Spotlight On

A rotating showcase for topics of interest: current, historical, local, global. At the Library,
find a physical display highlighting materials in the collection that deepen one’s
understanding of and give context to the featured subject.

“Spotlight On” is also home to “Staff Picks,” where patrons will find reading, viewing,
and listening recommendations, and a forum for book clubs and other groups
in the community to share what they’re enjoying.

Welcome 2022!  See some of our favorites from 2021 below.

The Midnight Library

Matt Haig

A fantasy novel about a young woman who feels she has no reason to live and is given an opportunity through “books” in a magical library to choose another course that she could have taken. How many of us have thought about what might have been had we chosen a different path in life? This book provides food for thought.

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Anthony Doerr

The Pulitzer Prize winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, captured my heart on the dedication page, “dedicated to librarians, then, now and in the years to come” and catapulted me through 600+ pages with an urge to see how this masterful storyteller would zip the seemingly disparate characters and their journeys throughout several centuries together. The power of the written word, the joy of reading, the sieges that affect the five characters of the novel, and climate change all contribute to that fabulous feeling: “I can’t put this book down.” Just brilliant!

A Life of Picasso: The Minotaur Years: 1933 - 1943

John Richardson

This fourth volume in Richardson’s massive biography of the 20th century’s most famous artist follows Picasso from world-wide renown to choosing to stay in Paris throughout the German occupation. Always needing to create art as most of us need to breathe. Picasso can infuriate but could never be ignored or forgotten. Richardson’s book is a clear and compelling reminder of that.

This is Happiness

Niall Williams

A portrait of the tight-knit community of Faha, Ireland. Told through the voice of 17-year-old Noel, it is a story of family, friendships, lost love and coping with modernity creeping into this rural village.

If you are as enamored with William’s writing as I am, try his 2003 memoir, O Come Ye Back to Ireland: Our First Year in County Clare.

Anxious People

Fredrik Backman

A quirky, dark comedy which is a truly enjoyable read. The story centers around a failed bank robbery that leads to a hostage situation at an apartment viewing, and the subsequent impact on the lives of the eight hostages, the bank robber, the real estate agent and the police who investigate the crime. How their lives are impacted by sheer circumstance, is masterfully crafted by the author. It is funny and poignant with an emotional ending that brings it all together.

The Big East: Inside the Most Entertaining and Influential Conference in College Basketball History

Dana O’Neil

Dana O’ Neil is a veteran sportswriter and has covered college basketball for more than 3 decades. Ms. O’Neil has written a book about the formation of The Big East (1979-2013), arguably the best and most fun of all the college basketball conferences. Her book covers the coaches who envisioned the league, and shifted the national basketball spotlight back to the East coast after the point shaving scandals of the 1950’s. O’Neil makes it clear that the champion teams and players were homemade by the visionary coaches who formed the league and the league became legendary for the exciting rivalries, rough play and ferocious competition. It did not hurt that television networks made a lot of money broadcasting their games.

New Englander, Dave Gavitt, is credited with seeing the “big picture” and the drain of athletic talent to colleges distant from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC to the big state universities. Dave Gavitt reached out to fellow coaches, Lou Carneseca, St John’s University, John Thompson, Georgetown and Rollie Massimino of Villanova.

In the introduction of the book there is a quote by UConn’s head coach, Jim Calhoun, “The Big East was like Camelot with bad language.”

This book is a very enjoyable read and is perfect for reading aloud with the basketball fans in your family.

The very personal rivalry between Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin of St. John’s is a great story on its own. And I am happy to report that after many years as college and NBA super rivals, members of the US Dream Team, Pat and Chris are now commentators and friends. (That is Pat Ewing on the cover.)

A look at the 1985 series between Georgetown and St. John’s featuring Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing

Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing reflect on the 1992 Dream Team

1922: Annus Mirabilis – The Birth of Modernism, and More

One hundred years ago, a veritable explosion of literature brought the book world into the 20th century. Not all were appreciated, or best sellers, but none could be ignored.


James Joyce

Arguably the greatest novel of the 20th century, it tells the story of a day in Dublin. What happens? On the surface, very little. But thanks to Joyce’s insights and style, it’s the entire history of literature. No writer since hasn’t been affected by it in some way.

The Waste Land and Other Poems

T.S. Eliot

A poem that broke all the rules, Eliot uses translations, everyday conversation, and symbolism to express his thoughts and feelings of post-war London. The Lost Generation in free verse.


Sinclair Lewis

Nothing experimental here. Just a skewering of the American middle-class circa 1922.

To read more on Sinclair Lewis, check out this article in The New York Times.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting

Not everyone was interested in jumping into an uncertain future. Some just wanted a darn good story. And this book about the good doctor never fails to entertain.



On the other hand, a good horror movie never goes out of style. This first film version based on Dracula is creepy and scary and like nothing ever seen before. Just like modern times must have seemed in 1922.

In the past year and a half, I found myself with the time to finally read some books that I knew I should have read years ago. Somehow, in college or in life, I never have gotten to them. So, starting with Moby Dick, I managed to work my way through David Copperfield, Gulliver’s Travels and currently Look Homeward, Angel.

But I must admit, more than once I found myself doing the math of how many pages I had left, and when would I be done if I read 25 pages a-day.

And then, after reading one book and before starting another, I found myself  reading books that I just couldn’t wait to  keep reading.  No page counts.  No clock or calendar-watching. And when I was done, I wanted more.

So here, in no particular order, are the books I call “un-put-down-ables.”

And so, starting a new event at the Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library, we’re going to read these three books for our new non-fiction book club, KEEPING IT REAL. Go to our Adult Events page to learn more.

-Reference Librarian, Mike McCoy


Pete Hamill

A history of Manhattan wrapped in a memoir, by one of the most readable writers I know. From Henry Hudson to 9/11, his stories will make you see the amazing one-of-a-kind city only a half hour away in a brand-new way.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Bill Bryson

From Dick and Jane to nuclear war, Bryson’s childhood was one filled with adventure and intrigue, even if it was mostly just in his head. A Baby Boomer’s delight and a look at what helped create one of our great travel writers.

Hidden Figures

Margot Lee Shetterly

From World War II to the space race, this is the fascinating story of a group of African-American women who, from the age of the slide rule to the age of computers, used their intellect and skills to serve their nation and, ultimately, fulfil the pledge to put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth. An inspirational story; a great read.

Explore More…

Interested in The New York Times best sellers? See them here!

200 Books That Shaped 200 Years of Literature from The Center for Fiction

Stay current on the pandemic by using this COVID-19 information page on the Community Conversations website, brought to you by Westchester Library System.

Want to watch educational videos on YouTube? Here are some YouTube channels of interest: NASA, Business Insider, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Crash Course

You can now turn your smart phone into a mobile PDF scanner! Download the free Adobe Scan app and scan any text, convert to PDF or JPEG, edit and share easily.

The Hastings Youth Council has posted on Instagram that Hastings K.I.D.S. are knitting and collecting scarves this winter for the homeless living in New York City. Click here for more information and to participate.

Looking for a great place to take the kids, or just the kid in yourself? Get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Inspiring Walt Disney, opening December 10, 2021 and running until March 6, 2022 in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. You’ll be able to see some of the decorative arts from 18th century Europe that inspired the art in many Disney classics. The exhibit includes artwork and clips from the films.

January 20th – A Celebration of Sound: Public Domain Day – Virtual event by Internet Archive

January 25th – Blissful Bedtimes with Melissa Mittler – A virtual parenting workshop from the Briarcliff Manor Public Library

January 30th – Write, Write!: A Fiction Workshop via Zoom – Hudson Valley Writers Center workshop for teens

February 1st – Blissful Bedtimes with Melissa Mittler – A virtual parenting workshop from the Warner Library