Genealogical Research and the War of 1812

If you had an ancestor who might have served in the War of 1812 you might wish to attend the next meeting of the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County on Sunday, February 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the Education Center Auditorium, St Joseph Mercy Hospital Campus, 5305 Elliott Drive. The program, which is open to all, will feature a lecture by Xavier Allen, a local reenactor and storyteller, speaking on 'The War of 1812: A perspective from Upper Canada.' In addition Carolyn Griffin will speak on researching War of 1812 ancestors. There have been several recent good books on the war, including A.J. Langguth's Union 1812 and Walter Borneman's 1812: The War that Forged a Nation which might also be of interest. For some online genealogical research also check the library's web site for other resources.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #52

Did you see the review in the New York Times? Apparently many of you did, judging from the hold list. But if you did not, don’t let this one slip by.

Still Life with Husband by first-time novelist Lauren Fox.

It’s a familiar dilemma - Girl (Emily, 30, freelance writer, likes cake for breakfast) meets boy (Kevin, sweet, stable, with a passion for small appliances). Girl marries boy (and live in Milwaukee). Then girl meets dark, handsome and sexy stranger at Starbucks (Oops! 9 years too late). Girl gives in to the itch (rather too easily) and suffers the guilt.

Sure. It has been done before, a la Tom Perrotta in Little Children (2004) and Lolly Winston in Happiness Sold Separately (2006). Nevertheless, “In this generous, heartfelt, and often hilarious novel of marriage and friendship, Lauren Fox explores the baffling human heart and the dangers of getting what you wish for”. Worth a look.

Marie Antoinette, on DVD, again

New to DVD, and on order at the library, is the latest film adaptation of the life of child queen Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, is more on the quiet side, yet is teeming with lush music, which allows you to absorb the soft visual palette of the film. The film’s soundtrack is currently available at the AADL. If you are looking for more films by Coppola, check out The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. Chances are, if you like one, you’ll like them all.

DVD Top sellers on

Here are the latest Top Sellers available in our collection. The cast of The Departed looks pretty impressive, although a role for Robert DeNiro would have been icing on the cake. But I guess he can't be in every Martin Scorsese film. Drat! Speaking of which, maybe Scorsese will finally take the Oscar for Best Director home this year at the 2007 Academy Awards, which are scheduled to air next Sunday, February 25th. Who are you rooting for?

The Departed
Flags of our Fathers
An Inconvenient Truth
Little Miss Sunshine
The Illusionist
Marie Antoinette
The Guardian
The Prestige

Fabulous Fiction Firsts # 51

Fans of international spy thriller and historical mystery are no strangers to Boris Akunin’s popular Petrovich Fandorin series. Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog* is the first in a projected trilogy in which Akunin introduces to mystery lovers an even more memorable sleuth.

Set in 19th century, Sister Pelagia, a young nun in a remote Russian province is called on by her bishop to investigate the poisoning of a white bulldog whose noble mistress, Sister Pelgagia suspects, is to be the intended victim.
This highly unusual historical mystery is remarkable for its charm and its humorous narrative voice. Not to be missed!

From Hell with Hate

Have you ever wondered what the denzines of Hell have to say about us? Here's your chance to find out. The Screwtape Letters is a collection of letters between Screwtape, an Under Secretary in the Lowerarchy, and his subordinate 'nephew' Wormwood, a junior Tempter. In the letters, Screwtape gives Wormwood advice on how to tempte his patient away from his Christian beliefs and to turn him to the "Father below". Fortunately for us, the letters were intercepted and compiled by C. S. Lewis who published the original version in The Guardian and then in book form.

Circus and theater combine in this production of "Alice in Wonderland"

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One Chicago theater company, Lookingglass Theater, is setting out to combine theater, dance, music and circus into a production of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. The play, called "Lookingglass Alice," is currently playing at New York's New Victory Theater. The next stop of the tour is in Philadelphia's Arden Theatre in May and then the troup returns home to Chicago in June. For more information you can read an article on NPR that discusses the acrobatics in the play, or check the Lookingglass Theater's website for images, video and tour dates.

Writers Almanac with Garrison Keilor

Garrison KeillorGarrison Keillor

Subscribe to this if you like to read. I’ve subscribed for some time to this inspiring, informative , wonderful free daily web publication. I get a lot of great ideas to share with Library customers. Daily the Writer’s Almanac features Garrison Keillor recounting the highlights of this day in history and he reads a short poem or two. Garrison's writing is as compelling as his stage voicings.

Garrison Keillor has been the host and ace storyteller of the very popular Prairie Home Companion show.since 1969.
Click here to subscribe to Writers Almanac e-mail newsletter. It’s also available as a podcast, click here to subscribe to an audio version of about 5 minutes.

The Storytellers by Ted Lewin

Abdul and his grandfather walk down the streets of Morocco. They pass many street vendors. Happy that their work is not the work of wool dyers, or copper smiths they enter a large courtyard. Grandfather spreads out a carpet. The pigeon cage Abdul has been carrying is opened. The pigeon lights on Abdul’s head, then soars into the sky and returns with a story. Grandpa looks at the crowd of people who have gathered and begins, “This happened or maybe it did not. The time is long past, and most forgot.” Ted Lewin captures the magic of storytelling in this outstanding children’s book.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Groening!


Matt Groening, cartoonist and creator of The Simpsons, turns 53 today.

He began drawing and self-publishing the comic strip Life in Hell in 1977. This got the attention of Producer James L. Brooks, and led to the creation of the television series The Simpsons, which debuted as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. Futurama began airing in 1999 (and was co-created by Groening and David X. Cohen).

The Simpsons Movie is due out this July.

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