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.