Ages 18+.

Doris Lessing, groundbreaking novelist, has died

Doris Lessing, whose 1962 novel, The Golden Notebook, electrified young women with its forward-thinking themes, died yesterday in London.

Ms. Lessing was born in Iran in 1919 and raised in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) by a father grievously wounded in World War I and a cranky mother who chomped at the bit to escape her domestic responsibilities. Lessing attributed her mother's resentment as a key factor in shaping her own evolving discoveries of the untapped power of women at an early age. She dropped out of school at 14 and discovered writing.

Her first book, the 1950 release of The Grass Is Singing, was instantly controversial. Set in then-Rhodesia, it is the searing account of a bored white farmer's wife and her relationship with one of the farm's black slaves. Lessing's relentless examination of the endless layers of injustice that she saw everywhere was so ferocious that she was labeled a 'prohibited alien' by the governments of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia in 1956 for her inflammatory opinions.

In 1962, Lessing became one of the unwilling literary leaders of the nascent feminist movement, a label eschewed by her because she said the early feminists' embrace of all things political made them angry name-callers. The Golden Notebook tackled head-on the full menu of women's issues that to this day drive many social issues conversations. Marriage vs. freedom, motherhood vs. career, intellect vs. coy submissiveness, black vs. white. She herself lived of what she wrote, abandoning two husbands and two out of her three children when she fled to England.

Ms. Lessing also wrote two very popular series. The Children of Violence, which begins with Martha Quest (1952) and concludes seventeen years later with entry number five, The Four-Gated City (1969). During the span of this series, a teenage Martha Quest leaves her life on an African farm and flees to England, endures the horrors of World War II, and forges a new, more independent, if fraught life, in post-war London.

The second series is a five-entry science fiction work, Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979-1983).

Ms. Lessing was recipient of many awards. One of her most notable distinctions was to be named the oldest Nobel laureate for literature, receiving that honor in 2007 when she was 88 years old. She claimed it ruined her life because the demands on her time that accompanied such an honor, made it impossible for her to write.

Her last book, Alfred and Emily (2008) was a study of her parents' life, filled with speculation about what their lives would have been like if World War I had not happened.

Ms. Lessing was 94.

Barbara Park, creator of the beloved Junie B. Jones children's books, has died

Barbara Park, who combined her inner six-year-old self with a fantastic sense of humor to create the popular Junie B. Jones chapbooks, has died.

Ms. Park discovered her love of reading in high school and her writing gifts in the 70s when, as a military wife, she put to paper the antics of her young boys. Her first books were stand-alones that spoke to children about tough subjects with her uniquely child-oriented perspective, such as The Kid in the Red Jacket (1987) which covers the stress of moving and being the 'new kid' in school.

In 1992, Park found her popularity soar with the publication of the first of her 28 Junie B. Jones chapter books. First up, Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. The eponymous five -year-old hates her first bus ride to school so much that she refuses to go home at the end of the day.

Through 16 more entries in the series, Junie B. Jones stayed in kindergarten. Finally, in 2001, Junie B. Jones graduates. In Junie B., First Grader (at Last!), Junie B. faces the twin traumas of losing her best friend to TWINS and of having to get her first pair of glasses.

The last Junie B. Jones title, #28, Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff), was published last year.

Ms. Park had battled ovarian cancer for several years. She was co-founder and CEO of Sisters in Survival, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women navigate the many challenges of a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Barbara Park, a longtime resident of Scottsdale, AZ, and winner of multiple children's literature awards, was 66 years old.

I have two words for you: Twinkies. Cookbook.

Yep. That's right. The Twinkies Cookbook. What do you cook with Twinkies? Why would you cook with Twinkies? How is there an entire book devoted to this?

It is a mystery answered by Hostess and Twinkie-loving contributors in this one-of-a-kind, can't-put-it-down-even-if-you-really-want-to, beautiful but distressing diamond of a cookbook, published in 2006.

Why distressing? Let me just shoot some phrases off to you. Twinkie Pigs in a Blanket. Twinkie Kebabs. Twinkie Lasagna. Twinkie Sushi. Are you intrigued yet? Do you need to see these for yourself? Trust me, it's mesmerizing.

Don't get me wrong, that Twinkie Banana Split looked like it could definitely have potential. And given the staying power of Jimmy Dean's Pancake and Sausage on a Stick, I could see how maybe - MAYBE - the pigs in a blanket could work. It does say it's for breakfast. And in fact, the Twinkie Burrito (which kind of looks more like a Twinkie crepe with fruit and chocolate sauces) actually looks like it could be pretty decent...

...okay, I might want to try all of these, just to see if any of them are actually something that could do the impossible - make a Twinkie more edible.

But don't count on me requesting the Twinkie Wedding Cake on my special day.

You can put this and other cookbooks on hold through our website or by calling in to the library.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #436 - “Love, having no geography, knows no boundaries.” ~Truman Capote

Just released to great anticipation is P.S. Duffy's debut The Cartographer of No Man's Land * *.

When his beloved brother-in-law Ebbin goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus MacGrath, a ship's captain in hardscrabble Snag Harbor, Nova Scotia, puts aside his pacifist upbringing to join the war, in order to find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly to the front. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief.

"Duffy's astounding first novel depicts terrifyingly real battle scenes, rich in subtle details, displaying the intimacies shared among soldiers and the memories that haunt them."

" (T)he world of shipping and the uncertainty of the uncharted front line provide poignant metaphors for the characters' navigation of conflict, loss, and change, as well as their journey back to each other— and to themselves.".

A Baltimore native and a science writer for the Mayo Clinic, Duffy spent summers sailing in Nova Scotia.

Coming out shortly is Canadian journalist and novelist Brian W. Payton's The Wind is Not a River * *. The reader is treated to a little-known aspect of World War II, one that the U.S. government at the time, took great pains to keep from the public eye.

Desperate to understand the war that claimed the life of his younger brother Warren, journalist John Easley headed to the Territory of Alaska to investigate the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands. In April 1943, he was shot down in a seaplane just off the remote and barren island of Attu. He and the only other survivor - a young Texan aviator named Karl Bitburg, battled the elements, starvation while trying to evade capture by the 2,000 Japaneses soldiers.

In the mean time, 3000 miles south in Seattle, John's wife Helen, resolved to search for her missing husband and to bring him home, signed on with the USO troupe to entertain the troops in Alaska as a dancer/performer.

"Payton has delivered a richly detailed, vividly resonant chronicle of war's effect on ordinary people's lives."

* * = 2 starred reviews

Film & Discussion: We Can't Eat Gold

Thursday November 14, 2013: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 9 and up).

“How does it feel when your ancestors have been surviving off the same land for thousands of years and then that land is threatened?” Residing about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage the people of Dillingham, Alaska have lived off of caribou and the world’s largest, most spectacular sockeye salmon fishery located in Bristol Bay. But now the proposed Pebble Mine that seeks to extract valuable deposits of gold, copper, and molybdenum threatens that way of life.

The documentary We Can’t Eat Gold, casts light on the sustainable living the people have made off the land and sea. It also gives voice to the concern of the Alaska Native elders and youths not only about the future but also the impacts the exploration of Pebble Mine has already had on the Bristol Bay region’s King Salmon and Caribou populations. With government approval pending will the people’s voice be heard?

Film director Joshua Tucker and producer Giovanna Marcantonio will be on hand to lead the discussion following the viewing of the film.

This event is cosponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars' Program.

Using Yoga to Fall Asleep

Monday November 18, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

Difficulty in falling asleep is an issue for millions of Americans. Sleep loss increases stress hormone levels and blood pressure, glucose intolerance, and variations in heart rate.

Kundalini Yoga instructor Victoria Duranona will guide you through moves designed to help you relax. In addition she will offer Yogic tips for good sleep, suggestions on falling asleep, and nap advice as well as a few herbs that can help with sleep issues.

Dress comfortably and bring some kind of padding (e.g. towel, yoga mat) as you will be seated on the hard floor.

Madison Connors, Romance author and publisher

One of the first publishers on board in our unlimited download ebook collection is owner and CEO of Front Porch Romance, a Southeast Michigan Romance publisher. Click here for a list of these romance titles in our collection.

A writer with deep Michigan roots, Madison Connors, in a recent podcast, talked about her writing, her experience in the publishing business, the history and stories behind Front Porch Romance.

You could also catch Madison as she hosts a weekly radio program called Romance Hour, on ArtistsFirst, a CBS Radio News network, Wednesdays at 6 pm where she interviews other romance authors.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Madison_Connors.mp3 26.9 MB

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #435 - “Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.” ~Anaïs Nin

Already a runaway bestseller in the UK, a former nurse, marriage counselor & journalist Hilary Boyd's debut novel Thursdays in the Park will please readers this side of the pond.

Jeanie Lawson is about to turn 60. She owns a successful health food market in London, enjoys her nights outs with friends, and looks forward to her playdate with her beloved granddaughter Ellie every Thursday at the park, rain or shine. She could almost call life perfect if not for the pain and bewilderment caused by the decade-long abandonment of the marital bed by her husband George. Adding insult to injury, George is now pressuring Jeanie to retire and move to the country.

Then one day at the park, she meets Ray - an age-appropriate, kind-hearted, easygoing, and downright sexy grandfather. As her relationship with Ray blossoms and she begins to think that her life might hold in store a bold second act, she is not sure she has the courage to take charge of her life.

"A warm, tender novel about a woman finally finding a place of her own." " (A) mostly successful exploration of second chances and love at any age."

For fans who enjoyed Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand; Jeanne Ray's Julie and Romeo; and the poignant Lamb in Love by Carrie Brown where a 55 year-old shy, unassuming postmaster and confirmed bachelor receives the shock of a lifetime: he falls in love!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #434

Conceived as an homage to his favorite author P.G. Wodehouse, Sebastian Faulks' Jeeves and the Wedding Bells * * * is the first new novel in nearly forty years to bring a welcomed return of Bertie Wooster and his unflappable valet Jeeves.

For almost 60 years, P.G. Wodehouse documented the lives of the inimitable Jeeves and Wooster, and built himself a devoted following. In the new episode, Bertie, nursing a bit of heartbreak over the recent engagement of one Georgiana Meadowes to someone not named Wooster, agrees to “help” his old friend Peregrine “Woody” Beeching, whose own romance is foundering. Almost immediately, things go awry and the simple plan quickly becomes complicated. Thanks to Bertie, the situation could only get more hilarious and convoluted.

"(This) P. G. poseur gets the plot right, but what about the all-important patter, the Bertie-isms and the priceless Bertie-Jeeves dialogue duets? But Faulksie nails it again, evoking rather than imitating, but doing so in perfect pitch." It proves that the Wodehouse estate chose well in authorizing Faulk to pen the first new Jeeves and Wooster novel since 1974.

A good excuse to revisit the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of the original series, and to introduce a whole new generation to some of the finest British television comedies.

* * * = 3 starred reviews

National Vinegar Day

If I had to guess what day National Vinegar Day fell on, I never would have guessed a cooler month.

You learn something new every day.

If you're inclined to celebrate National Vinegar Day, our cookbooks can help you do that.

To learn more about vinegar, you might try The Good Cook's Book of Oil and Vinegar or Zingerman's Guide to Good Vinegar.

Maybe you've been meaning to try your hand at making adobo, a preparation involving meat, seafood, or vegetables prepared in a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. In that case, The Adobo Road Cookbook is a good place to start. But you'll also find a recipe for Pollo Adobo (Chicken in the Adobo Style) in Asia: The Beautiful Cookbook. If you're more of a pork fan, you'll find Puerco en Adobo (Pork in Adobo) in Diana Kennedy's Cuisines of Mexico.

Scraping frost form your window in the mornings doesn't mean that you have to say goodbye to salad season. Why am I talking about salads to celebrate National Vinegar Day? The vinaigrettes! Fresh Ways with Salads, Cooking Light Big Book of Salads, and Italian Salads for All Seasons are good places to start.

Finally, I can't talk about celebrating vinegar without talking about pickles. The Complete Book of Pickling, and the Pickled Pantry will have you puckering in no time. If you're in for a smaller time investment Quick Pickles might be the choice for you.

How did you celebrate National Vinegar Day?

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