Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Yer a wizard... Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in the Harry Potter series. In it, the author, JK Rowling, introduced us to many of the characters, places and themes that we will see in the next 6 books....
The character of Harry Potter was born in 1980, and that means that this summer, on July 31, Harry Potter will turn 40! To celebrate, we are reading one Harry Potter book per month until his birthday. We would love for you and your family to join us. We will post...
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“My parents taught me that the universe is enormous and we humans are tiny beings who get to live on an out-of-the-way planet for the blink of an eye,” writes author Sasha Sagan in the introduction of For Small Creatures Such as We, a gorgeous collection of essays that reads like a memoir.
The daughter of two of the 20th century’s most important contributors—astronomer Carl Sagan and producer Ann Druyan—Sagan began thinking deeply about the traditions and passages that shape life on earth after becoming a mother herself. Birth, anniversaries, fasting, atonement: She approaches these subjects with wonderment and a generous window into her extraordinary family history. A secular Jew who was raised by her famous parents to be an independent and deep thinker, Sagan demonstrates that rituals aren’t reserved purely for the religious.
“There is so much change in this world,” she writes. “So many entrances and exits and ways to mark them, each one astonishing in its own way. Even if we don’t see birth or life as a miracle in the theological sense, it’s still breathtakingly worthy of celebration.”
Sagan writes with stunning clarity and absolute joy. In the chapter on coming of age, Sagan connects puberty with the myth of the werewolf, before galloping through the rites of passage observed by the Amish, Mormons, Apaches, Japanese and her own family. When Sagan got her first period at age 13, her mother “took me in her arms and made me feel this was cause for celebration.” Contrast this with her mother’s experience as a Jew: Druyan’s mother slapped her across the face, as was the inexplicable custom in that time.
For Small Creatures Such as We is a marvel. It dazzles and comforts while making us consider our own place in the vast universe. As Sagan writes, “We are, after all, someone’s distant future and someone else’s ancient past.”
“Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur is a story of one daughter’s moral contortions to make her mother, Malabar, happy. Brodeur learned the full contours of her mother’s discontent by becoming embroiled in her extramarital affair.
Brodeur was only 14 when Malabar—a charming cookbook author wed to a wealthy man who soon fell ill after their marriage—divulged that she had taken a family friend, also married, as her lover. Brodeur kept their affair a secret from her stepfather, both families, her friends and, later, even her own spouse. Wild Game explores this secret’s impact on all of their lives, but primarily Brodeur’s own.
Brodeur knew her mother had suffered a tragic life due to parental abuse and the later death of a child. As Brodeur became personally invested in protecting the affair, she reveals herself to be an extraordinary case of the parentified child. Anyone with similar childhood circumstances will relate to the weightiness of filial duty depicted in Wild Game.
But Brodeur is also extraordinary for how, on the other side of this story, she has ended up basically OK. She’s married again, a parent herself and a lovely writer. (She is the former editor of Zoetrope: All-Story, a literary magazine she launched with Francis Ford Coppola.) Her talent with words lies in her ability to make the reader feel deeply empathetic for Malabar, while at the same time abhorring her behavior as a parent. Mother and daughter are, certainly, a perpetrator and a victim. But the reader is liable to be convinced, as Broedur is, that her mother was very much a victim, too.”
“In the 1920s, Josephine takes over her husband’s land after his death. The farm is flourishing, but when a suspicious white family moves in nearby, Josephine discovers too late their affiliation to the Ku Klux Klan. In 2017, Ava, a biracial single mother descended from Josephine, has just been laid off. She takes up her white grandmother’s offer to move in together, a proposal that seems attractive at first, until her grandmother begins to have violent outbursts.
Sexton’s characters’ realistic interior thoughts drive the novel, revealing hidden emotions of apprehension and nostalgia. Ava and Josephine display an unusual ability to discern people’s motives; Ava has a unique perception of her mother, and Josephine understands her son’s struggle to break out from his father’s shadow. Though they experience the world at different times and through different circumstances, their worlds intersect through a shared purpose: to offer support, comfort and healing.
Despite everything, Ava and Josephine hold on to hope, refusing to be bound by the constraints of their eras. The Revisioners is an uplifting novel of black women and their tenacity.”
“Mike Wolf’s Garden to Glass, which explores the intersection of gardening, foraging and beverage design, offers instant appeal. Wolf, who worked with chef Sean Brock at Husk in Nashville, is a curious and passionate guide, taking readers into his garden and onto trails where he gathers ingredients for bitters, cordials, shrubs and more. These are featured in recipes that will enhance any bar program or make you one hell of a home mixologist. Beautiful watercolor illustrations and interviews with specialists give this study of botanical cocktails a dimension not achieved in other guides.”
Our January/February newsletter is now available! View our Upcoming Programs page, or view the PDF directly! Registration for Westbury and Carle Place residents begins December 23, 2019. Don't forget to check out our Children's Programs as well!
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