Hidden Gems: Books Unjustly Dusty #1

rembrandt's sea of galileerembrandt's sea of galilee

Four books with a nautical theme in the AADL Catalog are calling out for attention.

Stargazing: Memoirs of a Young Lighthouse Keeper by Peter Hill is a well-written account of his time in the 1970s as a lightkeeper on the west coast of Scotland. Spending time alone to contemplate life and in close quarters with an older generation of lightkeepers that can only be described as "salty" makes for some memorable stories. Strange, but everyone was obsessed with the Watergate Hearings and migrating birds.

Cherish the Sea: A History of Sail by Jean de la Varende, a history of sailing beginning with the Egyptians up to the clipper ships, is beautifully illustrated by the author. Translated from the French by Mervyn Savill, it is obviously a work of love that took many years to complete.

She Captains: Heroines & Hellions of the Sea by Joan Druett is a fun read about Grace O'Malley, the Irish pirate queen of the 16th century, Caribbean buccaneers Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and Cheng I Sao, a woman who organized a confederacy of pirates that controlled the China Sea in the 19th century.

Before the Wind: The Memoir of an American Sea Captain 1808-1833 by Charles Tyng is a journal discovered by one of his descendants that chronicles pirates, storms, shipwrecks, mutinies, and other near-death adventures at sea.

Shi Pei Pu, Singer, Spy and ‘M. Butterfly,’ Dies at 70

Shi Pei PuShi Pei Pu

The story of Shi Pei Pu and Bernard Boursicot is more proof truth is stranger than fiction.

Bouriscot, was a worker at the French Embassy in Beijing when he fell in love with Shi Pei Pu, an opera singer who was a man masquerading as a woman. Read the obituary for the incredibly strange story of love, espionage and music.

The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages 1851-2008

The Old Gray Lady has covered all these events and more:

Lincoln’s assassination, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic, WW I, the Normandy Invasion, the Titanic disaster, Watergate, and 9/11.

If you give this book to a history buff you may never see him or her again. About 300 of the most momentous front pages are printed in this mammoth book. Also included are 3 very user friendly DVDs that cover every single front page through 2008.

If you don't ever hear from me again you'll know what happened.

Culture of Struggle, Culture of Faith: A Juneteenth Event Featuring LaRon Williams

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Join celebrated storyteller LaRon Williams at Traverwood on Friday June 19 at 6pm as he commemorates Juneteenth, the oldest celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S. Browse our collection of Juneteenth books here, including Ralph Ellison's Juneteenth, which deals with the holiday and its traditions.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #164

At the heart of Enrique Joven's gripping debut (translated from the Spanish) The Book of God and Physics* is the Voynich Manuscript - a puzzling document that has fascinated generations of cryptologists both amateur and professional with its odd drawings and strange text, as yet undeciphered.

This 500 year-old oddity found its way to the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where a Jesuit physics teacher and two resourceful collaborators try to pierce the mystery, including the possible murder of a well-known scientist. The Church, on the other hand, seems to be going to great lengths to keep the book's meaning hidden.

"Joven's sophisticated perspective indeed opens insights into the current controversy pitting Darwinism against intelligent design. A book to delight lovers of well-crafted fiction and well-anchored fact." ~ Booklist

Debut author Katherine Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane deals with yet another archival puzzler connected to the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history - the Salem witch trials. Fan of Matthew Pearl would find themselves two new authors to watch.

* = Starred review

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on DVD

PajamasPajamas

Based on John Boyne’s best selling novel of the same name, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas centers on 8yr old Bruno. Set during WWII, he has to leave his friends and move with his family to the countryside, where his father will be the commandant of a concentration camp. Bruno is bored and wishes for nothing more than to find children to play with and explore and have amazing adventures. One day he spots a young boy, wearing “striped pajamas,” on the other side of the fence. He soon befriends the Jewish lad and doesn’t quite understand what happens on the other side of the fence or why his friend Schmuel can’t just come over and play.

This is an amazing film that focuses on the naivete and innocence of a youth such as Bruno during a horrific time in history. The unfolding truth and horrific consequences of such a story really leave you breathless.

We Remember

American CemeteryAmerican Cemetery

The 65th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy known as Operation Overlord is June 6th, 2009.

The sheer size of the invasion and the planning involved will astound you. If you want to learn more about D-Day and the beginning of the end for the Nazis, here are some great books and movies. All are available at the Ann Arbor District Library.

BOOKS
Decision in Normandy by Carlo D’Este (one of the best), The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan (made into a great movie, too), D-Day : 6 June 1944, The Normandy Landings by Richard Collier, Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life also written by D’Este, The Americans at Normandy by John McManus, Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose and finally, Beyond Band of Brothers written by Colonel Dick Winters who led Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division.

FILMS

One of History's Mysteries Solved?

Rosa LuxemburgRosa Luxemburg

Who has been buried in Berlin’s Freidrichsfelde Cemetery all this time? Rosa Luxemburg? Not so, according to Michael Tsokos, a pathologist at Berlin’s Charite Hospital. He told Der Spiegel that an unidentified corpse found in the basement of a Berlin hospital is most likely her.

Rosa Luxemburg, a revolutionary hero to many, helped to found the Communist Party in both Poland and Germany. Highly educated with a doctorate in both law and politics, she became a Marxist who advocated for violent revolution to achieve socialism in Germany. She fought against more moderate factions that thought their aims could be achieved through trade union activities and political action.

Bonnie and Clyde

bonnie and clydebonnie and clyde

Recently, two new books came out about Bonnie and Clyde Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn and Bonnie and Clyde: The Lives Behind the Legend by Paul Schneider.

Jeff Guinn had access to Barrow and Parker family materials that haven’t come to light before. If you have an interest in Bonnie and Clyde, read this book.

During the Great Depression years 1931-34, Bonnie and Clyde kept newspapers alive with their crime wave. Bank robberies yes, but mainly they robbed Mom & Pop stores for $5 or $10 at a time. Clyde liked to steal cars with V-8 engines and knew that law enforcement (often in their own dilapidated vehicles that couldn’t keep up) couldn’t pursue them across county and state lines. The V-8 engine and the fact that Clyde robbed state armories and stole guns more powerful than what local law enforcement had kept them ahead of the law.

Memorial Day

ArlingtonArlington

It's almost Memorial Day, and time to remember the men and women of the military that died serving their country. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day because of the decorating of graves that took place on this day after the Civil War. The Flag will be flown at half staff until noon and there is a "National Moment of Remembrance" at 3pm. If you wish to acknowledge this moment it is asked that activities are paused to remember the day in silence or listening to "Taps". If you are interested in reading more about Memorial Day the library has the book Memorial Day : (decoration day) : its celebration, spirit, and significance as related in prose and verse, with a non-sectional anthology of the civil war and Memorial Day.

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