To the Moon and Back

Dava Sobel turns her considerable talents to the The Planets in her latest science-is-for-everyone book on compact disc. This is a more personal and poetic undertaking, a collection of essays on the planets that range into discussions of metaphysics, astrology, music, art and biography.

Once you’ve heard Planets, you’ll want to listen to her other highly acclaimed books. Longitude is the story of the race to find a solution to “the longitude problem” that made exploration and maritime travel so dangerous. The book that garnered her so many awards and bestseller status, Galileo’s Daughter is narrated by one of the best readers out there, Recorded Book’s George Guidall.

Baby Bits: Are You Sleeping?

Are You Sleeping well at night? Try beautiful music at the end of the bedtime ritual. Here are some CDs to try with your Baby. Guitar Lullaby; The Sun Upon the Lake is Low a collection of traditional and contemporary folk music and a sequel to All Through The Night. For some classical music Baby Neptune with Handel's Water Music.

Detroit soul singer Wilson Pickett dies at 64

Legendary Detroit soul singer Wilson Pickett died yesterday. Pickett was best known for his one-of-a-kind, gravelly R&B delivery of such soul classics as "Mustang Sally," "Land of 1000 Dances" and "In the Midnight Hour." Fellow Detroiter Aretha Franklin called Pickett "one of the greatest soul singers of all time." Pickett died of a heart attack. Read the obituary at CNN.

The Play Ground

"I got the horse right here..." You bet (get it?). This is one of The Play Ground's favorites and we got it right here. This weekend the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre is presenting Guys and Dolls at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre at the Michigan League. Classic book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and music by Frank Loesser. Get your foot ready to tap. Too short a run? So,"Sue Me."

Lost and Found

The disappearance of Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ, baffled art historians for two centuries. Jonathan Harr turns his considerable skills to this mystery in his highly acclaimed The Lost Painting: The Search for a Caravaggio Masterpiece. A starred review in Booklist calls it an “effortlessly educating and marvelously entertaining mix of art history and scholarly sleuthing.” Listen and decide who should star in the film adaptation.

Teddy’s Last Adventure

Was Theodore Roosevelt the 2nd greatest president of the 20th century after FDR? He was certainly the most adventurous. His final expedition, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon, nearly cost him his life. Candice Millard’s retelling of the trip, River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey , is more spellbinding than fiction and worthy of the man himself.

The Play Ground

Take 6, an award winning contemporary Christian sextet broke new ground in a cappella music. They have a signature sound that draws from gospel, jazz, doo-wop, R&B, 1960s soul and hip-hop. This is the final event of this season's Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activities on the UofM campus. The performance also feature the UofM Gospel Chorale. Bring down the house. Monday, January 16, 7:30pm, Hill Auditorium

Lou Rawls: 1933-2006

No less a singer than Frank Sinatra cited him as having "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game." Lou Rawls, whose velvet baritone inspired 75 albums and three Grammys over the course of a four-decade career, died yesterday of lung and brain cancer. Rawls had been battling cancer since 2004. The Library owns several Rawls albums, including the 1977's When You Hear Lou, You've Heard it All

Read the CNN obituary.

Records of the Year?

Another year-end list! This time it's the top three records of the year according to Entertainment Weekly's David Browne. 1) Extraordinary Machine, by Fiona Apple; 2) Guero, by Beck; 3) Late Registration, by Kayne West.

Read more about EW's choices...or tell us your own.

The Play Ground

American works for Balinese gamelan orchestra

Often lauded as the pinnacle of aesthetic achievement in Indonesia, Javanese shadow puppet theater is one of the world’s great classical theatrical forms. The mythological stories feature ancient kings, humorous antics of clowns, fierce battles and deep philosophical questions. This concert stars puppeteer Sigit Adji Sabdoprijono and Javanese dancer Yulisa Mastati, artists-in-residence at the Residential College. Susan Pratt Walton directs the gamelan, which is part of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.
Rackham Auditorium, January 14, 2006 at 8pm, No tickets required

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