Thursday, December 17, 2009


What Etsy is to crafts, Society6 is to fine art. Artists can use the site to sell their prints online, collaborate with other artists, and even find grant opportunities. Anyone can join, and artists can choose the selling prices of their own works.

Even if you aren't an artist, you can join the site as a curators. Select your favorite pieces and help promote them. The pieces that receive the most promotions both from artists and curators are displayed on the Society6 homepage.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Books of the Decade 2000-2009

Can it be that we are ten years into the 2000's already? It can, which mean it's time for magazines, newspapers, and journals to start compiling their "Best of the Decade" lists. has posted their list already. Are your favorites included?

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Veronica by Mary Gaitskill
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
A Person of Interest by Susan Choi

The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

A couple of my personal favorites were The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz for fiction, and Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed in nonfiction.

Tell us some of your best-loved books of the past decade!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Best Books of 2009

Publisher's Weekly recently published their list of best books of 2009. We have put together a display of some of their top 100 nonfiction books.
Among the top 10 books (fiction and nonfiction) are:
Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey, A Fiery Peace in a Cold War by Neil Sheehan, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes, Stitches by David Small, Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford, Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann.

Here is the selection of 10 best books of 2009 from the New York Times Book Review: Both Ways is the only Way I Want it by Maile Meloy, Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem, A Gate At The Stairs by Lorrie Moore, Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes, The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, Lit: a memoir by Mary Karr, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed, Raymond Carver: A writer's life by Carol Sklericka. The New York Times also has a list of 100 most notable books of 2009. Click here to access.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Connecticut Science Center

The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford has scheduled a half-price Community Day on Saturday, December 5, from 10 am to 5 pm. Half price applies to general admission tickets only. The Connecticut Science Center opened in June 2009. It offers 150 hands-on exhibits, 3D movies, live science, a gift shop, a cafe and more. For more information on the Connecticut Science Center click here or call 860-724-3623.

For a listing of our new Science and Nature books click here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Gift Books

Youth services librarians from across Connecticut have compiled listings of more than 200 recommended holiday gift books for children of all ages.

Best Books for Teens (ages 12 and up)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Literary Birthdays

Literary Birthdays for December include novelists Jane Austen and Gustave Flaubert, and poets John Milton and Emily Dickinson.
December 1 - Rex Stout (1886 - 1975)
December 2 - T.C. Boyle (1948 - )
December 2 - Ann Patchett (1963 - )
December 3 - Joseph Conrad (1857 - 1924)
December 4 - Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 -1926)
December 5 - Calvin Trillin (1935 - )
December 5 - Joan Didion (1934 - )
December 8 - James Thurber (1894 - 1961)
December 9 - John Milton (1608 - 1674)
December 10 - Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)
December 11 - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918 -2008 )
December 11 - Naguib Mahfouz (1911 - 2006)
December 11 - Grace Paley (1922 - 2007)
December 12 - Gustave Flaubert (1821 - 1880)
December 14 - Shirley Jackson (1916 - 1965)
December 16 - Jane Austen (1775 - 1817)
December 16 - Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)
December 16 - Philip K. Dick (1928 -1982)
December 17 - Ford Madox Ford (1873 - 1939)
December 17 - John Kennedy Toole (1937 - 1969)
December 21 - Heinrich Böll (1917 - 1985)
December 21 - Rebecca West (1892 - 1983)
December 22 - Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869 - 1935)
December 24 - Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881 - 1958)
December 24 - Mary Higgins Clark (1929 - )
December 26 - Henry Miller (1891 - 1980)
December 29 - William Gaddis (1922 - 1998)
December 30 - Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)
December 30 - Paul Bowles (1910 - 1999)

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Haven Symphony Comes to Hamden

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra will be performing their Holiday Extravaganza concert on Saturday, December 12 at 7:30 PM at Hamden Middle School. This NHSO Pops! perfomance will have you singing and tingling with anticipation for the season of good cheer!

Bring a donation of non-perishable food items to support The Junior League of Greater New Haven's Hunger Awareness Committee and Connecticut Food Bank and receive a voucher good for a discount toward the NHSO's Valentine's Pops Concert.

Visit the New Haven Symphony Orchestra web site for ticket information.

Friday, November 20, 2009

2009 - International Year of Astronomy

The United Nations proclaimed 2009 as the International Year of
. It is an international celebration of numerous astronomical and scientific milestones, chief among them the 400th anniversary of Galileo's use of a telescope to study the skies.
Our collection of books and audio-visual materials on astronomy is continuously growing. For an overview click here.
For new science books click here.
Browse and enjoy! The Universe is yours to discover!

National Book Awards

The 2009 National Book Award Winners are:

Fiction: Colum McCann for "Let the Great World Spin".
Non-Fiction: T.J. Stiles for "The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt". Poetry: Keith Waldrop for "Transcendental Studies: A Triology". Young People's Literature: Phillip Hoose for "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice".

The Best of the National Book Awards with more than 10,000 votes from the public went to "The Complete Stories" by Flannery O'Connor.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

American Stories 1765-1915

American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life 1765-1915 is the title of an exhibit on display now through January 24, 2010 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Our library has the exhibition catalog. This exhibit assembles more than 100 masterpieces of American painting from more than 45 museums across the country. It includes works by John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt and George Bellows. The exhibition is organized into four chronological sections which can also be viewed online: Inventing American Stories 1765-1830,
Stories for the Public 1830-1860, Stories of War and Reconcilation, 1860-1877, Cosmopolitan and Candid Stories, 1877-1915. The website for this exhibition is a treat in itself, well presented and surprisingly detailed. See the review article by
Roberta Smith in the New York Times
. There is also a link to a slide show with some selected paintings.
Another interesting book in our collection on a smiliar topic is Daily Life in Art by Béatrice Fontanel.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jane Austen Exhibit at the Morgan Library

There is a lovely exhibit now at the Morgan Library in New York: A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life and Legacy. It will run from Nov. 6, 2009 to March 14, 2010. Jane Austen (1775-1817) is one of the greatest British novelists. The Morgan library owns several of Jane Austen's few surviving letters. Some of these rare letters are on display, as well as drawings and prints of important people, places and events in Austen's life. To accompany the exhibit, the Morgan Library has scheduled various gallery talks, lectures, family programs, and film screenings. And there is an online exhibition as well with selected images, facsimiles, and a short documentary film. For our library's holdings on Jane Austen click here. For a selection of websites on Jane Austen click here. See also the article by Edward Rothstein as published in the New York Times. Update: On Dec. 2, 2009 the New York Times reported on a new theory on Jane Austen's Death. PBS will broadcast several new film adaptations of Jane Austen's novels, starting on January 24. For more information and other additional background information, go the PBS Masterpiece website.
The 2010 schedule can be accessed here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall of the Berlin Wall 20th Anniversary

On November 9, 1989, twenty years ago, after weeks of civil unrest and widespread peaceful demonstrations, East-Germans were allowed to travel freely to West-Berlin and West-Germany, resulting in the opening of the Berlin Wall. The Wall, the concrete barrier erected by the East-German government in 1961, separated West-Berlin from East-Berlin and East-Germany for more than a quarter century. Click here for some interesting websites on the history of the Berlin Wall from the Librarians' Internet Index. For a fascinating glimpse of Berlin in the 1920s, check out on DVD the documentary from 1927 titled BERLIN SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY. For books on the history of Berlin and the Berlin Wall, click here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bauhaus 90th Anniversary Celebration

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus ("house of building"), the most important and most influential school of design of the 20th century. It was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 in Weimar, Germany where it was based until 1925. It was then moved to Dessau in 1932 and on to Berlin until its was closed by the Nazis in 1933. The European avant-garde taught at the Bauhaus: Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Oskar Schlemmer, Josef Albers, Anni Albers, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer and Lászlo Moholy-Nagy among others. The Museum of Modern Art in New York has organized a special exhibit on the Bauhaus which will be shown from November 8, 2009 until January 25, 2010. For a selection of books on the Bauhaus in our library click here. For a photo gallery on the Bauhaus click here. See the work of Bauhaus student, painter and printmaker Werner Drewes who immigrated to the United States in 1930.

Mrs. Delany & Her Circle

The Yale Center for British Art in New Haven is hosting a stunning exhibit that includes decoupage, natural history specimans, embroidered textiles, sketches, garden design, and live floral displays.

At the age of 72, Mrs. Mary Delany began working on a collection of botantical collages, or "paper mosaics," as she called them. She would create each work by cutting minute pieces of colored paper to represent each part of the particular specimen, then pasting them on a black background. In the next decade, she made nearly a thousand of these collages before her failing eyesight caused her to stop.

The current exhibit showcases thirty of these collages, as well as other works by Mrs. Delaney and her contemporaries. The exhibit runs through January 3, 2010.

Mrs. Delany and Her Circle, the exhibition catalogue published by the Yale University Press, is now available at the Hamden Library. We currently have a selection of botanical books on display that were inspired by this exhibit, including Maria Sibylla Merian & Daughters : Women of Art and Science by Ella Reitsma, Flora Mirabilis by Catherine Herbert Howell, and The Art of Botanical Illustration by Wilfred Blunt. Stop by our lobby to see the entire display!

Friday, November 6, 2009

10 Digit Dialing

Beginning on November 14, all telephone calls made in Connecticut will need an area code, even a call to your next door neighbor. To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. This means that all local calls in Connecticut that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number. Calls outside the local calling area will still need a 1 before the area code, while local calls will require 10-digit dialing, without the 1.

National Day of Listening

NPR joins StoryCorps in declaring Friday, November 27th the National Day of Listening. On this day, Americans are encouraged to record and share an interview with a loved one and to preserve that conversation for future generations. The National Day of Listening falls on the day after Thanksgiving, when friends and family are likely to be together and able to spend an hour honoring one another by listening. StoryCorps provides a Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide and special toolkits to assist people in recording an interview and other National Day of Listening activities.

Listen to other StoryCorps conversations to inspire you.

Check out Listening is an Act of Love, a collection of true American life stories features pieces representing every walk of life from all fifty states, in a nation-wide and thematically arranged celebration of the nation's shared humanity.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Claude Lévi-Strauss 1908-2009

The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss died on October 30, 2009 of cardiac arrest, just a few weeks before his 101st birthday. The father of structuralism and modern anthropology, and "one of the great intellectual heroes of the 20th century" (quotation by Philippe Descola, Collège de France) was born on November 28, 1908 in Brussels. He obtained advanced degrees in philosophy, literature and law at the University of Paris. While teaching sociology at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, he studied various tribes in Central Brazil. These ethnological studies later informed his groundbreaking theoretical work. In 1942 he emigrated from France to the United States and taught for several years at the New School for Social Research in New York. He returned to France after World War II and during his academic career published several influential books, namely Tristes Tropiques (1955), a memoir of his life in Brazil and the The Savage Mind (La Pensée Sauvage) (1962). For more information, see the obituary by Edward Rothstein in the New York Times.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Literary Birthdays

 November is full of author birthdays, including Margaret Atwood, James Agee, Mark Twain, Margaret Mitchell, Sam Shepard, Anne Sexton, Marianne Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, and Albert Camus!

November 1 - Stephen Crane (1871 - 1900)
November 3 - Terrence McNally (1939 - )
November 5 - Joyce Maynard (1953- )
November 5 - Sam Shepard (1943)
November 6 - Michael Cunningham (1952 - )
November 7 - Albert Camus (1913 - 1960)
November 8 - Kazuo Ishiguro (1954 - )
November 8 - Bram Stoker (1847 - 1912)
November 8 - Margaret Mitchell (1900 - 1949)
November 9 - Anne Sexton (1928 -1974)
November 10 - Neil Gaiman (1960 - )
November 11 - Carlos Fuentes (1928 - )
November 11 - Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007)
November 12 - Tracy Kidder (1945 - )
November 13 - Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)
November 14 - Astrid Lindgren (1907 - 2002)
November 15 - Marianne Moore (1887 -1972)
November 16 - José Saramago (1922 - )
November 17 - Shelby Foote (1916 - 2005)
November 18 - Margaret Atwood (1939 - )
November 20 - Nadine Gordimer (1923 - )
November 20 - Don DeLillo (1936 - )
November 22 - George Eliot (1819 - 1880)
November 24 - Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849 - 1924)
November 26 - Eugene Ionesco (1909 - 1994)
November 27 - James Agee (1909 - 1955)
November 28 - William Blake (1757 - 1827)
November 28 - Rita Mae Brown (1944- )
November 29 - Louisa May Alcott (1832 - 1888)
November 29 - Madeline L'Engle (1918 - )
November 29 - C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)
November 30 - Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
November 30 - Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745)
November 30 - David Mamet (1947)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Count Down to Halloween

Halloween will be here soon! For last minute craft and decor ideas check out our collection of Halloween books. There is also a CD with spooky sounds. Find out about Halloween's ancient roots from Ireland and Rome to the United States by clicking here. See our program calendar for special children events this week (some require registration). Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Good 100

The GOOD 100 is a compendium of people, ideas, and programs attempting to change our planet for the better. Put together by GOOD magazine, the list ranges from cities racing to become the most electric-vehicle friendly to gardeners illegally fertilizing with human waste, neighbors banding together to change the economics of solar power to scholars pressing for new approaches to international aid. Visit the site and find 100 ways to get inspired.

Eat Better; Eat Together!

October is Eat Better; Eat Together month. The following books will give you tips, ideas, and recipes. Why not try out a new recipe or explore foods from different countries?

Starting this month, try to eat better, but also eat together, and enjoy mealtime family conversations.

Monday, October 19, 2009

National Book Award Finalists

The finalists for the 2009 National Book Awards have been announced. The winners will be revealed on November 18, 2009 at the 60th anniversary celebration of the National Book Foundation in New York City.

The finalists for fiction are: Bonnie Jo Campell for "American Salvage", Colum McCann for "Let the Great World Spin", Daniyal Mueenuddin for "In Other Rooms, Other Wonders", Jayne Anne Phillips for "Lark and Termite", and Marcel Theroux for "Far North".

The finalists for non-fiction are: David M. Carroll for "Following the Water: A Hydroromancer's Notebook", Sean B. Carroll for "Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species", Greg Grandin for "Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City", Adrienne Mayor for "The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy", and T.J. Stiles for "The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt".

The finalists for poetry are: Rae Armantrout for "Versed", Ann Lauterbach for "Or to Begin Again", Carl Phillips for "Speak Low", Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon for "Open Interval", and Keith Waldrop for "Transcendental Studies: A Triology".

The finalists for young people's literature are: Deborah Heiligman for "Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith", Phillip Hoose for "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice", David Small for "Stitches", Laini Taylor for "Lips Touch: Three Times", and Rita Williams-Garcia for "Jumped".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Herta Müller Nobel Prize for Literature

Herta Müller became the 12th woman in 108 years to win the Nobel Prize for Literature last week. She was born in Romania in 1953, but writes in German. She emigrated to Germany in 1987.
Several of her novels have been translated into English.
For more information, see the article by Alison Flood in THE GUARDIAN. There is also a series of 11 pictures on Herta Müller.
Martin Chalmers writes: "It's not a comfortable vision that Müller presents in her novels and essays, but few other contemporary writers can match her understanding of the totality and corrupting effect of dictatorship - and still fewer are able to do so in words that are at once so poetic, that get under the skin and lodge in the mind of the reader."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The World of Watteau

The artwork of the great 18th century French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) is presently featured in an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (Sept. 22, 2009 - Nov. 29, 2009).
Our library recently acquired two books on Watteau and his world: The highly recommended and acclaimed book by art critic Jed Perl "Antoine's Alphabet: Watteau and his World" and the book by Iris Lauterbach "Antoine Watteau: 1684-1721". Watteau is considered an influential pioneer, although he died young at age 36.