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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who Reads More – Men or Women?

At least in Great Britain, a woman is much more likely to finish a book than a man, according to a survey reported in The Telegraph ("Women More Avid Readers Than Men," March 24, 2009). Apparently 50 percent of women are “page turners,” who complete a book, compared to only 26 percent of men. A survey of 2,000 people found that infrequent readers who took a long time to read a book and only read one or two a year were twice as likely to be men than women. Men also apparently are more likely to have books on their shelves that haven’t been read.

Men and women were similar in only one characteristic. Those who are able to read more than one book at a time. Twelve percent of both men and women have that talent.

Perhaps these statistics aren’t surprising. But the more interesting question is why the gender differences. Got any thoughts?

Save This Date . . .

Perspectives Series, April 16, 7:30 p.m. Alden Theatre of the McLean Community Center.
“Today’s News: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and What’s Really Going On”

Eugene Robinson,Washington Post Syndicated Columnist and MSNBC Political Analyst

Registration is not required; tickets will be distributed beginning at 7:00 p.m. on April 16; limit of four tickets per person, first come, first served. For more information call 703-324-8428.

Robinson is one of the most prominent print journalists and commentators in the country, writing a twice-weekly column that runs in 145 newspapers nationwide. His articles explore the intersection of current events, politics and culture. Sharing his 25 years of experience, Robinson has contributed political commentary to such TV news shows as “Hardball With Chris Matthews,” “Countdown,” and “Meet the Press.”

The Perspectives series is cosponsored by the Fairfax County Library Foundation, the McLean Community Center and the library’s Center for the Book.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Battle of the Basketball Books

A recent entry in Shelf-Awareness, a daily e-newsletter published by the Independent Booksellers Association, cited a playoff among some of the best basketball books written ("March Madness: McPhee Leads Basketball Book Playoffs," March 13, 2009). Here’s a few to browse during March Madness:

Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four by John Feinstein

A March to Madness: A View From the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference by John Feinstein

A Sense of Where You Are: A Profile of Bill Bradley at Princeton by John McPhee

In the Year of the Bull: Zen, Air and the Pursuit of Sacred and Profane Hoops by Rick Telander

Got a favorite basketball book? Let us know.

Don’t Miss . . .

Meet the Author. March 29, 2 p.m. Sherwood Regional Library.
Author Solveig Eggerz will discuss her novel Seal Woman. Book sale and signing. Register online or call 703-765-3645. You can also listen to Eggerz's podcast interview with Library Director Sam Clay.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We’re Everywhere You Are

From humble beginnings in 1939, the Fairfax County Public Library has grown to 23 branches. There is a library branch within a 15-minute drive of every Fairfax County resident. But we offer an array of services that are available almost anywhere and at anytime that a resident needs them. For a sampling of these services, see the We're Everywhere You Are Web page on our Web site.

The library offers access from home and work to our catalog, databases, downloadable eBooks, eAudiobooks, eVideo and more. We sponsor programs featuring well-known writers in our Perspectives Series. Our Early Literacy Specialist introduces preschoolers and their families to the many services libraries offer. Individuals with disabilities have access to Talking Books by mail.

And of course, there are books galore on every subject imaginable.

As part of our celebration, we would like to know what you value most and what library services are most useful to you. Share your comments here.

Save These Dates . . .

Read-a-thon April 14, noon – 2 p.m. Tysons Corner Center
Preschoolers and families can join Mr. Knick Knack, children’s author Janet Stoeke, Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth and other special guests, including a firefighter and police officer, as they read from their favorite picture books. Attendees will enjoy a visit from a storybook character and fun activities for all. For more information, call 703-324-8428 or check the library’s Web site. The Read-a-thon is cosponsored by the Fairfax Library Foundation, Tysons Corner Center and Barnes & Noble —Tysons.

Library Appreciation Day, April 18
Stop by your nearest library branch to express your appreciation for library services and staff. There will be a special area at each branch where library users can leave their comments.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kindles, eBooks and Beyond

Last Tuesday, the local Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 radio featured a segment on "The Future of the Book." While digital books have been around for years, with Amazon’s release of the Kindle and the recent Kindle application for the iPhone, the debate on the best way to read and the future of paper books is again in the headlines. One of Kojo Nnamdi’s guests was Dean Hubbard of Northwest Missouri State University which has a pilot trying out the use of course materials solely available as digital books.

Do you own a Kindle or other e-book reader? If so, what do you read on it?
Do you see a future for printed books?

If you haven’t discovered the Fairfax County Public Library’s collection of eBooks, check out our list of databases that offer downloadable digital books for Fairfax County Public Library card holders.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alex Awards

Each year the Alex Awards honor adult books that have special appeal to young adults aged 12-18. Named for a librarian who pioneered young adult library services, this American Library Association award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust and BookList. It has been awarded since 1998.

Here are some of the winners:
Bad Monkeys Matt Ruff FIC RUF
Charged with a homicide, Jane Charlotte relates a fantastic tale of working for a secret organization that selectively assassinates people considered beyond redemption.

The Dragons of Babel Michael Swanwick SF SWA
A half-human teenager destroys a war dragon. Forced to leave his village, he makes his way to the metropolis of Babel.

Finding Nouf Zoe Ferraris FIC FER
A 16-year-old girl disappears and is later found murdered. Her brother asks his friend, a desert guide, to discover what happened.

The Good Thief Hannah Tinti FIC TIN
Twelve-year-old Ren lives at St. Anthony's Orphanage until a small-time crook appears and claims that Ren is his long-lost brother.

Just After Sunset Stephen King FIC KIN
After a stint as editor of a short story collection, Stephen King was inspired to sit down and write 13 scary stories of his own.

Can you recommend some good adult books for young adult readers?

Don’t Miss . . .
Meet Laura Elliott

Laura Elliot, author of both children’s and young adult fiction will discuss her novel Give Me Liberty at Great Falls Library on Monday, March 16 at 4 p.m.

Listeners will learn some fun colonial trivia about the pivotal but little known Battle of Great Bridge, and about the creative process and research behind Give Me Liberty. Be prepared to try out a few 18th-century greetings and folklore. Age 8-16.

Free. Registration required; register online or call 703-757-8560.

Listen to Laura Elliott's podcast interview with Library Director Sam Clay.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Watchmen and Beyond

The buzz this week is the opening of the film “Watchmen” based on the graphic novel series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Set in an alternate 1980s America where costumed heroes are commonplace, the story revolves around a team of retired vigilantes who discover a plot to discredit and destroy every superhero.

Moore is also responsible for well-known graphic novels such as V Is for Vendetta, From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He is known for including literary sensibilities influenced by such post-modernist writers as the experimental, controversial and challenging William S. Burroughs and Thomas Pynchon. If you would like to try these two writers, here are some of their works:

William S. Burroughs

Naked Lunch

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

Word Virus: the William S. Burroughs Reader

Thomas Pynchon

Gravity’s Rainbow

Mason & Dixon


Both these writers are an acquired taste. If you are a fan, let us know why.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Better Life Awards

If you tend to browse the shelves for self-help advice, the best self-improvement books of 2008 were recently announced at the 13th Annual Books for a Better Life Awards, sponsored by the New York City Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Among the winners in various categories:

Childcare/Parenting: The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre

Green: Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich

Motivational: Learning from the Heart: Lessons on Living, Loving, and Listening by Daniel Gottlieb

Relationships: September Songs by Maggie Scarf

Wellness: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Don’t Miss . . .
Venture Into Volunteering
. March 5, 10 a.m. – noon. Chantilly Regional Library Baby boomers, retirees and seniors are invited to attend the Venture Into Volunteering Fair for older adults. Supervisor Michael R. Frey, Sully District, will offer welcoming remarks.

Strategies for the Caregiver Dealing with Alzheimer's and Dementia at Home, March 7, 10 a.m. George Mason Regional Library
Come learn some practical tips for caring for your loved one at home. Topics will cover personal care, meals and activities. Presented by the Fairfax County Health Department. To register please call 703-750-3316.