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.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tales from the kitchen

"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize
Julia Child, in Fitch, Appetite for Life, p. 142

With Thanksgiving upon us, some people are happily planning menus and reviving their specialty recipes to share -
while others are cringing in memory of disastrous episodes such as exploding potatoes or turkeys cooked with the additional "parts package" still inside (or worse.)

Nevertheless, tales of kitchen triumphs and culinary catastrophes continue to amuse and amaze, or console and comfort, while public cooking nightmares are even more enthralling.

Here are some tales from chefs, restaurant reviewers, and other witnesses, with a few recipes thrown in along the way:

Don't try this at home : culinary catastrophes from the world's greatest chefs edited by Kimberly Witherspoon and Andrew Friedman
Forty of the world's greatest chefs relate outrageous true tales from their kitchens. From hiring a blind line cook to flooding the room with meringue to being terrorized by a French owl, these behind-the-scenes accounts are as entertaining as they are revealing. A reminder that even the chefs we most admire aren't always perfect.

The tenth muse : my life in food by Judith Jones
A cookbook editor and culinary authority discusses her lifelong love affair with food, her publication of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and the influence of James Beard, Madhur Jaffrey, and other great cooks on American cuisine.

Tender at the bone : growing up at the table by Ruth Reichl
First of her three (so far) memoirs about how she grew up to become a New York Times Food Critic. Beginning with Reichl's mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the Queen of Mold, Reichl introduces us to the fascinating characters who shaped her world and her tastes.
Followed by
Comfort me with apples: more adventures at the table which describes her odyssey from chef to food writer, traces her journey through restaurants from Bangkok to Paris to Los Angeles, and offers colorful anecdotes about her life and encounters with great food, and Garlic and Sapphires:the secret life of a critic in disguise Gone on to become the editor-in-chief of "Gourmet", Reichl recounts her visits to some of the world's most acclaimed restaurants, both as herself and as an anonymous diner in disguise, to offer insight into the differences in her dining experiences.

Kitchen Confidential: adventures in the culinary underbelly by bad boy Anthony Bourdain gave away secrets of the New York restaurants trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir expose and went on to become an international celebrity and food writer. This was followed up by A cook's tour : in search of a perfect meal to Japan where he eats traditional fugu, a poisonous blowfish that can only be prepared by specially licensed chefs, to a delectable snack in the Mecong Delta, follows the author as he embarks on a quest around the world to find the ultimate meal, to his latest, No reservations : around the world on an empty stomach wherein he provides a behind-the-scenes account of his global culinary adventures, from New Jersey to New Zealand, offering commentary on food in every corner of the globe.

All the presidents' pastries : twenty-five years in the White House : a memoir by Roland Mesnier with Christian Malard
Combining intimate details about life behind the scenes at the White House and the members of the First Families, the White House pastry chef describes his personal journey from rural France to the power heights of Washington, D.C., and includes detailed recipes for the favorite desserts of presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Heat an amateur's adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta-maker, and apprentice to a Dante-quoting butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford
The author offers an account of his entry into the world of a professional cook-in-training, documenting his experiences in the kitchen of Mario Batali's restaurant Babbo and his apprenticeships in Italy with Batali's former teachers.
The Apprentice:my life in the kitchen byJacques Pepin
The Emmy Award-winning television cooking show host traces his rise from an intimidated thirteen-year-old apprentice to a famous chef, recounting such events as his work under prestigious teachers, his journey to America, and his experiences with contemporaries.

Julie and Julia : 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen by Julie Powell
What began as a blog, keeping record of her efforts to cook every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in her tiny Queens apartment in the span one year, which became a smash book as her bleaders (blog readers)vicariously followed her demented efforts.

To find more blogs about cooking, check out this blog directory, which even categorizes the food blogs:
Cooking Blog Directory

Thursday, November 06, 2008

True Adoption Tales

November is National Adoption Month
Here are some amazing family stories and resources on the process of adoption.

Who are the DeBolts and Why Do They Have 19 Kids? Award-winning DVD
Not only do parents Bob and Dorothy have six kids of their own, they have also opened up their hearts and their home to thirteen disadvantage and handicapped children. What results is an amazing mix of diversity. The multi ethnic kids are heroes who belie the typical stereotype of being handicapped. They go to school, do chores, and "hang out" while simultaneously navigating the difficulties of their disabilities.

The Family Nobody Wanted
Helen Doss's charming, touching, and at times hilarious chronicle tells how each of the children, representing white, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Mexican, and Native American backgrounds, came to her and husband Carl, a Methodist minister. She writes of the way the "unwanted" feeling was erased with devoted love and understanding and how the children united into one happy family. Her account reads like a novel, with scenes of hard times and triumphs described in vivid prose.

The Family Nobody Wanted, which inspired two films, opened doors for other adoptive families and was a popular favorite among parents, young adults, and children for more than thirty years. Now this edition will introduce the classic to a new generation of readers. An epilogue by Helen Doss that updates the family's progress since 1954 will delight the book's loyal legion of fans around the world.

Are those kids yours? American families with children adopted from other countries
The mother of two Korean-born daughters discusses intercultural and interracial adoption, addressing the special problems and social considerations.

Love in the Driest Season
Foreign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe in 1997. After witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of AIDS on the population, especially the children, the couple started volunteering at an orphanage that was desperately underfunded and short-staffed. One afternoon, a critically ill infant was brought to the orphanage from a village outside the city. She’d been left to die in a field on the day she was born, abandoned in the tall brown grass that covers the highlands of Zimbabwe in the dry season. After a near-death hospital stay, and under strict doctor’s orders, the ailing child was entrusted to the care of Tucker and Vita. Within weeks Chipo, the girl-child whose name means gift, would come to mean everything to them.

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child : From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years
With the proliferation of international adoptions, a specialized guide looks at the special challenges of parenting youngsters adopted from a foreign country, addressing such issues as how to help children deal with the adoption, bond with new parents, become an integral part of the family, and develop a positive self image that combines an American identity and ethnic origins.

The Post-Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption
Where do parents turn when the waited-for bonding with their adopted child is slow to form? When they find themselves grieving over the birth child they couldn't have? When the child they so eagerly welcomed into their home arrives with major, unexpected needs? Until now, adoptive parents have had to struggle silently with their feelings, which can range from flutters of anxiety to unbearable sadness.

At last, Karen J. Foli, a registered nurse, and her husband, John R. Thompson, a psychiatrist, lift the curtain of secrecy from "Post Adoption Depression Syndrome" (PADS). Drawing on their own experience as adoptive parents as well as interviews with dozens of adoptive families and experts in the field, the couple offers parents the understanding, support, and concrete solutions they need to overcome post-adoption blues-and open their hearts to the joy adoption can bring.

Adoptive Families Magazine
The library has the current 2 years of this practical periodical which address trends and issues related to adoption.

Many more resources are available at the library.

For additional information about adoption in Virginia, see also:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wishbone to the Rescue!

The Jack Russell Terrier who goes where no dog has gone before-into the pages of Robin Hood, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Don Quixote, and on a Journey to the Center of the Earth!

Join Wishbone in 4 classic literary adventures:
Paw Prints of Thieves

Joe nearly gets suspended when he helps the school lunch lady donate leftover food to a local shelter. Wishbone is reminded of Robin Hood, who risks arrest when he robs from the rich to give to the poor.

The Impawssible Dream
Joe's "impossible dream" of making it into the Encyclopedia of World Records for basketball free throws, inspires Wishbone's imagination. He remembers the story of Don Quixote de la Mancha and his dream to conquer giants and knights to win the kingdom.

The Hunchdog of Notre Dame
During a roller hockey game, Wishbone is reminded of the tale about the famous hunchback of Notre Dame cathedral. Imagining himself as the deformed bell ringer, Quasimodo, Wishbone gets involved in a life-and-death struggle with his evil master, Frollo.

Hot Diggety Dawg
While helping Wanda dig, Wishbone finds a mysterious treasure. This reminds him of Professor Liedenbrock, who digs his way to the mystery that lies at the center of the Earth in Jules Verne's 'A Journey to the Center of the Earth.'

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


In honor of National Book Month in October, we list here
tales true and not so true about people whose love of books, and quest for finding rarities leads them to mayhem, mystery and much musing.

Memoirs of a book snake : 40 years of seeking and saving old books by David Meyer.
Anecdotes from the life of a book scout, or "book snake," a mistaken term for book worm that a friend of his used once. Tales from a life devoted to seeking out the rare find among dusty bins and auction boxes, and where they take him around the country.

Sixpence House: lost in a town of books by Paul Collins
Paul Collins and his family abandoned the hills of San Francisco to move to the Welsh countryside-to move, in fact, to the little cobblestone village of Hay-on-Wye, the 'Town of Books' that boasts fifteen hundred inhabitants-and forty bookstores. Antiquarian bookstores, no less.

Hay's newest citizens accordingly take up residence in a sixteenth-century apartment over a bookstore, meeting the village's large population of misfits and bibliomaniacs by working for world-class eccentric Richard Booth-the self-declared King of Hay, owner of the local castle, and proprietor of the world's largest and most chaotic used book warren. A useless clerk, Paul delights in shifting dusty stacks of books around and sifting them for ancient gems like Robinson Crusoe in Words of One Syllable, Confessions of an Author's Wife, and I Was Hitler's Maid. He also duly fulfills his new duty as a citizen by simultaneously applying to be a Peer in the House of Lords and attempting to buy Sixpence House, a beautiful and neglected old tumbledown pub for sale in the town's center.

Books : a memoir by Larry McMurtry
Yes, that Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize winning and bestselling author, whose books have been turned into films, like Lonesome Dove, and Terms of Endearment, the Last Picture Show.
In this work of extraordinary charm, grace, and good humor, McMurtry recounts his life as both a reader and a writer, how the countless books he has read worked to form his literary tastes, while giving us a lively look at the eccentrics who collect, sell, or simply lust after rare volumes. Books: A Memoir is like the best kind of diary -- full of McMurtry's wonderful anecdotes, amazing characters, engaging gossip, and shrewd observations about authors, book people, literature, and the author himself. At once chatty, revealing, and deeply satisfying, Books is, like McMurtry, erudite, life loving, and filled with excellent stories. It is a book to be savored and enjoyed again and again.

Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: reflections at 60 and beyond is his musing from 10 years earlier about similar topics.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
Inspired by the process of creating a library for his fifteenth-century home near the Loire, in France, Alberto Manguel, the acclaimed writer on books and reading, has taken up the subject of libraries. “Libraries,” he says, “have always seemed to me pleasantly mad places, and for as long as I can remember I’ve been seduced by their labyrinthine logic.” In this personal, deliberately unsystematic, and wide-ranging book, he offers a captivating meditation on the meaning of libraries.

Manguel, a guide of irrepressible enthusiasm, conducts a unique library tour that extends from his childhood bookshelves to the “complete” libraries of the Internet, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Arab world, from China and Rome to Google. He ponders the doomed library of Alexandria as well as the personal libraries of Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, and others. He recounts stories of people who have struggled against tyranny to preserve freedom of thought—the Polish librarian who smuggled books to safety as the Nazis began their destruction of Jewish libraries; the Afghani bookseller who kept his store open through decades of unrest. Oral “memory libraries” kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned books, the imaginary library of Count Dracula, the library of books never written—Manguel illuminates the mysteries of libraries as no other writer could. With scores of wonderful images throughout, The Library at Night is a fascinating voyage through Manguel’s mind, memory, and vast knowledge of books and civilizations.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff
An oldie but a goodie.
In 1949,(before the Internet) this tells the saga of a 20-year correspondence between a New Yorker seeking obscure titles and a London antiquarian bookseller. It covers the post-war years in England and the coronation of the Queen, and what was happening with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
It was eventually turned into a play and later a movie with the same title, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Big Read on Audio CD

The library recently received a wonderful donation of audio CDs from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This collection highlights 14 novels (so far) that are considered classics, such as The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby, Fahrenheit 451, and contemporary and multicultural titles such as Bless Me Ultima, Their Eyes Watching God, and The Joy Luck Club.

Designed to be used in conjunction with book group or classroom discussions, these audio CDs contain 1 disc per title, providing an introduction to the work. They include excerpts and critical analysis featuring well-known actors, authors, and commentators, such as Ed Harris, Robert Redford, Amy Tan, Ray Bradbury, Walter Mosley, Scott Simon and Kurt Anderson.

Dana Gioia, Chairmen of the NEA, narrates many of the excerpts on the CDs.
He states:
"The purpose of The Big Read, like the purpose of literature itself, is pleasure. Not necessarily an easy pleasure, but a deliciously rich and complex one. A great book combines enlightenment with enchantment. It awakens our imagination and enlarges our humanity. It can even offer harrowing insights that somehow console and comfort us."

Each branch has a complete set.

For a catalog listing of books included, please see:
The Big Read

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15-October 15

In recognition of the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture, this observance was originally signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 first as a weekly commemoration, and under President Reagan, in 1988 expanded to a full month.

This year, 2008, celebrates both a 40-year anniversary and a 20-year anniversary.

Here are some of the resources available at Fauquier Library about Hispanic life, culture and contributions to American society:

Latina magazine
People en español magazine
are both available at the Bealeton and Marshall Branch libraries.

Hispanic American Scientists and Hispanic American Writers illustrate the lives of prominent Hispanic Americans and their contributions to those fields.

Los Hispanos en Hollywood : celebrando 100 años en el cine y la televisión by Luis Reyes y Peter Rubie discusses the popular culture contributions and growing acclaim of Hispanic actors in Hollywood.

Hispanic Firsts: 500 years of extraordinary achievement by Nicolás Kanellos discusses many different areas of contribution by Hispanic Americans over the centuries.

Finding Your Hispanic Roots assists genealogical research for those whose ancestors came from Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

The Other Face of America by Jorge Ramos describes the hopes and fears of immigrants to the United States from Mexico and other Latin American countries, and discusses their experiences in the United States, racism, linguistic change, and future developments.

The library has several other books in Spanish by
Jorge Ramos the popular Univision anchor.

Once upon a quinceañera Coming of Age in the USA by Julia Alvarez gives a cultural exploration of the Latina fifteenth birthday celebration traces the experiences of a Queens teen preparing for her quinceañera, in an account that documents the history of the celebration's traditions as well as its growing popularity.

Something to Declare.
In her first book of nonfiction, Julia Alvarez takes us behind the scenes and shares the lessons she's learned on her way to becoming an internationally acclaimed novelist. In 1960, when Alvarez was ten years old, her family fled the Dominican Republic. Her father participated in a failed coup attempt against the dictator Rafael Trujillo, and exile to the United States was the only way to save his life. The family settled in New York City, where Dr. Alvarez set up a medical practice in the Bronx while his wife and four daughters set about the business of assimilation--a lifelong struggle. Loss of her native land, language, culture, and extended family formed the thematic basis for two of Julia Alvarez's three best-selling novels.

Crossing Over: a Mexican family on the migrant trail by Ruben Martinez A powerful account of migrant culture traces the Chavez family as they leave their southern-Mexican town and embark on a perilous journey through the underground railroad to the tomato farms of Missouri, the strawberry fields of California, and the slaughterhouses of Wisconsin.

Bella Based on the award winning film, this novel version by Lisa Sampson tells the story of Jose, an international soccer star, who is on his way to sign a multi-million dollar contract when a series of events brings his career to a halt. Nina, a struggling waitress trying to make it in New York City, discovers something about herself she's unprepared for. In one irreversible moment, their lives are turned inside out - until a simple gesture of kindness brings them together, turning an ordinary day into an extraordinary experience.

Friday, September 12, 2008

United States History -a musical and more!

The drama! the significance! the arguments!
Yes, it's all here in this musical celebration of the founding fathers of the United States, at the Second Continental Congress, writing the Declaration of Independence, prelude to the writing of the United States Constitution.
The cast includes William Daniels as John Adams, Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson, Blythe Danner as Martha Jefferson, Howard da Silva as Benjamin Franklin.

Click here for some memorable dialogue and debate lines from the film and play.

The musical was conceived by a history teacher, and many of the lines were real quotes. The conversations between John and Abigail Adams are based on their letters to each other. However, while it is based on real history, and much of it is correct, the historical accuracy is discussed in a wikipedia article about the film and play.

Other resources at the library about the establishment of our republic, and the role of the constitution include:

Our Constitution [DVD] : a conversation- A project of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands
United States Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer talk about the Constitution with high school students and discuss why we have and need a constitution, what federalism is, how implicit and explicit rights are defined, and how separation of powers ensures that no one branch of government obtains too much power.

A conversation on the Constitution [DVD] : judicial independence- A project of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, and Sandra Day O'Connor fielded questions in Washington Tuesday, May 16, 2006 from 50 high school students from the Philadelphia and Los Angeles areas. The students and justices discussed the significance of the judiciary and the ways that independence is protected by the Constitution.

Key Constitutional concepts [DVD] : a conversation
This documentary begins by introducing the Constitution and why it was created. It then examines key Constitutional concepts -- separation of powers and individual rights -- by focusing on two landmark cases: Youngstown v. Sawyer, a challenge to President Truman's decision to put the steel mills under government control, and Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court establishes the right to be represented by an attorney.

1776 : excerpts from the acclaimed history, with letters, maps, and seminal artwork by David McCullough
This includes reproductions of original letters, maps, and other illustrations.

The genius of America : how the Constitution saved our country--and why it can again by Eric Lane and Michael Oreskes.
Traces the history of the Constitution and how it came into being, exploring how it has weathered past crises, how it effectively helps us govern our nation, and the current threats to the constitutional process.
The Genius of America looks at the Constitution’s history relative to this current crisis. Starting with the eleven years between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution’s adoption, they show how our near failure to create a loosely knit nation led the framers to devise a system that takes human nature into account. The Genius of America reminds us the Constitution is our national glue.

For additional resources, search the library's catalog
under the subject headings:
United States Constitution

United States Constitutional Convention

Friday, September 05, 2008

September is National Preparedness Month

With news of hurricanes, severe weather and possible power outages,
here are some resources that can help you develop a plan for your family,
prepare supplies, and learn more about how to respond:

Just in Case: how to be self-sufficient when the unexpected happens
Author Kathy Harrison guides readers through the empowering process of setting up such a home system with her OAR method — Organize existing supplies, Acquire additional necessities, Rotate everything for freshness. Her comprehensive coverage of emergency preparedness includes food storage, alternative heating sources, personal supplies for every family member, entertainment ideas, toiletry and proper clothing, pet supplies, emergency family communication plans, and neighborhood cooperatives.

In addition to preparing the home for extended periods without electricity, Harrison also discusses evacuation plans — where to go, how to meet up with family, what to pack, and how best to protect all that’s being left behind. Self-sufficiency at home or in a temporary safe haven takes away much of the fear and helplessness associated with disasters.

Essentials in Emergency Management: including the all-hazards approach by Brian J. Gallant
This book takes a broader approach, covering the history of emergency management, the National Incident Management System (NIMS), natural and technological hazards, how to handle pets in an emergency, the role of volunteers for emergency support functions particularly in the aftermath and recovery process, as well as useful charts and checklists for supply kits, an emergency response plan, and a severe weather manager's checklist.

Be alert, be aware, have a plan : the complete guide to protecting yourself, your home, your family by Neal Rawls with Sue Kovach
Being prepared means being in control. Here is hard-won advice from a veteran security expert for people who want to protect themselves and their families in any situation, including personal security, crime prevention, workplace safety, as well as natural disasters, and other concerns.

For more information, go to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and also Virginia's
Ready Campaign website for an online supply kit checklist, family emergency plans and other useful tips.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Latest from the Teaching Company and Modern Scholars Audio and DVD Series

School is now in session --
here are a few highlights from the new DVD and Audio CD collection for courses that you may not have taken when you were in school!

Classics of Russian Literature a three-part series that explores the background and context of a country whose literature has been described as focusing on the "depths of the human soul".
Among the 40 works of novels, stories, plays and poems by Russian authors are War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, Dr. Zhivago, and The Seagull and ends with Solzhenitsyn's writings.

How the Earth Works an eight part DVD series discusses the making of our planet from the Big Bang theory to the formation of the solar system,to the subsequent evolution of Earth, including plate tectonics, glaciers, earthquakes and all things geological.

An Introduction to Number Theory is four-part DVD class which provides an overview of high-level number concepts, with step-by-step explanations, anecdotes and demonstrations covering geometric progression, the Binet Formula, prime numbers, cryptography, and Fermat's Last Theorem, among other theories.

Visions of Utopia: philosophy and the perfect society is explored on audio CD through the Modern Scholars Series. Included are Plato's Republic, Thomas Moore's Utopia, and Rousseau's The Social Contract.

The Hebrew Bible discusses what is known as the Tanakh, or how the Old Testament came to be, and how it has been passed down and interpreted through the ages.

Take me out to the ballgame: a history of baseball in America covers the origins and fundamentals of the game, starting in the 19th century, with detailed decade coverage of the 20th century.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summertime, and the living is Green

Looking for ways to live closer to nature, and eliminate chemicals, pesticides, and other worrisome elements from your home, food and yard?
And what about those light bulbs?

Here are some titles to explore:

Easy Green Living
A definitive guide to an eco-friendly lifestyle shares sensible suggestions for using an array of "green" home, garden, and beauty products and routines, with recommendations on safe, affordable options for renewable energy solutions, allergen-free textiles, cleaning products, and other ways to eliminate toxins, enhance personal health, reduce waste, and promote environmental awareness.

Everything Green Living Book
Provides information on ways to live a "green" lifestyle. Covers such topics as building a green house, using nontoxic cleaning supplies, eating organic foods, recycling, ecotourism, and transporation.

Building green : a complete how-to guide to alternative building methods : earth, plaster, straw bale, cordwood, cob, living roofs
Helps environmentally conscious readers build a home with the health of the planet as a primary concern, offering advice on design, siting, and construction of various types of sustainable buildings.

Farewell my Subaru: an epic adventure in local living
Like many Americans, Doug Fine enjoys his creature comforts, but he also knows full well they keep him addicted to oil. So he wonders: Is it possible to keep his Netflix and his car, his Wi-Fi and his subwoofers, and still reduce his carbon footprint? Inan attempt to find out, Fine moves to a remote ranch in New Mexico, where he brazenly vows to grow his own food, use sunlight to power his world, and drive on restaurant grease. Never mind that he has no farming, mechanical or electrical skills. Whether installing solar panels, defending goats he found on Craigslist against coyotes, or co-opting waste oil from a local restaurant to fill the tank in his Ridiculously Oversized American Truck, Fine's undertaking makes one thing clear: It ain't easy being green. In fact, his journey uncovers a slew of surprising facts about alternative energy, organic and locally grown food, and climate change.

Your naturally healthy home

Discusses home renovation, improvement and construction.

The Organic lawn care manual: a natural, low-maintenance system for a beautiful, safe lawn
Explains how to make a lawn safe and environmentally friendly using organic methods, and how to pick the best grass for each climate and sunlight situation.

Solar Living Source Book
30th Anniversary Edition, and still going strong.

Diet for a small planet
The book that started the trend toward less meat, more veggies.
Encourages making changes in dietary patterns by explaining the ways in which plant protein compares favorably with meats and providing numerous recipes for inexpensive, meatless meals.

Non-toxic home and office by Debra Dadd-Redalia
Or any of the several books by this author, which all focus on how to live as chemical-free as possible.

Natural Home magazine provides on-going tips and suggestions, with beautiful pictures, of how people across the country have implemented a "green" lifestyle.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Visit phantom Great Britain from your armchair

Lochdubh, the sleepy Highlands town of P.C. Hamish MacBeth, has the usual petty small village crimes of poaching, and disturbing the peace. But there's also an unusually high murder rate, which he finds really annoying, since he doesn't want to work too hard, and would rather go fishing, or have a pint.
Death of a Gossip is the first in the series, which has improved with age. The most recent in the series, which is up to #24, is Death of a Gentle Lady.
Hamish MacBeth's character became the genesis of a popular BBC TV series, starring Robert Carlyle, that was filmed in the real town of

Llanfair, in mountainous North Wales, is home of P.C. Evan Evans (yep-not a typo),
who comes there seeking a peaceful existence after a personal trauma.
Evans Above is the first of 10 titles in the series, which is on hiatus as the author, Rhys Bowen, concentrates on other series.

Somewhere in the Cotswolds, former London advertising executive, Agatha Raisin, retires and buys a cottage. She pays someone else to decorate it. She doesn't like to garden or cook, either. She's got lots of money, and lots of time on her hands.
Somehow, she just can't get the hang of village life.
Used to competitive corporate ways, she tries to cheat her way into acceptance by winning a food contest at the annual fair in
Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death. Agatha takes a lot of lumps over the course of 17 mysteries so far, as she learns, or rather, unlearns, how to live. She also discovers lots of dead bodies, and makes a lot of enemies along the way. But Agatha is a survivor. She's also determined to have a man in her life. Agatha, off-putting and maddening, has a lot of fans.

Tilling, Sussex a small coastal town, is the setting for the fiercely funny episodes of the (ahem) ladies, Mapp and Lucia, who vie for social prominence as they one-up each other at fests and dinner parties. Penned by E. F. Benson in the 1930's, these were also made into a BBC series in the 1980's. Social snobbery at it's finest.

Miss Read is the author of two series that occur in the small villages of
Thrush Green and Fairacre. The unmarried school teacher of the village, named "Miss Read" becomes involved in the lives of the villagers through her students. Gentle reads of life long past, these timeless tales are said to have influenced Jan Karon, among others. More relaxing than a vacation in a cabin on the lake.

Before there were any of these series, Anthony Trollope created the Chronicles of Barsetshire, a fictitious Cathedral town in 6 novels tracing the manners and maneuvers of the gentry in 19th century England.
Barchester Chronicles on DVD, starring a very young Alan Rickman, incorporates the first two novels by Trollope. Parts of this were filmed in the beautiful cathedral town of Peterborough.

Cranford, based on three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell,is a market town in northwest England in 1842. It is a place governed by etiquette, custom and above all, an intricate network of ladies. It seems that life has always been conducted according to their social rules. For spinsters Deborah Jenkyns, the arbiter of correctness, and Matty, her demurring sister, the town is a hub of intrigue. Handsome new doctor Frank Harrison has arrived from London; a retired Captain and his daughters move in across the street and preparations for Lady Ludlow's garden party are underway. The town has some secrets which are about to be revealed. But news comes that shakes the town, a railway line from Manchester is coming to Cranford.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

On staycation? Visit some imaginary places in the United States

The Ladies of Covington send their love from their new home in Covington, North Carolina.
Follow Grace, Amelia and Hannah as they decide that the last thing they want to do is live out their lives in a group home. To the dismay of their children, they pool their resources and move to Covington, North Carolina, and new lives. This is the first title in a series of seven so far by Joan Medlicott.

Not so far away from Covington is the beloved town of Mitford, home of Father Tim, Cynthia, Dooley, Barnabus the dog, and Violet the cat.
At home in Mitford introduces the main characters. After 9 books in Mitford, Father Tim returns to his childhood past in Home to Holly Springs (a real place in Mississippi.)

Lumby is somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
Mark and Pam Walker, a vacationing couple from the East Coast, arrive in the tiny Pacific Northwest town of Lumby, planning to restore the village's dilapidated Montis Abbey and turn it into an inn. It takes a while for the quirky locals to warm up to the idea and to the newcomers, especially irascible William Beezer, owner of the local newspaper
The Lumby Lines.
To date, author Gail Grady has penned 3 in this series in which Lumby has seen a new B& B established, investigated an art theft, and hosted a hot air balloon festival.

In the fictional small town of Harmony, Indiana, Sam Gardner becomes the pastor of his hometown church, Harmony Friends Meeting. In this delightful, first-person novel, Sam describes in a warm, down-home style the moving and humorous adventures he encounters his first year, Home to Harmony.

Maggody, AK
Ozarks small town sheriff, Arly Hanks has dealt with a citizens revolt against a new supermarket, a Hollywood production company come to town, returning country music superstars, Confederate gold rumors, crop circles and tabloid reports and militia groups, along with murder, mayhem and just plain goofy citizens.
Malice in Maggody is the first in this long-running series by Joan Hess.

Lake Wobegon, Minnesota
The episodic novels of Garrison Keillor, recounting the citizens and woes of Lake Wobegon, include
Pontoon, and
Wobegon Boy among other tales.

Moose County, Maine
Home of Jim Qwilleran, and his brilliant Siamese cat, Koko, later joined by Yum Yum, and assorted odd-ball characters in the territory.
The Cat who could read backwards is the first in this long popular series.

Cape Light on the coast of New England introduces a hamlet populated by colorful inhabitants who share a strong sense of community and caring for their neighbors.

Waterford, PA is home to Elm Creek Manor.
When Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, move to the small town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, to get a fresh start, Sarah struggles to find a fulfilling job. Disheartened by failed interviews, she reluctantly accepts a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor helping seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale after the recent death of Sylvia's estranged sister. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this reclusive, cantankerous master quilter.
The Quilter's Apprentice is the first in this ever-growing series, featuring quilting patterns.

Next posting: imaginary villages in Great Britain.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Floods of the Past

Rising tide : the great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America by John M. Barry

An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
At the end of the last century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hard-working families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity: among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 townspeople. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal. From research in the voluminous records, diaries, letters, interviews with numbers of survivors, and a rare, previously unknown transcript of a private investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania Railroad, David McCullough vividly re-creates the chain of events that led to the catastrophe, and then unfolds the incredible story of the flood itself and its aftermath. Graced by David McCullough's remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing, classic portrait of life in 19th-century America, of overweening confidence, energy, and tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.

In sunlight, in a beautiful garden by Kathleen Cambor
A love story set in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, before and after the 1889 dam disaster that took more than two thousand lives chronicles the greed and abuse of power in post-Civil War America.

Julie by Catherine Marshall
Her last novel was inspired by research on the Johnstown flood,and is partly based on autobiographical experiences of the author. A struggling, small-town newspaper, and steel-mill strikes also play important roles in the drama.

Isaac's storm : a man, a time, and the deadliest hurricane in history by Erik Larsen
Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Isaac Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf.

That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not.

In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss.

Living on flood plains and wetlands : a homeowner's high water handbook by Maureen Gilmer
Offers some practical advice for homeowners.