Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bedford #22, 8/21/08

Well, I'm back, and the response has been overwhelming! Wait, did I say overwhelming? Yeah, I meant non-existent. As in, Yankees playoffs hopes non-existent. Sigh. But, anyway, wouldn't want to leave everyone hanging regarding my "express read" (No Country For Old Men) from last week: I did indeed finish it and return it on time. And it was excellent! In some ways I wish I had read the book before seeing the movie, because they are both so similar, and also found myself picturing the actors as the characters. Still, I'm glad I read it, since I love McCarthy's writing style, and there was added depth to the story, particularly Sheriff Bell's character but also Llewelyn Moss', that I really enjoyed. It was also interesting seeing how many off the offbeat jokes that I assumed were Coen Brothers' touches that were actually right from the book.

The other book I read, Skim, was a graphic novel about a girl's experience in high school and dealing with death and relationships and annoying peers etc. It was really good, the art was very evocative, giving an excellent sense of time and place, and probably the part of the work that I enjoyed most. The story was quite good too, and really resonated with me when it reminded me of similar experiences and relationships I'd had in high school. Definitely worth the time. Plus, it made me think of fall, which I'm quite excited for.

So, last week, still high off going to my first (Brooklyn) library in months, I went to another one...the Bedford Branch.

Branch: Bedford
Location: 496 Franklin Avenue
Transport: bike!
Item: Sentimental, Heartbroken Rednecks: Stories from the New South by Greg Bottoms
Date: Thursday, August 21, 2008

So it's gotten to the point where I need to just pick a library I haven't been to on the map and go there, selection be damned. This one, despite its name bringing up images of hipsterburg, is up in Prospect Heights, where I've been a lot lately for some reason. It's a nice neighborhood, pleasant and green but not too crowded or loud. Despite the fact that I'm no longer going with specific items in mind, I'm happy to say that I basically always end up with something I'm pleased with, this time being no exception. I'm a sucker for any and all art from the American South; I picked this up thinking it was a short story anthology, but it's all by this one guy. So far it's really good.

The library was nice, a typical Carnegie building design, but unlike in many others the upstairs/balcony portion is open to the public. There was a nice magazine reading/relaxing area up there. I think there was a sleeping guy up there, but its been a week, so I can't be too sure. No water fountain. There was some outdoor seating around back and a nice grassy area. And a big tree out front. So, good atmosphere all around. And as a bonus, I took a route home that went through the park, so i got to sit there for a while and read my new comic purchase (Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane, it's really excellent).

Oh I almost forgot, I also went to this great free concert at Lincoln Center last Wednesday (Aug. 20th) that WFMU put on. It was mostly African music that I was completely unfamiliar with, an it was all amazing. The Ex (great Dutch punk band) played with Gétatchèw Mèkurya, an awesome Ethiopian saxophonist. The Either/Orchestra, a big band orchestra from Boston, played with Mahmoud Ahmed and Alèmayèhu Eshèté, who are both superstars in the African community who have been around for decades - the crowd went nuts for them, and with good reason, they were great. Extra Golden is a D.C. based band that mixes traditional/indie rock type stuff with African music. So yeah, a totally amazing show, and I'd recommend all of the performers to anyone (though i think Mahmoud Ahmed was my favorite.) Now, for pictures...of the library, not the concert. Though I have those too.

Kid stuff kids.

Wonder at the awesome majesty!

Neighborhood resident chatting with one of New York's finest. Seriously, though, he didn't harass me for taking the picture, so that's good.

That's all for now, but this book is coming along nicely and I should be done soon. Oh yeah, don't forget to watch Obama's speech tonight. Woo! Elections! Democracy! Yeah!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dyker #82, 8/16/08

Been a long time. You didn't think I'd give up so close to my goal, though, did you? The last book I read (from a Brooklyn Library) was The End of America. I don't remember it too well now. As far as politics is concerned, The only thing really on my mind is the upcoming presidential election. How is Obama not crushing in the polls? What's the matter with people??? BAAAAAAAA Ok rant over. I just pray I'm not going to be one sad little boy on November 4th. I'd also feel better if I lived in a swing state...not that one vote makes a big difference. But, on to the library stuff. That's what we're all here for!

Branch: Dyker
Location: 8202 13th Ave. (@ 82nd St.)
Transport: bike!
Items: Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki; No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Date: Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wow, it's hard to even think of all things things that have happened since my last update. I went to a music festival in England, turned 25, got a new camera, finished some library school was a Solstice...yeah, you know, lots of things happened. And now, it's nearly the end of summer. How'd that happen? I've actually been reading a ton (I recently got compeltely obsessed with the Love and Rockets comic book series, I recommend it to all humans) but it's all been stuff I get at work and read (of which there's still a large backlog) or comics. Finally, even though I'm in the middle of an excellent book, I took advantage of yesterday's perfect weather to bike to Kensington, collect my friend Amanda, and make her bike to a library with me. The Dyker Branch, to be exact!

It's a nice branch to come back to, as it reminds me what I love about the Brooklyn Public Library system. Sure, it has a somewhat cold exterior with barbed wire on the roof, and the inside is just a big open rectangle. But the neighborhood is gorgeous, the books are laid out very well, and the staff is friendly. The librarian who checked my books out even recommended a great pizza place in the area when I asked for a lunch place! Way to nail the reference question. Also, she reminded me of my $1.50 in fines from my last book, which I promptly paid. Hopefully posting that information here won't destroy my reputation.

One last bit of good news: the library has a new (to me) feature! Express reads are books that can only be taken out for a week at a time. No Country For Old Men is one such book. This of course means I have to finish my current read as well as No Country by next Saturday, which should be doable with no class to contend with. I like the policy because it gives people a chance to get more popular books that would otherwise all be checked out, such as an excellent western that have since been made into a best picture-winning film, but I also like it because it ups the odds that I'll be back here with another library under my belt in barely over a week! If I have any readers left, they should certainly be excited by the news. Oh yeah, also, Skim is some comic that looked somewhat interesting. High school angst and whatnot. Full report later. Now, on to the pics.

Full view.

Left side...

Right side.

Nice church across the street.

And lastly, Amanda "enjoying" a piece of pizza from Rosa's. No, actually, the pizza was really good. "Get the squares," as the librarian told us.

Well, that's a wrap for today. Hope you're excited that I'm back, I know I sure am. See you all soon!