NBC nightly news correspondent Richard Engel has written an intriguing book, And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East, about his experience living in the Middle East.
From witnessing bomb explosions, kidnappings, and briberies, meeting Saddam Hussein, and at one point was the only living American reporter in Baghdad during the Iraq War, Engel has shared a great and fascinating experience with us that all American should read.
The book begins with... Read Post
One of SPL's most valuable resources for Somerville history is the Somerville Journal, the city's oldest newspaper. We have the complete run of the paper in hard copy and microfilm from the 1870s to the present. Reading old issues is fascinating. Not only do they give a sense of how important newspapers were for news and entertainment before competition from radio, television and the Internet, they also reveal the issues that were on people's minds that seldom make it into the history books... Read Post
On this day 81 years ago Congress passed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the law that created the Works Progress Administration, an unprecedented effort by the federal government to provide employment during an economic crisis. At its peak the WPA employed over 8 million people on public projects ranging from building roads and making parks to creating public works of art and interviewing former slaves about life before Emancipation.
If you would like to know more... Read Post
According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans surveyed consider themselves lifelong learners. Many of them are "professional learners:" they take courses or attend trainings to enhance their job skills and career prospects. However, the vast majority are "personal learners:" they learn skills or subjects that personally interest them.
And while the Internet can be an indispensable tool for learning, a majority of personal learners say a physical space (such as a... Read Post
By the reference desk in the Central Library is a statue of an Ancient Greek boxer known to history as Damoxenos.
However, for as long anyone can remember he's been known around Somerville as Clarence. And like all Ancient Greek athletes depicted in sculpture, Clarence isn't wearing anything.
A few days ago a woman who was clearly in a hurry came into the main reading room with two small children. One of them, a boy who looked about five or six, pointed to Clarence and asked... Read Post
On this day in 44 BC the Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated. His murder and the ensuing warfare and chaos has been written about by historians, poets, playwrights and novelists.
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Cambridge classicist Mary Beard, is a highly regarded and compulsively readable work in which she discusses the significance of Caesar's life and death, as well as other important figures in Roman history such as Cicero, Hannibal and Augustus.
If you're... Read Post
Fates & Furies- Lauren Groff’s third book, describes marriage over a 23 year period, very vividly. The book illustrates marriage from two different perspectives, the husband and wife, seemingly, somewhat realistic, but who really knows for sure? After all, how many of us are completely honest in marriage? I enjoyed the book immensely; many reviews compared the book to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I see where some readers may contrast character’s Amy Dunne (Gone Girl and Mathilde (Fates and... Read Post