George Jones, Country-Western heartbreak crooner, has died

George Jones, whose beautiful sad country ballads consoled countless broken hearts, died today in Nashville.

Born in Pensacola, TX in 1931, Jones lived his songs. Famous for missing concerts when he was on a drunken tear, he survived drugs, car crashes, several divorces and repeated financial ruin. His third marriage, in 1969, to Tammy Wynette took the meaning of tempestuous into the stratosphere. They wrote and sang of the endless drama and tragedies in their relationship which lasted just six years, but produced some real blockbuster country songs, such as Good Year for the Roses and \We're Gonna Hold On. Their daughter, Georgette, told their story from her point of view in her 2011 memoir, The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George.

One of his most wrenchingly sad songs; He Stopped Loving Her Today, was pure George Jones at his mournful best. The song's subject yearns tragically for years for a lost love and dies with a smile on his face.

Jones won countless awards for his body of work. He was honored by the Country Music Association, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and last year he was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jones, who had been hospitalized on April 18th, was 81.

Wonderful World Languages #5

Want something you can do no matter what the weather? Do you speak Spanish? Then take a look at AADL’s Spanish language collection! In addition to language learning materials, the Library also has a wide selection of materials for native speakers, including audiobooks and graphic novels.

For example, AADL just acquired a book titled Viviendo, written by celebrity actress Adamari López. Although it was just published in December 2012, it has already received bestseller status and worldwide acclaim. “Viviendo” details Lopez’s most intimate moments, including her battle with breast cancer and her divorce from Luis Fonsi. Adamari López is currently a host on “Un Nuevo Día” on Telemundo, and has acted in several telenovelas.

AADL also has many other biographies in Spanish, Chinese, and French. If you would like to explore the collection more, you are welcome to visit the world language collection Downtown on the 3rd floor or at any of the branches.

If you don’t speak a language other than English but still like biographies, click here for a list of our newest acquisitions!

The 2013 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced

The Pulitzer Prizes for 2013 were announced today.

In 1917, Joseph Pulitzer established these awards to recognize excellence in 21 categories, which include journalism, fiction, drama, music, poetry, and non-fiction. More recently, online reporting was added.

Some of the winners this year include:

Fiction -- Adam Johnson, for The Orphan Master's Son, a timely choice, tells the story of Pak Jun Do, who is sent to the orphan camps in North Korea. First trained as a tunnel soldier (fighting in pitch darkness beneath the DMZ), he is 'elevated' to kidnapper.

History -- Fredrik Logevall, for Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam -- Logevall spent 12 years looking at primary diplomatic sources in the archives of Paris, Washington, D.C., and Hanoi to get at the heart of the conflict.

Biography -- Tom Reiss, for The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo -- Reiss delves into the life of the father of Alexandre Dumas, General Alexandre Alex Dumas. Born in Haiti, sold into slavery by his own father, the General eventually went on to military greatness when he reorganized the army of the French Republic.

In 20 categories, each winner receives $10,000 and a certificate. In the Public Service category, a medal was bestowed on the Florida newspaper, the Sun Sentinel, for its investigation into off-duty police officers who endangered the lives of citizens by speeding.

For a complete list, check here.

Cookbook Award Winners

The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) has awarded the following books (see full list here):

Cookbook of the Year & Best International Cookbook: Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi: 120 recipes that highlight the flavors of Jerusalem

Best American Cookbook: Hiroko’s American Kitchen: Cooking with Japanese Flavors: how to combine Japanese cooking flavors with Western style fare

Baking: Savory or Sweet: Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza: must-have baking guide to breads and pizzas providing the techniques and equipment advice to make them

Chefs and Restaurants cookbook: Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan, the award-winning chef from San Francisco's Slanted Door restaurant presents his life story along with a guide to making delicious Vietnamese food

Culinary History: The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook, tasting their way through centuries of cookbooks and recipes they have been collecting for 45 years, authors Anne Willan and her husband Mark Cherniavsky provide a fascinating history of cooking & cookbooks, lore, and of course recipes from as far back as medieval times

Culinary Travel:Burma: Rivers of Flavor: Burma is opening its doors and this book is a wonderful introduction its culinary marvels

First Book: The Julia Child Award: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deborah Perelman: if you aren't familiar with the author's blog, go to it and see why this book is so popular

Food Matters: Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics: well-researched and written for the average joe, the science behind what a calorie is and much more

Literary Food Writing:Yes, Chef: A Memoir: life of chef, Marcus Samuelsson, from humble beginnings as an orphan to world-renowned chef

Maria Tallchief, brilliant 20th century ballerina, has died

Maria Tallchief, stunning American ballerina who danced to the choreography of Balanchine, Bronislava Nijinska, and Agnes de Mille, has died.

Ms. Tallchief was born of an Osage father and Scottish-Irish mother who, for a time, raised their family on a reservation in Oklahoma that saw overnight wealth when oil was discovered. When Maria was eight, they moved to Los Angeles where Tallchief began dance lessons with Ernest Belcher. Four years later, Bronislava Nijinska, a famed Polishchoreographer, took over.

In 1942, Tallchief joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo where George Balanchine cultivated a personal and professional relationship with the young dancer. They married in 1946.

Eager to be out on his own, Balanchine formed a dance company (with a patron of the arts, Lincoln Kirstein) which became the famed City Ballet in 1948. When Tallchief's contract expired with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (she returned to them in 1954, four years after her divorce from Ballanchine), she became one of City Ballet's biggest stars.

Her role in Stravinsky's Firebird in 1949 launched her celebrity, fame which was enhanced by roles as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake and The Nutcracker (the Sugar Plum Fairy).

Ms. Tallchief hung up her toes shoes in 1966, but stayed active the ballet world, notably as the artistic director of the Chicago City Ballet and as founder of the Lyric Opera's ballet school. She wrote of her fascinating life in her memoir, Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina (1997).

Her daughter, Elise Paschen, with her third husband, Henry Paschen, is a renowned poet.

Ms. Tallchief, who was 88, died in Chicago.

Margaret Thatcher, England's first woman prime minister, has died

Margaret Thatcher, known as The Iron Lady, for her tough conservative policies implemented during her tenure as Prime Minister of England from 1979 to 1990, has died.

First elected to the House of Parliament in 1959, after years as a tax and patent law barrister, Thatcher's political career as a powerful, extremely conservative Tory leader, led to her election as Prime Minister in 1979. Determined to get Great Britain out of its economic doldrums through her focused steely will (hence the Iron Lady moniker), she used privatization (of Rolls Royce and British Telecom), deregulation, free trade, tax cuts for the rich, and attacks on the unions to push through her policies.

Her popularity was revitalized with the UK's participation in the 1982 Falkland Islands War, as described by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins in their 1983 book, The Battle for the Falklands. This 74-day conflict with Argentina was a successful naval operation.

Thatcher's friendship with President Ronald Reagan was legendary, as they worked together to transform their nations in their shared vision. One of the books she wrote, Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, 2002, was dedicated to Reagan.

In her memoir, The Downing Street Years, 1993, Thatcher wrote about her defeat (after three unprecedented terms as Prime Minister) in 1990 to the more moderate conservative beliefs of her successor, John Major.

Baroness Thatcher, who had suffered from dementia for many years, died from a stroke this morning. She was 87.

Roger Ebert, beloved Chicago movie critic, has died

Just one day after announcing he was taking a 'leave of presence' from his 46-year gig as movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and his 31-year career on TV reviewing films, Roger Ebert lost his long public battle with salivary and thyroid cancer.

His announcement yesterday said he would just review the movies HE wanted to see and leave the rest of the reviews to his trusted colleagues at the paper. When he lost part of his jaw and thus his ability to eat or speak, he used his good humor and courage to write about his experience fighting, and often triumphing, against, his devastating illness.

Ebert's long career resulted in a 1975 Pulitzer Prize, the first movie critic to receive this honor. The Webby Awards named him their 2010 Person of the Year. And Hollywood, which lived and died by Ebert's laser-beam ethical demand for excellence in all things film, honored him with his own Walk of Fame star in 2005.

Ebert's career took off in a new direction when he and Chicago Tribune movie critic, Gene Siskel, took their 'point/counterpoint' routine to television in 1975. Originally titled Coming Soon to a Theater Near You, PBS picked it up and renamed it Sneak Previews three years later. There were two more name-changes: In 1981, it morphed into At the Movies. Five years later, accompanied by their signature 'thumbs up, thumbs down' rating system, it settled on Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.

Sadly, Siskel died in 1999. He had had brain surgery for brain cancer but it was complications from another surgery that ended his life.

Despite his long fight with illness, Ebert wrote almost seventeen books on movies, the internet, his life (Life Itself: A Memoir, 2011), and yes, even a cookbook for rice cookers (The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, 2010).

Ebert, who was 70, died today in Chicago.

Extraordinary Tale of Survival

Like all accounts of the Holocaust The Girl in the Green Sweater is disturbing and riveting at the same time. Krystyna Chiger is a young child when her family flees into the sewers to escape the final liquidation of Jews in Lvov, Poland. The Chigers do not spend those 14 months alone in the sewers. They start out as a group of around 20 people who all have connections to one another, but as time passes, there are people who choose to leave the sewers and take their chances above ground and others who die underground. In between these weighty occurrences, Chiger explains some of the everyday tasks that this tiny community had to preform in order to survive. This provides a surprising and disturbing look at what humans can actually live through. Being surrounded by human waste and severely lacking clean water, it is amazing that there were not more fatalities. This story of survival is inspiring, especially when told through the eyes of a child.

The importance of family is emphasized continually throughout the narrative. More than once Chiger describes horrific conditions but goes on to say that she did not mind them because her family was together. It is heart wrenching to think about all of the families that were not so lucky.

If this story interests you, but you are more cinematically inclined, you can check out In Darkness which is the new film depiction of the little community's time in the sewer from the director of Europa, Europa, Agnieszka Holland.

For an overwhelming list of other materials regarding the Holocaust, click here.

Wade's World

Readers of David Sedaris, Chelsea Handler, and Augusten Burroughs (a.k.a. fans of ridiculously funny memoirs) should check out Wade Rouse. Rouse grew up “different” in Missouri, and now lives in Michigan with his partner Gary. He has written several snarky books recounting the dramas of his daily life. From being caught as a kid wearing his grandmother’s high heels, to clearing patches of poison ivy off his property, Rouse’s stories are always a riot. Rouse is a regular contributor on Michigan Radio, and his books consistently appear on a host of “Best Of” lists. Check him out!

A Selection of February’s Non-fiction Staff Picks


Our incredible staff has been at it again. If you are in search an interesting read, look no further.

Here are just a few of this month’s non-fiction selections:

Chinese Lessons by John Ponfret, “which follows the lives of a group of Pomfret’s former classmates, is a highly personal, honest, funny and well-informed account of China’s hyperactive effort to forget its past and reinvent its future”.—NYT

Droidmaker by Michael Rubin “…really captures the 20-year technology journey that runs through Lucasfilm for a period and ends with Pixar Animation Studios. In short, it's the tale of relentless technophiles, visionary patrons and a film revolution.” Register UK

A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn by James Donovan is “A virulent stew of hubris, inexperience, misunderstanding of other cultures and misinformation overflowed into disaster. And Donovan puts it all into perspective without the biases of so many works about the battle's events and personalities.” –Billings Gazette

Ruffian: A Racetrack Romance by William Nack “As he writes in this short, fascinating, melancholy hybrid of turf history and personal memoir, “I have thought of Ruffian so often over the years that today she flits around like a ghost in all the mustier rooms of my reveries, a boarder who has had a run of the place.”’—NYT

Nine Suitcases by Bela Zsolt “This is by far the best book I've come across on the subject of the extermination of Hungary's Jews. Zsolt is and will be classified by literary historians as a minor novelist, whose tragedy was that his greatest story happened to himself.”-- Guardian

The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898 “Thomas has delivered an innovative, frequently entertaining and valuable retelling of an episode that set the pattern for more than a century of foreign military adventurism.” Washington Post

All of these titles are available at our Downtown location on the first floor Staff Picks shelf or by placing a hold and having them delivered to your preferred branch location.

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