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Blog Posts by Subject: Memoirs and Diaries

Little House on the Prairie of Horrors: Memories of Charles and the Gang

It was during the early '80s that my mom decided Little House on the Prairie would be more beneficial to my development than Welcome Back Kotter, so the TV dial went from channel 5 to channel 11 every night during dinner at 5 P.M. I haven't seen an episode of Little House on the Prairie in over 20 years but some of the scenes are burned into my memory... some good but mostly bad.

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A Snapshot of Your Life: Memoir Writing

Memoirs are the stuff of memory, or more specifically, according to Webster's Dictionary, a narrative composed from personal experience. In other words, a memoir is written from a person's recollection of a life experience. It might not all be exactly as it happened but, rather, how the author perceived it to happen. Do you remember the controversial “autobiography" A Million Little Pieces by James 

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Manifesting Destiny: First Person Accounts of Westward Migration

The 1840s marked a period of unfettered expansion and exploration in America. Whether inspired by the romantic nationalism of John O'Sullivan's "Manifest Destiny," or by the more material goal of striking gold at Sutter's Mill, nearly half a million Americans pushed westward by land and by sea in search of new ground, new opportunities, and new lives. Within these larger historical currents, researchers can find the stories of individual travelers, 

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Memoirs: Penned and Spoken at St. George Library Center

The St. George Library Center recently received a grant — "Creative Aging in Our Communities: The New York City Libraries Project" — from Lifetime Arts, Inc., a Westchester County-based nonprofit organization. Over 25 locations in The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library systems received grants.

The project at the St. George Library Center will be a memoir writing workshop aimed at people who are 55 years of age or older. The goal is to have the participants realize 

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She Pretended to Be Pregnant: Gaby Rodriguez at TeenLIVE

Happy New Year from TeenLIVE! For our first TeenLIVE event in 2012, we were lucky enough to hear from teen author and activist Gaby Rodriguez about her book, The Pregnancy Project. Seeing the effect of teen pregnancy on her family and peers, the straight A student decided to stage a pregnancy for a senior project at school to combat stereotypes 

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I'm With the Band: Muses, Groupies, and the Go-To Guys

When I was a child in the 1960s and 70s, I was convinced that everybody was having a good time but me... As it turns out, I was right!

This was rock's Golden Age, a hedonistic time of "sex and drugs and rock and roll" (when no one knew any better), a time that produced some of the most amazing popular music of the 20th century.

Here are a few of the best books by people who hobnobbed with rock and roll royalty — the wives and girlfriends, the groupies, and the go-to guys, those indispensable fellows (and gals) who "managed" things, 

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When They Trod the Boards: John Lithgow

We hereby announce the new blog series When They Trod the Boards, designed to highlight notable film or television actors who have a substantial background in stage work as documented in the collections of the Library's Billy Rose Theatre Division. We launch the series with John Lithgow and his new memoir, 

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Library Way

Ask NYPL gets a lot of questions about the sidewalk on Library Way. If you haven't seen it before, on your next trip to the main building on Fifth Avenue, be sure to approach from the east and

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Words of Wisdom: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

What initially drew me into reading The Dressmaker of Khair Khana was the beautiful book cover and title. Call me superficial but yes, I am indeed guilty of judging many a book by its cover. But as I went on to read the summary on the inside of the book jacket, I found myself even more interested and so I began reading what is now one of the most memorable books I've ever read. The best part is, this is actually based on a true story.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana takes you on the 

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Celeb-Readies: The Rules According to JWoww

When I first requested the book The Rules According to JWoww: Shore-Tested Secrets On Landing A Mint Guy, Staying Fresh To Death, And Kicking The Competition To The Curb (deep breath...), by Jenni Farley, aka JWoww from MTV's Jersey Shore, I must admit that I felt a little bit iffy about it. The mere title and cover image alone of JWoww in a sexy schoolgirl uniform is enough to make one feel as if this book is not really meant to be taken 

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Charles Kuralt and Walt Whitman on the Road

Walt Whitman filled the pages of Leaves of Grass with poetry exalting the lives of Americans. While out in the streets, he observed and recorded the beauty of daily life. Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing" is a delightful example how common activities make up the fabric of America.  Within its lines, a boatman owns a part of America, and a mother's daily activities are considered 

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Do you like Chelsea Handler? Then Try...

Are you a Chelsea Handler fan? If you are you may like some of these books. Recently while helping a patron (at the Parkchester Library) the young woman asked me one simple question: "Do you know of any other fun authors like Chelsea Handler?" She went on to tell me that she liked the topics of her books and loved the way Handler used humor to entertain her readers. I promised the patron that I would create a blog where I would list some of these books so here 

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"As Seen On TV"... Or at Your Library

I recently moved into a new apartment with a friend of mine from grade school and one of our big splurges was the magical DVR player. For someone who rarely has time to watch TV, I was given a basic lesson by my roommate in how to record shows. As we were scrolling through TV listings, I found myself announcing the shows and movies that were first published as books. And to my roommate's displeasure, I decided to record The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

While I may be a beginner 

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What I talk about when I talk about Haruki Murakami

I recently finished the memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I have been a big fan of his dream-like novels for almost fifteen years now, having first discovered The Wild Sheep Chase at a yard sale in Cambridge, MA. I was with a friend who declared the back cover synopsis to be the worst summary ever.  Something about it intrigued me though and I bought the copy for about 50 

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Selected memoirs and practical resources relating to disabilities in commemoration of December 3rd: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

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The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life

By Allen Rucker

Without warning the 50-year-old author is struck with transverse myelitis.

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Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters: A Review

The Sullivan family’s Christmas began in the traditional way that year. The six Sullivan siblings opened their gifts. Daddy-o made pancakes for breakfast and Ginger contributed her signature dish to the feast (sliced grapefruit halves sprinkled with Splenda).

Christmas would take an unexpected turn at the Sullivan’s annual holiday dinner with the family matriarch–unaffectionately known by family, friends, enemies, and most of Baltimore as “Almighty Lou.”

One of the Sullivans has deeply offended Almighty.

Subsequently the entire 

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Celeb-Readies: Chelsea Handler

I was sitting at home watching Chelsea Lately on E! one night. Right before commercial, the show cut to a big guy reading her book and saying, "This isn't funny..." as he shook his head. The book was My Horizontal Life written by comedian Chelsea Handler in 2005.

I knew I had seen that book around the library and the title always caught my eye but I never bothered with it. Luckily, something told me to go to work, hunt it down and give it a 

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Reel Books: The American

You may have seen the trailers or heard about a new movie that is out called The American, starring Academy Award winner George Clooney.

However, did you know the film is actually based on a novel, A Very Private Gentleman, written in 2004 by

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Memoir in the Teen Section: Marni, The Bite of the Mango, and Grace After Midnight

How long has it been since you’ve checked out the nonfiction side of the teen section in your library? Here are some standout titles—you can find them with young adult biographies.

The Bite of the Mango Mariatu Kamara grew up in Sierra Leone, where rebel soldiers and the government were at war. At age 12, Mariatu was caught in a rebel attack. She escaped—but first, the rebels cut off her hands. Wounded and separated from her family, Mariatu had to learn a new set of survival skills. Though there are 

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Reel Books: Eat, Pray, Love

The film Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts alongside great actors such as Viola Davis (Doubt) and Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), is causing quite a bit of excitement as it is scheduled to be released in August. But did you know this movie is actually based on a book? It is a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert called Eat, Pray, Love: A 

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