Friends of Reston Holiday Book Sale Kicks Off Today

Thousands of books are available for purchase beginning today (Thursday) during an annual sale by Friends of the Reston Regional Library.

According to information provided by the Friends, the nonprofit organization has raised more than $700,000 for the library through its book sales over the past 15 years. In addition, it has been able to donate $200,000 to direct library support programs — including $100,000 in eBooks, $25,000 in children’s series books, a Braille printing station for the Access Services branch, librarian scholarships and more.

Science fiction, religion, romance, cooking, sports, history and many other genres of titles are available. Small paperback books are available for as little as 50 cents, with hardcovers books priced as low as $1.50.

The sale is on through 8 p.m. today, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. tomorrow (Friday), between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Friends’ next sale will be mystery, thriller and adventure sale, which is set for Feb. 6-9. Friends of the Reston Regional Library is made up of nearly 100 active volunteers who donate over 10,000 hours a year to process donations, run sales and reach out to the community.

For more information about Friends of the Reston Regional Library and its book sales, visit its website or its Facebook page, find it on Twitter, call 703-829-5467, or email [email protected].

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New Book Aims to Educate Kids on Herndon History

An upcoming book about Herndon wants to teach kids about the town’s history and culture.

A Day in Herndon” is a mixed-media book that walks the reader through a day of personified farm animals from Frying Pan Farm Park who take a field trip to Herndon.

The book will be available on Saturday (Nov. 9) at a book signing celebration at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street) from 10 a.m. until noon and is also on sale online for $15.95.

Readers will notice photography and illustrations from co-authors and friends Jill Vinson and Watt Hamlett, who met each other when they were neighbors in Reston. Vinson said she has since moved and now lives in Herndon.

Each animal featured in the story is excited to see something different around town, according to Hamlett.

“We have a pig who wanted to check out the art around Herndon,” Hamlett said. “We wanted to take kids on our tour through the community.”

Hamlett and Vinson published their first book — “Reston A to Z” — three years ago.

When they were selling the book at the Lake Ann Farmers Market, people suggested that they write another book together about Herndon.

“There are so many people within the community who are really excited for this,” Vinson said.

In the future, the authors hope to sell the book around town and allow organizations to sell it for fundraising purposes. They already have a deal with Green Lizard Cycling, which plans to sell the book and donate some of the proceeds to an organization of their choice, Hamlett said.

Photo courtesy Watt Hamlett

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Author to Discuss Herndon History at Upcoming Event in Reston

The author of “Hidden History of Herndon” will speak in Reston next month.

Barbara Glakas will be at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza N.) to discuss her book and answer questions from the audience on Nov. 13 from 7-9 p.m.

The event will be hosted by the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, which aims to foster community engagement and knowledge of local history.

This event is free and will cover a range of Herndon and Reston history from her book that features “firsthand accounts to tell little-known stories of the people, places and events that shaped the history of the Town of Herndon,” according to a press release.

Photo courtesy Reston Historic Trust and Museum

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Janet Howell, Daughter-in-Law to Celebrate Book Launch in Reston

State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) and her daughter-in-law are set to celebrate the release of their new book about women leaders this weekend in Reston.

Howell and Theresa Howell, the authors of “Leading the Way: Women in Power!,” will be at Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 13) where they will discuss the 50 women profiled in the book and host a discussion with the audience.

The book examines the ways outstanding women throughout history have contributed to American society, according to Scrawl Books.

“This engaging and wide-ranging collection of biographies highlights the actions, struggles, and accomplishments of more than 50 of the most influential leaders in American political history — leaders who have stood up, blazed trails and led the way,” according to Scrawl Books.

Howell is a record-breaking woman herself — she is the longest-serving female legislator in Virginia, according to Scrawl’s website. She has been a senator since 1992 and a civil rights advocate since her college years.

Howell, who lives in Colorado, is an author and previously published “Maybe Something Beautiful.”

This free event is open to all ages. People can pre-order a hardcover copy for $24.

Image via Scrawl Books

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Friday Morning Notes

Herndon Middle School Gets At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program –The school is one of 13 in the county to receive the at-risk afterschool meals program. The same meals will be available at no separate charge to all participants. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Reston Friends Semi-Annual Book Sale Continues — Thousands of used books will be available for purchase during the sale, which continues into the weekend. The sale is on today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Reston Regional Library. [Reston Regional Library]

International Walk to School Day is Next Week — County schools will take part in International Walk to School Day on October 2 in  “an effort to promote physical activity and reduce traffic congestion and pollution near schools. Students and employees are encouraged to bike or walk to school and work. Parents are encouraged to accompany their children to school, and to work with their school or PTA to assemble bike trains or walking groups for the event. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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‘Hamilton and Peggy!’ Author to Speak in Reston Next Week

An author, history buff and former journalist will speak in Reston next week about her recent historical novel.

Laura Elliott will be at Sunrise Senior Living (1778 Fountain Drive) on Tuesday (Oct. 1) to give a presentation on her novel “Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship,” which explores the friendship between American historical figures Peggy Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton.

The event is part of “Creative Conversations” at the senior living facility, with similar talks scheduled through 2020, according to Connection Newspapers. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

Elliott began her writing career as a journalist and was a senior writer with Washingtonian where she said she wrote about women’s issues. Later in her career, she decided to become a novelist and has written nine novels so far, she told Reston Now.

She said she decided to write the novel after learning about their friendship — Peggy helped Hamilton by acting as a “wingman” to help Hamilton court her sister, Elizabeth.

Elliott said that many of her readers first became interested in the topic after hearing about the popular Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

“It’s amazing how much history they fit into the musical,” Elliott said.

She will tailor the presentation to the audience, understanding that some of the seniors at the living community may be veterans, she said.

“The thing about seniors is that they know their history,” Elliott said. “I really do try to gauge what interest the audience most and leave time for questions.”

Looking forward to the future, Elliott said she is discussing with her publisher another book focusing on other prominent figures from the era. She told Reston Now she is considering writing a novel about John Laurens, who was a soldier during the Revolutionary War.

Photo via Facebook

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Scrawl Books Hosting Back-to-School Party Saturday to Help Kids in Need

Scrawl Books is hosting a family-friendly party to benefit an organization that high-quality early learning for kids.

The Reston bookstore will have fun activities for kids and parents scattered throughout the store and each half-hour a staff member will read a book for the audience. The event will run from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 11911 Freedom Drive on Saturday (Sept. 7).

Donations will be accepted on-site and a portion of sales will benefit the Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children.

The organization’s goal is to create a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for every kid under the age of eight.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Wood

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Fall Book Sale Returns to Reston Regional Library Next Month

Friends of the Reston Regional Library is hosting a fall book sale in September.

The fall sale is set to take place from Thursday, September 25 through Sunday, September 29. 

The used book sale is one of the library’s largest book sales in the year. No children’s books will be offered at the sale. All items are in gently-used and good condition.

Timings are below:

  • Thursday, September 26 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • Friday, September 27 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Saturday, September 28 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Sunday, September 29 (Noon to 3:30 p.m.)

A special members night is set for Wednesday, September 25 from 5-8 p.m. The sale takes place at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive).

More information about the Friends’ other six annual sales is available online.

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Author of ‘The Spies of Shilling Lane’ Coming to Scrawl Books

Bestselling author Jennifer Ryan will visit Scrawl Books this weekend at 11911 Freedom Drive.

Ryan will discuss and sign her latest book, “The Spies of Shilling Lane.” The story revolves around female spies in World War II.

The book has been called a “delightful mystery’ by the New York Times.

This is her second novel following the release of “The Childbury Ladies Choir” in 2017.

The event begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 14.

Photo via Crown Publishing

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Music Festival in Herndon to Raise Funds for Literacy Programs

During Sunday’s music festival, performers will take to the outdoor stage at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern in Herndon to raise funds for a local literacy program.

The event, “Turn Up the Volumes,” is set for Sunday (June 9) from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the tavern, which is located at 697 Spring Street in Herndon.

The festival is a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Herndon’s Imagination Library program.

In the program, members mail a book each month to children in Herndon from their birth to age 5.

Since the initiative began in 2005, the club has mailed more than 100,000 books to children.

The event, which features Big Whitson, Catchin’ Toads, Bald Chicken Brown, and Acoustic Mutiny, is free and open to all.

Photo via Turn Up the Volumes Music Festival/Facebook

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Wednesday Morning Notes

South Lakes High School Among Best Schools in the State — SLHS was ranked the 39th best high school in Virginia, according to rankings by the U.S. News & World Report. The rankings were released Tuesday and evaluate more than 17,000 schools across the country. [Reston Patch]

Police Investigate Shots Fired in Parking Lot — Last night, officers were on the 1500 block of Cameron Crescent Drive after receiving a report that a man fired shots in a parking lot. No one was hurt and the police department is investigating the incident. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Semi-Annual Book Sale at Reston Regional Library — Reston Friends get first dibs on the book sale today from 5 to 8 p.m. Thousands of books will be available for purchase. [Fairfax County Public Library]

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Approves Budget — The board “gave preliminary approval to the $4.4 billion 2020 fiscal year budget. The proposed budget fully funds the operating budget request from Fairfax County Public Schools and holds the real estate tax rate at its present level.” [Fairfax News]

“Black America Again” and “Letter to the Free” Tonight— Enjoy a free screening at CenterStage at 7:30 p.m. “Black America Again” explores the perseverance of the black community and “Letter to the Free” documents the stories of talented jazz musicians at the Queens Detention Complex. The film is presented with promotional support from the Washington West Film Festival. [Reston Community Center]

Photo by Wade Gilley Sr

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City Lab Editor: Reston is a ‘Radical Suburb’

Stereotypes of suburban life — with its big homes, picketed fences, and affluent people — thrive in America. But in some “radical suburbs,” people flocked to the urban fringes to chase a different way of life, according to City Lab Editor Amanda Kolson Hurley.

In her new book, “Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City,” Hurley examines six suburban towns that are “fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially-conscious design, and integrated housing.”

Hurley says that Reston is a community that strays from the typical idea of a conventional, middle-class suburb. She discussed her book in a Kojo Nnamdi Show segment on Wednesday (April 24).

Reston is an “anti-suburb” developed by Bob Simon, who was born into a family of real estate developers, Hurley said. After taking a bike trip across Europe — with all of its plazas and community-style living — Simon was inspired to sell off his share of Carnegie Hall to build a new town. Like the founder of Columbia, Md. – Reston’s sister city — Simon was tired of the soul-less and ugly character of other suburbs, Hurley said.

“People thought he was nuts,” Hurley said.

But Reston turned out to be a good bet. Unlike other suburbs at the time, Reston was integrated from the very beginning, giving it a forward-looking vision, she says.

But now, Reston — like other radical suburbs — faces a question of identity.

“The question it faces and that more and more suburbs will face in the coming years is one of identity,” Hurley said, “Should it be a suburb or a city?”

Her book examines other model suburbs like Old Economy, Pa., Piscataway, Nj., Lexington, Ma, and Greenbelt, Md.

Photo via Belt Publishing

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Author, Musician to Mark Book Releases With Reston Regional Library Performance

Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander and musician Randy Preston will team up on Saturday (April 6) for a performance at the Reston Regional Library.

The free show at from 2-4 p.m. 11925 Bowman Towne Drive will celebrate the paperback release of Alexander’s “Booked” and “The Crossover” in addition to the release of Alexander’s newest picture book called “The Undefeated.”

Books will be available for purchase, and a limited number of free copies will be given to Fairfax County Public School educators at the event, which is hosted in partnership with the Reston Regional Library and Scrawl Books.

Photo via Reston Regional Library

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Scrawl Books Shares Favorite Books by Local Authors

(Updated at 10:45 a.m. on April 8) Scrawl Books, an independent bookstore in Reston, wants readers to pick up books written by local authors.

The book store first opened in 2015 at Wiehle Metro before moving to its current spot in Reston Town Center at 11911 Freedom Drive.

Along with its broad selection of titles for kids, teens and adult, Scrawl Books hosts weekly events to bring book lovers together for social hours, story time for kids and book clubs.

Reston Now asked Scrawl Books to share some favorite books about Reston or written by local authors. Here’s what the staff recommended, including two authors from Great Falls — L. M. Elliott and Angie Kim, and another book by Reston author Kwame Alexander.

“Hamilton and Peggy” by L. M. Elliott  

Description: L. M. Elliott has researched and written several historical fiction novels for Young Adults, but they are fantastic reads for anyone who loves a great story, history and suspense.

Why we like her: Her book “Hamilton and Peggy” tells about a relatively unknown figure from the Hamilton narrative, Peggy Schuyler. Through Peggy, Elliott proves that girl power was always a thing — even during the Revolutionary War.

The book costs $17.99 at Scrawl Books.

“Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim 

Description: This debut author’s first book, “Miracle Creek” hits the shelves in April, and it is an outstanding, character-driven drama. The story is told through a murder trial, but delves deep into the back story of each character and offers several different perspectives on a controversial medical treatment, cultural differences and our perceptions or misperceptions of people and circumstances.

Why we like her: Her characters are fascinating and the mystery holds up right to the end.

The book costs $17.99 at Scrawl Books.

“The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Description: The Newbery winner composes novels in verse and poems for a younger audience (mostly middle grade and Young Adult), but his work is so compelling that readers of all ages find it difficult to resist and impossible to forget.  His latest book, “The Undefeated” is based on a poem about black life that originally aired on ESPN and made an incredible impact.  The book is even better!

Why we like him: His writing style is unique and his ability to tell a story is amazing. His support of the local community is immeasurable, and he goes out of his way to inspire kids (and adults) to read and write.

The book costs $17.99 at Scrawl Books.

Photos via Scrawl Books

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‘Myths and Monsters’ Among Reston’s Used Book Shop’s Top Reads

In a hunt for good local reads, Reston Now has recently been reaching out to Reston and Herndon book stores for book suggestions about local history or written by local authors.

Reston’s Used Book Shop weighed in with its top local picks for book lovers — all of which can be found on the shop’s shelves at 1623 Washington Plaza.

The book shop has called Lake Anne Plaza home for more than 40 years. Founded in 1978 by Restonians Sue Schram and Sue Wensell, the book shop changed owners in 1999, according to its website.

Readers looking to unearth Reston’s secrets might enjoy the shop’s recommendation of “Myths and Monsters of Reston, Virginia: The Phenomenal and Frightening Findings of Dr. Padraigin W. Thalmeus, PDS.” written by local authors Eric Macdicken and Kristina Alcorn.

Reston’s Used Book Shop provided this book description:

Every town has myths, but not every town has monsters. Reston, Virginia could be the most monstered town in all the world! At least according to the recently unearthed journal of the scholarly yet skittish Dr. Padraigin W. Thalmeus, PDS., circa 1819. Join our team of modern day paranormal researchers as we discover the supernatural creatures that Dr. Thalmeus faced on his perilous quest for a legendary hidden treasure. Perhaps these myths and monsters are still haunting to this day!

Reston’s Used Book Shop had two more suggestions that Reston Now covered in previous bookstore roundups.

The book shop suggested another book by Alcorn — “In His Own Words” — that was previously recommended to Reston Now by the Reston Historic Trust and Museum (Alcorn is the vice-chair of the Reston Historic Trust’s board).

The shop also selected “Reston A to Z” by Watt Hamlett, which was recommended by Mascot Books to Reston Now.

Tell us in the comments if you’ve read these or have other local reading suggestions for book lovers.

Photo courtesy Reston’s Used Book Shop 

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