Monday, April 27, 2009

Here's A Staff Pick With No Questions Asked!

Susan Popper, staff member at Bernardsville Public Library, has written the following thumbs-up review of Q & A: a novel by Vikas Swarup:
So you think you have all the answers? For Ram Mohammed Thomas, it was his luck & misfortune that he did. By now the story is well known. Q & A is the basis for the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire and so has taken on a new life.

This book has a lot of heart. Set in the squalor of the largest slum in the world in Mumbai, India, it follows the early life of this uneducated but endearing young man who wins the fictional game show, "Who Will Win a Billion?". Q & A is a great read. It is a blend of farce, drama, and romance and holds your attention as you learn, through a series of flashbacks, how Ram managed to answer twelve random questions that made him the big winner.

Amidst the noise, filth, and squalor that comprise his existence, Ram encounters a cast of characters who use their desperate poverty to excuse themselves from ordinary standards of behavior. You can't help but root for this endearing character and share in his happy ending. As a bonus, Q & A provides the reader a deeper insight into today's India and reflects a country poised between its rich past and growing modernity. Ram, and the other young people in this book, personify this change.

I would recommend reading Q & A before seeing the movie. Already seen the movie? Read the book anyway. It's a celebration of the human spirit. Enjoy!
-Susan Popper

(Please note that Q & A will be available soon as a Bernardsville Public Library book group bag selection. A copy of the movie, Slumdog Millionaire, will be included in the bag along with 10 copies of the book and discussion questions.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2009

Evelyn Fischel, staff member at Bernardsville Public Library, has written the following book review and news posting:

Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge has been awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The book, written in 13 parts, presents an exceptional character study of Olive Kitteridge, a retired school teacher living in a small Maine town. Various residents of the town come into and out of her life in the 13 stories which tend to move forward and backward in time. Some of these secondary characters appear in a number of the short stories, but others are never heard from again although their storylines are quite compelling. But no matter. It is Olive, a strong-willed, well-developed and complex character, whose life we are coming to know through fragments and tangents. These small revelations crystallize things about her youth, her declining years, her interrelationships with family and strangers, - her place in the universe - that coalesce into a memorable and thoughtful portrait. I would highly recommend Olive Kitteridge to readers of fiction and short stories.
~Evelyn Fischel

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth, Trees and Thee

photo source: Bernardsville Public Library
This is a busy week for ecological celebrations. Earth Day will spring up for it 39th anniversary on Wednesday, April 22nd. Two days later comes Arbor Day which was first organized in 1872 and is always held on the last Friday in April. What both these days need (besides water and sunshine) is an army of volunteers to tend to the landscape and care for the earth. Good thing National Volunteer Week is taking place this very week as well! Click on the active links here to find out how you can participate in the celebrations and activities planned.

Bernardsville Public Library has a number of books about environmental issues. Included among the newer books are the following titles:

You'll find these among the new nonfiction books near the circulation desk.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CRACK! Goes The Bat... Baseball Season Has Opened

photo source: Bernardsville Public Library

You'll find a great new display in the children's section of Bernardsville Public Library marking the beginning of America's favorite spring ritual, baseball. Look for the Yankee's shirt and the stadium poster painted by Keiko Matsuura in the entry to the Fiction Wing. Browse through the numerous books on display and take a few home.

photo source: Bernardsville Public Library

Felicia Ballard, Youth Services assistant, has written the following posting to alert you to some of the great books featured here:

What better harbinger of spring is there than the green fields of baseball stadiums, whether they be the brand new ones in NYC or our own humble local fields! Celebrate the season by reading a biography of a favorite player past or present.

Try the award winnning book by David Adler, entitled Lou Gehrig: the Luckiest Man. Read about the careers of Babe Ruth, Roy Campanella, Willie Stargell. Or if your interest skews towards more current players, check out books on Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter or even A Rod.

Why not learn about one of only three women to play in the Negro Leagues in A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson by Michelle Y. Green. Peanut had a wicked curveball!

Or take tips from Olympic softball medalist Dot Richardson in her book, Go For It! Whatever you choose, your reading enjoyment will surely soar like a ball heading over the wall for a grand slam! ~ Felicia Ballard

Friday, April 10, 2009

Try Out One of Our Links to Great Book Information

Book News and More provides a lot of interesting links on its sidebar, one of which - BookPage - is being featured here:

BookPage is a monthly print publication which brings you the latest news about authors and recently published works. BookPage is available online as well, so simply scroll down our sidebar to "Book Links" and click on BookPage. 

Bernardsville Public Library also provides free copies of this full-color, multipage newspaper. Copies may be found at the circulation desk or near the online catalog. Many of our patrons rely on BookPage for reading suggestions or to keep them apprised of publication dates for upcoming titles. In fact, our copies of BookPage almost always run out before the end of the month, so if you can't find a print copy in the library, simply use the online version available to you via the Book News and More blog.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Upcoming Selections for Bernardsville Library's Book Groups

Copies of the next selections for Bernardsville Public Library's two book discussion groups are now available at the circulation desk.

Memoirs & Coffee will read Doris Lessing's Alfred & Emily which chronicles her parent's unhappy relationship following World War I. Lessing adds a twist to the story by giving a speculative account of what her parents' lives might have been like if they had not married. Alfred & Emily will be discussed on Tuesday, April 28th, at 10:30 a.m.

Saturday Samplers will discuss Loving Frank by Nancy Horan for its next meeting on Saturday, May 2, at 3:30 p.m. This debut fiction novel, wildly popular since it was published in 2007, recounts the love affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney who met when the architect was designing a house for the Cheneys. Both were married to other people at the time, and the decision to go off to Europe together caused a scandal which ended tragically when they returned to the U.S. This title should provide a very interesting book discussion.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Display Your Home Improvement Skills

photo source: Bernardsville Public Library

We know a thing or two about turning a house into a home - a cardboard home, that is. Now you, too, can bolster your home improvement skills with the help of the books in our new display.

photo source: Bernardsville Public Library
This display, located in the nonfiction wing of Bernardsville Public Library, showcases books that will help you spruce up your home inside and out. Do you want to learn how to build a deck? Could your home use some "curb appeal" before you try to sell it?

Pop on over to our display for some great ideas and projects, including how to build a greenhouse and how to apply new painting techniques to your interior walls. What's best of all, if you do it yourself this spring, you'll save yourself a wheelbarrowful of money.