New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (1/21/07)

It is no longer surprising to find the latest books in series by popular genre writers on the List. This week is no exception. There is, however, also a new book by the critically acclaimed young writer, Dave Eggers. His book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius announced the arrival of a serious writer with a sense of humor (and a bit of hubris). In that memoir, he explored his family's tragedies and triumphs and indeed did cause readers to weep. This time Eggers struggled to write another aching story of loss and found he could only tell the truth of the story by making it a work of fiction. (Check out this interview with him on McSweeney's website).

At #2 is The Hunters by W.E.B. Griffin: "An Army officer seeks the killers of a shady American diplomat murdered in Uruguay; follows from Griffin’s “Hostage.’’

At #10 is The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers by Lilian Jackson Braun: "The columnist Jim Qwilleran and his cats probe a mysterious death in the 29th “Cat Who” book."

At #16 is What is the What by Dave Eggers: "The fictionalized autobiography of one of Sudan’s “Lost Boys,” refugees from its civil war."

The Diversity of Islam in America

Here is a new non-fiction book with strong promise, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion by Paul Barrett, a former reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal. The book offers a collection of portraits of American Muslims, all struggling with their religion and its place in the world. This book got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from Laura Miller writing at Salon. In the review, Miller calls the book "the ideal book to enlighten a whole host of people who don't realize they need it." Barrett also is the author of The Good Black: The True Story of Race in America.

Angels and Demons

Do you believe in angels and demons? Frank Peretti does. His book This Present Darkness and its sequal Piercing the Darkness explore the world of spiritual warfare from a Christian perspective. Why does prayer matter? What good does it do? What is spiritual warfare and how does it affect us? The stories provide insight into what the struggle of light and darkness MAY be like.

Jazz by Walter Dean Myers

From the Nile to Bourbon Street
Poetry and music meet
To a syncopated rhythmic beat
In Walter Dean MyersJazz

Sundance Festival 2007

The 2007 Sundance Film Festival is being held in Park City, Utah from January 18-28.This is the top US festival for independent filmakers. More than 120 feature-length films and more than 80 shorts are shown. Although most believe that Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Institute, was also the founder of the festival, it was originally established by some film people from Utah as a retrospective. But the focus changed with Redford who opened up the festival to new, independent filmmakers. And it's been this way ever since. If you can't get to Utah, The Library has many of the films originally shown at the festival.

Number of Cancer Deaths Drops For a Second Year

For the second year in a row, the number of deaths from cancer has dropped, according to articles on NPR and The New York Times (sign-in required). According to statistics prepared for the Cancer Journal for Clinicians (published by the American Cancer Society), the number of cancer deaths from 2003 to 2004 reduced by about 3,000. For more information on the study and details about the results refer to the published results available here.

Encouraging Good Health for Teens Through Sleep

It's a common problem amongst teens (and college students): Staying up late to study, read or chat online with friends and then falling asleep or being inattentive during the school day. NPR has several recommendations for helping teens overcome sleep problems in this article. You can also check out several of the books they recommended which are available here at the library:

The promise of sleep : a pioneer in sleep medicine explains the vital connection between health, happiness, and a good night's sleep

A woman's guide to sleep : guaranteed solutions for a good night's rest

Take charge of your child's sleep : the all-in-one resource for solving sleep problems in kids and teens

Sleeping Through The Night : How Infants, Toddlers, And Their Parents Can Get A Good Night's Sleep

Top Dog (American Kennel Club Lists the Most Popular Dogs in the U. S. for 2006)

The AKC lists the top 155 breeds with this year's rank and last year's rank.

The top ten, with some reshuffling, are the same as last year.

Yorkshire Terriers moved up to two from three.

Golden Retrievers dropped two spots to four.

The most movement was by the Tibetan Mastiff who moved up 104 spots from 155 to 51.

The top ten are:

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. German Shepherd Dog
4. Golden Retriever
5. Beagle
6. Dachshund
7. Boxer
8. Poodle
9. Shih Tzu
10. Miniature Schnauzer

Who will win the next Printz Award?

Printz MedalPrintz Medal

Speculation is running high now that the announcement is just days away. Check this Monday, Jan. 22 at 1 p.m. to find out what teen book has won the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award for literary excellence in young adult literature.

Here are a few possible candidates:

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Sold by Patricia McCormick
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
King Dork by Frank Portman
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Best Books 2006 from Library Journal

Annotations are from Library Journal (January 2007)

Belleville, Bill. Losing It All To Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Environmental writer/filmmaker Belleville poignantly reveals how the words of the old Joni Mitchell song have become a grim reality in central Florida, as his traditional Cracker home and rural neighborhood give way to suburban strip malls. Uncontrolled development is an issue not just for the Sunshine State but for America as a whole. (LJ 3/1/06)

Blastland, Michael. The Only Boy in the World: A Father Explores the Mysteries of Autism
As the parent of a severely autistic son, BBC journalist Blastland knows frustration, but it does not fuel his crystalline contemplation. Neither patronizing nor glib, he instead relies on fascination to unlock Joe's head, reminding us how much we “normal” people take for granted. (LJ 7/06)

Brockmeier, Kevin. The Brief History of the Dead
Home to the dead as long as someone on Earth remembers them, the City starts emptying out fast after an epidemic devastates Earth. Beautifully written and brilliantly realized, Brockmeier's second novel delivers a startling sense of what it really means to be alive. (LJ 2/15/06)

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