Saloma Furlong Discusses Her Memoir "Why I Left The Amish"

Friday May 11, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Author Saloma Furlong was born and raised in an Amish community in Ohio. Driven by her desire for freedom and more formal education, she broke away from her community -- not once, but twice. Her story was recently featured in February's PBS "American Experience" program, "The Amish."

Learn more about Furlong's Amish background and her decision to the leave the community as she visits the AADL to discuss her life and her memoir, "Why I Left the Amish." Books will be on sale and the event will include a book signing.

Mark Rothko & "Red" At The Performance Network Theatre

Tuesday May 8, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Love art? Enjoy the theater?

Performance Network Theatre and the AADL present an enlightening evening focusing on Mark Rothko, the famous abstract expressionist painter and the subject of the Tony Award-Winning play "Red" (now showing through May 27 at the Performance Network). UM History of Art Department PhD student Grant W. Mandarino leads the discussion on Rothko's life and work. Gain insight into the artist's life before attending one of the theater's performances.

The Performance Network Theatre is located at 120 East Huron St in Ann Arbor. There is no charge for this lecture, however there is limited seating - so please arrive early.

Video: Shipwreck Survivor Pierette Domenica Simpson

If you missed last night's talk with author and shipwreck survivor, Pierette Domenica Simpson, watch this video from her visit last year. Pierette shares her up-close and personal account of surviving the most catastrophic ship collision in history between the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm, in July of 1956, when she was 9 years old. Check out or place a hold for her new young adult novel: "I Was Shipwrecked on the Andrea Doria: The Titanic of the 1950s."

Fear of Lethem

This month, 33 1/3, the intriguing music review book series, drops what is sure to be another gem into its readers' eager hands. One of my favorite writers, Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude, and Chronic City (among others), tackles the seminal 1979 post-punk album, Fear of Music, by Talking Heads. Jump on the AADL hold list for this forthcoming book by clicking here.

Fans of Lethem's work will remember his stake in the late-70s Brooklyn scene in Fortress of Solitude, as well as in his collection of essays, The Disappointment Artist. Fans of Talking Heads will find Lethem's nervy characterizations of place and time a fine pairing with David Byrne's lyrics.

For those unfamiliar with the 33 1/3 book series, each book focuses on one album from one musical artist. The books are each written by a different author, ranging from critic to uber-fan to musician, and now, even to bestselling authors. I always look forward to tossing a great record on repeat and diving into the back-stories behind the songs and the personal connections to the author's life.

Reconstructing Life Stories

People write for many reasons: pleasure, self-knowledge, education, memory, creativity, or as a legacy for family. These six workshops for people age fifty and over are a great way to learn the skills and confidence to write your memoir in your own style. Participants will have the chance to read some of their writing to the group, then reflect and reminisce about it. Bring your writing materials on April 3 at give it a try. An elevator is available in the parking lot below the library entered from Huron Parkway.

Tuesdays | April 3,10,24; May 1,8,15 | 6:30 - 8:30 pm | Traverwood Branch

Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee

Diamond Jubilee: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond JubileeDiamond Jubilee: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee
February 6 marked the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's 60 year reign starting in 1952. To read about the Diamond Jubilee celebrations click here. Recent biographies written about the Queen include: Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by noted biographer Sally Bedell Smith. Smith follows the young princess as a student to a love-struck teen (after meeting Philip) through her current reign. This is a well-written and engrossing account of a Queen that successfully balances royal tradition and modernity. Another title, The Real Elizabeth : an intimate portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, takes on the subject of the role of the monarchy itself specifically under her auspices over the past 60 years and how it has changed over time. And do not forget, her royal consort, Prince Philip, who has served by her side (and one step behind her). There is a recent biography, Prince Philip : the turbulent early life of the man who married Queen Elizabeth II that focuses on his turbulent childhood as his family is exiled from Greece (where he was born) to his mother’s schizophrenia and his father leaving him at an early age in order to live with his mistress. His charm and good looks eventually win him the hand of the-then Princess Elizabeth for whom he renounces his titles, religion and even family. A storybook romance indeed! To read more about their life together, read Philip and Elizabeth : portrait of a royal marriage. Movies about her include Helen Mirren’s outstanding portrayal in the Queen and the British TV show, Queen : a dramatic portrait of one of the world's most powerful women, as well as several documentaries including Windsors, a royal family.

'Dead End in Norvelt'

Handed to me late last year by a savvy children’s librarian, Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos, surpassed my wildest hopes for a good read. Imagine my delight in January when the novel -- written for ages 10 and up -- won the American Library Association’s 2012 Newbery Award for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children, plus the 2012 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction!

This fabulous story is the "entirely true and the wildly fictional" story of the author’s childhood, unfolding in historic Norvelt, Pennsylvania, during the summer of 1962, as the narrator awkwardly turns twelve. “Eccentric” is not too strong to describe his family and his adorable, elderly buddy, Miss Volker, the town historian who helps Jack with his nosebleeds, while also teaching him valuable life lessons about humans, tenacity, and love. The writing in the novel is seamless, while the story manages to be both heartwarming and hilarious. Comedian Dave Barry praised the book as “brilliant . . . full of history, mystery, and laughs. It reminded me of my small-town childhood, although my small town was never as delightfully weird as Norvelt.”

Lance Armstrong Finishes 2nd at Panama 70.3 Triathlon

One year after Lance Armstrong's second retirement from professional cycling, the seven-time Tour de France champion entered the long-course triathlon world, stunning a deep field of professional triathletes by clinching 2nd place overall, just 42 seconds behind winner, Bevan Docherty, who ran Armstrong down at the very end of the run portion of the race.

Lance was almost a minute behind the leader coming out of the 1.2 mile swim, but he made that time up on the 56-mile bike (no surprise there), moving into second place. On the 13.1 mile run, he passed American Chris Lieto to take the race lead until the final few miles, when Olympic medalist, Docherty, ran him down.

Armstrong and his Livestrong foundation bring a lot of attention to the endeavors he tackles, and his impressive performance in his first long-course triathlon is sure to bring more spectators and participants into the multi-sport community. If you are interested in completing a triathlon this year, the AADL has books and video to help you get trained and motivated for the swim-bike-run challenge.

The Secret World of Walter Anderson

“There once was a man whose love of nature was as wide as the world. There once was an artist who needed to paint as much as he needed to breathe. There once was an islander who lived in a cottage at the edge of the Mississippi, where the sea meets the earth and the sky. His name was Walter Anderson. He may be the most famous American artist you’ve never heard of.”

So begins The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass, a youth biography of the Mississippi artist. Known as the “homegrown Van Gogh”, he sketched and painted the natural world of the Gulf coast from the 1930s to the mid-1960s. He also carved sculptures, made furniture, created murals, decorated pottery and wrote poetry. He was driven by an intense desire to produce his art and express the beauty and transcendence of nature. “The heart is the thing that counts, the mingling of my heart with the heart of the wild bird; to become one with the thing I see…”

He was brilliant, reclusive and eccentric, living on the edge of sanity in a small cabin and making frequent excursions by rowboat to Horn Island in the Gulf, where he camped in primitive conditions for weeks at a time, sketching the turtles, birds and waves. In his cabin, he kept one room locked and completely off-limits to his family. When he died, and they opened “The Little Room”, they found every square inch had been painted with glowing, vibrant colors, depicting a Gulf coast day from dawn to night. It was his secret and it is magical.

This book is a beautiful introduction for young people to his art and life. The first part is useful for lower elementary students for doing biography reports, but could be read to younger children as well; the second part (the author’s note) expands the information to be appropriate for middle school or even the curious adult. In trying to learn more about this artist I found several books in MeL which were wonderful.

Walter Anderson’s art is worth spending time with. See some images of his artwork here. If you happen to find yourself in New Orleans, the Walter Anderson Museum is a day-trip away.

Biography in Context: Research Someone Famous!

If you are searching for biographical information about important people, click into Biography in Context. This valuable database offers reams of information on notable people from the past and present. Moreover, you will find news articles to help you place an individual life into historical context. Access to this and any of our other reference databases and resources is available at every branch of the AADL, as well as from outside the library with a valid AADL library card. For access from an outside location, please sign in to your library account, visit our reference database page, and navigate to the desired resource. To access Biography in Context, go to the research page, and select Biography in Context from the History and Biography category.

Syndicate content