Fred Mustard Stewart, author, has died

Fred Mustard Stewart, popular novelist who wrote across several fictional genres, died Wednesday, February 7, in New York City.

Stewart’s first novel, The Mephisto Waltz (1969, out of print) a creepy horror tale of an aging concert pianist who inhabits the body of a young writer, was made into a movie by Alan Alda two years later.

However, it was his large body of family sagas, framed by U.S. history, that built his popularity. Century, The Titan, and The Magnificent Savages (the first of four volumes to track a larger-than-life American family dynasty), are still in demand.

Stewart was 74.

Future Politics

What happens when you mix political intrigue with people who pilot massive robots? You get The Scorpion Jar by Jason M. Hardy. The story is set in the Battletech/MechWarrior universe. Set on Earth, the Exarch Damien Redburn calls a meeting of the Paladins to elect his replacement. The Paladins assemble from all corners of The Republic, each one attempting to persuad the others elect him/her as the new Exarch. Wonderful writing makes this book a great read for any science fiction fan.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #50

Kirkus reviewer called Mistress of the Art of Death* “CSI meets The Canterbury Tales”.

The brilliant female forensic pathologist, Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar of Salerno, a short and short-tempered medieval coroner is hired in secret by King Henry II to find out who's behind the horrific murders of 4 Christian children in Cambridge. Less concerned about the murderer than the tax revenue he is losing while prominent local Jews stand accused and languish in the fortress, Henry wants them freed.

Aided by a eunuch escort and a Jew with an affinity for detection, Adelia must piece together the mystery of these hideous crimes among a long list of suspects before the killer strikes again.

Mistress is a skillful blend of historical fact and gruesome fiction that will surely entertain, and Franklin presents a fascinating character in Adelia, who is odd for her era and profession yet familiar in her flaws and complexity. Let’s hope we won’t have to wait long for the next in this new series.

For fans of Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael series.

Ariana Franklin is the pen name of British historical fiction writer Diana Norman. Her first stand-alone City of Shadows is set in 1922 Berlin, a women in an asylum claims to be the only survivor of the Czar’s family and the heir to the Romanov fortune.

* = Starred Review(s)

2nd Tuesday – Meet Julie Orringer @ Neutral Zone Tues., Feb. 13, 7 pm

Hear Julie Orringer read from her short story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, a New York Times Notable Book and the winner of the Northern California Book Award. Julie is the Helen Herzog Zell Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan.

Copies of the book will be available for sale. The Neutral Zone is located at 310 E. Washington.

The University of Michigan: a Photographic Saga by Anne Duderstadt

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This magisterial illustrated rendering of the University’s history, presidents, faculty, staff, students, buildings, and life by Anne Duderstadt begins with chapters (or sections) on each University President’s tenure, followed by sections on Michigan’s War Service, Student Life, and on each School and College within the University.

The two-page panoramic views of the Central Campus, Medical Campus, and North Campus from various time periods provide useful orientation to the detail on buildings.

The growth and rebuilding of the University required the loss of some lovely buildings. You can find photographs of interesting buildings that no longer exist: the old Library, Waterman Gymnasium (where I spent my freshman year playing basketball and waiting in line to register for classes and, later, wearing my “Save Waterman/Barbour” button when the building was scheduled to be demolished), and the Pavilion Hospital.

A librarian’s quibble: an index would have been nice to easily locate the photograph of the sculpture of President Tappan and his Dog Leo; the entry on Jimmy Otley, the “Hat Man” (for eighteen years he was custodian of the cloakroom at the General Library (which had a room known as the Whispering Gallery)); the picture of the temporary Halo around the Michigan Stadium; the rendering of Albert Kahn’s first design for what is now known as Angell Hall; or the photograph of President Duderstadt in the kitchen of the President’s House in his maize shorts and blue shirt with football and helmet in hand with “Victory Apple Pies” in the foreground.

The lack of an index provides an additional incentive to thoroughly browse this volume’s content for the wealth of detail and illustration within.

The companion website has interactive maps from various time periods, historical 3d movies, and additional publications about the University. Do not skip the very long but lovely introduction with its postcard views of University landmarks and scenes, with the Glee Club singing Michigan songs.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released on July 21st!!

J.K. Rowling announced today that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the final installment of this fantastic series) will be published this summer on July 21st. Amazon is already allowing pre-orders for the book. Harry Potter fans are certain to be planning those midnight release parties already! Check out the BBC article and J.K. Rowling's website for more details and let the count down begin!!

UPDATE: You can now add your name to the hold list for the copies the library plans to purchase! (Log in to "My Account," click on this link to the title and then select "Request This Title" at the bottom of the page.)

I Hate Chaos!

Lord of the Night, by Simon Spurrier, is a science fiction novel set in the Warhammer_40%2C000 universe. The story pits the Sahaal, a Chaos Marine of the Night Lords Legion against Mita Ashyn, a member of the Imperial Inquisitors. Sahaal uses the skills he learned from his long dead Primarch Konrad Kurze in his attempt to recover his chapter's missing heirloom on the the remote and sunless hive-world of Equixus. The book is a great read and reinforces my disklike for all things Chaos. Long live the Emperor!

The Mercury 13

On June 16, 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space—during the Vostok 6 mission. It was 20 years later (almost to the day) that Sally Ride became the first American woman in space—as a crewmember on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7 on June 18, 1983.

In Martha Ackmann’s The Mercury 13, we are introduced to 13 women who should have been among the first in space. They included Jerrie Cobb, Wally Funk, Myrtle Cagle, and Bernice "B" Steadman, who were some of the most accomplished pilots of their time, male or female. These women passed the same rigorous tests (in 1961) that the original Mercury 7 astronauts underwent in the late 1950s. The women's testing program was eventually scrapped and women astronaut candidates weren’t selected by NASA until the 1978 class of Space Shuttle astronauts.

To find more books on women astronauts click here.

Physician to Discuss Her Battle with Breast Cancer

What's it like for a doctor to cope with a life-threatening disease?
Dr. Janet Gilsdorf, Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at U-M's Mott Children's Hospital will speak on her book Inside/Outside: A Physician's Journey with Breast Cancer at the library's 'Sunday Edition' program on Sunday, February 11 at the Malletts Creek branch. Dr. Gilsdorf's book, which grew from an essay originally published in a medical journal, describes the experience of coping with a grave medical condition from the vantage point of a physician. It is a deeply personal account of her struggles with the medical, emotional and physical issues associated with her course of treatment, ending with a hopeful outlook. The program is free and open to all. It begins at 3:00 p.m.
Copies of the book will be for sale and a book signing will follow the presentation.

Dizzy by Jonah Winter

There was a small boy who often got into fights. One day his teacher gave him a trumpet. He blew all his anger into that trumpet and thus one of the greatest Jazz musicians of all times was born. Dizzy Gillespie. Dizzy by Jonah Winter is a tribute to one of America’s most famous and loved musicians.

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