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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Thursday Morning Notes

Spring Break Camp — Want to learn more about Reston Association’s Spring Break Camp for kids? There’s a video. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Dollars and Sense — The free monthly group at Reston Regional Library focuses on business leaders and markets. Tonight’s 7 p.m. discussion will be about “Antifragile” by Nassim Taleb. [Fairfax County]

Crash on Sunset Hills Road — A car crash shortly around 7:21 a.m. at Isaac Newton Square closed Sunset Hills Road for about an hour. The road is now open. [Fairfax Fire and Rescue]

Civic engagement prize — Reston-based Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation’s Rebuilding Democracy Project is among the recipients of the 2018-19 Lippman Kanfer Prize For Applied Jewish Wisdom. [Lippman Kanfer Prize]

Flood Watch — It will be a rainy day. The National Weather Service issued a Flood Watch for Fairfax County and surrounding areas for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Locals can expect between 1-2 inches of rain. [NWS]

Photo courtesy Andrea Avila 

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Mascot Books Shares Favorite Books by Local Authors

Looking for some reading suggestions? Mascot Books has some recommendations for books by local authors.

The full-service hybrid book publishing company (620 Herndon Parkway #320) started in 2003 with a self-published book about a collegiate mascot. Since then, it has published more than 2,500 fiction, nonfiction, children’s and cookbooks since then, according to its website.

Reston Now asked Mascot Books to share some favorite books about Reston or written by local authors. Here’s what the staff recommended, along with reasons for why they are worth reading.

“Ruby Foo and the Traveling Kitchen: Finding the Foo Identity” by Tiffany Foo

Description: Ruby Foo may seem like your middle schooler, but in the kitchen, she turns into a culinary superhero called the Fantastic Foo! When a mysterious photograph leads her out of her own kitchen and into her grandfather’s, she must use her culinary skill and courage to uncover some long-hidden secrets about her family’s storied past.

Why we love it: Part history, part culinary adventure (and including several kid-friendly recipes!), “Ruby Foo” is perfect for chefs of all ages — she is as smart as she is fearless and is a great role model for middle school-age kids. Tiffany Foo is a Herndon resident.

“Reston A to Z” by Watt Hamlett

Description: “Reston A to Z” takes young readers on a tour of America’s first modern planned community. Guided by Robert E. “Bob” Squirrel (reminiscent of Reston’s beloved founder, Robert E. Simon), readers will undoubtedly recognize the town’s many landmarks in the photos of the places, activities and nature that make Reston a treasure to families.

Why we love it: Reston was one of the first planned communities in the state, and “Reston A to Z” does a great job not just showing off the local sites, but also talking about the history of this great town. We particularly love the piece about the town center — it’s amazing to see how it’s changed! Hamlett is a Reston resident.

“Hoos in the Kitchen” by Melissa Palombi

Description: Inspired by the flourishing food scene and endless pride of the University of Virginia, “Hoos in the Kitchen” features more than sixty recipes from members of the UVA community. This collection is perfect for UVA fans everywhere, with recipes designed to incorporate Virginia-based ingredients to those of international origins.

Why we love it: Melissa grew up in Reston and moved to Charlottesville to work for the University of Virginia. Hoos in the Kitchen does a great job of showing the local culture and community through food. We’d love to see a “Reston Kitchen” cookbook one day, too! Palombi was raised in Reston.

Photos via Mascot Books

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Reston Historic Trust and Museum Shares Favorite Local Books

Several books focus on the history of the Reston and Herndon areas, and the Reston Historic Trust and Museum has some favorites to get you started.

The Reston Historic Trust, which operates the Reston Museum and Shop, was founded in 1997 as a community-based non-profit to keep Reston’s history alive. The museum debuted at Lake Anne Plaza in the late 1990s and offers exhibits and archives, walking tours, workshops and public events.

Reston Now asked the museum staff to share some favorite books about Reston or written by local authors. Here’s what the staff recommended, along with their reasons for why they are worth reading.

“In His Own Words” by Kristina Alcorn

Written by a Reston author and the vice-chair of our board, it is a wonderfully intimate look into the life of Reston’s founder Robert E. Simon, Jr. based on interviews the author conducted with him. It is truly a one-of-a-kind book and one of the best ways to learn about Reston’s founder.

The book costs $14.99 at the gift shop.

“Reston, Virginia” by the Reston Historic Trust & Museum

This book features archival artifacts from the Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s own museum collection to tell the story of Reston’s beginning. Seeing the pictures of the past are the perfect way to see and learn about Reston’s founding and evolution.

The book costs $18.99 at the gift shop.

“Reston’s African American Legacy” by Rev. LaVerne Gill

Gill, a Reston author, profiles 25 African-American Restonians who have made major contributions to the quality-of-life of Reston. It expertly highlights each person, making the reader feel as if they know the person themselves (and some readers might know them personally as many are active in the Reston community today). The book also allows the reader to understand the impact of their involvement in the Reston community.

The book costs $35 at the gift shop.

Photos via Reston Historic Trust and Museum and Amazon

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New Book Examines Bizarre Stories from Herndon’s Past

Herndon is well known as a sleepy farming community with growing development working its way west from Reston, but a new book takes aim at some of the bizarre stories from the town’s history.

“Hidden History of Herndon,” part of the Hidden History series from publisher The History Press, is scheduled to be released on March 11 in paperback.

The book’s author, Barbara Glakas, is the historian of the Herndon Historical Society. Glakas is a native of Fairfax County and a retired teacher from Fairfax County Public Schools.

The book includes tales from the town’s naming by a mysterious stranger to local unrest in the 1920s. According to the Amazon description:

A mysterious stranger who passed through the village one night suggested the name Herndon, after the captain of a sunken ship. The Civil War split loyalties among the townspeople and brought an unexpected Confederate raid on the town. Prohibition brought bootleggers with it, but its repeal caused an uproar from temperance-minded residents. Lively community fairs were ever present in the 1920s, but so was the Ku Klux Klan. Local author Barbara Glakas uses rare photographs and firsthand accounts to tell little-known stories of the people, places and events that shaped the history of the Town of Herndon.

Other nearby Hidden History books include “Hidden History of Northern Virginia,” “Hidden History of Arlington County” and “Hidden History of Alexandria.”

The book was mentioned by the Herndon Town Council in a Jan. 15 session during a recognition of the town’s 140th anniversary.

Photo via The History Press

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Janet Howell Pens Book with Daughter-in-Law on Female Leaders

State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) is set to debut in October a book about women leaders that she wrote with her daughter-in-law.

Candlewick Press announced yesterday (Jan. 7) that Howell and her daughter-in-law, author Theresa Howell, penned a book to share the stories of more than 50 female leaders, ranging from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Condoleezza Rice.

“Leading the Way: Women in Power” will include brief biographies of the women, how-tos for young activists, a timeline, index, and glossary, according to the independent publisher based in Somerville, Mass.

“I wish I’d had a book like this when I was a kid,” Janet Howell, who has been serving in the Virginia State Senate since 1992, said in the publisher’s press release.

Candlewick Press provided this description of the book:

Meet some of the most influential leaders in America, including Jeannette Rankin, who, in 1916, became the first woman elected to Congress; Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress; and Bella Abzug, who famously declared, “This woman’s place is in the House . . . the House of Representatives!” This engaging and wide-ranging collection of biographies highlights the actions, struggles and accomplishments of more than fifty of the most influential leaders in American political history — leaders who have stood up, blazed trails and led the way.

The book follows the record number of women who ran for and won elected offices in 2018 and will debut before the 2020 presidential primaries, the press release said.

“We at Candlewick could not be more proud to be publishing this timely and inspirational book,” Karen Lotz, the president and publisher of Candlewick Press, said, adding that “Leading the Way: Women in Power” has already garnered praise from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona and Secretary of Homeland Security.

Napolitano said that she wants the book to inspire young readers to become future leaders. “The women profiled here were once girls who not only dreamed big — they went big,” she said.

The book will also feature portraits and lettering design by illustrators Kylie Erwin and Alexandra Bye. The book’s visuals aim for an “accessible, inviting look ideal for the project’s mission to inspire middle-graders, young adults, and even adults to create change in their own communities,” according to the press release.

Recommended for ages 10 and up, the book is set to hit stores’ shelves on Oct. 8.

Images via Janet Howell’s office and Candlewick Press

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Thursday Morning Notes

Bobby Cadabra magic show — Head to the Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon for the magic show, which starts at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $5. [Fairfax County]

Dollars and Sense — The free monthly group at Reston Regional Library focuses on business leaders and markets. Tonight’s 7 p.m. discussion will be about Ric Edelman’s book “The Truth About Your Future.” [Fairfax County]

Money pouring into liquor stores — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority said in a new report that its total sales were $983.3 million this fiscal year. The agency attributes the sales increase in part to opening five new stores across the state. [U.S. News & World Report]

Photo via David Toms

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Thursday Morning Notes

Girl Power! book club meets tonight — Younger readers between the ages of 10 to 13 can head to Scrawl Books in Reston Town Center to discuss the graphic novel “Be Prepared.” The book club starts at 7 p.m. tonight and will include trivia and games. [Scrawl Books]

The Rotary Club of Reston joins Reston Chamber of Commerce — The club held a luncheon earlier this week with an update from Mark Ingrao, the president and chief executive officer of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. The club recently joined as a not-for-profit member. [Rotary Club of Reston Facebook]

Making sure everyone counts — On Tuesday, 40 people gathered in Richmond to figure out some ways to encourage Virginians to answer their U.S. Census Bureau questionnaires in 2020. The responses help determine the distribution of federal funding, which, historically, has been lower than the actual population. [The Virginian-Pilot]

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‘Gingerbread Man’ is Coming to Scrawl Books This Saturday

Kids can meet the Gingerbread Man at Scrawl Books in Reston Town Center this coming weekend.

Author Laura Murray will read and sing from her Gingerbread Man books from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 15) at 11911 Freedom Drive.

Murray’s books include “The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas,” “The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School” and “The Gingerbread Man Loose at The Zoo” — all of them illustrated by Mike Lowery.

Murray, a McLean resident, is former school teacher-turned-writer, and Lowery is a professor of illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design who lives in Atlanta, according to their Scrawl Books bios.

Photos via Scrawl Books

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