Women Writing

Journalistas: 100 Years of the Best Writing and Reporting by Women Journalists, edited by Eleanor Mills and Kira Cochrane. Jill Abramson, in her review in The New York Times Book Review (January 8, 2006), hated the title and was doubtful of the concept but she was won over, “most of the pieces…are so marvelous I quickly cast aside my doubts. Their choice of writers, including Martha Gellhorn, Rebecca West, Susan Sontag and Mary McCarthy, as well as a number of British writers who were less familiar to me, is superb.”

This Day in the Life: Diaries from Women Across America created, compiled, and edited by Joni B. Cole, Rebecca Joffrey, and B. K. Rakhra. On June 29, 2004, a diverse group of women wrote down their thoughts. “The results are fantastically complex: an entertaining, heartwarming, and empathetic glimpse into many lives” (Library Journal, November 2005).

Women’s Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present, edited by Stephen J. Adler. Chronologically arranged letters from the famous and the unknown with biographical information on the writers, contextual information about the letter or topic, and many period illustrations.

The Aunt Lute Anthology of U. S. Women Writers, edited by Lisa Maria Hogeland and Mary Klages. The editors have “gathered a startling variety of female texts, from a report of Anne Hutchinson's 1638 heresy trial to Emily Dickinson's poetry and an anti-lynching essay by Ida B. Wells” (Choice Reviews, June 2005).

Wilson Pickett and the Beatles' Hey Jude

Wilson Pickett (In The Midnight Hour, Land of 1,000 Dances, Mustang Sally) died of a heart attack on January 20 at the age of 64. He was totally sweet. It's really sad that he died, but it's a good excuse to rave about one of my favorite songs of all time, his cover of Hey Jude.
He recorded Hey Jude at Muscle Shoals Studio, in Alabama, after playing for most of his career on Stax Records, with Booker T and the MGs. The first time I heard it I really wasn't so sure about it because he really, really souls up the vocals in that way that can tire you out (you know, like when people really over-soul the Star-Spangled Banner). But upon several listens, I got pretty addicted.
It starts out pretty tame, just going through the motions of Hey Jude. Then this AMAZING bass line comes in and makes it all funky. And when they hit the bridge, the horns come in and swing it a little, and the bass is really solid and does this great staggered rhythm. And we go through this a few times, and then Pickett just wails, and the outro hits really hard. And Pickett's just screaming, and Duane Allman kicks out these totally awesome guitar lines, and the bass and drums are driving really hard, but the horns keep swinging! And Pickett just keeps screaming, and if you're wearing headphones, you can faintly hear in the background a chorus of female singers really low in the mix doing the whole "na na na na" thing, and the fact that it's hard to hear just makes it that much more awesome. And it just fades out like that and you can hear Wilson saying "It's gonna be all right" but at this point you just don't care because you're just astounded at how much that song rocked you. And then if you're me, you hit repeat and turn it up some more.
Anyway, the world will miss you, Wilson Pickett, but thanks for totally wailing and recording it for us. Because that song is AWESOME. (this entry is from my son’s blog)
Pickett’s Hey Jude is on three CDs in the library collection: In the Midnight Hour: and Other Hits, A Man and a Half: the Best of Wilson Pickett, and The Very Best of Wilson Pickett.

The Worst of 2005

The nominees for this year's Oscar awards have been announced, but let's be honest...the awards we really care about are the ones for the worst movies and performances of the year! This year's Razzie nominations have been announced and the masses are waiting with great anticipation to see who will end up at the bottom of the list!

Will The Dukes of Hazzard win the Worst Picture award? Will Tom Cruise cap off an embarrassing 2005 by winning Worst Actor for War of the Worlds? He'll have some serious competition from Will Ferrell, who has the distinction of being nominated for both Bewitched and Kicking and Screaming. The award for Worst Actress will probably come down between Jessica Alba for Fantastic 4 and Jennifer Lopez for Monster-in-Law.

So, what are the worst movies and performances you've seen this year?

Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg

In a story eeriely relevant for our time, Myla Goldberg, acclaimed author of Bee Season, creates in Wickett's Remedy a tale that chronicles the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 through the travails of the main character, Lydia Wickett, who creates a medicinal tasting mixture that her husband tries to market. Lydia loses her husband to influenza and is exploited by a shady businessman who converts the remedy into QD Soda which becomes a nationwide sensation and makes him millions. Returning to South Boston, Lydia begins nursing victims of the disease and then naively volunteers for an unethical research project on Gallups Island using prisoners as subjects to be exposed to the virus. Along with the narrative are bulletins describing the 75th anniversary of QD Soda and articles on the ravages of the influenza. Sidebars in the margins are written from "the other side," i.e. the dead, commenting on the story. Wickett's Remedy is an ambitious undertaking that vividly depicts the tragedy that took so many lives.

Calling all Edge Chronicle Fans!

Mark your calenders to meet the authors, Englishmen Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, of the popular series the Edge Chronicles at Nicola's Bookstore on Wednesday, March 15th at 11am. The Edge Chronicles is a cool British fantasy series with woodtrolls and sky pirates. You might even be able to get your books signed! If you love Harry Potter, you should try this series out.

Oscar Nominations are in!

Crash was the big surprise this morning earning several key nominations including best picture, along with Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Munich, and Good Night, and Good Luck. Other surprises: George Clooney is now officially a serious actor and filmmaker and King Kong was left out in the cold.

See the complete list of Oscar nominations and tell us what you think.

Barnyard Chuckles

Who couldn't use a giggle or two during these gray days of winter?

Two recent picture books that both take place in the barnyard are sure to provide laughter for both children and the adults that read to them.

Punk Farm by Jarrett Krosoczka is about a rock band (cow, pig, goat, sheep and chicken) that swings into action when Farmer Joe goes off to bed. The concert will have all readers and listeners singing along.

Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds will have readers rushing off to the kitchen in search of munchies. This is the story of what happens to a normally quiet barnyard after the rooster sneaks up to the farmhouse and sees an episode of a cooking show on television.

For more barnyard antics, also check out Doreen Cronin's classics Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type and Giggle, Giggle, Quack.

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert takes the reader on an imaginary journey of a leaf with two acorns for eyes and a burr for a mouth. The beautiful collage pictures of ducks, geese and prairie animals accentuate the simple text with the refrain "A Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows."

2006 Michigan Notable Books, part 1 -- Non-fiction winners

MI notable books 2006

The Library of Michigan announced the winners of the 2006 Michigan Notable Books. These twenty titles, all published last year, highlight “…Michigan people, places and events.” They must be written by a Michigan native or resident and are wide-reaching in coverage.

On the list this year are 14 non-fiction titles, four novels, and two children’s books. The winners in alphabetical order are:

Non-fiction

Beast of Never, Cat of God: The Search for the Eastern Puma by Bob Butz

Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink by David Margolick

Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans by Thomas Lynch

The Dodge Brothers: The Men, the Motor Cars, and the Legacy by Charles K. Hyde

Grit, Noise, and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll by David A. Carson

Legends of Light: A Michigan Lighthouse Portfolio photographs by Ed Wargin

Made in Detroit: A South of 8 Mile Memoir by Paul Clemens

Michigan Agricultural College: The Evolution of a Land-grant Philosophy, 1855-1925 by Keith R. Widder

Michigan Shadow Towns: A Study of Vanishing and Vibrant Villages by Gene Scott

Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Michael Schumacher

Singing in a Strange Land: C.L. Franklin, the Black Church, and the Transformation of America by Nick Salvatore

Soapy: A Biography of G. Mennen Williams by Thomas J. Noer

Under Michigan: The Story of Michigan's Rocks and Fossils by Charles Ferguson Barker

Vintage Views of the Charlevoix-Petoskey Region by M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson

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