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The Chelsea Hotel

In this star-studded chronicle of Manhattan’s fabled Chelsea Hotel, Inside the Dream Palace, The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel, you learn that idealistic French architect Philip Hubert established the city’s first cooperatives, and designed the Chelsea Association Building on Twenty-Third Street specifically to attract artists, musicians, and writers.  The “mammoth red-brick edifice” did just that from its 1884 opening to its 2005 closing for renovations.

Cassatt and Degas

Both Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas were realist painters who drew their inspiration from the human figure and the depiction of modern life, while they eschewed landscape almost entirely.
 Both were highly educated, Paris-based, known for their intelligence and wit, and from wealthy banking families. Three years before meeting Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas encountered one of her portraits and declared, “There is someone who feels as I do”.

The Times Were A-Changin'

Today we celebrate the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited discrimination in employment, schools and public places. During the 1960s both African Americans and Mexican Americans took part in national movements intended to bring down racial barriers.This was a time when African Americans faced death threats for trying to vote and restaurants had signs that read “No Mexicans”. Women were not allowed to be police officers.

Favorite Character Fenno McLeod Returns

Julia Glass won the 2002 National Book Award for her debut novel Three Junes, the story of Scotland native Fenno McLeod and his real and extended family of "upper-crusty" types, creative women, and urban gay men whose are lives pulled together and torn apart. Glass then continued the story of Fenno McLeod, now a gay bookstore owner, in 2006’s The Whole World Over. Glass gave Fenno a break in two subsequent novels, but he’s back in the 2014 And the Dark Sacred Night. 

Maya Angelou

Memoirist and poet Maya Angelou, whose landmark book of 1969, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, told an unsparing account of her harsh childhood in 1930s Arkansas, died yesterday. She was the daughter of a sharecropper family, and before she turned 40, Angelou had been a streetcar conductor, a teen mom, a fry cook, a professional dancer, an actress, a journalist and a playwright. Angelou defied all probability and category, becoming one of the first black women to enjoy mainstream success as an author and thriving in virtually every artistic medium. 

The Good with the Bad - New Biographies

Biography at its best is a good read, it appeals to a natural human instinct for gossip, and it answers a real need within us to understand each other better. And it is a noticeable achievement of the new biographies on our catalog list - Recommended Biographies -  that they all begin with the premise that human nature is complex, and as is true with everything else in the world, you have to take the good with the bad.


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