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Friday, May 29, 2009

Butterfly Gardening

In recent years butterfly gardening has become quite popular for those who enjoy the beauty of Monarchs, moths and other winged beauties. Depending on the region of the country, these are some of the plants that attract butterflies: purple cone flowers, yellow cone flowers, lilies, daisies, milkweed, the butterfly bush, zinnias among others.

For more on butterfly gardening, the library has an array of books to browse. Here is a sampling:

Butterflies in the Garden by Carol Lerner

Attracting Butterflies and Humming Birds to Your Backyard by Sally Roth

The Family Butterfly Book by Frank Mikula

Butterfly Gardening: Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden by Xerces Society

Don’t Miss . . .

Oakton Library’s Butterfly Garden
Did you know Oakton Library has a butterfly garden? It's part of their backyard wildlife habitat which was recently certified by the National Wildlife Federation. Certification means Oakton's garden provides food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young as well as incorporating sustainable gardening practices. To learn more about Oakton's butterfly garden, attend "Butterflies In Our Backyard" at Oakton Library on June 6 at 11 a.m. Register online at (click on Events and Calendar of Events) or call 703-242-4020.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Time for Tying the Knot

With June less than a week away, it’s the season for weddings. The custom dates to the Roman era when Juno, the god of marriages, was honored with her own month. June weddings were also practical in ancient times. Children conceived in that month would be born before the harvest, so mothers would be well enough to return to the fields.

While it might be too late to plan a June wedding this year, it won’t be long before June comes around again. Whatever month you plan your nuptials or whatever role you play, here are some books to browse:

I Do But I Don’t: Walking Down the Aisle Without Losing Your Mind
by Karny Wicoff

The Clueless Groom’s Guide: More Than Any Man Should Ever Know About Getting Married by Peter Van Dijik

Tie the Knot on a Shoestring by Leah Ingram

It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride by Leslie Milk

Mother of the Groom: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy the Best Wedding Ever by Sharon Naylor

Don’t Miss . . .

Saturday, May 30, 11:00. Patrick Henry Library
Investment Research at Your Library. Up-to-date financial research tools are available at the library. Learn to use Value Line and Morningstar online for information on stocks, bonds, funds and more. Adults.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Musical Interlude

Classical music has a dedicated following in the U.S. Here in Fairfax, the library sponsors a series of free classical music concerts, Concerts at the Alden, which run from September through June. The 2009-2010 season ends June 21 with a Young Soloists Recital which will feature five classical pianists ranging in age from nine to 17. The recital takes place at 3 p.m. at the Alden Theater of the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Avenue, McLean, Va. For directions, call 703-790-0123. For those interested in the history of classical music, here’s a few books to browse:

Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall by Joseph Horowitz

America’s Musical Life: A History by Richard Crawford

A History of Western Music by Donald J. Grout

Music: A Crash Course by Marcus Weeks

Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction by Wiley Hitchcock

Are you a classical music fan? As symphonies across the nation struggle to survive, do you see a future for the lovers of Beethoven and Bach?

Don’t Miss . . .

Sunday, May 31, 1 p.m.
Baroque to Modern
. Join us for recorder music that spans the ages from baroque to modern. Music performed by the Recorder Consort, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, GMU. A great family program! All ages.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beach Reading

It may seem a bit early (and a bit too cool weatherwise) to be thinking about beach reading, but with Memorial Day less than a week away, the season for light reading has begun.

Here are a few suggestions:

Beach Road by James Patterson

Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts

The Broker by John Grisham

Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

Heading to the beach next weekend or beyond? What will you be reading this summer?

Did You Know?
The library’s NoveList database offers an array of resources for readers looking for book recommendations, including award-winners, author read-a-likes, book discussion guides, author biographies and much more for both adults and younger readers.

Friday, May 15, 2009


USA Today reports that Anthony Zuiker, the creator of the CSI franchise has launched a book-video combination he calls a “digi-novel” ("Anthony Zuiker's 'Level 26' Marks Origin of 'Digi-Novel,'" May 11, 2009).

The book, about an investigator who hunts serial killers, is the first in a series that will be augmented by 20 videos with actors playing characters from the book. Every 20 pages, readers can go online to view a three-minute video.

This may be a new trend that combines text and video. Scholastic has a Web site that adds clues to its The 39 Clues series, as well as a multi-media ghost story series. Author Patrick Cameron published Skeleton Creek earlier this year. The novel is split in two – one character tells the story in text, the other in video on a Web site.

So – is this the wave of the future? What do you think of multi-media books?

eBooks, eAudio, eVideo Online

We may not offer text-video combinations just yet, but you can borrow eBooks, eAudio, eVideo for your computer, mp3 player or other hand-held device. For details, visit our Web site and scroll down to How to . . . .

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Money Matters

Managing investments has become a lot more complex since last fall’s banking crisis and the economic downturn. The library’s collection of online business databases can help anyone who wants to make informed investment decisions:

ProQuest ABI/Global contains U.S. and international academic and trade journals and newspapers covering business and economic conditions, corporate strategies, management techniques and product information.

GALE Business and Company Resource Center includes company profiles, histories, chronologies, rankings, brand information, investment reports, ratios and articles on over 300,000 companies.

EBSCOHOST Business Source Elite presents both local and global business news.

GALE Computer Database covers computer-related product introductions, news and reviews in areas such as hardware, software, electronics, engineering, communications and the application of technology.

Europa World Yearbook contains political and economic information about more than 250 countries and territories through background information, statistics and government and media contacts.

Gale Directory Library provides listings for many industries. It includes these directory sources: Brands and Their Companies, Encyclopedia of Associations, Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media and National Directory of Nonprofit Organizations.

Don’t Miss . . .

Thursday, May 14, 7 p.m. Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library
Model Investment Club of Northern Virginia. Learn more about investing following an investment club model. This group will meet on the second Thursday all year. New visitors welcome. Adults*

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Science of Sleight of Hand

“People take reality for granted,” says Teller of Penn and Teller fame in a recent Wired article ("Magic and the Brain: Teller Reveals the Neuroscience of Illusion," April 20, 2009).

Teller (that’s his full legal name) has joined forces with other tricksters recruited by researchers to study what some neuroscientists call “magicology,” the science of illusion. Teller even coauthored a scientific article in Nature last summer, ("Attention and Awareness in Stage Magic," July 30, 2008).

"Every time you perform a magic trick, you're engaging in experimental psychology," Teller says in the Wired article. "If the audience asks, 'How the hell did he do that?' then the experiment was successful. I've exploited the efficiencies of your mind."

To learn how our minds can deceive us, browse these books:

Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear by Jim Steinmeyer

Abracadabra!: Secret Methods Magicians and Others Use to Deceive Their Audience by Nathaniel Schiffman

The Art of Magic: The Companion to the PBS Special by Carl Waldman

The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Card and Magic Tricks by Diagram Group

Don’t Miss . . .

An Evening With Lisa Scottoline
May 12, 7:30 p.m. Alden Theatre in the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave. Free. Tickets will be available beginning at 7 p.m. Limit four per person. Each attendee will receive one free copy of her new thriller Look Again.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

Literally “5th of May” in Spanish, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated widely in the U.S. by those of Mexican heritage. It commemorates the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 when a Mexican army defeated a much larger French force during that country’s attempt to occupy Mexico. While France eventually did rule Mexico for four years the U.S. finally forced French forces to leave.

Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a day similar to St. Patrick’s Day or the Chinese New Year during which Mexican-Americans celebrate their heritage with banners, ethnic folk music, dance, food and other activities.

To experience the Mexican-American experience in fiction, try these books:

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolpo Anaya

Face of an Angel by Denise Chavez

Music of the Mill by Luis Rodriguez

The Flowers by Dagaberto Gilb

The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue by Manuel Munoz

Don’t Miss . . .

The Fairfax County Public Library's 2009 Perspectives Series concludes with Lisa Scottoline at 7:30 p.m. on May 12 at the Alden Theatre in the McLean Community Center.

Scottoline's new book Look Again is number two on the New York Times bestseller list; and everyone who attends the May 12 program will receive a free copy. Scottoline is a best-selling author of legal thrillers, set in Philadelphia featuring gutsy and resilient female characters. She has written 16 novels, with 25 million copies in print. She also writes a column for the "Philadelphia Inquirer" called "Chick Wit."

Tickets to her presentation will be distributed beginning at 7 p.m. on May 12 at the theatre; limit of four tickets per person, first come, first served. For more information call 703-324-8428 or check the library's Web site. The McLean Community Center is located at 1234 Ingleside Ave., in McLean. The library's Center for the Book thanks the Fairfax Library Foundation and the McLean Community Center for their cosponsorship.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mysterious Swedes

For mystery aficionados who discovered Steig Larsson’s Girl With the Dragon Tatoo last year, it seems his fellow Swedish writers are also adept at the genre. The Guardian reports that Swedish authors topped many of the bestseller lists in Europe last year ("Swedish Crime Wave Sweeps European Book Charts," April 29, 2009).

If you’re interested in the recent popularity of Nordic mysteries, here are some authors and books to try:

Steig Larsson The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire (on order)

Henning Mankell The Pyramid: and Four Other Kurt Wallender Mysteries

Liza Marklund The Bomber

Johann Theorin Echoes From the Dead

Don’t Miss . . .

Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Writing and Illustrating for Children in Tough Economic Times.
Round table discussion moderators, Ellen Braaf and Linda Wirkner, discuss strategies to get published and to keep working during this economic downturn with children’s authors, May 3, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. at Reston Regional Library.

Soul of a Playwright: the WPA and the Federal Theater Project
Dr. Lorraine Brown will discuss the wide-ranging activities of the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), May 3, 2 p.m. at City of Fairfax Regional Library. George Mason University’s Fenwick Library is home to the 1930s Federal Theater Project collection. The presentation will include video clips, posters and other memorabilia from the Project.