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    LIVE from the NYPL with T.C. Boyle
    LIVE from the NYPL with T.C. Boyle

    Welcome to our biweekly update on events happening during the next two weeks at the Library. With 92 locations across New York City, a lot is happening at The New York Public Library. We're highlighting some of our events—including author talks, free classes, community art shows, performances, concerts, and exhibitions—and you can always find more at If you want our round-up in your inbox, sign up here. We look forward to seeing you at the Library.

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    LIVE from the NYPL

    10/18: Nonstop Metropolis: The Library welcomes author Rebecca Solnit, geographer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, essayist Garnette Cadogan, and authors Luc Sante and Suketu Mehta to discuss their new project, Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas.  Celeste Bartos Forum, 7 PM.

    10/26: T.C. Boyle: The illustrious American author of World's End talks dystopia, survival, sex, and human frailty in conjunction with his newest novel, The Terranauts. Celeste Bartos Forum, 7 PM.

    10/27: Art Spiegelman: The author of Maus, one of the most profound and heartwrenching graphic novels of all time, comes to the Library to discuss his remastering of another visual war story in Si Lewen's Parade: An Artist's Odyssey. Celeste Bartos Forum, 7 PM.

    The Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers

    10/27: Chronicle of a Last Summer: Yasmine El Rashidi and Robyn Creswell: Former Cullman Center fellows Yasmine El Rashidi and Robyn Creswell discuss Chronicle of a Last Summer, El Rashidi's novel about contemporary political strife in Cairo, Egypt, as seen through the experience of a young woman over the course of three summers from childhood to adulthood. Berger Forum, 7 PM.

     Nadia Lopez
    Ed Talks: Nadia Lopez

    The Schomburg Center

    10/19: Cave Canem 20th Anniversary and Black Power 50 Present "Freedom Now!": As part of the Schomburg's year-long exploration of the Black Power Movement, and the 20th anniversary of black literary non-profit Cave Canem, the two institutions present a performance of poetry, song, and more based on the musical composition of jazz composer and drummer Max Roach’s 1961 "Freedom Now Suite." The Schomburg Center, 7 PM.

    10/24: Architects of Their Own Liberation: African Americans and Abolition: The Lapidus Center presents historians Manisha Sinha and Eric Foner in conversation on Sinha's book The Slaves Cause: A History of Abolition, which documents the central influence of slave uprisings to the abolitionist movement. The Schomburg Center, 6:30 PM.

    10/25: Ed Talks: Nadia Lopez: Learn the inspiring true story of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, New York from its principal and founder, Nadia Lopez, as she strives to inspire and educate in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. The Schomburg Center, 6 PM. 

    The Library for the Performing Arts

    10/20: Wild Lines: Jane Ira Bloom Plays Emily Dickinson: Award winning soprano saxophonist/composer Jane Ira Bloom presents the New York premiere of “Wild Lines,” her new work for jazz quartet and spoken word, inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Bruno Walter Auditorium, 6 PM.

    10/29: Curtain Up Sing Along Show and Tell: To commemorate the opening of the Curtain Up exhibition, The Library presents a sing along show and tell, featuring beloved show tunes from the Tony Award and Olivier Award winning musicals of the last 40 years, as well as artifacts from the creation process of several hit shows. LPA Cafe, 7 PM.

     Katherine Knauer and Stacy C. Hollander
    "Eyes" by Katherine Knauer

    Mid-Manhattan Library

    10/29: Observed: Katherine Knauer in Conversation with Stacy C. Hollander: Katherine Knauer, artist and quilt maker, and Stacy C. Hollander, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at American Folk Art Museum, converse about Knauer's exhibitions at the Mid-Manhattan Library as well as the broader history of the important quilt making tradition in America. The Corner Room, 2:30 PM.

    Science, Industry, and Business Library

    10/20: Bernie Swain: What Made Me Who I Am: With no experience or plan, Bernie Swain quit his job in 1980 to start a lecture agency. He is now the Chairman of Washington Speakers Bureau, the largest and most respected speakers bureau in the world, and has represented numerous prominent figures over the course of his career. Come hear this self-made entrpreneur discuss his success and his life story at the Library. Conference Room 018, 6 PM.

    10/22: Life Insurance: The Foundation of a Family's Financial Security: For many families with one income or one caregiver, life insurance is an absolute necessity, yet many breadwinners lack sufficient coverage or have none altogether. Daniel G. Mazzola examines types of life insurance, the expense involved, and the amount which should satisfy the needs of families under various circumstances. Conference Room 018, 12 PM.

    Bronx Library Center

    10/26: Live From El Bronx: A Latino Rebels Radio Special Event: For the first time, Latino Rebels Radio will record their weekly podcast taping in front of a live audience at the Bronx Library Center. The distinguished panel includes New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, author Charlie Vázquez, playwright and actress Liza Colón-Zayas, En Foco Interim Executive Director Bill Aguado, and librarian Ramon Da Silva in conversation on Puerto Rican identity in the changing Bronx. Bronx Library Center, 6:30 PM.

    Get Event Updates by Email 

    Want NYPL Now in your inbox? Sign up for our biweekly e-newsletter and get even more updates on what's happening at the Library. Plus, you can follow NYPL Events on Facebook or Twitter.

    More Events

    Note: Visit or call ahead for the latest information, as programs and hours are subject to change or cancellation.

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    Inspired by a librarian at the Grand Concourse Library, actress Youmie Francois decided to create a program for area school-age children. Now she's providing lessons in acting, dance, music, and more, and has created a scholarship named after the librarian who encouraged her. "People didn't know that this library had all the stuff that it had, all the opportunities that it provides," she says.

    Library Stories is a video series from The New York Public Library that shows what the Library means to our users, staff, donors, and communities through moving personal interviews.

    Like, share, and watch more Library Stories on Facebook or YouTube.

    Youmie Francois, founder of Michael Messina scholarship

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    Please join MyLibraryNYC, NYPLarcade, and TeenLIVE in celebrating the 9th annual International Games Day! This event celebrates play and games at libraries all over the world.

    The festivities take place on Saturday, November 19 in the Celeste Bartos Forum of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (enter at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue).

    Admission is FREE and open to the public and we will be hosting activities throughout the day, for all ages, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.


    11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

    The Witness Thekla, Inc. 2016 All Ages
    Educators (Grades 6-8)
    1:00-3:00 p.m. No Man's Sky Hello Games 2016

    Educators (Grades 8-10)

    3:00-5:00 p.m. INSIDE Playdead 2016 Adults
    Educators (Grades 10-12)
    All Day
    (11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
    Board Games Various Various All Ages
    All Day
    (11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
    Hands-on VR Demos
    (Virtual Reality)
    Various Various Ages 12+

    The Witness (Thekla, Inc., 2016) is a first-person puzzle game created by Jonathan Blow, designer of Braid. Players explore a beautifully-rendered 3D world and encounter over 500 puzzles, each of which communicates a different phrase in its design language.

    No Man's Sky (Hello Games, 2016) offers a nearly-infinite universe, filled with procedurally-generated planets as well as unique animals and plants to explore and name.

    INSIDE (Playdead, 2016) is the follow-up to the Copenhagen-based studio's acclaimed debut LIMBO. It is a dark, cinematic platformer featuring a young boy navigating a nightmarish, dystopian world.

    Please feel free to contact Thomas Knowlton at if you any questions. You can also follow us on Twitter (@nyplarcade) or sign up for our mailing list to hear about upcoming NYPLarcade events.

    NYPLarcade is an opportunity to play, watch, and discuss independent, experimental, and thought-provoking games in a library setting. Think of it as a book club, but for video games.

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    Several weeks ago, I fully intended to have the topic of our Teen Advisory Group meeting be Banned Books Week. But our conversation took a detour, and soon we were talking about bullying and cyberbullying in fiction and in real life. It wasn’t the way I expected the conversation to go, but I’m glad it did.

    Bullying Victim
    Image via Flickr

    One of the main topics of our conversation was this article from The Washington Postabout a 7th-grade girl whose decision to send photos of herself to a boy who’d asked for them had a disastrous effect on her life and her reputation. As a young adult librarian—and someone who reads a lot of YA literature—I’m familiar with the dangers of sexting and how making the decision to send one picture to one person can have terrible consequences when that photo is shared. What I didn’t realize until I read that article is how common the practice is becoming for teens and even children.

    Since the conversation was already going in this direction and since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, I opened up the conversation in broader terms.  What should they do if someone asks them to send nude/topless/inappropriate pictures of themselves?  How do they deal with cyberbullying?  Is bullying something they experience or witness in their schools?  I stressed the dangers of sharing photos or personal information with anyone, because you don’t know who’s going to end up seeing them and because photos last forever. 

    These are topics that come up again and again in YA literature, in conversations with our teens, and in conversations with each other.  At the last meeting of my YA book club, I was with a group of librarians discussing the book Asking For It by Louise O’Neill.  I said that reading this book was like getting repeatedly punched in the stomach. One reason was that it was the third YA novel about rape that I’d read in the last few months (they were all excellent reads, but they were so emotionally overwhelming that I felt like I needed a break from the topic).  Another reason is that the main character makes a LOT of bad decisions, and I felt frustrated because I really wanted to reach into the book to try to shake some sense into her.  And the final reason was that the boys who assaulted and degraded this girl filmed and photographed everything, and then those images spread like wildfire throughout the entire community. I commented that I had made bad decisions when I was young, although the only people who knew about it were the people who were with me at the time. But photos and videos can last forever, and that’s what teens today are facing, in fiction and in real life.

    When I talked to my teens about how they would deal with the same kind of pressures as the girl in the article, they spoke definitively and firmly about avoiding people who harassed them and blocking people online if they asked for anything inappropriate. They also suggested that I read about Amanda Todd, a teenage girl whose life ended tragically after she was blackmailed and cyberbullied. The circumstances of her death are terrible and depressing, but I’m glad that my teens knew about her and remembered her name to share her story.  

    That is what is important here—to share information and share stories. Because even though bullying and cyberbullying can be painful and embarassing topics that we don’t always want to discuss, it’s better to have information out in the open. Young people can make better decisions about how to stay safe and the long-range consequences of their actions if they’re well-informed about the possible dangers of those actions. Basically, it’s better to have that conversation too early than too late.

    Bully Free Zone
    Image via wikipedia

    To learn more about bullying, cyberbullying, and online safety, here are some resources to get you started:


    Natonal Bullying Prevention Month

    It Gets Better


    Bully (a powerful documentary about the bullying crisis)


    Positive : Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World : a Memoir by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin

    Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral by Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja

    Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories ed. By Megan Kelly Hall and Carrie Jones


    There are lots of great YA fiction books about bullying on the shelves, with more coming out every year.  Here’s a list I put together for an earlier blog post with ten titles to get you started: Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders in Teen Fiction

    Finally, there are many articles on these topics, but here’s the one that started our whole conversation:

    "The Seventh-Grader’s Sext Was Meant to Impress Him. Then He Shared it. It Nearly Destroyed Her."

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    Rewind eighteen years: My grandmother gave me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in Autumn 1998, and it stayed on my shelf for perhaps weeks. One night I was bored and picked up the book…and didn't put it down for a week! Forever fascinated by fairy tales and introduced to Aesop's Fables and Hercules and Xena tv shows at a young age, JK Rowling captivated my imagination. I couldn't get enough! Three years later, the first Harry Potter movie came to theaters on November 17, 2001. For a friend's 13th birthday, we saw the movie and had a sleepover. We stayed awake for many hours discussing similarities and differences between the movie and the book, and how the next film would be. Eventually we fell asleep dreaming of being accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


    JK Rowling, Harry Potter, Recommendation, Book


    Throughout my high school years, I worked as a part-time lifeguard during the summer at the community pool. When no one was in the pool area, I went to class with quirky Professor Trelawney, played Quidditch with my house team, and ate in the Great Hall with my friends. Some of the regular pool guests, essentially my neighbors, were fans as well and we discussed theories and scenes in depth. This was a normal routine. Every summer I had a new Harry Potter book to read...and re-read! In 2007, I returned home after my first year of university to lifeguard again. The release of the 7th and final book, The Deathly Hallows, got me through that summer. In 2008, I re-read all of the books. When I returned home to lifeguard in 2009, I needed reading material but was reluctant to leave Hogwarts behind. I began searching for books and authors with similar qualities. I found some that captivated me just as much as Harry Potter!

    For years, Harry Potter has entertained diverse groups of readers; a generation grew up with Harry and the Wizarding World. Quidditch teams and fan clubs popped up at schools and websites dedicated to "fan fic" still abound. We poured so much affection into these seven books! There are even Harry Potter theme parks! Maybe we have enough room to love some other books and characters as well.

    For me, and for many others, Harry Potter is a boy who grew up while we were growing up. The only difference was that he got to attend a magical school and have amazing adventures. For others, it is a cherished story of courage and adolescence. For everyone, there is at least one reason that we fell in love with the story. Was it the orphaned boy who gained true friends? Was it the boy destined for greatness? Or was it…magic? Don't we all hope that we are somehow special? That we have magic? 

    According to Dumbledore, love is the strongest magic there is. And it is not in short supply for Potterheads, or Harry Potter fans. Now that all the books are written; indeed they have been done for quite some time now, what is there to read? I am sure that many of you have re-read the series…probably multiple times, perhaps even without count (don't worry, so did I!). If you are eager to love another character, look no further!

    fablehaven, brandon mull

    Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull (Children's Fiction)

    5 book cycle
    First book: Fablehaven

    A 14-year-old girl named Kendra and her younger brother, Seth discover that fairies exist. Along with them, a plethora of other magical creatures-not all of them good…






    Beyonders, Brandon Mull

    Beyonders trilogy by Brandon Mull (Children's Fiction)

    3 books
    First book: A World Without Heroes

    Thirteen-year-old Jason is modest, shy, plays baseball, and likes a girl from school. One problem: he gets pulled into another world and must work to destroy an evil emperor with help from his plucky new friends in order to restore balance and have a chance of returning home. 
    Sword of Truth, Wizard's First Rule, Terry Goodkind
    Wizard's First Rule

    The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind (Adult Fantasy Fiction)

    17 book series
    First book: Wizard's First Rule

    Each one of these books accounts the trials and tribulations of good versus evil in the lands of D'hara and the Midlands and the protagonist's reluctant but responsible use of power in order to right the wrongs in the world. Love against all odds, magic and power intertwine to bring this amazing series to life.
    A Crucible of Souls, Mitchell Hogan, Sorcery Ascendant Sequence
    A Crucible of Souls

    Sorcery Ascendant Sequence by Mitchell Hogan (Adult Fantasy Fiction)

    3 books published
    First book: A Crucible of Souls

    Young Caldan is orphaned at an early age and is raised by monks on an island where he attends classes in sorcery and hand-to-hand combat. After he commits an unforgivable act, he is expelled to the mainland and ekes a living through his skills of Dominion, a chess-like game, and sorcery while trying to find out more about his past. Should the past stay buried?



    Five Kingdoms, Sky Raiders, Brandon Mull
    Sky Raiders

    The Five Kingdoms series by Brandon Mull (Children's Fiction)

    5 book cycle (last book not out yet)
    First book: Sky Raiders

    Cole Randolph's friends are kidnapped and he tries to save them by following them into... another world where magic is possible! The world is comprised of five kingdoms ruled by an cruel dictator. Will Cole be the key to returning peace to the lands? Can he rescue his friends in the process? Will he ever see his family again?
    *If you read Beyonders trilogy first, there are some guest appearances by some of the characters!

    The Warded Man, The Painted Man, Peter V Brett, The Demon Cycle
    The Warded Man

    The Demon Cycle by Peter V Brett (Adult Fantasy Fiction)

    5 Novels (5th expected in 2017), and 3 novellas
    First book: The Warded Man (aka The Painted Man)

    This is a unique coming of age novel. Several characters are introduced as children from different towns and countries and grow with each stage of the story.Eventually meeting. In a harsh world where demons rise from the ground each night and prey on humans, this select group of people fights back!
    The Black Prism, Lightbringer, Brent Weeks
    The Black Prism

    Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks (Adult Fantasy Fiction)

    5 book cycle
    First book: The Black Prism

    Deception, espionage, political scrambling, families of power, rogue magicians. In a world where light is holy and with it people can create physical objects, Kip, a poor boy in a small city runs for his life from an attack and discovers he can bend light! Shortly thereafter he finds himself in the capital training as a royal guard. Is he destined for greatness or an early grave?


    Lord Loss, The Demonata, Darren Shan
    Lord Loss

    Demonata series by Darren Shan (YA Fiction)

    10 book series
    First Book:  Lord Loss

    What if, in a parallel world, is a demon universe? And what if that world used to be open to this one, letting magic flood in? Over time we lost connection to that world and, therefore, lost our magic. Well, guess what?! Demons are back! Our heroes must band together to defend our world using magic. You will meet demons that love to play chess, werewolves, and telepathic magicians. 
    The Immortals, Olympus Bound, Jordanna Max Brodsky
    The Immortals

    Olympus Bound series by Jordanna Max Brodsky (Adult Fantasy Fiction)

    Author still writing books

    First book: The Immortals

    Greek Gods are still alive but since no one worships them anymore, they lost their power; they are shadows of what they once were. A semi-retired goddess and a Columbia University professor must team up to stop a revived ancient Greek cult from killing innocents!




    The Emerald Atlas, The Books of Beginning, John Stephens
    The Emerald Atlas

    The Books of Beginning trilogy by John Stephens (Children's Fiction)

    3 book trilogy
    First book: The Emerald Atlas

    Their parents left them in an orphanage with the promise that they would return. Years later, the two sisters and brother are taken in by Dr. Pym, an elderly eccentric man who lives in a big old house. Will they ever find their parents? Who is Dr Pym? Is magic real?




    The Red Pyramid, The Kane Chronicles, Rick Riordan
    The Red Pyramid

    The Kane Chronicles trilogy by Rick Riordan (Children's Fiction) 

    3 book trilogy
    First book: The Red Pyramid (also available as a graphic novel)

    Several years ago, the Kane siblings were separated after their mother died. She living with the grandparents in England, He travelling with his father, the archealogist, to digs across Egypt. Each year they meet up for one day…this year something goes horribly wrong  and they are abducted into a world of magic, and myth…by their uncle?


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    On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, millions of Americans will head to the polls to elect the next President—no small undertaking and a very important civic duty to fulfill.  

    Whether this is the first time you’ll cast your ballot, or this Presidential election has piqued your interest, or you want to understand the political process and gain some historical context to inform your decision, The New York Public Library has a robust collection of books, feature films, documentaries, music and spoken arts just for you!

    Scene at the polls, New York City. 1856.
    Scene at the Polls, New York City. 1856. Image ID: 801493


    Photo credit: Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Scene at the polls, New York City. Boxes for the distribution of tickets. Everybody busy."The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1856-11-15.

    Visit the Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection, and explore an "unparalleled visual resource for creative people in any medium."

    Come browse our selection of items available at Mid-Manhattan Library, or request  your copy by clicking on the book jacket which will link you to the Library's Catalog

    3rd Floor Book Display
    3rd Floor Election Book Display


    The Virgin Vote
    The Virgin Vote




    Gaming the Vote
    Gaming the Vote


    Running for Office
    Running for Office


    Stealing Democracy
    Stealing Democracy



    The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century by Jon Grinspan. 2016. 

    Looks at youth participation in politics from the 1840s to 1900, which was fueled by an unlikely alliance between first-time voters and partisan party bosses, a political connection which quickly faded at the beginning of the twentieth century.

    Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy by Darryl Pinckney. 2014.

    Describes how black voters overcame centuries of bigotry to secure and preserve one of their most important rights as American citizens.

    Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (And What We Can Do About It) by William Poundstone. 2008.

    A critical assessment of the fundamental flaws in the American electoral system, looking at how a minor "spoiler" candidate can affect the election. 

    Running for Office: Candidates, Campaigns, and the Cartoons of Clifford Berryman by Jessie Kratz and Martha Grove. 2008.

    Clifford Berryman was a Pulitzer winner and staff political cartoonist for the  Washington Post and the Washington Evening Star for the first half of the twentieth century. He drew thousands of cartoons commenting on the candidates, campaigns and elections, both presidential and congressional, of his era.

    Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression by Spencer Overton. 2006.

    A critical analysis of the practice of partisan control over ballot boxes, identifies how such practices as voter selection, booth distribution, and district boundary setting are used to manipulate the outcomes of key decisions, suggesting options for the restoration of democratic self-government.


    Deliver the Vote
    Deliver the Vote


    The Big Vote
    The Big Vote


    The Vanishing Voter
    The Vanishing Voter


    The Right to Vote
    The Right to Vote


    The Myth of the Independent Voter
    The Myth of  the Independent Voter


    Deliver the Vote: A History of Election  Fraud, an American Political Tradition, 1742-2004 by Tracy Campbell. 2005.

    A history of election fraud in the United States exposes the ways in which political culture is diminished by election corruption, citing such practices of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation, and returns manipulation while explaining how election reform practices have only changed the methods through which corruption occurs.

    The Big Vote: Gender, Consumer Culture, and the Politics of Exclusion, 1890s-1920s by Liette Gidlow. 2004.

    A close look at the national "Get-Out-the-Vote" campaigns and at the internal dynamics of campaigns in the case-study cities of New York, New York, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Birmingham, Alabama.

    The disputed Presidential election of 2000 highlighted a range of flaws in the American voting system, from ballot procedures to alleged voter intimidation to questions about the fairness of the Electoral College.
    The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in The United Statesby Alexander Keyssar. 2000.
    Most Americans take for granted their right to vote, whether they choose to exercise it or not. But the history of suffrage in the U.S. is, in fact, the story of a struggle to achieve this right by our society's marginalized groups.
    The Myth of the Independent Voterby Bruce E. Keith. 1992.
    In a careful academic review of data from studies at the University of Michigan, Keith, an independent scholar, and his colleagues demolish that myth. Most Independents, they emphasize, are actually closet Republicans or Democrats; only a few are "pure" Independents. 
    DVDs and more!
    The People Speak
    The People Speak


    Give us the Ballot
    Give Us the Ballot


    Being There
    Being There




    Black Power
    Black Power


    The People Speak. Directed by Dan Abrams. 2010.

    A look at social change throughout history, as seen through the music, poetry, speeches, and manifestos of rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past - and present. (DVD).

    Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rghts in America by Ari Berman, 2015.

    On the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act comes this riveting and alarming account of the continuing battle over the right to vote. (Audiobook).

    Being There. Directed by Hal Ashby. 2009. 

    A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted adviser to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics. (DVD).
    Gerrymandering. Directed by Jeff Reichert, 2012.
    Gerrymandering exposes the most effective form of manipulating elections short of outright fraud. (DVD).
    Black Power: Music of a Revolution. Shout Factory. 2004. 
    The leaders of the black community in the late '60s, early '70s demanded change-and so did the artists. This 2-CD set is the first to unite the political and musical statements of that heated time. (CD).


    Upcoming Events:

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    To be haunted means something: a memory, one’s past. It's a ghost that remains persistently in our consciousness, stays or lingers, visits frequently.  Here are seven books that will haunt you long after you finish the last line.

    The Loney

    The Loneyby Andrew Michael Hurley

    Set on a stretch of desolate coastline in England known as the Loney. This intricately plotted, atmospheric story includes bad weather, ominous occurrences, legends of a local witch, well-drawn characters, and questions of faith. It’s bleak and creepy and very well written.







    Homegoingby Yaa Gyasi

    This is a family drama with sweeping scope that leads the reader to ponder social issues, past and current. The story follows two half sisters, one marries a wealthy man and the other is sold into slavery. It is told from multiple perspectives. This book is impossible to put down, memorable, and effecting.





    Miss Jane

    Miss Janeby Brad Watson

    This is Southern Gothic at its finest. Historical fiction set in rural Mississippi. A woman is born with a birth defect that renders her unable to have children, therefore, unmarriable. She lives an isolated life of hard farm labor. Most memorable are the narrator’s erotic observations of nature. This one evokes a sense of melancholy and is beautifully written. 





    How To Set a Fire and Why

    How to Set a Fire and Whyby Jesse Ball

    Living in the mind of Lucia is a pleasure; her circumstances on the other hand are not so pleasant. She lives in a garage with her aunt, her father is dead, and her mother in a mental institution. She is a razor sharp, darkly funny, clever adolescent with a manifesto about arson being a cleansing force against a ruling class and a “system that demoralizes and brutalizes the majority of living people.” Unforgettable!




    War and Turpentine

    War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans

    Translated from the Dutch, a writer pieces together the life of his grandfather from notebooks written before his death. This nonlinear, parallel narrative tells the story of a life disrupted by circumstance.






    When Watched

    When Watched: Stories by Leopoldine Core

    A collection of short stories, some sexy and funny, all set in modern day New York City. These are characters on the fringes and the short intimate stories take place in small interiors, mostly apartment and bedrooms. The author’s style is distinctive, spare and elegant at once. This collection is singular and the author is a talent to watch.





    Sleeping on Jupiter

    Sleeping on Jupiterby Anurada Roy

    A group of disparate characters gather in a spiritual seaside town in India. All the characters are harboring secrets and seeking answers. The story is told from multiple perspectives and plotlines are woven together in an open-ended manner. The characters storylines expose some duplicitous aspects of Indian culture. 





    We Eat Our Own

    We Eat Our Ownby Kea Wilson

    This is the closest to a true horror novel on the list. It is disturbing and violent as well as bleak and atmospheric. It’s the 1970s and an actor takes a role in a grindhouse film experimenting with “raw, scriptless realism” and being filmed on location in politically unstable Columbia. The book is based on an actual exploitation film called “Cannibal Holocaust.” Think “Hearts of Darkness” and “Apocalypse Now”, only crazier.




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

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

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    Nowadays, everyone is concerned about identity theft. No one wants to go through the financial and emotional nightmare that comes along with an imposter misusing his or her identity. Not only is recovery from identity theft time-consuming, but it is also emotionally draining. Here are some common-sense steps that individuals can take to avoid becoming victims of identity theft. 

    1. Do not open emails from people that you do not know.

    (This could activate spyware to be installed on your computer, and hackers could get access to personal account info.)

    2. Mail checks directly from Post Office locations.

    (Blue post drop boxes may have cameras installed in them that could take pictures of your personal info.)

    3. Applying for much more credit at one time can affect your credit score.

    (A higher credit limit will affect your credit score.)

    4. It can take years to clear your name if your identity has been stolen.

    (Report crime to the Federal Trade Commission, close tainted accounts and put a fraud alert on your credit report.)

    5. Do not put your social security number (SSN) or bank info on online job applications.

    (Hackers are using to collect people's personal information.)

    6. Do not use your social security number as your driver's license number.

    7. People can steal identities of kids and deceased individuals.

    8. Read the fine print on your credit card agreements.

    50 Ways To Protect Your Identity and Credit: Everything You Need to Know About Identity Theft, Credit Cards, Credit Repair and Credit Reports by Steve Weisman, 2005

    I have read many books on this topic, and this one is very informative. It also includes form letters to credit agencies, which I find useful.

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    Today, music finds its way into presidential campaigns primarily through the use of pre-existing recordings as soundtracks for particular candidates. Examples include Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” (used by George W. Bush), Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop (Thinking about Tomorrow)” (used by Bill Clinton), or Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” (used by Barack Obama).

    Courtesy of the Music Division of the Library for the Performing Arts
    Courtesy of the Music Division of the Library for the Performing Arts

    Back in the nineteenth century, pre-existing songs played an important role in presidential politics. They were adapted to fit particular candidates with brand new lyrics, or with clever word substitutions to standard verses from songs like “Auld Lang Syne,” “Yankee Doodle” or “The Star-Spangled Banner” (to name a few). Published both individually, as sheet music, as well as in pocket-sized, party-affiliated compilations called “songsters,” these songs were effective enthusiasm-generators at political gatherings and marches.

    One the most famous American campaign songs, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too (Oh What Has Caused this Great Commotion),” began life as a tune called “Little Pigs” and gave much momentum to William Henry Harrison’s 1840 campaign against Martin Van Buren. The song caught on in part through its catchy phrase “And with him [President William Henry Harrison] we’ll beat Little Van, Van, Van is a used-up man.” Tippecanoe in this case referred to President Harrison, who had distinguished himself at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe; “Little Van” referred to President Van Buren, the butt of many campaign songs, lampooned as much for his short stature as for his politics.

    In 1892, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” was revived for the election between Benjamin Harrison (W.H. Harrison’s grandson) and Grover Cleveland. In this updated version, “Tyler” was switched to “Whitelaw” (for Whitelaw Reid, Harrison’s running mate) and “Little Van” was switched to “Stephen Grove” (for Stephen Grover Cleveland).

    Courtesy of the Music Division of the Library for the Performing Arts


    This song in its 1840 version was revived again in 2004 in a recording by the band They Might Be Giants.

    Songsters are a particularly rich resource for the study of 19th century politics, not only for their lyrics, but also for the essays and cartoons interspersed among the songs. They also offer a glimpse into “hot-button” issues of previous eras, as well as into the long history of negative campaigning in election season.  The Music Division has a rich collection of songsters from 1840 through 1888, particularly from the Republican and Whig parties. Many of these are featured in a current case exhibit on the third floor of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Following the exhibit, they can be requested for study in the Special Collections Reading Room using the call number *MPWC-Amer. followed by the title of the songster.

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    Ursula K. Le Guin
    Image credit via Universe

    October 21 marks the birthday of Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the most well-known and popular science fiction and fantasy authors living today. Over the course of her 40-year career, she's published dozens of novels, collections of short stories, essays, and volumes of poetry to critical acclaim; won the Hugo, Nebula, PEN-Malamud, and National Book Award; and pushed the boundaries of science fiction. Her masterful storytelling, which weaves together anthropology, issues of gender identity and sexuality, high fantasy, and sci-fi, has made her an American legend in literary fiction.

    If you've never read Le Guin before, you're missing out on some great literature. You don’t have to be a hardcore fantasy fan to appreciate the beauty of Le Guin's writing, her wonderful storytelling, or the vivid fictional worlds she creates. If you want to celebrate this living legend's 88th, pick up a copy of one of her books at your library. We'll help you figure out where to start:

    A Wizard of Earthsea

    A Wizard of Earthsea: This classic about a young magician who hones his powers at a wizarding school on the fictional archipelago of Earthsea is one of Le Guin's most beloved novels. Originally published as a children's book in 1968, it's become widely regarded as a high fantasy novel, cited as an influence by David Mitchell and a "wellspring" of fantasy by Margaret Atwood. If you can't get enough of Earthsea after you finish this, check out the rest of the books in Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle to immerse yourself in the lore of this richly crafted world.

    Left Hand of Darkness

    Left Hand of Darkness: This Hugo and Nebula winning science fiction novel, a hit upon its release in 1970, established Le Guin as one of the most influential science fiction authors and a pioneer in feminist fiction. The novel is famous for its setting, a fictional planet called Gethen where all inhabitants are ambisexual, experiencing changing gender and sexual characteristics. This trait shapes the entire society and culture of Gethen, making Left Hand of Darkness one of the first novels to use anthropology and sociology, rather than technological innovation, as the basis for a speculative world.

    The Complete Orsinia

    The Complete Orsinia: The Library of America is recognized across the country as the publisher of America's most classic literature; the image of an LOA book jacket is synonymous with great American works. It’s rare for them to publish a living author's works, but this year they’re publishing Le Guin, starting with The Complete Orsinia, which includes thirteen short stories and a novel set in a fictional Eastern European country. It's not science fiction or fantasy, but this mix of literary and historical fiction is just as rich and exciting as her more famous works; after all, Le Guin herself asked that it be honored by the Library of America, forever cementing her legacy as a fiction writer, not just a genre writer.

    The Unreal and the Real

    The Unreal and the Real: If short stories pique your interest, look no further than this collection of thirty-eight short stories, in which Le Guin herself gathers the best tales, both fantastic and realistic, from her oeuvre in one place. Included here is the often anthologized "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas," a story about a utopian society whose happiness depends on a troubling secret.


    Lavinia: Le Guin's most recent novel is a retelling of the story of Lavinia, a minor character in Virgil's Aeneid, and her experiences in the chaos of ancient Italy before the founding of Rome. Fated to marry Aeneas and provoke war between her countrymen and the Trojans, Lavinia never had a chance to speak in Virgil's epic poem, but in this evocative reimagining of Roman myth, Le Guin gives this character agency and a voice.

    Finding My Elegy
    Finding My Elegy: Le Guin is best known for her fiction, but she's been publishing poetry for over fifty years, and this volume of selected early and new poems is a must-read. The imagistic style that makes Le Guin so regarded amongst science fiction fans, coupled with some of her most personal subject matter, makes this a great place to start with Le Guin if you're a poetry nut.

    Got any other Le Guin recommendations? Shout them out in the comments, along with a "Happy Birthday Ursula!"

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    This blog post is the first in a series related to A Curious Hand: The Prints of Henri-Charles Guérard (1846-1897), an upcoming exhibition at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

    Composite drawing
    Composite drawing of the artist's lamp collection

    The late nineteenth-century art critic Roger Marx’s (1859-1913) encomium to Henri Guérard, written on the occasion of the artist’s premature death in 1897 at age 51 offers evidence of the high esteem in which contemporaries held the artist. Published in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts in 1897 (hyperlink), the article exalts Guérard as “the engraver of curiosity par excellence.” As intriguing as it is elusive, the description is hard to make head or tail of: what does curiosity mean in this context and how can an artist be an engraver of it?

    Originating in the Latin curiositas, curiosity today connotes a desire for knowledge and a general inquisitiveness. The Oxford English Dictionary reveals, however, the term to be considerably more nuanced and multivalent. As a personal attribute, for example, the word denotes carefulness, a fastidious attention to detail, proficiency attained by assiduous application, the excessive attention bestowed upon matters of inferior moment, and the quality of a curioso or virtuoso. As a quality of things, the term also signifies meticulous workmanship or any object valued as curious, rare, or strange. Thinking about Marx’s text in light of the word’s other assorted meanings lets us make sense of Marx’s assertion and broadens our understanding of what Guérard’s peers took to be his real contribution to the history of art.

    Consider for a moment the context for Marx’s statement, which reads: “For sure, his taste for bibelots and the fact that he was a collector helped Guérard achieve ‘a feeling for different styles’ and to become with Jules Jacquemart the engraver of curiosity par excellence of the nineteenth-century.” According to Marx, it was Guérard’s love of bibelots– the French term for knick-knacks, from the old French beubelet meaning a trinket or jewel—and his habits as a collector which gave rise to his talents as “the engraver of curiosity.” From what we learn from Roger Lesclide’s visit to the artist’s studio in 1874, described in detail in an article published in Paris à l’eau forte (hyperlink), Guérard was indeed in love with all manner of objets and trifling tchotchkes.

    Not only did he collect fine prints by Rembrandt van Rijn, but also works of little to no value, including old keys, pieces of dusty parchment, and tattered books that were falling apart and that the artist claimed were as good to read as they were to look at. His chief passion, though, was vintage lanterns.

    Charles-Henri Guerard. Lanterne à Arsène Alexandre
    red velvet book
    Charles-Henri Guerard. Red velvet book binding.















    When one of the lanterns fell by accident on Lesclide’s head, Guérard remarked that he didn’t like collecting rare majolica and other precious works that had a habit of breaking. His lanterns, he claimed, represented a little world for him, stating that each one evoked either an epoch or a particular type. His assertion jibes with Marx’s statement that Guérard’s collecting practices had sensitized him to a range of artistic styles and objects. The artist’s capacity to accommodate his hand to the object he was copying—such that he was as capable of faithfully reproducing etchings by Rembrandt as he was sixteenth-century red velvet book bindings—embodies an act of curiosity. He applied himself to the work, sublimating his own style in favor of rendering them with the character appropriate to each.

    For Guérard it was not enough, however, to just be a collector of lanterns and other odds and ends. He also composed droll verses to some of them, as is the case in the Lanterne D’Avare, which reads:

    Petit bijou de forme exquise,                Little jewel of exquisite form

    Sors-tu des mains d’une marquise,            Do you issue from the hands of a Marquise

    Et ton verre blanc, enchassé                And your white glass, mounted

    Dans un cadre en ferre repoussé,            in a casing of chased iron


    Guida-t-il la marche craintive            Did it guide the timid steps        

    D’une mule hardie et furtive                of a lady’s slipper audacious and stealthy

    S’eliognant d’un pas inégal                as she stole away, with an irregular gait

    Du sanctuaire conjugal ?...                from the conjugual sanctuary?...


    Ta svelte et précise élégance                Your trim and precise elegance

    Date au moins de la Renaissance            dates at least to the Renaissance    

    Le cuivre, appliqué finement,                the copper, delicately applied

    Court sur ta frise en ornement…            Runs along your border as an ornament…    

    The poem not only describes the lantern’s jewel-like beauty, but also imagines it as the valued possession of a French marchioness, who uses it to light her way from the marital bed. By attributing antiquity to a lantern and investing it with the sort of private knowledge that is only gleaned through personal access or exchanged confidences, Guérard arouses our interest and confirms its eminence as an object of curiosity.

    Charles-Henri Guerard. Docteur Faustus ou Le microcosme

    His collection’s curiosité is corroborated by the creative consideration he lavished on it. Guérard did not just collect oddments and write witty poems about them, he drew and etched them, he paid excessive attention to them from an artistic point of view also.  Referred to by the word curios, a term whose first usage dates to around 1873 and whose meaning derives from the word curiosity, bibelots are expressions of Guérard’s own imagination. When Guérard etched his and other people’s gewgaws, he turned his collector’s imagination to the task of vigilantly rendering those features that made them curious. He performed this task with concentration and attention to detail and with the skills he had attained by his own painstaking application to the art of printmaking, traits that begin to explain Marx’s succinct summation of him as “the engraver of curiosity.”







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    During the week, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. On Fridays, though, we suggest kicking back to catch up on all the delightful literary reading the internet has to offer. Don’t have the time to hunt for good reads? Never fear. We’ve rounded up the best bookish reading of the week for you.

    fair game

    We Read...

    Game-changing reads recommended by our patrons and books that made Don DeLillo a grateful reader. What questions do you need to ask before cleaning out your bookshelves? Oh what a tangled web we weave! But not as tangled as these Charlotte-inspired characters. Even poets need to pay their bills. The White Whale has changed over time, but there's still no word for memoir in German. Writer's write about writing in these books for the budding artist, or if you can't get enough, you can always just read these 96 books Stephen King recommends for writers. Get in the Spirit, people. Learn all about Margaret Atwood's Shakespearean YouTube discoveries

    Stereogranimator Friday Feels

    GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator


    No need to get up! Join our librarians from the home, office, playground — wherever you have internet access — for book recs on Twitter by following our handle @NYPLrecommends from 10 AM to 11 AM every Friday. Or, you can check NYPL Recommends any day of the week for more suggestions. 

    What did you read?

    If you read something fantastic this week, share with our community of readers in the comment section below.

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    Miller & Milone PC  will present a  recruitment on Monday, October 24, 2016, 9:30 -11:30 am,  for Bill Collector (4 openings),  Discharge  Planning Medicaid Clerk (1 opening), Insurance Appeal Writer (1 opening), Insurance Information Coordinator (1 opening),  Insurance Mail Clerk (1 opening), at Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138-60 Barclay  Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11355.  By appointment only.

    Enrollment Now Open - SAGEWorks Boot Camp,  Monday, October 24 -9:30 am - 2 pm, at The SAGE Center, 305 7th  Avenue, New York, NY 10001.  This 2 week training takes place from Monday - Friday, 10/24/16 - 11/4/16, 9:30 am - 2:00 pm. SAGEWorks assists people 40 years and older in learning relevant, cutting-edge job search skills in a LGBT-friendly environment.

    Lord and Taylor will present a recruitment on Wednesday, October 26, 2016,  10 am - 4 pm, for  Sales Associates (15 Seasonal openings), at Upper Manhattan Workforce 1 Career Center, 215 West 125th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10027.  By appointment only.

    Basic Resume Writing  workshop on Wednesday October 26, 2016, 1:30 - 3 pm at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn  Street,  Brooklyn, NY 11201. Participants will learn the purpose of a resume, chronological and combination resumes and select the appropriate type for their specific needs.

    Safewatch Security Group, Inc. will present a recruitment on Thursday,  October 27, 2016, 10 am - 2 pm, for Security Guard (5 openings), at Upper Manhattan Workforce 1 Career Center, 215 West 125th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10027.  By appointment only.

    United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, Inc. will present a recruitment on Thursday, October 27, 2016, 10 am - 12 pm, and 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm, for Residence Program Specialist (5 openings), Certified Teacher Assistant (5 openings),  at United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, Inc., 160 Lawrence Avenue, Atrium, Brooklyn, NY 11230.

    Job Postings at New York City Workforce 1.  Job Search Central

    Apprenticeship Opportunities in New York City.

    Brooklyn Community  Board 14: Available jobs

    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:, 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 October 23 become available.

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  • 10/21/16--07:33: Alternative Halloween Reads
  • Alternative Halloween Reads

    When searching for Halloween-appropriate literature, one would most likely turn first to the books that created the holiday’s classic figures or that are notorious for their overall eeriness. I am thinking mainly of books like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and much (if not most) of the work of Edgar Allan Poe. However, there are plenty of other great stories that deal with the grotesque, the frightful, and the chilling. So, if you are tired of the more typical scary classics, here are some alternative options for Halloween reading.

    Before Frankenstein’s monster or Mr. Hyde plagued Europe, there were Grendel and his mother. The first half of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf relates the gruesome blood feud between these savage beasts and the Danish people. Take your pick from famous modern translations of the Old English text, including Seamus Heaney’s award-winning version from 1999 and the recently released translation by J. R. R. Tolkien. Also consider reading John Gardner’s novel Grendel, which tells the tale from the monster’s perspective.

    More bizarrely monstrous is Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, in which the main character, Gregor Samsa, is inexplicably changed into a giant insect. Both the grotesque imagery of Gregor’s new, bestial form and the transformation’s miserable implications for his life make this a strange, horrifying read.

    Shakespeare’s Macbeth—a chilling story in a variety of ways—begins with three witches who would fit in at any classic Halloween party. In fact, they are in some ways the model for our stereotypical image of witches. Cows say “moo,” dogs say “woof,” and witches recite Shakespeare: “Double, double, toil and trouble; / Fire burn, and cauldron bubble” (4.1.10–11).

    If the fateful prophecies of Shakespeare’s three witches leave anything to be desired in terms of occult drama, pick up Goethe’s Faust: entire choruses of witches and evil spirits descend on the Harz Mountains for an eerie ritual on Walpurgis Night. Even if the entire poem weren’t about a man selling his soul to the devil, this scene alone would make it a perfect story for Halloween.

    Although one usually thinks of Christmas as festive rather than frightening, Charles Dickens structured the entire plot of A Christmas Carol around a series of ghostly hauntings, making the novella a fitting book for both holidays. The narrative is ultimately a redemptive one, but Scrooge encounters plenty of darkness and death along the way. Dickens plunges the audience directly into this grim journey with the famous, macabre first sentence: “Marley was dead: to begin with.”

    William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! explores haunting of a less supernatural sort. When Quentin Compson travels from Mississippi to Boston to begin his university education, he is accompanied (psychologically) by the “ghosts” of various people from his hometown’s history. As he and his roommate attempt to make sense of their scattered, Gothic narratives, the spectral figures of Coldfields, Bons, and Sutpens rise before them in the cold Harvard dormitory. Quentin might well agree with Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” And what a vivid nightmare it is.

    Then, of course, there are the countless books whose characters are haunted by aspects of their own lives: past deeds and failings, dismal present conditions, grim future prospects, and all the other forms of existential angst possible in our great human tradition. The most powerful example that comes to mind is Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Both the grisly murders Raskolnikov commits and the mental and spiritual suffering he undergoes in their aftermath are at least as frightening as any ghostly haunting could be. See also: Hedda Gabler, The Fall, Death of a Salesman, and many, many others.

    And finally there is Cormac McCarthy. Many of his works contain gruesome events and chilling characters, but a few stand out in particular as being appropriate for the Halloween season. Child of God relates the exploits of Lester Ballard, an Appalachian man who commits various unspeakable atrocities, the least disturbing of which is murder. McCarthy’s latest novel, The Road, is a sparse, post-apocalyptic journey, both gloomy and nerve-wracking. Most ominous, however, is his arguable masterpiece, Blood Meridian, an exceedingly bleak story set in the wilderness of the pre-Civil War West. I have encountered no character who is able to instill pure, cold terror as completely as Judge Holden. In fact, his dark philosophical musings and horrific acts of violence prompted literary critic Harold Bloom to call him "the most frightening figure in all of American literature.” Eat your heart out, Stephen King.

    Alternative Halloween Reads

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  • 10/24/16--07:43: Ask the Author: T.C. Boyle
  • T.C. Boyle is coming to LIVE from the NYPL on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. to discuss science, society, sex, and survival — the themes that drive his latest work. Get tickets now!

    As part of our “Ask the Author” series, we asked five questions about his own life and times as a reader.

    book covers

    1. What was your all-time favorite book as a child?

    I remember, just before starting kindergarten, that I foundKant’s Critique of Pure Reason a bit dry (of course, I was reading it in the original German), so my mother gave me Winnie-the-Pooh, which I much preferred, not only in terms of story and movement, but its philosophical heft too. Sometime after that came Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which was mesmerizing, especially in its ultimate heroic revenge story, “Rikki Tikki Tavi.”

    Here’s the epigraph:

    At the hole where he went in
    Red-eye called to Wrinkle-Skin,
    ‘Hear what little Red-eye saith: Nag, come up and dance with death.’

    2. What’s your secret favorite of your OWN books and why?

    Water Music. Because it’s my first and wildest novel, the one that allowed my brain to open out and open out again. Most first novelists mine autobiographical material: I didn’t. I set the book, which is a kind of twisted Tom Jones sort of tale with some heavy post-modern winking, in England and Africa in the period 1795-1805. However, this is no secret. Because I’ve been asked this question so often, I had to make a determination long ago, though I love all my titles with the kind of love only a parent can feel for his offspring.

    3. Name one author who doesn’t get enough attention (and why s/he deserves more).

    Dana Spiotta. Her Stone Arabia is one of the most brilliant novels I’ve read in the past decade. I’ll toss Bonnie Nadzam in here too — Lamb is a powerful and devastating book that manages the near-impossible: making a child-abductor human.

    4. What was the last book you recommended to a friend?

    Kent Haruf’s final novel, the spare and beautiful Our Souls at Night.

    5. What books are you currently reading and what’s up next?

    I am deep into a suite of books about a moment in recent American history. However, I cannot yet reveal their titles because it would give away the subject my next novel, which exists now only in the note-taking stage. What else? Looking forward to sinking my mind’s teeth into David Grann’sThe Lost City of Zand Lionel Shriver’s new novel,The Mandibles.


    Wondering where to start with T.C. Boyle's work? Check these out.

    Get your tickets to see T.C. Boyle at NYPL.


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  • 10/24/16--08:29: T.C. Boyle: Where to Begin
  • This post is part of a series in which Readers Services librarians suggest a good starting place for authors appearing in our LIVE from the NYPL series this fall.

    T.C. Boyle comes to LIVE from the NYPL on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. Get tickets now!


    World's End (1988)

    World’s End is a sweeping epic, spanning hundreds of years and a massive cast of characters, all centered on the Hudson River Valley. Much of the book is set in “Peterskill,” a fictional town based on Boyle’s hometown of Peekskill, about an hour north of New York City. It’s a witty page-turner, tinged with the funny/bleak satire that characterizes Boyle’s writing — so, if you’re into this book, you’ll probably like more of his work. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1988; nearly three decades later, it still feels relevant and fresh. (One character’s battle cry, “America for Americans!,” echoed by a frothing crowd, resonates uncomfortably today.) —Gwen Glazer

    "The Lie" from Wild Child and Other Stories (2011)

    Suburban – an adjective meaning contemptibly dull and ordinary. Malaise – a noun meaning a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify.

    T.C. Boyle is one of those writers like Richard Yates, Tom Perrotta, and Raymond Carver who examine the everyday using dark humor or satire to reveal a moral or spiritual void, numbness, isolation. I often find these writers are fond of the short story or interconnected stories made into novels. The genre works well with their spare style. I would point a reader who wanted a taste of T.C. Boyle to his short story “The Lie” from his collection entitled Wild Child. ​(Or listen to Stephen Colbert read it here.) It is the story of Jim, bored with his job, bored with his family. “I used to be in a band.” This, in my opinion, is T.C. Boyle at his finest. —Lynn Lobash


    Have other ideas about the best place to start or your favorite book by these authors? Let us know in the comments, and check out more of Boyle’s work from NYPL!

    Want to know what T.C. Boyle himself reads? Check out our Ask the Author feature.

    Get tickets to see T.C. Boyle on Oct. 26.

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    Two newbies take their places on the list this week: a CIA thriller and a family saga about a medical crisis.

    girl on the train

    #1 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, more stories told from multiple perspectives:

    And Then There Was Oneby Patricia Gussin

    Murder on the Orient Expressby Agatha Christie

    Fates & Furiesby Lauren Groff



    #2 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Vince Flynn: Order to Kill  by Kyle Mills, more thrillers involving the CIA:

    The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds

    The Mark of the Assassin by Daniel Silva

    The Camel Club by David Baldacci



    small great things

    #3 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Small Great Things byJodi Picoult, more thoughtful novels involving families and race:

    The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor

    Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

    Run by Ann Patchett




    #4 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks, more sweet stories about fathers and daughters:

    What We Find by Robyn Carr

    Fast Track by Julie Garwood

    Father's Day by Simon Van Booy




    #5 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, more curmudgeon characters in literature:

    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikryby Gabrielle Zevin

    Florence Gordon by Brian Morton




    Want more? Check out last week's readalikes.


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

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

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  • 10/24/16--12:36: Celebrating #Bernstein30
  • 2016 Nominees for the Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism
    2016 Nominees for the Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism

    Every year since 1988, the New York Public Library has awarded the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. Named in honor of journalist Helen Bernstein Fealy, the award recognizes the work of a journalist who brings insight and attention to issues, events, and policies of contemporary public significance. This year is especially exciting, as we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the award.

    Earlier this month, the nomination period ended with 98 nominated books.  Now, a library review committee has begun the process of narrowing this group of nominees to five finalists to be announced in February. A selection committee of working journalists will then choose the winning work. The Bernstein recipient will be announced at an award ceremony on Monday, May 22.  

    We are proud to honor the efforts of those who strive to shed light on the unknown, untold, and unchampioned. This year's nominees touch on subjects as diverse and relevant as American elections, modern disease, police shootings, and the foreign and domestic policies of Iran, Syria, China, Ukraine, North Korea, and Palestine. What better way to begin celebrating the Bernstein Award than by exploring its past recipients? Find a complete list of prior winners, along with links to their books in our catalog and, where available, other related multimedia.

    Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming months on the progress of the award committees and events related to the Bernstein Award.

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    When one thinks of librarianship, terms like “organization” and “information” pop readily to the forefront. One might even associate “education” with a librarian’s duties.

    “Creativity,” on the other hand, probably isn’t one of the first word to come to mind. But any good youth services librarian will tell you creativity is a huge part of the day-to-day routine.

    At the 53rd Street Library, creativity is something the youth services department has in abundance. From weekly coloring clubs to young writers workshops, crafternoons to structured art programs, the youth services librarians are constantly searching for new and different ways to channel the creative energy of their young patrons.

    Zell leads children and caregivers in a camp song.

    The past two months have featured some particularly inspiring events, with children’s librarian Grace Zell and information assistant Johnathan Longo leading two stand-out programs.

    Zell’s Library Scouts, a weekly program held during the month of September, was filled with classic camp songs and activities. Children in attendance were given a badge—handmade by Zell—at the end of each week’s program.

    Said Zell, “The idea basically came out of a deep love of all things summer camp. I was really missing my summers at camp and wanted to share all my silly songs with our patrons.”

    Longo tackled one of the weekly Little

    Longo shows children images of cave paintings.

    Artists events at 53rd Street in the month of October, with a plan to teach children some pre-history. He covered the walls of the storytime corner in brown paper and, after reading some books and having the children identify animals in various cave paintings, he gave the children pastels and let them get to work.

    Both Zell and Longo commented on the visible impact their programs had.

    Said Longo, “Two of our regular patrons who had not met before and who are in different age groups decided to make a joint picture…It was really fun seeing them work together.”

    Children draw their own cave art.

    About her program, Zell shared that the mother of a particularly quiet child said he had started singing one of the camp songs while in the shower.

    Said Zell, “It made my day. Just knowing that these silly songs are able to stick with them is a real treat to hear.”

    Interested in participating in some of 53rd Street’s future creative endeavors? Check out our events calendar or stop by the children’s desk on the Lower Level.


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    Independent presses publish some of the most remarkable, surprising, and daring literature, often on shoestring budgets and with small marketing departments. At the New York Public Library, we know small presses publish big books, from alt presses to international indie houses. As we enter the award season for books, we're looking back at a few times that these literary underdogs won big over the last fifty years. 


    2011 National Book Award:
    Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury)
    Salvage the Bones

    "Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize puppies."

    2010 National Book Award:

    Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (McPherson & Company)
    Lord of Misrule
    "At the rock-bottom end of the sport of kings sits the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts all struggle to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive. Equal parts Nathanael West, Damon Runyon and Eudora Welty, Lord of Misrule follows five characters, scarred and lonely dreamers in the American grain, through a year and four races at Indian Mount Downs, downriver from Wheeling, West Virginia-- from dust jacket."

    1997 National Book Award:
    Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (The Atlantic Monthly Press)

    Cold Mountain
    "Inman, an injured and disillusioned Confederate soldier, embarks on a harrowing journey home to his sweetheart, Ada, who herself is struggling to run the farm left her at her father's sudden death."

    1996 National Book Award:
    Ship Fever and Other Stories by Andrea Barrett (W.W. Norton)

    Ship Fever
    "The elegant short fictions gathered hereabout the love of science and the science of love are often set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century. Interweaving historical and fictional characters, they encompass both past and present as they negotiate the complex territory of ambition, failure, achievement, and shattered dreams."

    1985 National Book Award:
    Easy in the Islands by Bob Shacochis (Crown Publishing Group)

    easy in the islands
    "A National Book Award-winning collection of short works is set in the Caribbean and incorporates such elements as fleets of fishing boats making their way through remote atolls, reggae bars on narrow islands, sprawling barrios, and yacht-filled Miami marinas. Reprint."

    2010 Pulitzer:
    Tinkers by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press)

    "On his deathbed, surrounded by his family, George Washington Crosby's throughts drift back to his childhood and the father who abandoned him when he was twelve."

    1981: Pulitzer
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O'Toole (Louisiana State University Press)

    a confederacy of dunces

    "A New Orleans misanthrope who constantly rebukes society, Ignatius Reilly, gets a job at his mother's urging but ends up leading a worker's revolt."

    1996: National Book Critics Circle Award
    Women in Their Beds by Gina Berriault (Counterpoint Press)

    Women In Their Beds
    "A collection of thirty-five stories examining people's behavior and what motivates them."

    2011: National Book Critics Circle Award
    Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman (Lookout Books)
    Binocular Vision
    "Presents a collection of short stories that focus on the trials and tribulations of a group of Northeasterners."

    Join the conversation. Tell us the indie books you believe deserve award recognition in the comment section below. 

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