The Richest Horse Race in the World

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Bookmakers say no clear favorite has emerged to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup this Saturday allowing it to shape up into a very exciting race filled with equine and human drama. Entries include horses from the United Arab Emirates, United States, Japan, England, Ireland, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the Chechen Republic.

Japan has three horses entered including Buena Vista (Japan’s 2010 Horse of the Year), who arrived in Dubai well before the earthquake and tsunami hit. She is a very popular horse in a country wild about horse racing. Many hope a win by her (the only female in the field) will cheer on the tragedy-struck country.
One of the six horses considered to have a legitimate stake to win the world’s richest purse, South Africa’s Bold Silvano sadly was scratched from the race after pulling up lame in a training run on Monday.
England is expecting big things from Twice Over, back-to-back winner of this year’s Champion Stakes at Newmarket, who was beaten in just over three lengths in last year's Dubai World Cup, as he returns to fill out the exciting field.
American challengers include Gitano Hernando, Fly Down and Kentucky-bred Gio Ponti.

And now for the human race: the Jaguar Style Stakes includes 2011 Dubai World Cup “Best Dressed Lady”, “Best Dressed Couple”, “Best Hat” and for the first time “Best Dressed Man.”

To learn more about the rich and thrilling Sport of Kings try The Blood-Horse Authoritative Guide, History of Thoroughbred Racing in America, and Funny Cide : How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies took on the Sheiks and Blue Bloods--and Won.

Here are some fantastic racing films: Secretariat, Seabiscuit, National Velvet, and The Black Stallion.

Culinary Historian Andrew F. Smith Discusses His New Books: "Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War" and "Potato: A Global History"

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Sunday March 27, 2011: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Nationally-known culinary historian Andrew F. Smith will make a special appearance to discuss his two new books. Join us to learn about Smith's fascinating gastronomical look at the war and its legacy in "Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War." And hear about the captivating tale of an allegedly lowly vegetable that continues to change the world in "Potato: A Global History."

You may have heard or seen Smith interviewed on radio and television, including National Public Radio, Discovery, the History Channel, and the Food Network. Take advantage of this opportunity to see him live at the library!

This event, which will include a book signing, is cosponsored by the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor. Books will be on sale at the event.

Author Lev Raphael Discusses His Memoir "My Germany"

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Monday March 28, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Haunted by his parents' suffering and traumatic losses under Nazi rule, Lev Raphael was certain that Germany was one place in the world he would never visit. So, what happened when he was invited to speak there about his books?

In his memoir, "My Germany", Raphael unravels the past of his parents and their families during wartime. By traveling through the emotional and physical landscapes of Germany and his family's past, Raphael experiences forgiveness, self-growth, and a better understanding of his Jewish heritage.

Lev Raphael is a pioneer in writing fiction about America's Second Generation, publishing his first short story about children of survivors in 1978. Join us to listen to his story - and you may find yourself inspired to trace your own family history.

Teen (and Parent) Magazine Update -- Home Schooling, Conspiracy Theorists and Luchador Socks

image by Odin Fotografia, Flickr.comimage by Odin Fotografia, Flickr.com
As winter and spring duke it out for supremacy, a beautiful new collection of magazines has blossomed in our teen room. Check out these lovely flowers:

For Teens:
Audrey -- All about Actress Olivia Munn, plus an article on the presence of Asian-Americans in mainstream TV shows.

ESPN Magazine -- See athletes strut their stuff in this special Style Report, in more ways then one, plus Derrick Rose shows off his luchador socks.

Rolling Stone -- Where else can you see Snooki, rock star Sammy Hagar and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in the same place? Plus, 2011's coolest new faces.

Sorry, parents, I've only got one magazine for you this time, but it's a good one:
Home Education Magazine has ideas on teaching your kids about gardening and food, as well as a list of books for Women's History Month!

Get out your umbrella and come check out these cool magazines!

Read Behind the Headlines in North Africa

With citizens revolting in Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Djibouti, and Morocco, first drafts of history are being written every day in the media. If, as a reader, you're seeking a deeper understanding of the region, check out North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present, by Phillip Naylor, who teaches history at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Published in 2009, the book concludes with a section on "The Peril and Promise of North Africa."

Ladies of the Lights

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What was life like for a lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes? Find out when Patricia Majher, author of Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service visits the library on Thurs., Mar. 3, 7-8:30 PM at the Downtown Library.

This most unusual occupation, especially for women, isn't very well-known even though the United States Coast Guard maintains a list of all the women who were employed as lightkeepers calling them "trailblazers."

In addition to being a fine author, Patricia is also editor of Michigan History Magazine which is published by the Historical Society of Michigan. The Historical Society of Michigan is dedicated to preserve, protect, interpret and celebrate the rich and diverse history of our state

Author Birthdays: Shirer, Cornwell, Sandford

February 23rd marks the birthday of authors William L. Shirer, Bernard Cornwell, and John Sandford.

William L. Shirer was an American writer of mostly non-fiction history books. Much of his works focus on Nazi Germany, which isn't surprising, considering he was a WWII journalist who actually reported from Berlin. Part of his book 20th Century Journey called "The Nightmare Years", about his time in Germany, was made into a TV movie with Law & Order star Sam Waterston playing the journalist.

Shirer's "This is Berlin" is a collection of his radio broadcasts from said city. As noted by Library Journal, it gives "the reader a sense of the drama and tension of 'history as it happens'". He also wrote a diary of the days leading up to the war.

Bernard Cornwell is an English historical novelist, best known for his novels centered on character Richard Sharpe, which take place during the Napoleonic Wars. They were also adapted into a television series.

Cornwell has also written stories in the times of Saxon and Arthurian Britain, and the American Civil War. His latest, The Fort, published last year, is a tale of the Revolutionary War, more specifically, of the Penobscot Expedition.

John Sandford (born John Camp) is an American journalist and novelist, probably best known for his Prey series, featuring the character Lucas Davenport. His newest novel, Buried Prey, is in this series and comes out in May.

Sandford's other works include the novel Dead Watch, which has been called "full of suspense, political intrigue, and violence" by Library Journal; you can also see some of his journalistic exploits on his website.

Check Out a Museum Adventure Pass!

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Looking for some indoor fun this winter? Come to any of our branches and check out a Museum Adventure Pass! There are over 30 museums you can visit, and the passes admit 2 or 4 depending on where you're headed. Why not take a look around the corner at the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History? Exhibits include displays on prehistoric life with the most extensive dinosaur exhibits in the state of Michigan, Michigan wildlife, anthropology, geology, and a Planetarium. Have fun, learn, and stay warm all at the same time!

Condos From the $290s

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Every day on my way to work I pass a worn sign that says "Condos From the $290s." Whenever I tell anyone about this sign they laugh out loud as it seems to illustrate a bygone era perfectly. In the past couple years a number of books and and videos have come out trying to explain the universal question we all have: What Happened?

Here are a few covering the recent history of financial calamity available at the Ann Arbor District Library:

All the Devils are Here : the Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera is one of the newest and best entries that tries to explain the financial meltdown.

The Monster : How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis by Michael Hudson (a former WSJ reporter) also does an excellent job of making an intricately complicated system of failures understandable.

Complicit : How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable by Mark Gilbert of Bloomberg News covers the issue from the perspective of someone who warned of the impending crisis at least 18 months before the actual meltdown.

Plunder: the Crime of Our Time is a film by Danny Schechter that interviews inside players, economists and journalists to illustrate various aspects of the crisis.

Author Birthdays: Franklin, Asimov, Michaels

January 2nd marks the birthday of authors John Hope Franklin, Isaac Asimov, and Leonard Michaels.

John Hope Franklin was an American historian who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His best known work is From Slavery to Freedom, which is often regarded as the definitive history of African-Americans, outlines African origins, slavery, and the fight for freedom.

Franklin's other works include Runaway Slaves: Rebels On The Plantation, a book about the resistance and escape of African-American slaves, and an autobiography which Library Journal described as "worth knowing and understanding because at its heart it is a particularly American story about the challenges of being black in this country, about personal triumphs, and about his feeling of urgency regarding the promises America has yet to realize."

Isaac Asimov is best known as a Russian-American science-fiction writer. Among his books, he is probably most widely recognized for his series, especially the Foundation series, which actually includes dozens of stories, one of them being the basis for the film I, Robot.

Asimov's many, many--and I mean many--other works include the two award-winners The Gods Themselves and The Bicentennial Man. There is also Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, which first came out in 1977, named for Asimov because of his huge standing in the science-fiction genre.

Leonard Michaels was an American writer of short stories, novels, and essays, who graduated with his Master's and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. One of his novels, Sylvia, is based upon his first wife, who committed suicide.

Michaels also wrote some autobiographical fiction collected in the book Shuffle. Publishers Weekly discusses it as "Created in fragments of journal entries, short stories and memoir-like confessions, a matrix of past and present formations is slowly brought into focus; thus, a life."

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