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Posts by John Flood

The Very Best and the Very Worst: Happy Birthday Ford Madox Ford

Most of the writers who ended up in the Village came from the small towns of America, but some came from overseas. Ford Madox Ford, an Englishman, lived for a time at 10 Fifth Avenue. His birthday is December 17th.

A few words from Mr. Madox:

Only two 

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Made of Stories

Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist, was born on December 15, 1913.

She lived in Westbeth at Bethune and West Streets in the West Village.

Her words will tell you more about her than anything I can write:

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What Would You Get for James Thurber's Birthday?

James Thurber lived in New York City's Greenwich Village on Horatio Street near Ninth Avenue. He even wrote a poem called “Villanelle of Horatio Street, 

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Willa Cather's Birthday

Willa Cather's birthday is December 7th. Although famous for writing about the Midwest, especially Nebraska, Cather spent much of her life and career in New York City's Greenwich Village. She took up residence at several locations in the Village including 60 Washington Square, 82 Washington Place, 5 Bank Street, and the Hotel Grosvenor.

Celebrate her birthday by reading one of her books!

Some Cather quotations:

The dead 

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Happy Birthday, Calvin

Calvin Trillin, a friend of the Library and a Village writer, celebrates his birthday December 5, 2011. You can celebrate, too, by checking out one of his books!

As someone who often serves leftovers, I offer this Trillin quote:

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

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What Kind of Reader?

What kind of reader are you?

And what is the nature of reading?

It’s a simple enough question, and like many simple questions, it doesn’t have a simple answer.

In If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler Italo Calvino explores this question. It’s ingenious how he does it, and it’s the subject of Hudson Park’s next book club meeting on Saturday, 

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A Moment in Time in Greenwich Village

There is something about a photograph that speaks of permanence, but what it captures is the quintessence of the ephemeral — a moment in time.

Drew Martin has captured a neighborhood in time — Greenwich Village, April 2011 — in his current show at Hudson Park Library: UNDER THE HOOD: New York. Over 250 black and white photographs with personal comments document the people, pets, and places around Hudson Park Library.

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First Blooms: Witch-Hazel in Greenwich Village

Witch-hazel. Many plants have evocative names, but few can beat witch-hazel. It sounds magical, although as an old-fashioned treatment for insect bites, maybe it is less than magic, but its scent always makes you feel cooler and fresher.

What is magical about witch-hazel is that it is, right now, on March 1st, in full bloom. The first tree (after all, it's still winter) to flower, witch-hazel does not have particularly showy blooms. Its yellow pales compared to daffodils or forsythia, but it 

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Artist finds inspiration in France and closer to home

Village artist Elliott Gilbert finds his inspiration in the landscapes and ancient buildings of France. And sometimes he finds his inspiration closer to home, as in this work City Hall Park.

He is exhibiting 15 pieces at the Hudson Park Library through the end of February 2011.

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The Sarajevo Haggadah

For any manmade thing to survive for over five hundred years is an amazing. For it to be a Jewish book in Europe is a miracle.

Geraldine Brooks tells the story of such a miraculous happening in People of the Book. Join the Hudson Park Book Discussion Saturday, July 10, from 10:30 to 12 noon and we will discuss the fascinating journey of this book, an illuminated Haggadah, a prayer book used during Passover. You can 

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What happens when somebody disappears? Book discussion June 12

Join the Hudson Park book discussion June 12 for some lively talk about Nathan Englander's Ministry of Special Cases.

A couple's teenage son disappears during the "dirty war" in Argentina in the 1970s. Kafkaesque, Ministry of Special Cases is a powerful novel about love, family and absence.

Pick up your copy now at Hudson Park.

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When Rules Don't Make Sense: The Sisters Grimm

The magic in books has to follow rules. That's what makes these books like games: The characters have to figure out how to win the quest or contest (or defeat the evil forces) by using magic correctly. But sometimes the rules underlying the magic don't quite make sense.

That's the case with Michael Buckley's Sisters Grimm series. The basic magical rule in this series is that fairytale characters, called Everafters, are trapped inside a town 

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The Magic Game in The Thief Lord

A common rule of magic (and of games) is that once something is done, it can't be undone. That's the magical rule that applies in The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke.

This is a fine rule. I feel cheated when things can be undone. Once your hand leaves that chessman, that's it, your turn is over. And once certain decisions are made in The Thief Lord, the characters have to live with them. No mulligans! Often books with magic don't follow through with this rule. In many stories, breaking the spell is the 

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Mary Dodd meet Little Wolf: One Thousand White Women

There's still time to pick up your copy of One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Dodd by Jim Fergus and join our next book discussion May 8 at 10:30 am.

What would have happened if the U.S. government had agreed to trade 1,000 women to be wives for Cheyenne Indians in exchange for 1,000 horses?

Get your copy at Hudson Park.

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Rules of Magic: Looking at Children's Books

In a magical world the rules of physics do not apply. Things float, people transform and travel through time and space. They appear and disappear. Often what matters is a hidden talent and, perhaps, a special object or substance. The usual rules do not apply.

But the funny thing about children's books set in magical worlds is that they are all about rules. Rules govern how magic can be used. Knowledge of the rules, especially the words to use, determine everything.

In Harry Potter, for example, the 

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Ezra Jack Keats Winners at Hudson Park

The winners of the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Contest, open to students in New York City public schools, are on display at the Hudson Park Childrens Room through May 22. These books are beautiful and imaginative. Plan a trip to see them! Call us up (212.243.6876) to schedule a class trip.

Detail from A Day in the Museum by Jun Ying Wu of IS 259, William McKinley, in Brooklyn. A citywide winner, this book has pop-up recreations of famous art pieces:

Detail from Darker and Brighter by Julia Simoniello of 

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TogetherAlone at Hudson Park: Art Made in Libraries

TogetherAlone, a show of forty brilliant drawings by Drew Martin, occupies the walls of the Hudson Park Reference Room Gallery during March and April.

This is a show that needs to be seen up close. With frames, the drawings only measure six inches across, but they will make you smile and think. Many offer a different way to look at relationships between people and animals and also between the colors black and white. The drawings explore the overlapping feelings of unity and solitude, according to the artist, and each one is a surprise. One surprise is where the art was made, in 

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Where Is St. John's?: The Old Burying Ground

St. John's Burying Ground used to occupy the space which is now James J. Walker Park, between Leroy, Hudson and Clarkson Streets. In a sense it still does since the old stones were buried in place and few of the 10,000 occupants were moved. The only stone remaining is one dedicated to three firemen who gave their lives in the line of duty over 150 years ago.

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Epileptic: An Illustrated Memoir

Memoirs are notoriously unreliable when it comes to facts. So a reader needs to read between the lines to get at the truth about a subject. That's part of the fun.

How does that work with a graphic memoir? Do the drawings help you better see inside the author?

Join the Hudson Park Book Discussion on Saturday, February 13, at 10:30 am to discuss David B.'s Epileptic and share your thoughts.

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Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay

Before Salt or Cod there was Beautiful Swimmers, a book about everything blue crab. Actually, this book is as much a study of Chesapeake watermen, but can you really separate the watermen from the crabs? Not on your life.

I grew up on the Eastern Shore and William Warner gets the watermen right, for the most part. Watermen always call each other "honey", for instance. The watermen are extremely hard working and 

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