Biographies & Memoirs
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The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships, we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends, and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the minefield, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other because in Vietnam they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves. (catalog summary)
Looking for a wartime fiction title to read this Veteran's Day weekend? Check out the selections below.
Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic, by Sam Quinones, is a book about the rise in opiate addiction in America. Centers for Disease Control states that “91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.” Also, by 2008, drug overdoses surpassed car deaths as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
Many folks are struggling with opiate addiction, even in the Fredericksburg area. The Free Lance Star published an article on April 27, 2017, entitled “Officials Take Action to Combat Spike in Opioid Deaths.” Dreamland is a book that sheds light on the opiate addiction throughout America.
Virginia has long held the nickname of “the mother of presidents,” and surely its most famous native son was the first president, George Washington. His birthplace in Westmoreland County, now a national monument, can be visited today and often features living history performers demonstrating what life was like in the times he knew. George Washington’s Virginia, by John R.
The Phantom of the Opera is considered to be one of the oldest classic movie monsters—and one of the creepiest. Born in a French novel, put into two silent films and a popular Broadway musical, the Phantom has made an impact on the horror world.
Known by some in my community as "Doctor Yum," I am a pediatrician and founder of The Doctor Yum Project, a nonprofit organization in Spotsylvania. We try to help families understand the connection between good food and good health with cooking instruction and nutrition education.
Fredericksburg Branch, Tuesday, October 10, 7:00–8:30
Join us as we hear bestselling author Jamie Ford discuss his work. His novels include Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Songs of Willow Frost, and his new Love and Other Consolation Prizes. A question & answer session and book signing will follow. Copies of Love and Other Consolation Prizes will be sold for cash or check payment. Refreshments served. Sponsored by UMW Libraries.
About the Author:
Jamie Ford has worked themes from his Asian-American heritage into his books. Ford may not sound like an Asian name, but it was adopted by Jamie Ford's great-grandfather, Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865. Taking the European name William Ford, Min Chung became a miner in Nevada.
Min Chung/William Ford's great-grandson Jamie Ford earned a degree in design from the Art Institute of Seattle and also attended Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts. He worked in advertising, first as an art director and later as a copywriter. On his own, he submitted short stories to writing contests and small literary venues and spent many of his vacations at writing conferences. In an interview on WordLily, Jamie explained that he began writing about Asian-American characters after his father died when he found he wanted to reconnect with his Chinese heritage.
Mr. Ford grew up in Oregon as well as in Washington State, a setting he would revisit in his works. Jamie Ford's first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two years on the New York Times' bestseller list, winning many awards, while it received much praise from both general readers and professional reviewers.
Mr. Ford shares some thoughts about his history, inspiration, and personal recommendations in our Guest Picks column.
Marc Tyler Nobleman likes comic books. Actually, he loves comic books. And, he loves the histories of his comic-book writers. On Saturday, September 9, from 3:00-4:00 at England Run Branch, Mr. Nobleman will be joining us as part of the University of Mary Washington's Great Lives series to talk about his beloved superheroes, the books he has written, and the inspiration he continues to receive from creators such as Bill Finger, Jerry Siegel, and Joe Shuster.
Home to sprawling plantations, the even more sprawling Fort A.P. Hill, and historic sites such as assassin John Wilkes Booth’s death place and explorer William Clark’s birthplace, Caroline County is an archetypal rural Virginia county, far closer in spirit to the somnolent Clayton County from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind than the avant-garde art and literature communities of cities like New York and Madrid. But for several months back in 1940 and 1941, Bowling Green, Caroline County’s seat, was the unlikely home to artist Salvador Dalí and authors Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin.
When Glory came out in 1989, movie audiences were excited to see a relatively unknown side of the Civil War that highlighted the sacrifices of the Massachusetts 54th, a “colored” volunteer regiment. Gripping as the story that unfolded on the screen was, there was much more to it, of course. In real life, other people’s stories became part of the regiment’s history as the Civil War gripped the nation.
John Mercer Langston, along with Frederick Douglass, acted as a recruiter for the 54th. As an abolitionist and orator, he was an excellent choice, and this task was just one of Langston’s civic accomplishments. Although he had spent most of his life in a free state, John was familiar with plantation life. His father had been a white plantation owner in Louisa County, Virginia—not far from Spotsylvania. His mother had been his father’s slave. But his parents’ story was not a common one for the era. His father freed his mother, and, although they were not allowed to marry for legal reasons, they lived together as man and wife for the rest of their days, their children considered to be freeborn.