Falun Gong: The End of Days

During last week's White House welcoming ceremony for China President Hu Jintao, a protestor interrupted Hu Jintao's opening speech by standing on a camera platform on the South Lawn and shouting at both Hu Jintao and George Bush. The woman pleaded for Bush to help stop the Chinese persecution of the controversial Chinese religious sect Falun Gong.

For those who want to know more about this topic, the library has a book called Falun Gong: The End of Days. According to Booklist, "Political scientist Chang provides a brief and accessible introduction to Falun Gong that places the movement in political and historical context, and she offers a critique of the Chinese government's policy toward religion that raises important questions about relations between quasi-religious groups such as Falun Gong and modern states.

The library also has two copies of Zhuan Falun, which is the core writing of Falun Gong's founder, Li Hongzhi. Finally, those interested in learning more about one of the central practices of Falun Gong can browse through the library's materials on Qi Gong.

E-greetings to the Queen!

Queen Elizabeth II

Do you know what today is? It's Queen Elizabeth's 80th birthday!

Why don't you send her an e-greeting! (Did you know that Her Majesty sent her first email in 1976?)

Can't make it to the birthday festivities? Check out the BBC News for video footage.

Don't know much about her? Peruse AADL's collection on "Lilibet". She may not be as stuffy as you think...

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #17

For Wendy Wasserstein fans, her passing this past January was deeply mourned. (Blog)

However, we could somehow feel a little comforted with the release of her first (and sadly also her last) novel The Elements of Style.

This dishy satire in the wake of 9/11, centers around Frankie Weissman, the down-to-earth pediatrician who treats the children of Manahattan's A-list, but is herself little affected by their excesses. Chock-full of shopping, private preschool worries, anxiety of maintaining a perfect image, or the scrambling simply to be top of the heap, “Wasserstein gets the trappings and tribulations of friendship and of romance right, making her depiction of the rich and fab trying to connect with one another witty and entertaining”. Enjoy.

Celebrate the opening of the first movie theater

On April 23, 1896, the first movie that was shown in a theater was seen at the Koster and Bials Music Hall in New York City. Until this time, people only saw films individually by using a kinetoscope.

Movies have dramatically changed over the years. As evidence, explore our diverse video and dvd collection including the dvd set, Treasures from American Film Archives, a four dvd set of fifty films that represent the breadth of American film making in its first one hundred years. Winner of the 2000 Film Heritage Award from the National Society of Film Critics and hailed by one critic as "...a bottomless bottle of blue tequila..," the series includes silent films, avant-garde works, documentaries and some of the earliest American films.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #16

Winner of the 1994 Swedish Crime Writer’s Academy Prize for Best Novel Borkmann’s Point (hint - it’s not a place) is Hakan Nesser’s the first Inspector Van Veeteren mystery to be translated into English.

In a measured pace and conversational tone, almost as serene as the small seaside town that he is summoned to, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren narrates the painstaking process of trying to find a serial ax-murderer. When the disappearance of his best detective coincides with discovery of the next victim, he worries that this case might join the only other unsolved one in his 30-year career.

This gripping and atmospheric whodunit will endear Van Veeteren to police procedural fans the world over. Let's hope the next one is already in the capable hands of the translator.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (4/16/06)

Easter week marked the return of three mystery favorites. Hats off to Jonathan Kellerman for grabbing the top spot from Dan Brown.

At #1 is Gone by Jonathan Kellerman: Alex Delaware investigates a murder that follows the disappearance of two acting students. P.S. Check out Sunstroke, the debut mystery by Kellerman's son Jesse.

At #7 is Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters: the redoubtable Amelia Peabody gets caught up in the intigue swirling around the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922.

At #15 is Dark Assassin by Anne Perry: another Victorian mystery with William Monk descending into the dark and deadly sewers of London to track a murderer.

Want a Chuckle During National Humor Month?

If you liked Millicent Min, Girl Genius, you will laugh out loud when you meet Stanford Wong, Millicent's nemesis, in the hilarious companion volume by Lisa Yee. Stanford is a reading challenged basketball star who discovers the joy of learning over a painful and comical summer.

Author Sarah Dessen at Nicola's Books this Saturday

Are you a fan of Sarah Dessen, author of Someone Like You, Dreamland, This Lullaby, and The Truth About Forever? If so, drop by Nicola’s Books at 7 pm this Saturday, April 22. She’ll talk about her new book, Just Listen, answer questions and sign books.

A New Vision of Democracy

In Democracy's Edge, Frances Moore Lappe, author of the groundbreaking Diet For A Small Planet, sets forth her analysis of our current political and social systems and encourages individuals to take responsibility for creating change. She looks at how, as a nation, we share more commonalities than differences, e.g. the quest for economic security, protection of our planet and principled government. Instead of feeling powerless, Lappe says, look to what you can do. She cites examples of some major changes to how our country is run including having a multi-party system. In seven states, the Working Families Party has instituted procedures so that candidates can be cross-endorsed on more than one ballot, a concept called fusion voting that can make voters' interests visible and influence candidates. Another project organized by a woman in Arizona has significantly affected campaign finance practices by having everyone in the state contribute $5 to a campaign. All are invested and candidates who don't have money now do. According to Lappe, it's the people, whether Republican or Democrat, who can join forces to combat corporate greed and out of control spending.

Muriel Spark, 1918-2006

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark, wonderfully prolific novelist, essayist, and poet, died April 13, in Italy.

Shaped by her conversion to Catholicism when she was 36, Ms. Spark wrote with an almost reportorial calmness, often spiced with dry wit, about the absurdities and tragedies of everyday life.

One of her most beloved books, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, was made into a play starring Vanessa Redgrave (in London) and Zoe Caldwell (Broadway); the latter won a Tony for her performance in 1968. A year later, Maggie Smith won an Oscar for the same role on the silver screen.

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