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    Valentine's Day is a day when love and friendship are celebrated. 

    Valentine's Day by Reagan Miller teaches young readers about the history of Valentine's Day. They will learn about Saint Valentine and why this holiday is celebrated today. Children will also learn about how the holiday is celebrated around the world.

    Valentine's Day by Gail Gibbons teaches children about the origins and traditions attributed to Valentine's Day. 

    Valentine's Day by Kathryn Imler contains background information on the origins of Valentine's Day. 

    Valentine's Day by Trudi Strain Trueit  has photographs that illustrate Valentine's Day festivities. 

    In Valentine's Day by Anne Rockwell, Mrs. Madoff's students make Valentine's Day cards to send to a friend in Japan. 

    Valentines Day Is by Gail Gibbons this title illustrates the fun festivities of Valentine's Day. 

    Foxy in Love by Emma Dodd "Foxy uses his magical tail to help his friend Emily make a Valentine's Day card that reflects all the things she most loves, from birthday cakes and gardens to rainbows and balloons."

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    This is a guest post by Joanne Dillon, interviewer for Visible Lives: Oral Histories of the Disability Experience at Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. Joanne describes her experience attending the first monthly Community Meeting for the oral history project. If you're interested in seeing firsthand what Joanne describes in her blog post, please visit us at our next Community Meeting at Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library on Saturday, February 28 at 3 pm!

    I’m always impressed by the determination New Yorkers show as they face many challenging circumstances. But sometimes, I have momentary lapses, and my faith in the city’s residents wavers.  I recently fell victim to this temporary failure of judgment as I headed to a meeting of participants in the “Visible Lives: Oral Histories of the Disability Experience” project.

    When I left my apartment very early on Saturday, January 31, to attend the meeting, the temperature was hovering in the mid-teens, with the wind chill in the single digits. I was the only person walking through my Brooklyn neighborhood to the R train that morning.

    I arrived in Manhattan over an hour later to find the normally bustling streets almost completely empty. Imagine New York’s historic Flatiron District with only a few hardy souls scurrying about, heads bent against the wind and the cold. As I approached the Andrew Heiskell Library on West 20th Street, site of the meeting, I wondered if—no, I doubted—anyone else would show up.

    Oh me of little faith!

    Storytellers Lily and  Paul Jackanin talk with Interviewer Mary Dene Davis at Saturday's Community Meeting 

    When I entered the auditorium, more than 20 people were already there. Volunteers, library employees and interviewees were actively engaged in discussions of topics ranging from the reasons for their involvement with the “Visible Lives” project to successful interview techniques.  

    I found a seat and immediately became engrossed in the discussions. As people introduced themselves, I was struck by the variety of experiences they related. One woman, a political refugee from Afghanistan, recounted the horror of losing her eyesight after being attacked and beaten by a drug-crazed woman on a subway platform. Another told how, for many years, she had resisted using a cane as she did not want her friends to know her vision was deteriorating. A third talked about the role the Andrew Heiskell branch library played in helping her come to terms with her sudden loss of vision; an avid reader, she learned to use the many special services the branch offers. There were a diversity of disability experiences beyond visual impairment and blindness in the circle as well. We heard from a young man with brain trauma who is part of a meditation group and a City College student with Aspberger's syndrome who is an active member of the on-campus Accessibility Center.

    Volunteers shared interview techniques they found successful. Asking open ended questions, allowing for silences and pauses and using individual data sheets to formulate questions were some of the tips shared. Several people discussed how their use of language was evolving, becoming more sensitive with each interview they conducted.

    Interviewers Lynne Luxton and Monica Diaz discuss the project

    Everyone demonstrated excitement about the project and a commitment to its success. Applause erupted when Alex Kelly, the project leader, reported that 50 interviews had been completed since the project’s launch two months earlier. "These stories are beyond the scope of history that you'd find in an oral history textbook," Ms. Kelly mentioned.

    Why had I doubted, even for a moment, the commitment of my fellow volunteers? I should have known better. Given the life circumstances attendees described, it would take much more than cold weather to deter these dedicated individuals. My doubts were quashed. And my faith in my fellow New Yorkers restored once more!

    About Visible Lives: Oral Histories of the Disability Experience

    Please visit our project website to read more about The New York Public Library’s initiative to make public, document, and preserve personal stories of the disability experience.

    If you’re interested in sharing your story for this project, you can find more information on the blog post.

    And, if you’re interested in being an interviewer for this project, please contact or 212-621-0552.

    Finally, if you're curious about what Joanne describes in her blog post, please visit us at our next Community Meeting at Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library on Saturday, February 28 at 3 pm!

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    Tom WolfeThe papers of writer Tom Wolfe are now available for research in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library. A description of the Tom Wolfe papers, along with an index to correspondence in the collection, is available via NYPL's Archives & Manuscripts portal at The collection, which was acquired by The Library in 2014, fills over 200 boxes and will be a vital resource for the study of Wolfe's writing process, his journalism-based research methods, and the creation of his hugely successful works. Wolfe's personal papers represent an important archive that will continue to be celebrated as a public resource available at NYPL.

    From his beginnings as a beat reporter for the New York Herald Tribune to his best-selling books The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe's papers document the entirety of his celebrated career as a great American novelist and pioneer of the New Journalism. Researchers will be able to access multiple draft manuscripts of Wolfe's books and articles, along with the author's outlines, research materials, and interviews that show the creation of his most famous works and the evolution of his signature style. The collection contains a rich selection of letters from major writers, editors, and cultural icons such as Hunter S. Thompson, Jann Wenner, Gordon Lish, Gay Talese, George Plimpton, and Marshall McLuhan. Wolfe's childhood creative writing sheds light on an early interest in his eventual profession, and academic work from Washington and Lee and Yale Universities shows the development of Wolfe's unique cultural perspective. The collection also includes sketchbooks and drawings with Wolfe's humorous caricatures of New York society in the mid-20th century.

    A page from Wolfe's outline of The Bonfire of the Vanities, showing the detailed planning he undertook when revising the novel from its initial serialization in Rolling Stone. In the margin, Wolfe reminds himself that readers should ask "Why is [he] so anxious to get out of the building?" when first introduced to Sherman McCoy.

    From February 13-27, The Library will display a selection of highlights from the collection. This exhibition, "Becoming The Man in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers at The New York Public Library," will be open to the public for a limited time on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. In the Manuscripts and Archives Division, Wolfe's papers join other major 20th century archives, including the personal papers of Truman Capote and Timothy Leary, as well as the records of Wolfe's former publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. If you are interested in learning more about the collection or would like to discuss an archives-based project with an archivist, fill out an online registration form or stop by Room 328.

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    Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Council Member Rory Lancman, and the Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group are sponsoring a Job Fair on Thursday, February 19, 2015, 11 am - 3 pm.

    Meet employers and discover opportunities.  

    sixty million jobs

    72 organizations in total are expected to participate; with about 20 city and state agencies.  The businesses will mostly include large companies such as JetBlue, Macy's and other local small businesses who participated last year.  The unique aspect of this year's job fair is that there will be seminars and job training assistance in over seven languages throughout the day.

    The Job Fair will be held at St. Nicholas of Tolentine R. C.  Church 150-75 Goethals  Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432.

    Participants should bring 25-30 copies of your resume and dress in business attire.

    For more information, contact: Celia Dosamantes

    Call: 646-852-7758


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  • 02/11/15--10:41: 11 Ways to Find Romance
  • Valentine
    Image ID: 1600898

    Roses are Red
    Violets are Blue
    We've got 11 Romances for you.
    Why eleven?
    One plus one equals two!

    For Valentines Day, The New York Public Library's Romance Book Club gives you our favorites from the genre. Here's our top 11 picks, in no particular order. Unlike the horrendous poem above, these titles you'll enjoy!

    Romance Book Club's Favorite Books:

    A Week to Be Wickedby Tessa Dare
    What do you get when you combine a down-on-his-luck rake, an argumentative bluestocking spinster, a trip to Scotland and a fossil named Francine? A story that is a fun ride for both new and veteran romance readers. (Clarice)
    (Overdrive e-book, eAudio, Large Print)

    The Duchess War

    The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
    Who doesn’t love the quiet wallflower and dangerous duke trope? Minerva can see quite clearly through her spectacles that the Duke of Clermont is up to no good.
    While, this is the first title in the ‘Brothers Sinister’ series, Romance Book Club recommends all of them.
    (Overdrive e-book)

    Sea Swept by Nora Roberts
    When discussing our favorites, Romance Book Club proclaimed Nora Roberts ‘The Queen of Romance' so don't miss out!
    In Sea Swept Roberts introduces the irresistible Quinn brothers and you can get to know them a bit better by reading all four installments of the Chesapeake Bay Saga.
    (3M e-book, eAudio,Overdrive series e-book)

    Welcome to Temptation

    Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
    A great example of Crusie’s patented mix of heart and humor.
    When Sophie and her sister show up in a little town called Temptation to film a movie, she thinks she’s made a bad decision. When she meets the town’s young, rich, and way too attractive mayor, she knows she has. (Kate and Alyssa)
    (3M e-book, eAudio, 3M e-book bundle)

    The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
    Ian McKenzie is peculiar and, more than that, he’s dangerous. But Beth is long widowed and newly wealthy, and an affair with the sexy Scottish Lord might be madness---or it might be love. (Alyssa)
    (Overdrive e-book, 3M e-book)

    Destiny's Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
    Jenkins California-set Western historical featuring Logan, an obstinate rancher, and his mail-order maid Mariah has been described as a "buffet of romance tropes." Despite its feast for the romantic at heart, this book leaves the reader wanting to read more. Lucky for us that there are twomore books in the series! (Alyssa)
    (Overdrive e-book)

    A Rogue by Any Other Name

    A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
    A gem in the long line of Historical Romance options.
    Can a proper lady plagued with disappointing courtships and a desire to break the rules of society win the heart of a disgraced Marquess running London’s underworld? Can this scoundrel keep her away from the depravity of his gaming hell and convince her to rescue his reputation? (Jaqueline)
    (Large print or e-book: Overdrive e-book, eAudio, 3M e-book)

    The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
    The Unsung Hero is the first of Brockmann’s Troubleshooters books, about a company of Navy SEALs (some of whom later form Troubleshooters, Inc., a private security firm). The whole series is fantastic and should be read in order, as there are several overlapping multi-book arcs. Fans of the series will tell you the series takes off when Sam Starrett and Jules Cassidy arrive on the scene in Book 3 or so, though they don’t get their romances until later—Sam with Jules’s partner Alyssa after much drama, and later Jules with actor Robin. The whole series is amazing, especially if you’re a romantic suspense fan, but definitely start here. (Kate)
    (Overdrive e-book, eAudio, Overdrive Series)

    Just One of the Guys

    Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
    Higgins has a great sense of humor and her novels rarely follow the traditional romance trajectory (in a good way!).
    A Yankees fan and a Tolkien nerd has moved back to her hometown with the hopes of finding Mr. Right and settling down. Of course, nothing is that easy, especially not with her childhood best guy friend being all handsome and perfect. (Kate)
    (Overdrive e-book)

    Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
    Looking for something a little paranormal romance? Book Club has you covered.
    In a world ruled by the emotionless Psy, Sascha Duncan struggles to contain the flaw of feelings within her. Then she meets the tempting Changeling, Lucas Hunter, who is searching for a murderer that he suspects she can help him find. Can she resist the desire she has for him? Does she want to? (Clarice)
    (3M e-book)

    Dark Lover

    Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
    You don't have to go far, find love with vengeful alpha vampires here in NYC! This is the first in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series (and the entire series is recommended), but the third ‘Lover Awakened’ is especially wonderful.
    (Overdrive e-book, Overdrive e-book Series)

    Click here for all our favorites in a catalog list.

    About Romance Book Club

    Romance Book Club meets the last Monday of each month at the Jefferson Market Library in the Mae West room on the 3rd floor. Join us February 23 as we discuss What a Woman Wants (3M e-book) by Judi Fennell and Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar (Overdrive e-book) by Lexi George.

    Alexis Daria: @alexisdaria
    Alyssa Cole: @AlyssaColeLit
    Kate McMurray: @katemcmwriter
    Clarice Meadows: @embereye
    Stacey Agdern: @nystacey
    Jaqueline Woolcott: @jaqzilla
    Jefferson Market Library: @jmarketlibrary

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    At LIVE from the NYPL, we've had the chance to speak with some of the most brilliant visionaries of our time. And amongst these guests, from poets to pianists,  boxers to columnists, we've noticed a common theme: love. The insights are myriad. There are thoughts on love of books, of course, but there are also musings on monogamy and memories of first meeting a long-time love (in this case, the great Harold Pinter.) It's a LIVE on Love Fest, and we're happy to share it with our beloved patrons.

    Kissing Doesn't Kill (Color postcard)
    Kissing Doesn't Kill (Color postcard) Image ID: 1580801

    Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan on love without monogamy

    "That we believe that successful monogamy defines a successful marriage is destroying marriages. It's leading to unsuccessful marriages. Monogamy is a disaster for marriage... We define success in marriage as death, like, 'Oh, we should go to a funeral and congratulate the widow. Awesome job! High five! Successful marriage!' It doesn't matter how miserable you were. It doesn't matter if that was fulfilling. It doesn't matter if it was an abusive relationship or one of sexual deprivation or lifelong misery or resentment and anger or abuse. If somebody's fucking getting buried and you're still married: awesome!"

    Mike Tyson on his love of books

    "They're out most priceless possessions because if you think about it, you know a room without a book is like a body without a soul. It's the only way that we can connect the future with the past. The value of history is not necessarily scientific but moral. By liberating our minds and deepening our sympathies, fortifying our wills, history allows us to control not society but ourselves, which is a much more important thing."

    Harold Bloom on falling in love with a poem

    "Falling in love with a poem or falling in love with a Shakespearean play or character is not greatly different from a young man and a young woman or, these days, a young man and a young man falling in love with one another. It's essentially the same human mode. Of course, sometimes you fall out of love with a person and, indeed, sometimes you fall out of love with a particular poem or poets. But without that initial falling in love, I don't think the work of memory begins. I don't think possession in any sense of possession, whether by memory or any other mode, can take place."

    Marjane Satrapi on loving Dostoevsky

    "Friedrich Nietzsche, he said about Dostoevsky, he's the only writer that when he reads him, he has the feeling he understands better the human soul. And when I read Dostoevsky, I understand better the psychology of the human being. He goes very, very deep into the psychology. And he has a sense of humor. And he gives his personal point of view. He's never trying, you know, to show how objective he is. He is completely subjective and he teaches me."

    Rebecca Mead on long-lasting love

    "In reading the story of Fred and Mary who are betrothed as children and marry, and then we discover at the end of Middlemarch spend their lives together, I recognized that these are my parents and what a grand accomplishment that is...The one thing I'll never experience is that long-lived love in one place, that home epic shared with one person for a whole lifetime. I find it awe-inspiring and beyond romantic. I find it beautiful and awesome."

    Antonia Fraser on meeting the love of her life, Harold Pinter

    "It was January the 8th, 1975... I went up. Harold was actually sitting down, and I said, 'Wonderful play. Amazing actors. Blah blah blah. And now I must be off.' And he looked up with these black eyes and said, 'Must you go?' And I thought, I must get up in the morning, take the children to school, must go shopping for groceries, must write King Charles II, you know, and I said, 'Well not, it's not absolutely essential.' And I stayed."

    W.S. Merwin on helping kids fall in love with poetry

    "I was at Poet's House yesterday, and they have children's programs. And the children are running around talking about what fun it is to memorize poetry, to suddenly start remembering lines of poetry. Well you know, if they come at it five years later not having done, they'll say, 'I can't remember. I can't memorize things. I can't do it, you know." And there's this resistance that grown in. If they start early enough, they realize it's fun and that they have something that they can carry around with them and have fun with."

    Van Cliburn on the heart of the ideal person

    "The old philosophers used to say that the ideal human being was someone who had a heart that thinks and a mind that feels."

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    Breaking Bad  is a series about a chemistry teacher named Walter White. Walter White turns to a life of crime after learning that he has cancer to provide for his family before he dies. Breaking BadSeason 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and the The Final Season are available on DVD. 

    Greek "Take an unforgettable journey with the students of Cyprus-Rhodes University as they navigate the social minefield of college life. Join Casey, a sorority social climber, as she vies for president of Zeta Beta Zeta. Her world gets more complicated when her nerdy little brother, Rusty, arrives on campus and risks her reputation by joining a fraternity and trying to go from geek to Greek. On top of it all, she finds herself in the middle of a love triangle between her slouchy ex-boyfriend, Cappie, and Evan, the handsome president of the top fraternity on campus." Greek Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Season 3, Season 4 

    Smallville chronicles the life of Clark Kent: Superman from childhood to adulthood. Smallville Season 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and the 10th and final season

    Dracula "Centuries after the Order of the Dragon cursed him with immortality and murdered his wife, Dracula arrives in Victorian London to wreak his revenge. Posing as an American industrialist who intends to bring modern science to England, Dracula sets out to destroy the sect, only to fall in love with a woman who strongly resembles his dead wife, an obsession that threatens to thwart all his plans." Dracula-Season 1

    The Tudors. This very exciting show  recounts the early life of King Henry VIII. The story begins after he takes the British throne at the age of 19 and follows his tumultuous marriages with Queen Mary and Queen Anne.The Tudors Season 123, and 4.

    Chuck. Chuck Bartowski is a computer geek who becomes a secret agent after unwittingly downloading stolen government secrets into his brain. In this action packed show along side is super spy girlfriend. ChuckSeason 1, 2, 3, 4 and the Fifth and Final Season are available in DVD. 

    Covert Affairs "Meet Annie Walker: smart, stunning, and the CIA's newest field operative in one of their most secretive branches. Suddenly summoned by headquarters for active duty one month before training is over, she's quickly thrown into a shadowy world full of cons, killers, and international crime rings. What she doesn't know is there's something—or someone—from her past that her bosses want badly enough to put her in harm's way."Covert Affairs Season 1,  Covert Affairs Season 2,  Covert Affairs Season 3 and Covert Affairs  Season 4

    Nikita. "In this sexy and suspenseful series, Nikita has gone rogue. Division is an ultra-secret government agency whose operatives are recruited young people with severed ties to family, friends, and society. Trained to be invisible assassins, no one ever leaves Division, except the charming and deadly Nikita, who has managed to escape, making it her mission to undermine the now-corrupt organization."NikitaSeason 1, 2, 3, and the fourth and final season

    Fairly Legal "Kate Reed is a mediator whose skills are tested as she solves unconventional cases while balancing her complicated life. Features all ten season one episodes." Fairly Legal Season 1 and Fairly Legal Season 2

    Necessary Roughness. "Dr. Dani Santino . . . seems to have it all figured out: she's got a beautiful home, a successful husband, two great kids, and a satisfying career as a psychotherapist. But when she catches her husband cheating, Dani's perfect world begins to unravel, and she is forced to find a way to keep her family, her finances and her sanity intact. Luckily, a chance encounter leads to an offer with the local pro football team and a chance to show off her counseling skills. Before she can say 'Hail Mary,' Dani becomes the most sought-after therapist on Long Island."Necessary Roughness Season 1Necessary Roughness-Season 2, Necessary Roughness-Season 3. 

    Friday Night Lights "Life in Dillon, TX revolves around the high school football team, whose small-town adventures are chronicled in this series." Friday Night Lights-Season 1,  Friday Night Lights-Season 2Friday Night Lights-Season 3Friday Night Lights-Season 4Friday Night Lights-Season 5

    How I Met Your Mother  is a hilarious show told narrated in flashbacks by Ted to his Kids. "Ted recalls his single days, the highs and lows of dating and the search for true love." How I Met Your MotherSeason 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and the ninth and final season. 

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    As the World War I exhibit "Over Here: WWI and the Fight for the American Mind" in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is just steps away from the Dorot Jewish Division, I wondered what in our collection would add to the story of World War I. What can we feature that supplements the wonderful display of American history shown in the exhibit?

    I began looking at our collection to find materials that would attract a WWI history buff as well as anyone who casually passed through the exhibit. There is no single representation of early 1900s Jewish experience; Jewish soldiers served on both sides of the Great War. What I found most interesting was the mindset of Jewish soldiers fighting for Germany at the time. They fought to establish themselves and their identity as German Jews, fighting for a nation who would aim to eradicate their families in the decades to come. We see early signs of what was to come during the Great War, starting from the Judenzählung.

    Judenzählung is German for "Jewish Census," which was conducted in October of 1916 by the German Military High Command. The purpose of it was to confirm the lack of patriotism of German Jews.

    The Pity of it All by Amos Elon

    "In October 1916, when almost three thousand Jews had already died on the battlefield and more than seven thousand had been decorated, War Minister Wild von Hohenborn saw fit to sanction the growing prejudices. He ordered a "Jew census" in the army to determine the actual number of Jews on the front lines as opposed to those serving in the rear. Ignoring protests in the Reichstag and the press, he proceeded with his head count. The results were not made public, ostensibly to "spare Jewish feelings." The truth was that the census disproved the accusations: 80 percent served on the front lines." (Elon, Amos. The Pity of It All. pg. 338)

    Many Jews at the time were striving to be accepted and sought to prove their patriotism by fighting for Germany on the front lines. Our collection also houses a book (in German) of all Jewish soldiers who died fighting for Germany during the Great War, "Die jüdischen Gefallenen des deutschen Heeres, der deutschen Marine und der deutschen Schutztruppen, 1914-1918."

    While thousands of Jewish soldiers perished fighting for Germany, anti-semitism only grew after the war. In 1919, General Erich Ludendorff blamed the Berlin government and the civilian population for the German surrender in November 1918. He gave rise to the "stab-in-the-back" myth, blaming the republicans who overthrew the monarchy. Since many Jews supported the Weimar Republic and were thought to be unpatriotic due to previous claims by the Judenzählung, they became a natural scape goat. In response to accusations of the lack of patriotism, German Jewish veterans published this leaflet in 1920: 

    “To the German mothers! 12,000 Jewish soldiers fell on the field of honor for the fatherland. Christian and Jewish heroes fought side by side and rest side by side in foreign land. 12 000 Jews were killed in action! Furious party hatred does not stop at the graves of the dead. German women, do not tolerate that a Jewish mother is scorned in her grief.”
    “To the German mothers! 12,000 Jewish soldiers fell on the field of honor for the fatherland. Christian and Jewish heroes fought side by side and rest side by side in foreign land. 12,000 Jews were killed in action! Furious party hatred does not stop at the graves of the dead. German women, do not tolerate that a Jewish mother is scorned in her grief.”

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  • 02/12/15--09:08: 節慶‏ || Jie qing
  • Chi 394.2695 Gai, Guoliang     節慶 ||  Jie qing   

    蓋國樑著|| Gai, Guoliang

    Xianggang : Wan li ji gou, Wan li shu dian, 2004  ISSN: 9621427665

    節慶中國人的農曆新年,是幾千年來最重視的大節日之一。春節的習俗豐富多樣,不同地方有不同的習俗, 但除了細節有異外, 基本上卻相同,都是除舊佈新,趕回家與親人團聚。你們家有沒有貼春聯?換門神的習慣呢?有沒有準備壓歲錢給小朋友?







    阿衡見此,知道萬年的曆法已研究成功,…萬年指着天象,對祖乙说:“现在正是十二個月满,舊歲已完,新春復始,祈請国君定個節吧。祖乙説:“舂爲歲首,就叫舂節吧。” 』p12-14  这就是春節的來歷。


    Special Thanks goes to Hung-yun Chang at Mid-Manhattan Library , Noel Ruiz at Chatham Square Library and Maria Fung in Collection Development for all their help with this blog post. 

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    Enrollment Now Open - SAGE Boot Camp.  This two-week long, intensive training course will provide participants with essential skills to lead them toward job placement.  The first session starts on Monday - Friday from 3/2/15 - 3/13/15, 9 am - 2:00 pm.  Participants must attend every day at the SAGE Center, 305 7th Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10001.

    Sid Wainer & Son will present a recruitment for Delivery Driver (4 openings) on Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 10 am - 1 pm, at the Bronx Workforce  1 Career Center, 400 E. Fordham Road, 8th Floor, Bronx, NY 10458.

    Job Fair -  Sponsored by : Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Council Member Rory Lancman, and the Bangladeshi American Advocacy on Thursday, February 19, 2015, 11 am-3 pm, at St. Nicholas of Tolentine R.C. Church 150-75 Goethals Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432.

    Per Scholas Information Session on information about a free 15-week computer training  program through Per Scholas and learn about their eligibility and screening process on Thursday, February 19, 2015, 2 -4 pm at Lower Manhattan Workforce 1 Career Center, 75 Varick Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10013. You must pre-register for this workshop by 5 pm on February 17, 2015 by calling 212-775-3770. 

    NYC Police Department will present an information session for NYPD Recruitment opportunities: School Safety Officer, Traffic Enforcement, Police Officer, 911 Operators on Friday, February 20, 2015, 9 am - 2 pm, at Queens Workforce 1 Career Center, 168 - 25 Jamaica Avenue 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11432.

    House Calls Home Care will present a recruitment for Certified Home Health Aide (10 openings) on Friday, February 20, 2015, 10 am - 2 pm at the Bronx Workforce 1 Career Center, 400 E. Fordham Road, 8th Floor,  Bronx, NY 10458.

    Volunteers of America - Greater New York will present a recruitment for Assistant Intake Coordinator 1 (opening), Teacher Aide (P/T - Hourly, 6 openings) on Friday, February 20, 2015, 10 am - 2 pm at the Bronx Workforce 1 Career Center, 400 E. Fordham Road, 7th Floor, Bronx, NY 10458.

    affich le pour

    St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development provides Free Job Training and Educational Programs in Environmental Response and Remediation Tec (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 February  15  are available.

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    Tom Wolfe introduced the term "Masters of the Universe" to the American lexicon with his debut novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. From February 13-27, the New York Public Library will display the author's papers in an exhibition called “Becoming The Man in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers at The New York Public Library.” This week on the podcast, we are lucky to share Tom Wolfe's appearance at The Library, in which he discussed handwriting, humility, and social status.

    Tom Wolfe at LIVE

    Prior to his Live from the NYPL event, Wolfe perused some of the Library's archival materials, including Charles Dickens' manuscripts. Wolfe expressed his interest in handwritten materials:

    "I’ve always been interested in people’s handwriting, people from the past, and that’s because above all for years I wrote everything on the typewriter and then came the computer. I struggled with that for about two and a half years. I think I was born at the wrong time, because this last book that I’ve done has been completely handwritten... I write with a Twist-Erase mechanical pencil. Good erasers. It’s almost as good as a computer. You should try them. Twist-Erase is the brand name."

    In 2010, Wolfe received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Yet he spoke of the importance of humbleness for a writer:

    "In I Am Charlotte Simmons, I did quite a bit about my heroine, Charlotte Simmons, being from a town called Sparta, North Carolina, it’s a little town up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and so I ran into a teacher who had moved on from Sparta or somewhere else in her life, and I said, 'You know, it’s the funniest thing, I got no reaction at all from Sparta.' And she said, 'What on earth makes you think they read it?' And that’s a good thing for a writer to put in the back of his mind. 'What on earth makes you think they read it?'”

    Wolfe's work has often been informed by his studies, especially in the field of American Studies. In particular, his work reflects a fascination with status anxieties:

    "American Studies was made up of four subjects concerning the United States: history, literature, economics, and sociology. And I went to a liberal arts college, Washington and Lee, in Virginia, and we tended to look down on things like sociology as arriviste, you know, mostly people from abroad who decided to get into this muck, but when I, as soon as I started reading in that area and found the works of Max Weber, it was like my eyes opening... I had never thought of all the ways in which we think of status in the most unlikely places. For example, just going to the bathroom, you’d be amazed at the choices that you make because of the people around you and how you’re expected to be, this could be a messy example, it’s an example of something that you do in solitude, but you still think of your status. If people only knew—or only thought about, they know—why they choose the mates they choose and what enormous parts of the male or female population are excluded because they just simply are impossible in terms of status, it would surprise you. I look upon it as a constant motive. The only time that we are not conscious of it, I’m conscious of it right now, is when we face death, particularly sudden violent death, then I think you pretty much drop looking the right way."

    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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    At its heart—pun intendedValentine’s Day is about letting loved ones know you care about them.  The words of famous besotted correspondents fill our shelvesthe Rare Book Division alone holds printed copies of love letters from Henry VIII, John Keats, and Mary, Queen of Scots (assuming those casket letters weren’t forged).  But if these doomed affairs don’t quite inspire you to set pen to page, perhaps you should try another source—our universal letter-writers.

    Universal letter-writers were guidebooks meant to teach young men and women the art of writing and speaking fluently on a variety of subjects.  The bulk of the texts are model letters, organized by theme and supplemented with guides to grammar, spelling, pronunciation, and style, as well as how to write cards of compliment or address the President of the United States (“His Excellency the President of the United States,” if you’re curious).  The Rare Book Division’s copies were printed in the early nineteenth century, but later versions can be found in the library’s other collections.

    The Universal Letter-Writer, 1810, with contemporary hand-colored frontispiece
    The Universal Letter-Writer, 1810, with contemporary hand-colored frontispiece.  Rare Book Division. New York Public Library. Astor, Lenox, Tilden Foundations.

    The model letters offer guidance on a bewildering array of subjects, from “To an Acquaintance to borrow a Sum of Money for a little time” to “From a Daughter to her Mother by way of Excuse for having neglected to write her” (I think I have a few drafts of that one myself) and even “From a Lady to her Friend, whose lover had basely left her and married another.”  Some of them retain their original namesan 1800 edition notes that “several of the letters are taken from approved American writers”—while the sources for others remain anonymous.  As I read these, I picture the early American version of Joaquin Phoenix in Spike Jonze’s Her, crafting heartfelt letters for strangers on commission.  Letters on courtship and marriage are well-represented.

    If it feels contrary to the nature of love letters to follow a template, the letter-writer compilers anticipated that reaction.  “It would be easy to fill a very large volume with the letters of lovers without illustrating the topic of love: because every difference of circumstances and situation, however slight, makes a very material one in the commencement, progress, and effects of the passion,” says an 1810 edition.  It continues with a scathing yet humorous indictment of the idea of writing love letters at all:  “The letters of lovers are said to be agreeable to themselves alone; this observation is in some degree true, for the explanation of passion begins in egotism, proceeds in complaint, crimination, exculpation and compliment, and ends if fortunately, in self-gratulation, if otherwise, in self-defence.  Lovers, in general, injure their cause in the eyes of the prudent by unlimited protestations, extravagant exaggerations, and absurd hyperboles; things unpardonable in any person of moderate judgment, and which must proceed either from folly or a wish to deceive.”

    If, despite these criticisms, you choose to soldier on with your words of endearment, our universal letter-writers have inspiration for seemingly any situation.  Here are some personal favorites of mine, with suggestions of the literary couples who might have needed them.  If they strike your fancy, be sure to explore one of the library’s print or digital copies!

    “From a Wit to his Mistress” (1810), a.k.a. the Rodolphe Boulanger - Emma Bovary Letter

    “I take the liberty of assuring you that you must either pull out your eyes, or I must pull out minethat’s a fact.  You must either not be so handsome, or I must be blind, that’s another.”

    “From a humorous Lover to his Fair One” (1810), a.k.a. the Bertram Wooster - Various Love Interests Letter

    “...for that little rogue, Cupid, has so pinked me all over with his confounded arrows, that I look like—let me thinklike what?  your ladyship’s pincushion!but this is not all;your eyes had like to have proved more fatal to me than Cupid and all his roguery; for, Madam, while I was star-gazing the other night at your window; full of fire and flame (as we lovers usually are) I dropped plump into your fish-pond.  By the same token I hissed like a red-hot horse-shoe flung into a smith’s trough.It was a hundred pounds to a penny but I had been drowned; for those that came to my assistance, left me in this sad pickle to shift for myself; because forsooth!  laughing had so conquered their sides, that they were incapable of affording me the desired aid.Seeing some fish, (very good, I presume, when dressed) approaching me with an air that seemed to question me what business I had there, I took the liberty of catching a few of my fellow-sufferers; of which I intend to make an offering to your ladyship…”

    “Letter from a Gentleman to a Lady, against the tedious Forms of Courtship” and “The Lady’s Answer, encouraging a further Declaration” (1800), a.k.a. the Benedick - Beatrice Letters

    “I remember that one of the ancients in describing a youth in love, says he has neither wisdom enough to speak, nor to hold his tongue.  If this be a just description, the sincerity of my passion will admit of no dispute: and whenever in your company I behave like a fool, forget not that you are answerable for my incapacity.”

    “I am very little in love with the fashionable methods of courtship: sincerity with me is preferable to compliments yet I see no reason why common decency should be discarded.  There is something so odd in your style, that when I know whether you are in jest or earnest, I shall be less at a loss to answer you.  Mean time, as there is abundant room for rising, rather than sinking, in your complaisance, you may possibly have chosen wisely to begin first at the lower.  If this be the case, I know not what your succeeding addresses may produce:  But I tell you fairly, that your present makes no great impression, yet perhaps as much as you intend, on Your humble servant.”

    “Letter from a Nephew to his Aunt, concerning ludicrous Treatment in Courtship” (1810), a.k.a. the Cecil Vyse - Mrs. Vyse Letter

    “For some time past I have been making my addresses, in the best manner I can, to Miss Johnson, but have not the least room to boast of my success. ...I told her how happy I should think myself, if I could be encouraged to hope for the smallest share of her favor; but she made me such an odd answer as plainly demonstrated to me, that I had more of her contempt than approbation.  This made me as earnest as her to wave the subject, and so we went on upon the weather for a whole week before.  When we had done that, we talked politics…”

    “From a rich young Gentleman, to a beautiful young Lady with no fortune” (1809), a.k.a. the Fitzwilliam Darcy - Elizabeth Bennet Letter

    “The opportunities which I have had of conversing with you at Mrs. B’s, have at last convinced me, that merit and riches are far from being connected, and that a woman may have those qualifications necessary to adorn her sex, although adverse fortune has denied her money.  I am sure that all those virtues necessary to make me happy in the marriage state, are centered in you, and whatever objection you may have to my person, yet I hope there can be none to my character; and if you will consent to be mine, it shall be my constant study to make your life agreeable, and under the endearing character of a husband, endeavor to supply your early loss of the best of parents.  I shall expect your answer as soon as possible, for I wait for it with the utmost impatience.”

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    Welcome back, readers! Well into Emma Healy's debut novel, Elizabeth is Missing, we realize Maud flits between 1946 and the present. We are gradually introduced to two sets of characters: Sukey, Frank, Douglas, the Mad Woman, and Maud's parents from 1946, and Helen, Katy, Peter, Carla, Tom and several others in the present. Maud is the link between the two narratives. Clearly, she has trouble with her memory—she buys, and forgets she has bought, tins of peaches, she leaves cups of tea everywhere, Carla and Helen leave notes reminding her of simple everyday things, and Maud leaves herself little notes to aid her memory: "No word from Elizabeth," "Haven't heard from Elizabeth," "No sign of Elizabeth," which lead her to say repeatedly, "Elizabeth is missing."

    • A Personal Guide to Living With Progressive Memory Loss
      Why does Maud use the word "missing" instead of "lost" or "gone?" Is the title effective?
    • Carla, Maud's caregiver, tells her stories of vulnerable older people who are mugged, invaded and terrorised by strangers and cheated by their own children. Is Carla "a carer in wolf's clothing?"
    • There are several allusions to Red Riding Hood in the first chapter. What tone does this set? How does it affect the story?
    • Maud's behavior at the restaurant clearly disturbs Helen. Maud's inability to control her bodily functions, the condescension she receives from her doctor, the police and the store clerks frustrate Maud. What does this tell the reader about how the world treats dementia patients? Is it reminiscent of the behavior meted out to the "Mad lady" in 1946?
    • "It's such a little thing—knowing where to put cutlery—but I feel like I've failed an important test. A little piece of me is gone." Can we empathize with Maud? Is she a reliable narrator?
    • How do the recurring images of summer squash, snails, garden walls, earth and objects buried in the earth, inform the novel?
    • As we proceed, how do we begin to see Helen? How relevant is her profession to the story?  How is she similar to or unlike Peter, Elizabeth's son, or Tom, Maud's son?

    For readers interested in learning more about memory loss, I recommend A Personal Guide to Living With Progressive Memory Loss by Sandy Burgener.

    Until next week!

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    Here is the New York TimesBest Sellers List from February 15, 2015 and recommended readalikes for each title.

    #1 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: crime fiction set in London

    #2Private Vegas by James Pattersonand Maxine Paetro: mysteries set in Las Vegas

    #3 Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James: read-alikes

    #4 All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: more titles with blind protagonists

    #5 Viper Game by Christine Feehan: paranormal romance

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    The Crossover

    Tuesday, February 10th, was a special day at the Hamilton Grange Library—Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander visited the branch and met with students from KIPP STAR and New Heights Academy in Harlem. 

    Mr. Alexander's visit came less than a week after his most recent novel, The Crossover, became the recipient of the 2015 Newbery Medal, the American Library Association’s the top award given to "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

    It might sound like I'm exaggerating, but it's no small feat to have the opportunity to listen to a Newbery winner, especially one who is as eloquent and engaging as Mr. Alexander. Fluid and funny, he easily captured the attention of the large group of middle school students that made up the audience. He kept them on their toes by switching between personal anecdotes, poetry readings, and questions that were directed at the audience. The questions ranged from asking who among them was a great basketball player (and the person who answered got to act out one of Kwame's basketball-related poems) to who could recite a couple of lines of Kwame's poetry. Students who answered his questions correctly received a signed copy of The Crossover

    Kwame Alexander at Hamilton Grange
    Mr. Alexander reciting his poetry to the audience at Hamilton Grange

    It was a wonderful opportunity to hear him speak, and the teens at the Library were able to  celebrate his poetry and his writing. It brought to light the many ways that children and teens can discover their own love for reading and verse. Interacting with Mr. Alexander allowed the students to understand that being a good or active reader doesn't mean liking a certain type of book.

    It’s okay to read a book about a teen boy dealing with everyday problems.

    It’s okay if the book you want to read revolves largely around basketball.

    It’s even okay if the book you’re reading is entirely written in verse.

    Kwame Alexander speaking at the Hamilton Grange Library
    Speaking to the audience

    The event closed out with an impromptu poetry slam, during which audience members were invited up to recite a poem that they had written or memorized. The winner, who recited a poem she had written herself, won a signed copy of The Crossover. It was the perfect way to end a commemoration of poetry and reading while giving the audience an excuse to check out a wonderful new book and dive into some poetry!

    Mr. Alexander is a poet, author of 18 books, and founder of two literacy organizations: Book-in-a-Day and LEAP for Ghana. He conducts writing/publishing workshops at schools and conferences, has owned several publishing companies, written for the stage and television (TLC's "Hip Hop Harry"), recorded a CD, performed around the world, produced jazz and book festivals, hosted a radio show, worked for the U.S. Government, and taught high school.  To keep up with Kwame Alexander's new projects and writing, check out his Book-In-A-Day website. Also, check out the NYPL's collection of Mr. Alexander's novels and poetry in our catalog.

    He Said, She Said
    Acoustic Rooster
    Do the Write Thing


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    DAV and Recruit Military will present All Veterans Career Fair on Thursday, February 26 , 2015, 11 am–3 pm at New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eight Avenue,  New York, NY 10001.

    Featured Exhibitors include:

    Sixty million jobs

    Exhibitors include:

    • Gateway National Recreation Area
    • VSO - Supportive Services for Veteran Families
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    • Department of Veteran Affairs (VESO)
    • Heavy Construction Academy
    • Solco Plumbing Supply. Inc.
    • Kiewit-Weeks-Massman, AJV
    • NYU Langone Medical Center
    • Sterling National Bank
    • Jet Blue Airways
    • Veteran Franchise Center 
    • Time Warner Cable, Inc.
    • National Federation of Independent Business
    • New York Army National Guard
    • New York Community Bancorp
    • Montefiore Medical Center
    • College of Westchester
    • The Art Institutes
    • And more............. 

    Register to attend and view the full exhibitor list at

    This event is for all who have served in the U.S. Military, National Guard,  Reserves and their spouses.

    USAA's local Wealth Management team is presenting a seminar prior to the career fair at 10:00 am.  The seminar is titled "Practical Advice for All Stages of Retirement Planning".  All veterans are welcome  to attend this session that is intended to provide information for all veterans and spouses to use  as they consider their future retirement.  Space is limited, so please register separately for this seminar at


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    By the time you have read this blog post, the Fifty Shades of Grey movie will have been released in theaters.  Like many other viewers,  I enjoyed the film and it surpassed my expectations. 

    That being said, if you liked the book, the movie should be just as enjoyable.  It left out some apparent plot issues and focused more on building on the intense connection between the two main characters of the book, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.  And yes, the next two parts of this trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed will also be made into movies.

    With that comes a well expected surge of interest in like-minded books and movies—that capture the similar essence, theme and 'feel' of FSOG.  

    This post has you covered. If you want to find more materials post FSOG: The Movie, here are some personal recommendations... 




    Untouched by Lilly Wilde
    Aria Cason appears to have the perfect life; an amazing career with Raine Publishing House, a cushy condo, and an awesome best friend. Her unwavering dedication to her career has left little room for a personal life, which is actually her preference.

    The moment her eyes lock with the gorgeous green eyes of her new intern, Aiden Wyatt… that all changes. Aiden is gorgeous, intelligent, confident and most importantly, he possesses that something that tempts Aria to forget all of her rules. His attraction to her is immediate and intense. Aria stubbornly fights the pull she has toward Aiden. Eventually, Aiden pushes the envelope and decides that abstaining from her is no longer an option. The explosion of desire and fulfillment that follow are like none Aria has ever experienced.

    They eventually agree to an arrangement that ultimately yields a lively, fervent relationship. In the process, Aiden breaks down Aria’s compartmentalized way of living, forcing her to confront emotions and feelings she had vowed to never embrace.

    Secrets eventually surface that threaten to destroy their union. Will those secrets destroy them as a couple? You've got to read this to find out..


    Beyond the Velvet Rope Cover

    Beyond the Velvet Rope by Tiffany Ashley
    Thandie is a publicist relocating to Miami to help promote a renovated Miami club as a favor for a friend. Once she meets the owner, Elliott...Thandie realizes she may be in over her head. Elliott is 100% alpha male. Gorgeous, intelligent, articulate... and arrogant. He is confident to the max and had his share of women. Thandie is a challenge to him, as she attempts to thwart his advances. Eventually she acquiesces, as he has gradually wears down her defenses. Their torrid love affair begins and a convoluted web of deceit and half truths are being weaved, threatening to end it all.   

    Another recommended title by this author is Love Script.

    Beautiful Bastard Cover Image




    Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
    This is the first installment of the 'Beautiful' series by Christina Lauren. Bennett Ryan is a personification of the world's worst boss.  Authoritative to the hilt, impatient, sarcastic, his employees fear him and his wrath. Except Chloe Mills. As his intern/receptionist, she takes his ire head-on, trying not to let him see her sweat.  Their families are mutual friends, so it would only seem natural that they would become amicable. What most don't know, is that they have an immediate, fiery connection that initally starts in secret. As they try to hide it from family and friends, . it eventually becomes public and they attempt to pick up the pieces. It's quite an adventure to read...

    The other books in this series include (in sequential order) Beautiful Stranger, Beautiful Bitch, Beautiful Bombshell,Beautiful Player and Beautiful Beginning. 



    Alpha Cover Art

    Alpha by Jasinda Wilder
    Kyrie is a struggling student. Her mom is grappling with mental illness...she helps put her little brother thru boarding school and she barely keeps a roof over her head. Her hard luck story gets a unexpected twist. An unexpected financial windfall comes to her in the form of a 10,000 check. Hesitant to use it at first, she relents. However the sender is unknown to her, at first. Eventually that sender reveals himself to Kyrie, but as a voice. She must wear a blindfold when she is around him, and rely on her other senses to interact with him.  One of the conditions of her 'repayment' is to be with him in any way he wants. And that is where things get interesting... and intense. 

    There is a sequel to this title, Beta, for the follow up to this storyline.




    Bared to You

    Bared to You by Sylvia Day
    This title is the first in a series of books showing the start and maturation of the complicated love story between billionaire magnate Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell, a recent college grad. She happens to work as an administrative assistant for a advertising agency, housed in the Crossfire building, which Gideon owns. After a brief encounter in the Crossfire lobby, a passionate romance ensues. Their constant struggle for control, privacy and testin g each other's limits brings dark secrets from each other's pasts to the surface—and threatens their union.

    The other titles in the Crossfire series are Reflected in You, Entwined with You and Captivated by You.



    These are just a sampling of FSOG-like materials available within the New York Public Library. If the titles you want are not available on the shelf, they can be placed on reserve for you with a library card.  Check out what we have to offer!


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    Kaitlin's luck seems to be failing her. Telling the judges at a competition exactly what she thinks of her low scores for artistic expression leads to her demise at the Ridgeline Skating Club. That kind of behavior is not tolerated there. Hildy, her coach, is not thrilled with her behavior, either.

    Into the picture comes the Fallton Skating Club. Greg, Kaitlin's new coach, is way into feeling the music, and she stumbles through a tango routine that is totally not her style. Tango dance classes help, though, and she is able to incorporate cool steps like ochos into her skating routine. Greg seems interested in what she would like to add to the routine, a concept that is foreign to her. At least she is acquiring new performance techniques.

    Everyone at Fallton has a story. Addison has an attitude and a grumpy nature that never quits. Handsome Braedon keeps luring Kaitlin into activities that she is not completely comfortable with. Kaitlin had an incident with the judges at competition, and Miyu is her best buddy, whom she can tell anything. 

    Breaking the Ice by Gail Nall, 2015

    It was interesting to learn about skate jumps like the flying camel, double axel and triple salchow.

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    In the beginning... there was fashion! While waiting between shows at Fashion Week, you might be in need of a good book. Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and the ‘90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion by Maureen Callahan is as over the top as it is informative. Remember how fashion was by the late '80s? The shoulder pads, the sequins, the big hair and heavy makeup? A set of values that was best encapsulated in the materialism of the television show Dynasty? Or as '80s supermodel Linda Evangelista once said, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”

    As frivolous as the fashion world may seem to many, this book is an excellent reminder of how much fashion itself is a part of our culture. Perhaps no one did this better than Alexander McQueen. His fashion shows were performance art where the worlds of culture, politics and art all collide. McQueen's work was darkly imaginative, drawing on themes of beauty, violence, death and decay.  McQueen himself would always feel like an outsider in the fashion world.  Though Marc Jacobs had many ups and downs in his career,  he was on a very different path. Like McQueen, Jacobs always managed to find his greatest successes when he broke the rules. Callahan points to his greatest inspiration, the graffiti inspired Louis Vuitton bag that young girls would buy despite that it cost more than a month’s rent. Corrine Day is not a name you hear much today but she is one of the renegades who helped to remake fashion. Her early photos of Kate Moss altered what passed for beauty at the time. Moss was not the glamazon model of the 80s but the waif of the '90s.  Day's photos were very minimalist and caught the eye of Ralph Lauren. Moss became the unlikeliest supermodel ever.  Callahan credits Moss with an instinctive fashion sense that has altered the way many women dress. The first supermodel of the Internet Age,  Kate's fashion choices would saturate the web and her many adoring fans would copy the looks she put together with a few clicks.

    With chapter titles like “Fifteen-Year-Olds Don’t Go to Nightclubs,” “Fashion People Haven’t Got Any Brains,” and “Paris for Couture, London for Suits, America for Psychiatric Hospitals,” Callahan exudes a flippant attitude towards her subject. “Champagne Supernovas” is itself a reference to an Oasis song that might be seem to glamorize drug use, though it’s hard to say what the song is actually about. The '90s did coin the term “heroin chic” and there is a seamy underside to this world that is so focused on creating beauty. Alexander McQueen and his fashion muse, Isabella Blow, both ultimately lost their battles with depression.

    Other fashion reads worth checking out:

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    Selma poster in the theaterFebruary is Black History Month, and what better way to celebrate it this year than to bring history to life (well, almost), through a screening of the movie Selma!

    Because of the generosity of an Aguilar volunteer tutor,  almost 200 Harlem, Aguilar and St. Agnes students, staff and volunteers had the opportunity to see "Selma" on Wednesday and Thursday, February 11 and 12 at the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem.

    The film chronicles the 3-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The  march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay's Selma tells the story of how Dr. King and his many supporters prompted change that forever altered history.

    Waiting in the Lobby of the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem

    Many of the students in the audience were not even alive during those years, but most said they had learned at least a little in their schools in many different countries around the world. Others, born here, probably also learned the basics in elementary and high schools, but they, too, were pretty fuzzy about even the most basic facts. 

    In some post-film discussions, we heard the following comments:

    Barbara:  "I liked the movie, because it made me feel emotional about the way Dr. King became strong.  Early on, he wanted to give up, but John Lewis spoke to him and and he changed his mind.  I learned about the way Dr. King convinced people to fight for their rights, no matter who they were."

    Jason:  "The film brought the past into the present, and I learned how we got the right to vote."

    Ousman: "My favorite part was when the white supporters joined in the final march across the bridge."

    Dave mentioned how much he learned about the different philosophies of Dr. King and Malcolm X. Several non-US-native students also said that they really appreciate all that has happened in this country before they arrived here—especially the fact that people lost their lives to make life possible for them today.

    Yolanda Rodriguez, Literacy Assistant at Harlem put it very well: 

    "Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that achieving true freedom requires not only planting the seed of freedom, but also nurturing it, so that we may rejoice with an abundant harvest. That's what our students are doing—nurturing their newfound freedom through working on their English reading, writing, and speaking skills. This is our bridge, our Selma, a bridge to communication."

    In one class blog, Ghislaine wrote:

    "Selma is a powerful movie that taught me a lot about the civil rights movement. I knew that Martin Luther King and his partisans were pro non-violence, but I was really wondering how a non-violent movement could achieve its goal without using force. I thought it was impossible, but at the end of the movie I realized IT IS possible : the movie described how non-violence was the best weapon at that time against injustice. Selma makes you realize that sometimes, we tend to forget that if we are able to peacefully live all together, it’s because some people somehow fought for it in the past and even died for it. We all should keep that in mind and avoid repeating the same mistakes. Thanks so much to the NYPL and the tutor who gave us the opportunity to learn more about American history through this amazing movie. We are very lucky to be part of this program."

    Associate Director of Adult Learning Centers, Ken English, commented,

    "The issues raised continue to resonate in the headlines and daily lives of our students. How literacy, language, and education relate to the issues of segregation, exclusion from opportunity, racism, and the further expansion of the socio-economic divide, so obviously validates the work we do."

    Thanks again to our generous donor! You have given our students such an important and worthwhile experience that they will long remember!

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