As daylight hours shrink and the news expands our worries, perhaps we're all looking for spiritual and inspirational light more often these days. When fear's giant shadow blocks our view, we're left wondering what we have to hope for. When the unknown and the unthinkable preoccupy our minds, we yearn to invest our energy carving out safe and known refuges, gathering with cherished friends and family, and shoring up our strength with familiar beliefs, traditions and rituals. We need big magic now.
We all crave an escape from our everyday concerns and routines - some experience or adventure to energize us or tilt our perspective away from the ordinary. I recently read an account of a friend’s unusual experience early one foggy morning. As she walked alone in her yard through the mist, she “felt comforted by unseen hands.” When she returned later, as the fog lifted, she found “thousands of glittering threads, a multitude of intricate webs… a message for me created by hundreds of baby spiders.”
Our connected world can be bittersweet, with daily reminders of time passing, momentous occasions celebrated, vacations spent, meals enjoyed, companions met and partings taken. This past month, I lost a beloved teacher, Alan Cheuse. Here I want to pay a small tribute to his spirit and life's work.
Now, more than ever, I find myself in a love-hate relationship with my smartphone. I love the convenience of reading a magazine, listening to an audiobook, playing a podcast, plugging in my headphones and enjoying music, or reading an ebook from the small electronic device I carry everywhere. At the touch of a fingertip I have available the world at large, together with the smaller universe of my own personal contacts. My camera is always with me. So useful. So many possibilities. So much potential for connected burnout.
Crossing Witherspoon Street from the library, the shiny blue tiled Arts Council of Princeton building beckons, a Graves design. Scattered in rooms throughout my home, there’s a small but mighty collection of beautiful everyday objects, practical to use, pleasing to view and to handle. I live with the gift of Michael Graves’ creativity every day. Not a day goes by without my taking a moment to appreciate this man’s work.
Mark your calendars. The Princeton Environmental Film Festival is being held this year from March 19 through March 29. You can keep up with news about, and find official selections for, the ninth annual festival on our PEFF website and the PEFF Facebook page. Our planning committee is a real community effort, with enthused and dedicated people from all walks of Princeton life shaping an exciting series of films and presentations.
This month in a Kirkus Reviews interview, our readers’ services librarian, Kristin Friberg, gives her thoughts about our Princeton-centric corner of the publishing industry. We’re very pleased to see our library’s readers’ advisory services and the broader local reading community recognized as a trend-spotting mecca in one of the premier journals previewing books before their publication.
"Miam-miam" is the appreciative exclamation you'll hear in Paris, as a delicious mouthful of food is consumed. To the American ear it even sounds like "yum, yum." Dorie Greenspan brings the art and craft of French cooking to life in her books as she shares recipes culled from 16 years of part-time Paris residency.
Sometimes you have to listen to get it. Here’s a riddle: You are the bus driver. You drive three blocks and pick up two people. You drive three more blocks and one person gets off. You drive around the corner and pick up five people. How old is the bus driver? Read it aloud, slowly and clearly, one time, to someone and watch the reaction of puzzlement. (If you still haven't figured it out, scroll to the bottom of the screen.)
I remember the first time I heard a book was "banned." I was most likely in fifth grade, left with the librarian to keep an eye on me while I studied and did homework in my little town library on a Saturday afternoon. Stanley Kubrick’s movie, "Lolita" had been in the news over the summer. I wasn’t allowed to see it. "Not for children," my parents pronounced. I figured I’d go looking for the book at the library and see what all the hubbub was about.