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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

“The Raven”

Today marks the anniversary of the publication of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poem. "The Raven" was published anonymously in New York’s Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845, and Poe was paid only $15 for such famous lines as “Once upon a midnight dreary …” and “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’” The poem was so popular it was reprinted 16 times that same year in various periodicals and books.

Poe, who grew up in Richmond and attended the University of Virginia, is an American literary icon. He mastered the short story, detective fiction, science fiction, lyric poetry and the horror story. Some call him “America’s Shakespeare.”

For more on Poe and his works, you can browse these books:

Edgar Allan Poe, A-Z: The Essential Reference to his Life and Work
by Dawn Sova

Edgar Allan Poe Revisited by Scott Peeples

Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance by Kenneth Silverman

Tales of Terror by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe Reader by Edgar Allan Poe

Do you have a favorite Poe story or poem? Let us know.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Nelly Bly

One hundred and eighteen years ago on January 25, 1890, journalist and adventurer Nelly Bly completed her circumnavigation of the globe in 72 days. This feat bested the fictional journey of Phileas Fogg and Passepartout in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, which had been published 17 years earlier.

Bly, who was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1871, gained world fame for the trip and was featured on a game “Around the World With Nelly Bly” and on Victorian trading cards.

Browse these books for more on Bly:

Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist by Brooke Kroeger

Nellie Bly: Reporter for the World by Martha Kendall

Or check out these Web sites:

PBS "Around the World in 72 Days"

New York City Women's Biograpphy Hub - Nellie Bly

National Women's Hall of Fame -- Nellie Bly

Eighteen members of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition were the first to circumnavigate the globe in 1522. Do you know what other early explorers went completely around the world? Let us know.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

For the Young-at-Heart

Often children’s books are as entertaining and thought-provoking for adults as they are for children. Some books are known for their insight, providing enjoyable stories for children and thought-provoking ideas for adults. Examples of such authors include A. A. Milne who created the Winnie the Pooh stories, Charles Perrault who created a number of fairy tales still popular today including Cinderella, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Antoine de Saint-Saint-ExupĂ©ry's The Little Prince. Often times, books we hear or read as children stay important to us throughout adulthood, bringing warm childhood memories back when we see them again on a bookshelf, or read them to the children in our lives.

Do you have a favorite children’s book or author? Do your children have a favorite book that must be read over and over? Let us know.

Save This DateThe new City of Fairfax Regional Library will open to the public Saturday, Jan. 26, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. The new library is located at the intersection of Old Lee Highway and North Street (10360 North Street). Weather permitting, the festivities will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a small book procession from the library’s former location (3915 Chain Bridge Rd.) to the new building. After the opening ceremony, which includes placing a time capsule in the new building’s walls, tours will be offered from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Refreshments, music and children’s activities are scheduled during the day, including a children’s treasure hunt. Juggler and magician Jonathan Austin will perform at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. For reasonable ADA accommodations, call Karen Moore at 703-293-2140, TTY 703-324-8365.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr.

While the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth occurred earlier this week on January 15, the third Monday in January has been declared a federal holiday to celebrate the Civil Rights’ leader’s life since 1986.

If you are seeking some good online information on the Rev. Dr. King, Fairfax County Public Library’s staff has researched some excellent Web sites:

FCPL Martin Luther King, Jr. Research Guide

Gale Biography

Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial -- Washington, DC

There are actually three other federal holidays in honor of specific individuals. Do you know what they are?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

National Book Critics Circle Finalists

The National Book Critics Circle, a non-profit association of 700 active book reviewers, announced the finalists for its annual award to be announced March 4. Among the nominees in fiction are:

The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins

In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

For the complete list in all categories, see "Critical Mass: the Blog of the National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors."

Have you read any of these critics’ choices? If so, who do you think should win this year’s award in fiction?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Paine Sense

Thomas Paine is credited, through the pamphlet Common Sense, of building popular support for the fight for American independence from England. Paine’s prose was powerful, articulate, emotional and persuasive. (Some later called it propaganda!) He continued to educate and persuade people in his American Crisis papers including American Crisis No. I when he wrote “these are the times that try men’s souls.” Also attributed to Thomas Paine is “lead, follow or get out the way.” From revolutionary times to the present, writers, leaders and everyday Americans help capture a period of time and move citizens with their eloquence. John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony are four that come quickly to mind. What historical or literary words have moved you? Let us know.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Year’s Resolution: Join a Book Group!

If you’ve resolved in 2008 to meet other book lovers, there are a number of opportunities in the next week or so. Feel free to drop in on these adult book discussion groups even if you haven’t read the book. No registration is required. If you’re seeking book ideas for a group to read, check out the Readers page on the library’s Web site.

Chantilly Regional Library
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Book Discussion Group. Ask for title.

City of Fairfax Regional Library
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Book Discussion Group. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Note: Meeting will be at City Hall, 10455 Armstrong Street, Room 111B.

Great Falls LibraryTuesday, Jan. 15, 10:30 a.m.
Book Discussion Group. Ask for title.

Kings Park Library
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 11:00 a.m.
Book Discussion Group. Remembering Babylon by David Malouf.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Book Discussion Group. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Martha Washington Library
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m.
Tuesday Evening Book Discussion Group. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Monday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m.
Monday Morning Book Discussion. A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts.

Oakton Library
Thursday, Jan. 10, 10 a.m.
Book Discussion Group. Ask for title.

Thursday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m.
Book Discussion Group. Book discussion. Atonement by Ian McEwan.
Pohick Regional LibraryTuesday, Jan. 8, 1 p.m.
Book Discussion Group. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Evening Book Discussion Group. March by Geraldine Brooks.

Reston Regional LibraryWednesday, Jan. 9, 10:30 a.m.
Book Discussion Group. The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty.

Thursday, Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m.
Friends' Book Discussion. Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen.

Richard Byrd Library
Monday, Jan. 14, 3 p.m.
Book Discussion Group. Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Sherwood Regional LibraryMonday, Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Books & Ideas. The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Trivia Day

For all you “Jeopardy” fans, January 4 is a date to remember. According to Chase’s Calendar of Events, it has been designated Trivia Day.

In keeping with our mission, here are a few questions to test your knowledge of well-known literary characters.

1. What was Nancy Drew’s father’s profession?
a. heart surgeon; b. district attorney; c. typewriter salesman; d. mining engineer.

2. What was the name of the Hardy Boys’ father?
a. George; b. Dick; c. Rocco; d. Fenton

3. Where did Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson live?
a. 225C Baker Street; b. 221 A Baker Street; c. 10 Downing Street; 221B Baker Street

4. Who in German literature sold his soul to the devil?
a. Faust; b. Beowulf; c. Fat Albert; d. Gustaf Bromberg, Jr.

5. What was the artificial language used in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four?
a. Newspeak; b. Gonzo Journalism; c. sitcom; d. nightly news.

For the full set of questions and answers, see this Characters and Themes Quiz.

Don’t Miss . . .Tuesday, January 8, 7 p.m.
Family Spirit Author Jill Decker discusses her new novel and her writing life at the Patrick Henry Library. To sign up, call 703-938-0405.

Thursday, January 10, 7:30 p.m.
Civil War Lecture. E.B. Vandiver III on "The James River Defenses" at the Centreville Regional Library. To sign up, call 703-830-2223.

Thursday, January 10, 7:30 p.m.
Hail to the Redskins. Journalist Michael Richman discusses his book The Redskins Encyclopedia at the Martha Washington Library. Books available for sale and signing. To sign up, call 703-768-6700.