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    In sickness and in health, library resources are there for you. We all use the library for different reasons, some of which may include information, inspiration, education, entertainment, job seeking and for help with trying to accomplish many other tasks that are often required in daily life. Sometimes when one is in crisis, the library is a good place to turn for direction and guidance.

    Dealing with the Shock

    When you find an egg-sized lump in the shower and are diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after, time freezes in the worst way. The last fragile vestiges of hope are blown to bits. Thoughts like “Maybe it really will turn out to benign. Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family. It’s probably nothing” fall away in an instant. Thoughts like “What do I want for dinner tonight?” are quickly replaced with “How did I not notice it before? I’m too young for this! What stage is it? Am I going to die? How long do I have? How do I tell my family?"

    Even while you are still trying to deal with the initial shock, life doesn’t stop. You must organize your affairs at work regarding upcoming treatments. Even if you're lucky enough to be working for a humane organization and have good medical insurance, forms still must be filled out, submitted and faxed over to the appropriate offices.

    Life becomes an exhausting series of medical appointments and waiting for test results.That is in addition to continuing to juggle the various daily problems and situations that inevitably continue to arise (like: the Internet service that is still spotty, the phone that breaks or gets lost). All of the sudden, there is a lot of new information flying at you. Important information that you must learn to understand—fast. If you don’t have a prior medical knowledge, this can be tricky.

    Time to Get Organized

    There will be lot of paperwork, appointments and other information to keep track of. If you don’t have the luxury of always having another person around to act as a sounding board or to accompany to the various medical appointments, keeping your head cool and keeping track of it all becomes paramount to maintaining your daily survival as well as sanity. There are many ways to do that. Through trial and error, you will find methods that works for you.

    Using Technology

    It may help to become friends with technology and learn to use Google Docs to keep track of what doctors and other medical professionals are saying. If you want to make sure to catch every word that is said to you during your doctor visits, a good way to do that is to record them on your smart phone—with the doctor’s permission of course—and later transcribe it all onto a Google Doc. It may also help to create a Google Calendar to record appointment days and times and linking it to your phone.

    Using Paper-Based Methods

    If you don’t yet have time to become too chummy with technology, using a paper daily planner, a notebook to take notes, a tape recorder to record information and sticky notes to give yourself reminders in various places can do the job. You may find that you need to save paperwork and insurance invoices for future reference. Insurance claims do sometimes get denied and there also may be billing and coding errors to sort out. Having easy access to the documents can be very handy when making phone calls to medical offices and insurance companies. Investing in a big binder, a hole puncher and a package of dividers may do the trick.

    If you change your mind, there are always free computer classes and open labs available at various branches throughout The New York Public Library system. If you want to learn at your own pace, there are always free online self-teaching resources such as Lynda.com, one of the free databases available on our website. Or you may use other free online self-teaching resources.

    Library and Online Resources to Help You Cope

    Here is a list of books and websites below that may be helpful for you, your friends or your loved ones to help with the often frightening and overwhelming early part of the journey, from diagnosis through the various stages often involved in recovery.

    Books

     a step-by-step guide for women with newly diagnosed breast cancer"

    The Breast Cancer Survival Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide for Women with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer by John S. Link

    When you are first diagnosed with breast cancer, this is a good place to start. It is chock full of basic information about understanding what breast cancer is, the different types of breast cancer, the stages, types of breast surgery and treatment options. There is also a comprehensive list of resources in the back of the book.

     

     

    Bald is Better

    Bald Is Better with Earrings: A Survivor's Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer by Andrea Hutton

    This is a humorous account of the author’s own experience with being diagnosed with breast cancer. She explains what to expect and walks you through the intense and emotional process of the endless tests and coping with the results, what surgery can be like, chemotherapy and its effects, what it was like to shave her head and become bald. She also explains what going through radiation treatments what like and much more.

     

     

    "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips"

    Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr, forward by Sheryl Crow

    When actress and photographer Kris Carr was told that she had cancer after going to a doctor’s appointment for another problem, she was floored. She was a thirty-one years old and has always exercised and ate a healthy diet. Not one to take things lying down, she vowed “Cancer needed a makeover and I am just the gal to do it!” She decided to document her story and provide humorous anecdotes and advice on socializing, dating, healthy eating, and more while living with cancer. It also contains very helpful tips on dealing with health insurance companies. Although it is geared toward the young cancer survivor, this contains valuable tips for the cancer survivor of any age.

     20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know"

    Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know by Lori Hope

    For some cancer survivors, talking about their cancer situation with others is uncomfortable. Caregivers may also be unsure of what the best thing is to say or do. They may not know how to best help or ‘be there’ for their friends and loved ones living with cancer. Written for both cancer survivors and caregivers, this book discusses the different needs and issues that cancer patients commonly have and want their caregivers to understand.

     

    Websites

    SHARE
    If you are feeling alone and overwhelmed because of your breast cancer diagnosis, support is out there. You can connect with other breast cancer survivors who have walked in your shoes. In-person support groups, virtual online support groups and help over the telephone are all available.

    Questions to Ask Your Doctor
    This page on the Susan G. Komen website may be helpful to print out and take to your doctor’s appointments along with a pen or pencil to jot down notes. There are also many other resources on their website to familiarize yourself with all things breast cancer related.

    Your Guide to the Breast Cancer Pathology Report
    Soon after you are diagnosed, you will probably hear your doctor mention your pathology report a lot and how the course of your treatment is determined by its results. This guide, published by the Breastcancer.org, explains its various aspects in a user friendly format. Good for those without prior medical backgrounds.

    Breastcancer.org Discussion Boards
    These discussion boards provide various useful tips on coping with various aspects related to breast cancer treatment, from diagnosis, surgery and beyond. One can do a search on various topics on these discussion boards.

    Working During Cancer Treatment
    Are you concerned about how you will cope with work related matters? This page on the American Cancer Society website contains tips on talking to your supervisor and coworkers about your treatment with various links and resources on work related matter related to cancer treatment.

    Look Better, Feel Better
    Is the thought of appearance-related side effects caused by cancer treatment getting you down? Check out a free Look Good Feel Better workshop. These free hands-on workshops are conducted by volunteer beauty professionals and teach women cancer patients about various aspects of beauty including wig care, applying makeup, skin care, nail care and more.

    “A Guide to Chemotherapy”
    This guide published by the American Cancer Society website, provides a good general overview of the general chemotherapy process: how it all works, the different types and how it can kill cancer cells.

    Related Posts

    Breast Cancer: A Research Guide
    A very comprehensive guide chock full of links and resources on various aspects of breast cancer, what it is and how to treat it.

    Cancer Survivor Stories: A Reading List
    A booklist of some of the cancer survivor stories available at the library.

    October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    This provides an overview of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month that started in 1985. This post also contains links and book titles related to breast cancer.


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    Los Angeles crime dominates the top five this week, follwed by some small town crime and survival on Mars. 

    Rogue Lawyer

    #1 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, some enduring legal thrillers:

    Presumed Innocentby Scott Turow

    Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

    Defending Jacobby William Landay

     

     

     

    The Crossing Cover

    #2 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Crossing by Michael Connelly, more stories about the L.A.P.D.

    Hollywood Stationby Joe Wambaugh

    Blueby Joe Domanick

    Ghettosideby Jill Leovy

     

     

     

    The Promise Cover

    #3 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Promise by Robert Crais, some classic L.A. suspense:

    The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

    The Black Dahliaby James Ellroy

    Devil In a Blue Dressby Walter Mosley

     

     

     

    Crimson Shore

    #4 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, more creepy atmospheric dark secrets:

    The Feverby Megan Abbott

    House of Echoesby Brenda Duffy

    The Wicker Manby Robin Hardy and Anthony Shaffer

     

     

     

    The Martian Cover

    #5 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Martian by Andy Weir, more survival stories:

    Annihilation by Jeff Vadermeer

    The Strainby Guillermo Del Toro

    Lock In by John Scalzi

     

     



    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to​ be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ​picks! Tell us what you'd recommend: Leave a comment or email us.

     

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    A couple of weeks ago, NYPL Labs was very excited to release Emigrant City, the Library's latest effort to unlock the data found within our collections.

    But Emigrant City is a bit different from the other projects we’ve released in one very important way: this one is built on top of a totally new framework called Scribe, built in collaboration with Zooniverse and funded by a grant from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities along with funds from the University of Minnesota. Scribe is the codebase working behind the scenes to support this project.

    Screenshot of scribeproject.github.io

     

    What is Scribe?

    Scribe is a highly configurable, open-source framework for setting up community transcription projects around handwritten or OCR-resistant texts. Scribe provides the foundation of code for a developer to configure and launch a project far more easily than if starting from scratch.

    NYPL Labs R&D has built a few community transcription apps over the years. In general, these applications are custom built to suit the material. But Scribe prototypes a way to describe the essential work happening at the center of those projects. With Scribe, we propose a rough grammar for describing materials, workflows, tasks, and consensus. It’s not our last word on the topic, but we think it’s a fine first pass proposal for supporting the fundamental work shared by many community transcription projects.

    So, what’s happening in all of these projects?

    Our previous community transcription projects run the gamut from requesting very simple, nearly binary input like “Is this a valid polygon?” (as in the case of Building Inspector) to more complex prompts like “Identify every production staff member in this multi-page playbill” (as in the case of Ensemble). Common tasks include:

    • Identify a point/region in a digitized document or image
    • Answer a question about all or part of an image
    • Flag an image as invalid (meaning it’s blank or does not include any pertinent information)
    • Flag other’s contributions as valid/invalid
    • Flag a page or group of pages as “done”

    There are many more project-specific concerns, but we think the features above form the core work. How does Scribe approach the problem?

    Scribe reduces the problem space to “subjects” and “classifications.” In Scribe, everything is either a subject or a classification: Subjects are the things to be acted upon, classifications are created when you act. Creating a classification has the potential to generate a new subject, which in turn can be classified, which in turn may generate a subject, and so on.

    This simplification allows us to reduce complex document transcription to a series of smaller decisions that can be tackled individually. We think reducing the atomicity of tasks makes projects less daunting for volunteers to begin and easier to continue. This simplification doesn’t come at the expense of quality, however, as projects can be configured to require multiple rounds of review.

    The final subjects produced by this chain of workflows represent the work of several people carrying an initial identification all the way through to final vetted data. The journey comprises a chain of subjects linked by classifications connected by project-specific rules governing exposure and consensus. Every region annotated is eventually either deleted by consensus or further annotated with data entered by several hands and, potentially, approved by several reviewers. The final subjects that emerge represent singular assertions about the data contained in a document validated by between three and 25 people.

    In the case of Emigrant City specifically, individual bond records are represented as subjects. When participants mark those records up, they produce “mark” subjects, which appear in Transcribe. In the Transcribe workflow, other contributors transcribe the text they see, which are combined with others’ transcriptions as “transcribe” subjects. If there’s any disagreement among the transcriptions, those transcribe subjects appear in Verify where additional classifications are added by other contributors as votes for one or another transcription. But this is just the configuration that made sense for Emigrant City. Scribe lays the groundwork to support other configurations.

    Screenshot of emigrantcity.nypl.org

    Is it working?

    I sure hope so! In any case, the classifications are mounting for Emigrant City. At writing we’ve gathered 227,638 classifications comprising marks, transcriptions, and verifications from nearly 3,000 contributors. That’s about 76 classifications each, on average, which is certainly encouraging as we assess the stickiness of the interface.

    We’ve had to adjust a few things here and there. Bugs have surfaced that weren’t apparent before testing at scale. Most issues have been patched and data seems to be flowing in the right directions from one workflow to the next. We’ve already collected complete, verified data for several documents.

    Reviewing each of these documents, I’ve been heartened by the willingness of a dozen strangers spread between the US, Europe, and Australia to meditate on some scribbles in a 120 year old mortgage record. I see them plugging away when I’m up at 2 a.m. looking for a safe time to deploy fixes.

    What’s next?

    As touched on above, Scribe is primarily a prototype of a grammar for describing community transcription projects in general. The concepts underlying Scribe formed over a several-month collaboration between remote teams. We built the things we needed as we needed them. The codebase is thus a little confusing in areas, reflecting several mental right turns when we found the way forward required an additional configuration item or chain of communication. So one thing I’d like to tackle is reigning in some of the areas that have drifted from the initial elegance of the model. The notion that subjects and workflows could be rearranged and chained in any configuration has been a driving idea, but in practice the system obliges only a few arrangements.

    An increasingly more pressing desire, however, is developing an interface to explore and vet the data assembled by the system. We spent a lot of time developing the parts that gather data, but perhaps not enough on interfaces to analyze it. Because we’ve reduced document transcription into several disconnected tasks, the process to reassemble the resultant data into a single cohesive whole is complicated. That complexity requires a sophisticated interface to understand how we arrived at a document’s final set of assertions from the the chain of contributions that produced it. Luckily we now have a lot of contributions around which to build that interface.

    Most importantly, the code is now out in the wild, along with live projects that rely on it. We’re already grateful for the tens of thousands of contributions people have made on the transcription and verification front, and we’d likewise be immensely grateful for any thoughts or comments on the framework itself—let us know in the comments, or directly via Github, and thanks for helping us get this far.

    Also, check out the other community transcription efforts built on Scribe. Measuring the Anzacs collects first-hand accounts from New Zealanders in WWI. Coming soon, “Old Weather: Whaling” gathers Arctic ships’ logs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


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    Subscribe on iTunes.

    Mary-Louise Parker is an actress best known for her role on the television show Weedsfor which she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress is 2006. With her new memoir Dr. Mr. You, she adds author to her list of accomplishments. This week for the New York Public Library Podcast, we're proud to present Mary-Louise Parker in conversation with Mary Karr on relationships, motherhood, and religion.

    Mary-Louise Parker LIVE from the NYPL
    Mary-Louise Parker LIVE from the NYPL

    In Dr. Mr. You, Parker delves into some of the formative relationships of her life. She notes that her relationships have often attained a heightened level of intensity because of a tendency to imbue them with import:

    "I think I overinvest in other people and I overconnect to other people and that’s my relationships are so intense sometimes because it’s that release that you get when you feel seen suddenly, which is at war with the majority of me, which hates to be looked at. I do crave being—you know, you want to be really seen by someone and connecting to somebody is paying attention to them and what do they need and what are they thinking and what do they want for Christmas, and I just saw them touch that tie, or—those kind of things I remember, and it’s overconnecting that which makes disconnect from other things, which makes me leave the mail in the freezer or, you know, that makes me forget huge chunks of the day. And it’s not that I’m saying I’m so martyred or I’m so saintly that I’m overconnecting. I’m not sure that that’s necessarily a good trait. Sometimes it is and sometimes it comes out of a generosity and sometimes it comes out of need, you know? And it’s hard to say which is which. I’m not really probably self-aware enough to say which one is acting at which point. You know, when you’re being generous, we want to believe that all our generous gestures come from goodness but sometimes they come out of need, I think. Need to feel like a good person, feel like we’re seen as a good person."

    Parker is quick to note that she's been fortunate to have a rewarding career that has allowed her to spend time with her children, unlike her own mother. In this way, Parker's attained some balance between her work and her family life:

    "My mother... had four children, she didn’t have anyone helping her at all. You know, there were times when my father didn’t have a job. And you know, my dad was looking for work or he was at work, and she was just trying to get food on the table and get us taken care of. And Eileen—to be a single mother is a different kind of pressure but I have had the luxury at times because my job allows me, when I do work, I work very intensive hours, but then I have times when I’m off and I can take them to school every single morning and I can be the one that puts them to bed at night and if I can be I will be, that’s much more interesting to me than going out and going anywhere. It’s just, it’s much more fulfilling to me, it fortifies me in the way I wanted my whole life, you know, I wanted that."

    When Karr noted that that Parker's memoir might be seen as framed by a spiritual search, Parker explained her view on religion. She does attend church but permits herself interpretive and curatorial space:

    "For me, it’s a conversation, it’s an ongoing conversation, and it’s a—it’s a search, and any of the words you use sound so cliché it’s difficult to sort of put a name to it, but it is something that I look for, and I do go to church, and I go to different kinds of churches, and I have moments where it’s very hard for me to remember my religion or remember God or remember spirit and then moments where I rage against it... one day one of my children said, 'I’m feeling kind of sixty/forty about the cross thing, about did he come down off the cross or not? Sixty-five maybe he did, you know, thirty-five maybe he didn’t.' I said, 'Okay, let’s talk about that. Let’s see how you feel when you go in there, if you feel that way afterwards.' It’s okay to feel whatever you want to feel or think whatever you want to think and take from religion or not what you can, but if you do take, there is something there sitting in the room with a bunch of people who are trying to arrive at something to be better people. And if you find those rooms, then religion is extremely useful. If you find rooms that shut their door or their windows, or even shut their door just a crack, those are the rooms that exclude and you don’t want to be in those rooms. But there are rooms in the world where people are trying to find that and those rooms, I believe, shoot something up into the stratosphere."

    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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     The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of paralegals and legal assistants will grow 17%  from  2012 to 2022, faster than the average (11%) for all occupations.  The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $46,990 in May 2012.  The lowest 10 % earned less than $28,420, and the top 10 % earned more than $75,410.  You can learn more aboutthe occupation  of paralegals from the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.

    The New American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) free Paralegal Certificate Course is the cornerstone of NACC, CARE, IJLEF and Figeroux & Associates, an educational empowerment project to help members of their community attain job training in one of the fastest -growing careers in the country.

    Libra, the balance
    Image ID: 1817443
    • The NACC Paralegal Certificate Program is free to all members of the  Chamber.  

      NACC members: A non-refundable registration fee of $50 is required.

    • Non-members: $200 (includes individual chamber membership & non-refundable registration fee) 

    The Paralegal Certificate Course is a non-accredited course and is available on weekdays and weekends to suit your schedule.  Successful graduates will receive a NACC certificate.  Please check the course outline at www.chambercoalition.org

    NACC Paralegal Certificate Course includes:

    • Introduction to Legal Research and Writing (mandatory)
    • Picture This....Your Career Success Seminar (mandatory)
    • Introduction to Non-Profits & Internet & Community Radio Hosting (mandatory)
    • The Reluctant Rainmaker (mandatory)

    And choose any 4 of the following:

    • Introduction to Business Law & Franchising
    • Introduction to Patent, Copyright & Trademark Law
    • Introduction to Criminal Law
    • Introduction to Civil Rights Law
    • Introduction to Landlord & Tenant Law
    • Introduction to Credit Repair
    • Introduction to Construction Law
    • Introduction to Immigration Law and Citizenship
    • Introduction to Personal Inquiry Law
    • Introduction to Bankruptcy Law
    • Introduction to Matrimonial Law

    To enroll in this free program today, visit www.chambercoalition.org or call 718-722-9217


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    Super Cocotte decor SEB-MGR Lyon-IMG 9918
    Super Cocotte decor SEB-MGR Lyon-IMG 9918 via Wikimedia Commons

    Remember when your mom used a pressure cooker on the stove, and you heard it hissing and screeching like a banshee, and thought, is this contraption going to explode? I know I did!

    Fast forward 25 years, to my kitchen. I am following in my mom’s footsteps now, but instead of the fear inducing, outdated pot that worked miracles for my mom, I now use an electric pressure cooker, and it has changed my life.

    I used to spend hours braising meat, to get that fall off the bone result. Or let my soup pot simmer for over an hour, while I made beef stew or any kind of soup for that matter. What my electric pressure cooker has done for me is saved my time!

    Now I make everything in it, from macaroni and cheese to pulled pork. I have made BBQ ribs in it and even mashed potatoes. During the holiday season, it is like having an extra person in the kitchen. It allows me to simultaneously use my oven, stove top, and pressure cooker, so I can make more food in less time. As the holidays approach, I thought I’d share some books, articles, and recipes to help you cook up a storm and take the pressure off you, and onto the food!

    Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbooks

    Great Big Pressure

    Emeril

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Additional Reading

    Recipe for “Pulled Pork”

    3-4 lbs Pork Butt, Cut into large chunks
    2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
    1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
    1 Cup BBQ Sauce
    1 Cup Chicken Stock
    1 tsp each of Salt, Black pepper, Onion powder, Chili powder, Paprika

    Season Pork chunks with spices, set Electric Pressure cooker to “brown” setting, put in vegetable oil and brown pork on all sides, about 5 minutes. Next, pour in chicken stock and vinegar and close lid. Make sure gauge is set to airtight. Enter cooking time at 75 minutes. After it is ready, release the steam and open the lid, pour out any excess liquid, but leave enough to keep the meat moist. Use a fork to pull apart the meat. Next, pour in BBQ sauce and mix will. Serve hot with potato buns and cole slaw.


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    Ah, Thanksgiving. Turkey dinners, football games, and lots and lots of family time.

    So, our expert library staff recommended scenes from books and plays that feature a family coming together for a group meal or celebration that ends in disaster. Happy Thanksgiving... and maybe stick to talking about the weather.

    thanksgiving greetings
    Embossed postcard from the Art and Picture Collection, New York Public Library.

    Drama

    osage

    August Osage County fits the bill. When the patriarch of the Weston clan disappears one hot summer night, the family reunites at the Oklahoma homestead, where long-held secrets are unflinchingly and uproariously revealed. The three-act, three-and-a-half-hour mammoth of a play combines epic tragedy with black comedy, dramatizing three generations of unfulfilled dreams and leaving not one of its 13 characters unscathed. Shayla L. Titley, Membership Programs 

     

     

     

    titus

    This example may be a little dark, but dysfunctional families and disastrous dinner parties don’t get any worse than the ones from William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.  The play is so over-the-top in terms of how violent, horrible, and depressing it is that it sometimes seems more like a tragicomedy than a regular tragedy. In the final scene (spoiler alert!) one of the characters has a couple relatives for dinner. Literally. —Christina Lebec, Bronx Library Center

     


     

     

    woolf

    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee is one of my favorite representations of an eerily dysfunctional couple and their disastrous dinner party.  Even without the actors on stage you get a chill from Albee’s vicious characters George and Martha and the way they ensnare the young couple next door into their night of “fun and games.” —Alessandra Affinito, Chatham Square

     

     

     

     

    Creepy Stories

    rooms

    What about Rooms by Lauren Oliver? When Richard Walker dies, he leaves behind a house for his estranged ex-wife, son, and daughter to claim. All that bitterness, resentment, and sadness in one place does no good, especially when that house already has ghosts of former residents living within the walls... —Susen Shi, Seward Park

     

     

     

     

     

    groan

    Lannisters aside, you will not find a more dysfunctional family in fantasy than the Groans of Gormenghast castle. Titus Groan is the youngest child of Sepulchrave, the 76th Earl of Groan, and Gertrude, the 76th Countess. Lord Groan’s family comprises two idiot sisters and a daughter as well.The sisters, despite their stupidity, still crave power and influence, and become easy pawns for the devious kitchen boy Steerpike. This Gothic masterpiece was Mervyn Peake’s magnum opus and still has a faithful following large enough to inspire plays, music, and a BBC miniseries. —Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil

     

     

     

    Fiction

    geographies

    Geographies of Home by Loida Maritza Perez is the story of a completely dysfunctional family living in Brooklyn, told from the perspective of the youngest of 14 children. Some of them, the first generation born to religious Dominican parents, are a mess: One child is suffering at the hands of her very abusive husband, another has disappeared, and the narrator has gone away for college to get away from it all. —Sherise Pagan, Grand Concourse

     

     

     

     

    trees

    For some reason, my mind goes to The Baron in the Trees, an enchanting early novel by Italo Calvino. The story begins with a disastrous family dinner. The children attemped to hijack the planned menu of snails by liberating the creatures into the garden. An elaborate snail hunt ensues and leads to whippings for the kids and three days of imprisonment, culminating in an enforced feast of mollusks. This family battleground is what propels Cosimo, the young protagonist, to rebel and spend the rest of his life in the trees, never once again touching the ground. The younger brother narrates:

    Cosimo refused to touch even a mouthful. “Eat up or we’ll shut you in the little room again!” I yielded and began to chew the wretched mollusks (a cowardice on my part which had the effect of making my brother feel more alone than ever, so that his leaving us was also partly a protest against me for letting him down; but I was only eight years old, and then how can I compare my own strength of will, particularly as a child, to the superhuman tenacity which my brother showed throughout his life?).

    “Well?” said our father to Cosimo.

    “No, and no again!” exclaimed Cosimo, and pushed his plate away.

    “Leave the table!”

    But Cosimo had already turned his back on us all and was leaving the room.

    “Where are you going?”

    We saw him through the glass door as he picked up his tricorn and rapier.

    “I know where I’m going!” And he ran out into the garden.

    In a little while we watched him, from the windows, climbing up the holm oak.

    —Ben Vershbow, NYPL Labs

    visitor

    I read The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote almost every year at Thanksgiving at Story Time for Grown-Ups. Cousin Sook insists on inviting the school bully, Odd Henderson, to the family's Thanksgiving dinner. She’s sure he'll stop bullying Buddy once they get to know each other. Buddy doesn’t agree and plans revenge. Based on Capote’s childhood in Alabama in the 1930s. —Lois Moore, Mid-Manhattan

     

     

     

     

    corrections

    The holiday season is the perfect time to read Jonathan Franzen’sThe Corrections if you haven’t gotten around to it yet. This is a whirlwind of a bookalmost impossible to put down! It’s filled with hilariously heartbreaking glimpses into the lives of the Lamberts, an elderly Midwestern couple, and their three adult children, living separate lives on the East Coast. The dinner table is so important in this book; its central conceit is that the Lambert matriarch, Enid, calls her children home for one last family Christmas together. The best dinner scene is definitely the seminal one at that 'wholesome’ family holiday. I don’t want to give too much awaylet’s just say it doesn’t exactly go as Enid planned. —Nancy Aravecz, Mid-Manhattan

     

     

    skipping

    Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham is a delightful little story about the Kranks, who decide to forgo Christmas, and all its trappings when their daughter elects to join the Peace Corps in Peru over the holidays. While he relishes the idea of no gifts, no cards, and no decorating, his tight-knit, oft-overbearing neighbors refuse to let him enjoy his decision. In the end, everyone learns that Christmas is about friends and family, not bells and whistles. (I take NO responsibility for the monstrosity that is “Christmas with the Kranks.”) —Rebecca Dash Donsky, 67th Street

     

     

    godfather

    The Godfather by Mario Puzo, with Clemenza making the Sunday gravy whiles the troops are going to the mattresses. And there must have been a very uncomfortable meal after Michael has Carlo and the heads of the five families killed on the day he becomes godfather to his nephew. —Walter Scott, Baychester

     

     





     

    leave

    How about This Is Where I Leave You  by Jonathan Tropper? It's about a dysfunctional family forced to sit shiva for seven days and seven nights. —Susie Heimbach, Mulberry Street

     

     

     

     



     

    tourist

    I loved both the book The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler and the movie, so I may be confusing the two, but I think of them every year at Thanksgiving when I am about to put the turkey in the oven and have to laugh. There’s a wildly uncomfortable part when Macon’s oddball family gathers for a Thanksgiving meal and learn that the turkey has been undercooked to the point of being inedible. It always cracks me upa truly awkward moment. —Maura Muller, Volunteer Office

     

     

     

    Children & Young Adults

    peterkin

    My favorite dysfunctional family, other than my own, is the Peterkins. You can shake your head and smile as you read all about the funny things they get up to, like playing the new piano through the front porch window until they finally ask the Lady from Philadelphia for help. The Peterkin Papers is a book of old time stories by Lucretia P. Hale (1820 - 1900) that was reprinted by the New York Review Children’s Collection in 2006. —Peggy Salwen, St. Agnes

     

     

     

     

    forbidden

    I’m going to go with Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden. It centers on the four Whiteley children. The father has a new wife off in Australia and is not in the picture; the mother is a drunk who stays all night with her much younger boyfriend. The eldest two of the children, Lochan and Maya, are tasked with taking care of basically everything, while the third oldest, Kit, is a juvenile delinquent. Oh, did I mention why the book is called Forbidden? It’s because Lochan and Maya are wildly in love with one another. If that’s not dysfunction, I’m not sure I’d like to know what is! —Joseph Pascullo, Grand Central

     

     

     

    fangirl

    Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell tells the story of Cath, a dedicated writer of Simon Snow fan fiction, who is struggling through her freshman year of college. She’s not particularly outgoing or social, and her much more social twin Wren seems to be ignoring her. Thanksgiving should be the time she and her sister finally talk and spend time together, but they have a huge fight on their way home. Instead of Wren spending Thanksgiving Day with Cath and their Dad, she spends it with their estranged mother who’d left them years before and whom Cath refuses to speak to. Cath and her Dad end up eating their holiday meal of turkey and mashed potatoes on the couch in front of the TV while the green bean casserole that only Wren likes goes cold in the kitchen. —Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Street

     

    catcher

    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, because the story is set around Thanksgiving, and I think that I read it during a particularly bleak and chilly Thanksgiving break while I was in high school. When I say that I read it, I particularly remember being totally immersed in the book. Well-written, witty, and ironically upbeat, the story carries you through the mordant commentary of the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, and exposes some brilliant truths about life. —Virginia Bartow, Special Collections

     

     


     

    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!


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    Here are some recently published titles that may appeal to you if you are a fan of reading short stories:

    The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories by Joy Williams
    Joy Williams is often described as being a “writer’s writer.” Some people use this term as a backhanded compliment—implying that the writer is too ethereal or eccentric to be appreciated by most readers. Happily, as applied to Williams, that term is not pejorative. Williams is far from being too ethereal—she’s too funny for that. Her wit is on full display in these 48 stories (13 of them new)—in all its sardonic, acerbic glory. There are very few modern masters of the short story—Joy Williams is certainly one of them.

    Eyes: Novellas and Stories by William H. Gass
    Speaking of modern masters, William Gass has a new collection of two novellas and four stories out. Now admittedly, Gass is one of those writers that you either love or hate (“ethereal” would most certainly apply here), but if you love perfectly crafted prose, then you may want to give this collection a try, though the subject matter may be a tad eccentric. For instance, in “Don’t Even Try, Sam,” the filming of Casablanca is described from the perspective of the piano, and in “Soliloquy for an Empty Chair”, a barbershop folding chair (the one that has “a sense of humor”) narrates the changes that occur in the neighborhood.

    Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories by Bonnie Jo Campbell
    Campbell was a National Book Award Finalist for her 2009 collection American Salvage. In her new collection, she focuses on the stories of working-class women who have struggled all their lives and battle to prevent their daughters from making the same mistakes that they made. This is a heartbreaking yet honest look at a group of women whose dreams are modest (wanting a place “where each of us has our own room and closet”), but still sometimes unattainable.

    Fox Tooth Heart: Stories by John McManus
    Many of McManus’s characters are beyond quirky. Better descriptors would be bizarre or freakish. The cast of characters in “The Gateway to the Ozarks” are clones of ex-presidents. The protagonist of “Gainliness” uses needle-nosed pliers to pick his nose and likes to eat toothpaste. But perhaps the best indicator of the strangeness of his people is the opening narration by the rock star protagonist of “Elephant Sanctuary”: “"The story of the creation of my elephant vampire songs begins on the December morning when I killed Aisling, heroine of our last album and my fiancée, in one Jaguar and fled Texas in another." Despite the surfeit of odd behavior, rest assured that McManus’s characters are—deep down—as normal as the rest of us.

    You Have Never Been Here: Stories by Mary Rickert
    There is a gothic element to Rickert’s new collection. Ghosts are frequently ambling through the scenery, people sprout wings or grow hooves, and death—and the loss it engenders—is ever present. Although Rickert’s tone is often melancholy and moody, there is also an undercurrent of whimsy that keeps the reader from being swallowed up in darkness. If you’re a fan of Kelly Link, or Angela Carter, this might be a collection for you.


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    Credit: Flickr, urbanworkbench


    You're a teen writer, yet  you are having trouble letting those words flow beautifully from either your pen or your fingertips on a keyboard. Whatever mode of writing you use, you have writer's block. We've all been there. Even I sometimes feel the muses have left me and lack the motivation to get my creative juices going. As National Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming to a close, here are some writing books that might help you stick to your writing task. Still need to be motivated? Here is an extra bonus: a list of YA books that feature teen writers. They all had to start from somewhere…
     

     

     

     

     

    Afterworlds
    How To A Write A Novel
    Don't Ever Change
    Fangirl

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield  

    When you want your work to come alive.

    Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

    For anyone who was told that fanfiction was pointless and would never be a good source of inspiration (clearly they were wrong).

    Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom

    Still unsure about your writing? Follow aspiring author Eva's advice: be true to yourself and let your new experiences guide you.

    How To A Write A Novel by Melanie Sumner

    There is nothing wrong with drawing from real life experieces for your writing.

    The Outsiders

     

    The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

    The characters are not writers in this novel, but I thought that this was good one to put down since Hinton started writing this classic when she was just 15 years old! It goes to show that it is never too early to start the craft, especially if it is your passion.

     

     


     


    Still need a bit more of a push?  Here some useful reference guides that'll lead you into the right direction:

    Writing and Publishing
    The Freedom Writers
    Just Write!
    Rip The Page!
    Write Where You Are

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Now that you have all the resources and the inspiration you need, you can write! You never know; you could be the author of the next great American novel. You just need to tap into that creativity, and you're halfway there.

    To learn more about National Writing Month, visit the NaNoWriMo Young Writers website for information and resources. 


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    Cover of Opportunity Magazine, January 1928 Issue


    During the holiday shopping season, the weather outside may be frightful — not to mention the crowds and the credit card statements — but your NYPL library card is so delightful! In addition to borrowing books, CDs, and DVDs, your library card gives you access to hundreds of online databases. These databases contain so many different resources, you may not need to leave your house to stuff your stocking. All of the “e-alikes” suggested below are available for free to our patrons, and you don’t even have to be at a library to use them. Just log in from our website with your barcode number and PIN to start the season off right.

    To give the gift of an NYPL library card, send your friends and family to this link, or to their nearest NYPL library. For details on how to renew an expired card, click here. You can also browse a full list of all of the library's databases here.

    Instead of going out and buying this... ...do this at home for free with NYPL!
    Language-learning software Learn 38 different languages with Mango Languages (or their app!)
    A newspaper subscription Read over 2,000 newspapers (U.S. and international) with PressReader (or their app!)
    Magazines to read while traveling for the holidays Read current, full-color issues of popular magazines like the New Yorker, Martha Stewart LivingPeople, Time, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire in our many databases.  Academic Search Premier and PressReader are two good sources for magazines, or search for your favorites by title with our e-Journal look-up tool.
    Test-prep books Get ready for the TASC, GRE, and SAT exams with prep materials and practice tests from LearningExpress Library
    How-to textbooks and teaching guides for Photoshop, web design, personal finance, and other software/topics Accomplish those New Year's resolutions with over 3,000 online classes and over 130,000 streaming videos from Lynda
    Desk references (dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias, etc.)

    Create your own customized e-reference shelf, choosing from resources such as:

    CDs and online song purchases Download three free songs per week from the Sony Music Library with  Freegal Music
    Travel guides to plan your next vacation Read e-book travel guides collected in Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)

     


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    1) Asian American Literary Review
          Volume 1, Issue 1: Spring 2010
          College Park, Maryland.  
    ______________________________________
    2) Callaloo  
           Vol.1: December 1976 
           Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  
    ________________________________________
    3) Exquisite Corpse  
          Volume 1, No.1: January 1983
          Baltimore, Maryland.
    ________________________________________
    4) Fence  
          Volume 1, Number 1: Spring 1998
          New York, New York.
    ________________________________________
    5) Language  
          February 1978: Number 1 
          New York, New York.
    _______________________________________
    6) Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern 
          Issue Number 1: Autumn 1998
          New York
    ________________________________________
    7) N + 1 
          Number One: Fall 2004 
          New York, New York
    _______________________________________
    8) The Little Magazine; A History and Bibliography    
          Frederick J. Hoffman, Charles Allen and Carolyn F. Ulrich
          Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey. 1946
    ______________________________________
    9) The Little Magazine in Contemporary America  
          Edited by Ian Morris and Joanne Diaz 
          University of Chicago Press; Chicago, Illinois. 2015
    ______________________________________
    10) Ontario Review  
          Number 1: Fall 1974
          Windsor, Ontario.
    ______________________________________
    11) Poetry 
          Volume 1, Number 1: October 1912 
          Chicago, Illinois.
    _____________________________________
    12) Tri Quarterly  
          “The Little Magazine in America: A Modern Documentary History” 
          Number 43: Fall 1978
          Evanston, Illinois.
    ____________________________________ 
    13) Women’s Review of Books  
             Volume 1: Summer 1983 Pilot Issue 
             Wellesley, Massachusetts.  
    ____________________________________
    ____________________________________
     
     
     


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    Credit: Flickr, urbanworkbench

    You're a teen writer, yet  you are having trouble letting those words flow beautifully from either your pen or your fingertips on a keyboard. Whatever mode of writing you use, you have writer's block. We've all been there. Even I sometimes feel the muses have left me and lack the motivation to get my creative juices going. As National Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming to a close, here are some writing books that might help you stick to your writing task. Still need to be motivated? Here is an extra bonus: a list of YA books that feature teen writers. They all had to start from somewhere…
     

     

     

    Afterworlds
    How To A Write A Novel
    Don't Ever Change
    Fangirl

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield 
    When you want your work to come alive.

    Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    For anyone who was told that fanfiction was pointless and would never be a good source of inspiration (clearly they were wrong).

    Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom
    Still unsure about your writing? Follow aspiring author Eva's advice: be true to yourself and let your new experiences guide you.

    How To A Write A Novel by Melanie Sumner
    There is nothing wrong with drawing from real life experieces for your writing.

    The Outsiders

    The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
    The characters are not writers in this novel, but I thought that this was good one to put down since Hinton started writing this classic when she was just 15 years old! It goes to show that it is never too early to start the craft, especially if it is your passion.

     

     


     


    Still need a bit more of a push?  Here some useful reference guides that'll lead you into the right direction:

    Writing and Publishing
    The Freedom Writers
    Just Write!
    Rip The Page!
    Write Where You Are

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Now that you have all the resources and the inspiration you need, you can write! You never know; you could be the author of the next great American novel. You just need to tap into that creativity, and you're halfway there.

    To learn more about National Writing Month, visit the NaNoWriMo Young Writers website for information and resources. 


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    Animated string box diagram

    Here’s how it’s been for a very long time: you see a great exhibition, you tell a friend, and she asks, “Where was it?” Since at least the 1500s, as Oliver Impey and Arthur MacGregor’s The Origins of Museums reminds us, exhibitions have occupied architectural spaces - walk-in cabinets, galleries, parks with boundaries, for example. But as Nina Simon explains in The Participatory Museum, and has continued to explain in her Museum 2.0 blog, this is changing. An exhibition in today’s digital-media times really can be “anyplace from which visitors can create, share, and connect with each other around content.”

    Over the last year, NYPL has been experimenting with ways to think not outside the exhibition box, but in connection with it. If you can imagine the exhibition gallery as a container, then you can imagine making tiny pinholes in its walls and drawing colorful strings through them. These strings are ways to reach classrooms with exhibition content, extend people’s experiences after leaving the gallery, invite web users to contribute their own content, and so on. Once the exhibition ends, and the container is emptied, the strings can be collected and repurposed. Here are some examples of what we’ve been doing.

    Picture Collection animation screenshotNew video content 

    For the exhibition, 100 Years of the Picture Collection: From Abacus to Zoology, we created a behind-the-scenes animation demonstrating how the collection is maintained. The animation appears online and in the gallery, where it is prompted by picking up a payphone handset. A second animation, coming soon, will show how you can use the collection. The videos will likely live elsewhere on nypl.org after the exhibition is deinstalled in May.

     

    Instagram gallery, William Meyers exhibition screenshotInstagram galleries

    The web page for the exhibition, William Meyers: Outer Boroughs, included an image gallery  created through Instagram. The physical exhibition displayed photos Meyers shot exclusively in New York City’s outer boroughs. The web page’s gallery invited people to do the same: shoot photos in your borough, post them to Instagram with the hashtag, #myboroughNYC, and see them appear here. Users learned about the photographer’s work by emulating it, and together creating a constantly updating portrait of the city . . . minus Manhattan.

     

     

     

    Black Suburbia map screenshotInteractive maps

    The exhibition, Black Suburbia, explores a topic tied to geography. Making an interactive map that pinpointed the exhibition’s key content, and placing it on the web page seemed like an obvious decision. Once we began the work, a new opportunity became clear: We could ask people for their own stories of the black suburban experience, and we could add them to the map, demonstrating the continuing and collective nature of the exhibition’s narrative, and crowdsourcing an American story.

     

    Alice Live treasure hunt gifResources for new audiences

    In planning the Alice In Wonderland exhibition, Alice Live!, it was clear that children would be an audience segment. The curator, Charlie Lovett, planned a kid-height reader rail to wrap the gallery, and a treasure hunt worksheet to guide young people’s engagement with it. Getting the word out to families was of course the web page’s job, but we went further. We made the worksheets downloadable through the page, so that families could prep their kids before visiting, and made the download accessible through a kid-friendly button: an animated Cheshire Cat gif.

     

    Revisionist History Lesson
    Reivsionist History Lesson, Julie Buffalohead, Lithograph, 2014

    Mini exhibitions

    The objects on display in Printing Women demonstrate women’s involvement in printmaking from the craft’s origin to the early 20th Century. Of course, as women are still making prints today, there was a current-day-influence chapter to be added to the exhibition. We placed this chapter on the exhibition’s web page. First, the curator chose a number of contemporary works from the NYPL collections. Next, we reached out to their creators for artist statements, which then laid the foundation for a guest blog series. Essentially, we expanded the exhibition by creating a small, neighboring, digital gallery in which one artist was showcased every two weeks.

     

     

    The practice of extending exhibitions beyond their walls has been known to librarians and museum educators since at least 1912, when the Newark Museum, founded by John Cotton Dana, who was also the Director of the Newark Public Library, launched its object lending program. As described in The New Museum, Dana’s goal in this program was rooted in progressive education: “The museum that really affects schooling, then, being the one that teachers use daily, ought to be in the schoolhouse itself.”

    Dana’s idea of the lending museum was conceived in argumentative opposition to expensive collections “presided over in the ancient manner by a few curators.” Lucky for us, digital media has rendered this dichotomy obsolete. We can have our wonderful exhibitions, brought to us by expert curators, and we can also enjoy their extensions. Their objects and experiences can be distributed beyond the gallery walls with relative ease, and not only that, but to millions of people at once.

    Where the Library’s exhibition-based experimentation with digital-object-lending and digital-experience-extending is headed is still somewhat in the distance. But we now have some miles and milestones behind us, and that horizon does seem to be getting closer.


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  • 11/30/15--08:18: Five Authors. Six Books.
  • Five authors, six books:

    Merce Rodoreda is a name that eluded me until now, yet with this discovery comes three translations published by Open Letters, The Selected Stories, War, So Much War, and Death in Spring, with other books published on Bison Books, Graywolf, and a number of other publishers and short story collections. With these new translations, we get a full scope of the author who was exiled by the Spanish government at the time of the Civil War, only to live in both France and Switzerland, to return in the '60s to Catalonia. Making her way by both writing and being a seamstress, she could evince the scope of women and men as they were stuck between a new worldly modernity and the lost values and hope of tradition.

    Both novels reviewed are works of her later writing period, and have teenaged males as the books protagonists. While alike in some ways, the books are radically different in their variation on the themes of solitude, and adventure. Held within these twisting coming-of-age travels, we are introduced to a variety of characters, some of whom fit into our, the reader's reality, and some who are part of an other-world. Yet, each book conveys a different message. As seen below Death in Spring is a world of rituals and customs, a world where the past interferes with the present, whereas in War, So Much War, Rodoreda is concerned with the melancholy of living through war, and figuring out what comes after. These books have obvious overlapping in themes, in settings and in emotions, but are important on their own, especially in the stories they cultivate, there is a lot to explore in each.

    War, So Much War

    War, So Much War is Rodoreda's last novel published during her lifetime and through the backdrop of a post war society on the brink of functioning, we are taken in by the inescapable tide of nature and death, that will always be present among our journeys. Told in three parts, the book covers the life of Adria Guimart as he leaves Barcelona, joining the army for no apparent reason other than a want to leave his beat-down town, and with a desire to explore outside of his knowledge, where adventures and interesting characters abound.

    Rodoreda keeps the chapters short and swift, with conversation seamlessly blended into the narrative, creating a trance-like state for our weary-eyed narrator. Yet, what is at work in this book is not whether everything in the book can happens in our reality or not, it is rather how we can connect to the tales told, how we can feel for Adria, and how his life is unfolding in this coming-of-age story. With the adventures through the eyes of our teen narrator, we constantly question what is happening and how this can be in the world around him; for instance in trying to escape the army, Guimart stumbles upon a man hanging and dead, who then bickers and argues with Adria and starts talking about his love affairs. We are actually paying more attention to the details, in an effort to make sense of these magical qualities. While War, So Much War, revolves around a young narrator, its intent is to focus on portraying a war-torn nation betrayed by those in charge who created the misery, the solemnity, sorrow, and hardships that surrounds.

    While this book is worth the read, it is the grasp of language and Rodoreda's, as well as translators that made me want to read more Rodoreda to see how she continually deals with the themes of death, war, peace and the continuity of life. In the end, it makes me want to read more Rodoreda, which is all one can ask for.

    Death in Spring

    Death in Spring, while maintaining the moroseness of her other novels, deals with rituals, traditions and the disturbing influences that these play in our lives. Though already a short novel, Rodoreda's style is engaging and makes the book have a fast and rhythmic. In the midst of it all, we are learning about a time during Franco's regime, in which, as Rodoreda would at least want us to feel, backwardness and superstition was casting a shadow over those already being crushed by a fascistic regime. With constant references to bees, to wisteria, to old trees, to souls escaping, and death as a constant among the living. We are introduced to the blacksmith and the blacksmith's son, the prisoner, our narrator and our narrator's father, mother, stepmother and child, with whom his family has suffered persecution from the townspeople. An overcast of gloom and melancholy fills the pages as we continue to read on and get brought into the world of repressed voices and lost souls that continues into perpetuity "Now the children had grown up, and the youngest had learned spiteful things from their elders."

    While Rodoreda's melancholic atmosphere can sometimes venture into a defeatist world where darkness has swallowed the whole, she also presents the world as a learning experience. Characters are constantly learning, and trying to distil those notions from what they learn onto others, and in this way, rather than creating a world of defeat, Rodoreda is trying to show where it is going wrong. She is tired of the rote existence of hate breeding hate and symbols being held on pedestals, and instead presents her image of what society looks like when it is merely passed down without thought. One has to keep in mind that this book was started as Rodoreda was exiled because of the Spanish Civil War, a war that was fascistic and placed a heavy emphasis on repressing freedoms.

    I do find interesting that Rodoreda chose to write for two male narrators in her stories, whereas in past books she dealt with female characters, but maybe that is a discussion for a future post. Even so, both Death in Spring and War, So Much War put on a show of the dark and melancholic lives that fill our worlds, Death in Spring fills us with the grim story of never allowing change to overcome us. In a world that relies on myths and knowledge holders, we are bound to relive the same dark path over and over.

    All Backs Were Turned

    All Backs Were Turned by Marek Hlasko

    How could one go wrong when reading a book by the "Polish James Dean?" In actuality, it was Marek Hlasko's biography that convinced me to read him. An exiled writer who chose to renounce his citizenship rather than renounce some of his work, he romped around Europe, the United States and Israel until his death in 1969. Rather than focus on his biography, which I suggest everyone looks at, we can thank New Vessel Press for reinvigorating Hlasko back into the world with two of his titles, Killing the Second Dog and All Backs Were Turned.

    All Backs Were Turned, just like Killing the Second Dog, has Israel as the backdrop a cast of down and out friends who are looking to make some money and along the way are hit by an emotional wave of violence, lust and worst of all, betrayal. Cinematic in scope, Hlasko is in league with Hammett and the other big names of literary mystery novels, yet with Hlasko it never feels like he is writing to impress you, but rather is writing to intrigue, writing to captivate and writing to let you know, a world exists out there if you pay attention to it.

    For me reading Hlasko is taking a journey, and at each moment wanting him to divulge in the secrets he knows about that man in a hat, or that corner store, or why one person continually twitches. Reading reviews of Hlasko, both do him justice and make you laugh as reviewers scramble for keywords which are no match for describing his stories, one just has to get set and go.

    If you even need more of a push the book starts "Wearing a black hat and a black coat, his mournful face surrounding by a shaggy beard, he resembled a bird from some fantastic story; one of those fairy tales you tell children so they'll fall asleep, tales that belong to the horrors of childhood."

    Without hesitation, get set......go.

    Extracting the Stones of Madness

    Extracting the Stones of Madness by Alejandra Pizarnik

    Poet Alejandra Pizarnik is among the most valuable exports of Argentina in recent time, and though revered and well known by those South of the United States, she is merely breaking into our circulation with the help of New Directions and the translations that came from Yvette Siegert. Born the daughter of two Jewish immigrants from Russian and Slovak descent, and with an accent to show, Pizarnik's biography starts off as if making her a lone child born to be a poet of the dark inhabiting creature called life, as she says in her own words "The beauty of my bleak childhood, the unforgivable sadness among the dolls and statues—" Pizarnik rose to not only be a poet, but a translator as well, with a clear interest and influence by those she translated.

    This collection is from 1962 and goes towards her posthumous works as well, onward towards her death. Her poetry is important, first and foremost as it endures the pains of living, and the solitude of moving on. All of this is held together with a certain embrace of silence, and a love of melody and music, constantly referring to the music or the silence that is held in a given moment. She could write small fragments, or longer verse and both would encapsulate her feeling of want, or dread of despair that she held in this world.

    "This spectral texture of darkness, this melody in my bones, this breath from various silences..." So starts The Word for Desire. This poem, and even that line accentuates the world that Pizarnik inhabits and explains, is a world that is isolated from others, yet in tune with ones' self, and the swirling of the metaphysical, cosmic philosophies that we manifest ourselves in.

    As it seems (unfortunately) fitting for a poet of her caliber and subject matter, Pizarnik ended her life in 1972. I tried to find her poetry translated for a while, but unfortunately only a small number were. Thanks to New Directions (as well as Ugly Duckling Presses' Diana's Tree), we have her poems to read while wandering around this city, or to take off and read while sitting under the stars.

    Mr. Kafka and Other Tales from the Time of the Cult

    Mr. Kafka and Other Tales from the Time of the Cult by Bohumil Hrabal

    Never had I heard of this novel, or this author, or to be honest, have I read many Czech authors before, other than the obvious (hint: his name is in the title of this book). Therefore I was both delighted to see a book on New Directions that fit this description only to be stuck afterwards feeling as if I am missing out on a whole chunk of literature. Now I add too many more authors to my already long list, though I am sure that many readers have this same problem.

    The author is Bohumil Hrabal, the book is Mr. Kafka and Other Tales from the Time of the Cult and just like the title, this is a book that has stories that connect through place, through emotional turbulence and through a time in post-war Prague. It's bleak and yet provides a fragile humor that gives us insight into a world that is so far removed from our own, and yet just because it is not our own, we cannot ignore because of the valuable, heartbreaking lessons this book lends.

    With each story we are listening while looking through a window that has an obscured view, that makes us slightly distressed at what we can make out. Whether we are on the factory floor, wandering with a narrator who is wandering surrealistically around the streets, listening in on people using the word communist in any way they want, at a women's prison, or being inquisitive with artists, these tales concern themselves with the downtrodden, the workers and the relationship with those in power, ultimately what came of a post-war society, and how is power now held and used.

    We rely on these translations to discover new surroundings, and new companions in our life. So let's hope that in addition to Hrabal we continue to find more translations by authors, whose voice encompasses our own need for expression, and while not answering all of our questions, help us relate our own experiences and understandings to the tragedies that surround us. All I know for now, is that after these stories, I will be checking out more by Bohumil Hrabal.

    Moments Politiques

    Moments Politiques by Jacques Ranciere

    Ranciere is important to read for many reasons, the most of which is Ranciere has an ability to talk about emancipatory politics like no one else. He refuses the categorical subject of intellectual, and stays away from being aligned or designated post-modern, philosophical post-Marxist and instead strives towards a message that stands democracy on its head, for a more bottom up approach.

    Moments Politiques is a collection of essays and interviews, or what they are calling "Interventions," from 1977 to 2009. This book provides a great introduction to Ranciere's ideas, thoughts and his writing style, as he seamlessly keeps his topics succinct and to the point, and in many ways the focus of these articles are on more topical concerns, such as the immigration issue, the symbolism withheld in going to war, the head scarves law, Sarkozy and socialism, and son on.

    Through a broad range of topics, Ranciere does focus on connecting the past and present and within this dialectic, he critiques the modern capitalistic mode of thought, politic and behavior. Thus, with that said, Ranciere is not only critical of the right, but of the left as well, worrying more about how we can have a sustained liberation, rather than identity politics which can only create a stilted revolution based on an ethics that will once again be held in an ivory tower.

    An interesting and well worth your time read, which can be taken in multiple articles at a time, or read over a period of time, letting each article manifest itself into your thoughts.


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    Please join us for illustrated lectures and lively discussions at Author @ the Library programs in December at the Mid-Manhattan Library. Come hear authors discuss their recent nonfiction books on a wide variety of subjects that promise to engage and inspire you!

    Author talks take place at 6:30 p.m. on the 6th floor of the Library, unless otherwise noted. No reservations are required. Seating is first come, first served. You can also request the author's books using the links to the catalog included below.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2015

    Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City with Andrew F. Smith, a writer and lecturer on food and culinary history and the General Editor for the Edible Series.

    This lecture covers New York’s culinary history, some of the most recognizable restaurants, eateries, and culinary personalities today, and delves into more esoteric culinary realities, such as urban farming, beekeeping, the Three Martini Lunch and the Power Lunch, and novels, movies, and paintings that memorably depict Gotham’s foodscapes.
    Fracture

     

    Monday, December 7, 2015

    Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide with Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC national correspondent and a veteran reporter, and Alexis Garrett Stodghill, an award-winning, multimedia journalist and segment and new media producer for MSNBC Live.

    In this dialogue, the complicated relationship between President Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton and how their varied approaches to the race issue parallel the challenges facing the Democratic Party, is examined.
    Bitter Bronx

     

    Tuesday, December 8, 2015

    What's Wrong with Education in America, with Paul Cummins, author of Confessions of a Headmaster and Jerome Charyn, author of Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories.

    Novelist and cultural historian Jerome Charyn will introduce Paul Cummins and lead a lively discussion. They will deconstruct education in America today – and will talk about what we can do to overcome the growing divide between rich and poor, to create a real equality in education.

    Store Front II - A History Preserved

     

    Monday, December 14, 2015

    Store Front II - A History Preserved: The Disappearing Face of New York, with Karla and James Murray, New York-based professional photographers and authors of acclaimed books that have set the standard for urban documentation.

    This illustrated lecture captures impeccable photographs from the streets of New York City since the 1990s and documents a little-known but vitally important cross-section of New York’s “Mom and Pop” economy.
     why science is so successful

     

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015

    Failure: Why Science Is So Successful with Stuart Firestein, the Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University.

    This illustrated lecture delves into the origins of scientific research as a process that relies upon trial and error, one which inevitably results in a hefty dose of failure.
    St. Marks is Dead

     

    Thursday, December 17, 2015

    St. Marks is Dead; The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street with Ada Calhoun, a St. Marks native, who has written for the Times, New Republic, and New York Magazine.

    This illustrated lecture tells the many-layered history of an iconic American street. It spotlights the history of three hallowed Manhattan blocks―the epicenter of American cool ―and profiles the countless artistic and political movements that were spawned on St. Marks Place.
     
    What the Eye Hears

     

    Monday, December 21, 2015

    What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing with Brian Seibert, a dance critic and featured writer for The New York Times.

    This illustrated lecture offers an authoritative account of the great American art of tap dancing and shows how the history of tap dancing is central to any meaningful account of American popular culture.
    Fun City

     

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015

    Fun City: John Lindsay, Joe Namath, and How Sports Saved New York in the 1960s with Sean Deveney, the national NBA writer and Editor for Sporting News and author of four books, including Facing Michael Jordan.

    In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of John Lindsay’s Inauguration, on 1 January 1966, this illustrated lecture examines a remarkable time in New York history with a focus on two NYC icons: John Lindsay and Joe Namath.

     

    Walking Manhattan

     

    Wednesday, December 30, 2015

    Walking Manhattan; 30 Strolls Exploring Cultural Treasures, Entertainment Centers, and Historical Sites in the Heart of New York City with Ellen Levitt, New York chronicler, writer, photographer and veteran teacher.

    This illustrated lecture introduces the author's selection of unique things to see and experience throughout Manhattan, points out the many beautiful and intriguing sights; the history to be learned; and the joyful as well as sad aspects of Manhattan life throughout the years. Landmarks and parks, schools and eateries, art and sport, big and bold sites as well as modest and small are included.

    Author @ the Library! is a series of monthly events where accomplished non-fiction authors discuss their work. You may meet the Author of interesting and engaging non-fiction reads, participate in a lively discussion and access books and materials on topics of interest. Come checkout a book, DVD or e-book on the topic.

    Don’t miss the many other interesting free classes, films, readings, and talks on our program calendar. Sit back with holiday traditional short story readings at Story Time for Grown-ups featuring The Power of Light by Isaac Bashevis Singer; The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. If you enjoy talking about books, join us on Friday, December 11 at Open Book Night where our book social theme is Food and Cooking. This month the Contemporary Classic Book Discussion on Monday, December 7 will feature the prize winning novel, Lila by Marilynne Robinson.

    All of our programs and classes are free, so why not come and check one out! Hope to see you soon at the library!

    Download the Mid-Manhattan Library's December 2015 Author Talks & More flyer FLYER - DECEMBER 2015.pdf


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    Green, as you know, is the color of money. Red is for everything else, or at least it may seem so from the way it was used in early advertisements. Red, indeed, has been described to have all sorts of functions. From being “ultimate cure to sadness”—according to American fashion designer William Ralph "Bill" Blass—to the color which suggests excitement, strength, vitality, and aggressiveness. It was also noted that red is supposedly great for boldness and accents. The most emotionally intense color, red apparently stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. Have we left anything out? Oh, yes there is plenty of red around Christmas time and red also signifies love.

    In an article published in July 30 1996 issue of The New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer pointed out that while red means "don't touch it,” at the same time it encourages endless consumption. She also added that red does not make only human consumers happy. Not specified by name, a company at that time marketed red contact lenses for… animals and claimed that chickens that spent the day wearing their lenses were happier and ate less food, and had more time for laying eggs. There you go!

    What’s next? Red lenses for humans?

    Perhaps not, but did you know that red is the most popular color? Well, actually it’s not. In 2002 article “Color by Numbers” which appeared in American Demographics, results of a nationwide poll conducted by New York City-based BuzzBack were discussed. The main finding was that blue was our favorite color no matter whether one is black, white, Hispanic or Asian (Wallace J. Nichols’s book Blue Mind does make sense). The same poll indicated that the second most favorite color varied by race but it was not red for any of them!

    So if it’s not “Red Mind” why bother with this color so much? One of the reasons is that red has had a huge impact value as an attention getter, according to Laraine Turner, former president of the Color Marketing Group, a not-for-profit, international association of color design professionals involved in the use of color as it applies to the profitable marketing of goods and services. In other words, members of this association interpret, create, forecast, and select colors in order to enhance the function, salability and quality of manufactured goods.

    Unfortunately musicians are not of much help here. “Back in the U.S.S.R.” was the opening song of the so called White Album, thus contributing to the ever-lasting struggle to determine which color is the right one. Lady Gaga, on the other hand, described confusion when it comes to red itself when she said: “If I decide to make a coat red in the show, it's not just red, I think: is it communist red? Is it cherry cordial? Is it ruby red? Or is it apple red? Or the big red balloon red?

    Shields' Magazine, 1912
    Shields' Magazine, 1911

    So once again: why red? It may very well be that it was the least expensive color to produce. It does not hurt, however, that according to the mentioned-above nationwide poll red is preferred by achievers, high-powered, active women, the most economically stable, and the most secure. Don’t we want to be in at least one of these groups?

    The Hardware Reporter, 1913
    American Cloak and Suit Review, 1914

    If one needed a different, somewhat “scientific” explanation why ads use(d) so much red it’s probably for the same reason why fire trucks are red. I do not know who is the author of this text (you are a genius!) which is all over the Internet but here is the explanation:

    “Because there's eight wheels on them and four people, and four plus eight is twelve, and twelve is a foot and a foot is a ruler, and Queen Elizabeth was a ruler, and Queen Elizabeth was also a ship, and the ship sails the sea and in the sea is fish and fish have fins, and the Finns fought the Russians and the Russians were red and that's why fire trucks are red.”

    In other words:

    I'm back in the U.S.S.R.
    You don't know how lucky you are, boy
    Back in the U.S.S.R.
    lalalalalalalalala….

    The Rambler Magazine, 1905
    Dry Goods Guide, 1915

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    disney

    Lee Cockerell has some interesting anecdotes and bits of advice for business leaders.

    • He once circulated a 60-page document detailing his adventures in leadership, including mistakes, to the entire Disney staff.
      Admitting mistakes and describing a bumpy road to the staff is illustrative of a path to success as well as indicative of the fact that everyone fails sometimes. Mistakes lead to learning, which leads to progress.
    • He appreciates the staff of Disney, but also their family and friends, who have sacrificed in order to make the Cast members' careers exceptional. He even sends thank-you cards to family members of Cast members for their understanding about the long hours that their relatives work for the company.
    • Potential hires are shown a video about the history of the company and its values and expectations of staff. Some people leave after that and skip the interview.
      He believes that this process weeds out unsatisfactory candidates and people who are a poor fit for the company. Hires should be on board with the company's values and culture in order to ensure that they work out.
    • Cockerell recommends that staff look at the process rather than solely at the staff involved when there are problems and/or complaints.
      The process may need to be modified, and it is not always the fault of the front-line people. One time, a customer waited an hour for a bottle of wine that was purchased at Disney. It turned out that the manager was the only one with a key to the wine cellar, and he or she could not be located for a while. They fixed the problem and increased profits by allowing wait staff to access the wine cellar, and the manager locked it and checked inventory at closing time. Changing the procedures helped the company and customers because all wait staff were instructed to follow this procedure.
    • He takes a personal approach to staff, which includes remembering their names, their values, and what is important to them.
      When leaders pay attention to staff, particularly what they do well, it makes them more committed, and they pay the company back with their increased dedication. He writes down info about each person and reviews it prior to meeting with them so that he can relate to them with more personal attention. Sometimes, I mentally review info about people if I have not seen them for awhile.
    • He recommends telling staff ahead of time which behaviors are expected in certain situations.
      For example, the staff are informed if the restaurant is out of a Guest's favorite dish, the customer should be served a complimentary entree. This produces a staff that is informed and more confident about their ability to carry out the tasks correctly. It is invaluable because belittling or threatening staff with discipline creates a fear-driven environment that leads to lower productivity levels from a demoralized workforce. 

    ARE is vital in the workplace. What is this? Appreciation, Recognition and Encouragement. It is not only kids that thrive on encouragement and praise for a job well done. It is vital to producing and maintaining happy and productive workers. Some staff prefer private recognition, while others prefer a party or public announcement of their accomplishments. It is important to find out what particular employees like and to provide them with appropriate acknowledgement of the painstaking work that they accomplish on a daily basis. 

    Personally, I would not want to work for Disney, although they have libraries and information architects. However, I did find Lee Cockerell's business insights enlightening. It is interesting to get the perspective of a top executive of such a successful and world-famous for-profit organization. I visited Disney Land as a child, and it definitely has an enchanting lure that many kids are enamored with. 

    Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney by Lee Cockerell, 2008


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    SAGEWorks Boot Camp Enrollment Monday, November 30.   SAGEWorks  assists people 40 years and older in learning relevant, cutting-edge job search skills in a LGBT-  friendly environment. This 2 week training takes place from Monday - Friday, 11/30 - 12/11 - 9:30 am - to 2:00 pm at the SAGE Center, 305 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001.

    Apploi will present a recruitment on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 10 am - 2 pm, for H&M Sales Advisor (5 openings), H&M Department Supervisor (1 opening), Rainbow Store Manager (1 opening),  Rainbow Assistant Store Manager (1 opening), Forever 21 Stock Associate (1 opening), Victoria's Secret Sales & Support (5 seasonal openings), at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

    CAM Search and Consulting will present a recruitment on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 10 am - 2 pm, for Work-At-Home Customer Service Rep (50 P/T openings) at NYC Workforce 1 Career Center, 215 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027.  Bilingual English/Spanish is a plus, but not a requirement.

    CAM Search and Consulting will present a recruitment on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 10 am - 2 pm, for Work-At-Home Customer Service Rep (50 P/T openings) at Flushing Workforce 1 Career  Center, 138-60 Barclay Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11355.  Bilingual English/Spanish is a plus, but not a requirement.

    Apploi will present a recruitment on Thursday, December 3, 2015, 10 am - 2 pm for Cafe Team Member (Penera Bread) (1 opening), Operations Services Technician (H&M), Department Supervisor (H&M)  (1 opening), Junior Store Manager (Rainbow) (1 opening), Assistant Store Manager  (Rainbow) (1 opening), Store Manager (Rainbow) (1 opening) at NYC Workforce 1 Career Center, 215 West 125th Street, 6th Floor, New York,  NY 10027.

    CAM Search and Consulting will present a recruitment on Thursday, December 3, 2015, 10 am - 2 pm, for Work-AT-Home Customer Service Rep (50 P/T openings) at the Bronx Workforce 1 Career Center,  400 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458.  Bilingual English/Spanish is a plus, but not a requirement.

    SolarCity Career Opportunities.  The NYS Department of  Labor is prescreening for the following three positions in Buffalo, NY:  Module Technician IIProcess Technician I, Process Technician III.

    If you would like to receive information for a future event showcasing employment opportunities at the Hotel Syracuse, please send an email to recruitment.dews@labor.ny.gov with 'Hotel Syracuse" in the subject line. 

    Job Postings at New York City Workforce 1.  

    Apprenticeship Opportunities in New York City.

    The New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCE&TC) is an association of 200 community-based

    affiche le pour

    organizations, educational institutions, and labor unions that annually provide job training and employment services to over 750,000 New Yorkers, including welfare recipients, unemployed workers, low-wage workers, at-risk youth, the formerly incarcerated, immigrants and the mentally and physically disabled. View NYCE&TC Job Listings.

    Digital NYC is the official online hub of the New York City startup and technology ecosystem, bringing together every company, startup, investor, event, job, class, blog, video, workplace, accelerator, incubator, resource, and organization in the five boroughs. Search jobs by category on this site.

    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 or call 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.

    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 eight 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 six weeks and includes test prep and 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, email: info@cmpny.org, call 212-571-1690, or visit. CMP also provides tuition-based healthcare and business trainings free to students who are entitled to ACCESS funding.

    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 backgrounds. For information call 212-832-7605.

    Please note this page will be revised when more recruitment events for the week of November 29  become available.


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    Photo of Cloud Nothings by Pooneh Ghana

    If you're looking for alternative rock that channels the angst of your favorite '90s bands without being unabashedly derivative, Cloud Nothings fits the bill. Now several LPs in, each release shows an immense amount of growth, both musically and personally for frontman Dylan Baldi. Early tunes were more lo-fi and noise pop, with honest yet simpler lyrics of typical early 20s emotions. Attack on Memory (2012) marked a decidedly funereal shift for the band, with Baldi's maturation shining through lyrically. Each album may be unique, but the common denominator is intensity. Is Dylan Baldi intensely bookish, as well? Read on to find out, and rock 'n' read forever!

    What role did libraries play in your youth?

    I spent a ridiculous amount of time in libraries as a kid, and have been a heavy reader my whole life. I would find every excuse I could to spend time in the library when I was in school, and outside of school there were a lot of pretty great public libraries in and near Cleveland that I would visit often. As a kid I would only get books, and as I got older I got into checking out like 30 CDs at a time and having massive late fees.

    What was your favorite book growing up and why?

    When I was really little I remember loving a book called The Ghost's Dinner. It was a book about ghosts who were having a dinner party, and they would turn the color of whatever food they were eating. I actually just took a break from responding to this question, went on Amazon and bought a used copy of this book. Hope it holds up.

    The New Jedi Order Vector Prime

    Has any one book in particular had a lasting effect on you?

    Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Just kidding. I remember being unhealthily obsessed with this Star Wars book series called The New Jedi Order, which I most likely wouldn't be quite as into today, but the Star Wars universe really was all I thought about for a decent portion of my young life. I really liked reading descriptions of planets and exotic landscapes, and genuinely envied the characters in these books for being able to hop on a spaceship and zip off to whatever insane place they wanted to. Being such a big fan of that aspect of the books has to have played some part in the huge amount of joy I get out of travel now.

    What is a classic that you've never gotten around to reading but would like to one day?

    There are a lot of classics I haven't read, so I'm not sure. I had a teacher in high school named Ms. Keel who was the only high school teacher that I liked, and we were supposed to read The Handmaid's Tale in her class. I didn't really want to, so I just didn't read it and faked my way through tests and essays regarding the book. And infinitely kind Ms. Keel gave me good grades on these clearly idiotic papers. So out of respect to her, I'd like to read that book someday.

    The Handmaid's Tale

    What genre do you prefer? Are there any you can't get into?

    I've always been into sci-fi. Lately I've gotten into sort of "adventure travel-writing" I guess, books by people who went on wild trips and documented the whole thing. I'm not a huge fan of autobiographies, but I'll read biographies any day. Who knows why.

    What are you currently reading? If nothing at the moment, what was the last book you read?

    I'm reading The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen right now. Jim Woodring recommended his writing in an interview he did in an old issue of The Comics Journalthat I found in Boston, and so far I'm enjoying the book. The source of the recommendation makes a lot of sense.

    "The songwriting stuff kind of happens in its own little world and I try not to think about what's influencing it or making it happen."

    The Journal of Albion Moonlight

    While on tour, are you able to get much reading done?

    Definitely. I don't drive the van too often because I'm bad at driving big vehicles, so I've always got a little bag full of books to work through.

    Do you have any tour memories involving books or libraries?

    Cloud Nothings was playing a show in Iowa City (at Gabe's—shout-out to Red, the redheaded sound guy) and we wandered over to Prairie Lights bookstore, which is a great place. I found this book of Richard Siken poems that I'd been searching for since I lost my copy in like 2009, and I was really excited to have found it again so I bought it. And then I proceeded to have too many Bud Lights or something and left it onstage at Gabe's, where it could still be for all I know. And I haven't found that book anywhere since. Very sad story.

    War of the Foxes Siken

    Do you do any other writing aside from songwriting?

    I used to write a lot of poetry, and I took a poetry workshop class in college during my semester there that was the only class that I got anything resembling a good grade in. I've kind of slowed down on that though, but it's something I always think about getting back into.

    Have any specific authors, books, and/or poems influenced your songwriting in any way?

    I'm sure, but not that I'm actively aware of. The songwriting stuff kind of happens in its own little world and I try not to think about what's influencing it or making it happen.

    Do you have any favorite memoirs by musicians?

    Life Keith Richards

    I read the Keith Richards book [Life] not too long ago and it must have been a pretty good advertisement for Jamaica, because after finishing it I more or less immediately booked a trip to Jamaica with my girlfriend. And it was the best vacation I've ever had. Thanks Keith!

    Do you prefer physical books, e-books, or no strong opinion either way?

    I wish I could prefer e-books, because physical books are taking up a stupid amount of space in my home right now. But physical books are just too cool to ever do away with fully. They even smell good!

    Do you have a library card? If so, which library system are you a member of?

    I have a couple of library cards. Some for various public libraries in and around Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County library system, which is where I grew up. And I just moved to Western Massachusetts and got a card for their system over here. It's a pretty literary zone so I've got to assume that their libraries are top notch.

    Cloud Nothings
    Self-titled
    Attack on Memory
    Attack on Memory
    Here and Nowhere Else
    Here and Nowhere Else

    Check out past Rock 'n' Read interviews with Colleen Green, Chastity Belt, The Thermals, No Joy, Crocodiles, Screaming Females, and Thee Oh Sees!


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    Two-hundred and forty-three years ago today, November 30, 1772, the Boston Committee of Correspondence (BCC) undertook a major step (#2 on this list) in organizing resistance to British policies. The record of that decision exists on a page or two of the thousands of pages in the Boston Committee of Correspondence records, which were recently digitized by NYPL. The BCC records is an important resource for understanding the American Revolution. But it is also a massive and unwieldy one. To make things easier, I've put together a list of nine important and representative documents from the BCC records, which, taken together, offer a rough outline of the BCC's activities and functions during the 1770s and 1780s, as well as a sense of the Committee's place in the larger story of the American Revolution.

    1. Meeting of the Boston Committee of Correspondence, Nov. 3, 1772

    The first meeting of the Boston Committee of Correspondence took place at the “Representatives Chambers” on November 3, 1772.

    BCC 1

    2. Minutes of the Boston Committee of Correspondence, Nov. 30, 1772

    On Nov. 30, 1772 the BCC settled on a plan to disseminate the “Boston Pamphlet” to representatives of the other Massachusetts Towns. The BCC had approved the text of the Pamphlet—which explained the colonists’ view of their rights, expressed their grievances against British policies up to that point in the Imperial Crisis, and included a letter to other towns—at a prior meeting.

    BCCC2.1
    BCC 2.2

    3. Letter from BCC to Marblehead, MA, Dec. 2, 1772

    As they began soliciting support from other towns, the BCC sent this letter to the leaders of Marblehead, Massachusetts. It contains a concise statement of the policies and events that “gave rise to the appointment of this committee.” The BCC mentioned, in particular, a British plan to pay salaries of colonial judges that had long been paid by the colonists themselves. The change would have made the judges independent from the very people they were supposed to govern: the citizens of Massachusetts. This “improper connexion” between the judges and the Crown, they argued, was a threat to “life liberty and property.”

    BCC3

    4. BCC meeting, April 9, 1773

    At a meeting on April 9, 1773, the BCC acknowledged receipt of the resolves of the Virginia House of Burgesses. The Boston Committee’s correspondence network would continue to grow more inter-colonial in emphasis during 1773 and into 1774.

    BCC4

    5. Nov. 22, 1773, Joint Meeting of Boston, Brookline, Roxbury, Dorchester, and Cambridge Committees of Correspondence

    On Nov. 22, 1773, the BCC met with representatives of neighboring towns and agreed, unanimously, “to use their joint influence to prevent the Landing and sale of the Teas expected from the East India Company.” The Boston Tea Party took place less than a month later, on December 16.

    BCC5

    6. Dec. 13, 1773, Alexander McDougall (New York) to Boston Committee of Correspondence

    A mere three days before the Boston Tea Party, the BCC received a letter from New York City—signed by Alexander McDougall, a leading Son of Liberty—which noted that “the people has been rising to oppose the landing of the tea” in New York.

    BCC 6

    7. Boston Committee of Correspondence, March 30, 1775

    In these minutes of the March 30, 1775 BCC meeting, they took note of “The alarming manouvere of a large detachment of the army…” This just a few weeks before the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

    BCC 7

    8. May 12, 1777, Minutes of the “Comm[e] of Correspondence, Inspection & Safety"

    Over time, especially after the advent of the Continental Congress, the BCC’s focus changed from coordinating resistance between towns and colonies. During the War, the BCC operated not only as a committee of correspondence, but also as a committee of “Inspection and Safety,” which attended to matters of public safety and monitored known and suspected loyalists in and around Boston. These are meeting minutes from that later committee, dated May 12, 1777.

    BCC 8

    9. Town of Roxbury Committee of Correspondence to Boston Committee of Correspondence, June 2, 1783

    With the war won, one of the main challenges that former revolutionaries faced was what to do about erstwhile loyalists. Should these people be “reintegrated”? And if so, on what terms? In this letter, the Town of Roxbury writes to the BCC to express their agreement with Boston’s decision “that the Absentees and conspirators ought never to be suffered to return” to their town.

    BCC9

    About the Early American Manuscripts Project

    With support from the The Polonsky Foundation, The New York Public Library is currently digitizing upwards of 50,000 pages of historic early American manuscript material. The Early American Manuscripts Project will allow students, researchers, and the general public to revisit major political events of the era from new perspectives and to explore currents of everyday social, cultural, and economic life in the colonial, revolutionary, and early national periods. The project will present on-line for the first time high quality facsimiles of key documents from America’s Founding, including the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Drawing on the full breadth of the Library’s manuscript collections, it will also make widely available less well-known manuscript sources, including business papers of Atlantic merchants, diaries of people ranging from elite New York women to Christian Indian preachers, and organizational records of voluntary associations and philanthropic organizations. Over the next two years, this trove of manuscript sources, previously available only at the Library, will be made freely available through nypl.org.


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