Going to the Birds!

SwansSwans

Wednesday in the afternoon on my way to work I was held up for about 5 minutes in a small traffic jam created by two lovely swans that were taking a stroll along Scio Church road. Eventually someone from one of the cars gently herded the swans into the adjacent roadside ponds. It was a nice experience that from the expressions of the other drivers was universally enjoyed.

That particular corner is a great place to view birds and attracts a lot of photographers and bird watchers. It’s just east of Parker road at Scio Church road about 8 miles west of Ann Arbor.

In case you need some help identifying the birds you see there please check out the Ann Arbor District Library’s great collection of bird books.

2nd Tuesday – Meet Julie Orringer @ Mallets Creek Wed., March 21, 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.

The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

Today is the anniversary of America's first best seller - The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, published in 1850. A total of 2,500 copies were published and sold out in 10 days. It was the first American novel to reach a large audience. See today's entry in the Writers Almanac with Garrison Keilor for more information about the printing process back in 1850 in the United States.

Hooked by the end of the first paragraph...

It is amazing how the honest language and direct approach of certain authors grabs you immediately. Alabama Moon by Watt Key is a first novel and a great ride. Ten year old Moon has lived in the forest with his government-hating father his whole life. When he is forced into civilization and encounters jail, bullies and other troubling experiences, he survives by using the instinct and intelligence that helped him in his former life. Moon is a spitfire and this is a fun and moving adventure read for teenagers.

And the winner is...

ISSISS

Today NASA announced Harmony as the name of the new module of the International Space Station. The name was chosen from an academic competition involving thousands of students in kindergarten through high school which required students to learn about the International Space Station, build a scale model of the module, and write an essay explaining their proposed name.

Harmony is a pressurized module that will act as a connecting port and passageway to additional international science labs and supply spacecraft. It also will be a work platform for the station's robotic arm. Find out more at NASA's website.

Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss wins its second monster award

Kiran Desai is having a fantastic year with her 2006 novel, The Inheritance of Loss, a brilliant novel of a retired reclusive judge living in northeast India in the 1980s with his orphaned, granddaughter, as the Nepalese revolution gathers on the horizon. First it won the 2006 Man Booker Prize. And now she has scooped up the 2006 National Book Critics Circle fiction prize.

For a full list of the the NBCC winners, go to their website.

Probuditi! by Chris Van Allsburg

For Calvin’s birthday Mama gave him two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent. Calvin asks his best friend Rodney to come along. The boys are amazed at the hypnotic skills of Lomax and try it out on Calvin’s little sister. With a clever twist at the end, awarding winning author, Chris Van Allsburg, weaves a fun and interesting tale in Probuditi. The brown hues and lifelike illustrations give the book an old fashioned feel.

It's all sewn up.

Besides the wearin' of the green, try a range of colors on March 17, National Quilting Day. Quilts have been used as navigation tools for African Americans fleeing slavery, to warm wounded soldiers, and to express the cultural traditions of many countries. This day represents a grass roots effort to unite quilters around the world. Organizations, groups and individuals are encouraged to join NQA and to promote quilting in their communities.

Quilting is alive and strong in the Ann Arbor area. In fact, this weekend, the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild will be presenting a talk, "Treasures in the Trunk," followed by a showing and sale of quilts by members. For more information, call 878-6396.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (3/11/07)

There is just one new entry on the List this week. Nora Roberts is back with her latest bestseller. While it seems as if she has written a gazillion books, the last time I checked it was hovering around 124. (You can view a complete list on her web site.) Since 1999 most of them, if not all, have been on bestseller lists. Even the ones writtten under her pseudonym of J.D. Robb.

Innocent Blood is #24 in her futuristic cop series featuring Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke. While Eve spends her days investigating a murder at a posh private school, Roarke spends his time with an old flame.

While many prolific authors start to coast or have hirelings write their new material, Roberts has maintained her winning ways and stayed on top.

Kid Bits - "Easy" chapter books

Like Goosebumps? Like Chillers? Like Bailey School Kids? Do you know about Ghostville Elementary? You better try one, or else!! The first two are Ghost Class and Ghost Game.

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