Friday, December 27, 2013

The Invisible Code by Christopher Fowler

'The Invisible Code,' the 10th in Christopher Fowler's 'Peculiar Crimes Unit' series finds Detectives Bryant and May applying their unusual method of crime-solving in a baffling case involving international security issues and witchcraft. Arthur Bryant, the more eccentric of the two old detectives, brings his usual knowledge of London history and archaeology to bear on the case which somehow, circuitously, leads him to the answer. As usual at the very last moment, Bryant figures it out. The suspense about who done it and can they catch him continues to the last chapter. Fans will enjoy 'The Invisible Code'; newbies should start near or at the beginning of the series with 'Full Dark House.'

Related links:  Janet Maslin's review in the New York Times
Christopher Fowler's blog
St. Brides Church

Friday, December 20, 2013

Capers, Heists and Cat Burglars: The Good Thief's Guide series

Book five in Chris Ewan's 'Good Thief's Guide' series finds cat burglar Charlie Howard taking a mysterious assignment for the British Embassy in Berlin. He is asked to break into four apartments to find an important item stolen from the embassy. While gazing out the window of his first break-in, he witnesses a murder in the apartment building across the street. His 'easy money' heist takes a serious turn for the worse at this point.
Each book in this 'caper' series of mysteries has a different city as the backdrop. Peripatetic thief Charlie finds himself in Amsterdam, Paris, Las Vegas and Venice, always one step ahead of the law, before landing in Berlin. Where will he go next? It doesn't look good at the end of the book for Charlie, but we will have to wait for the sixth in the series to catch up with him wherever he lands.
Recommended for fans of light, humorous mysteries and caper style heists like Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr series and Donald Westlake's Dortmunder series. 'The Good Thief's Guide to Berlin' is a little darker than the rest of the series and not as madcap as Westlake and Block in style because Charlie seems to be developing a conscience about his life's work. 'GTG Berlin' ends with a cliff-hanger and leaves readers ready for Charlie's next city and next caper.

Related links:
Our  2009 blog review of the first two books in the Good Thief's Guide series and author Chris Ewan's comment!

Take a look at author Chris Ewan's website and blog for more information about his' Good Thief's Guide' series and his stand-alone thrillers, 'Safe House' and "Dead Line' (the latter not yet published in the U.S.)

Monday, December 9, 2013

E-Readers: pros, cons & insomnia

The Dark Side of Reading

Over the past few years I’ve noticed that my infrequent posts are frequently a tad personal.  You know that I not only occasionally listen to country music, but I even have a favorite country song – Long Black Veil.  You know about my ever evolving definition of summer reading – from the ocean being mandatory to close proximity to a puddle being acceptable.  You may even know that my cats, Jake and Elwood, have library cards and reserve books that I would be too embarrassed to be seen reading.

What you don’t know is that I have gone over to the Dark Side of Reading.  Since a very young age I have needed to read for about twenty minutes before falling asleep at night.  This habit has been mildly annoying to bunkmates at camp, college roommates, and my husband.  Early in our marriage we established a few reading rules – no Janet Evanovich (laughter), no Stephen King (screaming nightmares), and no books over 300 pages (too heavy when dropped). As the years have progressed and reading by a dim light has become more difficult, I discovered the Dark Side.

This discovery coincided with my first iPad.  I had resisted an iPad because I already own a Kindle Fire, used mostly while traveling.  The iPad, however, is my shiny new best friend.  I know the iPad and Kindle share some features, but I like the larger screen size of the iPad.  We go everywhere together, including going to bed.  I love increasing and decreasing the brightness and font size. Even more, late at night when everyone else in the house is asleep, I love reading white print on a black background – the Dark Side of Reading.  In support of Kindle and in the interest of full disclosure, the Kindle would cause less damage if I dropped it on Jake’s head.

S. Bakos

Take a look at the library's 'All Things 'E' page for links to all of our downloadable resources: e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming e-books for kids, digital magazines from Zinio, and educational videos from Tumblebooks.
aka: eLibraryNJ

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
drum roll please....
the outside.

But wait, there's more! Here again, as promised, we have our traditional Thanksgiving shaggy dog story, the almost true, ok, not at all true, story of the library parrot at Thanksgiving, first posted in 2010

The Library Parrot at Thanksgiving

Some libraries have library cats as recounted in Dewey, the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, or aquariums in the children's room like the one at the New Providence Library down the road; one library where I worked had a Guinea Pig in a cage on the big oak library table in the reading room. The G.P was low on entertainment value as he hid in his cardboard tube most of the time during daylight hours. By far, the most remarkable library pet I've ever heard of was a parrot: Decimal.

Decimal, the parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. Decimal swore like a sailor and could peel the wallpaper off the wall at thirty paces with his salty vocabulary. The library staff tried and tried to change Decimal's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and modeling proper library behavior in an attempt to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary, but to no avail. Decimal continued to offend everyone, including the library's patrons. The library Board of Trustees had received many complaints about the parrot's behavior and the Director felt pressured to rehabilitate Decimal or give him away.

One day, the Library Director was fed up and yelled at the parrot. "If you don't clean up your act, you're gone, I mean it, gone to that perch in the sky!" The parrot yelled back. The Director shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. "@!!??""**!!!"
In desperation, the Director grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer in the staff kitchen. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.
Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, the Director quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out and said,
"I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions.
I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully
intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable
The library staff was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude and wondered what had made such a dramatic change in Decimal's behavior, but before anyone could ask the reason, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Thanks to my college roomate for sending me the email that is the basis for this story.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, like most holidays, has many traditions. Here in library blogville, the tradition is to post the infamous Thanksgiving shaggy dog story, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.That's coming next week. Another tradition is to put up displays of Thanksgiving themed books for patrons to browse and check out. In the Children's Room, there are picture books explaining the origins of the holiday. Upstairs we put out cookbooks to address the menu bewilderment of our patrons. We used to keep the Butterball turkey hotline number front and center, but now many people look online for the answers to their turkey-roasting questions. Still, we'll keep that number handy next week and have the FAQ's for how not to poison yourself with old stuffing kept at bacteria-friendly temperatures overnight.  The image is a collage of books we have on display on the slatboard display upstairs featuring a cookbook, a history of the holiday, a general Thanksgiving instruction/history/FAQ book and a 'Murder She Wrote' mystery based on the TV series with a Thanksgiving theme. Oh that Jessica Fletcher, what has she gotten herself into now? It may be difficult to find the time to read with the holidays coming up, but maybe you could just browse in a spare moment. This year marks an incredible confluence of holidays: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide, so we have added Hanukkah books to the mix in our displays.

Related websites:
Hanukkah information
Butterball's turkey and trimmings information
FDA Food Safety tips and information
USDA Turkey Basics

The FDA Food Information Line
1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366)
The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854)
TTY 1-800-256-7072
Butterball Turkey Talk-Line 1-800-butterball

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tracking blog usage: how did you get to our blog?

You may have been searching for some random factoid on the internet and ended up on this blog. Why would that be? According to the Blogger statistical/analytics tool, the most common search phrases recently used which led to our library blog are:

spanish in action
george r.r. martin new book
how many trees does it take to make a book
if you liked a thousand splendid suns you'll love

mutant message down under controversy
kenny george shoe size
the calligrapher's daughter discussion questions
the watchung reservation weird story
authors in the style of agatha christie
berkeley hights train station

Is the Dewey Decimal System still used?
Cialis bathtub meaning
Onion snow
Gloria Guinness

Some of these search phrases lead to posts which are among our perennial favorites, such as Ellen's post about how many books can be made from a tree ? Also, Ellen's post about the famous black and white party always turns up in the top ten posts of all time. My post about books similar to Agatha Christie's mysteries is a biggie too. And of course, that ace reporting bit where I actually called the makers of Cialis to ask why they have people in bathtubs in their advertisements brings us a lot of blog readers, at least in passing. The telephone operator at the drug company seemed to expect the question but had an unhelpful scripted answer from which script she refused to budge.That was an actual reference question. Reference librarians always have a store of weird reference questions they have been asked in their careers. If you know any reference librarians, you have probably heard some of these stories. It's fun. It might not be fun to help people over and over and over how to use the copier or print out an email, but it is fun to get an unusually challenging question. So, fire away with your questions, but don't feel as though you have to think up questions just to keep us busy. We have one patron who thinks he needs to keep us hopping so he gives us riddles to solve. Meanwhile, if you landed on our blog 'by accident' or by a whim of Google's search algorithm, welcome, we hope you stick around to find out about what's going on in libraries these days.

Inspired by a post from 'Always Order Dessert'

Tuesday book group to discuss 'The Aviator's Wife' and 'Gift from the Sea'

Tuesday, November 12, the library's evening book group will discuss Melanie Benjamin's 'The Aviator's Wife' and Anne Morrow Lindbergh's 'Gift from the Sea.'
'The Aviator's Wife' is the fictionalized account of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life from the time she met the great aviator Charles Lindbergh in 1927 until his death almost fifty years later. The book brings to life the fact that Mrs. Lindbergh was an accomplished aviator herself and published author. Lindbergh's book 'Gift from the Sea' has been a bestseller and inspiration for women since its publication in 1955. By reading both books, we hope to be able to compare Melanie Benjamin's portrayal of Mrs. Lindbergh with her own words about her life as expressed in 'Gift from the Sea.'

Take a look at our Anne Morrow Lindbergh book discussion Pinterest board for some images of the author's life.

Discussion questions:
Litlover's discussion questions about 'The Aviator's Wife.'

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Round House Redux

We have posted previously in this blog about a rotating round house in Berkeley Heights:
Click here for the post about the Berkeley Heights Round House

Recently a contributor to the blog, Round Houses, architecture, notes & musings, contacted us about the post and asked if we have any pictures of the house.
Our original post states:
'If you've never had the chance to see the inside of Berkeley Heights' Round House, you can take a virtual tour while it is still for sale. According to some information we have in a folder dedicated to Berkeley Heights' 'Old houses and sites', the round house was built by an engineer and can rotate 90 degrees to provide warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer. After three rotations, the house was no longer rotated.'

Like the rotating mechanism of the house, the link to the 'virtual tour' no longer works. Probably the real estate agency that put the slideshow up for the 2008 sale of the house, took it down after a period of time. Luckily, Ellen, who wrote the post, printed out the photographs from the website and put them in our 'Old Houses and Sites' binder. I scanned the photos and other documents that we have in our archives about the house and emailed them to the 'Round Houses' blogger.
We hope the 'Round Houses' bloggers post about our town's very own round house, but meanwhile, here are several photographs and a document from our vertical file (aka: archive.)
You can see these images and more about the Berkeley Heights Public Library and the Township of Berkeley Heights on our Flickr account and on the 'Local Information' page of our website.

Exterior of Round House from realtor's page

Information from 'Old Houses & Sites' archive
Questions about the Berkeley Heights Round House are not exactly 'Frequently Asked Questions,' but would fall into that category of quirky local history and factoids that most librarians know about their community.
Page from the 'Old Houses & Sites' archive
Interior of Round House with fireplace

Interior of Round House with stairs

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, the Grantchester mysteries by James Runcie (2012)
Opening line to 'The Shadow of Death,' the first story in this collection of connected short mysteries:
'Canon Sidney Chambers had never intended to become a detective.'
But, like many amateur detectives in the 'cozy' genre, this Anglican priest in an English village near Cambridge keeps getting drawn into solving mysteries in spite of himself. And, again adhering to the genre, Sidney is friends with the local police detective. Over weekly games of backgammon at the local pub, the two discuss the latest cases. The date of the first story is October 1953 and the book ends about a year later.
The first time I checked out this book, I read one story, and then returned the book to the library feeling it was just a bit too low-key for me, but this month, the calm pacing, the predictability of the genre, and the twists of plots and decency of the central character just hit the spot. If you read the Goodreads reviews, you can see that there is a fairly wide divergence of opinion about this book and it might be that some books fit a reader's mood at certain times and not at others, at least that was the case with me.
As Goodreads' 'Beatnik Mary' noted in her review, fans of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce mysteries (which I also enjoy) and golden age mysteries from Agatha Christie will enjoy this book.
Fans of television series set in the early 1950's, such as 'Call the Midwife' or the new post-war version of 'Foyle's War' might also enjoy this period piece. The Berkeley Heights Public Library owns both those series on DVD.

Related blog posts:
Review of 'The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie', the first Flavia de Luce mystery by Alan Bradley
Review of 'Merry Hall' by Beverley Nichols, the first of the author's gardening memoirs which takes place after WWII in England
Review of 'Laughter on the Stairs' the second memoir in the 'Merry Hall' trilogy by Beverley Nichols also takes place in post-war UK.
One of our most popular blog posts of all time (according to blogger statistics):
'If You Like Agatha Christie mysteries, try these authors."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How Do Libraries Select Books

The majority of adult fiction, mysteries and science fiction is ordered for the library based on reviews.  I regularly read Booklist, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly.  In addition, I subscribe to several on-line review sources and also check the reviews in People and the Sunday edition of the Star Ledger.  Whatever I am reading, I look for reviews.  The reference staff checks a variety of bestseller lists.  Yes, we do our homework before a book is shelved and available to our patrons.

Reviews can be very straightforward and even forceful,  the reviewer may command
"All public libraries should buy this book!"  
 Reviewers are sometimes very polite and use phrases such as,
 "Nice but not essential," or imply the book might not be the author’s very best effort. 
Reviewers can be absolutely brutal,
"No public library should buy this book!"
Frequently, the reviews are puzzling and offer no real guidance or indication of who the intended audience might be.

The following snippets caught my eye this morning:

           " … sensitive readers may not get past the foul language…"

            "…if her novel has any weakness, it’s a lack of plot and character development…"

           '"…recommended for fans and those who’ve enjoyed a good cookie table…"

            "…fun if gruesome horror read…"

            "…gets off to a strong, compelling start but loses its way midpoint…"

            "…her novel’s startling ending may leave some readers scratching their heads…"

            "…readers will find that all their tears are worth it…."

Would you read any of those books?

Oh well, back to reading reviews and trying to find the right books for your library.
Related websites:

S. Bakos

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pet Sounds by Quinn Cummings

Pet Sounds, new & improved stories from the QC Report by Quinn Cummings is a collection of the author's recollections of the various pets she has had in her life. As a volunteer at an animal shelter, and all-around soft-hearted person, the author often fosters kittens from the shelter as well as having a menagerie of old dogs, cats and the odd small animal for her young daughter in her small California home.
I count Ms. Cummings as one of my favorite humor writers. I follow her on Twitter and read her blog and I recommend her first book, Notes from the Underwire to many of our library patrons if they are looking for something funny, light, you know, GOOD! I've had a lot of satisfied customers because of her talents at getting readers to actually laugh at loud. Many thanks, btw, to our patron who first brought this author to my attention. That's the kind of book this is; word of mouth will spread the good news that you don't have to read depressing books to find good writing. I think all the dogs I've had in my life would recommend this book too, but first they might give it a little chew around the binding edges...
My Granddog, Reggie - would definitely like this book

Related links:
The author's blog: the QC Report
Interview with the author: Write Online
The author on Twitter @quinccy

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Self-Help Book by Kermit the Frog

Before You Leap, a frog's-eye view of life's greatest lessons by Kermit the Frog (2006)
Whilst hopping down the stacks, looking for Aristophanes "Complete Plays' which of course includes his best work: 'Frogs', I happened to spy my dear friend Kermit's picture on the spine of a book of wisdom, not just for frogs, but for everyone, amphibian or, purely land-dwelling, and maybe even flying, swimming or other creatures of the earth. To jump at the chance to check out such a font of wisdom was the work of the moment. I produced my Berkeley Heights Public Library card at the Circulation desk and the staff that work there very kindly came around the desk to put it in my backpack after they checked it out to me.
Here are some of the bon mots I have gleaned so far from this book:
In the very useful, and strangely familiar sounding chapter, 'The Seven Dreams of Highly Effective Amphibians.' Kermit tells the reader, "It always starts with a dream" (75) and goes on to enumerate 'Kermit's Seven-step dream identification system' (77). The reader can use this system as a blueprint to success in or out of the swamp.
Addressing the common fear of public speaking, Kermit advises:
"Imagine the audience is naked. If this doesn't help, do what I do and just work naked yourself." (89) Now there's a bit of advice you won't find just anywhere.
As for "Fear of Pigs. This is just good sense. Go with it." (89)
Again, I can't find anything wrong with that advice.
In the chapter, 'The Wealth of Frogs', Kermit starts by saying, "Money is not a big issue with frogs." (97) If, like me, or any other frog, you agree with that, you could just skip right over this chapter and go to chapter 11: 'Finding Your Inner Tadpole, a frog's spiritual journey.' (139) If you don't nurture your inner tadpole, you will have to face your outer toad, (140) so it's best to attend to your spiritual self before you turn into a toad.

For other self-help books, take a look at this aptly-titled blog post: Self Help Books

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Waiting for new books in series: George R.R. Martin and the Eager Fans

There may be nothing more impatient and enthused than a fan waiting for the next installment of a beloved book series. Whether it's fans of George R.R. Martin's series 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or readers of Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' series or of Jean Auel's 'Earth's Children' series, fans are caught up in a world of internet author sites, fan sites, Twitter hashtag hysteria, Facebook 'likes' and even publisher-fueled rumors. The next book is right around the corner! here's an interview with the author! the last book is just out in paperback! the movie is in the works! and so on. All false hopes to the series-starved reader.
Here are some of the misunderstandings that can come about with books published in series.
  • Often a series is referred to by the first book in the series, but this may not be the actual name of the series. The series known as 'A Game of Thrones' is actually titled 'A Song of Ice and Fire.' Remember that Auel's first book 'Clan of the Cave Bear' is not the name of the series which is 'Earth's Children'. 
  • The name of the TV show or movie may not be the same as the name of a book or series; it may be the name of the first book, but cover all or part of various books in the series. Think: 'All Creatures Great and Small,' the TV series, drew from many of the books and no doubt made up some material and altered some too. 
  • Now add in the fact that about a year after a book comes out in hardcover, it will be released in paperback to as much fanfare as the publishers can give it. Sometimes, the book will be re-reviewed. This often gives readers the idea that their favorite author or series has a NEW BOOK OUT! But no, really no, trust us on this, we can check the catalog, check Amazon, check Fantastic Fiction and there still will not be that new book you have been yearning for. We feel your pain.
And so there are many a slip between cup and the lip when it comes to sequels in series fiction. Sometime authors rapidly churn out the first few books in a series and then j u s t 
s l o w doooowwwwn. And who can blame them? Series, especially fantasy series, tend to be real door-stoppers in size. And even in the non-fantasy area, think about Ken Follett's series: his 'Century Trilogy' started with - 'Fall of Giants' (2010) which clocks in at an impressive 985 pages, while the second in the series, 'Winter of the World' (2012) came to an equally impressive 940 pages. Not a week goes by that patrons don't ask where the third in that series is. Ken? Oh, Ken? Typing away, are you, I hope?

Resources we use to verify series sequels rumors:
Fantastic Fiction lists authors' books by series and in chronological order
The Berkeley Heights Public Library catalog with enriched content from Novelist and Goodreads that lists read-alikes and books in series
Good old standby
Author websites often tell the next book an author is working on with a target date for completion, to be taken with a grain of salt.

Note to fellow librarians and collectors of weird professional lingo: the process of figuring out exactly what book a patron wants by piecing together the clues that are given is called 'bibliographic verification'. Right, anyone remember that? I was totally mystified when my professors went on about that, but now, I know. it can be tougher than it sounds. A cigar might just be a cigar to Dr. Freud, but to librarians, it could be any number of book titles, subtitles, authors or just plain unsubstantiated rumors. The watchword for bibliographic verification: mistrust & verify. For related post see: Butchered Book Titles

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Libraries on Pinterest

The Berkeley Heights Public Library has a Pinterest account where we post pictures of books to read, local history images from our archives, summer reading selections and book art among other topics. Just posted: the two images above that were made from photographs taken around the library and then made into posters using free photo-editing software Picasa. We hope you enjoy a glimpse at the inside world of libraries. Check out our Pinterest boards at

Pinterest boards created and contributed to by librarians around the world can be found here:

To download Picasa to your own computer: Picasa is a great way to start editing your photographs without purchasing expensive software.

Related post about the library's summer reading program using Pinterest

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gone Girl: the definitive review


When I think of my book group, I always think about how many people will come to the meeting, how many will have read the book, did they like the book, should I have questions ready to ask about the book? The book group starts in 45 minutes. Where to start? I finally read the mega-bestselling thriller/mystery Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012) and I did not go into the reading with an open mind. People either love this book or hate it. The opinions I heard from patrons at the library and from friends and family and the reviews I read had already made me dread reading it. I don't like to read bestsellers; they sell themselves; I like to read literary orphans. I don't like dark books with twisted characters; I like sunny distractions, the book equivalent of a situation comedy on television.

AUGUST 26, 2013

Tra and la! I am a happy frog blogger reading the nifty bestseller for the library book group. I am so happy I finally got my book from the holds list so I can see what all the excitement is about this huge bestseller. I put the book in my perfect little froggy book bag and went home to make a cup of green tea and sat down with great anticipation to read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Even though she's not a frog, I hear she's a really good writer. My parents are the famous authors of the 'Fantastic Fleur the Frog' series about the perfect little frog who always does the right thing. They based the books on me because I'm perfect and always cheerful and also I like to make up puzzles just like Fantastic Fleur does.
1. Do I pretend to like this book even if I don't?
2. Do I just read reviews and get back to my fun books that I want to read.
3. Do I read the book, take notes, write a review and ask questions from a list at the book group meeting?
Answer: I think you know that Fantastic Fleur will do #3, don't you? Don't you? You don't? Oh, I might have to punish you, dear reader.


The clock on my computer says 6:56 PM so I have to finish my review before the group meets. I have read the book. I'm not sure I liked the book. The book was compulsively readable, but nasty. Oh, I feel so dirty. It drew me in, and I ate it up, but I hated the characters and the plot was so contrived and unbelievable at the end, but I kept reading anyway. I felt like putting it down and reading something fun like Alexander McCall Smith, something light and sunny and uncomplicated, not dark and twisted like Amy and Nick Dunne's story. But that would be cheating. On the book, turning my back on the book group. So I read it. I couldn't help myself. I loved this book, but I hate it too, I just don't know how to tell the truth about this book.

AUGUST 29, 2013

I'm so fantastic. I finished the book in less than three days! Here's a quiz I made up about the book:
1. Do you hate Amy or Nick more?
2. Did you guess what the plot twist was?
3. Did you want to kill Amy more than Nick does?
4. Did you want to make as much money as that lawyer of Nicks?
Answer: all of the above!!! Duh.


You can "Google" the title and find reviews and, as the vernacular saying goes, unless you've been living under a rock,  you know that this book is the story of a marriage, a failed marriage, between two really twisted people. On their fifth wedding anniversary Amy, the wife, disappears and soon after, Nick the husband is suspected of her murder. The book is told from the point of view of Nick alternating with Amy's journal entries chronicling the story of their marriage up until the day of her disappearance. The second part of the book, and here's the spoiler, is told from Amy in the present tense and continues with Nick's narration too.
1.Did you see the spoiler there?
2. Did you see it coming? I did.
3.Do you feel cheated, manipulated as a reader or
4. Do you just not care anymore.
Oh, wait, I'm Marian, not Fleur. Fleur's the character who makes up quizzes.  I think our characters are merging. Help I hate that frog, I love that frog, I am a frog.

Posted by Fleur: Fleur's other contributions to the blog
Posted by Marian the Librarian: Ms. Librarian's previous posts

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Growing old: The Best Exotic Quartet, er Marigold Hotel-like Movies and TV Shows

I've been borrowing lots of DVD's from the library for the last few weeks, probably because the TV shows I watch are between seasons so there's not too much to watch if you like scripted comedy/dramas like me. I noticed a trend lately in my borrowing habits. The trend could be called:

If you liked 'The Best, Exotic Marigold Hotel' (2012), try these DVD's:

'Quartet' (2013), like 'Best Exotic MH', features lots of famous, older British actors. In 'Quartet' they play retired showbiz types and opera singers who are now in a home for retired musicians and the setting is a country house-turned-nursing-home set in the English countryside. The hotel in 'Best Exotic etc' was a dilapidated hotel in India run by an idealistic, but somewhat impractical, young Indian man played by Dev Patel, the star of 'Slumdog Millionaire.' You might also like 'Slumdog' if you haven't already caught that Academy Award-winning 2008 hit, although it has nothing to do with the aging British actor in bittersweet film theme that I'm enumerating here. In any case, 'Quartet" and 'Marigold' are often mentioned in the same breath because they are so similar in theme and casting as well as being released within a year of each other. The other title often confused with 'Quartet' is 'A Late Quartet' (2013) also about aging musicians. Patrons often come to the Reference Desk and ask for the 'Quartet' movie or the 'Marigold' movie so we know the three movies get confused very easily.
Continuing the theme, 'Waiting for God' is an early 1990's UK series about two feisty old people in a retirement home who question the authority of the youngish bean-counters who run the home for profit. Each episode is less than an hour and I'm enjoying the first season now.
'New Tricks' is a current BBC TV series about an unsolved crimes unit made up of old, retired police detectives who are curmudgeonly and eccentric, but always get their man.

By searching our catalog for the subject heading 'Retirees -- Drama', I see in the catalog that we have a British TV series called 'One Foot in the Grave' and a movie 'Is Anyone There?' both involving retirement or retirement homes. I have not yet taken either of those out, but I am really sensing this is a big trend in movies at least in the U.K.

Related subject headings to use in our catalog are...

Older people.
Eccentrics and eccentricities.
Retirement communities.
Television comedies -- Great Britain.
Video recordings for the hearing impaired.

Retirees -- Drama.
Musicians -- Drama.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cancer Information and Materials at the Library

It is a rare week that goes by at Berkeley Heights Public Library when we don’t hear that someone has cancer or is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.  On a good week, someone is celebrating a survivor anniversary.  On a bad week, someone has died.  For these reasons we quickly applied for a grant from the New Jersey State Library, provided by an anti-trust settlement against Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, to purchase cancer-related materials.  The grant was originally targeted to a specific group of cancers, but it expanded to become more inclusive.

The collection now includes books about many types of cancer, including several from the 100 Questions and Answers Series and John Hopkins Patient Guides.  The titles range from the point of being diagnosed through conventional and alternative treatments.  On the nutritional side, the titles range from diets to avoid cancer through diets for chemo patients. 

In addition to books, the collection now includes more audio titles to help people cope with and even optimize cancer treatments through meditation, positive thinking and visualization. 

Although we would prefer that no one ever needs these resources, we are ready to help.

- S. Bakos
Recommended Online Medical Resources:

Healthy New Jersey 

Healthy New Jersey cancer resources


American Cancer Society

Health Resources at the Berkeley Heights Public Library:

Dewey Decimal Classification numbers for medical and health books range from 610 to 619 at the Berkeley Heights Public Library and most libraries worldwide that use DDC.

Health sciences databases are available to library card holders through the EBSCO databases listed on our 'Databases & Articles' page  

          A selection of our new acquisitions about cancer treatment:

Berkeley Heights Public Library - Upper Level A On Order
On Order
Author: Reiss, Fern
Berkeley Heights Public Library - Upper Level New Books 616.9944 REI Available
Author: Link, John S.
Berkeley Heights Public Library - Upper Level New Books 616.9944 LIN Available
Author: Hopps, Nancy.
Berkeley Heights Public Library - Upper Level Compact Disc CD AUDIO 616.994 HOP Available
Author: Hopps, Nancy.
Berkeley Heights Public Library - Upper Level Compact Disc CD AUDIO 616.994 HOP Available
Author: Ramke, Annette
Berkeley Heights Public Library - Upper Level New Books 641.5631 RAM Available
Berkeley Heights Public Library - Upper Level New Books 641.5631 LAH Available
Berkeley Heights Public Library - Upper Level A On Order
On Order