Fingersmith - A Victorian Thriller

BBC feature film Fingersmith, based on the novel (short listed for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize in 2002) by Sarah Waters, is a Victorian thriller not to be missed.

The paths of Maud, a wealthy heiress and that of Susan, an orphan raised in a den of petty thieves (or fingersmiths) collide with devastating consequences and yet, a deep connection is forged that spell their redemption.
Beautiful period costumes, moody cinematography, and knock-your-socks-off plot twists made for 180 minutes of sensual viewing pleasure.

Check out Waters’ other titles Tipping the Velvet (in DVD); and her latest - The Night Watch.

In 2003, Granta magazine named Sarah one of 20 Best Young British Novelists.

Invisible Children

Lost Boys

Last Saturday night, some 600 area students were inspired by a film-in-the-making to stage a sleep-in outside Ann Arbor's city hall. The film is about the plight of children abducted, brainwashed and trained to fight in Uganda's 18-year-old civil war. University students organized the screenings and local sleep-ins as part of a "Global Night Commute". Until the film (currently in rough cut) makes its way into the AADL collection, you may want to check out the similarly themed Lost Boys of Sudan, last year's award-winning documentary about two orphaned Sudanese refugees from yet another devastating African civil war. This title, along with several other powerful films, is available at AADL through the Human Rights Video Project. Teachers, students and other local groups may arrange to borrow any of the titles on this list for a public screening. Check out a complete listing of titles and summaries.

Didn't know much about mythology...and so much more...

When I picked up Kenneth C. Davis's Don't Know Much About Mythology, I was expecting a humorous and informative read answering some of my questions about mythology and religion, such as whether Nirvana is a Hindu or Buddhist concept (there's a good reason for my confusion) or what people used to do on Christmas before the common era (think much less gift-giving and many more spiked drinks). What I wasn't expecting was the deluge of information Davis packs into these 400 or so pages, such as when the oldest civilizations began, which of them started writing first, why Tara is the perfect name for Scarlet O'Hara's homestead in Gone with the Wind (see p. 289), why Ganesh is a great choice for Apu's favorite god in The Simpsons, or how much the early books of the Bible were influenced by Mesopatamian myths.

How Opal Mehta plagiarism charge rocks the publishing world

Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan plunged from literary phenom to disgraced plagiarist when it was discovered that her brand new chick lit title, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, included healthy doses of passages from two of Megan McCafferty's titles, Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings.

Viswanathan's publisher, Little, Brown, announced April 27 that it would pull all unsold copies of Opal Mehta from all retail outlets. In true American style, this news instantly sent the price of Opal soaring on eBay ("buy now for $99.99").

Viswanathan insists that the borrowing was unintentional -- she's a big fan of McCafferty's writing and said she's read the two titles in question many times.

Good news for Ms. McCafferty -- she's getting a good bounce for the two books in the spotlight, which may carry over to her latest entry, Charmed Thirds.

Celebrating Families Built Through Adoption

Recent news of celebrities building their families through adoption is raising the public's awareness of the joys and heartaches that come with the adoption process. The library has many materials for those interested in learning more about adoption.

The Waiting Child, by Cindy Champnella, tells the true story of a little girl, whom the Champnella family adopted from China, and her persistence in finding a mama for a little boy she left behind. On Saturday, May 6th, 2006, Cindy Champnella will be in Ann Arbor to speak about her family's inspirational story.

Other recent books about adoption include:
Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption
Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption
A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents
Complete Adoption and Fertility Legal Guide

Two recommended films about adoption include:
Secrets and Lies and My Flesh and Blood

Where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average

"It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota." So surely will begin 2006 Honorary Oscar winner Robert Altman's film version of A Prairie Home Companion, opening on June 9th.

All of your favorite residents of Lake Wobegon will be there: Guy Noir private eye (played by Kevin Kline), the singing cowboys Dusty & Lefty (John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson respectively), and of course, hometown boy and host Garrison Keillor (played by none other than himself). Also on hand will be a few new old-fashioned singers from Lake Wobegon: Rhonda (Lily Tomlin), Yolanda (Meryl Streep), and Lola (Lindsay Lohan).

Make sure that you brush up on your Lake Wobegon gossip and A Prairie Home Companion antics to keep abreast of all the town happenings!

2006 Edgar Winners

2006 Edgar nominees

The Mystery Writers of America announced the winners of the 2006 Edgar Allan Poe Awards on April 27, 2006. Winners in the top categories are:

Best Novel
Jess Walter for Citizen Vince

Best First Novel by an American Author
Theresa Schwegel for Officer Down

Best Paperback Original
Jeffrey Ford for Girl in the Glass

Best Fact Crime
Edward Dolnick for Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece

For the complete list of winners, go to this website

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (4/23/06)

Who knew Mary Higgins Clark was such a star in France? The Jerry Lewis of fiction writers? According to the Times, she hits the bestseller list over there regularly at #1, just as she did here last Sunday.

Coincidentally the other three new titles are all set in the states hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.

At #1 is Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark: "A small girl communicates telepathically with her kidnapped twin."

At #4 is Shiver by Lisa Jackson: "A New Orleans detective tracks a serial killer."

At #12 is Hey, Good Looking by Fern Michaels: "Family feuds and forgiveness in Baton Rouge."

At #16 is We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg: "In Mississippi in 1964, a paralyzed woman struggles to raise her teenage daughter with the help of an African-American aide."

And You Know You Should be Glad...

Award-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, broadcast journalist on ABC's Nightline, and bestselling author Bob Green (Duty), (All Summer Long) will be a featured speaker at the 2006 Ann Arbor Book Festival on May 13th.

He will be reading from his latest And You Know You Should be Glad. This true story of a lifelong friendship of five pals from Bexley, Ohio – the “ABCDJ” gang (Allen, Bob, Chuck, Dan and Jack) and their emotional reunion due to Jack’s terminal illness, is both nostalgic and heartwarming.

"Readers who enjoyed Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking will find Greenes writing to be more wistful and plainspoken but similarly rewarding." (Library Journal).

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #18

So it is not new, but decidedly it is ”first rate”(Booklist)!

Ken Kalfus’ debut novel is a “sweeping, quasihistorical fiction spanning two tumultuous decades in Russia” (PW). It traces the rise of a young cinematographer at Tolstoy's deathbed, to a high post in The Commissariat of Enlightenment (2003), Stalin’s powerful agency in charge of propaganda. The intricate plot brings to life many minor-and major-characters with double identities and secret agenda.

Ken Kalfus will be at this year’s Ann Arbor Book Festival on May 13. Besides reading from his new novel A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, he will be joined by his agent on a panel discussion on how to get published, a primer for aspiring writers.

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