Staff Recommendation: Letters to a Young Poet

This book was recommended to me through the podcast “Wonderful!” and I would recommend it to anyone feeling especially young, lost, and vulnerable throughout this summer’s post-graduation season. The book is a collection of letters sent from Rainer Maria Rilke to a young poet looking for advice and critiques of his work. It is a gentle but blunt series of writings on being young and finding your place, about getting to know yourself and your writing deeply and intimately, and about coming to terms with being alone in your growth in the world.

Rilke’s prose is beautiful and reassuring. He answers questions and doubts earnestly. It’s a wonderful guidebook to being a young, creative person in the world. What I have most taken from this book is one citation that says “Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart…live in the question.” It’s all too tempting to want to know everything and have solved every problem right away. Rilke illustrates the many ways in which there is time to live in now, even and especially when you don’t have all the answers.

Find Letters to a Young Poet at Greenfield Library, call # PT2635 .I65 Z488 2011  

~ Recommended by Jo Dutilloy, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant 


Staff Recommendation: Fahrenheit 451

As a librarian and an avid fan of reading in general, I’ve read a lot of books. Well, I’ve read a lot, but there certainly are many books that I still haven’t read yet. Fahrenheit 451, a classic (and often banned) modern novel is one of those books that had me saying to myself, “Why have I never read this?!” Especially since this is a true book lover’s book.

But it’s also more than just that. As Neil Gaiman says in the wonderful introduction to this 60th anniversary edition, “This is a book about caring for things. It’s a love letter to books, but I think, just as much, it’s a love letter to people….” Since I think this book is so magical, I won’t spoil the plot. What I want to focus on is this book’s important message, gloriously amplified by Ray Bradbury’s lyrical descriptions (trust me, he makes describing moonlight sound heavenly).

What I loved so much about Fahrenheit 451 is its striking relevance to our world today, which can often be said for these types of dystopian sci-fi novels. Even though I found myself nodding along to Bradbury’s finger-pointing at the horrible aspects of modern society (which are eerily similar to the world of 2018), I also felt reassured to hear a voice who feels the same way I do. Books matter. Stories matter. People matter. Quiet thought and compassion matters. In a world that seems too loud and insane and imploding in on itself at times, it was refreshing to read the words of an author calling out into the void, saying, “Slow down. Look around you. Care more. Read a book.”

You can check out Fahrenheit 451 from the Greenfield Library at call# PS3503 .R167 F3 2013. This special edition of the book also includes historical context essays and reviews for some in-depth reading.

There is also an audio guide available from Greenfield CDs (GCD409), featuring a radio program and Bradbury discussing his work. We also have the 1966 film available behind the Greenfield circulation desk, just ask for call# GD23Coincidentally, HBO will be premiering a new movie version of Fahrenheit 451, to be released Spring of this year. You can watch the teaser trailer here.

~ Recommended by Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist at the Greenfield Library

Staff Recommendation: Look Inside, Cutaway Illustrations and Visual Storytelling


This fascinating book reveals a variety of cross sections for the reader to gaze at, appreciate, and ponder. The Velasco brothers take the reader through the history and theory of these artistic cutaways, while delving into their aesthetic and edifying qualities.  From grand 19th century buildings, to modern transportation vehicles, and through wild rain forests and the human body itself, the book covers a lot of ground and explores the myriad ways in which these cross sections can be beautiful and educational. Large colorful prints of the cutaways dominate the book and are a reason, in and of themselves, to pick it up and start learning!

This book is available for check out at the Greenfield Library.  Just stop by the circulation desk and ask for call # T11.8 .V85 2016

Mike Romano – Circulation Assistant

Staff Recommendation: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is heart-wrenching, thoughtful, and compelling. Starr, a high school student, is the lone witness to the shooting of one of her childhood friends, Kahlil. While dealing with the trauma of this experience, the incident gets national attention, flooding hashtags and news stations. She is caught between two worlds: her predominantly black neighborhood and her predominantly white private school. Tension from bothsides ignites, with Starr under pressure as the only one able to get Kahlil justice. This book is an absolute must read for it’s empathic perspective and political relevance.

This book is available in the Greenfield Library open stacks at call #PZ7.1 .T448 H3 2017  

Recommended by Alyssa Winscom, Greenfield Library Work Study Assistant

Studio Art MFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Amira Hanafi

Amira Hanafi will lecture Wednesday, July 25th at 7:00 pm in Hamilton Hall, CBS Auditorium.

Hanafi is an internationally exhibited artist,  published writer, and curator. She grew up in America, earning her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but returned to Egypt in 2010 where she started collaborating with the Artellewa Art Space in Giza, Egypt.

Read a lengthy interview with Hanafi by Caroline Picard – How to Get Lost in a City at Bad at Sports Contemporary Art Talk and How to Get Lost in a Text at Lantern Daily.

Watch Hanafi’s spoken word video Trinities on Vimeo. Learn more about her books Forgery and Minced English.

from Hanafi's Testimony
from Hanafi's Testimony

Digital Resource of the Week: Rare Book Room

Through the publishing house Octavo, the Rare Book Room currently has over 400 digitized books available to read online. Many of the books are beautiful examples of the histories of print design, typography, and illustration.

You can search by subject such as literature (where you will find Shakespeare’s work), graphic arts (including a work by Bodoni), music (mostly Beethoven and Mozart), or photography (the Pennsylvania Railroad Photographs from the 1870s are here).

Many of the libraries that hold the original materials are right here in Philadelphia! In the drop-down menu for Find by Library, check out The American Antiquarian Society, The American Philosophical Society, the Ewell Sale Stewart Library of the Academy of Natural Sciences, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and the University of Pennsylvania Library.

Please note that you will have to allow pop-ups on your web browser to use the site.

Here are some highlights of the collection:

A book of hours - "Horae Beatae Mariae ad usum Romanum" - from 1524
A book of hours - "Horae Beatae Mariae ad usum Romanum" - from 1524
Louis Renard's "Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes, de Diverses Couleu" (1719)
Louis Renard's "Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes, de Diverses Couleu" (1719)


Lewis Carroll's "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass" illustrated by Blanche McManus, 1900
Lewis Carroll's "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass" illustrated by Blanche McManus, 1900
German Christian text, unknown author, circa 1475
German Christian text, unknown author, circa 1475