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Posts from Tottenville Library

The House That Elmer Built

  Last week, the Tottenville community lost a piece of its history. On September 9, the century old Manor House, a beautiful waterfront mansion located at 500 Butler Boulevard, was demolished. Although the Butler Manor Civic Association attempted to preserve the historic house, it was torn down by its new owner to make way for the building of luxury homes.

According to the

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Edith Wharton and "The Mount"

This past July I visited Lenox, Massachusetts and had a chance to go to "The Mount", the home of Edith Wharton. I haven't read a lot of Edith Wharton, but have liked what I read, Ethan Frome and

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Paul Zindel

Paul Zindel, writer of young adult and children's books, was born in Tottenville in 1936 and died in 2003 in Manhattan. Before becoming a full-time writer, he  taught at Tottenville High School between 1959 and 1969. (When Tottenville High School was in Tottenville. The newer version is actually in Huguenot.)

Before that, he attended Wagner College on Staten Island where he took a creative writing course with the playwright

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NYPL Is For the Birds! The New Canaan Nature Center Visits the Tottenville Branch

Some fine feathered friends named Putter, Topper, Hedwig and Evie dropped by the Tottenville Library this week and they didn't look like our typical library visitor. Their beautiful feathers and razor sharp talons wowed Staten Islanders of all ages as Environmental Educator Bill Flynn and his assistant Henry brought a little bit of their Connecticut nature center to NYC.    Read More ›

At BookExpo America (BEA)

I attended BookExpo America (BEA) on May 25 and May 26 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. It is the first time I have ever attended BEA, which is a trade show for the book industry and is sponsored by ABA (American Booksellers Association) and AAP (Association of American Publishers).

On May 25 I attended five workshops:

1. Building Online Reader Communities with an Eye on ROI 

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Bluegrass Hit Parade at the Tottenville Library

This Saturday, May 15, Staten Island is bluegrass country! Starting at 2pm at the Tottenville Library, The Bluegrass Hit Parade: 1946 to 2010 will be a concert of bluegrass songs and tunes which were made famous by the originators of bluegrass music. Performed by Cross, Farrell, Cohen and Wright.

Band members Vincent Cross, Mark Farrell, Allen Cohen and Bob 

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Lecture by Bob Tomes, Local Tottenville Author

Bob Tomes, a professor of history at St. John's University, who lives right down the block from the Tottenville Library, will be speaking about his book Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975, a perceptive, well-balanced, and well-written look at a very difficult time in the life of the United States, which, among other things, gives insight to how we got to today's, by most accounts, somewhat contentious public discourse.

I picked up this book to read with a bit of trepidation, as 

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When the Game Was Ours

Love the NCAA basketball tournament? Read about two of its most famous alumni in When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson. From he book jacket: "When the Game Was Ours is a compelling portrait of two inimitable players across three decades. It is also a rollicking ride through professional basketball's best times."

Fans of the early 1970s Knicks might object to that last phrase, but the book does take a look at the life and times of two great basketball 

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Willa Cather

Another favorite writer of mine is Willa Cather, author of My Ántonia and numerous other novels and short stories. I didn't discover her until I was in my last semester of college, and I have to admit I had not even remotely heard of her before that. But I was captivated by the story she told in My Ántonia and in the direct style of her writing.

 

There is an element to her writing that is usually described as elegiac, and her inscription in My Ántonia is from Virgil, 

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Herman Melville

For a long time Herman Melville has been one of my favorite writers, perhaps the favorite. I read Moby Dick in junior year of high school in 1968 and was totally mesmerized. I have re-read it at least five or six times and it amazes me every time. I've also read all of his other novels, some of which were very difficult to read, but always worthwhile and interesting. When you read them in order: Typee, Omoo,

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My Favorite Team

If the Super Bowl is over and it is February and there is 12 inches of snow on the ground, to me that means baseball season is just around the corner!

I’ve been a New York Mets fan right since the beginning in 1962. I was 11 years old, and I have a very strong, and good, memory of going to the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan with my father and brother during that first season. We bought tickets at the park and got seats about 10 rows behind the 

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Book Discussion of Susan Minot's "Evening" at Tottenville Library

Last night, Feb 8, the Tottenville Library book discussion group met to discuss Evening by Susan Minot. We had 20 attendees, the largest amount ever at the Tottenville Library book discussion. The discussion was lively and animated as usual.

Some felt the book was a bit too depressing, but most seemed to be interested in the story of a 

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Book Discussion Group at the Tottenville Library

The Tottenville book discussion group has been meeting since this past September. Here is the schedule:

Sept 21-Martha Quest by Doris Lessing Oct 19-The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz Nov 16-Girlbomb by Janice Erlbaum Dec 14-The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton Jan 11-

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Reading War and Peace

At lunchtime today I finished reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. (Tolstoy pictured here, courtesy of NYPL Digital Gallery.) I read the Louise and Aylmer Maude translation, which moved along very well, and I read the whole thing on an electronic reader. It took me just about two months to read, starting it exactly this past July 1. I have wanted to read it for awhile, and I am glad I did. However, I have a lot of mixed feelings about the book. It wasn't too hard to read, as 

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Mount Loretto, Staten Island, NY

This picture is at Mount Loretto, which was founded as Catholic orphanage on Staten Island in the late 19th century. It is still operating today, but it is not really an orphanage anymore; it is more of a social service agency. They recently built a CYO on its grounds and it has become a community center, with inside basketball courts and meeting rooms.

The church in the picture is still standing, but the buildings on either side are gone. In the early 1970's the exterior of the church was used in a scene from the famous movie

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Panorama of Richmond, Staten Island

Panorama of Richmond, Staten Island, N.Y. [view from high ground with St. Andrew's Church] (From NYPL Digital Gallery)

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church recently celebrated its 300th anniversary. My mother's family lived nearby when she was young. They later moved, but my grandmother was buried from St. Andrew's, in 1955, I think.

Richmond was the Staten Island County seat until it was later moved to St. George, near the ferry. Richmond is more or less the geographical center of Staten Island.

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"Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built"

From the flier for an upcoming program on March 19, 2009 at 4:00PM at the Tottenville Branch Library:

A Celebration of the History of Tottenville

The Tottenville Historical Society and the Tottenville Branch Library invite you to celebrate the arrival of the new book, Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built by Barnett Shepherd. “Scrupulously researched but lively vivid…” writes Christopher Gray of the New York Times. And Brian J. Laline, Editor, Staten Island Advance adds “Tottenville, Staten 

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Book Discussion of "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri

Tottenville Branch had a book discussion last night on The Namesake. It went very well, but wasn’t quite as lively as last month’s discussion of Running With Scissors! The group liked The Namesake, and were sympathetic to the characters, by and large, and their difficulties in adapting to American culture, and being caught between India and the U.S., especially for the second generation character, Gogol, who is the main character of the 

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Book Discussion at Tottenville Branch

It is hard to believe that we are almost half way through the 2008-09 book discussion at the Tottenville Branch. Tonight we will be discussing All My Sons by Arthur Miller. It is the first time in a long time that we have read a play, so it will be interesting to see how the group reacts. In some ways the play seems to me to be dated, although it is about an issue, manufacturing shoddy military machinery and war profiteering in the U.S. during 

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Book Discussion at Tottenville Branch, Staten Island

The Tottenville Branch will be having a book discussion of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert this coming Monday, November 17 at 7:00PM. Come join us! We ask only that you have read the book to take part in the discussion.

The Tottenville Branch is located at 7430 Amboy Road, Staten Island, NY 10307, and the phone number is 718-984-0945.

We will be discussing The Secret Life of Bees 

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