Creepy Reads-October Staff Picks
Our staff decided to share some books that gave us the willies. Check them out.
The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories
by H.P. Lovecraft
House of Leaves
by Mark Z. Danielewski
by Christopher Priest
Young Adult Books
The Dead House
by Dawn Kurtagich
by Ruth Paul
Our first Socrates Café meet up of the season is on the books! <— See what we did there?
The Big Q: Which serves you better: being right-brained (visual/intuitive) or left-brained (analytical/methodical)?
True to form, after our group decided on this question of the day, one participant sought to clarify: is the “you” the personal you, or the collective one? Well, it could be either so we allowed answers to either version.
One of the first considerations came from one who had spent his career as a salesman being methodical and linear in his approach. Later he realized that to better connect with his potential customers required certain creativity. This idea led another participant to cite Leonardo da Vinci.
Da Vinci is an example of one person who gained notoriety in his time as a genius in the fields of art, architecture, anatomy and science, presumably utilizing both the right and left sides of his brain remarkably well.
Want to know how Da Vinci did it, and how you can too?
If so, there are two books in our collection that cover harnessing the power of both sides of your brain that you’ll find interesting. The first, by Michael J. Gelb, entitled How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci : Seven Steps to Genius Everyday, offers the reader thinking exercises. The flyleaf summarizes this book this way.
“Drawing on Da Vinci’s notebooks, inventions, and legendary works of art, acclaimed author Michael J. Gelb, introduces seven Da Vincian principles, the essential elements of genius, from curiosita, the insatiably curious approach to life, to connessione, the appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things. With Da Vinci as their inspiration, readers will discover an exhilarating new way of thinking.”
Another book suggested by a participant is [The New] Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. Our copy of this book, originally published in 1979, is a 20th anniversary re-issue having sold 2.5 million copies of the former. With 50 percent more material than the original issue, it is not only a book about drawing but it is also a book about freeing your mind to draw.
Care to narrow your reading solely to the left and right brain thing? Check out Chapter 3; Your Brain: The Right and Left of It.
Conversation about this book led us to consider a well-known perception exercise where the subject uses a picture that is oriented upside down as a guide. The person then attempts to recreate a drawing of the picture. This exercise helps to train the person to draw what she sees rather than what she thinks she sees or what the picture “should” look like.
As is often the case at the Socrates Café, the dissection of an idea occasionally veers a little left or right in other ways.
We covered such topics as the power of dominant hands, and why some people who have brain-affecting diagnoses like ADHD or autism tend to do less well on IQ tests (which are designed for left-brain thinking.)
In a study under the NIH, IQ in children with autism spectrum disorders: data from the Special Needs and Autism Project (SNAP), researchers concluded, “ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] was less strongly associated with intellectual disability than traditionally held and there was only limited evidence of a distinctive IQ profile.” This study suggests that “different” thinking methodology does not presume a lack of intelligence.
If this assertion holds as a general baseline for most people who are diagnosed with ASD, we might consider that those so diagnosed have the ability to use the right side of the brain in ways others do not. A patron (whose particular form of autism is associated with left side thinking) cited her abilities as an example, and said that she felt odd knowing that while she is a left-brained thinker, she is also very creative. She believes that being left-brained, for example, helps her in her position as a stage manager because she can see small details in ways that others do not.
Every month we cover a new question chosen by the participants and we attempt to answer that question both based on our experiences and by listening to others’ points of view. We look forward to next month’s Socrates Café meetup. We meet monthly (on Zoom for now). Register now and we’ll send you a Reminder Link to access the meetup the day beforehand. See you then!
Never Forget: Books Help Us Remember
This year we recognize the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001. To commemorate the event, our staff has given some suggestion on books that helped them navigate the emotional turmoil that day brought.
By Alissa Torres and Illustrated by Sungyoon Choi
Beautifully and thoughtfully illustrated, American Widow is the affecting account of one woman’s journey through shock, pain, birth, and rebirth in the aftermath of a great tragedy. It is also the story of a young couple’s love affair: how a Colombian immigrant and a strong-minded New Yorker met, fell in love, and struggled to fulfill their dreams. Above all, American Widow is a tribute to the resilience of the human heart and the very personal story of how one woman endured a very public tragedy
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseni
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father’s closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.
(Book/Overdrive eBook/Hoopla eBook/Hoopla Audiobook)
By Jonathan Franzen
In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom’s characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.
(Book/Large Print Book)
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
by Lawrence Wright
A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright’s remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11
By Garrett M. Graff
Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, he paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.
A Widow’s Walk: A Memoir of 9/11
By Marian Fontana
On September 11, 2001, Marian Fontana lost her husband, Dave, a firefighter from the elite Squad 1 in Brooklyn, in the World Trade Center attack. A Widow’s Walk begins that fateful morning, when Marian, a playwright and comedienne, became a widow, a single mother, and an unlikely activist.
This free walk-through exhibit opens Wednesday, September 1st, and will be open during all library hours through Thursday, September 30th. Visitors can maintain social distance when viewing and the exhibit is accessible. Mask wearing is preferred.
The library is taking time to recall this day by making books and other materials on the subject readily available, offering patrons an opportunity to reflect by audio recording their memories (September 9th and 10th), and displaying patron submitted artwork that depicts their impressions.
Take the time to commemorate this, the 20th year since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at Allentown Public Library.
Check out how members of our community and their organizations navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine.
July 21st, 2020
Ripple Community Inc.
October 12th, 2020
Allentown Police Department
October 13th, 2020
Turning Point Lehigh Valley
October 14th, 2020
Cedarbrook Senior Care
October 19th, 2020
Allentown Health Bureau
October 20th, 2020
October 23rd, 2020
Lehigh/Northampton Airport Authority
October 23rd, 2020
Allentown Public Library
June 15th, 2021