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 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 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 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 16th 2011
Our new series, "Meet, Mingle, Read" kicks off at the Central Library on Saturday, November 19th at 10:00 a.m. as we delve into the history of diners, sample yummy diner food, and welcome Larry Cultrera, author of Classic Diners of Massachusetts (The History Press). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was birthplace to the burgeoning "night lunch wagon" manufacturing industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These horse-drawn food carts eventually evolved into classic... Read Post
October 26th 2011

We waited all year and now it's here - the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale!

Don't miss out on this chance to get great deals on new and used books, movies, music, and more - and show your support for the Library! Proceeds from the book sale help support library programs for adults and children, including the popular "museum membership" program which allows Somerville residents to visit local museums free or at a discount.

Friday, October 28th ~ 1:00... Read Post
October 25th 2011

We're getting ready for Somerville Reads 2012 and we need your input! This time, instead of choosing just one book, we've decided to offer a choice of readings and programs on a single theme. Which of these topics would you most like to read about, learn about, and discuss as a community? VOTE! Somerville Reads Theme for 2012

Somerville Reads is a project that promotes literacy and community engagement by encouraging people all over the City to read and discuss books... Read Post
September 21st 2011
In 1984, Alice and Martin Provensen won the Caldecott Medal for their book, The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Blériot, July 25, 1909. Below are a few examples of their work from other books. The two on top are from The Golden Treasury of Myths and Legends, the one on the bottom left is from The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales, and the one next to that is from an edition of the New Testament that they illustrated.

I love the Provensens and wanted to share a few of... Read Post
September 20th 2011

September 14th 2011
Can't get enough Jane Austen?  It's tough - in her short life she only completed six novels.  Even if you count her juvenilia and novel fragments, well, it's just not a very satisfying legacy in terms of quantity. So it's not surprising that a number of authors have attempted to take the edge off the world's hunger for more Jane by writing sequels to her novels, as well as other books that build on Austen's stories and characters in various ways.  Having dipped into lots of these, I can tell... Read Post
September 7th 2011
"The Snowy Day" is about to turn 50, though Peter still doesn't look a day over six. Nice piece about the significance of this book can be found here.  It won the Caldecott the same year "A Wrinkle in Time" won the Newbery. Wow. And yes, both books have anniversary editions coming out. The Jewish Museum in New York is celebrating with an Ezra Jack Keats exhibit this month.
August 24th 2011
One of the most innovative and influential writers of the twentieth century was born 112 years ago today in Buenos Aires. Jorge Luis Borges—poet, short story writer and essayist—is difficult to classify. He was a postmodernist writer long before anyone had heard of postmodernism, his work reflecting skepticism regarding the existence of an objective reality. In addition to surreal and fantastical short stories, he wrote reviews and translations of nonexistent literary works.  Borges has been... Read Post
August 19th 2011
An SPL blog reader recently suggested to me that I write about "crazy books in the collection."  With over 200,000 volumes SPL definitely has its share of those (among my favorites are a slim little volume on the guys who figured out how to embalm Lenin and a book about the first scientific studies of the duck-billed platypus*) However, one of the best places to seek out unusual reading material is the Local History Room at the Central Library. It's used primarily by genealogists, historic... Read Post
August 16th 2011
34 years ago today legendary musician Elvis Presley died at his home in Memphis. Ever since, fans and mourners have gone to hold vigils on the anniversary. Yesterday somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people showed up, staying on well into Tuesday morning. Unsurprisingly many of his CDs are checked out from SPL this week, but there are quite a few available in the network. If you're interested in listening to The King, you might consider the 3-disc set Artist of the Century or the single... Read Post