Youth Nonfiction Finds -- Story and Prayer

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Over thousands of years of human history, the different cultures of the world have produced some diverse and beautiful expressions of spirituality. Fortunately, the Youth Department has plenty of books to help you explore the wide world of spiritual traditions.

For stories of the sacred, try Burleigh Muten's books, Goddesses: A World of Myth and Magic and The Lady of Ten Thousand Names. These books provide an impressive collection of goddess myths from around the world. Kris Waldherr's book Sacred Animals, presents stories of spiritually significant animals and what they represent in different cultures.

For a comprehensive collection of prayers, try the beautiful little book In the House of Happiness, or the The Barefoot Book of Blessings, which contain prayers, old and new, for every occasion and circumstance. Here's the Navajo prayer which inspired the title of "In the House of Happiness":

In the house of happiness, there I wander.
Beauty before me, there I wander.
Beauty behind me, there I wander.
Beauty below me, there I wander.
Beauty above me, there I wander.
Beauty all around me, with it I wander.
In old age traveling, with it I wander.
On the beautiful trail I am, with it I wander.

Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy

There has been a lot of buzz the past year regarding the over-talked-about Millennium Trilogy, which includes The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, all bestsellers. The books seem to have shot out of the Scandinavian fiction cannon at high speed and haven’t slowed down. (Larsson was recently named 2009’s most popular author in Europe by the Swedish Newspaper Dagens Nyheter.)

The most recent buzz has been the controversy regarding the deceased author’s estate, a new biography about him, the question of whether additional books exist and will they see the light of day, and finally the debate over whether or not Larsson actually wrote the books. (Larsson died suddenly just after the manuscripts were accepted by the publisher, before they were published.) The Nordic BookBlog (an excellent source of all things Nordic Lit), and other online sources have been talking for months about the author and the series. I’m not saying everything that’s being said is correct or incorrect, or that you shouldn’t read the books, it’s just something for book talkers to chew on.
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Master of the short story

Today is the birthday of Anton Chekhov who was born in 1860 in Taganrog, a seaside city in Southern Russia. Chekhov began writing humorous stories while in medical school to pay his way and help support his poverty stricken family. He became sick with tuberculosis the same year he graduated and died from the disease in his 40's. He became the most admired writer of stories and plays in Russia and his plays, the most famous of which, Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard are still performed frequently. Chekhov considered himself first a physician and then a writer, saying: "Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other." This is an interesting observation in light of his reputation as a philandering bachelor.

Other authors and poets were also doctors, among them Arthur Conan Doyle, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Michael Crichton and William Carlos Williams and Abraham Verghese.

Italian Holiday?

Ever dream of going to Italy? Can't afford it? Using the library is a great alternative!

First, you can experience the sights through art books in our collection. The works of greats such as Botticelli, Bernini, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio will transport you into the culture of Italy. However, if you wanted something a little closer to the real experience, you could try this book of paintings within the Uffizi. It's basically a tour in itself!

If you want to feel like you're actually walking the streets of Italy, try a book on the architecture of Brunelleschi, the famous creator of Florence's Il Duomo, or maybe something a little broader.

Perhaps you're anxious to taste some real Italian food? Unfortunately, you'll have to cook it yourself. But books on Italian Cooking will be able to make that a bit easier for you.

In order to hear Italy, you can try your hand at speaking it yourself. With our fantastic Italian language-learning collection, you'll be able to go from a beginner's lesson, to something more advanced. Although, if you tired yourself out with all that cooking, you might just like to listen to some opera.

If you're really into this whole plan, maybe you want to get some more background? There are tons of Italian history books. There are also biographies on key figures, such as Caesar, Lucrezia Borgia, Savonarola, Garibaldi, Mussolini, and the well-known Medici family.

Maybe all of these books are too much for you, and you really need a break? Well, luckily, AADL also carries movies. Something lighthearted, like Roman Holiday might help you through your journey. Or, if you'd like something a little more thrilling, perhaps The Talented Mr. Ripley? We even have films in Italian, like La Dolce Vita!

It may not be exactly the same as climbing the Spanish Steps, but it's as close as you can get without actually going! But, if you ever decide to go, don't forget your travel book.

2010 Edgar Award nominees

The Mystery Writers of America proudly announce 2010’s nominees for the Edgar Award. The Edgar is given annually to the best in mystery fiction. This year’s Best Novel nominees include: The Missing by Tim Gautreaux, The Odds by Kathleen George, The Last Child by John Hart, Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston, Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, and A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn. The nominated novels offer a variety of subject matter for the avid mystery reader.

Nesbo is the only Scandinavian in the lot, and the last time a Scandinavian author won this award was 1971’s The Laughing Policeman. See here for a list of Edgar Award nominees in other categories. The winners will be announced on April 29.
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National Book Award Winner: Let the Great World Spin

Sure, I picked up Colum McCann's 2009 novel, Let the Great World Spin, because it won this year's National Book Award for adult fiction, and I was expecting to read high-minded modern literature, rife with esoteric literary allusions and extended metaphor a la Joyce or Pynchon. In short, I thought it might be a book that one starts, gets a flavor for the style, and quietly returns to the library without finishing. But this is not one of those books.

On the crowded streets of New York City, it is 1974; prostitutes line South Bronx corners, graffiti artists tag the subways, and an immigrant monk has a crisis of faith. Above the din, in an upper east side apartment, a group of women convene to mourn the loss of their sons in Vietnam. And up in the sky, between the newly built (though nearly empty) twin towers, a tightrope walker dances above the city's madness. The stories of these characters are interwoven brilliantly by McCann, who gracefully reveals the depths of values and emotions of which humans are capable. Ultimately, the power of this novel is born not in fanciful words, but in the raw truth of its characters.

Quarterlife Lit. for the Twenty-Somthing Set

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It's that time of year....A fresh new year (and a new decade!!), the semester is just starting, mid-terms and papers are far into the future, and you need a good book.

You asked, "What should I read?"

So I go to my trusted source - Kayleigh George, the HarperLibrary Marketing Coordinator. We met when she put into my hand a fresh and fun zine aimed at the 20somethings. Now, even better, it is online - as a blog.

You will find she totally gets you, how your days are "hectic, stressful, strange, and euphoric". She makes a point of having something for "hipsters, English majors, poetry buffs, and those making their first foray into the sometimes-unforgiving corporate world."

Subscribe (you know the drill) and check out the links on the left. I especially liked EarlyWord. It lets me get on the waiting list ahead of the crowd.

Hey, I hope this does not mean you won't come in, browse and visit.

The AADL Kid-i-cotts

Join us this Friday in the Downtown Multipurpose Room from 6-8:30 pm to celebrate the Caldecott medal winner. The Caldecott Medal has been awarded since 1938 to recognize excellence in illustration. This year the award has gone to Jerry Pinkney's excellent rendition of The Lion and the Mouse, which tells Aesop's classic fable entirely in pictures.

This Friday, after a brief presentation of the Caldecott winner and other historical Caldecotts, you will have the chance to tell stories in pictures yourself. Your imagination is the only limit, so bring all your creativity, enthusiasm and love of art!

Haiti through the eyes of a writer

When all feels hopeless, we can still appreciate the contributions of Haitian born writers and artists including Edwidge Danticat who was born on this day in 1969 in Port-au-Prince. Danticat was born toward the end of Duvalier's brutal regime. Her parents emigrated to the U.S. and she was raised by an aunt in Haiti until she was sent to New York when she was 12. She felt awkward and out of place, torn between traditional roles for women and a need to break free. Her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory is the story of a girl like her who travels back to Haiti from New York to make peace with a troubled past. Her novel, The Farming of Bones won the National Book Award. And her memoir, Brother, I'm Dying describes the struggles of her family, in particular, her uncle's harsh treatment and death at a U.S. immigration detention center.

The 2010 Reading List Awards

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The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association has announced its selection for the 2010 Reading List.

The Reading List annually recognizes the best books in eight genres. This year’s list includes novels that will please die-hard fans as well as introduce new readers to the pleasures of genre fiction. The winners are:

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child (Adrenaline)
Lamentation by Ken Scholes (Fantasy)
Agincourt by Bernard Corwell (Historical Fiction)
Last Days by Brian Evenson (Horror)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Mystery)
What Happens in London by Julia Quinn (Romance)
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Science Fiction)
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (Women's Fiction)

Trigiani happened to be in the audience during the annoucement. Here is her wild and excited reaction...

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