The Winter Battle: Remembering the Bulge

On December 16, 1944 eight German armored divisions and a total of 250,000 men launched a surprise attack in foggy, rainy weather in the Ardennes Forest initiating what became known as the ‘Battle of the Bulge.’ Ultimately, more than a million men were involved, with nearly 200,000 total casualties inflicted. It was Nazi Germany's last major offensive campaign on the Western Front and briefly succeeded in penetrating up to 65 miles into the allied lines, the so-called 'bulge,' before it was stopped, reversed and the original lines were reestablished by January 21, 1945.

Superhero by Marc Tauss

Maleek loves comic books. He is also a superhero. When the city parks disappear Maleek puts on his superhero costume and sets out with his trusty robot Marvyn to find a way to restore the parks. Black and white real life photos capture the wonder and adventure of childhood.

Before You See the Movie, Listen to the Book

Odds makers are betting that Brokeback Mountain will walk away with the most Oscars next March. We’re betting the audio version of Annie Proulx’s spare and moving love story will win your praise too.

Joan Didion’s memoir of love and loss, The Year of Magical Thinking, made the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2005 list. The book is headed for a spring 2007 opening on Broadway, so you have plenty of time to listen before opening night.

New Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (12/4/05 and 12/11/05)

Outside of four new books by well-known authors, there was little movement on the list the last two weeks. 'Tis the season to be scary.

On the 12/4/05 list:
At #1 is Mary, Mary by James Patterson: another nursery rhyme title with Alex Cross chasing an email killer in Hollywood.

At #6 is The Regime:Evil Advances by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins: the second prequel in the Left Behind series continues its harrowing story of the Antichrist.

Holiday book is hot pick

A clever new children's book Has anyone seen Christmas? by Anne Margaret Lewis, is getting a lot of attention this season. Illustrated by Wendy Popko, this picture book tells what happens when little Emit falls out of Santa's sleigh. The book was published in September by Mackinac Island Press.

The Sound of Music's 40th Anniversary

The Sound of Music is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a TV special this week and a special edition DVD. This classic American musical, an enduring guilty pleasure, has something for everyone: the stunning backdrop of the Alps; the story of a nun who...doesn't remain a nun; Rodgers and Hammerstein's indelible score; escaping the Nazis. Here are just a few of my favorite things: the masterful editing of the Doe-a-Deer sequence; the nuns' harmonies at the end of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria"; the sizzling chemistry between Maria and Captain Von Trapp at the party; and Eleanor Parker's catty attempts to hang on to "Georg". The 40th anniversary DVD puts the, er, streusel on the strudel, with an all-new retrospective documentary featuring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer; several featurettes, including "The Von Trapp Family: Harmony and Discord" as seen on A&E; a karaoke singalong (!); and Mia Farrow's (!!) screen test.

Whitbread announcement stuns literary world

Whitbread

The Whitbread Literary Prize, one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious honors to be bestowed on authors, is up for sale.

The Whitbread company, which has sponsored this prize since 1971, has undergone a radical transformation and no longer uses the Whitbread brand on any of its products. This month its Board of Directors announced that, with metamorphosis into the UK’s leading hospitality business, it is time to find a new sponsor. “[Our] number one priority is to find a like-minded organization that shares our vision for this award and is committed to developing and nurturing it.”

The New Usher?

The latest release in R&B is 16 year old Chris Brown’s self-titled debut CD. His first single 'Run It' is #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the album itself is #2 on the Billboard 200. If you've seen the music video for 'Run It,' you’ll know that Chris Brown has some awesome moves, somewhat reminiscent of Usher. I think it’s pretty safe to say that we can expect more from this promising new artist.

Smart Gifts

books

Need some ideas for that special reader on your list?

“Reader Perfect” suggestions cover many categories, formats and genres, as well as age groups.

Amazon.com gives you not only the Best Books of 2005, but also the
Top 50 Editors' Picks.

For the wee bookworms on your list, there's the age-appropriate Parents’ Choice Holiday Gift Guide.

And don't forget The New York Times Editor's Choice and the 100 Notable Books of the Year.

A book is a gift you can open again and again. ~ Garrison Keillor

The Artsy Smartsy Club

Henrietta the 266-pound chicken is back! In Daniel Pinkwater’s latest book, The Artsy Smartsy Club, Henrietta, Loretta Fischetti, Bruno Ugg and Henrietta’s owner, Nick, discover art on the sidewalks of New York. When they finally find the sidewalk artist, Lucy Casserole, they are led to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art with Henrietta, disguised as a nun, becoming the responsible adult. Their efforts lead to a new Hoboken festival dedicated to sidewalk art. For all you art lovers out there and those who are not, this book will have you laughing out loud. For ages 8 and up.

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