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    For many of us, children's books are our first encounter with literature. Perhaps we fell in love with stories reading The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats or the stories of Beatrix Potter.

    As adults, nostalgia may lead us to revisit and reconsider the stories of our youth, so we've assembled this list of adult books that turn a critical eye toward children's favorites.

    Have more recommendations? Share them in our comment section below.

    Alice had been looking over his shoulder with much curiosity
    From NYPL's Digital Collections, ca. 1901. ID:1704728.

     

    Wild Things

    Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as Adults by Bruce Handy
    A nostalgic ramble through classic children's literature by a Vanity Fair  contributing editor. This book explores the stories of forefront authors and illustrators and also reveals the wisdom that can be found in children's masterpieces, from The Cat in the Hat and Charlotte's Web to Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


     

     

     

    A Boy Named Shel

    A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein by Lisa Rogak
    A revealing portrait of the little-known life of the children's author best known for poetry collections like Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic describes his forays into songwriting and scriptwriting, his jet-setting residences throughout the country, and his complicated personality.





     

    Was the Cat in the Hat Black?

    Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books by Phillip Nel
    Nel presents five serious critiques of the history and current state of children's literature's tempestuous relationship with both implicit and explicit forms of racism. Rooted in research yet written with a lively, crackling touch, this book delves into years of literary criticism and recent sociological data to show a way forward. The text concludes with a short and stark proposal of actions everyone—reader, author, publisher, scholar, citizen—can take to fight the biases and prejudices that plague children's literature.

     

     

    Girl Sleuth

    Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
    All those mysteries solved by Nancy Drew, the brainchild of children's story mogul Edward Stratemeyer, were created by two different women who published under the pseudonym "Carolyn Keene." Working from correspondence, articles, and other archival materials, Rehak recreates the lives and careers of Stratemeyer, his daughter Harriet, and writer Mildred Wirt Benson, in an engaging book for grown-up Drew aficionados.




     

    Enchanted Hunters

    Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood by Maria Tatar
    Tatar challenges assumptions about childhood reading. By exploring how beauty and horror operate in children's literature, she examines how and what children read, showing how literature can transport and transform lives.

     

     

     

     

    Little Author in the Big Woods

    Little Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Yona Zeldis McDonough
    A narrative portrait of the author of the beloved Little House series details her real life as a young pioneer traveling west with her family and homesteading on new territories, revealing how her actual life differed from the adventures in her books.






     
    The Secret History of Wonder Woman

    The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
    This cultural history of Wonder Woman traces the character's creation and enduring popularity, drawing on interviews and archival research to highlight the pivotal role of feminism in shaping her seven-decade story.
     





     

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    Book descriptions taken from the NYPL catalog.

    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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    Baseball card photo of Mickey Mantle
    Mickey Mantle via Wikicommons

    Our favorite time of year is finally here… it's October! Not only do we have the whimsical New York Comic Con at the top of the month, but now that the Major League Baseball regular season has come to a close, postseason play is underway.

    Last season provided us with many memorable moments, with none bigger than the Houston Astros bringing the state of Texas its first ever Commissioner's Trophy as World Series Champions. When you take into account the devastation that Hurricane Harvey brought to Houson last year, the Astros' seven-game World Series victory (which featured arguably one of baseball's wildest games in Game 5) is definitely all the more gratifying.

    Couple that with the Wild Card-winning Yankees' incredible postseason run (which included knocking off the 102-win Cleveland Indians), and the 104-win LA Dodgers making their first World Series appearance since 1988, and it was, without a doubt, a great October in 2017.

    With the 2018 edition of playoff baseball starting, it's always fun to reminisce about postseasons gone by. To recall incredibly memorable moments, and then wonder what's going happen this time around to join the ranks…what could be better? So as we did in 2015 and 2017, let's talk about postseason home runs you may have forgotten.

    1. Donn Clendenon, 1969 World Series, Game 2

    It's really hard to emphasize just how important Donn Clendenon was to the Mets in the 1969 World Series. And if it weren't for a series of topsy-turvy circumstances, he may have never become a Met in the first place.

    A Pittsburgh Pirate from 1961 to 1968, Clendenon was dealt to the expansion Montreal Expos in the winter of '68 as part of the league's expansion draft (with four new teams entering the league in 1969). But before playing a game for Montreal, he was sent to the Houston Astros, where Clendenon refused to play for manager Harry Walker due to his alleged racism. Thus he ended up back in Montreal, until a move sent him to the New York Mets at the June trade deadline.

    Anyway, Clendenon was really acquired to platoon with Mets incumbent first baseman Ed Kranepool—thus he never even took an at-bat in the Mets NLCS victory over the Atlanta Braves. That all changed in the World Series. After dropping Game 1 to the Baltimore Orioles, Clendenon gave the Mets an early lead in Game 2 with a 4th inning solo home run. That would end up being monumental as the Mets would win Game 2 by a slim 2-1 margin.

    The Mets ended up not losing another game in the series, en route to their first World Series title. Clendenon would end up hitting three home runs in the Series, taking home MVP honors along the way. In all three games in which Clendenon went yard, the Mets won by either one or two runs. That's how vital an acquisition Donn was for the club in 1969.

    2. Scott Leius, 1991 World Series, Game 2

    Let me start by saying the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins is one of the best of all time. The number of classic moments and heroes in that Series is remarkable, and I wish I could do a whole blog post on that Fall Classic alone. From Kirby Puckett, to Queens-bred Gene Larkin, to Jack Morris, to Chuck Knoblauch's little deke, to Kent Hrbek'… little stunt, the 1991 Series had it all.

    But one guy who doesn't get talked about is Scott Leius. Born in Yonkers, Leius played in 109 games for the Minnesota Twins in 1991, but only accrued 235 plate appearances that year, to the tune of a useful .286/.378/.417 slash. However, in the '91 World Series, Leius would pick up his biggest hit of the season (and, who're we kidding, his life).

    Leius came to the plate in Game 2 to face Tom Glavine, with the game knotted at 2. Leius drove Glavine's first pitch up over the plexiglass wall in left field to give the Twins a 3-2 lead they would never surrender. The World Series wasn't decided until the 7th and final game, in an extra 10th frame, but without Leius' Game 2 heroics, the Twins may have never reached that classic Game 7. 

    3. Mark Bellhorn, 2004 ALCS, Game 6

    Similar to the 1991 World Series, the 2004 American League Championship Series was one of those playoff series you never forget. With a seemingly endless list of unforgettable moments and heroes, the series made me feel lucky to have been alive and locked in when it was going down. There was incredible drama everywhere.

    Fighting for a spot in the 2004 World Series, The New York Yankees jumped out to a commanding three-games-to-none lead over their nemesis Boston Red Sox. While all seemed lost, Boston pulled out Game 4. Then they pulled out Game 5 in 14 innings (with help of a forgotten moment which, if it had not happened, would have changed history forever). Boston, basically playing with house money, traveled to the Bronx for Game 6 hoping to perform the unthinkable.

    Fast forward to the game's 4th inning. Boston has a 1-0 lead with 2 Red Sox on base, for 2nd baseman Mark Bellhorn. Bellhorn tattooed a Jon Lieber offering off the hands of a fan sitting in the first row of the left field bleachers. Initially not ruled a home run, it took a dispute from manager Terry Francona and an umpire huddle-up for the ruling on the field to be righted. It was a gigantic 3-run home run for Bellhorn, the Red Sox would win 4-2, and you know the rest: The unforgettable 2004 Boston Red Sox became the first ballclub to overcome a 3-0 game deficit to win a series, and would go on to break the Curse of the Bambino, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in four straight games. 

    4. Mickey Mantle, 1952 World Series, Game 6

    Let's take a trip back in time. The 1952 World Series pitted bitter rivals against one another, the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The two teams traded victories through the first five games, with Brooklyn winning an extra-inning affair in Game 5 on the strength of a Duke Snider RBI double. This put the Yankees' backs against the wall, down three games to two.

    In Game 6 at Ebbets Field, Mantle came to the plate in the 8th inning with the Yankees hanging on to a 2-1 lead. He clubbed a solo shot over the wall in right off of Vic Raschi, an insurance run to put the Yankees up, 3-1. Brooklyn answered when Snider went yard in the bottom half of the frame, but that would do it for the scoring. The Yankees eked out the 3-2 victory to force a Game 7, in which they broke the see-saw battle and won 4-2. In that Game 7, Mantle collected his 2nd career World Series home run, Billy Martin made a huge play in the infield, and Casey Stengel's squad took home their 4th straight World Series title, and 5th in 6 years. An absolutely dominant stretch for the Bronx Bombers. 

    5. Rick Monday, 1981 NLCS, Game 5

    Let's conclude this year's list with an absolute classic! It was October 19, 1981, a day forever known in Canada as Blue Monday, all thanks to Rick Monday. Let's review.

    1981 was a messy Major League Baseball season, interrupted on June 12th due to a players' strike and then resuming again in August. The owners decided to split the season into two halves; not fair to a couple of teams, but that's a story for another time. (The book Split Season by Jeff Katz is a fantastic summary of exactly how 1981 ended up breaking down.)

    For the sake of our blog post, just know the Montreal Expos and LA Dodgers met in that season's National League Championship, especially meaningful to the Expos fan base and city of Montreal, since postseason success had completely eluded the franchise up to this point. But in their 13th season of existence, the Expos found themselves in a winner-take-all Game 5 at Olympic Stadium, with the score tied 1-1 in the top of the 9th. Expos manager Jim Fanning turned to stalwart Steve Rogers to take the mound. Rogers had earned a complete-game victory in Game 3, and would later become the Montreal Expos' all-time winningest pitcher with 158 wins. However on this day, his good fortune would not be present.

    Rogers retired the first two batters in that 9th inning before Rick Monday came to the plate. Monday hit a flyball to center that kept carrying and carrying, bringing center fielder Andre Dawson to the wall, until it flew beyond it. That home run was the nail in the coffin for the '81 Expos , as they'd lose, 2-1. It would be the franchise's final postseason appearance until 2012, seven years after they left Montreal for Washington DC, and 31 years after Blue Monday.
     

     

    For more books on the beautiful game of baseball, please check out the NYPL catalog's extensive offerings. Enjoy the playoffs!


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    The film adaptation of Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give is lending new energy to the award-winning, best-selling novel about police violence and Black life in America.

    A lot of great lists online have already suggested dozens of fiction readalikes, so we thought we'd recommend graphic novels, poetry, and memoirs that address similar themes in a different format. (And we couldn't resist adding a few novels, too.)

    Find THUGas a book, ebook, audiobook, or teacher set in our Library collections, and then check out the titles below.

    Graphic Novels

    alfonso jones

    I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina

    Alfonso is 15 years old when he's shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in Harlem. He narrates this book from the afterlife, riding a subway car full of ghosts who contextualize his death in the long history of police violence against Black people.

     

     

     

     

    monster

    Monster by Walter Dean Myers, adapted by Guy A. Sims and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

    This classic story of Steve Harmon, a Black teen in prison awaiting trial, translates perfectly into graphic novel format. Innovative black-and-white comic-book-like illustrations go perfectly with Steve's love of filmmaking, and heighten the suspense of an already-suspenseful narrative.

     

     

     

     

    black

    Black, vol. 1 by Kwanza Osajyefo

    "In a world that already hates and fears them — what if only Black people had superpowers?" This graphic novel posits that questions and addresses systemic oppression and racial inequity in a superhero setting. Stay tuned for the next anthology, coming soon to a library near you.

     

     

     

     

    Poetry and Memoir

    for every one

    For Every One by Jason Reynolds

    Reynolds, award-winning and best-selling author, calls himself a dreamer. In this book of poetry, he calls other dreamers to action. Reynolds first performed this poem at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers.

     

     

     

     

    citizen

    Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

    Not strictly a book for teens (although are any?), this powerful collection presents essays, images, and prose poems that resonate with readers of all ages. She uses matter-of-fact examples and clear references to showcase systemic racism in everyday life and American culture.





     

    betty before x

    Betty before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renee Watson

    Betty Shabazz's and Malcolm X's daughter masterfully wove together this mix of historical fiction and memoir about her mother's childhood in 1940s Detroit. The story is aimed at a younger audience, but it has important perspective on the civil rights movement for readers of all ages.

     

     

     

     

    Fiction

    THUG is part of a growing group of important novels about the Black experience in America, police violence, and its intersection with urban life. Here are a few more suggestions.

    Dear Martin by Nic Stone

    Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

    How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

    Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond

    All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

    fiction readalikes

    Thanks to YA powerhouses Lyndsie Guy and Susen Shi for contributing book suggestions!

    ---

    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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    Insta Novels: The Yellow Wallpaper Comes to Instagram Stories

    Today The New York Public Library released the latest installment of Insta Novels: "The Yellow Wallpaper," a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The story was illustrated by Buck (@buck_design) and is available to read on the Library's Instagram account (@nypl).

    Insta Novels, a reimagining of Instagram Stories to provide a new platform for some of the most iconic stories ever written, was first launched in August 2018 with a newly digitized version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Magoz (@magoz). The program, created by  independent advertising and creative agency Mother in New York and developed in partnership with the Library, aims to make some of the greatest stories ever written available even more widely.

    How It Works

    First, go to the Library's Instagram account (@nypl) and tap "The Yellow Wallpaper" in the highlights section, right under the bio.

    Rest your thumb on lower right part of the screen to hold the page, and lift your thumb to turn the page. (The lower right thumb holder is designed to double as a flip book: if you lift your thumb and let the pages flip, you'll see an animation.)

    Did you miss Alices Adventure’s in Wonderland? You can still read the Insta Novel edition by locating it on our virtual bookshelf in the highlights section of the Library's Instagram account  (@nypl).

    Read More on SimplyE from The New York Public Library

    The books coming to Insta Novels are also available on SimplyE, The New York Public Library's free e-reader app, available on the App Store or Google Play.

    Anyone can browse classic titles, including "The Yellow Wallpaper," Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and The Metamorphosis, in the SimplyE Collection in the app. Those eligible for library cards from The New York Public Library can also access 300,000+ e-books, from bestellers to classics, by connecting to NYPL in the app.

    Other Ways to Read the Stories

    There are many ways to read or listen to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "The Yellow Wallpaper," The Metamorphosis. Anyone can access the full text of the stories on the Project Gutenberg website. NYPL cardholders can check out the books and audiobooks via the NYPL catalog. Also, you can find the stories by searching the online catalog of NYPL's Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.

    After You Read "The Yellow Wallpaper," Read This


    Finished reading "The Yellow Wallpaper?" Here are some similar stories you may enjoy.


    A perfect readalike for "The Yellow Wallpaper" is another short story called "The Husband Stitch" from Carmen Maria Machado's collection Her Body and Other Parties (find in NYPL catalog). We also recommend two Sylvia Plath poems, "Morning In the Hospital Solarium" and "Tulips."


    Brush up on essential feminist reads with our reading list Know Your Feminisms.

    Insta Novels - The Yellow Wallpaper

     

    Insta Novels

     


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    Charmed I'm Sure book cover

    Rosie Charming comes from royal lineage. Call her lucky or not: Her mom is Snow, and her dad attracts chicks like bees to nectar. Rosie also has quite an interesting group of seven uncles who can be quite quirky. And let's not forget the talking mirror that dispenses unsolicited advice incessantly. All of this could give a girl a headache, but Rosie handles it valiantly. 

    Now comes the Fall Festive adventure. Rosie very much wants to attend the social dance, but a slight problem nags at her—she needs to find a date. How will she do this in time and who will she ask?

    Rosie notices her friends getting dates, which only increases her panic. She even goes to her mother and uncles for advice in a desperate search for answers. The teen bakes cookies and creates Kookie Kindness Day in an oblique search for the perfect Fall Festive date candidate.

    Rosie manages to focus on the date project along with homework and other trivialities of her life in fairytale land. She looks at her parents' picture-perfect romance and struggles to match up to their idyllic lifestyle. Would it not have been easier to weather the storms of teenage angst without everyone seeming to already have a happily-ever-after?

    Charmed, I'm Sure by Sarah Darer Littman, 2016

    This is a very fun book; I love this author's style.

    Fairy tale books

    Sarah Littman's website
     

    In Case You Missed It book cover

    Sammy Wallach's junior year of high school consists of two major obsessions: going to the prom with Jamie Moss, and learning disturbing revelations about her father.

    Jamie is simply beautiful to Samantha. All her thoughts and dreams revolve around him, and she is always scheming and dreaming up delightful versions of a long-awaited prom-posal. The girl even devises a formula, complete with an 80% chance that Jamie will ask her out.

    Every time Jamie so much as smiles at her, or looks in her direction, Sammy's thoughts flutter in anticipation. She longs for him to requite her crush. Meanwhile, Sammy's friends, Rosa and Margo, seem to have dates already lines up for the prom. What on earth is taking Jamie so long to pop the prom question?

    Sammy's father is beset with a unique work issues. He is the CEO of a big bank, and protestors have taken to the streets to express their displeasure with big business. They obstruct his path to the office. Racist and sexist remarks in his emails raise the ire of the masses. Computer hacking reveals snippets of discrimination, and her father is ensconced in a cover-up effort. With all of these statements smeared across the newspaper, this is not the father Sammy used to know. Rosa has been hurt by the racist comments that Sammy's father made. How can Sammy make amends with her?

    In Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer Littman, 2017

    I am a big fan of Littman's; she produces brilliant work and this book, of course, is no exception.

    Books about hacking

     


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    Fall is upon us and with the foliage and dropping temperatures comes another round of Community Conversations in public libraries across the city. This season, the Great Kills and St. George Libraries have teamed up with the Freshkills Park Alliance to offer an exciting series of programs designed to engage the community and share more about this wonderful resource right here in our backyard.

    Photo of Freshkills park
    Freshkills Park, photo courtesy NYC Parks


    The three sessions, all held at the Great Kills Library, will be an excellent opportunity for people to learn the history of this landfill-turned-park, including the types of programming offered, and what's in store for the future.

    Check out the detailed descriptions of each session below and be sure to RSVP here.

    Community Conversations in October

    Introducing Freshkills Park: Landfill History and Transformation
    October 9 at 5 PM, Great Kills Library

    In this first session, participants will receive a detailed and engaging overview of Freshkills Park, including its ongoing transformation from landfill to landscape. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session.

    Engaging with the Environment
    October 16 at 5 PM, Great Kills Library

    Participants will learn about some of the terrific ways artists and researchers are enhancing our understanding of Freshkills Park.

    Freshkills Park: Now and in the Future
    October 23 at 5 PM, Great Kills Library

    Discover the recreational and educational opportunities happening at Freshkills. In addition, learn about some exciting things in store for the future.

    For more information, follow us on Facebook and on Twitter at @GreatKillsNYPL, @StGeorgeNYPL and @FreshKillsPark.
     

    Community Conversations
    The brand-new Community Conversations initiative at The New York Public Library introduces a space for discussion on local topics that matter most to you. Local librarians at select branches will co-facilitate these dialogues with community organizations, inviting anyone and everyone to the table to share and listen. Let’s create a truly democratic space where we can connect together through meaningful dialogue! Learn more and browse all of our conversations online . 


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    In our continuing poetry series, with this post we'll breakdown the structure of a poem. There are about as many parts to a poem as the imagination can hold, but we’ll go over just a few.

    Diagram of a steer with parts noted in German, 1897
    NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 821897

    To start, look at the poem’s shape on the page. At times, you’ll see an image that echoes something about what the poem centers around. A poem about a river might undulate down the page. A poem about two different point of views could be divided into two vertical columns down the page. Other times, perhaps you’ll just notice that the words spread in non-figurative ways.

    The paragraph-like sections of a poem are called stanzas. Stanzas are made up of one or more lines. When reading a poem, you’ll want to think about why the poet has ended each line where they have. What does the pause at the line break do for the experience of reading the poem? Does it coincide with the end of the sentence so that the line is end-stopped or is it enjambed (when a line or stanza ends halfway through a sentence or clause), so the sentence spreads across lines? Does it leave you hanging in momentary suspense? Does it offer a surprise at the beginning of the next line?

    Kaveh Akbar’s poem “My Kingdom for a Murmur of Fanfare” offers several instances of enjambment:

    It’s common to live properly, to pretend

    you don’t feel heat or grief: wave nightly

     

    at Miss Fugue and Mister Goggles before diving

    into your nightcap, before reading yourself

     

    a bedtime story or watching your beloved sink

    to the bottom of a lake and noting his absence

     

    in your log. The next day you drop his clothes off

    at Goodwill like a sack of mail from a warplane

     

    then hobble back to your hovel like a knight moving

    only in Ls. It is comfortable to be alive this way,

     

    especially now, but it makes you so vulnerable to shock — 

    you ignore the mortgage and find a falconer’s glove

     

    in your yard, whole hand still inside. Or you arrive home

    after a long day to discover your children have grown

     

    suddenly hideous and unlovable. What I’m trying

    to say is I think it’s okay to accelerate around

     

    corners, to grunt back at the mailman and swallow all

    your laundry quarters. So much of everything is dumb

     

    baffle: water puts out fire, my diseases can become

    your diseases, and two hounds will fight over a feather

     

    because feathers are strange. All I want is to finally

    take off my cowboy hat and show you my jeweled

     

    horns. If we slow dance I will ask you not to tug

    on them but secretly I will want that very much.

    Reading this poem, you will find many unexpected turns offered by Akbar’s enjambment. Perhaps after the third line, you asked, "Before diving into what?" and were surprised to find that the answer is a nightcap.

    Calling a Wolf a Wolf book cover

    You might also notice in the second-to-last stanza that breaking the line after "my diseases can become" emphasizes "your diseases," the transition between the line representing the transition between two divided things, my and your diseases, that become one.

    You might also search for a rhyme scheme. Sometimes, the rhymes may create a subtle comparison between two words. Other times, a rhyme might highlight differences. And rhymes can hold a mnemonic function, helping you to remember the word to come if you're memorizing a poem.

    At its most basic level, a poem is a collection of words, so you may choose to break down the poem in terms of different grammatical units. What are the nouns? The verbs? The qualifiers? The adverbs? Do these word types give you any clues into what the poem is about or who the speaker is?
     

    Other topics in the Inside Poetry series:


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    Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts

     

    Frank and Gwen are all about feminist texts this week. They go back in time with the classic short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" — which is also NYPL's newest Insta Novel — and then hit the present (hard) with Red Clocks. In between, there's a beautiful picture book for kids. Plus: Frank figures out a literary puzzle.

    yellow wallpaper
    Wallpaper, some of which is yellow, ca. 1874! Image via NYPL's Digital Collections, ID: 819181.

    Frank and Gwen's Recommendations

    "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the newest Insta Novel

    yellow wallpaper

    The Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer

    Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

    Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

    Plus, this must-read column in The Guardian by Rebecca Solnit

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    Thanks for listening! Have you rated us on Apple Podcasts 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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    Want Personalized Recommendations?

    Tune in to the NYPL Recommends Facebook TV show, every Friday at noon EST and ask Gwen and Lynn in Readers Services for live reading recommendations. Just leave a comment telling what you're looking for and that you're a fan of the podcast! And don't forget to subscribe to the show so you don't miss future episodes!

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    How to listen to The Librarian Is In

    Subscribing to The Librarian Is In on your mobile device is the easiest way to make sure you never miss an episode. Episodes will automatically download to your device, and be ready for listening every other Thursday morning

    On your iPhone or iPad:
    Open the purple “Podcasts” app that’s preloaded on your phone. If you’re reading this on your device, tap this link to go straight to the show and click “Subscribe.” You can also tap the magnifying glass in the app and search for “The New York Public Library Podcast.”

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    The following post was written by author Amanda Vaill, whose books include the bestselling Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy, A Lost Generation Love Story; Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins; Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War, and the forthcoming The World Opened Up: Selected Writings of Jerome Robbins.

    She is also the author of the Emmy-nominated screenplay for the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning documentary, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, and her journalism and criticism have appeared in numerous periodicals, from The American Scholar and Architectural Digest to Travel & Leisure and TheWashington Post. A finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, a 1999 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2017 Fellow of the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, Vaill is currently a Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, where she’s at work on a biography of the Schuyler sisters, wife and sister-in-law of Alexander Hamilton.
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    "Doing a ballet," Jerome Robbins told an interviewer in 1982, "is like knowing that there is an island out there that you want to explore but you don’t quite know the shape of it, or the details of it, or the dimensions of it, or the geography, or what you’ll find on it. And only by approaching it and getting closer and closer does it begin to define itself… Until then, it’s like going toward it a little bit in the mist and not being sure of what it will be like until you get there." If this description is true of Robbins’ creative process, it’s also true of his life—as I first discovered when doing research for my 2006 biography, Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins, and have learned all over again in assembling The World Opened Up: Selected Writings of Jerome Robbins, which will be published in 2019.

    When I began the biography, I knew the rough outlines of Robbins' story: his childhood as the son of striving immigrant parents; his conflicted relationship with his Jewish heritage; his artistic apprenticeship in the Borscht Belt, on Broadway, and in Ballet Theatre; his explosion into stardom in 1944, at the age of 25, with the twin successes of Fancy Free and On the Town; his controversial appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the 1950’s; his complicated but reverential relationship with George Balanchine, who made him Associate Artistic Director of New York City Ballet when he was only thirty; his extraordinary, even revolutionary, career on both Broadway and in the ballet, which continued until his death in 1998, bare months before his 80th birthday. But I didn’t yet know the shape, or the details, or the geography, of his life.

    On my first day in the as-yet-unprocessed Robbins archives, which were then still contained in filing cabinets in his 81st Street townhouse, I was looking for a toe-hold, a place to begin exploring. Knowing that Robbins and Leonard Bernstein, his then-unknown collaborator on the 1944 Fancy Free, had been separated by the demands of their professional lives during the creation of that work, and that—as both Robbins and Bernstein had said—they had carried on their creative dialogue via letters and recordings of the score, I thought this might be a good place to begin, with documents that would bring alive Robbins’, and Bernstein’s, emergence as mature artists.

    A photo from the 1944 Broadway show Fancy Free, featuring Jerome Robbins on the stage
    Jerome Robbins in Fancy Free, second cast, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, 1944. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 57515697

    So I asked Christopher Pennington, who had assisted Robbins and would become executive director of the Robbins Foundation and the Robbins Rights Trust, where the Fancy Free documents were filed. The answer filled me with dismay: "We’ve never found them," he told me. "We assume they’re lost."

    Disappointed but resigned, I set myself a different entry point, and began going through the Robbins papers, file by file, transcribing and making notes. For a man who dealt in the kinetic and visual, Robbins was a surprisingly prolific and varied writer and, in addition to correspondence from a Who’s Who of 20th century culture, I discovered a huge trove of his own letters, journals, essays, memoirs, even fiction, all adding unexpected dimensions to my understanding of him.

    Months, even years passed. The house was sold. The archives—and the Robbins office—moved to new quarters. I kept going through file drawers. One day, looking for a break, I paused in my labors, pointed to a huge movers’ carton in the corner of the office, and asked Chris Pennington, "What’s in there?" "Duplicate scripts of The Poppa Piece," he said, referring to an unproduced autobiographical theater piece Robbins had written in the 1980s and workshopped at Lincoln Center Theater in 1991. "I don’t know why we’re keeping them around."

    Maybe it was boredom that made me do it. "Let me just take a peek in there," I said. The carton was the size of a washing machine. As Chris had said, it was filled with photocopied scripts, held together with elastic bands. I pulled out the top layer of scripts, then the next, then the next, all the way to the very bottom. And there lay a leather box crafted to look like a book, the kind of box people used to put important documents into. On the spine was a paper label bearing Robbins’ distinctive back-slanting handwriting. "Fancy Free," it said.

    Inside the box were letters from Bernstein and Oliver Smith (Fancy Free’s designer), a little paper cut-out of the barroom set, and letters Robbins had sent to his collaborators—which they had seemingly returned to him—one of them illustrated with pen-and-ink sketches of the sailors in the ballet. The whole thing was like a time capsule containing the essence of who Robbins and his collaborators were at that moment in 1944, just before they became indelibly famous.

    Apparently, knowing how important this material was to his own history, Robbins had sequestered it in the box, possibly intending to draw on it for the autobiography he contemplated but never completed. And now, quite by accident, I had found it. It was my first surprise, but not my last.

    This past spring, as I completed the manuscript of my selection of Robbins writings, I came across something I never expected to find. I had arranged Robbins’ letters, diaries, memoirs, and critical and creative writing as a chronological narrative, a kind of autobiographical mosaic that would tell the story of his life as he had seen and experienced it. And there was one important episode that he had never spoken or written about in any detail—not in letters, not in his journals, not in his memoirs: his 1950 questioning by the FBI over his Communist associations in the 1940s, and his subsequent testimony as a "friendly witness" before HUAC, for which many people held him in contempt, or worse.

    He had, however, written several versions of a surreal trial scene—in which his stand-in Jake Whitby, or Witkovitz, is brought to judgment for his political associations—for The Poppa Piece. So I’d decided to use that scene to stand for Robbins’ encounter with HUAC. Although I’d put one version of it into the manuscript, I thought I’d seen another in his papers that was more emotionally vivid and dramatic. In search of it, I went back to the Performing Arts Library and started reading through permutations and duplicates of the script. In among them I found an uncatalogued nine-page typed memorandum, dated 1950, that Robbins had prepared for his own files, a memorandum describing his grilling by the newspaper columnist and television host Ed Sullivan, and by the FBI, for whom Sullivan evidently acted as a kind of unofficial tipster.

    Robbins must have written the memo for legal reasons, to set down the details of what had happened while they were fresh in his mind, in case he needed the information for his own protection; then, in the 1980s, when he was writing his dramatic version of those events, he’d used the memorandum to refresh his memory, and afterwards it had been mistakenly filed away, unlabeled. Now, from those forgotten pages, a frightened and confused young man spoke, and the geography of his life became a little clearer.

    Shortly before this, another part of the island that is Jerome Robbins revealed itself. One of the great questions about Robbins, to those who worked with him or wrote about him, was what he thought of his own gifts. Perhaps because he frequently changed his mind about which way he was going with a work in progress, or (once the work was finished) was insistent that it be replicated exactly as he had set it, many people thought him insecure as an artist. And indeed, in his letters and journals, he was often doubtful about the quality of individual works—he complained to one correspondent about his dances for Call Me Madam, and to his diary about Glass Pieces, a ballet now widely considered a masterpiece. How, then, would he sum up his own career? The answer, like so many other elements of his story, was hidden in the mist.

    Black and white photo of the cast of Jerome Robbins' Broadway
    Jerome Robbins Broadway, no. 342, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, 1989. Photo by Martha Swope; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 5166198

    In 1989, Robbins directed his last Broadway show, an anthology of dance (and song) numbers from a career of musical hits that began with On the Town and ended with Fiddler On the Roof. Begun as an almost archival exercise, an effort to capture and record his revolutionary musical-theater output before it passed from memory, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway would become a Robbins hit on its own terms, winning six Tony Awards, including for direction and Best Musical.

    But going into rehearsal, Robbins was anxious and depressed: "It will break me; either mind or body," he wrote in his journal. "I don’t want to do it – no fun, no joy, no help." One night, after supervising a preview performance, he came home to his townhouse on 81st Street and wrote himself a letter, on his "Jerome Robbins" stationery, in which he poured out his feelings about the show and about his own creative legacy. He put the letter in an envelope, addressed it to himself, sealed it, and put the envelope in between the pages of a souvenir program from the show. This program, in turn, found its way into a valise;  the valise found its way into the basement of his house; and then, after Robbins’s death, a member of his household preserved the valise without looking at its contents. It wasn’t until a little more than a year ago that the valise was opened, the contents examined, and the letter discovered.

    What’s written there, what Robbins had seemingly secreted away until an opportune time, was his last surprise. To find out what he said, you’ll have to wait until the publication of The World Opened Up; suffice it to say that it lifts the mist from the island and lets us see it clearly at last.
     


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    An 1868 illustration of two women by a set of castle stairs, entitled Terrace Scene
    Terrace Scene. Art and Picture Collection, NYPL (1868). NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1704161

    As a genre, gothic fiction was first established with the publication of Horace Walpole’sThe Castle of Otrantoin 1764. Characterized by a dark, foreboding atmosphere and outlandish, sometimes grotesque, characters and events, gothic fiction has flourished and branched off into many different subgenres in the centuries since its creation.

    While Walpole introduced what would later become the definitive tropes of the genre (creepy castles, cursed families, gloomy atmosphere), it was not until Ann Radcliffe’s A Sicilian Romance in 1790 that gothic romance began to develop as its own legitimate subgenre. Radcliffe kept many of the same tropes established by Walpole’s work, such as isolated settings with semi-supernatural phenomena; however, her novels featured female protagonists battling through terrifying ordeals while struggling to be with their true loves. This concept is what ultimately separates gothic romance from its cousin, gothic horror.

    Female leads would come to dominate gothic romance, especially after the publication of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre in 1847. A young woman struggling to maintain her independence as she falls for a dark, brooding, handsome man became a genre-defining plot of gothic romances published in the decades that followed.

    A renewed public interest in gothic romance came on the heels of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca upon its publication in 1938.  Authors such as Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis A. Whitney  dominated the gothic romance trade paperback market from the 1960s to the 1990s. The image of a young woman running away from a darkened castle became a staple of gothic romance novel covers. Then, in 1983, Gaywyck, by Vincent Virga, became the first published gay gothic romance.

    Modern additions to the genre continue to reflect its interest in both terror and romance, while also delivering updated or reimagined versions of familiar tropes. As an example, here's a list of 15 gothic romances that will thrill both new and veteran readers!

    Early Gothic

    The Castle of Otranto book cover

    The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole

    In a faraway medieval realm, Manfred, an arrogant and evil prince, rules with an iron fist. Banishing his wife to the castle dungeon, he confines—and plans to wed—the lovely Isabella, fiancée of his recently deceased son.

    The prince's plans are foiled, however, when a well-meaning peasant helps the young woman escape through the castle's underground passages. Grisly, supernatural events further aid in fulfilling a prophecy that spells doom for the prince and justice for Isabella's rescuer and rightful heir to the throne.

     

    The Mysteries of Udolpho book cover

    The Mysteries of Udolpho(1794) by Ann Radcliffe

    If beautiful, orphaned Emily St. Aubert is to resist the predatory demands of her new guardian, the inscrutable Signor Montoni, she must quell the superstitious imaginings that pervade her mind.

    Within the somber walls of Montoni's medieval castle, the boundaries of real and imagined terrors are blurred as Emily is drawn into a Gothic web of mystery and intrigue which threaten her with the loss of not only her inheritance but also her identity.


     

    Northanger Abbey book cover

    Northanger Abbey (1817) by Jane Austen

    During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's mysterious house, Northanger Abbey.

    There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. Originally written as a satire of Gothic Romance, this Austen novel was published posthumously.


     

    Victorian Gothic 

    Jane Eyre book cover

    Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Brontë

    The orphaned Jane Eyre has emerged a fiercely independent young woman. As governess at Thornfield Hall, she’s found her first real home—though it stands in the shadow of the estate’s master, Mr. Rochester, and its haunted halls ring with maniacal laughter. For even the grandest houses have secrets.

     

     


     

    Wuthering Heights book cover

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

    The windswept moors are the unforgettable setting of this tale of the love between the foundling Heathcliff and his wealthy benefactor’s daughter, Catherine. Through Catherine’s betrayal of Heathcliff and his bitter vengeance, their mythic passion haunts the next generation even after their deaths.

     


     

     

    A Long and Fatal Love Chase book cover

    A Long and Fatal Love Chase (1866) by Louisa May Alcott

    Rosamond, a smart, strong-willed young woman who desires love and adventure falls for wealthy, dangerously seductive Phillip Tempest, who takes her away to France to mingle with high society.

    When Rosamond learns that her husband has hidden an amoral past and a frightening nature, she flees. Phillip follows her across Europe in this high-paced drama of deception, bigamy, domination, and murder. Written in 1866, A Long Fatal Love Chase was finally published in 1995.

     

     

    Mid-Century Revival

    Rebecca book cover

    Rebecca (1938) by Daphne Du Maurier

    The unassuming young heroine of Rebecca finds her life changed overnight when she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome and wealthy widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. Rescuing her from an overbearing employer, de Winter whisks her off to Manderley, his isolated estate on the windswept Cornish coast—but there things take a chilling turn.

    Max seems haunted by the memory of his glamorous first wife, Rebecca, whose legacy is lovingly tended by the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. As the second Mrs. de Winter finds herself increasingly burdened by the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, she becomes determined to uncover the dark secrets that threaten her happiness, no matter the cost.
     

    Dragonwyck book cover

    Dragonwyck (1944) by Anya Seton

    In the spring of 1844, the Wells family receives a letter from a distant relative, the wealthy landowner Nicholas Van Ryn. He invites one of their daughters for an extended visit to his Hudson Valley estate, Dragonwyck. Eighteen-year-old Miranda, bored with the local suitors and her commonplace life on the farm, leaps at the chance for escape.

    She immediately falls under the spell of Nicholas and his mansion, mesmerized by its Gothic towers, flowering gardens, and luxurious lifestyle—unaware of the dark, terrible secrets that await.

     

    Nine Coaches Waiting book cover

    Nine Coaches Waiting (1958) by Mary Stewart

    Recommended by Anne Rouyer and Amanda Pagan

    When lovely Linda Martin first arrives at Château Valmy as an English governess to the nine-year-old Count Philippe de Valmy, the opulence and history surrounding her seems like a wondrous, ecstatic dream. But a palpable terror is crouching in the shadows.

    Philippe's uncle, Leon de Valmy, is the epitome of charm, yet dynamic and arrogant—his paralysis little hindrance as he moves noiselessly in his wheelchair from room to room. Only his son, Raoul, a handsome, sardonic man who drives himself and his car with equally reckless abandon, seems able to stand up to him. To Linda, Raoul is an enigma—though irresistibly attracted to him, she senses some dark twist in his nature. When an accident deep in the woods nearly kills Linda's innocent charge, she begins to wonder if someone has deadly plans for the young count.

    The Pride of the Peacock book cover

    The Pride of the Peacock (1976) by Victoria Holt

    Recommended by Anne Rouyer

    An overseas voyage. A cursed opal. Forbidden desire. Raised in the shadow of her family's financial ruin, Jessica Clavering has never felt as though she fit in. When her only friend, an elderly neighbor, offers her the chance at a new life, she's eager to take it. His only condition: she must marry his son, Joss.

    The newlyweds inherit a fabled opal mine in Australia. It's only once they arrive on the faraway continent that Jessica starts to uncover her family's dark past and her connection to the Green Flash, an exquisite and spellbinding opal. The stone arouses a dangerous desire in anyone who sees it—even her husband.

    Gaywyck

    Gaywyck (1980) by Vincent Virga

    Young, innocent Robert Whyte enters a Jane Eyre-world of secrets and deceptions when he is hired to catalog the vast library at Gaywyck, a mysterious ancestral mansion on Long Island, where he falls in love with its handsome and melancholy owner, Donough Gaylord.

    Robert's unconditional love is challenged by hidden evil lurking in the shadowy past, crammed with dark sexual secrets sowing murder, blackmail, and mayhem in the great romantic tradition.

     


     

    Be Buried in the Rain book cover

    Be Buried in the Rain (1985) by Barbara Michaels

    There are terrible secrets from generations past buried at Maidenwood. Medical student Julie Newcomb has returned to her family's decaying plantation—the site of so many painful childhood memories—to tend to her tyrannical grandmother, felled by a stroke. The fire of malevolence still burns in the cruel, despotic matriarch's eyes—yet, for Julie, a faint spark of redemption and second chances flickers in this hated, haunted place.

    But Julie's hope—and her life—are seriously threatened by a nightmare reborn… and by the grim discovery on the lonely road to Maidenwood of the earth-browned skeletons of a mother and child.

     

    Modern

    Falconridge book cover

    Falconridge (1990) by Jennifer Wilde

    When Lauren Moore is left penniless by the death of her mother, the invitation to live with distant relatives in Cornwall seems like the answer to her prayers. But Falconridge, perched on the edge of a steep cliff, waves crashing onto the rocks below, is a place of shadowed halls and locked doors. Why does the housekeeper warn Lauren to leave and never come back? What secrets does the house hold?

    Most intriguing of all is Norman Wade, Lauren’s cousin by marriage and heir to the brooding ancestral mansion. The devilishly handsome playboy warns her of the perils that could befall her at his home.

    More determined than ever to stay and unlock Falconridge’s mystery, Lauren begins to suspect that the greatest danger comes from the seductive Wade himself. Then tragedy strikes—and no one is safe.

    Affinity book cover

    Affinity (2002) by Sarah Waters

    An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women’s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London’s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank’s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist, Selina Dawes.

    Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina’s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina’s freedom, and her own.

    Silence for the Dead book cover

    Silence for the Dead (2014) by Simone St. James

    Recommended by Anne Rouyer

    In 1919, Kitty Weekes, pretty, resourceful and on the run, falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House—its plaster is crumbling, its plumbing makes eerie noises, and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms.

    It's known that the former occupants left abruptly, but where did they go? And why do the patients all seem to share the same nightmare, one so horrific that they dare not speak of it?

    Kitty finds a dangerous ally in Jack Yates, an inmate who may be a war hero, a madman or maybe both. But even as Kitty and Jack create a secret, intimate alliance to uncover the truth, disturbing revelations suggest the presence of powerful spectral forces. When a medical catastrophe leaves them even more isolated, they must battle the menace on their own, caught in the heart of a mystery that could destroy them both.

     


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    National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), observed each October, celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities, and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. This year's NDEAM theme, America's Workforce Empowering All, recognizes the importance of ensuring all Americans can participate in our nation's vibrant workforce.

    The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides tools for job creators to establish more apprenticeship programs. Through the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion, ODEP helps employers recruit and retain Americans with disablilities; and ODEPs Job Accommodation Network provides employers with guidance on workplace accommodation. Just last week, ODEP announced $19 million in grants to help those who become ill or injured remain at work, or return to work.

    National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a time to emphasize the importance of ensuring all Americans, including those with disabilities, can put their skills and talents to work. It is an opportunity for our nation’s job creators to enhance their commitment to a workplace that ensures America’s workforce empowers all.

    You can learn more about National Disability Employment Awareness Month from the Department of Labor blog post America's Workforce:  Empowering All.

    Employment Programs

    New American Chamber of Commerce  Notary Public Training Course will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 6-9 PM at 26 Court Street, Suite 701, Downtown Brooklyn. This 3-hour Notary Public Training Course  is designed to educate individuals with the legal terminology, concepts and clauses contained in the framwork of the New York  State Notary booklet.  Fee:  $50 advance, $60 at the  door covers course materials and information on:  Supplemental Study Guide, Notary Fact Sheet, Practical Exam, Sample Forms, Notary Public Application and Oath of  Office, NY State License Law Booklet, NY State Exam Schedule and Expert Training and Assistance. For more information call 718-722-9217.  Register  at New American Chamber of Commerce, NYC.

    Better Business Bureau (BBB) presents BBB Live X1: BBB invites bilingual volunteers for a Consumer Protection "Call-In" Program, Protecting Yourself from Work-at-Home Scams, on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at BBB Office, 30 East 33 Street, 12th Floor, Manhattan. Volunteer for one or more of the two call-answering shifts: 2 PM-7 PM and 3 PM-8 PM. Refreshments, resources, and training will be provided. Calls will be answered in Spanish, and each shift begins with training in English. It is especially important to have trained volunteers in place and ready to help callers from 5 PM to 7:30 PM, when most calls will come in. BBB is happy to work with volunteers on shift timing and length. For more information, please contact Luana Lewis at 212-358-2842 or email llewis@newyork.bbb.org.  See more details and sign up here.

    Apply for an Individual Training Grant (ITG). The grant pays for tuition, registration fees, testing fees, and books for in-demand trainings. ITGs are only available for training in certain occupations and at eligible training providers. Find out more about eligible occupations and training providers.

    ApprenticeNYC for CNC Machinists. ApprenticeNYC is a paid full-time apprenticeship opportunity that provides classroom-based technical training and on-the-job training to help New York City job seekers develop in-demand skills in a long-term occupation with high growth potential. The computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinist track of the program provides 10 weeks of classroom training and 62 weeks of on-the-job training with employers in the advanced manufacturing sector. No experience necessary. Complete this program application form to be considered for the opportunity.

    NYC Small Business Services work with the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH), the city's healthcare industry partnership, and the Workforce 1 Healthcare Career Center, to offer no-cost training programs that prepare New Yorkers for jobs in the healthcare field. With NYACH, NYC Small Businesss Services engage employers, educational institutions,  training providers, and other partners in designing training programs that provide the required skills and credentials for viable healthcare career opportunities. Opportunites are available for those interested in ambulatory care and acute care. 

    Henry Street Settlement's Intern and Earn (formerly known as Young  Adult Internship Program) empowers young adults to connect to careers and grow in their professional pursuits. Internships available in child care, corporate, facilities, arts, fashion, retail, tech, and more. Must be 17-24 years old and not currently working or in school. Cohort begins November 26, 2018.  Info sessions to start your application for the program are held Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11 AM at 99 Essex Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY. For information, call 212-478-5400.

    Program Recruitment -  Samaschool: Domestic Workers and the Gig Economy on October 22 and 23,  5:15 PM-8:30 PM.

    New York Drives helps students obtain their driver’s licenses so they can access advanced training for a specific career path. This program is six weeks long: The first three weeks focus on strengthening students’ professional development skills, and the last three weeks focus on part-time driving lessons. After successfully passing road tests, graduates enroll in one of Brooklyn Workforce Innovation's (BWI) sector-based training programs, leading to skilled employment, or are placed directly into jobs. Once a year, New York Drives also offers security guard training where graduates obtain their security guard certificates and license.

    The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation has launched the SI Works Program to help industrial businesses fill open positions. A job fair will be hosted on Thursday, October 11, 2018, 7:30 -11:30 AM, at Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314. Top jobs available include: CDL Drivers Class A & B, Warehouse Inventory & Facility Maintenance Workers, Warehouse Forklift/Pallet Operators, Bicycle Mechanics, Printing Press Mechanics, HVAC Technician, Sign/Storefront Installers, Handyman (with plumbing, carpentry, and electrical skills). To schedule your appointment time, register by emailing jay@siedc.org, with your resume attached.

    Prep for Success with WRCS: Paid-for training for Customer Service and Food Prep / Service Careers. Five weeks of workshops, four weeks of active job search assistance, nationally recognized certification, ServSafe or NRF, paid internship opportunity, job placement upon completion, and one year of follow up. Eligibility: Applicants must be ages 16-24, out of work, and out of school. Session begins November 5. Information session held Tuesdays at 3 PM on October 2, 9, 16, and 23. For more information, call 212-941-9090 x3286.

    The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation has launched the SI Works program to help industrial businesses fill open positions at their firm. 80+ open positions available include: CDL Driver, Mechanic, Graphic Designer, Installer/fabricator, Plumbing, Electrican HVAC Technician, Auto Body, Welder, Accounting, Sales, Warehouse Associates, General Contractors, General Labor, Bookkeeper, and more. For immediate consideration, please email your resume to dawn@siedc.org.

    Opportunities For a Better Tomorrow Youth Education and Job Training Program. Get the credentials and skills you need to gain employment and thrive in your career. You will receive preparation to take the exams required to achieve certifications in Microsoft Service, Hospitality Front Desk, and/or National Retail Federation Customer Service. You will be assigned to a supervisor (counselor) who monitors your progress and offers one-on-one assistance with personal, educational, and career problems, and also helps you improve your soft skills, such as professional behavior, attire, attitude, and communication. Classes run Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM-4:00 PM. For more information, call 917-342-5279.

    Under the America's Promise CUNY TechWorks Program, Queensborough Community College (QCC) offers an Applied Software Development Training Program covering web client programming, systems design and implementation, and smartphone application development. This hands-on, tech skills training program culminates in a capstone application development class focused on building students' professional programming portfolios. Credits earned can be applied towards QCC's AAS degree in Information and Internet Technology. For more information, call 718-631-6343.   

    Rebuilding Together NYC Construction Skills Training is now available. For more information, call 718-488-8840, x18.

    Bronx Educational Opportunity Center Security Guard Training: Registration (see details here) is Mondays and Wednesdays, 8:30 AM-11:00 AM (except holidays). The calendar of classes is available here.

    YearUp aligns job training with corporate partner needs and market trends to ensure the skills students learn will be in demand. Learn valuable technical and professional skills, and gain work experience during internships at top companies. Earn a stipend throughout the program (while you train and during your internship) and complete courses eligible for college credits.

    The Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers at CAMBA assists underemployed or unemployed immigrant engineers and IT professionals in gaining access to higher-paying  jobs through training and job placement assistance. The program includes night and weekend courses in information technology and chemical, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, taught by Cooper Union faculty and field experts. Since its inception in 1987, the Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers has placed 3,000 immigrant engineers into careers.

    Discover Accounting includes state-by-state guides on becoming a CPA, salaries, and educational requirements. If you are looking for more advanced accounting topics, you'll find information in their comprehensive career guide and career comparisons.

    New York City Career Center Events and Recruiting

    Recruiting Event - Alliance Computing Solutions: Thursday, October 11,  2018, 10 AM-12 PM for Robotics Technician  Training (20 openings) at Lower Manhattan Workforce 1 Career Center, 75 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013.  1st session starts at 10 AM, 2nd session starts at 11 AM. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to start time. Please bring photo ID and two copies of your resume.

    Basic Resume Writing Workshop: Thursday, October 11, 2018, 1:30 PM-3 PM at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Participants will learn the purpose of a resume, and chronological and combination resumes, and select the appropriate type for their specific needs.

    Introduction to Computers: Thursday, October 11, 2018, 3 PM-4:30 PM at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Basic computer skill training for those with no or limited knowledge of computers. Call 718-613-3811 for more information.  

    Job Postings and AssistanceJob Fair Sign-up Table

    Job Postings at New York City Workforce 1.

    Apprenticeship Opportunities in New York City.

    Available jobs via Brooklyn Community Board 14.

    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, 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 free training in Quickbooks, Basic Accounting, and Excel. This training is open to anyone receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Classes run 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 receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Training runs Mondays through Fridays for six weeks, and includes test prep and 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 on the above CMP training programs, email info@cmpny.org, call 212-571-1690, or visit the CMP website. CMP also provides tuition-based healthcare and business training 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 that this page will be revised when more recruitment events for the week of October 7 become available.


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    1927 yankees photo
    1927 photo of New York Yankees game. Image via NYPL Digital Collections, ID 405503

    Baseball’s greatest rivalry is now one for the books.

    The New York Public Library and Boston Public Library have teamed up to have some fun around the American League Division Series between longtime, bitter rivals The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

    The two public libraries made a bookish bet:

    • If the Yankees win, Boston Public Library will create a recommended list of books about New York and promote it prominently. President David Leonard also needs to wear a Yankees cap, and The New York Public Library will receive Boston Cream Pies.

    • If the Red Sox win, The New York Public Library will create a recommended list of books about Boston and promote it prominently. President Tony Marx also needs to wear a Red Sox cap, and The Boston Public Library will receive New York bagels.

    In addition to the wager, watch for the two systems to keep the rivalry going on social media throughout the best-of-five series. Follow @nypl and @BPLBoston to cheer on your team.



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    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts

     

    white cover in red text with the f-word as a background

    In her new book, Good and Mad  Rebecca Traister uncovers the history of women's anger in American politics—from the suffragettes to #MeToo. She argues that this collective fury is often the hidden force that drives political change, but rarely has it ever been hailed as fundamentally transformative or patriotic. Traister says "what we have to acknowledge is that we live in a world that doesn't make room for our anger and that punishes us for expressing it and that's the part we have to change—we have to change the way it's received. It means taking it seriously and altering the way we understand the validity and potential of women's fury." 

    To discuss her book and what it says about our current political state, Traister was joined by Aminatou Sow, co-host of the podcast "Call Your Girlfriend."

     

    Rebecca Traister
    Rebecca Traister and Aminatou Sow

    Click here to find out how to subscribe and listen to the Library Talks podcast.

     

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    Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts

     

    Kadiatou Tubman, Education Coordinator from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, joins Gwen and Frank for an intense analysis of Angie Thomas' classic: book vs. movie, casting choices, implications in the classroom, and much more.

    hate u give
    The view from our seats at the Schomburg screening.

    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas -- book, audiobook, e-book, and more

    Episode 33, when we talked about the book with Shauntee Burns

    The interivew in which people call the film "cathartic" and "self-care"

    Kadiatou's book recommendation: Citizenby Claudia Rankine

    ---

    Thanks for listening! Have you rated us on Apple Podcasts 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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    Want Personalized Recommendations?

    Tune in to the NYPL Recommends Facebook TV show, every Friday at noon EST and ask Gwen and Lynn in Readers Services for live reading recommendations. Just leave a comment telling what you're looking for and that you're a fan of the podcast! And don't forget to subscribe to the show so you don't miss future episodes!

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    How to listen to The Librarian Is In

    Subscribing to The Librarian Is In on your mobile device is the easiest way to make sure you never miss an episode. Episodes will automatically download to your device, and be ready for listening every other Thursday morning

    On your iPhone or iPad:
    Open the purple “Podcasts” app that’s preloaded on your phone. If you’re reading this on your device, tap this link to go straight to the show and click “Subscribe.” You can also tap the magnifying glass in the app and search for “The New York Public Library Podcast.”

    On your Android phone or tablet:
    Open the orange “Play Music” app that’s preloaded on your device. If you’re reading this on your device, click this link to go straight to the show and click “Subscribe.” You can also tap the magnifying glass icon and search for “The New York Public Library Podcast.” 

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    From a desktop or laptop:
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    National Book Awards

    Today, the National Book Foundation announced the 2018 National Book Award Finalists for fiction, nonfiction, young people's literature, poetry, and translated literature. Explore the list of finalists below, and check out the titles from The New York Public Library. 

    Fiction

    A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley
    In a debut collection of nine expansive, searching stories, the author reflects on the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them in a world shaped by race, gender and class—and where lucky may be the greatest lie of all.

    Florida by Lauren Groff
    A collection of stories spanning centuries of time in mercurial Florida examines the decisions and connections behind life-changing events in characters ranging from two abandoned sisters to a conflicted family woman.

    Where the Dead Sit Talking  by Brandon Hobson
    After his mother is jailed, a young Cherokee boy, Sequoyah, bonds with another Native American, Rosemary, in the foster home where they both have been placed and experienced deepening feelings for each other while dealing with the scars of their pasts.

    The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
    A 1980s Chicago art gallery director loses his loved ones to the AIDS epidemic until his only companion is his daughter, who, decades later, grapples with the disease's wrenching impact on their family.

    The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
    Becoming the guardian of her late best friend's enormous Great Dane, a grieving woman is evicted from her no-pets apartment and forges a deep bond with the equally distraught animal in ways that initially disturb her friends.

    Nonfiction

    The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation by Colin G. Calloway
    Examines the complex relationship between George Washington and the Native American leaders of different tribes in the period before the American Revolution and during the conflict itself.

    American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson
    Documents the lesser-known story of the early American doctor who was friend and personal physician to both Hamilton and Burr, revealing how his efforts to build America's first botanical garden helped inspired a young Republic.

    Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh
    Traces the author's turbulent childhood on a Kansas farm in the 1980s and 1990s to reveal her firsthand experiences with cyclical poverty and the corrosive impact of intergenerational poverty on individuals, families and communities. 

    The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart
    A biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance describes him becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD at Harvard University and promoting the work of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence.

    We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler
    Traces the two-hundred-year history of corporate America's battle to achieve constitutional freedom from federal control, examining the civil rights debates and key events that shaped the controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision to extend constitutional protections to businesses that are in place for people.

    Poetry

    Wobble by Rae Armantrout
    While there are glimmers here of what remains of “the natural world,” the poet confesses the human failings, personal and societal, that have led to its devastation. No one’s senses are more acutely attuned than Armantrout’s, which makes her an exceptional observer and reporter of our faults. She leaves us wondering if the American Dream may be a nightmare from which we can’t awaken. Sometimes funny, sometimes alarming, the poems in Wobble play peek-a-boo with doom.
    *summary taken from National Book Award website

    American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassinby Terrance Hayes
    One of America’s most acclaimed poets presents 70 poems bearing the same title that, written during the first 200 days of the Trump presidency, are haunted by the country’s past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares.

    Ghost Of  by Diana Khoi Nguyen
    A mourning song, not an exorcism or un-haunting of that which haunts, but attuned attention, unidirectional reaching across time, space, and distance to reach loved ones, ancestors, and strangers. By working with, in, and around the photographs that her brother left behind (from which he cut himself out before his death), Nguyen wrestles with what remains: memory, physical voids, and her family captured around an empty space. 
    *summary taken from National Book Award website

    Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed
    Boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful—the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.

    Eye Level  by Jenny Xie
    Animated by a restless inner questioning, these poems meditate on the forces that moor the self and set it in motion, from immigration to travel to estranging losses and departures. The sensual worlds here—colors, smells, tastes, and changing landscapes—bring to life questions about the self as seer and the self as seen. 

    Young People’s Literature

    The Poet X  by Elizabeth Acevedo
    The daughter of devout immigrants discovers the power of slam poetry and begins participating in a school club as part of her effort to understand her mother's strict religious beliefs and her own developing relationship to the world.

    The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
    Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom—from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Brangwain’s host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them—and war for their nations. 

    The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor
    As he grieves his best friend Benny's death, Mason and his friend Calvin, who are targeted by the neighborhood bullies, create an underground haven for themselves, but when Calvin goes missing Mason finds himself in trouble.

    The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
    When his poor sharecropper father is killed in an accident and leaves the family in debt, twelve-year-old Little Charlie agrees to accompany fearsome plantation overseer Cap'n Buck north in pursuit of people who have stolen from him; Cap'n Buck tells Little Charlie that his father's debt will be cleared when the fugitives are captured, which seems like a good deal until Little Charlie comes face-to-face with the people he is chasing.

    Hey, Kiddo  by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
    A powerful graphic memoir traces the author's unconventional coming of age with a drug-addict mother, an absent father, and two lovingly opinionated grandparents.


    Translated Literature

    Disoriental  by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover
    In an intricately woven tapestry of Iranian history, politics, culture, family drama and triumph, 25-year-old Kimia Sadr, facing the future she has built for herself after leaving her family behind, is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors in the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic.

    Love by Hanne Ørstavik, translated by Martin Aitken
    When a mother and son go separate ways on a winter’s night in a small village in northern Norway, each of their journeys take different turns with fatal consequences, in a novel that illustrates how distance is found not only between human beings, but also within each individual. 

    Trick by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
    A grandfather, used to living in solitude and obsessively focusing on his illustrating career, and his 4-year-old grandson match wits during a 72-hour babysitting stay in Naples. 

    The Emissaryby Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani
    In a post-disaster Japan cut off from the rest of the world, in which children are so weak as to barely be able to walk and only the elderly have any energy, young Mumei and his great-grandfather, Yoshiro, carry on their day-to-day routine.

    Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
    A meditative collection explores themes of travel, movement, and existentialism in stories that feature protagonists who question their shifting perspectives in time and space as they tackle extreme agendas.

    Book descriptions taken from NYPL catalog unless otherwise noted.


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    A question we often hear at The New York Public Library's Milstein reference desk is “How can I find information about my family’s business?”

    Black-and-white photo of a friendly game by the pot-bellied stove in the country store, upstate New York
    "Well, what’s so great about a Mom-and-Pop store? Let me tell you something. If my Mom and Pop ran a store, I wouldn’t shop there." (from "The Mom & Pop Store." Seinfeld, Season 6, Episode 8). Photo: A friendly game by the pot-bellied stove. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID 416545


    This should come as no surprise: families and business have been firmly linked throughout America’s history. From colonial-era farms to industrial robber baron dynasties, families have been a driving force in the growth of American enterprise. And not just lawful business—fuggedaboutit! Families also rule the underworld economy ("My father was in it. My uncle was in it. Maybe I was too lazy to think for myself," as fictional mobster Tony Soprano explains).

    Family businesses are so entrenched in our economy that a separate field of study is now devoted to them; you can even earn a degree in family business! While accurate numbers are hard to come by, it’s been estimated that nearly 90 percent of American businesses are run by families. It seems only fitting that a quintessential symbol of American business—the "Mom-and-Pop" store —is colloquially named after the startups run by the family unit. 

    Vose & Sons Pianos advertisement
    Vose & Sons Pianos newspaper ad, NYPD Digital Collections, Image ID: 832817

    Even if you aren’t aware of it, there may be a not-yet discovered business lurking in your family tree. Like the businesses themselves, which "were often ephemeral, dying before their owners," as described by OAH Magazine of History, information about a family store or firm may not have been passed down the generations.

    Since family business records were rarely saved, it is especially easy for short-lived and/or small ventures to slip out of memory. And while digging up the details of a defunct enterprise can be challenging, it’s worth every bit of extra effort. After all, for most of our ancestors, no less (alas!) than ourselves, work was the main event of everyday life. So learning about a family business, or an ancestor’s occupation, can be one of the best ways to connect with your past. 

    Case study: The Darbees of Oneonta

    A good example is the enterprising William Wallace Darbee (1850-1921), profiled in Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley. In 1874, Darbee established a book and stationary store in Oneonta, New York. Within a year, he added wallpaper to his offerings.

    He married in 1882, and “Mrs. Darbee [Jennie Lind Palmer] at once began assisting in the store.” Overcoming various setbacks, including a fire that burned their store (and home) to the ground, the couple relocated and expanded their operation. They added a printing business, began making rubber stamps, and eventually started a confectionary and ice cream parlor.

    Not surprisingly, the "work and care of all this business" took its toll and, in 1910, the couple sold everything but the printing and wallpaper business. These continued to operate, apparently with success:  

    Oneonta Business Directory.
    Oneonta Business Directory, 1868. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1602774
    Mr. Darbee… is considered an expert at job printing, plate printing, die stamping and making rubber stamps… Mrs. Darbee takes entire charge of the wallpaper and assists in the printing department. Since they were burned out Mr. and Mrs. Darbee have always boarded and both have given their entire time and attention to the business.

    Far more than a birth, death, or marriage record, this information about the Darbees’ business helps us imagine their daily lives. We can picture them sorting metal letters at the typecase, hear them discussing their accounts, and catch them rolling their eyes at a cranky wallpaper shopper.

    Tracing the history of their business allows us to share in a fateful event (the devastating fire of 1888) that surely had a profound effect on their lives. Their persistence in relocating and expanding their business in the face of hardships tells us something about their characters as well.

    We’ve also picked up a number of clues for further research: Learning about the various trades they practiced and merchandise they stocked, the business community in Oneonta, and women’s participation in business at the time, can all deepen our understanding of what their lives were actually like.

    So how do you go about uncovering the history of an ancestor’s business? In the case of William Darbee, the details were already compiled in a single source by Cuyler Reynolds (historian, librarian, curator, and author of the aforementioned Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley and other invaluable genealogical works.)

    This is rare good luck, something most researchers can only dream about! Even if you become one of the fortunate few—the genealogical one percent—to find a similar source for your own ancestor, you would need to corroborate the information with other sources. Biographies in works like Reynolds's were often submitted by the subject or his/her family, and are noted more for embellishing the achievements and virtues of the person(s) described than for factual accuracy. To help you with the legwork, we’ve put together a research guide that describes some of the most useful resources for finding business history.

    Census records

    To test it out, let’s use some of these sources to try to corroborate Cuyler Reynolds’s account of the Darbees. As with many other genealogical questions, censuses are a good place to start. Beginning in 1850, the census lists each family member and their occupation. Looking at William Darbee’s census records, we see his occupation listed as:

    • 1900 census—Books & Stationery

    Line-item detail, 1900 census

    • 1910 census—Store Proprietor

    Line-item detail, 1910 census

    • 1920 census—Printer

    Line-item detail, 1920 census

    Although Mr. Darbee’s occupation is described differently in each successive record, these entries do not tell the full story of the Darbees’ evolving operations. For example, according to Reynolds, Darbee began his printing business in 1897, but only the 1920 census identifies him as a printer. And only the 1910 census explicitly identifies Darbee as a business owner.

    To interpret these responses, it’s important to check the instructions that were issued to the census enumerators (available on the U.S. Census website). Looking at the 1920 census instructions, for instance, we find the following:

    154. Persons having two occupations. If a person has two Occuptl,tions, return only the more important one-that is, the one from which he gets the more money. . . 

    So the census may not tell you the whole story, and often won’t reflect whether your ancestor operated a business. By identifying a business category for your ancestor, though, the census can open the door for further digging.

    You’ll also notice that no occupation is listed for Jennie Darbee in 1900 or 1910 (the latter lists her only as “Mrs. Darbee,” without even including her first name!). This is not surprising: married women were rarely regarded as having “occupations” at the time, even if they made significant contributions—as Jennie apparently did—to their husband’s business (for more information on this topic, see Uncovering the hidden work of women in family businesses: A history of census undernumeration).

    Again, the instructions are essential. There are specific directions about how and when to record the occupations of women. When Jennie’s contributions are finally acknowledged in the 1920 census, her occupation is listed as "stenographer." In the absence of other information, we might picture Jennie typing up dictation in an office like the one pictured here:

    Black-and-white photo of stenographers in office, 1939-1940
    New York World's Fair, Offices at Work Exhibit, Stenographic section (1939-1940). NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1679553


    But Cuyler Reynolds’s description of Jennie’s work activities suggests another interpretation. It’s possible the census enumerator was simply using a term that was iconically associated with working women to describe Jennie’s work setting type, or assisting her husband generally.

    Either explanation is plausible and more research would be necessary to figure out the best answer. The point to keep in mind when conducting your own research? Don’t take historical records at face value! Multiple interpretations are often possible, and to get the most accurate picture, it’s important to understand the historical context.

    Listings from 1901 Oneonta Directory
    1901 Oneonta Directory. Accessed through Ancestry Library Edition

    Directories

    Census records are just the jumping-off point. For more detail about the Darbees’ business activities, we need to consult local directories. Early city directories served primarily as business directories, so listings included the residents’ occupations.

    In the 1901 Williams’ Oneonta Directory (available on-site at all NYPL collections through Ancestry Library Edition), we find a much fuller description of W. Wallace Darbee’s business activities: "books, stationery, printing and wallpaper." Try squeezing all that into the pre-printed census form!

    Most early directories also have a classified business section, which lists businesses by category rather than by name. Sure enough, if we look at the back of the 1901 Oneonta directory, we find multiple listings for William W. Darbee, under "Booksellers and Stationers," "Printers" and "Wallpaper."

    Interestingly, we do not find a Darbee listed under "Confectionery, Ice Cream and Fruits," but there is a listing for an Anthony Bottini nearby at 144 Main Street (it may even adjoin 141 Main Street, the address listed for William Darbee’s business). Perhaps Darbee leased the premises to Anthony Bottini, or there is another connection between the two? To investigate these possibilities, we might consult insurance maps, look for tax records, or try to locate a business registration or license.

    Before we turn to other records, though, we have to finish exploring the city directories. Don’t stop with the business listings; directories are an invaluable source of many other types of information as well, including local trade-related organizations. Case in point: by checking the "Fraternal Organizations" listings in the 1901 Oneonta directory,we learn that W.W. Darbee was the financier of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

    Detail of the 1901 Oneonta Directory, including Ancient Order of United Workmen
    1901 Oneonta Directory. Accessed through Ancestry Library Edition

    The Ancient Order of United Workmen was one of the first fraternal associations to provide mutual insurance policies for its members. So this affiliation not only tells us more about Darbee’s activities, it also hints at the lasting impact of the fire that destroyed his business. 

    In addition, it provides another avenue for research. We can look for records from this association, and research the other officers to learn about the people with whom Darbee associated. We might also want to investigate whether Mrs. Darbee was a member of the Degree of Honor Protective Association, a female auxiliary to the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

    Newspaper story about a fire in the Troy Daily Times, March 1888
    Troy Daily Times, March 1888. Accessed through Fulton History

    Newspapers

    Newspapers are another excellent source of information about businesses. In addition to advertisements, newspapers may contain information about openings and closings, leases, help wanted listings, and other newsworthy events. For example, with just a quick search in the free newspaper database Fulton History, we found an article about the March 1888 fire that destroyed the Darbees business and, as we learn, many other local businesses.

    Next steps

    While far from complete, our independent research has already unearthed many details included in Reynolds’s entry about the Darbees—and even some that weren’t! It’s also revealed some essential tips for conducting any type of genealogical research:

    • Always corroborate information with as many sources as possible
    • Don’t assume the first answer you find is the only answer, or the right one!
    • To properly interpret genealogical records, you may need to do additional research into their historical context

    The Darbees provide just one example of how much you can learn by researching your family’s occupational history. Browsing old advertisements gives you an idea of the number and variety of businesses your ancestors could have started. Consider how much it would add to your family history to learn that your great-great grandfather was the president of The World’s Embalming Company in the City of New York

    Or maybe you're related to one of the founders of Hendrickson & Hover, Manufacturers and Dealers in All Kinds Of Cans, Lanterns, and Trumpets, Wholesale and Retail, or Mitchell & Croasdale, Dealers In Sperm, Whale, Lard & Tanners Oil, Candles, Rice & C. Bedding, Bedsteads, cots & c.  

    And don’t forget the ladies. What if your great-great-great aunt operated Mrs. Hardley’s Parisian Hair Dressing Rooms at No. 110 Sixth Avenue, opposite Jefferson Market?

    NYC directory listing for Mrs. Hardley’s Parisian Hair Dressing Rooms at No. 110 Sixth Avenue, 1865/66
    New York City directory, 1865/66. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 56768101

    Immigrants are, and historically have been, more likely to open their own business than native-born Americans (see Bringing Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow), so you may want to focus your search on the first ancestors to arrive in the U.S. Even if there were no entrepreneurs in your own family, learning about the occupational patterns of your ethnic or national group can help you place your ancestors’ experiences in historical context. After all, most immigrants came to America seeking financial opportunity, and often clustered in particular occupations or businesses. 

    Italian pushcart vendors, German bakers and brewers, Jewish tailors and dressmakers, Chinese restaurant owners—just a few of the most iconic examples of ethnic entrepreneurship.  And because all our ancestors were consumers, learning about the local businesses in the area your family lived can help you better understand your ancestor’s daily lives.

    Stereogram photos of a Chinese store in San Francisco, 1875
    Stereogram photo of a Chinese store, Sacramento Street, San Francisco, 1875. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: G89F406_015F


    So take a look at our guide How To Research a Family Business and see what you can find!

     


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    New York City Skyline with the Reimagine End of Life logo overlaid The New York Public Library is excited to host a series of events as part of the Reimagine End of Life Festival. Reimagine is a week of asking big questions about life and death, a festival that's a community-wide exploration of death and celebration of life through creativity and conversation.

    Drawing on the arts, spirituality, healthcare, and design, the week-long series of events breaks down taboos and brings diverse communities together in wonder, preparation, and remembrance.

    Check out one of the many events happening at NYPL branches as part of Reimagine End of Life festival, October 27 through November 3:

    Saturday, October 27, 12 PM
    Happiness Is a Choice: Lessons from the Oldest Old
    Author Talk at St. George Library Center

    Monday, October 29, 3 PM
    How to Write a Condolence Letter with Amy Cunningham
    67th Street Library

    Monday, October 29, 3:30 PM
    Family Storytime: When Dinosaurs Die
    Mosholu Library 

    Monday, October 29, 5:30 PM
    Author Talk: Tara Storch, Taylor’s Gift 
    Mosholu Library

    Tuesday, October 30, 1 PM
    Author Talk: Forever Letter by Rabbi Elana Zaiman
    St. Agnes Library

    Tuesday, October 30, 5 PM
    PREPARE for Your Care: Learn How to Have Your End of Life Wishes Honored
    Countee Cullen Library

    Tuesday, October 30, 5:30 PM
    Screening: Chronicles of a Professional Eulogist 
    Tompkins Square Library

    Tuesday, October 30, 6:15 PM
    Exhibit Reception: Death Panels: Comics That Help Us Face End of Life
    53rd Street Library

    Tuesday, October 30, 6:30 PM
    PREPARE for Your Care: Learn How to Have Your End of Life Wishes Honored (in Cantonese)
    Seward Park Library

    Tuesday, October 30, 6:45 PM
    Redemption: An Exploration of Possibilities at the End of Life
    53rd Street Library

    Wednesday, October 31, 1 PM-2 PM
    Death Panels: Conversations with the Artists
    53rd Street Library

    Wednesday, October 31, 2 PM-3 PM
    Workshop: Graphic Medicine, Reflective Drawing, and Advanced Care Directives
    53rd Street Library

    Thursday, November 1, 10:30 AM
    Family Storytime: When Dinosaurs Die
    Kingsbridge Library

    Thursday, November 1, 5:30 PM
    The Blank Page: Writing Remembrance, Wonder, and Loss
    St. George Library

    Thursday, November 1, 6:30 PM
    PREPARE for Your Care: Learn How to Have Your End of Life Wishes Honored (in English)
    Seward Park Library

    Friday, November 2, 1 PM
    Last[ing] Letters Writing Workshop
    Jefferson Market Library

    Friday, November 2, 6 PM
    Loneliness in a Beautiful Place: AIDS Burials on Hart Island
    Jefferson Market Library 

    Friday, November 2, 12 PM
    The Blank Page: Writing Remembrance, Wonder, and Loss
    Grand Central Library 

    Friday, November 2, 3 PM
    The Blank Page: Writing Remembrance, Wonder, and Loss
    Mulberry Street Library


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    Teacher shortages are a national concern within the educational landscape. According to the Learning Policy Institute report, A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S., 40 states and the District of  Columbia reported teacher shortages in mathematics, science, and special education. 

    Another study, from the American Educational Research Journal, School Organizational Contexts, Teacher Turnover, and Student Achievement:  Evidence From Panel Data, suggests "school leadership… [is] independently associated with corresponding reductions in teacher turnover."

    To solve this problem, the 2016-17 Washington Principal Ambassador Fellow, Jean-Paul Cadet, states that we must be willing to ask hard questions that directly address leadership capacity and its impact on teacher turnover. What experience do leaders have in induction programs, building effective teams, and instructional supervision? Are principals being prepared to be managers or leaders? Do school leaders know how to build authentic collaboration with their members? 

    These questions are important because the implications of ineffective school leadership mean more than a loss of teacher talent; they cause ripple effects that impact school climate, student achievement, and learning communities across the nation.

    In his blog post, The Leadership Imperative, Jean-Paul Cadet contends:

    • Good leaders manage people and general operations. Great leaders inspire and energize constituents.
    • Good leaders stand on the shoulders of competent personnel. Great leaders build up others for leadership and support their success.
    • Good leaders accept things for what they are in the present. Great leaders are visionaries who seek to inform the future with innovation, creativity, and strategic planning.
    • Good leaders know that their actions will spark a reaction. Great leaders know how to cause an effect that will inspire and motivate the hearts of staff, students, and the community.

    You can learn more about leadership in Cadet's Department of Education blog post, The Leadership Imperative.

    Employment Programs

    The New American Chamber of Commerce Notary Public Training Course will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 6 PM-9 PM at 26 Court Street, Suite 701, Downtown Brooklyn. This three-hour Notary Public Training Course is designed to educate individuals with the legal terminology, concepts, and clauses contained in the framework of the New York State Notary booklet. Fee: $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Fee covers course materials and information: Supplemental Study Guide, Notary Fact Sheet, Practical Exam, Sample Forms, Notary Public Application and Oath of  Office, NY State License Law Booklet, NY State Exam Schedule, and Expert Training and Assistance. For more information, call 718-722-9217. Register at New American Chamber of Commerce, NYC.

    Better Business Bureau (BBB) presents BBB Live X1: BBB invites bilingual volunteers to a Consumer Protection "Call-In" Program: Protecting Yourself from Work-at-Home Scams, Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at BBB Office, 30 East 33rd Street, 12th Floor, Manhattan. Volunteer for one or more of the two call-answering shifts: 2 PM-7 PM and 3 PM-8 PM. Refreshments, resources, and training will be provided. Calls will be answered in Spanish, and each shift begins with training in English. It is especially important to have trained volunteers in place and ready to help callers from 5 PM to 7:30 PM, when most calls will come in. BBB is happy to work with volunteers on shift timing and length. For more information, please contact Luana Lewis at 212-358-2842 or email llewis@newyork.bbb.org See more details and sign up here.

    Apply for an Individual Training Grant (ITG). The grant pays for tuition, registration fees, testing fees, and books for in-demand trainings. ITGs are only available for training in certain occupations and at eligible training providers. Find out more about eligible occupations and training providers.

    ApprenticeNYC for CNC Machinists. ApprenticeNYC is a paid full-time apprenticeship opportunity that provides classroom-based technical training and on-the-job training to help New York City job seekers develop in-demand skills in a long-term occupation with high growth potential. The computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinist track of the program provides 10 weeks of classroom training and 62 weeks of on-the-job training with employers in the advanced manufacturing sector. No experience necessary. Complete this program application form to be considered for the opportunity.

    NYC Small Business Services work with the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH), the city's healthcare industry partnership, and the Workforce 1 Healthcare Career Center, to offer no-cost training programs that prepare New Yorkers for jobs in the healthcare field. With NYACH, NYC Small Businesss Services engage employers, educational institutions,  training providers, and other partners to design training programs that provide the required skills and credentials for viable healthcare career opportunities. Opportunites are available for those interested in ambulatory care and acute care. 

    Prep for Success with WRCS: Paid-for training for Customer Service and Food Prep / Service careers. Includes five weeks of workshops, four weeks of active job search assistance, nationally recognized certification, ServSafe or NRF, paid internship opportunity, job placement upon completion, and one year of follow up. Eligibility: Ages 16-24, out of work, and out of school. Session begins November 5. Information session held Tuesdays at 3 PM; October 2, 9, 16, 23. For more information, call 212-941-9090 x3286.

    Henry Street Settlement's Intern and Earn (formerly known as Young Adult Internship Program) empowers young adults to connect to careers and grow in their professional pursuits. Internships available in child care, corporate, facilities, arts, fashion, retail, tech, and more.  Must be 17-24 years old and not currently working or in school. Cohort begins November 26th, 2018. Info sessions to start your application for the program are held Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11 AM at 99 Essex Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY. For information, call 212-478-5400.

    Program Recruitment: Samaschool - Domestic Workers and the Gig Economy, on October 22 and 23,  5:15 PM - 8:30 PM.

    The Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers at CAMBA assists underemployed or unemployed immigrant engineers and IT professionals in gaining access to higher-paying  jobs through training and job placement assistance. The program includes night and weekend courses in information technology and chemical, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, taught by Cooper Union faculty and field experts. Since its inception in 1987, the Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers has placed 3,000 immigrant engineers into careers.

    Community Links Supported Education Program is a nonprofit initiative supporting individuals with mental health conditions in pursuing education goals and successfully completing college, certification, licensing, or vocational degrees. Training opportunities include IT Training, Commercial Driver's License, Home Health Aide, Construction Work, NYS Master Barber, Medical Assistant, Maintenance and Janitorial, TV Production Assistant, Health and Office Operation (Medical Records), Wood Working, Cable Installation, Hospitality and Tourism Industry (NRAEF Certification), OSHA License, and more. Eligible individuals must be 18 years or older, and living in NYC with a mental health condition. Please call 929-210-9810.

    YearUp aligns job training with corporate partner needs and market trends to ensure that the skills students learn will be in demand. Learn valuable technical and professional skills, and gain work experience during internships at top companies. Earn a stipend throughout the program (while you train and during your internship) and complete courses eligible for college credits.

    Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation's (NMIC) YouthBuild: Business Bootcamp is a five-month training program for out-of-school young people. Services include High School Equivalency Diploma, Customer Service Certificate, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification (CPR), creating a business plan with NYC Business Solutions, engaging in employment readiness training, and receiving job placement assistance. Open registration is held every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday beginning at 11:30 AM. Test begins at 12:45 PM. For more information, call 212-453-5369.

    The CUNY Fatherhood Academy at LaGuardia Community College is now recruiting for their September cohort. This free program is for unemployed and underemployed fathers between the ages of 18 and 30. For more information, get details here, or call 718-730-7336.

    Brooklyn Workforce Innovations - Red Hook on the Road helps unemployed New Yorkers start new careers in commercial driving. After four weeks of classroom and behind-the-wheel training, students are prepared to take the NYS Commercial Driver's License (CDL) road test. Once students are licensed, Red Hook on the Road places graduates in a variety of jobs that move people and products throughout the city. Apply now.

    Discover Accounting includes state-by-state guides on becoming a CPA, salaries, and educational requirements. If you are looking for more advanced accounting topics, you'll find information in their comprehensive career guide and career comparisons.

    New York City Career Center Events and Recruiting

    Overcoming Invisible Barriers: Monday, October 15, 2018, 12:30 PM-2:30 PM, at Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138 60 Barclay Avenue, 2nd floor, Flushing, NY 11355. Identify and reduce barriers to your job finding (Ex. age, lack of goal). For information, call 718-661-5012. 

    Recruiting Event - The New York Botanical Garden on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 10 AM-11 AM for Seasonal  Visitor Services Tram Driver (five openings), Seasonal Visitor Services Attendant (five openings) at The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Waston Building, Room 307, Bronx, NY 10458.

    Basic Resume Writing Workshop: Thursday, October 18, 2018, 1:30 PM-3 PM at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Participants will learn the purpose of a resume, and chronological and combination resumes, and select the appropriate type for their specific needs.

    Introduction to Computers: Thursday, October 18, 2018, 3 PM-4:30 PM at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250  Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Basic computer skills training for those with no or limited knowledge of computers. For more information, call 718- 613- 3811.

    Create a Resume (Spanish): Friday, October 19, 2018, 8:45 AM-11 AM at Bronx Workforce 1 Career Center, 400 East Fordham Road, 8th floor, Bronx, NY 10458. This workshop is designed to walk job seekers through the steps for building an effective resume, which is a critical component of getting a job. (Duration: two hours). Check-in: 8:45 AM-9:00 AM. For information, call 718- 960-7901. 

    Dealing with Job Loss: Friday, October 19, 2018, 11 AM-1 PM at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Attendees will discuss the job loss stages of grief, and participate in a self assessment exercise, customer talk, and expressing their feelings.

    Job Postings and AssistanceJob Fair Sign-up Table

    Job Postings at New York City Workforce 1.

    Apprenticeship Opportunities in New York City.

    Available jobs via Brooklyn Community Board 14.

    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, 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 free training in Quickbooks, Basic Accounting, and Excel. This training is open to anyone receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Classes run 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 receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Training runs Mondays through Fridays for six weeks, and includes test prep and 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 on the above CMP training programs, email info@cmpny.org, call 212-571-1690, or visit the CMP website. CMP also provides tuition-based healthcare and business training 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 that this page will be revised when more recruitment events for the week of October 14  become available.


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    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts

     

    pink cover with a blue illustration of a man's bust

    While training for a charity boxing match at Madison Square Garden, writer Thomas Page McBee gained insight into how masculinity operates in the ring and in society— McBee became the first known trans man to box in the historic venue. He stopped by the Library to talk about this experience, the subject of his new book Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man

    Amanda Hess, a critic-at-large for the New York Times joined McBee to discuss the meaning of toxic masculinity,violence, and what it means to be a "real man."

     

     

    Click here to find out how to subscribe and listen to the Library Talks podcast.

     

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    Boston Harbor
    Boston Harbor; Digital Collections image ID 57181425

    Okay, we're not loving this book list.

    But we lost a bet at the same time the Yankees lost the play-offs, and New Yorkers always make good on our word. So, as we swallow our pride and set our sights on next year, we present recommendations of our favorite books set in Beantown. Enjoy your bagels, Boston Public Library. We'll see you in the spring.

    ducklings

    Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

    We may as well start with a classic. This sweet 1941 picture book tells the tale of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. After searching the city by air and by flipper for the perfect spot to lay their eggs, they finally find a home in the Boston Public Garden.

     


     

     


     

    magic rabbit

    The Magic Rabbit by Anette Cate

    Another classic picture book, this one from 2007, that takes readers all over the streets of Boston. This time, it's in pursuit of a magician's bunny sidekick, who got lost after a trick went wrong.

     


     

    fifth of march

    The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre  (and other books) by Ann Rinaldi

    Johnny Tremain may be a required-reading staple, but young readers who love historical fiction should also get to know Ann Rinaldi. Much of her work for kids and young adults revolves around the Revolutionary War, and particularly notable are The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre and A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials—both set in Boston. 

     

     


     



     

    how to hang a witch

    How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

    Mean Girls meets the Salem witch trials in this modern-day YA ghost story, written by a descendant of one of the men who instigated the trials.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    parking lot attendant

    The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat

    In this debut novel, Tamirat expertly weaves the story of an unnamed teen narrator who currently lives on a mysterious island but flashes back to her time in Boston's complicated Ethiopian immigrant community. It's stylistically complex, with characters you won't soon forget.

     

     

     

     



     

    handmaid's tale

    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

    Atwood's portrayal of a totalitarian anti-woman society, told through the eyes of a woman named Offred, offers up a creepy dystopian version of the city . . . but it's unmistakably Boston

     

     

     

     


     

     

    interpreter of maladies

    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

    Not all the stories in this Pulitzer Prize-winning collection are set in Boston, but our very favorite—"A Temporary Matter"—is an unforgettable portrait of an Indian-American couple who promise to tell each other a secret during hour-long city-wide blackouts over the course of five days. It's heartbreaking and vivid, and the portrait of a Boston neighborhood plunged into darkness is unforgettable.

     

     

     

     

     

    the drop

    The Drop by Dennis Lehane

    Lehane is a quintessential Boston author, and this novella—originally adapted from a short story and then reverse-engineered from a movie—is a great place to start with his work. It's set in the present-day and tells the story of Bob, a bartender who rescues a pitbull puppy from a trash can and kicks off a chain of events involving Chechen gangsters and down-and-out regulars at Cousin Marv's bar.

     

     

     

     

     

    And for our final pick, we'll go with Boston Red Sox ABC, for the littlest Sox fans out there . . . but we're going to have to link to the Boston Public Library's catalog, because we don't have any copies here in New York. We'll stick to The Love of the Yankees.

    There are many more great works of literature, from Little Womenand The Bell Jar to The Scarlet Letter and Love Storyset in or near Boston . . . tell us your favorites in the comments!

    --

    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.