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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If You Like Me Before You...

Since its publication in 2012, JoJo Moyes’s Me Before You has been a story enjoyed by many. Perhaps you read it when it first came out or perhaps you’ve read it recently as part of one of the many book groups in FCPL’s system – both George Mason’s book discussion group and Kings Park’s afternoon book discussion group focused on the book this past February, and Chantilly’s group read and discussed it just last month. Perhaps you came to the story as a result of seeing the trailer for its movie adaptation, slotted to hit theaters in June. Whatever originally drew you to it, if you fell in love with the story and are looking for something similar to read and enjoy while you wait for June – we suggest you try these titles:





After You, JoJo Moyes [FIC MOY]

          It is undoubtedly cheating to list this title, published last fall, as many lovers of Me Before You have probably already jumped on it. The current holds list for this sequel is not long at all compared to the holds list for Me Before You though, so if you haven’t read it yet and want to know what happens to Louisa – now would be a good time to add yourself to the list! (Fun fact: Moyes herself wasn’t expecting to write a sequel to Me Before You – check out her blog announcement for After You, late last February.)

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, Jonathan Evison [FIC EVI]

          If you appreciated the caregiving theme and the changes in perspective that can come from the interaction between caregiver and patient, try this novel, which explores both without the romantic angle. Ben becomes a caregiver after a traumatic series of events which leads him to Trev, a young adult with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and a journey to redemption and renewal.

A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks [FIC SPA]

          As in Me Before You, reflecting on love in the face of illness, possible death and the momentous changes that that love can make in a person’s life is central to this title. Landon, a high school troublemaker, surprises both himself and his friends when he falls in love with the last person he would expect: Jamie, a minister’s daughter whose personality and outlook on life is very different from his own. What he learns from her lasts a lifetime. A bittersweet love story.



The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [YFIC GRE]

          Whether you're an avid reader of young adult fiction or haven’t tried reading young adult fiction in years, this title is not to be missed. Hazel Grace has barely had the opportunity to do the kinds of things Will was known for pre-accident in Me Before You, having been diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer at the age of 13. She’s barely even lived! That begins to change when she meets Augustus and finds herself experiencing things she never dreamed were possible.

Starlight on Willow Lake,  Susan Wiggs [FIC WIG]

          Like Me Before You, this novel explores the dynamics of caregiving for a paraplegic used to a much more active lifestyle, though the specifics are reversed. Mason has been able to rely on his brother and sister to care for his mother, who lost her husband at the same time she lost her mobility. His contribution is financing anything she could possibly need to adapt to her new life. But her care falls firmly on his shoulders when long term commitments require the absence of both his siblings. Luckily, he has Faith - a single mother trying to raise her two daughters years after the death of their father - who he hires on as a new caregiver to help. This novel is a testament to the power of love and family in the face of illness and death.

The Royal We, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan [FIC COC]

          For those who enjoyed the setting and writing style, you may also like this title, which takes place primarily in England and handles similar relationship themes – both romantic and familial, though it ruminates less on illness and death. Nick and Bex are an unlikely couple trying to make their relationship last despite the influence of very different upbringings and family pressures, with a potential for both happily ever after and not-so-happily ever after hanging in the balance.

Have other recommendations for others who love Me Before You? Don’t forget to leave them, along with any suggestions for future “If You Like…” posts, in the comments.

-Denise Dolan, George Mason Regional Library


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Book Club Pick: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

“There was a time, and it was many years ago now, when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks. This was in New York City, and at night a view of the Chrysler Building, with its geometric brilliance of lights, was directly visible from my bed.”
 
And so begins the story of Lucy Barton, a young wife and mother who is recovering from an unnamed illness in a New York City hospital. Although the story centers on Lucy’s time in the hospital, the book meshes three stories—Lucy’s childhood, the hospital stay and her life as a writer.

Told in snippets of memory; we know that she is married and has two beloved children, but we don’t see much of her husband or the children. Instead, her long-estranged mother shows up at the hospital from Amgash, Illinois, and sits at Lucy’s bedside for five days, never leaving even to sleep. 

In the haze of her recovery, Lucy listens to her mother talk, mostly about people from her hometown, gossip about their marriages, but never about what is most on Lucy’s mind—the extreme poverty of her childhood, her father’s alcoholism, her mother’s abuse. Her mother never asks about Lucy’s own marriage or her two beloved girls. Instead, Lucy and her mother talk around these issues, and it is what is left unsaid that paints this story.

The story goes back and forth in time, and Lucy reflects on many aspects of her life—her childhood, of course, but also the influence of a writing mentor, the kindness of her doctor, a beloved sixth grade teacher. It almost doesn’t matter what her mother says; it’s the mere comfort of her mother’s voice that helps Lucy to heal and to piece together the many bits of her life. This is a brief, but thoughtful novel about the fragile bonds of family, the comfort of a mother’s voice and the imperfection of love.

--Ellen Bottiny, Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Best Customers: National Library Week 2016


We love working for Fairfax County Public Library because we really do love our customers!




We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.

Great Colleagues: National Library Week 2016


We love working for Fairfax County Public Library because we have wonderful colleagues! 







We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Storytime Fun: National Library Week 2016


We love working for Fairfax County Public Library because everyone loves storytime!

 







We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.

Strengthening Communities: National Library Week 2016


We love working for Fairfax County Public Library because we help our communities grow stronger! 

 


We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Resources for the Whole Community: National Library Week 2016


We love working for Fairfax County Public Library because we really do have resources for the whole community!


 


 

We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.

Community Service: National Library Week 2016

We love working for Fairfax County Public Library, because helping people is truly rewarding! 


We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lifelong Learning: National Library Week 2016


We love working for Fairfax County Public Library because we foster lifelong reading and learning - for both customers and staff! 
 
 
 

We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.

Sharing Books, Curiousity and More: National Library Week 2016


We love working for Fairfax County Public Library because we love to share our passion for reading and learning.





 

We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Libraries Transform: Celebrating National Library Week 2016


This year’s National Library Week theme is a celebration of the power of libraries to transform our lives and communities. It’s something librarians believe in wholeheartedly, but we don’t always think about it as we go about our daily business. I know I don’t go home and tell my family, “Gee, I really think I made the world a better place today.” Yet every day I see examples of the positive impact libraries make in the lives of our customers. It’s the student who comes to an English conversation class, working to get the tools she needs to pass the citizenship test. It’s the customer who gets a little extra help submitting an online job application using our public computers. It might be a young mother who brings her child to storytime programs, working to develop the early literacy skills needed for kindergarten. It can even be the commuter who is just thankful that eAudiobooks make his daily trek to DC a little more bearable. Whether it’s as simple as finding a space for a community group to meet or as complex as planning tech classes to help customers increase their marketability, we are there to help our community.

We are so fortunate here to work with dedicated and passionate colleagues. Sure, there are days where the copiers aren’t working or the book someone desperately needs now is already checked out. These moments are frustrating for both staff and customers. But trust me, there is nothing that makes us happier than hearing that one of our customers got the job, nailed their school project, successfully friended their grandchild on Facebook or just really liked the book we recommended. We come into work every day because we really do believe in our mission to “educate, enrich, and empower our diverse community.”

So, bear with us this week as we take a break from our normal posts to celebrate all the reasons that we love working at Fairfax County Public Library. Because we really do make a difference.
We'll be posting pictures all week, but you can check out all the reasons we love Fairfax County Public Library on our Flickr album.


-Rebecca Wolff, Centreville Regional Library

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Book Club Pick: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace


When Jeff Hobbs and Robert Peace were randomly assigned to be roommates freshman year at Yale, they were amused that each was the odd man out in his sport: Hobbs stood out as a white guy on the track team, and Peace was the only black man on the water polo team. Hobbs sensed right away that Peace hadn't had as privileged an upbringing as his own, but it wasn't until one day when he casually asked what Peace's father did for a living that this really hit home. "He's in prison- manslaughter," Peace answered simply.



Peace was from the rough streets of Newark, NJ, where his single mother worked long hours in food service for a nursing home to pay for the parochial schools he attended. Even as a toddler his intellect was apparent- the day care teachers called him "the little professor." At Yale on scholarship, Peace excelled in the difficult fields of molecular biochemistry and biophysics and graduated with honors. But within a few years Peace would be murdered back in Newark, the neighborhood he had never really left behind.

Peace supplemented his Yale scholarship by working in food service and maintenance - and by selling marijuana. After college and a hiatus during which he worked as a teacher and avoided the drug trade, Peace eventually fell back into selling pot to supplement his income.

Hobbs, who had remained suite-mates with Peace all through college and counted him as a true friend, does a thorough and sensitive job of tracing Peace's life from his childhood through his Yale years and his adult life. His treatment of the subject in The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League is very straightforward, and he leaves us to draw our own conclusions about why and how Peace's promise ended so tragically. This poignant biography was named one of the best books of 2014 by New York Times Book Review.



- Suzanne Summers Lapierre, Kings Park Library