Thursday, April 30, 2009

Classics Landslide


We're getting a ton of new editions of great classics that you might have read in your literature classes. If you've been thinking about reading one of those great works and never got around to it, now is exactly the right time. Among them are:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Light in August by William Faulkner
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
Kim by Rudyard Kipling
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

And tons more...

Stop in and check out some of these wonderful books.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This Weekend at Watha T. April 30-May 3

I know it's unusual to post our calendar in the middle of the week, and then again to only post a piece of the weekly calendar. But we've had some last minute updates that require notification.

So, here we go!

Thursday, April 30

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose
3:30: Open Game Time for Teens
6:00: Public Meeting: Friends of the Watha T. Daniel Library
This meeting of the friends will be to discuss ways in which you can volunteer and support the Watha T. Daniel Library

Friday, May 1

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club presents: Naruto

Saturday, May 2

10:00: Story Time for Families
12:00: Magic the Gathering for Teens
2:00: Express Yourself: The Playlist of your Life for teens
3:00: Documentary Film Series presents: Sicko

Sunday, May 3

3:00: Folk Tales with Nick
3:00: Fabulous Beaded Jewelery for teens

History Book Club: Machiavelli's "The Prince"

History Book Club - Selection for May 18th, 2009- Machiavelli's "The Prince" - Strategies for Peace Activists

The Prince is well known as the first modern essay to be written on statecraft and war. It is considered by a recent critic, Michael Ignateff to be "certainly the most shocking book ever written about political leadership. " It reflects not the ideal of how a ruler should act but the real motivations and methods of behind political action. The Watha History Book Club is planning to discuss this intrigueing work on Monday, May 18th 2009.

I think that those who seek justice and peace must also deal not just with the ideal of good governance but analyze the way things really are. One should try to approximate the ideal of peace and justice within the limitations of how the modern state operates and rulers who confront each other in competition on the world stage really behave. To follow Machiavelli's style of aphorism: one who seeks peace should understand war: what forces bring about conflict and how people react to these challenges; one who seeks justice should learn empricially how and why situations of injustice emerge in different soceities.

Machiavelli is a good guide to considering how states are actually ruled, how rulers gain and keep power, and how power is lost. Machiavelli, is a good book for activists who seek to influence politics. Such knowledge is invaluable and Machiavelli gives many examples of such behavior. To move toward a better world a good sense for the facts of politics is essential.

The Prince gives us examples of different types of rulers who lived in a very different time and place, Renaissance Italy. The reader finds patterns in the political behavior in that different world that seem very familiar and at the same time unfamilar.

Much history of the Renaissance is recounted in this book: the Medici pope Leo X plots and schemes while the youth Cesare Borgia conquers region after region. Observing political action in this context of the culture of a different era instructs us in the universals of politics and in how different historical circumstances changes things. In this way the Prince is a very lively and stimulating book. It is about today as much as it is about the past. It is a very exciting read. The book club hopes to explore the issues brought forth by the Prince in a lively discussion applying the book to current problems.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Classical Not Dead

In high school I played in a couple of bands. I was into Nirvana and Pearl Jam like everyone else, but at some point I became obsessed with Beethoven, Ludwig Van. I would tell my friends and bandmates things like, "There is no rock song that rocks harder than the Eroica," and "Check out the Pathetique piano sonata--prettiest chord progressions ever!" They didn't get it.

But as I learned later, the man-made musical genre classifications we use are just shades of the same color. Cobain, Mozart, Notorious B.I.G.--all of these cultural icons can be rightly called musical geniuses, regardless of the wildly different routes they used to get to roughly the same place. Current science points to music as our earliest (and most complete in my opinion) means of communication and communion with other humans, existing before spoken or written language. Our music faculties are seated deep in our lizard-brains, deeper than language and far deeper than the analytical and problem-solving abilities that differentiate humans from so-called lower animals. So it comes as no surprise how deeply into music we humans get, regardless of age or cultural background. Jeez, I got off on a rant there :)

I still love rock and jazz, but until recently I hadn't been listening to much classical music. Then, a couple weeks ago as I was inventorying new items I came across a 3-CD set that sent a tingle up my spine, all the way to my lizard-brain. THANK YOU, PAUL LEWIS!!!

Never heard of Paul Lewis? I hadn't either, but it turns out he's an insanely talented pianist. We at Watha T. Daniel were lucky enough to get a 3-CD set of piano sonatas by Mr. Beethoven. This set includes the well-known "Pastorale" in D minor and "Les Adieux" in E flat major, as well as eight lesser-known sonatas very worth checking out. After my first listen I felt compelled to place holds on as many other Beethoven CDs as I could find in our catalog, an avenue I recommend to anyone else curious about classical music, but not interested in breaking the bank on new CDs (remember CDs?) My iPod is now 20% Beethoven!!! No joke. Check it out!

Friday, April 24, 2009

This is getting outta hand!

So, today my improvisational music program for the wee little ones got totally out of hand. In a good way, thankfully :)
The Rockalong-with-Casey program starts at 10:00am, but our regulars tend to show up exactly at ten, and often a little late (slackers!) For this reason I tend to lag a bit on my start time, so everyone can get seated before we start to play. In the past I've teased my co-workers here at WTD because my Rockalong group (I don't use the word audience, because the kids are as much a part of the music as I am) has been surprisingly large, the biggest being 35 people. Thirty Five! I thought. That's more than the number of people who came to see my REAL band's first show, EEK!
But that was nothing. I know that now.

There were so many folks at Rockalong this morning that Nick had no way of fitting all EIGHTY in his camera! This photo shows a little glimpse...

If you're interested in the program, please feel free to contact us at 202.671.0267


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Japanese Books in Translation: Part 3 - The Final Chapter

The final shipment of our Toyota grant books of Japanese literature in translation have arrived!We now have a major display featuring all of those titles, so swing by and check it out. We've got a little something for everyone.

J-Horror: the definitive guide to The Ring, The Grudge and beyond by David Kallat
North Korea Kidnapped My Daughter by Sakie Yokota


Twinkle Twinkle by Kaori Ekuni
May in the Valley of the Rainbow by Yoichi Funado
A Rabbit's Eyes by Kenjiro Haitani
Naoko by Keigo Higashino
The Guin Saga Book One: The Leopard Mask by Kaoru Kurimoto
The Guin Saga Book Two: Warrior in the Wilderness by Kaoru Kurimoto
The Blade of the Courtesans by Keiichiro Ryu
Paradise by Koji Suzuki
Outlet by Randy Teguchi
Sayonara Gangsters by Genichiro Takahashi
Translucent Tree by Nobuko Takagi

Mystery Fiction

Ashes by Kenzo Kitakata
The Cage by Kenzo Kitakata
Winter Sleep by Kenzo Kitakata
The Poison Ape by Arimasa Osawa
Promenade of the Gods by Koji Suzuki

Historic Fiction

Zero over Berlin by Joh Sasaki


The Crimson Labyrinth by Yusuke Kishi
Now You're One of Us by Asa Nonami
Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena
Birthday by Koji Suzuki
Dark Water by Koji Suzuki
Ring by Koji Suzuki

Science Fiction

Spiral by Koji Suzuki
Loop by Koji Suzuki

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This Week (and a half) at Watha T. - 4/22 -5/2

Good Afternoon Neighbors!

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get this weekly events calendar in here. My apologies that it sometimes comes out on Monday, others on Tuesday or Wednesday. I'll get this sucker down somehow!

Oh, and Happy Earth Day to all of you.

Here's what's going on this week at Watha T.

Wednesday, April 22
Earth Day

6:00: Chess Club
6:00: Knitting Club

Thursday, April 23

The Big Read Begins!
Make sure to check out a copy of "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose
3:30: Game Time for Teens

Friday, April 24

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club presents: Naruto

Saturday, April 25

10:00: Story Time for Families
12:00: Opera Series presents: The Magic Flute

Sunday, April 26

3:00: Folk Tales with Nick

Monday, April 27

3:30: Homework Help from Capitol Letters Writing Center
6:00: Lecture: The Basic Practices of Yoga

Tuesday, April 28

10:00: Story Time for Children
4:00: Tech Tuesday

Wednesday, April 29

6:00: Chess Club

Thursday, April 30

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose
3:30: Game time for Teens

Special Event
6:00: Open Meeting: Friends of the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library
Come and learn about how you can help support the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library by becoming a member of the Friends group.

Friday, May 1

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club Presents: Deathnote

Saturday, May 2

10:00: Story Time for Families
12:00: Magic the Gathering for Teens
2:00: Express Yourself Teen Program: Fabulous Beaded Jewelery

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Horror Review - IT

The best monster stories are never really about the monster. In The Thing, the creature is a wall between the characters, forcing them into paranoia and isolation as they realize they can no longer trust one another. Frankenstein has been interpreted as a tale of postpartum depression. IT continues this tradition, and takes the concept a step further. As with most of Stephen King's early novels, the true horror in the story is not in the lovecraftian, ancient nightmare creature that sleeps beneath the earth, waking every thirty years to eat children and feast on fear; no, in this story the truly horrifying acts are committed by the common folk who live in the fictional town of Derry, Maine.

Through the novel, all of the characters repeatedly come back to a single refrain - "something is wrong in Derry." In the face of racism, homophobia, poverty, repression, anti-Semitism, physical abuse and a host of psychological disorders ranging from sociopathy to PTSD, the monster is almost tangential. Though the characters attribute this wrongness to the monster beneath the town center, the horrifying events which take place there throughout the history of the town need no supernatural cause; in fact, it could be argued that when the creature (dressed as Pennywise the Dancing Clown) is present for the various massacres and atrocities in town, it is there not as an instigator, but to feed on the residue of what was already there to be had. The monster's needs require minimal cultivation at best.

It is no surprise then that the seven children who finally fight the monster are so readily able to do so, and to do so again as adults. By the time they reach their climactic confrontation with It, they almost seem as comfortable in its presence as in that of other human beings, and it is telling that through the book they chose to spend their time in the Barrens, the abandoned, miniature wasteland where the city's sewers break to the surface, which is also the entrance to It's lair. The monster might eat them, but compared to their own lives it was the lesser of two evils.

Another trope of Stephen King's stories is his trademark brand of happy ending, and the undercurrent of positivity which is often lost on casual readers. Like the characters in Needful Things, The Stand, Insomnia and 'Salem's Lot, the heroes of IT find secret strengths within themselves and in their relationships with each other. Terror, in King's world, is fought with laughter, and despair with hope. As they come to believe in the evil mysteries around them, so too do they discover a countermagic within themselves, and every hero has a talisman. This is perhaps more readily apparent in IT, because the monster is so blatanty allegorical, and the children are more readily able to transcend common sense. Faith is essential to the Stephen King mythos, and the rest is window dressing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Hottest Hot Picks

Come and check out "Towanda's Hot Picks" and join the urban fiction book club. This month's title is "The Best of Everything" by Kimberla Lawson Roby.

"The world-renowned Reverend Curtis Black's daughter
Alicia, is all grown up and even more trouble than her father.
The apple certainly doesn't fall far from the tree in this new

Come and discuss this book on May 20th , 2009 @ 5:00pm

Japanese Books In Translation: Part 2 - Fiction and Non-Fiction

We just received a few more of the books from our Toyota grant collection. Here's the quick list.


The Fall of Constantinople
The Battle of Lepanto
The Siege of Rhodes
-- all by Nanami Shiono

Boy by Takeshi Kitano


The Toyota Leaders: An Executive Guide by Masaaki Sato
A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness by NHK-TV "Tokaimura Criticality Accident" crew

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Week at Watha T. April 14-21

Good Morning Neighbors!

Here's what we've got in store for you this week.

Tuesday, April 14

10:00: Story Time for 3-5 years old
4:00: Tech Tuesday

Wednesday, April 15

4:00: Urban Fiction Discussion with Towanda
6:00: Chess Club for kids

Thursday, April 16
Emancipation Day

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose
3:30: Games for Teens

Friday, April 17

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club presents Naruto

Saturday, April 18

10:00: Storytime and Craft for families
12:00: Opera Program: Nozze di Figaro
2:00: Teen Craft: Fabulous Beaded Jewelery

Sunday, April 19

3:00: Folktales with Nick

Monday, April 20

3:30: Homework Help with Capitol Letters Writing Center
6:00: History Book Club

Tuesday, April 21

10:00: Story Time for 3-5 years old
4:00: Tech Tuesday

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Japanese Books in Translation: Part 1 - Hot New Manga

Thanks to the generous folks at Toyota, and the hard work of the American Library Association, Watha T. Daniel has become one of the over 200 libraries in the country to receive a set of 50 new books by Japanese authors translated into English. Today we got our Manga portion of the order which includes

Andromeda Stories vols. 1-3
Black Jack vols. 1-3
The Guin Saga vols. 1-3
To Terra... vols. 1-3

Stop by and check it out!

Monday, April 6, 2009

This Week at Watha T. April 6-13

Howdy Neighbors!

We've got some great program offerings this week at Watha T. Daniel. Swing by and check them out!

Monday, April 6

3:30: Homework Help with Capitol Letters Writing Center
6:00: Easter Crafts for Kids

Tuesday, April 7

10:00: Storytime with Eric
4:00: Tech Tuesday

Wednesday, April 8

6:00: Chess Club
6:00: WTD Knitting Group

Thursday, April 9

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose
3:30: Open Games for Teens

Friday, April 10

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club presents Naruto

Saturday, April 11

10:00: Family Storytime with Nick
12:00: Opera Series presents La Bohème

Sunday, April 12

Closed for Easter Sunday

Monday, April 13

3:30: Homework Help with Capitol Letters Writing Center
6:00: Lecture: The Philosophy of Yoga

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dry Erase Board Table

I am so excited to announce that we now have a dry erase board table in the young adult room at Watha T. Daniel!

Take a moment to stop in, write us a little poem, draw a little artwork and share it with your friends.

Get your dungeons and dragons group in here and draw out the site maps.

Have a meeting and brainstorm together.

Check it out!