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June is Audiobook Month

 

We have a limited number of free copies of AudioFile Magazine at the Adult Reference Desk in celebration of "Audiobook Month."  Please ask the librarian for a copy.   This unique magazine reviews unabridged and abridged audiobooks, original audio programs, commentary and dramatizations in the spoken-word format.  Their focus is the audio presentation, not critique of the written material. 

What's Cooking: Taking It Easy

grill

Summer is just around the corner signaling the wonderful season of outdoor cooking.  Who wants to cook in the hot weather?   It screams out for simply made dishes that don’t take much preparation where the freshness of the foods alone will delight the palate.  Just thinking about the jewelled green salads, luscious fruits and vegetables in season, and refreshingly cool desserts stirs the senses. A word about salads, try not to limit salads to just greens.  Broaden your selection to include beans, pasta, noodles, bread, meats, seafood and grains like rice and wheatberry, to make a scrumptious main dish.

New Book Group! In Other Worlds...

New City Library is starting a new book discussion group this summer!  It's called "In Other Worlds," and its focus is on speculative fiction.  Librarians Karen Ostertag and Veronica Reynolds will lead discussions on works from the realms of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and everything in between.  The group will meet every third Wednesday of the month at 7 PM.

We're starting off easy with the first offering-- a short story by Isaac Asimov entitled "All the Troubles of the World."  There are copies available now at the adult reference desk.  In July, we're featuring China Miéville's Perdido Street Station, and the August selection will be American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.

We hope you'll join us for light refreshments and discussion.  (Come to the Dark Side-- we have cookies!)

I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM: Military Romances

If you're looking for a few good men, you've come to the right place!  In honor of the holiday (and Fleet Week!), I'm suspending my survey of historical romances briefly to take a quick look at military romances.  Memorial Day is on the horizon, that time we've aside to remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.  With a few poignant exceptions, the heroes in these books get much happier endings.  These men have been trained and tested, and have what it takes to protect the women they love.  If you don't have your own soldier to celebrate with this weekend, why not show your appreciation by checking out a romance that features one?  (We do so love our men in uniform!)  So, without further ado, the list:

Mystery Monday

Imagine you are the author of three international blockbuster novels.  Acclaimed throughout the world, you have achieved critical and financial success beyond your wildest imagination. Now imagine that you never see the rewards of your labor because you die, suddenly, before your books are published.  How cruel is that?  Well, it did happen just that way to Swedish author Stieg Larsson, who was felled by a fatal heart attack just months before the publishing date of his first book. He never lived to see any of his books, (The Millenium Trilogy featuring The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire and the forthcoming The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) in print. Next week, the final volume of the trilogy will be published in the U.S. and will undoubtedly join its predecessors on the best-seller list.

CROSS-CRAFTING WITH A VENGEANCE: THE NEW WEIRD

Genre labels.  Librarians love them because they can quietly signal new finds to readers of genre fiction.  They're a kind of library shorthand, much as Dewey Decimal labels are-- a subtle signpost for the knowledgable browser.  Still, genre labels have their limits.  It can be hard to discover a new author when your favorite titles are thinly scattered throughout a much larger general fiction collection, labels or no.  We created the Speculative Fiction area at New City Library with the intention of fixing this problem.  By bringing the three related genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror together into their own space, we hoped to support the kind of happy serendipity that only happens in a small browsing collection.  As it turns out, there's been an unexpected side benefit. 

A Jewel in the New York Harbor

Governors Island: The Jewel  of New York Harbor is one of the many books available in the Rockland Room that focuses on New York City history.  This beautiful book blends a sense of nostalgia with twenty-first-century amenities. The author has included rarely-viewed photos, blueprints, architectural plans and interviews with former residents. Located in the New York Harbor, Governors Island was a British fort in the 1700's and then played a long-standing role as a station for the U.S. Army and the Coast Guard. The island also offers a vivid reflection of historic events in New York City and the world at large. Stop in at the Rockland Room and have a look in the new book section for this fascinating book.

It should be mentioned that there is a new library non-fiction book discussion group, Facts, that has been focusing on books about the Hudson Valley and Manhattan. The May selection was Manhattan: My Downtown by Pete Hamill and the June selection is The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell  by Mark Kurlansky. The group meets the second Wednesday of the month at 1PM. All interested persons are invited.

What's Cooking?: Healing Foods

As I was preparing the Chicken Wine Soup for my daughter-in-law after she gave birth, I realize we often overlook the restorative and healing powers of food.  This Chicken Wine Soup is traditional in the Chinese culture and prepared for new mothers in their recovery from childbirth. This soup contains an abundance of ginger and glutinous rice wine in the soup to help rejuvenate and warm the body. The dried lily buds and wood ears are believed to have anticoagulant properties. The dried Chinese mushrooms revitalize the body and improve its immune system.  Of course, everyone is familiar with the healing quality of chicken soup. There are some who await a new birth with anticipation just to be able to partake of this soup along with a small bowl of pickled pigs’ knuckles with hard-boiled eggs cooked in sweetened black vinegar and ginger.  You may think this latter dish is unappetizing but it is often requested unabashedly.  Although I think the taste is unique and delicious, the true focus is on the restorative value of its ingredients.

CORINTHIANS, RAKES, AND INCOMPARABLES, OH MY!

This month, I'm continuing the historical romance theme and tackling... Regencies! 

Why is the Regency such a popular setting?  Lots of reasons-- just take a look at what was going on in those days: the Napoleonic Wars, the peak of the Industrial Revolution, the women's rights movement, the birth of Gothic literature, and the Romantic poets, just to name a few.  It was the day of Beau Brummel, the Elgin Marbles, Byron, Keats, Shelley (both of them), Ann Radcliffe, and of course, Miss Jane Austen.  And at the heart of it all, the Ton: the glittering, fascinating, hothouse environment of Britain's upper crust.  Wealth, privilege, education, and refined manners, all held together by a rigid code of conduct for the space of a London Season.  I like to think of the Regency period as romance's answer to the sonnet: the rules might seem oppressive and needlessly complicated, designed to strangle creativity, but think what marvellously subtle and nuanced work can result!  Is it any wonder that the Regency is the most popular type of historical romance in our library?

What's in a Name?

Some things really happen by coincidence but I’m beginning to wonder if something else is afoot.    The last six books I read all have an important character named Henry.   The titles include Breathless (Dean Koontz), Edgar Sawtelle (Wroblewski) and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Ford).  Then I started Olive Kitteridge (Strout) and in the very first section there are two Henrys!  It’s a great name, the name of kings, synonymous with power and strength.  Its popularity is on the rise here and in Europe, but 7 books in a row?   So far no Henrys in my current book, Safe from the Neighbors.

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