In the wake of St. Patrick's Day

If you didn't get your fill of Irish last week, treat yourself to Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans by Thomas Lynch. This book tells the story of the author's fascinating life as an American with Irish roots. He went to Ireland as a young man, where he found members of his family, and eventually inherited a house. As you read, keep an eye out for the lovely poem by Linda Gregerson, written from Lynch's ancestral home which now functions as a writers' retreat. Lynch is the Milford, MI, undertaker who has been nominated for a National Book Award. Like his previous books, this latest title is smart and lyrical, and should appeal to anyone for whom Irishness extends beyond March 17. It is set for paperback release this summer.

American children's author wins huge international honor

Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, Flip-Flop Girl, and The Master Puppeteer, has won Sweden's most prestigious award, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature.

Ms. Paterson, who was informed of this honor on March 15th, did not even know she was nominated.

The prize is named after Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish author who created one of children's literature's most beloved characters, Pippi Longstocking.

Ms. Paterson, 73, will receive the $640,000 purse, established by the Swedish government, in Stockholm on May 31st from Crown Princess Victoria.

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams

Brothers in Hope is the story of the orphaned boys of Sudan who fled after their villages were destroyed. The story is told from the viewpoint of Garang who was a young boy when his village was attacked and how he and thousands of other boys made it to safety in Ethiopia and Kenya. Since 2000 the U.S. has taken in about 3,000 Lost Boys of Sudan. This is a timely book that speaks to the horrors of the ethnic cleansing in Sudan.

3 Years after the Launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom

March 19, 2006 marks the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the debates surrounding the U.S presence in Iraq are becoming more intense as each day passes. The library has a number of DVDs on this subject.

Gunner Palace provides an intimate look at what life is like for the U.S. soliders in Iraq, while The Soldier's Heart examines problems faced by U.S. soldiers when they return from Iraq.

WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception and Uncovered: the War on Iraq explore questions concerning the case made by the Bush Administration to lead the U.S. into Iraq.

21 Days to Baghdad offers an insightful look at the first three weeks of military action during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Torture Question investigates the topic of prisoner abuse in recent years, focusing on the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The Dreams of Sparrows "follows first-time Iraqi director Hayder Mousa Daffar and his team of contributing directors as they share their vision of life in Baghdad, post-war and pre-reconstruction."

John Reynolds Gardiner, author of Stone Fox, dies at 61

As a child, he hated to read, pretending to sleep when his mother tried to read to him at night. As a college student, he was surpassed in his English class by non-native speakers of English. As an adult, he was an engineer specializing in thermodynamics for aerospace corporations.

And as an author, he only wrote three books, the first of which, Stone Fox, sold more than 3 million copies and rightfully earned him the designation of one of the touchstones of children's publishing, according to HarperCollins Children's book editor, Kate Jackson.

John Reynolds Gardiner originally wrote Stone Fox as a screenplay. It eventually was produced as a TV movie, starring Buddy Ebsen.

Gardiner, who was 61, died March 4th of complications from pancreatis.

Did he or didn't he? Dan Brown's copyright infringement trial in London winds down

The judge in the trial charging Dan Brown with copyright infringement, has a mountain of reading to do this weekend. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs (Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the three authors of the 1982 nonfiction book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail) and Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, turned over their final submissions, which included a 69-page personal statement from Brown, outlining his transformation from failed musician to blockbuster author.
Baigent and Leigh charge that Brown's Da Vinci Code stole generously from their work. Brown contends he took theories that had 'been out there' for decades and put them together in his novel.
Brown, who chose his current agent, Heide Lange, in part because her last name is an anagram for 'angel', atributes Sidney Sheldon's The Doomsday Conspiracy, with inspiring him to puruse his writing career.

A verdict is expected next week.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #10

“The Grail legends are usually about men with swords and women getting rescued…. I want the women to have the swords…they get lots of sex, and they fall in love, but that’s not the point of the story… They are the heroes.” ~Kate Mosse.

From the cofounder of the prestigious Orange Prize, comes this heart-pounding literary thriller of two courageous and resourceful women, separated by 8 centuries, yet linked by 3 missing books, family history, deadly secrets, and the Labyrinth.

Set in the Carcassonne region of southeast France and the result of 15 years of painstaking research, this debut novel will not disappoint – inevitably to be compared to The You-Know-What. (100,000 first run).

Bada Bing

Tony’s back but this season of The Sopranos is definitely the curtain call for Jersey’s most-watched mob family. Time to branch out and get a few other takes on the world of organized crime. Start close to home with Donald Westlake’s Watch Your Back. Burglar Dortmunder and his hapless crew of ex-cons take on the mob to save their beloved O.J. Bar & Grill in Manhattan.

Take a step back in time with two other books on cd and see how Tony got that way --and why he’s in therapy. Mark Winegardner picks up the story of the Corleone family in The Godfather Returns as the 1955 ceasefire between mob families nears the breaking point. The mob’s influence in Cuba provides backdrop and trouble for Earl Swagger in Havana by Stephen Hunter.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Seller List (3/12/06)

Have you been following the plagiarism trial in London over the sources Dan Brown used in writing his blockbuster? So far it has not had much of an impact on the astounding sales of The Da Vinci Code which is still #3 after 153 weeks.

At #4 is The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry: another book about the Knights Templar riding on the magical coattails of the above bestseller.

At #6 is The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais: Elvis Cole does not make an appearance but the scene is LA in all its corrupt glory and a murder to be avenged.

At #8 is The Old Wine Shades by Martha Grimes: Scotland Yard's own Richard Jury is back in yet another pub in England where he hears a disturbing tale of disappearance and possible foul play.

Wordless Wonder - The Flower Man

It's been a while since we've seen much in wordless picture books. The Flower Man is a dandy for studying the details and changes in each picture while develop your own imaginary story. This wordless book may make you want to seek out past favorites like creepy castle, yellow umbrella, or home.

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