Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

The Library will close at 3 p.m. on Friday, December 31. So, go on, get out of here. Give yourself a break and start celebrating!

We will be closed Saturday, January 1 and Sunday, January 2.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Do you make New Year's resolutions? I generally don't because I'm usually still disappointed about not achieving what I had intended to during the Fall. I always loved school (nerd) and Autumn was a breath of fresh air for me after my least favorite season, so I embraced a new school year as my new year's. I still do even though my school days are well over.

But this year, I shall make one true New Year's resolution: to turn this blog into a blog, and not simply a list of announcements with a random prose entry thrown in every couple of months*.

Oh, and hey, all you NYSL member writers: if you want to guest blog, email me. Cause you know I'll need help with this.

*I realize that I have promised this before. But this is a resolution. I'll try harder.

comic courtesy of Nature's Graffiti

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Locker Update

Please be advised that the six-month lockers and the day lockers will be ready for use as early as possible in the New Year. If you have been assigned a six-month locker, we will notify you with your locker number and combination. When the day lockers are available, we will post an update on Facebook, Twitter, and on this blog.

If you would like to add your name to the six-month locker waiting list, please ask at the Circulation Desk for an application

Thanks for your patience!

Coming Up in The Writing Life 2011

The Library's Events newsletter will be arriving in mailboxes very soon, but here's a sneak peak at The Writing Life events coming up January - March. You can register for all of them now online with your barcode. Just click the links below or visit the online calendar.

Tuesday, Jan 11, 10:00 a.m., Whitridge Room

Tuesday, Feb 8, 10:00 a.m., Whitridge Room

Tuesday, Mar 8, 10:00 a.m., Whitridge Room

Thursday, March 24, 6:00 p.m., Members' Room
To register to read, you must send an email to me at Readers must be NYSL members.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finding a Literary Agent is hard.

We know. So we're trying to help. Register for Finding a Literary Agent, the next event in The Writing Life daytime talk series. Our panel of experts tells us how they find their clients and what writers should and shouldn't do to get their attention.
Sharon Bowers of The Miller Agency
Zoe Pagnamenta of The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency
Elisabeth Weed of Weed Literary

Tuesday, January 11, 10:00 am
Whitridge Room

Registration is required due to space constraints!
Register online NOW!

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's a Snow Day....the Library is CLOSED

Today is Monday, December 27.

We know that you've been waiting anxiously for us to reopen after the Christmas holiday....but the snow will keep us closed for one more day. Hope you stocked up on enough books (or received some as gifts!) to hunker down.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Week Library Schedule

Please note that the Library will be CLOSED on December 24, 25, and 26.

We will be open our usual hours 9 am - 7 pm on Thursday, December 23.


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Writing Life Week of December 20

It may be a holiday week, but there's still writing to be done here at the Library.

MONDAY, Dec 20 at 3pm: Memoir Writers Group
(Whitridge Room)

WEDNESDAY, Dec 22 at 11am: Fiction Group II
(Whitridge Room)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What the Dickens?

What the Dickens? A Christmas Carol Marathon
Readers include Scott Adsit, Mike Albo, Jonathan Ames, Kurt Andersen, Thomas Beller, Max Blagg, Alexander Chee, Farai Chideya, Joshua Cohen, (NYSL member Janet Dierbeck's daughter) Lisa Dierbeck, Karen Essex, Mary Gaitskill, David Gates, Zachary German, Kathryn Harrison, Jill Hennessy, Heidi Julavits, Julie Klam, Ted Lee, Sam Lipsyte, (NYSL member) Colum McCann , Patrick McGrath, Honor Moore, Francine Prose, Laurie Sandell, Said Sayrafiezadeh, Amanda Stern, Justin Taylor, and Hannah Tinti.

Sunday, December 19, 1pm
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby Street


Friday, December 10, 2010

The Writing Life Week of December 13

MONDAY, Dec 13 at 3pm: Non-fiction Writers Group
(Whitridge Room)

TUESDAY, Dec 14 at 10am: Daytime Talk Series event:
Beyond the Book Tour: Marketing Your Book with Gilda Squire
(Whitridge Room)
If you are not already registered for this event, please contact me to see if there's still space available.

TUESDAY, Dec 14 at 5pm (please note this is a date change): Fiction Group I
(Whitridge Room)

These events are open to active Library members only.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Evening with Colum McCann

Member Colum McCann will part of the Selected Shorts series at Symphony Space tomorrow night. Actors Mary-Louise Parker, Amy Ryan and Michael Cerveris will also perform.
Wed, Dec 8 at 7 pm
Symphony Space, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre
$27; Member $23; 30 & Under $15

purchase tickets

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jonathan Franzen at McNally Jackson

Member Jonathan Franzen will be at McNally Jackson Books tonight for a reading, discussion, and signing of Freedom.

Thursday, December 2, 7pm
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street

Monday, November 29, 2010

100 Notable Books

The New York Times has posted a list of the 100 Notable Books of 2010. Congratulations to all the authors, but especially to those on the list who are associated with our Library in some way:

David Goodwillie told me he wrote part of his novel American Subversive here at the Library...Member Jonathan Franzen's on the list for Freedom and Stacy Schiff for Cleopatra.

Member Barnet Schecter's George Washington's America: A Biography Through his Maps was hailed as one of the best coffee table books of the year. Barnet will discuss his book at an event at the Library next week.

a busy Tuesday

Lots going on tomorrow...Pick one:

Artist Panel and Gallery Talk @ 6pm:
Member Meredith Bergmann will be participating with fellow artists Stanley Greenberg, Nora Herting and Andrés Vera Martínez to discuss the Brooklyn Historical Society's new exhibit
Artist and Artifact: Re|Visioning Brooklyn's Past
Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street

Books at the Bar Author Reading and Reception @ 6pm
Benjamin Hett, author of Crossing Hitler, examines the horrifying consequences to one principled Berlin lawyer who dared take on the Fuhrer in the courtroom on the eve of the Nazi rise to power. The Books at the Bar reading series is sponsored by the New York City Bar Association and chaired by NYSL member and NY State Judge Diane Kiesel.
Free and open to the public
New York City Bar Association
42 West 44th Street

Author Reading @ 6:30pm
Join Morris Dickstein at the Museum of the City of New York for a discussion of his award-winning book Dancing in the Dark and a conversation focusing on how Great Depression-era culture celebrated the “everyman” — from the music of Aaron Copland to the radio comedy “Amos and Andy” to the cartoons of Denys Wortman.
Reservations required: 917-492-3395 or e-mail
$6 museum members; $8 seniors and students; $12 non-members
$6 when you mention The Writing Life blog
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street

Proust Society Lecture @ 7pm
NYSL member Anka Muhlstein takes a closer look at Baron de Charlus in this Proust Society Lecture at The Center for Fiction.
Proust Society Members Free, Center for Fiction Members $5, General Admission $8
The Center for Fiction
17 E. 47th Street

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Library will be closed on Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

We will be open as usual on the weekend. I will be here on Saturday, so come on in and say hello...

And did anybody notice that I changed the look of the blog? It's awesome! (well that's the name of the design template anyway). Does anyone care?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Writing Groups Next Week

Mark your calendars for next week's writing group meetings.

MONDAY, Nov 22: Fiction Writers Group II
11am -1pm, Whitridge Room
Please note that this is a change from the date published in the print newsletter.

TUESDAY, Nov 23: Poets Group
4:30pm - 6:30pm, Whitridge Room

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Louis Begley at The Center for Fiction

Member Louis Begley will be reading from and discussing his latest book Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters at The Center for Fiction TONIGHT.

The Center for Fiction
Thursday, Nov 18, 7pm
Center for Fiction members, $5
General Public, $8
or donate a book to the Center's Books for NYC Schools program
Proust Society members get in FREE.

IMPAC Award Longlist is really LONG

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is the largest and most international literary prize, with libraries from around the world nominating books which can be written in any language.

As a result, this award's longlist is reaaaaally long. 162 titles are represented from 43 countries.

Congratulations to our own Library member Colum McCann for his nomination for Let the Great World Spin...The IMPAC's shortlist will be named on April 12.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What to make of this?

I read today that the Wasserstein Prize (a $25,000 award granted annually to an emerging female playwright under the age of 32) "declined to make an award in its fourth year".

I read this with obvious interest, as the award is named for late, famed playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who wrote many of her plays here at the Library. (In fact, if you want to channel Wasserstein's genius, book Study Room 1, in which you can still hear trickling water through the exposed pipes, which according to library lore, was a feature that Wasserstein found comforting).

The Prize panel didn't think that any of the 4 finalists deserved the prize. So how did they become finalists in the first place? According to the rules of the prize, “playwrights were nominated for the prize by leading theatrical practitioners who were particularly knowledgeable about new plays and emerging playwrights". Surely one of these nominated playwrights was worthy.

What do you think? Was the panel right to decline to award the prize?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Constance Rosenblum at McNally Jackson

Member Constance Rosenblum, editor of the new anthology More New York Stories: Best of The City Section will be at McNally Jackson Books tonight along with contributors Helen Benedict, Carolin H. Dworin, Jake Mooney, Gregory Beyer, Saki Knaffo, and Katherine Bindley.

Constance is the author of The New York Society Library's 2009 New York City Book Award winning Boulevard of Dreams, a social history of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

McNally Jackson Books
Monday, November 15, 7 pm

a very New York kind of day

Every so often (maybe not often enough), I have a day off when I stay here in the city and just wander around. I do love New York City, but I also spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out places to go to get away from it. I'm the one who arranges to take her comp time on a Friday so that every other week, I have a 3 day weekend. Believe me, I can put together some amazing trips in that short a period of time and red-eye flights do not put me off. I have managed to spend my 3 days as far away as San Francisco and Seattle, leaf peeping in New Hampshire, and even hiking in Utah(ok, so that one required 4 days). But sometimes, I manage to stay put and it's then that I realize how amazing it is to live here.

So what does a Manhattanite do on a beautiful day with absolutely no plans? Well, Brooklyn seemed kind of exotic. I packed my book (find me a librarian that is ever without at least one book in their bag) and headed out to the Brooklyn Historical Society on Pierrepont Street. I'd never been there, despite the fact that a lifetime ago, I worked not far from there at the Metrotech complex. The museum is small, but powerful - and prominently displayed in the lobby is NYSL member, sculptor and poet Meredith Bergmann's HISTORIA TESTIS TEMPORUM: Pinky, 2010, a cast resin rondel of freed slave Sally Maria Diggs that she created for the museum's new exhibit Artist & Artifact: Re/Visioning Brooklyn's Past. I had hoped to see the work of the other 10 artists selected to create works for the exhibit, but they are across the street at the (closed on Sunday) public gallery BRIC ARTS/MEDIA/BKLYN.

While I am a terrific wanderer in unfamiliar places, I generally prefer to do it with a map in hand. On the just-in-case. But with the Brooklyn Bridge and the river in sight, I rambled at ease, down some very lovely streets towards the water. Fall leaves are a kind of fairy dust, don’t you think? I made my way down Middagh Street and found myself at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, where I sat for a while watching the promenaders and the boat traffic on the river and noticing the partially completed park way down below. So I meandered through the streets again, following the bridge lines, and found myself at Brooklyn Bridge Park. I'm embarrassed to write that I only discovered the extent of the Hudson River Park a little while ago (on another "found myself in NYC with nothing to do" day), so this was another great surprise. I had already eaten a late breakfast or I would have had a lobster roll at the Ditch Plains Drop In or a carne asado taco at the Calexico cart. But then I discovered the Brooklyn Bridge Wine Bar. I sat and read my book for a while, but was sidetracked by the police officers on the NYPD boat waving to the children, the couple taking wedding photos, and the Manhattan skyline itself, which despite its now gaping hole, is still breathtaking.

From my waterside seat, I watched tourists snapping photos from the Brooklyn Bridge and realized {gasp} that I'd never, ever walked it myself. Time to right a wrong. I'm a fast walker, and get agitated in crowds, and while the views in places are obstructed by sheeting I found that I understood completely why the bridge had inspired so many, from Vladimir Malakovsky to Hart Crane to Jack Kerouac and Marianne Moore. I will have to mark my calendar for next year's Poets' House annual Bridge Walk.

Across the bridge, I wandered north, past City Hall, Chinatown (next time I will plan ahead to make it to MOCA before it closes). Then I landed in Paris in New York. I might have been the only English speaker at Tartinery, where the delicious tartines are presented on Poilane country bread imported from France daily. Instead of negotiating a whirlwind 3 day weekend to Paris, maybe I could just read Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris with a glass of bourgogne and a tartine in front of me instead.

Around the corner, I stopped into McNally Jackson Books (bookstores are required stops for librarians. it's a sort of sickness) where naturally I bought two more books that I certainly didn't need. I continued my ramble into a leather goods store with a friendly shopkeeper; upon learning that I was a librarian she asked me where she could find copies of a beautifully designed art magazine she had recently discovered. I suggested that her best best would be the Periodicals Room at NYPL, and upon double-checking today, am relieved to report that they have nearly the full run.

I had a day full of literary inspirations and it had started with a Library member. It ended with a member too. Member Janet Dierbeck had invited me to a reading of her daughter Lisa Dierbeck's new book at KGB Bar. Lisa is an accomplished writer whose new publishing collaborative Mischief and Mayhem Books is releasing her The Autobiography of Jenny X. I had just finished and enjoyed One Pill Makes You Smaller in which she channels Alice in Wondlerland and the Jefferson Airplane in a story about a prematurely developed 11 year old in the anything goes 1970s, so it was a pleasure to be able to tell her in person.

Just as I was congratulating myself on a nearly ideal day, there was the MTA and an unexpected service shutdown as a stark reminder that my perfect Sunday was officially over.

NYSL Writing Groups this Week

Memoir Writers
TODAY, Monday, Nov 15, 3pm - 5:45pm
Whitridge Room

Fiction Writers Group I
Tuesday, Nov 16, 5pm - 6:45pm
Whitridge Room

Writing groups are open to Library members only. No registration is required. Any questions, call Carolyn, Writer Services Librarian at 212-288-6900 x244.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jonathan Franzen at 92nd Street Y

Alas, the 92nd Street Y's website indicates that this event is SOLD OUT, but that they may release more seats closer to the event date.

Member Jonathan Franzen (Freedom) joins Lorrie Moore (A Gate at the Stairs) in conversation.

92nd Street Y (Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street)
Monday, November 15, 8pm

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Special invitation for readers of the blog!

Monday, November 15, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Louis Auchincloss Prize: Pete Hamill

In recognition of the enormous literary legacy of Louis Auchincloss, who died in January 2010, the Museum of the City of New York presents the Louis Auchincloss Prize this year to renowned man of letters Pete Hamill. In accepting the prize, Mr. Hamill will offer reflections on the life and art of Louis Auchincloss and on parallels between their literary lives.

A reception will follow Mr. Hamill’s talk.

Space is limited and reservations are required:
917-492-3395 or e-mail
$20 general admission; $15 for Museum members
$15 when you mention The Writing Life blog

The Arvon Book of Life Writing

We've just purchased this new book for the collection that might be of interest to those of you writing biography, autobiography and memoir:

The Arvon Book of Life Writing by Sally Cline and Carole Angier offers:
1-reflections on their trade by the authors
2-personal tips and tales from 32 top British and American life writers
3-a practical guide, complete with exercises

Roxana Robinson at The Center for Fiction TONIGHT

Member Roxana Robinson joins fellow writers (and book critics) Lev Grossman, and Jane Ciabattari in this intriguing talk Fiction Writers/Book Critics: What Happens When You Do Both?. Moderated by Noreen Tomassi, Director at The Center for Fiction.

The Center for Fiction
Thursday, November 11, 7pm

Meredith Bergmann's Sculpture

Member Meredith Bergmann is a poet and sculptor whose newest work, self-described "pseudo-public art", is now on exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

For the new exhibition Artist and Artifact: Re|Visioning Brooklyn’s Past, the museum asked artists, musicians and writers to explore the Society's collection for inspiration for original art work. Meredith found inspiration (and puzzlement) in the terracotta busts of (non-Brooklynites) Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Mozart, and Gutenberg that adorn the BHS building and in turn, created a bust of Sally Maria Diggs, a 19th century Brooklyn slave freed with the help of Henry Ward Beecher.

The exhibition is on now through December 16, 2010
The Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street at Clinton Street

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Open Mic Night III

So, The New York Society Library's Open Mic Night III is now just a memory, but what a night it was!

Big thanks go to our fabulous host, member Betsy Carter, who just happened to be celebrating the release of the paperback edition of her latest novel, The Puzzle King on the very same day.

As I know from past Open Mics, there are always a few last minute changes, and last night was no exception. Toni Schlesinger, (who hosted our 2nd Open Mic last March) kicked off the evening's readings - and while she was planning on reading narrative non-fiction that featured "apprehension, romance, murder, and the sea", instead she gave us a mariner's fictional diary that remarkably also included apprehension, romance, murder, and the sea!

We had a number of poets on the program. The Library's Poetry group leader, Jan C. Grossman, read from a manuscript in progress that featured a beautiful and graceful poem that was inspired by and written in our Members' Room. Phoebe Hoss's poems were inspired by the hearbreaking story of her son's struggle with schizophrenia and Alison Tung gave us a lesson in the form and rules of T'ang Dynasty poetry when sharing her poem Conservatory Garden-October. The Library's own Alan Behler (our newest Systems Assistant) celebrated his sister's wedding and channeled a 3rd grade memory into two poems from a work in progress.

The evening featured strong fiction - Jack Buchanan's cold war thriller The Rise of Stefan Gregorovic; Cary Barbor's novel in progress about a bodega owning Queens family; the forthcoming final book in Chris Evan's Iron Elves trilogy; Diana Altman's In Theda Bara's Tent; Carrie Cooperider's funny and clever work in progress titled Figures of Speech; and Pink, Hot Summer, the forthcoming follow-up to Ellen Liberty's first novel Heat, Gin, Despair. I'm usually thrilled when our member writers make connections, but what to make of this? Alas, meeting fellow writer Carrie Cooperider triggered Jack Buchanan's unfortunate childhood memories of corporal punishment at the hands of an Ohio schoolmaster named Cooperider. Carrie did own up to having family in Ohio, but we wisely didn't pursue it any further.

Jack Levin read from his monologue Terrifying, a reference to a description once given of his voice that was tempered by a kind soul who actually liked that voice enough to ask him to record her voicemail message. And believe it or not, in a totally unexpected coincidence, that "kind soul", playwright and NYSL member Cynthia (C.S.) Hanson just happened to be in the audience last night. Cynthia and husband Kent staged a reading of her comic play "Stalk Me, Baby" at our very first Open Mic!

And other surprises were in store...prolific children's author Robert Quackenbush managed to read his entire book - the 30 year old recently reissued book for young readers First Grade Jitters.

Victoria Reiter once again (remember Salvador Dali at Open Mic Night I?) wowed the audience with her memory piece Hollywood Party about the strange pairing of Milton Berle and Carl Sandburg. Laura J. Snyder admitted to being nervous reading her soon to be released The Philosophical Breakfast Club despite the fact that her day job is a Professor of Philosophy at St. John's. Surprisingly, only one memoir was presented last evening: Mary Catherine Bolster, one of our Memoir writing group members, read from a work in progress that she started as part of a writing program.

In addition to our amazingly talented member writers, a huge thanks also goes out to the Library staffers who helped make the evening such a success: Conservator George Munoz and Children's Library Assistant Ana Chiu made sure there were no A/V mishaps; Sara Holliday, our Events Coordinator extraordinaire worked the door and made sure there was plenty of liquid courage on hand; and Harry Abarca, as always, working behind the scenes to set up and break down the Members' Room so we could get as close as possible to a downtown "poetry slam" ambience in such a rarefied setting. And I can't forget our Head Librarian Mark Bartlett, who is always supportive whenever I propose yet another Writer Services "experiment".

Stacy Schiff on Cleopatra

Member Stacy Schiff kicks off The New York Society Library/Channel 13 Author Series with Cleopatra: A Life, her new book which has been garnering rave reviews.
This event is for Library Members and their guests.

Wednesday, November 10, 6:30pm
Kaye Playhouse, 695 Park Ave


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Andrew McCarthy at Strand Bookstore TONIGHT

Member Andrew McCarthy will be reading tonight at the Strand Bookstore from the new Lonely Planet anthology A Moveable Feast; Life-Changing Food Adventures Around the World.

An actor turned writer, Andrew's travel writing has appeared in Bon Appetit, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Travel, and Afar, among others. He has been named the Lowell Thomas 2010 Travel Journalist of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers.

Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway at 12th St.
7pm, Free


Adam Gopnik at the Met TONIGHT

Member Adam Gopnik discusses J.D. Salinger and the City at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 6:00 PM
Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

Ellen Feldman at NYPL

Member Ellen Feldman joins biographer Hazel Rowley in a talk at NYPL: FDR, Eleanor, Lucy: A Great President, A Brilliant Political Marriage, A Tragic Love Affair

Tuesday, November 9, 4pm
The New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's a busy week at the Library ...

Mark your calendars.

Monday, Nov 8
Non-fiction writing group, 3 pm, Whitridge Room

Tuesday & Thursday, Nov 9 and 11
Writing Your Life: A Memoir Workshop , 10 am, Whitridge Room
Please note that this event is fully registered.

Tuesday, Nov 9
OPEN MIC Night III! 6 pm, Members' Room
Reading slots are filled, but audience members are welcome. $15 at the door.

Wednesday, Nov 10
Stacy Schiff on Cleopatra, 6:30 pm, Kaye Playhouse (NYSL/Channel 13 Author Series Lecture), $10

Friday, November 5, 2010

Non-Fiction Writers Meeting MONDAY

Are you working on biography, history, self-help, or narrative non-fiction?
Join the New York Society Library Non-fiction Writing Group!

Monday, November 8, 3pm, Whitridge Room
{The group meets regularly on the 2nd Monday of each month}
Open to Library members only.

Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Susan Cheever on Louisa May Alcott TONIGHT at the Library

Bestselling author and Library member Susan Cheever will discuss the life and work of Louisa May Alcott, the subject of her latest book.

Wednesday, November 3, 6:30 pm
The New York Society Library, Members' Room
$10 with advance registration/$15 at the door
This event is open to the public.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

5th Floor Reopening MONDAY!!

Exciting news, member writers!
The 5th floor is re-opening on Monday, November 1.

There will now be 6 private writing rooms (we're taking reservations now) and an expanded large study room, which has been renamed the Hornblower Room in recognition of the generous bequest that made this renovation possible. Members will also notice new Aeron chairs (ergonomically correct!) and new table lamps (no more squinting!). New 6-month and day lockers will be installed in a few weeks.

And don't forget to ogle the beautiful, newly unveiled skylight as you walk the main staircase.

We thank you for your patience while this work was underway.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fiction Group II Meeting on Wednesday at 11 am

The Library's Fiction Writers Group II will be resuming its meetings after the summer-long hiatus tomorrow at 11am.

Bring a few pages of work in progress to share with the group. A portion of the meeting will be set aside to greet new members and discuss the group's ongoing procedures and protocol.

Fiction Group II
Wednesday, October 27, 11am - 1pm
Marshall Room (please gather in the 1st floor Reference Room for escort to 4th floor)

*Please note that writing groups are open to Library members only

Poets Group Meeting at 4:30pm TODAY

Calling all NYSL poets! Bring a few poems in progress and a favorite poem and join The New York Society Library's poets group for writing support and feedback.

TODAY, Tuesday, October 26, 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Marshall Room (please gather in Reference Room for escort to the 4th floor)

*Please note that these writing groups are open to Library members only.

Katharine Davis at The Center for Fiction Tonight

Those of you participating in The New York Society Library's writing groups know what a rich experience the support, encouragement, and feedback of your fellow writers can be.

Tonight, member Katharine Davis (pictured upper left, author of East Hope and A Slender Thread), along with Carolyn Parkhurst, Susan Coll, and Ann McLaughlin, will be discussing how their own long-running writing group has affected their work and their lives.

The Center for Fiction
17 E. 47th Street
TONIGHT, Tuesday, October 26, 7pm
Click here for more info and to RSVP

Monday, October 25, 2010

Michael Bergmann's Milk and Money

The New York Times calls it a "daffy enjoyable little film from 1996", a nonsensical story that centers on a medical-school dropout named David (Robert Petkoff), who seems to have a knack for standing on New York City sidewalks and having odd things involving gorgeous women happen to him. Member Michael Bergmann wrote and directed this treat which also features Calista Flockhart, Robert Vaughn, Olympia Dukakis, and Peter Boyle.

And Michael has arranged a special deal for Library members - if you mention The New York Society Library on Wednesday (10/27) or Thursday (10/28), you'll get $3 off the ticket price!

Big Cinemas Manhattan, 239 E. 59th Street
Today through Thursday, Oct 28, 8pm
$12 ($9 Wed, Thur if you mention the Library)
For tickets and theater information, click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heller Levinson at Tillies's in Brooklyn Tonight

Member Heller Levinson and Carol Novack will be the featured readers for tonight's Brownstone Poets Reading Series at Tillie's of Brooklyn. The evening starts with an Open Mic (sign up starts at 6:45 pm).

The Brownstone Poets Reading Series
Tillie's of Brooklyn
248 DeKalb Avenue
Tuesday, October 19, 7 pm
information here

Fiction Writers Group I meeting TODAY

Tuesday, October 19
5 pm - 7 pm

Marshall Room (please gather in the Reference Room for escort to the 4th floor)

*Writing Groups are open to New York Society Library members only

Monday, October 18, 2010

Memoir Writers Group Meeting Today

Monday, October 18
3pm - 5pm

Marshall Room (please gather in the Reference Room for escort to 4th floor)

*Please note that writing groups are open to Library members only

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Janet Elder at the Corner Bookstore

Member Janet Elder reads from her new book Huck: The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family--and a Whole Town--about Hope and Happy Endings tonight at the Corner Bookstore.

Oh, and did you catch her star turn on the David Letterman show? Watch it here.

The Corner Bookstore
1313 Madison Avenue
Tuesday, October 12, 6PM, Free
More information on Janet's website

and this is the adorable HUCK:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shirley Hazzard TONIGHT at the Library

Our own incomparable member and trustee Shirley Hazzard will discuss her work, views, and travels with Robert Harrison tonight in the Members' Room.

Shirley Hazzard is one of the world's most gifted and acclaimed writers. Her eleven books include the 2004 National Book Award winning The Great Fire, The Transit of Venus, and The Bay of Noon.

The New York Society Library
53 E. 79th Street
Members' Room, 6:30PM
$10 advance registration/$15 at the door

Arthur Ainsberg's Breakthrough: The Story of Insulin

Member Arthur Ainsberg's book Breakthrough : Elizabeth Hughes, the discovery of insulin, and the making of a medical miracle has just been released. At the same time, a new exhibition at the New York Historical Society, Breakthrough, brings to life the dramatic story of Elizabeth Evans Hughes,daughter of the leading statesman and jurist Charles Evans Hughes—who was among the very first patients to be saved.

According to Jean Ashton, Executive Vice President of the Historical Society and Director of its Library, “The point of departure for organizing this exhibition was the new book by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg, Breakthrough, which casts light on events that took place almost a century ago.

Exhibition on view TODAY through January 31, 2011
The New York Historical Society
Two West 77th Street

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jan Grossman Poetry Reading TODAY

Member Jan Grossman will be reading from her poetry at the

New York Public Library
96th Street Branch (between Park and Lexington)
Thursday, Sept 30
5:30 PM, FREE
more information here

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brenda Wineapple at the Center for Fiction

Member Brenda Wineapple (author of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson) will appear tonight at The Center for Fiction to discuss love and literature with Lore Segal, Gary Giddins, and Steven Koch.

Take the opportunity to visit one of our sister membership libraries
The Center for Fiction
17 E. 47th Street
Wed, Sept 22, 7 pm
to rsvp,click here

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tom Wolfe. Award Winner.

Congratulations to member Tom Wolfe who has been named the winner of the National Book Foundation’s 2010 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Past winners of the medal have included Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, Gore Vidal, Toni Morrison, and our own NYSL member Joan Didion. Tom Wolfe will receive his award at the National Book Awards ceremony on November 17.

{from the news report in Publishers Weekly}

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New art exhibit features poems by Esther Cohen

Member Esther Cohen's poems grace a new art exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

PAINTING BROOKLYN STORIES of IMMIGRATION AND SURVIVAL, curated by painter Nina Talbot, features paintings, oral histories, poetry and personal effects that tell the stories of individuals who have immigrated to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Sept 17, 2010 through Feb 27, 2011

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NYSL Closed FRIDAY, Sept 10

Just a reminder that the Library will be closed on Friday, September 10 for renovation work.

But! It's that time of year again, so we will be open
Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm and Sunday, 1 pm - 5 pm.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Simon Van Booy Reading TONIGHT

Member Simon Van Booy will be presenting his new Philosophy series and reading from his new book Why Our Decisions Don't Matter.

McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
TONIGHT, 7pm, Free.

Simon's author website here

Jonathan Franzen Reading TONIGHT

Member Jonathan Franzen will be reading from his universally acclaimed new novel Freedom

Barnes & Noble
Union Square, 33 East 17th Street
7pm. Free

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Reference Books for Writers

Every writer can use a little help now and then. The Library has recently purchased the following new and updated reference books.

You know you've been waiting for it. The 16th (2010) edition of The Chicago Manual of Style is now available. {On the temporary reference shelf in the Whitridge Room while the Large Study Room is closed}

For those of you struggling with content for the web, there's
The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World. {On the temporary reference shelf in the Whitridge Room while the Large Study Room is closed}

Track down the right agent in the 2011 edition of the Guide to Literary Agents. {Ask at the Circulation Desk}

Peruse the 2011 edition of The Writer's Market{Ask at the Circulation Desk}

Brush up on your grammar with Roy Peter Clark's humorous guide to good writing, The Glamour of Grammar.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Open Mic Excitement!!

This blog has yet to reach a substantial audience (or any audience at all, it sometimes seems), and I am aware that I am wholly responsible for this very sad situation.

Whatever. I shall endure and it will get better. I promise.

In the meantime, to reward the 10 of you who may be reading this, I am now opening up the registration for the limited reading spots at the highly anticipated....ta da!

OPEN MIC NIGHT III at The New York Society Library

Reading spots at the last two Open Mics booked up quickly, so if you want to grab an advance spot to read your original fiction, non-fiction or poetry* email me now, because after Labor Day, the date will be announced to the entire membership via the Fall Events newsletter.

Email me at I am currently on a little vacation, so hold tight and I will respond to all your emails and confirm your spots after Labor Day.

*remember, readers must be current New York Society Library members

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Renovation Update: Library Will Be Closed September 10

Mark your calendars...the Library will be closed Friday, September 10 for renovation work.

However, the good news is that the following day, we will enjoy our first open weekend of the season. We will be open 9-5 on Saturdays and 1-5 on Sundays until next summer.

For renovation questions, please contact us by phone 212-288-6900 or e-mail

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Perfect Writing Spot

I thought I would share this post I came across yesterday on The Millions, a terrific online magazine.

Many of you will relate to this piece, those of you who come here to write because your apartment is too small, too big, too cluttered, too pristine, too quiet, too loud or because you can only drink so much coffee at Starbucks. There's something about working in the Library, though. It's certainly quiet (those of you who work here make sure that's so), and it's reasonably inexpensive, but I don't think that's really it.

I suspect that it's the community of writers here that makes the place so conducive to work. You're all in this together, even if you don't know what your fellow tablemate is so earnestly working on. How could you not be productive when everyone around you seems to be?

Tell me, what is it about The New York Society Library that inspires you to write here?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sex on the Beach

Member Hilary Thayer Hamann will be reading from her Anthropology of an American Girl at the In the Flesh Erotic Reading Series at the Happy Ending Lounge.

Thursday, August 19, 8 - 10 pm
Happy Ending Lounge
302 Broome Street (between Eldridge and Forsyth)

oh, and did I mention the free cupcakes?
More information here

Monday, August 16, 2010

Library Reopens TODAY!

It's Monday, August 16, 2010.
Welcome back, everyone! We can't promise there won't be noise...but we are open for business!

Remember that the fifth floor remains closed for renovation, but the Whitridge Room is available as a quiet study and work space with desks and wireless access.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dolores Rice directs Neil LaBute's "Romance"

The Summer Shorts 4 Festival of New American Plays is now on!

Member Dolores Rice directs Neil LaBute's "Romance", which the New Yorker calls the "the most intriguing" one-act of the festival. And The New York Times writes that "this affecting, carefully drawn piece, an excavation of a failed simply devastating, and devastatingly delivered".

Tickets for the Summer Shorts Series A featuring "Romance"
59E59 Theaters
59 E. 59th Street
on now through August 31

Friday, July 30, 2010


We miss you. You miss us. But we'll be apart for just a little bit longer, due to further renovation delays. Below is the text of the email and letter that has been sent to all members about the ongoing renovation:

July 30, 2010

Dear Library Member:

We are writing to inform you that because of further delays, the Library will be unable to reopen on Monday, August 2 as planned. At this point, we expect to reopen on Monday, August 16.

We wanted to provide a few answers to some common questions we've been receiving this summer:

How can I find out more information?
Call the main phone number, 212-288-6900
Check our website
Visit our Facebook page,

What about my books on loan and fines?
A staff member is outside the building Monday to Friday 9-5. You can return any Library materials during these hours.
The Library will be charging no late fines on any item until September 13.
Call the main phone number with any inquiries about books already checked out, books on hold, or new books you would like to request we order.
Check our Library catalog.

We apologize for the ongoing inconvenience and will do everything we can to ensure that the Library reopens on the 16th, and earlier if at all possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Mark Bartlett

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Michael Bergmann's Tied to a Chair

Member Michael Bergmann's new film Tied to a Chair will be screened this week as part of the New York Independent Film Festival.

Michael wrote and directed this comedy about a housewife who sets out to reclaim the acting career she gave up for her husband 25 years ago, which stars Bonnie Loren, Mario Van Peebles, and Robert Gossett. View the hilarious trailer here!

Thursday, July 29, 8pm
City Cinemas Village East
181 2nd Avenue at 12th Street
click here for tickets

Monday, July 26, 2010

One Flight Up with Susan Fales-Hill

Meet member Susan Fales-Hill as she reads from her debut novel
One Flight Up. Susan wrote part of this "irresistible comedic romp through the boardrooms, bedrooms, and ballrooms of Manhattan and Paris" right here in the library.

Tuesday, July 27, 7:30 pm
Barnes & Noble Lincoln Triangle
1972 Broadway
more information here

Thursday, July 29, 6 pm
Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd
more information here

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hannah Pakula at Asia Society

NYSL Member Hannah Pakula, author of The Last Empress, will join Alan Brinkley (The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century) in a talk about the complex ties between American publishing giant Henry Luce and the charismatic Chinese leaders Madame and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm
The Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
for more information click here

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Renovation UPDATE!!

To paraphrase Robert Burns...the best laid plans often go awry.

And so it goes, the Library will be unable to reopen on July 19 as planned. At this point, we hope to reopen on August 2, and if we can open sooner than that, we will!

For renovation updates, please visit our website or our Facebook page. For other questions, please email or call the main phone number 212-288-6900.

*A staff member will be outside the building to accept any books you may wish to return. There will be no late fines assessed on any items until September 13.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thomas Fleming's 1st book - 50 years later

Member Thomas Fleming published his first book Now We Are Enemies in 1960. The story of Bunker Hill was the first on this historic event in over 85 years, and the book became a main selection of the Literary Guild and was subsequently condensed in Reader's Digest. Not a bad start to a writing career!

50 years later, Now We Are Enemies is being reissued by American History Press today, June 17, the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill.

Since that first book, Thomas Fleming has gone on to cement his reputation as a stellar writer and historian of the American Revolution. Just last year, he published his 33rd book, The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers, which was a main selection of the History Book Club and was named the best book of 2009 by the American Revolution Roundtable.

For more information about Thomas Fleming, click here

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Apology: a new play by Dolores Rice

The Apology
A staged reading of a new play by member Dolores Rice

June 17 and 18 only!
8 pm
Tribeca Performing Arts Center
199 Chambers Street
For complimentary tickets, please call 212-220-1460

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last Meetings of the Writing Groups for the Summer

Think of it as a well deserved rest.

As a result of the upcoming renovations to the Library, the writing groups will be suspended for the Summer. Following are the last meetings of the groups until the Fall:

Fiction Writers Group I: TONIGHT! Tues, June 15, 5 pm – 6:45 pm (Whitridge Room)
Memoir Writers Group: Mon, June 21, 3 pm – 4:45 pm and Mon, July 26, 3 pm – 4:45 pm (Marshall Room*)
Poets Group: Tues, June 22, 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm (Marshall Room*)
Fiction Writers Group II: Wed, June 23, 11 am – 1 pm (Marshall Room*)
Non-Fiction Writers Group: no more meetings until the Fall

*as there are other higher priorities for the Marshall Room during this time (renovation meetings, staff meetings, and rare book readers), please don’t hate me if I have to unexpectedly cancel or bump you from that room…

Any questions? Please feel free to call or email me at

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

24 Hour Read In for NYC Libraries!

I've posted about this before. NYC public libraries really are in trouble. Proposed budget cuts will significantly threaten services - an astounding 40 branches may close entirely across the 3 systems while hours, services, and materials will be severely cut back at the remaining branches. And do I need to mention that you'll lose the support of many of your favorite librarians and staffers? Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library have already handed out pink slips.

Write your council person, write to Mayor Bloomberg.
And join the We Will Not Be Shushed 24 Hour Read In! on the steps of Brooklyn Public Library's Central Branch this Saturday at 5 pm. Come for a little while or stay for the long haul. For more information and to sign up to read or volunteer, visit SaveNYCLibraries

Monday, June 7, 2010


By now, all members should have received notification that the Library will be expanding the 5th floor space to improve the working conditions and increase the number of private writing rooms (yay!) As a result, the 5th floor will need to be closed for approximately 3 months beginning June 21.

If you have a locker on the 5th floor, you will need to remove your belongings before Friday, June 18, otherwise, unfortunately, we will need to do it for you.

Any questions, please contact Patrick Rayner, Circulation Supervisor at 212-288-6900 x210 or at

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Palace

The Palace, written and directed by
member Toni Schlesinger, is the epic story of a grand and aging miniature movie palace as she fights for survival through the Moorish years, the noir years, the porn years, and the Straub and Huillet years. Then one day, a mysterious film about love is left in the lobby…

This production of The Palace is part of the Great Small Works International Toy Theater Festival

The Palace will be performed this coming Friday & Saturday only!
June 4 & 5 @ 10 pm
St. Ann's Warehouse
DUMBO, Brooklyn

Click here for tickets and directions to St. Ann's Warehouse

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Books by Members

Our member writers have been busy - 5 new titles by member writers are being published this month. Congratulations to them all!

Lauren Belfer's novel A Fierce Radiance is a mystery and romance set at the outset of WWII and has already picked up a starred review from Booklist and a nod in the latest O Magazine.

Ann Brashares's My Name is Memory is the first in a planned trilogy that spans multiple lifetimes (think The Time Traveler's Wife).

Alan Furst's new WWII thriller Spies of the Balkans is bound to be a hit. He's following up his bestselling Spies of Warsaw, which was the 9th most circulated title at NYSL last year.

Cait Murphy dishes up real law & order, New York nineteenth-century style with Scoundrels in Law: The Trials of Howe & Hummel, Lawyers to the Gangsters, Cops, Starlets, and Rakes Who Made the Gilded Age

Lose yourself in beautiful landscapes in Elizabeth Barlow Rogers's Romantic Gardens: Nature, Art, and Landscape Design, the catalog for the exhibition of the same name at the Morgan Library and Museum, ongoing now through August 29.