The Big Apple

Transit strikes come, transit strikes go. The City endures. Pete Hamill knows, as only an old newspaper reporter can, the streets, the people, the stories that make New York City so captivating and so confounding . Listen to Downtown: My Manhattan and you’ll want to visit even if you have to walk from the airport.

Once Hamill has you hooked on the Big Apple, you’ll want to know how it all started. The Island at the Center of the World takes you back to the founding of New Netherland, describing the array of cultures and peoples that created one of the most diverse cities in the world.

De-stress while listening to classical piano

With the holidays upon us, smart music lovers are stocking up on relaxing CDs. The library recently bought the popular title The Most Relaxing Classical Piano Music in the Universe, with selections by Bach, Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven (Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise), and other composers. Right now there are 27 people on the waiting list for this CD, but if you reserve it now, you, too, can look forward to being among the most relaxed listeners in the universe.

Holiday CD is music for tired ears

If your ears are jangling from too much holiday noise, switch to the uplifting sounds of this CD, Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: Christmas Favorites from the World's Favorite Tenors. Not only are their voices glorious, but the selections - including I'll be Home for Christmas and Joy to the World - hit just the right note, too. Happy holiday listening!

Before You See the Movie, Listen to the Book

Odds makers are betting that Brokeback Mountain will walk away with the most Oscars next March. We’re betting the audio version of Annie Proulx’s spare and moving love story will win your praise too.

Joan Didion’s memoir of love and loss, The Year of Magical Thinking, made the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2005 list. The book is headed for a spring 2007 opening on Broadway, so you have plenty of time to listen before opening night.

The New Usher?

The latest release in R&B is 16 year old Chris Brown’s self-titled debut CD. His first single 'Run It' is #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the album itself is #2 on the Billboard 200. If you've seen the music video for 'Run It,' you’ll know that Chris Brown has some awesome moves, somewhat reminiscent of Usher. I think it’s pretty safe to say that we can expect more from this promising new artist.

Richard Pryor: 1940-2005

Actor and comedian Richard Pryor died over the weekend. He was 65. Last year's two-disc, 65-track compilation of some of his best performances, Evolution 1966-1968; Revolution, 1971-1974, shows why he was one of the most influential comedians of the 20th century. The Library also owns Live and Smokin' on DVD and his 1995 memoir Pryor Convictions: And Other Life Sentences, which Publisher's Weekly calls "Profane, profound and poignant...." Read more about Richard Pryor.

The Play Ground

That sultry, smoky, soulful singer performing in George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck will be at Hill Auditorium for a live University Musical Society performance on Saturday, December 10th at 8pm. This time Dianne Reeves is singing the season as she and her trio offer "Christmas Time." Tis a reason to be jolly!

The Poet's Voice

andrew motion

A spanking new website will now allow you to listen to your favorite English-language poets read their own works.
The Poetry Archive, under the auspices of Andrew Motion, the poet laureate of Britain, is nothing if not impressive.
You can browse by poets, titles, theme and poetic forms. Try out ones by Margaret Atwood; Seamus Heaney and Allen Ginsberg.
There is even an entire archive for children.

It Was 25 Years Ago Today

What album should mark the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death? Plastic Ono Band, a critical favorite from Lennon's uneven solo career? Nah, I vote for A Hard Day's Night, which includes some of Lennon's best Beatles-era songs. As for individual songs, I suppose most fans would pick "Imagine", but my vote goes to his definitive cover of "Twist and Shout" which is one of the best, infectious rock vocal performances of all time. And this time of year there's always "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". (I wonder what Lennon would have said about McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time").

Not Here to Hear and Here's Why

There are authors who will not allow their works to be “dramatized”, “performed by” or read as audiobooks. The most notable is the notably reclusive J.D. Salinger. After a disastrous film adaptation of Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut (My Foolish Heart, 1949), Salinger refused to allow any of his works to be adapted to film and apparently he feels equally adverse to audio. Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories and Catcher in the Rye are classics not to be missed. So put down the earphones, pick up the print and you’ll still hear them for years to come.

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