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Living Longer and Healthier

Money, Money, Money

“Riches cover a multitude of woes”…Menander Lady of Andros
“The love of money is the root of all evil”. Bible 1 Timothy 6:10

Moolah, bread, dough, call it what you will, it all comes down to money. This book Money, Money, Money: Where it Comes From, How to Save it, Spend it, Make it by Eve Drobot explores the past, present and future of money. Did you know that Iceland leads the world in the use of credit cards, that a coin machine can count 2,500 coins a minute, that piggy banks go back about a thousand years, that the biggest denomination ever printed in the United States was a $100,000 bill, and that the bird pictured on American money was a real eagle named Peter? This is a fascinating book about a subject that is endlessly fascinating. Check it out! Ages 8 and up.

Michigan Reads! One State, One Preschool Book - Vote now!

The Library of Michigan has announced the five finalists for the 2006 Michigan Reads program. This program picks one picture book title to feature for a year. It is part of the Library's push to promote early childhood literacy.

The five finalists are:
Bed Hogs by Kelly DiPucchio
In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
Stranger in the Woods by Carl Sams
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
Imogene's Antlers by David Small

The public is welcome to vote. Votes can be cast here. The winner will be announced on December 12, 2005. That title will be featured in programs statewide during March.

The 2004 Michigan Reads book was Barnyard Song by Rhonda Gowler Greene. There was no 2005 award.

To Baghdad and Back

If you missed Anne Garrels at University of Michigan this month, listen to the NPR foreign correspondent’s frank memoir of her sudden immersion into Iraqi culture and the culture of war, Naked in Baghdad. Garrels is the antithesis of the flak-jacketed, steel-jawed journalist-celebrity, acknowledging her real fears for her life, her journalistic misunderstandings and missteps, and the overwhelming complexity of the situation in Iraq.

Pulitizer-prize winning author and journalist Rick Atkinson’s In The Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat provides an equally honest and unadorned look at the war in Iraq. Atkinson followed the 101st Airborne from Kentucky to battles in Najaf, Hilla, and Karbala, narrating the gritty, brutal and ultimately deadly experiences of the soldiers he grew to respect and mourn.

The Play Ground

Hallelujah, Hallelujah redux. If classic Messiah isn't your cup of eggnog, the Motor City is presenting "Too Hot to Handel" at the Detroit Opera House on December 17 & 18th. This jazz gospel Messiah features The Rackham Symphony Choir with red hot performances by pianist Alvin Waddles, bassist Marion Hayden and beebop saxophonist George Benson.This is being billed as a "hand-clapping, soul-stirring holiday rapture." A good way to keep warm.

DVDs for Music Lovers

Films about musicians and their music always seem to fascinate audiences. The recent critical and box-office success of Walk the Line, the new film about Johnny Cash, is further evidence of this. The library has a number of great DVDs for music lovers, including Paul McCartney in Red Square, Ray, Bob Marley: the legend live, The Beatles in Washington D.C., Metallica: some kind of monster, Immortal Beloved, and a personal favorite, 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould. And let's not forget This is Spinal Tap. Did I miss any other good ones?

Short Story Classics on Audio

What is Ernest Hemingway’s greatest short story? The Killers? The Three Day Blow? Big Two-Hearted River? Listen to the three-volume set narrated by Stacy Keach and discover anew the works that made Hemingway the author of the 20th century.

One of the best current short story writers is Alistair MacLeod. Like Hemingway, place and time are main characters in MacLeod’s stories. Two stories from Island: The Collected Stories, The Road to Rankin’s Point and The Closing Down of Summer are especially poignant reminders of the command of nature over our daily lives.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (11/20/05)

Talk about a change of pace! Two very well-known authors enter the list this week with something entirely different from any of their previous work.

At #4 is Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice: Neither her fans nor her detractors could ever have imagined that Rice would write a novel with Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, as the narrator.

At #7 is Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow: stepping out of the courtroom and away from the backrooms of Chicago, the author goes back to World War II to tell the story of his father’s military experiences in Europe.

Beowulf: Coming to a theater near you in 2007!

Boy, just what we've been waiting for.

If memories of struggling through Old English epic poetry during your pimply adolescence aren't exactly causing paroxysms of anticipatory glee, consider this: A full-blown animated film about the struggle between Beowulf and the monster Grendel from a script written by Roger "Pulp Fiction" Avary and cult comic writer Neil Gaiman (Sandman), directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away), and starring--well at least the voices of--Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Crispin Glover, and John Malkovich. Does that help? Meanwhile, you might consider Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, left, by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, which includes both Old English and an English translation on facing pages. It's actually a ripping good yarn.

Jon Stewart wins the 2005 Thurber Prize for American Humor

Funny guy Jon Stewart (host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) and fellow writers David Javerbaum and Ben Karlin, won the 2005 Thurber Prize for American Humor. Their book, America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction exposes the foibles and quirks of American Democracy with Stewart’s trademark tongue-in-cheek mix of dead-on assessment, to the delight and, sometimes, outrage of his audience. Karlin and Javerbaum both previously wrote for The Onion. Karlin is now the executive producer for The Daily Show and Javerbaum, who used to also write for The Late Show with David Letterman, is The Daily Show’s supervising producer and head writer.

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