Fantasy Bit - Medieval Magic

"For a green-eyed reader filled with desire" a volume of blank parchment pages may reveal the magic of Northumbria. "Rich with mystery and atmosphere, this is a thought-provoking fable" about magic and greed. Avi does it again for a tale to share-aloud among families, The Book Without Words.

Kid Bits - Loss

For generations Comfort Snowberger's family has owned the funeral home in town. With care and cosmic understanding the family handles the loss of a family member at the same time that Comfort is losing peace with her best friend, Declaration. With southern charm and humor the rhythms of life flow with Each Little Bird That Sings, a lovely family read-together.

Ball Don't Lie

March Madness is just around the corner, so now's a great time to check out some fiction about basketball. Ball Don't Lie, by Matt de la Pena is a great place to start. Between foster homes and living in the street, Sticky 17, has developed some amazing basketball skills; enough to get him noticed by big-time scouts. He hangs out at Lincoln Rec, a gym in L.A. which functions as a shelter and a place where serious ball players go. Sticky's compulsive about his stance, his routine, and his shots, but way beyond normal. He's obsessive as he tucks his shirt in six or more times, until he gets it right. Detailed game action pulses like a fast court break. Anh-thu, is Sticky's girlfriend and she too wants him to reach his dreams.

Origins of Existence: An Astrophysicist's View

Fred Adams, professor of astrophysics at the University of Michigan and a world-renowned theorist on star and planet foundation, talks about his book Origins of Existence: How Life Emerged in the Universe on Community Access Cable Televison Channel 17 on Tuesday, January 31 at 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 2 at 1:30 p.m.; Friday, February 3 at 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, February 4 at 1:30 p.m. The program was originally recorded in April 2003 as part of the library's 'Booked for Lunch' series, now known as 'Sunday Edition'. Among Dr. Adams' many provocative ideas is that life began inside our planet, not on its surface -- and that the universe exists in a forest of universes in space-time. His talk is also available on VHS Video at the library.

Pooch Cafe

My favorite Ann Arbor News comics are Pooch Café and Arlo and Janis.

The library has No Collar, No Service: a Pooch Café collection, profiling the life of Poncho with his master Chazz, Carmen (and her cats), Poncho’s canine buddies, the postman, the Fish, and his kibble. Very funny, very silly. A quick antidote to any gloomy winter day.

Unfortunately, Arlo and Janis do not have a collection of their comic strips in print.

The Play Ground

Sandra Storrer directs Eve Ensler's Obie-winning play, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, a series of ribald, explosively funny monologues exploring a woman's relation to her body, sexuality, and language. Originally a one-woman show, it is now regularly cast for 3 monologists. Cast: Grace Morand, Judy Dow Rumelhart, Linda Carter. A benefit for SafeHouse, the local shelter for battered women and their children. The Ark, 316 S. Main. General admission $20 in advance at Herb David Guitar Studio, the Michigan Union Ticket Office, & all other Ticketmaster outlets; $25 at the door. Saturday, February 4 at 2pm, evening show sold out.

Betty Burzon, longtime gay activist, dies at 78

Betty Berzon

Betty Berzon, influential psychotherapist and author who championed gay rights for more than 30 years, died Tuesday, January 24, 2006.

Born January 28, 1928, Dr. Berzon was a pioneer in providing therapy to gay clients in the early 1970s, just a few years after she came out publicly and more than twenty years after her conflicts with her own sexuality led to a suicide attempt.

Berzon was the author of several important books on homosexuality, including Permanent Partners: Building Gay and Lesbian Relationships that Last (revised edition, 2004). In 1979 she edited Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian Life, which she edited beginning in 1979 and which has remained in print ever since.

New Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (1/22/06)

There were three new titles last week and three this week. Romance and mystery/suspense are still what most people are buying and reading these gray winter days and long cold nights.

At #1 is The Hostage by W.E.B. Griffin: the military investigates the murder of a diplomat and the kidnapping of his wife who has ties to the Iraq oil-for-food scandal.

At #6 is All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Quick, Amanda): the death of a friend leads a journalist back home to Northern California and an old cold case of murder.

Matisse biography wins the 2005 Whitbread

Whitbread winner

Hilary Spurling, author of Matisse, the Master, captured the 2005 Whitbread Book of the Year after a hotly contested discussion among the judges. Even more surprising is that it was a children's, The New Policeman by Kate Thompson, which nearly took the much-sought-after literary prize.

The Whitbread Book of the Year is selected from the five finalists in the following categories:

Fiction
Ali Smith for The Accidental

History Bits: African American Dance

Mr Bojangles is a part of 20th Century African-American history. Rap A Tap Tap is a book that shares a part of the Bojangles story with children. Add the sounds of Stars at the Apollo and share the era with family.

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