What Do Your Brackets Look Like?

AND1's, buzzer beaters, and dunks, oh my! How does your bracket look?
If you're following the NCAA and NIT tournaments, we want you to know the library has a lot to offer. Glory Road: My Story of the 1966 NCAA Basketball Championship and How One Team Triumphed Against the Odds and Changed America Forever, and Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four for starters. The season's hoopla wouldn't be complete without hearing from Dick Vitale. Dick Vitale's Living A Dream, or try a few issues of Slam, the magazine, for those endless time-outs.

95th Anniversary of Triange Shirtwaist Company Fire

On March 25, 1911, 146 women, mostly immigrants, died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. Many of the women were trapped on the ninth floor because the doors were locked. Some fell to their deaths from open windows. The event, though tragic, was a turning point in labor history. New laws were passed requiring reforms in health and safety.

The book, Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch, is written for teens but has universal appeal for lovers of historical fiction. Auch conveys the horror of the fire and all that leads up to it from the perspective of Rose Nolan, a 16 year old Irish immigrant, who lands a job at the factory and is one of the survivors. Auch is good at evoking early twentieth century New York in all its color and squalor.

Remembering the Tuskegee Airmen

This week, in 1941, one of the most renowned and decorated African-American military units of the Second World War came into being as the 99th Pursuit Squadron [later the 332nd Fighter Group]. Better known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the group had 992 black airmen who flew P-39, P-40, P-47 and P-51 fighters in more than 15,000 sorties in North Africa, Sicily and Europe during World War II. A number of books highlight the contributions of these flyers, including Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen by Lynn M. Homan; A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman by Charles W. Dryden; Red Tails, Black Wings by John Holway; Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free by Alexander Jefferson and Flight: The Story of Virgil Richardson. There's also a fascinating documentary, Nightfighters which depicts the exploits of the group. For more information on the group see The Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. web site and the tribute on the National Park Service web site.

Has Title IX been good for sports?

Would Tennessee’s Candace Parker, whose two dunks last weekend were the first ever in NCAA tournament play, and Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris, whose powerful play has coaches comparing her to Shaq, be pushing the basketball envelope if Title IX had never become law?

A new book, A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tragedy of Title IX explores the controversial law. While some say the law has provided girls and women more opportunity to grow and excel in athletics, others would say Title IX’s mandate that women and men athletes be treated equally has come at too great a cost. To comply with Title IX some colleges and universities have shifted money to women’s sports while reducing funds for or even cutting “lesser” men’s sports like wrestling and crew. Is that fair or is it a case of two wrongs don’t make a right?

Everything bad for you is not so bad

It's okay. Despite everything you've heard, pop culture is not completely rotting your brain.

In Everything Bad Is Good for You, Steven Johnson lays out a theory about how popular media are helping us develop better creative problem solving, social networking, and analysis skills. (That isn't to say that this book is against good old intellectual development through, well, books.) Johnson provides a smart take on neurological development, Dragnet, and The Sims that will just probably convince you that you're smarter than you thought.

So, whether you've been up for twelve hours trying to get the powerup and win the game, or you've been blogging about how guilty you feel when you watch Desperate Housewives, read this book and feel a little better.

In the wake of St. Patrick's Day

If you didn't get your fill of Irish last week, treat yourself to Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans by Thomas Lynch. This book tells the story of the author's fascinating life as an American with Irish roots. He went to Ireland as a young man, where he found members of his family, and eventually inherited a house. As you read, keep an eye out for the lovely poem by Linda Gregerson, written from Lynch's ancestral home which now functions as a writers' retreat. Lynch is the Milford, MI, undertaker who has been nominated for a National Book Award. Like his previous books, this latest title is smart and lyrical, and should appeal to anyone for whom Irishness extends beyond March 17. It is set for paperback release this summer.

American children's author wins huge international honor

Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, Flip-Flop Girl, and The Master Puppeteer, has won Sweden's most prestigious award, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature.

Ms. Paterson, who was informed of this honor on March 15th, did not even know she was nominated.

The prize is named after Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish author who created one of children's literature's most beloved characters, Pippi Longstocking.

Ms. Paterson, 73, will receive the $640,000 purse, established by the Swedish government, in Stockholm on May 31st from Crown Princess Victoria.

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams

Brothers in Hope is the story of the orphaned boys of Sudan who fled after their villages were destroyed. The story is told from the viewpoint of Garang who was a young boy when his village was attacked and how he and thousands of other boys made it to safety in Ethiopia and Kenya. Since 2000 the U.S. has taken in about 3,000 Lost Boys of Sudan. This is a timely book that speaks to the horrors of the ethnic cleansing in Sudan.

John Reynolds Gardiner, author of Stone Fox, dies at 61

As a child, he hated to read, pretending to sleep when his mother tried to read to him at night. As a college student, he was surpassed in his English class by non-native speakers of English. As an adult, he was an engineer specializing in thermodynamics for aerospace corporations.

And as an author, he only wrote three books, the first of which, Stone Fox, sold more than 3 million copies and rightfully earned him the designation of one of the touchstones of children's publishing, according to HarperCollins Children's book editor, Kate Jackson.

John Reynolds Gardiner originally wrote Stone Fox as a screenplay. It eventually was produced as a TV movie, starring Buddy Ebsen.

Gardiner, who was 61, died March 4th of complications from pancreatis.

Did he or didn't he? Dan Brown's copyright infringement trial in London winds down

The judge in the trial charging Dan Brown with copyright infringement, has a mountain of reading to do this weekend. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs (Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the three authors of the 1982 nonfiction book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail) and Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, turned over their final submissions, which included a 69-page personal statement from Brown, outlining his transformation from failed musician to blockbuster author.
Baigent and Leigh charge that Brown's Da Vinci Code stole generously from their work. Brown contends he took theories that had 'been out there' for decades and put them together in his novel.
Brown, who chose his current agent, Heide Lange, in part because her last name is an anagram for 'angel', atributes Sidney Sheldon's The Doomsday Conspiracy, with inspiring him to puruse his writing career.

A verdict is expected next week.

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