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I'd like a description of entering Grand Central Station and interior circa 1943, or at least information about what it looked like and/or what the experience would be like.
Happy centennial! 12 old-timey photos of Grand Central Terminal
In wartime: The main concourse is crowded with people on Dec. 14, 1941, during the unveiling of a government mural above the mezzanine level that encouraged Americans to buy savings bonds and stamps in support of the war. Down the hallway to the right, an archway points travelers toward the nearest telegraph - how quaint! (AP Photo)
It’s Time to Hit the Streets
For the last 15 months, since the first economy-wide shutdowns because of the pandemic, in-the-streets activism on the political Left has been rare. The huge exception was the massive, Black-led, multi-racial response of many millions of people all around the country last summer after George Floyd was murdered. Another exception is the heroic fight led by Indigenous women in Minnesota against the building of another tar sands pipeline, Line 3, across Anishinaabe and other land. Tomorrow, June 7, could see a thousand or more people risking arrest as part of that months-long direct action campaign.
The Sunrise Movement is also shifting gears, away from the zoom-call-only mode into something much more visible. Several days ago they sat in at the White House and on June 28 they are planning a major DC action—Biden Be Brave, No Compromise, No Excuses–demanding that “Democrats must take their power seriously and stop negotiating with a GOP which is not serious about climate action or delivering jobs for the American people.”
Also in late June, from the 20th to the 28th, there will be a 2021 Walk for Our Grandchildren from Scranton, Pa. to Wilmington, De. “to remind the Biden Administration and others that our love for our families and their futures requires a rapid, uncompromising transition away from unhealthy, unsafe extraction and burning of fossil fuels while embracing renewable energy, especially solar and wind power.”
This upsurge of in the streets activism is happening, not coincidentally, at the same time that COVID 19 is being defeated, at least in the US and at least for now. This is the case primarily because of the effectiveness of the vaccines and the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign begun on January 20 when Biden/Harris took office. The science is telling us that, at least for this summer, many things that couldn’t happen over the last 15 months now can.
It is essential that our movement of movements on a wide range of issues recognize and act upon this new reality. From a strategic perspective, as far as how fundamental social, economic, political and cultural change happens, actions in the streets are essential. We must intelligently organize public marches, demonstrations, work and hunger strikes and nonviolent direct actions that underline the seriousness of our issue campaigns, inspire millions of people who hear about them, and bring pressure to bear on decision-makers to do the right and needed things.
This is not the only thing we need to be doing. It is also essential that our movement be grounded in day-to-day, community-, workplace-, and issue-based organizing by millions of volunteer and paid activists and organizers, utilizing popular education, dialogical approaches and techniques as much as possible. And we need to engage in the electoral arena, supporting independent and progressive candidates, and sometimes, for tactical reasons, people like Biden because of the threat from the Trumpists, racists and neo-fascists. We need do this from the most local to the highest national level, doing so in a tactically flexible way as far as whether to run on a Democrat, independent, Working Families, Green, or other line.
At any one time, one of these three legs of our movement-building stool—street action, electoral action and day-to-day dialogical organizing—will take precedence. In 2020 electoral action was the priority. Right now street action, holding those elected accountable, bringing political pressure to bear, has to be the priority, and not just via zoom calls. It’s time to hit the streets!
Kglibrarian > Books
This is the final book club pick for my staff book club at my school and I was not impressed. I loved Jojo Moyes&aposs Me Before You when I read it years This is the final book club pick for my staff book club at my school and I was not impressed. I loved Jojo Moyes's Me Before You when I read it years ago but this one fell flat for me. The plot couldn't be more appealing to me--a group of women become librarians who ride on horseback to deliver books to rural residents of Kentucky during the Depression. But the writing is the kind that is too sentimental and lacking sophistication. Books like these confirm what I know about my reading preferences--I value beautiful writing and sentences that wow me more than the actual plot of a book.
There are many details about the action in this book that are interesting but I found myself rolling my eyes throughout the book. Alice Wright, who is a refined woman from England meets Bennett Van Cleve during his visit to England on an outreach mission with his father. Immediately smitten with his American accent and good looks, she succumbs to his charms and agrees to marry him, excited to be taken away from what she laments as a boring life where she is not able to do the things she desires. She is surprised to find herself feeling even more stifled in Kentucky, where she is thrown into a life living with her unaffectionate husband and his cruel father. When the opportunity to become a pack librarian presents itself, she jumps on it, to the dismay of her husband and father in law. She meets Margery, an independent, unconventional woman, whose friendship guides her through her unhappy marriage and uncertain future. Riding her horse through the gorgeous landscape of Kentucky is the only thing that gives her pleasure but her new life and profession is threatened when a tragedy disturbs the peace in the small town.
This is a sweet, engaging story but it's too fluffy for my liking. It's perfect for someone who enjoys light, sentimental writing and is not craving more intense, deeply developed characters or writing that goes beyond the surface. . more
My high school students picked this book as the final Book Club pick of the school year and I am so happy they did--I couldn&apost put this one down. For My high school students picked this book as the final Book Club pick of the school year and I am so happy they did--I couldn't put this one down. For me it was the perfect page-turning, thought-provoking, high-school-vibe book to get lost in.
Despite the fact that it was written in 2010, the characters and themes are universal and work just as well 11 years later. Sam, a popular senior living in suburbs Connecticut, spends her days with her four best friends acting superior to her classmates. They make fun of girls who seem weird, have arrogant attitudes toward teachers and administrators, and walk around as if they own the world. One night on the way home from a party, Sam and her friends get into a car accident and Sam doesn't make it. She wakes up, though, on the same day and realizes she is reliving that fateful day. The book continues in this Groundhog Day style for seven days, during which Sam reevaluates her life, thinking deeply about who she has become and how she has been treating others.
Oliver writes teenage friendship and romance perfectly, creating realistic dialogue and swoon-worthy moments. Though the book could have become repetitive, the author adds nuance to each iteration of the day, bringing something new to each one. Highlighting the important issues of human decency, mental health, insecurity, identity, and self-esteem, this book is a page-turner worth reading. . more
A compelling young adult nonfiction book about the author&aposs harrowing experience living through the famine in North Korea and escaping the horrors of A compelling young adult nonfiction book about the author's harrowing experience living through the famine in North Korea and escaping the horrors of the only country he had known. Although he doesn't sugar coat his tragedy, he writes in a way that is appropriate for younger readers who want to know about life in North Korea.
I remember loving Jude the Obscure and Tess of the d&aposUrbervilles when I read them in college so I was expecting to feel the same about this one. I was I remember loving Jude the Obscure and Tess of the d'Urbervilles when I read them in college so I was expecting to feel the same about this one. I was kind of disappointed but I have a feeling that if I get the chance to read it again, I'll appreciate it more. I found the prose to be heavy and the action to be a little too dramatic. I loved the descriptions of the English countryside and the overall Victorian vibe, but was not satisfied by the character development or plot. There is something, though, about reading classics that I absolutely love. It transports me to another time way before technology took over our lives.
The main character, Bathsheba, is admirable in her independence and boldness. She refuses marriage proposals and vows to focus on her job as an owner of a farm. That is until a cute man comes along and all that goes to waste. She falls for the bad boy and makes terrible decisions, causing others pain.
I always root for strong feminists but I did not feel much sympathy toward Bathsheba. I found her to be immature and selfish. Her male courters were also lacking in character and charm. Oak was by far the most impressive character but I found that even he was not drawn deeply enough to truly elicit a strong attachment as a reader.
I felt like this was a Victorian reality show that did not wow me except during the passages of landscape or animal descriptions.
Another gem of a book by one of my favorite authors. In 67 pages Adichie manages to put into words that which cannot be defined. Whether you lost some Another gem of a book by one of my favorite authors. In 67 pages Adichie manages to put into words that which cannot be defined. Whether you lost someone years ago or recently, these personal reflections will move you.
One of the many poignant passages:
"Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger. You learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language." . more
There are so many things going on in this quirky story about an 18-year-old pregnant pizza delivery girl who befriends an overwhelmed middle aged mom There are so many things going on in this quirky story about an 18-year-old pregnant pizza delivery girl who befriends an overwhelmed middle aged mom whose son will only eat pizza with pickles. Teenage angst, alcoholism, abuse, immigration--all told through the dark humor of the main character.
I didn't exactly like the protagonist but was mesmerized by her bold detachment and saddened by her pain. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, original read that deals with serious issues. . more
This is a heartwarming story about a soon-to-be middle grader who is on a search for identity. Bug&aposs uncle, who had lived with Bug her entire life, ha This is a heartwarming story about a soon-to-be middle grader who is on a search for identity. Bug's uncle, who had lived with Bug her entire life, has recently died. She is trying to put on a tough face for her single mom, who is grieving and struggling to keep her greeting card business afloat. As Bug spends the summer exploring her old Vermont house for ghosts and pushing herself to hang out with her longtime friend, Moira, she is increasingly uneasy about herself. She knows who she is supposed to be, but also has strong feelings that contradict the expectations related to her clothing, appearance, and hobbies. As she continues to reflect on her relationship with her late uncle, she begins to realize that there is something important he is trying to tell her. When she finally figures it out, her entire world is opened up.
Lukoff's message is one that is sure to resonate with people of all ages and identities. There are not many coming-of-age stories about trans middle schoolers and this one addresses the issues perfectly, blending the common experience of childhood insecurity with the unique problems that arise when a child identifies with a gender different from the one given at birth. It is a perfect book to help educate young people and create empathy for all people and experiences.
Claire Bidwell Smith&aposs memoir The Rules of Inheritance was one of my favorites--it explored her heartbreaking experiences losing both her parents and Claire Bidwell Smith's memoir The Rules of Inheritance was one of my favorites--it explored her heartbreaking experiences losing both her parents and the ways her life was affected by her grief. In this book, she doesn't dive as deeply into her own story, but offers practical, helpful advice to those going through grief, even if they have been suffering for years. She focuses on anxiety, a common symptom of those trying to make sense of their losses.
Anyone who has dealt with anxiety knows it can seem to appear out of nowhere. Bidwell Smith highlights various methods people can use to find the root of their anxiety, and provides specific exercises and practices that have been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety in the face of grief. Her tone is conversational and inviting, making this a must-read for anyone who wants to understand and face anxiety related to any type of grief. . more
I loved The Vanishing Half but I think I was even more taken with The Mothers. I have added Brit Bennett to my list of authors whose books are a sure I loved The Vanishing Half but I think I was even more taken with The Mothers. I have added Brit Bennett to my list of authors whose books are a sure thing for me.
The Mothers follows the life of Nadia Turner as she ends her teenage years, begins college life, and enters the real world. After her mother tragically commits suicide, Nadia, an only child, is left to pick up the pieces alongside her father in their close-knit neighborhood outside of San Diego. She distracts herself from her pain by getting intimate with Luke, a slightly older waiter and son to the pastor of the local church, Upper Room. As she and Luke begin to get serious, Nadia struggles to make the right choices. Though her father is deeply involved in Upper Room, Nadia is less inclined to prayer and faith. Against her will she is thrown together with Aubrey, a devout believer, who introduces her to an unfamiliar world where she gains friendship and a sense of belonging. When she leaves California for The University of Michigan, Nadia's relationships back home are tested and she realizes she must confront the insecurities and sorrows of her past in order to move forward.
Brit Bennett’s writing is concise. She cleverly frames each chapter through the gossip of "the mothers," elderly women of the church who take an intense interest in the lives of the community. The story is moving, without the melodramatic flair that some authors favor. Her characters are well-developed and real. Many of the issues covered--abortion, suicide, abuse--are analyzed from many different angles, giving the reader opposing viewpoints to ponder, which sparks deep thought about important and often controversial topics. Bennett makes her characters relatable and her book is a page-turner that explores what it means to love without conditions.
There is so much practical advice in this empowering book that helps young women (and older ones!) navigate their career paths. Every time I hear Dana There is so much practical advice in this empowering book that helps young women (and older ones!) navigate their career paths. Every time I hear Dana speak, I'm in awe of her ability to share intelligent thoughts with a composure not often seen from today's news people. I try to channel her energy whenever I find myself discussing politics or any controversial topic. Her book gives off the same relaxed, conversational vibe that her TV presence does while also providing in depth guidance that can be applied to every area of life. From interviews, emails, and time management, to relationships, faith, and determination. . .she touches on everything. And she adds her characteristic charm and humor to her writing so that it feels like you're talking to a friend. She advocates for women, stressing that the way to get ahead in life is to have agency instead of falling into the victim trap.
A great read, not only for women of all ages, but for men as well!
There was so much going on in this complex novel that I’m sure I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. I enjoyed it but it took me a little over a There was so much going on in this complex novel that I’m sure I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. I enjoyed it but it took me a little over a week to finish which for me is a long time. I think it was because the plot unfolds quietly and is slow-paced. But it remained compelling enough for me to keep reading. Despite the heavy issues it covers, I found it to be a comforting, solid story to keep coming back to.
Libertie lives with her mother in Brooklyn in the late 1800s. As a young child she witnesses her mother helping escaped slaves arrive safely in their town after being transported in coffins. As she grows older, Libertie learns more about her mother’s profession and leaves home to study medicine so she can follow her mother’s path. When she realizes that she is not equipped for the life set out for her, she deceives her mother and runs away from the only home she has ever known. It is only after experiencing the shocking restrictions placed on women in other parts of the world that she is able to appreciate the life she had.
There are many important topics covered throughout this novel—slavery, freedom, passing, feminism, mother/daughter relationships—that it’s hard to even touch the surface in a short review. Though there were times that I felt a little bored while reading, there was a slow, steady rhythm that I found soothing. I didn’t feel a huge connection to Libertie or her mother—I found them to be aloof and lacking charisma. But that may have been the author’s intention in order to show the ways in which black females of that time period repressed their emotions for the greater good of their community, and for their own safety.
I especially loved the parts of the book in Haiti and found the author’s descriptions to be vibrant and moving. Because of the range of issues touched on, this is one of those books that I may have to go back to if I want to fully uncover all of the meaning and beauty here.
When the opening lines of a novel are focused on call numbers in the Dewey Decimal System, it’s pretty much a sure thing that I’ll be excited to read
When the opening lines of a novel are focused on call numbers in the Dewey Decimal System, it’s pretty much a sure thing that I’ll be excited to read on. Though historical fiction is not my favorite genre, I was intrigued by the library, its employees, and the role it played as Paris was devastated by the events of WWII.
The book uses the structure seen often in historical fiction: a timeline of the past alternating with another from the present. The first one from 1939 focuses on Odile Souchet, a young woman beginning her adult life as a librarian in The American Library of Paris. When the war begins to affect her family and friends, she helps those less fortunate than her by delivering books to exiled Jewish patrons and volunteering to care for wounded soldiers. As she is courted by a handsome police officer working for her father, she experiences the thrill of new love but feels guilt about her happiness among so much suffering. Shift to modern day Montana in the 80s where teenaged Lily is feeling the aftereffects of tragedy. Lily chooses to interview her mysterious next-door neighbor, Odile, for a school report. Learning about her roots in France motivates Lily to take French lessons from the older woman, which leads to an unusual friendship that crosses age boundaries. As the two threads unwind, the historical significance of the library is revealed, as is the chain of events that brought Odile from her home in Paris to the plains of Montana.
While I loved reading about the history of the American Library in Paris and how the characters interacted with their patrons and co-workers, I was not as satisfied by the writing style throughout the novel. I found the characters to be two dimensional, the prose slightly cliched, and the plot somewhat predictable. Despite these shortcomings, I found this book to be an enjoyable page-turner.
The perfect fantasy novel if you’re in the mood to get lost on an isolated island with magical children, sprites, and Linus Baker, the charming main c The perfect fantasy novel if you’re in the mood to get lost on an isolated island with magical children, sprites, and Linus Baker, the charming main character who is presented with the choice to continue living his lonely life or take a chance on the unpredictable.
From the beginning this quirky story reminded me of the first Harry Potter book with its playful tone and hints of magic. Linus is a single, 40-year-old man who lives with his cat and works a dull job at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, an agency that oversees orphanages that house children with magical abilities. When he is given a month-long assignment to investigate a hidden orphanage located on the remote Marsyas Island, he dutifully leaves his home in preparation for the job. What he expects to be a routine work-related stay turns out to be an eye-opening experience that will challenge him to reevaluate his life.
The best word to describe this book is delightful. For me, this was a refreshingly innocent read. There were times when I felt the plot was slightly repetitive but I think that was mostly because the writing seemed geared toward a younger audience. Though there are some serious themes explored in this book--identity, self-esteem, discrimination--its overall vibe is one of hope and excitement.
I don’t know if books about nature and the sea are finding me or if I’m subconsciously seeking them out lately but this was another story where the s
I don’t know if books about nature and the sea are finding me or if I’m subconsciously seeking them out lately but this was another story where the sea played a huge part. While the mood is sad and there is an ominous feeling throughout the story, I was drawn to the natural landscapes and the migrating birds.
Franny is the troubled narrator and as far as unreliable narrators go, she is so convincing that I didn’t even see her as unreliable until events began to unfold. Raised by a single mother for the first few years of her life, she experiences trauma after her mother leaves her and she spends years searching for meaning. When she meets Niall Lynch, an intellectual professor at a university in Galway, Ireland, she is intrigued by his passion for birds and his quest to protect them. Years later, she finds the Saghani, a fishing boat leaving Greenland, and, determined to follow a flock of Arctic terns during their final migration south, she convinces the captain to take her on board. During the arduous journey, she reveals her disturbing history and learns about the complex lives of her fellow crew mates.
Although I didn’t particularly like Franny, I admired her strength and perseverance. I found her personality to be draining, but this is a testament to the author’s skill at creating a character whose mental state is all consuming. McConaghy writes beautifully about the outside settings--the depiction of the birds and other wildlife was probably my favorite aspect of the entire book. The only part I felt was undeveloped was the idea that so many animal species have gone extinct--this fact is mentioned throughout the novel but is not expanded upon, leaving many unanswered questions about what happened and how the consequences are affecting the human population of the world.
I found this book riveting, even though there were several disturbing scenes and the overall tone filled me with dread much of the time. The quiet, reverent observations of the outside world was enough to win me over.