Books

July 18th 2014
Boston University professor Linda Heyw0od gave a great talk last night on Prince Among Slaves, one of the titles in our Muslim Journeys bookshelf. Prince is the story of Abdul Rahman, a Fulbe prince captured and sold into slavery in Mississippi and his quest for freedom. The book is also a fascinating portrait of antebellum Natchez, the heart of the "Cotton Kingdom." Dr. Heywood is a  dynamic speaker who  did a fabulous job placing the events and people of the book in their historical context,... Read Post
July 9th 2014
Join us at the Central Library Thursday July 17 at 7 pm when Boston University Professor Linda Heywood will give a talk on the groundbreaking historical work Prince Among Slaves, the story of an African Muslim prince's enslavement in antebellum America and his quest for his freedom and that of his family. Even if you haven't read the book, you should come. It should be a fascinating evening. Abdul Rahman was 26 when he was abducted in the present-day Republic of Guinea and sent on a slave ship... Read Post
July 7th 2014
Some sources of Book Reviews

2014 is half over and there are more great books out there than ever! How do you choose what books to read? There are so many review sites out there and they all have different recommendations with different criteria of what is the “best”. Here are some of the sites I use to help me decide – because there is nothing worse than being on a road trip with a bad book (unless you have squabbling kids which takes the cake:) The Old Standby – NY Times Book Review... Read Post
June 27th 2014
Yes, it’s a sequel post. After my coworker wrote his piece about good books to read at the beach last week, I began thinking about what I believe to be a good beach read. Being a non-beach-goer, my first thought was that the better a beach book it is, the more sand it has in its book jacket (how I usually ID good beach reads when reshelving books - hah!), but quickly focused on the following attributes: totally engrossing and very difficult to put down and something fairly light (although... Read Post
June 20th 2014
Now that summer is here many of you are ready to head to the beach and let some warmth enter your bones. Or maybe just relax in a hammock on a weekend afternoon. In either case, you'll need some good books, books you can lose yourself in, books that are...fun. If you're hoping to see any titles that are the flavor of the month you can stop reading right now.  I have far too many interests to keep up with the latest fiction; in any case, my recommendations aren't all fiction. Orange is the New... Read Post
June 17th 2014
Additional material by Sujei

Now that the United States has won a game at the World Cup,* you may be asking yourself, what more can I learn about soccer (or football, futebol, foutbòl, fútbol, etc., if you’d prefer)? Or maybe you're one of our community's many, lifelong Brazil fans and want to see what happens next as your team advances to the next round**? (We've noticed that the level of yellow around our streets has increased.)

All I see here is a Captain Picard-style... Read Post
June 11th 2014
Are you an avid reader and a movie buff? Do you watch film adaptions of books you've read and make mental notes about plot changes and casting choices? Perhaps you should join the library's Books into Movies discussion group. It meets the third Monday of every month at the Central Library, 7:30 to 8:30. On June 16 the group will discuss Jim Thompson's The Grifters and the film  of the same name starring John Cusack and Anjelic Huston, as well as the Robert Redford/Paul Newman film The Sting,... Read Post
May 20th 2014
One of the most interesting books I've read this year  has been Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders. I would have been drawn to it anyway because of my love of history, but I was especially intrigued by the book's subject because I'm in charge of the library's programming series Muslim Journeys.   Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an is a fascinating look at one of the most astonishing episodes in American history: the establishment of America as a secular state, one where there were no... Read Post
May 5th 2014
For most of us today is just another Monday, or at most an excuse to go out for Mexican food tonight or make a margarita at home. For Mexican-Americans and Mexicans residing in the US, today is a celebration of Mexican heritage. But what is Cinco de Mayo? The holiday commemorates the highly unlikely victory of a Mexican army over invading French forces on May 5, 1862, near the city of Puebla, Mexico. Here's the background: after the U.S. invasion of 1846-48 and two civil wars, the Mexican... Read Post
February 14th 2014
In honor of Valentine's day, we turn our attention to romance novels.  If you are a fan, you might know that there is an organization called Romance Writers of America which each year recognizes outstanding published romance novels and novellas with the RITA awards.  Below are lists of the 2013 finalists in a few of the categories.  There are many more.  For a complete list, click here. Historical Romance Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie Defiant by... Read Post
December 9th 2013
There's a paradox to diaries. They're the most private of books, the record of the thoughts and desires  the author can't or won't speak aloud, writing never shown to anyone else. And yet surely every writer has a desire to be read? It's telling that Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), the author of the granddaddy of tell-all diaries, had the pages bound and listed in the catalog of his library. He wrote the diary in a type of shorthand, but left a key  in his library as well. The best diaries offer the... Read Post
November 22nd 2013
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963  still haunts our collective imagination, and rightly so.  It was the moment when the entire nation was forced to confront the violence endemic to American life, when people sitting in their own homes watched murder happen. Stephen King's novel 11/22/63 was one of the popular books of 2011. Twenty-five years after nomination for the National Book Award, Don DeLillo's Libra still  provokes reflection. References both serious and... Read Post
November 15th 2013
Last night's Muslim Journeys event was great. Harvard Divinity School professor Leila Ahmed participated in a discussion of her book, A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America.  We had a good turnout, and everyone who participated in the discussion had interesting questions and shared well-informed opinions. The conversation ranged from  the history of this highly symbolic garment to the differences in religious practice and culture in various Islamic nations... Read Post
November 14th 2013
In 2005 a group of authors and publishers sued Google for scanning and posting online  segments of books to which they (the authors and publishers, not Google) held the rights.  Today U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled that Google's actions do not violate U.S. copyright law, since Google puts the complete text of a book  online only if it has the copyright holder's permission. From the ruling: “In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits....It advances the progress of the... Read Post
August 28th 2013

One of the transformative moments in American history occurred on August 28, 1963.  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke to roughly 250,000 people, calling for full civil rights for African-Americans. The "I Have a Dream Speech" is one of the pinnacles of American oratory, and as a statement of American ideals is second only to the Declaration of Independence. If you would like to know more about King and the Civil Rights Movement, we've got a... Read Post

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