Ray Ewing’s large-scale, island-themed photography will be on view all month in the OBPL Meeting Room. Please join us for a reception on June 21, from 6-7:30 PM.
Category Archives: Adult Programs
Saturday, April 23, is Earth Day at the OBPL. Come meet some baby goats, plant seeds, join The Yard for an environmental dance, and help clean up the grounds. Plus, bring an old t-shirt to silkscreen!
Library Mini Golf! Friday April 1 from 6-9 and Saturday April 2 from 10-1, come play 18 holes through the stacks. Brought to you by the Library Friends of Oak Bluffs. Friday night is 21+, with beer provided by Offshore Ale, wine by Our Market, and food by Deon’s Kitchen. Saturday is for families, and is free.
Join dancer, percussionist, and teacher Cornell Coley for two events during our Carnaval festival, Saturday January 30th at the OBPL. First, a Brazilian drumming workshop for children from 12-1. Next, an all ages interactive performance from 2-3. Lunch will be served in between. Read more about Mr. Coley at afrolatin.net .
Come to Carnaval for music, food, and fun for the whole family! Saturday, January 30th, 11-3.
11 AM: Crafting, for kids and adults
12 PM: Children’s Percussion Workshop
1 PM: Brazilian Lunch
2 PM: Interactive, All-Ages Musical Performance with Cornell Coley
Our “new” Library isn’t so new anymore! Come celebrate 10 years in our building with a party and champagne toast on October 16th from 6pm to 8pm. It’s also our Director’s last day at the Library, so come give her a hug!
October is Booktoberfest at OBPL! And don’t forget to come to our building’s 10 year anniversary party on October 16th! It is going to be a blast!
Know someone who needs a tech boost? Free hands-on Computer Trainings are coming to OBPL starting in just 2 weeks! Call Allyson at (508) 693-9433 to schedule an appointment. Spots are limited, so call today!
HOLLY’S DOXOLOGIES* of Fave Books Read This Month
*I had to look it up too – a doxology means ‘I praise of’
For a whacking long time writers were timid about setting their stories in the late Sixties. They were especially punctilious about avoiding the hot zones: Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, Laurel Canyon, Woodstock. In the direct aftermath, that whole period seemed so hokey and over-blown. Love beads? Leather fringe? Stoners drooling into cups of peyote tea as they listened to Led Zepelin, every so often wheezing, “grooo-vy”?
But finally enough eons have passed, and when we return to the scene of our cultural crimes – those of us who were there, or at least partially there — we may feel the fuzzy edges of nostalgia. So it is with Walter Mosley’s LITTLE GREEN (Doubleday) which brings irreverent and remorseless detective Easy Rawlins to the LSD-soaked Sunset Strip of 1967. Once again under Mosley’s vision we grasp the hideous constraints of being African-American on streets outside the narrow jurisdiction of Easy’s ‘hood in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Things have loosened up a bit, but not much, and far from enough.
Little Green marks Mosley’s most philosophically profound novel to date. In the run up to the current story, Blonde Faith, Easy Rawlins has crashed off a cliff in Pacific Palisades. He’s left for dead much as Sherlock Holmes was killed off and stayed killed for the remainder of Mr. Conan Doyle’s career. So . . . a modern readership must ask: was Mr. Mosley fed up and finished with his anti-hero?
Apparently not. Turns out Easy’s loyal and homicidal side-kick Mouse has located him far below his crashed car, exhumed him, and hoisted him over his back to get him to hospital. Two full months of coma later, restored to a demi-world of hazy recollection, the detective, while hardly able to prepare a cup of coffee, has a new case thrust upon him by his savior / psycho / buddy. Enter Voo Doo queen Mama Jo and her elixir “gator blood” to get him up and at ‘em. Easy takes off after a missing girl, while at the same time, as per usual, encountering an array of unsavory characters.
Through the arc of Little Green, Easy moves in a state of what the Buddhists call the bardo, the phantasmagorical afterlife before arrangements are made for the soul’s next iteration. As a result of his banged-up brain mixed with gator blood, he’s half-obliterated, half liberated, and all the while pondering the Mystery as if he himself were dictating a modern version of the Tibetan Book of The Dead. But setting aside all these engrossing metaphysics or, more accurately, in addition to them, Little Green is, to use a high-falutin’ literary term, un-put-down-able!
* * * I’ve read three out of the five of Russell Shorto’s non-fiction books, including the new one, AMSTERDAM (Doubleday), and all three take pride of place in my home library. Saints and Sinners explores that question dogging all spiritual seekers: How is it that St. Francis’s running dialogue with God is any less loopy than the man on Broadway and 23rd holding up his sign about Armageddon? Descartes Bones takes us on a journey beginning with the great philosopher’s sudden death in January in Denmark, a cold dark place where he most emphatically prefers not to spend his last hours, had he not been summoned by the king himself for a tutorial on Cartesian thought. The narrative follows the amazing trail of Descarte’s bones, picked apart and carried far a-field because it doesn’t pay to be a living legend when, once you’re dead, dodgy people scramble for your relics.
In Amsterdam, Shorto describes the city’s inception in Medieval times when common folk banded together to form polders of soil and intricate canals to keep the sea in its place, thus fostering, from the get-go, the spirit of community. This resulted in a precocious progressiveness until, with input from outlier philosopher / rationalist Spinoza, the Enlightenment was hatched, yes, right there in Amsterdam, leading at last to “the world’s most liberal city” (Shorto’s subtitle); its gaudiest examples: legal emporia of prostitutes, hashish cafes and, on a more upbeat note, a safety net without the social stigmata that shows up in places such as the, er, USA.
Shorto also asks the painful question: how did it come about that this shining city on a hill (or more accurately in a soggy lowland), with its noble tradition of tolerance, was so easily flipped by the Nazis at the start of World War II? The painful irony is that, throughout the Netherlands, the Gestapo culled the highest number of Jews; 87% to be exact, including the internationally beloved Anne Frank. (Hint: It wasn’t Dutch perfidy. The speedy round-up was the result of Dutch bureaucracy; city governments had long before issued identity cards with citizens organized by “pillars”. Jews fell under the socialist pillar. “Like everyone else, they were catalogued,” writes Shorto, “their addresses were on file. All of this made the Nazis’ work easier.”
A dark chapter, to be sure, but there is so much of which Amsterdamers can be proud, starting with Willem of Orange’s fight against King Phillip of Spain, the Inquisition, and the dreaded Duke of Alba. There was the city’s Golden Age kicked off by the comically inept voyage of a Capt. De Houtman who did indeed, despite his bungling, ‘discover’ a parcel of real estate in the East Indies. There’s the stunningly engineered canal system, an aberrantly benign brand of Calvinism, and towering artists such as Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh. In the modern age, a triumph of the eco variety is Amsterdam’s bicycle usage which amounts to 40% of city transportation.
For all non-fictionados, Amsterdam is a must-read about a role model of a present-day town. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the library to track down Shorto’s two other books that have somehow eluded me: The Island At The Center of the World and Gospel Truth.
Send you own favorite reads to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the author’s name or else your aged, doddering, drooling reviewer will need to look it up.
Below are some of the favorite reads sent to Holly by her readers: