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    An illustration of a chair and table by a fireplace with a wreath over a nearby window; it says Hearty greetings and all kinds of good wishes for Christmas and the New Year

    It’s that time of year, as the snow and cold weather arrive, when every spare moment seems to involve either baking or shopping or decorating or wrapping or cooking or writing or, or, or… Well, I’m here to say it’s okay to take time for yourself!

    Put down whatever it is you’re doing, pick up a book full of cozy things, make yourself a nice, hot drink (cocoa, mulled wine, tea… you decide), wrap that fuzzy blanket around you, get a nice chill mix of music playing and put your feet up! You’ve earned it! This is hyggeat it’s hyggiest!

    Here’s a list of some of my favorite cozy reads for this holiday season. Enjoy!

    Cozy Reads for Christmas

    One Day in December book cover

    One Day in December by Josie Silver

    On a snowy London evening right before Christmas, Laurie is on the upper deck of a bus on her way home when she locks eyes with a mystery man standing at the bus stop. It feels like love at first sight but, before either of them can do anything about it, the bus pulls away.

    Laurie will spend the next year looking for her mystery man. When she finally finds him, it turns out he’s her best friend’s new boyfriend. Over the next 10 years, Laurie, Jack, and Sarah will navigate friendship, romance and sex, and what comes next.  

    Make sure you have plenty of reading time when you start this. It's pretty un-put-downable!

    Prince in Disguise book cover

    Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm

    Dylan’s pageant queen sister Dusty is the star of the reality series Prince in Disguise, and now she’s nabbed her prince—err, make that Scottish Lord, Ronan Murray. Much to Dylan’s dismay this means she must now spend Christmas in Scotland filming the Prince in Disguise wedding special. In no way does she want to end up the B plot or breakout star of some second rate reality show but she has no choice.

    Dylan is soon shipped off to a drafty castle filled with crazy in-laws and manipulative TV producers, where she meets Jamie, one of Ronan’s groomsmen, who’s funny, smart and awkward, with the bluest blue eyes she’s ever seen. Christmas in Scotland might not be so bad after all.

    An unexpected gem full of charm, wit, and lovely, swoony surprises, that leaves you with lots of warm and fuzzy feelings by the end. One of my faves of 2018. 

    someone to trust

    Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

    It’s Christmas and Colin, Lord Hodges, should be looking for a suitable bride but the beautiful widow Elizabeth catches his eye. Almost 10 years Colin's senior, Elizabeth (and Colin) knows there can be no question of marriage, but a magical Christmas day has them rethinking what makes a suitable match.

    In A Very Special Christmas, a Mary Balogh holiday novella collection, Balogh brings the full force of English country Christmases with all the festive trimmings. Mistletoe is always hung and emotional wounds are always healed. 

    Mary Balogh is a master at writing the perfect Regency Christmas story.  If that's your jam, you'll love these!


    Christmas on the Island book cover

    Christmas on the Islandby Jenny Colgan

    On the remote Scottish island of Mure, the Christmas season is stark, windy, icy and… festive. It's a time for getting cozy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram and a treacle pudding with the people you love—unless, of course, you’re Flora and you've accidentally gotten pregnant by your ex-boss, and don't know how to tell him.

    Meanwhile, Saif, a doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons on this remote island, where he’s been granted asylum. His wife, however, is still missing and her absence hangs over what should be a joyful celebration.

    Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for a Highland Christmas you'll never forget.

    Jenny Colgan might be the inventor of the hygge holiday romance. Her Christmas novels are the warmest, coziest, bakiest novels I've ever read. 

    Christmas at the Chalet book cover

    Christmas at the Chalet by Anita Hughes

    It’s Christmas week in the exclusive Swiss Alps town of St. Moritz. Wedding gown designer Felicity is there for the biggest fashion show of her career. When her boyfriend gives her a spa day instead of ring, she thinks that she may never walk down the aisle in one of her own creations.

    Nell, a model in Felicity’s show, is planning her dream wedding to her dream guy but her bickering family is ruining the fairytale. Surrounded by stunning vistas, snow-capped mountains, and the magic of the season, Felicity and Nell both need some good, old-fashioned Christmas miracles.

    If you're in need of a little jet-setting this holiday season, Anita Hughes is your girl!

    The Twelve Clues of Christmas book cover

    The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

    It’s Christmas 1933 in Scotland and Lady Georgiana Rannoch may be 36th in line to the British throne but she is also penniless and freezing! So when she gets a job hosting a holiday gathering down south in the tiny village of Tiddleton-under-Lovey, she leaves as soon as she can.

    Spending the holiday in such a picturesque place should be like something straight out of a Jane Austen novel. Instead, Lady Georgiana finds herself surrounded by villagers and partygoers dying in "accidents." Luckily, Lady Georgiana is pretty handy around a crime scene.

    Lady Georgianna mysteries are akin to 1930s screwball comedies filled with all your favorite British eccentricities, and a solid mystery to keep readers guessing.

    Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners

    Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

    For Violet Baumgartner, the family’s annual holiday letter proves the perfection and success of the family. This year, the big event in the letter will be her husband’s retirement party. But the party becomes a disaster when, in front of 200 guests, Violet's daughter Cerise confesses a shocking secret.

    Violet, Cerise, and the rest of the Baumgartners are soon embroiled in an epic battle of wills and family dysfunction with their friends and relatives ensnared as witnesses to their very un-Baumgartner-like behavior—that will definitely not be making their holiday letter.

    A debut novel that is a smart, hilarious, easy read. It might make your family dysfunction look simple by comparison. Fingers crossed. 

    What the Dead Leave Behind book cover

    What the Dead Leave Behind  by Rosemary Simpson

    As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples New York City, heiress Prudence Mackenzie awaits her fiance’s safe return but as the next day dawns, her fiance is one of the hundreds found frozen to death on the streets. However, he also has his head bashed in and an ace of spades in his hand

    Still filled with grief from her father’s recent death, Prudence is convinced her fiance’s death is no accident. Surrounded by people who may not have her best interests, she must rely on a complete stranger, an old friend of her fiance, who was once a Pinkerton detective.

    This is one of my favorite new historical mystery series: a female character to be reckoned with, a promise of romance, and a lot of great Gilded Age New York details.

    Carols and Chaos book cover

    Carols and Chaos by Cindy Anstey

    It’s 1817 and the joys  of the Yuletide season abound at Shackleford manor. However, lady’s maid Kate Darby and valet Matt Harlow hardly have any time to enjoy the holiday. Between their duties at Shackleford and caring for their own families, they are too busy to do much celebrating. This would be a very inconvenient time for them to fall in love.

    But ignoring their feelings becomes the least of their worries when shady dealings come to Shackleford’s gates, and Kate and Matt get swept up in the intrigue! A stand-alone companion to Suitors and Sabotage.

    The author lovingly sends up everyone's favorite Regency romance tropes to create thoroughly orginal new stories full of wit and charm. Perfect for fans of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. 

    Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

    Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

    Single mom Abby Fuller has never regretted putting her dreams of becoming an interior designer on hold for a more lucrative job, to better raise her son, Max. But when a friend recommends her for a small decorating job before the holidays, she jumps at the chance. Businessman Nick Sinclair needs his mansion decorated with all the trimmings before his family descends. What he doesn’t need is a distraction—even if it is almost Christmas.

    With snow falling all around, a huge mansion to decorate, and a gorgeous, brooding man stalking the halls, Abby has her hands full this holiday!

    A novel full of festive charm and cheese. If you love a Hallmark Christmas movie, this just might be the perfect book for you!

    Winter in Paradise book cover

    Winter in Paradiseby Elin Hilderbrand

    Irene’s idyllic life in Iowa comes to a crashing halt one cold, wintry evening when she gets a phone call telling her that her husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash on the faraway Caribbean island of St. John. She and her two sons soon arrive in paradise, shocked to learn that her beloved husband had been living a secret life.

    Crushed by betrayal and desperate to unravel the lies and intrigue her family’s life has been built on, Irene finds that she and her sons may be finding a new beginning for themselves on their new island home.

    Hilderbrand leaves behind her usual setting of Nantucket to head south to the Caribbean for a new series, with wonderful results. 

    The Christmas Sisters book cover

    The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

    Up in the snowy Scottish Highlands, Suzanne McBride wants nothing more than her three adopted daughters to make it home for a cozy Christmas. It may be their mother’s dream, but the three sisters are stressing out.

    Workaholic Hannah is hiding a life-changing secret; stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis, wondering if she should go back to work; and Posy isn’t exactly living her best life, not sure if she’s ready for any big changes, including falling for her sexy neighbor Luke. All hail a family Christmas, whether the family wants one or not.

    The Scottish Highland setting put this on my radar but it's also heartwarming and sexy, making it perfect for this list.

    Bonus Recommendation

    Snowdrift and Other Stories book cover

    Snowdrift and Other Storiesby Georgette Heyer

    A pragmatic governess is rescued from an overturned carriage in the snow, a naive girl breaks into a house to ask for mercy for her feckless brother, a silly schoolgirl returns home for the holiday, two friends find themselves in a duel over a woman, a governess and a soldier of the Peninsular War seek shelter at the same inn… 

    These are just a few of the charming stories from this thoroughly entertaining and witty collection of short romances and stories of independent women, enigmatic men, and silly flibbertigibbets.

    For something more sinister, try Heyer’s mystery A Christmas Party. As a myriad of guests gather for a festive, holiday party they discover there’s a killer in their midst when their universally reviled host is found dead in a room locked from the inside!

    Georgetter Heyer is a favorite author who never disappoints. These are fun, quick reads if you don't have a lot of time on your hands. 

    For even more reading suggestions try our 2017 list, Cozy Christmas Reads.

    And for even more fun, check out my Spotify playlist, A Hygge Christmas, created especially for this post. Happy holidays, everyone!


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    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts

    John McPhee with Paul Holdengraber on stage at LIVE from NYPL
    Photo by Sarah Stacke

    In his seventh collection of essays, The Patch, master non-fiction writer John McPhee shares a montage of stories and reflections that range from a visit to the Hershey chocolate factory to encounters with Oscar Hammerstein, Joan Baez, and Mount Denali. Calling on his signature devotion to structure, McPhee has winnowed this body of work to present a random assembly he calls an “album quilt,” a memoir as only he could write it. He will spoke with Paul Holdengräber about the arc of his life and career. 

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

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    Like an animated alphabet book, the film A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure captures images from the alphabetized subject headings of the New York Public Library Picture Collection to create a world that comes to life one letter at a time. Augusta Palmer’s 14-minute film uses a library resource as the jumping off point for a child’s imagination.

     An illustration of an aye-aye with the text "A is for Aye-Aye" and an apple hanging from the letter A.

    In the film, the rows of black folders on the shelves before Iris, the 9-year-old protagonist, are a bit intimidating at first glance. How does Iris begin here? She looks around at the adults in the room for help. There are two approaches: She can wander back and find a subject that interests her, grab the folder, and let serendipity take her; or, she can ask the librarian at the desk for help with a subject.

    Lucky for us, when Iris enters the collection, imagination wins! A is for Aye-Aye takes us on an adventure that captures all the glory of inspiration that can be gathered and manipulated from this diverse collection of pictures. We asked filmmaker Augusta Palmer a few questions about her ideas for the film:

    Where did the idea for your film A is for Aye-Aye begin?

    Children's illustrations with the letters A, B, C, D
    A-B-C-D by Walter Crane, 1909. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1701865

    I fell in love with the Picture Collection when I was still in my twenties, but the idea for the film started to percolate when my oldest child, Laila, was starting to read in 2010.

    I suddenly thought, why not make an ABC film using images from the Collection. It took quite a few years, two Kickstarters and great collaborators like animator Sabina Hahn, who brought so much of her own vision to the piece. When she was 9, my daughter became the star of the film, so her collaboration and inspiration were essential.

    Why did you use a child's perspective in the film? Did you ever use the Picture Collection when you were a kid?

    I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, so I couldn't go to the Picture Collection as a kid. The downtown library in Little Rock was one of my favorite places, and one of the first places I was allowed to go on my own.

    It was a real refuge for me, and that's the experience I wanted to convey and the reason I used a child's point of view. I just wanted to celebrate creating a whole world in your mind at the library. That, combined with experiences I had at the Picture Collection. Someone really did raise a magnifying glass and look at me through it one day, just as happens to the girl in the film.

    A is for Aye-Aye uses hundreds of pictures to create the animation in the movie. How did you choose the images?

    I really just chose images that attracted my eye and my mind from each letter. It was very intuitive. I made quite a lot of collages to start. Later on, animator Sabina Hahn used those as a jumping-off point but also found images I'd overlooked and brought in her own great taste and ideas about movement.

    Music also plays an important role in the film. How did you and Greg Karnilaw, the composer, come up with the score?

    I've known Greg for over 20 years now and I really trust his instincts. He scored a documentary I co-directed with my husband, Chris Arnold, called If You Succeed and, from that point on, I saw that he always saw another layer beyond what I see in a given scene. He really got that the film is about play and about interiority, and the score reflects that in an amazing way.

    He began composing before the film was finished and was like a master tailor, shortening and lengthening pieces to fit the completed film. One of my favorite parts of making the film was watching the musicians record the score; it was amazing to hear and see!

    Do you have a favorite folder or subject in the Collection?

    It's not in the film, but I love that there are folders labeled "Dead, The" with all kinds of funeral imagery. I love the folders on music and all the beaches folders, as well as the many place folders, like the one for the Gilbert Islands. And, naturally, I love Book Illustrations - ABC Books.

    Appropriately, A is for Aye-Aye begins with a girl arriving at the library in front of the Schwarzman Building. She crosses the street to the Mid-Manhattan Library to begin her adventure in the Picture Collection. The film ends with the girl musing with the aye-aye back in front of the Schwarzman Building, foreshadowing the Picture Collection’s relocation to where it began 103 years ago.

    A little girl stands in front of a lion statue at the New Public Library, from the film A is for Aye-AyeWhen the New York Public Library opened in 1911, patrons began requesting pictures of things. They often didn’t need a whole book on Abraham Lincoln, and they didn’t necessarily know who had photographed him, they just wanted to see a picture of him, or of a platypus, or it could have been Union Square.

    In response, librarians began collecting pictures of things as requested by the public and the Picture Collection was slowly built in the stacks off of the cataloging room at the time, Room 100. The Collection was pieced together by requests from the public like, "I need a picture of a solar eclipse" or "people treading grapes." The librarian would file the request and let the patron know when they had found a picture to suit the need.

    Postcard image of Union Square, New York City
    Union Square postcard. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 836187 

    During the 1930s, Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers began filling the Collection files with pictures from newspaper and magazine sources and it grew rapidly.It began with 23,500 pictures and boasted over 2 million in the 1940s.  It moved from its beginning in Room 100, to the ground floor of the Central Building, where it eventually overflowed the boundaries of its assigned space into the adjacent hallway.

    By the early 1980s, the Collection moved again, given a new home and a new shelving system at the Mid-Manhattan Library across the street. It resided in this space for about 35 years until the summer of 2017 when it moved back to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. Once again happily housed in Room 100, the Picture Collection still collects pictures, notes their sources, and files them by subject for the inspiration of anyone doing image research.

    Engraving of an aye-aye
    Aye-aye engraving. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 821859 

    Join us for A is for Aye-Aye workshops with Augusta Palmer in December in the Picture Collection:

    Build a World: Film screening and Collage Workshop
    Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 4 PM, all ages

    Inspired by the collages of filmmaker Augusta Palmer’s A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure, workshop participants will create their own collages on paper using elements collected from the NYPL Picture Collection. Will your collage create a sense of play between line, color, and form? Will it create an imaginary space that could host a series of mysterious events? Or an expected character who inhabits your new world?

    Build Your Own Beast: Film screening and Stop Motion Animation Workshop
    Saturday, December 15, 2018, 11 AM, children’s workshop

    After watching A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure, workshop participants will create their own characters using elements from the collection. Kids will work together to create a short stop-motion animation featuring their new creations.

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    What makes the Library Shop a one-of-a-kind destination? It's the inspiration of the Beaux Arts landmark building located in the heart of New York and the mission of all libraries, which gives us free access to every book and word ever written.

    As a result of such inspiration, more than half the items on this list are original designs that range from calendars to ornaments and jewelry, and from an Italian leather backpack to a new quote tote. Available only at The Library Shop.

    Top 10 Holiday Gifts at the Library Shop

    1. Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany

    The cover and two inside pages from the book Bibliophile

    Book lovers rejoice! In this love letter to all things bookish, Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations. As a bonus, the book features our main building as well as recommendations from one of our booksellers.

    2. Leather NYPL Bookbinding Stamp Backpack

    Three views of a leather backpack

    This compact leather backpack is designed and produced in Italy. It features a bookbinding stamp originally used on the spine of books bound in, and for, The New York Public Library.

    3. NYPL Library Card Ornament

    Colorful book covers with a New York Public Library check-out card on top of a red book

    Did you know that for nearly 100 years, most library books were checked out using the two-card system? One stayed in the book, the other with the librarian. This new NYPL library card ornament is inspired by the original and has quickly become one of our top-selling ornaments!

    4. 2019 Bookish Quote Calendar

    Samples of pages from the Bookish Quote calendar including the quote A book is a dream you hold in your hand
    This calendar is filled with inspiring bookish quotes for every month, featuring Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Seuss, William Faulkner, George Eliot, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, Cicero, Jorge Luis Borges, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Fran Lebowitz, and Mark Strand.

    5. Library Tote Bag Ornament

    Back and front image of a small ornament replica of the New York Public Library tote bag
    This NYPL 2018 exclusive design is modeled from our "What Are You Reading Now" tote. Hang it on your tree and add it to your armful of shopping bags from 5th Avenue!

    6. Dickens Quote Tote Bag

    A red tote bag with the quote What greater gift than the love of a cat

    The latest in our Quote Tote series, this double-sided bag features a cat quote from Charles Dickens on one side, and our favorite cat on the other.

    7. Logo Charm & Necklace

    One gold necklace and one silver necklace, each with a charm featuring the New York Public Library lion logo

    Imprinted with the Library's award-winning logo, this clean, modern charm declares your support for the Library, its programs, and its mission.

    8. When in Doubt Socks

    Maroon socks with the text When in doubt, go to the Library
    We might be preaching to the choir here, but we think the message on these socks is indisputable. Whether for learning or entertainment, escape or inspiration, the Library has books for everyone.

    9. Book Stack Earrings

    A pair of gold-colored earrings, each with a charm of a stack of books

    A little stack of books for your bookish style, available in gold and silver to go with every outfit. Made for NYPL.

    10. Library Lion Bookends

    Five books in between marble-looking bookends of the New York Public Library lions
    The New York Public Library marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, flanking the entrance to the Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, are familiar and beloved icons for New Yorkers and visitors to the city. If you've been eyeing our lion bookends for years, perhaps this is your moment.

    Check out more of our top gifts here and don’t forget to check out our newsletter! Sign up and receive 10% off your first Shop order.

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    Welcome back, Cookie Lit fans! Tuesday, December 4 is National Cookie Day and the New York Public Library staff is back with more literary cookie recipes to help you celebrate. Of course, the recipes from our 2015, 2016 and 2017 Cookie Lit blog posts are still available (and delicious), but we have a whole new batch for 2018!

    A plate of cookies and a great book go hand-in-hand, so try your hand at creating some of this year's entries. Just click on any of these scrumptious-sounding recipes for a quick link to literary cookie goodness: 

    Peanut Butter Banana Cookies | Russian Tea Cookies | Chocolate Chirp Cookies | Bread and Jam Brown Sugar Shorties | Chocolat Chocolate Chip Cookies | Nevermore Eggnog Cookies | Wee Free Men Cookies | If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Cookies | The Woman in White Cookies | Flourentines | Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread | Snow White Christmas Cookies

    Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
    Susen Shi of Mid-Manhattan Library

    It's a hunk, a hunk of burning love. Love for peanut butter and bananas, that is. Partake in a favorite combination of Elvis Presley, but the cookie edition. Best with a warm glass of milk and some rock 'n' roll!

    Recipe from Gimme Some Oven:

    Black and white photo of Elvis Presley, but with him "holding" his biography in one hand and a plate of cookies in the other
    Original Elvis Presley image from Wikimedia Commons
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter 
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 medium banana)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • (optional: cane sugar, for sprinkling)

    1. Heat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until combined. Set aside.

    3. In the (separate) bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, egg, banana, and vanilla, and continue mixing on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once if needed. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

    4. Measure out a rounded tablespoon-full of dough, roll it into a ball, then place on the baking sheet. Use a fork to press down the top of the ball and make a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle with a pinch of cane sugar, if desired. Repeat with remaining dough.

    5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. Cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    6. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

    Russian Tea Cookies
    Nancy Kandoian of Maps, Local History & Genealogy

    "Nina weighed the Count's remark, then looking once to her left and once to her right, she confided. She explained that while the card room was rarely used, at three o'clock on Wednesdays four women met there without fail for a regular game of whist; and if you arrived by two thirty and hid in the cupboard, you could hear their every word--which included a good deal of cursing; and when the ladies left, you could eat the rest of their cookies." from A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

    Betty Crocker made Russian Tea Cakes a classic in her Betty Crocker Cookbook of All Purpose Baking back in 1942, when the Soviet Union was our ally during World War II. Today, you might know those cookies by another name; whatever they were called, with their richness of butter and nuts, they would have been a good choice for the card-playing ladies and Count Rostov, the gentleman living out his days under Bolshevik rule in the grand Hotel Metropol in central Moscow.  You can find the Theatre Square location on this Plan gor. Moskvy (map) from 1931.

    • 1 cup butter or margarine, softenedPhoto of Russian tea cookies with a copy of the book A Gentleman in Moscow
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 1/4 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Powdered sugar

    1. Heat oven to 400º F.

    2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.

    3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

    4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.

    5. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

    Chocolate Chirp Cookies
    Arieh Ress of SIBL/Mid-Manhattan Library

    "'Frog,' said Toad, 'let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.' Frog and Toad ate one very last cookie. 'We must stop eating!' cried Toad as he ate another. 'Yes,' said Frog, reaching for a cookie, 'we need willpower.'" - Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. (Read Frog and Toad Together or watch it!)

    Like it or not, bugs are the future of sustainable protein, not to mention part of the average day in much of the world, with more than two billion people worldwide eating bugs. With a very small carbon footprint and universal ease of access, these ubiquitous critters may even be kosher!

    While some recipes call for cricket flour along with whole crickets, we took our recipe from The Telegraph as it only had whole crickets, and we thought it best to ease into the next big food staple. Frog and Toad seem to have a lot of difficulty with willpower when it comes to their delicious cookies and, if you can forget what's in them, we think you'll have the same "problem" with these! 

    Yield: 48 cookies
    Photo of Chocolate Chirp Cookies

    • 2 ¼ cups of plain flour
    • 1tsp. baking soda
    • 1tsp. salt
    • 1cup unsalted butter, softened
    • ¾ cup caster sugar
    • ¾ cup brown sugar
    • 1tsp. vanilla
    • 2 eggs
    • 12 ounces chocolate chips
    • 1 cup chopped mixed nuts (optional)
    • ½ cup dry- roasted crickets

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 375º F.

    2. Mix together butter, all sugar, and vanilla and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

    3. Beat in the eggs and then slowly add flour, salt and baking soda.

    4. Stir in the nuts, insects and chocolate chips.

    5. Place rounded teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray and put in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

    Bread and Jam Brown Sugar Shorties
    Stephanie Anderson of BookOps

    Bread and Jam for Frances is supposed to be a morality tale about the perils of being a picky eater but, as a kid, I never understood what could be so wrong about bread and jam for every meal. (Although I did covet the little cardboard shaker of salt that Frances had in her lunchbox!)

    The recipe for this cookie comes from Smitten Kitchen's Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties. You can use strawberry or gooseberry jam, as they are both mentioned by Frances in one of her little jam songs, or go into uncharted territory with your own favorite! 

    Yield: 32 cookiesPhoto of jam cookies with a copy of the book Bread and Jam for Frances

    • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt (flaky salt would be great in these)
    • Jam of your choice
    • Demerara sugar (Sugar in the Raw) or sanding sugar for rolling (optional)

    1. Cut butter into four or five pieces and cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it has a nutty fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn a light brown, anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes. It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Transfer butter to a bowl and chill until just firm, about 1 hour.

    2. Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then mix in flour and salt at low speed until just combined.

    3. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper or parchment and form into a long rectangle so that the sliced cookies will  look more like bread slices,  about 12-inches long, 1 1/2 inches tall. Chill, wrapped in wax paper, until firm, about 1 hour.

    4. Preheat oven to 350° F with rack in middle. Unwrap dough and roll it in coarse sugar, if using, and press the granules in with the paper you’d be using to wrap it. Slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices, arranging 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Press a small indent with your thumb or a small spoon.

    5.Bake until surface is dry and edges are slightly darker, 10 to 12 minutes. Let sit on sheet for a minute before transferring to a rack to cool. (Cookies will quite fragile at first, but will firm up as they cool.) Once cooled, fill indent with jam of your choice.

    Pro tip: the greatness of the slice-and-bake cookie is that you can just bake a few at a time and then hide the rest in the fridge (for a week) or the freezer (for a month) until the craving strikes again.

    Chocolat Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Kathleen Kalmes of Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL)

    "Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive." -Chocolatby Joanne Harris

    These doubly-chocolatey cookies are the perfect companion to Joanne Harris' novel about the transformational magic of including a bit of sweetness in your life. Happiness indeed!

    Yield: 48 cookiesA plate of chocolate chocolate chip cookies with a copy of the book Chocolat

    • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 cup butter (2 sticks softened)
    • ¾ cup light brown sugar
    • ¾ cups granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2/3 cup Cocoa
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cups nuts (optional)

    1. Heat oven to 375° F.

    2. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda.

    3. Cream the sugar, add eggs and vanilla, beat well.

    4. Gradually add flour mixture.

    5. Add chip and nuts if using.

    6. Drop by rounded teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet.

    7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

    Nevermore Eggnog Cookies
    Elizabeth Waters of Mid-Manhattan Library 

    "Quoth the Raven 'Nevermore.'" -The Ravenby Edgar Allan Poe

    It seems that eggnog was a favorite drink of Edgar Allan Poe in his college days, so we made some rich, spicy eggnog-inspired cookies to enjoy while reading The Raven and other Poe classics. Gothic icing is optional.

    If you’d like eggnog with your cookies, check out this version of the Poe family eggnog recipe. And Instagrammers can find a special Insta Novel edition of The Raven @nypl.
    Eggnog Snickerdoodles (adapted from America's Test Kitchen's The Perfect Cookie)

    Yield: 48 cookiesEggnog Snickerdoodle cookies and the book Edgar Allan Poe, Complete and Unabridged

    • 2½ c all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp cream of tartar
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (reserve ½ tsp for later)
    • ¾ tsp cinnamon
    • 16 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
    • 1¼  c packed light brown sugar (original recipe calls for 1½ c granulated sugar.)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1¼  tsp rum extract
    • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
    • ½ c confectioners sugar

    1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    2. Whisk flour cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl.

    3. Beat together butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes

    4. Add eggs, one at a time, and rum and vanilla extracts, and beat until incorporated.

    5. Reduce speed to low and and slowly add flour mixture; mix until just combined.

    6. Working with 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Using bottom of greased dry measuring cup, press each ball to even ½ inch thickness. (I recommend chilling dough for an hour or two first to make it easier to work with.)

    7. Bake cookies until edges are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack.

    8. Whisk confectioners’ sugar and nutmeg together in small bowl and dust cookies with mixture before serving.

    Notes: The original recipe did not call for adding spices to the dough. I added both nutmeg and cinnamon, and included some vanilla extract with the rum extract since I like vanilla in eggnog. The original recipe uses 1 ½ tsp. of rum extract and no vanilla.

    The America’s Test Kitchen editors also note that rum can be substituted for rum extract, but the flavor will be less pronounced. My family thought the combination of the two extracts made for a delicious eggnog cookie.

    Wee Free Men Cookies
    Jenny Baum of Jefferson Market Library

    "'They think written words are even more powerful,' whispered the toad. 'They think all writing is magic. Words worry them. See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers.'" -The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

    These Wee Free Men cookies are sugar cookies with blue icing to resemble their namesakes—minus their shock of red hair. I used an animal cookie recipe adapted from Chloe's Vegan Desserts by Chloe Coscarelli. The icing is a half a cup of powdered sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons soy milk, with a tiny amount of blue food coloring added.

    Yield: about 60 1-inch cookiesCookies in the shape of little blue men, with a copy of the book The Wee Free Men
    • 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Cookie icing

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two or three large baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

    2. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add margarine, 1 tablespoon water, and vanilla. Pulse until soft and doughy. If needed, add 1 more tablespoon water.

    3. Working with half the dough at a time, place the dough between 2 large sheets of floured parchment paper. Roll dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Gently peel off the top sheet of parchment paper.

    4. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can. You can combine any remaining scraps to roll and cut more cookies.

    5. Place the shapes on the prepared baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly gold around the edges. Let cool on the pan.

    6. Decorate the cookies with icing. Let set, then serve.

    If You Give  a Mouse a Cookie Cookies
    Gwen Glazer of Readers Services

    "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk." -If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

    Putting the "lit" in "literal" are some If You Give a Mouse a Cookie cookies, based on the book. The text doesn’t offer much information about the actual cookies, but going by Felicia Bond’s sweet illustrations, I'm guessing they're chocolate chip. 

    I used the Copycat Levain Bakery recipe and followed it to the letter (don’t skip the refrigeration step and don’t overbake!) These cookies are gigantic and delicious, well worthy of a frenetic mouse and the exhausted kid who’s been chasing him around all day. 

    Yield: 12 giant cookies!Chocolate chip cookies, a glass of milk, and a copy of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
    • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (I used King Arthur Unbleached AP Flour)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
    • 3/4 cup + 4 teaspoons (6 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs, cold, lightly beaten in a separate bowl
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups dark chocolate chips (Large ones make for gooier chocolate puddles throughout!)

    1. Line a large baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. 

    2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, powder, and salt. 

    3. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until it comes together in one lump, about 1 minute. Add in the sugars and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves into the butter. Lower the speed to medium-low, and mix in the eggs and vanilla and beat until mixed (the batter will be lumpy). Gradually add in the flour mixture, beating until a little flour remains. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

    4. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Shape the dough roughly into a ball, but do not roll it. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but up to 12 hours before baking.

    5. Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown. When in doubt, take your cookies out early. The cookies will continue to cook as they cool. There's nothing that ruins them more than being overcooked. I can't stress this enough! Cool on a wire rack, then serve!

    The Woman in White cookies
    Jenny Baum of Jefferson Market Library

    This "Cookie in White" has Victorian flair and a secret surprise nestled inside. It would even appeal to the character of Count Fosco who has "a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison" as Wilkie Collins wrote in The Woman in White
    Frosted Coconut Sprinkled Almond Cookies: Adapted from the Cranberry Walnut Thumbprints recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz& Terry Hope Romero
    • 1/2 cup canola oilA plate of white cookies with a copy of the book The Woman in White
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup mini white chocolate chips
    • 1 cup whole almonds
    • white vanilla frosting (store bought or following directions)
    • unsweetened coconut shreds
    For the frosting:
    • 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine, softened
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    • 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanillla extract

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    2. Beat ingredients through salt together to form a stiff dough.

    3. Stir in white chocolate chips.

    4. Pat into small golf ball size cookies. Place whole almond in the middle, flatten slightly and place on the cookie sheets.

    5. Bake for 15 minutes.

    6. Allow cookies to cool sufficiently before frosting and dipping tops in shredded unsweetened coconut.

    7. Mix frosting ingredients together until creamy enough to spread. If too dry add another teaspoon of non-dairy milk; if too runny, add in another tablespoon of powdered sugar.

    Virginia Bartow of Special Formats Processing

    The Florentine Deception by Carey Nachenberg starts off with a simple enough task, and lands its hero in the middle of an incredible adventure. These cookies also start out simple enough… but the end result will blow you away!

    A plate of pastries with a gooey topping and a copy of the book The Florentine DeceptionPastry

    • 14 oz. (28 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1-1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 lb. 5 oz. (4-2/3 cups) all-purpose flour


    • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbs. light corn syrup
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) unsalted butter
    •  3/4 cup honey
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
    • 17 oz. (4 cups) sliced blanched almonds, lightly toasted
    • 3/4 cup chopped candied orange peel (optional)
    •  6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

    1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 11” x 17” rimmed baking sheet. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch overhanging at the short ends. Butter the parchment.

    2. Cream the butter with the sugar, then add the flour and salt and stir until incorporated.

    3. Spread the crumbs on the baking sheet and with floured hands press them into a thin, even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the sheet pan (between 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick). Patch any cracks or holes at this point.

    4. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm. Blind bake the dough by covering it with parchment and baking weights (or dried beans) in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the weights by spooning them off of the parchment, remove the parchment carefully, and bake the dough another 10 minutes. Cool completely.

    5. In a large saucepan, heat the cream with the orange zest over moderate heat, just until bubbles appear around the edge, about 5 minutes, and set aside.

    6. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Cook the syrup over moderately high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until a medium amber caramel forms (350° on a candy thermometer), about 5 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat. Add the honey and the butter to the caramelized sugar (very carefully as the hot mixture will bubble up). Bring it back to a boil.

    7. Add the infused cream, again it will bubble up. Cook the caramel topping over moderately high heat until a candy thermometer registers 255° (about 4 minutes). Stir in the almonds (and candied orange rind, if using) and immediately spread the caramel over the pastry with a wooden spoon.

    8. Return the baking sheet to the oven and for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the topping is bubbling. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.

    9. Run a knife around the edge of the baking sheet to loosen the pastry and turn it over, parchment side up onto a flat baking sheet. Remove the parchment and using a serrated knife, score the pastry (not the filling), trimming around the edges, and then scoring every 1 ½ inches parallel to the short side. Then score on the diagonal 1 inch apart. Using a sharp knife cut through filling on the scored lines, first trimming the edges (a great treat for anyone who wanders through the kitchen) and then cutting out the diamond shaped cookies.

    10. Put the cookies right side up on two wire racks over wax paper. Melt 6 ounces of the chocolate in a bowl in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Put the melted chocolate in a small plastic bag. Snip the corner off and drizzle melted chocolate over all of the cookies. Refrigerate until the chocolate is just set, about 5 minutes.

    Note:  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

    Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread
    Anne Rouyer of Mulberry Street Library

    No Scottish Christmas is complete without a tin of shortbread at the ready! Here, we get all posh by fancying it up with chocolate and peppermint extract. So snuggle down in front of that wood fire, enjoying a dram and a wee bit of shortbread.

    Inspired by Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan
    Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread with a copy of the book Christmas on the Island

    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 cup butter
    • 2 tsp peppermint extract (NOT mint or spearmint)
    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 6 oz chocolate chips or disks
    • Peppermint Baking Chips for sprinkling (I use Andes mints)

    1. Heat oven to 350° F and spray sides of an 8-inch cake pan or springform pan and put parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.

    2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    3. Add peppermint extract and mix until smooth.

    4. Add flour and cocoa powder gradually, incorporating slowly and mix until combined. Dough will be very thick.

    5. With lightly floured hands, press dough evenly into pan.

    6. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until edges just begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pan about 5 minutes. Carefully cut the round into 16 wedges. Cool completely in the pan on cooling rack, about 30 minutes.

    7. Melt chocolate in microwave at 20 second intervals, mixing each time until chocolate is fully melted.

    8. Pour chocolate into a piping bag with a small round tip (or into a ziplock bag with a corner cut off) and drizzle chocolate over cookies.

    9. Sprinkle peppermint baking chips onto chocolate as you go—chocolate dries quickly.

    Snow White Christmas Cookies
    by Melissa Scheurer of Mid-Manhattan Library

    I was inspired to make a cookie that looked like the snow-covered Christmas tree on the cover of David Handler's The Snow White Christmas Cookie. They do remind me of my type of Christmas tree—twinkly and festive with random ornaments spaced unevenly and tinsel thrown on for good measure. The recipe comes from Culinary Envy
    • 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softenedSnow White Christmas Cookies with a copy of the book The Snow White Christmas Cookie
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3¾ cups flour
    • 1 small box (3.3 oz) White Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix (not sugar-free)
    • 2 cups white chocolate chips
    • 1½ cups dried cranberries
    • ½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)

    For decorating:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or parchment paper.

    2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

    3. Add in flour and instant pudding and mix until combined.

    4. Fold in white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and pecans.

    5. Roll cookies into about a 1½" ball and place onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on cookies to slightly flatten (or if you want to cut them out using cookie cutters; on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a ¼ inch (.6 cm) thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked).

    6. Bake at 350° F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies start to slightly brown around the edges.

    7. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

    8. If you are decorating: I just placed the morsels, M&Ms, peppermint, and sprinkles on top while they were cooling on the baking sheet. I let them cool completely before I used the white icing to decorate the top.

    Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

    Thank you to all our bakers, and to those who came up with ideas for them to bake! 

    Please share your #CookieLit ideas below and you could see them in next year's edition. If you bake some of these recipes, don't forget snap some pics and use the hashtag #CookieLit when you post.

    See you with more recipes next year!

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    Insta Novels - The Metamorphosis

    The New York Public Library released another edition of Insta Novels: The Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka illustrated by César Pelizer (@cesarpelizer). The Metamorphosis is available to read on the Library's Instagram account  (@nypl).

    Insta Novels reimagine Instagram’s Stories feature as a new platform for some of the most iconic stories ever written. Insta Novels were first launched in August 2018 with a digital version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Magoz (@magoz). In October, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," illustrated by Buck (@buck_design), was released to read on the Library's Instagram account. On Halloween, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" was released at midnight. The program, created by independent advertising and creative agency Mother in New York and developed in partnership with the Library, aims to make these stories more widely available, reach new audiences, and turn a space for fleeting interactions into one for immersive reading.

    How to Read The Metamorphosis on Instagram

    First, go to the Library's Instagram account (@nypl) and tap "Metamorphosis 1" 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 the previous Insta Novels of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "The Yellow Wallpaper," or "The Raven?" You can still read the Insta Novel editions by locating them on our virtual bookshelf in the highlights section of the Library's Instagram account (@nypl). 

    The Metamorphosis Readalikes

    If you like The Metamorphosis,  you might also enjoy a new novel, Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman—a surreal, shadowy novella about a recently returned Iraq war veteran. While in a coma, awaiting to learn his fate, he envisions cockroaches crawling out of the walls (among other terrifying visions).

    Dig a little deeper and try some of Kafka’s lesser known works, too:


    Read on SimplyE from The New York Public Library

    The stories featured on 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 Raven," "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 The Metamorphosis, "The Raven," “The Yellow Wallpaper," and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Anyone can access the full texts 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 many of the stories by searching the online catalog of NYPL's Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.

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    Caitlin E. Brown is a doctoral candidate in Musicology at Indiana University and was a Short-Term Research Fellow at New York Public Library in 2018. She is currently working on her dissertation which explores musical activity at American artist colonies in the early twentieth century.

    I had the pleasure of spending three weeks working with materials from the Yaddo records of the Manuscripts and Archives Division at The New York Public Library for my dissertation on musical life at American artist colonies in the early 20th century. The first thing to know about the Yaddo collection is it contains a staggering amount of material. The library holds over 500 boxes of items detailing the history of the Yaddo artist colony, including founding legal documents, personal correspondence, concert programs, tickets, photographs, newspaper clippings, and original works of art. Simply considering the breadth and size of the collection, it is easy to see that Yaddo has played a major role in the cultivation of American art over the last century.

    Yaddo mansion
    Yaddo mansion; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: ps_mss_cd21_315

    Yaddo was originally the late 19th century retreat of wealthy philanthropists Spencer and Katrina Trask in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Trasks first leased the property for the summer of 1881 and eventually purchased it for their permanent vacation home. The impressive estate was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013 and consists of nearly 40 acres of woods, lakes, countryside, gardens, and a Queen Anne Revival Mansion.

    Spencer and his wife Katrina were generous patrons of the arts and cultivated a salon-like atmosphere at Yaddo, inviting artists and intellectuals from all over the world to take part in their lavish house parties and discuss contemporary art, music, philosophy, and science.

    Tragically, Spencer and Katrina lost all four of their children before the turn of the 20th century and decided to turn their beloved home into a retreat for artists. The Trasks envisioned a place of "rest and refreshment [for] authors, painters, sculptors, musicians and other artists both men and women, few in number but chosen for their creative gifts" where they could work uninterrupted for long swaths of time and draw inspiration from the beautiful grounds. Yaddo welcomed its first group of creative guests in 1926, including painters, writers, sculptors, and composers.

    I spent much of my time at NYPL sifting through administrative records and guest files, looking for items specifically related to Yaddo’s musical history. A particularly difficult task was piecing together details about lesser-known composers and musicians, so stumbling across information linking more familiar composers to Yaddo's early history was a welcome opportunity to expand my previous knowledge of well-known figures. It was a lovely surprise when I stumbled upon Leonard Bernstein’s name on a notecard (and how to reach him), as seen here:
    Index card with contact information and details of 1952 residency for Leonard Bernstein; text says "reach him through his secretary who lives at Curt's NYC address"
    Yaddo records, box 539; NYPL Manuscripts and Archives Division; photograph by author

    Executive Director Elizabeth Ames kept detailed notes on Yaddo guests and their whereabouts after leaving the colony. This particular set of notecards is the remains of a guest card catalog that Ames and her secretaries created in Yaddo’s early decades. I was delighted to discover that many of the cards contained vivid details about guests’ stays, their food preferences, how they got along with other guests (or did not), outstanding long-distance phone bills, and any conflicts that occurred. It does not appear that any personal details from Leonard Bernstein’s residency made it onto his notecard, but it  inspired me to conduct a small investigation into Bernstein’s connections to Yaddo.

    Leonard Bernstein portrait
    Undated portrait of Leonard Bernstein; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: psnypl_the_5221

    Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was an American conductor and composer known globally for his charisma and unique style, both on the podium and in his original compositions. Incidentally, this year the music world is celebrating the centennial of Bernstein’s birth and many historians have been inspired to revisit his biography, filling in details and bringing more of his work to concert halls.

    After I came across this Bernstein item in the Yaddo collection, I wondered if he had any involvement with Yaddo before 1952. Through his personal letters, I learned that Bernstein had long been familiar with Yaddo and other musicians who spent time there. In August 1940, he wrote to fellow composer Aaron Copland:

    "Might Yaddo on Sept. 7 & 8 be interesting? Are you planning to go? I was thinking of upping to Lenox next week or so to see the Kouss [conductor Sergei Koussevitzky]. Perhaps I could combine both."

    In this letter, Bernstein refers to the 1940 Yaddo Music Festival of contemporary American music, which featured performances of new compositions by American composers.

    A significant challenge for American classical music composers in the early 20th century was finding opportunities in the United States for their music to be performed. In 1932, Aaron Copland and Elizabeth Ames pioneered the Yaddo festivals, which brought young American composers, musicians, and critics together for a few weeks in the summer to play and discuss new American compositions, and culminated in a series of concerts.

    The 1940 festival events consisted of four concerts over two days, portions of which were broadcasted nationally on NBC radio. The programs included works by Roy Harris, Charles Ives, Paul Bowles, Richard Donovan, Quincy Porter, Henry Cowell, David Diamond, Arthur Cohn, and many others. If Bernstein was able to make the trip to Yaddo for the festival, he would have had the opportunity to meet many musical peers and hear several American compositions performed for the very first time.

    Festival orchestra during 1949 Yaddo Music Period, photographed in Yaddo mansion
    Festival orchestra photographed in Yaddo mansion, circa 1949 from Yaddo records, box 368, folder 7;  NYPL Manuscripts and Archives Division

    Yaddo no longer mounts a contemporary music festival each summer, but the colony is still in operation and making plans for its continued support of the arts. Yaddo recently announced plans for the stabilization and restoration of the historic mansion, as well as a recommitment to "aesthetic daring, social egalitarianism, and internationalism, and the support of artists at political risk." Yaddo artists have collectively won 74 Pulitzer Prizes, 29 MacArthur Fellowships, 68 National Book Awards, and a Nobel Prize, making the work of any researcher interested in Yaddo’s history quite fruitful. I am eager to see what treasures are uncovered by other researchers in this collection.

    Quotations from Bernstein's letters are from The Leonard Bernstein Letters, ed. Nigel Simeone (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).  For more about the festivals, see Rudy Shackelford, "The Yaddo Festivals of American Music, 1932–1952," Perspectives of New Music 17, no. 1 (Autumn-Winter, 1978): 92–125, or Tim Page, "The trailblazer: Aaron Copland and the Festivals of American Music" in Yaddo: Making of American Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).

    The Yaddo records are open for research. For more information or to arrange access, email


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    Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

    Aristotle famously (er, probably) said that anger is a gift, and Gwen's been given one this year: Rebecca Traister's book about the power of women's rage. Plus, Frank finds more presents in The New Yorker archives and NYPL announces its year-end Best Books lists.

    Holiday gifts, anyone? This card was created by Pauli Ebner and found in the Art and Picture Collection, via NYPL's Digital Collections. Image ID: 1586968.

    NYPL's 2018 Best Books lists!

    Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister

    The Library Talks episode with Traister and Aminatou Sow

    The New Yorker magazine and The New Yorker Digital Archive (which CAN be accessed for free from anywhere, as long as you have a library card!)

    The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith


    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.” 

    Or if you have another preferred podcast player, you can find “The New York Public Library Podcast” there. (Here’s the RSS feed.)

    From a desktop or laptop:
    Click the “play” button above to start the show. Make sure to keep that window open on your browser if you’re doing other things, or else the audio will stop. You can always find the latest episode at

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    Counting by 7s book cover

    The daily activities in the life of 12-year-old Willow Chance include hanging with her high school friend, Mai, speaking Vietnamese, being fascinated with botany, and attending appointments with the school counselor, Dell Duke. Willow is immersed in the drama of middle school until one horrible, stark, life-altering event changes her perspective on everything.

    The girl arrives home one day and sees police vehicles in her driveway.

    The dreaded words arrive: There has been a car crash.

    Willow after the tragedy defies Willow before the tragedy.

    The preteen feels as if she is in a hole. She does not want to take part in any activity that reminds her of normal living, including getting up and going to school. She becomes home-schooled. The void left in her soul from her parents' painful departure from this world is deep and palpable. Willow lacks interest in investigating things about which she previously would have been incessantly curious. Thoughts of her parents eclipse all the motivation she once possessed.

    Luckily, Dell Duke, Mai, and Pattie Nguyen rally around the heartbroken girl. They ensure that she is comfortable, receives schooling in a manner she can psychologically tolerate, and has a nice place in which to live. It is so terrific for Willow to be surrounded by love, but it is hard for her to feel and experience the warmth while grief envelops her. Living with the Nguyens is only temporary—the girl does not know where she will go or what she will do next.

    Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, 2013

    I loved the portrayal of such a highly gifted, interesting protagonist in this book.

    Holly Goldberg Sloan's website
    Books about kids who have lost parents


    In a Perfect World book cover

    Caroline's mother is thrilled to be offered a position with OneVision so she can provide eye surgery to those who need it most in Egypt—it has been her dream for a long time to be able to work for the company. This means the entire family is moving to Cairo for Caroline's senior year of high school. It is quite a travel adventure, and the culture is much different than that of America. 

    Caroline is less than thrilled about the moving news. For one thing, she has been dating Owen for three years… happily, and does not want to leave him. She also does not wish to depart from her friends and everything she has known for her entire life, for this most pivotal year. The sexual harassment, inappropriate commentary, and general societal expectations of women in Egyptian culture startle the young woman unpleasantly. When she goes out walking with her father, though, no one seems to bother her. 

    Caroline spends her summer days seeing the cultural sites with her driver, Adam, who also happens to be quite the gentleman, kind and good-looking. She meets his family, who is Muslim. She learns about the religion and a different way of life. The women explain the meaning of hijabs to her. Throughout this journey, her parents provide support, reason with her, and sometimes annoy her, as Caroline embarks on a life away from her childhood.

    In a Perfect World by Trish Doller, 2017

    I loved the glimpse that this work provides into Egyptian life.

    Books about Egypt
    Trish Doller's website


    Lucky Broken Girl book cover

    When Ruth lived in Cuba, people thought she was intelligent. That's not the case in Queens, NY. People call her dumb because she does not know much English. She struggles to assimilate, but there's one area of her life where no one can make her feel bad: hopscotch. Playing that game with friends is one of the joys of her life. Then everything changes in the blink of an eye, and the youngster can no longer jump, run, or even walk. 

    Cars crashing into one another like a stack of dominos wreaks havoc on her life. The pile-up results in several fatalities and a broken leg for Ruth. The girl is told she is one of the lucky ones, but she does not feel so lucky having to be in a body cast. To prevent one leg from growing longer than the other, Ruth must remain in bed for six months. She is completely dependent on others for even basic needs.

    Ruth strives to keep a positive attitude and present such to the world. The girl does not want everyone to feel her anguish and be aware of her suffering. Certain days shine a light into her darkness; the festivities, gifts, and cake that are bestowed upon her on her birthday make her blissful. Ruth cannot wait until she can walk once again.

    Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar, 2017

    I love  immigrant stories, and this one does not disappoint.

    Books about Cuba
    Ruth Behar's website

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    Text that reads The New York Public Library Best Books of 2018

    Each year, a gaggle of librarians from all over The New York Public Library system come together to create our Best Books for Teens list. This tradition has YA librarians reading every book released within the calendar year to showcase what they feel best represents the best selection for the readers they serve.

    As the youth librarian at the Andrew Heiskell Talking Braille and Book Library, I look forward to sharing as many titles as possible every year. This post gathers every title available from the National Library Service (NLS) on that list and gives the opportunity to request the titles from either our braille (BR) and digital book (DB) collection, or titles available from our partnership with Bookshare. As titles are still being recorded and/or brailled, feel free to come back to this page to see what's been recorded.

    If you have younger readers, please enjoy our list of the Best Books for Kids 2018. As always, happy reading!

    Best Books for Teens 2018

    Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert book coverA Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti book coverPrice of Duty by Todd Strasser book cover


    After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay
    Bunny and Nasir have always looked out for each other. Will the game they love destroy them?
    Bookshare | BR 22401 | DB 91542

    Analee in Real Lifeby Janelle Milanes
    Analee spends her free time as Kiri, a heroic elf-hunter. Now she needs to be brave offline.

    The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
    Leigh's grief takes her to Taiwan to chase her mother's ghost—who she swears has turned into a large, red bird.

    Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    Zelie and her allies rise against their oppressers to bring magic back to the people.
    Bookshare | BR 22258 | DB 90928

    Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
    Darius doesn't feel Iranian or American enough to fit in. A change of scenery might be just what he needs.
    Bookshare | DB 92265

    Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner
    Brynn is heartbroken and about to fail out of school. What better time to run for student body president?
    Bookshare | DB 91299

    Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist
    The desert can make you, break you, or give you the shakes.

    The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos
    Macy: proper noun. Young woman handling life. Would walk around the neighborhood with a machete.
    DB 90631

    Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
    In an alternate American South overrun by zombies, Jane battles the living and the dead.
    Bookshare | BR 22317 | DB 91635

    Dream Country by Shannon Gibney
    Follow a family from America to Liberia and back again ,in this powerful multigenerational saga.

    Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
    The last drop falls from the faucet. The rivers run dry. The water is gone.

    Fatal Throneby M.T. Anderson et al.
    Tudor wives tell all!

    Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert
    The only thing Yvonne is sure about is that she's not sure.
    Bookshare | DB 91945

    A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
    When everyone already thinks you're that kind of girl, why bother proving them wrong?

    Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis
    Nedra is willing to go to great lengths to cure a plague—even if it means raising the dead.

    A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
    After Annabelle loses everything, there's nothing left to do but run.

    Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
    Have faith in your friends.

    Pride by Ibi Zoboi
    Should Zuri give love to all these new folks trying to change her 'hood?

    The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
    Soy Xiomara, Dominicana from Harlem. This is my story.
    Bookshare | DB 92221

    Price of Duty by Todd Strasser
    Everyone thinks Jake is a war hero.  Everyone except Jake, that is.  

    Royals by Rachel Hawkins
    Daisy's life is turned upside down when her sister falls in love with the crown prince of Scotland.
    Bookshare | DB 91237

    Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
    Life with her sister was always a duet, but now Rumi has to learn to go solo.

    Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
    Mila just wanted her best friend back from the dead, but she brings back more than she bargained for.

    The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
    After a prom prank goes awry, Clara trades her summer at the beach for the back of a sweltering food truck.

    What If It's Us? by Becky Albertali and Adam Silvera
    Ben and Arthur meet-cute at the post office. It's the perfect place for the universe to send you a message, right?

     Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi book coverI Have the Right To by Chessy Prout with Jenn Abelson book coverMarch Forward, Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals and Frank Morrison book cover

    Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi
    Sara loves Ethan Hawke and hates her acne. She's also undocumented, but that's not going to stop her.
    Bookshare | DB 90355

    Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend by Karen Blumenthal
    Discover the truth about America's most notorious criminal couple.

    Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge
    America's conflict in Vietnam seen from 12 different perspectives.
    Bookshare | BR 22298 | DB 90589

    I Have the Right To by Chessy Prout with Jenn Abelson
    After being raped at her exclusive New England boarding school, Chessy Prout finds her voice and stands up for herself and other survivors.
    Bookshare | DB 90629

    Just Mercy: The True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson
    If you knew someone on death row was innocent, what would you do?

    March Forward, Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals and Frank Morrison
    In a world where it's illegal to go to school, Melba Pattillo Beals takes a stand.
    Bookshare | DB 90630

    Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballotby Winifred Conkling
    Take a fresh look at the American women's suffrage movement and its key players.


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    On a red background, text that reads The New York Public Library Best Books of 2018

    Each year, an assemblage of librarians from all over The New York Public Library system come together to create the Best Books for Kids: 100 Titles to Read and Share list. This tradition has librarians reading every book released within the calendar year to showcase what they feel best represents the most reflective, rewarding titles for our younger patrons.

    As the youth librarian at the Andrew Heiskell Talking Braille and Book library, I look forward to sharing as many titles as possible every year. Below is every title available from the National Library Service on that list, with the opportunity to request each title from either our braille (BR) and digital book (DB) collection or from our partnership with Bookshare. As titles are still being recorded and/or brailled, feel free to come back to this page to see what's been recorded.

    For older readers, enjoy our Best Books for Teens 2018 list. As always, happy reading!

    Best Books for Kids 2018 

    The Great Cheese Robbery, Volume 1 by Chris Mould book coverStella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez book coverTwo Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School by Julie Falatko book cover
    Early Chapter Books

    The Great Cheese Robbery by Chris Mould
    A ragtag family of itty-bitty buccaneers catapult into a comic caper when evil mice kidnap their cat.

    Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez
    A tongue-tied, bilingual third-grader finds her voice with the help of family, new friends, her pet betta fish, and Jacques Cousteau.
    Bookshare | BR 22224 | DB 90557

    Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to Schoolby Julie Falatko
    Jump into the minds of the well-meaning (yet hopelessly goofy) Sassy and Waldo, a canine duo determined to find out where their boy disappears to every day.

    Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renee Watson book coverFront Desk by Kelly Yang book coverStanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla book cover

    Amal Unboundby Aisha Saeed
    In modern-day Pakistan, a life-altering mistake leaves strong-willed Amal an indentured servant. Will her determination lead her back to freedom?
    Bookshare | DB 91665

    Betty Before Xby Ilyasah Shabazz with Renee Watson
    Abused by her birth mother, Betty finds a loving home with neighbors who encourage her interest in social justice.
    Bookshare | DB 89952

    Bobby Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead, art by Nicholas Gannon
    Bob's a little green zombie in a chicken suit! But where did he come from? And who is he really? Livy is determined to figure it out.
    Bookshare | DB 90947

    The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods
    In the magical seaside town of Allora, where fish fly, a lonely coffin-maker and a boy on the run strike up an unlikely friendship.
    Bookshare | DB 91622

    Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older
    A group of dinosaur-riding orphans fight for freedom in New York City during the American Civil War.

    Finding Langstonby Lesa Cline-Ransome
    Torn from everything familiar when his father moves his family from Alabama to Chicago, Langston finds refuge and solace in the poetry of another Langston.
    Bookshare | BR 22448 | DB 92516

    Front Deskby Kelly Yang
    Mia must help her parents navigate the intricacies of running a small motel while pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. Can her power with words help her family succeed?
    Bookshare | DB 91215

    The House in Poplar Woodby K.M. Ormsbee
    A deal with Death and Memory separates a family. Can twin brothers break the contract and bring the family together?

    I'm Ok by Patti Kim
    In a series of darkly funny schemes, Ok Lee plans his escape from bullies, bills, and Mom’s new boyfriend. But things are beginning to look increasingly desperate.

    Inkling by Kenneth Oppel
    An inkblot escapes his sketchbook prison and alters Ethan’s life for the better.

    Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
    In the aftermath of a tornado, Ivy befriends June and feels the stirrings of a first crush.

    The Journey of Little Charlieby Christopher Paul Curtis
    Little Charlie realizes that he's not helping Cap'n Buck, "a stanking piece of human filth," recover stolen money—he's unwittingly become a fugitive slave catcher. For older readers.
    Bookshare | DB 90057

    Knockoutby K.A. Holt
    Levi discovers the advantage of being "small but fast" in a boxing ring. Will health problems and an overprotective family pull a TKO over his ambition?

    The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
    An old letter sends two kids searching the past and the present to find a $40 million treasure.
    Bookshare | DB 90528

    Stanley Will Probably Be Fineby Sally J. Pla
    Stanley must summon his inner strength to battle overwhelming situations when he enters the city-wide scavenger hunt to win tickets to Comic Fest.

    Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming and art by Eric Rohmann
    A former police dog becomes an unlikely but sensational silent movie star. When accused of a crime he didn't commit, will the renowned canine sniff out the truth?

    Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
    Nan Sparrow, a chimney sweep in Victorian London, befriends a mysterious magical creature in this fairy tale of monsters and great escapes.

    The Truth As Told By Mason Buttleby Leslie Connor
    Benny died falling out of a treehouse. Everyone in town thinks his best friend, Mason Buttle, knows more than he's saying. What will it take to prove his innocence?
    Bookshare | DB 92524

    Wed Wabbitby Lissa Evans
    Fidge is transported into the land of Wimbly Woos, who insist she is the champion they have been waiting for. Will she be able to free them from the tyrannical rule of Wed Wabbit?
    Bookshare | DB 90573

     How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace book cover the Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster by Patricia Sutton book cover The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs book cover


    Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace, art by Bryan Collier
    The unlikely story of a reluctant athlete who became a renowned artist.
    DB 90207

    Capsized!: the Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster by Patricia Sutton 
    An engrossing account that perfectly captures the palpable fear and loss on one tragic day in 1915.
    Bookshare | BR 22410 | DB 92012

    Crash: the Rise and Fall of America in the 1930s by Marc Favreau
    Rich with first-hand accounts, this multifaceted look at the Great Depression immerses the reader in this pivotal time.
    Bookshare | DB 90712

    The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman
    A gorgeous examination of a self-taught artist and entomologist, the first to document the metamorphosis of butterflies. 

    Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs, art by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
    From humble origins to worldwide acclaim, Libba never gave up on her dream. 

    Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock, art by Katherine Roy
    A suspenseful story of two explorers whose determination and teamwork plunged them into previously uncharted ocean depths.

    A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin book coverThe Rough Patch by Brian Lies book cover
    Picture Books 

    A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
    Little Star can’t stop sneaking bites of mooncake, but when it’s all gone, Mama can make more. Lovely as the night sky, this sweet story is impossible to resist.

    The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
    A farmer fox harvests hope after a great loss. 
    BR 22439

     Delightfully Frightful Poems by Calef Brown book cover Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney book cover

    The Ghostly Carousel: Delightfully Frightful Poems by Calef Brown
    Zombie family reunions, vengeful canaries, and insect pie! This procession of creepy characters and gross-out delights are sure to make you say "ew!"
    DB 92008

    Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, art by Brian Pinkney
    Emotional, musical poems explore the tumultuous last months of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life.
    Bookshare | DB 90151

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    Map of property in the 13th Ward of the city of New York belonging to the estate of Henry A. Coster, decd.
    Map of property in the 13th Ward of the city of New York belonging to the estate of Henry A. Coster, decd.; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID:  57565869

    This collection of real estate maps of lots in early-19th century lower Manhattan are from auctions conducted by James Bleecker & Sons, Franklin & Jenkins, and others. Published as broadsides—that is maps printed only on one side which served as promotional tools for real estate auction houses—they are organized in groups by neighborhood: the Financial District; Greenwich Village, East Village (including New York University); the West Village; SoHo & TriBeCa; and, the Lower East Side. These maps show the massive change in land ownership and the organization of Manhattan in the early 19th century.

    Map of valuable property in the First Ward of the city of New-York to be sold at auction on Thursday, Nov. 12th, 1835, at 12 o'clock at the Merchants Exchange, by Jas. Bleecker & Sons
    Map of valuable property in the First Ward of the city of New-York to be sold at auction on Thursday, Nov. 12th, 1835, at 12 o'clock at the Merchants Exchange, by Jas. Bleecker & Sons; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 57565851

    In 1825, the Erie Canal opened and with it came a new wave of development and expansion in New York City. As trade and commerce expanded during the following period, the population doubled almost every decade. These changes meant the built environment of the city needed to expand north beyond its historical boundary, Canal Street.

    These broadside maps were produced by the foremost real estate auction companies of the 1830s, to advertise and document the sale of land in the city during this property boom. They demonstrate, in great detail, how large Revolutionary War-era estates of families such as the Minards, Gilberts, and Costers were parceled out into blocks of townhouses. These maps also provide us with some of the most detailed print records of land ownership throughout lower Manhattan for this time.

    Map of lots to be sold at auction by direction of the Court of Chancery on Monday, the 12th day of May, 1834, at 12 o'clock at noon, by W.H. Franklin
    Map of lots to be sold at auction by direction of the Court of Chancery on Monday, the 12th day of May, 1834, at 12 o'clock at noon, by W.H. Franklin; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 57565921



    These broadside maps are extremely important documents for showing not only how New York City dealt with such massive increases in population, but also how the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 to grid the city was expanded below Houston Street. This collection of maps works in concert with other collections at the Library related to city planning on Manhattan from 1807 to the early 1820s, as well as the maps of 18th century farmland on the island that were produced by John Bute Holmes in the late 19th century.

    In addition to these resources, this collection of real estate maps speaks to many prominent landowners in Manhattan from the Revolutionary War-era, whose lives are well-documented by primary source materials in the Manuscripts and Archives Division. 

    More detailed information about this collection is available through the NYPL Archives and Manuscripts Portal and NYPL Online Catalog The digitized collection can be viewed through the NYPL Digital Collections

    Related NYPL Research Collections:


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    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts


    Wayétu Moore's debut novel explores African diasporic identity through historical fiction and magical realism. In a conversation with Buzzfeed writer, Isaac Fitzgerald, Moore talks about the stories behind her new book She Would Be King: the history of her native Liberia and the childhood stories her family used to tell her. Moore says, "I grew up hearing stories that always included someone disappearing or shapeshifting or casting a spell...when I moved to America these things were relegated to Disney, but back home, that just wasn't the case."

    Wayétu Moore and the conversation of her book she would be king

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

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    Melvil Dewey (1851–1931) is credited with founding librarianship as we know it today. He created the Dewey Decimal System as a 21-year-old library assistant, and then started a library school, established Library Journal , and helped found American Library Association. He once championed women in the professionalthough it was partly because librarianship could be deemed "women's work"but he irreparably tarnished his legacy with appalling sexism and a long history of sexual harassment (including a documented incident with an NYPL staff member in 1905), as well as overt racism and anti-Semitism.

    The organizational structure Dewey created, which assigns a numerical code to most works of nonfiction, has been around since 1876. It continues to grow and evolve every day, sometimes to course-correct for its dated, problematic, or just plain weird classifications.

    Just the fact of its evolution means it's still broadly usable and pragmatic, however—and it's impossible not to fall in love with some of its idiosyncracies. Public libraries all over the world still use the Dewey Decimal System every day to make sense of the vast array of books in the world, find them quickly, and get them into the hands of readers.

    In that spirit, we've constructed an (extremely unscientific) quiz to determine which of our favorite Dewey headings we all fall under. Are you a 060, a lover of rules and guidelines? Are you an 818 joker? How about an 031 perfectionist or maybe a 629.8, possibly a robot? Find out below!

    And to learn more about the Dewey Decimal System, check out a guide to the Dewey Decimal System and our intro to the basics.




    Want to actually learn something about the Dewey Decimal System? Check out the following resources that helped inform this quiz:


    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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    "Titanic Sinking; No Lives Lost." from the Vancouver Daily World

    Library staff and patrons of The New York Public Library have never been more excited about an online resource than they have been about, and with very good reason! The New York Public Library already provides access to hundreds of historical and current newspapers, however, is the largest online newspaper archive. This online resource includes a special focus on full runs and portions of runs of well-known, regional and state titles in addition to small local newspapers. The collection includes a broad range of dates,  which mostly cover the 19th and 20th centuries. Patrons of The New York Public Library can visit any NYPL location and explore over 11,000 newspapers! 

    This resource is especially popular with genealogy researchers, because people can access obituaries and local stories in small town newspapers. Historians also find this a valuable resource to see how events were covered in smaller regions of the country and other parts of the world.  However, this database is also an excellent learning tool, and if you know where to look you can take away valuable life lessons. To give you an example, here are five lessons to take away from our exploration of

    1. Learn How to Write Your Online Dating Profile

    Before the myriad of on online dating apps and websites came into existence, people relied on the "Lonely Hearts" columns of local newspapers to find their match. With the restriction of a limited word count, it took a clever hand to get the message across that the person was a desirable mate. Take a look at a couple of skillfully written entries we found:

    "Lonely Hearts" from The Evening News

    2. Learn How to Be The Life of The Party

    A good party or social event always has good party games. If you are searching for ways to always keep your guests excited about your events, look for games and contests in local newspapers. Here are a couple you might be interested in:

    "Several of the Events Were Not All That They Seemed . . ." from the Dayton Daily News 

    3. Learn What to Do When Kidnapped By Gangsters

    In the 1930s, a nineteen year old Brooklyn man was kidnapped by gangsters. After his ordeal he decided to write about how he survived and shared it with the world, his story was highlighted in the Albuquerque Journal in 1938.

    "What to Do When Kidnapped!"  from the Albuquerque Journal

    4. Get Sound Advice For Life's Most Troubling Problems

    Advice columns were one of the most popular features in daily newspapers for decades. "The Dear Abby" column achieved international fame, while other smaller papers had local advice-givers as well. With the perfect blend of common sense and snark, advice columns helped numerous people out of everyday binds. 

    "Dear Abby"  from the Kossuth County Advance

    5. Learn the Local Laws of Other Countries

    If you are planning on traveling or moving abroad, it is wise to have an understanding of the local laws. provides coverage of and access to international news and newspapers! 

    "A Law Recently Enacted . . ."  fromThe Lancaster News


    Now that you have experienced a small taste of what has to offer, visit your local New York Public Library branch or research library, get your library card and then jump in! While you're there, explore the other 500 + online resources available. You can also learn more about our online resources by visiting our LibGuide.



    "Dear Abby." Kossuth County Advance (Algona, Kossuth, Iowa), 29 Dec 1966. Page 5. 

    "A Law Recently Enacted...." The Lancaster News (Lancaster, South Carolina), 28 May 1898. Page 1.

    "Lonely Hearts." The Evening News (Harrisburg, Dauphin, Pennsylvania), 5 Nov 1928. Page 14.

    "Several of the Events Were Not All That They Seemed...." Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio), 27 Aug 1922. Page 38.

    "Titanic Sinking; No Lives Lost." Vancouver Daily World (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 15 Apr 1912. Page 1.

    "What to Do When Kidnapped!" Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, New Mexico), 4 Dec 1938. Page 18.


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    Ethan Lipton and his Orchestra
    Ethan Lipton and his Orchestra perform at LIVE from the NYPL on December 13

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

    Selected Events

    Scott Joplin's Ragtime: Tyehimba Jess and Reginald R. Robinson
    Join the Schomburg Center for an evening of music and conversation as Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess and musician and composer Reginald R. Robinson explore the music of Scott Joplin, ragtime traditions, and contemporary influences.
    Thursday, December 13 | 6:30 PM
    Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

    LIVE from the NYPL | Ethan Lipton and his Orchestra: A Night of Song in Praise of the Unlived Life
    Presented as The Richard B. Salomon Distinguished Lecture, Ethan Lipton and his Orchestra treat us to an evening of original music. Inspired by the writing of psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and his literary references—from fiction to poetry, Shakespeare to Freud—Lipton's lyrics will resonate throughout the Library, from the stacks to the stage.
    Thursday, December 13 | 7 PM
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    A Velocity of Being: Maria Popova and Guests
    In an evening of readings and live performances, contributors to a new collection of letters curated by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings reflect on how they have been shaped by a lifetime of reading.
    Saturday, December 15 | 7 PM
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    How to Read a Protest: L.A. Kauffman with Avram Finkelstein
    Grassroots organizer L.A. Kauffman discusses her new illustrated history of major American demonstrations, from the 1963 March on Washington to the present day, with Avram Finkelstein, an artist and founding member of the "Silence=Death" and "Gran Fury" collectives.
    Wednesday, December 19 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

    Ned Rorem Celebration
    Join the Library for the Performing Arts for a commemorative celebration of Ned Rorem—one of America's most honored and beloved living composers.
    Thursday, December 20 | 7 PM
    Library for the Performing Arts

    Storyworthy: Matthew Dicks with Erin Baker
    Elementary school teacher, author, and award-winning Moth storyteller Matthew Dicks believes everyone has a story to tell and has tips and techniques for narrators of all stripes on constructing, telling, and polishing a tale.
    Wednesday, December 26 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

    Business, Career & Finance

    The Spirituality of Financial Planning
    Professor of religion Constantina Rhodes introduces classic teachings on prosperity that can help you acquire a healthy, practical, and spiritually sound attitude toward your financial life.
    Tuesday, December 11 | 6 PM
    Science, Industry and Business Library

    Be a Social CEO
    Learn how to gain a competitive advantage to social media by taking a fresh approach and looking beyond the collective noise to make intelligent and informed decisions.
    Thursday, December 13 | 6 PM
    Science, Industry and Business Library

    How to Get Employers Interested in You
    Career coach Win Sheffield teaches how to present yourself powerfully by recognizing the value that you bring to the market.
    Wednesday, December 19 | 6 PM
    Science, Industry and Business Library


    Technology Programs and Classes
    TechConnect offers more than 80 technology classes at libraries throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island—all for free! There are classes for all students from beginner to advanced, including series courses for those who want more in-depth knowledge. Browse classes.

    More Events

    Fraver by Design: Five Decades of Theatre Poster Art from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Beyond
    Thursday, December 13 | 6 PM
    Library for the Performing Arts

    Winter Book Club: Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
    Wednesday, December 19 | 5:30 PM
    Harry Belafonte–115th Street Library

    16mm Film Screening: The Pantomime Dame
    Wednesday, December 19 | 6:30 PM
    Seward Park Library

    Popovers and Candlelight: Marcia Biederman with Michael David Quinn
    Wednesday, January 2 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

    Walking Harlem: Karen Faye Taborn with Herb Boyd
    Wednesday, January 9 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

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    Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

    Welcome to our first-ever live show, recorded in Frank's very own Jefferson Market Library! Gwen and Frank talk to Eric Klinenberg, sociologist and author of a new book about libraries and social infrastructure. Plus: the audience offers an invaluable assist during the guessing game.

    Gwen, Frank, and Willa (Cather) in Jefferson Market.

    Guest Star: Eric Klinenberg

    Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg

    More of his work in our catalog and on his website

    $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin

    Books by Barbara Ehrenreich

    O Cafe in Greenwich Village (and pão de queijo)



    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.” 

    Or if you have another preferred podcast player, you can find “The New York Public Library Podcast” there. (Here’s the RSS feed.)

    From a desktop or laptop:
    Click the “play” button above to start the show. Make sure to keep that window open on your browser if you’re doing other things, or else the audio will stop. You can always find the latest episode at

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  • 12/13/18--05:13: The 12 Days of Bookness 2018
  • 12 days of bookness

    It's time for The New York Public Library's second annual celebration of our entirely made-up bookish holiday!

    During the 12 days of Bookness, we'll be counting down lists of book recommendations in a different category every day. This year, Bookness runs until December 24, and categories range from cli-fi (the newly minted genre of disastrous climate fiction) to other worlds (books that will transport you to a different time and place) and myth retellings to works in translation to YA novels with crossover appeal for adults.

    Happy Bookness to all, and to all a good read! 

    On the second day of Bookness, we highly recommend: 2 translations . . .

    Disorientalby Négar Djavadi, translated from the French by Tina Kover

    Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori

    And a library card for everyone!

    From checking out books and visiting some of New York City's cultural institutions, to streaming a movie and accessing hundreds of research databases—there is so much you can do with a New York Public Library card! Do you have your library card and are looking for book recommendations? Our Staff Picks are a great place to start!

    Check back for all the days of Bookness, and take a look at last year's suggestions too. And tell us what you're reading with the hashtag #Bookness on Twitter or Facebook!


    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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    Zena sitting in a corner, drinking from a mug, surrounded by books about coffee. Graphic has the call number 641.3373
    Zena likes to start the day in 641.3373 -Coffee.

    Did you wake up this morning with some 641.3373? Or perhaps you prefer 641.3372. Spend any time doing 643.7 or 746.46 this weekend?

    We don’t usually have conversations in code at the Library, but we do love our Dewey Decimal call numbers as a way of organizing and finding books and other resources. To celebrate National Dewey Decimal System Day on December 10, librarians at Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street posed for photos with some of their favorite call numbers.

    As part of the celebration, I asked my colleagues what they would most like Library patrons to know about the Dewey classification system. Here are their answers! 

    Our Top Observations about the Dewey Decimal Classification System

    1. It’s designed for browsing.

    Melissa holding the book titled 1000 Tattoos, with a graphic of the call number 391.65
    Along with 391.65 -Tattooing / body art, 567.9 - Dinosaurs is one of Melissa’s favorite call numbers.

    Books and other materials are organized by subject, so if you’re looking for books about pets, visit the 636 section. If you’re looking for books about dogs, more specifically, go directly to 636.7. It you’re a cat person, your number is 636.8.

    Books about U.S. history are shelved under 973—but in some branches like ours, that section is very large, so it helps to get a specific number with a decimal to narrow down the subject area. For example, books about the Civil War are shelved under 973.7. Books about the Obama presidency are shelved under 973.932.

    You can search the Library catalog to find the call numbers you need or ask our staff for help. We do know some numbers off the top of our heads but, for others, we need to use the catalog, too. 

    Please remember that the branch libraries use the Dewey Decimal System, but the research libraries use the Billings System, which is not browsable in the same way. If you’d like to learn more about how books are shelved in the research collection, check out this blog post on Billings classifications.

    2. Items do not have unique call numbers.

    Since the call number indicates the subject of the book, multiple books can be shelved under the same number. If you are looking for The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell under 302 G (G for Gladwell), you might also find Social Problems by 19th century economist and philosopher Henry George, among other books.

    The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston is shelved under 613.25 A, but so are many other diet and nutrition books by authors whose last names begin with A.

    Cynthia holding up a book spine that reads "New York". A graphic has the call number 974.71
    Cynthia enjoys reading New York City history, shelved in 974.71.

    3. Call numbers are used across languages, ages, and media.

    If you’re looking for books about fitness, they’re shelved under 613.7. Fitness books in Spanish are also shelved under 613.7, as are fitness books in Russian, Chinese, and so on. 

    The call numbers in the library catalog and on the spines of the books indicate the language and the subject—SPA 613.7, CHI 613.7, etc.
    The same call numbers are used in the children, teen, and adult nonfiction collections, so if you’re looking for books about dinosaurs, look under J 567.9 in the children’s section and 567.9 in the adult and teen nonfiction sections. (Children’s call numbers all begin with J for Juvenile).

    We also use the same call numbers for nonfiction DVDs. So, if you want fitness DVDs, you'll look on the shelves under DVD 613.7, with yoga DVDs under 613.7046. If you want books about New York City history, visit 974.71, but guess where Ric Burns’s documentary series about New York City is shelved? Yes, it’s under DVD 974.71 N (N for New York, the first word in the title.)

    How do the numbers work?

    Armand holding the book, Popular Mechanics Complete How-To, with a graphic of the call number 643.7
    643.7 - Home maintenance is one of Armand's favorite sectiions. He also browses computer books in 004 -006.

    There are ten main Dewey classes or “centuries.”

    000 Computer science, information & general works
    100 Philosophy & psychology
    200 Religion
    300 Social sciences
    400 Language
    500 Science
    600 Technology
    700 Arts & recreation
    800 Literature
    900 History & geography

    And then each main class is divided into 10 sections or hundred divisions. Let’s look at the 600 class as an example:

    Charlene holding up the cooking book Instantly Southern, with a graphic of the call number 641.5
    Charlene likes to find interesting new recipes in 641.5 - Cookbooks.

    600 Technology
    610 Medicine & health
    620 Engineering
    630 Agriculture
    640 Home & family management
    650 Management & public relations
    660 Chemical engineering
    670 Manufacturing
    680 Manufacture for specific uses
    690 Construction of buildings

    These hundred divisions are further subdivided into one thousand sections, which can be made even more specific with the addition of decimal points. For example, in the 640 section, Home & family management, you’ll find cookbooks - 641.5 (Charlene’s favorite) and Armand’s favorite, Home maintenance - 643.7; plus, books about sewing in 646.2, housekeeping (such as Marie Kondo’s blockbuster, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up) in 648, and childcare in 649.1.

    The Dewey Decimal System has been revised many times since its introduction in 1876, and the current edition is the 23rd. Generations of catalogers have worked, and continue to work, to make the classifications and the subject heading language better reflect our evolving society.

    What's in a number? Here are more of our Dewey Decimal favorites!


    Jessica holding up a Miss Manners book, with a graphic of the call number 395.22.


    Jessica has always found it cute and charming that, in January, so much of the 395.22 section (wedding planning) is checked out of the Library because so many people get engaged over the holidays. 

    It’s one example of how the Library is there for you at all stages of life with the resources you need.


    Armand wearing a conductor's cap and holding up a railroad book, with a graphic of the call number 385.


    In addition to 643.7 - Home maintenance and 004-006 - Computers, Armand really likes 385 - Railroad transportation.

    Melissa (pictured above) also chose several numbers. Beyond 391.65, where you find body art and tattooing, and dinosaurs in 567.9, Melissa fondly remembers 650.14 (job seeking, resumes) as the first call number she was able to give to a library user without having to look it up.


    Ricci kneeling near bookshelves, with a graphic for the call number 398.2.


    Ricci picks 398.2 - Fairytales and folktales. We took this photo in the Children’s Room, where there’s a fantastic collection for kids… but keep in mind that we’ve got a huge folklore section for adults, too.





    Several librarians looked to the 700 class for inspiration (Arts & Recreation). Lauren likes 746.46 - Quilting, with books on knitting and crocheting nearby in 746.43.

    It wasn’t easy for Laura to choose just one section in the art collection, but the 759.972 section, where Latin American painters like Frida Kahlo (759.972 Kalh) and Wifredo Lam (759.9729 Lam) are shelved, really speaks to her.

    Lauren holding up a quilting book near an area with the sign Craft Corner, plus a graphic of the call number 746.46.
    Lauren likes quilting, shelved in 746.46.
    Laura pointing to a Wifredo Lam book, with a graphic of the call number 759.972.
    Laura finds inspiration in 759.972 - Latin American painting. 

    Arieh, our photography maven, chose the 770 range - Photography, where he can find books on photographic equipment and techniques in 770 - 778 and works by photographers in 779. Liz recommends checking out 796.6 - Cycling to find bike books.  

    Arieh pointing his camera at a row of photography books, with a graphic of the call number 770.
    Photography maven Arieh hanging out in the 770s
    Liz holding up two cycling books, with a graphic of the call number 796.6.
    Liz  has two favorites: Cycling in 796.6 and American poetry in 811.

    It’s not surprising that many librarians chose numbers in the 800 class - Literature. In addition to bikes (796.6), Liz is a big fan of 811 - American poetry. Andrew chose 822.33 - Shakespeare, who has his own special subdivision of drama of the Elizabethan period, 1558-1625, and Emily chose a specific Shakespeare section for The Sonnets 822.33-Y7.

    Andrew holding up a book on Shakespeare, and a graphic with the call number 822.33.
    Andrew appreciates that Shakespeare has his very own call number - 822.33.
    Emily holding up a book of Shakespeare's poems, and a graphic of the call number 822.33-y7.
    Emily picks 822.33-Y7  - Shakespeare's sonnets.

    Wilsa’s favorite call number is 809 - History, description, critical appraisal of more than two literatures. It's a broad section but the main focus is on the written word or world literature, which she loves. 

    Vilma posing near books on Spanish literature, and a graphic of the call number SPA 861-868.
    Vilma loves Spanish literature: 861 - 868.

    Vilma loves the 860s - Spanish literature. Look for Neruda’s love poems in 861 Neruda, Lorca’s plays in 862 Lorca, books about Don Quixote under 863 Cervantes, and anthologies of Spanish literature under 868.

    Mr. Chang holding up a book with the title Chines Book Discussion, and a graphic of the call number 895.11 951.
    Mr. Chang enjoys reading  895.11 - Chinese poetry and 951 - Chinese history. 

    Mr. Chang is a fan of 895.11 - Chinese poetry. Remember how call numbers are used across languages? If you want to find translations of Spanish or Chinese poetry in English, look under 861 or 895.11 in the English nonfiction shelves. To find Spanish or Chinese poetry in the original language, look in the World Languages collection under SPA 861 or CHI 895.11.

    Several of our librarians like to spend time in the 900s - History. In addition to Chinese literature, Mr Chang likes the 951 section - Chinese history. And Cynthia is not alone in loving the New York City history section in 974.71. It’s popular with readers and staff alike.

    Travel books are also shelved in the 900s. Moriba likes to explore books and DVDs in 914 - 919.  She also recommends stopping by the 400s for some language-learning materials before a trip. Marianna thinks the 941.084 section, officially known as Great Britain- History- 1936-1945, is an interesting one. "This is where you would send a Winston Churchill devotee, who has read the the bios in Claudine's section," Marianna explains. "This man has his own call number in the history section, and he deserves it."

    Moriba looking at travel books, with a graphic of the call number 914-919.
    Moriba likes to explore 914-919 - Travel.
    A hand holding up the peace sign next to a book on Winston Churchill, and a graphic with the call number 941.084.
    Marianna votes for 941.084, where she finds books  on Winston Churchill.


    Claudine posing near bookshelves, with a graphic of the letter B.
    Claudine finds life lessons under B - Biography.

    Claudine choosesB for Biographies. She thinks that reading about an individual’s life can bring things into perspective and provide valuable, even essential, life lessons—more than those found in many self-help books.

    Why just a "B"? We don't usually assign decimal numbers to biographies and memoirs of individuals. Instead, they're shelved under B with the subject's last name and the first letter of the author's last name.

    So, for example, you can look for Becoming by Michelle Obama under B Obama O. (But don't look for a while since there are more than 2,000 holds for the book right now!) 



    Thanks to the staff at Mid-Manhattan who posed with, and shared, their favorite Dewey numbers!

    What’s your number? Tell us in the comments section below.


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    shirley jackson

    A master of Gothic mystery and horror, Shirley Jackson’s novels and short stories still resonate with readers more than fifty years after her death, due in part to her uncanny ability to pierce the outward polite facade of her characters to reveal the true, terrifying side of humanity that lurks underneath. Generations of readers have been left speechless and spellbound by the horror and tragedy of The Haunting of Hill House, one of the greatest ghost stories ever written. Her short story “The Lottery” has remained a staple of short story anthologies since it was first published in 1948, and it is probably the most well-known American short story of the 20th century. Today we look back on her life and her successes in honor of her birthday.

    Shirley Hardie Jackson was born December 14, 1916 in San Francisco, California. In 1937, she attended Syracuse University where she published her first short story, “Janice,” and became an editor for a campus magazine. It was while attending Syracuse that she met, fell in love with, and eventually married Stanley Edgar Hyman, a fellow student who would eventually become a literary critic and professor at Bennington College. She remained on the East Coast for the rest of her life, eventually settling in North Bennington, Vermont with her husband and family. The couple became well-known for their cocktail parties which were often frequented by the great literary masters of their time such as Ralph Ellison. 
    haunting of hill house

    Jackson steadfastly pursued her writing while simultaneously balancing her role as wife and mother to four children., publishing her first novel, The Road Through the Wall in 1948. Her two memoirs, Life Among the Savages(1953) and Raising Devils(1957), detail her family life and offer a rare glimpse into the mundane, every-day reality of one of the greatest horror writers of all time. Her short stories were frequently featured in literary magazines such as the New Yorker, and her work has often been adapted for both the stage and screen. The Haunting of Hill Housewas published in 1959 and has since been adapted twice for film, asThe Haunting (1963) and The Haunting (1999), twice for the stage, and most recently as the basis of a Netflix original series.

    Many of her short stories gained national recognition for their unflinching presentation of slow-mounting, psychological and/or spiritual terror such as “Come Dance with Me in Ireland” which won the Best American Short Stories award in 1944, and “The Lottery,” which won the O. Henry Prize Stories award in 1949. In 1961, Jackson won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Short Story for "Louisa, Please Come Home". Time Magazine included We Have Always Lived in the Castle in their list of Ten Best Novels of the year for 1962.
    On August 8, 1965, Jackson died of heart failure in her home at the age of 48. At the time of her death, she had written six novels, two memoirs, and over 200 short stories with two novels left unfinished. Her undisputed status as one of the greatest female horror writers of all time, as well as, her influence on future masters of horror, such as Stephen King and Richard Matheson, cannot be understated or underappreciated. In 2007, the annual Shirley Jackson Awards were "established for outstanding achievement in the literature of horror, the dark fantastic, and psychological suspense."
    Today we honor her birthday by bringing a list of recommended reading guaranteed to thrill new and veteran fans of her work!


    Road through the wall

    The Road Through the Wall (1948)

    Everyone knew the residents of Pepper Street were "nice" people—especially the residents themselves. Among the self-satisfied group were: Mrs. Merriam, the sanctimonious shrew who was turning her husband into a nonentity and her daughter into a bigoted spinster; Mr. Roberts, who found relief from the street's unending propriety in shoddy side-street amours; Miss Fielding, who considered it more important to boil an egg properly than to save a disturbed girl from destruction. It took the gruesome act of a desperate boy who lived among them to pierce the shell of their complacency and force them to see their own ugliness.



    Hangsaman (1951)

    Seventeen-year-old Natalie Waite longs to escape home for college. Her father is a domineering and egotistical writer who keeps a tight rein on Natalie and her long-suffering mother. When Natalie finally does get away, however, college life doesn’t bring the happiness she expected. Little by little, Natalie is no longer certain of anything—even where reality ends and her dark imaginings begin. Chilling and suspenseful, Hangsaman is loosely based on the real-life disappearance of a Bennington College sophomore in 1946.

    birds nest

    The Bird's Nest (1954)

    Elizabeth is a demure twenty-three-year-old whiling her life away at a dull museum job, living with her neurotic aunt, and subsisting off her dead mother's inheritance. When Elizabeth begins to suffer terrible migraines and backaches, her aunt takes her to the doctor, then to a psychiatrist. But slowly, and with Jackson's characteristic chill, we learn that Elizabeth is not just one girl—but four separate, self-destructive personalities.

    The sundial

    The Sundial (1958)

    When the Halloran clan gathers at the family home for a funeral, no one is surprised when the somewhat peculiar Aunt Fanny wanders off into the secret garden. But then she returns to report an astonishing vision of an apocalypse from which only the Hallorans and their hangers-on will be spared, and the family finds itself engulfed in growing madness, fear, and violence as they prepare for a terrible new world.

    haunting of hill house

    The Haunting of Hill House (1959)

    First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

    Two sisters, Merricat and Constance Blackwood, live in a mansion that is, at times, compared to a castle. Merricat might be a witch while the unwanted visitor to their house, Charles, may or may not be a ghost or a demon.  
    Meanwhile, most of the villagers hate and fear the two sisters, who have been living in seclusion with their ailing uncle ever since a poisoned sugar bowl killed the rest of the Blackwood family.


    Graphic Novels

    In a graphic-novel adaptation of the classic spine-tingler, the grandson of the story's original author depicts the eerie town and their shocking ritual in detailed four-color panels that breathe new life into the iconic tale.



    Short Story Collections 

    Dark tales

    Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson; foreword by Ottessa Moshfegh

    For the first time in one volume, a collection of Shirley Jackson's scariest stories, with a foreword by PEN/Hemingway Award winner Ottessa Moshfegh.
    After the publication of her short story "The Lottery" in the New Yorker in 1948 received an unprecedented amount of attention, Shirley Jackson was quickly established as a master horror storyteller. This collection of classic and newly reprinted stories provides readers with more of her unsettling, dark tales, including the "The Possibility of Evil" and "The Summer People."
    In these deliciously dark stories, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the crumbling country pile, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods. There's something sinister in suburbia. 
    let me tell you

    Let Me Tell You : New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson; edited by Laurence Jackson Hyman and Sarah Hyman DeWitt; foreword by Ruth Franklin

    As we approach the centenary of [Jackson's] birth comes this astonishing compilation of fifty-six pieces—more than forty of which have never been published before. Two of Jackson's children co-edited this volume, culling through the vast archives of their mothers paper's at the Library of Congress, selecting only the very best for inclusion.

    lottery and other stories

    The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

    The Lottery and Other Stories, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson's lifetime, unites "The Lottery" with twenty-four equally unusual short stories. Together they demonstrate Jackson's remarkable range—from the hilarious to the horrible, the unsettling to the ominous—and her power as a storyteller.

    come along with me

    Come Along with Me : Classic Short Stories and an Unfinished Novel by Shirley Jackson; edited by Stanley Edgar Hyman; foreword by Laura Miller

    In her gothic visions of small-town America, Jackson, the author of such masterworks as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, turns an ordinary world into a supernatural nightmare. This eclectic collection goes beyond her horror writing, revealing the full spectrum of her literary genius. In addition to Come Along with Me, Jackson's unfinished novel about the quirky inner life of a lonely widow, it features sixteen short stories and three lectures she delivered during her last years.

    life among the savages

    Life Among the Savages (1953) by Shirley Jackson

    In a hilariously charming domestic memoir, America's celebrated master of terror turns to a different kind of fright: raising children. In her celebrated fiction, Shirley Jackson explored the darkness lurking beneath the surface of small-town America. But in Life Among the Savages, she takes on the lighter side of small-town life.
    In this witty and warm memoir of her family's life in rural Vermont, she delightfully exposes a domestic side in cheerful contrast to her quietly terrifying fiction. With a novelist's gift for character, an unfailing maternal instinct, and her signature humor, Jackson turns everyday family experiences into brilliant adventures.
    raising demons

    Raising Demons (1957)

    In the sequel to Life Among the Savages, Shirley Jackson's four children have grown from savages into full-fledged demons. The clan moves into a larger home, and the chaos moves with them. A confrontation with the IRS, Little League, trumpet lessons, and enough clutter to bury her alive—Shirley spins them all into a reminder that every bit as thrilling as a murderous family in a haunted house is a happy family in a new home.


    shirley jackson

    Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin

    This long-awaited biography establishes Shirley Jackson as a towering figure in American literature and revives the life and work of a neglected master. Still known to millions only as the author of the "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) remains curiously absent from the American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America better than anyone. Now, biographer Ruth Franklin reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the author behind such classics as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. 

    Placing Jackson within an American Gothic tradition of Hawthorne and Poe, Franklin demonstrates how her unique contribution to this genre came from her focus on "domestic horror" drawn from an era hostile to women. Based on a wealth of previously undiscovered correspondence and dozens of new interviews, Shirley Jackson, with its exploration of astonishing talent shaped by a damaged childhood and a troubled marriage to literary critic Stanley Hyman, becomes the definitive biography of a generational avatar and an American literary giant.

    Literary Criticism

    shirley jacksons american gothic

    Shirley Jackson's American Gothicby Darryl Hattenhauer

    Best known for her short story "The Lottery" and her novel The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson produced a body of work that is more varied and complex than critics have realized. In fact, as Darryl Hattenhauer argues here, Jackson was one of the few writers to anticipate the transition from modernism to postmodernism, and therefore ranks among the most significant writers of her time.

    The first comprehensive study of all of Jackson's fiction, Shirley Jackson's American Gothic offers readers the chance not only to rediscover her work, but also to see how and why a major American writer was passed over for inclusion in the canon of American literature. 


    Movie Adaptations

    the haunting

    The Haunting (1963)

    Based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

    Dr. John Markway, an anthropologist with an interest in psychic phenomena, takes two specially selected women to Hill House, a reportedly haunted mansion. Eleanor (Julie Harris), a lonely, eccentric woman with a supernatural event in her past, and the bold Theodora (Claire Bloom), who has ESP, join John and the mansion's heir, cynical Luke (Russ Tamblyn). They are immediately overwhelmed by strange sounds and events, and Eleanor comes to believe the house is alive and speaking directly to her.