Joseph Mitchell- the quintessential reporter

Today, July 27, is the birthday of New Yorker writer, Joseph Mitchell who was born in Fairmont, North Carolina in 1908. His Southern roots informed his writing although most of his stories were of eccentric characters living on the edge in New York City. He talked with fishmongers, gypsies and Mohawk Indians who worked as riveters on bridges and skyscrapers. He interviewed criminals, politicians and celebrities. He wrote about gin mill owners, con artists and a flea circus operator. Most of his writing is collected in the book, Up in the Old Hotel. Mitchell thought of himself as a good interviewer because "he had lost the ability to detect insanity."

New Spanish books for adults (translated fiction)

New popular fiction translated into Spanish. Any questions, comments or suggestions on Spanish language materials or any foreign language materials, please e-mail

Cell por Stephen King
A translation of King's popular novel in which a single pulse transmitted through every operating cell phone on the planet turns people everywhere into inhuman killing machines, and civilization grinds to a halt in a terrifying riot of violence. It falls to a small group of survivors to turn the tables and take back the streets--or die trying.
Laberinto de sueno y angustia por Atiq Rahimi
Translated directly from Persian, Rahimi is the Afghan author and producer of the novella and subsequent film "Earth and Ashes".
Tiempo de matar por Lisa Gardner
Translated from English "The Killing Hour", a novel by popular mystery and suspense writer Lisa Gardner.

New Spanish books for adults (Original Spanish works)

New original Spanish titles from multiple countries. Any questions, comments or suggestions on Spanish language materials or any foreign language materials, please e-mail

Un dulce olor a muerte por Guillermo Arriaga
A murder novel from Mexican author, screenwriter and producer Guillermo Arriaga (21 Grams and Babel).
Tortugas acuaticas por Roxana Popelka
A collection of diverse short stories by Spanish poet, critic, screenwriter, and author Popelka.
El mundo se acaba todos los dias por Fernando Marias
A new book "The World Ends Every Day" from the Spanish journalist, author and screenwriter Fernando Marias.
Cielo de tango/Sky of tango por Elsa Osorio
A historical novel of Argentina told by means of the saga of two families on the oposites extremes of the social scale by popular Argentinean novelist Elsa Osorio.

New Spanish books for adults at the library (translated non-fiction)

There are many new Spanish books for adults at the library. There are various books throughout the branches with the selection being different at each branch. Browse the catalog by searching by call number "FLC SPA" or browse the shelves and look for the new stickers on Spanish books.

Popular non-fiction translated into Spanish:
Islam: Pasado y presente de las comunidades musulmanas by John Esposito
A translation of Esposito's "Islam: the straight path", an excellent book on Islam and the Muslim community from one of the foremost experts on Islam.
El malestar en la globalizacion by Joseh E. Stiglitz
A translation of "Globalization and its Discontents", one of the major books on the poor effects of globalization and international aid by the 2001 winner of the Nobel prize for economics.
Las pequenas memorias por Jose Saramago

Redemption in Vermont

In Jeffrey Lent's third book, A Peculiar Grace, Hewitt Pearce, a reclusive metal worker who lives in backwoods Vermont is drawn out of his hermit's existence by Jessica, a troubled waif, who shows up at his door. He then finds out that his lost love, Emily, has recently been widowed. Flashbacks uncover Hewitt's painful family history and time spent under the influence while living in a commune. Hewitt must come to terms with his past while risking a new or rekindled love in the present. Lent is the author of the widely hailed first novel, In the Fall which Library Journal calls "a monumental family narrative."

Temptress Moon

Temptress Moon can be summed up with two letters....P.U.

This movie is a supposed "love story", but I couldnt find the "love" in the story.

The leading man Zhongliang, Leslie Cheung, proclaims at the beginning of the movie he can no longer love. The leading woman Ruyi, Gong Li, cannot bear the fact he cannot love her. Consequently they both set out to prove their positions in this "love affair".

Due to the fact this film is full of scenes that float between the past and the present, the storyline develops a disjointed air throughout.

The characters are also hard to connect with. The weak dialogue between the characters, when they do converse, hinders the ability of the film to come together.

This is no Farewell My Concubine even though the director, Kaige Chen, is the same. The official FFG rating of this movie is a 3.

Slide down a Rain Barrel

rain barrelrain barrel

There is an old play song that I loved when I was a child. All about being jolly friends together after climbing apple trees and sliding down rain barrels.

In June I read an article about a woman in the Burns Park neighborhood, calling out to all her neighbors to become green friends together. She proposed that an old-fashioned rain barrel could help us water our gardens and conserve water at the same time. The article made me think of my grandmother who used her barrels to wash clothes and her hair!

The idea quickly spread to other neighborhoods. Some interest is driven by a desire to save water and some by need to save money (the City is raising its rates this July).

Because of the anticipated demand, the City, the Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner and the Huron River Watershed Council have partnered to offer a special deal on rain barrels.

The special price is $75 (tax included). Compare that to retail prices of $114.95 and more. You must pre-pay to order and there is a limit of 10 per household. This order is open to all, including stores that want to sell them.

The truckload will be delivered to the Huron High parking lot on Sunday September 9, 2007 from 1-4 p.m. This will be your only chance to pick up your rain barrel.

The first order will be for 500 rain barrels. So if you are interested, contact HRWC at 734/769-5123 x 20 or Or go online to order.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (7/29/07)

Last week it was the prolific James Patterson making a splash on the List. This week it is the unstoppable Nora Roberts. Another woman in peril faces down her stalker in High Noon. Not to be confused with the movie starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.

The only other contender for summer beach reading is Killer Weekend by Ridley Pearson.

The entire List can be viewed online.

Fabulous(?) Fiction Firsts #76

If you need a quick dose of breezy chicklit. for the dog days of summer, give Katherine Center's debut novel The Bright Side of Disaster a try. I have it on good authority that it is quite engaging.

Jenny Harris never anticipated single motherhood but when her fiance ran out for cigarette the night she went into labor and never returned, she has her hands full. Things are not all bad though, apart from sleep deprivation, baby worries and the raging hormones... She found new friends in a mommy group and a handsome neighbor with a particular talent with cranky babies. It's too bad that her fiance has a change of heart.


Mostly Martha or No Reservations?

Ever see the German film Mostly Martha? In the movie, Martha is a skilled, yet neurotic, chef. She has a therapist, but spends her sessions cooking for him and talking about food. Tragedy strikes when Martha’s sister dies in an accident, and she takes custody of her niece. Mario, an Italian chef, arrives to add more drama to Martha’s life. Sound vaguely familiar? No Reservations, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, has the same plot because it is based on Mostly Martha. It premieres in theatres this Friday.

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