May 9, 2018

All Hail the King!

Innumerable votes were cast, and though the competition was stupendously sleepy, Will K. has won the crown.  We're thrilled to have named the Dozing Denizen, the Restful Ruler, the Sleeping Superior, the King of Quiet of 2018!  Congratulations to King Will on his crowning achievement! May he enjoy many long naps this summer.

Keep one eye open for our camera next year; YOU may be the next King or Queen of Quiet!!

March 15, 2018

March Break Book Recommendations!

Can you believe that March break is around the corner? Whether you're going on a long plane ride, curling up on your couch, or enjoying the great outdoors somewhere, pick up a book to take with you!

Along with our fantastic library interns, we've compiled a list of recommended books to get you started. Drop by the library to check out a book, or come share your own recommendations with us!

Ms. Dow:
Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro: An intriguing and timeless fable, beautifully told, about love and war and what it means to be able to trust. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it, but it captured me.
Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah: Noah’s memoir out being born in apartheid South Africa and growing up as apartheid was ending, is funny, moving, and enlightening.

Ms. Duncan:
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel: An impressively imagined story of survival and community following a global epidemic that has all but decimated the world population.
The Jaguar’s Children, by John Vaillant: A heart-wrenching page-turner told from the first-person perspective of an undocumented Mexican man attempting to cross the border into the U.S.

Ms. Wunder
Swamplandia, by Karen Russell: A wacky family drama set in an alligator-wrestling theme park deep in the Everglades.
Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich: A laugh out loud dystopia, if that’s possible, about a future moment in time when evolution begins to reverse itself.

The Big Short, by Michael Lewis: Explains the 2008 housing bubble collapse and the events that caused it by following several stock traders who successfully predicted the crash and shorted the housing bonds.
Water for Elephants, by Sarah Gruen: 93-year old Jacob Jankowski looks back on his time in a traveling circus during the Great Depression, caring for the animals despite unpleasant management.

Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith: Even though it’s a couple years old, J.K. Rowling’s first non-Potter mystery had me super engaged.
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle: Everyone has likely read this book in their life, but with the Disney movie coming out soon, I’m going to find time to re-read this classic cozy children’s novel.

Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
Reading with Patrick, by Michelle Cuo

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller: A comical story of WWII and a very fun read.
Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald: A great literary masterpiece and very compelling and powerful to read.

Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle

The World According to Garp, by John Irving: A story where you will fall in love with the characters so much that you will be completely immersed in every predicament the Garp family encounters.
Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac: Follows the transcendental and philosophical journey of a guy living in the height of the Beat movement.

Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy: It's a Russian classic that will get you questioning the meaning of life itself, reflecting on society, and will ultimately break your heart with its story of each character's search for fulfillment and the role of one Russian countess.
Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie: Before it was turned into a movie last year, it was a rollercoaster of a book about one murder on a train that turns its trapped passengers against each other; it seems like the assassin will never be found, but suddenly, all is revealed, leaving you shocked…

This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay: Hilarious, and teaches you a lot about the inner workings of a hospital
One More Thing, by B.J. Novak: Makes you think about your daily life, the people you meet

Happy March Break!!

January 16, 2018

Library Interns: An Homage to the Faces Behind the Desk by Tessa H.

Library Interns: an homage to the faces behind the desk by Tessa H.

“Can I please have a laptop?”
“Sure! Are you using it for class or just in the library?”
“Uh…the library.”
“Cool – just sign here. It is 10:35…thank you! Have fun!”

This type of conversation marks the beginning of most BB&N students’ interactions with the mystical world behind the library desk. And said student might not even notice that the smiling face handing over the laptop belongs not to Ms. Dow or Ms. Duncan, but to one of their peers. Every year, seven or eight brave BB&Ners volunteer one free block a week in the inner workings of our very own library. A mix of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, we all manifest our love of books by aiding Ms. Dow, Ms. Duncan and Ms. Wunder to keep the library running smoothly – and if I’ve learned anything over my time in the library, it’s that a librarian’s task is a lot more work than one might think.

Often flying under the radar, we, BB&N’s Library Interns, do much more than simply handing out math textbooks. Each year, we’re fortunate enough to have a crop of interns with a variety of skills and interests. Our craftier members work to diligently create eye-catching displays, while the chattier of the bunch multitask behind the desk, cutting out checkout cards or helping find books. Since I can barely draw a straight line, I like to instead spend my time brainstorming with Ms. Duncan, envisioning new ideas for displays and programs. From speaking at assemblies about interesting new books to a hand-turkey-making party for Thanksgiving break, between us we’ve come up with some pretty cool ways to integrate the library into BB&N life.

So, why sacrifice something as sacred as a free block to reshelve books or cut out paper letters? I can answer that easily: unlimited access to spinny chairs and Ms. Dow’s baked goods. But that’s just scratching the surface of why my Tuesday morning shift is the highlight of my day. At the heart of the Library Intern Program are the school’s librarians themselves, who care so much about us students, sharing their love for reading and learning, and making the library the most productive and creative place possible. To offer just one example, whenever I walk into the library, Ms. Duncan always turns around in her chair and beams at me, her curly hair bouncing as she hops up to greet me and ask me how my day was. Not only have we learned how to use a paper cutter (far harder than it looks), but from these three wonderful women we’ve also learned how to show BB&N kindness to every student who stops by. So, next time you’re in search of a precalc. textbook, stop and say hi! Tell us about a book you loved, or ask us about research tips! All the Library Interns have different interests and backgrounds, but we share a love for books, helping our fellow students, and above all, our school.

September 25, 2017

Words Have Power: Read a Banned Book

During Banned Books Week, the American Library Association and all of us here at the Almy Library want to remind you how lucky you are to have the right to read!  

Each year hundreds of books are challenged by patrons, parents, religious organizations and even the government, because of things like perceived profanity or socialist views or violence or LGBTQ themes, etc.

Thanks to the vigilance of librarian superheroes like Ms. Dow and Ms. Duncan...

only 10% of those books ever actually get removed from the shelves.  

You, too, can stand up for your right to read by checking out a banned book today!

Here's a great short list of reasons why to read a Banned Book!

Chances are, you've already read a bunch of them.

This one for example...

 has been banned in some regions for: "references to the occult" or because it was considered "anti-family". 

Stop by the Almy Library to check out your next read from our Banned Books Display.

September 7, 2017

New in the library!  Ms. Wunder's Bookshelf

Look up and to the left of the library desk to find Ms. Wunder's bookshelf!  

I'll be pointing out a few new and notable books in our collection, starting with this week's pick:  Lit Mags!

Sometimes obscure and difficult to find, literary magazines are where a lot of new fiction and poetry germinates.  Budding writers take note!

Ploughshares is a magazine near and dear to my heart. Conceived by some folks in Cambridge in the seventies, it began its operations at the "Plough and Stars," an Irish pub on Mass Ave. Each issue is guest edited by a different literary superstar so its tone is varied and constantly in flux.  The current issue is compiled by the great Stewart O’Nan (author of 16 novels including Last Night at the Lobster) and contains stories and nonfiction by: Stephen King, Peter Orner, Lucy Corin, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum and more…

Poetry, the second new journal  in our collection is the oldest monthly magazine devoted to verse in the English language.  This month find a dedication to the late Denis Johnson, and poems by Joy Harjo (a personal fave), Patricia Lockwood and A. R. Ammons.

Check them out!

May 11, 2017

All Hail King Aaron!

The BB&N Community has elected its new King of Quiet: Aaron K., Class of 2017! 

King Aaron, in repose

Innumerable votes were cast, and though the competition was stupendously sleepy in its own right, Aaron won the crown. We're thrilled to have named the Dozing Denizen, the Restful Ruler, the Sleeping Superior of 2017! May Aaron enjoy many restful naps over the summer, as may all of you.

Keep one eye open for our camera next year; you may be the next King or Queen of Quiet!!

April 13, 2017

Welcome to Ms. Wunder's Book Corner... which I try to persuade you to take a closer look at some of the library's newest titles...

This month we're featuring memoirs by two women from the Middle East trying to forge and solidify their identities against all odds.

Imagine living in a place where being a tomboy was a death sentence. In A Different Kind of Daughter, Maria Toorpakai recounts how her liberal father honored her request at age five to burn her clothes and dress as a boy in Pakistan's violently oppressive northwest tribal region. Consequently, she began playing squash with her brothers and rose to become the number one female squash player in Pakistan. When the Taliban found out, they issued death threats against her family and hunted her down. She was rescued by an elite Canadian squash coach, who smuggled her away from Pakistan and into Canada, where she is now among the top fifty players in the world. Toorpakai's is different kind of courageous sports memoir that reveals some dark truths of global politics and the oppression of women around the world.

In The Home That Was Our Country, Alia Malek also takes a humanistic approach to the complicated political and cultural history of the Middle East. Malek relates the hopeful story of moving to Syria during the Arab Spring to restore her grandmother’s abandoned Damascus apartment. She describes the peaceful microcosm of Middle Easterners who live in the building together (Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians and Kurds) while contrasting this with drastic the political shifts that threaten to tear the country apart. By weaving together the story of her family with the history of a country, Malek provides a sympathetic glimpse at the devastation of the Syrian War. For anyone seeking a closer look into Syria’s history and future.

Check back in May for more blurbs from Ms. Wunder's Book Corner!