Brooklyn Public Library


Back to Basics

Aug 31, 2010 11:12 AM | 0 comments

We've all been warned about judging books by their covers, but what's in a name? The comedian Dan Wilbur is currently grappling with that question on his aptly named website Better Book Titles, which features altered book covers that get more to the point. Wilbur promises to "cut through all the cryptic crap, and give you the meat of the story in one condensed image." Instantly, giant tomes of literature like Madame Bovary (or, Getting Fondled at the County Fair) are whittled down to their "finer" points. The wittiest of these misnomers often summarize the book at hand by way of cultural criticismStieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo becomes This Is the First Book I've Read in Six Years.


Can you think of any books with names that might benefit from a little clarification? If so, we'd love to hear your suggestions! Be it Twilight or Moby-Dick, no genre is sacred, no title is safe. Submit your comments and prepare your fellow No Shush-ers for what's to come!

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Food is Magic, Food is Love, Food is Politically Incorrect

Aug 27, 2010 9:47 AM | 0 comments

Food is a recurring theme in movies, and this summer has seen at least two films that embrace this savory narrative ingredient. Eat, Pray, Love, the Hollywood-fueled hit, and I Am Love, an art house pick starring the phenomenal Tilda Swinton, follow similar stories: a woman’s journey toward self-realization by way of romantic and gastronomical awakenings.

We looked into what flavorful cinematic delights might be found in our own DVD collection, and there’s a menu to suit all tastes, from the most discerning palette to junk food junkies. Here are just a few of what’s available at your library.

Bon appétit!

Food as Magic:

Like Water for Chocolate
Babette's Feast

Bringing People Together:

Big Night
Soul Food

Empty Calories:

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

Politics of Eating:

Food, Inc.
Super Size Me

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Do You Believe in Magic?

Aug 24, 2010 2:49 PM | 0 comments

A slight of hand, 200 feet over Manhattan: David Blaine has captured the world’s imagination with his near escapes and levitating enchantments. When the Brooklyn native isn’t defying laws of nature, he’s enjoying a good book.

Here are some of his favorites:

For kids

1. Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

3. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

5. Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

For adults

1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

3. Candide by Voltaire

4. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

5. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

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August! Yeah!

Aug 20, 2010 1:52 PM | 0 comments

Tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of Hawaii’s entrance into the Union. As our comrades out in the Pacific begin to make merry, one gets to thinking: When it comes to occasions for celebrating, August feels like a dry month. Indeed, it would appear that what we’ve been left with are 31 heavy days with nary a holiday of which to speak. Headlines are elliptical, publishers won’t publish and Brooklynites everywhere are counting down the days to the start of school. But lo! The locals might be on to something.

Department stores and catalog adverts will soon begin to remind us that August is Back to School Month, and they will be right. Whether this inspires celebration or exasperation, the message is this: After a little enterprising research, it turns out that August is chock-full of reasons to gather a group of your closest friends and inflate some balloons.

Lovers of cheese, for example, will find it helpful to know that we are currently in the midst of National Goat Cheese Month! Spread it on a toasted panini and presto—you’ll be celebrating two holidays in one because it’s National Panini Month, too. This party is looking promising already.

For the more aurally inclined, there are endless ways to commemorate Audio Appreciation Month. Here at BPL, audio materials abound—from books to music to free concerts—and are conveniently available at all 60 locations. While strolling toward your nearest library, immerse yourself with pride in the surrounding din. If a grumpy cabby honks and/or swears at you for not paying attention, offer a wave and flash a smile, and Win with Civility—which August is also the month for.

What do Cleopatra, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe all have in common? Brace yourself, because they all died this month. History will identify the events of August as somber ones, and ask us to examine the lessons we have taken from them. It seems appropriate, then, that this month should be formally recognized as What Will Be Your Legacy Month. While pondering your answer, take some cues from the legendary characters that populate BPL’s biography section!

See, there’s no reason to let August’s bad reputation damper your summer celebrating. To start, find some brightly colored flowers, switch-on your slow-turning spit and imbibe with a Mai Tai while feeling thankful for the statehood that belongs to Hawaii—where Happiness Happens (yeah, August is time for that one, too!)

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Local Writers Make Good

Aug 17, 2010 10:29 AM | 0 comments

If you follow new hot book news, you've probably heard that three NYC authors have new books out that are on everyone's mindsand even the bestseller lists.

Jennifer Egan, resident of Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood, has a new book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, that has met with critical acclaim and much buzz. I'm a big fan of Egan's work, and it's great to see such an interesting and talented Brooklyn author getting the props she deserves.

Rick Moody's newest book The Four Fingers of Death has received good reviews and copious attentionwe're fans of Moody, whose book The Ice Storm was made into a great film. He has appeared at Central Library's Dweck Center in the recent past.

And award-winner and bestseller Gary Shteyngart's new novel Super Sad True Love Story has been well-reviewed and sits happily at number 11 (as of today) on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction bestseller list. Shteyngart will be discussing his new book at the Dweck this November.

Reserve your copy of these latest hot reads, or check out earlier work by these talented writers, all for free from your local library!

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