Friday, July 10, 2009

Check out the new library blog

The library has a new blog that features
reading recommendations from various library staffers
on a variety of genres and topics.

Check out the new blog,
Fauquier County Book Notes
and sign up there to be automatically updated by email
for each new post.

This will be be last post from Shelf Scene.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Family Ties

Wrong about Japan : a father's journey with his son by Peter Carey
The Booker Prize-winning author describes how his shy young son's fascination with Japanese manga and anime led father and son on an odyssey to Tokyo, where they discover the intricacies of modern-day Japanese culture, from shitamachi and the Internet tokabuki and the samurai.

The beautiful struggle : a father, a son, and an unlikely road to manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates
An exceptional father-son story about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.
An evocative memoir of family and growing up in the tough, violent world of Baltimore in the 1980s chronicles the relationship between the author and his father, a Vietnam vet and Black Panther affiliate, and his steadfast, if sometimes eccentric, campaign to keep his sons from falling victim to the seductive temptations of the streets.

Soccer dad : a father, a son, and a magic season by W.D. Wetherell
Traces a year during which the author, an avid soccer fan, enthusiastically watched his high-school senior son play a winning season, which was also marked by thoughts on his own role as a father and the disparities between his son's awareness of life as compared to the realities of the adult world.

Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
When the mothers of four sixth-grade girls with very different personalities pressure them into forming a book club, they find, as they read and discuss "Little Women," that they have much more in common than they could have imagined.

Wisdom of our fathers : lessons and letters from daughters and sons [collected by] Tim Russert
Sheds new light on fatherhood and the relationship between parent and child, discussing what we can learn from our fathers about humor, discipline, values, tradition, pride, loss, and love, tenderness, strength, honor, discipline, and occasional eccentricity. Most of these daughters and sons were eager to express the gratitude they had carried with them through the years. Others wanted to share lessons and memories and, most important, pass them down to their own children. This book is for all fathers, young or old, who can learn from the men in these pages how to get it right, and to understand that sometimes it is the little gestures that can make the big difference for your child.

Mother-Daughter Wisdom: creating a legacy of physical and emotional health by Christiane Northrup
Mother-Daughter Wisdom introduces an entirely new map of female development, exploring the “five facets of feminine power,” which range from the basics of physical self-care to the discovery of passion and purpose in life. This blueprint allows any woman—whether or not she has children—–to repair the gaps in her own upbringing and create a better adult relationship with her mother. If she has her own daughter, it will help her be the mother she has always wanted to be.

You're wearing that? Understanding mothers and daughters in conversation by Deborah TannenWhy do daughters complain that their mothers always criticize, while mothers feel hurt that their daughters shut them out? Why do mothers and daughters critique each other on the Big Three–hair, clothes, and weight–while longing for approval and understanding? And why do they scrutinize each other for reflections of themselves?

The Mighty Queens of Freeville: a mother, a daughter, and the town that raised them by Amy Dickinson
The humorist and advice columnist for "Ask Amy" describes her inspirational, haphazard experiences with divorce, traveling throughout the country, and resettling in her hometown, where her extended family helped her to raise her daughter.

Plainsong by Kent Haruf
From the unsettled lives of a small-town teacher struggling to raise two boys alone in the face of their mother's retreat from life, a pregnant teenage girl with nowhere to go, and two elderly bachelor farmers emerges a new vision of life and family as their diverse destinies intertwine. "From simple elements, Haruf achieves a novel of wisdom and grace--a narrative that builds in strength and feeling until, as in a choral chant, the voices in the book surround, transport, and lift the reader off the ground."-FROM THE CITATION FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Life on the refrigerator door : notes between a mother and daughter : a novel in notes by Alice Kuipers
Told through a series of notes, the story of fifteen-year-old Claire and her single mother follows their correspondence during busy times in their respective lives, in a tale marked by Claire's school interactions, her mother's job, and a momentous change that redefines their relationship.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poems of your own, and some others too

The ode less travelled : unlocking the poet within by Stephen Fry
I have a dark and dreadful secret. I write poetry... I believe poetry is a primal impulse within all of us. I believe we are all capable of it and furthermore that a small, often ignored corner of us positively yearns to try it. —Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Travelled

Stephen Fry believes that if one can speak and read English, one can write poetry. Many of us have never been taught to read or write poetry and think of it as a mysterious and intimidating form. Or, if we have been taught, we remember uncomfortable silence when an English teacher invited the class to "respond" to a poem. In The Ode Less Travelled, Fry sets out to correct this problem by giving aspiring poets the tools and confidence they need to write poetry for pleasure.

The discovery of poetry : a field guide to reading and writing poems by Frances Mayes
Before she fell in love with Tuscany, Frances Mayes fell in love with verse. After publishing five books of poetry and teaching creative writing for more than twenty-five years, Mayes is no stranger to the subject. In The Discovery of Poetry, an accessible "field guide" to reading and writing poetry, she shares her passion with readers. Beginning with basic terminology and techniques, from texture and sound to rhyme and repetition, Mayes shows how focusing on one aspect of a poem can help you to better understand, appreciate, and enjoy the reading and writing experience.

Poet's market : where & how to publish your poetry
The prosaic side of poetry. Provides poets with information on more than one thousand commercial and literary markets for their work, details of payments and submission guidelines, interviews with poets, publishers, and editors.

A few titles for inspiration...

The poets corner : the one-and-only poetry book for the whole family selected by John Lithgow
From listening to his grandmother recite epic poems from memory to curling up in bed while his father read funny verses, award-winning actor John Lithgow grew up with poetry. Ever since, John has been an enthusiastic seeker of poetic experience, whether reading, reciting, or listening to great poems.

Speaking to the heart : favorite poems chosen and introduced by Wendy Beckett
From ‘Longing,' ‘Wonder,' ‘Beauty,' and ‘Love' to ‘Grief,' ‘Vanity,' and ‘Pride,' Sister Wendy Beckett collects and comments on the poems and lines from poems that move her most and speak directly to her and our hearts. Speaking to the Heart: 100 Favorite Poems includes her thoughts and meditations on the different themes that organize the book, and her comments illuminate the poetry and describe the lives of the poets.

The moments, the minutes, the hours : the poetry of Jill Scott
Writing poems and keeping journal since 1991, singer and actress Jill Scott now shares her personal poetry collection in The Moments, the Minutes, the Hours. Praised for her earthy, soulful and very real lyrics, Jill Scott explores all the flavors of life, love, and self.

Of her music, Jill offers: "It's music. It's experiences. It's vulnerability. It's honesty. It's being a woman---an African American woman. Being a daughter, a sister, a grandchild and a Godmother. It's life. It's deeper than what I know. It's bigger than what I can see. I guess it's a dive into the human spirit."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Museum Reading

Fighting cabin fever?
Thinking about visiting a museum?

Here are some good reads to get you in the museum mood:

Frida by Barbara Wood.
A historical novel centered around the life of Frido Kahlo--the colorful, contentious Mexican painter who married Diego Rivera--introduces readers to Mexico in the first half of the twentieth century and the characters that shaped Kahlo's life.

The Wayward Muse
Fictionally explores important real-life participants in the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts movements.
Raised in the slums of Oxford with a certainty of her own homeliness, seventeen-year-old stableman's daughter Jane Burden is discovered by the charismatic and irreverent painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, with whom she falls madly in love before circumstances prompt her marriage to the shy craftsman William Morris.

The Painted Kiss
Vienna in 1886 was a city of elegant cafés, grand opera houses, and a thriving and adventurous artistic community. It was there that twelve-year-old Emilie Flöge met the con-troversial libertine and painter Gustav Klimt. When Klimt is hired by Emilie's bourgeois father to give her some basic drawing lessons, he introduces her to a subculture of dissolute artists, wanton models, and decadent patrons that both terrifies and fascinates her.
It is a world overflowing with the greatest artists, composers, and writers of the era, and yet doomed by the imminent collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Two by Karen Essex:

Leonardo's Swans
Two sisters compete for supremacy to be the model in one of Leonard's paintings in the illustrious courts of Europe.

Stealing Athena
The complex history of the
Elgin Marbles is viewed through the lives of two women--Aspasia, an ancient Greek female philosopher, and Mary Nisbet, wife of the Earl of Elgin, who played a key role in bringing the sculptures to England.
Currently on permanent display at the British Museum in London.

Caravaggio by Christopher Peachment presents a fictionalized portrait of the sixteenth-century Italian artist, beginning with his apprenticeship in Venice, his move to Rome, and his subsequent flight to Malta after he kills a man in a fight.

The Lost Diaries of Franz Hals
When ancient notebooks turn up in a Long Island garage, Peter Van Overloop, a Columbia graduate student, sets to translating them, and finds himself immersed in the life and times of the Dutch painter Frans Hals. for the notebooks seem to be Hal's diaries, and they contain a fascinating portrait of a man living in the age of Rembrandt and Descartes, and bursting with a lust for the world that surrounds him. Emerging as a thoroughly funny, charming man, Hals reaches out from centuries past to touch and change Peter's life forever.

Lust for Life: a novel of Vincent Van Gogh by Irving Stone.
Tells the heartbreaking, turbulent life of Vincent, his loving brother Theo, and Vincent's search for meaning through religion and art.

Also by Irving Stone-
The Agony and the Ecstasy: a novel of Michelangelo
From his boyhood apprenticeships through the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

The Moon and the Sixpence by M. Somerset Maugham.
Closely following the real life of Paul Gaughin, this is the fictional story of Charles Strickland, a London stockbroker who undergoes a mid-life crisis, and takes off to Tahiti to paint. Written by a great British author, it presents a psychological study of the conflict between creative desires and maintaining a conventional life.

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman.
The life of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt is skillfully fictionalized in this powerful novel about art and passion, narrated by the artist's sister, Lydia.

The Golden Tulip by Rosalind Laker. While more of a historical romance, it is set in Holland during the time of Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Tracy Chevalier:
The Lady and the Unicorn
Interweaves historical fact with fiction to explore the mystery behind the creation of the remarkable Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, woven at the end of the fifteenth century, which today hang in the Cluny Museum in Paris.

The Girl with the Pearl Earring
A poor seventeenth-century servant girl knows her place in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, but when he begins to paint her, nasty whispers and rumors circulate throughout the town,

Four by Susan Vreeland:
The Luncheon of the Boating Party Auguste Renoir is inspired to paint "Luncheon of the boating party" when his other work is criticized by Emile Zola, and while doing so is drawn into lives of the thirteen people featured in it as they enjoy a Parisian summer during the late 1800s.
See Renoir's painting at
The Philips Collection.

The Girl in Hyacinth Blue The mysterious Vermeer again provides background for an imaginary painting by him, and the interwoven stories of the families who owned the painting in a chronicle going backward in time over several hundred years.

The Forest Lover
Canadian artist, Emily Carr, who died in 1945, is the focus of this biographical fiction about her efforts to translate through paintings the Totem Poles and traditional art of the Indian Tribes of British Columbia.

The Passion of Artemisia Post-Renaissance Italy is the backdrop for a female artist's life.

The Painting by Nina Schuyler.
Set outside the new capital of Tokyo during the Meiji Restoration and in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, The Painting is a richly imagined story of four characters whose lives are delicately and powerfully entwined: Ayoshi, the painter, pines for her lover as she dutifully attends to her husband; Ayoshi's husband, Hayashi, a government official who's been disfigured in a deadly fire, has his own well of secret yearnings; Jorgen, wounded by the war and by life, buries himself in work at the Paris shop; and the shop owner's sister, Natalia, who shows Jorgen the true message of the painting.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fresh Starts, New Beginnings

A Year of exploring interests, ways to change your life, cures for what ails...

A year of reading : a month-by-month guide to classics and crowd-pleasers by H. Elisabeth Ellington and Jane Freimiller
A reading guide, organized around the calendar year, offers descriptions of each book, discussion questions, information about the authors.

A Year of Reading Proust: a memoir in real time by Phyllis Rose
The author describes how Proust's novels led her to understand the art of writing an autobiography, and recounts her experiences as an author, a woman, and a person in midlife.

Ten Poems to Change Your Life by Roger Housden
Draws on the words of wisdom from ten distinguished poets to explore such themes as the wisdom of dreams, the awakening of wonder, the longing for love, and the courage to live an authentic life.

Weekend to Change Your Life:find your authentic self after a lifetime of being all things to all people by Joan Anderson.
After years of focusing on the needs of others as a wife and mother, Anderson devoted a year to rediscovering herself and reinvigorating her dreams. The questions she asked herself and the insights she gained became the core of the popular weekend workshops she developed to help others like her. This book brings Anderson's techniques to women everywhere, providing a step-by-step path readers can follow at their own pace. Drawing on her own life and the experiences of the women she meets at her workshops, Anderson shows women how to move beyond the roles they play in relationship to others and reclaim their individuality.

Change your thoughts, change your life: living the wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer
Presents eighty-one essays discussing how to apply each verse of the Tao Te Ching to life in the twenty-first century.

Good design can change your life : beautiful rooms, inspiring stories by Ty Pennington
Shares practical design tips and inspirational behind-the-scenes stories from "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," counseling readers on how to evaluate their houses from a fresh perspective and implement lasting improvements.

Take a nap! Change your life : the scientific plan to make you smarter, healthier, more productive by Sara C. Mednick with Mark Ehrman
Imagine a product that increases alertness, boosts creativity, reduces stress, improves perception, stamina, motor skills, and accuracy, enhances your sex life, helps you make better decisions, keeps you looking younger, aids in weight loss, reduces the risk of heart attack, elevates your mood, and strengthens memory. Now imagine that this product is nontoxic, has no dangerous side effects, and, best of all, is absolutely free.
This miracle drug is, in fact, nothing more than the nap: the right nap at the right time.

What you wear can change your life by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine
Offers advice for dressing to correct physical flaws and boost self-esteem, discussing such topics as makeup, accessories, and looking one's best while pregnant.

The time paradox : the new psychology of time that will change your life by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd
Reveals how your individual time perspective shapes your life and is shaped by the world around you, interacting to create national cultures, economics, and personal destinies. Calling Dr. Who...

The light of conscience : how a simple act can change your life by Bill Shore
An inspirational meditation on the broader effects of good deeds demonstrates how small acts of conscience or kindness can ultimately shift the balance between good and evil, discussing such topics as parenting, service-related careers, and the personal rewards of good acts.

The Dewey Color System : choose your colors, change your life by Dewey Sadka
What motivates you? What’s your favorite color? Believe it or not, these two questions are inherently linked. And using the groundbreaking, fun, and remarkably accurate personality test in this book, you’ll learn to fine-tune your career goals, improve your communication skills, and deepen your relationships with romantic partners, friends, family members, and coworkers—all based on your color choices.

The Core Program : fifteen minutes a day that can change your life by Peggy W. Brill with Gerald S. Couzens
Outlines an exercise program for women designed to develop and strengthen the body's core muscles, including the back, hip, and abdominal muscles; and to achieve general well-being.

Write it down, make it happen : knowing what you want-- and getting it! by Henriette Anne Klauser
Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser, Ph.D., explains how simply writing down your goals in life is the first step toward achieving them. Writing can even help you understand what you want. In this book, you will read stories about ordinary people who witnessed miracles large and small unfold in their lives after they performed the basic act of putting their dreams on paper. Klauser's down-to-earth tips and easy exercises are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

How Proust can change your life : not a novel by Alain de Botton
Presents a study of Marcel Proust that combines elements of literary biography, textual analysis, and self-help manual as it examines the French writer's thoughts on true love, vacations, dating, and other issues.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stories of forgiveness and healing

The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg Laura Bartone anticipates her annual family reunion in Minnesota with a mixture of excitement and wariness. Yet this year’s gathering will prove to be much more trying than either she or her siblings imagined. As soon as she arrives, Laura realizes that something is not right with her sister. Forever wrapped up in events of long ago, Caroline is the family’s restless black sheep. When Caroline confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three have a difficult time reconciling their varying experiences in the same house. But a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness.

Big Fish a Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace Edward Bloom is dying, and his son William does not truly know him, until William arrives at Edward's deathbed, but since Edward shows no interest in talking to him, William makes up stories that recreate his father's life in heroic proportions.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again.

The Gift by Richard Paul Evans Nathan Hurst hated Christmas. For the rest of the world it was a day of joy and celebration; for Nathan it was simply a reminder of the event that destroyed his childhood until a snowstorm, a cancelled flight, and an unexpected meeting with a young mother and her very special son would show him that Christmas is indeed the season of miracles.

Miracle by Danielle Steel It is New Year’s Eve when the storm of the century hits northern California. In a quiet neighborhood in San Francisco, amid the chaos of fallen trees and damaged homes, the lives of three strangers are about to collide. For Quinn Thompson, what happens in the storm’s wake will bring down a barrier he has built around himself since his wife’s death. For neighbor Maggie Dartman, it will spark friendship at a time when she needs it most. And for Jack Adams, a carpenter who will repair Quinn’s and Maggie’s homes, the storm brings an opportunity: to help two people and to be repaid with the greatest gift of all.

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better -- and to put that plan into action.
The idea that Trevor comes up with is so simple and so naïve that when others learn of it they are dismissive. Even Trevor himself begins to doubt when his "pay it forward" plan seems to founder on a combination of bad luck and the worst of human nature.
What is his idea? Trevor chooses three people for whom he will do a favor, and then when those people thank him and ask how they might pay him back, he will tell them that instead of paying him back, they should each "pay it forward" by choosing three people for whom they can do favors, and in turn telling those people to pay it forward. It's nothing less than a human chain letter of kindness and good will.

The present : the gift that makes you happy and successful at work and in life by Spencer Johnson The Present is an engaging story of a young man’s journey to adulthood, and his search for The Present, a mysterious and elusive gift he first hears about from a great old man. This Present, according to the old man, is “the best present a person can receive.”
Later, when the young boy becomes a young man, disillusioned with his work and his life, he returns to ask the old man, once again, to help him find The Present. The old man responds, “Only you have the power to find The Present for yourself.”

Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler In 1965, the happy Bedloe family is living an ideal, apple-pie existence in Baltimore. Then, in the blink of an eye, a single tragic event occurs that will transform their lives forever--particularly that of seventeen-year-old Ian Bedloe, the youngest son, who blames himself for the sudden "accidental" death of his older brother.
Depressed and depleted, Ian is almost crushed under the weight of an unbearable, secret guilt. Then one crisp January evening, he catches sight of a window with glowing yellow neon, the CHURCH OF THE SECOND CHANCE. He enters and soon discovers that forgiveness must be earned, through a bit of sacrifice and a lot of love...A New York Times Notable Book

This Far by Faith Three tales of complicated mother-daughter relationships.
LaShun Tillman's many blessings haven't eased her pain at being abandoned as a baby. Fate has given her an opportunity to reveal to the world that her birth mother, former supermodel Sariah Langston, has an ugly past. But revenge is never simple—and neither is the truth.
Aspiring actress Jessica Drake lands a bit part in Broadway diva Diana Edmonds's latest show, only to find that her idol has feet of clay—plus a monumental ego. But their strained relationship is changed utterly when a reporter discovers that Jessica is really the daughter Diana thought had died long ago.
Beautiful Sienna St. James has spent her life being pushed into beauty pageants by her domineering, controlling mother, Sable. Now her blossoming relationship with a thoughtful young doctor has inspired her to live her life as she sees fit, even if it means losing everything she's known.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Family Traditions--Presents that are kept and given away

Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By

The daughter of baseball's great Jackie Robinson guides readers through the nine heart-felt, hard-won values that helped him achieve his goals: courage, determination, commitment, persistence, integrity, justice, teamwork, citizenship, and excellence.

Seventeen Traditions by Ralph Nader

One of America's most influential people reflects upon his upbringing in a small town in Connecticut, covering the seventeen "traditions" instilled in him and his siblings by loving but firm parents, which include listening, discipline, and civic duty.

Letters to Sam: a grandfather's lessons on love, loss, and the gifts of life by Daniel Gottlieb
When his grandson was born, Daniel Gottlieb began to write a series of heartfelt letters that he hoped Sam would read later in life. He planned to cover all the important topics—dealing with your parents, handling bullies, falling in love, coping with death—and what motivated him was the fear that he might not live long enough to see Sam reach adulthood. You see, Daniel Gottlieb is a quadriplegic—the result of a near-fatal automobile accident that occurred two decades ago—and he knows enough not to take anything for granted.
Then, when Sam was only 14 months old, he was diagnosed with Pervasive Develop-mental Disability, a form of autism, and suddenly everything changed. Now the grandfather and grandson were bound by something more: a disability—and Daniel Gottlieb’s special understanding of what that means became invaluable.
This lovingly written, emotionally gripping book offers unique—and universal—insights into what it means to be human.

10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children by Shmuley Boteach
In this compelling book, Shmuley Boteach, passionate social commentator and outspoken relationship guru, walks you through the critical conversations, including: cherishing childhood; developing intellectual curiosity; knowing who you are and what you want to become; learning to forgive; realizing the importance of family and tradition; being fearless and courageous. As a father of eight, Rabbi Shmuley speaks from a wealth of experience.

Wisdom of our fathers : lessons and letters from daughters and sons [collected by] Tim Russert
After the publication of journalist Russert's book about his father, he received thousands of letters from people who wanted to tell him about their own fathers, ordinary men who were remembered and cherished for some of their best moments-of advice, tenderness, strength, honor, discipline, and occasional eccentricity. Most of these daughters and sons were eager to express the gratitude they had carried with them through the years. Others wanted to share lessons and memories and, most important, pass them down to their own children. This book is for all fathers, young or old, who can learn from the men in these pages how to get it right, and to understand that sometimes it is the little gestures that can make the big difference for your child.

The treehouse : eccentric wisdom from my father on how to live, love, and see by Naomi Wolf

The book begins when Naomi asks Leonard to help build a treehouse for his granddaughter. Inspired by his dedication to her daughter's imaginative world, Naomi asks her father to walk her through the lessons of his popular poetry class and show her how he teaches people to liberate their creative selves. Drawn from Leonard's handwritten lecture notes, the chapters of The Treehouse remind us to "Be Still and Listen," "Use Your Imagination," "Do Nothing Without Passion," and that "Your Only Wage Will Be Joy," and "Mistakes Are Part of the Draft." More than an education in poetry writing, this is a journey of self-discovery in which the creative endeavor is paramount.

What Mama Taught Me by Tony Brown
Accrediting his mother's teaching through his own individual life lessons, the author introduces seven core values designed as a personal guide to achieving success, obtaining happiness, and enjoying prosperity.