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Waiting for "Outlander"

Way way back, in 1990, I wandered into a Portland, Oregon bookstore and found a romance novel, set in Scotland, involving time travel and I was hooked! Since then, it’s been a 25 year odyssey of reading and waiting. Outlander finally returns to TV on April 4.Read More ›

Podcast #48: Tom Wolfe on Handwriting and Humility

From February 13-27, the New York Public Library will display Tom Wolfe's papers in an exhibition called “Becoming The Man in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers at The New York Public Library.” This week on the podcast he discusses handwriting, humility, and social status.Read More ›

The Archive in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers Now Open

The collection, which was acquired by The Library in 2014, fills over 200 boxes and will be a vital resource for the study of Wolfe's writing process, his journalism-based research methods, and the creation of his hugely successful works.Read More ›

The 12 Most Quotable Lines of Pride and Prejudice

Austen's wry humor finds a perfect outlet in the repartee between Darcy and Elizabeth, making it one of the most quotable books of the nineteenth century.Read More ›

Thrills, Chills and Romance: The New Gothic Genre

Do you shiver at the thought of winds whistling down the Yorkshire moors and waves crashing against the Cornish coast? Wrap yourself up in one of these cozy gothic romance titles.Read More ›

Podcast #44: Joyce Carol Oates on Inspiration and Obsession

Joyce Carol Oates has given us some of the most frightening and elegant stories in American letters. Her impressive creative output has included novels, short stories, and memoir. We were lucky to have the author deliver the Robert B. Silvers lecture, entitled "Is the Uninspired Life Worth Living?"Read More ›

7 Facts You May Not Know About Susan Sontag

In 1972, Susan Sontag wrote in her journal, "I want to make a New Year's prayer, not a resolution. I'm praying for courage." And intellectual courage is, indeed, one of the great legacies of the writer's career. Today, January 16, we celebrate Sontag's birthday by re-reading her journals, those intimate musings and half-musings. Read More ›

Shakespeare 101: How to Use the Library to Learn about the Bard

Shakespeare is so important that he is the only author to have his own Dewey Decimal number! The works of Shakespeare and their criticism all live under call number 822.33. With countless editions of the same play, and even more works written about that same play, it’s no wonder Shakespeare requires a number all to himself. This handy guide will de-mystify Shakespeare’s home in your library, and help you find the right book on the Bard for you.Read More ›

Reading and Rereading James Baldwin

He has a breadth of writings to discover: fiction, essays and even plays and poetry. And though many words have been said in the past and present about him, it is hard not to want to add another paean of gratitude for his works.Read More ›

Winter Books to Get You Through the Season

The wind may bite. The snow may fall. And your stoop may be a treacherous ziggurat of ice. But there's no reason to get cabin fever this year.Read More ›

NYC Literary Haunts

Bars, hotels, library branches, and other, more unexpected haunts. Read More ›

What's on the Bookshelves at Downton Abbey?

Season 5 starts in 1924 and ends in December of 1925, so what world or local events will they experience? What will they be wearing? What will they be reading?Read More ›

Podcast #41: Neil Gaiman Reads "A Christmas Carol"

Neil Gaiman reads from the only surviving "prompt" copy of the book, that is, Dickens's own annotated version used for live readings.Read More ›

A Birthday Huzzah for Mr. Ford Madox Ford

December 17 marks British author, editor, and all-around literary icon Ford Madox Ford’s 141st birthday. To celebrate the occasion, I explored his writings in the Rare Book Division—and found some fascinating glimpses into his life and work.Read More ›

Happy Birthday, Moby-Dick!

In honor of the White Whale’s birthday, I have decided—like Herman Melville’s own sub-sub-librarian—to share “a glancing bird’s-eye view of what has been promiscuously said, thought, fancied, and sung of Leviathan” since Moby-Dick’s first appearance in 1851.Read More ›

Contemporary Southern Writers

Seven recent books by Southern writers.Read More ›

What Was on Your High School English Reading List?

It feels like it's been a long, long, long time since I've sat in a high school English class. I remember them really well, though. Read More ›

Misfit Memoirs: A Book List

I love a great memoir, and I noticed recently that I tend towards a certain sub-genre of memoirs, those of the mistfit variety. These memoirs are usually brutally honest, self-deprecating, and describe life at the fringes of society, or at least behavior that most of us would be embarrassed, horrified or shocked by. Most are funny and tend to be insightful, and whether it’s a well-known celebrity or someone I’ve never heard of, I find them relatable and refreshing. Read More ›

Bloomsday in the Berg Collection

James Joyce's Ulysses is a novel unique in the history of English literature, perhaps all literature, in that it has a day dedicated to its celebration all over the world. The day is named for Leopold Bloom, one of the novel's three chief characters.Read More ›

Picturing Walt Whitman

The life and work of Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892) are prodigiously documented in the Oscar Lion Collection, held in the New York Public Library's Rare Books Division. Read More ›
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