Fabulous Fiction Firsts #359

Wednesday, October 10th at 7pm, author Peter Geye will be at Nicola's for a discussion and signing of his new novel The Lighthouse Road *, in which a young immigrant woman in 1890s Duluth, finds herself alone in a new country, abandoned and adrift. In the early 1920s, her orphan son, now grown, falls in love with the one woman he shouldn't and uses his best skills to build them their own small ark to escape. "Peter Geye has crafted another deeply moving tale of a misbegotten family shaped by the rough landscape in which they live--often at the mercy of wildlife and weather."

His first novel Safe from the Sea (in audio, nicely performed by David Aaron Baker), is "an archetypal story of a father and son, of the tug and pull of family bonds, (and) of Norwegian immigrant culture". Antique map-dealer Noah Torrs reluctantly returns from Boston to the lakeside cabin north of Duluth to spend time with his estranged father Olaf, who is dying. Once a curmudgeonly, headstrong ship's captain, and one of three survivors from the coal freighter Ragnarok that sank on Lake Superior, Olaf is still haunted after 35 years by the memory a friend he felt he could have saved and the catastrophic repercussions for his young family.

"Geye tackles the subjects of death, dying, and living with admirable insight and courage." For readers who enjoy David Guterson, Robert Olmstead , and Canadians Joseph Boyden and Stef Penney.

A Minnesota native, Peter Geye (webiste) received his Ph.D. from Western Michigan University , where he taught Creative Writing and was editor of Third Coast.

* = starred review

Andy Williams, 1960s crooner who immortalized Moon River, has died

Singer Andy Williams, who skyrocketed to fame with his dreamy rendition of the timeless love song Moon River, died last night in Branson, MO.

Born in Iowa in 1927, Williams and his three brothers performed all across America in the 30s and 40s as the Williams Brothers. After a brief break when two of the brothers were drafted during WWII, they regrouped in 1947 for another six years. In the early 1960s, Andy Williams began his own popular variety show on NBC -- it ran from 1962 until 1971and it included his widely watched Christmas specials. Always generous with his willingness to share the set with other singers, Williams is credited with launching the Osmond Brothers.

In 1961, Williams sang Moon River, written by Henry Mancini for the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's; it became his theme song.

In his 2009 memoir, Moon River and Me, Williams wrote movingly of his lifelong friendship with his ex-wife Claudine Longet and of his unwavering belief that her fatal shooting of her boyfriend, Olympic skier, Spider Sabitch, in 1976, was an accident.

During his 75 years in show business, Andy earned 17 gold and three platinum albums.

Williams, who was 84, had battled bladder cancer since late last year.

Muzzy Language Learning for Kids


The library has a new children's language learning database called Muzzy. Currently there are 8 different languages to choose from: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, and Russian. You can use it at home or at the library. The Muzzy animated story and games are a captivating way for kids to learn another language. It was originally a BBC program so those from Europe may recognize it. Learn more about this database here. We also offer the Muzzy multilingual series (it includes a choice of learning English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish) and the separate traditional Chinese language learning version for checkout.

Tuesdays Are Bluegrass Night At Wolverine State Brewing With Lindsay Lou And The Flatbellys

If you're looking to brighten up this first cold grey day of the season, why not head over to Wolverine State Brewing for Bluegrass Night? You can sample their impressive selection of lagers which span the range from light to amber to very, very dark. Then kick back and enjoy the sounds of local artists Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, the unofficial Bluegrass Night house band who can be found there most Tuesdays. No cover and the band goes on at 8:30pm.

A swell of French music

AADL has just received an influx of the best of French popular music. If you are a Gallophile, or simply a music buff, you may have heard of several of these musicians already. If not, check these performers out and discover some great music from across the pond.

Helena - This Portuguese-born media darling has been a model, actress, pop star, and now musician in the French-speaking parts of Europe.

Yann Tiersen - France's best known multi-instrumentalist, composer, and artist, Tiersen's melancholy, folk-inspired sound has made him a star in the soundtrack business. You may know him as the composer of the music in Amelie.

Élodie Frégé - She made her musical debut as a contestant on a French talent search reality-TV show. She may not have had the most powerful voice in the competition, but her soulful music won the title.

Raphael - Another multi-instrumentalist, Raphael's music is inspired by pop/rock legends like David Bowie and Bob Dylan.

17th Annual Leeds International Piano Competition

Recently the NYT published For More Pianos, Last Note Is Thud in the Dump about the huge uptick in the disposal of pianos around the nation. No one, it seems, wants a piano anymore.

The 17th Leeds International Piano Competition is currently underway. Young pianists from around the world are competing for cash prizes and concert engagements. Amongst these young people are the classical pianist stars of tomorrow.

If you would like to listen to some of the competition it is being broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four after September 10th.

Listen to some of the previous winners available from The Ann Arbor District Library and do your part to stop the horrible scourge of piano dumping!

Several selections are available from Murray Perahia, including the soundtrack from Immortal Beloved, Radu Lupu, Andras Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida.

Musical Memories


There are a plethora of new and highly anticipated biographies coming out this fall. Let's start with those in the music industry...

Waging heavy peace is an autobiography by Neil Young: he discusses his life and career from growing up in Canada to his time with Crosby, Stills, & Nash to his continued success as a solo artist.

Who I am: a memoir: Listed #10 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time, having written over 100 songs and rock operas with the Who and solo, as well as a being a noted literary writer, Pete Townshend gives the autobiography writing a go. With so much hush-hush about the contents prior to its release, it should be a fascinating read!

Cyndi Lauper a Memoir: Singer, songwriter, actress, Grammy award winner, and now book writer, the 80’s phenomenon talks about growing up in Queens and her rise to stardom.

Gershwins and me: A personal history in twelve songs: entertainer, Michael Feinstein renders the life of the legendary musical family the Gershwins here through stories of 12 of their songs. Feinstein was lucky to have mentored with Ira Gershwin, so you can expect some personal touches to the stories. A CD is included with the 12 songs performed by him.

In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, & Duran Duran : If you know the 80s group, Duran Duran, then you know their heartthrob/ bass guitarist, John Taylor (what lovestruck fan doesn’t!) This is his autobiography of the time with the band, the parties, & the lush (and lusty) MTV videos that made them famous (Hungry like the Wolf comes to mind).

John Lennon Letters: Here is a lifetime of letters and other correspondence from the the legendary John Lennon collected here for the first time.

Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll: Sisters, Ann & Nancy Wilson, of the rock band Heart share their story of 3 decades of being on stage together.

Luck or Something Like it: a Memoir: Although most notable for his country songs, Kenny Rogers has more than 120 hit singles across musical genres. Here he relates the story of his poverty stricken childhood to his award winning musical career.

Make up to Breakup:My life in & out of Kiss: founding KISS drummer Peter “Catman” Criss gives the group its dues.

Mick Jagger: another legend of rock gets the bio treatment here by Philip Norman who is known for the definitive rock bio, Shout: the Beatles in their generation. Let’s see what he uncovers with this one.

Streets of Fire Bruce Springsteen in Photographs and Lyrics 1977-1979: A behind the scenes photographic collection of the Boss.

The Detroit Jazz Festival is this weekend: Aug 31st - Sept 3rd

Spend this Labor Day weekend at the FREE 33rd annual Detroit Jazz Festival. Chill out in Detroit's Hart Plaza with big names such as Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, and many others. Also, learn about Detroit's jazz history and meet the artists in the jazz talk tent.

An inexpensive shuttle bus service traveling from Ypsilanti to the Hart Plaza area will be offered through Eastern Michigan University all weekend; more information can be found on WEMU's website.

Scott McKenzie, Summer of Love singer, has died

Scott McKenzie, forever tied to the unofficial anthem for San Francisco's 1967 Summer of Love, San Francisco (Be Sure to Where Some Flowers in Your Hair, died Saturday at his Los Angeles home.

His iconic song, written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, was a big hit at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, which is the subject of Monterey Pop (1968), the first filmed rock festival.

McKenzie, who had been in fragile health for quite some time with Guillaine-Barre Syndrome and a possible heart attack, died at home at age 73.

Good Listening for Teens: Chasing the Bear

If you're heading out on an end-of-summer car trip, here's a good book on CD to take along: Chasing the Bear by Robert B. Parker. Written for age 12 and up, the story introduces readers to young private investigator Spenser, star of Parker's bestselling adult novels, at age 14. Speaking to his girlfriend Susan, Spenser reflects on his youth and teen years and how he helped his best friend, Jeannie, when she was abducted by her dangerous dad. This story is memorable because of the humorous parts and the overall suspense of the narrative.

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