The December 9 Talk by Jack Beatty Has Been Postponed Due to the Winter Storm Bearing Down on the Northeast
The nor’easter pummeling New England today and tomorrow has forced the cancelation of the talk at the South End library by Jack Beatty tomorrow night, December 9. The author and news analyst, who is snowbound in his home in New Hampshire, is looking forward to being rescheduled sometime after the holiday season.
News Analyst Jack Beatty Will Talk about his Recent Book, “The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began,” at the South End Library Tuesday, December 9 at 6:30 PM
Please note: All readings start at 6:30 PM. Space is limited so if you don’t want to miss having a seat, come early. The South End library is fully handicapped accessible, thanks to your donations. Refreshments are served.
JACK BEATTY, who you may know as the erudite news analyst on WBUR and other radio shows, will visit the South End library on Tuesday, December 9 at 6:30 PM to 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 mayor Tom Menino’s memoir, Mayor for a New America, which appeared in October 14. Did he talk with the former mayor about his failed attempt to close up to a third of the BPL branches in 2009? You can ask Beatty about that, after the talk… 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.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 6:30 PM
JOE STEINFIELD, a longtime South End resident, will read from his memoir, Claremont Boy, based on a collection of essays he wrote for the local newspaper, The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript of Peterborough, New Hampshire. The author who, according to one interviewer, seems to have a knack for meeting famous people, is a litigator who specializes in media law. (He is also the husband of renowned concert pianist, Virginia Eskin, a devoted South End library supporter: she suggested getting the branch’s check-out counter re-upholstered, which FOSEL agreed to do and paid for). Steinfield grew up in a Jewish community in Claremont, NH, and tells us about the diverse characters he came to know there, including influential school teachers; public figures like Julia Child; a Hebrew-speaking Muslim from the Northern Caucasus Republic of Adygeya; and a P.L.O. leader from Jericho, among many others.
Tuesday, February 10, 6:30 PM
JAMAICA KINCAID is an award-winning Antiguan-American writer who, until not too long ago, was married to Allen Shawn, a composer of classical music, and the son of the famous New Yorker editor, William Shawn. Kincaid’s latest novel, See Now Then, 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. The book recently won a 2014 American Book Award, a prize created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement in America’s diverse literary community. Kincaid is the acclaimed author of five novels, including The Autobiography of my Mother, and a moving memoir of her brother’s struggles with AIDS and death, called My Brother. In addition, she has written or edited numerous other excellent books and articles on, among other subjects, the ennobling subject of gardening.
Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 PM
JENNIFER HAIGH, a winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and other prestigious literary prizes, is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, (The Condition and Baker Towers). Recognized as an outstanding short-story writer, Haigh grew up as a coal miner’s daughter in central Pennsylvania. Her most recent collection of short stories, News from Heaven, the Bakerton Stories, was called “an uplifting and radiant book” by Janet Maslin, the reviewer for the New York Times. The Boston Globe’s reviewer called the linked stories in this collection “a distinct, shining example of Haigh’s remarkable gifts for lyricism, psychological insight, and stealth humor.”
Tuesday, May 12, 6:30 PM
ANJALI DUVA, an Indian-American Bostonian who grew up in France, just published her first novel, Faint Promise of Rain. The historical novel is the coming-of-age story of Adhira, a girl born into a family of temple dancers, and draws on the author’s father’s childhood in India and her personal interest in kathak dance, as described in an interview with the writers’ web site Dead Darlings.
The 2014-2015 South End Library’s Author Series Continues with Writers Scott Heim, Jack Beatty, Jamaica Kincaid, Jennifer Haigh, James Vrabel, Joe Steinfield, Alysia Abbott and Others, Yet to Come
The 2014-15 SOUTH END LIBRAR AUTHOR SERIES, which got underway in September with readings by Jean Gibran (Love Made Visible) and Johnny Diaz (Looking for Providence) has lined up a fabulous group of visiting writers through June 2015. As in past years, their subjects range far and wide, from the local to the global, with stops at unexpected topics in between. Below is a listing for authors who have been booked so far. There certainly will be additional readings on a range of subjects, so keep checking with Anne Smart (617 536-8241) or the South End branch’s web site.
All readings start at 6:30 PM. Seating is limited, so come early if it happens to be your favorite author’s turn. NOTE: talks about South End subjects are usually very popular, even in snow storms. The South End branch is fully handicapped accessible.
Tuesday, October 14, 6:30 PM
SCOTT HEIM, winner of the 2009 Lambda literary award for fiction, is the author most recently of the psychological thriller, We Disappear. Kansas-born, Heim also wrote the 1996 novel, Mysterious Skin, which was made into a movie in 2004, directed by American filmmaker Gregg Araki. It tells the story of two pre-adolescent boys who are sexually abused by their baseball coach, and and the impact on their lives. (Heim’s partner, Michael Lowenthal, author of The Paternity Test, read at the South End library last season.)
Tuesday, October 21, 6:30 PM
Longtime South End resident ANN MARIE TURO will discuss Pilates for Breast Cancer Survivors: A Guide to Recovery, Healing, and Wellness, which she authored with Naomi Aronson. Whether you are undergoing therapy for breast cancer or recovering from it, the authors will talk about how they can help you get your strength back while fighting chemo brain, lymphedema, fatigue, depression, weight gain, peripheral neuropathy, osteoporosis, and upper extremity impairment.
Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 PM
Urbanist JAMES O’CONNELL presents his take on the migration of residents of Boston’s neighborhoods to surrounding suburbs during the twentieth century, as described in his recent book The Hub’s Metropolis: Greater Boston’s Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth. O’Connell holds a doctorate in American Urban and Cultural History from the University of Chicago, and has written extensively about planning and the history of new England. The event is co-sponsored by the South End Historical Society.
Tuesday, November 4, 6:30 PM
Historian James Vrabel will talk about his recent book, A People’s History of the New Boston, based on hundreds of interviews with Bostonians who worked to make this city a better place for all. In a recent interview with The Boston Globe, Vrabel acknowledged, “work remains to be done.” By bringing back the middle class and the well off, Boston today has lost people in the working class and the lower-middle class, he says, adding those rungs have to be put “back in the ladder of opportunity.” This reading is co-sponsored by the South End Historical Society.
Tuesday, November 18, 6:30 PM
ALYSIA ABBOTT will read from her widely acclaimed Fairyland, a Memoir of my Father, in which she describes being raised by her bisexual activist father in San Francisco, after her mother’s death when she was two. Seen through the lens of the gay liberation movement and the devastation of the AIDS epidemic as it played out in San Francisco, the memoir was named a New York Times Editor’s Choice and Best Book of 2013 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Abbott will be teaching memoir classes at Boston’s Grub Street Writing Center this fall.
Tuesday, December 9, 6:30 PM
JACK BEATTY, who you may know as the erudite news analyst on numerous radio shows, will talk about his recent The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began. Beattie, who was senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly for many years, also also helped write (or, as some have suggested, wrote) former mayor Tom Menino’s memoir, Mayor for a New America, due out on October 14. Other titles by Beattie, who won numerous awards and prestigious fellowships, are The Rascall King, The World According to Peter Drucker, The Age of Betrayal: the Triumph of Money in America, and Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 6:30 PM
South End resident JOE STEINFIELD will read from his memoir, Claremont Boy, based on a collection of essays he wrote for the local newspaper, The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript of Peterborough, New Hampshire. Steinfield, who according to one interviewer, seems to have a knack for meeting famous people, is a litigator who specializes in media law, and husband of renowned concert pianist, Virginia Eskin (a long-time South End library volunteer: she suggested getting the South End librarians’ counter re-upholstered)). Steinfield grew up in a Jewish community in Claremont, NH, and tells us about the diverse characters he came to know, including influential school teachers; public figures like Julia Child; a Hebrew-speaking Muslim from the Northern Caucasus Republic of Adygeya; and a P.L.O. leader from Jericho, among many others.
Tuesday, February 10, 6:30 PM
JAMAICA KINCAID is an award-winning Antiguan-American writer who, until not too long ago, was married to the son of the famous New Yorker editor, William Shawn, Allen, a composer of classical music. Kincaid’s latest novel, See Now Then, centers on a nasty divorce after the husband finds a younger wife, one of the many details that appear to echo Kincaid’s life. She is the acclaimed author of five novels, including The Autobiography of my Mother, and a moving memoir of her brother’s struggles with AIDS and death, called My Brother. In addition, she has written or edited numerous other excellent books on, among other subjects, gardening.
Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 PM
JENNIFER HAIGH , a winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and other prestigious literary prizes, is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, (The Condition and Baker Towers), as well as a short-story writer. Haigh is a coal miner’s daughter who grew up in central Pennsylvania near Bakerton. Her most recent collection of short stories, News from Heaven, The Bakerton Stories, was called “an uplifting and radiant book” by Janet Maslin, the reviewer for the New York Times.
Tuesday, June 9, 6:30 PM
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.”
Jean Gibran, the Emissary of Sculptor Kahlil Gibran, Boston Expressionism, and South End’s Middle Eastern Heritage, Brings One of the Largest Audiences to the South End Branch
A huge crowd greeted Canton Street resident Jean Gibran, author of Love Made Visible, in which she recounts her 50-year marriage to internationally known sculptor Kahlil Gibran. It was hot in the library’s community room because the air-conditioning did not work. And Gibran forgot her reading glasses. But after several pairs were offered from the audience, the show could begin.
Gibran explained that she wrote the book after her husband’s death in 2008 for at least two reasons: To let those who had lost spouses know they could still do things and continue to be part of the community. The other was to draw attention to the Boston Expressionists who thrived here in the 1930s and 40s, and whose muse, Karl Zerbe, taught at the Museum School where her husband studied as well. Gibran said these Bostonians influenced the New York-based Abstract Expressionist movement, including artists like Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning. “It started right here, at the Museum School,” Gibran told her audience. She encouraged everyone to visit the Danforth Art Museum in Natick, which currently has a retrospective on the subject, called The Expressive Voice: Brought to Light.
Woven throughout the Gibran story as well is her compassion for and interest in the Middle Eastern communities her husband was part of, and the enclaves of Arab culture that once existed in the South End, Bay Village and part of what now is Chinatown. In a poignant description, she delves into the ethnic slurs and professional insults Gibran endured, as well as some of the brutal history that forced his parents and relatives to flee the Middle East. She learned to cook some of the dishes Gibran favored, shared many meals with family and friends in local Middle Eastern restaurants, and came to love the sounds of the Arab language and its music.
Kahlil Gibran, winner of numerous awards and prestigious fellowships, was nicknamed ‘Golden Hands.’ He made his living restoring art, antiques and musical instruments, while he did his art work at night in his studio at Fayette Street, and later in the townhouse they Gibrans purchased on West Canton Street. For a number of years, the Gibrans owned a gallery on Newbury Street but, eventually, she returned to teaching third grade and he to his art and craft. Gibran refers to husband, Kahlil Gibran, the sculptor, as “K,” to distinguish him from his older cousin by the same name, the author who emigrated to Boston from Ottoman Syria in 1895, and who wrote the renowned 1923 prose poetry collection The Prophet.
Love Made Visible is available from Barnes and Noble booksellers, and contains a lengthy and informative section profiling many participants in the Boston Expressionist movement, as well as detailed lists and illustrations of Kahlil Gibran’s artistic and professional legacy. It is also available for borrowing from the BPL.
Now Available for Easy Perusal at the South End Branch: Bound Copies of the South End News Dating from February 1980 Through 2013
Last week, South End News publisher Sue O’Connell donated the newspaper’s entire collection of bound back issues to the South End Library, where it now resides on top of a bookcase across from the staff counter on the ground floor. “We are going to a virtual office setting,” O’Connell explained, adding that, at the end of each year, the latest bound volume will be added to the library’s shelves. Previously, the library only had loose copies of the popular weekly.
Leafing through its pages, a movie reel of South End particulars unwinds. In its first issue, February 15, 1980, a front-page headine says that Digital Equipment Company, then the world’s largest minicomputer company, is opening a facility on Albany Street and Massachusetts Avenue; the company no longer exists, acquired by Compaq and merged into Hewlett Packard. Those were the days when a six-month subscription cost $7; now the weekly is distributed free. The much-missed crime reporter, Police Officer John Sacco recounts that a man attacked a woman with a meat cleaver, but assures the readers “the weapon was confiscated.” Another perpetrator who continued to beat up a woman after the police arrived found no sympathy: “Needless to say, his behavior was short-lived,” was a typical Sacco comment.
Realtors took out ads in those days advising homeowners not to “undersell your property.” A writer named “Leupold” wrote an excellent and comprehensive arts and entertainment column called South End Muse. Movie reviews mentioned long-gone cinemas like The Paris, Nickelodeon, The Pi Alley. Battles over dog behavior were reported with headlines like “We’re in Deep Doo-Doo.” One day in 1993, actor Jeff Bridges and a stuntman roared down the alley between West Newton and Pembroke Streets at 55 miles per hour, “jumping several feet in the air,” to film the 1994 movie, Blown Away.
Food editor Lydia Walshin profiled South End chefs, amateur and pro, in her Community Kitchen column, the recipes for which were lated collected in her excellent cookbook, The South End Cooks. (And, yes, based on this title FOSEL was inspired to name its author series, The South End Writes.) Long-time Boston Globe arts reviewer Cate McQuaid penned serial fiction in the local weekly.
Sad national events found room in the community paper, too: In September 2011, it reported the deaths of several South End residents who were killed in the 9/11 attacks: Rahma Salie and Michael Theodoridis, who were expecting their first child; and Todd Hill, who lived on Tremont Street. All three were among those who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
The branch’s history committee, consisting of Ann Hershfang, Judy Watkins and Alison Barnet, plans to index the collection so information about the South End’s ups and downs can be more easily obtained. The committee will gladly accept other papers and written material that documents local lore. For information, contact Anne Smart at 617 536-8241.