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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Twenty-First Century Manners

Today marks the birthday of Emily Post (1872-1960), whose 1922 book Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage set standards for social behavior for a good part of the last century. Her legacy lives on with third-generation family members who offer advice through The Emily Post Institute, which she founded in 1946.

Great-granddaughter Liz and great-granddaughter-in-law Peggy Post now deal with a different world where technology and a more casual lifestyle have changed the way we interact with each other. Is it really correct now to e-mail a thank-you note? How about wearing flip-flops to the White House?

Interested in how manners have changed in the last few decades? Browse these books:

One Minute Manners: Quick Solutions to the Most Awkward Situations You’ll Ever Face at Work by Ann Marie Sabath

Business Etiquette for the New Workplace by Harvard Business School Press

Excuse Me, But I Was Next: How to Handle the Top 100 Manners Dilemmas
by Peggy Post

The Joy of Text: Mating, Dating and Techno-Relating by Kristina Grish

Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior by Judith Martin

Some believe civility is a lost art these days. Others think it is just a matter of changing manners for changing times. Your thoughts?

Friday, October 26, 2007

MySpace Enters the Book Trade

Lest you think that print and the virtual world are incompatible, the social networking site MySpace has announced that it will collaborate with HarperCollins on an environmental book to be released on Earth Day, April 22, 2008. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the paperback, to be called MySpace/Our Planet: Change is Possible, will be written by a freelance writer and include environmental tips from MySpace users, who can submit suggestions on the MySpace Web page until November 7. An initial printing of 200,000 is planned.

“We're always talking to potential partners about big ideas and this one with HarperCollins made a lot of sense," Jeff Berman, MySpace’s senior vice president for public affairs, said in the AP article. "We want to be at the forefront of user-generated media, and books are an important part of that."

Fairfax City Regional Library to Move
The Fairfax City Regional Library will close on November 25, 2007 at 6 p.m. for its move to a new location at Old Lee Highway and North Street in the City of Fairfax. The branch’s Virginia Room will close one week earlier at 6 p.m. on November 18. The new library branch will open with a grand celebration on Saturday, January 26, 2008.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Help for Caregivers

According to the National Family Caregivers Association, Virginia ranks 12th among U.S. states with the largest number of individuals who care for chronically ill, disabled or aged family members or friends. More than 740,000 caregivers in the Old Dominion provide 793 million hours of care per year.

Nationwide, approximately 60 percent of caregivers are women; the typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman caring for a widowed mother who does not live with her. Thirty percent of caregivers who provide care for seniors are 65 or older themselves, and another 15 percent are between the ages of 45 and 54.

But each statistic represents someone who seeks support for his or her unique situation. In Fairfax County, one major resource is the Area Agency on Aging, which sponsors the Caregiver Seminar Consortium. The Fairfax County Public Library’s Access Services branch also offers services for seniors with visual impairment and other disabilities, including providing recorded books through the Talking Book program of the Library of Congress.

If you or someone you know is a caregiver, learn more at the workshop below:

Tuesday, October 30, 7 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
Legal and Financial Challenges of Caregiving. Learn about essential legal and financial tools to aid in long-term care planning. Cosponsored by the Fairfax Caregiver Seminar Consortium. George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA. To register, call 703-324-5205. Adults.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Women Nobel Laureates

Doris Lessing, the British author who won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature last week, is the 11th woman to win an award in that category. She is in good company with the likes of Toni Morrison (1993) and Pearl Buck (1938). In all, 34 women since 1901 have been awarded Nobel Prizes including: Mother Teresa in 1979 (Peace); Marie Curie in 1903 (Physics) and again in 1911 (Chemistry); and Jane Addams in 1931 (Peace). A full list of those women honored by the Swedish Academy is available on the official Nobel Prize site.

For more on these laureates, try:

Doris Lessing: A Biography by Carole Klein

Toni Morrison by Jill Matus

Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography by Peter Conn

Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta”
by Mother Teresa

Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium by Carla McClafferty

Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy by Louise Knight

Don’t Miss

Tuesday, October 23, 7 PM
Meet The Author Hear author Roland Haas talk about his book, Enter the Past Tense: My Secret Life as a CIA Assassin. Patrick Henry Library. To sign up, call 703-938-0405.

Wednesday, October 23, 7 p.m.
The How-Tos of Podcasting Age 12-18. George Mason Regional Library. To sign up, call 703-256-3800.

Saturday, October 27, 7 p.m.
Reading Across the Centuries. Join a great literature book group. Writer and university instructor Wendi Kaufman facilitates a discussion of Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. Pohick Regional Library. To sign up, call 703-644-7333.

Tuesday, October 30, 7 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
Legal and Financial Challenges of Caregiving. Learn about essential legal and financial tools to aid in long-term care planning. Cosponsored by the Fairfax Caregiver Seminar Consortium. To register call 703-324-5205. George Mason Regional Library

Friday, October 12, 2007

Schulz and “Peanuts”

A new biography about “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz reveals a man much more complex than the 17,897 stories he told about Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, Linus and the rest of the gang over a 50-year period.

According to an October 8, 2007 Associated Press article, biographer David Michaelis writes in Schulz and Peanuts that the cartoonist’s personal life and the strip often intersected. Apparently, Lucy at times represented Schultz’s first wife — an assertive woman from whom Schulz kept his distance — similar to Schroeder at the piano keyboard, his concentration designed to keep Lucy at bay.

For more on Schulz and the characters he drew, see:

Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz by Rheta Johnson

Charles M. Schulz: Conversations by M. Thomas Inge

Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz by Charles M. Schulz

The Gospel According to Peanuts by Robert L. Short

Peanuts: A Golden Celebration by Charles M. Schulz


Do you have a favorite comic strip? Let us know.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Art of Biography

Those who enjoy delving into life stories may be interested in a recent New Yorker article, "The Lives of Others: The Biography Business" by Louis Menand (August 6, 2007).The article is actually a review of two books: Shoot the Widow by Meryle Secrest and Biography: A Brief History by Nigel Hamilton.

“The purpose of biography is not just to record, but to reveal,” Secrest, a biographer of such figures as Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Rodgers argues.
Menand, on the other hand, argues that this philosophy tends to lead biographers to invert the truth, looking for one hidden letter that negates the true observations of friends and intimates.

Nigel Hamilton, in his book, suggests that biography is the “genre of democracy.” He believes by reading about the lives of others, individuals learn about themselves. The intimate details of the rich and famous somehow level the playing field – bringing a kind of social equality to the reader.

Are biographies your favorite form of reading? If so, let us know why.

For some bios to sample, here’s a few of the best:

Operation Yao Ming by Brook Larmer

Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power by Richard Carwardine

At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years: 1965-1968 by Taylor Branch

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields

LBJ: The Architect of American Ambition by Randall B. Woods

Don’t Miss

Thursday, October 11, 7:30 PM
Civil War Lecture. Park ranger and historian Stacy Humphreys presents "The Washington Artillery of New Orleans: Creole Cannoneers in the Eastern Theatre." Cosponsored by the Bull Run Civil War Round Table. Centreville Regional Library, 703-830-2223.

Tuesday, October 16, 7:00 PM
What You Don't Know Can Keep You Out of College. Author and educational consultant Don Dunbar discusses common fatal mistakes made on college applications, plus offers insights on the admission process. Books available for sale and signing courtesy of Borders. Adults and high school students. Kings Park Library, 703-978-5600.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Thurber Prize

Among the various literary awards bestowed in the U.S. – the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, the Pen Faulkner – is a lesser known accolade known as the James Thurber Award for American Humor.

On Wednesday, October 3, an Associated Press story announced that Joe Keenan, a television writer-producer who won an Emmy 10 years ago for his work on the TV sit-com Frasier, is the most recent recipient of the humor award. He was cited for his novel, My Lucky Star.

He has illustrious company, including runner up Bob Newhart, and previous winners Jon Stewart, David Sedaris and Christopher Buckley.

If you want to lighten your days, here are a few books to try:

I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This by Bob Newhart

America: The Book by Jon Stewart

Dress Your Family in Corduroy or Denim by David Sedaris

People Have More Fun Than Anybody by James Thurber

Don’t Miss . . .

"Conversations That Count: Talking With Your Doctor in Sickness and in
Health," 7:30 p.m., October 11, Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, 7584
Leesburg Pike, Falls Church. To sign up, call 703-790-8088. Helen
Osborne, president of Health Literacy Consulting, will discuss asking the
right questions of your health professional.

"Minerva Louise at the Library," 7 p.m., October 9, Kings Park Library,
9000 Burke Lake Rd., To sign up, call 703-978-5600. Age 3 and up with an adult. Janet Stoeke, author of numerous books including the popular Minerva Louise series, will discuss her new book, Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve. Books available for sale and signing courtesy of Borders.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Remembering Robert Jordan

Fantasy readers mourned the loss of Robert Jordan on September 16. The 58-year-old writer was working on the 12th book in his Wheel of Time series at the time of his death from a rare form of cancer.

Robert Jordan, which is the pen name for James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was born in Charleston, S.C. where he was living at the time of his death. He attended the Citadel and served in U.S. Army Vietnam and was awarded several medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star. He began writing in 1977.

The Wheel of Time series is the story of Rand al’Thor whose destiny is to become a champion against evil in a mythical land. The 11th book in the series, Knife of Dreams, was published in 2005.

To read the series from start to finish, start with Book I, The Eye of the World, published in 1990.

Asked in a 2001 interview why he wrote fantasy, Jordan said:

“Some stories need to be told in certain genres, and fantasy allows the writer to explore good and evil, right and wrong, honor and duty without having to bow to the mainstream belief that all of these things are merely two sides of a coin. Good and evil exist, so do right and wrong. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference, just as it can be difficult to know what is the proper thing to do, but it is worth making the effort.”

Don’t Miss . . .
October 6, 10:30 a.m. Author Vincent Carretta, author of Equiano, the African: The Biography of a Self-Made Man, discusses the life of this eloquent social observer and former slave. Sherwood Regional Library, 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane, Alexandria, 703-765-3645.

October 10, 7 p.m. “Cataracts, Glaucoma and Dry Eyes,” ophthalmologist Wesam Silk. Kingstowne Library, 6500 Landsdowne Centre, Alexandria. Cosponsored by Inova. Call 703-204-3366 to sign up.

October 11, 7:30 p.m. “Conversations That Count: Talking With Your Doctor in Sickness and in Health,” Helen Osborne, president of Health Literacy Consulting. Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, 7584 Leesburg Pike. Cosponsored by Inova. Call 703-204-3366 to sign up.