CRRL Guest Picks
Born and raised in Newport News, Virginia, I am a retired military warrant officer, serving 27 years in the United States Army. My family consists of a charming husband, handsome twin boys, a beautiful daughter, and two energetic grandsons. I presently work for the Department of Defense and own a small business, which provides a number of financial services. Additionally, I am a licensed real estate agent associated with the CTI Real Estate firm. I hold an associate’s degree in graphic design, a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management, and a master’s in organizational management.
I have had an interest in art, history, reading, and culture for over 30 years. I am a member of the Sisters Sippin’ Tea Literary and Social Club. This book club has chapters all over the United States, and we not only read books but also participate in community service programs as well. I’ve been a collector of miniature dolls for over 10 years. I use my miniature collection to design historical exhibits for various venues. One of my exhibits ("For Love of Liberty") was in Fredericksburg’s downtown library last year. My newest interest is Civil War reenacting. I am a member of the 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops, the Women of the American Civil War group, and a board member of the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum.
This month’s guest reader is New York Times bestselling author Jamie Ford. His novels plunge readers into the Pacific Northwest of decades past, as experienced by characters whose Asian heritage was a source of personal strength, even as it sometimes divided them from society.
Inspired by a Superhero’s Death
What makes a writer? In Jamie Ford’s case, he had known he wanted to tell stories for a long time. In an interview with Bill Kenower for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, he explained that reading about Jean Gray’s (Phoenix/Dark Phoenix) death as a young man in X-Men #137 turned him on to deeper stories and their potential impact. He wasn’t the only one. After X-Men #137, people sent funeral wreaths to Marvel Comics’ headquarters in New York City, mourning Jean Gray. “Suddenly, characters for me had souls… Those characters were unforgettable.” And certainly timeless, as Marvel’s continued popularity at the box office proves.
Dr. Daniel Wallace is a human factors engineer for the U.S. Navy. He is active in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to children through demonstrations and teaches a science camp for a week every year at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Colonial Beach, VA. He is now in his 14th year as a member of the Westmoreland County Public School Board. He is also a musician, playing violin in the praise and worship band at his church.
We are very happy that he has agreed to share some of his favorite books with CRRL readers. To begin, here are favorites from his childhood:
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.
Alfred King is an excellent choice to be this month’s Guest Picks columnist, as he also reviews books for The Free Lance-Star newspaper, where he often writes on new non-fiction, including politics, sports and history, as well as thrillers. “An avid reader all my life,” is how he describes himself, and he has helped Central Rappahannock Regional Library in turn by serving on its board.
Living in a home that contains more than 200 feet of bookshelves, Jeremy and Justin had no choice but to fall in love with books. For their second birthday, they received library cards and bags with the library logo on them. It was not uncommon for them to leave the library lugging two or three bulging canvas bags containing 50 or more picture books.
“Literacy: Saving the world from the chumps and the goons since about 1440-ish.”
James Noll is a writer, a musician, a freelancer, and a teacher. He's published short stories and poetry in WHURK! and The Fredericksburg Literary Review, as well as three books on his own PULP! imprint, including A Knife in the Back, You Will Be Safe Here, and Burn All the Bodies. Each book contains collections of horror, post-apocalyptic, and science fiction short stories, followed by a novel in the Topher Trilogy: Raleigh's Prep, Tracker's Travail, and Topher's Ton.
Besides being a business development officer at NSWC Federal Credit Union, Stephanie Lyles is also on the board of the Leadership Colloquium at UMW, which prepares women to work toward "a lifetime of leadership." Winner of the Laurie A. Wideman Enterprising Woman's Award, Stephanie has been recognized as an "independent, energetic spirit" as well as being "ready to act in business and in the community, and lead with values of the highest level of integrity and honesty."
This month, Stephanie shares her personal and professional favorites with our library community.
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.
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.