Read a book to someone you love.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New York Review of Books

There is positive news today of progress in negotiations with North Korea to halt its development of nuclear weapons. The most recent issue of The New York Review of Books has an excellent article by Richard Bernstein that places the current six-party talks in the context of prior negotiations and North Korea’s internal politics.

The New York Review of Books is available at Kellogg-Hubbard along with about 100 other periodicals. The NYRB is, in my opinion, among the best. It’s been published since 1963, with an amazing array of writings from historians, poets, academics, scientists, and journalists. The letters to the editor can be quite entertaining as writers take reviewers to task. For example, in the current issue, Allen Orr responds to criticism of his review of Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion:
Finally, Dennett [author of the letter criticizing Orr’s review] fundamentally misunderstands my review. He seems to think that I'm disturbed by Dawkins's atheism and pointedly asks which religious thinkers I prefer instead. But as I made clear, I have no problem with where Dawkins arrived but with how he got there. It's one thing to think carefully about religion and conclude it's dubious. It's another to string together anecdotes and exercises in bad philosophy and conclude that one has resolved subtle problems. I wasn't disappointed in The God Delusion because I was shocked by Dawkins's atheism. I was disappointed because it wasn't very good.
What fun!

A Valentine's Gift

Yesterday a woman came to the library to buy an annual membership for her sweetie. This couple lives outside of our legal service area and the membership costs $24 for the year. The recipient of this gift loves the Kellogg-Hubbard Library and she could not think of a better way to show of her love than to buy a KH Library membership. We think it's a great Valentine's gift, too! Another great gift is to read aloud to someone you love.

Let it snow!

We've had a very busy day here as everyone stops in to stock up on books and videos for what they hope will be a proper blizzard! The library staff is pretty intrepid, so I'm hoping that we can open the library tomorrow morning in spite of the weather. However, if you hear that the State offices are closed, expect that the Kellogg-Hubbard will follow suit. We'll announce on WDEV if we have to close or shorten our hours.

But like almost everyone else, I'm enjoying the fantasy of having an entire day in front of our wood stove with my book. What is the library director reading right now? Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. I tend to read history books in fits and starts, but this book grabbed me about twenty pages in and it hasn't let me go since.

If we think that we know what hard times are, we'll think again when we read about the fabled pilgrims who endured an incredibly grueling voyage only to arrive in a wilderness in winter, during what was known as a "little ice age". Their efforts to find a suitable place to settle, their relationships with local tribal leaders, their efforts to govern themselves, their tragedies and successes not only make for compelling reading, but also tell us something about our country's culture. It's a far cry from the Thanksgiving story we were taught in school.

On a side note, you'll read more about the devastating plagues that all but wiped out the Indian tribes who had previously inhabited the coast. If you'd like to know more, check out another fairly recent book, 1491 by Charles C. Mann.

Readers' Choice

As you walk into the front lobby of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library there is a table on the right full of books that are recommended by staff and patrons alike. There is also a book called Readers" Choice, Suggestions from Patrons and Staff. If you particularly liked a book that you borrowed from the library you can add it to this volume. Here are a few suggestions from that book:

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum

For anyone who is ambivalent about the relationship they are in, this is a godsend. Straight forward, helpful, I can't say enough about it.

The Gentleman from Finland by Robert Goldstein

A very humorous look at a trip on the Trans-Siberian Express in the

Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Superbly written travel memoir - Eastern Europe before World War 2.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark

(if you like Fantasy) Stick with it thru first 200 pages or so, it's worth

And someone else added "TRUTH!" the the above

The Readers' Choice book is fun to read. Take a look at the book display of recommended reads next time you're in the library. You may find a book that you wouldn't have otherwise chosen. Another place to look for good books is Recommended Reading is on our website.

So many books, so little time.