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  • 02/08/17--13:36: The Ultimate Thriller Guide
  • All thrillers are suspenseful, compelling, and intensifying, but the genre runs both broad and deep.  We  present here, a list of thrillers we recommend. We categorized them to illustrate the many variations on the Thriller genre.  

    Note: Many titles fall into two or more categories. For example you might find psychological suspense with an unreliable narrator -- I'm looking at you Gone Girl and Girl on a Train, or something that is both historical and hard-boilded.

    Complexities aside, this is a good primer for readers looking to find their place in the genre.

    Serial Killers

    Daisy Chain
    Broken Monsters
    Mr. Mercedes
    Jane Steele

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Police Procedurals

    Livia Lone
    Pretty Girls
    The Crossing
    a great reckoning

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Historical 

    The One Man
    The Ballad of Black Tom
    Darktown
    Charcoal Joe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Hard-boiled & Gritty

    The Cartel
    The Son
    The Fear Artist
    Where It Hurts

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Psychological 

    Descent
    Into the Darkest Corner
    The Survivor
    The Woodcutter

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Spies

    Palace of Treason
    Red Sparrow
    The Tourist
    Spy Games

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Gruesome

    Security
    Lost
    The Inquisitor
    The Ghosts of Belfast

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Stylistically Complex

    The Farm
    The Nearest Exit
    Underground Airlines
    Before the Fall

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Women Sleuths

    Now You See Me
    Speaking from Among the Bones
    The Trespasser
    The Neighbor

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Unreliable Narrators

    Unreliable Narrator
    gone girl
    Girl on the Train
    Before I Go to Sleep

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Witty, Offbeat, Darkly Funny

    Horrorstor
    Lexicon
    Beat the Reaper
    Deep Shadow

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Science Fiction & / or the Supernatural

    Brilliance
    The Book of Strange New Things
    In a Dark, Dark Wood
    Universal Harvester

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    YA Appeal

    The Fever
    You Will Know Me
    Panopticon
    Everything I Never Told You

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    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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    On January 11, 2017, I was happy to attend the annual METRO conference for librarian professionals. I have been attending this gathering for years, and this year, it was held in NYU's Kimmel Center. I liked the structure of having two keynotes and sessions where librarians from the communities commented on their work and research. 

    METRO's New Location and Focus

    To start off the day, METRO President Nate Hill commented on the organization's move to a new location. This move was necessitated by the limited time left on the previous location's lease. Hill has been at METRO for about 18 months, and the organization is changing. At the new location, materials will be available for use by members. These include book scanners, bookable conference rooms, digital data recovery assistance, vinyl cover equipment, and sound-proof and light-proof rooms for audio/visual activities. METRO also has a podcast: Library Bytegeist

    denmark

    Dokk1 Library in Aarhus, Denmark

    Marie Oestergaard, Project Leader of Dokk1 ("the dock" in Danish) spoke about the planning process for this $285 million library, which occurred between 2005 and 2015. The library opened for the public in the summer of 2015. This seemed very similar to last year's speaker from an international library. Dokk1 is Aarhus' main library. Interestingly, the library is unstaffed from 7 to 10 pm on weekdays. In addition, there are no security guards in the library, but the janitor has the ability to respond to problems and remove patrons from the facility, if necessary. The staff has an open dialogue with the homeless patrons, and they leave when the library closes.  The library is an open space in which communities can perform and hold meetings. If fact, government officials debated political issues with the public for two days in the building. 

    Original Research Projects

    Local librarians discussed their research projects in this breakout session. Frans Abarillo from Brooklyn College (CUNY) investigated the use of college and public libraries by foreign-born students. Lee Ann Fullington, also from Brooklyn College, wanted to know more about mobile device use by graduate students. Elizabeth Surles of Rutgers University looked at archival description practices for music collections. Unfortunately, in the music field, there are not many best practices for archives. In addition, many finding aids are not DACS compliant. Eamon Tewell of Long Island University, Brooklyn, researched the adoption of critical information literacy practices by academic librarians. 

    A conference participant asked how the findings of the research were applied to practice at their universities. Tewell responded that much of the data was not used to inform decision making. It seems more prudent to do research that is original and that can be used to advance the organization in order to maximize use of institutional funds and time.

    Teacher Lab from Brooklyn Public Library

    teachers

    Amy Mikel is the Coordinator of School Outreach for Brooklyn Public Library, which includes Pre-K through Grade 12. She strives to inform teachers about what public libraries are doing in this day and age. Teachers are key resources for public libraries because they can encourage students to use our resources. In addition, some schools do not have school librarians, so she tries to help them obtain these valuable professionals.

    Teacher Lab was initiated 2.5 years ago; it is a summer course that is used for professional development credits by teachers. They learned was how to use Google and Wikipedia as research tools. Adults use them, so it is important to stop telling kids to avoid these resources. The course also informs teachers how to write citations and annotations so that they can pass this knowledge on to their students. Mylibrarynyc, which originated in 2012, mainly works with public schools, but Mikel also wants to work with public charter schools and private institutions. She plans to institute an online course for teachers in the summer of 2017. 

    The Summer 2016 courses for Teacher Lab included the following:

    • Life in the Shelter System/Life in Prison
    • Teaching Paraphrasing to Prevent Plagiarism
    • Beyond the Bathroom: Affirming School Spaces For Youth
    • Educator Resources at the National Archives
    • Doodling and Sketchnoting

    Librarianship in an Era of Political Division

    Kristina Drury, founder of TYTHEdesign and data librarian Julia Marden of Tiny Panther Consulting led this talk. Marden mentioned that the director of the Evanston Public Library has been producing programs about controversial topics for years. Recently, some Korean materials were defaced. She currently teaches data literacy to NYC employees. It is great for her to hear Brooklyn Public Library and The New York Public Library saying to patrons that their services are available for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or other factors.

    democracy

    Drury added that community engagement is key to this effort. We need to think about what we already do in our outreach efforts and build on that. Marden stressed the need to explain to people what libraries do, since not everyone knows. We help people find and utilize information. Librarians have the advantage of being perceived as neutral. We can also start conversations about current events when helping people find materials or hold programs in which discussion of such issues is paramount.

    Citizens want to know how to get more involved in community decision making. One great place to start is with your local elected officials. In the library, it can be safe to disagree and challenge each other. In the time of great political divide between the parties, we need to engage in discourse with each other. This topic was very timely, and it was one of the best sessions of the day.

    Olin College of Engineering Library

    Jeff Goldenson is the Director of the Olin College of Engineering Library. He wants to involve the students in every aspect of the library, so he came up with the idea of a focus group of students who would transform the library. They were known as OWL (Olin Workshop on the Library.) These engineering students put their emerging skills to test on creating wheels for bookshelves in order to create more community space. They created signage and a bunch of other things, including radio-controlled whiteboards and a student-run coffee shop.

    engineer

    SLAC is the Stay Late And Create club. In it, people play music, hang out and do homework. He got a vacuum in order to make cleaning up cool. A vinyl cutter was used to create large stickers for signage. Laptop portraits were made, and an awkward family photo booth was created. NINJA (Need Info Now Just Ask) encourages students to use the library staff as information resources. They have pesto making workshops, and they made a temporary circulation desk out of cardboard. Animal Craze, a traveling zoo, visited the library to bring in students who might not ordinarily utilize library services.

    The thing that students loved about the Olin College Library's transformation is that the they are given permission to use the space, not merely attend the library as visitors. They also love the fact that faculty hang out in the library. The staff at the library love to collaborate with the students after they graduate, as well. Students are welcome to experiment with sound in the library. 

    This was an informative conference. The afternoon keynote address was amazing, and I loved the discussion of librarianship, how it can be used as a subversive force, and the present-day deep political fissure between our two main parties. I loved the NYU venue, and it is great that METRO is progressing with the times! Next year's conference should be interesting. 


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    The NYCHA Resident Training Academy (NRTA) offers Janitorial  and Construction training tracks.  Recruitment is now open for Construction Training and Janitorial Training. Please call 718-289-8100.

    The Chinese-American Planning Council Workforce Development Division offers education, training, placement, and post placement support services to job seekers.  Job training programs include BuildingWorks Pre-ApprenticeshipTraining, Hospitality Careers and LVMH Fundamentals in Luxury Retail Training.

    The Borough of Manhattan Community College, Division of Adult and Continuing Education offers no cost (if you qualify) Direct Support Professional Training. Training starts February 14, 2017.  Attend an Open House and Assessment.

    The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is hiring. This is your opportunity to work at Long Island's premier entertainment destination in Uniondale.  Positiions with Levy Restaurants  include cooks, bartenders, culinary supervisors and more.

    Youth Action YouthBuild East Harlem is recruiting for their 9- month free job training program.  This program is for young people 17-24 years old  with an interest in pursuing  a career in construction or  completing  construction projects in the community.

    Career Development workshop: Intro to Social Media on Monday, February 13, 2017, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn, Brooklyn, NY 11201, for all interested jobseekers to get an understanding of social media, and learn how you can use social media sites to help on their job search.

    New Partners will present a recruitment on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 10 am - 1:30 pm, for Home Health Aide (5 F/T & P/T openings) at Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138-60 Barcl;ay Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11357.

    SAGAEWorks  workshop: Empowering Women in the Workplace on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 11 am - 12:15 pm at the SAGE Center, 305 7th Avenue, 15 Floor.  Interested job seekers please RSVP.  SAGEWorks is a national employment support program for LGBT people age 40 and older that expands participants job hunting skills and career options, and connects employers  to diverse high-caliber candidates.

    Aramark will present a recruitment on Thursday, February, 16,  2017, 10 am - 1 pm for Concession Crew Members - Citi Field 100 P/T openings, at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.  Recruiting for cooks, food service helpers, counterworkers, supervisors and porters.  Must be available to work all New York Mets homegames for the 2017 season.

    Basic Resume Writing  workshop on Thursday, February 16, 2017, 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.

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

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

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

    Please note this page will be revised when more recruitment events for the week of February 12  become available.


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    Open Book Night consists of an informal, devoted group of readers to discuss books we have read or are reading, based on a broad theme, each month. When we talk about our reading, we meander like a river, branching off into different subject areas—perhaps a comparison comes to mind, or the style piques an interest for discussion, or we discover likable and unlikeable characters. However, we always stay away from the negative. We simply want an opportunity to talk about books, and reading, in a positive way. We look for something that will trigger an idea, comparison, something that will help launch an animated discussion about the book each of us are presenting that evening. We talk about our books individually, presenting the title, author, and genre. Then we talk about our book in relation to the theme. 
     
    To start the new year of 2017, our title and theme for January was Looking Forward and Looking Back. See below for the full list:
     
    Arrowood

    Arrowood: A Novel by Laura Mchugh

    A rich and moving book by McHugh, where a childhood home, named Arrowood, takes center stage in this satisfying Gothic mystery. Three sisters together in old family home, Arden the oldest, is designated to watch over her younger siblings, who happen to be twins. The unimaginable happens while Arden is in charge of her sisters, they turn up missing, no trace. And over the years, the tragedy leaves a wake of broken lives and unsettled hearts. After the death of her father, Arden inherits her childhood home Arrowood and disturbing mystery of the disappearance of her sisters. 
     
    Joan was attracted to the unusual mysterious story-line of Arrowood and upon reading was enjoyably taken in by the characters and their struggles.
     
     
    Swerve

    The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt Ph.D

    Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt is about the discovery of Lucretius' On the Nature of Things in 1417 by papal emissary Pggio Bracciolini. The copy of the ancient manuscript was found on a long forgotten library shelf, in a faraway monastery, untouched for hundreds of years. This important discovery of Lucretius' On The Nature of Things helped to further expand the revolutionary thought of the Renaissance. Greenblatt won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for non fiction for this single subject examination. Another example of a single subject book would be Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King. These books are directed at a general audience and offer some of the best narrative nonfiction there is. 
     
    Elizabeth discovered Swerve by way of a library reader, who offered it as an interesting and enjoyable book to read. Normally a reader of fiction, she found herself drawn into the story after just a few paragraphs, good writing has a way of seducing a reader and narrative nonfiction done well, reads like the best books of fiction, according to Elizabeth.
     
     
    Harry Potter

    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I & II by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

    Dedicated Harry Potter fans were very excited when they learned that an 8th installment of the Harry Potter series was coming out.  It was different than than previous installments, because this recent publication is a play, but no matter. Devoted fans of the Harry Potter series were not disappointed. 
     
    Richard read all the Harry Potter books as a child. At our discussion he stressed he was very excited to read the new book. He breezed through it one sitting, noting the challenges for a child are not that same for an adult. The story tells the present by going back to the beginning of the Potter books. Richard liked the book immensely because he has been a total Potter fan since childhood.
     
     
    Canada

    Canada by Richard Ford

    A story told from the perspective of a young teen, who is the narrator. As the story progresses so does the age of the narrator and by the story's end is an adult with all the breadth and understanding that comes with age and maturity. It is a story told "backwards. Tragic circumstances destroy a family, and like leaves scattered by wind, the family is torn apart and flung in distant directions.
     
    Cynthia said Canada is a dark tale, set in a harsh and bleak landscape. One part she really enjoyed was how much the landscape plays a part in the story, as an important and equal character, that makes the story deeper and richer.
     
     
    This is a nonprofit curated website, devoted to nonfiction articles with 2000 or more words and selected from a variety of publications. Longform consists of good quality articles on a range of subjects. Jason reads strictly non fiction and really enjoys Longform for the vast range of subjects and quality of the articles. Though he would like to read more fiction, his first choice is nonfiction, and for articles, Longform is the best, for looking forward and back!
     
    Thanks to everyone who joined us for Open Book Night.  We had a lovely time talking about books with you and appreciate your great recommendations! Check out these other reading lists to see books recommended at past Open Book Nights. We hope to hear your reading recommendations at an Open Book Night soon or read them in the comments below. Open Book Night at Mid-Manhattan Library meets on the second Friday of the month. Our next Open Book Night meets on Friday, February 10 at 6 PM. We hope you’ll join us and share a favorite book that "Ain't Nothing but A Love Thang.”

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    A selective list of new Russian language titles

    Zapiski russkoĭ amerikanki: semeĭnye khroniki i sluchaĭnye vstrechi 

    Записки русской американки: семейные хроники и случайные встречи

    Matich, Olga. Матич, Ольга.

    Ольга Матич - русская американка из семьи старых эмигрантов. "Семейные хроники", первая часть воспоминаний, охватывают историю семьи (и ей близких людей), начиная с прадедов. "Воля случая" является одним из лейтмотивов воспоминаний, поэтому вторая часть называется "Случайные встречи". Они в основном посвящены отношениям автора с русскими писателями - В. Аксеновым, Б. Ахмадулиной, С. Довлатовым, П. Короленко, Э. Лимоновым, Б. Окуджавой и др (mdk-arbat.ru).

     

    Hygge, sekret datskogo schastʹi︠a︡ 

     Hygge, секрет датского счастья 

    Wiking, Meik. Викинг, Майк.

    В Рейтинге стран мира по уровню счастья ООН датчане регулярно занимают первое место. Но как им удается радоваться жизни, когда за окном скверная погода, день так короток, что его и не заметишь, а на работе нескончаемый аврал?  (sentrumbookstore.com).

    Podlinnai︠a︡ "sudʹba rezidenta": dolgiĭ putʹ na Rodinu 

    Подлинная "судьба резидента": долгий путь на Родину

    Tumanov, Oleg. Туманов, Олег.

    В 1965 году моряк срочной службы Олег Туманов, выполняя задание КГБ, совершил дерзкий побег из Советского Союза. В течение 20 лет он жил и работал в Мюнхене, пройдя путь от корреспондента до старшего редактора русской службы «Радио Свобода».  За этот период времени он передал в Москву огромный объем ценной информации, от описания и результатов работы Отдела Х до подробных деталей деятельности сотрудников американской разведки и контрразведки   (sentrumbookstore.com).

    Moĭ brat - Che 

    Мой брат - Че

    Guevara, Juan Martin. Гевара, Хуан Мартин.

    «Мой брат – Че» – сенсационные воспоминания о легендарном команданте Эрнесто Че Геваре от одного из самых близких ему людей. После трагической гибели самого знаменитого партизана в мире семья Гевара 50 лет отказывалась публично говорить о нем. И лишь сейчас младший брат Че Хуан Мартин Гевара прервал молчание!  (vasha-kniga.com).

     

    The titles have been kindly selected by Irina Tkach, Supervising Librarian, BookOps.


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    Spoiler Alert: Reading this post and following the embedded links might spoil the endings of these books.

    You could celebrate Valentine’s Day by reading one of the many heartwarming stories of love triumphant: Pride and Prejudice, perhaps, whose protagonists find their way to love despite their eponymous flaws; or Much Ado About Nothing, in which love overcomes obstacles both cruel and comical. However, if your plans for February 14 involve curling up with a book rather than a significant other, perhaps a story of love lost, betrayed, or otherwise defeated would be more appropriate. If you are in need of some literary angst on this typically romantic holiday, here are some ideas to get you started.

     

    Ulysses

    Ulysses

    To some extent, this immense novel by James Joyce is based on Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. The warrior Odysseus becomes the advertising agent Leopold Bloom; years of journeying across the Mediterranean become a day of wandering the streets of Dublin. While some of these diminished parallels reveal the importance of the mundane, the epic in the everyday, others strike a more melancholy note—especially the relationship between Bloom and his Penelope, Molly. Odysseus returns home to a faithful wife, who has successfully fought a battle of wits with her would-be suitors, but Bloom returns home the same as he left it: a cuckold. Even the superficially affirmative tone of Molly’s concluding reflections reveals the seeds of her discontentment: "..and I thought well as well him as another..."

     

    Rabbit, Run

    Rabbit, Run

    John Updike examines marital (and existential) unrest in more detail with his portrait of the young Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a man who feels trapped in his marriage. Faced with an unhappy wife pregnant with the couple’s second child, Rabbit flees from home, spending the remainder of the book vacillating between his commitment to Janice and his new love for another woman. Despite tenuous attempts at reunion, the novel ends with restless ambiguity rather than romantic triumph. “It’s too [expletive] late to be happy.”

     
     
     
     

    Although they are no more tragic, infidelity’s consequences are certainly more dramatic in this novel by Walker Percy. Learning that his wife has been unfaithful to him drives Lancelot Lamar to blow up his own house, with his wife and her lover (as well as himself) inside. While he survives the explosion, he remains confined in a “Center for Aberrant Behavior,” where he muses distressingly on the nature of love and its state in modern society. "Did I love her then, that day I speak of? Love. No, not love. Not hatred, not even jealousy. What do those old words mean?"

     

     

     

    1984

    1984

    George Orwell doubles this romantic betrayal, albeit in a very different context. The relationship between Winston and Julia, built mainly on their mutual disdain for the totalitarian state in which they live, crumbles when they are separately imprisoned and confronted with the threat of torture and death: each begs to be spared, pleading that the other suffer the torment instead. The lovers both live through their respective incarcerations, and they even manage to see each other again. However, this terrible revelation of their underlying selfishness has extinguished every ember of their passion. "Under the spreading chestnut tree / I sold you and you sold me…"

     
     
     
     

    Often compared to 1984, Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic is arguably even more depressing in its portrayal of humanity and its potential future. Just one aspect of his darkly humorous commentary involves the character of John, also called “the Savage”: a man who is raised outside of society only to be thrust into it as an adult, to much chaotic effect. His ill-fated, Shakespeare-infused idealization of Lenina Crowne gradually builds to a sharp, morbid critique of romanticism. "Did he dare? Dare to profane with his unworthiest hand that… No, he didn’t."

     
     
     
     
    The Great Gatsby

    The Great Gatsby

    A similar romanticism gives F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous work its emotional weight. Gatsby’s love for Daisy endures time, distance, and her marriage to another man; yet ultimately, this passionate personal idealism is crushed by bleak reality, leaving his dreams unfulfilled."Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther….And one fine morning——"

     
     
     
     
     

    Even more depressing than the flawed romantic notions of Gatsby and the Savage is the heartless calculation of Pinkie, the young English gangster from Graham Greene’s 1938 novel. Cinematic flashbacks reveal the roots of Pinkie’s twisted nature—most disturbingly, his aversion to all forms of love. Despite this, however, Pinkie agrees to marry a young waitress named Rose rather than risk her telling the police about the gang’s various murders. In doing so, he both drags her into his violent world and causes further torment to his own sick soul. "A ring…what sort of ring? We aren’t married. Don’t forget that. We aren’t married."

     

     

     

    A Farwell To Arms

    A Farewell To Arms

    If none of these titles are sufficiently depressing, you can always turn to Ernest Hemingway. Gatsby’s grim ending might contain some trace of tragic romance; Brighton Rock’s darkness at least affirms some vision of love by bleak contrast. But the sudden, brutal conclusion to Frederic and Catherine’s relationship offers not even slight consolation. This modernist memento mori is a surefire remedy to a case of mid-February sentimentality. “That was what you did. You died. You did not know what it was about. You never had time to learn.”

     
     
     
     
    Happy Valentine’s Day!
     

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    In honor of Black History Month— and riding high on the box office success of Hidden Figures— we wanted to learn more about the lives of black scientists, many of whom were long overlooked by historians.

    Our NYPL book experts recommended biographies for all ages that highlight these women and men of science and the invaluable contributions they made to their fields — medicine, biology, physics, chemistry, and much more.

    Know and love other biographies of black scientists? Leave us a comment below!

    Picture Books

    thomas

    Vivien Thomas, surgeon: Tiny Stitches by Gwendolyn Hooks

    matthai

    Wangari Maathai, biologist: Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace by Jen Cullerton Johnson

    jemison

    Mae Jemison, astronaut: Mae Jemison by Jodie Shepherd

    carver

    George Washington Carver, agricultural scientist: George Washington Carver by Dana Meachen Rau

    johnson

    Lonnie Johnson, inventor: Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton

     

    Books for Slightly Older Kids

    mae

    Mae Jemison, astronaut: Mae Jemison: Out of This World by Corinne J. Naden and Rose Blue

    drew

    Charles Drew, surgeon: Charles Drew: The Doctor Who Got the World Pumped Up to Donate Blood

    brilliant

    Susan McKinney Steward, George Washington Carver, Ernest Everett Just, Percy Lavon Julian, and Shirley Ann Jackson: Five Brilliant Scientists by Lynda Jones

    morgan

    Garrett Morgan, inventor: Garrett Morgan by Sarah Schuette

    banneker

    Benjamin Banneker, surveyor: Benjamin Banneker, Pioneering Scientist by Ginger Wadsworth or Benjamin Banneker by Isabel Martin

    fifty

    Patricia Bath, Katherine G. Johnson, Mamie Phipps Clark, Mae Jemison, Jane Cooke Wright, and more: Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

    daniel

    Daniel Hale Williams: Daniel Hale Williams: Surgeon Who Opened Hearts and Minds by Mike Venezia

    carver

    George Washington Carver: George Washington Carver by Kitson Jazynka

    scientists

    Mary Eliza Mahoney, Jewel Plummer Cobb, Madame C. J. Walker, and more: Scientists, Healers, and Inventors by Wade Hudson

     

    Books for Adults

    hidden

    Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan, mathematicians and space scientists: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

    chemists

    Marie Maynard Daly and many more: African American Women Chemists by Jeannette E. Brown

    tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist: The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson

    aprille

    Aprille Ericsson-Jackson, engineer: Aerospace Engineer Aprille Ericsson by Laura Hamilton Waxman

    alexander

    Stephon Alexander, physicist: The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe by Stephon Alexander

    Book suggestions submitted by NYPL book experts: Brian Baer, Jenny Baum, Shauntee Burns, Kathie Coblentz, Jennifer Craft, Althea Georges, Susan Tucker Heimbach, Katrina Ortega, Jeffrey Katz, Annie Lin, Amber Moller, Nanor Pagosian, Isaiah Pittman, Jenny Rosenoff, Anne Rouyer, and Amie Wright.

    **All images courtesy of Wikipedia except Aprille Ericsson-Jackson, from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr; Stephon Alexander, from stephonalexander.org; Benjamin Bannecker, from blackinventor.com

    ---

    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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    Everybody hurts sometimes, as the famous R.E.M. song goes. Valentine's Day can be an especially difficult time for those who are unhappily single, lovelorn, or have recently undergone a breakup. Take heart: here's a list of five nonfiction books and ten films that remind readers and viewers that love can be complicated, and they are not alone in experiencing relationship frustrations. With these suggested works, readers can feel some schadenfreude and take comfort in that their romantic situation could be a lot worse.

    Books

    Modern Romance

    Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari with Eric Kleinenberg

    Dating and navigating romantic relationships nowadays is a digital and social  jungle. Comedian Aziz Ansari and New York University sociologist Eric Kleinenberg take readers on a deep dive into the chaos that is the modern dating landscape with interviews and information surveys while also offering some humor on the side.

     

     

     

     

    It's Not You

    It's Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons Why You Are Single by Sara Eckel

    Writer Sara Eckel challenges the idea that people (particularly women of a certain age) are single because of some internal emotional problems—be it having low self-esteem, being too negative or too unwilling to settle. Instead, Eckel encourages readers to stop self-analyzing about what is going wrong and the real important part is to figure out what is going on right in their lives.

     

     

     

    If someone says you complete me, run!

    If Someone Says "You Complete Me," Run!: Whoopi's Big Book of Relationships by Whoopi Goldberg

    Award-winning entertainer Whoopi Goldberg deconstructs the myth that all romantic relationships have to be perfect with her trademark frank, off-the-cuff sense of humor. Goldberg tells readers that they will be fine on their own if they live a life "that is full and complete and rich in experience and feeling and creativity and love as possible."

     

     

     

     

     singles edition

    The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition by Gary Chapman

    Yes, this is another volume from the popular 5 Love Languages series. This book is geared to all single adults—those who never-married, are divorced, separated, single parents and those who have lost a spouse. Gary Chapman reminds readers there many different types of love in life besides the romantic type and he tries to help readers improve how they express their feelings "to build wholesome, supportive relationships by learning to speak other people's primary love languages and better understand your own primary love language."

     

     

     

    It ended badly

    It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright

    People go to extraordinary lengths to break or keep a relationship, and this book chronicles some of the most extreme examples of failed romances among famous and not-so-famous artists, writers, actors, musicians and European nobles, including King Henry VIII, Edith Wharton, Oscar Wilde and the love triangle between Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor. May your own breakup never involve beheadings, a fake funeral, or jail. 

     

     

     

    Films

    Film cover

    The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, (2004), R

    Joel Barish tries to erase former girlfriend Clementine Krucztnski from his mind using a new form of medical technology. Complications ensue when he decides to stop the procedure.

     

     

     

     

     

    Film cover

    In the Mood for Love, (2000), PG

    Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow, two lonely neighbors living in 1960s Hong Kong, form an intimate friendship as their spouses become distant.

     

     

     


     

    Film cover

    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, (1988), R  

    Spanish actress Pepa experiences two days of over-the-top dramatic events as she tries to get in touch with her ex-lover, Iván, while her neighbor and his family and lovers get in the way.

     

     

     

     

     

    The Lobster, (2016), R

    It's hunting season figuratively and literally in this dystopian film as single people are forced to find a partner within 45 days or be turned into animals.

    Ex-Machina, (2015), R

    Robots are not good replacements for human lovers, especially if the robot is treated poorly and has true artificial intelligence.

    Her, (2013), R

    Some people take their love of computers, cell phones and other smart devices a little too far in this near-future sci-fi tale about Theodore and Samantha, his new operating system.

    Happy Together, (1997), no rating 

    Ho Wu-Ping and Lai Yiu-fai, two gay Hong Kong tourists, try to revive their relationship with a trip to Argentina. Results vary.

    Blue is the Warmest Color, (2013), NC-17

    French high school student Adèle is surprised to find herself falling for Emma, a twenty-something art school student, and the film chronicles the ups and downs of their romance.

    Top Five, (2014), R

    Andre Allen, a comedian attempting to be a serious actor, reconsiders his engagement to a reality television star Erica Long when he does a day-long interview with journalist Chelsea Brown.

    (500) Days of Summer, (2009), PG-13

    Tom Hansen thinks he found his soul mate in co-worker Summer Finn, who doesn't believe in love. Post-breakup, Tom analyzes the relationship with help from his sister and friends.

    Bonus Musical Selection

    Company: A Musical Comedy, (2008) 

    Single New Yorker Bobby questions his bachelor status and wonders if he would be better being in a steady relationship like his married friends or staying alone. The songs and sentiments expressed in this 1970 Stephen Sondheim musical still resonate today and this 2006 Broadway production won a Tony for best revivial of a musical.   


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    Subscribe on iTunes.

    Queer Brooklyn

    Hugh Ryan is a curator and journalist based in Brooklyn, whose work primarily explores queer culture and history. He is the Founder of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, and sits on the Board of QED: A Journal in LGBTQ Worldmaking. As the Library’s Martin Duberman Visiting Scholar for 2017, he has been researching the queer history of Brooklyn's working waterfront, in preparation for an upcoming exhibition at the Brooklyn Historical Society. For this week's episode of the New York Public Library Podcast, we're proud to present Ryan discussing the complicated queer refuges offered by the borough's waterfront spaces. 

    The images below were included in Hugh Ryan's talk:

    Masculine Men! Feminine Women!
    Masculine Men! Feminine Women!
    Mabel Hampton
    Mabel Hampton
    Harold Norse
    Harold Norse
    Walt Whitman and Peter Doyle
    Walt Whitman and Peter Doyle

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    Can't get to the library but love to read? Joan Aikens, manager at Eastchester Library, describes an NYPL program to keep dedicated readers connected to the world without having to step outside. It's Books by Mail: reliable, personal, and free to homebound individuals in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island who are temporarily or permanently disabled.

    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.

     

    Joan Aikens, Eastchester Library manager

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    “In Bhutan, you don’t applaud after a dance is performed; you absorb the energy—so you can’t help but be transformed and take something away from it with you.” —Joseph Houseal      

    Bhutan danceWalking by the dedicated computer station in the The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, I am reminded daily of the Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture, that I co-cataloged and created in 2013.       

    As I watch these videos again, I am transported to a fascinating world of unique dances, rituals, costumes, landscapes, and architecture. The Bhutan Dance Project contains 650 videos (over 500 hours of video documentation) taken by Joseph Houseal from 2004-2006 as he traveled between many dance festivals throughout the Kingdom of Bhutan.            

    Since becoming a cataloger 11 years ago, I have viewed many dance performances and the Bhutan Dance Project videos remain close to my heart. They contain a profound sense of energy, spirit, and historic significance that is found throughout this extensive and thoughtful collection of sacred dance rituals.

    Not only are these videos viewable at the Library for the Performing Arts but they are also available and open to everyone through Digital Collections or the catalog.

    Check out these selections: 

    • MGZIDF 743: Entry Procession of relics to Nabji Lhakhang. Nabji Drup: First Day —using the outside environment to traverse the terrain as they approach and enter the temple
    • MGZIDF 811: Chorten Kora. Drukpe Kora, Locked down Camera shot of Chorten Kora from hilltop with Thoengdrel deployed  —A look at a beautiful architecture of the Chorton Kora, modeled after Boudhanath stupa in Nepal.
    • MGZIDF 929B: Dramitse Nga Cham. Thimphu Tsechu: Day Two —Program for the Masked Dances with striking similarities to modern dance.  I see elements of release technique in the dangling leg and swooping torso movements with hopping and twirling added.

    F3726940-e50c-0130-b68c-3c075448cc4b-00002


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    "That I would come into their midst, able to worship these gods in dance, and knowing, ...seemed to be of utmost importance to the cult itself—as it was important that I carry the meaning of the true vaudun to my people in that other country." —Katherine Dunham, Island Possessed

    Afrique (Dunham)
    Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Afrique (Dunham)" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 194. 

    This guide is the second in a series of research guides created to provide our researchers with access to our collection materials, continuing in our legacy of preserving and making accessible materials related to the the black experience throughout the African Diaspora.  With this series of research guides, researchers will find materials from all five divisions here at the Schomburg Center: Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, Art and Artifacts Division, Moving Image Recorded Sound,Photographs and Prints Division, and the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.

    This research guide features collection materials related to black dance pioneer, anthropologist, and choreographer, Katherine Dunham. Dunham traversed locales such as Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, and Martinique, utilizing her formal training in anthropology with scholars such as Melville J. Herskovits, to research traditional spiritual practices and rituals, and implemented learned aspects into her choreography with the her first dance company, Ballet Nègre, and later, The Dunham School of Dance and Theater, with a special emphasis on the “Dunham Technique”. Her dance companies provided opportunities for black dancers and choreographers such as, Lavinia Williams, Jean-Léon Destiné, and Arthur Mitchell. Her groundbreaking work has been the topic of critical scholarship within and outside of her respective fields, various artistic reproductions, and greatly inspired the work of her peers. Years later, her work continues to inspire contemporary generations of dancers, choreographers, and anthropologists.

    Please review the materials listed, and contact the specific divisions listed for more information regarding access to the materials.

    Note: this guide is not all inclusive. Please view our catalog and/or Archives Portal to find additional materials related to Katherine Dunham.

    Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division

    Archival Collections

    Lavinia Williams papers, 1940-1989.

    Helen Armstead-Johnson miscellaneous theater collections, 1831-1993.

    Luther Henderson papers

    Claudia McNeil scrapbooks, 1938-1981.

    Earl Sydnor papers, 1929-1989.

    Ernest "Tad" Truesdale papers, 1945-1987.

    *Note: this division provides research services by appointment only

    Katherine Dunham as Woman with a Cigar from the ballet "Tropics - Shore Excursion."
    Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Katherine Dunham as Woman with a Cigar from the ballet "Tropics - Shore Excursion."" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1943. 

    Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division

    Books

    Island Possessed

    Katherine Dunham: a Biography

    Kaiso!: writings by and about Katherine Dunham

    Katherine Dunham: recovering an anthropological legacy, choreographing ethnographic futures

    Katherine Dunham: pioneer of Black dance


    Microfilm/Microform

    Katherine Dunham: reflections on the social and political contexts of Afro-American dance

    Issandre le mulâtre

    Clippings

    Dunham, Katherine, 1909-2006: clippings.

     

    Roger Ohardieno, Katherine Dunham, and Tommy Gomez performing Rara Tonga in Tropical Revue.
    Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Roger Ohardieno, Katherine Dunham, and Tommy Gomez performing Rara Tonga in Tropical Revue." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1943. 

    Photographs and Prints Division

    Katherine Dunham portrait collection

    Joe Nash Black Dance photograph collection

    Melville J. and Frances S. Herskovits photograph collection

    Léon-Gontran Damas photograph collection

    Helen Armstead-Johnson photograph collection: personalities

    Katherine Dunham and Dancers
    Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Katherine Dunham and Dancers" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 194. 

    Arts and Artifacts Division

    Posters
     
    Accession #PO.89.077.18: Celebration of Women in Dance:honoring The Katherine Dunham Female Dancers 1940-1945 
     
    Accesion #PO.90.010: African American Dance: Beauty, Rhythm & Power

    Due to renovations, this division is temporarily closed.

    Katherine Dunham and Jean Leon Destine in Bal Negre.
    Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. "Katherine Dunham and Jean Leon Destine in Bal Negre." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1946. 

    Moving Image Recorded Sound

    Oral History Interview with Katherine Dunham

    Destination freedom: dance anthropologist

    The MacNeil/Lehrer report: Katherine Dunham

    Bahiana (Dunham)
    Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Bahiana (Dunham)" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 194. 

    Digital Collections

    Sound Recordings

    Still Images

    Moving Image

    Le jazz hot (Dunham)
    Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Le jazz hot (Dunham)" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1952. 

    Outside of NYPL

    The Libray of Congress

    Emory University

    Southern Illonois University, Carbondale - Special Collections Research Center

    Museum of Performance and Design

    UC Irvine Special Collections 

    Columbia University 


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  • 02/16/17--04:02: Why We Love LeVar Burton
  • LeVar Burton reading at a 2012 event; photo via the U.S. Department of Education Flickr

    LeVar Burton is an actor (Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation), director, and author. To library folk and other bookworms, however, he is likely best known as the host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow. Debuting in 1983 and remaining on the air until 2009, the show encouraged 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s kids’ curiosity and love of reading—from its signature themesong to Burton’s now hashtagged catchphrase (#bydhttmwfi“but you don’t have to take my word for it”). In 2012, RR leapt from television to digital devices, inspiring another generation of children to “take a look / it’s in a book” in new, interactive ways.

     

     

    Though both Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton’s career have evolved over the years, one thing that has remained the same is Burton’s commitment to empower all children to become lifelong readers. He’s still making reading cool.

     

     

    He even helped The New York Public Library out when it asked authors, librarians, and other readers to pick up a book or e-reader and declare #ireadeverywhere, which made us feel pretty special.

     

     

    There are many reasons to love LeVar Burton. Certainly one of them is that he’s taught so many of us that we “can be the expert by picking up a book” and that it’s up to us “to pick it off the shelf.”

     


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    Welcome to The Librarian Is In, The New York Public Library's podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.

    Subscribe on iTunes | Get it on Google Play

     

    Frank and Gwen dive into two very different romance novels with NYPL librarians  Annie Lin and Kate Fais.  Plus: a super-clean podcast, a binge-watch-able show, and a gender-bending picture book.

    Guest Stars: Annie Lin & Kate Fais

    romance
    Cupcakes! Kilts! Scotland!

    Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

    When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

    Wikipedia's excellent definition of a regency romance

    9 Romances Featuring Fat Girls on Book Riot

    Non-Book Recommendations

    Kate: Ask a Clean Person podcast

    Annie: Binge-watching Freaks & Geeks

    freaks
    Aw, the freaks and the geeks were so young and cute! Photo from slate.com.

    Gwen: Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian and thousands of Young Voices kids singing “Birdhouse in Your Soul” on YouTube

    Frank:Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Moulin Rouge

    Plus: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

    ---

    Thanks for listening! Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now?

    Find us online @NYPLRecommends, the Bibliofile blog, and nypl.org. Or email us at nyplrecommends@nypl.org!


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    February 18 marks the birthday of Toni Morrison, once of the most highly celebrated American novelists of the latter 20th century and an icon of black literature and thought. In addition to a healthy body of short fiction, non-fiction, and theatre, Morrison has written 11 novels over the course of her near-50 year career, and has received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Nobel Prize in Literature, PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    All this to say, you should definitely be reading some Toni Morrison. Her writing is flat out gorgeous, mixing poetic and vernacular voices to create prose that sounds as lush as the vivid imagery it describes. Across her oeuvre, she has depicted and crystallized the black experience throughout American history, from colonial Virginia to slavery to the Korean War. Toni Morrison is an American treasure, and if you'd like to join us in wishing her a happy 86th, then we'll help you figure out where to start with her work.

    Beloved, 1987

    Beloved

    If there's anywhere to start with Toni Morrison, it's Beloved, the novel that won her the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1988. Set during the Reconstruction, the novel tells the story of Sethe, a runaway slave whose house becomes haunted by the ghost of her daughter. This haunting tale of the vicious horror of American slavery is one of Morrison's best novels, and it's considered one of the most important works of fiction of the last 30 years.

    Song of Solomon, 1977

    Song of Solomon

    If Beloved is Toni Morrison's best known work, then Song of Solomon is a close secondand, according to some, an even more stunning piece of fiction. This epic and fantastical novel chronicles the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead, who comes of age in a troubled family in Michigan in the 1930's and then strikes out to the American South in search of his father's origins and a rumored hidden treasure. This novel, Morrison's third, was widely acclaimed and established her firmly as one of America's foremost novelists of the 1970's.

    A Mercy, 2008

    A Mercy

    A lot of the novels on this list come from the first half of Toni Morrison's career, but neither her production nor her brilliance have diminished in recent years, as her acclaimed novel A Mercy can attest. This multilayered story of 17th century Virginia focuses on the home of merchant and new immigrant Jacob Vaark, and the four women who depend on him and one other: Rebekka, his wife; Lina, his Native American servant; Sorrow, a foundling; and Florens, a slave's daughter who Vaark accepted as payment for debt. After Vaark dies, these four must co-exist and survive in a hostile and lawless new nation.

    Sula, 1973

    Sula

    In the poor, black neighborhood known as the Bottom, two children of contrasting backgrounds grow into very different women: Nel, the child of a straightlaced, conservative family, settles down and marries; while Sula, raised by her eccentric grandmother and wild mother, is perceived as unpredictable and dissolute, and her return to the Bottom after a mysterious 10-year absence throws the struggling community into chaos. 

    Jazz, 1992

    Jazz

    In a departure from her other work, Jazz shifts from the suburban black communities of the Midwest to the urban tumult of 1920's Harlem, where she tells the story of the unhappily married Joe and Violet through a series of vignettes and shifting perspectives. The postmodern narrative style, meant to evoke the improvisation and polyphony of jazz music, sets this novel apart from Morrison's others, but it retains her lyrical touch and her skill with creating complicated and fascinating characters. 

    The Bluest Eye, 1970

    The Bluest Eye

    This novel was Morrison's first, which evolved from a short story she wrote while teaching at Howard in the 1960's. Set in the 1940's in the suburbs of Cleveland, the book tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl who grows up poor and demeaned by her community for being ugly. The Bluest Eye wasn't widely reviewed upon its release, but nevertheless, it stands out a half century later as a painful story about the monstrous hostility and shame inflicted by white standards of beauty, which dominate our world to this day.

    If you need more Morrison, check out our podcast featuring her and Angela Davis on social progress, and if you've got any other favorite Morrison novels, shout them out in the comments!


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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.

    LittleHouse
    via Wikimedia Commons

    We Read...

    The Ta-Nehisi Coates reading list. So many reasons to love Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow. Revisiting Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books. We mapped NYC literary love stories. While you wait for 1984, you can read these books. Brooklyn's queer waterfront has a rich history. How can you mend a broken heart? Sometimes you say "nah" to happy endings. We're naming a Harlem branch library after Harry Belafonte. We're all about feminist reads. Check out the patents of these incredible black inventors!

    Stereogranimator Friday Feels:

    //stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index
    GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator

    TGIF:

    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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  • 02/17/17--06:57: Where to Start with Amy Tan
  • Amy Tan
    Amy Tan. Image via Wikipedia.

    Amy Tan, the bestselling author known for her moving stories of Chinese-American mothers and daughters, celebrates her 65th birthday on February 19. In her near 30-year career, Tan has penned seven novels, several works of non-fiction, and two children's books, and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Orange Prize. If you haven't read any Amy Tan, her work is a treasure trove of beautiful stories about immigration, intergenerational division, and the Chinese-American experience. Check out our list of recommended novels to start with to learn more.

    The Joy Luck Club, 1989

    The Joy Luck Club

    Tan's debut novel is also her most famous, causing a huge splash upon its release and eventually spawning a Hollywood adaptation. The Joy Luck Club of the title consists of four Chinese women and their four daughters, born in America, and the novel takes the form of a series of vignettes spanning generations: from the mothers' journeys from China to America, to the current crises their daughters face in adulthood. Notable for its rich characters and moving depictions of mother-daughter relationships, The Joy Luck Club is an absolute Amy Tan must-read.

    The Valley of Amazement, 2013

    The Valley of Amazement

    Amy Tan's most recent book, The Valley of Amazement, is epic tale encompassing decades from turn-of-the-century San Francisco to the fall of the Qing dynasty in Shanghai, as a mother and daughter are separated, an ocean between them. As the two women seek to find each other and themselves, Tan explores her characteristic themes of motherhood, identity, and the clash of Chinese and American cultures in this unsparing, sweeping tale.

    The Kitchen God's Wife, 1991

    The Kitchen God's Wife

    The Kitchen God's Wife focuses on the unspoken tensions and emotional walls between Chinese-American Pearl Brandt and her immigrant mother, Winnie, as the two try to connect at a family reunion in San Francisco. In this ambitious novel, which reviewers compared to War and Peace and Gone With The Wind, Winnie opens up to her daughter about her life before coming to America, and her struggles with abandonment, neglect, and her abusive marriage.

    The Hundred Secret Senses, 1995

    The Hundred Secret Senses

    This novel, Tan's third, shifts away from her bread and butter mother-daughter relationships to focus on two sisters instead: Libby, an American-born photographer, is constantly irked by her half-sister Kwan, who immigrated from China years prior and claims to be able to converse with ghosts. When the pair visit Kwan's hometown, Changmian, Libby begins to notice strange connections between the present and the tales of the past that Kwan seems to have pulled from the land of the dead.

    What are your favorite Amy Tan reads? Give them a shout-out in the comments below!


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    The New York Public Library poseses one of the most comprehensive collections of British patents dating back to the 17th century (30,000+ volumes!). Publications such as The Mechanics Magazinefounded by a Scottish patent agent, described many patented inventions. Fortunately, many of its issues are easily accessible through the Library's database.

    The Mechanics Magazine was published weekly in London by John Knight and Henry Lacey begining in 1823. It was founded and edited by Joseph Clinton Robertson (c.1787–1852), a writer who published under a pseudonym of Sholto Percy. In the first issue, he explained that his object was "one of entire novelty, and no inconsiderable importance" to the  "numerous and valuable portion of the community, including all who are manually employed in our different trades and manufactures", and who needed "a periodical work, which, at-a price suited to their humble means, would diffuse among them a better acquaintance with the history and principles of the arts they practise, convey to them earlier information than they had hitherto been able to procure—of new discoveries, inventions, and improvements, and attend generally to their peculiar interests, as affected by passing events. (...)" It was a low-priced scientific weekly believed to be the first publication of its kind. 

    After a tug of war with his publishers, Robertson moved his magazine to be printed by M. Salmon (1829) and the title was expanded to The Mechanics' Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal, and Gazette. After a new publisher, Robertson, Brooman, & Co. took over in 1853 the title was first shorten to Mechanics' Magazine but in 1858 it was once again expanded, this time to The Mechanics' Magazine and Journal of Engineering, Agricultural Machinery, Manufactures and Shipbuilding. In 1871 the magazine became self-published and the title was set as The Mechanics' Magazine and Journal of Science, Arts, and Manufactures. In 1873 the title was incorporated into a new publication Iron printed for the proprietors by Ranken & Co. There was also an American edition first published as Mechanics' Magazine (1825) and later continued as American Mechanics' Magazine (1825-1826), The Franklin Journal, and American Mechanics' Magazine (1826-1828), and Journal of the Franklin Institute. It was originally planned as a copy of the London title but soon was turned into the publication of original matter which included selections from other journals of somewhat similar character.

    The Science, Industry and Business Library offeres access to Compendex Historical Archive database which contains information on engineering and technology, including journal articles, technical reports, monographs, and conference proceedings for the period from 1884 to 1969. Below are excerpts of issues from The Mechanics' Magazine, all accessible through the Library database.

    Design for Dredger

    The Clyde Trust, which was established by Act of Parliament in 1858, was composed of ten members of Town Council of Glasgow and fifteen steamship owners. Its goal was to develop and manage the Clyde River as well as its trade and shipyards. The dredger shown above was built entirely of iron for the Clyde Trust by Thomas Wingate and Co. of Glasgow in 1855.  "It is 120 ft. long and 33 ft. broad, with a flat bottom, and 5 ft. draw of water; the plates are 7-16ths in. thick at the bottom, and 6-leths in. at the sides. The two boilers A A fixed in the centre of the vessel, are low pressure cylindrical flue boilers, 6 ft. diameter and 15 ft. long, working at 3 lbs. pressure above the atmosphere; and the coal consumed is about 2k tons per day of ten hoars..." Read more in the July 21, 1865 issue.

    Boot-making Machine

    "Mr. Charles Baumlch, of Bristol, boot manufacturer, has patented improvements in machinery for the manufacture of boots and shoes. This invention consists in constructing machinery for sewing or uniting the soles to the uppers of boots and shoes, and for sewing or uniting other hard substances; also for causing the boot or shoe to move into proper position as the sewing is performed." Read more in September 1, 1865 issue.

    Cigar-making Machine

    "The machine (...) is designed to manufacture cigars complete. It is to roll the filling, to wind the inner and outer wrapper around it, to form the point, and to cut off the end so as to form a perfect cigar. It is the invention of Mr. Bright and Mr. Stone, of New York, and has been patented in England." Read more in the September 24, 1869 issue

    Improved Velocypede

    William Williams Hooper and James Drummond Hooper received a British patent (no. 1086, dated April 9, 1869) for Improvements for the construction of vehicles and in the means of propelling the same (velocipedes). "The inventors connect a lever with the axle of the driving wheel, or to a wheel so placed that it may be connected with the driving wheel to multiply its revolutions. The lever is made to act on the wheel with which it is connected by means of a pawl furnished with lugs or claws, which impinge against or grip a flange on the wheel axle in one course of their stroke, and are released on their return stroke. Springs are employed in connection with the levers and pawls, to ensure their proper working." Read more in October 22, 1869 issue.  It's interesting to mention that US velocipede patents covering 1789-1892 were published in two volumes and two years later a supplement to this publication was issued.  

    Steam Fire Engine

    Merryweather & Sons of Clapham, later Greenwich, London, were builders of steam fire engines and steam tram engines.  "This engine, weighing about 20 cwt., is mounted on high wheels and springs, so as to be drawn rapidly and easily either by men or by one or a pair of horses, and is equal to the power of 80 men in pumping water. It has a horizontal steam cylinder 5 ½ in. diameter, and a horizontal direct and double-acting pump 4 ½ in. diameter, the stroke of steam and water pistons being 12 in. (...). The boiler is on the well-known 'Field' system adapted for use on steam fire engines, and is tested to 300 lb. per square inch; it has all the requisite fittings, and is handsomely cased in brass. The ordinary time required to raise steam to working pressure is but eight minutes from lighting the fire." Read more in the February 17, 1871 issue. The company later publisheed this periodical:  The Fireman and journal of the civil protective forces of the United Kingdom and it continues its operations to this day.

    Electric Anemometer

    In January 12, 1877 issue of the The Journal of the Society of Arts dr. R.J. Mann elloquently explained that: "In Gordon's anemometer, No. 2,876, both direction and velocity are printed off every quarter of an hour by the instrumentality of an electric current. A strip of white paper, covered by a black web, is drawn out slowly by a clock, under the rim of a wheel, which has steel letters, expressing twenty different bearings of the compass, projecting from it. The direction vane turns this wheel round so that the letters which correspond to its proper direction at the time are immediately above the paper. Every quarter of an hour an electric current is established, and this at the instant makes an electromagnet, which pulls down the wheel against the paper, and so causes the embossed type to be imprinted upon it. The black web leaves its black pigment on the white paper in the form of the letter when pressed against it. (...)" Read more in the February 3, 1872 issue of the Mechanics' Magazine.

    Improved Printing Press

    In the second volume of Reports on the Vienna Universal Exhibition of 1873  Messrs. Hughes and Kimber, of London were mentioned as exhibitors of "(...) four machines of various kinds, the principal one being a Wharfedale press of the familiar type. This machine is for fine colour or black printing, and is of double demy size, 36 in. by 24 in. It will print 1,200 sheets per hour. The most noticeable difference between this and the Continental machines is that the sheets here are fed in from a table nearly level with the bottom of the cylinder and pass directly underneath it. After being printed the sheets are carried upwards over rollers upon a frame, and delivered at the other end of the machine. (...)" Read more in the August 31, 1872 issue of the Mechanics' Magazine.

    Improved Agricultural Locomotive

    Charles Burrell & Sons built traction engines/road locomotives, agricultural machinery, steam trucks wagons and tram engines out of their factory in Thetford, Norfolk since 1770. "This engine is of 10 horse-power (nominal), fitted with a single cylinder,  which is placed at the smoke-box end of the boiler. (…) The driving wheels, which are 18 inches wide on the face, are made with cast-iron naves, wrought-iron spokes, and cast-iron rims. (…) The steering apparatus is very simple, and is managed from the man-stand. The engine travels at a speed 1 1/2 and 3 miles an hour, and carries a supply of coal for a whole day, and of water for about three hours.” Read more in November 30, 1872 issue. The company at its height employed 350 people. With the invetion and implementaiton of combustion engine it lost a lot of business and was forced to close its doors in 1928. A part of its plant survives as a museum.


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    In Feburary of 1926, Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week, which would later become Black History Month. Celebrate Black History Month with the Library Shop, and take a moment to find a meaningful gift.

    1. Women in Science

    Science - Hidden Figures, Ada Twist Scientist

    Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughn propelled us into space, and Ada Twist asks the tough questions.

    Follow the trail of questions to get your book.

    2. Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou

    American Treasure Maya Angelou uplifts with her words. Follow your heart freely, wearing the stirling silver Caged Bird Necklace and read the famous book of the same name.

    Let your spirit soar.

    3. Picture Books

    Picture Books - Jazz Day, I Have a Dream

    Recall two famous moments in history: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 Civil Rights March and A Great Day in Harlem, a 1958 photograph of 57 Jazz musicians by Art Kane.

    Step through time.

    4. Modern Masters

    Modern Masters - Colson Whitehead, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Explore race relations with Colson Whitehead and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, modern masters in their own right. Whitehead's newest National Book Award Winning book, The Underground Railroad, expores a literal underground railroad. While Adichie's Americanah will take you on a journey to America as a young Nigerian woman tries to find her way.

    Begin your literary journey.

    5. The Obamas

    Obamas - Dreams from My Father and When They Go Low, We Go High necklace

    The first African-American president and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, developed a legacy of reading. Keep on the high road with Michelle Obama's "When They Go Low, We Go High" Chocolate and Steel Necklace and Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams from My Father.

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    6. History

    History - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, The Emancipation Proclimation

    Did you ever wonder why February was the month Woodson chose? It has two important birthdays: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Celebrate with their two most famous works: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and The Emancipation Proclamation.

    Relive history.

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    Want 10% off your next order? Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter to get exclusive offers and updates straight to your inbox. Plus, follow the Library Shop on Facebook and Twitter.


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    The New York Public Library has exhibitions and displays in branches all over the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. But, if it feels too cold to go traveling this time of year, then stay warm and check out some of our online exhibitions instead. Here are four of the top online exhibitions highlighting African Americans in honor of Black History Month.

    In Motion: The African-American Migrant Experience

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    From the Transatlantic slave trade to the great migration to movements in between and after and to places all over the world, African Americans have been in motion for centuries. The online exhibition In Motion: The African-American Migrant Experience and its companion book of the same name is the place to start your journey of discovery of the African American migration experience.

     

     

    Treasures of the New York Public Library

    Interested in art, photography, moving images, maps, or the written word? The New York Public Library has extensive archival materials, and you can explore them in the online exhibition Treasures of the New York Public Library. Explore the Americana, Black History and Culture, and The Written Word sections for looks into the NYPL's archives on African American history. 

     

    Harlem: 1900-1940

    Harlem has been a mecca for African American art and culture for over 100 years. From a small village in upper manhattan to a vibrant New York City neighborhood, Harlem has been constantly evolving since its conception. Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Billie Holiday, Dorothy West, Malcolm X, and more all made their homes in Harlem. Harlem 1900-1940 is about the early days of Harlem and its growth into one of the most historically and culturally vital cities in America.

     

     

    African Americans and American Politics: An Exhibition From The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

    Africans Americans have been part of American politics for over 200 years. Whether revolting against slavery, running for elected office, leading civil rights movements or running for president, black men and women have always been there, a part of the fabric of change and progress in America. The tenets of democracy and the words of the constitution have empowered and shaped the way African Americans see themselves throughout American history. This interactive exhibition highlights centuries of African American involvement in American politics.

     

     


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