Perfect Autumn Reading Titles

This time of year always seems to me to be a special one brimming with possibilities. The days are crisp and clean and seem to imply adventure might pop out from behind any corner.

And here is a reading list to complement this special season!

These books run the gamut from being perfect for reading on a wild, windy fall evening, a clear and bright Sunday morning or on a quiet evening when you can just imagine something unexplained going bump in the night!

Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays by Robert Frost:

Justly celebrated at home and abroad, Robert Frost is perhaps America’s greatest twentieth-century poet and a towering figure in American letters. From the publication of his first collections, A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914), Frost was recognized as a poet of unique power and formal skill, and the enduring significance of his work has been acknowledged by each subsequent generation. His poetry ranges from deceptively simply pastoral lyrics and genial, vernacular genre pieces to darker meditations, complex and ironic.

Here, based on extensive research into his manuscripts and published work, is the first authoritative and truly comprehensive collection of his writings. Brought together for the first time in a Library of America single volume is all the major poetry, a generous selection of uncollected poems, all of Frost’s dramatic writing, and the most extensive gathering of his prose writings ever published, several of which are printed here for the first time.

The core of this collection is the 1949 Complete Poems of Robert Frost, the last collection supervised by Frost himself. This version of the poems is free of unauthorized editorial changes introduced into subsequent editions. Also included is In the Clearing (1962), Frost’s final volume of poetry. Verse drawn from letters, articles, pamphlets, and journals makes up the largest selection of uncollected poems ever assembled, including nearly two dozen beautiful early works printed for the first time. Also gathered here are all the dramatic works: three plays and two verse masques.

The unprecedented prose section includes more than three times as many items as any other collection available. It is rich and diverse, presenting many newly discovered or rediscovered pieces. Especially unusual items include Frost’s contribution to John F. Kennedy’s inauguration and two fascinating 1959 essays on “The Future of Man.” Several manuscript items are published here for the first time, including the essays “‘Caveat Poeta’” and “The Way There,” Frost’s remarks on being appointed poetry consultant to the Library of Congress in 1958, the preface to a proposed new edition of North of Boston, and many others. A selection of letters represents all of Frost’s important comments about prosody, poetics, style, and his theory of “sentence sounds.”

Fever Dream: A Novel by Samanta Schweblin:

“A taut, exquisite page-turner vibrating with existential distress and cumulative dread…. While the book resides in the realm of the uncanny, its concerns are all too real. Once the top blows off Schweblin’s chest of horrors, into which we’d been peeking through a masterfully manipulated crack, what remains is an unsettling and significant dissection of maternal love and fear, of the devastation we’ve left to the future, and of our inability to escape or control the unseen and unimagined threats all around us. In a literary thriller of the highest order, Schweblin teases out the underlying anxieties of being vulnerable and loving vulnerable creatures and of being an inhabitant of a planet with an increasingly uncertain future.” —Kirkus, STARRED review

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone written by J. K. Rowling & Illustrated by Jim Kay:

The beloved first book of the Harry Potter series, now fully illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay.

For the first time, J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Kate Greenaway-award-winning artist Jim Kay has created over 100 stunning illustrations, making this deluxe format a perfect gift as much for a child being introduced to the series, as for the dedicated fan.

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley — a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry — and anyone who reads about him — will find unforgettable.

The Hobbit, Or There And Back Again written by J. R. R. Tolkien & Illustrated by Alan Lee:

This lavish gift edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic features cover art, illustrations, and watercolor paintings by the artist Alan Lee.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies worldwide and established itself as a modern classic.

The Hound of the Baskervilles written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Illustrated by Pam Smy:

The legend of the hound which has brought terror to the Baskerville family for generations brings Sherlock Holmes up against a formidable adversary and sends Dr Watson to a bleak and lonely moor where it is all too easy to believe that something not of this world is intent on driving his friend to a foul and hideous death…”As you value your life or your reason keep away from the moor” read the note Sir Henry Baskerville had received. But the baronet, disbelieving legendary tales of a hound from hell which had torn out the throat of his evil ancestor, was intent on taking up his inheritance. Sherlock Holmes, brought into the case because the death of Sir Henry’s uncle, insists that the trusty, level-headed Dr Watson go as guard to Baskerville Hall…

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco:

Umberto Eco’s first novel, an international sensation and winner of the Premio Strega and the Prix Médicis Étranger awards

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern:

Two starcrossed magicians engage in a deadly game of cunning in The Night Circus,the spellbinding bestseller that has captured the world’s imagination.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny:

Loyally accompanying a mysterious knife-wielding gentleman named Jack on his midnight rounds through the murky streets of London, good dog Snuff is busy helping his master collect the grisly ingredients needed for an unearthly rite that will take place not long after the death of the moon. But Snuff and his master are not alone. All manner of participants, both human and not, are gathering with their ancient tools and their animal familiars in preparation for the dread night. It is brave, devoted Snuff who must calculate the patterns of the Game and keep track of the Players—the witch, the mad monk, the vengeful vicar, the Count who sleeps by day, the Good Doctor and the hulking Experiment Man he fashioned from human body parts, and a wild-card American named Larry Talbot—all the while keeping Things at bay and staying a leap ahead of the Great Detective, who knows quite a bit more than he lets on.

Boldly original and wildly entertaining, A Night in the Lonesome October is a darkly sparkling gem, an amalgam of horror, humor, mystery, and fantasy. First published in 1993, it was Zelazny’s last book prior to his untimely death. Many consider it the best of the fantasy master’s novels. It has inspired many fans to read it every year in October, a chapter a day, and served as inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s brilliant story “Only the End of the World Again.”

Persuasion by Jane Austen:

In her final novel, as in her earlier ones, Jane Austen uses a love story to explore and gently satirize social pretensions and emotional confusion. Persuasion follows the romance of Anne Elliot and naval officer Frederick Wentworth. They were happily engaged until Anne’s friend, Lady Russell, persuaded her that Frederick was “unworthy.” Now, eight years later, Frederick returns, a wealthy captain in the navy, while Anne’s family teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. They still love each other, but their past mistakes threaten to keep them apart.
Austen may seem to paint on a small canvas, but her characters contain the full range of human passion and moral complexity, and the author’s generous spirit renders them all with understanding, compassion, and humor.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt:

Donna Tartt, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for her most recent novel, The Goldfinch, established herself as a major talent with The Secret History, which has become a contemporary classic.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles:

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray:

One of Ray Bradbury’s best-known and most popular novels, Something Wicked This Way Comes, now featuring a new introduction and material about its longstanding influence on culture and genre.

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares.

Few novels have endured in the heart and memory as has Ray Bradbury’s unparalleled literary masterpiece Something Wicked This Way Comes. Scary and suspenseful, it is a timeless classic in the American canon.

Washington Irving’s Tales of the Supernatural written by Washington Irving and illustrated by R. W. Alley:

In this book of Irving’s choicest stories of the supernatural, there are ghosts in large numbers, as well as goblins, apparitions, spectres, reincarnations, necromancers, and more than a few probable figments of the imagination. This book is filled with fun stories perfect for those crisp, clean days of autumn – including The Legend of Sleepy Hallow!

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls by Anton DiSclafani:

“This summer’s first romantic page turner.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Named a most anticipated book for Summer 2013 by The Wall Street Journaland Publishers Weekly and USA Today, NPR, and People summer reads pick

From the author of The After Party, a lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South.

It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.

Sources Cited:

Wilson, Kristian. 15 Books To Read During The Fall Because They Prefectly Capture The Autumnal Spirit. September 5, 2017. Online. Accessed October 17, 2018. https://www.bustle.com/p/15-books-to-read-during-the-fall-because-they-perfectly-capture-the-autumnal-spirit-80312

Best Books To Read In Autumn: A list of books that are enhanced by the atmosphere of Autumn. goodreads. Online. Accessed October 17, 2018 https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/155.Best_Books_To_Read_In_Autumn

Suggested Reading October 15, 2018

Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for the week, five digital titles available through OverDrive and five print titles available through StarCat.

(Note: Click on the photo of the item you’d like to request or check out)

Digital Suggestions Of The Week:

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay:

Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.

The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister’s marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson:

The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin:

“Martin’s latest is another beautifully written winner. . . Amazingly heartfelt statements about love, loss and the true meaning of friendship will resonate deeply with readers.” —RT Book Reviews

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Mountain Between Us comes a new, spellbinding story of buried secrets, lost love, and the promise of second chances.

Allie is still recovering from the loss of her family’s beloved waterfront restaurant on Florida’s Gulf Coast when she loses her second husband to a terrifying highway accident. Devastated and losing hope, she shudders to contemplate the future—until a cherished person from her past returns.

Joseph has been adrift for many years, wounded in both body and spirit and unable to come to terms with the trauma of his Vietnam War experiences. Just as he resolves to abandon his search for peace and live alone at a remote cabin in the Carolina mountains, he discovers a mother and her two small children lost in the forest. A man of character and strength, he instinctively steps in to help them get back to their home in Florida. There he will return to his own hometown—and witness the accident that launches a bittersweet reunion with his childhood sweetheart, Allie.

When Joseph offers to help Allie rebuild her restaurant, it seems the flame may reignite—until a 45-year-old secret from the past begins to emerge, threatening to destroy all hope for their second chance at love.

In Send Down the Rain, Charles Martin proves himself to be a storyteller of great wisdom and compassion who bears witness to the dreams we cherish, the struggles we face, and the courage we must summon when life seems to threaten what we hold most dear.

Transcription: A Novel by Kate Atkinson:

A dramatic story of WWII espionage, betrayal, and loyalty, by the #1 bestselling author of Life After Life

In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.

Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of the best writers of our time.

The Wife: A Novel by Meg Wolitzer:

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Glenn Close

Meg Wolitzer brings her characteristic wit and intelligence to a provocative story about the evolution of a marriage, the nature of partnership, the question of a male or female sensibility, and the place for an ambitious woman in a man’s world.

The moment Joan Castleman decides to leave her husband, they are thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean on a flight to Helsinki. Joan’s husband, Joseph, is one of America’s preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop. From this gripping opening, Meg Wolitzer flashes back to 1950s Smith College and Greenwich Village and follows the course of the marriage that has brought the couple to this breaking point—one that results in a shocking revelation.

With her skillful storytelling and pitch-perfect observations, Wolitzer has crafted a wise and candid look at the choices all men and women make—in marriage, work, and life.

Print Suggestions Of The Week:

Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble:

A modern woman in 1907, Lady Dunbridge is not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She’s ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm. From the decadence of high society balls to the underbelly of Belmont horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.

The Bartered Brides by Mercedes Lackey:

The thirteenth novel in the magical alternate history Elemental Masters series continues the reimagined adventures of Sherlock Holmes in a richly-detailed alternate Victorian England.

The threat of Moriarty is gone—but so is Sherlock Holmes.

Even as they mourn the loss of their colleague, psychic Nan Killian, medium Sarah Lyon-White, and Elemental Masters John and Mary Watson must be vigilant, for members of Moriarty’s network are still at large. And their troubles are far from over: in a matter of weeks, two headless bodies of young brides wash up in major waterways. A couple who fears for their own recently-wedded daughter hires the group to investigate, but with each new body, the mystery only deepens.

The more bodies emerge, the more the gang suspects that there is dangerous magic at work, and that Moriarty’s associates are somehow involved. But as they race against the clock to uncover the killer, it will take all their talents, Magic, and Psychic Powers—and perhaps some help from a dearly departed friend—to bring the murderer to justice.

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks:

In the romantic tradition of The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals — transcending decades, continents, and the bittersweet workings of fate.

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’s early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.

Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, EVERY BREATH explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?

Shell Game by Sara Paretsky:

Sara Paretsky follows her instant New York Times bestseller Fallout—her most widely read novel in years—with an extraordinary adventure that pits her acclaimed detective, V.I. Warshawski, against some of today’s most powerful figures.

Legendary sleuth V.I. Warshawski returns to the Windy City to save an old friend’s nephew from a murder arrest. The case involves a stolen artifact that could implicate a shadowy network of international criminals. As V.I. investigates, the detective soon finds herself tangling with the Russian mob, ISIS backers, and a shady network of stock scams and stolen art that stretches from Chicago to the East Indies and the Middle East. In Shell Game, nothing and no one are what they seem, except for the detective herself, who loses sleep, money, and blood, but remains indomitable in her quest for justice.

That’s What I Thought: Poems by Gary Young:

Gary Young builds on his remarkable oeuvre with this heartening volume, his seventh. His new poems, full of the pleasures and concerns of everyday life, brim with subtle wit and wisdom. Set implicitly along the coastal landscape of northern California, Young’s longtime home, they are latest achievements of a poet renown for “the capturing of small, daily miracles” (Dorianne Laux) in his masterful prose poems.

Have a great week!

Linda, SSCL

Online Catalog Links:

StarCat

The catalog of physical materials, i.e. print books, DVDs, audiobooks on CD etc.

The Digital Catalog (OverDrive)

The catalog of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos.

Freegal Music Service

This music service is free to library card holders and offers the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day:

RBDigital

Digital magazines on demand and for free! Back issues are available and you can even choose to be notified by email when the new issue of your favorite magazine is available.

About Library Apps:

You can access digital library content on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. For mobile devices simply download the OverDrive, Freegal or Zinio app from your app store to get started. If you have questions call the library at: 607-936-3713 and one of our Digital Literacy Specialists will be happy to assist you.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

Daily Digital & Print Suggested Reads: Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hello everyone, here are our suggested daily recommended reads in both print and digital formats.

Our suggested daily Digital Catalog item for today is the e-book

Mary Russell

The Murder of Mary Russell: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes series weaves rich historical detail and provocative themes with intriguing characters and enthralling suspense. Russell and Holmes have become one of modern literature’s most beloved teams. But does this adventure end it all?

Mary Russell is used to dark secrets—her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond.

And what of the other person to whom Mary Russell has opened her heart: the couple’s longtime housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson? Russell’s faith and affection are suddenly shattered when a man arrives on the doorstep claiming to be Mrs. Hudson’s son.

What Samuel Hudson tells Russell cannot possibly be true, yet she believes him—as surely as she believes the threat of the gun in his hand. In a devastating instant, everything changes. And when the scene is discovered—a pool of blood on the floor, the smell of gunpowder in the air—the most shocking revelation of all is that the grim clues point directly to Clara Hudson.

Or rather to Clarissa, the woman she was before Baker Street.

The key to Russell’s sacrifice lies in Mrs. Hudson’s past. To uncover the truth, a frantic Sherlock Holmes must put aside his anguish and push deep into his housekeeper’s secrets—to a time before her disguise was assumed, before her crimes were buried away.

There is death here, and murder, and trust betrayed.

And nothing will ever be the same.

Here’s a link to the description page in the Digital Catalog:

https://stls.overdrive.com/media/2411826

And our print book suggested read for today is:

North Brother Island

North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City by Christopher Payne:

From a quarantine hospital to a juvenile drug treatment center to an uninhabited island of ruins–this magnificent photographic survey that brings North Brother Island to life.

Few people today have ever heard of North Brother Island, though a hundred years ago it was place known to–and often feared by–nearly everyone in New York City. The island, a small dot in the East River, twenty acres slotted between today’s gritty industrial shores of the Bronx and Queens, was a minor piece of the New York archipelago until the late 19th century, when calls for social and sanitary reform–and the massive expansion of the city’s population–combined to remake NBI as a hospital island, a place to contain infectious disease and, later, other societal ills.

Abandoned since 1963, North Brother Island is a ruin and a wildlife sanctuary (it is the protected nesting ground of the Black-crowned Night Heron), closed to the public and virtually invisible to it. But one cannot mistake its abandoned state as a sign of its irrelevance to the city’s history and culture. Traces of the extensive hospital campus remain, as do sites linked to notorious people (it was the final home of “Typhoid Mary”) and events (the steamship General Slocum sank by its shores). It has stories to tell.

Photographer Christopher Payne (Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals), was granted permission by New York City’s Parks & Recreation Department to photograph the island over a period of years. The results are both beautiful and startling. On North Brother Island, devoid of human habitation for fifty years, buildings great and small are being consumed by the unchecked growth of vegetation. In just a few decades, a forest has sprung up where once there were the streets and manicured lawns of a hospital campus.

North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City includes a history by University of Pennsylvania preservationist Randall Mason, who has studied the island extensively, and an essay by the writer Robert Sullivan (Rats, The Meadowlands), who came along on one of the rare expeditions.

You can request the book by clicking on the following link to StarCat:

http://goo.gl/5SYG4a

Or by calling the library at: 607-936-3713 x 502.

Have a great day!

Linda, SSCL

Online Catalog Links:

StarCat: The catalog of physical materials, i.e. print books, DVDs, audiobooks on CD etc.  http://starcat.stls.org/

The Digital Catalog: The catalog of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos: https://stls.overdrive.com/

Freegal Music Service: This music service is free to library card holders and offers the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day: http://stlsny.freegalmusic.com/

Zinio: Digital magazines on demand and for free! Back issues are available and you can even choose to be notified by email when the new issue of your favorite magazine is available: https://www.rbdigital.com/stlschemungcony

About Library Mobile Apps:

You can access digital library content on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. For mobile devices simply download the OverDrive, Freegal or Zinio app from your app store to get started. If you have questions call the library at: 607-936-3713 and one of our Digital Literacy Specialists will be happy to assist you.