Tuesday, March 31, 2009

C Sharp Is Not Just for Music

What the heck is C#? Other than a key in which one can play an instrument or sing, it is a programming language that Microsoft developed in order to work with the .NET applications. More on this at Wikipedia. As is often the case in our high-tech Reston corridor, we have a few books to offer that can help you tap into this language.

Essential C# 2.0 is part of the Microsoft.net Development Series and gets very good reviews from developers. It promises to cover the following:
  • C# primitive data types, value types, reference types, type conversions, and arrays
  • Operators and control flow, loops, conditional logic, and sequential programming
  • Methods, parameters, exception handling, and structured programming
  • Classes, inheritance, structures, interfaces, and object-oriented programming
  • Well-formed types, operator overloading, namespaces, and garbage collection
  • Generics, collections, and iterators
  • Reflection, attributes, and declarative programming
  • Threading, synchronization, and multi-threaded patterns
  • Interoperability and unsafe code
  • The Common Language Infrastructure that underlies C#
It's an unused paperback, appears to be brand new, $28 at RestonFriends1.

Design Patterns in C# is also available, also brand new, for $25. It is hard-back. It purports to be the "Gang of Four" application for C#. If that makes sense to you, and you are learning to write C# code, you probably want this book! Go to RestonFriends1 to see more.

Mastering C# Database Programming is also available, for $28 at RestonFriends1. Again, this gets high review marks from programmers and developers.

NOTE: If you are a current Friends member, e-mail us if you want a special price to purchase all three!

One of the common complaints about computer books and texts is that they're obsolete by the time they're published, and REALLY OLD by the time they reach a used book sale. We can't do anything about the publishing, but we can tell you that we have very high standards for what we offer in the area of computer books. Our donation guidelines prohibit accepting any computer text older than 5 years. So what you see on our table is about as current as you can get at a full-price bookstore. The big difference is that ours are A LOT cheaper. The vast majority of the software and hardware books we offer at the sale are under $5 each. Considering that the above books are $60 each retail, you can see that it is worth coming to the Spring Semi-Annual Used Book Sale!

Friday, April 24, 10-5; Saturday April 25, 10-4:30;
 Sunday April 26, 12-3:30

Monday, March 30, 2009


In an effort to bring you samples of the various genre we have available at our Semi-Annual Used Book Sale, we have an interesting assortment to highlight today. The Iraqi Dialect Dictionary, published by Defense Language Institute (DLI) is an artifact of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. More of a general vocabulary book, it was produced in order to meet the needs of military linguists and focuses on local dialect vocabulary. It is in excellent shape and shows only minor shelf-wear. It does not focus on military terminology so might be a good book for someone planning to help with the rebuilding of Iraq as a nation. It is currently for sale on Friends1 at $45.

The GenoType Diet by Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo, a self-described naturopathic physician, is another book proposing a way to improve your physical health and quality of life. The author divides people into 6 genetic types and prescribes for them.  The critics are mixed on this. If you're interested in this type of thing, for $13.50 at Friends1, you might find something that works for you and your loved ones. He has a website and a blog that can help you stay connected with his theories and diet.

Duke University fans can pick up something to read now that they don't have to watch the rest of the NCAA tournament. This book is a celebration of the 2001 season when Duke Basketball was the undisputed champion. This book comes with a sealed CD and appears not to have been used. It is hardcover and available on our Friends1 site for $95. Remember the good days.

If you are looking for foreign language assistance, self-help, or sports books, you can find all three catagories at the Friends of Reston Regional Library Semi-Annual Used book sale at the end of April. During the sale, all three of these categories are in the hall between the main library and the big meeting rooms.  We don't get as many donations of foreign language and sports so those categories get picked through very quickly. That tells you to get to the book sale the first night -- Friends Night -- on Thursday evening. Yes, you'll need to have a membership (which you can purchase or renew that night) but it will be worth it! And if you don't make it Thursday night -- we restock constantly, so although overall there won't be as many in sports or foreign language as (for example) mystery or self-help, what is there will be constantly renewed as we open boxes in the back.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have books you want to donate for the book sale, don't waste any time. We will close donations on April 8 and will not reopen them until May 6. We're just stuffed to the gills with great selections for our customers, so if you can't get them to us before April 8, please hold them until May or donate to a different library. We love your donations and we love our patrons!

Here's the scoop for April:

Friday, April 24, 10-5; Saturday April 25, 10-4:30;
 Sunday April 26, 12-3:30


Saturday, March 28, 2009


About eighteen months ago, the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Library asked a young artist to design a logo for our Friends Group that we could use in a way that would help our group become instantly recognizable. She offered the Board several designs, and the logo at the top of this blog was the Board's choice.

The blogger recently caught up with the artist who is a member of Friends of the Reston Regional Library to see what is new with her.

Sarah Coffin is young, enthusiastic, and dedicated. When she did the logo work she was teaching art at a local private school. The kids loved her as she was game for participating in all manner of things -- even playing the 'thief' in one student's video production. But Sarah was missing having the time to dedicate to her own development in art so left that position this past winter.

Sarah reports, "I am really excited about looking into apprenticeships (which I have done before). A few days ago my mom (noted artist and potter Jennifer Coffin) and I decided that I would apprentice with her.
We have been working out what that would look like and how we will proceed. To be an apprentice, you aren't just sitting along side someone and making pottery with them. You have to learn to make their shapes and forms, you have to clean, make/reconstitute clay, make glazes, etc. I've done a short apprenticeship before and am looking forward to being able to spend my time in pottery again.  When I'm not working for my 'boss', I'll be working on how to combine my designs and drawings with pottery -- complimenting 3D forms with my love of line."

She adds, "eventually, my dream is to obtain a grant to go study in different potteries (traditional studios) around the world for a month or two months at a time.  I would be interested in seeing the different techniques other cultures use in the making of their pottery but more than that, I would love to see how their techniques and traditions dictate what sorts of forms they make and the varying aesthetics on the 3D form."

In addition to all of the artwork Sarah's been creating, she found time to win a triathalon in her age group last year. As we said above, dedication and enthusiasm are among her talents!

Sarah participated in a show in November 08. These are photos taken during the set-up and while they don't do justice to the actual pieces, they give you an idea of the range of Sarah's talent.  The piece to the right is a drawing over T.S. Eliot -- cool! If you are interested any of these pieces, feel free to e-mail us and we'll get you in contact with Sarah.

Finally, this last photo shows Sarah and her sister Rebecca, also a talented artist, and also a member of Friends of Reston Regional Library. Rebecca will be helping the Friends with our upcoming cookbook.

Sarah and Rebecca will both be at the upcoming Semi-Annual Used Book Sale and so should YOU! Here are the details!

Friday, April 24, 10-5; Saturday April 25, 10-4:30;
 Sunday April 26, 12-3:30


Friday, March 27, 2009

Everything Old is New Again

All the old tales of cooking with what was available, making it as filling as possible, and working hard to burn off the calories appear to have had some value. Since more people are eating at home now, there's a revival in the concern for how to prepare and present food that people will want to eat. Today's highlighted books are part of that trend. Enjoy!

Today we offer some more cookbooks. If you've been following celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, this will interest you. 
Cook With Jamie: My Guide to Making You A Better Cook by Jamie Oliver is a 2007 book designed to set the beginner at ease while at the same time inspiring the more experienced cook. Originally retailing for nearly $40, our copy appears to be unused, and is available for $15.25 at Friends1

One of Oliver's famous campaigns was against the food served to schoolchildren in Britain. In his push for better quality ingredients, he stresses organic and local food. Here is a book that follows that line of thinking and with the farmers markets just around the corner, this would be the perfect addition to a kitchen focused on these issues. Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal, and
 Local Ingredients by Jesse Ziff Cool sells for $13.50 at our Friends1 site. It appears to be unused and unread. Published in 2007.

As we work at home with what is available, in order to prevent waste and encourage taste, we need to think like chefs. Looking at the ingredients on hand and saying, "hmm, what shall I do with these" is very different than taking a recipe with you and saying, "I need to get these ingredients to effect this outcome." Chef Tom Colicchio, former partner and Chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York and current owner and Chef of Craft Restaurant in the same city, teaches the reader of this book to think like a chef.  He has been a judge for some time on Top Chef, so if you aspire to appear there, it might be worth reading his book!  This copy is like new and unread, and is $40 at Friends1.

One of the categories we have LOTS of during the Semi Annual Used Book Sale is cookbooks. So if you like to cook, eat, or just read recipes, you don't want to miss our sale!

Friday, April 24, 10-5; Saturday April 25, 10-4:30;
 Sunday April 26, 12-3:30

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Spice of Life

Yes, they say that variety is the spice of life and today's features certainly offer variety! There isn't really any connection between these three books except that they are indicative of the quality and variety of the great books we receive as donations and subsequently make available to our patrons through our on-line storefronts and/or our Semi-Annual Used Book Sales.

Emotional Content: How to Create Paintings That Communicate is another one of those incredible art books that get dropped into our 'in' box. This one, by Gerald Brommer is a hardback, in excellent condition (appears never to have been used).  The DJ is protected in mylar. The book sells for $95 at RestonFriends1. Why so much when it originally retailed for $27.99? Looking at a comparative source (Addall.com), the book is offered in a range from $196 to $40). Ours is actually in the lower half of the range of eight books available and the $40 one has no dust jacket.

Living Maya, by Walter F. Morris, Jr., is a beautiful and lively portrayal of the descendants of the ancient Maya who live in Latin America today. Written by an anthropologist who studied and lived with these people for years, it is full of photographs and drawings. This is an example of a book we offer that is less than 'pristine'. It is ex-library, but the Dust Jacket is mylar protected, and most of the library markings are on the mylar. The text is clean and lightly used. So why is the book still $38 at RestonFriends1? Because the other market copies are mostly priced at $50 and above. (Again, using Addall.com). Sure, we could offer it for a LOT less and sell it very quickly, but we have to balance our need to get books moved on to new homes with our fiduciary responsibility of stewardship. So for our Amazon Storefronts, we price the books competitively.

Deutsche Soldaten: The Uniform, Equipment and Personal Effects of the German Soldier, 1939-1945 is an excellent reference book for people researching this time or for collectors of memorabilia of the era. It is by Augustin Sainz, and is a relatively NEW book, published in November 2008. I can imagine it being a valuable resource for fiction novelists who set their books in this time frame or reenactors who want things to be completely authentic. It is full of photos, most in full color. It has a tiny shelf wear area on the lower front of the dust jacket, but appears to never have been read. We have it for $28.50 at RestonFriends1.

During our Semi-Annual Used Book Sales, the vast majority of books we have for offer are priced WAAAAY below market resale market, and that $50 in your book budget can go a very long way! So don't forget to mark your calendar and come see us at the end of April. The opening night (Friends Night) is less than a month away!

Friday, April 24, 10-5; Saturday April 25, 10-4:30;
 Sunday April 26, 12-3:30


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Art Nouveau, Photography & Spanish

This book, Art Nouveau, 1890-1914, is a paperback authored by Paul Greenhalgh, current director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  He is a specialist in the field of decorative arts and artistic movements of this period. This book was published in 2000, while Greenhalgh was head of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The cover shows minor shelf-wear but the text and photos are clean and tight. It is $44 on RestonFriends.

 This is a very cool 'book'. Entitled Photography: Spending and Saving, it is actually a collection of 2 CDs containing 50 photographic images all based around a financial theme. The files are in the formats of CMYK-high res, RGB high-res, and RGB low-res. Published by eyewire.com, the images are available to the purchaser for use with no further licensing, fees or agreements. It's $65 on RestonFriends.

Habla Espanol? Do you want to? This is a great beginning text which encourages the beginning student to consider language acquisition in the context of culture and history. It is used in many beginning Spanish courses. It is $69.30 at

Remember, all offerings here, on RestonFriends1 and RestonFriends 2, and at our booksales are donations to the library not needed for the collection. The library allows us to cull, sort and offer the books at a substantial savings to the public. It really is the ultimate recycling. The funds we generate doing this help underwrite programs the library puts on for the public, equipment and supplies that are out of reach for the 'normal' budget, much less one in this economic climate, and generally contribute to the well-being of the library staff and patrons. We all do this because we enjoy making a difference in our library and thus our community. We would love to have more people join us to make a difference, so if you're interested, e-mail us.

To work the sale, you must be physically able to move books around. But not all of our volunteer needs involve physical labor. If you have talents in other areas (marketing, financial, foreign language, etc.), let us know by contacting us via clicking here!

Friday, April 24, 10-5; Saturday April 25, 10-4:30;
 Sunday April 26, 12-3:30


Monday, March 23, 2009

Genealogy Offerings

Genealogy as a hobby often crosses the line very quickly into a relentless master. For those on a the trail of an illusive ancestor, military records and county histories can often give flesh to the bare bones of history. These offerings on Amazon1 can do just that.

The Civil War in Fauquier County (Virginia) by Eugene M. Scheel is a paperback published in 1985. It details what happened, especially surrounding the First and Second Battles of Manassas (Bull Run). Fauquier County was the area to march across to get to the battles and was the area to fall back to after the battles. The impact on the families living there was severe. This book is $26 at Amazon1 and appears never to have been used. It is a first edition, signed by the author, and includes a map of the county, surveyed and drawn by the author.

Here's one from the North, Better a Patriot Soldier's Grave. This book, by William G. Burnett, is a history of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Published in 1982, it details the original unit's history during the Civil War. This unit served at the Second Battle of Manassas and Gettysburg and many points in between. At one point the unit was under the command of Custer. Today the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry is a very active reenactors group. This book is $50 at Amazon1.

Moving into the 20th century, this book of Young American Patriots: The Youth of Virginia in World War II is a yearbook style compilation of the Virginians who served in WWII. It includes photos and brief biographical information. Although the cover is soiled and shelf-worn, the interior of the book is tight and unmarked. It is $135 on Amazon1.

These books are just a drop in the bucket of what's available at our Semi-Annual Used Book Sale. It's coming soon, beginning Thursday, April 23 at 6 pm with Friends Night. That is the day of the sale in which a membership is required. Those are available for purchase at the door. The rest of the sale, Friday April 24-Sunday April 26, is open to the general public.

Membership Cost:
$5 Senior
$15 General
$50 Good Friend
$100 Best Friend
$250 Special Friend

Friends of the Reston Regional Library, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As such, your donations to the organization are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Consult your tax advisor for more details.


Saturday, March 21, 2009


If you are an artist, know an artist or even dream of being an artist, today's offerings are right up your alley!

Master Class in Watermedia: Techniques in Traditional and Experimental Painting by Betts is considered one of the "must have" books for the serious artist working in this media. Unqualified 5-star ratings on Amazon keep this book in demand, long after its original print run. This copy is hardback, the dust jacket is mylar-wrapped, it is in 'as new' condition, and is $50 at Amazon1.

Dale Chihuly is a noted glass artist whose full-sized installations appear in many places around the globe including Garfield Park Observatory in Chicago, the subject of this book, Gardens & Glass.  Due to an injury in 2006 he had to step back
 from personally blowing the glass, and began to work with teams. More of a visionary and choreographer now, his pieces are rich with color and shape that inspire. This book also receives unqualified 5-stars from Amazon reviewers. Our copy appears not to have been used, and is $30 at Amazon1.

For the beginning watercolorist, this book is a nice gift. Charles Reid's Watercolor Secrets will help the aspiring artist move apply some of the techniques that turn lifeless landscapes into pieces one can hang on the wall with pride. We have it used at Amazon2 for $18.84.

We have many artbooks in our Specials Room at the Semi-Annual Used Book Sales, and many on the main sales floor as well. The difference is that the ones on the main sales floor are priced under $5 each. In the specials room, they are $5 and above -- but this includes books that normally retail well over $20 each, so you're still getting a great bargain. If you are an artist or love an artist, coming to the sale is worth the investment of time. It is worth coming on Friends Night if you are looking for Art Books in the Specials Room (books you know will be priced at least $5). The Specials Room is fully stocked at the beginning of the sale. And while we restock the main room constantly, the Specials are just that, so come early for the most robust selection.

Friday, April 24, 10-5; Saturday April 25, 10-4:30;
 Sunday April 26, 12-3:30


Friday, March 20, 2009


Officially, that is! Today astronomical spring arrives. Living in Northern Virginia however, it is clear from the mercurial weather the last two weeks that spring is doing its normal strip-tease with us. Can you believe that less than 2 weeks ago we had a REAL snow day? And since then we've had a couple of shorts and T-shirt friendly days?

With the arrival of spring, many of us will increase our outdoor time. In our area, that means we run greater risk of being exposed to Lyme disease. If you know anyone who has suffered from this, you know that it can masquerade as many other problems, all the while eating away at the body's defenses. This book on our Amazon1 site, The Lyme Disease Solution, gets high marks from Amazon reviewers and users for a workable plan to deal with the disease. Better yet, it has advice on how to minimize your risk. It's $21
on Amazon1.

Trying to stay current in the technology market? A daunting task to be sure, and here's one manual that might help. 3G Wireless Networks by Daniel Collins gets excellent reviews from Amazon readers who work in the field. If you're in the field, interested in the field, or thinking about training into the field, this is a good start. The book is $38 on Amazon1. It appears to be brand new except for prior owner's name in the front cover.

Amazon2 is back up and running as well with some gorgeous selections for sale! Voyages Through the Universe is an eye-wateringly beautiful book, enriched by the photos from the Hubble Telescope. Scientist-reviewers have also bestowed positive comments for accuracy on this book. This copy is paperback, and in like-new condition. The price is $6.87 on Amazon2.

You can click on the links to get to Amazon1 or Amazon2. While there you can browse the hundreds of books we have available. If you find something you like, and you're a current local Friends member, you can avoid shipping charges and get it locally. All you have to do is e-mail us to arrange this.

The books on our Amazon sites are just the tip of the iceberg of what we have available for our loyal Semi-Annual Book Sale patrons. Sure, these featured books are a bit pricier than our average book sale offering. But the vast majority of books we will offer at the sale are under $5 - WAY under. Hardbacks begin at $1.50, Trade Paperbacks at $1.00 and mass market paperbacks at .50. 

Friday, April 24, 10-5; Saturday April 25, 10-4:30;
 Sunday April 26, 12-3:30


Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Volunteer With HART

If  you've visited our Huge Semi-Annual Book sale or our mini-sales, you may have had the pleasure of meeting one of our volunteers, Mary Ann. If you came to the Cat's Pajamas Sale last summer, you could not have missed her!  Mary Ann is our resident cheerleader. She loves to chat with people, find out their interests and match them with the perfect book. She always cheerfully pitches in to do whatever needs doing. She regularly comes in and sorts books in our back hallway.

But in addition to volunteering for the Friends, Mary Ann uses many of her same skills with another organization. She is a volunteer for HART, the Homeless Animals Rescue Team, headquartered in Fairfax Station. Her particular passion is taking care of kittens and cats.

Mary Ann started with HART about 3 years ago by helping during adoption day events. Now in retirement, she regularly cares for the kitties at the Sterling PetSmart and fosters when necessary. In addition to her 'permanent' babies, she currently has a foster cat, Brando, who needs a home.

Brando's Story (from Mary Ann): Brando was found wandering the streets of DC. HART was called to rescue him. He was pretty beaten up so we had him vetted and neutered and then 
placed him at PetSmart. It was love at first sight for all all who met him, including me. I found a family to adopt him but two weeks after he went home with them he got very sick.  He spent a few days at the vet but was getting worse daily.  HART intervened and took him to TLC (an emergency hospital) where he was given a transfusion. Many tests were run on him. After a few days, he began to perk up. After 5 days he was diagnosed with a viral infection commonly called hemobarton. It is caused by a flea bite, and would have been a simple fix with antibiotics had the first vet known what to look for. HART called me when he was ready for release and asked if I would take him on as a patient until he gets a clean bill of health. He has now been with us 3 weeks and is doing just great. I'm not sure we'll be able to let him go once the doctor says he's once again adoptable. It's tough fostering because one always falls in love with the 'child'. Brando's story is still unfolding.

Mary Ann adds that the reason she does the work for HART is that it is very satisfying to find loving homes for animals that have been abused, abandoned or left homeless by owners who have passed away. It is also fun getting the feedback from owners who relate how much they are enjoying their new cat. Helping creatures that can't help themselves is very rewarding.
HART is having their major annual fundraiser on April 18. The Annual Art and Silent Auction raises funds to help animals like Brando.

The Spring Semi-Annual Book Sale begins April 24 with Friends Night. Membership is required that night only, but you may purchase one at the door. Still, wouldn't it be better to beat the rush and take care of this now? Click the sidebar for membership and it will take you through the form and payment is now possible on-line! Of course, if you prefer you can still mail it to us. And for all you animal lovers, we usually have many books that are about animals, some 'by' animals, and some 'enjoyed' by animals. Mary Ann finishes with this comment, "My cats love my books almost as much as I do. They even try to turn the pages for me! Second only to my family, spending time reading a book with my cat sharing my space is one of my greatest pleasures." And we know that she has a wonderful, beautiful granddaughter included in her count of GREATEST pleasures as well!

Spring Semi-Annual Book Sale
Friends Night April 24
Open to General Public: Friday, April 25, 10-5, 
Saturday April 26, 10-4:30, Sunday April 27, 12-3:30.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why Amazon Storefronts?

From time to time we get asked why we sell on Amazon? The underlying assumption in this question is that we're pulling out the 'best of the best' books to sell on Amazon and the only books left at the semi-annual book sale will be second rate.

Well, if you've ever BEEN to one of our Semi-Annual book sales, you know that latter sentiment is just not true. There are many, many books available at the booksale. The high QUANTITY is still evident even after we've culled for QUALITY.  The QUALITY of the books (condition, variety, currency) we offer is something we take pride in. It begins with our awesome sorters during the intake process who are ruthless about getting rid of books that are substandard in some way (foxing, moldy, broken spine, stinky). The books are carefully packed in a way to ensure that they come out of the box as nice as they went in. When you see them, they have been checked once more as they're put out, and they're reasonably priced to move. And they DO move!
The books we offer on Amazon are those that, during a sale, would be in the display case for sale or in the Specials Room. They are all priced above $5. At the sale, they would be overlooked due to the quantity and quality of books offered. Some of them are "hot" right now, but might not be by the time the sale rolls around. In many cases, they are niche books that appeal to a particular slice of the market, one which we do not see in large numbers coming to the sale. Our Amazon offerings sell all over the U.S. And while we do have patrons who travel to come to the sale, the majority of our customers are from right here around Reston. There are a number of books that we offer on Amazon that, as the sale draws near, we withdraw and offer locally so that our local, loyal patrons get to see them at the sale as well. If they don't sell, they might go back to Amazon after the sale. It is amazing to see how many do sell right after a location change. And since the point of the effort our many, many volunteers make is to SELL the books to raise money for our library, it is gratifying to see the effort rewarded. And since we have a fiduciary responsibility to our 501(c)(3) charter, we try to creatively use every means of sale available to us.

So is it worth coming to the sale or should you just wait at home for us to put something you want up on Amazon? It is always worth attending the sale. Many people come each day for some period of time and leave with more books each visit. The majority of the books during the sale are $1.50 hardback, $1.00 trade paperback, and .50 small paperbacks. Oh yeah, it's definitely worth it.

So we'll see you the evening of April 23 for Friends Night at 6-8:30, and each day after that. (Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-4:30, Sunday 12-3:30). Bring your checkbook or cash. We don't take credit cards and the ATM that's located in the library isn't always reliable.

Here are some special books that we have for sale on Amazon today.

British History for Dummies (2007), 
$11.50 Amazon1

Cases in Bioethics: Selections From the Hastings Center Report (3rd Ed.) Paperback, $25.00  Amazon1


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Save on Textbooks

Fundamental Accounting Principles is one of those standard texts for the standard class that everyone takes in college if they want to do anything in business.  This one is by Wild, Larson and Chiappetta is dated 2007. This copy is used -- but in good condition. The CD is included, but has been unsealed. The corners of the book are worn as is the bottom of the spine. However, the text is tight and unmarked. The book is $80 at Amazon1. A quick check reveals that at least one class at George Mason University is using this exact text.  Lots cheaper here than at the bookstore!

Another textbook we have to offer is Ethics for the Information Age (3rd Ed.)  This paperback copy was published in 2008, so the material is still quite relevant. The copy does not appear to have been used, minor shelfwear on the spine.  $38 at Amazon1.

Speaking of textbooks, did you know we have very high standards for the textbooks we offer for sale? Under our donation guidelines, we accept for sale ONLY those textbooks published within the 10 years prior to date. That helps to ensure that our patrons are offered books that are relevant to current classroom issues.

The upshot of this is that when you attend our Semi-Annual Used Book sale at the end of April, you'll be offered a great selection of books that are relevant to the issues being explored in today's university classrooms. And most of them will be less than $5!

In other words, MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Do not miss this sale! If you want the best selection, come early and and often! We restock all weekend. It is possible that the last box we open to restock and display will have as many treasures as the first.

April 23 (Friends Night, Membership Required, Click on link to the right) 6-8:30 p.m.
April 24 Open to General Public 10-5
April 25 10-4:30
April 26 12-3:30

See you there!


Monday, March 16, 2009

What is "Best Loved"?

The lights are back on at Amazon1 and we have some great offerings for you.

A Treasury of the World's Best Loved Poems (1988) is an ideal gift for a lover of poetry and/or a teacher of English or Literature. Unlike later editions of this collection, the original edition offered here contains truly 'best loved' poems, not 'politically correct' choices. The condition of this copy is impeccable -- it appears to never have been used. It is $14 at Amazon1.

Another "Best Loved" title, The Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs" is our second offering today. Full of favorites from the 1960's this is a great book for parties. It is spiral bound so it will stay open on a music stand. This copy appears unused, and is $17.

The final "Best Loved" is our upcoming Semi-Annual Booksale. We have patrons who travel from as far away as New York and North Carolina, and last week you read about volunteers who travel from England and New Jersey.  It MUST be "best loved". How do the patrons hear about the sale? First-timers tell us they get the scoop on Booksalefinder.com. But that only accounts for their first visit. They keep coming back because we have:
  • great prices
  • great selection, restocked constantly
  • wonderful volunteers who make it run smoothly
Therefore, "Best Loved" Booksale is an appropriate title!

Come join us April 23 (Friends Night, Membership Required) through April 26. The hours are:

Thursday, April 23, 6-8:30 p.m. (you may purchase membership that night, or use the link on the sidebar)
Friday, April 24, 10-5
Saturday, April 25, 10-4:30
Sunday, April 26, noon-3:30


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Book Wish Foundation

For people who patronize our Semi-Annual booksales, it is difficult to imagine that the volunteers have any time for life outside Reston Friends. But we do, and some of our volunteers are involved in very interesting endeavors in their "free" time. One of the most inspiring is what Lorraine K. and her son, Logan, are up to their ears in doing, Book Wish Foundation.

You've probably encountered Lorraine at the sale. She is our 'on the spot' person handling the Literature section. If you're looking for a particular book in that section, she is the one most likely to know whether it is there, or to keep an eye out for it showing up. She will also, often, put it to the side for you (of course, you need to be a paid-up Friends member to receive this level of service!). The point is the Lorraine knows her stuff and loves to help people connect with the books they seek.

So in October 2007 when she read an article about refugees in three camps in Darfur lacking books, she and Logan went beyond the typical "oh, that's too bad," response and got busy. They formed a 501(c)(3) (Non-profit) organization and jumped in. The result of their unceasing labors is that today in Bredjing, Treguine and Gaga refugee camps in Eastern Chad, people of all ages are satisfying their hunger for learning to read.  Many desperately want to learn English as it is considered the "ticket to freedom".

Book Wish Foundation has partnered with CORD (a UK charity) to set up the needs lists and supply lines. Air France has helped. Oxford University Press has helped (publishers of the Headway English language learning series), Hippocrene Press has helped.  Many Northern Virginia eye doctors and optical shops have provided much needed reading glasses. What Lorraine and Logan have done is to connect the dots in our community with the dots that CORD had put in place on their side of the pond.

The Bookwish.org website is absolutely amazing. Transparency is their middle name. This is not a charity that is holding anything back. EVERYTHING goes to getting the necessary materials to the people in the camps. Logan works around the clock ensuring that every possible improvement to the process is explored. (Their website should serve as an example to charities as well as commercial websites!  It is awesome).  GO TO the website to see the photos of the JOY that radiates from people handling the new, shiny, USEFUL books. It is almost palpable.

We've always known our volunteers are exceptional, and that's just when they're working with us! But what Lorraine and Logan have done, and are committed to continue doing, is the epitome of the volunteer spirit. Their work personifies, "Love Your Neighbor." If you'd like to join with them, spend some time on their website.  Even if you're not sure about joining with them, their website is inspiring and full of hope so you should check it out.  Here are some Book Wish ongoing projects:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trish McGuire Mystery


Barrister Trish McGuire has a full plate. Not only does her younger half-brother David live with her, but she has recently changed her law practice from criminal to commercial. There's also her estranged father, Paddy, to deal with as well as her paramour, George. So when she is asked to investigate the workings of a small art gallery, she hesitates. But the request comes from an old friend of the head of chambers and Trish knows that to refuse or to fail will have a direct impact on her income and status within the chambers.

Toby Fulwell is the gallery manager. He is being subjected to extortion, with his family at risk from the criminals. He can't tell anyone though because the criminals know about a youthful indiscretion he committed. As Trish begins to investigate and spend time at the gallery, Toby thinks she is one of the watchers sent by the criminals. Worse, his son and Trish's brother attend the same school. So when Toby sees Trish at the school, his paranoia is heightened.

The original basis for the gallery goes back to the trenches of World War I. Ostensibly based on a love story, it soon becomes clear there is more to this than smuggled paintings and lost love. As Trish tries to unwind what is going on with the gallery, she revisits the history of WWI, and unwittingly feeds Toby's fear endangering Trish, David, and ironically, Toby and his family.

A Place of Safety is an excellent mystery, penned by Natasha Cooper, published in 2003. Cooper spins the threads out in such a manner that the layers are intricately woven together, yet never overwhelming to the reader. Mysteries that add layers just to add confusion are annoying. This is not one of those. Every thread, every layer, makes perfect sense, yet they are all a bit off center so the characters cannot make sense of the entire picture until it is almost too late. It is a masterful crafting of how experience and personal demons can skew one's perspective so that two people seeing the same situation see it in very different lights. At some point while reading this, the blogger was mentally urging Trish to just "TALK" to Toby! Yet, that is not her brief, and she has no idea how she is contributing to the downfall of the situation.

A Place of Safety is available at Reston Regional Library in the mystery shelves, as are other Trish McGuire mysteries.  Check them out!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Alice Thrift

Although most of us involved with Friends of Reston Regional Library read extensively, only rarely do we get around to actually writing reviews! But recently the blogger read a book that was so engaging she felt compelled to share it. It isn't a new book, so this may be another one of those times that the blogger is late to the newsflash, but just in case YOU haven't read it, here's the review.

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift 

Poor Alice Thrift is not very good at anything. She is a resident at a big hospital, low on sleep, low on social skills, and not even very good at many of the required medical skills. Into her well-ordered, if not particularly pleasing life, comes Ray Russo. This smooth-talking fudge salesman doesn't so much woo her as wear her down. And even as inept as Alice is in her own world, to Ray her status as a doctor represents a success for him. But the hook is that Alice isn't all that inept. She just doesn't have the life experience and emotional intelligence to move easily in a world that thrives on drama.

As Russo pursues Alice, her clinical observations of him and his effect on her is hilarious. And while he is a smarmy character, there is some part of his oiliness that starts to loosen Alice up. At the same time Russo is giving Alice the rush, her roommate Leo is trying to protect her. But instead of bubble-wrapping her, Leo tries to get her to see her own potential. The push and pull on Alice's psyche begins to round out her personality. Add the effect of a new female friend and Alice is ready to be a fully-functioning person. But oops, she married Ray somewhere along the way and is now stuck with him...or is she?

One of the appealing things about this book is the utter ruthlessness of Alice's observations, usually made at a point when conversation level has dropped in the room, so everyone can hear them. Alice, without social filters, simply says what is on her mind, and the effect is often laugh-out-loud funny. She doesn't mean to be cruel, or witty, or awkward. In fact, she probably says out loud what the rest of us would love to get away with saying.  As she moves along through the story, being massaged into a more complete being, she learns to temper her acerbity with compassion and humor. Because she recognizes her ineptitude, and spends time analyzing it in such a dispassionate (and funny) manner, the reader starts cheering for Alice early on.  At the apex of the story, it would not be beyond imagination to cheer out loud -- this reader did.

For all of us who have said the wrong thing at the wrong time, or failed to discern the reptilian tendencies of a suitor, or just who like to laugh, The Pursuit of Alice Thrift by Elinor Lipman is worth reading. Maybe twice.

Want to write a review of something good you've read lately?  Send it to us at restonfriendspr@gmail.com and we'll consider putting it on the blog!