Small Bookstore Owners React to Borders’ Closings

A sampling of  independent bookstore owners in the US, Australia, and New Zealand shows mixed feelings about the collapse of the number two bookseller in the US.  Some owners expressed sadness about any decrease in bookselling capacity,  even that of a competitor. Others sounded determined to make adjustments and keep working hard.

Shira S.

Unusual Story About the Library of Alexandria

Instead of attacking or looting the Library of Alexandria, its director in Egypt reports that rioters banded together to protect the building from damage. Ismail Serageldin, who works at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, marveled at the unity of people in the street who spontaneously joined hands to guard the cutting edge facility against possible harm. In the past the library has been destroyed by vandals or conquerors. Worth listening to!

-Shira S.

Mayoral Musings

In keeping with the regime change in Chicago yesterday, I am offering some reflections on mayors. A new TV show about Mayor Daley is being prepared with Kelsey Grammer as the lead. “Boss” will start taping this spring in Chicago. Interesting side point-  Rahm’s brother, Ari,  was involved with the deal.

I came across a book about best and worst mayors, The American Mayor: the Best and Worst Big-City Leaders, by UIC professor Melvin Holli, who specializes in Chicago politics.  Written in 1999, it does not include our immediate election, however it is still worth looking at the short first chapter which discusses top candidates in each category.




Finally, I was curious if there were any shows about mayors, and the irrepressible Ed Koch of NY is the subject of an off-Broadway show called Mayor: the Musical. I listened to a couple of samples on Amazon– not bad! Will we see the same for Da Mayor? If a TV show is in the works, who knows?

Shira S.

Book Trailer of the Week

Today is Presidents Day, and we celebrate with this Book Trailer of the Week for Ron Chernow’s landmark biography Washington: A Life.  In this fascinating clip, the National Book Award-winning author tours in person several of the same landmark locations he visits in the pages of his richly nuanced portrait of America’s first President.  A 2010 NY Times Notable Book, Chernow’s carefully researched page turner brings Washington to vivid life as “a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods” while recounting how he rose from humble beginnings to become the father of our nation.  A unique, groundbreaking biography not to be missed.  Happy Birthday, George!      

Black History at Library of Congress, a Wealth of Resources

While browsing through the LOC website my attention was drawn to the striking artwork sponsored by the Works Progress Administration, the program Roosevelt put forth in 1935 to encourage employment after the Depression. This exhibit features some Chicago based artists. I accessed this wealth of information by visiting the LOC website and exploring until I found the WPA link (I would encourage you to investigate other links in the African American Mosaic Exhibit, as well). It can be a little overwhelming, but if you have a few minutes (or a few hours!), you will be rewarded with fascinating documents, photos, and glimpses into American history through the African American lens.

Shira S.

A Talk with the Artists of ‘Thursdays with Leslie’

(front, l-r) Karen Corrado, Judy Cohen, Marlene Brill, Jean Novales, Leslie Hirshfield, Maribeth Gibbs. (back, l-r) Tracy Hodgson, Sandi Lawrence-Brogen, Rima Lockwood.

Thursdays with Leslie is an impressive collaborative exhibition by ten talented painters from the Noyes Cultural Art Center and the latest show in our popular Local Art @ EPL series.  Currently on display through February 28th on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Branch, Thursdays with Leslie features an ecclectic mix of watercolor, oil, and pastel works created by the skilled students of instructor Leslie Hirshfield.  I recently spoke with many of the Thursdays with Leslie artists via email about their artistic backgrounds, experiences at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, and impressions of the Chicagoland art scene.

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