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Friday, October 29, 2010

Mark Twain’s Autobiography: A Bestseller?


USA Today reports that the recently published first volume of Mark Twain’s uncut autobiography has entered the paper’s bestseller list at no. 30, just 13 places below teen pop star Justin Bieber’s First Steps 2 Forever ( "Book Buzz: Mark Twain Gets the Last Say in 'Autobiography,'"Oct. 27, 2010).

Four years before his death in 1910, Twain dictated his 500,000-word autobiography to a stenographer, but demanded that the full text, which included passionate rants against U.S. imperialism and Wall Street, not be published until 100 years after his death.

According to an article last summer in The New York Times ("Dead for a Century, He Said What He Meant," July 10, 2010), versions of Twain’s autobiography were published in 1924, 1940 and 1959, but his original editor cut out entire sections which he thought might be offensive and respected the wishes of Twain’s daughter, Clara who wanted to protect Twain’s image. She died in 1962.

For more on this complex American icon, check out the new Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 or try these other books:

Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years
by Michael Shelden

Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers

The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography by Fred Kaplan

Inventing Mark Twain: The Lives of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
by Andrew Jay Hoffman

Image Courtesy U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Have You Signed up for Wowbrary Yet?


The library recently introduced the weekly e-newsletter Wowbrary to let customers know what new materials have been ordered. Learn what’s coming in fiction, sports, children’s books, DVDs and more. The e-newsletter arrives every Saturday, and you can link right from the newsletter to the library’s catalog to place your hold. You can even sign up for RSS feeds if you want to know what materials are arriving in certain subject areas.

To sign up, visit Wowbrary. Type in your zip code, click on Go and follow the instructions. You will be amazed each week at the quality and variety of materials your library buys for you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remembering Belva Plain


Popular author Belva Plain died last week at the age of 95 according to an obituary in The New York Times ("Belva Plain, Novelist of Jewish-American Life, Dies at 95," Oct. 17, 2010). Plain’s first novel, Evergreen, was published when the author was 60, although she had been writing and publishing short stories for a number of years prior to that. Considered a writer of “cozy” novels, the Times reported Plain once said “Even great geniuses like Dostoyevsky entertained.”
According to her publisher, Plain’s books sold close to 30 million copies and were translated into 22 languages.

If you would like to sample Plain’s work, here are a few novels to try:

Crossroads (2008)

Her Father’s House (2002)

Legacy of Silence (1998)

Secrecy (1997)

Promises (1996)

Blessings (1988)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dewey’s Extra Lives


The orange, tabby protagonist in librarian Vicki Myron’s Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat That Touched the World is no longer with us. Myron, however was overwhelmed with the response to her bestseller which sold more than one million copies and will soon be a film starring Meryl Streep. She also received thousands of cat stories from readers around the world. The author has gathered some of them in a new book, Dewey’s Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Cat That Inspired Millions.

In a recent interview in USATODAY.com ("Dewey, the Library Cat Lives On in 'Nine Lives,' Oct. 10, 2010), Myron talked about the difficulty in deciding what to include in the new book: “We had thousands of very good stories. We had a variety of happy ones, sad ones and unusual ones. It was a great mixture. Then there were some new stories about Dewey, too, so I included those.”

You can place a hold on Myron’s new book in the library’s catalog.

Here’s a few other books cat lovers may enjoy:

The Cat Who’ll Live Forever: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat and His Imperfect Human by Peter Gethers

The Cat Who Covered the World: The Adventures of Henrietta and Her Foreign Correspondent by Christopher S. Wren

Ninety-Nine Lives: Cats in History, Legend and Literature by Howard Loxton

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stalling for Time


If you are regular reader of The Washington Post’s Outlook section, you may have noticed a review of Gary Noesner’s Stalling for Time in yesterday’s edition. Noesner, a retired FBI hostage negotiator, gave a library-sponsored presentation at the Fall for the Book Festival in Fairfax last month.

The Post writes that Noesner’s memoir “makes clear that this work is practically an art form. His accounts of dealing with right-wing militias, prison rioters, terrorist hijackers and even jealous ex-husbands show that negotiators must be masters of persuasion, pillars of unflappability and skilled improvisers who can make split-second decisions in perilous situations.”

Check out Library Director Sam Clay’s audio interview with Noesner at BookCast, the library’s series of chats with authors – local and beyond.

Friday, October 08, 2010

It’s Pigskin Season


With last Sunday’s win over the Eagles, things may actually be looking up for the Redskins. Those who spend their Sundays devoted to the game might be interested in a new book by former quarterback Ron Jaworski, The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays ("Ron Jaworski Looks at the Evolution of Pro Football," AP, Oct. 4, 2010) . Jaworski focuses on seven coaches, including Sid Gillman, Don Coryell and Bill Walsh, whose innovations have raised the game to new heights.

You can place a hold on Jaworski’s book in our catalog and be among the first to get it when it arrives; if you want to check out some gridiron books already on our shelves, here are some suggestions:

NFL Unplugged: The Brutal, Brilliant World of Professional Football
by Anthony Gargano

More Than a Game: The Glorious Present and Uncertain Future of the NFL
by Brian Billick

Bloody Sundays: Inside the Dazzling, Rough-and-Tumble World of the NFL
by Michael Freeman

The GM: The Inside Story of a Dream Job and the Nightmares That Go With It by Tom Callahan

A War Without Death: A Year of Extreme Competition in Pro-Football’s NFC East by Mark Maske

Friday, October 01, 2010

Beyond Borders: Fiction of the Middle East


At last weekend’s National Book Festival, I had the honor of hearing Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. He joins Egyptian writer, Naquib Mahfouz, who won the same prize almost two decades earlier, as a chronicler of a culture that is still unfamiliar to many Westerners. If you would like to further explore the Middle East in fiction, here’s a few online lists:

Literature of the Middle East

The Arab World

Want to sample some recent titles? Try the books below:

The Bathhouse by Farnoosh Moshiri

The Family Orchard by Naomi Eve

The Same Sea by Amos Oz

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk