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Posts from Spuyten Duyvil Library

December Reader's Den: Consider Phlebas Part 2

This week I'd like to delve into the character of Horza, why he is nearly fanatical in his pursuit of the missing Mind and what you think makes him tick. Read More ›

Tablet Buying Guide: A Primer for Technophobes, Luddites and the Just Plain Confused

Every year it's the same thing. "Buy my super-duper awesome/hallowed/glorious razzle-dazzle technology coated in gold-flecked app sauce because we're the best and the rest stink!" Nice sales pitch? Eh. Overwhelming? Yep. Confusing for some? Oh yeah. It can leave you feeling like this:

And it only gets more frenzied during the holiday shopping season as everyone from Apple to LG trots out their blank glass slabs and requests, nay DEMANDS we glue our eyeballs to a screen the size of a comic book. Hopefully this guide will take some of the mystery out of your 

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December Reader's Den: An Introduction to Caleb Carr's The Alienist

"An ungodly pummeling on the door of my grandmother's house at 19 Washington Square North brought first the maid and then my grandmother herself to the doorways of their bedrooms at two o'clock on the morning of March 3, 1896."

The gruesome case at the heart of Caleb Carr's The Alienist begins at this ungodly hour in an ungodly time of New York City's history, the turn of the 20th century, that brutal period when Teddy Roosevelt served as New York City Police Commissioner. This 

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The March Madness Reading List

It's that time of year again. No, not Christmas or Valentine's or a forgotten anniversary. It's time to fill out the brackets for your office pool.

March Madness begins March 19th! Whether you're busy poring over stats and brackets or cursing the networks for playing reruns rather than fight the NCAA ratings bonanza, we've got some books for you.

  The Tournament and Its History

The Big 

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Learn to Express Yourself Through Art: Free Courses for Midlife and Older Adults

Thanks to Lifetime Arts for securing funding and inviting our library system to participate, NYPL is once again able to offer free sustained art courses, taught by professional teaching artists, for adults age 55 and over. Seventeen branch libraries have received funding that enables them to host these classes, which will take place from February-November 2013, and which cover a wide variety of arts including: painting, sculpting, collage, memoir-writing/performance, drawing, and quilt-making.

Because of the great interest generated over the years, many of the 

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Reader's Den: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Week 4

The Night Circus, as we've discussed, has a nearly obsessive focus on time; its passing, linearity and infinite nature. This is exemplified in the workings of its magnificent clock and its mechanical operation.

However, within the clockworks resides a nearly infinite number of possibilities to enthrall attendees. For example splashes of color are found throughout the strict black-and-white scheme. The twins' red scarves and the fires lit on the circus's opening night come 

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Reader's Den: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Week 3

Last week we discussed the passage of time and the clockwork nature of The Night Circus. Time's flow tends to bring a stream of bounty and loss simultaneously.

For example, the myriad performers and founders of the circus are gifted with immortality. Some would say they were subjected to longevity's curse, especially in the case of Chandresh LeFévre.

As we head into the Thanksgiving season, think on this conundrum. Is the immortality the 

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Reader's Den: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Week 2

The Night Circus is crafted in lyrical and elaborate prose. Sometimes it even borders on the ornamental. The language and descriptions are fitting, however, considering the overriding theme of time's passage in the book.

If there is one thing the circus exemplifies, it is clockwork precision. The entertainments may be strange and off-kilter, but they all work together in a harmonious whole.

On its opening night twelve fires of varying hues are lit, one 

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Reader's Den: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Week 1

"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not." Erin Morgenstern's literary debut, The Night Circus, begins with this intoxicating passage before ushering readers inside the tent flaps of Le Circque des Rêves, the Circus of Dreams.

For two young children, Marco and Celia, the dreams may turn to nightmares or fulfill their sweet promise as the two meet in a magical competition 

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Cool Halloween Apps, Movies and Books for All Ages!

It's the spookiest time of the year, when a young man's thoughts turn to scares and gore, children beg for scraps ... 'scuse me, I mean trick-or-treat, and people everywhere unleash their inner demons. In a good way, we hope! Here's a spotlight on cool apps for all ages to enhance your Halloween fun. There are iOS and Android apps to be found here, most of the them free and all of them good fun.

For Kids

An underrated Halloween classic, The Legend of 

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When Kings Clash — A "Game of Thrones" Reading List

Once the shock of last season's ending wore off, the clamor began for new episodes of Game of Thrones. Fans have been whetting their appetites for a year now, and hopefully last year's read-alike list helped take the edge off the anticipation for some of you. But now, war comes to Westeros, and with it a new suggested readings 

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Conan the Barbarian: Off the Beaten Path of Fantasy

Quick. What's the first thing that pops to mind if someone asks you about fantasy books? Harry Potter?

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Book Review: "A Dance with Dragons"

The dance is done and I've come through the dragon fire unscathed. George R.R. Martin's latest, A Dance with Dragons, was six years in the writing. Six painful years of anticipation. It was worth every moment once I got ahold of it, got comfortable, and blew through all 1,016 pages in entirely too short a time. Go ahead and check that again: 1,016 pages. Better lift some weights before settling in for a read. There 

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Fantastically Scientific Moms: A Mother's Day Reading and Viewing List

We Love'em!Moms are great. Those fortunate enough to have or be married to good moms know that these wonderful women are the perfect combination of unconditional affection and drill sergeant toughness. It is inevitable that such wonderful women get memorable fictional portrayals. These are counterbalanced by the wealth of novels and films dealing with

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Game of Thrones Reading List: The Grouchy Librarian's Guide to Down and Dirty Fantasy

The hype is done, the premiere of HBO’s A Game of Thrones has come and gone, and now the fires of curiosity are stoked. What’s this all about? Why all the raves?  Why does it prompt sci-fi and fantasy luminaries like Anne McCaffrey to proclaim, “Such a splendid tale and such a fantasticorical!”

The biggest draws of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series are the frank brutality, morally grey characters, and 

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Language and Gender: A Reading List

Do you ever feel like people of the opposite sex just don't understand you, like you're speaking another language? You're not alone!  It is well documented that men and women have different styles of speaking and interacting, from conversations to their storytelling styles. 

In conversation, women typically try to make connections while males approach conversation as a contest.  Not surprising then, males typically tell stories involving competition, contests, and that are aggressive in 

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Fact Checking a Novel: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Did that really happen?!? 

Historical fiction is a genre that encompasses both fact and fiction, but where the line is drawn between the two can be anyone's guess sometimes.  Some authors do tremendous research for their novels to be historically accurate, while others take liberty with history to fit their plot line.

One such novel that rides that line between fact and fiction is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz.  It follows the story of Oscar Wao and 

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Knitting and Crochet on a Budget

Some people may be turned off from knitting because it can be an expensive craft.  Knitting a sweater these days is more expensive than just going to the store and buying one, unfortunately.  Don't think you need fancy hand-spun yarns, pricey patterns and knitting lessons, though.  Here are a couple ways to enjoy the craft and save some money too! 

For those looking to pick up knitting or crochet, there are many free ways to learn. First, knittinghelp.com and YouTube 

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A Language of Our Own: America’s English and the Influence of Noah Webster

Most people are familiar with the name Noah Webster as the father of the American Dictionary, a book that we all grew up with and still use today.  What many people may not know is that besides being a lexicographer, he was also a dedicated orthographer and philologist, working in spelling reform and lingustics, and had a large influence on the early American language.

Webster began his career as a schoolteacher and recognized a need for a quality teaching tool for children learning grammar and 

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History of the Name Spuyten Duyvil

For people not familiar with the Northwest Bronx, the name of the  Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library (\ˌspī-tən-ˈdī-vəl\) can be a tongue twister.  Dating back to the 17th century, the name Spuyten Duyvil originates from the Dutch settlers who gave the name to the creek that flowed around what is today the Marble Hill neightborhood.  The creek has since been filled in, but the name stuck, with several theories about its origin.

Washington Irving 

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