Watha T. Daniel/Shaw
Neighborhood Library

Published on Saturday, September 19, 2009

I had the weirdest coincidence this last weekend, in that I was reading two separate books that take place in two totally different time periods and both of them mentioned the exact same architectural feature in Rome.

The Spanish Stairs (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti) were built in the 1720s to connect the Piazza di Spagna to the church of Trinità dei Monti. I have a picture that shows the fountain in the Piazza, the church above--and on the right is the Keats-Shelley house. That's right, John Keats and Percy Shelley. John Keats lived his last days on earth looking out the window over the Spanish Stairs.

And that's where the story gets interesting.

Marcus Garvey and Alain Locke

Published on Thursday, September 10, 2009
There will be a discussion group meeting on the Harlem Renaissance on Monday, September 14, 2009.

The Harlem Renaissance is the name of a well celebrated artistic resurgence of African-American art and literature in the 1920s. However, the Harlem Renaissance also involved the flourishing of a new political consciousness among African-Americans. This political/cultural consciousness was organized around the new sense of identity identified by Alain Locke, one of the theoreticians of the movement, as the concept of the “New Negro.” The term “New Negro” expressed the growing awareness by black Americans of their own powers and abilities.

Published on Saturday, August 29, 2009
I grew up in Buffalo, NY, right on the Niagara River. When you're a kid, you don't always realize the most obvious facts of your circumstances; after all, you've had no experiences to tell you what is extraordinary (or not) about the place you're growing up in. For instance: I would never have guessed how formative it could be to grow up on the border of another country.

Canada was this vague notion, at best, or maybe just those nice people across the water who really aren't all that different from us. This elephant in the room of my childhood, though, presented itself in a really subtle way—all my favorite programs, the ones from which I derive my very first memories—were Canadian. I went through my whole life without realizing that, until this morning, when a friend of mine became a fan of Mr. Dressup on Facebook. Can of worms!

Farewell to "Reading Rainbow"

Published on Friday, August 28, 2009

You know it's an end of an era when something that you cherished as a child finally ends. Today is the final day of Reading Rainbow on PBS. The show ran for 26 years, and due to financial problems and a change in the philosophy behind PBS children's programming, Reading Rainbow will fade into history.

I grew up a PBS kid. I remember watching Sesame Street, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Reading Rainbow, probably in its very first years on television. One of the episodes I remember vividly was where they read Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. The distinctive African cover art from that book was emblazoned in my mind and I've never forgotten it.

Published on Tuesday, August 25, 2009

8/24/09: Hazards! The Chronicle of Lucifer Jones 1934-1938, by Mike Resnick
8/24/09: Down in the Flood, by Kenneth Abel
8/24/09: The French Gardener, by Santa Montefiore
8/24/09: The Ride, by Brian Macquarrie
8/24/09: 10,000 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, Wise Bread Bloggers
8/24/09: The Everything Guide to Stepparenting
8/24/09: GRE 2010 Princeton Review Study Guide
8/13/09: Flood, by Stephen Baxter
8/13/09: A Slice of Murder, by Chris Cavender
8/13/09: Possessing the Secret of Joy, by Alice Walker
8/13/09: Tar Baby, by Toni Morrison
8/13/09: Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Published on Tuesday, August 25, 2009

8/16/09: Mina's Joint, Keshia Ervin
8/12/09: Playing Dirty, KiKi Swinson
8/08/09: CakeMan, Gregory Dixon
8/02/09: ManEater, Mary B Morrison
7/18/09: Sisters & Husband, Connie Briscoe
7/15/09: Where's There's Smoke, Terra Little
7/09/09: Sugar Daddy's Game, Gregory Dixon
7/09/09: Return of a Gangster's Girl, Chunichi
7/09/09: Married to the Game, Chunichi
7/09/09: Gangster's Girl, Chunichi

Published on Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soon I Will Be InvincibleIt's week three of our in house weekly book talks. Make sure you join us every Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Watha T. to hear about the latest crazy thing we're reading. This week's topic was the "Evil Genius." Here's what I picked:

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Doctor Impossible is the classic definition of the evil genius. Here's just a taste of his cliche, but unique brand of villainy: "When life gives you lemons, you squeeze them, hard. Make invisible ink. Make an acid poison. Fling it in their eyes." Just great stuff here, super heroes vs. super villain. And the fight scenes are awesome.

MW by Osamu Tezuka

Published on Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The WPA, Works Progress Administration, was an agency created by the New Deal in the thirties to promote the arts as well as build public works. It was responsible for hiring out-of-work artists to create posters, paint murals and put on plays. The WPA made possible the creation of a set of works of art that reflected a sense of community and social responsibility that made these works unique. It is useful to look back on this less individualistic time when the collective destiny of society was more in focus.

There will be a lecture discussion on the Depression and the Arts that will cover this topic at Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library. The event will be held August 24 at 6 p.m. The location: 945 Rhode Island Ave. N.W. two blocks from the Shaw metro at 10th and Rhode Island.

Published on Saturday, August 8, 2009
Village of the Damned Kids

Are your children a little....strange...?

Do you find that strangeness refreshing?

Published on Thursday, August 6, 2009
Julia ChildAs part of our efforts to expand the scope of the blog we're going to be doing a series of articles on here looking at hot topics in the news and how we at the library can help expand your understanding of the topic.