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Posts by Jessica Cline

What Inspires You? A Book List of the Creative Process

Artists are always asked about what inspires them, what they were looking at (reading, eating, drinking, feeling, etc.) when they made this or that piece of art. They often remain coy, not wanting to divulge too much of the creative process, for fear of its ruining the mystery, or muddying the individual's personal interpretation of a work. In spite of their best efforts, the creative process, that window into the unique mind of the artist, remains a fascination for most of us. So, when we received a new title a few months ago,

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Tell Me More: How Can I Find Out About This Sculpture?

A recent question at the reference desk was how to find more about the sculpture of the large button threaded with a needle that stands in the Garment District of New York City at 7th Avenue and 39th Street. This query reminded me of a previous

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March Reader's Den: Wrap-Up and Reading List for "Love and Summer"

“The music ceased, the whine of the needle on the empty centre of the record so faint it was hardly anything. Still dwelling in his exile, Florian finished his cigarette and stubbed it out in the grass. The sun was slipping away, the evening light becoming dusky. Jessie clambered to her feet when he did, went back with him to the drawing-room, where he lifted the needle off. In the kitchen he put sausages on to fry.” (Love and Summer, p. 61)

Thank you all for joining

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March Reader's Den: Discussion Questions for "Love and Summer"

Welcome back to the Reader's Den. This week, I would like to post a few questions for you to consider while reading Love and Summer and developing relationships with its characters.

If you were to pass one of these characters on the street, would you recognize him/her?

"'It’s not a terrible place,' Ellie Said, as if she knew what he was thinking. 'It's only something happened 

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March Reader's Den: About the Author of "Love and Summer"

"Closing the gate again when she left the crab-apple orchard, she slipped the loop of chain over the gatepost. He had a way of hesitating before he spoke, of looking away for a moment and then looking back. He had a way of holding a cigarette. When he'd offered her one he'd tapped one out of the packet for himself and hadn't lit it. The rest of the time he was with her he'd held it, unlit, between his fingers." — Love and Summer, page 54

As you’ve been daydreaming of bouquets of lavender and hens in the crab-apple orchard, you may also have 

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March Reader's Den: "Love and Summer" by William Trevor

"On the streets of darkened towns, on roads that are often his alone, bright sudden moments pierce the dark: reality at second hand spreads in an emptiness." — Page 211

It's March and the end of winter is in sight! I’d like to set the mood for this month's Reader's Den and the warm light of the upcoming months with a novel set in a more golden season. Although it is, in fact, still March, so why not honor St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish author whose novel is 

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Winter is an Etching: An Artistic Quotation

Every November, the searches for Stanley Horowitz on Google gain momentum. Horowitz, a poet, published a tranquil 18 word poem in the November 1983 issue of Reader’s Digest magazine, page 109. Some years later the poem was posted to a list of autumn quotations on the Internet, sandwiched between poetry giants like John Keats and Robert Frost, and it has been used ubiquitously all over the web ever since. 

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The Golden Age of Book Covers

As a former cataloging intern in the Library's Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle, I have a great fondness and appreciation for old books with decorative bindings. And, lucky for me, I have a few late 19th and early 20th century books passed down to me from my grandparents. They have a special place reserved in my book case at home so that I can admire their stamped, gilt-edged spines from my favorite chair. Sitting with one of these books in hand transports me to a 

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The Reader's Den: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Leo Tolstoy Wrap-up

Thank you for joining us in reading The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy this month.  Even though we are wrapping up our posts on this novella, please continue to leave comments, ask questions, or start a discussion on Tolstoy at this post.

If you are looking for classic stories 

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The Reader's Den: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" Discussion Questions

I hope you have enjoyed reading The Death of Ivan Ilyich.  Please share your thoughts and favorite excerpts about story or Leo Tolstoy and take a moment to consider and discuss any of the questions posted below.

In the beginning of the story we read of Ivan's friends and family's reactions to his death.  Who shows ... Read More ›

The Reader's Den: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"

“What if in reality my whole life has been wrong?”

Welcome to week two of the book discussion of The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy.  This novella was written at the beginning of Tolstoy's late period as he began to change his philosophical view of life, which is reflected back in the story as Ivan Ilyich awakens to the idea that perhaps he is suffering because his life was not led with moral focus.

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February in The Reader's Den: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"

Welcome to the February edition of The Reader's Den.  This month we will be reading and discussing The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy.

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The Colored Line, the Pictured Word: A Four-Week Poetry Workshop

Whether a work of art inspires a poem, think John Keats and the Grecian Urn, or whether a poem inspires a work of art, as in William Blake's illustrations for Dante's Inferno, the line drawn between art and poetry has been crossed, hatched, and colored in amazing ways.  The Mid-Manhattan Library Art and Picture Collections are offering a four-week workshop to examine the connection between art and poetry and we invite you to join us.   

Since the pictogram, the language of art and the 

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Art, Graphic Design, Craft, Photography, Interior Design and Architecture Magazines—that you can take home!

Have you ever found yourself looking for a review of a great painting show you saw in a Chelsea gallery four months ago?  Or, perhaps you saw the name of a new photographer working on Marc Jacobs’ ads and want to know more about the artist.  The Art and Picture Collections at the Mid-Manhattan Library offer art periodicals to take home from the last couple of years.  We can also help you find articles and reviews recently published or from years past in our

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Tell me more: What is happening in this painting?

Recently, a reader asked me how to find out what the painting Lotus Lilies by Charles Courtney Curran was all about. All the reader knew was that the Terra Foundation for American Art owned this painting, as well as several others by Curran.  This type of query is popular for art works located in New York City museums. When an artist 

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Simple Living: Suggestions for Pared Down and Green Design

When I was a kid my grandpa smoked a pipe.  He would give me the cleaned out tobacco boxes to use as pencil boxes for school.  There was never any question of which box belonged to me.  I have to wonder, are kids allowed to use boxes advertising tobacco products at school today?  School administrators take note, I never became a smoker, but I did learn the value of repurposing and recycling.

A recent

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The Reader's Den: A Wrap Up of "Passing"

If you would like to read more of Nella Larsen’s writing check out her first novel, Quicksand, which also has a multiracial heroine whose story helps define the era of Larsen’s life through lyrical and highly visual written detail.

Other titles that deal with subject of “passing” include:

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The Reader's Den: Discussion Questions for "Passing"

I hope you have been enjoying Passing by Nella Larsen.

Please share your thoughts about the novel or the author and take a moment to discuss any of the questions posted below.

How do Irene’s views on race differ from Clare’s? What are Irene’s feelings for Clare? What themes does the novel address beyond the issue of “passing”? How does Larsen give substance to the setting and time period? Do you think Clare’s fall was an accident?

The discussion at 

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The Reader's Den: About the Author of "Passing"

"Nella Larsen attempts quite a different thing. She explains just what "passing" is: the psychology of the thing; the reaction of it on friend and enemy. It is a difficult task, but she attacks the problem fearlessly and with consummate art. The great problem is under what circumstances would a person take a step like this and how would they feel about it? And how would their fellows feel?" W.E. Burghardt Du Bois, "Review of Passing." Crisis 36:7, July 1929.

Passing is the second novel by Nella Larsen 

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The Reader's Den: "Passing" by Nella Larsen

Welcome to July’s edition of the Reader’s Den!  This month we will be reading and discussing Passing by Nella Larsen. Published in 1929, it is a novel of modern black life whose relationships are wrought with psychological tension. Read More ›

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