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Max Grinnell, Also Known as The Urbanologist, Returns to the South End Library Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30 PM

2015 April 24
by marleen

 

Max Grinnell at the South End library last year

Max Grinnell at the South End library last year

Urbanologist Max Grinnell gave a talk at the South End library a year or so ago, and drew one of the biggest crowds. He will return to the branch on Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30 PM. This time, the subject is, What’s Next for Boston? Grinnell will draw on 20 of the most compelling images from the BPL and the City of Boston’s archives to speculate with you about where the Hub is going and where we’ve been for the past century. The exuberant urban philosopher, author of Hyde Park and Frommer’s 24 Great Walks in Chicago, has taught urban studies and related subjects in Chicago. He currently teaches urban studies and writing at the Mass. College of Art and Design and, should you want to be more connected right away, you can follow him on Twitter at @theurbanologist.

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Jack Beatty, News Analyst and Author of “The Lost History of 1914,” Will Be at the South End Branch on Tuesday, April 14, to Talk about the Great War

2015 April 3
by marleen

BeattyJack Beatty, perhaps best known at the moment for being the savvy news analyst on WBUR’s Friday edition of On Point, is also an acclaimed non-fiction author; he will visit the South End library on April 14 at 6:30 PM to discuss his latest book, The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began.  He will be introduced by the winner of the 2014 PEN/New England Book Award for Non-fiction, Doug Bauer, who has read at the South End library several times in the last few years.

The Lost History is dedicated to Beatty’s father, John J. Beatty of South Boston, a sailor, whose ship, the USS Mount Vernon, was torpedoed by the Germans in the Bay of Biscayne in 1918. Beatty says he was “raised on tales of World War I,” told by a father who survived the attack, but refused to take disability compensation and, as he saw it, “cash in on an attack that killed so many of his shipmates.”

Reviewers had different opinions on The Lost History’s conclusions:  The New Yorker described Beatty’s latest as a “counterfactual history,” explaining why the war was anything but inevitable; David Shribman, in his take on it in the Boston Globe, called it “found history,” in light of  what he deduced from Beatty’s analysis of the vulnerability of the European continent to war in 1914. You can ask Beatty what he thinks of it all on April 14.   A former senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly for many years, Beatty also also helped write (or, as some have suggested, wrote) former Boston mayor Tom Menino’s 2014 memoir, Mayor for a New America. Other titles by Beatty, who won numerous awards and prestigious fellowships, are The Rascall King (a biography of former Boston mayor James Michael Curley, 1992), The World According to Peter Drucker (1998), The Age of Betrayal: the Triumph of Money in America (2007), and Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America (2001).

The South End library is fully handicapped accessible. Seating is limited so come early to assure a chair can be yours. 

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AUTHORS COMING UP NEXT AT THE SOUTH END LIBRARY:

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TUESDAY, MAY 12, 6:30 PM

anjali mitter duvaANJALI MITTER DUVA, an Indian-American Bostonian who grew up in France, has just published her first novel, Faint Promise of Rain. It’s a historical novel and the coming-of-age story of Adhira, a girl born into a family of temple dancers. It draws on the author’s father’s childhood in India and her personal interest in kathak dance, according to an interview with the writers’ web site Dead Darlings. Duva grew up in France with her family roots in Calcutta, India. According to a report in the Plymouth Library newsletter, she attended MIT and started a career in urban planning before finding her calling in native storytelling. Faint Promise of Rain takes place in 1554 in the desert of Rajasthan as a new Mughal emperor expands his territory. Told from the perspective of an exquisite dancer and filled with the sounds, sights and flavors of the Indian desert, the novel is the story of a family and a girl caught between art, duty and fear in a changing world.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 6:30 PMjohn ross

JOHN J. ROSS, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will read from his Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough, a book about the medical lives of authors through the ages. Ross explores the likely maladies of twelve literary, but medically expired stars, ranging from Shakespeare’s syphilis, to Milton’s blindness, Swift’s vertigo, the Bronte sisters’ tuberculosis, Hawthorne’s anxiety disorder, Melville’s probable bi-polar disorder, Yeats’s Aspergers, Joyce’s gonorrhea, and Orwell’s damaged bronchial tubes. Their achievements do not surprise Ross as he believes ” literary genius is more likely to arise from disappointment and chagrin than comfort and complacency.”A Wall Street Journal reviewer called Ross “a penetrating literary critic and a perceptive and humane observer of the lives of writers and of those in their orbit.” The Washington Post‘s critic described the book as “a delicious gumbo of odd personalities, colorful literary history, and enlightened deduction.” The New York Times said the tales of the ‘wounded storytellers’ “unfold smoothly on the page, as mesmerizing as any they themselves might have told, those squinting, wheezing, arthritic, infected, demented, defective yet superlative examples of the human condition.”

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rothmanTUESDAY, JUNE 23RD, 6:30 PM

ADAM ROTHMAN, associate professor at Georgetown University, whose work focuses on, among other things, the history of slavery and abolition in the Atlantic world, will talk about Beyond Freedom’s Reach: a Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery. Rothman, who grew up in the South End on West Brookline Street, researched the true story of Rose Herera, born into slavery in rural Louisiana, who was bought and sold several times before being purchased by the De Hart family of New Orleans. After Union forces captured New Orleans in 1862 during the American Civil War, Herera’s owners fled to Havana, taking her three small children with them. Beyond Freedom’s Reach is the result of Rothman’s research into the story of her battle to rescue her children from bondage. Herera’s perseverance brought her children’s plight to the attention of members of the U.S. Senate and State Department, which turned what might have been a domestic conflict into an international scandal.

Rothman was invited to speak at the library by two South End residents: Jean Gibran –she recently talked at the library about her memoir, Love Made Visible, the story of her marriage to sculptor Kahlil Gibran– and Ann Hershfang, who last year brought you former New York Times reporter and bureau chief, Stephen Kinzer, who gave a riveting presentation of  his latest book, The Brothers.

 

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Library Events in April Include a Talk about Hummingbirds with Andy Gazafan (4/7); Community Meditation with Actress Poornima Kirby (4/11); and Conversation with Urbanologist Max Grinnell about What’s Next for Boston (4/28)

2015 April 3
by marleen

hummingbirdFor those who can’t make it to news analyst and author Jack Beatty’s appearance at the SE library on Tuesday April 14, here are some additional exciting (and free) offerings this month.  Say you like hummingbirds, and want to know how they manage hanging in place while up in the air, or where they spent this winter,  or what their affinity is about for the color red? Find out the answers from Andy Gazafan, a member of the Novis Ornithologist Society. He will show you his photographs of hummingbirds, on display at the library, and share what else he knows about this bird and others. Tuesday April 7 at 6:30 PM.p-3-

 

Film and theatre actress Poornima Kirby, a Vassar drama graduate who grew up near Concord, MA, will lead community meditation classes on Saturdays in April at the South End library. All levels are welcome. It starts April 11 at 11:00 AM.

 

grinnellUrbanologist Max Grinnell  gave a talk at the South End library a year or so ago, and drew one of the biggest crowds. He will return to the branch on Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30 PM. This time, the subject is, What’s Next for Boston?  Grinnell will draw on 20 of the most compelling images from the BPL and the City of Boston’s archives to speculate with you about where the Hub is going and where we’ve been for the past century. The exuberant urban philosopher, author of Hyde Park and Frommer’s 24 Great Walks in Chicago, has taught urban studies and related subjects in Chicago. He currently teaches urban studies and writing at the Mass. College of Art and Design and, should you want to be more connected right away, you can follow him on Twitter at @theurbanologist.

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Jamaica Kincaid, Award-winning Author of “See Now Then,” Will Discuss her Latest Work at the South End Library Tuesday, March 31, 6:30 PM

2015 March 27
by marleen

j kincaid updatedBarring a blizzard like the “biblical” one that prevented her from coming in February (her description), Jamaica Kincaid, the celebrated Antiguan-American author of novels, essays and short stories, will be at the South End library on Tuesday, March 31, at last. Kincaid was invited to speak by novelist Sue Miller. She will talk about her  latest novel,  See Now Then, and will be introduced by poet and South End resident Henri Cole, himself an award-winning writer who read from his books of poetry at the South End library several years ago.

Now a Professor of African and African-American Studies in Residence at Harvard University, Kincaid moved from the island of St. John’s, where she was born in 1949, to New York City when she was seventeen. She worked as an au-pair and, after a three-year stint of college classes, began to write for magazines and weeklies, including The Village Voice, and The New Yorker. She became the protege of its revered and feared editor at the time, William Shawn, and married his son, Allen Shawn, a composer of classical music. The plot of See Now Then is informed by this marriage and its nasty aftermath. Until their divorce, they lived with their two young children in Bennington, VT, though not in the house of Shirley Jackson –famous author of The Lottery,– as does the narrator of See Now Then.  

Set in Bennington, the novel features Kincaid’s unique writing style of stating a thought simply, then returning to it repeatedly with supplementary details, rich and embroidered or bitingly pared to the core, expanding on the theme in leisurely sentences, much like the widening circles in a pond’s surface after the pebble is thrown in. The cumulative force of this literary form –also used in Kincaid’s Mr Potter and The Autobiography of My Mother,–  effectively describes the pleasures of a marriage before the widening circles of the tale become infused with rage over betrayal, loss and sadness after the husband takes up with one of his music students. See Now Then recently won the 2014 American Book Award, a prize created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement in America’s diverse literary community.

Kincaid has written five novels, many articles, and a number of works of non-fiction, including a courageous memoir of her brother’s struggles with AIDS, called My Brother. Her 1983 short-story collection, At the Bottom of the River, won the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She was the author of My Garden Book, one of several she wrote about the ennobling topic of gardening. She also edited My Favorite Plant: Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love (1998).

The event starts at 6:30 PM. The South End branch is fully handicapped accessible. Seating is limited so come early if you want to be sure to have a seat. Refreshments are served. Books will be available for sale, and for borrowing from the library.

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NEXT AUTHORS TO READ AT THE SOUTH END LIBRARY:

TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 6:30 PMBeatty

JACK BEATTY: author and erudite news analyst on WBUR and other radio shows, will talk about his latest book, The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began. Book reviewers at The New Yorker described it as a “counterfactual history;” David Shribman, in his review of the it in the Boston Globe, called it “found history,” in light of the details uncovered by Beatty about the vulnerability of the European continent to war in 1914. A former senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly for many years, Beatty also also helped write (or, as some have suggested, wrote) former Boston mayor Tom Menino’s 2014 memoir, Mayor for a New America. Other titles by Beatty, who won numerous awards and prestigious fellowships, are The Rascall King (a biography of former Boston mayor James Michael Curly), The World According to Peter Drucker, The Age of Betrayal: the Triumph of Money in America, and Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America. 

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TUESDAY, MAY 12, 6:30 PM

anjali mitter duvaANJALI MITTER DUVA,  an Indian-American Bostonian who grew up in France, has just published her first novel, Faint Promise of Rain. It’s a historical novel and the coming-of-age story of Adhira, a girl born into a family of temple dancers.  It draws on the author’s father’s childhood in India and her personal interest in kathak dance, according to an interview with the writers’ web site Dead Darlings. Duva grew up in France with her family roots in Calcutta, India. According to a report in the Plymouth Library newsletter, she attended MIT and started a career in urban planning before finding her calling in native storytelling. Faint Promise of Rain takes place in 1554 in the desert of Rajasthan as a new Mughal emperor expands his territory. Told from the perspective of an exquisite dancer and filled with the sounds, sights and flavors of the Indian desert, the novel is the story of a family and a girl caught between art, duty and fear in a changing world.

 

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TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 6:30 PMjohn ross

JOHN J. ROSS, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will read from his Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough, a book about the medical lives of authors through the ages. Ross explores the likely maladies of twelve literary, but medically expired stars, ranging from Shakespeare’s syphilis, to Milton’s blindness, Swift’s vertigo, the Bronte sisters’ tuberculosis, Hawthorne’s anxiety disorder, Melville’s probable bi-polar disorder, Yeats’s Aspergers, Joyce’s gonorrhea, and Orwell’s damaged bronchial tubes. Their achievements do not surprise Ross as he believes ” literary genius is more likely to arise from disappointment and chagrin than comfort and complacency.”A Wall Street Journal reviewer called Ross “a penetrating literary critic and a perceptive and humane observer of the lives of writers and of those in their orbit.” The Washington Post‘s critic described the book as “a delicious gumbo of odd personalities, colorful literary history, and enlightened deduction.” The New York Times said the stories of the wounded storytellers “unfold smoothly on the page, as mesmerizing as any they themselves might have told, those squinting, wheezing, arthritic, infected, demented, defective yet superlative examples of the human condition.”

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TUESDAY, JUNE 23RD, 6:30 PM

rothmanADAM ROTHMAN, associate professor at Georgetown University, whose work focuses on, among other things, the history of slavery and abolition in the Atlantic world, will talk about  Beyond Freedom’s Reach: a Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery.  Rothman, who grew up in the South End on West Brookline Street, researched the true story of Rose Herera, born into slavery in rural Louisiana, who was bought and sold several times before being purchased by the De Hart family of New Orleans. After Union forces captured New Orleans in 1862 during the American Civil War, Herera’s owners fled to Havana, taking her three small children with them. Beyond Freedom’s Reach is the meticulously researched story of her battle to rescue her children from bondage. Herera’s perseverance brought her children’s plight to the attention of members of the U.S. Senate and State Department, who turned a domestic conflict into an international scandal. Rothman was invited to speak at the library by  Jean Gibran –she recently talked at the library about her memoir, Love Made Visible, the story of her marriage to sculptor Kahlil Gibran– and Ann Hershfang, who last year brought you the talk at the library by veteran New York Times reporter, Stepen Kinzer, author of The Brothers.

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Bestselling Writer Jennifer Haigh Will Talk at the SE Library on Tuesday, March 10, at 6:30 PM about her Most Recent Book, “News from Heaven,” Stories Set in the Coal Mining Town of Bakerton, PA

2015 March 6
by marleen

jenn haighAcclaimed short-story writer and novelist Jennifer Haigh will read at the South End library on Tuesday, March 10 from her latest collection, News from Heaven, the winner of the 2014 Massachusetts Book Award and the 2014 PEN/New England Award in Fiction. She will be introduced by poet Henri Cole, himself an award-winning author, and longtime resident of the South End.

Linked by place and a cast of characters, the stories are set in the coal mining community of Bakerton, Pennsylvania, but the town’s economic decline and its players’ challenges notwithstanding, the  book was described by reviewer Janet Maslin of the New York Times, as  “uplifting and radiant.” The Boston Globe’s reviewer called the stories “a distinct, shining example of Haigh’s remarkable gifts for lyricism, psychological insight, and stealth humor.”

Haigh’s two grandfathers and several uncles were coal miners, she told an interviewer for the literary magazine The Common in 2013; her mother was a librarian who was “always putting the right book in my hands at the right time.” She won the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and other prestigious literary prizes, and is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, (The Condition and Baker Towers). Her 2012 short story Paramour, originally published in Ploughshares, was included in the 2012 edition of The Best American Short Stories. Other critically praised novels include Faith and Mrs. Kimble. Her books have been published in sixteen languages.

The reading starts at 6:30 PM. The library is fully handicapped accessible. Space is limited. Refreshments are served. Copies of the author’s books are available for sale and borrowing.

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Authors Coming Up Next at the South End Library: 

Tuesday, March 31, 6:30 PMsee now then

JAMAICA KINCAID, the celebrated author of prize-winning novels, essays and short stories, married and divorced the son of the legendary New Yorker editor, William Shawn, a composer of classical music. Kincaid’s latest novel, See Now Then, is written in Kincaid’s unique elegiac, yet biting prose style, also used effectively in some of her previous books. See Now Then recently won the 2014 American Book Award, a prize created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement in America’s diverse literary community. The plot centers on a nasty divorce after the husband finds a younger wife, one of the many details in this book of fiction that appear to echo Kincaid’s life.

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Tuesday, April 14, 6:30 PM

jack beattieJACK BEATTY,  author and erudite news analyst on WBUR and other radio shows, will talk about his latest book, The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began. The New Yorker described it as a “counterfactual history;” David Shribman, in his review of the it in the Boston Globe, called it “found history”, in light of the vulnerability of the continent to war that year, uncovered by Beatty. A former senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly for many years, Beatty also also helped write (or, as some have suggested, wrote) former  Boston mayor Tom Menino’s 2014 memoir, Mayor for a New America. Other titles by Beatty, who won numerous awards and prestigious fellowships, are The Rascall King (a biography of former Boston mayor James Michael Curly), The World According to Peter Drucker, The Age of Betrayal: the Triumph of Money in America, and Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America.

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