Category Archives: librarian

Film Documentary Review- “Catfish”

I recently borrowed the new DVD “Catfish and I enjoyed this little documentary so much I thought I would recommend it, through this blog, to a larger audience.  While our DVD collection is usually spoken for over the weekends, the four copies of “Catfish” seem available most of the time.

The film follows New York photographer Nev Schulman who received a painting of one of his photos from eight-year-old Abby. Flattered by her interest in his work, he adds her as a friend on Facebook. This expands to include her family, including her mother, Angela, and her older half-sister, Megan. Nev develops a strong friendship with Megan, who has dozens of pictures on her Facebook account.

I don’t want to revel any more of the plot as any further explanation would give away the twists that make this documentary so entertaining, touching and emotional.  I highly recommend it.

-posted Jill, Readers’ Services

Book Review- The Last Brother

I’ve been in quite a reading slump lately. Every book that I’ve read has been just so-so. That is until I picked up The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah.

It’s the story of Raj, a nine year old local boy whose life is filled with the violence of an alcoholic abusive father. Raj and his family have been destroyed by a horrible event that turned a family of five into three. Father, mother, and Raj move when the father finds work at a prison, Beau-Bassin. A prison that Raj is told is full of “dAngerous ones, the rUnaways, the rObbers, and the bAd mEn.” Raj travels each day to the prison to bring his father lunch, but endlessly curious about the inmates finds a hiding place and observes. What does he see? David, a young boy around the same age walking towards the barbed wire of Beau-Bassin.

“What I saw first was his hair, that magnificent mop of it, which floated around his head but which was certainly his and his alone, in a way that nothing has ever belonged to me, those curls hiding his brow and his way of advancing stiffly, not limping, for all the world as if he were made of wood and iron and his machinery had not been oiled for quite some while.”

David sits and observes the internees as Raj lies in the dirt observing David.

“Suddenly David’s curls began to shake, his shoulders too, and he buried his face between his knees, which he had brought up against his chest as he sat down. Then I heard him crying, I knew it only too well, this sobbing that racks you, that makes you softly murmur oh, oh, as if someone were slowly, very slowly, plunging a knife into your heart.”

The two form a friendship that is doomed from the start, but one that will haunt Raj for sixty years filling him with guilt for what was done, and what should have been done.

The Last Brother takes place during 1944-1945 on Mauritius, an island off the South African Coast. An island seemingly far removed from the horror and violence of World War II, but even this remote area cannot escape . Beau-Bassin was a camp for Jewish refugees from East Europe (Poland in particular) who had tried to reach Palestine in the early 1940s to escape the Nazi persecution. They travelled down the west coast of Africa, passed the Cape of Good Hope, and entered the Indian Ocean. They were taken by the British at this point, brought to Mauritius, and made to stay there until the end of the war. 128 of them died and were buried in Mauritius.

Nathach Appanah has done a beautiful job of taking this bit of history and allowing us to view it through the eyes of these young boys. The writing is lyrical and beautifully translated. This is a short novel that will hopefully mark the beginning of a very long writing career.

-posted by Susan, Health Reference Librarian

Free Credit Reports

Did you know that by law you are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months?  The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies-Equifax, Experian and TransUnion-provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.

To order your credit report, you can visit, call 1-877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:  Annual Credit Report Request Service, P. O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. is the only government authorized website from which to order your credit reports, so beware of imposters.

I order my credit reports from all 3 companies annually.  It’s definitely worth it.

-posted by Ed G., Reference Services


I’m sitting at the Readers’ Services desk taking reserves for the 10 Hottest Books of the Week (you’ll find them listed to the right) and looking at the myriad of new fiction and non-fiction that’s just sitting here waiting for someone to discover.  One of my favorite things to do is pass by the James Patterson, Fern Michaels, and Danielle Steel novels and find that hidden gem.  Well, I’ve found one and it’s waiting for you.

The Gendarme by Mark T. Mustian

I read it months ago and was entranced with the writing and the characters.  It’s a powerful story that deals with memories.  The ones we hold on to, and the ones we choose to bury.

Don’t want to take my word for it?  Mike Peed of The New York Times writes, “…Mustian appears to confront an enormous subject: the Turkish deportation of Armenians during World War I, when hundreds of thousands died amid a hellish march into Syria—an expulsion that has, outside Turkey, often been labeled as genocide. But in truth, Mustian…tells a story that probes a timeless array of life’s general adversities: the tricks of memory that enable us to carry on with our daily existence; the brash decisions and subsequent regrets of the young; the ever present need for forgiveness; the way a single event can be subject to many interpretations. Mustian embodies the intractability of these difficulties in the image of an Armenian girl with mismatched eyes…She sees the past and the present, the good and the bad, our side and theirs. Her mystery is life’s mystery.”

The Gendarme is here waiting.

Not your cup of tea?  Come to the Readers’ Services desk-we’ve got more gems to recommend.

– posted by Susan, Readers Services’

Books That I’ve Started to Read…and Never Finished

The following is a blog post from our sister blog “Teen Space” by Sharon Long, Teen Services Librarian.  It is especially timely now since Summer is here- the season for reading for pleasure and for school.  Here is some excellent advice for narrowing in on books that you will finish and say “That was a good book!”

“Hi there.  I’d like to confess: I have an awful habit of not finishing my books.  I feel terribly guilty about this, being a librarian and all.  But the truth of the matter is BECAUSE I am a librarian, I don’t have a lot of extra reading time to finish books that I just. don’t. like.

I was never this way in my youth, no way, no how.  I finished EVERYTHING – including Gone with the Wind (1024 pages) and James Michener’s The Source(at 1078 pages – a triumph!)  Nowadays, if I get to around 50 pages, and I’m not feeling it, I put it down and find something else.  I was happy to learn I’m not alone in this.

Author, librarian extraordinaire and model for the awesome Librarian Action Figure, Nancy Pearl, has a similar theory:  for Pearl, it seems that the most important aspect of reading a book is to enjoy it.  If a reader is not enjoying a book, then she has a rule for when to stop reading that book.

Pearl’s approach to enjoying reading is the Rule of 50 which states ‘If you still don’t like a book after slogging through the first 50 pages, set it aside.  If you’re more than 50 years old, subtract your age from 100 and only grant it that many pages.’  After all, life is short – if you’re 90, after 10 pages, MOVE ON!

I think that’s a great way to approach non-assignment reading (see, teachers, I’m playing nice here).  There’s a time and a place for slogging though a classic novel for a paper.  And there is a time and a place to just LOVE READING.  So, in the spirit of reading books that are not on your summer reading lists, take some time before school starts and read for enjoyment.  Just try 50 or so pages of something that looks good because, hey, you might like it enough to finish it.”

I’m going to start using Sharon and Nancy’s method and maybe you should try it too.  Life is short and there are so many books still to be read!

– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

New Adult Summer Reading Club Begins Today!

Welcome to the Syosset Library’s first annual Adult Summer Reading Club.  The program is simple and stress-free, just the way summer should be!  Sign up and submit titles of any book you read between June 16 and August 14.  For each title you submit, you will have a chance to win raffle prizes in our weekly drawing and at the Summer Reading Wrap-Up Party on August 18.  Registration for the club begins on June 16 at the Readers’ Services Desk on the second floor.

There are only a few simple guidelines:

  • Patrons read books of their choosing
  • Audio Books qualify
  • Patrons who join the program and submit at least one title will be sent an invitation to the Wrap-Up Party on August 18 at 7 PM
  • Must present ID to claim prizes
  • Open to Syosset School District Residents 18 years or older

Join us today as we kick off the club with events and refreshments  throughout the day.  Receive a complimentary raffle ticket for attending either of the day’s Kick-Off events:

Title Swap with Librarians. Wednesday, Jun 16.  1:30 PM.

To celebrate this exciting new summer program, the Readers’ Services Department will hold a special Title Swap with Librarians.  Librarians and patrons will share favorite titles and you will leave with a great summer reading list!  No registration required for the Title Swap.   Attend this free event and receive a Summer Reading raffle ticket.  Refreshments will be served.

Brenda Janowitz, Author Visit.  Wednesday, June 16.  7 PM.

     The celebration continues in the evening with Syosset resident and author, Brenda Janowitz joining us for a reading from her novels.  Free and no registration required.  Attend this event and receive a Summer Reading raffle ticket.  

Hope to see you there!

– posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

5 Questions about Books

Christine Belling, the library’s Systems Administrator, answers some questions about books this week:

The book you are currently reading:

Actually, I’m in the process of reading two books.  The first, The Aqua Net Diaries : Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town by Jennifer Niven, is the author’s memoir of growing up and attending high school during the eighties. The second, Get Me Out : A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein.  Since I’m pregnant I thought this might be an interesting read.

Last book read:

Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi.  I could not put this book down.  It is Henry Hill’s story of his life in the mob and the basis for the movie Goodfellas.

Your favorite book of all time:

I have two favorites, The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien and Watership Down by Richard Adams.  This may be no surprise to anyone else out there who has read and enjoyed these titles.  I once read somewhere that readers who loved Lord of the Rings have a particular fondness for Watership Down.

Your favorite book genre:

I really enjoy non-fiction books.  A few years ago a friend recommended Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer.  The book was fascinating and ever since then I’ve had a strong preference for non-fiction.

Book you’ve faked reading:

Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake.  It was for a Native Americans on film course in college.  The assignment was to write a paper comparing the book to the movie.  Unfortunately, I could not locate a copy of the book anywhere – this was back in the days before online bookstores.  As the due date was drawing near my roommate, Pam, got a copy of the book and took notes for me while she read it.  In the end, with the help of Pam’s notes, I received a good grade for the paper.

5 Questions about books

Readers’ Services librarian, Lisa Jones, answers “5 Questions about books”:

A Favorite Childhood Book: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.  I recently read this with my own daughter and it bought back lots of memories.  It is truly a timeless classic.

Your Favorite Book of All Time: That’s a tough one, but I would have to say To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Book You’ve Faked Reading: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan.  It was my book club’s monthly pick and after reading a few chapters, I skipped to every other chapter and finally read the last two chapters.  Although, I remain eternally grateful to Ms. Friedan and Ms. Steinem.

Favorite Line from a Book: I have a few but one of my favorites is actually from the Shakespeare Play Othello: “Who steals my purse steals trash; tis something, nothing; Twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands; but he that filches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed”. A college professor of mine started class with this line one day and its meaning has stayed with me through both my personal and professional life.  In a nutshell:  money, property and the like can always be replaced but once your good name and/or reputation is tarnished or taken from you, it can be difficult if not impossible to get it back.  In essence, stay true to yourself, your core beliefs and values and the rest will somehow fall into place.

Book you feel you should read but haven’t yet: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.