The Other Typist is a can't-put-it-down read!

The Other Typist, the first novel by Suzanne Rindell, is a gripping historical fiction psychological thriller. The book’s simple description does not prepare readers for the true suspense that lies between the pages! Set in New York City during the height of Prohibition, the story is narrated—somewhat unreliably—by the typist Rose, who works at a police precinct in the city. A self-described plain, old-fashioned girl, she is both horrified and entranced by the fashionable, wild new typist named Odalie who is hired at the precinct. The wily Odalie quickly befriends Rose, and as the lives of the two girls become more and more enmeshed, Rose’s fascination with Odalie turns into obsession.

Readers get the impression throughout the book that something is soon to go terribly wrong, but it is difficult to predict what this turning point in the story may be. The book progresses towards its shocking, but seemingly inevitable end at a brisk clip, while the author’s simple, yet fantastic descriptions of the clothes and atmosphere of 1920s New York set a stunning backdrop to the events of the novel. Initially expecting a quiet historical fiction story, I ended up finding that I could not put The Other Typist down. Fans of The Great Gatsby must give The Other Typist a try.

Ann Arbor in the Sixties: Were you there?

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Students for a Democratic Society. White Panthers. Student Riots. Sit-ins. The Great UFO Chase. Concerts in West Park. Sheriff Doug Harvey.

Were you in Ann Arbor during the Sixties? Do you have a story to tell? Award-winning author and archivist of popular culture Michael Erlewine, founder of the All-Music Guide (and related All-Movie Guide and All-Game Guide), ClassicPosters.com, and lead singer for the Prime Movers Blues Band (Iggy Pop was his drummer), will share some of his personal memories of the cultural shifts that took place in Ann Arbor during the Sixties and early Seventies. If you were there, we'd like to hear from you as well.

We'll also let you know about a related series of events the Library is planning in collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December to mark the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally that took place on December 10, 1971.

Ann Arbor in the Sixties | 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Inauguration Day - Past and Present

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Since George Washington's inauguration in 1789, the transfer of presidential power has become an American tradition. If the upcoming festivities have you curious about this time-honored ceremony, check out Presidential inaugurations for a light, yet concise, history of each president and their beginnings. (This book is great for fans of presidential trivia) The upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th president, will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln with the theme "A New Birth of Freedom". For related historical information check out Lincoln's greatest speech : the second inaugural from the AADL's collection. Visit Barack Obama's official inauguration website if you seek more information about Tuesday's upcoming events. If you find yourself wanting to relive history, Bartleby.com has the full text of ALL Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States from George Washington to George W. Bush. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."

Those Ghastly 80s, Part II: Why People Should Love The 80s

The decade has a bad reputation; I personally find it difficult see past hair bands playing pointless power ballads with vapid lyrics, or how Joe Piscopo was considered sexy, or how at Live Aid, Phil Collins played in London, jumped the Concorde, then played in Philadelphia… and people cheered! People cheered because Phil Collins played music. You can’t tell me that wasn’t just a messed up decade. But fixating on 80s pop culture’s ludicrousness only prevents us from appreciating some truly great music. The punk scene of the 70s evolved into alternative in the US (The Replacements, Violent Femmes, and They Might Be Giants) and ska revival (Two Tone) in the UK (Dexys Midnight Runners, Madness, UB40, and The Jam.)

Those Ghastly 80s, Part I: Why People Should Hate The 80s

As far as “classic rock” goes, the 80s were a bad decade. For two decades, so many rock stars like Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Elton John, all of Fleetwood Mac, even my hero George Harrison had been doing drug (and hard ones at that,) but by the beginning of the 80s, so many had overdosed, Lennon was shot, and so rock stars everywhere were saying, “Maybe I shouldn’t kill myself with drugs.” The 80s thusly became a time for rock stars to detox, and, with their attention diverted toward not dying, their music suffered.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part IV: Hot Burritos

No group was on the front of the country-rock movement more than The Flying Burrito Brothers. After Gram Parsons’s brief stint with The Byrds, where his influence resulted in the country Sweetheart of the Rodeo, he pilfered Byrd Chris Hillman and formed the new band. Unlike blues-rock, country-rock is ultimately indistinguishable from country and caters to the same crowd. Parsons brought his high lonesome voice and songs about heartache and drinking into a bona fide country group, whose sound was highlighted by the amazing work of Sneaky Pete Kleinow on pedal steel. Though FBB albums are hard to find, the library has a greatest hits.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part III: Why Isn’t There Rock-Blues

If rock is blues and country, then is blues-rock just bluesy blues and country? How blues is blues-rock in comparison to rock? Of course, if someone in 1956 called a group or artist “blues-rock,” it most certainly would have been redundant, but by the time of the sub-genre explosion in rock music (or as I like to call it, The Great Rock Schism) in the late sixties, all sorts of groups like Cream (and for that matter, any of Eric Clapton’s groups,) The Spencer Davis Group, The Rolling Stones, J. Geils Band, Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green’s version,) and hoards more identified themselves as blues-rock.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part II: Never Mind The Sex Pistols

Truly, as far as punk rock is concerned, we must remember two things:
1) Never say you like punk because you like The Clash. That’s like saying you like rap because you like Run-DMC. Of course you like The Clash. They rule. That goes unsaid. Saying you like The Clash is going to make people think you don’t know what you’re talking about.
2) The Sex Pistols are awful. If you haven’t heard their one record displaying how truly bad and nonsensical their music is, don’t bother, because the Pistols are not the end all, be all of punk. Near the end of the punk’s prominence, a London clothier fabricated this band to capitalize on the punk fashion scene.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part I: The Name of The Band Is Yes

Most people (rightfully) believe rock music came from the hybridization of country and blues music. After all, the early rock and rollers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis played nothing more than twelve-bar blues with a country backbeat. But toward the end of the sixties, rock music had a sub-genre explosion, with rock and roll giving way to [blank]-rock (the blank filled with some adjective, e.g. “hard,” “country,” “blues,” and cetera.) Progressive rock, though, while still in the blanket term of “rock,” has little to no blues background. Yes, especially by the time they hit their stride with The Yes Album and Fragile, were little more than a classical music ensemble playing rock instruments.

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