Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Undead and Undying

So, is the current resurgence of interest in all things vampire dying out yet?

The answer is---probably not quite yet.

Many readers are looking forward to the May 3 release of the latest book in the Sookie Stackhouse southern vampire series by Charlaine Harris. Dead Reckoning is the eleventh book in this series which inspired the HBO television series called True Blood. Vampires, good or bad, are also featured in series by Laurell K Hamilton, MaryJanice Davidson and Sue Ann Jaffarian, to name just a few.

However, if you are a reader who would like to sample the vampire genre without committing to a long series, we suggest you try one of the following stand-alones:

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn. In 1858, author Theodora LeStrange flees spinsterhood in proper Scotland to the wilds of Transylvania where she meets the enigmatic Count Dragulescu. This is the story that might have been written by a female Bram Stoker with wonderful creepy atmosphere and characters.

Dracula In Love by Karen Essex. The Dracula story told from Mina’s point of view, this is Bram Stoker’s kind of gothic, but with a twist.

The Radleys by Matt Haig. Set in modern times, this is the story of a “typical” suburban family trying to hide just one small thing from the neighbors.

The Society of S by Susan Hubbard. A coming of age story about a teenage girl searching for her true identity: is she a vampire or not?

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth. How does one introduce the newly-inaugurated President of the United States to his own personal vampire?

We may not get any more vampire books from Anne Rice or Stephanie Meyer, but there is still so much to sink our teeth into. It looks like the undead are not dying out quite yet.

Leslie and Maryellen@Warrenton

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A More Perfect Union

Mr. Edwin C. Bearss, a nationally recognized expert on the Civil War, spoke on March 6, 2011, at the first in a library-sponsored series of programs commemorating the war’s sesquicentennial.

The library's community room was filled nearly to capacity with folks eager to hear Mr. Bearss’ reflections on Ken Burns’ documentary film series The Civil War which first aired on PBS in 1990 and which featured expert commentary by Mr. Bearss and other scholars.

This and upcoming programs relate to the library’s We the People collection, donated by the National Endowment for the Humanities in cooperation with the American Library Association. Burns' DVD series, The Civil War, is a part of the new collection.

The 2010-2011 collection of 19 books follows the theme “A More Perfect Union” and includes fiction and nonfiction for both children and adults. One of these is The Civil War: An Illustrated History by Geoffrey Ward, Ric Burns and Ken Burns, companion book to the film series and full of period photographs and reference material.

In the course of his very interesting talk, Mr. Bearss made two observations which resonated with me. First, he lamented the fact that history is of so little interest to a large segment of the American public, while simultaneously praising the Burns series for drawing a huge audience (he called Burns an “artiste” for the skill with which he wove together the photography, first-person accounts, music and other elements to entrance viewers) and igniting a renewed popular interest in the Civil War. Second, he noted that factual history and actual men and women from the past are often more compelling and fascinating than fictional stories and characters. Being a lover of history, I would agree.

One of my goals this year is to read (or reread) as many of the We the People titles as possible. I prepared for Mr. Bearss’ talk by watching the entire Burns series again, and I’m in the midst of reading the companion book mentioned above. The Bealeton Book Club read Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals in December, and I’ll be reading other titles in the near future — yes, even the children’s picture books!

See all the titles in this and previous years’ We the People collections.

Beth @ Bealeton

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

John Grisham Read-Alikes

Besides leading the pack in sales and readership in the legal thriller category, John Grisham is also the 2011 honorary chair of National Library Week. Hear him talk about what libraries mean to him.

If you've tackled all of Mr. Grisham's novels and are anxious for still more legal battles and nail-biting thrills, check out some of the authors listed here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Batter Up!

Baseball season is here again, as well as the renewed hope of seeing your favorite team play in the World Series in October.

New to the game of baseball? Check out Derek Gentile’s Splitters, Squeezes, and Steals: the Plays, Strategies, and Rules of Baseball.

Want to learn about the history of baseball? Ken Burns’ DVD documentary Baseball is an excellent place to start. Full of interesting stories, useful facts, and wonderful video footage, this series is a must-see for every baseball fan.

Want to learn more about your favorite players? The book Baseball Chronicles: An Oral History of Baseball Through the Decades is a good place to start. We also have biographies on many baseball players: from early players such as Ty Cobb, to well-known players such as Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth, to modern-day players such as Cal Ripkin and Alex Rodriguez.

Ever wonder why there seems to be a statistic for everything in baseball? The Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Definitive Record of Major League Baseball lists everything from team statistics to individual player statistics. Major League Baseball even tracks its statistics all the way back to 1871.

You can find dozens of books about baseball or those who play the game at the library. Play ball!

Vicky @ Warrenton