Library Blog

Coming to You from the Members' Room

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The past year added an enticing range of new event recordings to our ever-growing collection. To search or browse the full set, check our website or go straight to our YouTube channel. Most Members’ Room events have video and audio recordings posted by about a week after the date. The year past included

Historic News

Lecture: Russell Shorto, Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom (January 10)
From the author of the acclaimed history The Island at the Center of the World, an intimate new epic of the American Revolution that reinforces its meaning for today.

Exhibition Conversation: Andrew Jewell and Robert Thacker, Scenes from Willa Cather's Life in New York (February 26)
Two leading scholars discuss their research into Willa Cather’s books and letters and the influence of New York City on her work.

Lecture: Laurie Gwen Shapiro, The Stowaway: A Young Man's Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica (March 14)
The spectacular true story of a scrappy teenager from New York’s Lower East Side who stowed away on the Roaring Twenties’ most remarkable feat of science and daring: an expedition to Antarctica.

Lecture: David Alan Richards, Skulls and Keys: The Hidden History of Yale's Secret Societies (March 22)
The mysterious, highly influential hidden world of Yale’s secret societies is revealed in a definitive and scholarly history.

Lecture: Simon Winchester, The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World (June 13)
The revered New York Times bestselling author traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement—precision—in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future.

Lecture: Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (November 1)
A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, and a National Book Award finalist, Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave who risked everything to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom.

Lecture: Emily Wilson, The Odyssey (November 14)
In this fresh, authoritative version―the first English translation of The Odyssey by a woman―this stirring tale of shipwrecks, monsters, and magic comes alive in an entirely new way. Written in iambic pentameter verse and a vivid, contemporary idiom, this engrossing translation matches the number of lines in the Greek original, thus striding at Homer’s sprightly pace and singing with a voice that echoes Homer’s music.

New News

We were proud to co-sponsor a set of four remarkable panels organized by Guernica magazine and moderated by its deputy publisher, Amy Brady: The Art & Activism of the Anthropocene Series.

Don't Shoot the Messenger: The Challenging Narratives of Climate Change (April 11)
Author William T. Vollmann, playwright Chantal Bilodeau, and journalist David Wallace-Wells approach climate-change dialogues through different mediums—book-length and magazine journalism, and through theatre. They discuss their approach to gathering stories, their thoughts on why those stories matter, and the challenges they’ve faced when shaping issues of climate change into digestible narratives for the public.

Strange Reality: The Art and Activism of Transitional Environments (April 19)
Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy, speaks with visual artist Zaria Forman and conservation biologist Gleb Raygorodetsky about “transitional environments”—that is, regions of land undergoing change so dramatic they’re barely recognizable.

Imagining the Impossible: The Role of Art and Novels in Understanding Climate Change (May 9)
Authors Amitav Ghosh and Helen Phillips talk with photographer and filmmaker Nathan Kensinger about the role novelists and artists play in helping others to better imagine its effects.

Fiction, Facts, and "Facts": How Novels and Film Shape the American Climate-Change Debate (December 13)
Writers and critics Jeremy Deaton, Omar El Akkad, Roy Scranton, Ashley Shelby, and Michael Svoboda, with moderator Amy Brady, explore how climate change is fundamentally framed in popular culture—and how, in turn, popular culture helps shape our national conversations about the issue.

Conversation: Religion in the Age of Mass Politics with Suzanne Schneider, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, and Anthony Alessandrini (May 31)
In our occasional series, experts on a current-events topic bring their knowledge to an informal presentation and discussion with readers who want to get beyond the headlines. Join us for a special live recording of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research’s Podcast for Social Research, as three experts on Middle Eastern culture, history, and politics consider the relationship between religion and mass politics in the modern age.

Lecture: Maggie Jackson, Distracted: Reclaiming Our Focus in a World of Lost Attention (September 12)
In the first edition of this visionary book, Maggie Jackson sounded a prescient warning of a looming crisis: the fragmentation of attention that is eroding our abilities to problem-solve, innovate, and care for one another. Now she offers both a renewed wake-up call and a path forward as we reckon with one of the most pressing problems of our time.

Lives and Their Authors

Panel: Biographers' Tales with Judith Thurman and Edmund White, moderated by James Atlas (February 22)
Three master biographers take center stage to excavate and celebrate their art and craft, inspired by James Atlas’ new memoir The Shadow in the Garden: A Biographer’s Tale.

Conversation: Susan Buckley, Eating with Peter and Dawn Drzal, The Bread and the Knife, with Giulia Melucci (October 2)
Memoirists Susan Buckley, Dawn Drzal, and Giulia Melucci discuss food as personal history, consolation, metaphor, and organizing principle, based on their recent books.

Lecture: Jane Sherron De Hart, Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life (October 16)
Jane Sherron de Hart brings us the first full life—private, public, legal, philosophical—of the 107th Supreme Court justice, one of the most profoundly transformative minds of our time; a book fifteen years in the making, written with the cooperation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself and based on many interviews with the justice, her husband, her children, her friends, and her associates.

Conversation: Gregory Pardlo, Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America, with Lisa Lucas (October 30)
From the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning poet: an extraordinary memoir and blistering meditation on fatherhood, race, addiction, and ambition.

Children's Event: Peter Sís, Robinson (November 8)
Bring your heart and imagination with you to meet award-winning author and illustrator Peter Sís. He describes his unique art techniques and shares his newest book, Robinson. Audio only.

Our Crazy Great City

The New York City Book Awards Ceremony 2017-2018 (May 1)
The New York City Book Awards, founded in 1996, honor each year’s best books about the city. This annual ceremony honors the winning authors and publishers.

Lecture: Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, Saving Central Park: A History and a Memoir (May 17)
The story of how one woman's long love affair with New York's Central Park led her to organize its rescue from a state of serious decline, returning it to the beautiful place of recreational opportunity and spiritual sustenance that it is today.

Writers and People Who Love Them

Panel: Leslie Cohen and Jill Santopolo with Andrew Blauner, The Modern Literary Love Story (February 7)
Just admit it. You love love. Let’s talk about it. This panel covers it all, from the modern to the classic, starting with two debut novels: Leslie Cohen’s This Love Story Will Self-Destruct and Jill Santopolo’s The Light We Lost. The authors converse with Andrew Blauner of Blauner Books Literary Agency. (audio only)

Meet the Publishing Pros: Jonathan Galassi (September 25)
In this new occasional series, writers and patrons interested in the publishing world are invited to an insightful discussion with one of its stars. Jonathan Galassi has served as publisher at Farrar, Straus & Giroux since 1986 and president since 2002.

Sheer Delight

Writing Life Special Event: Necromancers of the Public Domain: My Country by Marie of Romania (April 23)
Each month, Theater of the Apes production company plucks a long-forgotten volume from the Library’s shelves and resurrects it as a low-budget variety show - visual art, skits, music, and surprises.

Special Event: A Swinging '60s Evening (September 28)
A lighthearted evening of music and more from the era that brought us the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, celebrating (Head of Events) Sara Holliday's new novel A Thousand Dances.

Special Event: Uptown at Night (October 11)
Uptown at Night returns to the Members’ Room with a vibrant new lineup of humorous storytellers and comedians: Meghan Daum, C.S. Hanson, Micah Stratton, Henry Alford, Karen Chee, and Martin Dockery.

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