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Posts by Jessica Cline

March Reader's Den: "Love and Summer" by William Trevor

"On the streets of darkened towns, on roads that are often his alone, bright sudden moments pierce the dark: reality at second hand spreads in an emptiness." — Page 211

It's March and the end of winter is in sight! I’d like to set the mood for this month's Reader's Den and the warm light of the upcoming months with a novel set in a more golden season. Although it is, in fact, still March, so why not honor St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish author whose novel is set 

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Winter is an Etching: An Artistic Quotation

Every November, the searches for Stanley Horowitz on Google gain momentum. Horowitz, a poet, published a tranquil 18 word poem in the November 1983 issue of Reader’s Digest magazine, page 109. Some years later the poem was posted to a list of autumn quotations on the Internet, sandwiched between poetry giants like John Keats and Robert Frost, and it has been used ubiquitously all over the web ever since. 

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The Golden Age of Book Covers

As a former cataloging intern in the Library's Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle, I have a great fondness and appreciation for old books with decorative bindings. And, lucky for me, I have a few late 19th and early 20th century books passed down to me from my grandparents. They have a special place reserved in my book case at home so that I can admire their stamped, gilt-edged spines from my favorite chair. Sitting with one of these books in hand transports me to a 

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The Reader's Den: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Leo Tolstoy Wrap-up

Thank you for joining us in reading The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy this month.  Even though we are wrapping up our posts on this novella, please continue to leave comments, ask questions, or start a discussion on Tolstoy at this post.

If you are looking for classic stories 

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The Reader's Den: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" Discussion Questions

I hope you have enjoyed reading The Death of Ivan Ilyich.  Please share your thoughts and favorite excerpts about story or Leo Tolstoy and take a moment to consider and discuss any of the questions posted below.

In the beginning of the story we read of Ivan's friends and family's reactions to his death.  Who shows ... Read More ›

The Reader's Den: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"

“What if in reality my whole life has been wrong?”

Welcome to week two of the book discussion of The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy.  This novella was written at the beginning of Tolstoy's late period as he began to change his philosophical view of life, which is reflected back in the story as Ivan Ilyich awakens to the idea that perhaps he is suffering because his life was not led with moral focus.

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February in The Reader's Den: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"

Welcome to the February edition of The Reader's Den.  This month we will be reading and discussing The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy.

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The Colored Line, the Pictured Word: A Four-Week Poetry Workshop

Whether a work of art inspires a poem, think John Keats and the Grecian Urn, or whether a poem inspires a work of art, as in William Blake's illustrations for Dante's Inferno, the line drawn between art and poetry has been crossed, hatched, and colored in amazing ways.  The Mid-Manhattan Library Art and Picture Collections are offering a four-week workshop to examine the connection between art and poetry and we invite you to join us.   

Since the pictogram, the language of art and the 

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Art, Graphic Design, Craft, Photography, Interior Design and Architecture Magazines—that you can take home!

Have you ever found yourself looking for a review of a great painting show you saw in a Chelsea gallery four months ago?  Or, perhaps you saw the name of a new photographer working on Marc Jacobs’ ads and want to know more about the artist.  The Art and Picture Collections at the Mid-Manhattan Library offer art periodicals to take home from the last couple of years.  We can also help you find articles and reviews recently published or from years past in our

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Tell me more: What is happening in this painting?

Recently, a reader asked me how to find out what the painting Lotus Lilies by Charles Courtney Curran was all about. All the reader knew was that the Terra Foundation for American Art owned this painting, as well as several others by Curran.  This type of query is popular for art works located in New York City museums. When an artist 

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Simple Living: Suggestions for Pared Down and Green Design

When I was a kid my grandpa smoked a pipe.  He would give me the cleaned out tobacco boxes to use as pencil boxes for school.  There was never any question of which box belonged to me.  I have to wonder, are kids allowed to use boxes advertising tobacco products at school today?  School administrators take note, I never became a smoker, but I did learn the value of repurposing and recycling.

A recent

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The Reader's Den: A Wrap Up of "Passing"

If you would like to read more of Nella Larsen’s writing check out her first novel, Quicksand, which also has a multiracial heroine whose story helps define the era of Larsen’s life through lyrical and highly visual written detail.

Other titles that deal with subject of “passing” include:

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The Reader's Den: Discussion Questions for "Passing"

I hope you have been enjoying Passing by Nella Larsen.

Please share your thoughts about the novel or the author and take a moment to discuss any of the questions posted below.

How do Irene’s views on race differ from Clare’s? What are Irene’s feelings for Clare? What themes does the novel address beyond the issue of “passing”? How does Larsen give substance to the setting and time period? Do you think Clare’s fall was an accident?

The discussion 

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The Reader's Den: About the Author of "Passing"

"Nella Larsen attempts quite a different thing. She explains just what "passing" is: the psychology of the thing; the reaction of it on friend and enemy. It is a difficult task, but she attacks the problem fearlessly and with consummate art. The great problem is under what circumstances would a person take a step like this and how would they feel about it? And how would their fellows feel?" W.E. Burghardt Du Bois, "Review of Passing." Crisis 36:7, July 1929.

Passing is the second novel by Nella Larsen 

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The Reader's Den: "Passing" by Nella Larsen

Welcome to July’s edition of the Reader’s Den!  This month we will be reading and discussing Passing by Nella Larsen. Published in 1929, it is a novel of modern black life whose relationships are wrought with psychological tension. Read More ›

Art in the Stacks: French Neoclassical Painting, March 23

The passions of mythological gods have been the subject of painting since the Greeks and Romans first told their stories to create an allegorical world for the lust and greed of humanity.  Lucky for us, the beauty and scandal portrayed by artists have been our feast ever since. 

Without exception, on Tuesday, March 23, Katie Hanson will address the amorous Greco-Roman mythological subjects in paintings by Anne-Louis Girodet,

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The Heart of Your Life, The Life of Your Art

In celebration of the National Day of Listening, the Art and Picture Collections have been collaborating with StoryCorps to produce an all-day drop-in event to consider your art and your life.

We invited six artists to the StoryCorps booth to record the story of art in their lives. And, on the National Day of Listening (the day after 

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Are you an early riser or a late worker?

Then you are in luck! The Mid-Manhattan Library has expanded its hours and we are celebrating by sharing donuts and coffee from Tim Horton's with everyone who comes by today! Also, stop in at 8 p.m. for a live music performance by the Bushwick Book Club, a group of songwriters who take their inspiration from literary works.

Mid-Manhattan's New Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Many of New York Public 

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Bibliographies (not biographies)

 As a librarian, I am a list maker, and lately I have been lucky enough to review the bibliography titles in the Mid-Manhattan Library Art Collection. Bibliographies are elaborate lists that contain citations, and sometimes abstracts, of other books, journal articles, etc., that relate to a focused subject. If you have ever written a research paper, you probably created a bibliography at the end, listing the publication information of the materials you used in your research process.


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Ode on a Grecian Urn: A Celebration of Art and Poetry

Color Prints of the Thirty-six Immortal Woman Poets (1801) A work of art has often inspired a poem, like The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, which sparked Anne Sexton’s poem of the same name; and likewise, a poem can inspire an artwork, as with

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