientist's survival guide to raising adolescents and young adults by Frances E. Jensen, MD (612.6 JEN) Our BR=TM: RUH ROH enter the teen brain AYOR The Struggle is Real! But seriously folks, if it's quiet, too quiet, check their rooms.

Biscuits, sweet and savory southern recipes for the all-American kitchen by Jackie Garvin (641.815 GAR) Our BR=TM: OM NOM NOM #nuffsaid WTF (Well that's *fantastic, right?)

 How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest et al (305.409 BER) Our BR=TM: Ladies and Germs...I am sure the Academie Francaise is rolling in its collective grave at the very perish-the-thought of les messages SMS. Mais, non! #Jamais! #SacreBleu

I aw8t 4 u 2 reply to this post.
IMHO this post rocks!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nurses Write!

Two books currently on the New Non-Fiction Shelf are nurses' accounts of what it is like to work in their much admired and appreciated profession. The library  has many books written by doctors about their profession, but  it is harder to find similar autobiographical accounts by nurses or nurse memoirs. I don't know why this is, but I am sure that a statistical look at Amazon or Books in Print would bear me out on this inbalance of health care provider's authorship.* When the local high school students come in to research a profession, which is a perennial assignment, we now have two fascinating new nursing memoirs as well as a few from previous years.

Becoming Nursey: from Code Blues to Code Browns, How to Care for Your Patients and Yourself by Kati Kleber, BSN RN (2014) (@nurseeyeroll on Twitter and the blog (610.73 KLE)
I follow Kati Kleber's Twitter account @nurseeyeroll which I find very amusing. In the last year or so, she has been tweeting about her new memoir 'Becoming Nursey' which is meant to help new nurses understand what it takes to become a nurse after graduating from nursing school. She writes that she could not find any book that helped new nurses make the transition from school to actually practicing nursing. So for anyone interested in the profession, or about to start out, diploma in hand, this book tells not only the practical aspects of nursing, but also the emotional side.

The library also owns a collection of essays by nurses and about nursing:
I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse, edited by Lee Gutkind (2013) (610.73 IWA).
This book would also make a good introduction to anyone interested in the nursing profession.

Books about nursing that have been on the library shelves for a little longer:

Critical care : a new nurse faces death, life, and everything in between by Theresa Brown (2010) (616 BROWN)

Intensive Care, the Story of a Nurse by Echo Heron (1987) (610.73 HERON)

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (2002) The PBS TV series is based on this memoir.

And finally, the classic of nursing theory and practice:

Notes on Nursing by Florence Nightingale (1860) (649.8 NIGHTINGALE)

* My unscientific statistical look at published doctor memoirs versus nurse memoirs bears out my hunch that doctors write about what it takes to become a doctor and what it is like to be a doctor more than nurses write their memoirs.
Amazon search of the terms 'doctor memoirs' (1909) versus 'nurse memoirs' (763)
Google Books search of the terms 'doctor memoirs' (1,020,000) versus 'nurse memoirs' (319,000)
BHPL catalog of books, using the search term 'doctor biography' (51) versus 'nurse biography' (25)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bullets that Remain and the Problems They Cause

 The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly (2015) is a new thriller by journalist Kelly that kept me so engrossed on my day off that I put off my to-do list til the next day. Georgetown professor Caroline Cashion feels increasing pain in her wrist which turns out to be caused, not by carpal tunnel syndrome, but by a stray bullet buried deep in her neck - despite the fact that she has no memory of ever being shot. The story takes off like a, oh yes, a shot, and provides a page-turning adventure. Cashion finds out how and when she got shot and follows up the cold case that is the story of her childhood trauma. 

This was not the first book I have read about a bullet left in a shooting victim who lives, only to experience side-effects years later. The library book group read Traveler by Ron McLarty a few years ago. The blog review is below. Kelly's book is a thriller in the style of Gone Girl where the plot may sometimes seem improbable, but the suspense about what happens next pushes the reader on quickly. McLarty's book is beautifully told and elegiac in style, so the books are not similar other than the premise of the bullet that was never removed as the driver of the plots. Thanks to Jean F. at Circulation Desk for the recommendation of The Bullet. By word of mouth, the book is circulating well at BHPL and there are several holds on it now. While you are waiting, read Traveler.

Traveler by Ron McLarty

first posted in 2010

The library evening book group will discuss Ron McLarty's Traveler on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. Traveler, actor and author McLarty's second novel, has lived up to expectations of readers and critics after his critically acclaimed The Memory of Running.

The plot: middle-aged and middling part-time actor and bartender, Jono Riley returns to his working-class hometown of East Providence, Rhode Island, when he hears of the death of Marie, a childhood friend. A bullet left in Marie's body after a random and unsolved shooting in her childhood traveled to an artery and killed her in her sleep. Jono travels home to find that his gang of friends, now dispersed or dead, have changed. Narrated in the first person, Jono's memories of growing up are interwoven with the present day trip. During his visit, Jono and retired policeman Kenny Snowden solve the cases of the unsolved shooting of Marie and several other local unsolved shootings.

The beauty of this book, as with Art in America, the only other McLarty novel I've read, is in the voice of the narrator. Jono Riley's story is told in a conversational style that just flows like someone who can hold a group of friends spellbound with his storytelling ability. The mystery in the plot certainly holds the readers interest, but I felt that the trip down memory lane, revisiting old haunts, remembering old friends from highschool, re-experiencing the old neighborhood and the remaining parents of old friends, all of these things most people will relate to. So many people leave home after highschool graduation and really never live at home again, that the experience of trying to recapture the old days is almost universal. I don't know how it feels to be one of the people who stay in the hometown, but for everyone else, the nostalgia that comes with leaving home will resonate.
Jono Riley after helping Officer Snowden uncover a cache of guns in the old priest's trunk wonders:
"Standing alone, some wind whipping around and gray clouds rolling in, I felt it seemed to be the perfect time to ask myself what the hell I was doing here. Rhode Island. East Providence. The bartender/actor sinking in memories and mysteries...I remain essentially a child of the working class, seeking at the very least a modicum of order." (158) Jono Riley decides he needs to go back to New York City, his girlfriend, his present-day life to get his life in order.