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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ask Us Questions – Please!

One of the best things about working in a public library is that every day we learn something new from our customers. Your comments about what you’re reading and your questions about information you’re seeking keep us fresh, informed and always on our toes.

Take for example a question posed recently to Librarian Vlad Shutov by a Tysons-Pimmit branch customer. She said she would like to read 50 books in 2016, mostly fiction and weighted toward foreign-born or lesser known authors--not your average, run-of-the-mill topics. What a great request! (Ever want to get on a librarian’s good side? Ask a question like this. We LOVE these requests.) Here is a selection of titles from the diverse list that Vlad suggested for her. Use it to create your own reading challenge for 2016.


http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata1="shadow of the wind"&srchfield1=TI^TITLE^SERIES^Title Processing^Title&searchoper1=&thesaurus1=SERIES&search_entries1=TI&search_type1=TITLE&special_proc1=Title&library=ALL&match_on=KEYWORD&sort_by=-PBYR&user_id=WEBSERVER

Carlos Ruiz Zafon was born in Barcelona, Spain.
 

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata1="A Brief History of Seven Killings"&srchfield1=TI^TITLE^SERIES^Title Processing^Title&searchoper1=&thesaurus1=SERIES&search_entries1=TI&search_type1=TITLE&special_proc1=Title&library=ALL&match_on=KEYWORD&sort_by=-PBYR&user_id=WEBSERVER

Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and is now living in Minneapolis.
 

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata1=aravind&srchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^Words or phrase&searchoper1=AND&thesaurus1=GENERAL&search_entries1=GENERAL&search_type1=SUBJECT&special_proc1=&searchdata3=white tiger&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

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras, India.
 

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata3=Book of Unknown Americans&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

Cristina HenrĂ­quez's father is from Panama and immigrated to the U.S. in 1971.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata3=brief wondrous life of oscar&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

 Junot Diaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and was raised in New Jersey.

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=670044{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

Akhil Sharma was born in Delhi, India. He immigrated to the United States when he was eight and grew up in Edison, New Jersey.
 
 
http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata3=space between us&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

Thrity Umrigar is an Indian-American writer, who was born in Mumbai.
 
http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata3=Istanbul: Memories and the City&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

Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul, Turkey.
 
 

http://fcplcat.fairfaxcounty.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5?searchdata3=Death of a Red Heroine&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

Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai, China, and currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
 

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Children’s Book Lovers Had a Lot to Love this Valentine's Day

February 14 was a red-letter day for Children’s Book Lovers – The day the Cybils Award winners were announced!

Not everyone is aware of the Cybils Awards — one of the best awards out there for recommending books to children and teens. Cybils stands for Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards. The books are judged by book bloggers, and the process happens in two phases. On January 1, Finalists were announced in 11 categories. On February 14, one winner was announced from each category.

The winners are exciting, and definitely worth reading, but the real power of the Cybils is in the lists.

Here’s why the Cybils are so fantastic for librarians and other people who recommend children’s books: They’re chosen for literary quality and kid appeal. There’s some debate among children’s book lovers whether the most famous literary awards are actually books children like or if they’re books that appeal to the award panels. Cybils judges are charged to take kid appeal into account.

There is something for everyone in the 11 categories, even book apps! The other categories are Fiction Picture Books, Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books, Poetry, Graphic Novels, and Non-Fiction, Fiction and Speculative Fiction for both elementary/middle grade and young adult.

Each list is chosen with variety and diversity in mind. This partly comes from having a panel of judges, but those judges do a good job representing their categories well. You’ll normally find ethnic diversity represented, books with male and female protagonists and books that simply appeal to a wide variety of readers. For example, the Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction finalists usually include variations such as stories set in a fantasy world, science fiction, animal stories, ghost stories and paranormal adventures. Each category is much more varied than you might imagine. The second round judges choose winners from these varied lists.

Celebrate some book love, and check out a Cybils Award winner or finalist!

--Sondra Eklund, City of Fairfax Regional Library

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

If You Like... John Grisham or David Baldacci


There is no denying that the thriller genre is a very popular one with today’s readers and that John Grisham and David Baldacci are particularly well-read authors within that genre. Here at Fairfax County Public Library, Grisham had the most checkouts in 2015 with his novel Gray Mountain, and Baldacci wasn’t very far behind at 4th place with The Escape. If you, like many, are waiting patiently for a copy of their newest titles–Grisham's Rogue Lawyer or Baldacci’s The Guilty–or if you have already read those titles, these recommended reads are for you!



Rules of Deception, Christopher Reich. When Dr. Jonathan Ransom finds himself the subject of an international manhunt and the target of an assassin, he must uncover the secret his wife hid from him and stop a dangerous conspiracy threatening to bring the world to the brink of annihilation.

Full Black, Brad Thor. Terrorist attacks meant to instigate the complete and total collapse of the U.S. An influential man with an anti-American agenda meant to wreak havoc on the country. One man who may have the means to save the country.

The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly. Criminal defense attorney Mikey Haller thinks he’s been hired for the easiest case of his career, defending a Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman... until a murderer strikes a little too close to home. Is he next?


Defending Jacob, William Landay. When Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber learns that his son, Jacob, has been accused of murder, he finds himself facing two pivotal questions: How far should he go to protect him? And how well does he really know his own son?

Fox is Framed, Lachlan Smith. Lawrence Maxwell has been in jail for years for the murder of his wife when new evidence causes a new trial to be ordered. Leo, his son, is not convinced of his father’s innocence, but he teams up with attorney Nina Schuyler to defend his father, attempting to do right by both law and blood.

Have another recommendation for readers who like books by John Grisham or David Baldacci? Would you like "If you like..." recommendations for your favorite title or author? Let us know in the comments below!


-Denise Dolan, George Mason Regional Library

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Rediscovered Classic: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Editor's Note: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers' debut novel, was written when the author was 23 years old. It is characteristic of the Southern Gothic style of literature. This style places eccentric and often damaged characters in impoverished or oppressed settings as a way to examine issues of morality, innocence and social justice.  Although McCullers set all of her works in the south, she herself left Georgia for New York at a young age. Other well-known writers of the Southern Gothic style include William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O'Connor.




In a small Georgian factory town in the late 1920s, amid much social, political and civil unrest, John Singer walks the heated streets. After a long-time friend and fellow deaf person, Antonapoulos, is institutionalized, the vacuum in Singer’s life spurs him on an endless search for human connection. His silence and outward calm attract a series of characters whose own hectic souls long for solace, each with a specific agenda.

Singer listens. He rarely responds. Indeed, he cannot understand their fervor, agitation, intensity. In truth, he may share ideologies with them, but he provides little more than a room, drink, food and that scarcest of commodities - time. His heart is turned toward his friend Antonapoulos who, ironically, scarcely seems aware of his existence. So, everyone is searching.

Biff, the proprietor of the New York Café, has been freed to explore a new feminine side of himself by the death of his wife. He scrutinizes his patrons, noting their sexual nuances, deficiencies and attributes. He is generous with outcasts and reluctant to share himself with anyone but Singer.

Jake, a social activist, breezes into town on the wings of alcohol and crashes to reality when he can’t arouse the passions of the oppressed workers. He turns to Singer for affirmation, talking for hours before even realizing he’s deaf.

Dr. Copeland is a black physician who at great personal cost educated himself in the North and came back to Georgia to practice and to inspire his progeny to greater heights. Alas, they are mired in the social bog of racism and fighting to maintain a fragile foothold. He turns to Singer, who once lit a cigarette for him – something no white man had ever done – and discloses Marxist views which he is certain Singer shares.

Mick, a gawky teenage girl attempting to escape a grinding life of poverty, finds a finger-hold of beauty in music. When she first hears a Beethoven symphony playing on a neighbor’s radio while crouching outside in the bushes, she melts into another universe of pleasure. From then on, music becomes her “inside room” which she ironically attempts to share with the deaf Mr. Singer. Her chaotic coming of age climaxes when she leaves high school to help with family financial woes.

These four characters spin around the hub of Mr. Singer’s serenity, amid a swirl of sexual tensions, religious fervor, drunkenness, street fights, parties, speeches and violence.

-Lois Glick, Great Falls Library