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.

Dad Jackie, and Me by Myron Uhlberg

It's 1947 and Jackie Robinson will play for the Brooklyn Dodgers for the first time. A young boy and his deaf father attend the game. The crowd cheers Jackie, Jackie, Jackie!, but his father who is deaf yells Aghee, Aghee, Aghee! The boy is embarrassed. They go to every game that summer. The boy wonders why his father is so interested in baseball and why he is so fascinated with Jackie Robinson. He later learns that his father and Jackie Robinson have a lot in common. They both have to live in a world of prejudice. Myon Ulberg uses his own life experience to create a story of triumph over adversity.

Constructive Construction Commutes

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It's orange cone season again in Michigan and time to take along a few books on cd to ease the wait. You can’t beat Martha Grimes to keep your mind on the mystery and off the traffic backups. Her newest title, The Old Wine Shades takes Richard Jury on a hunt for a vanished woman and her dog. Science Fiction fans will applaud the audio release of Robert Heinlein’s The Door Into Summer, a time traveler classic. When the ride gets really bumpy, pop in some humor and laugh the rest of the way to work. Try Dave Barry’s Money Secrets Like, Why is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar?

The Play Ground

Who doesn't love Charlotte? Or Wilbur? Or E.B. White? Or the Wild Swan Theater? Well, The Play Ground certainly loves them all and we are all in luck. E. B. White's classic play Charlotte's Web with Charlotte, Fern, Templeton, Goose and a host of others including some pig named Wilbur will be performed by the Wild Swan Theater at the Towsley Auditorium in the Morris Lawrence Building at the WCC on May 2-7. Information & Tickets: 734/995-530

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