Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Successful Business Owners ShareTheir Secrets

Join us at Bernardsville Public Library on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 pm for this unique seminar presented by SCORE® Central Jersey mentors who ran successful private businesses in different industries. They will share their experiences with what worked and what did not in their businesses. SCORE®, Counselors to America’s Small Business. Free. Advance sign-up is requested. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Saturday Samplers Book Group to Meet

Bernardsville Public Library’s book discussion group, Saturday Samplers, will meet on Saturday, April 5 at 3:30 pm to discuss New York Times bestseller "Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants" (2004) by Robert Sullivan. [The author will not be present.]

The book dispenses gruesomely fascinating rat facts and strangely entertaining rat stories as Mr. Sullivan gets to know not just the beast, but its friends and foes.  He collected his material with night-vision gear, sitting in a stream-like flow of garbage.  He studied New York rats and rats in Chicago, Milwaukee, and other cities in America.  The book is funny, wise and sometimes disgusting, but always readable—a classic of nature writing.

Mr. Sullivan is also the author of "The Meadowlands," "A Whale Hunt," and most recently, "The Thoreau You Don’t Know."  He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship, and his writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York magazine, A Public Space, and Vogue, where he is a contributing editor.  He was born in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Led by Evelyn Fischel, Saturday Samplers is a book discussion group dedicated to sampling various kinds of literature, including short stories, nonfiction, new and old novels, and even teen fiction.  Its goal is to search out interesting, noteworthy, and sometimes overlooked books.  Readers can find information about the group and about the books and authors on the reading list at  No sign-up is needed to join the discussion.  Call the library at 766-0118 for more information.

Meet Eric Gustafson, Author of "Last Guy Waltzing"

Meet author Eric Gustafson at Bernardsville Public Library on Saturday, April 5 at 2:00 pm for a reading and book signing of his latest book, “Last Guy Waltzing, A Tale of Reinvention,” published in 2013.  A fast-moving narrative, the book is set in locales around the world, populated by the rich and famous, and full of challenge and hope.

Mr. Gustafson, a self-described neo-renaissance man and a former resident of the Somerset Hills, is a writer, lecturer, intrepid world traveler, photographer and bon vivant.  For the past decade, he has focused on writing about travel, particularly in India where he spends three to five months annually.

Music Critic Michael Redmond wrote of "Last Guy Waltzing," "If life is an opera, then Eric Gustafson hits all the high notes.  He designs the sets and costumes, too, and assembles an all-star cast from across the panorama a modern life.  He's offering readers one of the best seats in the house.  A fascinating memoir by a fascinating man."

Born in New York City, Mr. Gustafson now resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Until his move to “The Land of Enchantment” in 2006, he was Founding Director of Apollo Muses Center for the Arts in central New Jersey.  His arts festival flourished for 22 years, producing more than 200 classical music concerts as well as diverse cultural events.  He also wrote travel articles for the 17 newspapers owned by Recorder Publishing in New Jersey from 2000 to the present.  In 1998, his autobiography "Cinderella Is a Man," was published.  This took the author on the road internationally to promote the book. 

Books will be available for purchase and signing on April 5.  There is no charge to attend the program, but advance sign-up is requested.  Register online at and follow the link from Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Paintings by Mary Kooi on Display at Bernardsville Library

Maine Sailboat
Bernardsville Public Library is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Mary Kooi during the month of April.  There will be an opening reception for the public on Sunday, April 6, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

Ms. Kooi’s paintings reflect her love of light and color, particularly as reflected in outdoor scenes, and she loves to travel with fellow artists to find inspiration for her canvases.  She has been a student of art most of her life, including minoring in Art at St. Joseph’s College in Indiana and then earning a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in Textiles.  She studies under the instruction of Valeri Larko at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit.

Ms. Kooi hails from the Chicago area and moved to Summit in 2000.  She volunteers as a tutor with Literacy Volunteers and with the Mayor’s Partnership of Summit Public Art while working full time in furniture sales at Zimmer-Rohde in New York.

This exhibition will be on view in the library’s Community Room during regular library hours unless a meeting is in progress.  For further information, please call the library at 908-766-0118.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Splendid Life Meditatuon

Basking Ridge resident Fauzia Burke will lead the next monthly guided meditation session at Bernardsville Public Library on Friday, April 4 at 10:00 am.  Ms. Burke’s style of meditation incorporates many cultural traditions and uses the power of word and imagery to facilitate a meditative experience; there is no right or wrong way, no particular way to sit, or words to say.  Each experience is honored as unique and can help reduce stress, generate creativity, and create positive energy.  

“Our intention for these gatherings is to find peace and serenity through a practice of regular meditations, and to develop a community for support and friendship,” says Ms. Burke.  She has been meditating for over 15 years and leading meditation groups for twelve years. By day, she is the President and Founder of FSB Associates, an Internet marketing firm that promotes books and authors on the Web.  She lives in Basking Ridge with her husband and two daughters, and volunteers to lead the Splendid Life meditations in an effort to help others achieve the peace of mind and inspiration that she has found through mediation. 

There is no charge to attend the program, and no sign-up is required.  No experience in meditation is necessary.  Bring a journal and pen, and wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.  For further information, call the library at 908-766-0118.

The Creation of Ravine Lake and Blairsden

Ravine Lake with Blairsden in the distance.
On Sunday, March 30 at 1:30 pm, author and lecturer W. Barry Thomson will discuss the creation in the 1890s of Ravine Lake in Bernardsville and the construction there of the first home of the Somerset Hills Country Club, one of the country’s first golf clubs. 

He will also cover the building of the adjacent Blairsden, one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant Beaux-Arts ensembles of house and landscape in America and the site of this year’s Mansion in May. Mr. Thomson is the co-author of the 2-volume “New Jersey Country Houses: The Somerset Hills.” Free. Advance registration is requested.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The "Can-Do" Connection

The next meeting of "The Can-Do Connection" will convene at Bernardsville Public Library on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:00 pm. Do you have a dream that you gave up on long ago or so many times that you fear you can’t get it back? Come to this workshop and let Professional Inspirer Andrea Mastrobattista show you how to reclaim your dream.  Whether it be on a personal, professional and/or spiritual level, this monthly workshop will help participants reconnect with the dreams they have for themselves. 

This workshop is an outgrowth of last year's "The University of Can-Do Master's Program." Ms. Mastrobattista has been leading her inspirational workshops on Wednesday evenings at the library since 2006. She heads a company called Operation INSPIRATION and also facilitates workshops in the Somerset Hills such as "Facing Your Fears" and "Transforming Negatives Into Positives" in which she helps people to fully form their goals and develop a strong can-do attitude for achieving them. Her core belief is that, no matter what circumstances people face, they have the strength and ability to create and live fulfilling and inspiring lives. She also owns Golden Slipper Productions, a company which creates websites and promotional materials for small and mid-sized businesses.

There is no charge to attend the library workshop, but advance registration is requested. Register online at, and follow the link from Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Memoirs & Coffee Book Group

The next meeting of Bernardsville Public Library’s book discussion group, Memoirs and Coffee, will be held on Tuesday, March 25 at 10:30 am in the library’s Community Room.  Pat Kennedy-Grant, Readers’ Services Manager for the library, will lead the discussion of “Son of a Gun: A Memoir” (2013) by Justin St. Germain.  [The author will not be present.] 

"Son of a Gun" is the chronicle of a mother-son relationship that is also an unflinching account of a murder and its aftermath.  St. Germain's mother, Debbie, was killed in her remote trailer, apparently by her fifth husband, in 2001.  In his memoir, her son attempts to understand his mother by confronting people from his past.  By examining the police records, he tries to make sense of his mother’s life and death.

The book was a finalist for the 2013 Barnes & Noble Discover Award in Nonfiction and was named a Best Book of 2013 by, Library Journal, BookPage, and Salon; it was also an Book of the Week and The New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice.

Julia Keller of NPR called the book, “Gritty, enthralling … St. Germain has created a work of austere, luminous beauty … by the end of the book, you know his mother, even though you never met her.  And like the author, you will mourn her forever."

Justin St. Germain was born in Philadelphia in 1981. He attended the University of Arizona and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He lives in Albuquerque and teaches at the University of New Mexico.

There is no charge, and no registration is needed to join the discussion.  Call the library at 766-0118 for more information.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tea and Conversation with Author Jayne Anne Phillips

Jayne Anne Phillips
Join us for tea and conversation as Julie Maloney, Director of Women Reading Aloud, conducts an up-close and personal interview with Jayne Anne Phillips, author of the new novel sensation, "Quiet Dell," at Bernardsville Public Library on Sunday, March 23 at 2:00 pm. Audience members will have a rare opportunity to ask the author questions about her work and her writing process.  A short reading as well as a book signing will follow the interview. 

"Quiet Dell" is Ms. Phillips’ fifth novel.  Based on a true story, it's about the infamous 1931 murders committed in a hamlet of the same name near her hometown in West Virginia.  Con man Harry Powers led a double life, and preyed on vulnerable widows he met through matrimonial agencies.  He imprisoned and murdered an Illinois widow and her three children, and a Massachusetts divorcĂ©e, all of whom came to Quiet Dell willingly.  The tragedy was one of the first nationally sensationalized crimes in America, a story which preoccupied a rural town and the Depression-era nation for months.

Author Stephen King wrote of "Quiet Dell," "In a brilliant fusion of fact and fiction, Jayne Anne Phillips has written the novel of the year.  It’s the story of a serial killer’s crimes and capture, yes, but it’s also a compulsively readable story of how one brave woman faces up to acts of terrible violence in order to create something good and strong in the aftermath.  'Quiet Dell' will be compared to 'In Cold Blood,' but Phillips offers something Capote could not: a heroine who lights up the dark places and gives us hope in our humanity."

Ms. Phillips, who lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, is the author of "Lark and Termite," "Motherkind," "Shelter," and "Machine Dreams," and the widely anthologized collections of stories, "Fast Lanes and Black Tickets."  "Machine Dreams" (1984) was her first novel and a New York Times best seller; it was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of twelve Best Books Of The Year.  Ms. Phillips is a National Book Award and National Book Critic’s Circle Award finalist, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Bunting Fellowship, the Sue Kaufman Prize, and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.  She is Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, where she established The Writers At Newark Reading Series.

Interviewer Julie Maloney has worked in the arts as a performer and educator her entire life.  She is a poet and writer and founder/director of Women Reading Aloud (WRA), a not-for-profit organization that promotes women writers in New Jersey and beyond.   WRA holds workshops, special events, writing retreats, conferences and an on-going writing workshop series each spring and fall during which women writers of all genres hone their work in a salon type setting.  The annual Writer’s Weekend Retreat is held each April in Sea Girt, NJ.  In June, WRA returns for its fourth Greece Writer’s Retreat on the island of Alonnisos in the North Sporades.  Ms. Maloney is a frequent speaker on “Writing as a Life Tool.”

There is no charge to attend the program at the library, but advance sign-up is requested.  Register online at and follow the link from Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.