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Museums are starting to open!

Yes, it’s true. Admission is limited for safety’s sake, but several local museums now do allow visitors. Here’s how to borrow passes for these museums.

  1. Call the library and ask for the reference desk—that’s 914-273-3887, x 3. Ask us if the pass you want is available for the day you would like to go. We will sign you up in our checkout book.
  2. Be sure to also contact the museum and reserve in advance. Most museums require advance reservations.
  3. Either the day of or the day before your visit, please call the library and arrange a time to pick up your pass. We will check it out to you.
  4. Bring the pass to the museum at the time of your reservation and enjoy your visit!
  5. After your visit, please call us to arrange a drop-off time. Remember, museum passes must be picked up and dropped off in person. You can borrow them for a maximum of three days.

Here’s a short list of museums that are now open, with info about their hours and how to book.

If you click on the pictures of the museums, you’ll get information about exactly how to plan your visit.

Continue reading “Museums are starting to open!”

The Libraries Transform Book Pick 2020 – Let’s Get Reading!

As businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues slowly begin to reopen I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know how happy we are to be back to work and able to offer curbside pickup to all of our patrons at this time.  We hope to be able to see you in the library at some point soon but until then, please keep reserving those books and stopping by to pick them up and say hello!  Our Reference Department is on call to help with any questions, concerns or program inquiries.  And as museums are starting to reopen, we are ramping up our Museum Pass program again.

In the meantime, I was excited to read about a nationwide digital reading program that can keep us all engaged. Starting on September 14th through September 28th, libraries across the country who subscribe to OverDrive, as we do, will have unlimited digital copies of the book pick, Book of the Little Axe available for you to read online and discuss, either on social media (at the hashtag above or Facebook), or, if we have enough interest, right here at the North Castle Public Library.

A little bit about the book…

Ambitious and masterfully wrought, Lauren Francis-Sharma’s Book of the Little Axe is an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion.

In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rendón quietly but purposefully rebels against the life others expect her to lead. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house, for it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she, alone, views as her birthright. But when her homeland changes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners—Rosa’s family among them—will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom.

By 1830, Rosa is living among the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Montana with her children and her husband, Edward Rose, a Crow chief. Her son Victor is of the age where he must seek his vision and become a man. But his path forward is blocked by secrets Rosa has kept from him. So Rosa must take him to where his story began and, in turn, retrace her own roots, acknowledging along the way, the painful events that forced her from the middle of an ocean to the rugged terrain of a far-away land.

I hope you will consider joining this national reading endeavor and I also hope you will enjoy the book.  Feel free to leave comments or questions below and, as I said, if we have enough interest we can organize a digital book chat to discuss the book.

The Libraries Transform Book Pick is a collaboration between:

Booklist, the book-review magazine of the American Library Association

Libraries Transform, the American Library Association’s public awareness initiative

and OverDrive, lead sponsor of the ALA Library Champions program, whose generous support of Libraries Transform makes the Book Pick possible.

 

 

 

 

The Lobster: A Beautifully Surreal anti-romance

One of the often observed aspects of living in the 21st century is the growing sense of social alienation that’s come to define recent generations. In a world where digital space has superseded real-life interpersonal relationships, the concept of romantic intimacy is severely warped. It is this dichotomy that inspires the surreal allegory underpinning Yorgos Lanthiminos’ 2015 dark comedy The Lobster. Lanthiminos channels the awkwardness and sense of social obligation that’s unfortunately come to define much of modern romance to create a film that may be the definitive anti-romance of the 2010’s. The story centers around David (played by Colin Farrell) and his quest to find a new partner after his wife has left him for another man. He travels to a hotel with other single adults, a place where if the single individuals don’t find  partners within 45 days they will be transformed into animals of their choosing. 

 

Much of The Lobster’s charm comes from the contrast between the completely over the top setting and the film’s understated, slightly flat sense of humor. Prolonged awkward pauses and mundane moments of romantic tension are contrasted with incredibly unsettling moments of body horror. The Lobster presents an almost funhouse mirror version of modern dating, where the social pressures and interpersonal awkwardness of blindly arranged romance are given a darkly comedic backdrop. This approach is accentuated by Lathiminos’s distant, cold and understated visual style. Lathiminos made his name as a director in the European arthouse scene, rising to prominence with the surreal and incredibly dark family drama Dogtooth. While structurally more coherent than his Greek language films, The Lobster retains the visual style that made Lathiminos such a reputation in the underground. Every moment of romantic tension, bleakly dark humor, and bizarre body horror is directed with a detached visual style that emphasizes discomfort above all other emotions. What results is a film with a uniquely suffocating atmosphere, where the physical limits of the hotel come to reflect the emotional limitations of the characters. Lathiminos never intends for The Lobster to be an inviting film, yet he does weave a strange charm into such a morbid setting.

This charm becomes more apparent when the film switches from the doom and gloom of its concept to the interpersonal drama of the romance plot. When Colin Farrell’s character David falls in love in a society where romantic relationships are banned wholesale, the film’s more humanizing moments come to prominence. Within the confines of the hotel David’s angst is played for gallows humor. Within the society of ‘loners’, the audience feels much more sympathy for their seemingly doomed plans to escape from this extremely restrictive, almost nihilistic community of outsiders. Moreover, the audience can sympathize with the total sense of alienation felt by David and his lover, caught between two settings that won’t accept their love or their worth as individuals. When boiled down to its core dramatic elements, The Lobster is a story about people dealing with a fundamental sense of detachment from the seemingly arbitrary rules of their social setting. The Lobster presents this classic story in a truly unique fashion by marrying it to an eccentric and absurdist setting. It combines this setting with a directorial style that accentuates the audience’s discomfort, drawing a direct, visceral sense of connection with the characters. As such it’s hard to recommend The Lobster as an easy watch. However it’s much easier to recommend it on the lines that there are truly few other films like it. Its uniqueness stands out in a cinematic landscape where the romance film has become oddly sterile.