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Posts from the General Research Division

Zombies and Why They Won't Go Away

Zombie Librarian Themed BookmarkAbout a month ago, I was having a conversation with a colleague about the then upcoming film, World War Z. Our discussion turned to pop culture's fascination with zombies. Zombies have shuffled their way into books, films,

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John Donne, Re-done

My colleague MN said she would be coming the 'my' next lecture. Of course I said what?? (your friends will come to your funeral, your real friends go to your lectures). She had just discovered John Adams's opera Doctor Atomic and pointed me to the YouTube clip of the aria "Batter My Heart," one of Donne's most famous poems. Cool, as the youngbloods say (used to say?)

But back to the lecture, which is neither mine, nor a lecture. This 

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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Last month, while reading the ever-elegant obituaries in The Economist, I ran across RPJ's. I knew the name through the Merchant/Ivory movies, but she was a writer-writer as well as screen-writer. She wrote over a dozen novels, with a "heroine [who] was almost always herself: trapped in a cross-cultural marriage, tipping between the old world and the new, observing from the outside some bewildering place." As so often happens, 

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Memorial Day: Commemorating and Remembering Our Veterans and Those Who Serve

May 27th is Memorial Day. Did you know that this U.S. federal holiday goes as far back as the American Civil War in the 1860s?

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, occurs ever year on the last Monday of the month of May and is the day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

For the past two centuries, the U.S. has been involved in many wars domestically and aboard. Many service men and women have put aside their jobs, families and lives to defend our country and principals of freedom during 

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Edith Wharton, A Writing Life: Childhood

Edith Wharton, by Edward Harrison May National Portrait Gallery NPG.82.136This coming fall, perhaps in September, I will be giving a library talk called "Edith Wharton: A Writing Life." In preparation, I have been immersing myself in Wharton's novels and stories. Although the fiction is often set in a New York as remote from us as an ancient city, among a wealthy and exclusive class many generations removed from today's social elite, what strikes me most 

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Modern-Day Slavery: Stories about Human Sex Trafficking and Comfort Women

During World War II, when the Japanese invaded and occupied Shanghai, Nanjing and other coastal cities of eastern China, they looted, intimidated, and massacred millions of people to prove their imperial strength and mercilessness. Many children and women were raped and killed during the invasion; towns were burned to crisp and lives were forever changed and destroyed.

Five years ago, my parents told me that my grandmother had endured such a horrific event when she was in Fuzhou, the 

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Where the Hell is Hell? A Look at the Underworld

The Ancient Greeks believed it. Christians believe it. So do Muslims, Zoroastrians,

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Shakespeare in the Rose Main Reading Room

Most of the collections at the Stephen A. Schwarzman building are closed-stacked, i.e., we bring them to you. But on the 3rd floor, the Rose Main Reading Room maintains open, very open stacks of about 30,000 volumes on every subject, not just the humanities and social sciences which is our collection strength.

Here is a picture of the Shakespeare section, on the short shelves at the north-east corner. In addition to the complete works, it holds critical editions, 

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Not Your Grandmother's Hamlet

That is, the kick-off to Shakespeare Week—April 15 to 20 here at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Schizophrenia, nomadism, Lacan (oh the joys of serendipity—I just ordered his Television: A Challenge to the Psychoanalytic Profession), Deleuze, all the quite-cut edge philosophers and concepts. 

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Shakespeare and Teens: "The Juliet Club"

Well, it's April and time for Shakespeare Week. And once again, to read a great novel—The Juliet Club, by Wertheim writer Suzanne Harper.  Here is the

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Catching the 7 Line: The International Express to NYPL!

7 Train by Scott Beale on FlickrApril is Immigrant Heritage Month. In New York City, April 17th to 24th is Immigrant Heritage Week. In honor of both celebrations of Immigrant Heritage, this blog will focus on the multiculturalism of the 7 train.

If you live in Queens, New York, and you work in midtown like me, there might be a possibility that you often take the MTA train to work, particularly the

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The Jews of Shanghai: Uncovering the Archives and Stories

"Life was difficult in Shanghai, but infinitely better than anything they had left behind. From lower-middle-class comfort, the Tobias family was reduced to poverty but not to starvation. There was always food, always something to eat, always shelter even when the Jewish community was ghettoized shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thus even under terribly difficult conditions Moses Tobias was able to take care of his family but under the Nazis the conditions of the Jews were far worse than merely 'terribly difficult.'

"Shanghai was a multiethnic city and the 

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Back to Bradbury

"I wouldn't want the nursery locked up," said Peter coldly. "Ever."

"Matter of fact, we're thinking of turning the whole house off for about a month. Live sort of a carefree one-for-all existence."

"That sounds dreadful! Would I have to tie my own shoes instead of letting the shoe tier do it? And brush my own teeth and comb my hair and give myself a bath?"

"It would be fun for a change, don't you think?"

"No, it would be horrid. . ."

Ray Bradbury, "The 

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The Call of Cthulhu Turns 85: H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos

Weird Tales, February 1928. The Call of Cthulhu's first appearance in print.The short stories of H.P. Lovecraft have always been personal favorites of mine. Ever since I read "The Call of Cthulhu" for the first time as a teenager, I have been hooked on Lovecraft's particular brand of supernatural fiction and the sense of cosmic horror his characters evoke.

February marked the 85th 

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Bookstore Mystique: Martin Boyd, Joyce Cary, and Elizabeth Bowen

There was a time — in what has come to seem more and more a mythical past — when books were everywhere. Along the relatively short stretch of Fifth Avenue between the New York Public Library and Central Park were three magnificent bookstores: Doubleday, Brentano's, and the most architecturally stunning of them all, Scribner's. Around the corner on 47th Street was

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The Art of Anna Bella Geiger

Harper Montgomery, a writer in the Wertheim Study, has curated a fascinating exhibition at Hunter College, going until May 4. At 68th and Lexington, it is a smallish (read: do-able) delight — Open Work in Latin America, New York & Beyond: Conceptualism Reconsidered, 1967-1978.

It features prints, artists' books, photography and videos, photocopies, all sorts of experimental treats, including Ed 

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Playboy: A Seductive Periodical or Champion of Sexual Liberalism?

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is intended for mature readers onlyRecognize the icon above? Perhaps you may not realize this but Playboy the publication, historically speaking, has been a leading magazine devoted to freedom of expression and human rights (to a certain extent). Founded in 1953 in Chicago by Hugh Hefner, Playboy has often been perceived as a "taboo" 

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Anti-Valentine? Join the Club!

If you are like me, then the one thing you would like about Valentine's Day is the day after: chocolates on sale!

Godiva, Ferrara, chocolate truffles, M&Ms, you name it — all those brand name sweets at 50% off or on a buy-one-get-one-free basis totally makes up for this senseless tradition.

Though the only people actually winning from this scheme are your dentists and candy makers, who's really counting your cavities when the most-ridiculous "holiday" of the year just ended?! (In my humble opinion...)

Don't get me wrong, I am not 

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Happy Birthday Grand Central Terminal!

Did you know that Grand Central Station (also known as Grand Central Terminal) recently turned 100?

Opened in 1871 on 42nd Street between Park and Lexington avenues, the station was renovated and reopened in February 1913. Grand Central is one of the largest train connecters to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) 4, 5, 6,

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R.I.P. Ed Koch

I'll miss him, for he was such a quintessential New York, and a terrific ambassador for the City. I met my colleague MN in the hallway (no, not at the hydration station, formerly water cooler) and we chatted about him. She had seen a picture flash by of his tombstone, apparently all set up to go, and reported it was very simple and elegant. I asked if it had an

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