Friday, August 19, 2011

Queen of The British Collection

Bernardsville Public Library's renowned collection of British films and television series continues to attract a borrowing public looking for shows with that special British humor, flair, historical interest and literary depth.  Staff member Susan Popper, a fan of  British film, recognized the public's growing demand for these items five years ago and created a section among our videotapes and dvds devoted entirely to the British material.  She named it The British Collection, and the rest was history.

Our customers can't get enough of these great series and films, and we can rely on them to return week after week for more viewing material.  They especially appreciate the broad selection of PBS and BBC productions as well as independent movies and television shows.  And there is so much variety to chose from, even within a particular theme!  For instance, ecclesiatical humor and charm bless those who watch the Ballykissangel, Father Ted, and The Vicar of Dibley series.  Medicine is served up with wildly different bedside manners in Doc Martin, Doctor Finlay, and All Creatures Great and Small.

Contrast the older family saga, Poldark, with the newer Monarch of the Glen.  Criminal inspector series such as George Gently, Midsomer Murders, Prime Suspect, and Inspector Lynley, offer a modern counterpoint to the many classic Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Poirot films in the collection.  Hyacinth Bucket carries on her silly class humor in Keeping Up Appearances while the main character in the BBC series Lovejoy hones his eye for antiques, lovely ladies and intrigue, all at the same time.

Espionage and military themes appear in the series, Reilly, the Ace of Spies, and Foyle's War, but we also offer a number of BBC military histories and documentaries.  For the literary crowd, movies based on the works of Dickens, Austen, Thackeray, Bronte, and other noted authors are popular choices.  And don't forget those old PBS chestnuts, such as Upstairs Downstairs and Brideshead Revisited, which still contend with the newer productions.

For more information on what's available in The British Collection, click on this link to our catalog.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New "50 Book Challenge" Suggestions

Bernardsville Library "50 Book Challenge" for 2011 has reached the half-way mark, and participants recently shared some of their reading suggestions. 

Ape House by Sara Gruen is a standout among the 50 Book members.  One reader proclaimed Ape House to be the best book she's read this year and found it "astonishing, gripping, upsetting and triumphant."  She notes that the author "explores the colorful eccentricities of humans and animals through their interactions with each other, leaving us questioning which is the more humane."  Another book, Ransom, by Australian author David Malouf, was praised for its lyricism.  Ransom retells/reimagines the encounter between King Priam and Achilles in Homer's epic poem, "The Iliad."

Readers of suspense might find some of the following books enjoyable.  For instance, Olen Steinhauer's plot in The Tourist forces a retired  CIA agent back undercover despite his new career circumstances and family demands.  Daniel Silva's art-themed book, The Rembrandt Affair, was deemed "a page-turner with lots of great characters, imaginative plot and great prose."

Two Scandinavian mysteries were also noted: The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason, and The Snowman by Jo Nesbo.  One reader states that in The Draining Lake, "a human skeleton surfaces in the bed of a lake near Reykjavik that's been mysteriously draining away, which set the stage for the present-day-to-cold-war back and forth mystery."  Another reader notes that while The Snowman "is a thriller with a deeply creepy serial killer," reading all those snowy winter scenes helped keep her cool during these sultry summer days.

For nonfiction readers, My Stroke of Insight by Jill Taylor was proposed as an interesting and dramatic book recounting the sudden onset of a massive stroke experienced by the author.  She describes in gripping detail what her symptoms felt like, noting just how quickly she became incapacitated, barely able to call for help.  Taylor, a neuroscientist, takes the reader through her convalescence, offering insights as to what helped her make such a good recovery.

Try some of these books for your summer reading.  There's still a month left!