Wednesday, December 31, 2008
In the Christmas rush to clean the house and hide extraneous stuff, I came upon more extraneous stuff I had hidden from an earlier time. Surprise! I forgot I even had some of these things, including this book which I had started to read last year about this time - before it got the bum's rush into a closet.
This sort of behavior would never happen in Mildred Armstrong Kalish's memoir, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, selected by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of 2007. There would not have been any extraneous things and nothing was "stuff": everything had value and was used up, worn out or made to last...good words to live by once again in these times.
This is a charming recollection of multi-generational family life during the Depression, which was made a bit easier by the family's self-sustaining farm. Great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings all banded together for support, entertainment, worship and work. Neighbors and townspeople added flavor and variety to a simple, but rich life.
Filled with numerous stories about childhood in Iowa, Little Heathens also provides good insight into the self-reliant, but selfless attitudes of that time. Everyone had chores to do, lessons to learn, meals to prepare from scratch, farm animals to care for, and thrifty values to practice. For instance, the story about how socks were used up is most impressive, starting with the first hole in the toe. After numerous darnings and resizings of the sock by cutting off the toe and sewing it up for a smaller foot, the author's grandmother would cut off the ribbed end to sew onto coat cuffs for added warmth and then the rest of the sock was cut into little squares for polishing. Think about that.
If you're in the mood for a folksy, pleasant memoir with great spirit and inspiration, borrow this book from Bernardsville Public Library. You'll already be practicing thrifty ways!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
If you love to knit, but have a closetful of woolies, why not turn your talents to great use by knitting projects for charity? A local group that gladly accepts knitted items for merchant mariners entering the Port of New York and New Jersey is the Seaman's Church Institute. They will provide you with patterns via their Web site. Another great site is The Daily Knitter which lists many charities for which you can knit. If pictures help to spur you on, here are a few
from another organization, FireProject, based in Flagstaff, Arizona. They are promoting a hat knitting project for children in Mongolia and they provide free patterns on their Web site.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
If you like to do handworking, please join Bernardsville Public Library's new crafting group, Saturday Crafters. We meet monthly at the library, and our next meeting is this Saturday, November 22nd, at 3:30 p.m. in the Community Room. All crafters are welcome, and there is no sign-up required.
Please bring your own project and share your helpful tips with this friendly group. Last month we had knitters, a needlepointer, a paper crafter and a handsewer gathered together for a very cheerful afternoon. On Saturday staff member Evelyn Fischel will showcase library books featuring holiday gift-making ideas. This holiday season, say "I made it myself!"
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Does this look familiar to you? Well, yes, it's a huge, stylized globe, and it's also the centerpiece for our new display celebrating Bernardsville Public Library's slogan, "A world at your doorstep."
But it is also a cleverly reworked prop from our National Library Week book display earlier this year. Please refer to the April 9, 2008, posting for information on how the large wire construction above, symbolizing the tree of knowledge, was created by staff member Shelley Jones. To solder and construct this wire tree was a daunting task, and Shelley hoped she would never have to see it again.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The children's fiction of Laura Ingalls Wilder has captivated readers for over 75 years now, and Bernardsville Public Library is celebrating the author's charming frontier stories with a special display. Here you'll find a wagonload of books and dvds related to the theme of The Little House on the Prairie. Look for the three-dimensional wagon located adjacent to the entry to the Fiction Wing. Even more items are included than pictured above.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
To remember Studs Terkel, who died October 31st at the age of 96, we have included several of his works in this same display. A man of many talents - interviewer, tv and radio personality, chronicler of 20th century life, and Chicago's number one fan - Studs Terkel carved a special niche for himself in American culture. He requested that his epitaph read, "Curiosity did not kill this cat."
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday Samplers, Bernardsville Public Library's book discussion group, shared a number of interesting discussion points on Anita Diamant's The Red Tent last Saturday. We compared a reading from the book of Genesis to the main character's storyline, learning just how divurgent the two stories of Dinah actually were. We considered how people of different faiths might react to this story and whether the reader's gender affects perceptions and appreciation of the book.
Since this has been such a widely-read and popular book in the United States, I am inviting comments on The Red Tent here. You don't have to be a member of the library to post your comment, and we'd love to hear from people all over the world who have read the book and have an opinion about it.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Well, the picture is a whole lot clearer on our MySpace page, but here's a facsimile of the big, shiny red Halloween playlist now appearing on Bernardsville Library's MySpace. To get your fill of creepy music without the usual Halloween kitsch, push the play button once you visit our page. You'll find such chilling classics as the themes from The Exorcist and Halloween as well as the fantastic theme music to The Shining. Do you remember those great opening aerial shots from The Shining that took you over woods and lakes and up winding cliffside roads to the mountaintop hotel? Remember the scene's accompanying music with its unnerving hints of otherworldly souls crying out? That song is number one on our playlist and waiting to give you the chills. There's an eclectic mix of other haunting tunes as well, including pieces by Disturbed, AC/DC, Eric Burdon, Talking Heads, and yes, Bach himself! Give it a try.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Saturday Samplers, one of Bernardsville Public Library's book discussion groups, will be reading Anita Diamant's The Red Tent for their next meeting in November. Please note that this is a change in the reading selection for that month. Bernardsville Library owns several copies of The Red Tent, and additional books are being ordered from other libraries. Led by staff member Evelyn Fischel, Saturday Samplers will meet in the Community Room at 3:30 p.m. on November 1st for an afternoon of good discussion. For upcoming information about this book or about the book group itself, refer to the
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Banned Books Week is observed during the last week of September under the auspices of the American Library Association. To learn why the books in our display were challenged or banned at some point in the 20th century, please ask the library staff to show you our information sheets on this topic. The display, located next to the circulation desk during the month of October, is marked by an oversized model of a book and a large broken chain. Why not grab a formerly "chained" book and read it with a 21st century point of view?
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
On a similar front, do you ever wonder how you can verify the accuracy of what you read, see or hear in political ads or on blog and internet sites? Simply go to FactCheck.org, a service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, to get a non-biased assessment.
Annenberg Political Fact Check, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, is a service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center which was established by philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994. As their mission states, "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding."
Monday, September 15, 2008
The literary world is saddened and reeling from the news of David Foster Wallace's suicide this past weekend in Claremont, California, at the young age of 46. Numerous tributes to this noteworthy American author may be read on the internet and online newspapers such as The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.
The New York Times' article notes, "A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing — in his fiction and nonfiction — about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve." "He could map the infinite and infinitesimal, the mythic and mundane." Today's New York Times' obituary adds that "Mr. Wallace was a maximalist, exhibiting in his work a huge, even manic curiosity — about the physical world, about the much larger universe of human feelings and about the complexity of living in America at the end of the 20th century."
Bernardsville Public Library has several collections of his writing available including Oblivion: Stories as well as Consider the Lobster, and Other Essays. Perhaps these books might interest you.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I just read Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by “The Waiter,” who also authored a notorious blog chronicling his life as a NYC server and restaurant manager. Ouch, there’s not much love here for the majority of his clientele unless they tow the line or charm him in some way. The entire book is written from his perspective, so you are duly warned about bad customer behavior, how much you SHOULD tip, when NOT to eat out (certain holidays must be avoided at all costs), etc. All this makes clear why you really don’t want to become a waiter or restaurant owner yourself. I’m down with that!
On the other hand, there is very little concern for the customer’s point of view unless he/she happens to be a well-tipping regular. It seems the primary purpose of a waiter’s evening shift is to survive it without blowing an artery in rage, burning an arm on sizzling platters or putting up with atrocious hazing and insults from fellow servers and kitchen staff. It also helps to maintain a Zen-like calm in the face of customer rudeness while hoping to come out of it with enough tip money to cover the bills. Whew! In his defense, the behavior of many of his customers (wealthy and full-of-themselves types) is to be despised. There are enough hair-raising, shocking stories to entertain the reader for the few hours that it takes to breeze through the book, and you will come out the other end with a heightened sense of the typical waiter’s daily grind. A little courtesy on both sides should make for a pleasant dining experience…if you’re lucky.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
photo source - Bernardsville Public Library
The children's summer reading program at Bernardsville Public Library is a resounding success due in part to the presence of our charming "reading bugs," some of which are seen above. Located throughout the library, these bug sculptures set a great example for our young patrons to follow all summer long. Created by Keiko Matsuura, a library volunteer, Bernardsville Library's reading bugs have attracted the attention of adults as well as kids. In fact, numerous people have expressed an interest in taking these bugs home. In response to this interest, a silent auction for the reading bugs is now being conducted in the children's wing of the library and will continue until September 13th. If you would like a chance to take home one or more of these loveable, unique reading bugs, enter your bid on the clipboards located in the children's wing. You may continue to "up" your bid as necessary until the closing of the silent auction at noon on September 13th. What a great way to continue the reading fever at your house!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Marley & Me, a heartwarming nonfiction story by John Grogan, will open on Christmas Day.
Robert B. Parker's western novel, Appaloosa, will be appearing in film on October 3rd.
You'll find an interesting selection of books-to-film on our display shelf located in the video section of the library. Look for the large red movie ticket sign marking the location of the display, "Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You."
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Save the planet, support your library, and look stylish doing it! Come over to the circulation desk and purchase one or more of our new library bags imprinted with the sharp library logo seen above. The bags are capacious, measuring over 15x12x6 inches, and come with the bonus feature of three side pockets. Constructed of light-weight yet sturdy fabric, they will hold all your checked-out library items and still have room to spare! At a cost of $4.00, they will show that you are a well-read, civic-minded, environmentally classy person. What more could you want?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (nonfiction)
Coincidentally, both these stories take place during the summertime, and to a degree involve an activity any one of us might consider; that is, taking a walk in the woods. We, of course, wouldn't make the same bad choices that the main characters made...or would we? It doesn't matter because these young characters quickly inspire our empathy as we realize their desperate situations even before they do.
Into the Wild is a true accounting of a young man's excursion into the wilds of Alaska, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a fictional story by one of the all-time great horror authors, Stephen King. Nature plays a prominent role in both books, and Stephen King's story has the added bonus of a baseball game sub-theme. These are truly engaging books which should make for a great discussion. Copies of the books are available at the circulation desk. Join us in the Community Room on September 6th. Here is the link to the Saturday Samplers blog so that you can keep up with the latest postings: http://saturdaysamplers.blogspot.com/.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
There's plenty of time left this summer to go to the shore, so why not grab some beach reading to take with you? BookReporter has an interesting search page for selecting beach reading by categories such as mystery, armchair travel, and pop culture. Try it at http://www.bookreporter.com/summer/index.asp to find just the right book for you. In addition, on National Public Radio's Web site you can browse their own 2008 list of summer reading. Go to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90677140
While you're at the Bernardsville Library finding your summer reading, you might want to try the Jersey shore mystery series by Chris Grabenstein. These mysteries, set in the ficticious shore town of Sea Haven, NJ, feature the police team of John Ceepak, an MP just returned from Iraq and his young partner, Danny Boyle.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The other day I sat down at my computer to view/listen to Professor Randy Pausch’s now famous “last lecture,” delivered in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University, from which he retired after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. A young man with a family and beloved by his students and faculty alike, Pausch entitled his lecture, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” He spoke for 120 minutes with infectious, gleeful energy about his childhood, the achievement of his own dreams, and how to enable others to achieve theirs. His skills as a caring, inventive teacher were evident throughout the lecture, and I would say he is the kind of instructor we would all wish to have. Randy combined the use of humorous props with imaginative approaches to exhort us to break through the “brick walls” that hold us back, to always have fun in what we do, and to live life now. This was an inspirational talk, not at all morose, but, of course, quite moving. I accessed this lecture via http://www.thelastlecture.com/ from which point you can select several means to view it. I watched it by Google video, and this worked very well. You can even use the pause button and come back to it later. Randy Pausch’s recently released book, The Last Lecture, builds on his lecture and is available at Bernardsville Public Library in both audio CD and book format.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Memoirs and Coffee, the Tuesday morning book group at Bernardsville Library, will discuss Greg Mortenson's bestseller, Three Cups of Tea, on July 22nd at 10:30 a.m. in the library's Community Room. Copies of the book are available at the circulation desk.
Three Cups of Tea recounts Mortenson's efforts to encourage education among the youth in the remote Karakoram region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Over a period of ten or so years, Mortenson built 55 schools, many of them for girls, as a humanitarian effort and as an act of gratitude to the mountain people who had befriended him after his failed attempt to climb K2, the second highest mountain in the world. This is an inspiring story promoting peace and generosity in today's world.
Please join the group, even if you haven't finished the book, for an enjoyable morning's discussion.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The kids are busy collecting Bernardsville Library "bug bucks" for their summer reading program, but the adults haven't been overlooked. They, too, can join in the fun at Bernardsville Public Library by entering our weekly drawing for great prizes. All they need do is check out any three items at a time and fill out an entry form at the circulation desk. At week's end three names will be picked to receive three great prizes generously donated by local merchants and individuals. The prizes change from week to week and include such fabulous items as gift certificates to Williams Sonoma, Country Mile Gardens and Melan Shoes. The drawings will continue throughout the summer months, so stop by soon.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Keiko Matsuura, a volunteer in the Youth Services department of Bernardsville Public Library, is responsible for all the charming "reading bugs" that have taken up residence throughout the library. These adorable insects, posed with their books and magazines, mark the beginning of the library's summer reading program called "Catch the Reading Bug @ Bernardsville Library."
Although Keiko has had no formal art training, she is obviously very talented and possesses an artist's eye and imagination. Michaele Casey, Youth Services Librarian, reports that Keiko took her inspiration from the drawings of illustrator, Harry Bliss, bringing his bug illustrations to 3-D life. Using styrofoam balls, corrugated paper, and even some special packaging paper from Japan, Keiko sculpted and formed a variety of insects, turning them into the kinds of bugs we would actually like to have in the library! Keiko carved and sandpapered large styrofoam balls to create the facial structure of each bug and then hand painted them with vivid, eye-catching colors. Posed at ease in beach chairs and on sofas, these larger-than-life reading bugs surely know how to pass a lazy summer day - with a good book, of course!
Bernardsville Library has been so fortunate to have Keiko as a volunteer over the last two years. She moved to Bernardsville with her husband after leaving Japan, where she studied English, and it wasn't long before Keiko found her way to us. She has done children's programs on Japanese culture and origami and will be teaching origami in 3-D for teens on August 4th at the library.
Friday, June 20, 2008
photo source - Bernardsville Public Library
photo source - Bernardsville Public Library
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Come to Bernardsville Public Library's Book Group Fair tomorrow, June 12th, for some great ideas to make book group planning a breeze. The library's Readers' Advisory Team will be on hand in the Community Room to demonstrate online resources which will enable you to find background and biographical information as well as book reviews and author interviews. Packets containing helpful Web sites, reading suggestions and many other great aides will be given to each visitor.
Our new "Book Group Bags" will also be on display - each one complete with ten copies of a book as well as packets of reference material on the book and its author. These bags, made possible by a grant from Jean Horton, may be checked out for four weeks at a time.
There is no charge to attend this fair and refreshments will be served. Please come between 11 and 2 p.m. or between 6 and 9 p.m. tomorrow, June 12th!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
For something different to read, why not try graphic novels? They are becoming increasingly popular among all ages (not just teens) and are finding their way onto many best seller lists. Illustrated or graphic novels combine pictures with a small amount of text to create an enhanced reading experience. Anyone who tries a graphic novel will immediately apprehend how easily the images and the words blend together into a powerful new creation. If a picture is worth a thousand words, graphic novels communicate a lot in a very few pages.
Bernardsville Public Library is currently displaying an interesting selection of its graphic novels which can be found in the lobby next to the circulation desk. Look there for the classic Sandman series by Neil Gaiman or the deeply affecting 9/11 memorial, In the Shadow of No Towers, by Art Spiegelman. For those of you interested in other cultures, try Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, an autobiography of her childhood during the Iranian Revolution. Graphic novels for young readers and adults alike are available for check out. Please help yourselves to these items.