Crazy World? Try Some Stories!

If you are looking for clever ways to deal with uncertainty and conflict in this wild time, Dan Keding’s collection of folktales, Stories of Hope and Spirit; Folktales from Eastern Europe may give you resolution. From the Croatian version of Stone Soup, to the Slovakian Cinderella, these tales share the wit, wisdom and strength of the Slavic culture and fuel the human spirit. Keding is an award-winning storyteller and musician who grew up on tales from his Croatian grandmother.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #55

Finn* by first-time novelist Jon Clinch, is an imaginative reconstruction of the life and death of Finn, Huck's father, "Pap.".

In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck and Jim find Pap Finn's body in a house floating down the Mississippi River, among such oddities as women’s underclothes, a wooden leg and two black cloth masks, and the walls covered with “the ignorantest” kind of scrawling.

Shunned by his father, Adams County Judge James Manchester Finn and his successful brother Will, Finn is a violent, bigoted, ne’r-do well drunk, and often in trouble with the law. He blames his black sheep status on his on-again, off-again relationship with his black mistress, the mother of his pale mulatto child, also named Huck.

Working from a few tantalizing hints in Mark Twain's text, Clinch not only fleshes out the shadowy figure of Huckleberry Finn's father but creates clever and plausible backstories for the likes of Widow Douglas and the Thatcher family, and all the while, following Twain’s lead – allows the Mississippi to play a prominent role in the unfolding tale. Highly recommended.

* = Starred Review

John Lewis in the Lead (A Story of the Civil Rights Movement) by Jim Haskins

John Lewis’s parents warned him to "stay quiet, don’t get in trouble and don’t get in the way." John Lewis did not heed his parents' warning. He felt that segregation was wrong. When he heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give a speech on the radio against segregation he knew he was right. This sparked a desire in him to fight segregation and earn black people the right to vote. Jim Haskins leads young readers on a journey for civil rights through the life of John Lewis.

John Irving is 65

Today is the birthday of John Irving, celebrated author of many books, his most famous being The World According to Garp which was published in 1978. This story of a fatherless son of a radical feminist began a thematic thread that runs through some of his other work , especially The Cider House Rules and his latest, Until I Find You. Irving never met his father and hoped through his fame, his father would contact him but he never did. Not only is Irving an accomplished writer but in college was a champion wrestler. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Announcements from New York Comic-Con

One of the more interesting anime-related announcements at last weekend’s New York Comic-Con was the introduction of the English-language voice cast for the U.S. release of the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle anime. You can see the cast listing and watch the NYCC panel online at the official Tsubasa anime website; you'll be happy to hear that some fan favorites—such as Vic Mignogna, the actor of Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist—will be lending their voices to the main characters. The first dvd won’t be released until May, but until then, you can follow the adventures of Syaoran, Sakura, Fay, and Kurogane through the original manga by CLAMP.

Happy 46th birthday, Peace Corps

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stood on the steps of the Michigan Union and by executive order announced the beginning of the Peace Corps. This experiment in activism was a huge success with many young people out of college as well as older retirees venturing to far off countries to teach, help with farming and start health clinics. The Peace Corps is alive and well today, still offering those who want to serve exciting and challenging opportunities.

Heard the one about the goatman in the lemon grove?

Gilbert Hernandez took a break from his work on Love & Rockets (done collaboratively with his brother Jamie) to create another book on his own, Sloth.

Hernandez uses his rough and expressive style of illustration to work magic on the story of Miguel, a youth full of suburban ennui who wills himself into a coma as a means of escape. When Miguel wakes up a year later, his physical movements have slowed to a sloth’s pace and he finds himself mixed up in a local urban legend. The story takes some unexpected twists and and comes out looking like a Möbius strip.

The Play Ground

On our way home yesterday we saw a forlorn Collie walking down the road. A dangerous proposition for man or beast. He finally turned up a driveway, hopefully on his way home. This weekend Collies, in all their glory, are on display at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. Around 160 collies from all over the country compete, in rally and obedience trials, in one of the largest collie shows in the country. Food concessions. Morning & afternoon time TBA (Mar. 2 & 3) & 8 a.m.-afternoon (Mar. 4), 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. Free admission. (419) 836-2612.

Arthur Schlesinger, author and political confidante, is dead at 89

Arthur Schlesinger, author and political confidante, is dead at 89Arthur Schlesinger, author and political confidante, is dead at 89

Arthur Schlesinger, unapologetic liberal, author, and a long-standing member of the innermost of inner circles in Washington, D.C. for decades, died February 28, 2007, after suffering a heart attack. He was 89.

Recipient of multiple literary awards, including the Pulitzer for The Age of Jackson (1946) and A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (1966) and the National Book Award for A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (1966) and Robert Kennedy and His Times (1979), Schlesinger was invited by JFK to be a special counsel in the White House in 1961.

Schlesinger’s last book was War and the American Presidency, published in 2004.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (2/25/07)

If you are in the mood for romance, Natural Born Charmer delivers the love and laughter with a happily ever after ending. This is the latest in Phillips' contemporary series featuring members of the fictional Chicago Stars professional football team.

At #1 is Step on a Crack by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge: "A detective raising 10 children alone must rescue 34 high-level hostages."

At #3 is Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: "Opposites attract as a football player and a portrait painter embark on a road trip."

At #4 is High Profile by Robert B. Parker: "Jesse Stone, the police chief of Paradise, Mass., investigates the death of a controversial talk-show host and a young woman."

At #12 is Family Tree by Barbara Delinksy: "A white woman searches for the father she never knew after she unexpectedly gives birth to a black child."

Syndicate content