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Ross Terrill’s Lens on China Past and Present Tells Him The “Tightening Up” by President Xi Jinping Reflects a Real Clash Between U.S. and the People’s Republic’s Interests Over the Question, “Can There Be Economic Freedom Without Political Freedom?”

2016 May 2
by marleen

ross map 2The distinguished China expert, Ross Terrill, began his talk at the South End library on April 26 by hanging a large map on the wall that left no doubt about China’s size. “China has fourteen contiguous borders with other countries,” Terrill said. “Most of them are not friendly, and neither is Japan, located just across the water. This is quite different from  the United States, which is surrounded by two oceans and two relatively friendly neighbors. It affects many things,” Terrill said. “The Europeans and the Americans believe in the idea of the international community,” he cited as an example. “China does not. They are nationalists.” Some of China’s neighbors are largely Muslim, Terrill pointed out which always brings up the question of loyalty for the People’s Republic. He added. “The tension that exists now in China revolves around the question of whether China can have economic freedom without political freedom.  The grip it has over the economy is inseparable from its one-party system.” He said he doubts there will be an evolutionary path to political change and expects, rather, more of a “big bang.”

Australian-born Terrill, currently a Research Associate at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and the author of nine critically acclaimed books, had traveled to India as a  graduate student at the suggestion of his Melbourne professors who thought that, as a democracy, India would be of more interest than its authoritarian neighbor, China. But Terrill did not take to what he called the moralism of its Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, or India’s grinding poverty, and decided China could not be worse. To get a visa, Terrill in vain badgered Chinese embassies all over Eastern Europe until, after one day accusing the Chinese embassy in Warsaw of “not wanting to let anyone know anything about China,” he learned the next day that a visa to China was ready and waiting for him. It was 1964. There was not a single US diplomat in Beijing. At the time, there were 980,000 American troops stationed in a semi-circle around China and the political gap with the U.S. was deep. For the U.S., Taiwan was the legitimate government of China.ross 3

Terrill sent a report he wrote about his first experience in China to his fellow Australian  Rupert Murdoch, who still edited his own newspapers at the time; Murdoch published the work in six installments. Shortly thereafter, Terrill assisted another up-and-coming Australian, Labor Party leader, Gough Whitlam, to visit China and meet with Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic. As it turned out, Henry Kissinger was in China at the same time to lay the groundwork for the visit by Richard Nixon. The China trip catapulted Whitlam into political prominence as Australia’s Prime Minister in 1972. Terrill, in the meantime, earned his PhD in political science at Harvard in 1970 and his thesis, which was published as Socialism As Fellowship, won the prestigious Sumner Prize. “People were hungry for information about China,” Terrill told the audience at the South End library. For the rest of his career, he visited China annually, became an award-winning contributing editor to The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times, Newsday, the Chicago Tribune,  the Miami Herald and the Washington Post, as well as a special commentator about China to many other media outlets.

 

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The South End Library Window Take-over Project Will Continue With A Window Filled With Little Dresses Inspired by Children’s Books Like “Eloise,” “Make Way For Ducklings” and “Alice in Wonderland;” June Sale Proceeds Will Help Raise Funds for “Reading Is Fundamental” Campaign

2016 May 2
by marleen

leeds 1The large windows in the South End library

"Throwing Caution to the Wind," South End library's sample window installation on Tremont Street

“Throwing Caution to the Wind,” South End library’s first window installation on Tremont Street

will soon be showcasing a local small business, Smiling Button. The shop’s owner, Caroline Leed, takes children’s books as the inspiration for the products she sells –young girls’ dresses– and at the same time helps support the campaign for Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization. Smiling Button will donate 10 percent of its June revenue to RIF.

The SE library's Tremont St window at night, with Will Corcoran's wire sculpture installation.

The SE library’s Tremont St window at night, with Will Corcoran’s wire sculpture installation.

The current Take-over installation, by local wire sculptor Will Corcoran, based on themes from Edgar Allan Poe and the Brothers Grimm tales, will end on May 5. Fifty percent of the sale of Corcoran’s sculptures will benefit the South End library and its programs. Corcoran’s show was preceded by an installation of whimsical kites.

Among the planned installations later this year  are a collaboration between the South End’s Children’s Art Center, radio host Ray Brown’s Talkin’Birds show and the Boston Nature Center, an Audubon bird sanctuary in Mattapan.  Stay tuned.

 

 

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Iowa-born and Boston-based Author Michelle Hoover Will Read from her Acclaimed Second Novel, “Bottomlands,” on Tuesday, May 3rd, at 6:30 PM at the South End Library

2016 April 30
by marleen

hoover posterMichelle Hoover will be at the South End library on Tuesday, May 3rd, at 6:30 PM, to read from  her second novel, Bottomlands. Hoover’s first, The Quickening, was set set in America’s rural heartland in the early 20th century. Bottomlands plays out in the same region, but takes place after the First World War, a time of strong anti-German sentiments. It is the story of the German-American Hess family whose four siblings struggle to survive as farmers in tough times while grieving for the loss of their mother and trying to piece together why their two teenage sisters vanished in the middle of a night. According to an interview with the author in DeadDarlings,  Bottomlands takes from the shards of a legend in her own family, as did her earlier, critically acclaimed book, The QuickeningThe Boston Globe review described Bottomlands as a “potent new novel” with much contemporary resonance and “enough mastery to justify comparisons to Willa Cather.”

The Quickening is based on a great-grandmother’s journal and describes an unlikely friendship between two women in a time of harsh economic realities. In addition to being shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, it was a Massachusetts Book Award “Must Read” pick. Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Born in Iowa, she lives in Boston.

The South End Library is fully handicapped accessible. Seating is limited. The event is free. Books will be available for purchase, signing by the author, and borrowing.

Coming Up Next

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TUESDAY, MAY 31, 6:30 PM

THE DOG LADY, A.K.A. MONICA COLLINS

Or is it the reverse? Monica Collins is The Dog Lady whose column, Ask Dog Lady, appears in manydog lady publications, including The South End News, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, The Cambridge Chronicle and Salem News. A former staff writer for USA Today, TV Guide, and The Boston Herald, Collins writes on her web site that she changed her journalistic focus from TV critic to lifestyle columnist after she acquired a West Highland white terrier. She has answered pet owners’ most confounding questions involving relationships, dog park etiquette, divorce, custody complications, and whether the dog belongs in your marital (or single) bed.

One reader wanted to know why an earlier advice-seeker should not have mentioned in a job interview that the garment she was wearing that day had been knit from her dog’s hair (yes, you guessed it: Too much information). With annual pet spending reaching close to $60 billion a year and American households owning almost 60 million dogs, Collins is barking down from the right tree, no doubt, and you can bark up hers at the library to receive her typically compassionate, intelligent and culturally resonant answers to your canine questions…

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TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 6:30 PM

JENNA BLUM

jenna blumJenna Blum, the acclaimed author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller, Those Who Saved Us (2004), and The Stormchasers (2010) will talk about her latest work, a novella called The Lucky One, published in the new anthology coming out in June, called Grand Central. A collection of stories related to the Holocaust by ten bestselling female writers, Blum’s contribution was one she had been reluctant to write as it meant returning to the subject of the Holocaust. She says on her web site that the research and writing of Those Who Saved Us, which explored how non-Jewish Germans dealt with the Holocaust, was a searing experience. But she remembered one story she had heard when she worked for the Steven Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah Foundation, where she interviewed Holocaust survivors. It had struck a cord with her, she said, and became the genesis for The Lucky One. It is set, like each of the stories in the anthology, on the same day in Grand Central Terminal right after the Second World War.

Blum’s successful writing career began when she was fourteen, and her first short story won a third prize when it was published in Seventeen Magazine. Another short story, The Legacy of Frank Finklestein, won first prize two years later. Since that time, Blum’s work has been featured in Faultline, The Kenyon Review, The Bellingham Review, Glamour, Mademoiselle, and The Improper Bostonian. Blum has taught creative writing and communications writing at Boston University, was the editor at Boston University’s AGNI literary magazine for four years, and led fiction and novel workshops for Grub Street Writers in Boston since 1997.

 

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Acclaimed China Expert –and South End Resident– Ross Terrill Focuses His Lens on Our Second-largest Trading Partner, Oft-time Adversary, Strategic Friend, and Blessed Student Pipeline for Our Needy High Schools and Colleges, Tuesday, April 26, at 6:30 PM

2016 April 20
by marleen

terrill posterRenowned China specialist Ross Terrill will be at the South End library on Tuesday, April 26 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM for a talk titled Pursuing China: Ross Terrill’s Lens. The long-time South End resident reminds us that more than 300,000 sons and daughters of the current business, government and cultural leadership in China now are students at U.S. schools. He believes this will have an enormous impact on us and China, our second-most important trading partner after Canada.

Terrill is the author of innumerable articles and many books, including: Biography of Mao; China in Our Time: The Epic Saga of the People’s Republic from the Communist Victory to Tiananmen Square and Beyond; Madame Mao; and The New Chinese Empire –winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2004. A Research Associate at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Terrill was a contributing editor at The Atlantic Monthly in the 1970s and 1980s, when he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting Excellence and the George Polk Memorial Award for Outstanding Magazine Reporting for writings on China. Raised in rural Australia, he also wrote The Australians. He has visited China every year for many years; within China, his biography of Mao, in Chinese translation, has sold more than 1.5 million copies.

Terrill has recently been visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin. He is currently working on two books: One is provisionally titled Mao As a Boy; the other an in-depth look at the attempts by the U.S. for the last eight decades to understand the Chinese Communists.

The South End library is fully handicapped accessible. Seating is limited. We serve refreshments. The event is free. Books are available for purchase and borrowing. 

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Authors Coming Up Next:

TUESDAY, MAY 3, 6:30 PM

MICHELLE HOOVER

hoover posterMichelle Hoover’s two novels, The Quickening and Bottomlands, are both set in America’s rural heartland in the early 20th century. Bottomlands, her latest, is the story of a German-American family living in Iowa after the First World War, a time of strong anti-German sentiments. Struggling to survive as farmers, they are trying to piece together why their two teenage daughters vanished in the middle of a night. The Boston Globe review described as a “potent new novel” with much contemporary resonance and “enough mastery to justify comparisons to Willa Cather.” Her first novel, The Quickening, based on a great-grandmother’s journal, describes an unlikely friendship between two women in a time of harsh economic realities. In addition to being shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, it was a Massachusetts Book Award Must Read pick. Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Born in Iowa, she lives in Boston.

+++++

TUESDAY, MAY 31, 6:30 PM

THE DOG LADY, A.K.A. MONICA COLLINS

dog ladyOr is it the reverse? Monica Collins is The Dog Lady whose column, Ask Dog Lady, appears in many publications, including The South End News, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, The Cambridge Chronicle and Salem News. A former staff writer for USA Today, TV Guide, and The Boston Herald, Collins writes on her web site that she changed her journalistic focus from TV critic to lifestyle columnist after she acquired a West Highland white terrier. She has answered pet owners’ most confounding questions involving relationships, dog park etiquette, divorce, custody complications, and whether the dog belongs in your marital (or single) bed. One reader wanted to know why an earlier advice-seeker should not have mentioned in a job interview that the garment she was wearing that day had been knit from her dog’s hair (yes, you guessed it: Too much information). With annual pet spending reaching close to $60 billion a year and American households owning almost 60 million dogs, Collins is barking down from the right tree, no doubt, and you can bark up hers at the library to receive her typically compassionate, intelligent and culturally resonant answers to your canine questions…

+++++

TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 6:30 PM

JENNA BLUM

Jenna Blum, the acclaimed author of the award-winning New York jenna blumTimes bestseller, Those Who Saved Us (2004), and The Stormchasers (2010) will talk about her latest work, a novella called The Lucky One, published in the new anthology coming out in June, called Grand Central. A collection of stories related to the Holocaust by ten bestselling female writers, Blum’s contribution was one she had been reluctant to write as it meant returning to the subject of the Holocaust. She says on her web site that the research and writing of Those Who Saved Us, which explored how non-Jewish Germans dealt with the Holocaust, was a searing experience. But she remembered one story she had heard when she worked for the Steven Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah Foundation, where she interviewed Holocaust survivors. It had struck a cord with her, she said, and became the genesis for The Lucky One. It is set, like each of the stories in the anthology, on the same day in Grand Central Terminal right after the Second World War. Blum’s successful writing career began when she was fourteen, and her first short story won a third prize when it was published in Seventeen Magazine. Another short story, The Legacy of Frank Finklestein, won first prize two years later. Since that time, Blum’s work has been featured in Faultline, The Kenyon Review, The Bellingham Review, Glamour, Mademoiselle, and The Improper Bostonian. Blum has taught creative writing and communications writing at Boston University, was the editor at Boston University’s AGNI literary magazine for four years, and led fiction and novel workshops for Grub Street Writers in Boston since 1997.

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A Rescheduled, Free, Eight-week Poetry Workshop with Poet and Master Teacher Barbara Helfgott Hyatt Starts Monday, April 25 at 2:00 PM for Adults Aged 55 or Older at the South End Library

2016 April 20
by marleen

helfgott 2

A rescheduled poetry workshop is coming to the South End branch on Monday, April 25 at 2:00 PM, with an eight-week program taught by Barbara Helfgott Hyatt. The award-winning poet, professor and public lecturer will teach poetry to both beginning and experienced poets, aged 55 and over, on Mondays, with a final Poetry Reading event on Monday, June 20 at 2:30 PM. Sponsored by the BPL and a National Leadership Grant from the US Department of Museums and Libraries, the AARP, and other organizations interested in supporting and benefitting America’s seniors, the program is limited to 15 people, and free to all. The workshops will demonstrate participants how to review the elements of a poem, the many forms a poem can take, and the various ways of editing a poem. The students will read, write and share their poetry every week. Registration is required: contact Anne Smart at smart@bpl.org, or call 617 536-8241.

According to her web site, Helfgott Hyatt has published five poetry collections, including In Evidence: Poems of the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps, which was selected Booklist’s Editor’s Choice. Other collections, including The Tracks We Leave: Poems on Endangered Wildlife of North America and Rift, were widely reviewed. Her poems and essays have appeared in dozens of magazines including the New Republic, the Nation, the Hudson Review, the Massachusetts Review, Agni, Ploughshares, the Women’s Review of Books, and in over 30 anthologies. She is the recipient of two Massachusetts Artists in Poetry fellowships, the New England Poetry Club’s Gertrude Warren Prize, the Herman Melville Commemorative Poetry Prize, fellowships at Yaddo, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and many other prizes and grants, including a Brother John Fellowship for Excellence in the Arts, awarded by the Boston Foundation in 2009.

Helfgott Hyett has taught English at the Teachers as Scholars program at Harvard, MIT, Trinity College, and Boston University, where she won the Sproat Award for Excellence in Teaching English. As a poet-in the-schools, she has served over 200 communities and was artist-in-residence at the MFA and the Fuller Art Museums. She is currently the director of PoemWorks, the Workshop for Publishing Poets, in Brookline, MA, which was named “One of the Best Workshops in Boston” by the Boston Globe.

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