Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Summer Reading Club

242 patrons participated in this year's Universe of Stories summer reading club, and almost 600 books were read. Ten raffle prizes have been awarded to the lucky winners.

Thanks to all who read and shared their reviews with others.

Just the Facts Book Discussion - August 22, 2019

Baseball is heading towards the playoffs, my favorite time of year.  Still, the book discussion is my favorite night of the month. If there’d been  a playoff game involving the Yankees or the Mets, well, who knows? Many thanks to the eight people who braved the oppressive humidity and threat
of rain to attend. Thank God for air conditioning.

Our book last night was City of Dreams: the 400-year epic history of immigrant New York by Tyler Anbinder. The book describes the experiences of all the different nationalities and ethnic groups that came from overseas to build a new life in America, starting in New York. Since we are all the children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of immigrants, we all had stories to tell and share of our relatives and ancestors. While the book is long, it is highly readable and moves quickly. The stories of the various groups who came here are fascinating. Their problems and struggles are heartbreaking. The tales of the early Dutch settlers to the much more recent arrival of those of Caribbean descent and their contributions to America made for interesting reading and discussion. Many family histories were discussed as well of fond memories of our forebears. We also discussed the roles of some of the people important to American immigration, such as Jacob Riis, Samuel Gompers and Lillian Weld. We also discussed modern immigration and how soon Americanization should occur. It was an interesting evening.

Our next meeting will be on September 26th, 2019. The book to be discussed, Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the creation of Holmes by Michael Sims, is available at the Circulation Desk. All are welcome.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

What people are saying about these popular books

Where the crawdads sings by Delia Owen

"Amazing story about the south and its very specific cultural biases with a mystery built-in."   
"Beautifully written story about a young girl who lives in a the marshes of the North Carolina. A gripping story."
" Engaging and very interesting story about growing up and the connections to a place, nature and people."
"Fantastic book about a young girl growing up alone in the swamps of NCC in 1950's. Also a murder mystery."
"Amazing story of an abandoned young girl's survival in the southern marsh. I didn't want  it to end!"
" Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! Character development amazing. Knowledge of the marsh and its description is spectacular."

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

"A holocaust story of love and survival. The tattooist risks his life many times to save as many people as possible."
"1942 - Auschwitz - This fascinating story of love, survival and is based on a true story. Unforgettable."
"Hard to put down! Amazing story of love, courage and perseverance. Brings the light the harsh reality of what holocaust survivors lived through."
"A novel based on the true story of Lale and Gita as they struggle to survive the horror of Auschwitz."

Monday, July 29, 2019

Just the Facts Book Discussion - July 25, 2019

Last night was the beginning of a Yankees-Red Sox series which I always look forward to.  But the book discussion takes precedence and I had to pass on the game.  Given that it was a 19-3 drubbing, I’m glad I had a good excuse not to watch it.  Many thanks to the six people who also passed on watching that debacle to attend the meeting.

Our book last night was Beautiful Boy: a father’s journey through his son’s addiction by David Sheff.  It’s the true story of the author’s son descent from a wonderful, engaged child to a seemingly hopeless drug addict.  The son went through the “normal” gateway drugs to become addicted to crystal meth, considered the worst drug in America.  The father and author went with him, consulting experts and doctors in desperate attempts to save his son.  It is a painful book and a painful journey.  Anyone who has a relative or a friend who has been through this knows how horrible this experience can be.  The author takes the reader along on his odyssey of doctors, researchers, psychiatrists, theft, rehabs, break-ins, jails and desperation to find an answer.  Ultimately, when the book ends, Nik, has ended his addiction, at great financial and emotional cost to his family.  Our conversation was somewhat personal and, at times, emotional.  It seems that everyone has or knows someone who has gone through it.  We discussed the nature of addiction, the difference of addiction to drugs or food, how to deal with the situation as a parent, the chances of a cure and much more.  It was an interesting, if somber discussion culminating in Al-Anon and Nar-Con’s three Cs:  “You didn’t cause it.  You can’t control it.  You can’t cure it.”

Our next meeting will be on August 22nd, 2019.  The book to be discussed, City of Dreams: the 400-year history of immigrant New York by Tyler Anbinder, is available at the Circulation Desk.  All are welcome.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Book Browse

Looking for a good book to read? Check out BookBrowse.

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Adult Summer Reading


All adult Harborfields Library cardholders are invited to take one small step and register for our Adult Summer Reading Club "A Universe of Stories". Be a star in your own universe of stories. Select a book to enjoy, and when finished, record it in your reading log and write a brief review. For each book, members receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift card. For every two books members receive a special prize. Make one giant leap, read eight books and receive every prize! The more you read, the more chances you have to win a raffle prize. To submit a review on line, click here. Make it your mission to signup and participate.

Adult Summer Reading

Title: A Fall of Marigolds
Author: Susan Meissner
Review: A scarf of marigolds connects Carla, a nurse on Ellis Island in 1911 and Taryn, who works in a fabric store in 2011. Both experienced horrific tragedies but even separated by the years they are joined by love, loss and hope for new beginnings. Really worth the time to read...
Rating: 5

Title: Emily's Vinegar Diet Book
Author: Emily Thacker
Review: In the vast library of diet books this one extols the virtues of vinegar. As a daily tonic with honey and as a fortfied version to be part of your regular food intake. Basic premise, haven't tried it enough to know if it works. But its like every diet; good food in moderation, exercise and limiting fat and sweets.
Rating: 2.5

Title: The White Darkness
Author: David Grann
Review: Polar explorer Henry Worsley follows in the footsteps of his hero Ernest Shackleton. His numerous treks in Antarctica are feats of endurance.  This short audio book really showed what the human mind and body can accomplish.
Rating: 3

Title: My sister, the serial killer
Author: Oyinkar Braithwaite
Review: Quirky story of two sisters, one of whom has boyfriends that mysteriously die. What happens when they both fall for the same guy?  Good premise but the ending was a big letdown
Rating: 2

Title: My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Author: Moshfegh, Ottessa
Review: Well reviewed, well written, but absolutely nonsensical.  A story of a young woman of means who only wants to sleep for a year and the crazy psychiatrist who prescribes her meds.
Rating: 1

Title: We Are Never Meeting In Real Life
Author: Samatha Irby
Review: This collection of essays reveals Irby's considerable talent. The first story, My Bachelorette Application, an homage to her love for the show, had me laughing from the first page, so I was unprepared for the considerable poignancy that flows throughout the book. But her sense of humor helps us deal with the sadness of the serious issues that she discusses, sometimes with excruciating detail.  Although I truly appreciated the author's candor, some readers may find it uncomfortable.
Rating: 4

Title: Small great things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Review: Racism in America. A tough subject but Ms. Picoult handles it in her usual way; from the eyes of her characters. Ruth, an African American nurse is charged with murder of the baby of a white supremacist couple. Well worth the read.
Rating: 4

Title: A Thousand Sundays
Author: Karen Duane Johnson
Review: This book, written by a friend and neighbor, is still in the search for publishing but had opportunity to read it. Good story of a young girl as she finds her emotional self through a few different relationships. Good character development and had a few twists that kept you guessing.  Hope others will soon find it on the library shelves!
Rating: 4


Title: Home
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Review: A richly written Tale of the prodigal son. Laced with scripture and religious notes as Rev. Boughton and his daughter, Glory, welcome home Jack whose past is never completely defined nor is Glory's. But the undercurrent of heartbreak for the past and the future is clear enough.
Rating: 3

Title: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Author: David Foster Wallace
Review: Wallace continues to impress me with his observations on life and such strange topics as what a men's room attendant experiences on the job. You always seem to get truth from him even if you don't like it. Thought provoking but at times too repetitive and too involved. Liked his other set of essays better.
Rating: 2.5

Title: Home
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Review: A richly written Tale of the prodigal son. Laced with scripture and religious notes as Rev. Boughton and his daughter, Glory, welcome home Jack whose past is never completely defined nor is Glory's. But the undercurrent of heartbreak for the past and the future is clear enough.
Rating: 3

Title: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Author: David Foster Wallace
Review: Wallace continues to impress me with his observations on life and such strange topics as what a men's room attendant experiences on the job. You always seem to get truth from him even if you don't like it. Thought provoking but at times too repetitive and too involved. Liked his other set of essays better.
Rating: 2.5


Title: Twilight saga
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Review: Who doesn't love vampires ?
Isabella Swan falls in love with a killer right at the top of the food chain , but she knows even with the danger of being a human Edward will never hurt her , he will risk his life just to be with a human. Even if that means putting everyone he loves in danger as well.
This is one of 4 books and I must say it kept me on my toes , I cannot wait to read what happens next.
Rating: 4

Title: New Moon
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Review: Vampire love ? Yes please !
The second book of the twilight saga was a bit of a shocker , in Bella's new vampire life Edward is constantly concerned about Bella and to keep her safe at all times , this turns out to be the worst thing possible. Knowing Bella can never be safe in a family full of vampires Edward has to end the epic love story.
Sad , full of ups and downs and definitely a good read !
Rating: 3


Title: Around the World in 80 Dinners
Author: Cheryl & Bill Jamison
Review: The authors apparently couldn't decide what voice they wanted to use, so they split the difference and combined first and third person. I found it utterly annoying. I should have stopped after reading the first chapter- a boring slog through the negotiation of frequent flier miles and the like. Don't bother.
Rating: 1

Title: Dimestore
Author: Lee Smith
Review: I didn't know much Smith until I read this charming book of essays. This simple collection was quite entertaining, if not intellectually stimulating.
Rating: 3

Title: The Elephant in the Room
Author: Tommy Tomlinson
Review: Tomlinson, a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer in commentary, has written a gruelingly honest and insightful memoir about his lifelong battle with obesity. But it could just as well be a tale of the human condition, using food as a metaphor for (insert struggle here).  I was pleasantly surprised.
Rating: 3

Title: Notes from a Young Black Chef
Author:  Kwame Onwuachi, Joshua David Stein
Review: As in almost all books, there were notable editing errors. But even those could not distract from this wonderful story. I couldn't put it down. I cannot wait to visit Kith and Kin in D.C.
Rating: 5

Title: The Moth Presents Occasional Magic: True Stories about Defying the Impossible
Author: Catherine Burns, editor
Review: Although I absolutely adore The Moth Radio Hour, I was skeptical that a show so dependent on the spoken word (it's taped before live audiences around the world) would be even remotely captivating in print. After all, it seemed that the real joy came from listening to real people tell authentic stories (without notes) about a moment in their lives that truly mattered. But I could not have been more wrong. Amazingly, the directors of the Moth have put together an exquisite collection on paper that entrances and entertains as well as the audio version. I envy you if you haven't read this yet... it's divine.
Rating: 5

Title: The Female Persuasion
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Review: If Wolitzer weren't incredibly talented, it would have been hard to make it to the end of this book. What starts out so promising loses steam somewhere in the middle, becoming repetitive, and I might add, patronizing. Please don't tell me the same thing 50 times. Please don't over explain simple concepts or familiar art. Please get a new editor, MW.
Rating: 3

Title: The Beneficiary: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father
Author: Janny Scott
Review: Janny Scott is a wonderful writer & I love her style. But I just wasn't engrossed enough to thoroughly enjoy the narrative of her wealthy forebears. I look forward to her next book, though....
Rating: 3

Title: Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food
Author: Ann Hood
Review: Pros: Hood's warmth, honesty, introspection, kindness, and writing style.
Cons: Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
Rating: 3

Title: Working
Author: Robert Caro
Review: I love Caro's writing style, his work ethic, his integrity, his humility. And, even though I wish that it had included more new information and had been less redundant, there are many subtle lessons to be learned from this short book. I urge everyone who cares about America to pick it up and savor it. Caro is truly an American treasure.
Rating: 4

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Adult Summer Reading Club


All adult Harborfields Library cardholders are invited to take one small step and register for our Adult Summer Reading Club "A Universe of Stories". Be a star in your own universe of stories. Select a book to enjoy, and when finished, record it in your reading log and write a brief review. For each book, members receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift card. For every two books members receive a special prize. Make one giant leap, read eight books and receive every prize! The more you read, the more chances you have to win a raffle prize. To submit a review on line, click here. Make it your mission to signup and participate.

Adult Summer Reading Club 2019

Title: Man Made, A Stupid Quest of Masculinity
Author: Joel Stein
Review: A humorous look at one new father's quest to be more of a man to be able to teach his son skills he feels he doesn't possess. A bit crude language at times, for those that might find offense, but a funny recap of some 'manly' experiences. Read by the author you really get a sense of his quest. Did make me laugh out loud at times.
Rating: 3

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Just the Facts Book Discussion - June 27, 2019

At last, a beautiful summer’s night.  Eight people passed on an evening spent in their yards or a stroll along the shore to attend the book discussion last night.  Their presence, as always, was much appreciated.

Our book last night was Broadway: a history of New York City in thirteen miles by Fran Leadon.  When the Dutch established a colony in Manhattan in the early seventeenth century, there was a wide muddy cowpath the settlers called Brede Wegh.  As the colony expanded and the street grew longer, it housed churches, homes, farms and taverns.  Later, when the British took over the colony, they changed the name of the street to Broadway.  The author provides an interesting structure to the book, devoting chapters to each of Broadway’s thirteen miles and the people who built and lived along it.  While most of us associate Broadway with the theatre district and shows, the history of the boulevard is much richer and deeper than that.  Of course, the author covers the growth of the theatre district, but also describes the growth of housing, shopping, industrialization, and the role of Broadway becoming Manhattan’s cultural and commercial spine.  Our conversation was lively and funny, with people recalling their own experiences of going to Broadway, both past and present.  We also discussed the roles of Columbia University, George M. Cohan, the immigrants who settled along Manhattan’s spine, George Washington Bridge and, of course, the very important role of the master builder (or destroyer) Robert Moses.  It was a good evening.  At last, a beautiful summer’s night.  Eight people passed on an evening spent in their yards or a stroll along the shore to attend the book discussion last night.  Their presence, as always, was much appreciated.

Our next meeting will be on July 25th, 2019.  The book to be discussed, Beautiful Boy: a father’s journey through his son’s addiction by David Sheff, is available at the Circulation Desk.  All are welcome