Want a Chuckle During National Humor Month?

If you liked Millicent Min, Girl Genius, you will laugh out loud when you meet Stanford Wong, Millicent's nemesis, in the hilarious companion volume by Lisa Yee. Stanford is a reading challenged basketball star who discovers the joy of learning over a painful and comical summer.

Author Sarah Dessen at Nicola's Books this Saturday

Are you a fan of Sarah Dessen, author of Someone Like You, Dreamland, This Lullaby, and The Truth About Forever? If so, drop by Nicola’s Books at 7 pm this Saturday, April 22. She’ll talk about her new book, Just Listen, answer questions and sign books.

A New Vision of Democracy

In Democracy's Edge, Frances Moore Lappe, author of the groundbreaking Diet For A Small Planet, sets forth her analysis of our current political and social systems and encourages individuals to take responsibility for creating change. She looks at how, as a nation, we share more commonalities than differences, e.g. the quest for economic security, protection of our planet and principled government. Instead of feeling powerless, Lappe says, look to what you can do. She cites examples of some major changes to how our country is run including having a multi-party system. In seven states, the Working Families Party has instituted procedures so that candidates can be cross-endorsed on more than one ballot, a concept called fusion voting that can make voters' interests visible and influence candidates. Another project organized by a woman in Arizona has significantly affected campaign finance practices by having everyone in the state contribute $5 to a campaign. All are invested and candidates who don't have money now do. According to Lappe, it's the people, whether Republican or Democrat, who can join forces to combat corporate greed and out of control spending.

Muriel Spark, 1918-2006

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark, wonderfully prolific novelist, essayist, and poet, died April 13, in Italy.

Shaped by her conversion to Catholicism when she was 36, Ms. Spark wrote with an almost reportorial calmness, often spiced with dry wit, about the absurdities and tragedies of everyday life.

One of her most beloved books, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, was made into a play starring Vanessa Redgrave (in London) and Zoe Caldwell (Broadway); the latter won a Tony for her performance in 1968. A year later, Maggie Smith won an Oscar for the same role on the silver screen.

San Francisco Earthquake Centennial

April 18 is the 100th anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake and fire--a major historical and social event in the life of Californians and a cornerstone in the study of earthquakes and seismic activity in the U.S. Most of the city's 400,000 residents were still in bed when the monstrous (magnitude-7.8) quake hit at 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906. AADL owns a variety of materials on this event, including last year's San Francisco is Burning: The Untold Story of the 1906 Earthquake and Fires and A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906.

Music to your ears... Food for your soul...

Join the University Musical Society in welcoming Sweet Honey In The Rock at Hill Auditorium on Saturday, April 22 at 8pm.

For over 30 years, this Grammy-award winning a cappella ensemble of six African American women have combined spirituals, hymns, gospel - as well as jazz and blues to raise awareness about the social injustices in the U.S. and around the world. The words are also beautifully interpreted in American Sign Language.

Can't make it to the concert? Or you've heard them and want more? Check out AADL's selection of their music.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground

The Play Ground welcomes Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg back to the UMS after a 15 year absence. Salerno-Sonnenberg burst onto the scene in 1981 as a young violinist star and is known as original and fearless. She is accompanied by Anne-Marie McDermott who is described as a "luminous, boldly emotive pianist who conveys great sensitivity" in her playing. Sounds like a concert that is not to be missed. Friday, April 21, 8pm at Hill Auditorium.

Idol-mania!

So you think you're a true American Idol fan? Sure, you may know everything there is to know about season 5, but what about seasons 1-4? You better brush up kids, for there may be a quiz...

Need some "idol" extra credit? Check these out:

Kelly Clarkson
Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken (Yes folks, he actually has a book out...)
Fantasia Barrino

Owen Parry’s Abel Jones (Civil War Historical Mysteries)

Abel Jones, Welsh immigrant, former sergeant with the British army in India, teetotalling Methodist, and bookkeeper for a coal company in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, has sworn off fighting and killing but finds himself compelled to help drill the hapless youths who have gathered to join the Union army. He ends up as their sergeant, is injured at Bull Run, becomes a clerk in the War Department, is recruited by General McClellan to investigate a soldier’s death, and the adventures begin.

His investigations provide wonderful commentary on the political, social, military, ethnic, and ethical background of the Civil War. Exciting, harrowing, humorous, and compulsively readable.

Series in order:
Faded Coat of Blue
Shadows of Glory
Call Each River Jordan
Honor’s Kingdom
Bold Sons of Erin
Rebels of Babylon

Celebrate Bill's 442nd Birthday on April 23

Well of course you'll want to read Shakespeare if you've never had the privilege, but there are also plenty of excellent translations of his work on video. In addition to the classics--Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, Orson Welles' Othello, and Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet--the Library owns at least five different interpretations of King Lear. Recent acquisitions include the 2005 theatrical release of The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino; the 1996 version of Twelfth Night; this 2005 performance of Benjamin Britten's opera of A Midsummer Night's Dream; and the 1976 Thames Television production of Romeo and Juliet.

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