Global Statistics on Women

July 15, 2009 by
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Newly published, The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, fourth edition, is a great go-to resource for statistics on women’s issues. The book is divided into eight parts – Women in the World, Families, Birthrights, Body Politics, Work, To Have and To Have Not, The Vote, and Demography and Health. Each of these sections is subdivided to cover specific topics. For example, in Part Six – To Have and To Have Not – subcategories include Water, Literacy, School, Higher … Continue reading

Histories You Can Love

July 13, 2009 by
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Bernardsville Public Library’s Saturday Samplers book group loved discussing Case Histories by Kate Atkinson at our July 11, 2009, meeting. We enjoyed the way the author tweaked the normal detective genre, giving us a sympathetic detective (lacking in the normal star quality) who must contend as much with issues in his own life as with the oddball cases that come his way. Set in modern-day England, there is no pretense of class or airs, and everybody is found to have … Continue reading

When You’re Hungry For More Than Just Words

June 19, 2009 by
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M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Ruth Reichl are some of the people who come to mind when I think about those who have described their love of food and cooking in noteworthy books. M.F.K. Fisher is still considered one of the 20th century’s standard bearers of elegant prose about food, travel and life. Readers have long savored the detail and precision of her observations in such books as Consider the Oyster and The Art of Eating. As for The French … Continue reading

The Secret Scripture

May 23, 2009 by
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Today’s New York Times contains an interesting opinion piece written by Irish author John Banville regarding Ireland’s collective horror over the recent findings of its Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse. Banville makes the point that, in fact, most everyone in Ireland knew this was happening over the last century, hence he poses the question, what does it mean to know something? Banville states that the powerful collusion between the Catholic Church and government figures made it possible for such … Continue reading

Staff Recommendations

May 21, 2009 by
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Bernardsville Public Library staff member, Gerry Van Tassel, has written the following two reviews of books she recently read, one of which had personal resonance for her: I just finished City of Refuge by Tom Piazza. It is a novel set in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that followed. It tells the stories of two families, one black, one white, and how they face the storms and struggle to rebuild lives so dramatically changed. … Continue reading

Of Two Minds

May 11, 2009 by
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I recently read two very interesting books, one fiction and the other nonfiction, dealing with the calamity of brain disease. Both books were very engaging, and neither one took an overly depressing tone, although in each case the subject matter was certainly frightening. Still Alice by Lisa Genova is a fictional tale of a Harvard neuroscientist’s descent into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The main character, Alice, is at the top of her field in psycholinguistics and is in demand to speak … Continue reading

Worried About Swine Flu? At Least It’s Not the Plague…

May 1, 2009 by
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Get the latest information on the H1N1 flu virus (governmentese for swine flu) by going to . Once you have calmed your nerves, experience real tears and feverish chills as you read about life during years of the plague in the following two books recommended by Evelyn Fischel of Bernardsville Public Library. Dava Sobel’s excellent biography of Galileo Galilei focuses on his relationship with his devoted, but cloistered daughter, Suor Maria Celeste – hence the title, Galileo’s Daughter. It … Continue reading

Here’s A Staff Pick With No Questions Asked!

April 27, 2009 by
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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 … Continue reading

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2009

April 21, 2009 by
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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 … Continue reading

Staff Picks for Young Readers

March 25, 2009 by
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Felicia Ballard, youth services staff member at Bernardsville Public Library, has been busy sampling a variety of children’s fiction and recommends the following books for young readers and their families. Here are Felicia’s comments: The Green Dog by Suzanne Fisher Staples is a light read. It’s the story of one girl’s summer, her dog, and her family. It’s also a book about growing up. The Green Dog would definitely make a good summer reading choice. Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye … Continue reading

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