Biographies & Memoirs

05/23/2017 - 11:34am
Leo and Diane Dillon: An Artful Marriage

Leo Dillon was fascinated by Diane Sorber before he ever laid eyes on her. It was one of her paintings that caught his attention. For he did not know of any other student who had that deft, expressive technique. He was curious and a little jealous. He had a rival, and he knew it.

03/01/2017 - 12:43am
Cover to Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge

In traditional biographies of the Washingtons, the subject of slavery rarely comes up, or, if it does, it is given a paragraph or perhaps a chapter to explain the “peculiar institution” as it related to the first First Family. There is nothing like a personal story—a slave’s personal and true story—to get a deeper perspective. In Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge, that is exactly what we have.

03/02/2017 - 8:58am
CRRL Guest Picks: Principal Harold Morton

March's guest reader is a longtime educator with very local roots. Harold Morton has been the principal of Salem Elementary School for 15 years. He enjoys sports, movies, and school, and he says the best parts of his day are greeting students as they arrive at school and reading bedtime stories to his daughters at night.

02/21/2017 - 10:03am
Thomas Armat: Fredericksburg Native Was an Inventor of the Motion Picture Projector

Most Fredericksburg cinephiles have to content themselves with a life far removed from the gaudy glamour of the flashy film world that is now at its yearly peak as “award season” takes over Hollywood. However, if not for the ingenuity and tenacity of Fredericksburg-born entrepreneur and movie projector inventor Thomas Armat (1866-1948), the movie magic viewers take for granted today may have had a very different history.

02/01/2017 - 3:36pm
Author of the Month: Langston Hughes

"I was unhappy for a long time, and very lonesome, living with my grandmother. Then it was that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world in books — where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language, not in monosyllables, as we did in Kansas." (From The Big Sea, one of Hughes’ autobiographies) 

02/24/2017 - 10:08am
CRRL Guest Picks: Storyteller Daisy Howard-Douglas

February’s guest reader is Daisy Howard-Douglas, an educator, author, storyteller, and community treasure. She spent years as a teacher in Richmond schools, but she always maintained a strong connection with her childhood. Raised in the island town of Morgan City, Louisiana—and truly raised by a village—"Miss Daisy" enjoys sharing stories that draw on her wonderful early years, surrounded and supported by people in different generations.

01/31/2017 - 11:44am
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

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 the book matches here.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island. (catalog summary)

If you like epistolary fiction (letter writing) like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, check out these other titles as well.

The Antagonist

The Antagonist by Lynn Coady (General Fiction)
A man of enormous size and strength, Gordon Rankin, Jr., has been plagued with misfortune his entire life, which culminates in an old, trusted college friend publishing a novel that borrows freely from the traumatic events of Rank's own life. (catalog summary)



Dear Committee Members
Dear Committee Members
by Julie Schumacher (Humor, General Fiction)
Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the Midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters; his writing career is in the doldrums; his life is a tale of woe. In a series of letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, he creates small masterpieces of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. (catalog summary)


02/22/2017 - 12:52pm
Our Stories: A Panel Discussion Inspired by Hidden Figures

As fascinating and inspirational as we find the trials and triumphs of the African American women mathematicians profiled in our Rappahannock Reads selection, Hidden Figures, there are many, many such stories that our own friends and neighbors can tell us. We’ve invited some of those friends and neighbors to join us on Thursday, February 23, 7:00, at Headquarters Library for a lively panel discussion and to share with us their stories that parallel, in ways both large and small, those of the women of Hidden Figures. The stories may describe our past, but they will illuminate our present day and inform our future. Our panel members include: Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, Daisy Howard-Douglas, Dorothy Jackson, Johnny Johnson, Sandra and Donald Manigault, Cynthia Montague, Xavier Richardson, and Frank White.  Our moderator will be DeShawn Robinson-Chew.

Come to the library, and join the discussion. We’ll even serve refreshments! Read more about the panel members below.

11/29/2016 - 2:36am
Cover to Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm

When I was a child, Thalhimer’s meant shopping—Christmas shopping in Richmond. It was one of the last grand old department stores before shopping malls took over, and it got itself gussied up for the holidays. We might come home with bars of marzipan or hermit crabs but always with stars in our eyes. It was a place of sweet and inventive dreams. Little did we know that the store’s founder had played an important part in making dreams of safety come true for many Jewish teenagers in World War II.

Robert H. Gillette’s previous book, The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany, gave an overview of how Mr. Thalhimer managed it.  In Gillette’s current work, Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm, readers learn the in-depth stories of two of the rescued teenagers.

11/17/2016 - 3:29pm
Bibliophiles, Real and Imagined

For those of us who love books and reading, there are few things more pleasurable than meeting other readers and bibliophiles. Swapping books, book suggestions, and perhaps even going on a reading retreat are all a thrill to those of us who are avid readers.  

There are times, though, when a fellow book lover isn’t available, or you are tired and just want to be alone, but yet you’d still love to discuss books. Did you know that there is an entire genre written for those times? I like to call them books about books, and there are many that have been written, both fiction and nonfiction, just for people like us.


Subscribe to Biographies & Memoirs