Fabulous Fiction Firsts #332

The colorful notes taken by Evangeline (Eva) English for A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar *, the working title of a travel guide, make up one of two story lines in this debut novel by Suzanne Joinson.

In 1923, sisters Eva and Lizzie, missionaries in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar are met with suspicion and hostility (no surprise there), but when a humanistic endeavor gone wrong places them under house arrest, their safety is seriously compromised. Eva, however, continues to capture her adventures in this insular and exotic locale at the brink of war on her glorious, green BSA Lady's Roadster.

In present day London, solitary Frieda befriends Tayeb, a displaced Yemeni sleeping outside her door, and discovers an artist with an exquisite talent with birds. When Frieda learns she has inherited the contents of an apartment belonging to a dead woman she has never heard of, they embark on an unexpected journey together.

"Beautifully written, and peopled by a cast of unforgettable characters, the novel interweaves the stories of Frieda and Eva, gradually revealing the links between them and the ways in which they each challenge and negotiate the restrictions of their societies as they make their hard-won way toward home".

For more tales of intrepid women adventurers, try Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson; The Tattoo Artist by Jill Ciment; and The Lost Girls : three friends, four continents, one unconventional detour around the world by Jennifer Baggett.

Suzanne Joinson works in the literature department of the British Council, specializing in the Middle East, North Africa, and China.

* = starred review

Cycle Vacations: Learn How To Take An Entire Vacation By Bike

Tuesday May 15, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Have you always thought that a two-wheeled vacation would be a great adventure? Attend this workshop where Bivouac staff will discuss how to plan the route, pack and prepare for mishaps. They will cover it all so that you can start planning your trip!

Wandering the High Himalayas With Will Weber Of JOURNEYS International

Wednesday March 21, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Will Weber, founder of JOURNEYS International of Ann Arbor, shares images and memories of some of his favorite vistas, valleys and villages from more than four decades of travel in Himalayan Asia. Come travel with Will as he shares his experiences in Ladakh, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma and his encounters with Buddhist highland cultures.

Ann Arbor's JOURNEYS International is the longest standing family-owned global eco-tourism company in the US, offering full-service exotic, guided cross-cultural explorations, nature safaris, treks and eco-tours in remote corners of Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Pacific.

English Gardens With Betty Bishop And The Ann Arbor Garden Club

Wednesday March 14, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Spring begins next week! Time to think about the wonderful outdoors and the beauty of finely-tended gardens! Join us as Ann Arbor Garden Club member Betty Bishop offers a colorful presentation of her bi-annual trips to England, touring a variety of traditional gardens.

What better way to get in the mood for spring?

Sleeping Bear Dunes Voted Most Beautiful Place in America (Oh, No!)

Our secret is out: the rest of America has discovered what Michiganders have known forever, that Sleeping Bear Dunes is the most beautiful place in America. Good Morning America viewers voted and the Bear beat them all. So you'd better book that cottage for next summer now or you'll be asking Mario Batali if you can bunk with him at his summer place. Of course half of NYC will be asking him for a room now.

The best place to start your SB travels? The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park headquarters in Empire. Trails, rivers, lakeshores, historical sites, heritage farms, lighthouses. You name it, it's in the National Park. The Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau site will lead to lodging, dining and entertainment throughout the region. We've been biking the area for 40+ years and you can't beat the Betsie Valley Trail along Crystal Lake or the M-22 ride from Frankfort to Empire with terrific beaches at both ends.

Around The World With The Doug And Julia Jackson Family

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Have an adventurous spirit? Ever thought about traveling around the world? Listen to how one family embarked on a year long world trip - and all for just $100 a day! In 2006, Doug and Julia Jackson and their two daughters began an adventure of a lifetime! Over the course of the year, they visited 32 countries - by all modes of transportation.

Take note from this family and check out our travel guidebooks from the catalog - just as the Jacksons used their library when they researched the countries (for 2 years) before beginning their adventure. Join us for an exciting and informative evening as Doug and Julia share highlights from their trip around the world - and learn how they enjoyed the cultures of faraway countries while remaining on a thrifty budget.

Tuesday May 24, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

So many books...

Nancy Pearl

…so little time. If you love reading books about books, with lists of not-to-miss titles, super-librarian and professional reader Nancy Pearl’s latest, Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers, will set your heart to pounding. I think this one might be her best yet.

Built around the theme of travel within and exploration of practically every country in the world, as well as many individual states and cities, she gathers the best reading available, whether you are planning a trip or visiting from your armchair. Not just strictly reading about countries either, she also includes thematically-arranged lists such as “walking”, “rowing”, “Peace Corps memories”, “hiking”, “imaginary places” and, my personal favorite, “An Anglophile’s Literary Pilgrimage”. Her selections are both erudite and fun and capture the anticipation and pleasure of exploring whichever piece of the world draws you. There is plenty of inspiration here to extend your wish-lists of books to read, though it is actually fun reading about all the books you will never have time to read too!

Both classic and contemporary fiction, and also a dizzying selection of tempting non-fiction, abound. We are not talking tour guides here, but memoirs; natural, social and geographic histories; biographies of famous and not-so-famous explorers and adventurers. Get your “ticket” to your next travel destination through the pages of this book and – bon voyage.

Celebrate Australian Authors on Australia Day - Teen Stuff

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Australians celebrate January 26th as Australia Day, marking the date of the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove. If you don't find yourself actually in Brisbane or Perth enjoying a day of fireworks and barbecues check out what some of these amazing Australian authors have given us to read. Starting with the top teen prize, the Printz you've got Markus Zusak in 2007, Judith Clarke in 2008, and Melina Marchetta and Margo Lanagon in 2009.
Michigan's top Teen Award, Thumbs Up! has a couple outstanding Australian writer's of teen fiction on the lists, Justine Larbalestier and Shaun Tan. Shaun also was recently nominated for 'Best Animated Short Film' The Lost Thing on this year's Oscar's list.

Pack Your Bags! Book Lust To Go

Nancy Pearl, America's "rock star librarian", is at it again with a brand new collection of recommended reading. This time she takes us global with both fiction and non-fiction books relating to more than 120 destinations around the world. Book Lust To Go : Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers offers an incredible selection of reader's advisory, covering too many locations to list in this small blog: Albania, Botswana, Corfu, Detroit, Ethiopia, Finland, the Galapagos, Hawaii...I could go through the entire alphabet several times. Whether you're prepping for a vacation or looking for an armchair adventure, this wealth of reading ideas will send you on your journey. Not familiar with the cult of Nancy Pearl? Visit her website, take a peek at her action figure (yes, action figure!), listen to her recent NPR interview about Book Lust to Go, or check out some of her other books offered here at the AADL. Bon Voyage!

ArtPrize 2010

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ArtPrize turns the city of Grand Rapids (Michigan) into an art gallery for two weeks every fall. ArtPrize features over 1,700 pieces of art on display at more than 175 venues in downtown Grand Rapids, including seven main exhibition centers.

This year, the dates are September 22 - October 10. It is an international art contest solely voted on by the general public. Yes - that means YOU!. Here is how to register to vote.

As the world's largest art prize, a total of 449,000 is awarded to the top 10 artists (with $250,000 going to the 1st place winner). New this year are the juried awards.

The winner will be announced Thursday, October 7 (7:00PM EDT) among this year's entries.

Don't feel like making the 133-mile trip on your own and the hassle of parking? Michigan Radio has organized a round-trip bus tour for Sunday, Sept 26, 2010. The bus will leave Ann Arbor at 10am and return at approximately 8pm. For reservations/information: (734) 946-7021 ext. 21, or email junsworth@biancotours.com.

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