New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (5/7/06)

There were only two new titles this week. You can choose to spend time with the rich and idle of New York City or the humble and hardworking of South Africa.

At #2 is Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith: "The seventh novel in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, featuring Mma Ramotswe and her assistant, Grace Makutsi."

At #15 is The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Sykes: "Life among New York's rich, young, thin and newly ummarried, from the author of 'Bergdorf Blondes'."

Living in a Virtual Panopticon?

With the recent revelation that three major telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA to collect the phone records of millions of average Americans, the discussion of how to balance civil liberties and national security seems more important now than ever before. Is it safe to say that we are now all living in a virtual panopticon? A surveillance society?

The library has a number of books on this topic for those interested in learning more. Here are some recent titles:
No Place to Hide
Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping
Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints
The End of Privacy: How Total Surveillance is Becoming a Reality
The Naked Employee: How Technology is Compromising Workplace Privacy
The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror
Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson’s 2006 Newbery honor book Show Way traces her maternal family history from slavery, to the Civil Rights movement to the present day in eloquent poetic rhythm. Show Way is the quilt sown by slave women with an encrypted map that showed the way to freedom. The illustrations reveal both the fear and hope of African Americans throughout history.

Looking for some live emo?

Short for “emotion”, emo is a term used to describe emotionally-charged hardcore punk music. From quiet ballads to high-pitched guitar licks, poetic lyrics to a unique style of dress, emo is alive and well and coming to Ann Arbor!

Rainer Maria, an emo rock band, will play Sunday, May 14th at the Blind Pig. If you like a little pop with your punk or just want to try something new, check out this trio from Madison, Wisconsin. Named after the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, the band has been on the music scene since 1995 and has released four albums. Catastrophe Keeps Us Together is their latest album and was released just last month.

If you like Rainer Maria you might also enjoy:

Crimson by Alkaline Trio
From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy
Louder Now by Taking Back Sunday

So Dark the Con of Man

It's still a week away from hitting theaters, but Ron Howard's film version of the controversial blockbuster is making as many waves as Tom Hanks' new hairdo. Churches are trying to debunk the novel; a senior official (and devout Catholic) in the Philippine government hopes his state's censors will ban the film. Others are simply tired of all the hype. But if you can't wait for the film, or you're one of the two remaining people alive who doesn't yet know the 'secret' of 'the code', here are a few videos to tide you over: Unlocking Da Vinci's Code, Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci or Da Vinci Code DeCoded.

Calling All Donutheads!

"My name, if you must know, is Franklin Delano Donuthead. Try saying that in a room full of fifth graders if you think names will never hurt you."

So starts the story of Donuthead by Sue Stauffacher. In the opinion of this youth services librarian, it is one of the best children's books currently in publication. Other titles by this author are Harry Sue and Bessie Smith and the Night Riders.

Sue Stauffacher will be in town for the Ann Arbor Book Festival this weekend. Her first appearance will be Friday, May 12, 2006 at the Malletts Creek Branch at 4:00 p.m. She will read from her works and talk about her life and her books.
Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to meet a popular writer.

Hear Them and See Them

The Ann Arbor Book Festival boasts an impressive list of guest authors this year. Enrich the experience of meeting these authors by listening to one of their titles on book on cd before or after the festival. Best-selling author Jennifer Weiner, of chick-lit fame, branched out this year with a mystery, Goodnight Nobody. Jacquelyn Mitchard is making a return appearance to the Festival. We have three of her most popular titles, Breakdown Lane, Theory of Relativity and Deep End of the Ocean for your listening pleasure.

Han Shoots First!

Star Wars: Han Solo

It appears that LucasArts has finally given in to fan demands and promised to release the original Star Wars trilogy in all its unaltered glory. I am glad the greed finally won out over Lucas's strange need to tinker..

You too can keep tabs on Bush administration shakeups

Porter Goss
Porter Goss (image from Wikipedia)

AADL Select Sites : World

The recent resignation of CIA Director Porter Goss has followed a string of a high-profile personnel changes in the Bush administration. Other changes include replacing the Press Secretary Scott McClellan with Fox News and radio pundit Tony Snow and Joshua Bolten stepping in as Chief of Staff, a position previously held by Andrew Card.

With all these changes, it can be dificult to keep the people in power straight here in the U.S., to say nothing of what's occuring worldwide. That's where Rulers.org, one of our handy AADL Select Sites, steps in. This website details how leadership has changed in countries over their histories. For instance, you can see the powerful people in France throughout history, including its kings, emperor, and presidents.

Rulers.org also tracks recent changes in country officials and royalty. May 2006 has seen not only Goss's resignation, but also new cabinets in Israel and Afghanistan and a reshuffling of the British cabinet. Simply click the the month and year in which you're interested from the Rulers.org homepage.

Dancing the Night Away with Fred Astaire

Celebrate Fred Astaire’s birthday on May 10th by checking out a few of his movies from the library. Astaire was a man of many talents. Born in 1899, he was well-known for being an actor, dancer and choreographer. After performing in his first Hollywood screen test, a producer had this to say about him: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire went on to show that producer and made over 40 movies including Silk Stockings, Easter Parade, and my personal favorite Holiday Inn. In many of his movies, he is partnered with the beautiful Ginger Rogers.

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