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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking Ahead

It’s that time of year again. The Economist, not deterred by its 2008 forecast that Hilary Clinton would be president, recently published The World in 2009. The World Future Society lists "Ten Forecasts for 2009 and Beyond" on its Web site. Among some of the more interesting forecasts:

● While 2009 will still be difficult for many sectors of the world economy, the construction and financial sectors may have seen the worst. The world is not heading for another Great Depression, as governments signal their willingness to help;

● The automobile’s dominance may be ending as more advanced wireless communication reduces the need for travel, flying drones replace freight trucks and governments restrict the number of vehicles owned by each household;

● The English language will reach one million words on or about April 29, 2009;

● By 2030, every person will have nanoimplants and a unique IP address connected to a network. Everything a person does or says will be recorded;

● The median age in the seven wealthiest democracies (G7) reaches 40 in 2009. “The rich world is graying,” writes futurist Adam Roberts. The results — a shrinking workforce and postponed retirement. Also, lots of conferences on aging.

Got any predictions for 2009?

Did You Know . . .

You can now book a meeting room or sign up for library events and activities online. Go to the library’s Web site and click on Book a Meeting Room or Register for a Library Event under “How To …”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Inaugural Poets

Last week the President-elect announced that poet Elizabeth Alexander would read at the Inauguration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2009. Alexander joins an illustrious, but small number of poets who have stood near presidents on their first day in office, including Robert Frost who composed “Dedication” for John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration in 1961, but when the sun made it hard for him to read it and a space heater ignited near the podium, he recited “A Gift Outright,” which he knew by heart.

Maya Angelou read “On the Pulse of the Morning” at Bill Clinton’s swearing-in ceremony in 1993. At Clinton’s second Inauguration, Arkansas poet Miller Williams, the father of Grammy-award winner Lucinda Williams, read “Of History and Hope.”

Alexander, a Yale professor and Pulitzer-Prize finalist, is the author of four books of poetry as well as a book of essays. She is also a scholar of African-American literature and culture and has read her poetry and essays in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean and South America and published them in numerous journals.

To sample her work, check out these collections of Alexander’s poetry:

Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color
American Sublime
Antebellum Dream Book

If you were to choose a poet to read at the Inauguration, who would it be?

Library Closings

All Fairfax County Public Library branches will be closed from 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 24 through Friday Dec. 26, 2008, and from 5 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 31, 2009, through Friday Jan. 2, 2009 for the New Year’s holiday and the furlough day for county employees.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On Dogs and Cats

The Dallas Morning News recently published a list of good books for those crazy about dogs and cats ("Dog and Cat Lovers Pant for These Holiday Books," Dec. 17, 2008). Here are a few books on the subject you can sample at the library:

Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life by Trixie Koonz as told to Dean Koontz

Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs by Gene Weingarten

Dogology: What Your Relationship With Your Dog Reveals About You
by Vicki Croke and Sarah Wilson

On Cats by Doris Lessing

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

Sleeping With Cats: A Memoir by Marge Piercy

So – are you a dog or cat fancier?

Note: Library ClosingThe Martha Washington Library will close at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, for renovation. The library will open in temporary quarters in mid-February at 6328 Richmond Highway, Unit F, Alexandria. Renovations to the branch are expected to take a minimum of 18 months. While the Martha Washington Library is closed, customers can visit any of the nearby branches including Sherwood Regional Library, John Marshall Library and Kingstowne Library.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Making an Impression

A recent article in the London Telegraph lists both the top ten reads to impress a man on a first date and the top ten reads to impress a woman. The selections are based on a survey of 1,523 people as part of Great Britain’s National Year of Reading. Apparently men are twice as likely as women to fudge on what they have actually read. Here’s the lists:

Top Reads to Impress a Man: current affairs Web sites, Shakespeare,
song lyrics, cook books, poetry, Nelson Mandela autobiography’s Long Walk to Freedom, Jane Austen, Facebook/Myspace, religious texts and the Financial Times.

Top Reads to Impress a Woman: Nelson Mandela autobiography’s Long Walk to Freedom, Shakespeare, cook books, poetry, song lyrics, current affairs Web sites, text messages, e-mails, the Financial Times and Facebook.

So how would Americans fare on such a survey? What are your top ten reads to impress the opposite sex?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Based on the Book reports there’s an array of soon-to-be released films this season that made their first appearance as literary works. If you want to take a break from the hectic holiday season, try these titles and then see the films.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.
Film release date: Dec. 19

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Film release date: Dec. 25

Marley and Me by John Grogan.
Film release date: Dec. 25

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.
Film release date: Dec. 26

Do you have a favorite film version of a book? Let us know.

Don’t Miss . . .
Dec. 14, 1 p.m. George Mason Regional Library
Hollywood’s History. How accurate are Hollywood’s images of historical events? Film followed by discussion. Call 703-256-3800 or visit the branch for film title.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Audiobooks – Grammy Hopefuls

When the Grammy Awards take place on Feb. 8 in Los Angeles, one of the nominees below may win in a more obscure category: Best Spoken Word. Here are the contenders owned by the library:

Best Spoken Word
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert (and Various Artists)

Life Beyond Measure by Sidney Poitier

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Are you an audiobook fan? Let us know where you listen to them. On your commute? An exercise bike? Any unusual spots?

Library Closings
The Martha Washington Library will close for renovations at 5 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2008. It will open in mid-February in a temporary site at the Krispy Korner Center, 6328 Richmond Highway, Unit F, Alexandria, VA 22306. Call 703-768-6700 for details.

The Thomas Jefferson Library will close for renovations at 5 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2009. It will open in early March in a temporary site on the grounds of St. Philip Catholic Church, 7500 St. Philips Ct., Falls Church, VA 22042. Call 703-573-1060 for details.

The renovations for both library branches are expected to take a minimum of 18 months.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Celebrate the Holidays

You're invited to celebrate the holidays at Fairfax County Public Library open houses. Enjoy music and other activities. For details or directions visit

Dec. 6, Centreville Regional Library, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Musical performances, crafts and refreshments for the Centreville community. Cosponsored by the Friends of the Centreville Regional Library.

Dec. 6, Lorton Library, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Music, light refreshments and activities. Cosponsored by the Friends of the Lorton Library.

Dec. 6, Herndon Fortnightly Library, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Live music, holiday treats and crafts provided by the Council for the Arts of Herndon. Cosponsored by the Friends of the Herndon Fortnightly Library.

Dec. 7, George Mason Regional Library, Noon - 3 p.m. A holiday open house featuring music and activities.

Dec. 7, Reston Regional Library, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Music, refreshments and a holiday book sale.

Dec. 14, Sherwood Regional Library, Noon - 2 p.m. Performance by the Harmony Heritage Singers. Refreshments.

Dec. 13, Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., Music, dancers and light refreshments.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Notable Books of 2008

The New York Times recently published a list of its 100 Notable Books of 2008.
Here are a few you might want to sample:

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield

Beijing Coma by Ma Jian

Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles

His Illegal Self by Peter Carey

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

Condoleezza Rice: An American Life: A Biography by Elisabeth Bumiller

Descartes’ Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason by Russell Shorto

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed

Don’t Miss . . .
Looking for a gift for readers on your holiday list? Here are a few new and used book sales to visit this week.

Wednesday, Dec. 3 – Monday, Dec. 8. Reston Regional Library
Holiday Mini-Book Sale.

Saturday, Dec. 6, 10:00-4:00. Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library Used Book Sale.

Sunday, Dec. 7, 2 p.m. Virginia Room, City of Fairfax Regional Library
Holiday Book Mart. New and gently used books on history and Virginia-related topics. Authors will be here to sign their books. Cosponsored by the Virginia Room and the Friends of City of Fairfax Regional Library. All ages.

Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. Kingstowne Library
Friends Book Sale. Gems and finds for readers of all ages.