LibraryPoint Blog

Keep up-to-date with the latest news about the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.
Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:33
National Novel Writing Month at the Library

Library Programs for NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month
This November, write your novel at the Porter Branch! We will have dictionaries, thesauri and books on novel writing available for you to consult. We offer free WiFi, free public use computers and printers. (If you'd like to use a computer, please call 540-659-4909 to sign up ahead of time.) There is no sign up required for the program, just drop in and write!  Have questions? Please call the adult reference desk at 540-659-4909.

First Chapters hosted on LibraryPoint
To submit the first chapter of your novel to be hosted on the LibraryPoint.org website, please email NaNoWriMo@crrl.org.  Attach your work as either a Microsoft Word or PDF document.  Submissions will be accepted throughout November and will be accessible until February 28, 2012.  Only works submitted by the original author with their permission will be posted.

The following chapters have been submitted by CRRL patrons:

Cataclysm 2012 by Dave

Genesis of Titan by John

It strikes me as somewhat counterintuitive that writing should be as difficult as it is.  After all, writing is arguably the most accessible of the creative arts: get a pen, get some paper, get an idea, and write it down.  Simplifying the process to such a degree is, while technically correct, nonetheless laughable.  For example, I spent well over an hour trying to figure out some way to write an opening paragraph for this article that wasn’t “everybody has a story” and it hasn’t even been an especially good opening paragraph. Imagine then the amount of effort that must go into writing an entire novel!  Thank goodness for NaNoWriMo.

No, I didn’t type that on a smart phone; NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  The concept is easy: devote this November to writing your novel.  You know your novel – that one idea floating lazily about in the nether regions of your brain’s “bucket list,” the one that you’ve said to yourself, “Wow, that would make a really great book.”  But you’ve never quite had the time or the inclination.  Well, much like the gym in January, NaNoWriMo gives you the formal opportunity to actually get started. 

Wed, 10/26/2011 - 03:30
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

If you’re in the mood for a harrowing reality check, Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death is the antidote to your craving. Postman’s revelatory book was initially published in the 1980s, but his exploration of America’s preoccupation with entertainment is still sharp and pertinent. And it has retained its power to make us re-think the role of technology in our everyday lives.

Throughout Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman questions how the content of our culture has been radically altered by the emergence of new media. As he states, “our notions of truth and our ideas of intelligence have changed as a result of new media displacing the old.” The assertion that cultural practices and technologies constantly influence and respond to one another might seem like a value neutral observation, but as Postman delves deeper into his analysis, it becomes obvious that he views the shift from the Age of Exposition (text-based communication) to the Age of Show Business (image-based communication) as a profoundly problematic and troubling phenomenon.

Tue, 10/25/2011 - 20:08

This interview airs beginning October 26.
Award winning illustrator-author Ron Miller specializes in science, astronomy, science fiction, and fantasy. Debby Klein visits him in his King George studio to talk about his thirty-odd books and ongoing creative contributions to literature, science, and entertainment on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.

Tue, 10/25/2011 - 03:30
Mayada: Daughter of Iraq by Jean Sasson

She was an educated daughter of the privileged class—granddaughter of two of Iraq’s heroes from its pre-Saddam era. A successful journalist and later owner of a printing business, she seemed to live a more charmed life than most of Iraq’s citizens. But as the door of the women’s prison closed behind her, leaving her virtually entombed, she realized that her sense of security had been nothing more than an illusion, and as one prisoner after another was dragged away to be tortured, she understood the true horror that underlay her world. Mayada: Daughter of Iraq: One Woman’s Survival Under Saddam Hussein is her story as shared with fellow writer Jean Sasson.

Mon, 10/24/2011 - 03:30
Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Libba Bray’s Going Bovine is the story of 16-year-old Cameron who has always dealt with life in a standoff manner, trying to avoid social contact with his peers. Things start to get interesting for him when he begins seeing objects that others seem to miss. While alone at home he hears a noise and discovers a feather, which leads him on a roller coaster of events and introduces him to some unlikely folks.

Cameron’s parents fear that drugs must be a factor so they send him to doctors and psychologists to figure out exactly what’s going on with their son, as he is still seeing things that others can't possibly be seeing. Finally, they find a doctor who unveils the mystery of what’s happening to him--Mad Cow Disease…and he’s going to die.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 13:47
The Bicycle Thieves

Come join the England Run Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library for the second film in the Italian Neorealism film series, "The Bicycle Thieves" (1948) directred by Vittoria De Sica on Monday, October 24th at 7pm.

In postwar, poverty-stricken Rome, a man, hoping to support his desperate family with a new job, loses his bicycle, his main means of transportation for work. With his wide-eyed young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief.

In the provided clip, Academy award winning director Martin Scorsese explains in his documentary "My Voyage to Italy,"  why "The Bicycle Thieves" was an influential film for him.

Italian with English subtitles.

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 12:10
The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy, Chapter 1, by Robert K. Krick

The first eighteen pages of The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy, by Robert K. Krick, are reprinted here with permission from the author and publisher, Louisiana State University Press, which retains all republication rights. Library copies of The Smoothbore Volley are available for check-out.

Nineteen men in two distinct groups rode forward from the coalescing Confederate lines west of Chancellorsville at about 9:00 P.M. on May 2, 1863. Only seven of the nineteen came back untouched, man or horse. Although one of those nearest the offending musket muzzles, Major General A. P. Hill escaped among the unscathed handful. Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, among those farthest from the flash point, was one of the five men killed or mortally wounded. The capricious paths of a few dozen one-ounce lead balls caroming off the dense shrubbery of Spotsylvania’s Wilderness that night had much to do with the course of the Civil War.

From every imaginable perspective, the afternoon of May 2 had been a stunning Confederate success of unprecedented magnitude. Lee and Jackson had crafted between them a dazzling tactical initiative that sent Stonewall covertly all the way across the front of a Federal army that outnumbered the southerners by more than two to one. The redoubtable corps commander managed the remarkable march without serious interruption, arrayed his first two divisions in a wide line, and descended upon the Federals like a thunderbolt. Those northerners who rallied bravely against the tide faced an inexorable outflanking by the outriders of Jackson’s line, who stretched far beyond the center of the attack in both directions. In this fashion Jackson routed one Union corps, trapped another out of the line, and left the others shaky, uncertain, and vulnerable to be stampeded.

Thu, 10/20/2011 - 12:08
Red Sorghum

Enjoy a screening of Red Sorghum, part of our Asian Film Festival, on Wednesday, October 26, 7pm, at Headquarters Library.

Red Sorghum(1987) stars Li Gong, Wen Jiang and Rujun Ten:

An old leper who owned a remote sorghum winery dies. Jiu'er, the wife bought by the leper, and her lover, identified only as "my Grandpa" by the narrator, take over the winery and set up an idealized quasi-matriarchal community headed by Jiu'er. When the Japanese invaders subject the area to their rule and cut down the sorghum to make way for a road, the community rises up and resists as the sorghum grows anew. (From the Internet Movie Database)

Thu, 10/20/2011 - 09:45
Jumpy Jack and Googily

Jumpy Jack and Googily, by Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall, is about the very special friendship of Jumpy Jack the snail and his pal, Googily. Jumpy Jack thinks there could be a monster behind every nook and cranny. Good thing he’s got Googily, who bravely investigates Jumpy Jack’s every fearful suspicion and reassures his friend that no monster could be lurking near. The humor in this sweet account of the exchange between two friends is that Googily himself is a monster, matching the exact description Jumpy Jack provides when he expresses the frightful possibilities his wild imagination creates.

Wed, 10/19/2011 - 08:16
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I decided to read this book because I’ve always been interested in the Dalai Lama. I really thought The Art of Happiness would be more focused on understanding Buddhist principles; instead, it’s a peculiar mix of Eastern religion meets Western medicine.

Co-author Dr. Howard Cutler is a psychiatrist with a private practice in Phoenix, and the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist monk. It’s amusing to see two very different approaches to achieving happiness. The Dalai Lama’s approach to achieving happiness is more of a holistic, spiritual system that focuses on improving oneself using the power of the mind. Dr. Howard Cutler takes more of a back-seat approach in which he listens to the Dalai Lama’s suggestions and gives input about modern psychological approaches used in the United States.

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