Gish Jen, the Award-winning Novelist and Incisive Analyst of Social Differences in Diverse Communities, Will Read from her New Book, “The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap,” at the South End Library on Tuesday, March 28 at 6:30 PM

jen posterIn a recent interview with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH radio, author Gish Jen commented on efforts by the show’s previous guest, Police Commissioner Bill Evans, to attract more Asians to the Boston police force . Jen, whose humorous view of life’s perplexing questions shines through much of her work, half-jokingly confessed on the show that she briefly considered becoming a police officer (“It’s a great day job”) but quickly added that not just her editor’s apoplexy would stand in the way but also the Police Department’s physical exam, which requires applicants to scale a five-foot wall.  It would be a barrier, she said, “for those of us who are only five feet tall.” These human differences  between East and West, of size, perception and approach to the communities we live in, have been the literary domain of Jen since she first dropped out of the Stanford Business School and entered the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop in the 1980s.gjen cover

Now an acclaimed novelist, Jen will talk about her latest work of non-fiction, The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East West Culture Gap at the South End library on Tuesday, March 28 at 6:30 PM. The book, published last month,  looks at the different ideas Easterners and Westerners have about self and society and how this “shapes everything from our ideas about copying and talking in class to the difference between Apple and Alibaba.” Jen’s 2013 non-fiction book, Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self, based on the Massey Lectures she delivered at Harvard in 2012, also delves into East-West differences, and in particular how they affect art and literature. The novels Typical American, Who Is Irish?, The Love WifeMona in the Promised Land and World and Town (winner of the 2011 Massachusetts Book Prize) were widely praised for their often hilarious but also profound and warm descriptions of Chinese-American families adjusting to suburban life and the racial and religious divides they navigate.

A contributor to The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, Jen’s work has been included in The Best American Short Stories of 1988, 1995 and 2013, as well as The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. Nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award and an International IMPAC Dublin Book Award, Jen was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. She has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study fellowship, and numerous other awards. In 2003, an American Academy of Arts and Letters jury comprised of John Updike, Cynthia Ozick, Don DeLillo, and Joyce Carol Oates granted her a five-year Mildred and Harold Strauss Living award.

The South End Writes is sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library. All the events are free. Books by the speakers will be available for borrowing, sale and signing by the author. The branch is fully handicapped accessible. We serve refreshments. Seating is limited.

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COMING UP NEXT IN “THE SOUTH END WRITES” SRIES:

TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 6:30 PM

The bestselling author Jenna Blum

The bestselling author Jenna Blum

Jenna Blum, the New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us, will talk about her work, including The Lucky One. It’s part of Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reuniona jenna bookcoverscollection of tales by well-known women writers, all taking place on the same day in Manhattan’s iconic gateway. And she will give you a sneak preview of her new novel, to come out in Spring 2018, called The Lost Family. 

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TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 6:30 PM

sllightfootThe acclaimed sociologist Sara growing each other upLawrence Lightfoot, is a MacArthur Genius Fellow and will be the first African-American woman to hold an endowed chair in her name at Harvard University upon her retirement. She has written nearly a dozen books, and will talk this time, her third appearance at the South End library, about her most recent one, Growing Each Other Up: When Our Children Become Our Teachers.

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TUESDAY, MAY 9, 6:30 PM

Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer

Award-winning foreign-policy journalist and true flagformer New York Times bureau chief in multiple locations, Stephen Kinzer, will talk about his new book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire. This event is rescheduled from March 14, when a nasty snowstorm closed the city down. In his latest examination of the US role abroad, Kinzer reframes a perennial question raging again today: Should the US be an imperialist nation or take care of its own problems first? The author of numerous books about the unintended consequences of American military intervention, (including All the Shah’s Men and The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and their Secret World War) Kinzer, a senior fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute of Brown University and Boston Globe foreign affairs columnist, will be introduced by his admirer and friend, WBUR’s OpenSource radio host, Christopher Lydon. Lydon interviewed him on the subject on February 7.

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TUESDAY, MAY 23, 6:30 PM

mkingThe iconic Mel King, former state chain of changelegislator, school board member, community organizer, writer, poet, and the keeper of perhaps the largest memory bank of South End’s turbulent history. Raised in the New York streets part of the South End by immigrant parents from Guyana and Barbados in the 1930s. Former adjunct professor in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and author of Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development and collections of poetry, and founder of the South End’s Technology Center at Tent City.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 6:30 PM

sschorowStephanie Schorow, crime of centuryjournalist, journalism teacher and author of many popular books about Boston’s amazing history, including The Crime of the Century: How the Brink’s Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston and The Cocoanut Grove Fire.

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The Much-anticipated Talk by Foreign-policy Writer Stephen Kinzer, and Its Introduction by WBUR’s OpenSource Radio Host Christopher Lydon, Has Been Cancelled Due to the Predicted Blizzard of Tuesday, March 14

kinzer posterDue to the predicted blizzard of Tuesday, March 14, the scheduled talk by foreign-policy journalist Stephen Kinzer has been cancelled. The South End library will be closed that day. Kinzer was going to speak about True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire, his latest and widely reviewed book about the  conflicting impulses of isolationism and expansionism in US foreign policy, a debate that has see-sawed the public square in this country since its early days.  WBUR’s OpenSource radio host, Christopher Lydon, stood ready to introduce his longtime friend. He interviewed Kinzer on February 7 about True Flag on his program, linked here.

FOSEL hopes to reschedule the event as soon as possible.

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New Local/Focus Installation in the South End Library’s Tremont Street Window Proposes That a “Spot Color” Immersion Program in Chinese, French, Spanish or English Can Be Effective and a Lot of Fun for Young Children

A new Local/Focus project in the Tremont Street window has replaced  the display of  Mystery and Thriller Books with a foreign-language immersion program for young children, called Language TogetherThe brainchild of local resident Germaine Choe, it proposes that the Spot Color Immersion Method taps the natural inclination of children to use their “language instinct” and learn a foreign language with ease, while  having fun.

Even a teddy bear half-blinded by too much love can still learn to read Chinese...

Even a teddy bear half-blinded by too much love can still learn to read Chinese…

Local/Focus installers Germaine Choe and Karen Watson in front of the Language Together exhibit

Local/Focus installers Germaine Choe and Karen Watson in front of the Language Together exhibit

Choe started Chinese Together in 2012 as an after-school Chinese program for children aged three to eight, some classes for which took place in the South End library. The pedagogical findings from this “language lab” became the foundation for the Language Together approach featured in the simply designed and colorful small books on display in the library’s Tremont Street window through March and early April. Choe, whose background is in educational publishing, developed Language Together with teachers and curriculum experts.  She previously worked at Living Language, the foreign language division of Penguin Random House, was director of marketing for Lightbulb Press, publisher of the Wall Street Journal financial guides, and managed international distribution for Harvard Business Publishing. She lives in the South End with her husband and two children.

Dark winter nights' Mystery and Thriller windows

Dark winter nights’ Mystery and Thriller windows

Greg Jundanian's Poet Portraits installation in the SE library's window

Greg Jundanian’s poet portraits installation in the SE library’s window, accompanied by a night of Poetry Slam

Local/Focus is sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) to better connect the library to the South End community of artists, non-profits and creative entrepreneurs by featuring installations of their work in the library’s prominent Tremont Street windows. Since its start last year, the displays have included exhibits of handmade kites by Karen Watson (Throw Caution to the Wind); wire sculptures inspired by tales of Grimm and Edgar Allen Poe by local artist Will Corcoran; Smiling Button girls’ dresses based on those in children’s tales; sustainable groundwater efforts of Library Park’s LightWells by Michelle Laboy; photographs of poet portraits by Greg Jundanian; bird nest sculptures by Children’s Art Centre students with real bird nests provided by the Mass Audubon Nature Center in Mattapan; ceramic book sculptures by Lori Pease and folded books by Veronica Mueller; and a Thanksgiving and Holiday display by FOSEL volunteers.

FOSEL's 2016 Holiday Installation with Direct-Tire's Painted Tires

FOSEL’s 2016 Holiday Installation with painted discarded tires donated by DirectTire

Will Corcoran's wire sculptures

Will Corcoran’s wire sculptures after Grimm and Edgar Allan Poe’s fairy tales

Coming up will be exhibits by longtime South End artist Paul Goodnight, watercolorist Marianne Kinzer, a white-line (Provincetown) print show and, we hope, those mysterious South End knitters whose colorful embellishments of  fences, bike racks and other public spaces without leaving a name card have intrigued many. If you wish to propose an installation of your own that would be of interest to the larger South End community, please contact head librarian, Anne Smart, at asmart@bpl.org, or call 617 536-8241.

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Acclaimed Foreign-policy Journalist, Stephen Kinzer, Will Discuss His Widely Reviewed Book, “True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire” on Tuesday, March 14, With an Introduction by WBUR’s OpenSource Radio Host, Christopher Lydon

Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer

Award-winning foreign-policy journalist and former New York Times bureau chief in multiple locations, Stephen Kinzer, will talk about his new book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire, on Tuesday, March 14 at 6:30 PM. In his latest examination of the US role abroad, he reframes a perennial question raging again today: Should the US be an imperialist nation or take care of its own problems first? The author of numerous books about the unintended consequences of American military intervention, Kinzer, a senior fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute of Brown University, will be introduced by his admirer and friend, WBUR’s OpenSource radio host,  Christopher Lydon. Lydon interviewed him on the subject on February 7.

Christopher Lydon

Christopher Lydon

Kinzer, a longtime South End resident, has been hosted by the South End Writes series twice before, in 2014 to discuss his acclaimed book, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and Their Secret World War and, last year, to talk about his weeks-long trip through Iran, just before the controversial US-Iranian international nuclear agreement was approved.  Kinzer’s 1/22 world affairs column in the Boston Globe will give you a fine introduction to his upcoming talk, as will his January 24 interview with Terry Gross and the February 23 article about True Flag in the New York Review of Books. 

The South End Writes is sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library. All the events are free. Books by the speakers will be available for borrowing, sale and signing by the author. The branch is fully handicapped accessible. We serve refreshments. Seating is limited. Below are listed upcoming authors, whose bios will be more detailed as the date of their talk approaches.

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COMING UP NEXT IN “THE SOUTH END WRITES” SERIES:

TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 6:30 PM

Gish Jen

Gish Jen

Gish Jen, the acclaimed novelist, will talk about her new book of non-fiction, The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East West Culture Gap. It looks at the different ideas Easterners and Westerners have about self and society and how this “shapes everything from our ideas about copying and talking in class to the difference between Apple and Alibaba.” Her 2013 non-fiction book, Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self, based on the Massey Lectures Jen delivered at Harvard in 2012, also delves into East-West differences, and in particular how they affect art and literature. The novels Typical American, Who Is Irish?, The Love Wife and Mona in the Promised Land and World and Town were widely praised for their often hilarious but also profound and warm descriptions of Chinese-American families adjusting to suburban gjen coverlife, and the racial and religious divides they navigate. A contributor to The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, Jen’s work has been included in The Best American Short Stories of 1988, 1995 and 2013, as well as The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. Nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award and an International IMPAC Dublin Book Award, Jen was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. She has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study fellowship, and numerous other awards. In 2003, an American Academy of Arts and Letters jury comprised of John Updike, Cynthia Ozick, Don DeLillo, and Joyce Carol Oates granted her a five-year Mildred and Harold Strauss Living award.

+++++++++++++++++

TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 6:30 PM

jenna bJenna Blum, the New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us, will talk about, The Lucky One, part of Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion, a collection of tales by well-known women writers, all taking place on the same day in Manhattan’s iconic gateway. And she will give you a sneak preview of her new novel, to come out in Spring 2018, called The Lost Family.

+++++++++++++++++

TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 6:30 PM

The acclaimed sociologist Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, another sllightfootMacArthur Genius Fellow gracing the South End library, who will be the first African American woman to hold an endowed chair in her name at Harvard University upon her retirement (with her recent Growing Each Other Up: When Our Children Become Our Teachers).

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TUESDAY, MAY 23, 6:30 PM

mkingThe iconic Mel King, former state legislator, school board member, community organizer, writer, poet, and the holder of perhaps the largest memory bank of South End’s turbulent history. Raised in the New York streets part of the South End by immigrant parents from Guyana and Barbados in the 1930s. Former adjunct professor in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and author of Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development and collections of poetry, and founder of the South End’s Technology Center at Tent City.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 6:30 PM

Stephanie Schorow, journalist, journalism teacher and author of many popular books about Boston’s sschorowamazing history, including The Crime of the Century: How the Brink’s Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston and The Cocoanut Grove Fire.

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You’re Invited to the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the South End Library Tuesday, January 31 at 6:30 PM: Meet Your Neighbors, Participate in the Board’s Election, Get an Update on Programming and Library/Park Renovation, Bring Your Ideas, and Enjoy the Delicious Refreshments

2017 Ann MtgSnow or not, the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) will take place tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 31 in the community room of the library. Members of FOSEL will have the chance to elect to a one-year term a slate of candidates that includes current directors Marilyn Davillier, Jeanne Pelletier, and Michelle Laboy; new directors Maura Harrington and Jon Santiago, as well as Kim Clark, a current advisory-board member who has agreed to serve on the voting board. Current officers Marleen Nienhuis (president), Ed Hostetter (clerk) and Barbara Sommerfeld (treasurer) are serving a two-year term to end in 2018. The slate of Advisory Board members includes Adam Castigliani, Susanna Coit, Liane Crawford, Don Haber, Stephen Fox, Jacqueline McRath, Mary Owens, Mari Passananti, Lois Russell, Licia Sky,, Anne Smart and Karen Watson. More detailed bios are available at the meeting.

In addition, there will be updates on our finances, our programs (The South End Writes, Local/Focus, Summer Jazz Concerts and the Play Reading Book Club with Arts/Emerson). Your suggestions and ideas will be warmly received.

The library is fully handicapped accessible. We serve  refreshments. 

 

 

 

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