The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Literary phenom Elizabeth Kostova, one of Ann Arbor’s own, is a writer’s dream come true. The Historian, her 642 page epic story of the unlife and times of Dracula, received a $2 million advance and opened on the New York Times bestseller list in the No. 1 slot. Released in Large Print, audiobook, as well as in regular print, The Historian will soon be available in more than two dozen languages. And oh, yes, Sony has the film rights.

Kostova, a graduate of Yale with an MFA from the University of Michigan, spent 10 years blending the history of Eastern Europe and the countless threads of Dracula lore into an irresistible four-generation saga. Not to be missed.

This Week on Stateside

Singing in a Strange Land: C.L. Franklin and the Rise of the Black Church in America is the story of the “preacher with the golden voice”, the story of a family that most of us know through his daughter Aretha, and the story of Detroit and the black churches that helped shape politics and culture in America.

Listen to the interview with author Nick Salvatore on Michigan Radio’s Stateside and you’ll get a glimpse of the man who was a popular gospel recording artist, a nationally broadcast Sunday radio preacher and an influential civil rights leader who in 1963 in Detroit led one of the largest protest marches in the country.

Megatokyo Meet UP

Megatokyo begins at a gaming con, but, that's not the whole story. Largo and Piro, the main characters, end up in Tokyo with no way of returning back to the U.S. With a little help (and lots of ammunition and weapons of all sorts) they may return to the States. While you can read past comics in the print versions Megatokyo is a webcomic that you can read at http://www.megatokyo.com/. Even better: come meet the author, Fred Gallagher at AADL on Wednesday, July 27 from 7:00-8:30 P.M. in the DOWNTOWN multipurpose room. Space is limited to 150 and advance TIX are required and must be picked up IN PERSON at the DOWNTOWN youth department desk.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

This book is set in a place and time where rules were supposed to be followed and one did what was expected. Turner Buckminster chooses to ignore the rules of convention and befriend a Negro girl named Lizzie Bright. Lizzie’s Home on Malaga Island is threatened when the townspeople of Phippsburg decide to rid the island of its Negroes and turn it into a tourist attraction. Based on a true story, Gary D. Schmidt addresses issues not spoken about in a politically correct society.

Howl's Moving Castle

Perhaps you saw the flick by Hayao Miyazaki? Miyazaki usually writes his own stories, but he was clearly inspired by this amazing book. Miyazaki also directed My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones is also a must read for fans of Harry Potter! The story is about Sophie who is a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the wizard Howl. Diana Wynne Jones is the author of MANY books - so you will never run out of great fantasy options.

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker

There may have been more book sightings than bird sightings so far. Articles in the New York Times (July 21 & 24, 2005) report a challenge to the recent sightings.

Two new adult titles: In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker by Jerome A. Jackson and The Grail Bird: Hot on the Trail of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker by Tim Gallagher and one new youth title: The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip M. Hoose relate the natural and human history of this bird that has recently been spotted in Arkansas after years of supposed extinction.

One last title is a Dover reprint of a 1942 National Audubon Society study on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and its distribution, habitat, ecology, reproductive and nesting habits, and a chapter on the requirements and general policy of a conservation program with a list of principal ivory-billed woodpecker localities and specific measures necessary for conservation.

Guns for Hire

Robert B. Parker switches from mysteries to westerns in Appaloosa and creates his finest novel in years. All of his trademark humor, themes and inimitable dialogue are here but are refreshed and enhanced in this setting. Fans will enjoy trying to decide how much Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch resemble Spenser and Hawk. I could easily imagine this story as an episode on the old “Gunsmoke” series or as a script for a Sam Peckinpah movie.

New Non-fiction Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (July 24, 2005)

At #4 is Bob Woodward's The Secret Man: the story of Deep Throat.

At #6 is Bernard Goldberg's 100 people who are screwing up America (and Al Franken is #37): Paris Hilton made the list. She is "the most vapid, empty-headed, inane, hollow, vain, tasteless, self-centered, useless twerp in the entire country." Dwight Garner of The New York Times quipped "I bet she puts that on a T-shirt."

At #12 is James Frey's My Friend Leonard: Leonard is his mobster guardian as Frey tries to rehab from alcohol, drugs, and prison.

Who was Mary Lamb?

Mary Lamb certainly wasn't the little girl who brought her snow white lamb to school. This little Lamb was an English writer who suffered a breakdown and wound up stabbing her mother to death with a carving knife. Amazingly, after this act of violence, Lamb was released into the care of her younger brother, Charles. The brother and sister remained together for the next 40 years writing together. Read her story in The Devil Kissed Her: The Story of Mary Lamb.

You'll never hear that childhood song the same again.

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