Virginia Johnson

04/24/2018 - 8:41am

Ponds, lakes, streams, and, of course, the Rappahannock River—there are lots of places to drop a line in the area. Whether you’re new to fishing or want to wade back in, we have suggestions on where to fish locally and books that will help you get your lines cast and your lures tied.

04/23/2018 - 11:46am
Cover to The Devil's Company by David Liss

Benjamin Weaver, retired prize fighter and now professional thief-taker, is back in action on the streets of 18th-century London. What seemed a simple job—cheating a card cheat—turns nightmarish when Weaver discovers he’s the one who has been rooked in David Liss' The Devil’s Company. The mysterious and wealthy Mr. Jerome Cobb has a very dangerous plan in which Weaver is an essential player. His physical skills, intelligence, connections, and indeed his very character are necessary to make the plan a success.

No one else will do, and in order to secure his cooperation, Cobb and his cronies have drawn a diabolical net around those Weaver holds dear. The Devil's Company referred to in the title is none other than the terrifically wealthy East India Trading Company. Their near monopoly on imports of tea, fabrics, and other luxury items began more than 100 years before this story opens in 1722, and it is this fortress-like institution that Weaver must infiltrate.

04/17/2018 - 12:56pm

Fredericksburg rises from the fall line of the Rappahannock River. Its natural hills are generally considered to be just part of the scenic landscape. Wealthy townspeople, such as the Willis and Marye families, built their mansions on the heights. Before the Civil War, the scenery was pleasant but otherwise unremarkable.

In November and December of 1862, Confederate troops, under the command of General Robert E. Lee, fortified the hills above Fredericksburg. The townspeople were mostly evacuated, which was well as what was to follow certainly resembled a hell on earth.

04/16/2018 - 9:03am
Cover to The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

At 5 o'clock in the morning, a curly-headed toddler went missing from his bed in the spacious mansion in the English countryside, never to be seen alive again. Young Saville Kent's soon-to-be-discovered vicious murder at the hands of someone who was surely a family member or trusted servant excited the press, the populace, and the authorities and ultimately drew the attention of one of Scotland Yard's first and finest detectives, Jack Whicher. Like the fictional Sherlock Holmes, Detective Whicher had a keen mind and almost sixth sense for uncovering criminals in the most unlikely places. With no forensics lab modern or otherwise to help him discover the identity of Saville's killer, Whicher used reason and intuition when setting about his task.

04/11/2018 - 10:45am
Cover to Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields

When “Baltimore boy” and chef John Shields brought his Chesapeake Bay-style cooking to California years ago, he was urged to write a cookbook about the regional cuisine. Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields is in its 25th anniversary edition now, but its recipes and reminiscences are as fresh as they are delicious.

04/02/2018 - 1:59am
Cover to Spectacular Spring: All Kinds of Spring Facts and Fun by Bruce Goldstone

If your young child likes vivid photographs with lots going on and lots to think about, your family will enjoy sharing Spectacular Spring: All Kinds of Spring Facts and Fun, by Bruce Goldstone. Like many of the Dorling-Kindersley books, this one has two ways to read it.

For example, one headline reads, “Days Get Longer." You might prefer to just go from headline to headline for the youngest listeners. As your children grow and their interest levels in the details of the world around them increase, bring in the rest of the words on the page. Below "Days Get Longer," you'll see, “Spring begins on the vernal equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, that’s a day near March 20 when day and night are both 12 hours long.”

For older readers/listeners, there are also pages devoted to some of those how-and-why questions, with their own bright illustrations, such as, “How Do Umbrellas Work?” and “Seeds Travel in Many Ways.”

03/22/2018 - 10:32am
Cover to Is It Passover Yet? By Chris Barash, with pictures by Alessandra Psacharopulo

Chris Barash’s Is It Passover Yet? is a sweet and gentle choice for young children who are excited as Passover draws near. Through simple rhyming text and bright, clear pictures, we first see the signs of spring—animals frisking and plants growing. Then, we see a human family is getting ready for a special time, too. They clean the house together and make traditional dishes for their expected visitors.

03/13/2018 - 8:48am
Love Kanopy? Now, You Can Take 10

Whether you’re a serious film enthusiast, intrigued by others' lives and cultures, or want to learn more from The Great Courses, Kanopy is your ticket for terrific viewing options. New to Kanopy? You can learn the details and sign up for the streaming service here. Love Kanopy already? Then you'll be thrilled to know you can now check out 10 videos a month!

For Women's History Month, these documentaries let us experiences the challenges of being a woman in other countries, in other times, and behind prison walls:

03/12/2018 - 1:45am
Cover to Everybunny Count! By Ellie Sandall

This gentle, jaunty rhyming book is perfect for springtime. With Everybunny Count! children will not only be counting the many interesting things the bunnies see as they go on their hide-and-seek hunt for Fox. They will also be encouraged to name what they see:

“We’ve spotted something in the tree,
Everybunny count to THREE!”

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