Onlies Write Fascinating Family Stories

As the mother of a solo son, I thoroughly enjoyed Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo edited by (only children) Deborah Siegel and Daphne Uviller. These essays – divided into Childhood, Significant Others and Friends, Parenting, and Tables Turned – are both entertaining and enlightening. Among my favorites was “My Jane,” by U-M’s Peter Ho Davies. At the end of the book I was left wondering, not for the first time, whether solo sons and daughters may be just as psychologically diverse as those who grow up with siblings.

Jackie's Bat by Marybeth Larbiecki

Jackie Robinson is playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers for the very first time. The batboy is told by his papa that “it aint’ right, a white boy serving a black man,” but Jackie goes on to earn the respect of his team, the fans and the batboy. Told from the point of view of Jackie Robinson’s batboy Marybeth Larbiecki scores a big one in Jackie’s Bat.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (2/18/07)

This week there are new contenders vying for the publishing world's equivalent of the golden ring. Can they be the next Da Vinci Code?

At #3 is The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry: "A former Justice Department operative turned bookseller hides a link to the secrets of the vanished library of Alexandria from wealthy international thugs."

At #7 is Deep Storm by Lincoln Child: "A doctor investigates diseases at an ocean-floor research facility that may have discovered the ruins of Atlantis."

At #9 is Hide by Lisa Gardner: "Bobby Dodge, a former sniper with the Massachusetts State Police, now a detective, unravels a mystery that begins with the discovery of six corpses beneath a state mental hospital."

At #10 is Allegiance by Timothy Zahn: "Events that occurred between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” : a “Star Wars” novel."

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #53

Jude Coyne is a jaded rock star. But unlike others who collect vintage cars and McMansions, he is a collector of the bizarre and grotesque: like a stiff and worn hangman’s noose and a snuff movie. He latest prize is a ghost purchased in an auction online and delivered to his doorstep in a black Heart-Shaped Box*. The dogs were the first to go crazy, even before the UPS guy has a chance to unload the box....

Inside, is a man’s suit but before long, its previous owner is everywhere in Joe’s life – swinging a razor blade on a chain.

Joe Hill, the two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award and the Ray Bradbury Fellowship for short fiction will grab you with this terrifying and relentless supernatural thriller. For Edgar Allen Poe fans. Film rights sold to Warner Brothers. Joe Hill is the pen name for Joe King (son of Stephen).

* = Starred Reviews

New Yorker born

Today, February 21 is the anniversary of the first publication of the New Yorker magazine in 1925. Every year, the first cover of a dandy peering at a butterfly through a monocle is reproduced. Known for its incisive reporting by writers like Seymour Hersh and Elizabeth Kolbert, fiction and poetry by John Updike, Alice Munro and Stanley Kunitz, and book, play and movie reviews, the The New Yorker has maintained the highest editorial and literary standards. Of course, when I receive mine, the first thing I look at are the cartoons which if nothing else will, makes me laugh that day, like the one showing a naked king walking away from his throne and one guard saying to another, "There are enormous challenges facing this country." You can access some short articles and excerpts by going to their online edition.

Guinea Bits - Pig Tales

Guinea Pigs! What else to say but cute, cute, cute with personality to boot !! Read some pig tales with Pee Wee and Plush and Lexi's Tale by Johanna Hurwitz; The Tales of Olga DaPolga by Michael Bond; John Willy And Freddy McGee; and Willimena Rules'stressful tale How To Lose Your Class Pet.

Then there are Kate Duke's pair of fables One Guinea Pig is Not Enough and Twenty Is Too Many. Hmmmm ... nuff said !

45th Anniversary of Americans in Orbit!

john glennjohn glenn

Forty-five years ago today, John Glenn successfully completed the first American manned orbital mission aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962.
To celebrate the anniversary of this event, NASA has added some interactive features to their website. Visit nasa.gov to take an inside look at the Friendship 7, explore bios and a photo gallery, and conduct virtual interviews with the surviving Mercury astronauts. You can also watch a 30 minute special online on NASA TV: 45th Anniversary of Americans in Orbit, at 7pm on February 20th.

Grease Monkey: a tale of growing up in orbit

On those days when you’re trying to figure out how the adult world works wouldn’t it be great to have an 800-pound gorilla on your side? Cadet Robin Plotnik, is about to get just that. He is assigned to work with mechanic Mac Gimbensky, for whom fixing space fighters is a passion and an art. Mac’s “creative” work style has chased off many a cadet but Robin manages to survive his first day as Mac’s grease monkey. In no time the two become good friends.

Together, this unlikely duo maintains the fighter craft for the all-women Barbarian Squadron, which constantly competes against other fighter jocks. Full of adventure, romance, and humor Grease Monkey will engage you to the last page.

Australian novelist Elizabeth Jolley has died

Australian novelist, Elizabeth Jolley, has diedAustralian novelist, Elizabeth Jolley, has died

Elizabeth Jolley, novelist, poet, and playwright, died February 13, 2007 in Australia.

Born in England in 1923, Ms. Jolley migrated with her family to Australia in 1959. Seventeen years later, Ms. Jolley’s first collection of short stories, Five Acre Virgin and Other Stories was published, grabbing Australia’s literary world by the lapels and shaking them up with her bold treatment of sexuality and lesbianism.

Ms. Jolley captured international attention with such novels as Mr. Scobie’s Riddle and Miss Peabody’s Inheritance, which the New York Times Book Review suggested should be read “in tandem”.

Ms. Jolley was 83.

Genealogical Research and the War of 1812

If you had an ancestor who might have served in the War of 1812 you might wish to attend the next meeting of the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County on Sunday, February 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the Education Center Auditorium, St Joseph Mercy Hospital Campus, 5305 Elliott Drive. The program, which is open to all, will feature a lecture by Xavier Allen, a local reenactor and storyteller, speaking on 'The War of 1812: A perspective from Upper Canada.' In addition Carolyn Griffin will speak on researching War of 1812 ancestors. There have been several recent good books on the war, including A.J. Langguth's Union 1812 and Walter Borneman's 1812: The War that Forged a Nation which might also be of interest. For some online genealogical research also check the library's web site for other resources.

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