Great stuff I have been reading...

I read a lot of great graphic novels and manga this past year and some of the titles that really left lasting impressions on me include: Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihrio Tatsumi, the seminal gekiga style mangaka. The manga series One Piece by Eiichiro Oda - wacked out and super fun pirate tales jammed with memorable characters, places and stories. Another is Ellen Forney's I Love Led Zeppelin - yet another wild ride celebrating alternative lifestyles and musings on memories. Rounding out the list are Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: a family Tragicomic - yes, it's as good as they say it is! Be sure to check out her Dykes to Watch Out For collections too...

”It’s easy to become anything you wish…”

“…so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.”

Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel, American Born Chinese, follows three separate stories: the Monkey King who wants to be seen as a god; Jin Yang, the only Chinese-American attending a predominantly white suburban school; and Danny, a white adolescent trying to maintain a social standing while being visited yearly by his boorish Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee. Yang skillfully weaves the three stories into one (with the help of an Herbalist’s wife and Transformers) while exploring self-image, acceptance, and pride.
Yang’s humor and simplified drawing style highlight his talent for storytelling. It’s no wonder this book was a 2006 finalist for the National Book Award in the category of Young People’s Literature—a first for a graphic novel.

Of Mice and Rats

Are you looking for a good book to listen to with your family on your next car trip? I suggest Redwall by Brian Jacques. The story is about a young mouse Matthias, who becomes the hero of Redwall Abbey when it is attacked by Cluny the Scourge.

Time's 2006 Book of the Year

This year, a comic book holds the number one place on Time Magazine’s 10 Best Books of the year—Alison Bechdel’s memoir in comics form, Fun Home.
Bechdel beautifully tells the story of her life, and her father’s life. After her father’s death (believed to be suicide), Bechdel retraces her formative years by contemplating the similarities and distance between two people living in the same house.

Post Offices Closed January 2, 2007

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Mail service will be suspended Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, the U.S. Postal Service announced. President Bush has ordered federal agencies to close that day out of respect for the memory of former President Gerald R. Ford. There will be no regular mail deliveries or retail service at offices. Normal mail service will resume Wednesday, Jan. 3.

A memoir on the love of art

Patricia Hampl, author of A Romantic Education has written a new memoir, Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime. The book starts with a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago where she encounters a painting by Matisse titled "Woman Before an Aquarium." The painting sets off a series of meditations on the act of introspection and its effect on art. In the process, Hampl discusses the artists Delacroix and Ingres and the journals of Katherine Mansfield. She also describes the career of Jerome Hill, a documentary filmaker from her hometown of St. Paul. A starred review in Booklist states, "Hampl does with words what Matisse does with line and color, that is, reaches to the essence of perception, 'not simply what was seen, but how seeing was experienced.'"

Jumping the Scratch

Jamie’s always heard that bad things come in threes. So after his cat, Mister, dies, his father leaves, and his aunt Sapphy has an accident that causes her memory to develop a skip, Jamie hopes his life will go back to being as normal. But unfortunately there’s one more bad thing in store for Jamie-something he’d give anything to forget.

Jamie tries to find the trigger that will help Sapphy’s memory jump the scratch, like the needle on her favorite Sinatra record, but it’s Aunt Sapphy who, along with a curious girl named Audrey, helps Jamie unravel the mysteries of memory and jump the scratch in his own life. [from the bookjacket]

Read Jumping the Scratch or listen to it on CD

Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda

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Here we are at … the City of Ann Arbor’s Holiday Break Camp for kids ages 6 – 10 years old. The Bryant Community Center is the place to be 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Jan. 2 – 5, 2007. Lots of activities, lunches, snacks and field trips are included in the $50 resident fee. For more information contact Community Outreach at 994.2722.

He Was 'A Ford, Not a Lincoln'

"I told you I was a Ford, not a Lincoln. Tonight I say I am still a Ford, but I am not a Model T." Pres. Gerald Ford, August 12, 1974

Those humble words were spoken by President Gerald Ford days after President Nixon resigned and Ford assumed the presidency. President Ford passed away this week, but his important role in history will be long remembered.

If you'd like to read more about Jerry Ford (who was also a Wolverine football player), you might consider these books:

The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford by John Robert Greene;

A Ford, Not a Lincoln by Richard Reeves;

Time and Chance: Gerald Ford's Appointment with History by James Cannon.

And, if you're interested in Betty Ford- including her courageous struggle with drug addiction- take a look at Betty: A Glad Awakening by Betty Ford with Chris Chase, or First Lady's Lady by Sheila Rabb Weidenfeld.

Also, check out First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents by Bonnie Angelo, for a really fascinating account of Ford's mother and childhood.

President Gerald Ford 1913-2006

fordford

Former President Gerald Ford, the only non-elected chief executive, died Tuesday, December 26, 2006. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor provide exhibits, history and papers of Michigan’s only president and his family. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press have extensive coverage of the President's life.

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