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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...


As you all know, February is Black History Month. Black History Month was proposed by Black professors and the Black United Students group at Kent State University in 1969, and was first celebrated a year later from January 2nd to February 28th. Not until 1976, was it finally celebrated nationwide.  One way to celebrate and honor Black history is by reading graphic novels. As many of us librarians and library workers know, graphic novels are becoming increasingly popular. Graphic novels can also be a helpful tool for struggling readers of all ages, and can improve one’s visual...


Mary Higgins Clark signing books at BookExpo America 2018 Mystery-writing icon Mary Higgins Clark passed away last month, leaving behind a 40+ year career of writing best-selling mystery books. Clark wrote the kind of books you pick up and keep up until you reach the last page; the kind of books where you can’t do anything else until you know what really happened; the kind of books that stay with you so long, you even begin to mistrust the guy at the deli who makes your morning coffee. Clark’s novels have been a staple in libraries and bookstores for my entire life; her...


As winter wraps its icy fingers around New York in earnest, chilly smoothies and açai bowls are a thing of the past, and it’s time to whip out grandma’s recipe for oatmeal. While oatmeal gets a bad rap, these cookbooks will have you reconsidering the breakfast staple.  Bubby's Brunch Cookbook: Recipes and Menus from New York's Favorite Comfort Food Restaurant written by Ron Silver one of my favorite cookbooks with delicious recipes for every breakfast staple you could imagine—and if you try a few of the more decadent breakfast options in addition to the oatmeal, I won’t...


AN ALL-NIGHT MARATHON of philosophical debate, performances, screenings, readings, and music. For the fourth year in a row, Brooklyn Public Library, in partnership with the Cultural Services of French Embassy, hosted A Night of Philosophy and Ideas. Thousands of New Yorkers gathered in our walls from 7p.m. on February 1, 2020 until 7a.m. on Feburary 2, 2020. Some of the most innovative and provocative thinkers of our time led lectures on topics from How to Come Up with Your Own Philosophical Questions to When a Robot Decides When You Live or Die.  At the start of the...


I was nine when I first understood how important winning a Super Bowl could be to a city. Growing up in Northern California, you couldn’t miss flags flying in front of houses, neighbors wearing hats and shirts, celebrating the 49ers winning Super Bowl 24. Fast forward to Super Bowl 54: I’m a bit older...and there have been some rough seasons for the Niners—alternating quarterbacks and coaches, even stadiums (and all that relocation drama). But for now, all of the talk is for the Red and Gold to win title number six! The team has had other successful runs in recent...


What books are you looking forward to this winter?  Note from the Off the Shelf Blog Editors: This list of books has been curated by the BookOps book selection team. BookOps carries the responsibility of meeting the library collection management and distribution both New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. If you're looking for reading inspiration this winter, then look no further than these upcoming releases. They've been hand-picked by the team that selects all the books you've loved at Brooklyn Public Library and New York Public Library.  Shuggie Bain: A...


January is National Hot Tea Month and nestled amongst a month of heady aromas, rich flavors, hints of milk and sugar (or not), lurks National Hot Tea day January 12. There is also National Tea day (UK) on April 20 and International Tea day on December 15. With such a multitude of days commemorating it, it should come as no surprise that Tea is the 2nd most consumed beverage on earth after water.  Further the United States is the third largest importer of tea trailing only Russia and Pakistan. Whether you enjoy your tea as black or green, pu’er, white, oolong, herbal...


If time traveling and galaxy exploration are on your list of reasonably attainable resolutions this year, then you might (should!) be a fan of Doctor Who. In a thousand words or less, I’m going to entice you into the fandom with a bit of a Season 11 (2018, which debuted Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor) wrap-up, a case for why you should (still) be watching Season 12, and also a peek into the lingo of a Doctor Who fan. And you will not need to a language decoder (think Elvish, Klingon or even Dothraki), but if you really want something to read, I’ll list books you might like to pair with...


The latest news in America’s political rollercoaster ride is the (maybe?) impeachment of the current president, Donald Trump. But what does that even mean? Those of us who remember Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings maybe recall it as just being a bunch of inquiries into his extramarital dalliances, and then a big nothing; he was still president afterward. So could this be more of the same? What exactly is the President being accused of (abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, by the way), and how is Congress attempting to call him on it? And, the most important question of all, what...


Editor's Note: This interview took place in the fall of 2010 when Olga Tokarczuk was in the US on a book tour for Primeval and Other Times. Olga Tokarczuk was a guest of the Brooklyn Public Library in 2018,  and was lauded this past December with the Nobel Prize in Literature. However before she came to Brooklyn Public Library, I had the chance to interview her in the autumn 2010, when Olga Tokarczuk's book Primeval and Other Times was translated into English by Antonia Lloyd Jones. Tokarczuk was then invited by the New Literature from Europe Festival and took a short...


From Brooklyn Collection (~1969) Owing as much perhaps to our accessibility as to the more arcane aspects of our setting, public library staff know that, like the relics we guard, we are objects of some curiosity. For reasons as much our century-old buildings and dewey decimals, as our open doors, free media and ability to meet you where you are, we know we engender some fascination. And, if we’re being honest, we do not mind it. We’re aware of the stereotypes built up through the years and acknowledge that some hew closer to reality than others. Library staff are bespectacled...


Perhaps it’s the never ending stream of end-of-decade, best-of and worst-of lists of TV shows, movies, plays, books, albums, memes, restaurants, etc.? Or, it could be the deluge of contantly streamable media is giving us all Lack-of-Season-al Affective Disorder (LSAD)? Or maybe it’s because we are entering an election year while still in the middle of year forever of a hostile and contentious political climate? Whatever the reason, who could blame you for feeling end-of-the-decade dread. We at Off the Shelf would like to ease that dread by offering resources and materials for a more...


Have you seen Little Women yet?! It's been the first question out of every book lover's mouth since Christmas Day, when Greta Gerwig's highly anticipated adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel finally hit theaters. BPL's bloggers are happy to report the movie is wonderful, it is everything, stop whatever you're doing and go see it. Even more good news: this interview with Virginia Kantra, author of Meg & Jo, the first installment of a two-book, contemporary retelling of Little Women. Whether you're a longtime Alcott reader or are brand new to March Sister fandom, you will love Kantra's...


During the holiday season, I always ration my holiday movie-watching until the week before Christmas because I know I'll spend a large chunk of my time with my family watching all our favorites. Whether that's newer favorites like Home Alone and Polar Express to classics like It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, we watch them all! Below I've gathered a few books I know are beloved during the season and paired them with a novel that may fit your mood, if you too, want to make those holiday movie feelings linger past the two hours it takes to watch them.  It's a Wonderful Life...


As a group that never shies away from a good pun, I thought I’d lean into librarianship for this post on trends of the last decade. And to keep it even more on topic, I’ve doubled down with a term that lost  relevance amongst Millennials and Gen Z years ago. Here goes... Hands down, the number one trend of the decade could be summed up as the following: If it was Lit(erary), it was On Trend Who says libraries and books are losing relevance? This last decade saw libraries and the publishing industry as veritable Hollywood incubators. The bread and butter of modern librarianship—...


As a children’s librarian, I spend a fair amount of time talking about seasons: What’s your favorite season? —Summer! I like summer too. What do you like about summer? Is it cold in the summer? —No, silly! The summer is hot. The winter is cold. My favorite season is fall, but with fall come and gone for the year, we may as well welcome winter. And besides, there’s also a lot to love about our new weather: it gets cold, sure, but it can also be cozy; the snow can be inconvenient, but also very pretty. Perhaps it is precisely that contrast between severity and comfort ...


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