Monday, July 24, 2017

Build a Better World Adult Summer Reading Club

Title: You Belong To Me
Author: Colin Harrison
Review: A successful lawyer who collects New York City maps befriends his wealthy neighbor's young wife. He then gets ensnared in her secret troubles. And then into the husband's... Always a wild ride with Colin Harrison.
Rating: 4

Title: Trophy Son
Author: Douglas Brunt
Review: In making his son a tennis champion, a father alienates him eventually. Though rated number one, he needs more in his life than tennis and sets about finding it. Well paced novel(and the author is married to Megan Kelly).
Rating: 3

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Build a Better World Adult Summer Reading Club

Title: The Perfume Collector
Author: Kathleen Tessaro
Review: When a young woman of 1950's London becomes the sole recipient of someone's will - someone she never heard of, she goes to Paris to solve the mystery.  Told between the two characters in alternating chapters it is a tale of love, loss, war, separation and of course, perfume.
Rating: 4

Title: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Author: Jan-Philipp Sendker
Review: A sweet story of a woman in search of her father and his past after he mysteriously disappears.  What she finds is a surprising love story that reads like a fairy tale.
Rating: 4

Title: Every Day I Fight
Author: Stuart Scott
Review: In this memoir by the ESPN SportsCenter journalist and sports anchor,Stuart Scott, one is taken on a trip from his childhood to how he became a face for fighting cancer.  Told in his brutally honest way there are stories of his craft, his struggle and mostly his loves - his 2 daughters. Inspirational yet heartbreaking to lose someone so young.
Rating: 3

Title: This is What a Librarian Looks Like
Author: Kyle Cassidy
Review: The cover states this is a "celebration of libraries, communities, and access to information"  so true. Anyone in this book club probably loves Harborfields Library - and you should.  This is a picture laden book of many librarians and what they feel their job is with community, empowerment, learning and helping people mentioned most often.  It also includes several essays about libraries and librarians.  All I can say is a big thank you to librarians for all you do!
Rating: 5

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Build a Better World Adult Summer Reading Club

Title: House of Spies
Author: Daniel Silva
Review: Gabriel Allon, now the head of Mossad, gets his old group together to find the terrorist, Saladin, and destroy him. He just missed him in his last book. Black Widow. Always an enlightening worldview with Daniel Silva.
Rating: 5

Title: My Brilliant Friend
Author: Elena Ferrante
Review: Two friends growing up in a poor section of Naples, Italy after the war share their hopes and dreams. It's the first book in the quartet and all best-sellers In Europe. Excellent picture of the life and culture there.
Rating: 3

Monday, July 10, 2017

Build a Better World Adult Summer Reading Club

Title: A Mother's Reckoning; Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
Author: Sue Klebold
Review: The mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters, details life before and after the horrific tragedy. Although difficult to read, she shows a different side to what we all probably read/saw. She doesn't take away from the shooting but she poses some interesting thoughts about preventing future ones.
Rating: 3

Title: Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard
Author: Laura Bates
Review: Prof. Laura Bates teaches in prisons. This is her experience with a young man in jail for life without any chance of parole or appeal.  What they both learned from reading Shakespeare is how to deal with life and not let walls confine you.
Rating: 3

Title: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Author: Jan-Philipp Sendker
Review: A sweet story of a young woman who sets out to find her father who vanished from her life. She travels to Burma to find out about the first 20 years of his life and found a man who tells her a beautiful story that keeps you enthralled to the end.
Rating: 4

Friday, July 7, 2017

Build a Better World Adult Summer Reading Club

Title: The Force
Author: Don Winslow
Review: Dennis Malone is a decorated hero cop keeping the streets of Harlem safe from drug dealers and criminals. Or is he?! Da Force, as his crew of detectives is called, succumb to the temptations of the streets and then must pay the price.
Rating: 4

Title: Since We Fell
Author: Denis Lehane
Review: Rachel, a celebrated TV journalist, has a breakdown on air in Haiti. We follow her through her recovery and into even more dangerous situations. Dennis Lehane always keeps you interested.
Rating: 5

Title: Testimony
Author: Scott Turow
Review: Bill ten Boom, a successful lawyer as proscecutor, is restless at age 50. He takes a job with the ICC (International Criminal Court) in The Hague in the Netherlands. Investigating the disappearance of an entire Roma (Gypsy) refugee camp takes him to Bosnia where nothing is as it seems.
Rating: 5

Title: Defectors
Author: Joseph Kanon
Review: His brother defected to the Communists 12 years ago. Now he has to meet him in Russia to publish his memoirs. Is it real? Is he being played? Joseph Kanon always keeps you guessing.
Rating: 5

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Have You Joined Yet??

2017 Adult Summer Reading Club
June 26th - August 18th

All adult Harborfields Library cardholders are invited to join the 2017 Summer Reading Club. Simply read or listen to a book of your choice and submit a brief review.
  • For every book you read you will have the chance to win a gift card from a local establishment.
  • For every two books you read, you will earn an eco-friendly gift (maximum of four gifts per person).

    Stop by the Reference Desk with your Harborfields Public Library card to get started!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Just the Facts: Book Discussion Recap from June 22

Six people ignored the lure of a beautiful summer night to attend the book discussion last night. Their presence, as always, was much appreciated. I think of them as the summer soldiers.

The book discussed was Imbeciles: the Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen. Eugenics was an American science or pseudo-science based on the the work of the Austrian geneticist Gregor Mendel and the British naturalist Charles Darwin. Its goal was to improve the gene pool of the United States by limiting the people who could reproduce to those with the best genes, much as one would breed cattle or chickens. This led to the Immigration Act of 1924 that limited the people who could immigrate from Central and Southern Europe and to the forced sterilization of those who were deemed inferior, morons, imbeciles, idiots, epileptics and the feeble-minded, medical terms at the time. Their work was applauded by and cited by Nazi Germany. But the eugenicists needed a test case to legalize forced sterilization, a case that would be approved by the Supreme Court and they found this case in a young, poor, unwed mother named Carrie Buck. The case wound its way through local courts, the Virginia Supreme Court and, eventually, to the Supreme Court of the United States where the esteemed Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. famously ruled that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Carrie Buck was sterilized without her knowledge or consent and the case, Buck vs Bell, was never overturned. Forced sterilization is still the law of the land. Our conversation, as might be expected, was especially contentious, focusing on the rights of the individual versus the demands of the state. It was a very interesting evening.

Our next meeting will be on July 27th at 7:00pm. The book to be discussed, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick, is available at the Circulation Desk. All are welcome.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Just the Facts: Book Discussion Recap from May 25

Thunderstorms in May? A solid week of overcast skies and rain? Is this really the beginning of summer? Many thanks to the thirteen people who braved the elements to attend the book discussion. Their presence, as always, was much appreciated.

The book discussed was Lives in Ruins: archeologists and the seductive lure of human rubble by Marilyn Johnson. In the book, the author provides an overview of the current state of archeology. When most of us think of archeology, we think of Indiana Jones, swashbuckling his way through jungles, deserts and bad guys to gather some archeological treasure. Today, Jones would be considered a looter, not an archeologist (although most male archeologists own both a fedora and a whip.) Where an object is found is as important as the object itself. To remove it from its context is to lose its history. Archeologists today are low paid, if they can find employment at all, and work in, at best, unpleasant and often dangerous environments. The author covers the many uses archeology is employed in today, from searching for ancient sites to crime investigation to making sure the latest strip mall or housing development is not destroying an ancient village or burial ground. One such investigation uncovered the largest unknown Revolutionary War cemetery in upstate New York. Our discussion was animated and interesting and covered many aspects of the science, but seemed to focus mostly on ancient treasures such as the Elgin Marbles that were seized from poorer countries for display in richer ones. Should they, in our more “enlightened” times, be returned?

Our next meeting will be on June 22nd, 2017. The book to be discussed, one of my favorites, is Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen, is available at the Circulation Desk. All are welcome.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Just the Facts: Book Discussion Recap From April 27

Maybe spring has at long last arrived, although some warm and sunny weather would be nice. Many thanks to the nine people who withstood a few sprinkles to attend the book discussion last night. Their presence, as always, was much appreciated.

The book discussed was Midnight Rising: John Brown and the raid that sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz. John Brown was a staunch abolitionist and had participated in the bloody fighting in Kansas that led to its admission to the union as a free state. On October 16, 1859, Brown and a handful of followers set out to capture the federal armory in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. Their goal was to use the captured weapons to arm slaves and instigate a general slave uprising across the South. It never happened. Alarms were sounded and federal troops and state militia rushed to the area. Brown and his followers, including his sons, were killed or captured. Brown himself was put on trial by Virginia for treason and was condemned to death and eventually hanged. Brown’s raid encapsulated the worst fears of the South, that of a slave insurrection and Northern invasion. Brown died a hero in the North and a traitor in the South. His actions increased the already severe divisions between the two regions. The author presents the factors in Brown’s life, including his belief in fundamental Calvinism and his many business failures, that led to his actions at Harper’s Ferry. The Civil War began just over a year later. We discussed many things last night, but centered mostly on whether Brown was a terrorist in our modern understanding of the word and the fluidity of morality, whether there concrete definitions of right and wrong.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Just the Facts: Book Discussion Recap from February 23

The evening was clear and warm, perhaps a harbinger of things to come. Many thanks to the ten people who had no elements to brave, but still came to the book discussion. Their presence, as always, was much

The book discussed last night was The Hare with Amber Eyes: a family’s century of art and loss by Edmund de Waal. Mr. de Waal is a well known ceramacist whose works have been displayed in galleries and museums around the world. He is also a direct descendent of the wealthy Russian-Jewish Ephrussi family. The family made their wealth in Odessa selling grain in the 19th century and then, as was the custom, sent their sons to establish branches of the business in other European cities. One of these sons, Charles, went to Paris and became an important art critic and dealer, befriending many Impressionist artists including Renoir, Manet and Cezanne. He also bought a collection of Japanese netsuke, small, elaborately carved ornaments made of ivory or wood. They are the size of small plums and can be whimsical, religious, playful or even erotic. World War I split the family and World War II destroyed it, but the netsuke survived, traveling from Japan to Paris to Vienna, back to Japan and, presently, to the author’s home in London. Mr. de Waal tells the story of his family’s history by tracing the route of the netsuke from family member to family member. The book is about family history, art and memory and we discussed these as well as the value of things, anti-semitism, the importance of touch, family artifacts, the appeal of antiques and much more. It was a very enjoyable evening.

Our next meeting will be on March 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm. The book to be discussed, Paper: paging through history by Mark Kurlansky, is available at the Circulation Desk. All are welcome.