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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Great Pick for Book Clubs



Many book clubs have read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, the compelling true story of a young man who turned his back on a life of privilege to hitchhike across America. Chris McCandless grew up in Annandale, Va. After graduating from Woodson High School and Emory University, Chris gave his remaining college funds to charity, abandoned his car and embarked on a two year journey (self-described as a "spiritual pilgrimage”) through the U.S. ending in Alaska. He took some of his favorite books and reflected on what it means to live an unscripted life. Sadly, he was eventually found dead of starvation in Alaska. The book became a hit film with the same title.
 



While many admired his quest for self-sufficiency and meaning, many readers of Krakauer's book were angered and puzzled by the fact that Chris refused to contact his worried parents while he was away. They had gone so far as to hire a private investigator in attempt to locate him, but Chris had jettisoned his old identity and was traveling under an assumed name. 
 

In The Wild Truth, a new book by Carine McCandless, the sister of Chris McCandless clears up some of the mystery surrounding his choices. Carine reveals family troubles, including deceit and domestic abuse, which were at least partially behind Chris’ decision to disappear. She includes letters from Chris, one in which Chris declares his plan to "divorce" their parents forever.
 

Carine had shared these letters with Krakauer as he was writing Into the Wild, but asked him not use the material in the book. Krakauer writes in his introduction to The Wild Truth that he attempted to imply some of the reasons behind Chris' disappearing act without revealing confidential sources or creating further pain for the grieving parents. Carine McCandless explains that she felt it was time to set the record straight so that people would have a better understanding of Chris and his motives. Far from being just a salacious tell-all, the book is a touching story of their brother-sister bond and Carine's own personal journey recovering from a dysfunctional home.

 
The story of Chris McCandless has fascinated people around the world, but it is of particular interest to readers in Fairfax County, Va., due to the fact that Chris spent most of his life here. Book clubs that have already read Into the Wild may wish to further their exploration of the subject with The Wild Truth. 

 

-Suzanne Summers LaPierre, Kings Park Library

 


 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Best of 2014 lists - Nonfiction

Last week's post on critics' choices for the best fiction of 2014 showed far more convergence than the nonfiction lists the same reviewers created. Fiction, however you write it, is somewhat narrow in scope. Nonfiction is another beast altogether as seen by the variety of notable titles listed below.

The New York Times top five picks for nonfiction include incredibly diverse books ranging from New Yorker cartoonist
Roz Chast's illustration-filled memoir about coping with aging parents to Lawrence Wright's historical account of the Camp David Agreements.




The Washington Post's best of list has a similarly broad set of genres: biography, two city histories, a look at the medical profession by MacArthur genius award winner Atul Gawande and a repeat from the Times' list of Elizabeth Kolbert's study of mass extinction.


But Slate magazine's critics show truly just how hard it must have been to limit nonfiction choices to five. Their picks include a book of poetry, a consideration of modern parenthood, two very different types of collected essays and a repeat of Chast's book.


I keep thinking back to Washington Post critic Ron Charles's
frank discussion of compiling best of lists, "The books we’ve read are always better than the books we haven’t read, and we haven’t read most of the books." In no other case can I imagine this to be more true than with nonfiction. So while these books might not have made everyone's list, I for one am glad to have some of these titles brought to my attention so that they will remain unread by me no longer.

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Best of 2014 lists - Fiction

First, a disclaimer: I love lists. To do lists, Buzzfeed lists, best of lists. All the lists. Perhaps it is the perfect convergence of my desire for order and my fear of missing out. This time of year you can't open a newspaper or magazine or browse the web without encountering "Best Books of 2014" lists.

Here are the five fiction titles that made the New York Times'
"The 10 Best Books of 2014":



 These fiction titles were noted by Slate's editors: "The Top 10 Books of the Year":



Rounding out the lists I've been watching is the Washington Post's "The Ten Best Books of 2014":


 
You'll notice some overlap in these lists, though not a lot. After all, this is a subjective exercise. But I still found this line from Washington Post critic Ron Charles quite startling:
I see novels listed on other publications’ best-of lists that were among the worst books of 2014, and I suspect their editors feel the same way about a few books on The Post’s list, but, of course, we wouldn’t disturb one another’s day by expressing that out loud. It’s as though the whole literary community has taken Mom’s advice: "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all."
So, what is the value of these lists? I wondered this recently when my neighbor confessed she thought one of the Times' top picks was mediocre at best. Charles says that while best of lists are fun to peruse:
...it’s wise to remember that such lists — like literary prizes — are just a snapshot of a few sincere, harried people’s best judgments at a particular moment. The printed page endows a list with the aura of objective finality, but another group of smart readers at another time might have assembled a different roster entirely. The books we’ve read are always better than the books we haven’t read, and we haven’t read most of the books. We editors are trying to satisfy a broad range of tastes. We’re trying not to be influenced by personal or professional relationships. We’re trying to deal with notes from reviewers who confess — after the fact! — that a book they praised really isn’t very good. We’re trying to weigh judgments made in January against judgments made in November. We’re not sleeping well because we know we’re missing an important book, because we know that that reviewer will be offended that we ignored him, because we know we’re including a book that is deeply flawed, because we know readers will take this list into the bookstore, because we know this is the Most Important Thing We Have Ever Done in the History of Civilization. And then the list is out, and it’s over, and the new year begins, and we’re excited to find new books to love and treasure.
There you have it. Make of them what you will. As for me, I'll gladly keep using these lists to find new books, hopefully ones that will make my own personal top ten list.

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You Must Hear This: Great Fiction Audiobooks

If you haven’t tried audiobooks before, now is the time. A good audiobook can turn a bad commute into a decent drive, a long, sleepless night into a less troubled one and walking around the track into pleasurable exercise. Here are just a few of my favorites.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=615033{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVERBilly Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain is narrated by Oliver Wyman, one of my favorite audio-narrators. Billy Lynn and his squadron are young, immature, irreverent Iraq War vets being showcased at the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game halftime show. Despite their silliness, they’ve been through a lot--witnessing atrocities abroad and ignorance at home. Numerous sub-plots (their families, lost dreams, intriguing pasts) echo the themes of loss, struggle and courage. Oliver Wyman’s inventive take on the characters’ voices will keep you laughing (and sometimes weeping).
 
 

In Dave Egger’s What is the What, we meet Valentino Achak Deng, a Lost Boy of Sudan. (Deng is a real person, but this novel is a fictionalized version of his life.) Valentino has seen horrors that most of us can barely imagine, yet his life in the United States is one struggle after another, whether financially, academically or practically. When we first encounter Valentino, he’s been taken hostage in his own apartment. Flashbacks to his previous life are expertly done, with Valentino’s “thought tale” giving us insight and understanding into his past and the past of his former country. The audio-narrator, Dion Graham, does a variety of accents and voices with skill and humor.

In the mood for something lighter? Stewart O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster chronicles the daily life of a manager at a Red Lobster, with surprisingly humane and profound insights. Manny DeLeon works hard to keep both his customers and staff happy, with limited results. He’s in love with one of the waitresses, his girlfriend is pregnant, the restaurant is being shut down, and his job is relocating. Yet, his sense of dignity is poignant, and his desire to serve is humbling. Steward O’Nan has been called the bard of the working class, and this novella is proof of that.  

 If you like social commentary disguised as beach reading, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple will definitely make you laugh. It will also make you deeply suspicious of parent-teacher associations, other parents and judgmental neighbors. Bernadette, a brilliant architect disguised as the well-dressed mother of a teenager, is at odds with virtually everyone she knows. It’s not necessarily all her fault either. Her husband, a Microsoft administrator, thinks she’s paranoid, and the mothers at her daughter’s private school think she’s an oddball. In fact, her only friend seems to be an offshore personal assistant hired to take care of tiresome personal business. When she vanishes – to a particularly surprising part of the world – you can hardly blame her.

-Carey Hagan, George Mason Regional Library

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Welcome to the Post-Apocalypse

It’s the end of the world as we know it – visions of future dystopias and apocalyptic collapses have been somewhat inescapable these past few years. From television’s "Walking Dead" to the teen dystopias of The Hunger Games and Divergent, gritty visions of mankind’s future have never been more popular. 

Readers with more “literary” tastes, however, might have been surprised to see a novel from this genre put forward as a nominee for the National Book Award this year. Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven follows a traveling band of artists, all survivors of a catastrophic flu. Their quest to bring Shakespeare and symphonies to isolated communities forms a quiet, thoughtful look at how culture and art are redefined in a post-apocalyptic world. Station Eleven ultimately did not receive the National Book Awards highest award for fiction. Phil Klay’s compelling collection of voices from the Iraqi war, Redeployment, won that honor. However, sci-fi/fantasy author Ursula Le Guin made headlines at the award ceremonies with her spirited tribute to fellow authors of that genre. She went on to say, “Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art.” Try Station Eleven or one of the other literary post-apocalyptic suggestions listed below –see if you think they meet that call. 

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata2=mccarthy, cormac&srchfield2=AU^AUTHOR^AUTHORS^Author Processing^Author&searchoper2=AND&thesaurus2=AUTHORS&search_entries2=AU&search_type2=AUTHOR&special_proc2=Author Processing&searchdata3=road&srchfield3=TI^TITLE^SERIES^Title Processing^Title&searchoper3=AND&thesaurus3=SERIES&search_entries3=TI&search_type3=TITLE&special_proc3=Title Processing&library=ALL&match_on=KEYWORD&shadow=NO&sort_by=-PBYR&user_id=WEBSERVER
In this acclaimed novel,  McCarthy takes on a father and son’s quest for humanity amidst the search for survival.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata1="bone clocks"&srchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^Words or phrase&searchoper1=&thesaurus1=GENERAL&search_entries1=GENERAL&search_type1=SUBJECT&special_proc1=Words or phrase&library=ALL&match_on=KEYWORD&sort_by=-PBYR&user_id=WEBSERVER
 
The author of Cloud Atlas depicts a psychic teenager and her past, present and future worlds.


http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata1="oryx and crake"&srchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^Words or phrase&searchoper1=&thesaurus1=GENERAL&search_entries1=GENERAL&search_type1=SUBJECT&special_proc1=Words or phrase&library=ALL&match_on=KEYWORD&sort_by=-PBYR&user_id=WEBSERVER
Atwood’s work looks at love and loss as mankind’s excesses lead to our world’s collapse.


http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata3=dog stars&srchfield3=TI^TITLE^SERIES^Title Processing^Title&searchoper3=AND&thesaurus3=SERIES&search_entries3=TI&search_type3=TITLE&special_proc3=Title Processing&library=ALL&match_on=KEYWORD&shadow=NO&sort_by=-PBYR&user_id=WEBSERVER

A poetic look at a lonely aviator and the value of  friendship, nature and a really great dog in the  post-apocalypse. 


http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata2=cronin&srchfield2=AU^AUTHOR^AUTHORS^Author Processing^Author&searchoper2=AND&thesaurus2=AUTHORS&search_entries2=AU&search_type2=AUTHOR&special_proc2=Author Processing&searchdata3=passage&srchfield3=TI^TITLE^SERIES^Title Processing^Title&searchoper3=AND&thesaurus3=SERIES&search_entries3=TI&search_type3=TITLE&special_proc3=Title Processing&library=ALL&match_on=KEYWORD&shadow=NO&sort_by=-PBYR&user_id=WEBSERVER

This genre-crossing novel takes on vampires, military-created viruses and the struggle of lone pockets of civilization to survive.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=681727{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

An interstellar missionary finds the bonds of faith, love and culture tested in a new world, while life on earth collapses.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Book Shopping Lists

Braving the crowds on Black Friday? These best books of the year lists will help you find something for everyone on your holiday list.

If you are shopping for children, take a look at School Library Journal's Best Books 2014. Their list is divided into four categories (picture books, middle gradeyoung adult and nonfiction) to help you find the perfect match for your reader.

For the adults on your list, who better to make recommendations than librarians across the country? Each month, the librarians behind LibraryReads post reviews about their ten favorite new books. Their latest post whittled down the year's best books to the best of the best. See their ten top choices at LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites 2014.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Feast of Books

One of my favorite traditions this time of year is reading the annual Food Issue of the New Yorker. It is perfectly timed to arrive close to Thanksgiving, when food and feasting take center stage in our minds and bellies. If your tastes run to the literary as well, many branches of Fairfax County Public Library subscribe to the magazine. This year’s Food Issue was November 3.

If you prefer longer form journalism, then you’re in luck. In addition to thousands of cookbooks, the library owns a substantial collection of food writing. You’ll find classics by MFK Fisher as well as a multitude of culinary memoirs of chefs, restaurant critics and home cooks – an area of publishing that took off after Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain showed the wide-appeal these books could have.


I’ve put two of the library’s newest books in this genre on my to read list this fall: Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg and Sous Chef: 24 hours on the Line by Michael Gibney. I was excited to see these two, because a few years ago I blazed through this genre and felt like I checked out everything the library owned on the topic. A few standouts from that reading adventure:

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelson – Samuelson was orphaned as a child in Ethiopia, raised by adoptive parents in their native Sweden and educated in central Europe before settling in New York City. The New York Times called the memoir “beautiful.” A great read that spans the poorest of rural Ethiopia with the most sophisticated of Western cooking in the world’s richest cities.

Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton – a true literary work. I read it at the same time I was reading a novel, and I kept putting that book down to return to this one. Anthony Bourdain, no slacker when it comes to literary writing, called Hamilton’s book “the best memoir by a chef, ever.”

Life, on the Line by Grant Achatz – James Beard award-winner Achatz experienced the cruelest twist fate for a chef when he was stricken with stage IV squamous cell carcinoma tongue cancer. The aggressive treatment, which saved his life, left him without a sense of taste. He relays the journey to save his career and his restaurant in this book.

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as a Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford – Buford, a former New Yorker staffer, left his publishing job and convinced Mario Batali to let him work in the kitchen at Babbo, despite having no professional kitchen experience.
 
Now, I need to channel the same enthusiasm I had when I raced through these books. There’s a Thanksgiving dinner that needs my attention.

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lucky Lindy, Babe Ruth and All That Jazz

Do you ever check out a book only to return it, unread, because you just have too many books piled up at home? This happens to me more than I care to admit. Some of these books drop off my list and are never given a second thought. Other books, however, keep whispering to me even after they’re long gone from the pile. This happened recently to me with Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927. When I finally got to Bryson’s wandering, spectacle-strewn stroll through the roaring twenties, I realized why this book stayed on my radar. Bryson depicts the characters and events of a decade that has always seemed just a little bit larger than life. He gives you the full story of Lucky Lindy’s famous flight, prohibition, Babe Ruth and the first talkie. But he also covers less familiar events like the Sacco-Vanzetti trial and the sensational Sash Weight Murder – a relatively unknown case today, portrayed in the classic Hollywood movie Double Indemnity.

Hemingway and Fitzgerald first immortalized this notable decade in fiction, but so many authors have followed their lead. So, give one of these more recent works a try. Then read Bryson’s book and decide for yourself whether fact really is stranger than fiction.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin. Charles Lindbergh didn’t just fly across the Atlantic in 1927. He also swept young Anne Murrow off her feet and into marriage. Benjamin tells their troubled story from Murrow’s perspective.

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. Best-selling author Lehane weaves many of the personalities from Bryson’s book, including Babe Ruth, into his family saga featuring anarchists, prohibition, race relations and the 1919 Boston policeman’s strike.
Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. Okay, this book is set in 1920s London, not America.  But the themes are familiar – a sensational murder, a shocking love affair and individuals swept up in a quickly-changing world.

The Girls at theKingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine. This retelling of a classic fable casts the 12 princesses who can’t stop dancing as 1920s flappers in New York.
-Rebecca Wolff, CE


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Unleash Your Creativity

We all use creativity every day to solve problems, whether as artists, writers or entrepreneurs or by generating ideas to improve work and family life. Fairfax County Public Library has many titles to help maximize those creative efforts. Here are a few favorites.

The War of Art: Break Through Barriers and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. In this brief but rallying guide to taking charge of your creative path, the author writes about the constant struggle with what he terms “Resistance.”  Resistance is the force that seems to keep us from getting down to the business of creative excellence. Sometimes that force comes in the form of self-doubt, inertia or merely the mundane distractions of daily life. In any case, Pressfield frames his book as a manual to fight the inner battle against Resistance in order to achieve one’s higher creative purpose.

 
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp. Tharp, still achieving in the field of choreography and dance in her seventies, is a lot like Pressfield in her work ethic. Becoming successful, she asserts, is not about having inborn talent or waiting for inspiration to strike but about showing up day after day and getting the work done. As unromantic as it sounds, the key is the discipline of daily habit. In The Creative Habit, she outlines over 30 exercises to inspire new ideas and break out of creative ruts. 

 A Broom of One’s Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning and Life by Nancy Peacock. This is an engaging book about a published novelist who earns her living as a housecleaner. Nancy Peacock’s first novel, Life Without Water, was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. Although she received an advance for her next novel, the money ran out before the book was finished, and Peacock went back to cleaning houses. She writes humorously about houses she has cleaned and their inhabitants, and in the process, readers learn about her writing process. It will strike a chord with anyone who has ever had to work a “day job” to support a dream. In a special section at the end, she gives advice on writing. Writers should also read Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott and On Writing by Stephen King.

Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman. In 2012 Neil Gaiman gave a commencement speech at University of the Arts of Philadelphia which became an instant YouTube sensation. “Make Good Art” is now available in book form. While Gaiman ignited controversy by admitting to falsifying some credentials in early efforts to get published, there is nevertheless much wisdom in his speech. He encourages artists to make mistakes: “If you're making mistakes, it means you're out there doing something. And the mistakes in themselves can be useful. I once misspelled Caroline, in a letter, transposing the A and the O, and I thought, ‘Coraline looks like a real name...”’  (Coraline became an award-winning book and movie.) 

-Suzanne Summers LaPierre, Kings Park Library

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reader Spotlight: Nebiyu Eyassu

Nebiyu Eyassu is a journalist, author, television presenter and dedicated library user. After spending his childhood and early years in Ethiopia, he has made a career in media in the United States.  The library has been there every step of the way for him and his family.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a journalist and an author. I was born and grew up in Ethiopia. I taught history for less than two years in my early twenties. I worked for Addis Ababa Bank for almost three years where I organized a labor union along with a few class-conscious colleagues. As a Secretary General of the Bank Workers Union, I was lucky enough to witness the first baby steps of a burgeoning labor organization in Ethiopia. In 1973 I became a journalist working for a government-owned daily newspaper written in my native language, Amharic. Journalism is the profession that opened my eyes, fashioned my imagination and shaped my world view. It also got me in trouble with the government in the 1990s. I was accused by the totalitarian government of inciting the public, though as a matter of fact I was reporting the truth. After I came to the United States in June 1994 for journalism training sponsored by USIA, I decided to stay here and applied for political asylum.


What made you decide to become a journalist?    

I have been a journalist for the last four decades. I first joined the profession to make a living, but in a few months, I fell in love with journalism. The profession is so exciting and competitive. You come across people of different careers and get involved in reporting different events. This is a profession where you can never get bored. Even with all the risks involved in working as a journalist under a tyrannical regime, I still preferred to stay in this exciting career. The hectic newsroom taught me time management, responsibility and discipline.  


Tell me about some of the work you have accomplished in your career.

As a journalist, I have traveled extensively to all provinces of Ethiopia and many countries of Africa and Europe and talked to people of different professions. My reports and programs were often related to agro-industrial production, labor unions, peasant associations, civil wars, border conflicts, revolutionary movements and upheavals. I spent frightening months on the front lines of civil wars and border wars. I spent some fearsome days and nights in Ethiopian jails accused of “inciting the public” in my journalistic work. I had a chance to report on Ethiopia’s unusual wildlife, intriguing historical and religious sites and breathtaking scenery. I have written for print and electronic media. I have produced television programs and hosted panel discussions on many subjects, presented research papers in symposiums and wrote six books.


How does the library help you in your work?  

The library is my second home. Here is where I spend the most time next to my residence and work place. While I was studying computer science, I used the library as a place to study and get books on the subject. In addition, the books I read on interview techniques helped me get a job as an Internet systems engineer in a web hosting company. When I was writing my books, the library was where I got most of the reference books I noted in my bibliography. I use books I borrow from the library to produce documentary programs for broadcast to East Africa via Ethiopian Satellite Television. These would not be possible without the help and resources I get from the public library. The library is my favorite place. I can’t think of life without books, and I appreciate the service and hospitality that library professionals give to all users.


Describe your library life with your children.

I used to take my children to the public libraries of our neighborhood (Richard Byrd, George Mason Regional and Centreville Regional) at least three days a week for a few hours when they were in elementary, middle and high school. This helped them to develop a culture of reading and love for books on any subject. Every time they asked me to take them to a playground, I told them that they have to spend at least two hours in the library reading books before going to places of their choice. This system worked well, and through the years, they became good readers and successful students. Particularly my son Daniel has made books his best friends. He got his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Radford University and worked as a research assistant for the FDA and later became a department head in a food processing company. He is now studying at George Mason University to get his master’s degree in global food security. His success is based on his love for books, which he nurtured by going often to the public library.


What do you like to read for fun?  

Other than reading and writing, my hobbies are sports, music and travel. I read books about these subjects for fun. I also like to read joke books, biographies and autobiographies of famous people. Examples are books about soccer, swimming, and sightseeing, travel magazines and biographies of great people like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, etc.   


Do have any memorable library moments that you recall?   

Some days I was so late leaving the library I left after most of the lights were put out. I lived with the fear that I might be locked in one day. One evening, I was in a hurry to evacuate before it was locked, and I forgot my reading glasses on the table. Luckily, they kept them for me, and I got them the next day, for which I am very grateful.

-Rebecca Wolff, Centreville Regional Library


 

 

 

 
 
 
         
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Frightfully Fun Picture Books - Part 2

Now Halloween is just around the corner, and you can’t find a single picture book to share. What a nightmare! Well, walk on past the empty holiday shelves to find some monstrous books to read aloud. It’s a lucky thirteen title round-up!



http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=624935{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis (JP ARM)

A countdown of monsters, some meeting unfortunate ends, closes with a Halloween worthy twist.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=632261{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Kristyn Crow (JP CRO)

A skeleton cat emerges from his grave ready to pursue his dream of being a drummer in a rock band. Crazy cat!
 

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=262602{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Margery Cuyler (JP CUY)

It’s hard to get rid of the hiccups when you’re a skeleton who can’t try the usual tricks. Simple text, fun concept.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=592688{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Chris Gall (JP GAL)

An unusual substitute makes for a school day like no other in this great read aloud choice for older kids.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=519170{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Rebecca Emberley (JP EMB)

A classic song with a monster twist and bright, not-scary illustrations makes for a rousing preschool sing-along.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=626172{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Joan Horton (JP HOR)

A whole world of mummies is explored in rhyming couplets and appropriately spooky illustrations.
 

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=193718{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Elizabeth Loredo (JP LOR)

This is a longer story about a skeleton who loves to dance and finds a way to take his passion beyond the graveyard.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=648551{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Daniel J. Mahoney (JP MAH)

Starting school is hard for everyone, including little monsters learning to be scary. Boo!

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=521269{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Amanda Noll (JP NOL)

When Ethan’s under-the-bed monster is on vacation, he looks for a new monster. If only he weren’t so picky…

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=637727{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Susan Pearson (JP PEA)

A traditional action story gets an update with dark skies, spooky shadows and a ghostly graveyard.
 
 
 
 
 

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=491937{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER
 
Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex (JP REX)
 

Enjoy this fun parody of the classic book Goodnight Moon with a werewolf child and a trouble-making goon.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=620572{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Rick Walton (JP WAL)
 

It’s way darker than Madeline, with most of the monsters losing their heads, but clever for older readers.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=455891{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Arthur Yorinks (JP YOR)

 
A mean witch, a scarecrow child, evil magic, and a loving friend come to a happy ending in this suspenseful story.
- Pamela Wasserman Coughlan, Kings Park Library