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Posts by Trevor Owen Jones

Memories of the Library

This writer did not grow up in New York; however, he has many strong, memorable experiences of the library from his home state. Nationwide, and even internationally, many libraries are in trouble and in desperate need of funding. Please contact your local branch and see how you can help today. Also, please consider donating or writing your elected official now!

The library is many things to many different people; it is an abyssal democracy of plurality without end. Here, I 

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The Tree of Life & the Poem of Being

The Tree of Life opens May 27th in theaters; of course, having not yet seen the film there is little I can say about it (the studio released only a few plot details), but a discussion of his previous films may inform a deeper viewing more than simply assuming a passive stance. All too often, we are encouraged to receive films or books this way, in some vague popular idea that our minds are storage receptacles and that we simply experience a movie more or less in the fashion the filmmakers intended. I would like to counter this idea and 

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Pregnancy Resources

The library is no stranger to babies, toddlers, moms and dads. For many expecting parents, right after leaving the clinic or doctor's office the very next stop is the public library, where resources abound on studying the stages of pregnancy, the essentials of parenting, and sharing with other moms and dads the joys and anxieties of childbirth.

The following list is by no means exhaustive, but should be considered a general guide on well-trusted books and websites known for credibility on pregnancy, mothering and child care.

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Prisoners' Rights and NYPL Correctional Services

Reference question: when did the largest prison strike in the history of the United States occur? 1890? The 1930s maybe? Wait, was it Attica in 1971?Read More ›

Comedy! (insert witty subtitle phrase here)

It is my day off and I have some errands to do! However, that shouldn't keep me from what I really love: WRITING BLOG POSTS.

8:08am Queens: I start thinking about doing a piece on comedy while on the subway. I am wedged neatly between the door, a large Polish construction worker and what I think are three old Chinese women, possibly triplets, but I'm not sure because I can't see them. Someone knocked off my Todd Ford* glasses at the last stop and I dislocate one of my upper vertebrae to make room for a gaggle of rowdy junior high students. I then 

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Letters To and From a Remote Island

Dear T_________, I hope this parcel finds you well. Enclosed is Judith Schalansky's Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot on and Never Will.

And neither will you. Your exile, which is terminal, possesses none

of Napoleon's grandiose end. Perish the thought!

I will state it plainly before you inquire: I feel no remorse for sentencing you to an eternity of utter solitude and desolation.

Write me 

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The Amazing, Wonderful, Incredible World of Beer: A Memoir

When health is bad and your heart feels strange, And your face is pale and wan, When doctors say you need a change, A pint of plain is your only man.

                                  —Flann O'Brien

I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which 

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Precarity: A Reader's Guide

It is striking the United States has not developed a discourse of precarity. Today, the gap between rich and poor stands at its widest in history, and the unemployment rate hangs around at 8.9%; this statistic does not include the long-term unemployed, the underemployed (those working in part-time positions), and those simply not seeking work at all. There is no discourse or vocabulary for precarity, yet 

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Hubert Harrison: Harlem Radical

Dr. Jeffrey B. Perry will discuss his book, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918, Saturday March 5th 2pm @ Hamilton Fish Park Library.

"Hubert Harrison is the most significant Black democratic socialist of early-twentieth century America." —Cornel West 

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The Question of Science Fiction: Utopias

"All profound life is heavy with the impossible."                                                   —Georges Bataille

If you're anything like me, you'll be walking down the street thinking about science fiction and think to yourself, "Say, what is the 

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Two, Three, Many Egypts

If you're anything like me, you've been glued to your computer screen for more than a week observing the will of an entire people force a reckoning with its despotic ruler, against all cynical logic that insurrections and revolutions somehow irretrievably belong to ages past. What is the context for this momentuous event that will undoubtedly have repercussions for years to come? 

Branded as "the January 25th Movement," the truth 

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What is the Post-Secular?

Jurgen Habermas famously addressed the controversial subject of post-secularity  in his "Notes on a Post-Secular Society." Therein, Habermas concludes to think and understand the post-secular concludes with a Kantian limit, "So, if all is to go well both sides, each from its own viewpoint, must accept an interpretation of the relation between faith and knowledge that enables them to live 

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The Art of Browsing

I had not seen my friends S. or F. for quite some time.

We were standing outside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 5th Avenue; traffic buzzed and halted around us. Sitting on the steps like the boys and girls in Rome who hang around the Spanish Steps, smoke cigarettes and behave like the images they see on television who are modelled after them, I think to myself, we are encumbered in one city by Ghostbusters, in fiction parading out before us, haunted in another at 

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NaNoWriMo & NYPL: One Week to Go!

There's not much time left to make it to NYPL's many NaNoWriMo monthly write-ins! How is your novel coming along? What is your word count? Are you ahead of the curve or do you have some catching up to do?

Need some encouragement or inspiration? Here's another look at a NaNoWriMoer for 2010!

Please visit for more information.

What is your name or pseudonym?


What borough do you live in? And are you planning to attend 

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NaNoWriMo & NYPL: Meet the Author!

Throughout the month, we'll be profiling some NYPL patrons who are participating in this year's National Novel Writing Month. Please visit for more information and inspiration, and get writing!

What is your name or pseudonym? My user name is Nellachronism, but I go by Nella in most other things. What borough do you live in? And are you planning to attend any of the NYPL Write-Ins? I live in Queens, and the plan (and sincere hope!) is that I'll be at the Library write-ins on Friday nights and Saturday 

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Subversive Imagination: The Short Circuits of José Saramago, 1922-2010

Authoritarian, paralyzing, circular, occasionally elliptical, stock phrases, also jocularly referred to as nuggets of wisdom, are malignant plague, one of the very worst ever to ravage the earth. We say to the confused, Know thyself, as if knowing yourself was not the fifth and most difficult of human arithmetical operations, we say to the apathetic, Where there’s a will, there’s a way, as if the brute realities of the world did not amuse themselves each day by turning that phrase on its head, we say to the indecisive, Begin at the beginning, as if that beginning were the 

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Dig the New Weird

Perhaps its predecessors can be found in the now vast catalogs of cyberpunk, or its more nebulous younger sister, steampunk, but for a time the deliberately subversive and cliche-defiant umbrella term "New Weird" subsisted as a signal that something new was happening in speculative fiction. For readers fatigued from the same old space operas and

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The Reader Inside Me: The Pulp Existentialism of Jim Thompson

When James Myers Thompson died in Los Angeles, 1977, not a single book of his was available in print. Beset for decades by his frail mental health, alcoholism and financial precarity, Thompson had turned to hackwork in Hollywood to make ends meet (an unfortunate fate for many great writers of the 20th century). While posthumous fame is 

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Silence, Exile, Cunning: The Anonym as Celebrity: A Critical Bibliography

 "What ails you, Polyphemos? Why do you cry so sore/in the starry night? You will not let us sleep./Sure no man's driving off your flock? No man/has tricked you, ruined you?/ Out of the cave/the mammoth Polyphemos roared in answer:/ 'Nobody, Nobody's tricked me, Nobody's ruined me!'"

The Odyssey, Book IX

 As any librarian today 

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Happy Birthday, Gérard de Nerval!

Gérard de Nerval was born May 22, 1808. A perennial literary figure of the vernal and the surreal, the temporal and the infinite, the accessible and the gnostic, he has fascinated poets, writers and artists for generations. 

Nerval’s real name was Gérard Labrunie. Famous for walking his pet lobster (named Thibault) about Paris, Nerval's eccentric 

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