American Academy of Arts and Letters

This is an honor society limited to 250 members and is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the United States. Members are elected for life and pay no dues and only when a member dies or resigns is a new member elected.

Recently nine new members were elected: the writers Ha Jin, Wendell Berry, Denis Johnson and Tobias Wolff; the photographer Robert Adams; the painter Bill Jensen; the composers David Lang and Alvin Singleton and the chef Alice Waters.


Chelsea Handler

Handler has hit #1 on the nonfiction list of the NYTimes with Uganda be kidding me . I don’t know why this makes me laugh. I’m usually watching Jon Stewart at 11:00 but sometimes I switch to Chelsea Handler (during a commercial, of course!) but the bad news is I often stay there.  Much of her stuff is raunchy and stupid but I find myself laughing. Which is what I aim for before falling asleep.

6th grade humor for boys?

A patron was asking for humorous titles for her 6th grade son. A recent favorite of his was “Texts from Dog”. I found it in Amazon, and there is a sequel but no library owns either one. I tried Novelist, Library of Congress for subject headings, Google, etc. but everything I found seemed too young or too old. I looked at titles by David Lubar, Gordon Korman and a few others but nothing clicked. Does anyone have any recommedations? The only title I could find was “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron, which is adult but the mom said he’s a good reader. This was a very frustrating search!

NYPL Children’s Book Exhibit

Leonard Marcus’ “Why Children’s Books Matter” exhibit at the main branch in NYC is worth the visit. (Marybeth went there when it first opened, I believe?) My daughter loved the large ‘Goodnight Moon’ room. I enjoyed seeing the original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed bear and early manuscripts. It is a fun, free walk through some classic children’s books up to modern times.

Goodnight Everything

Margaret Wise Brown, who died in 1952, produced two children’s classics that live on.  “Goodnight Moon” and “The Runaway Bunny” are still favorites and are found in bookstores, libraries and in many homes.  Since, it is said, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that in the case of “Goodnight Moon” the basic premise of this tale has been used again and again.  Several years ago I remember seeing a copy of “Goodnight Cape Cod” in a book store on the Cape.

If you would like to read a more adult parody of Brown’s classic you might enjoy “Goodnight iPad,” “Goodnight Nanny-Cam” or “Goodnight Keith Moon,” which has the lines “Goodnight rock stars, goodnight pills.”  These versions are definitely not kid-friendly.