Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top Checkouts for 2016 in Fairfax County Public Library

From Pulitzer winner to thriller-turned-movie, from biography to an enduringly popular tidying how-to, readers at Fairfax County Public Library found a variety of titles to suit every taste in 2016. Here are the year's most popular checkouts. Compare it against your year end list and see what you should add to your to-read pile for 2017. Happy New Year's Reading!

Top Five Fiction Titles


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
The Crossing by Michael Connelly
The Guilty by David Baldacci

Top Five Non Fiction Titles

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ross King - Great Books for Readers and Artists Alike

I have an art background and love to read, so when an author appeals to both sides of me, I tend to read everything they’ve written. Ross King is one such author. Whether or not you're interested in artists and art history, if you enjoy nonfiction that reads like an engaging novel, you should try the work of Ross King.

He has written books about some of my favorite artists. Here are the ones I have read so far:

Michelangelo & the Pope’s Ceiling - This was the first Ross King book I read, and even though I had studied Michelangelo in art school, I learned something I didn’t know (spoiler alert!) – he did NOT lie on his back to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling! (Blame the movie “The Agony and the Ecstasy” for that myth.) A wealth of information, delivered in an engaging and entertaining style.

The Judgment of Paris: the Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism - This cleverly titled book refers to the city of Paris’ judgmental attitude toward the Impressionists and how difficult it was for this group of avant-garde artists to break through the public’s (and art establishment’s) entrenched ideas about what art was and should be. It contains a wealth of very interesting information about the individual artists who made up the group that came to be known as the Impressionists (a term which was originally coined by a critic to mock them, based on a Monet landscape titled, “Impression, Sunrise.”) King begins this book with Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier, who at the time was the most popular and commercially successful artist in France and who nobody remembers today.

Brunelleschi's Dome : How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture - Even if you’re not a fan of architecture or the Renaissance, you’ll be fascinated by this story of the genius who designed and built what is still the largest dome in the world. King takes what could be a dry subject and injects it with color and life.

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies - I have not finished reading this one, and I’ve already decided to buy it and add it to my home art library. Monet is one of my personal favorites, but even though I have studied him extensively and have copied several of his paintings in the National Gallery, this book revealed things I didn’t know about him, including how he actually diverted a river to build his famous lily pond.

Even if you are not an artist, reading any of these books will entertain, enlighten and educate you. Happy reading!

-Amy Mann, Centreville Regional Library

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

For Fans of Poldark

If you're like me, you only heard of Poldark recently and had no idea it was based on a series of books by Winston Graham. The books first appeared in the late 1940s, and the series was dramatized by the BBC in 1970s. But TV junkie that you are, it's been on your to-watch list since all your friends started talking about the reboot of the franchise last year.

What a great discovery! If you're a fan of the show, the Library has Graham's original series as well as the BBC - Masterpiece Theatre 1970s adaptation. And check out this great list of readalikes from NoveList, one of the many tools we use to get just the right book into your hands - including books you've yet to discover, but will wish you had earlier.

Explore NoveList from the Library's list of Readers Links here, using your library card number to log on. Let us know what great new reads you find!

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library