April 27th – May 3rd

Local libraries have a cool new thing for you to spend some time on!

“A People’s History of the COVID-19 Pandemic” projects are happening at both Forbes Library and Sunderland Public Library.

We are living in interesting times. History is in the making. Future generations will want to know what life was like during this pandemic. One of the functions of a library is to archive key moments in the history of its community. The Sunderland Public Library maintains a Local History collection. Now is the the time to add to it. We encourage people to record their thoughts and feelings during this extraordinary time.

They then provide you with some thoughtful questions to start off! We’re excited to get some thoughts on paper. It’s a weird time to be in and it’s probably worth thinking about in a way that’s a bit less just freaking out.

Now for some neat events!

Far Out Film Discussion will be talking about Dr. Mabuse the Gambler Monday at 8PM – 10PM. It’s a silent film by Fritz Lang from 1922, and it’s available online at Kanopy or at Youtube! You can join the discussion at https://zoom.us/j/838291785.

There’s also a virtual Great Books discussion about Anna Karenina from 7PM – 8:30PM the discussions are open to all, you just need to email the group facilitator Hilary Caws-Elwitt hcethatsme AT gmail DOT com.

Then Wednesday the 29th from 3:30PM – 4:15PM there’s a Virtual Kids’ Book Club about King of the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender.

We’re holding our monthly book club on Zoom videoconferencing! Please email sjohnson@forbeslibrary.org to register and receive the meeting link and password. For ages 8-12. About King of the Dragonflies: “In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.”

Jones Library has a discussion with local author Bruce Watson who’ll be talking about his book “Hearth and Soul: A History of the Jones Library at One Hundred” They’re livestreaming at 3:30PM – 4PM on Thursday on their Facebook page!

Greenfield Public Library will be having a Virtual Brown Bag Book Discussion Tuesday from 7PM – 8PM, you can just email librarian@greenfieldpubliclibrary.org for the link. Talk about what you’ve been reading with some other nice readers!

Also, the weekly Start Playing Online is happening again this Wednesday at 7PM. You can hang out in the Discord ahead of time, though: https://discord.gg/fAM8yJw!

Prodigy has had a regular Friday game stream that seems fun. Last week was Legend of Zelda on the NES!

There’s an Author Talk about the book “The Dairy Restaurant” with Ben Katchor via the Yiddish Book Center on April 30th at 7PM. You do need to register first! It’s got limited space. Virtual space!

For “The Dairy Restaurant,” Ben Katchor retells the history of where we choose to eat—a history that starts with the first man allowed to enter a walled garden and encouraged by the garden’s owner to enjoy its fruits. In this brilliant, “sui generis” book, Ben Katchor illuminates the unique historical confluence of events and ideas that led to the proliferation of the dairy restaurant in New York City. In words and his inimitable drawings, he begins with Adam entering Eden and eating the fruits therein. He examines ancient protocols for offerings to the gods and the kosher milk-meat taboo. He describes the first vegetarian practice, the development of inns offering food to travelers, the invention of the restaurant, the rise of various food fads, and the intersection between culinary practice and radical politics. Here, too, is an encyclopedic directory of dairy restaurants that once thrived in New York City and its environs, evoked by Katchor’s illustrations of classified advertisements, matchbooks, menus, and phone directory listings. And he ends on an elegiac note as he recollects his own experiences in many of these unique restaurants just before they disappeared—as have almost all the dairy restaurants in the New York metropolitan area.

Some other nice things!

Images Cinema has virtual cinema for you to watch! Bored of Netflix? Want to see some fun small-run indie stuff? Why not check out your favorite local theater, but on the internet! Yeah it’s missing the overpriced snacks, but it’s got the flicks and that’s what matters right?

Pioneer Valley Planeswalkers remain online! Check them out for your Magic the Gathering fix!

Comics N’ More has been posting adorable videos! That’s fun, everyone needs more adorable videos. You can also buy a bunch of great books for great prices at their online shop!

And finally a very cute online game from Gretchen Hohmeyer, Children’s Librarian, and Olivia Eberli, Teen Librarian, at the Westfield Athenaeum! Escape the Disney Fairy Tale!

We’ve been playing XCOM: Chimera Squad! It’s a ton of fun! It’s cheap, $9.99 until May 1st, and it’s basically a sliiight re-working of the basic XCOM formula of taking on individual missions where you move your folks around and shoot at other folks and then hopping out to a larger map where you try to gain an advantage by planning out a longer-term strategy and buying supplies and such.

While in previous games you’d fill out your squad with customized people, this time around your team are all set characters, pretty broadly sketched but perfectly serviceable, and they’re all possessed of some unique ability. Also, you’re no longer fighting against an implacable alien invasion, you’re instead trying to keep the peace in a post-war multi-species city.

It’s a ton of fun so far! The addition of “breaching”, where you choose how to enter the next room, is a great way of compressing the long slow picking across the map that you tend to have to do in games like this, where you always want to bunch everyone up which means you need to move them all the same distance as the slowest character, etc. Instead you just complete a room and then decide whether to enter the next via the door or the windows or whatnot. We also really like that instead of each side making all of their moves at the same time there’s a turn order tracker, which means you can plan around doing THIS first so that when THAT enemy comes up you can have THIS happen, etc. We don’t mind the other method, but this is generally the way we like to play tactics games.

We highly recommend checking it out!

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