Guess what I found on my Saturday speedwalk by the East River? A little free library at Pier 42 between the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges.
Your Friday fashion statement. Just the thing for a long holiday weekend.
Two women students roller-skating on midway sidewalk :: University of Chicago campus, ca. 1940
Forget the bookmobile. Try roller-skating to the library!
If you can’t get to a TED talk, read the book.
Stephen Colbert smacks down Amazon and applies the Colbert Bump to a debut novel affected by the Amazon-Hachette dispute. Eden Lupicki’s California is now at the top of Powells.com best-seller list.
Amazon is playing hardcover.
Growing up moving from farm to farm, Storm Reyes had to pack lightly. That meant no books. She felt hopeless about the future, until one day, a bookmobile appeared in the fields and changed her life.
From the fields to the library, how a bookmobile and books changed one young woman’s life.
The experience, she says, was life-changing.
"That taught me that hope was not just a word. And it gave me the courage to leave the camps. That’s where the books made the difference."
Storm left the camps when she was a teenager and attended night school. She ended up working in the Pierce County Library System for more than 30 years.
My local rescue has a program called Book Buddies where kids read to sheltered cats to keep them from being lonely.
So many libraries offer Read To A Dog events, why not Read to A Cat. Also, Happy Monday. Kitties! Squee!
Our Monday has officially been brightened.
Norton is sad to learn of the death of legendary folk singer Pete Seeger. In addition to his storied career in music, he published two books with us at Norton: Everybody Says Freedom and Where Have All THe Flowers Gone. He will be missed.
We reviewed Everybody Says Freedom in LJ 3/1/90:
Taking its title from a song used in the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, this narrative scrapbook is illustrated with music and words to three dozen songs (“We Shall Overcome” is not among them). Profiles of 15 people active in the movement, anecdotes about many others, and a chronological outline/commentary on events from 1955 to 1968 are linked by the songs, which are presented as having one or two voice lines, usually, with chords suggested for harmony. The authors hope the songs will be sung as reminders of their past power and for use in the future as “brothers, sisters, all: climb Jacob’s Ladder,” with new words for new populist causes. For general collections.— Bonnie Jo Dopp, Dist. of Columbia P.L.
Today, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. There’s a wealth of information available about the horrors of the Holocaust, but this reading list of six powerful books is a good place to start.
The Exiles Return
by Elisabeth de Waal
Set in the ashes of post-second world war Vienna, The Exiles Return is a powerful, subtle novel of exiles returning home fifteen years after fleeing Hitler’s deadly reign. With immaculate precision and sensitivity, de Waal, an exile herself, captures a city rebuilding and relearning its identity, and the people who have to do the same. de Waal has written a masterpiece of European literature, an artifact revealing a moment in our history, clear as a snapshot, but timeless as well.
The Hare with Amber Eyes
by Edmund de Waal
When Edmund de Waal inherited a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke, he wanted to know who had touched and held them, and how the collection had managed to survive. And so begins this extraordinarily moving memoir and detective story as de Waal discovers both the story of the netsuke and of his family, the Ephrussis, over five generations. A nineteenth-century banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, the Ephrussis were as rich and respected as the Rothchilds. Yet by the end of the World War II, when the netsuke were hidden from the Nazis in Vienna, this collection of very small carvings was all that remained of their vast empire.
by Wladyslaw Szpilman
On September 23, 1939, Wladyslaw Szpilman played Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor live on the radio as shells exploded outside—so loudly that he couldn’t hear his piano. It was the last live music broadcast from Warsaw: That day, a German bomb hit the station, and Polish Radio went off the air.
Though he lost his entire family, Szpilman survived in hiding. In the end, his life was saved by a German officer who heard him play the same Chopin Nocturne on a piano found among the rubble. Written immediately after the war and suppressed for decades, The Pianist is a stunning testament to human endurance and the redemptive power of fellow feeling.
by Elie Wiesel
Night is Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man.
by Melissa Muller
Praised as “remarkable,” “meticulous,” and “long overdue,” Anne Frank: The Biography, originally published in 1998, still stands as the definitive account of the girl who has become “the human face of the Holocaust.” For this nuanced portrait of her famous subject, biographer Melissa Müller drew on exclusive interviews with family and friends as well as on previously unavailable correspondence, even, in the process, discovering five missing diary pages. Full of revelations, Müller’s richly textured narrative returned Anne Frank to history, portraying the flesh-and-blood girl unsentimentalized and so all the more affecting.
Now, fifteen years after the book first appeared, much new information has come to light: letters sent by Otto Frank to relatives in America as he sought to emigrate with his family, the identity of other suspects involved in the betrayal of the Franks, and important details about the family’s arrest and subsequent fate. Revised and updated with more than thirty percent new material, this is an indispensable volume for all those who seek a deeper understanding of Anne Frank and the brutal times in which she lived and died.
The Emperor of Lies
by Steve Sem-Sandberg
In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second-largest Jewish ghetto in the Polish city of Lódz. Its chosen leader: Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish businessman and orphanage director. From one of Scandinavia’s most critically acclaimed and bestselling authors, The Emperor of Lies chronicles the tale of Rumkowski’s monarchical rule over a quarter million Jews. Driven by a titanic ambition, he sought to transform the ghetto into a productive industrial complex and strove to make it —and himself — indispensable to the Nazi regime. Drawing on the chronicles of life in the Lódz Ghetto, Steve Sem-Sandberg captures the full panorama of human resilience and asks the most difficult questions: Was Rumkowski a ruthless opportunist, an accessory to the Nazi regime driven by a lust for power? Or was he a pragmatic strategist who managed to save Jewish lives through his collaboration policies?
As the Northeast is battered by “Winter Storm Hercules”—a nor’easter all but destined to enter Wikipedia’s list of notable nor’easters—one public library has provided succor, sort of. In Hopkinton, Massachusetts, a redditor came across this sign; to its great credit, it suggests neither burning books, nor reading erotica aloud, nor any other heat-generating gimmickry. Rather, it stands as a stark, charmingly blunt reminder that though literature may warm the soul, it will never warm the body.
The season of “best” books is upon us, bringing reminders of the books we loved, meant to read, still want to read, or somehow missed. Library Journal recently published its list of top picks (see LJ‘s Best Books 2013: Top Ten), and everyone from the New York Times to several American Library Association (ALA) divisions will soon follow suit (look for the announcements of The Reading List, The Notable Books List, and the Listen List, among others, on January 26).
Matching the idea of best books to the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving, here are five (of the many) titles published in 2013 for which I am grateful.
What books are you thankful for? I am grateful for J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ring trilogy, which I reread every summer to escape my miserable teenage life, and Julia Child’s The Way to Cook, my bible for all things culinary.
Tumblarians, meet “Bookshelfies” — the new Tumblr dedicated to selfies taken in front of your bookshelves.