Fabulous Fiction Firsts #392

Debut novelist Jenny Milchman is definitely one to watch, if Cover of Snow * * (print format) is anything to go by.

Set in remote and insulated Wedeskyull, NY,, in the Adirondacks, Nora Hamilton wakes to find her world totally shattered with the suicide of her rock-solid husband Brendan. Leaving no note and giving no indication of his intent, Nora is at a loss. She needs answers but all she encounters is a bewildering resistance from Brendan's best friend and colleague, fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies layers of secrets and heart-breaking tragedies, which a powerful conspiracy will stop at nothing to keep buried.

"This is a richly woven story that not only looks at the devastating effects of suicide but also examines life in a small town and explores the complexity of marriage. Fans of Nancy Pickard, Margaret Maron, and C. J. Box will be delighted to find this new author." ~ Booklist


Sister by Rosamund Lupton.

No time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon.

* * = starred reviews

Roger Ebert, beloved Chicago movie critic, has died

Just one day after announcing he was taking a 'leave of presence' from his 46-year gig as movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and his 31-year career on TV reviewing films, Roger Ebert lost his long public battle with salivary and thyroid cancer.

His announcement yesterday said he would just review the movies HE wanted to see and leave the rest of the reviews to his trusted colleagues at the paper. When he lost part of his jaw and thus his ability to eat or speak, he used his good humor and courage to write about his experience fighting, and often triumphing, against, his devastating illness.

Ebert's long career resulted in a 1975 Pulitzer Prize, the first movie critic to receive this honor. The Webby Awards named him their 2010 Person of the Year. And Hollywood, which lived and died by Ebert's laser-beam ethical demand for excellence in all things film, honored him with his own Walk of Fame star in 2005.

Ebert's career took off in a new direction when he and Chicago Tribune movie critic, Gene Siskel, took their 'point/counterpoint' routine to television in 1975. Originally titled Coming Soon to a Theater Near You, PBS picked it up and renamed it Sneak Previews three years later. There were two more name-changes: In 1981, it morphed into At the Movies. Five years later, accompanied by their signature 'thumbs up, thumbs down' rating system, it settled on Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.

Sadly, Siskel died in 1999. He had had brain surgery for brain cancer but it was complications from another surgery that ended his life.

Despite his long fight with illness, Ebert wrote almost seventeen books on movies, the internet, his life (Life Itself: A Memoir, 2011), and yes, even a cookbook for rice cookers (The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, 2010).

Ebert, who was 70, died today in Chicago.

The Wanna Bees!

When we first heard the Wanna Bees at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Top of the Park last year, we thought that we should surely have them back for more fun! On April 14th at 4 pm at the Downtown Library we will kick off National Library Week with rock and roll for kids!

Wanna BeesWanna Bees

Audiobook for Kids: Spunky Girl Detective

Have you ever wanted to solve a mystery?

Well, in Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen, thirteen-year-old Sammy has no intention of becoming a detective until she happens to see a theft at the hotel across the street… and the thief sees her too. And she thought starting seventh grade was her biggest worry! Now Sammy is dodging the police, trying to outsmart a thief and hiding out from a suspicious neighbor, all while navigating the treacherous world of junior high.

This excellent audiobook series continues with Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man, Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy, Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf, Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Mustache Mary, Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy, Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes, Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception, Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen and Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaways.

Fans of spunky, modern girl detectives may also wish to check out these audiobooks: Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison, Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams and Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach.

Voyage to Kazohinia

Finally seeing a wider publication, Voyage to Kazohinia by Sandor Szathmari, should be a highly revered classic but has never received its well-deserved due (at least in the English language) until now. It was originally published in Hungary in 1941, then in Esperanto in 1958, and had a very small, limited release in an English translation in the 1970s. But New Europe Books has given it a 4th life and a wider distribution, which I hope brings it more readers. Often compared to Gulliver’s Travels meets Brave New World with a touch of 1984 to boot, Voyage is the story of one, Gulliver, stranded on an island populated by two very different societies. The one he initially finds himself amongst are the Hins who, on the outset, seem to live in a utopia: no politics, no war, no starvation, and no disease. They enjoy a high standard of living for all, and no need for money since production is based on need. But there is a flip side: no art, no casual conversations (they only talk about rational needs), no sense of history (everything is about the here and now), no love, and no individuality (everyone wears the same style of dress for instance). It becomes unbearable as lack of conversation and loneliness take hold, so Gulliver decides to live with the Behins, who he has heard have feelings, in their walled off community. The Hins refer to them as “madmen” and he will soon discover why. This is satirical writing at its best. It will make you think about all the odd societal conventions as well as the political institutions that civilization hath wrought.

The 41st Annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow is this Saturday & Sunday

This weekend, April 6th & 7th, the 41st Annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow will be held in Ann Arbor at the Crisler Center. The event is hosted by the Native American Student Association at the University of Michigan, and will feature an amazing display of singers, dancers, drummers, artisans, and food vendors.

I had the opportunity to attend this massive Powwow last year, and was blown away by the the turnout; The Mother Earth Powwow attracts people from all over the country, and is the largest Powwow held in the Midwest. The drum circles, dancing, and beautiful traditional dress created a wonderfully energetic atmosphere. In addition, the food was delicious; I tried the buffalo burger on the Native American staple, fry bread. You can’t go wrong there.

Powwows are commonly known as large gatherings that “Native American people use as a place to meet, dance, sing and otherwise renew and strengthen their rich culture. The Ann Arbor Powwow is one of the largest university-run pow wows in the country, with more than 1,000 of North America's greatest singers, dancers, artists and craftspeople.” For more information about what Powwows are all about, check out this fabulous information page on the U of M’s website, or read about Powwow’s and Native American History in the AADL’s catalog. In addition, if you’d like to sample some of the music you might hear at the Mother Earth Powwow, the AADL also has a large collection of Native American Music.

This is an event that only happens once a year, and is not to be missed! Doors will open at 10:30am and grand entries will be at 12pm on both Saturday & Sunday. Admission ranges from $10 for adults, with discounts for students, seniors, families, and children. For more information be sure to check out the official information page, as well as the event schedule. See you there!

DIY Instruments

Friday, April 5 | 1 - 2 pm | Downtown Library | Grade 3 - 8

Learn how to make musical instruments out of household items, such as a Bee Buzzer out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands and a Brazilian Laughing Cup (aka Cuica) out of a paper cup and a paper clip. Also try making a didgeridoo, a sound sandwich, and a straw oboe!

There will be several items from the AADL's new Music Tools collection available for playing as well as for checkout.

This event is for grades 3 - 8.

Tunes 'n' Tales By Tricia

Monday, April 1 | 10 - 11 am | Malletts Creek | Preschool - Grade 3

Tricia Kjolhede is an amazing entertainer with years of classroom experience and knowledge of child development. She doesn't perform FOR kids; she performs WITH kids! Tricia brings music and movement, allowing for differing learning styles, many opportunities for self expression, and a chance for all to develop self confidence. She uses songs that make playtime learning time too.

Explore the fun of musical expression with Tricia at Tunes 'n' Tales!

High-Seas Audiobook Adventure for Teens

One of the best things about listening to an audiobook is hearing the story in the character’s voice. In L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy, narrator Katherine Kellgren reads with a strong Cockney accent that brings the heroine dramatically to life.

After she is reduced to begging on the streets of London, teenager Mary Faber takes a chance at a new life by disguising herself as a boy, Jacky, and joining a British warship on the hunt for pirates. Things become even more complicated when she falls in love with fellow ship’s boy Jaimy and becomes the target of unwanted advances from another sailor. There’s plenty of adventure, romance and scares in this award-winning audiobook.

The audiobook series continues with Curse of the Blue Tattoo, Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound, Mississippi Jack, My Bonny Light Horseman, Rapture of the Deep, and The Wake of the Lorelei Lee.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Chill Out, Revisit the 80s, Love Some Lute, Win A Blue Ribbon

YOU can access almost 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

Made of Wood: Chillout Funk
"The Chill Funk Trip" is an album of groove-laden chilled out sounds, with influences from electronica, chillout lounge and funk. It's spacey, dreamy, eclectic and atmospheric. Inspirations for the sounds are wide-ranging: from Thievery Corporation and Massive Attack, to the Meters, Parliament Funkadelic, Radiohead and Air.

Kyven: 80s Pop with Modern Chops
"Hands Down" is an album of irresistible anthemic pop. With strong male vocals swimming in a sea of synthesizers, Kyven channels old dance favorites like New Order, Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran.

Galatea - Paul Beier: Solo Lute of the Italian Renaissance
The 17th-century singer Barbara Strozzi is known as one of the finest women composers of the Italian Baroque. The works recorded here, by soprano Emanuella Galli and Galatea, come from her seventh publication of 1659 entitled Diporti di Euterpe, or "The Pleasures of Euterpe." In this work, Strozzi, at the height of her artistic powers, collaborated with some of the most important poets of the period to create works which are musically innovative, dramatically expressive, and exceedingly beautiful.

William Brooks: Songs From a Native Oklahoman
A great album for driving, "Blue Ribbon" features the very best of down-to-earth singer-songwriter William Brooks, whose blues-tinged, narrative folk-rock is appealingly world weary. Standout tracks include the down and dirty "Justified" and the tender, string infused "Grace."

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