Expedition 13 Returns to Earth

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The thirteenth crew of the International Space Station, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams, returned to earth yesterday landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan. They had been at the station since last April performing scientific experiments and station maintenance.
With them was Anousheh Ansari, the first woman space tourist, who paid an estimated $20 million for an ISS trip under an agreement between Russia's Federal Space Agency and the Virginia-based firm Space Adventures. During her eight-day stay on the ISS, Ansari performed a series of experiments on behalf of the European Space Agency. Visit Ansari’s blog to read more about her trip to space.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #36

Alternately called “campy”, “intriguing”, “wry”, “mesmerizing”, “overkill” (500+ pages), this artfully structured debut novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is in the end, a sincere and uniquely twisted look at love, coming of age and identity.

Teen narrator Blue Van Meer is finally staying put her senior year at the St. Gallway School in Stockton, North Carolina, after spending most of her life with her father, an itinerant academic, on a tour of college towns. She is bemused when befriended by a group of eccentric geniuses - “The Bluebloods”. And then, there is a murder. Blue and the "Bluebloods" are deeply enmeshed.

First time novelist Marisha Pessl impresses by modeling this intricately plotted novel after the syllabus of a college literature course, by naming each of the 36 chapters after great works such as Othello and Paradise Lost. Stunning effort – absorbing and great fun. Starred review in Publishers Weekly.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground doesn't know much about African Violets except that we like them and can sometimes get them on sale at Kroger for $1.00 per. Perhaps, after attending the African Violet Fall Display & Sale at Matthaei this weekend, we will become more discerning. Michigan State African Violet Society. September 30 & October 1. UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd. Free admission. 647-7808.

What Do You Think of Fergie's Solo CD?

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas debuted her solo cd this week.

The Dutchess opened at no. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Other cds by Black Eyed Peas include Elephunk and Monkey Business.
Listen to the group and compare with Fergie's solo.

Ann Arbor Police Department Online Exhibit Debuts

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The Ann Arbor District library's web site is now home to an online pictorial exhibit and history of the Ann Arbor Police Department. The exhibit, one of four local history collections on the library's research page, features a large assemblage of images of the police department and its officers, police vehicles, artifacts and documents. The pictorial collection is accompanied by the complete text of Lieutenant Michael Logghe's True Crimes and the History of the Ann Arbor Police Department which traces the history of the department from its beginnings in the 1870s to the late 1990s. The narrative is filled with fascinating accounts of the organization, development, and controversial issues which faced the department, as well as inside information on the large array of major criminal investigations which have been part of that history, such as the 1908 student riot at the Star Theater, the murder and aftermath of Officer Clifford Stang in 1935, the student unrest of the 1960s and and 1970s, the shocking co-ed murders, and numerous others.

Going to the Candidate's Debate

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Voters can judge for themselves when CTN Channel 19 airs candidate debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters. On Tuesday, Oct. 17th, Ann Arbor City Council Ward 3 candidates will square off at 7 p.m. followed by Mayoral candidates at 8 p.m. On Wednesday, Oct. 18th, 18th District State Senate candidates will debate at 7 p.m. followed by the 53rd District State Representative candidates.

Children's Bestseller List

Here are the top ten bestselling children's books as reported in the September 18, 2006 issue of Publisher's Weekly. There's something for everyone here . . . pirates, huge turtles, singing pigs and the importance of punctuation.

1. Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis Illustrated by Laura Cornell.
2. The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket. Illustrated by Brett Helquist.
3. Pirateology edited by Dugald Steer
4. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference! by Lynn Truss. Illustrated by Bonnie Timmons
5. Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
6. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor.Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
7. Owen and Mzee by Craig Hatkoff. Photos by Peter Greste.
8. Pirates by John Matthews
9. Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer
10. Flotsam by David Wiesner

GLBA Awards

GLBA AwardsGLBA Awards

Trying to avoid the football crowd on Oct. 7th?

Head to the 2006 Great Lakes Booksellers Association Trade Show at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn (Directions).

Check out the schedule of events; and author appearances, which include big names such as Chris Bohjalian, Brian Freeman, Kathe Koja, Joyce Maynard, Ridley Pearson, Julia Spencer-Fleming; and many regional/local favorites.

If you happen to be free on Friday, Oct. 6th, it will be worth your while to check in at the luncheon where the 2006 Great Lakes Book Awards will be presented to:

Katrina Kittle, for The Kindness of Strangers, (Fiction)
Paul Clemens, for Made in Detroit, (General Non-Fiction)
Elisha Cooper, for A Good Night Walk, (Children)

Founded in 1995, the awards honor the year’s brightest and most deserving books about America’s heartland; recognize and reward excellence in the writing and publishing of books that capture the spirit and enhance awareness of the Great Lakes region. Past Winners.

Let me tell you a dirty little librarian secret – publishers will be throwing advance readers at you down every isle – you could very well pick up a FREE prepublication Jane Smiley, Jonathan Lethem, Nelson DeMille, Walter Mosley, just to name a few. (There is an admission charge to the Exhibits).

Contemporary Cinderella Fairy Tale


With the help of a glass slipper, magic ring and plenty of courage, Bella battles a furious father and ancient hostilities to save her prince and kingdom. This noble read by Diane Stanley is perfect for the upper elementary fantasy crowd who loved Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre,and Beauty: A Retelling Of The Story Of Beauty & The Beast.

Ed Sullivan's Birthday

Ed SullivanEd Sullivan

Thursday September 28, 1901 is Ed's Birthday.
Ed started his career as a sportscaster but was the host of his own television variety show from 1948 to 1971 just prior to his death in 1974. A lot of folks made fun of Ed and his stiff mannerisms but we all owe a debt to him for helping capture some of the culture and entertainment of his day. Fortunately some of his shows have survived. Watching them Ed Sullivan and the many legends, Elvis Presley, the Beatleson their first American visit, Little Richard, etc. is a real treat and takes me back to that time of our recent past. Do you remember Topo Gigio ?

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