Tuesday, November 21, 2017

BHPL's "Bestsellers"

Wondering what your neighbors are reading in Berkeley Heights? These "BHPL bestseller" lists are based on circulation statistics and current holds. 

Most Popular New Fiction at BHPL

Top Four Novels
1.   Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben
2.  Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
3.  Camino Island by John Grisham
4.  Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

Tied for Fifth Place
5.  The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
5. The Duchess by Danielle Steel
5. Secrets In Summer by Nancy Thayer
5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
5. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Tied for Tenth
10. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
10. Dangerous Minds : a Knight and Moon Novel by Janet Evanovich
10. The Store by James Patterson
10. The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
10. Origin by Dan Brown
10. The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
10. The People vs. Alex Cross by James Patterson

Most Popular New Nonfiction at BHPL

Top Nonfiction (books by and about Hillary Clinton & possibly what she's reading)
1. Shattered : Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen
2. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
3.  Option B : Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg
3.  What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Next Three Nonfiction:
5.  Astrophysics For People In a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
5.  Killing England by Bill O'Reilly
7.  The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down : How To Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World by Hyemin

Tied for Eighth Place: Food and Wine Books
8. Cork Dork : a Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker
8. Christopher Kimball's Milk Street : the New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimball
8. Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Slower Cooker, Pressure Cooker and Instapot by Melissa Clark
8. Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Mark Hyman
8. The Mother-in-Law Cure : Learning to Live and Eat in an Italian Family by Katherine Wilson
8. Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman

More Nonfiction Books Tied for Eighth Place (Geez):
8. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
8. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? by Alan Alda
8. Confessions of a Wall Street Insider by Michael Kimelman
8. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
8. Sisters First:Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush
8. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cruising through France with Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is the subject of this week's evening book group discussion.  If you can't attend the book group meeting, try out the Book Apothecary, which was inspired by the Literary Apothecary and like him, prescribes books for every mood. Or travel by armchair to warmer French climes with beautiful slideshows of the book market of Cuisery, Bonnieux, and Sanary-sur-Mer.

The publisher's discussion questions are available at ReadingGroupGuides and here are some of my own:

1.  This book was originally published in German with the title "Das Lavendelzimmer" (The Lavender Room). Do you think The Little Paris Bookshop is a good title? Why/why not?

2. If this book were to be made into a movie, who would you choose to play Jean Perdu, Manon, or one of the other characters?

3. Which part of the book was your favorite or your least favorite and why?

4. Has a book ever healed you or changed your life in some way? If so, which book?

5. We read the English translation by Simon Pare. Did you ever feel like you were reading a translation at times?

6. Would you read Nina George's next novel, The Little French Bistro?

7. Does this novel compare favorably with other literary journeys/ travel fiction that you have read?

8.  I found myself wanting to underline certain phrases and lines. Did you make a note of any passages that you particularly liked? 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Voting for Books

I told my preschooler that it was Election Day so I was going to go vote today.  This was the response: "We're having a pretend election at school too. You stick your head in a box with a tablecloth on top. And you make a red x if you are a red pepper, and a green x if you are a green pepper."  There's another election coming up here at the library, not for how ripe you like your bell peppers, but for next years' book group selections.  And unlike most elections, the voters will have a lot of say about on what's on the ballot.

Here are some titles that seem discussable and interesting to me, and hopefully borrowable in quantity for our book group. I'm looking forward to seeing what other members of the book groups recommend. Book group members, let me know which titles you'd like to add to this list.

Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell.  A Great Group Read of 2015 by Reading Group Choices. In 1950s Mississippi two mothers, one black, one white, who don't get along, find themselves thrown together by circumstance.

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold.  Also a Great Group Read by Reading Group Choices and a book I heard discussed on What Should I Read Next?  Klebold is the mother of one of the Columbine shooters, and all profits from her memoir are going to mental health charities.

Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson. This is a nonfiction but reads-like-fiction account of the hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Alice who works at the library recommended it to me and it's of particular interest after this season's similarly record-setting hurricanes.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. This was an Amazon best book of the month and follows a future celebrity chef through the stages of her life. Voted an Indies Choice best debut novel by the American Booksellers Assocation. 

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. This novel is set in 1862 in a cemetery on the night after Abraham Lincoln's 11 year old son was buried, and it's peopled by ghosts. An Amazon best book of the month that got a lot of attention.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon. The fictional memoir of Chabon's grandfather, complete with a deathbed confession and a family secret, tells the story of an entire era. I'm hoping it will be as great as Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. A New York Times Notable selection.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. A heart-warming account of a thirty-something year old daughter's year with her father, a history professor who has Alzheimer's. 

The Refugees is a collection of short stories about Vietnamese refugees written over the past twenty years by Viet Thanh Nguyen. It's a New York Times Notable pick, and Nguyen won a Pulitzer Prize for an earlier novel. 

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. Some years the book group reads a classic, so I thought of this 1932 comic novel which "parodies the romanticised, sometimes doom-laden accounts of rural life popular at the time" (Wikipedia). Recommended by my sister, who also suggested the forgotten classics Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall and Dorothy Whipple's Greenbanks to me. I'll never be able to get enough copies of those for the book group, so Cold Comfort Farm it is.

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart. This based-on-a-true-story novel is about one of America's first female deputy sheriffs, and it's set right here in New Jersey in 1914. NPR's Morning Edition has the story.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Books in Bookstore Settings

The dream of having a little bookstore of one's own is so common and so enticing that novels about bookstore owners is a sub-genre of its own. These books are popular with the library staff:

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson mentioned in this blogpost

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin reviewed in this blogpost.

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley  You can download this charming 1917 novel for free online http://manybooks.net/titles/morleychetext04prnsw10.html

Reading about bookstores is closely linked to other bookish dreams such as:
So you want to own your own little library? Well just get one from...
The Little Free Library

Do you dream of delivering books by donkey?  Take a look at this video of the

You can follow the Biblioburro and Little Free Library on Facebook to keep up with your bookish day dreams.

Have your friends emailed you the slideshow of beautiful libraries worldwide to drool over, or do they just send those things to librarians? Well here is the slide show

The Berkeley Heights Public Library has a Pinterest account where we indulge in library dreaming. Follow us here https://www.pinterest.com/berkeleyheights/

And finally, pictured here is the temporary library location of the Berkeley Heights Public Library where we will be open to the public until our dream library is built at the new Berkeley Heights Municipal Complex on Park Avenue. Stay tuned for details of our move. Until then, happy book dreams.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mysteries for the Squeamish

We had a patron, in fact quite a few over the years, who liked mysteries, but did not want any sex or violence in the books. That kind of mystery is generally called a 'cozy' or an 'English village mystery.'  The reference librarians started to keep a list of books for these readers, lists of what the patrons read and liked and what we would recommend next time they stopped by. I found my crumpled old list in the process of cleaning out the files in the Reference Department in preparation for the library move.
Here is the list of mysteries that would appeal to people who like the TV series 'Midsomer Murders' or who love Miss Marple.
Anything by Spencer Quinn as narrated by the Chet the Dog
Anything by Dorothy Gilman especially the Mrs. Pollifax series.
Anything with a priest in it like The Story Teller by Margaret Coel; Her Death of Cold by  Ralph McInerny;  anything by Father Andrew Greeley.

Any of the books pictured below are recommended for the squeamish mystery reader. Aside from a dead body or two, usually  killed out of sight at the beginning of the mystery before the reader becomes attached to the character, these mysteries will present a challenging puzzle without grossing the reader out with gory forensic details.

Related websites:
Cozy Mystery List
The Immense Popularity of Cozy Mysteries