December 30th 2011

First from Salon: the year's best viral videos (sample below) and the year's worst TV shows, books and movies. From Wired: the top ten people, products and programs that most of us ignored. From Slate: ways people ring in the New Year (It's a slideshow. Sorry!). Barnes and Noble has a best books of 2011 list. Over at NPR, the music critics have made a list of their favorite albums. True to its name, Listverse has lists, lists and more lists. And as if all that isn't enough, The New York... Read Post

December 27th 2011
Burning the Christmas Greens by William Carlos Williams Their time past, pulled down cracked and flung to the fire --go up in a roar All recognition lost, burnt clean clean in the flame, the green dispersed, a living red, flame red, red as blood wakes on the ash-- and ebbs to a steady burning the rekindled bed become a landscape of flame At the winter's midnight we went to the trees, the coarse holly, the balsam and the hemlock for their green At the thick of the dark the moment of the... Read Post
December 21st 2011
The Camel's Hump

The Camel's hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven't enough to do-oo-oo,
We get the hump-
Cameelious hump-
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head,
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our... Read Post
December 18th 2011
Somerville's a great town for the visual arts.  People put interesting ornaments or statues on their front porches and lawns, coffee shops double as mini-art galleries, and even switchboxes and outer walls of stores serve as canvases. Local artist Pauline Lim has a challenge for us all: find some more Somerville art—specifically some secular icons she's created and put around town (one is pictured at left.)  She's provided pictures and GPS coordinates for each one on her website. Anyone who... Read Post
December 17th 2011

Want to check out some more Benny Goodman? Click here!

December 16th 2011
That guy painting the switchbox in front of the Central Library is the wonderful Jef Czekaj. Jef is a cartoonist, children's book author and illustrator, and musician who lives and works right here in Somerville. His comic, Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters, ran in Nickelodeon Magazine for more than 10 years. A collection of the first three years of the comic was published with the help of a Xeric Foundation Grant and distributed by Top Shelf. Jef has illustrated 3 books, and written and... Read Post
December 15th 2011
We had a great time at last night's talk with Beverly Ford and Stephanie Schorow, authors of The Boston Mob Guide. Lots of people came to hear about Whitey Bulger and others Boston mobsters, to meet up with friends and neighbors, and to sample some delicious food. Here are a few pictures from the event.

December 13th 2011
If you visit the Central Library then you know Thy Toeum as one of our friendly Circulation Desk crew. Thy also makes a mean 3D paper snowflake, and this past Saturday he led a fantastic workshop to teach people how he does it. In case you missed it, a few pictures are below. Thy also brought his workshop to the Concord Library recently. Here's an article about that session from the Boston Globe. We're so happy that Thy is here to share his many talents with everyone at the Library!
December 12th 2011
The Director’s “Meet, Mingle, Read” series continues! Join us at the Central Library on Wednesday, December 14th at 7:00 p.m. as we welcome authors Beverly Ford and Stephanie Schorow who will discuss their new book, The Boston Mob Guide: Hit Men, Hoodlums & Hideouts (History Press).

The capture of notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger closed an infamous chapter in Boston history. Yet the city's criminal underworld has a long and bloody rap sheet that stretches back to the... Read Post
December 10th 2011
As Kevin notes below, it's that time of year again, and "Best of 2011" lists are cropping up all over the place. Here are the top five fiction and nonfiction picks from Salon's Laura Miller. 5 Best Novels of 2011The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides Pym by Mat Johnson State of Wonder by Ann Patchett The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips The Pale King by David Foster Wallace 5 Best Nonfiction Books of 2011Townie: a Memoir by Andre Dubus III Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and... Read Post
December 8th 2011
We're excited to announce a new film series that is tentatively scheduled to begin in the Spring.  Actually, this will be a string of mini film series, each curated by a different member of the community. For our kickoff, we want to get your input on what you'd like to see. Choices are below, so let's hear what you think, and thanks in advance for participating! More information about this new program will be coming soon.
<a href="/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://polldaddy.com/poll/5741540/">... Read Post
December 6th 2011
2011 is drawing to a close, and you know that means—book lists: most popular, best of the year, critics' picks. Whether you're gift shopping or just looking for a good read for yourself, the following lists will give you a lot of choices. Every year The New York Times publishes a list of 100 Notable Books of the year. Here's the one for 2011. My favorites from the list: Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War, and Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine... Read Post
November 23rd 2011

Our mother has given away our meal to an elderly woman three houses down, her husband passing some time in the night. With the woman's children already

en route, my mother swaddled our turkey in aluminum foil, stacked the tins of buttered rolls, and sealed casseroles beneath glass-top lids. As the assailable son,

I was enlisted at once, carrying over dish upon dish, my brother and his bride allowed to sleep in. I expected to see the postures of... Read Post
November 21st 2011
This time of year the mind turns naturally to feasting, but it's always "turkey this" and "turkey that." Pork simply does not get its due. As a corrective, we offer tonight's Monday Night Movie, A Private Function. Rovi (foremerly the All Movie Guide) says, “A British couple's attempts to circumvent local food-rationing regulations trigger a chaotic series of events in this satirical comedy set in post-World War II England. The couple's scheme centers on a massive hog which has been... Read Post
November 19th 2011
As I wrote on Monday, a Minutemen Library Network card provides remote access to some great databases. So does a Boston Public Library card (and you don't have to live in Boston itself to get one; any Massachusetts resident can get a BPL card). But there are also some great information resources on the Internet that are free. And you don't have to create an account, log in, or tell them anything about yourself. Do you love mysteries, but can't figure out what to read next? Peruse the... Read Post