On This Day in History--January 2nd: Isaac Asimov was born in 1920

One of the world’s best-known science-fiction writers and a professor of biochemistry at Boston University, Isaac Asimov was born on January 2nd, 1920 near Smolensk, Russia. Through his dedication to writing and to science he helped to elevate science fiction from pulp magazines to a more intellectual and respected genre.

One of the most prolific writers of all time, he wrote or edited more than 500 books, on subjects as varied as chemistry, biology, the Bible, Shakespeare, modern history, as well as books for preschoolers and college students. He received dozens of awards in his lifetime including six Hugo awards, 3 Nebula awards, and a posthumous induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He even had an asteroid and a crater on Mars named in his honor. Asimov was also a member and Vice President of Mensa, though he found little enjoyment in it, feeling his fellow members were too arrogant about their high IQs. Asimov died in New York, New York on April 6th, 1992.

His more popular works include the Foundation trilogy, Pebble in the Sky, The Stars, Like Dust, and I, Robot, which was adapted into a film of the same name in 2004. Follow the links and you'll find them in AADL's collection!

Related Posts:
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Detroit News Fine Arts Writer Michael Hodges Discusses Michigan's Vanishing Train Stations: Architecture, History And Sense Of Place

Wednesday November 28, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

In this lecture and slideshow, Detroit News reporter Michael H. Hodges discusses the functional and stylistic evolution of the train station over the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the range of styles architects employed to both tame and exalt rail transportation.

Hodges' new coffee-table book, Michigan's Historic Railroad Stations photographs and profiles 31 depots (including Ann Arbor) across the state.

Michael will also sign copies of the book (which will be for sale) following the event.

New York Times Historical

The New York Times is available online to library users all the way back to its first issues from 1851. Over 150 years of historic news coverage is available at your fingertips, digitized and fully searchable. Select ‘Page View’ to see complete newspaper pages as they originally appeared in print, or select ‘Full-text PDF’ to see only the article you choose.

Access to all our reference databases and resources is available at every AADL branch and from outside the library with a valid library card. To access New York Times Historical, go to the Research page and from the Newspapers tab, click on New York Times Historical.

Veterans Day 2012: Vietnam Vets Discuss The 50th Anniversary Of The Vietnam War

Thursday November 8, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The Vietnam War was the longest war in US history and 2012 is the year of the United States National Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of America's first involvement in this conflict.

Join a team of Vietnam vets as they reflect on this war and their experiences. The moderator for this panel will be Dale Throneberry, who heads up the Veterans Radio Network and completed his tour in Vietnam as a CW2 pilot. The panel includes Vietnam Vets who served as a radiologist, aircraft commander and a dog handler during the war.

Professor David L. Holmes Discusses His Book "The Faiths Of The Postwar Presidents: From Truman To Obama"

Monday September 17, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

David L. Holmes established himself as a measured voice in the debate over the nation's religious underpinnings with his acclaimed 2006 book The Faiths of the Founding Fathers. With the same judicious approach, he now examines the role of faith in the lives of the twelve presidents who have served since the end of World War II, in The Faiths Of The Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama.

Join us as Professor Holmes discusses his new book and provides enlightening anecdotes of our recent presidents. This event includes a book signing and books will be on sale.

Teamwork and Timbers: It's Barn Raisin' Time!

Saturday September 15, 2012: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Reconstruct a quarter-scale replica barn! Held in partnership with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, this event is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience a traditional community barn raising.

Common in Michigan during the late-19th and early-20th centuries, barn raisings are similar to husking bees and quilting bees, where neighbors depended upon each other to accomplish what they could not do alone.

This event is for Grade 3 - Adult.

Screening of Emmy-Nominated PBS Documentary: In The Footsteps Of Marco Polo

Friday September 14, 2012: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Francis O'Donnell and his friend Denis Belliveau took a wild idea -- retrace Marco Polo's entire 25,000-mile, land-and-sea route from Venice to China and back! Join us for the screening of this amazing journey in the Emmy-Nominated 2008 PBS film that was made of their trip: "In The Footsteps Of Marco Polo."

Equal parts travelogue, adventure story, history trek and buddy movie, the 90-minute film weaves footage both from the duo's often perilous voyage and from Marco Polo's descriptions and experiences.

Unfortunately, Francis O'Donnell, filmmaker behind the documentary, will be unable to attend this event to discuss his film - but we hope you join us for the viewing of his extraordinary journey!

Celebrating Our Republic: A Flower Show Celebrating Our Great Nation: Ann Arbor Garden Club

Saturday September 8, 2012: 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

A flower show at the library!! This year's flower show celebrates America. Come and see what the Ann Arbor Garden Club grows and how they use what they grow in many beautiful floral designs.

Members of the garden club will be on hand to visit and answer questions.

Tonight: Ragtime Concert: Deborrah Wyndham

Tuesday September 4, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Pianist and composer Deborrah Wyndham returns to AADL for this special ragtime concert! She will also share the story behind ragtime as the original American "pop music" in the late 1800's as well as being an early form of jazz.

Seen on FOX, NBC and ABC, and heard on NPR, Deborrah has performed for audiences in libraries, schools, colleges, concert halls, museums, festivals and more! Don't miss the chance to hear her live at the Downtown Library!

A great historical mystery series

The Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mysteries start out really good and just get better. There are five of them now and, having just finished the fifth, I am bereft. I can’t find any evidence of a sixth on the horizon (though I’m sure there has to be one soon) and I have that feeling there is nothing else worth reading (which will pass). They are a triumph of people, plot and prose.

Set in the latter years of Henry the VIII’s reign, lawyer Shardlake is drawn into the corruption and turbulence of the political landscape time and again, when all he wants is a quiet life. He is not adventurous or daring by nature, but he has demanding patrons, like Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr. These and many other historical characters weave into the stories and even bad boy, King Henry, makes an appearance in the third book.

Author, C J Sansom, is brilliant at weaving just enough historical fact, into compelling, page-turner plots, with rounded, sympathetic characters. Sansom has a PhD in History and was a practicing lawyer, so he is well informed about the back story of the Tudor courts and the tremendous upheaval of religious persecution and political maneuvering which was rampant in this era. The Tower, Bedlam, the execution block, the rack, the King’s “Progress” to York, the naval battles of the war of 1545, the sinking of the warship Mary Rose, the Book of Revelation, and the ancient, incendiary weapon known as Greek fire are all featured prominently at some point in these five stories. Pretty grim, you might think, and you would be right.

But Shardlake is the counterpoint of dignity and kindness in the midst of the insanity and he brings his compassion and brilliance to bear on every case he is thrust into. With a supporting cast of interesting and feisty characters, the books manage to create a bit of light in the darkness that was Henry’s reign. In the end, these are intriguing and engrossing stories which keep you coming back for more. Don’t plan on doing anything important for a few days after you begin one.

Start with Dissolution, a mystery embedded in the chaotic time when Cromwell oversaw the dismantling of monasteries all over England.

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