Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Most Popular e-books loaned in NJ Libraries in 2012

Hot off the presses from the NJ librarians email listserv: here is a list of the top 20 titles (across all formats) in 2012 with circulation data:

eLibraryNJ -    
Top 20 Titles of 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey
The Help
Explosive Eighteen
A Game of Thrones
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Fifty Shades Darker
The Confession
The Hunger Games
The Litigators
Gone Girl
Water for Elephants
Chasing Fire
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Dreams of Joy
I've Got Your Number
Fifty Shades Freed
The Paris Wife
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Catching Fire

To borrow e-books and e-audiobooks for your phone, e-reader (Kindle, Nook etc), tablet or computer, go to You will need your library barcode number to open a free account. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

What the Library Book Group Read 2012

The library's Tuesday night book group just finished discussing their last 'assignment' for 2012: Holy Cow, a memoir of Australian reporter Sarah Macdonald's two years in Delhi from about 1999 - 2001. At first the author is so overwhelmed by the crowds and noise and unfamiliar smells and food of her new home that she seems to collapse from a sensory overload. In fact, she contracts serious pneumonia for which she is hospitalized and traumatized by weight loss and subsequent hair loss. After this bad beginning though, the author begins to explore some of India's many religions and tries to learn Hindi. An atheist, she is skeptical about the spiritual benefits of going to a retreat for Vipassana meditation where she must maintain complete silence for ten days. After studying at various other ashrams, bathing in the Ganges, visiting the Buddhists at Dharamsala and the Christians in southern India at Velangani, she becomes more open to the idea that there can be "millions of paths to the divine." (319) Most readers enjoyed the book and felt that it gave a taste of the diversity of India.

What we read in 2012:

The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair
The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson
Troubles by J.G. Farrell
Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
Holy Cow, an Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Littel-Lord Farmhouse Museum

Flyer for the Berkeley Heights Historical Society
Verso of the Berkeley Heights Historical Society flyer
The Littell-Lord Farmhouse Museum and Farmstead, Berkeley Heights, N.J., 31 Horseshoe Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ is listed in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places. The old Berkeley Heights Historical Society brochure pictured above tells the story of the farmhouse, its acquisition in 1975 by the township of Berkeley Heights and restoration  by local volunteers which was completed by 1978. The Littell-Lord Museum opened to the public in 1980. In recent years, the farmhouse opens on the 'Four Centuries in a Weekend' Union County event. The brochure for the 2012 open house describes the Littel-Lord Farmhouse as
'A pastoral site that includes a 19th century Gothic cottage, stone springhouse, summer kitchen, Osage orange trees and a pond... The charming rural complex is a rare reminder of Union County's agricultural past. Built about 1760 by Andrew Littell, a farmer and weaver, the house was owned and lived in for more than 100 years by the Lord family, who purchased the site in 1867. The first floor features an Empire-Victorian parlor and a 19th century kitchen. A staircase leads to an enlarged second floor, once a small loft. Upstairs is a child's room containing antique toys and a Victorian bedroom with cottage furniture.'
The brochure goes on to state that the Farmhouse is open on the third Sunday of the month, April - December from 2 - 4 and is operated by the Historical Society of Berkeley Heights.

The phone number listed is (908) 219-4715 which is the number of Mr. Merrill Main of Berkeley Heights, President of the Historical Society of Berkeley Heights.

For more information, address mail to the Township Building

The Berkeley Heights Historical Society
c/o Town Hall
29 Park Avenue,
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922

If you are interested in volunteering for the Historical Society of Berkeley Heights, call former Berkeley Heights mayor and co-president of the Historical Society, Dan Palladino, at (908) 771-8875

Wikipedia's Berkeley Heights article mentions the Littell-Lord Farmhouse Museum

Four Centuries in a Weekend 2012 brochure has a description of the Littel-Lord Farmhouse Museum and other historical properties in Union County, N.J.

Map to the museum

Union County, New Jersey Genealogy 

From the Passaiack to the Wach Unks, a history of the Township of 
Berkeley Heights, The Historical Society of Berkeley Heights, 1977, can be found at the Berkeley Heights Public Library in the N.J. Collection along with other local histories.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Popular Christian Fiction

Christian Fiction as a category is a relative newcomer in book review sources. It is an umbrella phrase which includes books that had previously been considered contemporary fiction, historical fiction, suspense, romance, westerns and science fiction.  “Gentle Reads” had been the previous description – no horrible violence, no descriptive sex, clearly defined good/bad characters, and mildly suspenseful.

Looking for a current definition, I went to the website of The Christy Awards  (  This award is named for Catherine Marshall, author of many books including Christy and A Man Called Peter.   You may remember Christy as a tv series in the mid-90s.  I remember A Man Called Peter, the biography of Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, as the first book that made me cry.  The Christy Awards website offers the following working definition:

Christian fiction is a category of stories written by novelists whose Christian worldview is woven into the fabric of the plot and character development. Although this definition might seem either simplistic on the one hand or overly broad on the other, this grouping of novels is as comprehensive and as varied in age, interest,and spiritual depth as its readership ….

A subject search of BHPL’s catalog returns almost 850 entries for Christian Fiction.  Of course, this also contains audio and e-book versions as separate entries.  Since this is still a new search term, the majority of books were written after 2000.

You might be interested in trying the following popular authors:

Suzanne Woods Fischer

Shelley Shepard Gray

Karen Kingsbury

Beverly Lewis

Cindy Woodsmall

Kristin Billerbeck 

Posted by S. Bakos 
Related websites for further reading:
Other blog posts tagged 'Christian Fiction' review titles in this genre.