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  • 12/22/14--16:11: Monsterpiece Theatre
  • Cookie Monster at LPA. Photo by Jonathan Blanc.

    Sesame Street is justly famous for the early childhood education components—making young children comfortable with the alphabet and numbers. One key component is providing pre-literacy experiences for children to share with parents or caregivers. To make that work, the Sesame Street writing and production staff develops songs and skits that attract adult attention. They provide television that is experienced together, although on different levels by adults and children. One well-loved method is via television parodies.

    One of my favorite Sesame Street series has been Monsterpiece Theatre, parodying PBS's long-running Masterpiece Theatre. It was one of a series of take-offs from PBS cultural programming, which includes Live from the Nest and Barnegie Hall and other bites on the hands that fed them. It may have been inevitable, but Cookie Monster was selected to host, in a direct parody of Masterpiece Theatre's original host, Alistair Cooke.

    Alistair Cooke was a British journalist based in the US, known for his "Letter from America" radio broadcasts on the BBC (1946-2004). He had hosted Omnibus, one of network television's earliest performing arts series, from 1952, and was seen as a spokesperson for culture. Cooke hosted Masterpiece Theatre for its first 21 years. To understand his importance as a journalist, as well as a spokesman for culture, check out his writings. NYPL has circulating and non-circulating copies of most of his publications.

    The theme music and introductory sequence in a room filled with fine bindings and framed photographs connected at least the adults watching Sesame Street with the Sunday evening experience of viewing the costumed dramas on PBS. Cookie's take on Cooke is so persuasive that I wasted research time searching for photos of the journalist in a silk smoking jacking to match the Muppet's, which is on display in the gallery. Cooke wore a good wool jacket.

    The Monsterpiece Theatre parodies are not generally of Masterpiece Theatre shows, which were most often multi-episode serials. But like them, they are usually based on classic novels or plays. Check them out on the Sesame Street website or the Sesame Street YouTube. Some are short gags—in The King and I, Grover does "Shall We Dance" with a Muppetized letter i. One Flies Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but only after 3 flies over the chicken coop and 4 flies over the pig sty. Some are themselves Muppetized, such as Waiting for Elmo, with a Beckett-approved desiccated tree on the set. Other episodes are a continuous series of jokes, as in the Cyrano de Bergerac with characters trying to avoid using the word "nose." One of my favorites is a standard Grover driving Mr. Johnson crazy routines, except that in Much Ado About Nothing, they are in Elizabethan doublet and, as Edward Eager would say, speaking "forsoothly."

    More on Cookie and the current series of parodies in my next post.

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    I recently attended the annual MCN conference in Dallas, TX, where lots of digitally-minded museum, library, and cultural people get together to learn from and about each other. While there, I gave an Ignite talk. Ignite is a specific style of talk where there are 20 slides, and each advances automatically after 15 seconds. The format forces you to get down to the nitty-gritty of what is important in your presentation, and makes for some exciting deliveries. My talk, naturally, was about something I am really passionate about: Instagram. Having co-managed the NYPL Instagram account (along with Billy Parrott, Managing Librarian, Art and Picture Collection) for the past 18 months, I shared my insights in a talk titled “Your Instagram Doesn’t Have to Suck.” But it’s really Twenty Ways to Make People Fall in Love With Your Instagram.

    tldr: Watch a 5-minute video of the talk here.

    1. Find Out What’s Wrong. There are some common reasons that cultural institutions fare poorly on Instagram, such as: all the photos you post are of marketing department-friendly art and programs that you’ve seen everywhere else already, your captions have no personality, and/or your posts are just plain boring.

    2. People Want People. Your followers want to see the people behind the feed. They want to see the people who make your institution run—from the people sorting your books to the art installers to the security guards.

    3. Get Senior Management Involved. We all know that senior management is involved. But it’s important to show it. We’ve posted candids of our Chief Library Officer Mary Lee Kennedy to promote our #libraryshelfie day (more on this later) and our CEO/President Tony Marx enjoying a concert at our Holiday Open House.

    4. Have a Reliable Schedule. Every Tuesday people know to look for our #reviewsontues, and Wednesdays is always #qandawednesday. We’ve had #librarywayfriday and #madlibsmonday, and even had an entire month dedicated to #literarymarchmadness. People notice what you post when, so be conscious of it.

    5. Have Challenges. Look for fun ways people can contribute submissions. We’ve asked people to hunt for lions guarding libraries and tag them #nyplsafari. We post a #bookfacefriday each week and then repost our favorite submissions throughout the day.

    6. Have Conversations. Don’t just ask a question and drop it, but discuss things! We post fun #emojibooks challenges, and often someone gets the answer very quickly. So we almost always are ready with follow-ups. One popular one is “What are other books by this author, answer only accepted in emoji.”

    7. Engage with Comments. Give people a photo and have them caption it. We do a #fakelitquote series with super flowery prose and ask people to contribute their own.

    8. Talk to Each Other. We reached out to a library in LeClaire, Iowa and asked if their mascot Stretch the Giraffe would like to come for a visit and ended up featuring him in our feed for an entire week. We were recently challenged to find fun mustache photos in our collections by the California Historical Society, and in turn challenged two other libraries to participate. It wound up being a really fun back and forth.

    9. Visit Each Other. When you’re on vacation, don’t just be a tourist—reach out and introduce yourself! People want to talk about what they’re doing and it’s great for us to showcase each other’s work on our feeds.

    10. Join Community Initiatives. We joined in with other institutions on last year’s #museumselfie day. It’s a great way to find like-minded people to follow, and for them to find you.

    11. Play Off Existing Ideas. Museum Selfie Day implied you needed to be in front of art, specifically at a museum—people don't see their own artworks at home as the same caliber of those on a museum wall. But books, however... My books are just as good as your books which are just as good as your local library's books. So we decided to hold #libraryshelfie day a week later, and the stats were flooring: approximately 1,500 Instagram posts and 1,800 tweets from roughly 244 libraries/orgs/anything non-personal accounts. That includes posts from 14 countries (37 in Sweden!!), 28 US states (plus DC!), 112 public libraries, 58 college and university libraries, 18 publishers, and 16 museums. We even had submissions from a church, a restaurant, and a hospital.

    12. Bring the Community to You. We held a #libraryhopping meet-up this fall after seeing requests for something more organized in our comments. We had about 40 people show up for a tour that spanned 4 different downtown Manhattan branches and ended with a spectacular sunset on the Hudson River.

    13. Crash Events. We all have events. Just ask to attend one! Chances are the host would love the publicity, and you get to show people a different side of programming they might not necessarily attend or even know you have. By just asking, I’ve gotten to tour the collections with Mike Tyson, George Clinton, and Neil Gaiman, seen falcons and owls at a branch in the Bronx, observed a fast and furious book operations book sorting contest, and attended a mapping conference, a naturalization ceremony, and World Book Night.

    14. Use Current Events. If you can’t get to your events, use current ones. Newsworthy items, historically significant dates, celebrity birthdays and more all make for great jumping-off points for content.

    15. Use the Comments. Search for your organization as a hashtag to see what people are saying about you. Then answer them. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a photo of the lions out front and written something like “Oh that’s Patience, the other one is Fortitude. You can remember because he is closer to forty-two (42nd Street.)” (Also, you are welcome for that information.) When people post photos after getting their library cards, I always ask what they are taking out first. Using the comments takes a short amount of time but can totally make someone’s whole day.

    16. Use the Community. You have amazing Instagrammers in your community. Find them. Invite them into your spaces. They get access to cool locations for their portfolios and in turn they can help promote you and your brand. We’ve done this with #visitNYPL and it has been extremely successful.
      photo courtesy of Daniel Krieger
    17. Send People Stuff! We send out little packages to other libraries and even some individuals with NYPL-branded pens, pencils, pins, and temporary tattoos. We’ve seen them post their goodies in return using the #libraryflair hashtag, and it is a great way to help promote community and bring a piece of an Instagram-relationship into the real world.

    18. Co-opt Marketing. Take what your marketing department is doing and make it your own. When we had a fun quiz that told you which children’s book character you were, Billy and I both got The Little Prince. As this happens to be my favorite book ever, I put up a fun photo of all of my copies and showed off my literary tattoo. Billy used it an opportunity to showcase the musician Prince, who is, in fact, little in stature.

    19. Have Fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. When we reached our one-year anniversary on Instagram, with threw ourselves a little birthday party and posted a video of the confetti- and balloon-filled festivities.
      Still image from video courtesy of Christopher Stewart
    20. Be Passionate. I cannot stress this one enough. If you run your account with passion, your followers will see this and give it right back to you.

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    In 2014, the Oxford Dictionaries named "vape" their Word of the Year. We said goodbye to The Colbert Report, and the Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl. We also read some incredible literature that will remain important to us far beyond the end of the year. Some of these books helped us connect with our children with dazzling storytelling. Others showed us that the graphic novel has cleared the way for intelligent graphic nonfiction. And then there were the novels that burst with ambition and generosity of spirit. The New York Public Library asked librarians and literary voices to share their favorite reads of 2014. Let the gushing begin.


    An Age of License by Lucy Knisley
    "One of my favorite books this year was Lucy Knisley's wonderful graphic travel memoir, An Age of License. It's about a trip Knisley took to Europe and Scandinavia when she was in her late twenties, single, and figuring out what to do with her life ("an age of license").  With lovely and evocative illustrations, it perfectly captures the fun of traveling as a young person, while also touching on the anxieties that come with being a twenty-something.  I'm in my late thirties and definitely feeling a bit more encumbered by responsibility these days, so this was a breath of fresh air to read!  It made me nostalgic for when I was foot loose and fancy free, but it also made me feel grateful to be past my tumultuous twenties. :)  I enjoyed traveling with Lucy!" —Susan Tucker Heimbach, Mulberry Street Library

    Unremarried Widow: A Memoir by Artis Henderson
    "Unremarried Widow: A Memoir by Artis Henderson left me feeling like I could not breathe. Oh yes, it's achingly sad, but it is a beautiful love story that in spite of the heartache, leaves you smiling." —Maura Muller, Volunteer Coordinator, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
    "An evocative coming-of-age tale that perfectly captures the innocence of feeling small when experience reveals that the world is a much larger and darker place than the familiarity of summer suggests. Exceptional for its insight, but even more so for the artist's masterful use of line work, panels and perspectives. This is the type of story that leaves you both wanting and changed." —Daniel Norton, Library Administrative Assistant

    I'll Give You The Sunby Jandy Nelson
    "Words to describe this novel: breathtaking, dazzling, vivid, electric, magical, lyrical, a complete tour-de-force. It's the kind of novel, that pulls you in, makes you weep and then punches you in the gut its so good!.  A story of sibling rivalry, family, love, art, betrayal, perseverance, death and dreams: it filled my soul with hope and humanity and made me a better person. It made me fall in love all over again with the power of books and reading and everything a YA book can be. Simply put this is a masterpiece of character, theme and writing. I've never read a YA book like it and I doubt I ever will again."—Anne Rouyer, Supervising Librarian, Mulberry Street Library

    300,000,000 by Blake Butler
    "I'm not even sure it's 'the best' because it has flaws and it's exhausting in parts, but on sheer ambition, imagery, and just (as a reader) to be able to see someone willingly push themselves so far in a text, it deserves praise." —Shane Jones, author ofLight Boxes, Daniel Fights a Hurricane, and Crystal Eaters

    Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
    "It mixes a far-out premise (giant insects start taking over the world) with a solid bedrock of character development and an unusual storytelling style.  Austin Szerba is a great character and a fascinating narrator, and we follow him down surprising paths as his mind takes leaps backwards and forwards in time to tell this story.  Reading this book was like a brain-stretching exercise -- when I was done reading it I felt exhausted, but in a really positive way.  It's a young adult book, but it would be an exciting and challenging read for teens or even grownups!" —Andrea Lipinski, Senior Young Adult Librarian, Kingsbridge Library

    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
    "Vampires, witches, time travel, romance - what's not to love? The best part is the rich historical detail that makes it oh so credible. Think Diana Gabaldon meets J. K. Rowling at midnight in the Bodleian Library. Or Nora Roberts channels Anne Rice. I'm already halfway through the second book in the trilogy, Shadow of Night. The third volume, The Book of Life, was published this year." —Lois Moore, Senior Librarian, Mid-Manhattan Library

    Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald 
    "If you want a fun, art history mystery for kids, this is it!  The story is set in New York City and introduces readers an array of fascinating residents.  Think art, science, WWII, celebrity kids, Monuments Men, gardening and super cool librarians all rolled in one." —Louise Lareau, Managing Librarian, The Children's Center at 42nd Street

    A Memory of Light by Brandon Sanderson
    "It's the culmination of Robert Jordan's fantasy masterpiece, The Wheel of Time. It was continued by Sanderson after the master's death. Seeing so many character stories wrap up, others end in tragedy and saying goodbye to favorites you've followed over the course of fourteen epic novels was a bit wrenching. I'm not afraid to admit there were tears." —Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil Library

    All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
    "It's difficult to describe this novel by Canadian author Miriam Toews without at first resorting to clichés--it is lyrical and devastatingly funny, and truly does break your heart and then mend again it in nearly every paragraph. The story is based on Toews's experience of trying to keep her brilliant, bipolar sister from killing herself, but the author reaches for--and achieves--so much more. AMPS covers vast and rich territory in ambitious and unpretentious prose: the bond between sisters and mothers and daughters and fathers and cousins; leaving small-town religious life (Mennonite) and its strict patriarchy behind for big but often broken dreams in the big city (Winnipeg!); aging, free will, gender warfare; love, sex, poetry and death--all the big themes. The novel gets better as both the writing and the story speed up into a controlled mania that winds down with pathos and elegance. It's my novel of the year, though Lily King's Euphoria is a close second." —Miriam Markowitz, Deputy Literary Editor, The Nation

    Hyperbole and a Halfby Allie Brosh 
    "Particularly memorable was the chapter about the time when she was a child and she really wanted to have a piece of cake, but was forbidden to have it. So here's this kid who will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to get the cake, and predictably hilarity ensues.  In part I can relate to her utter desperation for the cake, and then there's the part where I appreciate her total honesty in pointing out her own flaws. It was smart, funny, and book that made the rest of us feel normal." —Rabecca Hoffman McDonald, Senior Adult Librarian, Kingsbridge Library

    Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
    "This book opened a door to another point of view on American history and I am a more conscientious person for it. It is also a great conversation starter, many people have strong feelings about reading this book." Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.
    "Every sentence is vivid. I felt the leaves build up in the corners of my rooms and paint began to peel on my door frames." —Jessica Cline, Mid-Manhattan Library, Art and Picture Collections

    The Golem and the Jinniby Helene Wecker
    "The best book I read this year was The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker whose writing transported me to 1899 New York City. Wecker does a wonderful job of mixing genres (fantasy, romance, mystery, historical fiction) in an epic story that documents the immigrant experience of the two unlikely title characters. It is hard enough being a stranger in a strange land imagine what it would be like for two fantastical mythical creatures trying to pass off as human." —Rosa Caballero-Li, AskNYPL

    The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperialby Candance Fleming
    "My favorite YA book this year was Candace Fleming’s The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia. Fleming interweaves excerpts from diary entries of peasants and shop girls with descriptions of the Romanovs's lives of excess and grandeur. In a less skilled writer's hands, this could easily have been a list of grievances against the Romanovs. Instead, Fleming humanizes the Romanov Family by highlighting their personality quirks and playful affection for one another. This is a suspenseful and juicy read (one of the princesses has a romantic encounter with her guard) that reveals the chilling circumstances surrounding the Romanovs's deaths during a truly tumultuous period of Russian history." —Mina Hong, Senior Librarian, Epiphany Library

    The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
    "A strange, beautiful family history by a ceramicist. as told through the story of an inherited collection of Japanese ornamental carvings." —Emily Raboteau, Author of Searching for Zion and The Professor's Daughter

    Just Kids by Patti Smith
    "This summer I finally read Just Kids (2010), Patti Smith's eloquent memoir of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and their development as artists. It was wonderful to see the New York City of the late 1960s and 1970s through her eyes. I wonder if any of our future poets are sleeping in city parks like she sometimes did when she first arrived in New York." —Elizabeth Waters, Mid-Manhattan Library

    The Riverman by Aaron Starmer
    "My best read of 2014 was The Riverman by Aaron Starmer. That's a book that wormed its way into the crevices of my brain, set up house, and will NOT be evicted for a very long time. I can feel tendrils of it affecting everything I do even now.  Now how's THAT for a recommendation, eh?" —Elizabeth Bird, Selection

    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    "The novel I enjoyed the most this year is Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See, about a young girl and boy, on opposite sides of a war, inexorably closing in on each other as each must solve life-or-death puzzles lying beyond the realm of mere eyesight.  It's not just that characters are finely drawn, the path Doerr sets them on left me thinking for days afterward about the people I meet and the paths and puzzles that draw us together, for whatever reason, for however long." —Christopher Platt, Vice President of Library Services

    Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
    "Laugh-out-loud funny and devastatingly sad, Roz Chast’s graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? was one of my favorite reads of the year. A cartoonist at the New Yorker since 1978, Chast is the author of more than 800 cartoons published in the magazine, and has been described by editor David Remnick as the 'magazine’s only certifiable genius'—a particularly remarkable distinction given the publication’s notable stable of regular contributors. In this engaging and beautifully designed book, Chast takes readers through her parents’ advancing years with wit, intelligence, grace, and an ever-present eye for the absurd and frequently hilarious." —James Yeh, Founding Editor, The Gigantic Magazine

    The Sweet Science & Other Writings by A.J. Liebling 
    "Although it wasn’t the best book I read this year, The Sweet Science & Other Writings by New Yorker staff writer A.J. Liebling was the book that I enjoyed reading the most (and that's an important distinction).  The collection is part of the estimable Library of America series and comprises five works, the best of which are The Sweet Science (about the boxing world in the 1950s), The Earl of Louisiana (a masterful analysis of Louisiana politics circa 1960), and The Jollity Building (a composite profile of grifters, loan sharks, bookies and 'grade z' talent agents plying their trade in Midtown in the late 1930s).  Liebling’s deftness at turns-of-phrase, his inventive word choice (a bar is a 'dispensatorium'; two men injured in a duel were 'seriously discommoded'), as well as his wry humor and trenchant analysis make him - for my money - one of the best writers the New Yorker ever published.  His Jollity Building piece alone is worth picking up this collection.  Imagine if Damon Runyon’s 'Guys and Dolls' stories were as well-written as they are entertaining.  That’s how good The Jollity Building is!" —Wayne Roylance, Adult Materials Coordinator, BookOps

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    With the New Year come many new book releases. Here are some recommendations of some YA and adult books coming soon: 

    I  Was Here by Gayle Forman will be released January 27, 2015. I Was Here tells the story of Cody and Meg  two best friends. Cody believed she knew Meg very well until Meg drinks a of industrial strength cleaner ending her life. Cody is set with the task of going to pick up Meg's belongings. As Cody packs Meg's things she learns a lot about her friend she never knew and attempts to sort through her own feelings of lost. 

    Ignite by Sara B. Larson is the second book in the Defyseries. In Defy we meet Alexa Hollen a Seventeen-year-old girl who's parents are murdered by a sorcerer. Alexa disguises herself as a boy enrolls in the army  and earns a spot on Prince Damian's elite guard. One fateful night Alexa , along with the prince and, and her fellow guard, Rylan are kidnapped by an evil sorcerer and taken into enemy territory. In their captivity Alexa's secret comes out. She also learns that she is not the only one with secrets in the group. The story continues in Ignite will published ending this month on December 30, 2014 .

    Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell is a Cinderella retelling that will be published August 4th 2015. Mechanica tells the story of a girl named Nicolette who is called Mechanica by her evil step sisters because she is an aspiring investor. Mechanica finds a workshop in the cellar and with that the opportunity to change her future. Nicolette is determined to create something for the technological exposition and royal ball...there she must meet and impress the prince and other inventors and open the doors to a happy ending for herself... 

    Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare which will be released in September 2015. In the Lady Midnight is a a story set five years after the events in The Mortal Instruments and centers around shadowhunter Emma Carstairs.  

    The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey which will be released April 28th 2015. The Girl at Midnight Echo is a human girl who can see the Avicen and ancient race of people of have feathers for hair. Echo is caught in a centuries old war. The Avicen are the only family she has ever known and she wants to protect them. There are rumors that the war will end if a mythical entity called the Firebird is found. Echo sets out the find it unaware of the power destroy that the Firebird truly possesses.

    An Ember in the Ashes  is the debut novel of Sabaa Tahir which will be released April 28, 2015. A great story about a soldier named Elias, who fights for his freedom and an orphan named, Laia who fights for her family. As Elias and Laia meet and their choices begin to change the future of the empire. 

    The yet untitled forth book in the Throne of Glassseries by Sarah J Maas will be released September 10, 2015. Throne of Glass tells the story of a young assassin named Celaena. Celaena has been sentenced to a life of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier for her crimes until she is pulled out of the Salt Mines by Prince Dorian who offers her an opportunity to win her freedom if she represents him as his champion in the kings tournament.   

    The Rose Society  is the second book in the The Young Elites series by Marie Lu. The book will be published October 6, 2015. The Young Elites tells the the story of Adelina Amouteru. Adelina like many others survived the Blood fever and was left physically scared by it. Some even found themselves given with very strong and rare powers. Adelina runs away from her evil father and joins The Young Elites, a secret society of very powerful and blood fever survivors.

    The currently  untitled third book in The Fifth Wave series by Rick Yancey will be published August 2015. The Fifth Wave tells the story of Cassie Sullivan a survivor of the alien invasion. Cassie is on a mission to rescue her younger brother who was kidnapped by the enemy. 


    P.S. I Love You by Jenny Han is the second book in the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series which will be released June 2, 2015.  To All The Boys I've Loved Before  tells the story of Lara Jean. A girl who writes love letter to all the boys she likes in secret. One day the letters are taken from her secret hiding place and mailed to all the boys. Lara Jean finds that good things can come from such an awkward situation as she is confronted by the boys she loved before. 

    Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne is the second book in the Midnight Thief series. The book will be released August 5, 2015. Midnight Thief tells the tale of Kyra and Tristam. Kyra is a strong young girl who joins an assassin society and Tristam is a young knight. Kyra is hesitant to join the assassins guild but she eventually does charmed by their leader. Tristam is fights Demon Riders after they killed his best friend. In a raid Kyra and Tristam meet and realize they might be each others only change at surviving the horrible event. As they begin to work together they learn a secret about Kyra's past that can change everything. 

    I am very eager to read A Court of Thorns and Roses the first novel in a new series by Sarah J. Maas. The novel began as a Beauty And The Beast retelling that became its own original tale along the way. A Court of Thorns and Roses tells the epic story of nineteen year old Feyre. Feyre kills a wolf in the woods and a beast-like creature arrives to claim revenge. In retribution, Feyre is taken to the to the land of the fae where the beast-like create, who's name is Tamlin takes her. There Feyre's hatred begins to change and turn into love for Tamlin. As an evil shadow grows over the fae land Feyre must find a way to stop it and save Tamlin and the fae world.  

    The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard will be released February 10, 2015. The Red Queen  novel tells a story of a land divided by blood, Red blood and Silver blood. The Silver bloods are elite warriors with god-like powers, while the Red bloods are the commoners of the land. Mare Barrow is a Red blood girl that works for the Silver Palace. Mara believes that things will never change for the Red blood people. Until she discovered that she possess a dangerous power that can take the power away from the Silver bloods.  To cover that impossible fact that a Red blood can have power the king takes Mara and hides her as a Silver blood princess who is engaged to a Silver blood prince. In secret Mare helps the Red Rebellion rise.

    Lastly, I can't wait for anything new that John Green creates in 2015. The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines , Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Co written with David Leviathan) and Let it Snow ( which consist of three holiday romance stories that intertwine together written with Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson) are all wonderful books. 

    Other YA books I can't wait to read: Six YA Books I Can't Wait to Read in 2015.

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    Horror is one of those genres that most people either love or hate and with reason, not everyone can take the fear a good horror story may invoke. But if you're willing to give it a try below are some titles worth getting into. While three of the books feature vampires each is a very different take on that well worn fictional creature and the others offer up some interesting perspectives on the darkness to be found in humanity.

    Salem's Lot by Stephen King
    You haven't read a vampire story until you have read one by Stephen King. King is a master storyteller and this, one of his earlier novels, is a great example of that. Ben Mears returns to his hometown of Jerusalem's Lot and moves into an old mansion hoping to gain some inspiration for his new book. Instead a young boy disappears and suddenly the town seems to be under siege by dark forces. As people slowly start disappearing and the town begins to change, Mears realizes that things may be spiraling to a point way beyond anyone's control. One thing that King does well is write characters and this is no exception. He is able to draw the reader completely into the town and as events begin to take a turn for the worse you can't help but feel a part of every twist and turn.

    The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver
    So this book is not considered horror but I'm going to tell you why it is. The story is about a serial killer who decides to play a sick game of cat and mouse with former criminologist Lincoln Rhymes. Rhymes was once in the top of his field but an accident leaves him paralyzed from the neck down and emotionally broken. The killer begins leaving clues at his crime scenes to draw Rhyme back into action and officer Amelia Sachs comes in to help them find the perpetrator. Horror can come in many forms and stories in which human beings perpetrate violence on one another can be scarier than any supernatural story.Descriptions in the book are disturbing and Deaver writes them well. He is also very detailed in describing police procedure when investigating crime scenes and that lends an air of authenticity to the story.

    I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
    Robert Neville is the last living human on earth. The rest of the world has been wiped out or transformed by an infection that turns humans into nocturnal blood thirsty creatures (in other words, vampires). By day Neville hunts the creatures and kills those he finds, at night he prays for dawn and tries to ignore the creatures outside his boarded up home. Things take a turn when the hunter finds himself becoming the hunted. The simplicity of the story is part of its genius. Matheson takes something we as a culture are beyond familiar with, vampires, and makes it about what it means to be human and how that can change depending on circumstance.

    The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
    This story is best known by the film based on it called Hellraiser. The book is short and those who have seen the film may find it lacking but what makes it great is the storytelling. Barker is really good at creating vivid scenes and characters that really bring you into the story. In this one we meet Frank Cotton, a man whose sole intent is to seek pleasure and often in very dark places. When he hears about and subsequently finds the Lemarchand puzzle box he expects to discover life's ultimate pleasure. Instead he unleashes something beyond this world and finds death instead. When Frank's brother and his wife Julia (who Frank had an affair with) move into the house, Julia inadvertently contacts Frank and brings him back from the otherside. But the beings who took Frank, called Cenobites, are not willing to give him up so easily.

    Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene
    Fans of Stephen King's Under the Dome would probably enjoy Keen's take on a town that gets cut off from the rest of the world and the aftermath of this event. Keene takes a different approach by making the darkness literal, the town is surrounded by a blackness that seems to have no end and a possible supernatural source. With no electricity, scarce food and no running water it doesn't take long before the darkness begins to spread to more than just the surrounding area. The story is narrated by Robbie, a pizza delivery guy, who is keeping a journal of events and may be the only witness chronicling the events.

    The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K. Hamilton
    Love the supernatural and a protagonist that has one foot in humanity and the other in the a world beyond ours? Then this series is worth taking a look. The main character, Anita Blake, is a strong woman with some not so human abilities (necromancy to be exact). She works for an agency raising the dead and in her spare time hunts rogue vampires . Did I also mention that in this world vampires are known to exist and protected by the law just like humans? At least this is true until they cross the line, and that's where Anita comes in. The books begin with a focus on vampires but slowly we are introduced to shapeshifters and other paranormal creatures and events. This series has a lot of entries (it's somewhere around book 20 now) but I recommend the first 8. Those books are full of action and good storytelling, something that gets lost as the books continue.

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    Career, Education and Information Services (CEIS) of the New York Public Library has scheduled a series of Mini Career Fairs at several branches throughout the Bronx for community residents. It is our goal to assist members with gaining not only viable employment, but to offer opportunities that will allow them to engage and develop academically as well as professionally.

    Community partners have come together with employers, academic institutes to inform of their new services programs. Residents can take advantage of the New Tech Connect Trainings being offered, free of charge, so sign up to learn more about them.

    We are jump-starting this New Year at the following branch libraries, so come prepared with a resume, a great attitude, and put your best foot forward!

    Washington Heights Library library
    Wednesday, January 16, 2015
    11 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Bronx Library Center
    Wednesday, January 21, 2015
    11 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Castle Hill Library
    Friday, January 23, 2015
    11 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Baychester Library
    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    11 a.m.-3 p.m.

    Jerome Park Library
    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    11 a.m.-4 p.m. (Veterans)

    Francis Martin Library
    Friday, January 30, 2015
    11 a.m.-4 p.m.

    For more information, please contact Robyn L. Saunders, NYPL Career Coach, Career, Education and Information Services (CEIS) 646-351-9035 or email

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    Walter Dean Myers Naypl Ambassador
    Walter Dean Myers, 1937-2014 via Wikimedia Commons

    This past July saw the passing of the legendary YA author Walter Dean Myers. Over his lifetime Walter wrote over 100 books for teens and children, won and was nominated for countless literary awards such as the Newbery, Printz, Coretta Scott King, Margaret Edwards, Hans Christian Anderson, among others... However, what made Walter special wasn’t necessarily his books or writing, although those are still pretty special. No, what made Walter stand out was his tireless belief that the telling and reading of all kinds of stories mattered, that teens mattered, communities and families mattered, and that libraries and librarians mattered. I remember Walter telling me and other NYPL librarians that he told the stories he told of African-American teens in Harlem and New York City because he needed to. He needed to give voice to their lives, their experiences, their realities because at the time he started no one else was and he was grateful to YA librarians for helping to get those stories out there into the hands that needed them.


    What I remember most about Walter was his kindness and his sense of humor, his graciousness. When I started at NYPL in 1998, I could count on one hand the number of authors I’d met. Now I’d need at least 20 hands to get through them all, but Walter still stands out. I remember he was tall with a deep, booming voice like James Earl Jones and I remember thinking he probably did a great Darth Vader impression but I never asked him. Instead, I shyly told him how much I’d loved Slam (1998) and he’d told me how wonderful he thought it was that I worked for New York Public Library in Harlem and wished me well. I’m sure he said that to everyone, he came to a lot of NYPL events but to a young librarian, who’d just started working in New York City, it was like being anointed. I would see him many times over the years and every time was memorable. In many ways, I think he felt in partnership with urban librarians—after all, we were serving the very teens he was writing for and about.


    He wasn’t just tireless in his visits to libraries but to schools, prisons, and juvenile detention facilities as well. He wrote Monster (1999), (inaugral Michael L. Printz winner in 2000) after meeting with teens in these places. Having visited with incarcerated teens myself, I know that you can’t leave them without being forever marked by their faces and stories. In Monster, Walter tells the story of Steve, a teen boy navigating prison and the judicial system through the writing of a film script. Walter wrote it as if it had been dictated to him. The voice of Steve is that realistic. Teens across the country (whether African American or not) can connect to that kind of realism, that authenticity.  He found these authentic voices by endlessly meeting and talking with young people. He visited as many schools as he could across the country. I think in New York City he was particularly visible. I remember once, about 10 years ago, I was visiting Washington Irving High School near Union Square and the school librarian apologized for the chaos but Walter Dean Myers was visiting that afternoon. A student nearby overheard this and goes, “What? Again?” I remember laughing at this jaded NYC teen for being so bored at getting to see an award winning author “again”. She explained that she’d met him when he’d visited her middle school in the Bronx and again at her youth center in Upper Manhattan.  I asked her if she’d liked his talks before.  “Yeah,” she said, ”He’s totally cool and all but you know, I want to meet other authors too.” While a tad jaded, the girl proves my point. When he had the time, Walter pretty much went anywhere he was asked because he knew teens needed to be heard and listened to, that their stories were important.

    fallen angels

    Walter wrote a little bit of everything. He wrote sport stories (Hoops, Kick, Game,Outside Shot), edgy urban stories (Darius & Twig,Dope Sick,Lockdown, Shooter, 145th St), love stories (What They Found, Carmen, Street Love), historical fiction (Fallen Angels, Harlem Summer,Riot, Invasion), poetry (Jazz, Here in Harlem, Harlem), memoir (Bad Boy), non-fiction (Just Write: Here's How), biographies (Muhammad Ali, Ida B. Wells, Down to the Last Out),  picture books (We Are America,Looking Like Me, Looking for the Easy Life). The list goes on and on and on.  All written with the same committment and assertion that ALL children and teens need books and stories filled with characters and people that look like them. Teens constantly ask NYPL librarians for stories, “about people that are like me” and you can always look under “Myers”  on the fiction shelf.

    when i was

    His passing leaves a huge hole in YA literature. For as all-encompassing as it has gotten there is still a lack of diversity in YA. The simple breadth of stories that Walter told from  minority teens' points of view is incredible. Not that there aren’t some great authors out there right now telling diverse stories: Sharon Draper, Matt de la Pena, Christopher Paul Curtis, Rita Williams-GarciaJacqueline Woodson, Kekla Magoon... just to name a few. But he will still be missed. I’m sure many authors have stories of meeting Walter and having him encourage them knowing that what they do and who they write for is so important. Just last week, I met author Jason Reynolds who wrote When I Was the Greatest (2014), a book about everyday teens in Brooklyn (which FYI is fabulous). He recounted a story of how when he was a struggling writer still working retail, Walter had visited him at work to tell him he’d read his story and encouraged him to “keep writing” and “keep telling his stories his way”. In a nutshell, this is who Walter Dean Myers was: giving, encouraging, kind. Yes, he was a great author but he was a great guy first and foremost.

    The legacy of Walter Dean Myers looms large here at The New York Public Library and he’ll never be forgotten. He’ll be remembered for his commitment to YA literature and for writing authentically for and about New York City teens, his commitment to making a difference not just in New York but around the country and his commitment to libraries and librarians, who he knew worked so hard to help the teens in their neighborhoods, communities and schools.

    So on behalf of The New York Public Library and its Librarians, Thank You Walter for all you did for us and for the youth of New York City. It’s been a pleasure.

    For lists of available books of Walter Dean Myers at NYPL browse this list and search Bibliocommons

    For more information, visit his official website:

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    The Muppets of Sesame Street
    Courtesy of Sesame Workshop

    Last week’s blog post looked at some of Sesame Street’s content designed to engage adult attention as well as children’s.  Shared experience and attention leads to facilitated learning via shared scaffolding and a communal history of fun.   The holiday season—whichever holidays you celebrate—frequently relies on these shared histories of family jokes, entertainment and fun.  Sesame uses parody of works that parents/caregivers may have seen as vehicles for these contributions. 

    In recent years, Monsterpiece Theatre’s word play has shared air time with Crumby Pictures.  This series teaches “executive function,” which means both self-control and learning ways to cue behavior and decision making.  They focus on Cookie Monster, whose control issues focus on cookies.  Not just learning to eat other foods (see “About that Tomato”) but learning to recognize and read situations in which his urge to eat cookies can be self-moderated.   There is a narrator-voice that gives his cues and advice.   For example, one older episode included in the exhibit is an Aida-inspired “C is for Cookie” (led by guest opera singer Marilyn Horne) in which he destroys the pyramid by grabbing the cookie with which it is constructed.   The open-ended Crumby Pictures take on the Life of Pi has Cookie on a boat made of cookies.  He and the audience learn that if he eats the cookies, the boat will sink.  What does he do?  With Sesame Street’s writers’ usual skill at adapting all of the elements that they could parody, these films are provided with ratings based on the behavior learning opportunity, such as Rated SC for Self-control.

    One of the Crumby Pictures excerpted in the exhibition is their take on Les Miz.  Jean Bonbon trudges through a cobblestone Paris, encountering characters and songs from the musical, while learning to share his cookies.  The narrator tells him how to read other character’s emotions—the Muppet Anne Hathaway is particularly tragic—and how to base his actions on their needs, not his.  You can see the entire parody on Sesame Street’s YouTube.  Between the Sesame version and the Forbidden Broadway parody, I find it impossible to experience the musical seriously. But that shouldn’t stop you.  NYPL has them as films and recordings, piano-vocal scores, and many translations of the original novel—see the list here.

    The backstage video that Sesame Workshop created for the exhibition shows the writing and production staff developing Jurassic Cookie, a Crumby Pictures parody of the Jurassic Park franchise.  The script and the research curriculum report that inspired it are on display as well as Cookie’s safari suit. 

    Come visit the exhibition which is open only through January.  Join us for the final panel next Monday, January 5, for “On the Street Where You Learn: The Intersection of Broadway and Sesame Street.”

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    House!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Hey all! Well, 2014 has come and is nearly gone. The New Year is right on the horizon, and that usually means people will be making resolutions that they will fail to keep after a few weeks or months. Why is this?!

    Maybe the resolutions are a chore and are therefore too easy to postpone this time, that time, until it becomes 'postponed indefinitely'. If that is the case, then I have the remedy. You just have to come up with a resolution/yearly goal that is fun to accomplish. And I say if you can't watch more baseball in 2015, watch more Japanese horror/comedies! Seriously!

    Some of the most eccentric cinema ever has come from this country's genre, and you'll be guaranteed to have fun laughing the whole ride through. This is a country that absolutely loves their horror, and occasionally loves being goofy while delivering it. They know it's not scary, it's amusing! These movies are merry if anything! Just check your brain  at the door, mind the non-rational plots, and have a good time. After all, the strangeness and unconventional nature of these movies are what makes them what they are. Here are four films I've really had a blast with recently, and I hope you will too!

    Japanese horror movies that are more serious in nature, such as Ringu and Audition, were intentionally left off this list. Though they are great films in their own right (I'll go as far to call Audition an absolute classic) they just don't fit the loony mold the films down below do. Also, this is not a 'Best of' list by any stretch, there is no ranking system going on here. These are just four fun movies I recommend for a night full of amusement. Let's begin!

    1. House (Hausu) 1977
    First and foremost, you NEED to see this movie. It is widely known as the weirdest movie you can possibly watch, and has become a bona fide cult classic here in the United States. It's also shown on a semi-regular basis at the IFC Center. First off, yes, I know the plot is silly. A schoolgirl travels to visit her aunt while on summer break with six of her classmates (they all have comedic names too, like Gorgeous, Kung Fu, see where we're going with this?). Once there, it's obvious the house is possessed, and all craziness ensues. Some of the highlights include an animate and murderous piano, people randomly turning into fruit, floating talking heads, and hey that's barely scratching the surface. Without giving too much away, you really have to watch House to believe such a cinematic oddity was created. The plot is kind of incoherent, and the special effects (specifically the animate piano) were shot in such a way that the filmmakers knew it looked unrealistic and ridiculous - and didn't care! Now with a carefree, cavalier attitude, you'd expect the movie to be unwatchable. But it really isn't! Sure the plot is inane and things happen simply for the sake of making jaws drop, but honestly that's why it's become such a cult classic today. Honestly nothing I say can possibly do justice to just how entertaining I find House, so you're going to have to see it to believe it! Click here to watch the House trailer!

    2. Dead Sushi (Deddo Sushi) 2012
    So you guys know what the zombie revolution is, am I right? Bunch of undead corpses running around looking to conquer everything, yeah yeah yeah. Well, let's replace the corpse part with raw fish. That's basically what the abridged version of Dead Sushi is folks. Here, we have the daughter (Rina Takeda as Keiko) of a world acclaimed sushi chef and martial artist who has run away from home due to the grueling training he has her undergo to live up to his name. She ends up finding work at a local inn, however it is there her skills must be put to the test as the sushi-zombies have begun to take over. It's fantastic. Sushi talks, sushi flies around, sushi attacks! How does this happen? Well it's in thanks to a certain guest that stays over at the inn Keiko is working at, but you have to watch it to believe it! Eventually, an anthropomorphic fish starts dueling with Keiko, and aw just go see it for yourself! I remember watching this movie on my laptop in college at the recreation center and having people come up to me asking what on earth it was. It's one of those movies you don't want to miss! Click here to watch the Dead Sushi trailer!

    3. Meatball Machine (Mitoboru Mashin) 2005
    Fan of sci-fi crimes? Look no further! There's no bigger crime in that genre than aliens taking over the bodies of human beings, and forcing them to battle one another. And what about when one host gets tired? Well it's simply time to dump that one and go find another. That's the basic premise behind Meatball Machine. It's chock full of blood (only takes 90 seconds for the film to lose all respect for keeping body parts intact), crude humor (stay away from this movie if this kind of thing offends you), and body invasions. I will admit, this entry is not as strong as the other two on this list, but the special effects, amounts of blood, and costumes are pretty cool. In addition to the main male and female characters, there is also a side storyline about a father whose daughter was affected by the aliens, and is attempting to salvage her life. All in all it's a fun watch. It's not the type of movie that's going to headline lists, or win awards or anything like that, but all in all if you're looking for a good sci-fi/action/comedy/splattorama film to screen one night with your friends, Meatball Machine is sure to have you laughing throughout. Perhaps cringing as well, this one is bloody folks! Click here to watch the Meatball Machine trailer!

    4. Helldriver (Herudoraibā) 2010
    From director Yoshihiro Nishimura, here's Helldriver! This man brought us Tokyo Gore Police, in all its bloody glory. Well this one isn't far off. We have Kika, who lives in an abusive home where both her mother and her uncle are sociopathic murderers on the run. Soon, a meteorite hits earth and emits a powerful mist that turns everyone in its path into zombies. Kika ends up being recruited by the Japanese government in order to help defend the country. Confused? Don't worry, it's one of those movies where if you don't see it for yourself you just won't believe that it's a real film. The movie gets weirder and weirder as it goes along just like all films of this genre. I say as long as you know what you're getting yourself into ahead of time, give Helldriver a watch. Some of the characters are downright ridiculous (particularly the uncle) but the uncommon style of storytelling is fun and trippy. Helldriver is totally maniacal and crazy, even going as far to have all the zombies pile up to create a gigantic mecha-zombie at one point. Easily one of the screwiest movies, from one of the world's screwiest directors, Helldriver is a nonstop expedition to everything Japanese gorefests have to offer. Click here to watch the Helldriver trailer!

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    Gray morning sky and chipmunks

    Brown snowsuits

    Gold maple syrup and tractors 

    Blue jays

    Glittering white landscape

    Red cardinals

    Orange carrot nose on a snowman

    Pink glowing cheeks

    Evergreen trees

    Rainbow hats, gloves and scarves

    Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color by Felicia Chernesky, 2014

    The illustrations in this book are exquisite, and I love how Swan emphasizes single colors in the double-page spreads.

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    Whole Foods Market - Accepting Applicants for New Store Opening , 240 openings.  Recruitment  will be held  Sunday, December 28 through Saturday, January  3 at  9 am.  Interested candidates must apply online in order to be considered for this position.  Candidates will be invited to group interview sessions via email and given additional details on location, dates and times at that time.  Contact: Natalie Cespedes.  Phone: (917) 493- 7072.

    affiche pour le

    Enrollment is Now Open--SAGE Works Boot Camp.  SAGE Works assists people 40 years and older in learning relevant, cutting-edge job search skills in a LGBT-friendly environment.  Enrollment workshops will be held Monday thru  Friday,  December  29 to January 2,  9:30 am - 2 :00 pm at The SAGE Center, 305 7th Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10001.

    St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development  provides Free Job Training and Educational Programs in Environmental Response and Remediation Tech (ERRT), Commercial Driver's License , Pest Control Technician Training (PCT), Employment Search and Prep Training and Job Placement, Earn Benefits and Career Path Center.  For  information and assistance,  please visit St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development, 790 Broadway, 2nd Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11206.   718-302-2057 ext. 202. 

    Brooklyn Workforce Innovations helps jobless and working poor New Yorkers establish careers in sectors that offer good wages and opportunities for advancement. Currently BWI offers free job training programs in four industries: commercial driving, telecommunications cable installation, TV and film production, and skilled woodworking.  BWI is at 621 Degraw Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217.  718-237-5366.

    CMP (formerly Chinatown Manpower Project) in lower Manhattan is now recruiting for a free training in Quickbooks,  Basic Accounting, and Excel.   This training is open to anyone who is receiving food stamps but no cash assistance.  Class runs for 8 weeks, followed by one-on-one meetings with a job developer.  CMP also provides Free Home Health Aide Training for bilingual English/Cantonese speakers who are receiving food stamps but no cash assistance.  Training runs Mondays through Fridays for 6 weeks, and includes test prep then taking the HHA certification exam.  Students learn about direct care techniques such as taking vital signs and assisting with personal hygiene and nutrition.   For more information for the above two training programs, please Email:, call 212-571-1690 or visit 70 Mulberry Street, 3rd Floor, NY, NY 10013. CMP also provides tuition-based healthcare and business trainings for free to students who are entitled to ACCESS funding.  Please call CMP for information.

    Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) trains women and places them in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades. It helps women achieve economic independence and a secure future.  For information call 212-627-6252 or register online.

    Grace Institute provides tuition-free, practical job training in a supportive learning community for underserved New York area women of all ages and from many different background.  For information call 212-832-7605.

    Please note this blog post will be revised when more recruitment events for the week of December 28 are available.

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    Consider Phlebas

    With the holidays closing in it's time to bring you the year's final Reader's Den. We've been going over Consider Phlebas and examining the character of Horza, a decidedly unheroic protagonist. Horza's actions are single-minded. Everything done is in the pursuit of the mind. A commenter last week posited that the mind's going rogue had triggered Horza's obsessiveness. Did you get this feeling as well? Does his pursuit still serve his stated support of the side of life or has he descended just enough into madness that he no longer recognizes what life is? For that matter, do you think the minds represent a form of life or are just hyper-aware computers? Chime in below.

    Some final considerations: The book's end notes make clear that this is a colossal war, both sides killing billions without a thought. They also impress on the reader just how vast the galaxy inhabited by the Culture and the Idirans is in scope. Considering the scale of destruction wrought in a galaxy-wide war, can either civilization fit Horza's bill as being on the side of life?

    I am not familiar with the rest of the Culture series but reviewers have said Iain Banks avoided writing directly about the Culture in his novels, preferring to tell stories set within its universe instead. A civilization that had perfected themselves as a species and never suffered from want made for boring writing apparently. I'm not sure I agree with that. One thing about great science fiction is that under even the most perfect veneer, something is about to go horribly wrong. The Culture has quite a few things I feel could spin out of control, don't you?

    For those of you who like their science fiction broad in scope and deep in perspective, I recommend A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. Further reading should also include the rest of Banks's Culture series if only to see where he took the premise of the Culture in further writing. One may also enjoy L.E. Modesitt's Recluce saga, a fantasy series tinged with science fiction that explores morals and ethics in a thoughtful manner. Until next year, readers, may your toes stay toasty by the fire as you curl up with your favorite tome.  Or radiator. Or space heater... ah never mind.

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    Are you making your New Year's Resolutions? Is one of them to read more or to connect more with other readers? We would love to see you in the Reader's Den, NYPL's online book discussion, in 2015! 

    In 2015 we'll be reading fiction and nonfiction, new titles and classics that explore antiheroes and superheroes from different perspectives. Join us to discuss classic antiheroes like Camus's Mersault and Robert E. Howard's Conan. Examine Amy in Gone Girl through the lens of Euripides's Medea. If you're interested in superheroes, we'll be selected a wide range of books, from The Secret History of Wonder Woman to  tales of superheroes in more modest guises, people who find their moment to be superheroes.

    If you're inspired to read any of the titles on our list,  we hope you'll  join in the discussions and share your thoughts with us. You can find our past discussions on the Reader's Den schedule page, listed chronologically. You can also browse past selections by genre through our lists in BiblioCommons. And the Reader's Den is on Twitter.

    Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

    The Stranger



    The Stranger by Albert Camus

    Elizabeth is Missing



    Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

    The Secret History of Wonder Woman



    The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

    Poetry Month


    Selected poems for National Poetry Month




    Tigerman by Nick Harkaway

    After Claude



    After Claude by Iris Owens

    Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy



    Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy : Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott

    A Walk in the Woods



    A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

    The Human Body



    The Human Body by Paolo Giordano

    Just Call Me Superhero



    Just  Call Me Superhero by Alina Bronsky

    Gone Girl




    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Medea by Euripides

    The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian



    The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard


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    I'm happy to present examples of how the Music Division contributed to knowledge for 2013-2014. Although my information is based on the fiscal year (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014), December is an appropriate time to post this information.

    As the use of metrics to measure the effectiveness of cultural institutions increases, questions arise concerning what kind of measures should be used and what does the information tell us. Where does information such as attendance and items circulated fit in to the large picture? These questions are part of a larger discussion happening in the library field as we try to gain and promote a better understanding of the value of libraries. Works produced based on materials in the library should occupy a significant role in any studies, as they are an indicator of a library's value to writers and performers, as well as society in general.

    Have you published a book or article, written a dissertation, given a talk, or participated in a performance where you have benefited from research in the Music Division? WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT! Please send me an e-mail so that I may include your work in next year's list.


    Sarasate, Pablo de. Zigeunerweisen, opus 20. For violin and piano. Edited by Ernst-Günter Heinemann, fingering by Ingolf Turban. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 2013.

    It is an honor for the Music Division to know that our manuscript (JOG 73-126) was the basis for this new edition of the composer's most famous works in his own arrangement.


    Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp.
    Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2013.

    Several items from the John Cage Music Manuscript Collection (JPB 95-3) were used in this wonderful exhibit of which this is the catalog.

    ± 1961: Founding the Expanded Arts
    Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2013.

    Another exhibition catalog that included a number of work from our John Cage Music Manuscript Collection.

    Fauster, Annegret. Sounds of War: Music in the United States During World War II. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

    Fauster used various archival collections in the Music Division, including the Rose Lee Finney papers (JPB 04-15) and the Henry Cowell Papers (JPB 00-03).

    Lambert, Philip. Alec Wilder. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013

    Lambert benefited from the William Engvick collection of Alec Wilder scores, JPB 13-22.

    Marston, Nicholas. Heinrich Schenker and Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata. Royal Music Association Monographs 23. Surrey: Ashgate, 2013.

    Marston made extensive use of the Oster Collection: Papers of Heinrich Schenker (JOB 89-25).

    Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Felix. Sämtliche Briefe, Band 7: Oktober 1839 bis Ferburary 1841. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2013.
    Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Felix. Sämtliche Briefe, Band 8: März 1841 bis August 1842. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2013.

    These two publications are the University of Leipzig's most recent publications in their project devoted to publishing a large selection of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's voluminous correspondence. They benefitted from our collection of over 700 letters.

    Música y Acción: Exposición/Concierto de 40 Piezas para Instrumentos Varios. Centro José Guerrero del 19 de octubre de 2012 al 13 de enero de 2013, Granada. Granada: José Guerrero, 2012.

    Yet another exhibition catalog featuring music manuscripts of John Cage.

    Pisani, Michael V. Music for the Melodramatic Theatre in Nineteenth-Century London and New York. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2014.

    The author had been working on this book for several years. He used the collection of music amassed by producer/playright David Belasco (JPB 93-4). (I'll have a future blog post about this book and the material the author used.)


    Essays from The Fourth International Schenker Symposium, volume 2. Edited by L. Poundie Burstein, Lynne Rogers and Karen M. Bottge. Studien und Materialien zur Musikwissenschaft Band 73. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2013.

    This is the second volume of essays coming from this symposium held at Mannes College the New School for Music here in New York City in 2006. Part of Heinrich Schenker's massive archive resides in the Music Division (JOB 89-25). Our collection was well-represented in these essays which originated as talks:

    • Alpern, Wayne. "The triad of the true, the good, and the beautiful: Schenker's moralization of music and his legal studies with Robert Zimmermann and George Jellinek."
    • Bent, Ian. “‘Niemals also ist der Verleger ein Mäzen des Künstlers’: Schenker and the Music-Publishing World.”
    • Cascelli, Antonio. “Chopin’s Music in the Development of Schenker’s Analytical Thought.”
    • Drabkin, William. “An Autobiographical Letter of Schenker’s from 1928.”
    • Marston, Nicholas. “Schenker’s Concept of a Beethoven Sonata Edition.”
    • McClelland, Ryan. “Brahms’s Op. 111 and the 8-line Urlinie.”
    • Siegel, Hedi. “Schenker’s Letters to Felix Salzer: A Nod to the Future.”

    Ball, Robert. “Joseph Machlis and the Enjoyment of Music: A Biographical Appreciation of a Great Teacher.” Musical Quarterly, 2013.

    • The author consulted the Hugo Weisgall Papers JPB 00-43.

    Boziwick, George. “‘My Business is to Sing:’ Emily Dickinson’s Musical Borrowings” was the lead article in the May (2014) issue of the Journal of the Society of American Music. Vol. 8, no. 2 (May 2014), pages 130-66.

    • The chief of the Music Division offers a new perspective on Dickinson as an accomplished musician who actively used her musical experiences as a means of cultivating her unique poetic voice.

    Deconnick-Brossard, Françoise. “Sharp, Haendel, Nares et les autres.” Haendel après Haendel: Construction, renommée, influence de Haendel et de la figure haendélienne. Tours: Université François-Rabelais, p. 133-144.

    Denlinger, Elizabeth. ¨The Yiddish Heart Still Beating.” Jewish Week, Nov. 15, 2013.

    Review of an event sponsored by the Dorot Jewish Division for which the Music Division supplied much of the music.

    Hiam, Jonathan. “Reconstructing a “Shaken Culture”: The Re-emergence of Schoenberg’s Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen at the Black Mountain College Summer Music Institute of 1944.″ Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000. Ed. by Felix Meyer, et al. Suffolk : The Boydell Press, 2014, p. 233-243.

    • Used several Music Division archival collections in his research on composers Roger Sessions and Mark Brunswick

    Kozinn, Allan. “Public Library Receives Recordings in Archives.” New York Times (April 3, 2014), page C3.

    • Concerning the acquisition of the archives of George Avakian and Anahid Ajemian.


    • Boziwick, George. “The Musical Parlor of Emily Dickinson,” International Association of Music Libraries, August 2, 2013.
    • Boziwick, George. “‘I Wish I Were Somebody Else’: Emily Dickinson’s Musical Longings,” Society for American Music, March 6, 2014.
    • Cohen, Brigid. “The Black and White of George Antheil’s ‘Super Jazz’: Seeing and Hearing Race at the Carnegie Hall Premiere of A Jazz Symphony.” Society for American Music, March 6, 2014.
    • Doktor, Stephanie. “The Black and White of George Antheil’s ‘Super Jazz’: Seeing and Hearing Race at the Carnegie Hall Premiere of A Jazz Symphony.” Society for American Music, March 6, 2014.
    • Dubinets, Elena. “‘Other’ Russians: Émigré Composers in a Globalizing World,” American Musicological Society, Nov. 8, 2013
    • Knecht, Anna Stoll. “Beckmesser in a New Light: Die Meistersinger in Mahler’s Seventh Symphony,” American Musicological Society, Nov. 8, 2013

    Have you published a book or article, written a dissertation, given a talk, or participated in a performance where you have benefited from research in the Music Division? WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT! Please send me an e-mail so that I may include your work in next year's list.

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    Downton Abbey DVD cover

    If you’re like me, you’re eagerly awaiting the next season of Downton Abbey, which premieres here in America on January 4 (Brits, no spoilers please!). We know that season 5 starts in 1924 and ends in December of 1925, so what world or local events will they experience? What will they be wearing? What will they be reading?

    The 1920s produced some of my favorite novels, so I wanted to see what the characters might be reading during these two years. We don't usually see them reading anything but the newspaper, but living the leisure life must afford them time to pick up a novel or book of poetry from time to time. While I hope they would chose from some of the great American authors from that era (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edna Ferber, Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather), or current popular fiction from the United States due to Cora's influence, maybe more likely they will be reading British novels. Bestselling British author, Marie Corelli, died in 1924, perhaps inspiring a re-reading of her books. Maybe they will read British literary award winners, such as A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, The Spanish Farm by Ralph Hale Mottram, or Juno and the Paycock by Sean O'Casey, or they will get their book recommendations from the "Books of the Day" sections in the Observer or the Times of London.

    Mrs Dalloway Book Cover

    Here are some other possible titles on their shelves, please feel free to add your own suggestions below!


    The Green Hat by Michael Arlen
    The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
    The Constant Nymph by Margaret Kennedy
    Precious Baneby Mary Webb
    Beau Gesteby P.C. Wren
    Some Do Notby Ford Madox Ford
    The Boy in the Bush by D.H. Lawrence

    Painted Veil Book Cover


    The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton
    The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie
    Sorrell and Sonby Warwick Deeping
    The Hollow Menby T.S. Eliot
    Those Barren Leaves by Aldous Huxley
    Mrs. Dallowayby Virginia Woolf
    The Painted Veilby W. Somerset Maugham
    No More Paradesby Ford Madox Ford
    Carry On, Jeevesby P.G. Wodehouse

    Children's books for young Sybil and George

    When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne
    Doctor Dolittle series by Hugh Lofting
    Just Williamseries by Richmal Crompton

    Previously: "Waiting for Downton Abbey"

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    Paid Leave is Good for Business is a Department of Labor blog post, authored by Heidi Shierholz, Chief Economist at the Labor Department.  In her post, Heidi states that  paid leave is good for business, particularly in recruiting and retaining talented workers.  In a survey of 200 human resource managers, two-thirds cited family-supportive policies as the single most important factor in attracting and retaining employees.

    Over the last few decades, the composition of the workforce has changed in important ways. One major change was the increased participation of women in the labor force; between 1970 and the late 1990s, the share of women (age 25-54) who were in the workforce jumped from one-half to more than three-quarters.

    Though female labor force participation stalled in the 2000s, women’s earnings have nevertheless become an increasingly significant share of total household earnings: Currently, women are breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children. 63 percent of children live in a family where both parents work.

    Women Labor Force Participation
    by Age Group, 1970-2014

    Women Labor Force Participation by Age Group, 1970-2014

    With the changing workforce, the ability for working parents to take paid leave has important implications for families, employers and the broader economy. For example, paid maternity leave can positively impact working mothers’ wages and employment by encouraging them to return to work and continue their careers. Recent research has examined the implementation of California’s paid family leave and found that it increased the weekly hours and pay of employed mothers of 1- to 3-year-old children by almost 10 percent.

    Despite the positive evidence, paid leave policies have been slow to develop. The U.S. now lags all other developed countries in providing leave.  Less than half of workers (48 percent) report being able to take paid leave for any family related reason, and just 39 percent report being able to take some type of paid family leave for the birth of a child. The lack of access to paid leave is one reason that women’s participation in the workforce has stalled in the U.S. since 2000 and is now significantly below that of many other developed nations.


    If U.S. women between 25 and 54 participated in the labor force at the same rate as they do in Canada or Germany, there would be roughly 5.5 million more women in the labor force in the U.S.

    All else equal, that would increase GDP by an estimated 3.5 percent, which would translate into more than $500 billion of additional economic activity. That is over $500 billion of economic activity annually that we are leaving on the table in large part because we don’t have the labor market policies – paid leave, workplace flexibility, quality child and eldercare – that our peer countries have that boost labor force participation, productivity, work engagement and better allocation of talent across the economy.

    Paid leave is good for business, particularly in recruiting and retaining talented workers.  In a survey of 200 human resource managers, two-thirds cited family-supportive policies as the single most important factor in attracting and retaining employees. Given that the typical cost of replacing an employee is around 20 percent of that employee’s annual salary, family-friendly policies that reduce turnover can be highly cost-effective.  Another survey of 253 employers affected by California’s paid family leave initiative found that “the vast majority – over ninety percent – reported no noticeable or a positive effect on profitability.”

    Heidi Shierholz is the chief economist at the Department of Labor. 

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     Aylmer Lambert, from Description of the Genus Pinus
    Aylmer Lambert, from Description of the Genus Pinus. Image ID: 1114097

    Evergreens, pines, conifers. As the year draws to a close, many of us have welcomed these needly trees into our homes as part of long-established Christmas tradition. But before this tradition took root in England (via Germany), one Englishman devoted his life all throughout the year to the genus Pinus. That man was Aylmer Bourke Lambert.

    Lambert was a voracious collector of books on botany as well as a gatherer of plants, and his herbarium (a collection of preserved plants) eventually grew to include more than 50,000 specimens from the world's forests. He was a founding member of the Linnean Society of London and was elected to the Royal Society as well, and he was known in the scientific community for his generosity in encouraging fellow botanists to draw on specimens from his collections while compiling their own scholarly publications. He also was a famous conifer expert.

    Pinus Lambertiana, from A Description of the Genus Pinus
    Pinus Lambertiana, from A Description of the Genus Pinus. Image ID:  1114181

    The 1837 edition of his book A Description of the Genus Pinus held in the Library’s Rare Book Division stretches to three volumes, each over two feet tall. This work was Lambert’s monumental attempt to document, describe, and illustrate every species of pine known to him from around the world. One particular pine in the book, the sugar pine, was named Pinus Lambertiana in his honor. The sugar pine, largest of the conifers and also known as the most princely of pines for its immense size, was discovered by famed Scottish botanist and Pacific Northwest explorer David Douglas (of Douglas Fir fame).

    The Library has digitized each of the handcolored engravings in this edition, and you can view them all in the Library’s Digital Collections. So, if you have found yourself stringing lights and threading cranberries onto thread to adorn an evergreen in your home this year, remember the botanists and collectors like Aylmer Lambert, who helped us to get to know these gymnosperms better!

    Pinus Larix
    Pinus Larix. Image ID: 1114141
    Pinus variablilis
    Pinus variablilis: Image ID: 1114116

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    Leading the Way: Workplace Inclusiveness for People of All Abilities  is a Department of Labor blog post, authored by Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy.  In her blog, Kathy  presents some steps, which include strategies for encouraging self-identification and create the right culture, that companies can take to demonsrate that they choose to be inclusive.  Kathy asserts that building an environment where everybody can succeed is not just a normal part of doing business, it provides a competitive advantage.

    As we mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities last week, we’re at an historic crossroads when it comes to employment and inclusiveness for people of differing abilities. We believe we’ve reached the “tipping point,” on raising awareness around these critical workplace issues.

    dv2062008We’re approaching the 25th anniversary of theAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA)in 2015. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor’s new section 503 regulations, which went into effect on March 2014, introduced a hiring goal for federal contractors and subcontractors that seven percent of each job group in their workforce be qualified individuals with disabilities. Also, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed into law in July 2014, enables millions of Americans to receive training and skills to find and keep a job, including individuals with disabilities.

    Despite this progress, more remains to be done. In 2013, only 17.6% of persons with a disability were employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and their jobless rate was little changed from 2012 to 2013, while the rate for those without a disability declined.

    So, now onto the essential question: How do we foster a culture of workplace diversity and inclusion for people with diverse abilities? This question and more was discussed at the inaugural EY Diverse Abilities Summit, which featured speakers from companies focused on inclusiveness of people with diverse abilities including IBM, Merck, and Cisco. Some strategies and observations include:

    Business case for diversity – People with disabilities represent a huge market. As with any customer segment, the best way to tap into this market is to ensure it is represented in our workforce by hiring employees with disabilities and embedding inclusion in policies and practices. Americans over the age of 55 account for roughly 30 million workers, while those over 65 account for an additional 7 million. These workers represent a considerable population of Americans that may age into disabilities. At the same time, the US workforce will be increasingly comprised of the post-ADA generation – young people accustomed to interacting with peers with disabilities who have been mainstreamed in the education system and enter adulthood expecting to work. Higher education institutions are doing a better job of coordinating their disability and career services so that students are prepared to find jobs after they graduate. In addition, nearly 30% of veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with visible or non-visible disabilities. This is the new reality about disability employment — what started as a policy-driven issue has become a market-driven imperative.

    Create the right culture -The Section 503 seven percent goal has led many employers to ask about fostering a culture of inclusion for people with differing abilities. There are several things companies should seek to achieve:

    • Create an environment where people with a disability feel safe to self-identify, and provide accessibility and accommodations to help them succeed. We’re all accommodated in one way or another. For instance, workplace flexibility is now standard for many top companies, but years ago it was considered an accommodation.
    • Inclusion of people with differing abilities needs to be baked in across the enterprise, rather than layered on to a company’s culture.
    • Educate all members of the organization about how diverse teams help strengthen culture, drive innovation, and the business.
    • Lastly, showcase your commitment via leadership messages, success stories, and photos/videos of real people within the organization.

    Employee Resource Groups – Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are a best practice that maps back to the comfort and safety and success of your people. ERGs help make a real impact on workplace culture through organized feedback from current employees while reinforcing the company’s commitment to diversity. They create an opportunity for people who share commonalities to support one another and advise the organization on how to better support the needs of a particular community. Moreover, different ERGs within an organization can help each other by sharing best practices and information. For example, LGBT ERGs have insights to offer disability ERGs, since they face similar identification and disclosure challenges. In addition, some companies have created ERGs for employees with children with special needs.

    Strategies for Encouraging Self-Identification – Some companies are conducting internal campaigns to encourage disclosure — including of people with non-visible disabilities — through communications, the onboarding process and ongoing training. Additionally, it helps to have leaders talk about their connections to disability, whether through their own personal experiences or those of their family members or friends. At the Summit, for instance, a top leader discussed the impact on his father’s life due to disability and another executive noted adjustments made to her work style for a new employee who is hard of hearing. Branding is not just external — it’s internal, too. It’s what employees and potential employees find when they enter the workplace, whether literally or virtually. Do they see employees with disabilities at all levels of the organization? Do they find an accessible technology infrastructure? During onboarding, are they proactively informed of the process for requesting reasonable accommodations? These powerful images foster a culture where people can bring their whole selves to work.

    Etiquette & Social Situations – Often times, success lies in the basics of etiquette and common sense. The norms for being courteous and respectful to people with disabilities are generally the same for everyone. Like all people, people with disabilities want to be included – this applies to work and play. For example, consider the needs of people with different physical abilities when planning meeting locations as well as social events.

    It is important to remember that people with disabilities are just that, people. Disability is a part of us, but it’s not all of us. People with disabilities have families, jobs, hobbies, likes and dislikes too.

    These are just some steps companies can take to demonstrate that they choose to be inclusive. Because building an environment where everybody can succeed is not just a normal part of doing business, it provides a competitive advantage.

    Kathy Martinez is the assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and Karyn Twaronite is EY global diversity & inclusiveness officer.


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    Photographer Thomas Struth's work examines the ways self-image intersects with collective identity, ritual, and vision itself. Some of his photographs are currently on display at NYPL's Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography exhibition. Most recently, he appeared at the annual Live at NYPL photography event, where he discussed potraits and family photo albums.


    During his conversation with Paul Holdengräber, Struth challenged the cliché that photography is deceptive, preferring to focus on the interpretive work of the viewer or viewers. Likening the work of the audience to a readership, he explained:

    "Photos tell something. I think one of the most boring statements that's always repeated is that photographs lie. That's so uninteresting. It's much more interesting to debate about what does this photograph tell and you, and you and you and you, and then, you know, find a kind of consensus, and try to find out how interesting that certain photographs tell a story that's readable  if you're open enough to read it and feel it, if your antenna is willing enough to receive."

    Struth's antennae metaphor is emblematic of his style. The photographer described his artistic process with the voculary of a scientist and a touch of wryness:

    "When I make a portrait like that I look at the situation. I make a hypothesis of what I see, a little bit like an analyst. I read the ingredients... so I'm kind of a group dynamics specialist. I know when the setup is a certain way, things happen that are true."

    This truth is not necessarily simple, however. The artist recalled a photo album that once belonged to his father, a former German soldier who the photographer both credits with leading him to his medium and recalls clashing with bitterly:

    "He didn't really talk about the photographs in the album. What we're talking about is a photo album that contained photographs of my father being a soldier in the fascist army and being in France and being Russia, being in the field with other soldiers having a rest with a bicycle... That was an astonishing thing to have and to look at. And in retrospect I always think that was thing that brought me to photography because I found that very disturbing. The pictures were not banal, of course, but they weren't really sensational. My father was a soldier for nine years, and he was wounded, so for him this experience was personally, in his body, very dramatic. And he spoke about that a lot, quite often. There was always a big conflict for me with him because he was not really able to say, 'I am sorry for what our country did.'"

    Visit to view the artist's photographs. You can subscribe to the New York Public Library Podcast to hear more conversations with wonderful artists, writers, and intellectuals. Join the conversation today!

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    Addiction is a difficult disease to live with, no matter how old you are. As a teen, it may be especially hard. Numerous resources are available to help teens overcome addiction. Addiction is a complicated disease with few easy fixes or simple answers. It is important for teens to educate themselves and ask for help when they need it. Below are some resources you can use to help navigate this topic.

    Nonfiction Books for Young Adults

    Living with Substance Addiction by Melissa Higgins
    Living with Substance Addiction features fictional narratives paired with firsthand advice from a medical expert to help preteens and teenagers feel prepared for dealing with substance addiction during adolescence. Topics include complications of substance addiction, getting help and detox, rehab, and aftercare, triggers, and relapse. Throughout the book, Ask Yourself This questions encourage discussion. Features include a selected bibliography, further readings, Just the Facts summary of medical facts about addiction, Where to Turn summary of key advice that includes contact information for helpful organizations, a glossary, source notes, and an index.

    Drug Abuse by Katie Marsico
    Recent studies show that the drug of choice among America's youth is marijuana. After marijuana, teens choose prescription and over-the-counter medications. The likelihood of being exposed to drugs at a young age is high, and the chance of drug experimentation is very real. In Drug Abuse, explore the scope of this serious issue through true stories as told by teenagers who have battled real-life drug problems. Learn about the warning signs, treatment options, and the most effective solutions to this troubling topic.

    True Confessionsby John Diconsiglio
    When life throws a curveball at teens and tweens, point them in the direction of Scholastic Choices—the hip guide to life that tackles the tough challenges kids face every day with cool quizzes, real-life stories, and practical advice about what hurts and what helps.

    Underage Drinking by Lauri S. Friedman (Editor); Lauri S. Scherer (Editor)
    Essays explore the use and abuse of alcohol by teenagers, discussing the prevalence of binge drinking, the legal issue of the drinking age, and the effectiveness of various preventative measures.

    On the Rocksby David Aretha
    A comprehensive examination of the risks and physical and emotional effects of alcoholism, especially among today's youth.

    Addictionby Wyatt S. Schaefer
    A series of essays written either by people struggling with alcohol or drug addiction or by those close to them discuss what it means to be addicted and the emotional toll of addiction.

    Alcohol Information for Teens by Joyce Brennfleck Shannon
    Written for teen readers, this volume comprises documents (some are excerpted) published by U.S. government agencies arranged in a user-friendly format that includes lots of inset boxes containing tips, encouraging axioms, vocabulary, and other useful information.

    Alcoholism by Justin Karr
    Presents a series of narrative essays from a variety of viewpoints, discussing the personal experiences of alcoholics and friends and family members of alcoholics.

    Clean by Chris Beckman
    A former cast member of MTV's Real World: Chicago, Chris Beckman recounts his journey from addiction to recovery, speaking directly to the concerns of today's youth: how to go out, have fun, and be productive while in recovery, and how to turn away from social pressure to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Clean: A New Generation in Recovery Speaks Out also gives parents a realistic look at what's really going on in schools and at the mall—anywhere kids get together.

    Big Book Unplugged by John Rosengren; David Spohn
    A big part of figuring out how to stay clean and sober is learning how other people manage to do it. That's exactly why the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous", was written way back in 1939. A small group of alcoholics thought that maybe they could help each other—and help other alcoholics—by sharing their own stories about the disease and how they overcame it. It turns our that a lot of the stuff they wrote about back then holds true for alcoholics and addicts today.

    Memoirs for Young Adults

    Smashed by Koren Zailckas
    With one stiff sip of Southern Comfort at the age of fourteen, Zailckas is initiated into the world of drinking. From then on, she will drink faithfully, fanatically. In high school, her experimentation will lead to a stomach pumping. In college, her excess will give way to a pattern of self-poisoning that will grow more destructive each year. At age twenty-two, Zailckas will wake up in an unfamiliar apartment in New York City, elbow her friend who is passed out next to her, and ask, "Where are we?" Smashed is a sober look at how she got there and, after years of blackouts and smashups, what it took for her to realize she had to stop drinking. Smashed is an astonishing literary debut destined to become a classic.

    Dear Diaryby Lesley Arfin; Chloe Sevigny
    Lesley Arfin kept a diary during the apocalypse that was her adolescence, chronicling her depression from being bullied in the 10th grade and her discovery of heroin. Lesley told her diary everything. Now in her 20s, Lesley has returned to her journal and added new comments that only an adult looking back on their own life can perceive. Most of these are in the vein of 'What the hell was I talking about?' Lesley's hilarious updates remind readers how heavy it all seemed back then and how irrelevant it all really is in the face of adulthood.

    The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll
    Jim Carroll's bestselling memoir The Basketball Diaries was first released in 1978 and adapted as a film in 1995. Carroll's work includes several collections of poetry as well as a a second memoir, Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries 1971-1973. As the leader of The Jim Carroll Band he released three albums as well as several spoken word recordings. He died in New York City on September 11, 2009.

    Tweak by Nic Sheff
    Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery. As we watch Nic plunge the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself. It's a harrowing portrait -- but not one without hope.

    Leaving Dirty Jersey by James Salant
    Written with heartbreaking insight and wicked humor, Leaving Dirty Jersey chronicles Salant's descent from wealth and privilege into a year of crystal meth addiction and crime.

    A Piece of Cakeby Cupcake Brown
    This book is unlike any memoir you'll ever read. Moving in its frankness, it is a relentless tale of a resilient spirit who took on the worst of contemporary urban life and survived it with a furious wit and unyielding determination. Cupcake Brown is a dynamic and original storyteller who will guide you on the most satisfying, startlingly funny, and genuinely affecting tour through hell you'll ever take.

    Girlbombby Janice Erlbaum
    From her first frightening night at a shelter, trying to sleep in a large room filled with yelling girls, Janice knew she was in over her head. She was beaten up, shaken down, and nearly stabbed—but it was still better than home. She was halfway homeless, one step away from being sent "upstate to Lockdown." Yet she continued to attend high school, harbor crushes, even play the lead in the spring production of Guys and Dolls. She also roamed the streets, clubs, bars, and parks of New York City with her two girlfriends, on the prowl for hard drugs and boys on skateboards. This is an unflinching look at street life, survival sex, female friendships, and first loves.

    Zoo Stationby Christiane F.; Christina Cartwright
    In 1978 Christiane F. testified against a man who had traded heroin for sex with teenage girls at Berlin's notorious Zoo Station. In the course of that trial, Christiane F. became connected with two journalists who helped to turn her story, which begins with a dysfunctional but otherwise fairly normal childhood, into an acclaimed bestseller.

    Nonfiction eBooks for Young Adults

    Substance Abuseby Sheri Mabry Bestor
    This book looks at the most common forms of substance abuse among teens. It also describes ways abuse can be recognized, and most importantly, how teens can get help for themselves and/or their peers.

    Alcohol by Anne Rooney
    This title gives the straight facts about alcohol, addresses teenagers' concerns, and offers help for anyone affected by an alcohol problem.

    The Truth About Prescription Drugsby Basia Leonard
    Describes prescription drug abuse, including the different types of prescription drugs and how they may be abused, why some people abuse these drugs, and how to stay safe.

    Drugs by Ann Kramer
    This title gives the straight facts about all sorts of drugs, from illegal street drugs to solvents and prescription drugs. It offers advice on the effects of each drug and help and support to anyone affected by a drug problem.

    The Truth About Methamphetamine and Crystal Meth by Lara Nost
    Describes methamphetamine and crystal meth, including its origins, the dangerous effects of the drug, and how it is produced, and discusses how to seek help for methamphetamine addiction.

    The Truth About Ecstasyby Lanie Kimlan
    Describes the effects of ecstasy, explains why it is a dangerous drug and how it can lead to addiction, and discusses how to seek addiction help.

    The Truth About Amphetamines and Stimulantsby Nicolette P. Conti
    Discusses amphetamine and stimulant drug abuse, including the drugs' effects on the body and brain, how people become addicted, and how to seek help with drug addiction.

    Fiction Books for Young Adults

    The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
    In the last months of high school, charismatic eighteen-year-old Sutter Keely lives in the present, staying drunk or high most of the time, but that could change when he starts working to boost the self-confidence of a classmate, Aimee.

    Recovery Roadby Blake Nelson
    While she is in a rehabilitation facility for drug and alcohol abuse, seventeen-year-old Maddie meets Stewart, who is also in treatment, and they begin a relationship, which they try to maintain after they both get out.

    Clean by Amy Reed
    A group of teens in a Seattle-area rehabilitation center form an unlikely friendship as they begin to focus less on their own problems with drugs and alcohol by reaching out to help a new member, who seems to have even deeper issues to resolve.

    Far from Youby Tess Sharpe
    After Sophie Winters survives a brutal attack in which her best friend, Mina, is murdered, she sets out to find the killer. At the same time she must prove she is free of her past Oxy addiction and in no way to blame for Mina's death.

    Last Night I Sang to the Monsterby Benjamin Alire Sáenz
    Eighteen-year-old Zach does not remember how he came to be in a treatment center for alcoholics, but through therapy and caring friends, his amnesia fades and he learns to face his past while working toward a better future.

    White Lines by Jennifer Banash
    In 1980s New York City, seventeen-year-old Caitlin tries to overcome her mother's abuse and father's abandonment by losing herself in nights of clubbing and drugs, followed by days of stumbling aimlessly through school.

    iPhone Apps

    Teen Hotlines
    Teen Hotlines list hotlines, help lines, and web sites organized by subject. From school violence and depression to eating disorders and suicide, these national organizations can also refer teens to state and local services in their community. It is brought to you by the award-winning Web site, Teen Health & Wellness.

    Meeting Finder
    Meeting Finder is the most comprehensive and easy to use 12 step program meeting search tool. Find meetings across the U.S. in seconds.

    Anonymous Sober Recovery Chat for Alcoholics & Addicts in AA NA
    Meet and chat with alcoholics, addicts and people in recovery. Stop drinking, using drugs or other self-destructive behaviors. Stay sober one day at a time and chat with people who relate and want to help.

    AA Big Book and More
    The text of "Alcoholics Anonymous" otherwise known as the "Big Book".

    NA Meeting Search
    NA Meeting Search is an application developed to help find an NA Meeting anywhere around the world. Also bundled with this app is the daily Just For Today meditations.

    iPromises Recovery Companion
    With the iPromises recovery companion you can create trigger alerts, share meetings and access shared meetings; geo-locate the meeting you are sitting in to add it to your meeting list; easily contact friends in recovery; keep a visual journal of your moods, challenges, and accomplishments; click an icon to call your sponsor; use the Travel section and the iPhone's GPS when you are out of town and easily click-to-call local AA offices near you (US, Canada, and a growing list of other countries). You can add friends, see shared meetings, track your progress and challenges, and get a daily positive message one day at time. iPromises is the ultimate free AA and 12-step recovery application that will add new features as users suggest them.

    Recovery Speakers
    This Recovery Speakers smartphone app is being made available to help people in recovery find quality speaker talks from the past, and the present. The Recovery Speakers audio library formerly “The Midwest Tape Library” is the largest known historic Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) & Al-Anon audio library ever assembled.

    Addiction AVERT
    Addiction AVERT is a substance abuse craving reduction technique that can help individuals challenge cravings in the immediacy by bringing up realistic events and situations that will happen if they choose to use drugs, alcohol or smoke and what they will lose. AVERT can be customized to help motivate an individual’s personal recovery program and works with a sponsor.

    Where To Turn

    If You Think You Might Be Addicted:

    If you're confused about whether you have an addiction and would like more information, talk to your school counselor or another trusted adult. Check out addiction Web sites for teens such as Above the Influence, NIDA for Teens, and Teens Health. If you want to talk to someone right now, call the Girls & Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000.

    If You're Having Thoughts of Suicide:

    Feeling out of control with alcohol or drugs can create a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. If you're already depressed or lonely, using substances can make your anxiety or depression worse. If you've had thoughts of suicide, please get help right away from your doctor, school counselor, school nurse, teacher, relative, or other trusted adult. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), the USA National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), or the Girls & Boys Town National Hotline (1-800-448-3000).

    If You're Wondering Where to Find an Addiction Specialist or Treatment Program:

    Your family doctor, school nurse, or school counselor may be able to recommend an addiction specialist, or you can check online for board-certified doctors with addiction experience at the American Society of Addiction Medicine or the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

    For Teens In NYC

    Project Renew is a program within the Health Department that provides substance abuse (alcohol and/or drugs) screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment services at many free and confidential STD clinics during regular clinic visit. Project Renew is supported by funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

    Teen addiction is different from adult addiction, so if you can, it's important to choose a rehab program designed for adolescents. To find teen rehab programs, check out Choose Help or Drug Strategies. To find community-based addiction services, you can contact the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment . And for free treatment centers, try Sober Recovery.


    Higgins, M. (2012). Living with substance addiction. Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Pub.

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