The Search for Belle Prater by Ruth White

What happened to Belle Prater? Find out in this sequel to the Newbery Honor Book,
Belle Prater’s Boy (1996). Woodrow and Gypsy set out to find Woodrow’s mother, Belle. They are joined by Cassie, who has the gift of second sight and Joseph, a black teen runaway. They face issues of racism in the segregated south as they search for Joseph’s father and Woodrow’s mother. Ruth White weaves a mysterious tale that touches the depth of human emotion in this long awaited sequel.

Asra Nomani's campaign for religious equality

This week on Book TV, Asra Nomani talks with renowned Islamic scholar, Akbar Ahmed, about her book Standing alone in Mecca: An American woman’s struggle for the soul of Islam.

Ms. Nomani shocked her West Virginia mosque by walking through the front door and sitting in the main hall, two strictly forbidden acts. The mosque is now focused on banishing her. Ms. Nomani, a good friend of Danny Pearl’s, has a jaw-dropping pedigree of journalism credentials -- the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Time Magazine, to name a few. In addition, she was a war correspondent in Afghanistan for Salon.com. In March of this year, Ms. Nomani organized a woman-led, mixed gender Muslim prayer in New York City.

Brains to Mush?

This morning 7-20-05 on Fresh Air, Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad Is Good for You: how popular culture is actually making us smarter , argues that rather than turning our brains to mush, entertainment options like video games are so complex that our brains rise to the challenge.

Suicide Terroism

Morning Edition, July 19, 2005 · The London bombings are only one example of suicide terrorism, a technique that goes back to 1 A.D. Robert Pape, the author of Dying to win : the strategic logic of suicide terrorism, discusses the history of suicide attacks.

The Cardinals’ Nest Outside Our Front Door

When my wife was pruning the bush near our front door she discovered a cardinals' nest with four eggs. We could see the inside of the nest from our living room window. It seemed that the nestlings were only around for about a week but from reading Northern Cardinal, one of the Wild Bird Guides from Stackpole Books, I learned that "young cardinals typically fledge about ten or eleven days after hatching." I also learned that "during a nesting season, cardinal pairs may attempt to raise three, four, or even five broods." I may not have wanted to learn that "parents clean the nest of fecal material by eating the fecal sacs produced by their nestlings." Other titles in this series are the American Goldfinch, the Black-capped Chickadee, the Downy Woodpecker, the Red-tailed Hawk, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and the Tufted Titmouse.

Prison Angel

This morning 7-21-05 on the Diane Rehm show Diane talked with Mary Jordan & Kevin Sullivan: "Prison Angel" , a husband-and-wife foreign correspondent team, about one of the most memorable people they met during their recent assignment in Mexico -an American-born woman known as "Mother Antonia," who ministers to prisoners and the poor in Tijuana.

Scandinavian Chillers

When temperatures rise, cool off with He Who Fears the Wolf, the second mystery by the Norwegian author Karin Fossum to be published in this country. For those of us who loved the mysteries by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, she is a refreshing new addition to the small list of Scandinavian mystery writers. You can also explore the chillier political and social aspects of life in these frozen landscapes with Henning Mankell, Peter Hoeg and Kerstin Ekman.

Travels with Barley

Don’t miss this evening’s (Wednesday, July 27th) program at Malletts Creek Branch where the Ypsilanti Brewing Company will demonstrate the beer brewing process at 7 p.m.

For an informative and humorous look at beer culture in America, check out longtime Wall Street Journal writer and novelist Ken Well’s Travels with barley: a journey through beer culture in America. This is one man’s quest for the “perfect beer joint” that took him from Minnesota to St. Louis, from Delaware to the Big Easy. Along the way, you will be treated to historical, scientific and cultural insights into a $75 billion industry as well as a host of quirky characters and fine stories.

Happy Birthday, Stanley Kunitz

Stanley Kunitz, the 10th US Poet Laureate (2000) celebrates his 100th birthday on July 29th. Kunitz, a Phi Beta Kappa Harvard graduate won the Pulitzer in 1959 for Selected Poems, 1928-1958, and received the 1995 National Book Award for Passing Through: Later Poems, New and Selected. For more on the life of Kunitz’s rich outstanding career, check out this article on him from Literature Resource Center.

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.

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