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I discovered goth music about the same time I discovered Anne Rice. I was in the sixth grade and spent much of my time listening to Siouxsie & the Banshees on my portable record player and summoning ghosts with my Ouija board, then I found the paperback of Interview with the Vampire on my parents bookshelf and never gave it back. I still have it. I still have the Ouija board too but now it’s mostly for decorative purposes. Mostly.  That’s the interesting thing about goth. For a music-based subculture it has a remarkable longevity that spans generations from Elder Goths to Baby...


Reading romance novels has helped bring me joy during this pandemic. I especially seek out those that fall under the popular trope, enemies-to-lovers. The six titles listed below are witty, fun, and sexy—and will hopefully give you a good laugh, too! Enjoy and stay safe! The Right Swipe: A Novel by Alisha Rai Rhiannon Hunter was ghosted by Samson Lima after letting herself fall for his charms after one amazing date. When he resurfaces, aligned with her biggest business rival and asking for a secomd chance, Rhiannon has to decide if her walls stay up, or if she should risk merging hearts...


As librarians, we’re used to turning to books for comfort and escape. One of the topics of discussion that has come up for us has been how our reading habits have changed as our world has changed. Many of us are turning to new genres (hello fantasy and romance!). Some of us are finding that it’s harder to focus and we’re reading less, while some of us are finding that we’re reading a lot more as we just want a way to escape 2020. Either way, here’s a roundup of some of the books that BPL librarians and staff have been reading recently. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky The story got a...


Everyone who uses the Internet knows that one of its perils is the website that can suck you in for hours, or even days at a time. In normal times, such sites can often be a problem. Now, though, with everyone sheltering in place in their homes, these sorts of websites may in fact be the ideal distraction. Presented here are some excellent websites to get lost in, along with a book pairing to complement the sites. TV Tropes This “all devouring pop-culture wiki” is a compendium of “tropes [storytelling device or convention] used to tell stories.” This is like calling the...


This post is part of our Inclusive Gardening series.  Spring is here! But we all need to stay inside. I miss being outside this time of year and seeing things grow. So, to cheer myself up, I decided to grow some things in my kitchen. I remembered that early spring is a good time to get seeds ready to plant. I had some lemon seeds left over when I after I made lemonade. I saved them so I could grow a lemon tree.   Harvesting Lemon Seeds  You will need:  Lemon, medium sized  Knife  Cutting board  Juice strainer ...


"Water is the great equalizer—no matter your age or size or color or physical ability, it buoys us all. Libraries are the same. They are portals to magical worlds beyond the ones we currently inhabit. And we all could use that right about now." For an unexpectedly rewarding thought experiment, ask yourself: why do we swim? If a flood of fond memories of water and sun return for you, it probably makes little sense at first to ask why we, humans, swim, but as author Bonnie Tsui reminds us, primates are among the only mammals not innately possessed of swimming instincts. “Elephants, dogs...

Author Bonnie Tsui (copyright Lynsay Skiba)

In NYC, we’re going on two months of social distancing, quarantining, and existing on the fumes of what our hometown used to be. During this time, cultural organizations like BPL (and others) across the world have provided digital content to keep some semblance of normalcy in our lives: classes, readings, performances—heck, even Saturday Night Live is cobbling together fresh episodes ‘from home.' But sometimes, it can help to lean in and embrace the deeper, harsher, raw emotions bubbling up with each day we remain at home. To close out National Poetry month, here are a handful of poetry...


My reading appetite is insatiable, an annual sixty-course feast of literary fiction, mysteries and romantic comedies, the occasional nonfiction book tacked on like the green juice you choke down after a gluttonous vacation. I am willing to read anything, but until two years ago, I would have described myself as poetry averse. Why look to corny, rhyming couplets for the meaning of life when I could instead reflect on the emo lyrics of my teen angst? But then something happened: I got hooked on a weekly column about poetry and lipstick and caregiving written by a British cookbook author...


In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Brooklyn Public Library is celebrating Immigrant Heritage Week from April 13 to 19. The week pays homage to the legacy of April 17, 1907, the day in New York City history the largest number of immigrants (11,000!) entered the U.S. through Ellis Island. To celebrate, we’ve gathered a list of e-books centered around the immigrant experience in New York, with a special focus on Brooklyn. Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya  A dazzling novel about a Russian immigrant family living in the Brighton Beach...


...and professional chefs, organizers, carpenters, make-up artists and even teachers. If you go by what the empty supermarket shelves or curated Instagram posts are telling us, our collective #QuarantineLife has turned us into Ma & Pa Ingalls, doing things for ourselves that many of us have been outsourcing for years. But if you’re struggling a little bit with getting your skills up, we’ve got a (digital) book for that! B A K I N G Happiness Is Baking by Maida Heatter We could all use some cheering up, and some folks believe that baking can (and probably eating all the...


Earlier this year, I shared a booklist focused on tea and sympathies in the world of cozy tea shops and murder most foul. But if your interests in the steaming brews have a historical bent, or you're curious about tea and the makings of a good cuppa, try this blend of tantalizing tea titles: Infused: Adventures in Tea by Henrietta Lovell Lovell, an evangelist for and an owner of an artisanal loose tea shop, leads readers on a journey across the globe searching for the world’s best and most extraordinary teas. Traveling to such places as Sri Lanka, Scotland, Norway, Italy, Mexico and...


Trudging through the chilly breeze and long, dark evenings of winter, we looked forward to spring: budding of new leaves, sunnier days, and those two magic words: Play Ball! Spring training would have been the first sign of hope for warmer days, evenings spent watching a favorite team on TV, or listening on the radio. Whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan who grew up loving a favorite team, or a more recent fan, it’s clear that this season isn’t going to be what you remembered, and may not be what you hoped to find. Brooklyn has its own deep roots and history with baseball, from the...


Everyone has their own taste in books, and for me it's often nonfiction. In uncertain moments, it can be soothing to escape into a world of verifiable facts. My all-time favorite reads are in the motley genres of literary journalism and narrative nonfiction. I like real-life stories with a subtle tension to keep me reading, while still offering passages of quiet reflection. Such works pair well with a related genre, a book of essays. These days I'm especially seeking essayists that promise irreverence and honesty, maybe even a rueful chuckle as I read. The list below highlights authors...


You’ve got the hang of working from home: you’re connected, your desk setup is pretty sweet and your projects are chugging along. You’re remembering to eat regularly, stay hydrated and maybe even change out of your pajamas occasionally. You got this. It’s day-number-who-knows-what of working remotely...and you’re starting to really need a break from your own company. Here are some ways to stay connected with friends and family from far away, or get a welcome distraction. Explore some of Brooklyn Public Library’s archives and databases Visit the Digital Collection of...


The literary canon does not want for Irish and Irish-American authors—James Joyce, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flannery O’Connor, Mary McCarthy, Thomas Flanagan, Brooklyn’s own Frank McCourt, Pete Hamill, and so many more! Considering we must celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day without the rowdy crowds or green beer, there’s never been a better time to check out one of these fabulous titles about the Irish-American experience. This list includes new releases from award-winning authors as well as titles from young writers who may not yet be household names. My Father Left Me...


When a new and alarming disease spreads rapidly through a population, who do you call? Epidemiologists! Joined by their colleagues in virology and immunology, epidemiologists plan ahead to respond to epidemics. They attempt to forecast the growth and spread of infectious disease, study outbreaks as they happen, and work alongside local and national governments to craft solutions.  With the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak dominating the news, it may be helpful to be reminded of the successes of epidemiologists during prior crises. Epidemiologists are among the heroes of medical science,...


Ever feel like you just want to say fork it all, flip a table, and walk into the sea? Yeah, me either, but in case you have a “friend” who feels that way, here are some books to help them cope with all the bullshirt life has to offer. On Bullsh*t is the quintessential philosophy texts that proves itself by writing bullshirt about bullshirt. It’s fast, fun, and firmly tongue-in-cheek, using the precepts of philosophical discourse to live up to its title.  In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, Mark Mason gives a fork you to blind...


Billionaires are always in the news. Whether they are launching spacecraft or running for president, they draw our attention and curiosity. They also prompt questions: Who are these billionaires anyway? How did they accumulate their beaucoup bucks? What could a person possibly do with all that wealth? Who's a billionaire? Forbes Magazine follows the ins and outs of the billionaire's club, and publishes an update each spring. As of March 2019, there were over 2,000 billionaires worldwide. Over 600 were in the United States, 244 were women, and just 13 were black. How much is a billion...


Let's all raise a glass to celebrate a milestone in our relations with Pluto, our cosmic neighbor. Ninety years ago this month, on February 18, 1930, an aspiring astronomer named Clyde Tombaugh examined a pair of night sky photographs taken weeks earlier and noticed a faint light had changed position. For us, it was Pluto's welcoming wave. Located in the vast Kuiper Belt far beyond Neptune, and traveling in an off-kilter, ellipse-shaped orbit that sends it up to 4.5 billion miles from the sun, it's fair to say Pluto and Earth have never been particularly close. Many still feel we committed...


Much of the beginning of February is the leadup to Valentine's Day—if you don't have your plans ironed out much further in advance. For many the holiday is a divisive one. Today, we're joined on the blog by two Brooklyn Public Library staff members who will be making their case for and against the day—supported, of course, by some exemplary examples in literature. Please note: Spoilers may be ahead for anyone who hasn't read some of the books mentioned. I was recently reading Fleabag: The Scriptures when I came across a gem of a speech given by a character named Priest. (or, as he's become...


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