Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Service - Best Sellers Club

Plan ahead! You no longer have to rush in to reserve your copy of a newly-released book by your favorite fiction author. Simply join our Best Sellers Club.

Bernardsville Public Library is offering this new service for patrons who would like to have reserves placed automatically in their names. You may select up to ten authors from a list of 80 popular fiction authors, and the library will call you when a new book by that writer is added to our collection.

To join, simply fill out our bright yellow Best Sellers Club card at the circulation desk or link here to sign up online

It's a free service available to anyone with a Bernardsville Library card.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Born on This Day - Philip Roth

Bernardsville Public Library celebrates the 75th birthday of New Jersey-born author, Philip Roth, with a special book discussion of his 2004 novel, The Plot Against America. This event begins today right here on the Book News and More blog. Discussion topics will be posted by the library staff, and you are encouraged to share your comments and thoughts with us. Join New Jersey readers in the discussion of the "One Book New Jersey" title for 2008, The Plot Against America. Scroll down to see the questions.

How Do I Join the Blog Discussion of The Plot Against America?

It's easy to do. Just click on a comment link for the question you want to discuss. A pop-up window will appear in which you can read other people's responses and type your own comments. You may need to temporarily disable any pop-up blocker installed on your computer. If you have not yet finished the book, you may make your comments at a later date by returning to the posted questions for March 19th. We look forward to your participation. The questions for discussion are posted below.


Discuss some of the different ways Roth's characters coped or contended with this “assault” on their country and their lives.


Was there something about American society in the early 1940s that would lead its citizens to give up their sense of democracy and decency so easily? Is that danger present today?


How was the notion of the "hero" explored? Were there any heroes? Pick a flawed character and comment on Roth's treatment of that person. Answer any question you wish.


Did Philip Roth construct a plausible alternative history using believable characters and situations? Was the story’s resolution satisfactory to you?


Did the isolationist policy in Roth’s “America” mirror the insular behavior of certain families, communities and individuals in this book? Discuss the idea of assimilation in American history and the way Roth presented it in these circumstances.


Would the Jewish experience in America be any different if Roth’s “plot” took place today? What if you substituted another minority or religious group instead?


Did Seldon’s storyline symbolize something beyond his own sad circumstances? What did young Philip’s stamp collection represent? Discuss symbolism in this book.


What surprised you about this book? What did you like or dislike about The Plot Against America? Please comment on any facet of the story. Tell us what you think.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Carpe Diem, Quam Minimum Credula Postero

Just a little note to mark the Roman Ides of March (or mid-point of March), which was not a good day for Julius Caesar back in 44 B.C. This, in turn, reminded me of several Web sites where you can look up Latin words and phrases. For instance, the Latin phrase in the title of this post can be found at The saying comes from the ancient Roman poet and satirist, Horace, who might have been thinking of Caesar on this memorable day. Translated, it says, "Seize the day, trust as little as possible in tomorrow." For some fun zingers and clever phrases in Latin, try these sites: and
If you want to learn more about Julius Caesar, the library has a number of books about him including Adrian Goldsworthy's Caesar: Life of a Colossus (Yale University Press.)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Join the Blog Discussion for The Plot Against America on March 19th

The New Jersey Library Association has selected Philip Roth's fictional work, The Plot Against America, as the adult book to be discussed throughout New Jersey under their One Book New Jersey campaign for 2008. Please refer to our posting on January 17, 2008, for more information about this reading campaign or click on the following link -

Bernardsville Public Library will participate in the campaign by hosting a blog discussion of the book on this site, Book News and More. Look for an opportunity to post your comments about The Plot Against America on this blog beginning Wednesday, March 19th. You may submit any comments or impressions at your leisure after March 19th, and we will keep the blog discussion going as interest continues.

If you have not read this extraordinary book, the library has several copies waiting for you. Please join the blog discussion on March 19th, which also happens to be Philip Roth's birthday. We hope you will participate in this "novel" approach to a book discussion.

Monday, March 3, 2008

About the Author - Erik Larson

Saturday Samplers, an afternoon book discussion group meeting at the library on the first Saturday of each month, will be reading Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson for the April 5th meeting. To learn more about Erik Larson and his writing style, link to the Saturday Samplers blog ~ for a short biography about the author. Information will also be posted there in the near future about the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, including pictures of the storm's aftermath and photos of Isaac Cline and his family. As the discussion date nears, you will be given an opportunity to comment about the book on this blog, and, of course, you are invited to attend the book discussion.