NEW books - Spunky Princess

Way Fun! A spunky twist on the Cinderella Tale, in a chapter book for kids!! Read Bella at Midnight. There are even glass slippers, a fairy castle, and complex relations. Author Jane Yolen says "Bella has everything - magic, mystery, romance - that I want from a fairytale novel ... I read it in two big gulps and loved every bit of it." I agree. Enjoy!

Anne Rice's Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (a Wonderful Christmas Read)

The seven-year-old Jesus relates his life in Alexandria and the return of his family to Nazareth. Spare and lean, lyrical and reverent, vivid and riveting, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt is "a mystery story, of the child grappling to understand his miraculous gifts and numinous birth" (Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005).

Anne Rice's act of faith in writing this novel is detailed in her author's note where she describes her research and her journey back to the Catholic Church.

Kid Bits - Scrappy Lives

Kids with real troubles... The cool thing about these stories is no "magic", just "real". These authors are masters of humor, positivity, and poignant storytelling. The Higher Power Of Lucky, a child who worries that her legal guardian may abandon her and return home to France. Al Capone Does My Shirts, children of guards living on Alcatraz Island. Harry Sue... Her home situation is dire. Internal strength of character, and external network of friends, creates "home and security". In each case, the children discover their own strength and value, BECAUSE of those around them.

Small Gems

Just in time for short days and long to-do lists, these little books are great excuses to take a break and enjoy a bit of solitude, in the best company – yours.
They are quick reads – no more than 100 pages or so, and tuck nicely into your coat pocket. Next time you find yourself standing in line; or being put on hold, listening to elevator music, you will have the perfect distraction.

Mademoiselle Benoir by Christine Conrad.
May-Dec. romance in the French countryside sets off family wars across the Atlantic.

An Afternoon with Rock Hudson by Mercedes Deambrosis; translated from Spanish by Mike Mitchell.
Chance encounter between two old friends triggers off some self-destructive behavior, including anonymous sex with a man sitting at the next café table. Amusing.

Mercedes-Benz: From Letters to Hrabal by Paweł Huelle; translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
Narrator Pawel tells of the driving lessons he took in the early 1990s around Gdansk, Poland, all the while entertaining his instructor Miss Ciwle with stories of his family’s ownership of Mercedes-Benz cars. Great storytelling.

The Bird is a Raven by Benjamin Lebert; translated from the original German by Peter Constantine.
Two strangers share a sleeping compartment on a night train bound for Berlin. Throughout the hours of darkness secrets are revealed and lives changed. You won't be able to put this one down!

Music from Big Pink: A Novella by John Niven.
Born in Scotland, John Niven toured and recorded as guitarist with The Wishing Stones, and co-wrote/directed the award winning (British) short film ‘Tethered’.
This tragic, beautiful… "factional book is a heartbroken rock'n'roll postcard from a past" where fictional characters rub shoulders with real people.

The Scent of Your Breath by Melissa P; translated from Italian by Shaun Whiteside.
A breathless autobiographical second novel by this bright young Sicilian writer - a smoldering tale of sexual obsession, plumbed deeply from the disturbing mind of a teenage girl terrorized by love.

Good Reads - some ideas

It's such a pleasure to find a new good read. With over 170,000 books being published yearly in the United States I feel it helps to get a recommendation.

Monday December 11th on NPR's "Fresh Air" NPR Maureen Corrigan recommends "The Year's Best Mystery and Nonfiction". This article also gives you access to several other lists of recommended Holiday books including recommendations by Ann Arbors own Karl Pohrt owner of Shaman Drum Books in Ann Arbor.

Fabulous Fiction First #44

Followers of Ian Rankin’s Inspector John Rebus series might want to consider this one…

Bleeding Hearts is a first U.S. edition of a stand-alone, originally published in the U.K.(1994) under his pseudonym - Jack Harvey.

Michael Weston is a highly-paid and seasoned assassin, famed for his long-distant shot through the heart. Things did not go well with the last job – it was a set-up. Now he must find his double-crossing employer and at the same time, stay a step ahead of his archnemesis - an American PI named Hoffer.

Reviewers expect the nonstop action, copious violence and arcane details about weaponry and forensics will please thriller junkies, but it’s also "smart and inventive” enough to engage fans of the Rebus series.

Grisly Grimm

If you are tired of the “Disneyfied” versions of your favorite fairy tales, but short on time, then Jonathan Vankin’s condensed versions are for you. Based on the original tales of the brothers Grimm, they have been converted to comic form by fifty-two artists for the book The Big Book of Grimm (released by Paradox Press, an imprint of DC Comics). You will find some familiar names among them—Keith Giffen (of Ambush Bug and Justice League fame), Sergio Argones (creater of Groo the Wanderer and marginals for MAD Magazine since 1963), Joe Staton (numerous DC titles including Justice Society of America, Green Lantern, and Scooby Doo), and James Kochalka (American Elf). My personal favorite was Kochalka’s “Dog and Sparrow”, which was as cute as it was gruesome.

Globalization

The benefits of globalization debate is a constant one. Nobel Prize winning economist and professor at Columbia University Joseph E. Stiglitz writes in Making Globalization Work of the possibility that globalization can work for everyone. For an interview with the author you can listen here in the last hour of the show.

The Independent Media Center has put together a video to express their view of globalization and what happened in Miami during the FTAA meeting.

For other selections in the AADL collection click here. PBS has three DVDs in a series titled Commanding Heights, the battle for the world economy DVD 1 DVD 2 DVD 3 discussing the effects of globalization.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (12/17/06)

For this season of peace, there is a lot of mayhem entering the List this week. With his latest novel, some critics are also suggesting Crichton himself is running amok.

At #2 is Next by Michael Crichton: "The author of “Jurassic Park” describes a not-too-distant future when genetic engineering runs amok."

At #5 is Treasure of Khan by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler: "In his 19th adventure, Dirk Pitt confronts a murderous Mongolian tycoon who manipulates the oil market and knows the secret of Genghis."

At #6 is Brother Odd by Dean Koontz: "With his ability to see the spirits of the dead, Odd Thomas, a character in two previous novels by Koontz, heads off a catastrophe at a monastery."

What can Damien want?

Written in short lines of free verse, Street Love tells a story of love across social-class lines. Damien who excels at both basketball and academics has been accepted into a top college. In contrast Junice is desperate to protect her little sister after their single-parent mom is sentenced to 25 years for dealing drugs.

From the moment they meet on the bench in the school office, it’s clear they’re drawn to one another. Coming from such different worlds “love” is the only thing Damien and Junice have in common. Is it enough to keep them together?

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