Slowing Food, Trading Seeds

Slow Food Huron Valley is gearing up for spring events promoting locally produced foods and sustainable agriculture. On April 12 there is a membership meeting and Michigan cheese tasting. The library has lots of resources on slow food, including the book Slow Food: The case for taste. Keep an eye out this Saturday March 24 for the second annual Project Grow Seed Swap from 10 a.m. to noon at the Leslie Science Center, 1831 Traver Road in Ann Arbor. Even if you don’t swap seeds, you are welcome at this event and people will help you get started.

Genealogical Society to hold session on writing your life story

Have you ever thought of writing stories from your life or compiling an autobiography? The next meeting of the Washtenaw County Genealogical Society will feature Stephanie Kadel Taras, a professional personal biographer, speaking on "One Story at a Time" in a hands-on workshop designed to inspire individuals to craft their own life stories. The program, which is open to all, will take place at the Education Center Auditorium, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Campus, 5303 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti on Sunday, March 25, 2007. For more information on the speaker check out her web site. For additional help check out some of the library's books on writing your life story and leave a legacy for your family and descendants.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (3/18/07)

I have been a fan of Robert Crais and his Elvis Cole series since Elvis first appeared in The Monkey's Raincoat in 1987. I was disappointed that his latest was featuring Cole's silent sidekick Joe Pike. However, from the moment I picked it up, I could not put The Watchman down, reading late into the night. It debuted at #5 on this week's List.

I am not sure I can go along with Pike's situational ethics but oh what a thrilling adventure this was. At the end of the day, Joe Pike made the smart-alecky Elvis seem lightweight and definitely not your first choice in a life or death situation.

Other new titles are Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella (aka Madeleine Wickham), The Taste of Innocence by romance author Stephanie Laurens, and Innocent Traitor by best-selling Tudor historian, Alison Weir.

Women on the move

March is Women's History Month, a time to celebrate the past accomplishments of American women and those who continue to work for women's rights. March 22 is the anniversary of two significant events for women. On that day in 1972, the Senate passed the 27th amendment, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. Known as the Equal Rights Amendment, the law was then sent to the states for ratification. Even with an extension from Congress, the ERA failed to pass, short of three votes.

Toast Spring in Michigan with Wine

Time to get ready for the spring wine season around Ann Arbor. Coming up April 21 and 22, there’s a wine-and-food-pairing weekend planned by the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail. Then on May 5 there is Ann Arbor Art Center’s WineFest, a great chance to taste dozens of wines from around the world and to support the center. If you're just wanting to re-stock your cellar with good wine, check out the new book Andrea Robinson’s 2007 wine buying guide for everyone.

Lulu Blooker Prize Short-List for Non-Fiction

A blook is a blog book, a book that started as a blog and eventually generated a book. And Blooker Prize is obviously a take-off on the Booker Prize. The Sunday (London) Times (3-18, 2007) quotes Peter Freedman of the prize organizer, an online publisher, “It’s clear that grand publishing houses, which perhaps once had little regard for online writing, are now mining blogs and websites for the next big author.”

The Short-List (annotations are from the Lulu Blooker Prize website)

Crashing the Gate by Jerome Armstrong – and Markos Moulitsas –

Spring Arrives Today

Spring: a Spiritual Biography of the Season, edited by Gary Schmidt & Susan M. Felch, groups essays, poems, and Shaker hymns in a five part (Stirrings, Awakenings, Growth, Pilgrimage, and Dance) celebration of Spring.

The editors write: “Spring is the season that simultaneously calls us to celebration and to a sober sense of gratitude for the time that we have been given. The grace of renewal should lead to gratitude for the newness, and it should lead to an acute awareness of our need for renewal.”

The essayists and poets include Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall, Noel Perrin, Annie Dillard, and many others. This book is one of a series of four Spiritual Biographies of the Seasons.

To read Jane Kenyon’s spring poem, Mud Season, click on Read More

Today is the First Day of Spring

Celebrate by reading some spring poems from The Language of Spring: Poems for the Season of Renewal, selected by Robert Atwan, Introduction by Maxine Kumin.

Theodore Roethke Vernal Sentiment

Though the crocuses poke up their heads in the usual places,
The frog scum appear on the pond with the same froth of
And boys moon at girls with last year’s fatuous faces,
I never am bored, however familiar the scene.

When from under the barn the cat brings a similar litter, -
Two yellow and black, and one that looks in between, -
Though it all happened before, I cannot grow bitter:
I rejoice in the spring, as though no spring ever had been.

Laurie Halse Anderson to appear @ Nicola's!

With her new book Twisted ready to hit shelves Laurie Halse Anderson is hitting the road. Laurie will be at Nicola's Books next Tuesday, March 27 @ 7:00 PM. Laurie is best known for her award-winning, bestseller, Speak - as well as Prom and Fever 1793. Laurie visited AADL in 2005 - she's a fabulous speaker - be sure to check her out!

How I Learned to Cook

In How I Learned to Cook: Culinary Educations from the World’s Greatest Chefs, forty chefs share short sketches of their lives as chefs: what brought them to cooking, working as prep cooks, family backgrounds, kitchen mishaps, influences. And these are big names: Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Marcella Hazan.

I read the entries by chefs whose restaurants I have eaten in: Sara Moulton making beer steamed Det Burgers at the Del Rio, Gary Danko writing about his difficulties getting accepted as a student by Madeleine Kamman, Rick Bayless taping a show with Julia Child for In Julia’s Kitchen with the Master Chefs.

Then I read the rest. I especially liked the ones about getting a start in the kitchen and having to quickly figure things out, with the occasional mess up such as poaching the fish that was to be fried and frying the fish that was to be poached.

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