The Chinese-American Planning Council Workforce Development Division provides access to training and job opportunities to individuals eager to enter the workforce. The Division matches your skills with the right opportunities and is currently recruiting for cleaners. This is not for immediate hire.
SAGEWorks Boot Camp - Enrollment Now open. 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, 2/1/16 - 2/12/16 - 9:30 am to 2:00 pm at The SAGE Center, 305 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001.
U.S. Security Associates Inc. will present a recruitment on Thursday, January 14, 2016, 10 am - 2 pm for Loss Prevention Associate (30 openings) at the New York State Department of Labor - Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Plainclothes retail loss prevention experience and NY State Security Guard License are required.
New York Public Library CEIS Mini College an Career Fair Series 2016, on Thursday, January 14, 2016, 11 am - 4 pm, at Allerton Library, 2740 Barnes Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467. Please bring resumes and dress in business attire. Wheelchair accessible.
U.S. Security Associates Inc. will present a recruitment on Friday, January 15, 2016, 10 am - 2 pm for Loss Prevention Associate (30 openings) at the New York State Department of Labor - Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138-60 Barclay Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11355. Plainclothes retail loss prevention experience and NY State Security Guard License are required.
If you would like to receive information for a future event showcasing employment opportunities at the Hotel Syracuse, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Hotel Syracuse" in the subject line.
The New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCE&TC) is an association of 200 community-based 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: email@example.com, 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 January 11 become available.
NeuroTribes is a comprehensive look at the history of autism from the research pioneers who defined the spectrum (in profoundly different ways) to the social forces in the 1990s that led to a sudden increase in diagnosis. It argues that our neurological differences are natural variations in the human genome and that many of our most revolutionary thinkers lie somewhere on the spectrum.
Rain begins four billion years ago with the filling of the oceans and builds to modern day climate change. Along the way, we learn about human attempts to control it and the many cultural products it has inspired from music to the mackintosh.
For our next several episodes of Library Stories we’re sharing interviews from BookOps, the distribution center for The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. The employees here are passionate about getting materials to our users on time and in great condition.
In Episode 12, NYPL Librarian Melissa Crotti tells her Library story and shares why she's living her dream. She’s a fulfillment specialist for MyLibraryNYC and works to get free book sets to teachers.
Library Stories is a new video series of moving personal interviews that show what The New York Public Library means to our users, staff, donors, and communities through . We’re releasing a new episode each week from one of our 92 locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Join us to see how libraries change lives in inspiring and surprising ways.
The following titles on our Recent Acquisitions Display are just a few of our new books, which are available at the reference desk in the Dorot Jewish Division. Catalog entries for the books can be found by clicking on their covers.
It’s still the beginning of resolution season, and we suspect that some of you have vowed that this year, you’ll turn off the TV, stop looking at your phone, and open a book instead.
We wanted to start 2016 with some series that you might want to race through the same way you once raced through Master of None and Making a Murderer.
We asked our NYPL book experts to name the first book (in a series of at least three) that’s worthy of binge-reading all in one go. Lots of young-adult titles came up, and lots of fantasy that takes you out of this world. Binge on!
Wizards, Dragons, & More
A new beginning… something epic to warm the cold months… perhaps tales of heroic exploits against giants, wyrms, and forgotten horrors will do the trick. John Gwynne’s debut novel, Malice, is the first in The Faithful and the Fallen series. The tag line? “Even the brave will fall.” —Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil
His Majesty’s Dragon is the first book in Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series. The premise is essentially Horatio Hornblower with dragons (!), and I fell so in love with the protagonists and supporting cast that I read the first seven books in a marathon session on vacation one week. The final book is being released this year, so it’s a good time to catch up! —Jennifer Moakler, New Dorp
Eragon (book #1 of the Inheritance cycle) by Christopher Paolini. I am a gigantic sucker for anything resembling the Middle Ages; it could be a really cool era to live! And the citizens of the fictional country of Alagaesia do just that in a phantasmic world where elves exist and dragon riders once reigned. —Joseph Pascullo, Grand Central
I’ve always loved the Earthsea trilogy; the first book is A Wizard of Earthsea. The books are dark, brooding and nuanced. Perfect for cold winter days! —Jennifer Craft, Mulberry Street
Perhaps the next Game of Thrones, the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss have recently been signed over to Lionsgate for a movie, TV, and video game deal. This means it’s the perfect time to read the series so that you can be the person who says, “well you know, the movie wasn’t as good as the book!” I’m currently reading the first book, The Name of the Wind.—Andrey Syroyezhkin, Dorot Jewish Division
Well, I won’t say Game of Thrones (even though I truly binged that series!) because I know from the constant hold list that many of you are already binging it. How about Wild Seed by Octavia Butler? It’s the first of five books that span several centuries, beginning with two immortal (or nearly so) creatures—one a healer and one a manipulator who breeds humans with special powers. —Danita Nichols, Inwood
I love Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas—an entertaining Cinderella-inspired tale about an assassin on a great journey. —Lilian Calix, Hamilton Grange
Fablehaven (book #1 in the Fablehaven 5-book cycle) by Brandon Mull. Every several months, I reread this series! I am almost done re-reading the series for my fourth time. Check out the book, ebook, or the entire series on ebook. —Alexander Mouyios, 67th Street
I love the Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison, which are super-quick reads for readers who would enjoy an alternate history story about a magical law enforcement agent with a little steamy side action thrown in. I also love that all the titles are based on Clint Eastwood movies. —Lauren Bradley, George Bruce
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima. Amazing characters, awesome action sequences, steamy romances, political intrigue, and a unique magic system make this series a must read for epic fantasy fans. —Althea Georges, Mosholu
The Magicians series by Lev Grossman, or as I like to call it, “Harry Potter with wine and sex.” :) —Ronni Krasnow, Morningside Heights
It’s not be the most cheerful binge-read, but each book of Pat Barker’s slim-volumed Regeneration trilogy left me feeling haunted and appreciating anew the political importance of arts and letters. They’re WWI novels for those of us who don’t usually gravitate toward military history. —Carolyn Broomhead, Research Division
Who wouldn’t want to escape into a life of luxury in a New York brownstone during the early 20th century with Rex Stout’s hero detective Nero Wolfe? The first novel in the series is Fer-de-lance. Always captivating are the discussions of food, whether Wolfe is planning the menu with his personal chef Fritz or in conversation with the maitre d’ about the goulash at his favorite restaurant, Rusterman’s. And Archie always has a sandwich or a piece of pie with a glass of milk when he’s dispatched from the house at meal-time. If you are not satisfied with reading about the food you might even arrange to have a copy of the Nero Wolfe cookbook handy in order to whet your own appetite while you binge-read. —Virginia Bartow, Special Collections
The convenience of round the clock e-borrowing made this binge-reading possible. The Daughters of Caleb Bender series by Dale Cramer is an Amish historical fiction series that literally kept me up all night—I downloaded part 2 at 11 p.m. and part 3 at 4 a.m. It’s the sad saga of an Amish family that moves from 1920s Ohio to escape U.S. authorities who wanted them to conform to “American culture.” They sought sanctuary in the wilds of Mexico, far from government interference, only to find their pacifism severely challenged by terrorizing bandits who threaten their very existence. —Jean Harripersaud, Bronx Library Center
For historical and fantastical binge-reading, how about the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The first book is about a World War II nurse who travels back in time from 1945 to 1743 Scotland, where she meets Scottish highlanders before the Jacobite risings. With elements of fantasy, romance, mystery and historical fiction, there’s a little to appeal to everyone. —Leslie Bernstein, Mott Haven
Crime writer James Ellroy brings American history to life in the Underworld USA trilogy: American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood’s a Rover. Historical figures and Ellroy’s own creations mingle as he imagines the intersection of American politicians and the criminal underworld between 1958-1973. I think he described the theme of the trilogy best when he stated, “The essential contention of the Underworld USA trilogy…is that America was never innocent.” —Charlie Radin, Inwood
To start the New Year, read the books that started the Nordic Noir wave: the Martin Beck series of 10 crime novels by the Swedish husband-wife team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. The Beck books were first published in 1965–1975, and their popularity has scarcely waned since, in Sweden and around the world. Roseanna, about the mysterious body dredged out of a cross-country canal, is the first in the series; there’s a list of the titles in order here. —Kathie Coblentz, Special Collections
I have to recommend My Struggle by Karl Ove Knaugaard. The first four have already have published English translations, and they’re each pretty long. It’s enough to keep you company until the weather gets warm again. There’s no murder mystery, but if you like people-watching, books set in Scandinavia or autofiction, they are pretty tough to put down. —Alexis Walker, Epiphany
Transport yourself into medieval Norway with the trilogy of well-researched books that form the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. This series won Sigrid Undset the Nobel Prize when it was originally written in the 1920s and has since captivated readers by its authentic depiction of the everyday hardships and strict religious and moral codes proscribing rural life in the Middle Ages. —Jeremy Megraw, Library for the Performing Arts
Manga & Graphic Novels
I have to forcibly look in another direction if anything from the world of Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy series The Sandmanis within eyeshot. I might say the same for the Japanese manga series about cooking Oishinbo. Both are quite different from each other, but are similarly addictive. —Melisa Tien, Library for the Performing Arts
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moonby Naoko Takeuchi is the binge-worthy beginning to the greatest space romance ever told in panels, in which the bumbling and ordinary blossoms into the epic and extraordinary. Featuring what is arguably the most beautiful art in manga, with a full cast of relatable characters, the tale told within these pages is a rare confection that will elicit smiles, tears, and a belief that even the least likely to succeed can find a hero inside. —Daniel Norton, Mid-Manhattan
Strobe Edge! It's a relatively short manga series (10 books) that's considered a "slice of life" since there are no magical elements involved. The story focuses on Ninako's first crush and coping with the fact that he has a long-term girlfriend. It's really light-hearted and super fun. Highly recommended if you're interested in trying manga!
I’m a fan of the Wake trilogy—Wake, Fade, Gone—by Lisa McMann. They’re about Janie, a 17-year-old high school student who is inexplicably pulled into the dreams of others in close proximity to her. She has no power to stop it, which proves to be chilling and intriguing. —Maura Muller, Volunteer Office
Reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is like eating popcorn for me...one handful after another with a smile on my face. One for the Money introduces Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter in Jersey with a trash-talking grandmother, an on-and-off boyfriend, and some questionable partners. —Melissa Scheurer, Mid-Manhattan
Alexander McCall Smith is my go-to author for binge reading. He has so many series that take a reader on a journey to foreign countries, usually Botswana and Scotland, and by the end of each book, he’s painted vivid portraits of the recurring characters while you’ve laughed and empathized as they solved mysteries. My favorite series are The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and 44 Scotland Street. —Shayla Titley, Membership Programs
I was thrilled to discover the thrilling Victorian William Monk series of mysteries by Anne Perry. (The first one is Face of a Stranger, available only as an e-book.) Not only did I have many more Monk mysteries to discover, but I could also circle back and pick up on her other series, featuring the socially mismatched Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. —Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, Library for the Performing Arts
A Touch of Humor
Thursday Next is a literary detective who jumps—literally—into books to solve mysteries and keep wayward characters in line. In the first installment, The Eyre Affair, Thursday has to chase Hades (really) through the pages of Jane Eyre to rescue Bronte’s heroine and save the day… and the madcap action only gets crazier and funnier from there. Perfect for anyone looking for a literary laugh. —Gwen Glazer, Readers Services
If you’re jonesing for some 1930s, screwball comedy look no further than prolific mystery writer Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series. Starting with Her Royal Spyness, our amateur sleuth is Lady Georgianna Rannoch, 34th in line for the English throne (not that anyone is counting). The mysteries are slight, but the cast of screwball characters, royal family cameos, and Georgie’s indomitable spirit make for loads of yummy fun! —Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Street
In addition to Harry Potter, my favorite binge read series, I have to add Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series. The first book is Etiquette and Espionage. It’s a fun steampunk YA series with humor and suspense all in one. —Dawn Collins, West Farms
John Fante's The Saga of Arturo Bandini. The four semi-autobiographical novels are readable and comically self depreciating. Read as a series, we view the whole of a life of limited potential and mediocrity, relatable to many of us. I found them hard to put down. —Seth Pompi, Ottendorfer
Wool, the first book in the Hugh Howey’s Silo series, captivated me from the get-go. The postapocalyptic mystery set in a subterranean city starts out by following a sheriff’s search for the reasons behind his wife’s death. The twists and turns had me racing through the rest of the books; as soon as one mystery was solved, another quickly developed. —Rosa Caballero-Li, Ask NYPL
I highly recommend the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. It’s the story of a girl named Tally who expects to undergo a medical procedure that will make her pretty when she turns 16, but she learns that the procedure is not what she expects. It’s the beginning of a YA dystopian science fiction series that will make readers think about identity, standards of beauty, and brave new worlds. —Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge
Sagas of Families and Friendship
The Weetzie Batseries by Francesca Lia Block is so intensely vivid that it is worth binge re-reading. These stories of free-spirited youth living in LA and dealing with love, friendship, and heartache will make you wish for a Secret Agent Lover Man all your own. Block’s poetic and musical writing style creates a unique voice that will stay with you. —Rebecca Dash Donsky, 67th Street
My favorite book of all time is the first in a series. In Ten Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker, Kacey Cleary survived a car crash that killed her parents, best friend, and boyfriend. Now she is trying to leave her past behind using her mother’s advice to take 10 breaths when times get tough, as she moves herself and her sister to Miami. This is a story of redemption, forgiveness, and second chances as Kacey falls for her neighbor Trent. Each book in the series tells a different person in the friends’ story. The second book is One Tiny Lie, third is Four Seconds to Lose and the fourth is Five Ways to Fall. —Morgan O’Reilly, Aguilar
The Dollanganger/Flowers in the Attic series by V.C. Andrews was my go-to binge-read as an angsty tween. Not only did it improve my budding vocabulary by introducing concepts such as “dopplegangers,” but it has a wealth of Southern Gothic embellishments that drip off the pages like wisteria on a late spring evening. This twisted family saga has the stuff that series addictions are made of. —Sherri Machlin, Mulberry Street
Jenny and the Cat Club series by Esther Averill. It’s a real oldie, beautifully reissued by the New York Review of Books. You cannot find a better role model than Jenny Linsky, the adventurous red scarf-wearing black cat whose New York stories are captured in such books as The School for Cats, The Hotel Cat, and Jenny’s Moonlight Adventure. I think I love these books more now than when I read them as a child. —Jeff Katz, Chatham Square
As a kid, I loved reading the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. The author never talked down to his readers, and I learned quite a lot of vocabulary words from these richly detailed adventure books, which feature a large cast of animal characters. —Christina Lebec, Bronx Library Center
I recommend this series to everyone, even if they aren’t asking for my opinion! I am obsessed with Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy. Red Rising is the first of the series. When Darrow learns the truth about society’s caste system and his own status, he is determined to bring it down by any means necessary. The last book in the trilogy will be coming out this year! —Susen Shi, Mid-Manhattan
Tamora Pierce (Gets Her Own Category!)
I read the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce nearly every year. The series, originally intended for younger readers, begins with Wild Magic and tells the story of Daine, a young girl who finds that she has a remarkable gift: She can talk to animals. This four-book series has a lot of adventure, a ton of magic, and an unforgettable cast of characters. I find myself not only reading it over and over, but recommending it just as often. —Alexandria Abenshon, Yorkville
Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small series. I recommend First Test to patrons looking for books about strong girls who don’t let themselves get pushed around.—Louise Lareau, Children’s Room
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!
Known as the "literature of ideas," science fiction is one of my favorite genres, full of innovation and imagination. It asks the question what if? and doesn't seek to provide answers but rather to provoke thoughtful explorations of space, time, and what it means to be human.
Here are 25 of my favorite sci-fi movies from the last two decades:
Take Los Cronocrimenes and Can't Hardly Wait, stick it in a sack, and shake it all around. What you're left with is +1, a creepy sci-fi puzzle wrapped in a teen party movie. When a meteor flashes across the sky, unsuspecting and self-absorbed party goers come face-to-face with their doppelgängers. Looking for a double feature? Try pairing this film with its upscale variant, Coherence.
Featuring Rhys Wakefield, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall, Logan Miller, and Colleen and Suzanne Dengel.
Coherence(2013) written and directed by James Ward Byrkit
During an astronomical event, three couples at a dinner party experience strange phenomena and work together to unravel a disturbing mystery. Rather than create a script, Byrkit wrote a short treatment and provided actors with carefully composed character notecards before inviting them to his home to film. Undaunted, these actors managed to create remarkably convincing performances using largely improvised dialogue. Pairs well with +1.
Featuring Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Elizabeth Gracen, Alex Manugian, Lauren Maher, Hugo Armstrong, Lorene Scafaria, and Nicholas Brendon.
District 9(2009) written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, directed by Neill Blomkamp
Nearly three decades after an alien spaceship arrives, Johannesburg is a city struggling with clashes between its local human citizens and alien inhabitants. When a bureaucrat is accidentally sprayed with an alien substance, he experiences biological changes and becomes the target of a manhunt. A thrilling debut from Blomkamp, District 9 is an action sci-fi film with a lot on its mind, delving into issues of identity, segregation, and xenophobia. My hope for District 10 is deep and fervent, withstanding even the onslaught of Chappie(evidence that the film gods are indeed cruel and capricious).
Featuring Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, and David James.
Dredd (2012) written by Alex Garland and directed by Pete Travis
A sleeper hit that's well on its way to a cult classic, this Judge Dredd adaptation leaves the eponymous 1995 film in the dust. A law enforcer and his newly recruited partner are tasked with bringing order to a slum tower overrun by violent thugs. This film lovingly pairs blood and gore with beautifully rendered slow motion sequences and a hauntingly distorted musical score. Dredd is my go-to sci-fi action flick and is eminently rewatchable. Karl Urban might be old and gray by the time a sequel gets made, but as long as he keeps that implacable chin in good shape, we'll never know the difference.
Featuring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris, and Domhnall Gleeson.
In a war between humans and aliens, an incompetent soldier gains the ability to "reset" the day after killing an alpha alien. The soldier, trapped in a Groundhog-Day-like time loop, must improve his fighting skills after each reset in order to save humanity. Accompanying him in battle is a tough, sword-wielding veteran with the delightful moniker "Full Metal Bitch." This is a fun, blockbuster movie that will appeal to gamers (especially Halo fans) and non-gamers alike.
Featuring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Gleeson.
Ex Machina (2015) written and directed by Alex Garland
Ex Machina is an intellectual thriller that proves science fiction doesn't need an intergalactic setting or action-packed fight scenes to be deeply engrossing. A programmer is invited by his company's CEO to administer the Turing test to an eerily human-like robot. Smart and spare, this movie eschews the green screen in favor of provocative ideas and mesmerizing performances.
Featuring Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Sonoya Mizuno.
Futurama: Bender's Big Score (2007) created by Matt Groening, written by Ken Keeler and directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill
The first in four movies that comprise Futurama's fifth season, Bender's Big Score never saw a theatrical release but is an enjoyable film that shows the range of the genre. Sci-fi isn't always just creepy aliens and trippy time travel; sometimes it's also silly one-liners and alcoholic robots with shiny metal posteriors. One of the few animated series that can make me cry as hard as I laugh, Futurama is not to be missed. (Fans of the series should also check out Adult Swim'sRick and Morty.)
Featuring the voices of Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, and Lauren Tom.
Galaxy Quest (1999) written by David Howard and Robert Gordon, directed by Dean Parisot
Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Tim Allen all in one movie? Surely an embarrassment of riches! The cast of a canceled television series reunite for a convention but are kidnapped by an alien space crew that needs their help. Once voted the seventh best Star Trek movie, Galaxy Quest is an entertaining intergalactic adventure that both parodies and pays tribute to the sci-fi classic and its ardent fandom. A perfect starter film for those new to the genre.
Featuring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub, Enrico Colantoni, and Justin Long.
Gattaca (1997) written and directed by Andrew Niccol
Set in a eugenics-based future where DNA rather than ability determines your place in society, a genetically-inferior "in-valid" goes to dangerous lengths to achieve his dream of space travel. One of my all-time favorite films, Gattaca defines all that is wonderful about the sci-fi genre, highlighting the ambition and determination of an individual to not only survive but excel despite incredible obstacles. It also features a young Jude Law at his very sneery best.
Featuring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine, Alan Arkin, and Gore Vidal.
The Host (2006) written by Baek Chul-hyun and Bong Joon-ho, directed by Bong Joon-ho
A young schoolgirl is abducted by a reptilian creature during a bloody rampage and her misfit family must band together to save her. Scary, funny, and heartbreaking, The Host is a South Korean film that will leave your heart in your throat. You'll root for the bumbling family and shudder at the genuinely horrifying creature in one of the best monster movie of any decade.
Featuring Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doona, and Go Ah-sung.
Inception(2010) written and directed by Christopher Nolan
With its distinctive sound effects, Inception dazzles with sumptuous visuals and a superb cast. Like the popular Ocean's Eleventrilogy and The Italian Job, Inception is at its core a heist film (though darker, weightier, and more thrilling). But unlike the standard heist flick, the impenetrable safe these thieves are trying to crack is buried deep within the subconscious mind and the money cache is nothing more than a secret thought, implanted rather than stolen, and meant to influence the victim's waking actions. With folding Parisian streets, spinning corridors, disintegrating cities, and a snowtop fortress, this film deserves multiple viewings.
Featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and Cillian Murphy.
Interstellar(2014) written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan
A crew of astronauts must search for a habitable planet to save humanity from extinction. This is another Nolan film full of stunning visuals and no dearth of expositional dialogue. Whereas Inception explores the infinite mind, Interstellar takes on the incredible vastness of space (providing one notably breathtaking depiction of a supermassive rotating black hole). With theoretical physicist Kip Thorne consulting on the film, Interstellar maintains a degree of scientific accuracy that only enhances the central story surrounding a father and daughter relationship tested by time and distance.
Featuring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, and Michael Caine.
A giant alien robot falls from space and is befriended by a young boy. Nominated for the Hugo, Saturn, and Nebula awards and winner of a BAFTA,The Iron Giant has been consistently ranked as one of the best animated films and even enjoyed a brief revival in theaters recently. Set in the 1950s, the animation style is reminiscent of that time period, with beautifully composed scenes worthy of Rockwell and Hopper. Featuring my favorite Vin-Diesel-voiced robot, The Iron Giant is a must-see that will warm even the coldest of hearts. Brad Bird fans will also enjoy his other work including The Incredibles andRatatouille(and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol!).
Featuring the voices of Eli Marienthal, Christopher McDonald, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., John Mahoney, and Vin Diesel.
In the future, criminal gangs utilize time travel to send victims to the past to be killed by specialized assassins or "loopers." One looper discovers that his next target is his future self and must deal with the consequences of his actions. Why Joseph Gordon-Levitt had to be rendered nearly unrecognizable to play a young Bruce Willis, I'll never know. Slip in some blue contacts and I would have called it a done deal. That aside, Looper does an excellent job handling the inherent intricacies of time travel and not letting it overwhelm the story. Stylish and smart, Looper is an impressive addition to the sci-fi genre by Brickand future Star Wars: Episode VIII writer and director Rian Johnson.
Featuring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels.
Left for dead on Mars, a lone astronaut has to figure out a way to survive with limited resources. With the emphasis on the "science" in "science fiction," this is a pleasingly faithful adaptation of Weir's wonderfully geeky debut novel. Mark Watney is a refreshing protagonist, unflappably determined and good-humored despite near insurmountable odds. If I were trapped on Mars, I'd spend most of my days curled up in a fetal position drowning in an epic existential crisis before bitterly starving to death. The movie adaptation would have been a disgrace.
Featuring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. (All that star power but no Ben Affleck cameo? Disappointing! Doesn't the world know that Affleck and Damon belong together like Kirk and Spock, Burke and Hare, Achilles and Patroclus?)
Moon (2009) written by Nathan Parker and directed by Duncan Jones
An astronaut experiences strange occurrences as he nears the end of his three-year work contract on the moon. Sam Rockwell's name is like a quality assurance guarantee: stellar performance promised, stellar performance delivered. I've never met a Rockwell film (or play) that I didn't like, and this moviedoesn't disappoint. With smart direction and a sharp script, Moon is a fascinating and thoughtful addition to the hard sci-fi oeuvre.
Featuring Sam Rockwell, Dominique McElligott, and the dulcet tones of Kevin Spacey.
Pacific Rim (2013) written by Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro
Giant robots. Need I say more? You don't have to be Grant Imahara to appreciate the delightful pulpiness of this movie. Starring Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam (whose withdrawal from the Christian Grey role was both a relief and a disappointment), this movie may be weak in dialogue but powers through with fantastic action scenes that translates to any language. Again, robots smashing things? 10 out of 10 stars.
Featuring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Ron Perlman.
The Prestige(2006) directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the novel by Christopher Priest
Two rival stage magicians play a lethal game of one-upmanship in 19th century London. At the risk of revealing too much, I'll simply say that this isn't your Tony Wonder vs. G.O.B. kind of dueling magicians. Dark and unsettling, you'll be contemplating the film's implications long after the final credits.
Featuring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, Andy Serkis, and David Bowie.
Primer(2004) written and directed by Shane Carruth
Filmed on a meager $7,000 budget, Primer provides a seriously mind-boggling examination of time travel. There is no audience surrogate or Nolan-esque expositional dialogue to gently introduce complex ideas and intricate plot points. From the first scene, you're thrown into the mix, and just when you think you've got a handle on what's happening, think again. Primer isn't an easy ride but the payoff is worth it.
(Watched the film and still perplexed? Randall Munroe, creator of webcomic xkcd, provides an elucidating graph to help parse the timelines.)
Featuring Shane Carruth and David Sullivan.
Serenity(2005) written and directed by Joss Whedon
The bitterness I carry against FOX for canceling Fireflyis as deep and vast as Ganymede's subterranean ocean. Serenity (an excellent palliative, but a palliative nonetheless) continues the story of a scrappy crew of smugglers led by a hardened war veteran. A fantastic mash-up of the space opera and western genres, this is another Whedon classic with shrewd practical effects and distinct characterization that will appeal to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Featuring Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, the divine Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Snowpiercer(2013) written by Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson, directed by Bong Joon-ho
Based on the unremittingly grim French comic book Le Transperceneigeby Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, this South Korean film features an international cast and a dystopian premise. With the world frozen in a manmade ice age, the last of humanity fights for survival on an unstoppable train, the Snowpiercer. Rigidly segregated by class, front-end elites live in splendor while the tail-end passengers live in squalor. Revolt is inevitable, and like its characters, this film walks the fine line between brilliance and madness.
Featuring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, Jamie Bell, Go Ah-sung, Octavia Spencer, and a perpetual-motion engine.
Time Lapse (2014) written by Bradley D. King and B. P. Cooper, directed by Bradley D. King
If there's anything to learn from sci-fi films, it's this: If you stumble across a time machine, leave it alone! Trust me. Nothing good will come of it. You know why you don't see octogenarians meddling with the space-time continuum? Because they're old enough and wise enough to say, "Nuh-uh, hard pass." Three young friends find a machine that produces photographs taken 24 hours into the future. Do they prudently and judiciously use this amazing machine to fulfill their lifelong ambitions and live a life of peace and luxury? Hmph.
Featuring Matt O'Leary, Danielle Panabaker, and George Finn.
WALL-E (2008) written by Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon, directed by Andrew Stanton
Not since the Iron Giant have I ever wanted to hug a robot so hard (an unpleasant experience, surely, with all those sharp edges and metal bits). A lone robot spends his time cleaning an abandoned, unlivable Earth until one day another robot appears and leads him on a life-changing journey into outer space. Breathlessly beautiful, Wall-E is another Pixar creation that will charm and enthrall people of all ages.
Featuring the voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy, and Sigourney Weaver.
The World's End(2013) written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, directed by Edgar Wright
One of the true pleasures of this movie was watching it in a packed theater with my brother (who occasionally masquerades as an adult) and listening to his uncontrollable laughter and shocked gasps at every twist and turn. An ambitious pub crawl in the town of Newton Haven leads a group of alienated friends on a legendary adventure. If you love Shaun of the Deadand Hot Fuzz, you'll love this hilarious conclusion to the Cornetto trilogy.
Featuring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, the amazing Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Rosamund Pike.
The 25th and final slot I've left open in anticipation of The Lobster, a satirical sci-fi comedy that I've been impatiently waiting to hit theaters. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and written by Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, The Lobster was released abroad in 2015 and will hit US theaters in March 2016. It's already snagged the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize and has enjoyed critical accolades (including a BAFTA for Olivia Colman!). Featuring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, the film depicts a city where single people must find a partner within 45 days or face being turned into an animal and released into the wild. Just give me a showtime and take my money already!
Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker (1781-1864) began keeping a diary when she was eighteen years old. All told, in over 400 pages of handwritten entries, Bleecker kept track of her life in New York City for seven formative years, beginning in 1799 when she was eighteen years old and ending in 1806. As part of its ongoing efforts to digitize and make freely available large portions of its early American manuscript collections, The New York Public Library has made Bleecker’s diary available online. The diary’s 452 images account for less than one-percent of the pictures that will ultimately make their way online as part of the Early American Manuscripts Project. However, we feel the diary is worthy of some closer analysis. Periodically, for the next year, we will write blog posts featuring a single entry, or a series of entries, from the Bleecker diary.
Why, you might ask, are we focusing so closely on this one item? Simply put, the goal of our project is to digitize a selection of items that allow users to revisit major political events of the era from new perspectives, while simultaneously exploring currents of everyday social, cultural, and economic life. Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker’s diary captures all of this. On top of that, the diary is a source from and about New York City in its formative era.
And historians love diaries. They are, of course, incredible sources for understanding the diarist—their hopes, fears, and expectations, as well as the routine rhythms of their daily life. But diaries are also invaluable for understanding much broader social, cultural, and political changes were felt at the personal level. Historians just as frequently use diaries to bring a human element to epochal moments in history as they do to understand how people made sense of what they encountered on a day-to-day basis. Historical diaries are often edited and annotated and then used by historians and students. The Bleecker diary has not received this treatment. While we are not editing it in the traditional sense, our goal in these posts is to draw attention to the wide range of historical questions and concerns on which the Bleecker diary can offer a new perspective.
About the Diary
From the monumental to the mundane, Bleecker’s diary has it all. It is neither the diary of an upper-echelon member of the political elite, nor of an ordinary New Yorker. Bleecker was a well-to-do woman, a woman of leisure; she did not have to work. Her position afforded her a broad view of New York and the nation at the turn of the nineteenth century. As a woman of means, Bleecker was tapped into elite political and economic networks. For example, the day after Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel, his widow visited with Bleecker. When the increasingly volatile economies of New York and the United States ruined men, and sometimes even drove them to suicide, Bleecker had the inside scoop and knew the grisly details.
Bleecker was also a woman about town. She went to church, plays, and sideshows, and took shopping trips and drank tea with friends. On her jaunts, she witnessed some signal moments in the history of early New York, like the laying of the cornerstone of City Hall in 1803. While she was out and about during the seven years she kept her diary, Bleecker watched as the very nature of the City changed. Between 1790 and 1800, the population of the city nearly doubled to a little over 60,000 from around 33,000. It went up another 30,000 between 1800 and 1810. New York faced serious challenges in this period as it attempted to accommodate massive population growth and regulate city life. Bleecker bore witness. She heard and wrote about public disturbances, crimes, and court cases, and she watched as New York officials tried to contain fires and prison breaks.
Bleecker experienced and recorded life in New York City at a moment of great change and turmoil. But her position shielded her from some of the more threatening aspects of life in the most populous early American city. Epidemics of Yellow Fever periodically ravaged the City. While poor New Yorkers faced the very real possibility they would catch the Fever and never recover, Bleecker fled the crowded and dangerous city for the more salubrious suburban environs of Bedford, in Westchester County. Then as ever, class shaped urban life. Bleecker’s New York was a Tale of Two Cities.
Or perhaps it was a tale of three cities. “Negro men” and “black girls” appear throughout the diary as laborers. Though invariably identified by their skin color, it is not always clear whether they were enslaved. In 1799, the first year of Bleecker’s diary, New York State passed a bill to abolish the institution of slavery. But the bill did so gradually; the last slave was not freed until July 4, 1827. Like most everything else, slavery, freedom, servitude, and race were all in flux in early-nineteenth-century New York, as Bleecker’s diary unwittingly reveals.
As much as Bleecker’s diary can be read as an ethnography of early national New York City, it is above all an account of one woman’s life. We have to imagine that Bleecker’s list of the most significant events recorded in the diary would include her engagement and marriage to Alexander McDonald, the births of her first two children, and the marriages and deaths of countless friends and family members. Bleecker is a fascinating woman in her own right, and throughout this series we plan to bring that side of the diary out as well.
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.
Katherine Ellington, a New York City medical humanities scholar and researcher, discusses the work and legacy of legendary artist Augusta Savage:
The Harlem Renaissance is described as a cultural, social and artistic time of illumination, which began in the 1920s when black life inspired the work of young black artists that emerged with stories that have left an indelible mark on our history. Augusta Savage was among this group of artists who came to Harlem from the Jim Crown South in search of opportunity and where her creative expression could thrive.
My quest for Augusta Savage (1892 –1962) sculpture led me to a first-time visit to the Art and Artifacts Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Assistant Curator Tammi Lawson guided me through a memorable experience with a closer look at her artwork. As a young girl in the early twentieth century, Savage began shaping ducks out of red clay found in the backyard of her home in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Savage’s work gained local attention when she entered and won a prize at a local county fair, which led to community support for further study. In 1921, she moved to Harlem after studying at State Normal College for Colored Students (now Florida A & M University). Savage later completed a four-year program in sculpture in three years at Cooper Union. She also studied abroad in France and traveled across Europe where she completed a significant amount of her sculpture. Friend Romare Bearden once said, “Augusta Savage lived for her work…gradually [she] realized that the black artist was caught in the economic plight of African Americans as a whole and that she could not escape their struggles.”
In 1931, Savage returned to Harlem and opened the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts—a fine arts training ground for over 1,500 students including many well-known Harlem Renaissance artists such as Charles Alston, Ernest Crichlow, Norman Lewis, Morgan Smith and Marvin Smith, Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence. Columbia psychologist Kenneth Clark and for a short while Ralph Ellison also spent time in Savage’s studio before going downtown to study with Richmond Barthé in Greenwich Village. Their collaborative creative force broke down barriers in Harlem and beyond, and continues to highlight the art and culture of black life today.
In 1934, Savage became the director of the newly established Harlem Community Art Center, after she was commissioned by the 1939 World’s Fair. Around that time she created “The Harp” as a series, but it was destroyed during the cleanup after the fair. In the Photographs and Prints Division at the Schomburg, there is also a collection of photographs from Morgan Smith and Marvin Smith that features Augusta Savage at work in her studio.
Savage’s art was often in response to the fight against racism. She used a variety of methods, shaping clay and plaster, casting bronze, and later years, carving marble and wood. In the Augusta Savage collection, there are works that illustrate themes such as nineteenth-century romanticism and African and Greek culture. As a trained portraitist, her busts include Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson and Gwendolyn Bennett. In the spring of 1929 she created “Gamin,” a sculpture that graced the cover of the September 1929 issue of Opportunity magazine.
The Schomburg’s Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division also houses a number of historical documents chronicling her life story and creative work. Icons like Augusta Savage offer frameworks for newer artists who come after them. During her time, Savage created and shaped institutions while mentoring Harlem Renaissance artists, scholars, leaders and community residents.
Schomburg Communications Pre-Professional Alicia Perez looks back on the life and career of the late Natalie Cole, who was laid to rest on Monday in Los Angeles.
In 1975, the Rolling Stones called her a “gifted soul stylist in the mold of Aretha Franklin.” In 1977, Don Cornelius said she was the most important talent discovery of the decade. Now the world mourns the loss of Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, who passed away at age 65 on New Years Eve.
Cole touched all fans of all ages and walks of life with her show-stopping performances, earning her countless awards throughout her forty-year career. Her first hit, “This Will Be,” won the 1976 Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance and kickstarted decades of success. Cole would go on to win seven additional Grammys though nominated for many more—including Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Performance for “Unforgettable,” a posthumous duet with her late father, legendary singer Nat King Cole. Still Unforgettable, her 2008 Grammy-winning studio album you can reference in our Digital Collections, also featured a duet with her father titled “Walkin' My Baby Back Home.” Cole also joined other greats like Bunny Briggs and Cab Calloway in a 1980 musical tribute to the Apollo Theater in Harlem with an energetic rendition of her 1979 hit "The Winner,” which is available in our Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division.
Cole gained recognition for her 2000 autobiography, Angel on My Shoulder, which detailed her longtime battle with drug addiction, her recovery, and her subsequent related health issues. Though it is her bravery and undeniable talent that continues to inspire people across the globe.
Wakefield Press is an irreligious blessing upon the world; literary, artistic and thought provoking, with short and lengthy translations that are bound to provoke and poke at all things usual in the world. What almost rivals the stories and novels contained within is the introductions, some done by the translators and some by other experts. Each introduction is incredibly relevant to the author's life, and the background for the nature of the author's work/art.
With a title as such, how could this book stray from anything but a cacophonous fairy-tale of a rampage? Surrealist, maybe, Zürn yes. Be cautious of calling everything Surrealist, because Zürn had her own exorcism to hold, rather than worshiping the altar of Breton and creating silhouettes of male guided art. Which is not to dismiss the Surrealist male or female followers, but to build a new pantheon which has burned altars created.
One of two of Zürn's stories that are translated into English, "The Trumpets of Jericho," is a short prose piece filled with patterns, hypnotic ramblings and carefully crafted meaning, not to mention her use of word play. Zürn did not limit herself to writing prose, but instead painted, drew and had other artistic avenues. Yet her writing, at least in translation, does much to show that she is much more than a simple author, instead she is an extreme, and an ingenious cartographer with her words.
Welcomed by the Surrealists, Zürn was more Zürn than Breton, and in so, provided a non-male Surrealist style. Zürn's "Trumpets of Jericho" is a maddening story filled with a motherhood, and the battle against the child, a motherhood that contemplates giving life, but also of taking life. In it Zürn conjures up images and ideas of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, which all are used as a basis for conjuring up wordplay, references towards the past, and delineate the unexplained future, where we are all transformed into hideous versions of ourselves.
What is most impressive is the way Zürn twists her story of an unwanted pregnancy, reaching the pits of infanticide into a fairytale, with repetitions of the number 7, of moons talking, of fantastical stories within stories, village cures to tuberculosis, morphing humans, and a constant struggle between "I." As she quotes, we scour the sadness from a happy time. Though it dives in the nonsensical, the emotions, musings and abilities to transform language, even when translated, makes this a must-read.
Charles Fourier, an anti-establishment writer (and here a jokester, to be short and to the point about his works) wrote this small, yet overly funny work in response to his notions about sexual freedom and the repression of marriage, as well as his indictment of how the economy works and an indictment of bankruptcy. When satire is at its best, it will create ideas that come from the hilarity that we are provided, and this is what Fourier does best as he provides his accusations against modern bourgeois society. In this way, Fourier became an acknowledged name amongst thinkers such as Marx and Engels, the Surrealists, the Situationists, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes and many more names. Though not a household name, even in "leftist" houses, he deserves to be translated and republished so that new audiences can be reached by his ideas and his satire.
In this short read, Charles Fourier goes over the 72 different manifestations of cuckoldry and 32 forms of bankruptcy that exist in Fourier's mind, though admitting the list could be enumerated and dissected further. These are all meant to be taken with a light heart and a heavy mind.
The art of Fourier is what is held in between the satire, the ideas the ruminate when reading the different types of cuckolds and bankrupts, the ability to see parts of those cuckolds in society, because what is satire other than a giant masquerade of the days. In fact, one may wonder, why press this at all? Without being able to speak for Wakefield Press, for me it shows the talent that Fourier had in mixing sparks of comedy, imagination, fiction and, of course, politics. He demonstrates a grasp for captivating an audience with his comedic tone, yet displays the seriousness in which he feels his ideas are manifesting. This is where, at least in my opinion, the introduction serves a great purpose to show that while Fourier was a thinker first and foremost, he had his hands in many different styles to advance his thoughts and writings, and he was not held to the generic intellectual essay.
Fourier shows his frustrations with institutions and starts with what he sees a failure of freedom, and a systemic problem of how people capture and act out "love." Who do you see around you? "The Judicious, or Guaranteed, Protocuckold Cuckold" or "The Cuckold by Miracle." Maybe, "The Irate Cuckold" lives right next door. In all of these we are able to laugh, while Fourier is able to show the ridiculousness and hypocrisies that he sees in a society of contemptuous marriage. Is he denying the existence of love? No. Is he enunciating his ideas for how love has been spoiled in his time? Yes.
In the same way, he shines his spotlight on traders and swindlers who purposely play with bankruptcy, trying to make their way out ahead of investors and the public, those who are "ensures every merchant has the ability to steal from the public a sum proportionate to his fortune or his credit, so that a rich man can say of himself: I set myself up as a trader in 1808; by the same time in 1810, I want to steal so many millions from whoever they belong to." It is here that Fourier provides even better descriptions for these criminals, that are never actually held accountable. Shysters and swindlers abound, "The Visionary Bankruptcy" "The Bankruptcy by Favor" or my favorite, "The Sentimental Bankruptcy" who "declaring insolvency who deliver speeches to break your heart, offer displays of such feeling and virtue that the creditor would be barbarian if he did not immediately surrender, and if he did not consider himself lucky to oblige such honest folk, who tenderly love all those whose money they take away." He continue to describe the bankruptcies of those who need to pay off their past bankruptcies, the bankruptcies of those that are on their fourth or fifth bankruptcies, the bankrupt young and so on. Fourier continues to show his different hierarchies and species of the bankrupt.
What Fourier is doing is showing how when we can categorize such problems in society, we certainly can find ways to solve the issue at hand. If bankruptcy is so common, and yet so easy to get away with, let's speculate, ridicule and ultimately bring an end to the swindling of the public. If the marriage institution is being so ridiculed with cheaters, let's see where the issue lies at hand, and why continue upholding such rules. And as Fourier states in his concluding summation, "The aim of this analysis is not to heap up sterile criticism, but to seek out a remedy." At this point Fourier does a quick to-the-point analysis of resolving this issue and doing away with protections for merchants who embezzle.
With praise from Breton, including a marriage to his ex-girlfriend, Ferry's only published book of fiction is now brought to us courtesy of Wakefield Press and what an exceptional pocket book of 24 or so stories, including an incredibly in-depth introduction done by translator Edward Gauvin.
A scholar and fan of Roussel, Ferry wrote with an imagination and an instinct that led him in his quest towards specializing in the works of Raymond Roussel. Roussel, himself, was almost writing internally for his satisfaction and pleasure, keeping his secrets until a posthumous book unlocked his schemes. He even has a story entitled, "Raymond Roussel in Heaven" which ends with Roussel gaining the esteem of angels.
Before setting off on the tales told within, the illustrations by Claude Ballare jump out and provides an amazing visual component for the stories expressed by Jean Ferry. Claude Ballare has his own works on Red Fox Press Impressive black and white pieces begin each narrative to help set the scene and visualize the short journey Ferry will be taking you on.
With Ferry's abilities we run into nonexistent people in existing situations, or existing people in nonexistent situations, truths that bleed into estranged narration, into wondering if we are truly alive, trains that roll on forever, Josef K from Kafka's The Trial shows up in "Kafka, Or the 'Secret Society'" and is that K. from The Castle that ends up in "The Inconvenience of Childhood Memories," in which K. tells a joke, apologizes, tries to explain, apologizes and finally his wife solves the situation - kills him, or is that just a nod to the literary heavens of Roussel, Kafka and so on. We are fully introduced to tales with travelers, strangers, tales that are surrealistic, noir, fantastical and most of all tales of sleep and fatigue.
Ferry stays brief, he does not necessitate meaning through extrapolation, or grandiose language, instead bringing almost whimsical ideas into a realistic brevity. In doing so, he conveys emotion, conveys his reality, such as in "My Aquarium" he hones in on the absurdity of the narrator's suicidal thoughts living in a box, wriggling and squirming. Yet, to not overdo this idea he merely reaches out with emotions, "They eat whatever I give them: sorrows, pulled teeth..." Sleep and fatigue are common themes for Ferry, characters that constantly can't sleep, or characters in which sleep is too prevalent. "Childhood Memories" has the narrator finally wonder, "But enough joking around...let's be serious. I was born...no, wait...I was...born...Oh, I don't know anymore. As for my mother, she...but where...Deep down, I think I was never born." Then who is this narrator, if one is not born, then how do we tell our stories, and who is speaking for us. Essentially, what does it mean to be alive?
The collection ends with additional tales not in the original and with a "Commentary" on Surrealism that is thoroughly an enjoyable and must read. In the end, Jean Ferry has won over the everyday with extraordinary grace.
It was June, 2006. The place was the Adult Learning Center at the Aguilar branch of the NYPL on 110th Street near Lexington, where more than a hundred students and twenty-five volunteers met regularly to study together. Around a table, small groups of students met with one or two volunteers for four hours each week, and built their reading and writing skills together in a relaxed, informal setting.
Awa* was 41 years old. She had five children aged 4-13, and she was born in Gambia, in West Africa. She walked into the Aguilar Adult Learning Center and said to the Site Advisor, “Can you help me? I want to learn to read.”
Awa’s spoken English was poor, but her desire to learn was clear. She had had only a few months of education in Gambia before coming to the US to start a new life here. Catholic Charities had helped her with housing, food, and schools for her kids, and then sent her to the library so she could learn how to read. They knew that her low literacy put a ceiling on her prospects to survive in NYC.
At Aguilar then, learning to read using computer software was the first step for new students, so after learning how to use a mouse, Awa worked independently listening to sounds, clicking on pictures, and repeating words. She was frustrated. Often she couldn’t understand what the computer was asking her to do. She didn’t even know the alphabet. Holding a pencil was difficult, writing with it was even harder. She was “in a hurry,” and she wasn’t happy trying to do what she couldn’t do. She was ready to give up.
Feeling a similar frustration, was one of Aguilar’s volunteers, Elizabeth, who wanted to help adults learn how to read. Elizabeth had been trained in the 1990s by Esther Sands, Phyllis Bertin and Linda Brown (all experts in the field of reading), and later she took courses offered by the Reading Reform Foundation, which uses proven, phonic-based methods, to teach reading, writing, spelling and comprehension.
Elizabeth was spending time working with a small group of beginning readers at Aguilar, but was frustrated when students were absent, because a linear phonics program required students to be present for the daily lesson, and when students missed a day, they would fall behind in their skills’ practice. Elizabeth was not happy leading a group of learners, and she felt it just wasn’t working for her. She was ready to give up.
So what does the Site Manager do with a student and tutor both ready to give up? Match them together, of course: a volunteer who understood the importance of a step-by-step process in teaching phonics, and a bright middle-aged woman motivated to read on her own!
A match made in heaven.
And so began a seven-year long relationship, learning together for four hours every week at the Aguilar Library!
Every week for the next seven years, Awa and Elizabeth met at Aguilar twice each week (and sometimes three times each week) for two hour sessions to study together. Awa worked from lesson to lesson, from book to book, from 0 level of reading to grade 5, and even higher! With Elizabeth’s help, she plowed through all the phonics readers, using the skills she was learning each week.
At home, she started encouraging her children to read. When the youngest was in pre-school, she read the books to him at home, after she practiced reading them over and over with her tutor. Later she began helping them with their homework, and then she began picking up AM New York and reading headlines! As that got easier, she began reading more and more of the stories below those headlines.
After a few years, Awa had the confidence to look for work as a home attendant. In 2010, she landed her first job, having passed the reading test the agency required. As she studied and learned more skills she could use in her work, she gained additional certification. Her current client, who is 79 years old, writes her notes, writes her shopping lists, and asks her to read letters that come in the mail. Awa reads everything she needs to read.
Motivated each day by her growing skills and her increased confidence and with the help of her (now) grown children, A studied for many months for the citizenship test and then took the test in October 2015. The test included 100 knowledge questions and many sentences of writing and reading. When she got word she passed, she was thrilled! With her passport in hand, she will return to Gambia to visit her family this summer, after an absence of 23 years.
Awa talks about getting a nursing certificate, but she’ll need to enroll in college for at least one year in order to get it. She is looking into the program at Hostos Community College.
And what about Elizabeth? Elizabeth came to the Aguilar Adult Learning Center each week for 2 full days, meeting with Awa 4 hours a week and then other students for the rest of the time: always one on one, because that’s the only way E likes to teach reading—individually! But as time moved on, and traveling became more difficult, at age 87, Elizabeth decided to stop teaching reading, and she retired in March 2014. The other volunteers and staff threw her a party, celebrating her work at Aguilar.
What does Awa remember about those seven years with Elizabeth?
When Awa and Elizabeth met for lunch in December, Awa said, “She changed my life—totally, and I cannot thank her enough. Every time we got together, she would give me presents for my kids for their birthdays, like memberships in museums or book store certificates. I can travel on the subway without asking anybody anything! It’s like magic. I use the GPS on my phone when I have to walk places.
It makes me cry sometimes, just thinking about all the attention she gave me. I get emotional when I think about Elizabeth.”
This summer the two women and the kids celebrated Awa’s 50th birthday together. Elizabeth gave her a family membership to the Museum of Natural History.
Both women say the same thing: “I am really happy we met that day in June…”
Staten Island, or Richmond County, is a borough full of rich and intriguing history. Beginning with its original Delaware Indian inhabitants up to today's multicultural mix of New Yorkers, along with the the Dutch and British in between, the island has been witness to an ever-changing array of people and events. Originally named Staten Island by the Dutch and later changed to Richmond by the British (renamed Staten Island in 1975), the island would remain sparsely populated until the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964 (Pictured right). Following its opening, Staten Island has seen a steady increase in its population that promises to continue unabated for some time come.
Long-time Staten Island resident and author Patricia Salmon has helped bring to light some of the island's history, including some of the more grisly crimes committed here. Take a look at the list below for some of the books we offer in our Staten Island History Collection here at the St. George Library Center.
With a title like Murder and Mayhem on Staten Island, there's no surprise that this book is chock full of grisly details on some the island's most infamous crimes. A great read for Staten Island residents who want to be thrilled by the gruesome crimes that happened in their own neighborhoods. It’s also useful for those doing research into the Staten Island of yesteryear. The Staten Island Advance, the paper of record on the island, reviewed the book soon after it was published.
Along the same lines as our first selection, Realms of History: the Cemeteries of Staten Island delves into the history behind Staten Island's cemeteries, most of which have graves dating back to the 18th century. Originally published as a part of a Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences exhibit by the same name, the book is available for in-library use only at the St. George Library Center.
In a departure from books previously mentioned, Stapleton: a Community of Contrast & Change is an excellent look into the historic neighborhood. Full of neat facts and pictures, it's a great read for those interested in local Staten Island history.
In The Staten Island Ferry: A History, Salmon does an excellent job of detailing the history of the iconic Staten Island Ferry, from its inception up to the present day. This book is packed with interesting historical facts as well as a plethora of unique photographs. Also included is a chronicle of metropolitan ferries for the decade of 1997-2007 by Barnett Shepard. A "must-read" for ferry enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
The menagerie created by A.A. Milne—born Jan. 18, 1882—has brought readers joy for nearly a century.
But kids cannot live by Winnie-the-Pooh alone, so we asked our picture-book experts here at NYPL to tell us about their favorite stories that feature bears as the protagonists.
Peter Brown has two picture books, Children Make Terrible Pets and You Will Be My Friend!, which feature Lucy, an enthusiastic young bear who goes a little overboard in her search for a friend. The illustrations are simultaneously bright and rustic (an engaging combination), and Lucy’s eagerness comes across in the text, which makes it a fun read-aloud for both the reader and the listener. A hit with the kindergarten set! —Leah Labrecque, 58th Street
My favorite go-to featuring a bear as the protagonist is the West Village’s own Greg Foley’s Bear series. Read ‘em all! They work so well as read-alouds too. —Anne Barreca, Battery Park City
I Want My Hat Back by John Klassen is a fun picture book for children and parents alike, laced with subtle humor in every illustration. That is also the most forbearing bear I ever saw. —Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil
A classic bear-centric read is Don Freeman’s Corduroy! I always loved his adventure through the department store after closing, and was also very aware and appreciative of the diversity of characters in this book. Still a great read today! —Katrina Ortega, Hamilton Grange
Bonny Becker has a series of picture books about Bear and his friend Mouse. In The Sniffles for Bear, he’s grumpy and curmudgeonly as Mouse tries to help him recover from his cold. In A Library Book for Bear, he insists that he already has all the books he could ever need as Mouse encourages him to go to the library. —Jenny Baum, Jefferson Market
I love Karma Wilson’s Bear series, especially Bear Snores On. These funny rhyming stories are great for sharing aloud. —Rebecca Dash Donsky, 67th Street
Old Bear by Jane Hissey has always been one of my favorites. A group of very independent thinking stuffed animals attempt to rescue their friend Old Bear from the attic where he has been placed to keep him safe from further decay. They miss him and work together to get him back. Very sweet! —Maura Muller, Volunteer Office
It’s an old one, but I am very partial to Frank Asch’s Happy Birthday, Moon. Bear is so sweet, innocent, and, ok, a little dim-witted, but it’s fun to teach kids about the concept of an echo. —Ronni Krasnow, Morningside Heights
Of course there’s the sweet Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik about the adventures of Little Bear! I loved these when I was a child. —Susie Heimbach, Mulberry Street
Although it’s almost 30 years old at this point, Jamberry by Bruce Degen is a really fun read-aloud featuring a bear and a boy as they make a jam-tastic mess. —Caitlin Colman-McGaw, Programming
One of my favorite children’s books involving a bear as a (semi-)main character is Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. The recipient of a Caldecott Honor in 1949, the story follows a human girl and a bear cub who accidentally switch mothers while picking blueberries on a hill. Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk. —Leslie Bernstein, Mott Haven
In The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud, kids can search for the little bear chasing a honeybee out of the woods and through the city to the opera while his papa tries to catch up. The large format of this title allows for wonderfully detailed illustrations and the story rewards the father and the son at the end. And then you can follow it up with The Bear’s Sea Escape and The Bear’s Surprise. —Jessica Cline, Mid-Manhattan
Join not one, not two, but three bears as they voyage together on the sea to find a replacement of their mother’s favorite seashell. Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman transports you through this epic quest with stunning illustrations as well as children’s literary references throughout! —Anna Taylor, Programming
Suzanne Bloom’s A Splendid Friend Indeed is very sweet indeed…the cover kinda says it all. —Melissa Scheurer, Mid-Manhattan
Salina Yoon’s Found and Stormy Night are two of my favorites right now. These sweet picture books tell of Bear’s serendipitous discovery of a lost stuffed bunny and his thunder storm coping methods. These are great for reading in groups of all sizes! —Alexandria Abenshon, Yorkville
A personal favorite is Leaves by David Ezra Stein, a sweet story about a young bear experiencing the changing seasons for the first time. —Rosa Caballero-Li, Ask NYPL
What about The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward? A boy goes out to shoot a bear for the bearskin (I know, not PC, but this was published in the 50’s), but comes home with a bear cub. He raises it until it grows too big for the farm. This won the Caldecott Award in 1953. —Sue Yee, Children’s Center
I recommend The Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson. Her whole bear series. —Ruth Guerrier-Pierre, Kips Bay
A Story for Bear, written by Dennis Haseley and illustrated by Jim La Marche. The illustrations invite the reader into a yard in the forest to hear stories, and everyone who loves to listen to stories will want to hear this one. It’s about reading and friends, and you can’t find a better combination. —Peggy Salwen, St. Agnes
Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack is super old, but timeless. A young boy is in a quandary over what to give his mother for her birthday. After consulting a variety of farm yard animals he takes their advice and sees Mr. Bear who offers the perfect solution. Flack’s bright, engaging illustrations are always a hit with audiences. —Rebecca Gueorguiev, Great Kills
Winnie-the Pooh is such a favorite from my childhood—brings back memories of lying next to my mother on her king-sized bed listening to her read until her voice wore out! Here’s a newer favorite of mine: Old Bear by Kevin Henkes. Old Bear dreams during the long winter night about seasons and colors and being a small cub. Love the art, the deceptively simple perfect text and that contemplative quality. —Danita Nichols, Inwood
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!
At the Bronx Library Center we frequently receive calls from all over the country from folks who had their origins in the Bronx and are looking to research their family history, find a news article, an obituary, a high school yearbook or general historical information about the Bronx. We also receive a lot of in-person queries from students writing papers on various current socioeconomic, health, environmental, and other aspects of the Bronx. In this post, I have put together a small list of online resources available through The New York Public Library where one can find information to answer some of the more popular questions asked. To access some of these resources outside the library, you will be asked to enter the barcode of your New York Public Library card. Find out how to obtain a card if you do not have one.
Demographic data on the Bronx: age, race, income, education
A searchable collection of data collected by the United States Census Bureau. Type "Bronx" into the search box and you will be able to browse general population data based on the 2010 census—age, race, income, education and more. This database is also searchable by zip code, town and city.
Scholarly articles on the Bronx
Academic Search Premier
A multi-disciplinary database of more than 4,600 magazines and journals, including full text for nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles. In addition to the full-text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for 8,470 journals.
A searchable, digitized archive—from the first date of publication to the last three to five years—of major scholarly journals in many academic fields. (Can be accessed at any NYPL Library location)
Birth, marriage or death certificates from the Bronx
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers This database has a wide variety of newspapers from across the USA from 1690 - present. Click on the "US Newspaper Directory, 1690 - Present" tab on the right. Select "New York" in the state field and "Bronx" in the county field. Click "search". Your results list will have 70 items. Click on each one to see publication data. Go further down to the end of the entry and click on "View complete holdings information" to see which institution has the publication and the format.
For obituaries, advertisements and historical news, see also:
Look back at the way things were: browse the 1940 telephone directory for the Bronx
Note: you won't be able to dial the numbers now, as they were 5 digits then.
DirectMe NYC 1940
An experimental NYPL website features digitized 1940 telephone directories for New York City, which, combined with powerful search tools enable patrons to convert residential street addresses into census enumeration districts (ED), which leads to the 1940 Census records via the National Archives. Select the "Bronx" to see Bronx telephone listings.
Just type "Bronx" in the search box, press enter, and browse a variety of old images from the Bronx including maps.
Books and other materials on the Bronx
The New York Public Library Catalog
Type "Bronx" in the search box and press enter and you will be able to browse over 2,700 records of items (books, journals, etc) available in the New York Public Library system. Some items are for in library use only, while others can be checked out with a library card.
Journals and periodicals from the Bronx
Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
This database has listings of over 300,000 periodicals from around the world. Type "Bronx" into the search box and press enter to see a list of periodicals from the Bronx and their publication status. Please note some contemporary newspapers are not listed.
Some of the titles are available in the New York Public Library. Search the catalog by title to see location of available issues. The Bronx County Historical Society Journal (2007 - present) can be found on the E-journal portal.
Authors, literary organizations, and libraries in the Bronx
The New York State Literary Website
On the top, right click on "NYC Literary Map", then "Bronx County" on the pop-up map. You will be able to access a list of authors who lived in the Bronx. Click on each name to get biographical as well as other general information.
Yearbooks and other school publications from the Bronx
One of the most beloved children's book characters in recent memory, Winnie-the-Pooh was conceived by A.A. Milne, a British author and playwright. Whether you're celebrating Milne's birthday on January 18, honoring the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh on October 14, or just a Pooh fan year-round, you've got to know these 10 fun facts about Winnie the Pooh.
A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh, served in both WWI and WWII.
Milne based the character on a teddy bear named Edward owned by his son Christopher. The character's name derived from a black bear at the London Zoo named Winnie and a swan they saw on holiday, "Pooh."
The name Winnie-the-Pooh first appeared in print in a Christmas story published in The Evening News on Christmas Eve 1925.
The skull of the real Winnie was displayed at the Being Human Festival in London for the first time in 2015.
"The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" was composed by Richard M. Sherman, with lyrics by Robert B. Sherman.
In 1951, Christopher Milne, the muse behind Christopher Robin, opened the Harbour Bookshop with his wife Lesley.
The only two characters who attempt to write poetry in the Winnie-the-Pooh books are Eeyore and Winnie.
January 19 is National Popcorn Day! Celebrate with these recipes ranging from the basic to the advanced. Whether you prefer savory, sweet, spicy or some other combination, you can make these at home or head to one of the great popcorn spots New York City has to offer.
Let’s start off easy: This basic recipe will serve as the basis for the rest.
Basic popcorn on the stove
3 Tbsp high smoke point oil such as coconut, peanut, or canola oil
1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
1 3-quart covered saucepan or pot
1 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter (optional)
Salt or other topping to taste
Heat oil in a 3-quart saucepan or pot on medium high heat, tilting it until oil coats entire bottom of pot.
Add 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into hot oil and cover pot.
When the kernels pop, add rest of popcorn in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.
Return pot to heat. Popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once popping starts in earnest, gently shake pot back and forth over the burner.
When you heat the oil to popping temperature first and then add the popcorn, the oil temperature actually drops a bit. Giving it 30 seconds off the heat gives the kernels a chance to heat up to the temperature of the oil. Soon after being returned to the heat the popcorn should pop quickly.
Tips: If you keep the pot-lid slightly askew it will allow steam to vent and you’ll get crispier, fluffier popcorn. There are stove-top popcorn poppers that work quite well, usually with a hand crank that turns a stirring mechanism inside the pot. You may use the above recipe in these as well, though you may reduce some of the oil if you do.
I’ve been making this for over a decade, usually using a hot sauce named Endorphin Rush, but lately experimenting with others. It will work with any hot sauce though I recommend not using sauces that are highly liquid and vinegary.
The recipe is the same as above, but during that 30 seconds off the heat add a few drops of the hot sauce of your choice, slap the lid on (it will splatter, so be careful!) and shake it up. I use very hot sauces so it only takes a few drops and doesn’t change the basic formula of the recipe. Torchbearer’s sauce The Rapture works very well and has an excellent flavor.
If you want to add another dimension to your popcorn game, try this simple recipe for popcorn balls:
What you’ll need:
9 cups plain popped popcorn
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
What to do:
Coat a large glass bowl with butter, vegetable oil, or cooking spray and place popcorn in the bowl.
Place sugar, corn syrup, water, vinegar, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Bring to a boil, cook until mixture registers 260°F on a candy/fat thermometer, about 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until melted and smooth.
Immediately drizzle sugar mixture over popcorn while stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the bowl. Popcorn should be thoroughly coated and cool enough to handle after about 3 minutes of stirring.
Using buttered or oiled hands, tightly press mixture into 3-inch rounds. Place on waxed or parchment paper to cool, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Like spicy, sweet, salty and crunchy snacks? Try the recipe above with some Firecorn! Add extra hot sauce since butter cancels out a bit of the capsicum.
Munch & Read
Want more tasty popcorn fun in your life? Check these books out from the New York Public Library!
Grab the kids and a big bowl of popcorn and settle down to this book of fun poetry.
Though not the "Popcorn Capital of the World” (that honor is claimed by Ridgeway, Illinois; Valpaaiso, Indiana; Van Buren, Indiana; Schaller, Iowa; Marion, Ohio; and North Loup, Nebraska... talk about competition!) New York has some pretty decent popcorn locales to check out. Here's a short list of some gourmet popcorn sellers in NYC.
242 West 34th Street
Hailing from Chicago, this company has grown into an international popcorn powerhouse. Many of their flavors incorporate nuts, adding an additional textural element to the corn.
95 Orchard Street
Their website boast sustainably grown high quality ingredients, but the seasonal flavors are the really impressive thing. Past flavors include imaginative pairings like Bacon Apple Bourbon Caramel, masala and even pickle popcorn!
Brooklyn POPCORN Food Truck pops up tins of crunchy goodness ranging from the sweet (several chocolate offerings along with the more exotic Coconut Caramel), the spicy (Cajun anyone?) and several city inspired mixes as well. Want to see if they are nearby for a quick popcorn fix? Just check their tracking page.
Online: Kettle Corn NYC
In addition to their online shop, Kettle Corn NYC runs stands at NYC street festivals all summer long. Keep an eye on their schedule.
As delicious as popcorn is to eat it can also be used to decorate with (popcorn garland anyone?)
Here are two of my favorite ways to use popcorn as a decoration tool.
Use popcorn kernels to fill in empty space for your fall centerpiece.
Unpopped kernels are perfect for stuffing for homemade dolls or beanbags. Draw out your design on a piece of cloth and sew the edges 90% closed. Fill it with popcorn and sew the rest.
The kernels are handy as a medium for holding pencils, pens and makeup brushes. Just fill an empty mason jar or decorated ith unpopped kernels and stick the handles in.
Popcorn Snowmen - Decorate plastic cups or bags like snowmen (or your favorite superheroes) and fill with popped popcorn.
Plus if you're like me and buy or receive gifts in the form of the popcorn tins, don’t throw them away. They make great mini trash cans, storage containers etc.
Have a favorite popcorn topping, recipe or craft?
Try any of these recipes or suggestions?
Let us know in the comments!
With the publication of Drown in 1996, Junot Diaz became one of the most urgent voices in American fiction. A MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize winner, Diaz has published one novel and two collections of short stories, all which prominently feature voice-driven narrative and characters of Dominican descent negotiating life in America. For this week's New York Public Library Podcast, we are proud to present Junot Diaz discussing the game of fiction, writing audiences, and the important images of intimacy between people of color in the work of Sandra Cisneros.
In response to a question about how a reader might experience his work, Diaz advanced a metaphor about the book as a game:
"There's that idea that every book teaches its reader how to read it and that you've got to have faith that there will be some people that will be willing to stay in the game that you create. For me, there's a game in every one of the books I've written. There's a game that I kind of want participation from my reader not only to help assemble the book at a line by line level but at a larger textual and characterological level, so I guess part of what's going on with me is I just kind of assume that I have this great trust that people will have as much tolerance for unintelligibility as I do. I've always been aware — I love to read as much as I love anything and any given page I don't know what the hell is going on — and I figure most people are going to enjoy a book and still have some unintelligibility."
He continued the discussion of the relationship between writer and reading, noting the way in which writers have become increasingly entrenched in writing communities which do not necessarily include readers:
"One of the things that I think has happened in contemporary time is that writing and reading have disentangled. I find that most writers I know spend more time with writers than they do with readers and that a lot of writers I know because they've come up in a workshop environment are far more writing with an ethos that they're being read by other writers than they're being read by readers. Therefore what I've discovered is that I'm sort of of the generation that belonged to the time when writers were more securely embedded in readers and hadn't been isolated into a professional cadre with each other. These days most of my writing students just want to spend time with other writers, which for me is anathema. I mean when I was at my MFA, AWP, the big writers association meeting, had I think four hundred people and nobody in my entire MFA ever went. I did not know a single person who went to AWP. Now, AWP has 11,000 people, and most MFA programs empty out. I think that there's very much a different relationship because I do detect it as an editor at the Boston Review how many writers I sense are writing for other writers, and how is this ethos observable? Because when you're writing for other readers, readers bring to the experience of reading, when they like your book, a tremendous generosity. Readers when they like your book are always making excuses for your book. They are. They are. It's profoundly different than when you're writing for other writers because when you're writing for other writers, you're basically writing for people who often feel competitive toward you and who are not making any excuses."
Diaz spoke about the epigraphs in his books. One of the most moving is an excerpt of the poem "One Last Poem for Richard" by Sandra Cisneros in This is How You Lose Her. Discussing Cisneros' influence, Diaz spoke about the revolutionary character of literature portraying intimacy between people of color:
"There was something really revolutionary about Sandra Cisneros's fictions when I encountered them as a young artist... There's a part of me that just recognized that in a history like ours, in a country like ours which does everything to convince people of color that they're ugly and not valuable, to convince people of color that there's another body that is more aesthetically beautiful that you should desire more, I always felt like that poem for me that for two people of color to actually like each other in a country that tells you that you are a despised body is a fucking revolution. It's like a revolution, man, and I felt that that was very important because I grew up in that regime. I grew up in a world where all things white were more beautiful than all things black. I grew up in a world where you were being taught that there was a sexual economy where you weren't on the winning side, and I read that poem and I felt that that was important. For many of us in what we would call a post-colonial situation, intimacy has been a profoundly difficult challenge when you live in a world that tells you to think of yourself as somehow out of order already always."
Tommy Spaulding presents a new take on networking. He calls it netgiving, which is ultimately a more fulfilling and useful way to approach collaborating with colleagues. Netgiving involves focusing on the other person and what he or she may want or need. The theory is that reciprocation will take place eventually. This is a very good way to approach business relationships, including job searching and interviewing.
Spaulding spends much time getting to know people by socializing with them. Knowing about and inquiring about colleagues' personal interests and lives is vital to making them feel they are cared about as human beings, not simply as staff in the business roles that they play. When this melding and meshing of two people's personal and business lives coalesce, generosity sometimes flows unexpectedly.
The New York City Department of Education recently released a series of recommended reading lists for Pre-K through 12th grade that include books of all different genres, subjects, and formats. Our Teen Advisory Group checked out the 7th-12th grade reading lists, and wanted to highlight the titles they enjoyed the most!
This series begins with Cinder, the story of a cyborg girl who lives in China in the future. It’s a science fiction story that’s based on Cinderella, and the cyborg girl falls in love with a handsome prince! Other books in the series connect to other fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel.
Rot & Ruin is about a boy named Benny who is growing up after a zombie apocalypse has taken place. Benny’s older brother Tom is a bounty hunter, and Benny thinks that he’s going to do that, too. But he’s going to learn that being a bounty hunter isn’t just about killing zombies.
This book teaches people about how gay and lesbian people are often treated. It’s a true story that shows people why they shouldn’t bully others because of who they are.
You can learn more about this literary initiative and access reading lists, posters, and bookmarks on the NYC Reads 365 website. And if you want to read books from the lists and then share them with the rest of the world, make sure you use the hashtag #NYCReads365!