Friday, October 31, 2008

Szyk and Smoke

Arthur Szyk was an artist whose artwork can truly be said to have influenced history.  Born in Poland in 1894, he served Poland honorably during World War One.  Between the wars he was quite prolific and well-sought after as an illustator.  One of his most famous illustrations is "The Four Freedoms" that he presented to the U.S.  It is still in the Library of Congress.  Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Syzk moved to London in 1937 and worked tirelessly to aid in the war effort against Nazi tyranny.  He eventually moved to the U.S.  and worked here until he died in 1951.

This volume is from an exhibition put on by the Holocaust Museum in 2002.  It is rare and full of colorful photographs of his work.  Being able to study the paintings at length using this volume is a great asset for an admirer of Szyk's style because of the sheer volume of detail contained therein. For someone who collects Szyk's art or art of this period, this would be a truly thoughtful gift.  $26 at our Amazon1 Storefront.

It is unusual to find a book that is a collectible about collectibles.  This one, Rare Smoke, is number 16 of a run of 50, and is signed by the author.  This first edition had a total run of 2500 books, making it quite rare now.  It appears not to have been used.  It is a wonderful gift for a pipe collector. $75 at our Amazon1 website.

As always, current Friends can get either or both of these books, saving on shipping, by contacting us at  Anyone else can visit our Amazon1 site by clicking the sidebar.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Self-Improvement Is Affordable

We often receive donations of "The Teaching Company" courses which encompass a wide variety of subjects. These courses are extremely expensive at full retail but a bargain if you purchase them through the Friends of Reston Regional Library.

Chaos, taught by Professor Steven Strognatz, is a series of 24 lectures on 4 DVD's.  It thoroughly explores this fascinating field of study, from the history of the theory to the modern applications in science and philosophy. From the butterfly's wing to the way waves break on shores, chaos theory gives scientists, philosophers, and other thinkers a glimpse into the complexity of the interrelationships in our physical world. The full retail on this series is $245.  Our price on our Amazon1 storefront (top of the column) is $60.

Remember, current Friends of the Library can contact us to purchase these books directly, saving on shipping, by e-mailing us at


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Best Seller Opportunity

Get it while it's available!  This book is on several best-seller lists right now.  It was Stieg Larsson's debut thriller and first swept Europe and now the U.S.  Unfortunately, Larsson died not long after completing this book (and another yet to be published in the US).

See what the hype is about.  This is an abridged audiobook on CDs.  We are selling it for $14.75 at our Amazon RestonFriends2 site.  If you look to the right of this post, the second entry on the sidebar is Amazon RestonFriends2.  Yes, we have added a second Amazon storefront.  We did this for many reasons -- but mostly to share the work.

If you are a current Friend of Reston Regional Library, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo can be yours without shipping!  E-mail us at


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eternal Perspective

The late Pope John Paul II was one of the most beloved figures of our time.  He was the first Polish pope, and led the church from 1978-2005.  He was an interesting man, with a talent for languages, a dedication to physical fitness, and a passion for leading the Church.  He survived two assassination attempts.  The most famous one, that almost killed him, was an opportunity for him to model forgiveness to his assailant.  He was also a poet, and this very rare book, is a record of some of his poetry.  It is available at our Amazon Site at $50.

There are some ancient texts that underlie Western philosophy and thought and are important to understand if one wants to understand the foundations of our culture.  One of those books is the Bible, and some of the books of the Bible are particularly illuminating.  This is one of them, the Book of Job, from Easton Press.  It is a beautifully illustrated and bound copy.   In it, God allows Satan to play havoc with Job's life, stripping him of everything that is important on earth including family, wealth, and his health.  Because God knows Job's heart, He stands firm telling Satan that Job will not reject God.  As things worsen, Job's friends urge him to question everything he believes to be true about God.  And as Job cries out to God in his sorrow, some of the most beautiful dialogue between God and man occurs, complex and moving.  If you're not familiar with the story, I won't spoil the ending.   Just go to our Amazon site and get the book!  It is $48.

If you want to get either of these books locally and save shipping, and you're a current Friends member, e-mail us at


Monday, October 27, 2008

Moonlight and Magic

Persian Moonlight, by Dr. Javad Mohsenian, is a love story set in Iran.  Published in 1981, this book is hard to find.  This copy would make a nice gift for someone who is interested in Persian literature but who has read all the "ordinarily available" things.  At our Amazon storefront for $24.

Paul Gallico is better known for some of his other books, but this story is a timeless classic that would make a great holiday gift for a child of any age.  The Man Who Was Magic features a young magician who is humble, thinking his abilities to be only minor.  Yet, these abilities, because they are real, are sufficient to threaten the magician establishment.  What follows is a great tale about truth and courage.  This copy is $28 at our Amazon storefront.

Either book is available for current Friends members by e-mailing us at  Save postage!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ready, Set, READ

To continue from yesterday, here are photos of the murals in the "Ready to Read" Center in the Childrens' area of Reston Regional Library.  The blogger wasn't aware until late yesterday that a different artist painted the murals (although it is apparent from their styles!).  To make up for the error, the blogger is posting photos of ALL of the murals in the Center!

Jeff Lonnette is a tremendously gifted local artist (and an art teacher in the Fairfax County Public School System).  The longer you gaze at these, the more you see the characters of childhood stories that he cleverly captured.  Children can come in here and see old friends like Red Riding Hood, the Old Woman in the Shoe, the Mouse and the Lion, and others. 

Mr. Lonnett has a website you can visit. Additionally, FCPS will be exhibiting his work along with other teacher/artists from November 3-15 at the Ernst Cultural Center at the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College. 

This last photo shows how we protect the murals when we use the room as our 'staging area' for the Semi-Annual Book Sales.  You can tell this is late in the sale because the walls are visible. When we start, the boxes are piled high!

We hope you and your children enjoy the work the Friends of Reston Library do in order to make the Childrens' area inviting.  If you'd like more information about either artist, please ask at the Childrens' help desk.

Photos by Darlene


Friday, October 24, 2008

Reading Is Magical

And a little child shall lead them . . . 

Janelle reads to Madison in the room where the walls are FULL of imagination!

Caroline reads to Marielle while Esteban and Jack (not related to the girls) 
 creep closer to enjoy it as well.

Esteban and Jack enjoy magic time with mom at the library.

If you don't spend much time in the Childrens' section of Reston Regional Library, you might have missed one of the truly magical areas of the library.  Sure, the computers at child-height are great, and the librarians are extremely helpful, and the collection is extensive, but the true joy of this area is seeing children interact with their surroundings and each other.

In Spring 2006, the Friends of Reston Regional Library  hired a local artist, Sally Carter Meyer of Oak Hill, VA, to turn bare walls into an inviting oasis for children.  The self-taught artist, with her dynamic sense of color and imagination accomplished that goal and then some.  None of us could have forseen the impact this colorful area would have on the children and their parents.

This is just a taste of what's there.  More photos of the mural room tomorrow.  Or, stop by and see it yourself!

Photos by Darlene


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Puzzle Me This!

Just a quick note -- the Friends Jigsaw Puzzle Mini-Sale is coming up 7-13 November in the front lobby of the Reston Regional Library.  While we have collected quite a few donations, we could still use more!

Please bring your new or gently used jigsaw puzzles to the donation bin at the library.  If you have gently used puzzles for children, we'll take those as well!

And mark your calendars for the sale.  You might be able to do some holiday shopping!


Go Out On A Limb Musically

Let's face it -- there aren't too many of us who get excited at the prospect of purchasing LP records.  Vinyl is old technology.   But one of the joys of working with the donations is matching the niche buyer with the niche product, be it a book or record.   And if you are interested in niche music, or hearing the folk songs of the 60's in a sound authentic to the time, this may be the best format for you.  

Songs from a Colonial Tavern is from Colonial Williamsburg and would be a great teacher gift for someone who teaches about this era.  The LP is still shrinkwrapped.  It's yours for $24 at our Amazon storefront.  I can just imagine students working on American colonial history projects with this music in the classroom as a backdrop. 

Folk Song and Minstrelsy features Joan Baez, The Weavers, Pete Seeger, and others on four (4) LP's with a booklet of lyrics.  Do you have that one person in your family who joins you for the holidays and sings folk songs all the time?  You know this person -- the one who is great to have along on a camp-out for the singing around the campfire.  They're also the person that when you go to Potbelly for lunch is singing along with the person playing guitar in the loft.  Yeah -- that person!  This is the perfect gift for him or her. It's $30 at our storefront.

If one of these really strikes you as something you want, but you don't have the record player to enjoy them, there are several companies out there that can help you convert the vinyl recordings to a more current format.   Through the wonders of the internet and Google, you can find them!  Make that part of your gift for the holidays and you'll be a true hero.

As always, if you are a current Friend, you may contact us via e-mail at to purchase locally, saving shipping costs.

Incidentally, the FRRL does not accept donations of records anymore.  The exception is things like this -- so unique that it is worth our while to use the storage space for them while we try to match the buyer with the truly unusual product.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has designated Oct. 19-25, as Friends of the Library Week in Fairfax County. The Friends are ambassadors in their communities, campaigning for new buildings and advocating for increased funding. These efforts help to ensure the library continues to provide access to print and electronic materials, as well as expert assistance in research and reader’s advisory.

This official county wording (above) doesn't tell the whole story.  The Friends groups work tirelessly to ensure that library staff members as well as the patrons have a library setting that is user-friendly.  They provide much needed funding for special programs such as speakers and reading programs and help to ensure accessibility to all.  The Reston Friends of the Library are particularly involved in helping fund major needs for Access Services, a branch of the FCPL that serves those with accessibility issues.

This official photo, provided by the Fairfax County Government website, is of the Friends group members who were able to attend the kick-off announcment.  On the right you can see our own Charly and Rik Karlsson and Ron Cinal.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Place Called Mitford

Jan Karon has written a series of books that are some of the most entertaining, inspiring, and loving books this blogger has ever read.  Although they are centered on the character of a preacher and his wife, they are not deeply theological or heavily ladened with religious messages. Indeed, they are gentle stories of how the community of Mitford changes and grows with the seasons over several years.  Real life happens, people change, and mysteries come and go.  It's not all spun sugar and white-bread.  There are real tragedies and real hurts.  Yet in the midst of it, love sustains those who want to receive it, rescues those who need to find it, and blunts the hurt that occurs when bad things happen.

When I received one of the books in this series for Christmas a couple of years ago, I put it aside, snobbish because it was so 'popular'.  Finding my hands empty one evening I started reading . . . and was hooked.  To give someone you love this set of all six books in a slipcase would be to invite them into a world full of love and restoration.  A great gift for the holidays, or for someone who just needs something positive to read.  There are so many negative books published, it is a relief to find something uplifting and so well written.

Get it at our Amazon site for $30 by clicking the link, OR, if you're a current Friend, e-mail us at to save on shipping.

The Mitford Years (6 books in slipcase)  $30


Monday, October 20, 2008

Fiction for Serious Readers

Tampico, by Toby Olson, is a story about four old men who have been relegated to the margins of life.  Literally, they are in a ramshackle 'manor for the elderly' that sits atop a crumbling cliff. As the men wait for the inevitable crumbling of the cliff, or end of one of their lives, they tell stories.  One of them, the story of Tampico, is thrilling and motivating, leading the men to change the ending of life that they had previously thought was pencilled in for them.

Tampico is one of the 2008 offerings from the James A. Michener Series published by University of Texas.  The Michener Series is dedicated to sustaining authors who have been published, but haven't generated the high-sales figures that would embolden a big publishing house to continue to invest in them.

This book is available through our Amazon store-front, accessible by clicking on it at the sidebar to the right.  If you are a current Friend of Reston Regional Library, you can get it without paying shipping by e-mailing us at

A fine copy, fine dust jacket, appears to be unread.  $12


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gone Fishin'

For the fly fisherman in your life. These three books are the perfect holiday gift.   Whether they'll ever get to Yellowstone National Park themself, this book will inspire them to refit their rod and tackle box and take on some fish wherever they are!

Gorgeous photos, secret hot spots, and great inside information for the true enthusiast.  All three are written by Charles E. Brooks, a legend among Yellowstone fly fisherman.

They are on our Reston Friends Amazon storefront site -- just click on the top of the sidebar to the right.

Fishing Yellowstone Waters $38
The Living River $35
The Henry's Fork  $25

Or save the postage and e-mail us at if you're a current Friend!


Friday, October 17, 2008


If you are a fan of Halloween, you don't want to miss this scary story treat!

October Dreams:  A Celebration of Halloween is an anthology of short stories and memories, features authors like Ray Bradbury and Dean Koontz.  Published in 2002, this is a perfect read for the week before Halloween.  It includes a list of don't miss Halloween appropriate movies, a reading list for more Halloween fare, and a short history of Halloween.  It is a lenthy trade-size paper back.

This is NOT, NOT, NOT on our Amazon site.  It is in the display case in the library.  If you want to purchase it you must e-mail us ASAP.  If it sells from the display case before you e-mail us, sorry!

Go ahead and compare our price -- $24 -- with Amazon and you'll see that this is a deal.  It's NOT ex-library, it's NOT water damaged, and it will be one you go back to again and again to get in the mood for Halloween.

Current Friends members -- e-mail us at right away if you want this book!


Educate Thyself!

Every so often we receive Great Courses produced by The Teaching Company.  Each Course is a full course -- as if you attended a class.  They range over a wide variety of subjects and by listening to these you can definitely become more educated!  This is a great way to use your commute time effectively!

This batch of Teaching Company courses included the following:

Great Courses:  Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reading.  24 Lectures on 12 Audio CD's.  $110  (2001)  Taught by Professor David Zarefsky, Norwestern University.

Great Courses: Philosophy of Religion.  36 Lectures on 18 Audio Cassettes.   $100 (2003).  Taught by Professor James Hall, University of Richmond. 
If you are interested in purchasing, you have two choices.  First, you can click on the link to the right that will send you to our Amazon store front.  Second, if you are a current Friends member, you can e-mail us at and save shipping!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Music for the Selective

They say that for every book, somewhere out there is someone who will be thrilled by it.  That must apply to music as well, because someone, somewhere MUST be interested in these records. That's right -- records!  Vinyl.  Long-playing.  You'd think the music is obsolete along with the technology.  But don't give up yet!

These are absolutely fascinating, because both are records of a time and setting long-gone.  Both originate in the missionary movement to Africa of the 1950-1970 time period.  Both of the arrangers delighted in the way African musical rhythms and traditions complimented western holy music and liturgies.  If you know anyone interested in areas even remotely connected with these concepts, these albums might be the perfect gift that no one would have thought of giving to them!

The first is African Sanctus, a record of African music set to the Latin Mass.  This is still shrink-wrapped.  From the composer/compiler's website: 

African Sanctus is an unorthodox setting of the Latin Mass harmonised with traditional African music recorded by the composer on his now legendary journeys up the River Nile (1969-73).  The taped music from Egypt, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya is heard in counterpoint with the live chorus, soprano soloist and instrumental ensemble.  The work is composed in 13 movements and reflects geographically the composer’s cross-shaped pilgrimage, from the Mediterranean to Lake Victoria, whereby Kyrie represents Cairo and Sanctus Northern Uganda.

The second record is Missa Luba.  Wikipedia offers this information about this fascinating album.  Missa Luba is a version of the Latin Mass based on traditional Congolese songs.  It was arranged by Father Guido Haazen, a Franciscan Friar from Belgium, and originally peformed and recorded in 1958 by "Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin", a choir of Congolese children from Kamina. 

It is interesting to speculate on what has happened to the Africans whose voices rose in praise all those years ago.  With the independence of the Belgian Congo, succeeding wars and cultural changes in Africa, one wonders if a young singer of that day is a powerful figure today!

You'd think the recordings are obsolete.  But a quick look at YouTube shows otherwise.  People still listen to these, are still inspired by them, and are still interested in the cross-cultural music melange.  How cool.

African Sanctus is $14 on our Amazon site and Missa Luba is $17, or current Friends can save the shipping by e-mailing us at

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Full Steam Ahead!

It is always amazing to see the donation bin and back door donation area after a 3 day weekend. Some people must spend that time cleaning things out. Today will be a big day for the sorters as it will library staff (people also turn in a lot of books when the library is closed for a day!).

We greatly appreciate your books that you donate.  The vast majority of the books we put out during our semi-annual book sale are from YOU, our community.  We keep very few library discards for that occasion.  Most that are in good enough shape go into our on-going sale.  That is the sale on the white shelves, and the shelving unit between the restrooms.  Those books are available between semi-annual sales.  We restock them approximately weekly, and you pay for those purchases at the circulation desk.  They are not ALL library discards either -- there's a lot to choose from.

We appreciate, too, that you follow our donation guidelines.  Just to remind you, here they are:
We are happy to accept:
  • Up to two boxes of books per household per day
  • DVDs, CDs, Books-on-tape/disc
  • Encyclopedias published within the last 10 years or before 1970
  • Only current magazines (last three months)
    The exceptions are:
    Any date for Architectural Digest, and Smithsonian
    Any date for food and recipe periodicals (GourmetFood & WineMartha StewartSouthern Living, etc.)
    No National Geographic magazines although we will accept maps pulled from them
  • Computer books published within last five years
  • Textbooks published within last 10 years
  • No videos except: Travel, Educational, Sets.

We no longer accept phonograph records.

All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Patriotism Popping Up

This is a truly amazing book.  America the Beautiful by Robert Sabuda is a pop-up version of the song.  Each 2-page spread has a pop-up of a uniquely American landscape.  Most are done in white cardstock against a colored background.   On the last page is a smaller book, with pop-ups, and the words to successive verses.

The book looks LOTS better than these photographs show.  I was hamstrung photographing it because it kept . . . popping up!  And, I'm not as good a photographer as our regular shutter bug is.

At any rate, this book would be a perfect gift for:

  • teachers of American History
  • new citizens, or people studying for their citizenship test
  • engineers who like to figure out how pop-ups work
  • very mature children who won't pull too hard!
  • a 'welcome home' from military service overseas
  • a 'let's work together' gift post-election!
The contents of the book include:
  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • Amber Waves of Grain
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Mesa Verde
  • The Mississippi River with a paddleboat steamer
  • The National Mall
  • The Statue of Liberty
We had this book displayed during the book sale but due to space limitations people couldn't see how cool it is.  Their loss is your gain!  If you want to purchase this book, it is currently available ONLY from the Friends of the Reston Regional Library and ONLY to a current Friend (or someone who wants to become one before purchase!)  The cost of the book is $12.  If you live out of our area, but you're a current Friend, we'll have to add shipping.
This book won't last long -- don't miss out!  E-mail us at


Friday, October 10, 2008

History Inescapable

The Mediterranean Sea birthed many influences of modern civilization.   The impact of this area on science, music, medicine, law, art and politics is undeniable.  To study and understand the heartland of Southern Europe is to understand more of who we are as a people in the United States.  Even if one is not descended from Mediterranean ancestors, the ideas and ideals of those who lived and struggled there is part of our shared human history and very enlightening to those of us on this side of the Atlantic!

This gorgeous book, The Mediterranean In History, is edited by David Abulafia.  It is recommended as particularly 'reader-friendly' so would make an excellent holiday present for a history-buff of any age!  Our Amazon store-front price is $20.00.  Save shipping if you're a current Friend of Reston Regional Library!  E-mail us at


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Friends Choice Awards

Tuesday evening, October 7, 2008, several members of our Used Book Sale team were honored by the FCPL system and the Fairfax County Library Foundation.  The Friends Choice Awards were developed in order to give Friends groups a way to recognize people who are integral to the group’s success.  (A different award from the county Star awards which rely on accrued service hours -- the Friends Choice volunteers might not accrue enough hours for the Star award, yet are vital to the Friends' groups.)

The 2008 winners from the Friends of Reston Regional Library, Inc.  (Drum roll, please)  

Ron Cinal -- Ron is a long-time faithful volunteer for the semi-annual booksales.  Ron shows up to help from the first moment of set up and doesn't rest until the last box is closed on Sunday afternoon.  He is hard working and cheerful and helps wherever needed.  His favorite line is, “I know what I’m doing . . . I just don’t do it very well.”  We think otherwise!

Lorraine Kleinwaks -- Lorraine is our special eagle-eye in the sales room as we're setting up and as each box is opened during the sale.  Lorraine has an uncanny eye for books that will stand a higher price.  Numerous times Lorraine has identified books that once checked, we were able to price at least double if not four or five times the standard $1.50 hardback price.  Her knowledge of the subject area she sets up is encyclopedic, and her attention to detail makes the area inviting.  Lorraine is also responsible for the concept of 'gifty books' we employ during the sale.  She helps identify them, display them, and even suggests them as customers walk by.  She has even been known to act as a personal shopper on occasion, helping customers locate books they didn't know they would want!

Charles and Barbara Szczepanski joined our team in Fall, 2002.  Chuck and Barbara have faithfully come to work almost every semi-annual booksale for the last 10 years.  The last several years they have worked as a team of runners making sure the books selected by customers from the Specials room meet the customer at the check out.  Their diligence in this has helped us to account for each and every book sold from our Specials collection, yielding valuable information for our internal accounting practices.

Mary Ann Braunstein -- Mary Ann is our resident cheerleader.  A true ambassador of good will for the Reston Regional Friends group, Mary Ann can defuse the ire of the most impatient customer.  Her service in connection with our Specials room is invaluable as she chats with the customers and makes them feel good  about buying higher priced books.  Between the semi-annual book sales Mary Ann volunteers her time helping to mylar, price, bump, move and sort books.

ALL of our volunteers are special and it is nice to have the opportunity to honor some who have been so faithful, for so long!

All photos by Darlene.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Roses and Valentines

The following description is copied from Amazon:  This massive volume by world-renowned horticulturist Macoboy is encyclopedic in scope, portraying over 1500 roses selected for their beauty, fragrance, and popularity. Although it contains brief information on rose cultivation and a scattering of features on such subjects as the rose in music, the heart of the book is the three alphabetical sections describing individual roses. The author uses the 1979 classification of the World Federation of Rose Societies; his main categories are wild roses, modern and old garden roses grouped together, and miniatures. Each entry includes a color photograph; information on the rose's history, cultivation, and parentage; and whether it is repeat flowering or fragrant. Roses are listed according to the name under which they were first released; the index provides access by later names. Beautiful to look at, this book will be most useful to readers looking for more information about varieties than is provided in growers' catalogs. Recommended for large or specialized collections.

Local Friends of Reston Regional Price: $17.00

The following description copied from Amazon:  
From Library Journal  Brenner, an author and curator specializing in the study of holiday customs, here looks at valentines produced in America in the 20th century. In chapters arranged by decade, the text details the history and stylistic changes of valentine production, with hundreds of illustrations exhibiting the romance and charm of the cards. Collectors will value the price guides and the descriptions of the production techniques and the various formats. The photographs also act as identification guides for various manufacturers and artists. This comprehensive social history is recommended as a unique guide for serious collectors of ephemera and as a popular history for all who love to give and get valentines.

Local Friends of Reston Regional Price: $32.00

For other wonderful books, see our Amazon store-front by clicking on it in the column to the right of this blog.  Local current friends can save shipping costs!  E-mail us at


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The "Wright" Stuff

What a cool book!  Just posted on our Amazon storefront yesterday, this pop-up book of Frank Lloyd Wright designs just begs for a home under your Christmas tree!  It is $18.50 through our site.

If you're interested in purchasing, click on the link to the right to our Amazon storefront and go from there.  If you are a CURRENT local Friends member and you want to save shipping, contact us via our e-mail:

Photos by JK