Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Long Time Ago In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away





Dun...Dun...DUN DUN DUN DUUUN....DUUUN....

If John Williams's epic theme immediately popped into your brain, congratulations.  You are a Star Wars geek.  It's been 36 years (as of May 25) since George Lucas introduced the world to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader.  Although the special effects may seem dated, and the dialogue might seem rather cheesy now, there's no denying that the series has captured the attention and passion of both new and old fans.  As someone who dressed up as Princess Leia (white robe and buns on each side of my head) for Halloween when I was six; was once convinced that Darth Vader was lurking in my closet (don't ask);  and read the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back numerous times, Star Wars movies and paraphernalia have been big personal interests since I was a child.  If it's been a while since you've watched the movies or if you're interested in learning about the creation and culture behind Star Wars, the library has plenty of materials that will satisfy even the most ardent Star Wars fanatic.

Has it been a while since you've watched the movies? You can either start with the prequel trilogy, or you can just pretend that those movies don't exist, and watch the original trilogy (fun fact: Return of the Jedi was originally called Revenge of the Jedi, until it was pointed out that a Jedi wouldn't seek revenge--posters and other promotional materials with the original name fetch a pretty, pretty penny). Note that watching the series in its new order will ruin several key moments in 4-6.   If you can't remember the difference between Jango Fett or Boba Fett, The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia should set you straight. You can also consult the "visual dictionaries" for Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, and Episodes IV-VI.

With the completion of the prequel trilogy, it became clear that Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader is the central character in the Star Wars trilogy (whereas the central arc in the original trilogy was the maturation of Luke Skywalker, which of course ties into Vader's story). Vader is one of the most intriguing and complex villains in science fiction film history; The Complete Vader is an impressive look at the creation and fame of The Dark Lord of the Sith.

Star Wars has spawned an overwhelming number of science fiction novel series. Several series deal with the continuation of the saga after Return of the Jedi, while some focus on stories taking place before the prequels' timeline.  In order to get a handle on what's what, Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion should be most handy (it also discusses children's series and ebook series). 


If you're a Trekkie, this weekend is for seeing the new Star Trek movie.   If you're a Star Wars geek, rewatch the first Star Wars movie (or, as George Lucas and my TAG group call it, "the fourth"--*tear*) and don't think too hard about the fact that Disney is now in charge of the franchise.  May the Force be with you.

Jennifer @ Warrenton












Friday, May 24, 2013

Fashion fact or fiction?


Do you still follow the rule, "Don't wear white before Memorial Day?" Chances are if you do, you probably stick to other fashion rules passed on by your mother or grandmother like, "shoes and handbags must match" or "never wear red if you're a redhead."

Well, maybe it's time to put those fashion myths to rest.  Live a little, as my mother-in-law used to say, and pair up navy shoes with a black handbag.  And, while you're at it, how about a whole new fashion makeover? 

 If you' d like some help shedding your current style, check out Secrets of style : the complete guide to dressing your best every day. It promises to make "fashion understandable, achievable and, maybe most importantly, fun." In chapters covering everything from shopping and storage to specific clothing items (like suits, shoes and lingerie) to particular occasions (e.g., traveling and maternity), the editors share tips many readers would never even think they needed to know.  

 Not ready for high fashion or runway styles?  Then Women's Wardrobe  may be what you need.  In three simple steps, this book helps you to put chic into your outfits.  By learning to mix style with color and texture, you, too, can develop fashion savvy that may not shout "haute couture" but is just right for soccer games or the next school fundraiser. 

 Ok, forget about whether it's ok to wear white or if your red hair clashes with your new red sweater.  Many of us just want an answer to the question, “What should I wear to work?”  Lands' End Business Attire For Women  will help you quickly and confidently assess your workplace and your style, so you’ll always know exactly what to wear to work.  It’s a practical, down-to-earth, and eminently sensible guide to dressing for work with a sense of style and fun, leaving you lots of time for life’s bigger questions.

How many times have you bought a jacket or dress that looked fabulous on your friend but looks just plain lousy on you?  Enter British fashion advisors and authors Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine.  The duo is best known for the BBC television series What Not to Wear and have also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show as makeover experts. In their best-selling book, What Not To Wear , they say, "style isn't something you are born with, but something any one can learn." In another bestseller,  What You Wear Can Change Your Life , Trinny and Susannah show you how to redefine your look and style from head to toe.

So, how about it. Are you going to ignore your mother and break the rules? I'm all for it, but then I'm not a red head and my shoes never match my purse.
 


Expert Advice



The main article in the May issue of Consumer Reports is "101 Secrets From Our Experts: The Insider's Guide to Practically Everything."  The Consumer Reports experts give their best tips on a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Where not to place delicate foods in the refrigerator
  • Why you shouldn't use nitrogen in your tires
  • What to use when cleaning a computer screen
  • And our favorite tip--the public library is a resource for people who need help with research!  Take a tip from this and stop by your local library--the reference librarians can help you with your search for information.

Other useful articles in this issue are:

  • Ratings for the top six mattresses, both innerspring and memory foam
  • Ratings for blenders
  • Information on Vitamin D supplements
  • Ratings for lawn mowers and lawn tractors
  • And . . . the "Cracker Crunch-Off"--do all healthy crackers taste bad?

Each branch of the Fauquier County Library has the print issues of Consumer Reports from 2009 up to the current issue.  The Find It Virginia databases have an index to the issues from February 1, 1976 to the current issue, and the full-text of the reviews from January 1, 1999 to June 1, 2009.  You can access Find It Virginia from any library computer, or from home with your valid Fauquier County Public Library card.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On Conan Doyle


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
One of my favorite writers about books and reading is MichaelDirda, former book columnist for the Washington Post. Mr. Dirda is an admirer of the work of Arthur Conan Doyle and shares his appreciation for this writer’s stories, characters and life in the recent book On Conan Doyle. This small volume contains a summary of Dirda’s own adventures in reading, highlights of the life of Arthur Conan Doyle, a glimpse into the erudite world of the modern Baker Street Irregulars, and an excellent bibliography.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) is widely known as the creator of the world’s greatest consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his friend and chronicler, Dr John H Watson. Conan Doyle was of the opinion, however, that writing the Holmes stories kept him from working on things of higher value. Michael Dirda notes Conan Doyle’s own choices for his best works: The White Company* and its prequel, Sir Nigel*, which are medieval historical novels; his multivolume history of World War I; and his writings about Spiritualism.

Julian Symons, one of Conan Doyle’s biographers, says “Anybody who wants to approach him as a man of letters should read the Sherlock Holmes stories, the major historical novels, the Brigadier Gerard tales, one of the science fiction novels, and a selection of the short stories.”

As storyteller, sportsman and citizen of the British Empire, Arthur Conan Doyle was a man of his time, who found the attitudes and lifestyles of the post-World War I era not to his liking. Modern times, however, have not diminished our fascination with his iconic characters, Holmes and Watson. The recent movies starring Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law combine the ambience of gaslit London with startling special effects. There are currently two shows on television that bring Holmes and Watson into modern times, one set in London (Sherlock) and one in New York City (Elementary).

Whether you’d like to read (or re-read) the Holmes stories, find out more about the life of Arthur Conan Doyle, or explore how his storytelling has influenced modern writers, the library has a large selection of material to choose from. Some of my favorites are:


                                                                                          *titles available through inter-library loan
Maryellen@Warrenton

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Best Seller Lists

New York Times 5/19/2013

Hardcover Fiction
1. Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
2. Silken Prey by John Sandford
3. 12th of Never by James Patterson
4. The Hit by David Baldacci
5. A Step of Faith by Richard Paul Evans
6. A Delicate Truth by John le Carré                                      
7. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts                                               
8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn                                                 
9. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark
10. Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland by Ace Atkins                      
11. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson                                         
12. Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer
13. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd          
14. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill                                                         
15. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson with Mark Schlabach       
2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg                                             
3. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
4. Cooked by Michael Pollan                                                
5. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
6. Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox
7. The Duck Commander Family by Willie & Korie Robertson
8. Obsessed by Mika Brzezinski with Diane Smith
9. Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick
10. Keep it Pithy by Bill O’Reilly                                              
11. Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
12. Carrie and Me by Carol Burnett                                         
13. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor                              
14. Saving Italy by Robert M. Edsel                                        
15. I’ll See You Again by Jackie Hance with Janice Kaplan


Washington Post  5/19/2013

Hardcover Fiction
1. Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
2. 12th of Never by James Patterson                                      
3. Silken Prey by John Sandford
4. A Delicate Truth by John le Carré                                      
5. The Hit by David Baldacci                                                
6. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts                                               
7. A Step of Faith by Richard Paul Evans
8. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark
9. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd
10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn                                                 

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
3. Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson with Mark Schlabach
4. Cooked by Michael Pollan
5. The Unstoppables by Bill Schley                                        
6. Obsessed by Mika Brzezinski with Diane Smith
7. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
8. Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger & Kenneth Cukier     
9. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath                                            
10. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Best Seller Lists

New York Times 5/12/2013

Hardcover Fiction
1. 12th of Never by James Patterson
2. The Hit by David Baldacci
3. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
4. Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer
5. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
6. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark
7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
8. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah
9. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
10. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd (NOTE: Library has CD book)
11. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
12. The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs
13. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
14. A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin
15. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
2. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
3. Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox
4. Cooked by Michael Pollan
5. My Next Step by Dave Liniger
6. Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick
7. The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen
8. Carrie and Me by Carol Burnett
9. The Duck Commander Family by Willie & Korie Robertson
10. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
11. Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill
12. Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff
13. Gulp by Mary Roach
14. Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
15. I’ll See You Again by Jackie Hance with Janice Kaplan

Washington Post 5/12/2013

Hardcover Fiction
1. 12th of Never by James Patterson
2. The Hit by David Baldacci
3. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
4. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd (NOTE: Library has CD book)
5. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark
6. Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer
7. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
9. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah
10. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
2. Cooked by Michael Pollan
3. Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick
4. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
5. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
6. Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox
7. It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow
8. VB6 by Mark Bittman
9. Jumpstart to Skinny by Bob Barper with Greg Critser
10. The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen

Friday, May 10, 2013

Heartwarming Reads


I’m sure you would agree that as good citizens, we should all try to keep up with the major events and issues of the day. This would seem to be an easy task given the avalanche of news reports bombarding us from every side and in every possible medium. The difficulty, however, comes not only in sifting out the essential facts from the barrage of nonsense and propaganda, but also in maintaining one’s emotional equilibrium while digesting the news. The latter poses a particular challenge these days, with the headlines full of sequesters and looming fiscal meltdowns, unrest (both civil and otherwise), natural disasters, man’s inhumanity to man and beast (and vice versa), and mayhem of all sorts.

If you find yourself needing to decompress from all this misery, the library has just the thing for you: heartwarming books! These are guaranteed to provide a respite in the storm, light a candle in the gloom, and restore a bit of your faith in the order of the universe.


The library has many uplifting and inspiring accounts of how people overcame adversity, sacrificed for others, and met life’s challenges with courage and optimism.  Try Strength in What Remains : A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness by Tracy Kidder--the true story of a young man from war-torn Burundi who came to America with nothing and made it through medical school.  No Biking in the House Without a Helmet  by Melissa Fay Greene is a journalist’s account of how she and her husband expanded their family of four children by adopting five from overseas.  Or try The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio : How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan--a humorous portrait of her contest-entering mother during the 1950s and 1960s.
Not surprisingly, many heartwarming books are about animals:  Four-Legged Miracles:  Heartwarming Tales of Lost Dogs' Journeys Home by Brad and Sherry Hansen Steiger is a collection of true stories of dogs’ overcoming incredible odds to reunite with their human families.  Giant George : Life With the World's Biggest Dog by Dave Nasser tells the humorous account of a runt puppy who grew to prodigious size with a loving heart to match.  Horses Never Lie About Love : The Heartwarming Story of a Remarkable Horse Who Changed the World Around Her by Jana Harris or Homer's Odyssey : A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper are both books that highlight human animal relationships...more of which can be found in the library's catalog 
If your tastes run to fiction, you will find the library a storehouse of heartwarming titles in the “gentle reads” or “cozy” genre.  Regardless of sub-genre (mystery, romance, historical fiction, Christian fiction) gentle reads generally offer relief from graphic violence and “adult situations.”  They’re often set in small towns or country villages and extol old-fashioned values such as honesty, neighbor helping neighbor, and overcoming obstacles through strength of character.  Many gentle reads appear in series, such as Jan Karon’s Mitford Years, Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilts, Gail Fraser’s Lumby, or Miss Read’s Fairacre books.   A few of the many other authors include Fannie Flagg, Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Angela Thirkell, Philip Gulley, and Alexander McCall Smith. 
Cynics may object that heartwarming books and gentle reads are nothing but fluff and escapism, but then that’s the point!  Why not balance today’s grim headlines with an occasional escape now and then to a kinder, gentler world?  Check with library staff for more suggestions to warm the cockles of your heart!
Beth @ Bealeton

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Try your hand at painting or drawing.

                Where to begin?  There is a great deal you can teach yourself when learning to draw or paint.  That dialogue between your creative impulse, your eye and your hand is one that only you can establish and nurture.  Without some initial work on your part any teacher you engage will have little to work with other than your raw untested impulse to paint or draw, and you will have no experience by which to judge for yourself whether or not you are successfully using the tools and techniques you are learning.  So if you are interested in drawing or painting start by getting your materials together and get to know them by using them on your own. 

                The library has a nice collection of books to help you become familiar with your materials and try out your own creative impulse. Hammond Lee’s Big Book of Drawing will help you learn a little about how to draw from nature.  If you like to draw figures look at Figure Drawing: The beginner’s guide by Patricia Monahan for hints on techniques and materials that might serve you best for that task.  If you are experimenting with watercolors The North Light Illustrated Book of Watercolor Techniques might be a good place to start.  These titles are just the beginning.  In addition to books on drawing you’ll find books on painting with watercolors, with oils, or with acrylics.  Check them out.

The library has many informative, illustrated books about the creative process and about the lives and works of great artists.  It takes practice to see and understand works of art and it helps to have a friend along for another point of view.  Ask a friend to join you in looking at a book called The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, and then plan a visit to the museum together.  Developing your own perspective is an important part of learning to see and create. 

Don’t forget to bring along your sketch book. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Best Seller Lists

New York Times 5/5/2013

Hardcover Fiction
1. The Hit by David Baldacci       
2. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts         
3. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah
4. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd (NOTE: Library has CD book)               
5. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson                                         
6. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
7. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark
8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn                                                 
9. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
10. The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick                              
11. Don’t Go by Lisa Scottoline
12. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer                                      
13. Six Years by Harlan Coben                                                       
14. A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin                    
15. Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende                                  

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris                       
2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg                                             
3. Cooked by Michael Pollan
4. Trident K9 Warriors by Mike Ritland with Gary Brozek
5. Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill                                            
6. Carrie and Me by Carol Burnett                                         
7. My Next Step by Dave Liniger
8. The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen
9. The Way of the Knife by Mark Mazzetti                                      
10. Gulp by Mary Roach                                                        
11. The Duck Commander Family by Willie & Korie Robertson
12. I’ll See You Again by Jackie Hance with Janice Kaplan          
13. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand                                        
14. Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou                                 
15. Unsinkable by Debbie Reynolds & Dorian Hannaway             

Washington Post 5/5/2013

Hardcover Fiction
1. The Hit by David Baldacci
2. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts                                               
3. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd (NOTE: Library has CD book)            
4. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah                                              
5. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
6. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark
7. The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick
8. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer                                      
9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn                                                 
10. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. Cooked by Michael Pollan
2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
3. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
4. The One Thing by Gary Keller
5. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath                                            
6. Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett
7. Jumpstart to Skinny by Bob Barper with Greg Critser
8. The Way of the Knife by Mark Mazzetti                                      
9. It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow
10. Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill                                            

Friday, May 3, 2013

Home Sweet Home


No matter your style, there is bound to be something for you at the library.  My decorating style has been called “eclectic”, and I’m certain this is true because I can find beauty in it all.  And this is why almost after every day spent at the library, my Friends of the Fauquier Library tote contains at least one of the beautiful pieces from our collection covering home improvement and/or decorating. 

Of course there are the books on general decorating tips, from furniture placement to choosing the right color scheme, to what and how to arrange artwork on your walls.  No decorating section would be complete without Martha Stewart.   Then there’s Nate Berkus, the interior designer that Oprah Winfrey introduced.  Better Homes and Gardens also has several selections, including their monthly magazine.

But check out these beauties…one of my “go-to’s” when my creativity has hit a dry spell, I can always rely on anything from the publishers of Country Living.  The library carries their monthly magazine, and additionally a number of books they’ve published.  My all time favorite from Country Living being  750 Great Ideas for Decorating on a Budget. 

Did you know there’s a book titled Style by Nature?  I, for one, truly enjoy the outdoors, and often find ways to incorporate it inside…from acorns and pressed fall foliage on my Thanksgiving table to Queen Anne’s lace in a mason jar in the summer.  Another book  that intrigued me recently, Collector’s Style, is a selection covering how to incorporate your collections into your décor.  There are some really clever ideas here!   There are also decorating idea books that are room specific, i.e. Kitchen Decorating Ideas Under $100.  The resources are endless. 

I even found my next deco project in this month’s issue of Grit Magazine.  Grit is a monthly magazine for the rural dwellers, mostly focusing on agricultural issues.  The featured project shows how to make kitchen pendant lights from antique mason jars.  An aqua 1858 Mason jar I have displayed on a shelf in my kitchen is about to truly take the spotlight! 

Even if decorating is not your “thing”, you’ll be pressed to not find one outstanding idea from any one of our numerous books in the library's collection.  No matter what your style, or decorating goal---if nothing but to observe the beauty and creativity---be sure to check it out; literally.

Alicia @ Bealeton

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Book Discussions



The following books are under discussion at the library in the month of May.  See the library's website for details on meeting dates and times.


*May 6 - Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor (Warrenton Great Books Group)

*May 8 - The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (Marshall Afternoon Book Club)

*May 16 - The Yard by Alex Grecian (Warrenton Mystery Book Club)

*May 20 - Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Bealeton Book Club)

*May 20 - Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (Marshall Evening Book Club)