Sunday, June 27, 2010

Heads Up for July


This coming Thursday, July 1, begins the new operating hours for Reston Regional Library. The hours will be:

Monday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Tuesday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Wednesday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Thursday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Saturday hours remain 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sunday hours remain 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

All of the regional libraries will be on this schedule. The community libraries will have the opposite hours Monday - Thursday, i.e. if it's a late day for the Regionals, it will be an early day for the community libraries.  However, community libraries will be CLOSED on Sundays. (The closest community libraries are Patrick Henry in Vienna and Herndon).

What does this mean for the Friends?

Fewer hours to sort donations . . . which means more of a back-up in sorting than we already suffer, especially in the summer time.

Therefore, we are contemplating changing the hours we'll receive donations.  At the very least, we sure could use some more dedicated volunteers to train as sorters and commit to a regular time to do the work. The advantage of sorting is that there is a definite camaraderie between sorters, as well as the possibility that YOU will be the one to discover the hidden treasure donated in a big pile of books.

If this interests you, please e-mail us!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Impress Your Friends & Family

The Farmer's Markets are open, and the vegetables are calling.  This recipe is courtesy of our Friends president, Brian Jacoby, and is absolutely delicious.  Since it is the season of fresh vegies, you can certainly use FRESH corn kernels instead of frozen!

From the Cooks' & Hash-Slingers' Guide to Great Grub,  this is SO yummy and the flavors just improve with age (if you have leftovers).  Take this to a neighborhood event and you'll be VERY popular!

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. frozen corn kernels
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Place the first 5 ingredients in a jar and shake until the ingredients are well mixed.

In a large salad bowl, mix all the other ingredients.  Shake the dressing once more and pour over salad ingredients.  Stir to thoroughly coat the salad and serve.  Store leftovers in fridge.


If you want more great recipes and to support the library, you can get a copy of the book here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


There are three library branches re-opening this summer after complete renovation. Don't worry -- all the money allocated for these renovations was committed long before the budget crisis arose.

If you're out running around and want to see what a brand new, pristine library looks like, stop by one of these grand openings. You can dream about what we might be able to do when it is eventually Reston Regional's turn to be renovated. We are assured it will happen someday. After a referendum on the ballot says "yes"...whenever the referendum will be included on a ballot...don't hold your breath.

JUNE 26 (THIS SATURDAY) - THOMAS JEFFERSON (Falls Church). For details, click here.

JULY 10 - MARTHA WASHINGTON (Fort Hunt area).  For details, click here.

JULY 26 - RICHARD BYRD (Springfield)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Diversions

So your kids say they're too "old" to participate in the summer reading program at the library?  Okay, how about getting them some books from our RestonFriends site on Amazon that will challenge them for the summer? Here are a few to choose from. And remember, if you're a current, local Friend, you can get them shipping-free. Just e-mail us or call us - 703-829-5467.

For the cartooning child:

For the child who likes to work with his/her hands:

and for the child who loves role-playing games:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sad, but True

A couple of the things we learn from holding Semi-Annual Used Book Sales (last weekend in September is the next one) is that
  • there are a lot of books published of quite questionable quality
  • the book I think is dreck may be 'just the thing' for someone else.
That said, I read a library book last week that was T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E. and I want to let you know so you don't waste your time.

If you're a mystery/thriller fan, you've probably heard of James Patterson. You may have even read his (many) books.Well for some reason, he got a wild hair about solving the mystery of how King Tutankhamen died.Convinced that he could solve the mystery, Patterson collaborated with Martin Dugard to produce one of the absolutely worst waste of time books published.

You can start right with the cover. The book, The Murder of King Tut, advertises itself as a non-fiction thriller. It is true that the story of King Tut's short life, and the discovery of his tomb are thrilling, but the format in which Patterson has written the account is DEFINITELY fiction. He creates imagined conversations and even scenarios into which his neat 'theory' of Tut's murder falls.

Opening the book, you find an Author's Note. In the note, Patterson proceeds to excuse himself from any conventions associated with writing non-fiction. The entire tone is "I'm James Patterson, noted author, so I don't have to obey the common rules of writing." Sigh.

This book is much the worse for his abandonment of normal rules. Granted, in life much of the formerly stark line between fiction and non-fiction has blurred, but this book isn't even close.

And we haven't gotten to the writing yet.

In some ways, the writing style and format reminds me of a third grade chapter book. Short, with large font, the scene shifts between the early 20th century (Howard Carter and Lord Carnavon) and ancient Egypt. The conversations between the players in ancient times are completely contrived and the relationships mostly imagined. There is a little more validity in the 20th century portions as Carter left many papers and notes from which to draw a good story. But they fail at even that. A carefully laid out mystery is exciting and interesting (think Agatha Christie and Nero Wolfe). This is dull, contrived, and the conclusion Patterson draws isn't based on anything he writes up to that point. But lest you be tempted to let your 3rd grader read it, know that there are some sex scenes.

It IS a story. At best, it's Historical Fiction. (And there are better historical fiction books on this subject) At worst, it is a fraud. There are no footnotes. No sources listed. No bibliography of any kind. Instead, where a bibliography might normally be found, there is a long list of all of Patterson's published titles.

This is either the worst case of author arrogance I've read in a long time, or this is a poor hapless author driven to publish absolute rubbish by a ruthless publisher. Don't bother reading it to find out unless you're a big James Patterson fan and feel sorry for him.

If, after this glowing review, you're tempted to read the book anyway, look under 932P.  The P is ostensibly for Patterson but it should be for Pretentious and Pathetic and Pee-yew.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer Reading Program

The Children's Summer Reading Program kicks off on MONDAY, June 21.  Here are the highlights:

The Fairfax County Public Library Summer Reading Program encourages children and teens to read for pleasure during summer vacation. It is held in cooperation with the Fairfax County Public School system.

There is also a HOST of summer programs for children available through the generosity of Friends of the Library organizations throughout the county, including Friends of Reston Regional Library.

Here are some important messages from the staff at FCPL regarding children's programs:

Sign Up
We’d love to welcome everyone to all our programs, but unfortunately we have space limitations.  For most programs, registration is required.  You can register for programs online, in person or by calling the library branch.  Registration begins two weeks before the event.

Waiting Lists vs. Main Lists
We use waiting lists for some programs.  If a program is full you may be put on the wait list.  The library will alert you if you move from the wait list to the main list.  Those that are on the wait list will have first priority if there are cancellations or no-shows on the day of the program.  If there are openings in a program, but not enough openings to accommodate your family, please call the library.

Please follow the listed age recommendations for children’s events.  Our performers and presenters prepare programs for specific age groups so the program content is age appropriate.

If a program your child wants to attend is already full, the program may be repeated at another library.

Some programs are for school age children and teens only because if adults attended, fewer children could come (all people in the room count toward room capacity).  Parents of special-needs children are welcome to attend all programs with their children.

If you have signed up for a program and are not there when it starts, we assume you are not coming and give your seat to others who are waiting.  Late arrivals may not be admitted if room occupancy has already been reached.  Those on the waiting list will be admitted before those that have not registered at all.

If you run a daycare service and would like to bring all the children to a program, please ask the branch to see if this is possible.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Good Summer Read

I love novels that capture the essence of the integrated American experience.This past week I have been enjoying two such books by an Indian-American author, Bharti Kirchner.

The first book is Darjeeling, published 2002.The story is woven around two sisters in tea-growing family in Darjeeling, India.Aloka and Sujata live with their widowed father and his mother and enjoy all the privileges of being from a wealthy family. They are Bengali and the rich texture of their language and tradition shape their lives. Aloka is the elder sister, and as such, will inherit the tea plantation. She is beautiful and correct in everything she does. Yet Sujata is the one with the feel for the land and the tea.She is not beautiful like Aloka but carries a passion in her that shows her inner beauty. The girls both immigrate to different countries, forced by different circumstances surrounding the same situation.

Many themes are touched upon in this book -- forbidden love, patriarchy that liberates and stifles, the contrast between owners and workers, and the immigrant experience in New York as well as Victoria, Canada. Despite all of these currents, the story moves towards a conclusion, that while not entirely satisfying to the romantic, is the best one for all.

The second book, Pastries, is Kirchner's most recent, published 2003. It is fully of the sights and sounds of Seattle.Sunya is the daughter of Indian immigrants whose father left the family when she was just hours old. Now an adult, Sunya is a masterful baker who owns her own shop, Pastries. At the time of the story, her boyfriend has just broken up with her, a big soulless conglomerate bakery is opening in the neighborhood, her mother is finally remarrying a man Sunya cannot stand, and the baker seems to have lost her touch for baking her famous Sunya cake. As she whirls from situation to situation Sunya must confront the real issue that she is carrying around -- the abandonment by her father.

Again, Kirchner explores all of these topics without going too deeply into any of them, weaving them together in a way that like the baked goods Sunya sells, is sweet and fulfilling. Refreshingly, this book is not full of tawdry sex or overly emotional angst - just a quiet path to figure out how to get her balance back. My only wish is that Kirchner, a noted cookbook author as well, had included some of the recipes to which her characters refer!

I don't know how Kirchner includes so many story lines in an ordinary-sized novel, yet covers each of them enough to keep the reader interested to the end. She also does it in a way that creates the sensation of completeness -- these are not novels in preparation for a sequel. It's a talent I wish more authors would exercise.

Both of these books are available through the Fairfax County Public Library system. If your local branch doesn't have a copy, use the HOLD function to have it sent from another branch!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reston Festival

The Friends of Reston Regional Library, Inc. will have a booth at the upcoming Reston Festival!  There we will sell Friends LOGO merchandise and answer important questions such as:

  • What do you do with the money?
  • How often do you hold book sales?
  • How can I have as much fun as you do?
That's right -- we'll be recruiting volunteers and helping them find their niche in our great organization. If you're not a member or volunteer yet, stop by to see us!

July 10-11, 2010
Reston Town Center

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Change is Good, Right?

In the continuing struggle to figure out how to do more with lots less, the library system hours will change on July 1, 2010. Here they are:

The Access Services branch, which is located at the Fairfax County Government
Center, will maintain its current hours.

Regional Branches
(Centreville, Chantilly, City of Fairfax, George Mason, Pohick, Reston,
Sherwood and Tysons-Pimmit)

Monday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Tuesday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Wednesday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Thursday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Saturday hours remain 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sunday hours remain 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Community Branches
(Burke Centre, Dolley Madison*, Great Falls, Herndon Fortnightly, John Marshall,
 Kings Park, Kingstowne, Lorton, Martha Washington*, Oakton, Patrick Henry,
Richard Byrd*, Thomas Jefferson* and Woodrow Wilson)

Monday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Tuesday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Thursday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Saturday hours remain 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

No Sunday hours

Monday, June 7, 2010

Farewell to an Engaging Puzzler

The blogger was listening to Click and Clack on NPR this weekend and heard them discussing Martin Gardner, the puzzle king.  Apparently several years ago Tommy claimed Gardner was dead.  Shortly after that they received a call from a guy named Jim, who said he was a big fan of Gardner's and thought for sure he would have heard about Gardner's death before they did.  Turns out Jim was Gardner's son!  Gardner had heard the broadcast and told his son to call those guys and tell them, "I'm not dead!"

Alas, last month Martin really did shuffle off this mortal coil at age 95. But lucky for us, he had been a prolific writer and puzzler. And luckier for us, I just checked the Fairfax County Public Library catalog and there are at least 15 books that Gardner authored or co-authored. So if you want to tickle your brain, pick up one of these books!

And if you want to know a little more about Gardner, check out this obituary by The Economist.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


This popped up on Facebook this week. If you're interested, contact the person listed!

Fairfax County Public Library Do you live in Fairfax County and have a blog? If you do, please come to a blogger event on Thursday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. We'll discuss summer activities and services for children. To attend, e-mail your contact info and blog URL to:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Father's Day Picks

Here are some from our RestonFriends site at Amazon.  If you're a current, local Friend, please e-mail us or call us (703-829-5467) and we'll arrange for you to get the book(s) without having to pay shipping!  Another benefit of being a Friend of the Reston Regional Library!


The Acme Novelty Library