Reading Room Blog

Creeps from the Deep

          The Gulf oil spill, terrible though it is, has focused attention on one of the least-known environments on earth. Scientists used to believe that the deep ocean was uninhabited. As scientist Tim Flannery explains, “The eternal dark, the almost inconceivable pressure, and the extreme cold that exist below one thousand meters were, [scientists] thought, so forbidding as to have all but extinguished life. The reverse is in fact true....(Below 200 meters) lies the largest habitat on earth.”
 
          While less than 10% of this area has been explored by humans, what we have discovered to date has found its way into children’s books filled with tantalizing glimpses of ten-foot-long red worms and the enormous clams, crabs and tube worms that thrive around deep hydrothermal vents. 

American Life in Poetry: Column 269

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

It is enough for me as a reader that a poem take from life a single moment and hold it up for me to look at. There need not be anything sensational or unusual or peculiar about that moment, but somehow, by directing my attention to it, our attention to it, the poet bathes it in the light of the remarkable. Here is a poem like this by Carolyn Miller, who lives in San Francisco.

 

The World as It is

American Life in Poetry: Column 270

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

We are sometimes amazed by how well the visually impaired navigate the world, but like the rest of us, they have found a way to do what interests them. Here Jan Mordenski of Michigan describes her mother, absorbed in crocheting.

Crochet

Even after darkness closed her eyes ?
my mother could crochet. ?
Her hands would walk the rows of wool ?
turning, bending, to a woolen music.

Beyond "Goodnight, Moon"

          If you find yourself in New York City this weekend, stop by the 42nd Street Library at 2:00 on Sunday, May 23rd.  The New York Public Library is hosting a Margaret Wise Brown Birthday Sing-in on the steps in honor of the late author’s 100th birthday.  Cupcakes are promised, and all are welcome.

          Most parents who’ve raised children in the last fifty years are familiar with Brown’s most enduring work, “Goodnight, Moon.”  Written in hypnotic rhyme and illustrated in warm reds and greens by Clement Hurd, the book did not make a splash on first publication in 1947, selling a respectable but modest 6,000 copies that fall.  But the book gradually found an audience, and by now total sales reportedly top 11 million copies.

Ooh La La!

Planning a trip to Paris?  Maybe you are only imagining a trip to Paris.  To put you in an a French mood, try a title from the booklist "Ooh la la - Paris Delights".  From memoirs to mysteries, romances to literary classics, you will find these books tres merveilleux! 

Read - Or Re-read - This Intriguing Series

Since librarians are always scrambling to keep up with the latest books, re-reading is a pleasure we rarely enjoy.  But this spring sees the release of the newest title by Megan Whalen Turner in a series whose first book appeared in 1996.  Reason enough to start again at the beginning!

New Service: "Book Group in a Bag"

If you're in a book group (or want to start one) we've got a great  new service for you called "Book Group in a Bag." 

With "Book Group in a Bag" you can check out a library tote bag filled with ten copies of your selected title for 6 weeks. That's right - 6 weeks!

We currently have over 80 adult titles (you can filter by Fiction or Non-Fiction). We're adding more adult titles, and young adult and children's titles will soon be available.

American Life in Poetry: Column 268

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

If writers are both skilled and lucky, they may write something that will carry their words into the future, past the hour of their own deaths. I’d guess all writers hope for this, and the following poem by Peter Cooley, who lives in New Orleans and teaches creative writing at Tulane, beautifully expresses his hope, and theirs.

 

The One Certain Thing

American Life in Poetry: Column 267

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here’s a poem by Susan Meyers, of South Carolina, about the most ordinary of activities, washing the dishes, but in this instance remembering this ordinary routine provides an opportunity for speculation about the private pleasures of a lost parent.

 

Mother, Washing Dishes

Meet the authors this Saturday

 

    Meet authors Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger tomorrow at 10:00 as they bring their wacky senses of humor to the Headquarters Library.  Kids ten and up will love their story about Stonewall Hinkleman, a typical twelve-year-old boy whose parents are ardent Civil War re-enactors.  This means that every weekend he’s dragged (his word) to another Civil War battle site.  His father reveres an ancestor, Cyrus Hinkleman, who fought and died in the war, despite the fact that, as Stonewall puts it, “He was shot in the butt… Which can only mean one thing.  He was running away when he was shot.”  Dressed in a scratchy wool uniform and dragging a bugle that he barely knows how to play, Stonewall sulks around wishing he could play his Game Boy.