Book Groups Always Need Good Books

Ann Arbor has dozens of lively book groups, some of which may need to fuel their fires and lengthen their lists this winter. If you don’t mind being slightly behind publishing trends, consider titles that were popular about a year ago. The library is likely to have more copies of these than of current bestsellers. One example is the 2004 book “Truth and Beauty: A Friendship,” by Ann Patchett. The book chronicles Patchett’s long-time friendship with writer Lucy Grealy "Autobiography of a Face”, and how that friendship changed over time. The writing is just as good and the story just as compelling as on the day the book was published.

First Time Author Wins National Book Award

Jeanne Birdsall has won the 2005 National Book Award in the Young People's Literature category. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and Very Interesting Boy won the coveted award for this first-time author. It is the story of a widowed botany professor and his four daughters who spend a summer in the Berkshires.
A reviewer for School Library Journal said, "Problems are solved and lessons are learned in this wonderful, humorous book that features characters whom readers will immediately love, as well as a superb writing style. Bring on more of the Penderwicks!"

Snow is here!

Our first snow of the season is here; to me, that means that the holidays are rapidly approaching! In order to prepare and get yourself in the holiday mood, check out the library’s wide selection of holiday music CD’s. Here are a few titles that the library owns:

Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics by Bing Crosby – This crooner sure can sing Christmas songs.

Holiday Times by Ella Jenkins – She sings a collection of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa songs, among others.

2005 National Book Award winners announced

Last night, William T. Vollmann’s searing complicated epic, Europe Central, received the much-coveted National Book Award in the fiction category. The NBA judges described Vollmann’s 811 page masterpiece as…”heroic art, the writer’s courageous immersion in totalitarian ugliness to retrieve forgotten moral heroes…”

Vollmann, 46, won over four other formidable finalists:

E.L. Doctorow for The March
Mary Gaitskill for Veronica
Christopher Sorrentino for Trance
Renè Steinke for Holy skirts

Winners in the other categories of the 2005 National Book Awards are:

Young People’s Literature

Jeanne Birdsall for The Penderwicks – for more details on this title, watch the upcoming blog from Kidlit


W.S. Merwin for Migration: New and Selected Poems


Joan Didion for The Year of Magical Thinking

Mr. Vollmann considered himself such an underdog, given his competition, that, when presented with the National Book Foundation’s sculpture and check for $10,000, said, “I thought I would lose, so I didn’t prepare a speech.”

The 800-Pound Gorilla

Are you ready for King Kong? More to the point, is Peter Jackson? This week Entertainment Weekly features a behind-the-scenes look at Jackson as he races to fully and convincingly render his CGI Kong before the December 14 release. Much (including Adrien Brody's career) rides on Jackson's success, but after a little history-making trilogy known as Lord of the Rings, you can bet your banana he'll pull it off. Meanwhile, place your hold on the digitally-remastered 1933 version of King Kong, left, or 1998's Mighty Joe Young (both on order). The original 1949 version of Mighty Joe Young will be here in December.

Children's Book Week

November 14 through November 20 is Children's Book Week. Try some folktales from around the world and celebrate with us. From Persia try Three Princes, or Rose's Smile.

The Man in Black is Back

This week actor Joaquin Phoenix walks the line as Johnny Cash in a a new film earning positive reviews across the board. Phoenix is a good choice to play the rough-hewn, emotionally-charged Man in Black, who calls "one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music....He created his own subgenre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world weariness of country." Check out The Fabulous Johnny Cash, left, or last year's excellent Cash, a special tribute book from Rolling Stone magazine featuring new and old essays, plus a fascinating overview of Cash's life and detailed critical discography.

Children's Book Week

November 14 through November 20 is Children's Book Week. Try some folktales from around the world and celebrate with us. From Russia try Russian Folk-Tales, Matreshka or Tale of the Tsar Saltan.

Children's Book Week

November 14 through November 20 is Children's Book Week. Try some folktales from around the world and celebrate with us. In the "What a Doll" program the following stories were featured. The story "Grateful Statues" is from Japanese Children's Favorite Stories and Juan Bobo and the Pig.

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