World Language Books on CD

Did you know that the library has books on CD (or BOCDs) in different languages at the Downtown branch in both Youth and Adult? Languages that we currently have BOCDs for are Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

All are shelved after the books in the respective language in either the Youth (1st floor) or Adult (3rd floor) World Language Collection. They have the same loan period as regular BOCDs. And, as with many of our other materials, you can place holds and request them for pick up at any of our branches. You can find them in our catalog here or by doing a search by call number for ' bocd world*' for the adult (or click here) and ' youth-bocd world* ' for the youth (or click here).

Levon Helm, legendary singer/drummer for The Band, has died

Levon Helm, the voice and the beat of The Band, one of the most popular rock groups of the 60s and 70s, died this afternoon after a long battle with throat cancer.

Just two days ago, his family posted this message on his website -- ""[Levon has entered the] final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey. Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration...he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage."

As soon as this went up, tributes started pouring in for Helm from all over the world. None was more poignant than blogger, Charles Pierce's piece for Esquire.

One of Helm's last public appearances was in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Theater on March 19th where he rocked the venue and brought the crowd roaring to its feet.

Helm, who was 71, died in New York.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Left-Handed Piano, Poppy Punk, Ethereal Folksongs, Jazzy Imaginary Crime, Tranquil Compositions

YOU can access almost 1,000 digital music albums directly through our 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!

Ivan Ilić: Dazzling Classical Piano
American pianist Ivan Ilić has recorded his 7th album for Magnatune, entitled Godowsky and Ecstasy, 22 Chopin Studies. Godowsky was a celebrity in his day. Artur Rubinstein said that "it would take him 500 years" to acquire Godowsky's technique. Rachmaninoff wrote that "Godowsky is the only musician of this age who has given a real, lasting contribution to the development of the piano". Following Godowsky's death in 1938, his compositions were largely ignored until the year 2000, when super-virtuoso pianists such as Marc-André Hamelin and Boris Berezovsky began to record and perform his works in concert. Ivan Ilić is the latest pianist to rise to the formidable challenge. His album focuses on the 22 Studies for the left hand alone, considered among the most difficult pieces ever written for the instrument. This album is a tour de force of virtuosity and musicianship.

Midway Still: Sensitive and Loud, Punk with a Pop Center
Noise and melody working together to make a pop-punk gem. Midway Still packed this album full of songs that equal or surpass the band's earlier efforts, with plenty of Hüsker Dü-like pathos and flashes of Byrdsian vocal harmony adding a joyous innocence to proceedings. As in their earlier work, there's the gruff vocals, aggressive yet melodic guitar, Keith Moon-style power drumming and the catchiest hooks since, well, the last Midway Still album. After releasing their second album, "Life's Too Long", into the post-grunge world of 1993, Midway Still returned to the studio after a mere 17 year gap to record "Note To Self".

Kitka: Eastern European Women's Vocal Music
Mysterious, yet joyful and celebratory as well, the close harmonies of the Eastern European women's vocal music ensemble, Kitka, provide a moving and deeply satisfying listening experience. The album, Nectar, features eighteen earthy and ethereal Balkan and Slavic folksongs including Kitka fan favorites such as "Shto Mi E Milo," "Dumai Zlato," "Tsintsharo," and "Hopp Ide Tiszt-n."

Maurice and the Beejays: Music for Imaginary Films and Television Shows
Music of Maurice and the Beejays features jazz harmony, shifting time signatures, real and programmed instruments and found sounds. Influences range from Charles Mingus to Brian Eno and 60's and 70's British television shows such as "Randall and Hopkirk deceased".
The original idea for this album, Last of the Species, was to write songs about aspects of criminality:
Part 1 (Tracks 1-7) - Based on Shaft and set in the 23rd Century. Mr. Sex Millions controls the multi planet "prawnography" trade. Our hero doesn't make it.
Part 2 (Tracks 8 - 14) - Relaxed and jazzy with some vocal harmonies. Soundtrack for a day in the life of Alain Delon who is visiting the south coast of England to see his friend Hercule Poirot. A bright winters day in Bexhill on sea when something happens. Only the events have been changed to protect the guilty.

Sampson-Carroll: Lush and Minimal; Melodic and Drone-Like; Pastoral and Edgy
Mind-bending, relaxing, soothing, inner-peace inducing, meditative, endorphins for one's imagination -- they all apply to this collection of thoughtful and mature compositions. Your journey over the hill and far, far away from life's rough segments is only a listen away. Following gracefully in the sonic footprints left by their previous three albums, Sampson - Carroll's Ease brings the listener to a pinnacle point of ethereal loveliness.
DJ SquirrelDJ Squirrel

Happy Anniversary, Phantom Tollbooth!

This beloved children's adventure novel and modern fairy tale first published in 1961 was written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. It tells the story of Milo, a boy bored by the world around him; every activity seems a waste of time. One afternoon he receives a mysterious package that contains a miniature tollbooth and a map of "the Lands Beyond". Having nothing better to do, he decides to drive through it in his toy car. He finds himself in a land called the Kingdom of Wisdom. He meets the "watchdog" Tock, who becomes his companion, has many adventures, and goes on a quest to rescue the princesses of the kingdom, Princess Rhyme and Princess Reason, from the castle of air. Wonderful and surprising plays on words and puns are an important part of the story.

We have two different editions of the book on BOCD, one narrated by Norman Dietz, and the other performed by David Hyde Pierce.

The CBS Sunday Morning show aired a segment yesterday celebrating the fiftieth anniversary, with a profile of the author and the illustrator.

Fear of Lethem

This month, 33 1/3, the intriguing music review book series, drops what is sure to be another gem into its readers' eager hands. One of my favorite writers, Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude, and Chronic City (among others), tackles the seminal 1979 post-punk album, Fear of Music, by Talking Heads. Jump on the AADL hold list for this forthcoming book by clicking here.

Fans of Lethem's work will remember his stake in the late-70s Brooklyn scene in Fortress of Solitude, as well as in his collection of essays, The Disappointment Artist. Fans of Talking Heads will find Lethem's nervy characterizations of place and time a fine pairing with David Byrne's lyrics.

For those unfamiliar with the 33 1/3 book series, each book focuses on one album from one musical artist. The books are each written by a different author, ranging from critic to uber-fan to musician, and now, even to bestselling authors. I always look forward to tossing a great record on repeat and diving into the back-stories behind the songs and the personal connections to the author's life.

The Devil in the White City

Do you enjoy a good suspense story? How about a suspense story in a one-of-a-kind historical setting? What about a good suspense story with amazingly well-researched historical facts about Chicago hosting the 1893 World's Fair with a serial killer preying on tourists, a delusional political hopeful stalking the city's officials, and a team of architectural geniuses thrown into the mix?

If you missed Erik Larson's 2004 bestseller The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, here’s your chance to get all of the above, plus more. Erik Larson meticulously researched the ambitious Daniel H. Burnham, Patrick Prendergast, and Henry H. Holmes and cast the three into this single volume.

Prepare yourself to learn about the first sparks of industrial unionization, the development of America's urban landscapes, artistic feats in action, and the shocking brutality humans can inflict upon each other. A must read.

Earl Scruggs, banjo legend, has died

Earl Scruggs, who forever changed the sound of country music with his inventive three-finger roll, died yesterday morning.

Scruggs turned to the banjo as a four-year-old toddler to console himself when his father died. He spent years perfecting his unique picking style until he debuted it at the Grand Ole Opry in 1945, performing with Bill Monroe. The response, both at the Opry and in countless living rooms where listeners were glued to their radios, was immediate, explosive, and sustained.

Guitarist Lester Flatt was also part of that history-shaping performance and he and Scruggs entered into a musical partnership that lasted until 1969. They stayed with Bill Monroe until 1948 at which time they formed the Foggy Mountain Boys. Their two signature songs, Foggy Mountain Breakdown and the theme song for the sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, The Ballad of Jed Clampett, are forever tied to Flatt and Scruggs who split in 1969 when their musical interests took them in different directions.

Mr. Scruggs, who was 88, died of natural causes at a Nashville, TN hospital.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #320

Ann Arborites are no strangers to Sanjay Gupta. This home-grown (raised in Novi, MI) celebrity, received his undergraduate and MD degrees as well as his neurological surgery residency at UM. In his copious spare time, he sang with the Men’s Glee Club. He is the author of 2 non-fiction titles, Chasing Life (2007), and Cheating Death (2009). Currently, he is the CNN's chief medical correspondent.

His debut novel Monday Mornings (in audio) follows the lives of five surgeons at Chelsea (Michigan) General (fictitious), as they push the limits of their abilities and confront their personal and professional failings.

Monday Mornings refers to the scheduled Morbidity and Mortality conference (known as M & M, considered the most secretive meeting in all of medicine) where surgeons answer for bad outcomes. The novel provides a unique look at the real method in which surgeons learn - through their mistakes as they strive for redemption.

"Hospitals are, after all, Gupta's turf. His insights into the craft of surgery combined with vivid storytelling make Monday Mornings a gripping and wonderful read right down to the wire." ~ Abraham Verghese

Shooting for Chelsea General, a TNT pilot based on Gupta's novel and starring Alfred Molina and Ving Rhames is already in progress.

A bit of Gupta trivia.... Gupta was named one of the Sexiest Men of 2003 by People magazine and in January 2011, he was named "One of the 10 Most Influential Celebrities" by Forbes magazine.

Going to the PowWow?

If this weekend's Dance For Mother Earth Pow Wow inspires you, check out the CD More Kid's Pow Wow Songs. The Library also has many other recordings of Native American music.

You can read a story about a young Jingle Dancer in this book by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Or, try the photo essay, Pow Wow by George Ancona, and Pow Wow: A Good Day to Dance by Jacqueline Dembar Greene.

Cloudwalker; Contemporary Native American Stories is a collection of six short stories about modern Native American children's lives and how they blend traditional Native culture with mainstream American culture. Children of Native America Today is a photo essay featuring 25 of the more than 500 native cultures of the U.S. as well as a section on urban Indians.

This year's Dance For Mother Earth is the 40th annual Pow Wow at U.M. Here's a link to articles and photographs from past Pow Wows.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Jazz Guitar, Bach with Flutes, Laid Back Electronica, Upbeat Folkgrass, Maudlin Pop

YOU can access almost 1,000 digital music albums directly through our 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!

Andy Gabrys: Classic Jazz Guitar
Modern compositions, classic jazz guitar, an oak-tree thick acoustic bass courtesy of Dan Loomis, and the swinging colorful drumming of Brian Adler, make Constant a great album for any occasion. The album comes from a 5 year period during which Andy lived in New York city and played at various venues with up and coming jazz artists. Andy's original music on this album is both forward-thinking and respecting of the jazz tradition, and while his guitar sound might be compared to Kenny Burrell or George Benson, his playing and composing approach shows the subtle shading and rich harmonies of Romantic era composers.

Spark: Flautists with Finesse, Intelligence and Grooves
Spark began in 1992 as a small ensemble group in the Tokyo University Flute Circle. The members, all graduates from Tokyo University, now live in various cities throughout Japan, from Kyoto to Hakodate. J. S. Bach Laboratory, an all-Bach album, features original arrangements that seek to capture the spirit of Bach's original ideas. It was recorded in Hakodate City Art Hall and was first released in 2000 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Bach's death.

Joey Fehrenbach: Gorgeously Sculpted, Uber-Melodic Downtempo
The album Mellowdrama captures what it sounds like to fall in love, to remember old friends, to feel lonely, and to feel at peace and safe indoors on a rainy day. Electronic dance music artist Joey Fehrenbach uses intricate melody and atmosphere to create sonic backgrounds that capture the essence of the human soul. This is the one thought-provoking laid back electronic album not to miss.

Steve Eulberg: Mountain and Hammered Dulcimer
Inspired by a Jean Ritchie poem of the same title, I Celebrate Life! is the title track of this collection of original songs and tunes written for Mountain and Hammered Dulcimer by award-winning singer-songwriter and musician, Steve Eulberg. Known nationwide as the host of the annual Colorado Dulcimer Festival, Steve Eulberg weaves old-timey with blues and contemporary tunes adding original songs into a tapestry of "smile-inducing, toe-tapping folkgrass" that captivates and energizes audiences of all ages.

Tiny Little Blackouts: Dreamy, Slightly Mournful Indie Pop
Jangly relaxed alt rock, perfect for the grey days where you don't *want* to feel up and happy, but instead settle into self-indulgent melancholia. This San Francisco based band has been described as "Elliott Smith meets the Cocteau Twins". On this debut album, Idea of Alice, expect a shoegazer meets dream pop sound -- female vocals, lazy, bluesy fuzzed out guitars, a warm deep bass line. Bands like Belly, Curve, The Gathering and The Cardigans come to mind.

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