Feature Articles - Arts

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 2:30pm
Food and Hunger: A Community Conversation

Voting is just one way to exercise our right to civic participation this November. Coming together as a community to discuss and tackle important local issues, such as food and hunger, is another. Central Rappahannock Regional Library and the Salem Run Neighborhood Watch are sponsors of the new, biannual public forum series called "Community Conversations," intended to spark dialogue and foster collaboration and partnerships. 

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:54am
If You Like Addiction Memoirs

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.


There are many "addiction memoirs" in our collection. Some are funny, some are bleak and despairing, some a combination. Try these titles:

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
A young girl uses crystal meth to escape the pain of losing her mother and grandmother in Hurricane Katrina, and then struggles to get over her addiction. (catalog summary)

by Ellen Hopkins
Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind. (catalog summary)

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
A powerful, brave, and moving memoir of one woman's struggle with alcoholism, a disease that affects fifteen million Americans each year. "It happened this way: I fell in love and then, because love was destroying everything I cared about, I had to fall out." So begins Caroline Knapp's searing account of her twenty-year love affair with alcohol, the "liquid armor" she used to protect herself from life's painful realities: family tension, social insecurity, fear of intimacy, her parents' deaths. Though she was for twenty years a functioning alcoholic, few would have suspected that beneath her attractive, Ivy League veneer, this successful professional was a young woman who had to drink herself to sleep every night. She thought alcohol gave her the courage to face life. It took her twenty years to admit that drinking only made it more difficult to bear. Written with warmth, candor, and wisdom, here is one woman's story of addiction and recovery—a story that begins in despair and loneliness, but ends with the hope that within each of us lies the strength to survive in the world without anesthesia. (catalog summary)


Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:21am
If you like A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from stories, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. As her feelings toward him transform from hostility to a fiery passion, the threats against the faerie lands grow. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse or she will lose Tamlin forever. (catalog summary)

Read the other book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series:

A Court of Mist and Fury

Though Feyre now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, but as she navigates the feared Night Court's dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. (catalog summary)




If you like Maas' epic, romantic fantasy check out these other titles (adult and teen) as well:

The Accursed
by Joyce Carol Oates 
In 20th century Princeton, New Jersey, a powerful curse, which besets the wealthiest of families, causes the disappearance of a young bride, and when her brother sets out to find her, he crosses paths with the town's most formidable people, including Grover Cleveland and Upton Sinclair. (catalog summary)



by Cat Hellisen
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast—unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever. (catalog summary)




Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:16am
If you like Creepy Classics

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
 "We will each write a story," poet Lord Byron announced to his next-door neighbors, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley. The friends were summering on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in 1816, Shelley still unknown as a poet and Byron writing the third canto of Childe Harold. When continued rains kept them confined indoors, all agreed to Byron's proposal. The illustrious poets failed to complete their ghost stories, but Mary Shelley rose supremely to the challenge. With Frankenstein, she succeeded admirably in the task she set for herself: to create a story that, in her own words, would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror -- one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. (catalog summary)

Here are other creeptastic classics you must get your claws on, and read:


The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft
Howard Philips Lovecraft reinvented the horror genre in the 1920s, discarding ghosts and witches, and instead envisioning mankind as a tiny outpost of dwindling sanity in a chaotic and malevolent universe. S. T. Joshi, Lovecraft's preeminent interpreter, presents a selection of the master's fiction, from the early tales of nightmares and madness such as "The Outsider" to the overpowering cosmic terror of "The Call of Cthulhu." (catalog summary)



Dracula by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker's classic vampire story has haunted and disturbed the modern imagination for a hundred years. Set in Transylvania, London, and Whitby, it pits the sinister but seductive Count Dracula against a team of Vampire-hunters armed only with typewriters, phonographs, and syringes. Vividly presented in the form of diaries and letters, the narrative blends ancient superstitions with modern technologies, and pulsates with obsessive fears of foreignness and sexuality. (catalog summary)



Fri, 10/21/2016 - 9:32am

There are many monsters associated with Halloween. Besides Dracula and his kind, mummies are among the most fascinating of these. The mummies appearing in horror films and literature have many differences, but one thing remains constant: they are cursed to remain alive forever. They also have a doomed romantic attraction to at least one mortal woman and a burning hatred of all other mortals that has endured for centuries.

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 5:51pm
Chris Glover, Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Assistant Director for Technology

Chris Glover, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s (CRRL) Assistant Director for Technology, is the winner of the first Public Library Innovator Award given by the Virginia Library Association. This award recognizes public librarians or public library project teams who have made an outstanding contribution to advance the mission of a public library in Virginia through an innovative project, program, or service.

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 4:18pm

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading  recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg
She thinks more highly of snow and ice than she does of love. She lives in a world of numbers, science and memories--a dark, exotic stranger in a strange land. And now Smilla Jaspersen is convinced she has uncovered a shattering crime. It happened in the Copenhagen snow. A six-year-old boy, a Greenlander like Smilla, fell to his death from the top of his apartment building. While the boy's body is still warm, the police pronounce his death an accident. But Smilla knows her young neighbor didn't fall from the roof on his own. Soon she is following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow. For her dead neighbor, and for herself, she must embark on a harrowing journey of lies, revelation and violence that will take her back to the world of ice and snow from which she comes, where an explosive secret waits beneath the ice. (catalog summary)

We've pulled together a few suggestions for further reading. Some share the literary thriller aspect of Hoeg's book, some the Nordic atmosphere. 

Case Histories
by Kate Atkinson
Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night.
Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack.
Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.
Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge...(catalog summary)



Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
Winter, 1919. Amanda Starkey spends her days nursing soldiers wounded in the Great War. Finding herself suddenly overwhelmed, she flees Milwaukee and retreats to her family's farm on Nagawaukee Lake, seeking comfort with her younger sister, Mathilda, and three-year-old niece, Ruth. But very soon, Amanda comes to see that her old home is no refuge—she has carried her troubles with her. On one terrible night almost a year later, Amanda loses nearly everything that is dearest to her when her sister mysteriously disappears and is later found drowned beneath the ice that covers the lake. When Mathilda's husband comes home from the war, wounded and troubled himself, he finds that Amanda has taken charge of Ruth and the farm, assuming her responsibility with a frightening intensity. Wry and guarded, Amanda tells the story of her family in careful doses, as anxious to hide from herself as from us the secrets of her own past and of that night. Ruth, haunted by her own memory of that fateful night, grows up under the watchful eye of her prickly and possessive aunt and gradually becomes aware of the odd events of her childhood. As she tells her own story with increasing clarity, she reveals the mounting toll that her aunt's secrets exact from her family and everyone around her, until the heartrending truth is uncovered. (catalog summary)


Thu, 10/20/2016 - 3:50pm

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading  recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

Rococo: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani
In Our Lady of Fatima, N.J., plucky narrator Bartolomeo di Crespi, aka B, reigns supreme: he can doll up an ottoman with kicky trim and sparkly crystals with the best of 'em, and he decorates all the area's best houses, including the manse belonging to the mother of his putative fiancè, Capri Mandelbaum. (Really they're just friends, but Aurelia, Capri's mother, is certain they'll marry.) When the local church comes due for a major renovation, B gets the commission, after Father Porporino is convinced (forcibly, it's later revealed) that a tony Philadelphia firm won't do. But can B come up with a timeless yet innovative design for the church he loves? He calls in the experts-all of them sexy-takes trips to London and Italy, and benefits from a minor miracle amid a cast of family and friends who fight, fall in love, have babies and come out of the closet. (catalog summary)


Romance and lust and family dynamics feature prominently in Rococo by Adriana Trigiani. Some other titles that you might like:

Baker Towers
by Jennifer Haigh
Bakerton is a community of company houses and church festivals, of union squabbles and firemen's parades. Its neighborhoods include Little Italy, Swedetown, and Polish Hill. For its tight-knit citizens—and the five children of the Novak family—the 1940s will be a decade of excitement, tragedy, and stunning change. Baker Towers is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America's industrial past, and to the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation. It is a feat of imagination from an extraordinary voice in American fiction, a writer of enormous power and skill. (catalog summary)



Bet Your Bottom Dollar
by Karin Gillespie
Welcome to the Bottom Dollar Emporium, where everything from coconut mallow cookies to Clabber Girl Baking Powder costs only a dollar, and coffee and gossip are free. For Elizabeth, Mavis, and Attalee, logging nine to five at the Bottom Dollar is not just work time, it's family time. So when news gets out that the Super Saver Dollar Store chain plans to set up shop and run the Bottom Dollar out of town, things go catawampus. Manager Elizabeth, who has a good head for business even though she flunked pin-curling in beauty school, teams up with a crew of dedicated do-gooders bent on saving the Bottom Dollar from the fate of spare change. But when Elizabeth's unlikely new love interest—who also happens to be Cayboo Creek's wealthiest bachelor—pitches woo, out come some startling revelations about her past that turn life more than a little interesting for all her friends and neighbors. (catalog summary)



Thu, 10/20/2016 - 3:33pm

I recently had to get 12 stitches in my leg. It was mesmerizing to watch! But for some reason, nobody wanted to see the pictures I took of the bloody gash or the resulting row of neat black stitches.

I grew up with a nurse mom and a nuclear physicist dad, so our dinnertime conversations were often scientific discourse about what happened in surgery or the emergency room. I didn't realize that this wasn't normal until I horrified some of my playmates with stories they found unbearably gruesome.

In college, I was a serials check-in clerk for the medical library and was fascinated by some of the medical journals. I couldn't wait to look at the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report!

If you find medical history fascinating, look at some of the books on my Medical Mysteries and Maladies booklist.  

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 2:59pm

Now that I have a young child, I’ve become more aware of how short her attention span is. I know that I can have one, maybe two short books in a row before her attention wanders away, and she wants to do something else (which also explains why we love songs and playing so much in our Grow a Reader classes). Since making this discovery, I’ve been on the hunt for some books that are short and colorful that she’ll enjoy and ones I’m enthusiastic about reading to her. So, I’ve gathered together a list of shorter picture books that make her giggle, coo, and generally pay attention.