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
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
August 20th 2013
Elmore Leonard, author of such works as Glitz, City Primeval and Killshot, died at his home in Michigan. He was 87. His works were populated by murderers, conmen and schemers, people living alongside us, but in a separate world with its own rules and risks and expectations.  Leonard wrote  about this world with an emotional depth and a gritty realism that endeared him even to critics prone to be dismissive of crime novels. Readers curious about Leonard have two options for sampling his... Read Post
April 23rd 2013

I didn't submit my suggestions in time to be included in the last post but I'll throw a few out there now. I recently saw Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery [1993], which was a lot of fun. Woody re-teams with his erstwhile muse Diane Keaton, and the inspired addition of Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston makes the whole thing even better. Carol and Ted (Keaton and Alda) are sure that their elderly acquaintance Paul (Jerry Adler) has committed the perfect murder. Hard-boiled author Marcia Fox... Read Post

April 22nd 2013
After last week, a lot of us could probably use a break from reality: a few minutes or a few hours of not thinking about the horrors of last week. I asked my colleagues what makes them laugh, cheers them up when they're down, or just makes them forget their worries. Here are a few suggestions. East Branch Director Marilyn suggests A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  I have to second that: Confederacy is one of the craziest, best-written pieces of inspired lunacy that I have ever... Read Post
November 1st 2012
Join us for a three-part film series showcasing the use of classical music in war movies. The series kicks off at the Central Library this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with Gallipoli. Live musical accompaniment for some scenes will be provided by members of the Cambridge Symphony Chamber Players for all three films. 1981; Starring Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Kerr, Harold Hopkins, Charles Yunipingli, & Ron Graham; Rated PG; 1 hour 52 minutes Amazon.com says, "An outstanding drama, Gallipoli... Read Post
April 26th 2012
What do you see yourself doing this Saturday morning? Laughing? Screaming? A little bit of both? We're right there with you, with the first series in our Community Curated film program.

Dan Kimmel, Somervillian, film critic, and past president of the Boston Society of Film Critics will be hosting this series. He will offer brief introductory remarks before each film, and there will also be time afterwards for comments, questions, and discussion. Dan’s books on film include The... Read Post
January 3rd 2012
Last weekend I saw the movie (starring Gary Oldman, John Hurt and Colin Firth).  In spite of the stellar cast, the film was disappointing: the movie is based on a novel of the same title with a plot so complicated and detailed it is probably impossible to adapt into a two-hour film.  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy is one of my all-time favorite books and is considered by some critics to be the best spy novel ever written. Somerville just purchased some new  copies of Tinker, and there are also... 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
September 29th 2011
What are you doing this Saturday afternoon at 2:00?  How about joining us at the Central Library for a free screening of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster? Cinefantastique says, “This is one of the silliest but also one of the more amusing Godzilla movies. The goofiness of the enterprise somehow becomes part of the entertainment value, resulting in a likable, fun-filled, fast-paced movie that is totally incredible but quite watchable. The story begins with a family worried about a missing son.... Read Post
July 22nd 2011

Oy. The mercury is supposed to break 100 today and tomorrow won't be much better. If you don't have air conditioning, you are more than welcome to spend time at the library while we are open. Furthermore the cooling center at 167 Holland Street will be open until 8:00 pm tonight. A few years ago during another heat wave The Onion had some tips for staying cool. I can't remember the entire list, but my two favorites were: "Seal all doors and windows, and flood your house with iced tea," and "... Read Post

June 28th 2011
Every day, SPL staff help people find books, movies, music recordings, books on compact disc.  But many of our patrons don't talk to staff. They come in, look for something, and either find it (or don't) and just leave. Another fiscal year is about to start and we'll be purchasing again in a few weeks. Our budget's tighter than it used to be, but we still want to know: what have you looked for on our shelves that you didn't find? What do you wish we had? What do you want to see more of here?... Read Post
June 23rd 2011
I'm a big fan of the blog of African-American journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates. He's knowledgeable and insightful about history, literature and current politics. But what I really love about his blog is his level of personal engagement with his subject, whatever it is.  There's no dry intellectualism in his writing. Whether he's discussing the Civil War or Anthony Weiner or comic books, he makes you care. In a recent post, he recalled how as an intellectual black kid, he searched for a cultural... Read Post
March 26th 2011
This week an icon of the silver screen left us. Elizabeth Taylor appeared in some of the most compelling movies of the twentieth century, including Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Butterfield 8, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly, Last Summer. When most people think of her now they probably remember the multiple marriages that become fodder for stand-up comedy. That's unfortunate: she was a gifted actress, winning two Academy Awards for Best Actress, five Golden Globes, and the... Read Post
March 4th 2011

Monday we in the U.S. lost a living connection to a crucial period in modern history: Frank Buckles, the last living American veteran of World War I, died at his home in West Virginia at the age of 110. The First World War takes a back seat in our imagination and memory to the Second, but it was every bit as overwhelming in its consequences. As a result of the war Europe was devastated. Nearly an entire generation of young French and British men died. The war destabilized the Czarist regime... Read Post