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Friday, October 31, 2008

National Authors Day

November 1 is the 79th anniversary of National Authors Day. The General Federation of Women's Clubs, responsible for creating 75 percent of the nation’s libraries during the early 20th century, passed a resolution that formalized the observance in 1929.

It seems appropriate that these events also occurred on Nov. 1:

Stephen Crane, the author of The Red Badge of Courage born in 1871

William Shakespeare's "Othello" premiers in London in 1604

● William Shakespeare’s "The Tempest" premiers in London in 1611

● The first Library of Congress building opens to the public in 1897

Eugene O'Neill's "The Emperor Jones" premiers in N.Y. in 1920

Don’t Miss . . .

Monday, Nov. 3, 12:30 p.m. at Kingstowne Library
Wii Games: Bowling. Join us for Wii Bowling cosponsored by the Kingstowne Center for Active Adults. Age 8 and up.

Thursday, Nov. 6, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at Oakton Library
Surviving the Holidays with Humor: Humor for the Caregiver's Soul. The holiday season can be stressful and challenging for families. Learn strategies for reducing stress and keeping the holidays a happy time for all. Presented by the Fairfax Caregiver Seminar Consortium. To register call 703-324-5205. Adults.

Thursday, Nov. 6, 7 p.m. at Sherwood Regional Library
Historical Perspectives: Special Pre-Veterans Day Program. Historian Carroll Gibbs presents a lecture and slideshow illuminating the role of the African-American soldier in World War I. Adults.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blogs on Books

If you are looking for some reading suggestions, you might want to bookmark these literary criticism blogs highlighted on the Internet Public Library Web site.

Collected Miscellany

NewPages Web log

the litblog co-op

Test Your Knowledge
Each week, FCPLease, the Fairfax County Public Library’s weekly events, activities and services e-newsletter awards a free book to the winner of its Bookish Birthday quiz. If you want to join the fun, sign-up at our Web site.

Don’t Miss …
Wed., Oct. 29, 7 p.m., Burke Centre Library
Spies in Our Midst. Carol Bessette, retired Air Force intelligence officer and developer of the Spies of Washington Tour, will share stories of local spies, spy catching, and tradecraft. Adults.

A Reminder
The Richard Byrd Library will close for renovations at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1. It will open at a temporary site in mid-January at 6315 Backlick Rd. Springfield, VA 22150 (second floor of the Bank of America Building). While the Richard Byrd Library is closed customers can visit nearby branches, including George Mason Regional Library or John Marshall Library.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Street Lit

According to a recent New York Times article ("From the Streets to the Library," Oct. 22, 2008), the gritty and sometimes controversial genre known as urban fiction, street lit or gangsta lit is gaining popularity in some urban libraries. Mirroring the often violent street life in city neighborhoods, some libraries feel the fast-growing genre is bringing new people into libraries and encouraging literacy. Critics, however, have complained the genre perpetuates stereotypes.

The Times quotes one reader who grew up in Rockaway, Queens: “I read what I can relate to,” she said. “They’re writing about what I’ve experienced. It’s easier than reading about Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive.” Another enthusiast said, “It actually helps you understand what’s going on around you, instead of walking around blind.”

If you wish to sample life on the mean streets, try these books:

Dirty Red and Still Dirty by Vicki Stringer

The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

Reasonable Doubt by Mark Anthony

Black Gangster by Donald Goines

Is street lit for you? Let us know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ghosts of Virginia

As All Hallows Eve approaches, Virginians can explore the state’s apparitions at a variety of ghost walks, from Ghost Tours of Avenel in Bedford on Oct. 23 to the Olde Towne Ghost Walk in Portsmouth on Oct. 24. Closer to home you can visit haunted places in Alexandria at the Ghost and Graveyard Tour Oct. 24-25 and Oct. 31-Nov 1.

Looking for more info on ghostly spirits in the Old Dominion? Browse these books:

The Ghosts of Virginia by L.B. Taylor. A multi-volume series.

The Ghosts of Williamsburg . . . and Environs by L.B. Taylor

The Ghosts of Charlottesville and Lynchburg . . . and Nearby Environs
by L.B. Taylor

The Hauntings of Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown by Jackie Behrend

Virginia Ghosts by Marguerite du Pont Lee

Civil War Ghosts of Virginia by L.B. Taylor

Ghost Stories of Woodlawn Plantation by Judy McElhaney

Got any personal ghost stories? Let us know.

Don’t Miss . . .

Saturday, Oct. 25, 3 p.m. Reston Regional Library
Fairfax County Stories 1607-2007 & the Jamestown 400 Legacy Book.
Honoring Fairfax County Women with Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Irma Clifton. Mayo Stuntz will discuss the first women of Hunter Mill. Sherry Zachry, President of the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, will speak on the Suffragists. No registration is required.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Indian Author Wins Man Booker

Aravind Adiga, who lives in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India has won the Man Booker Prize for his first novel The White Tiger. The novel is an angry, dark and comic look at one man’s journey from village life to entrepreneurial success.

The prize is awarded each year to the best fiction written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. Adiga is the fifth Indian author to win the prize, joining V.S. Naipal, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai, who won in 1971, 1981, 1997 and 2006 respectively.

The author, who attended Columbia and Oxford, is a former Time correspondent for India. His articles have also appeared in publications such as The Financial Times, Independent and Sunday Times.

The shortlist of other books owned by the library that were considered for the award includes:

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Gosh

The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

You can download a teaser section of each of the shortlisted titles to a mobile phone by following the directions on the Man Booker Web site.

Don’t Miss . . .
Wed., Oct. 22, 1 p.m. Patrick Henry Library
The Airmen and the Headhunters. Judith Heimann discusses her book The Airmen and the Headhunters: a True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II. Adults.

Sat., Oct. 18, 10:30 a.m. Sherwood Regional Library
Harambee Readers. Are You Raising the Next Generation of Hoodlums? by Dr. Joyce Willard-Teal. Lecture, book discussion and signing. Adults.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Virginia State Novel?

According to a recent USA Today article, the Massachusetts House of Representatives just named Moby Dick, the state’s official “epic” novel “'Moby Dick' Sparks Massachusets Legislative Battle.” While Virginia has a state boat, and a state dance, it hasn’t matched Massachusetts with the proposal of a state book.

Got any suggestions for a Virginia state book – or author?

Here are some Virginia authors:

Rita Mae Brown

George Garrett

Ellen Glasgow

Sharyn McCrumb

Lee Smith

William Styron

Peter Taylor

Others who resided in Virginia at various times of their lives:

Sherwood Anderson

Willa Cather

John Dos Passos

Don’t Miss . . .

Tues., Oct. 21, 11 a.m. George Mason Regional Library
Yoga for Seniors. Author/yoga instructor Shakta Khalsa leads breathing exercises and gentle, rejuvenating movements, which can be done in a chair. Her books and CDs will be available for sale. Cosponsored by the Friends of the George Mason Regional Library. Adults.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Book Bubble

According to The Economist ("Read It and Weep," Oct. 9, 2008), the global banking crisis has actually caused a mini-boom in book publishing. The magazine counts 18 books on the crisis either already published or in the works.

Here’s a few books owned by the library that might interest you:

The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened and What to Do About It by Robert Shiller

Financial Shock: A 360° Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis by Mark Zandi

The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy by David Smick

The Accidental Investment Banker: Inside the Decade That Transformed Wall Street by Jonathan Knee

Blue Blood and Mutiny: The Fight for the Soul of Morgan Stanley by Patricia Beard

How are you handling the onslaught of bad financial news in our 24/7 media culture?

Don’t Miss . . .
Take a break from the discouraging financial news and enjoy an evening with spy novelist Daniel Silva. Silva will discuss "The Undercover Life of an Espionage Writer" at 7:30 p.m. on October 14 in the Board Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center.

The event is sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library Center for the Book. Books will be available for sale and signing. No registration is required; first come, first served. For more information, call 703-324-8428. The Government Center is located at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035.

Silva is the author of 11 suspense novels, including The Kill Artist, The Secret Servant and his most recent, the New York Times bestseller, Moscow Rules.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Local History

About 50 sites in Fairfax County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These range from nationally known landmarks such as Mt. Vernon to lesser known sites, such as Oak Hill in Annandale, the 29 Diner in Fairfax and Pohick Church in Lorton.

To learn more about our local heritage, history buffs can find a wealth of information in the library’s Virginia Room located on the 2nd floor of the City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North Street, Fairfax 22030-2514. In addition to a special collection of books on local history topics, there are old telephone books, city directories, a History Index, as well as documents such as the 1930 Census of Virginia and Washington, D.C., maps, a photography collection, military history sources and much, much more.

Also, Fairfax County recently published Fairfax Stories: 1607-2007 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. You can hear some of the contributors share their stories at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Woodrow Wilson Library 6101 Knollwood Drive, Falls Church, VA 22041-1798:

Fairfax County African-American Stories. Conversation Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross and authors Houston Summers, Keith Mann and Deborah Nagy. Adults.

Are you a local history buff? Do you have an interesting bit of local lore to share?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Countdown to Election Day

With just a month to go, it’s clear the 2008 Presidential Election has garnered
more interest than previous presidential contests. Whatever your political leanings, it’s easy to stay informed in our 24/7 media culture. Here’s a few non-partisan Web sites to help:

Presidential Non-partisan Presidential Election information and directory including government, state and local election information.

United States Electoral College. National Archives. Office of the Federal Registrar. A comprehensive guide to the workings of the Electoral College.

Election 2008. Department of State Foreign Press Office. Comprehensive Web links and articles on the election process: primaries, caucuses, issues, electoral college, public opinion polls.

What do you consider your best source for election information?

Don’t Miss . . .

Voter 101. Learn about voters’ rights, registration, absentee ballots and all the ins and outs of the voting process. Cosponsored by the League of Woman Voters of the Fairfax Area. Adults.

Sunday, Oct. 5, 2 p.m. City of Fairfax Regional Library

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m. Chantilly Regional Library

Sunday, Oct. 12, 2 p.m. Sherwood Regional Library

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m. Reston Regional Library