Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #63

North Carolina's Cataloochee valley is the setting for its native son Wayne Caldwell's much prasied debut novel.

Caldwell recounts a century of history, families, loves, deaths, dreams and disappointments among the citizens of this tiny isolated community forgotten by time, until the 1920s when the United States government marched in to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The loss of land brought on devastating and deadly effects, not surprising since these mountain folks have always regarding bearing arms as an inalienable right and liquoring up as a way of life.

Quietly observant and respectful of his characters, flaw and all, Caldwell has penned an engaging and deeply moving novel while bringing a small slice of Appalachia to life. A readalike for Sharyn MCCrumb's Ghost Riders and Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons.

Life Journeys

Were you 20 something in the 70’s? Are you 50 something in the new millennium?
These stories are good ArmChair travels with people finding their way since coming-of-age in the 1970s.
Better Off: Flipping The Switch On Technology is the story of an MIT graduate who decided to step away from a high-tech future and work an Amish-style farm life for the first two years of marriage. Same River Twice is a documentary on the “grown-up” lives of five Colorado River Guides “since they left the summer river life” of their youth. William Least Heat Moon wrote Blue Highways in 1982 while traveling county roads (the blue highways on maps) across the US, and visiting with residents all along the way. Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain’s Journey is written by Linda Greenlaw, the only female Swordboat Captain off the east coast of Main.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (5/13/07)

The setting of Anita Shreve's latest bestseller Body Surfing will poignantly remind readers of past novels. She returns to the summer house on the coast of New Hampshire, the enthralling scene of Fortune's Rocks, The Pilot's Wife, The Weight of Water and Sea Glass. Once again it is the tragic setting for betrayals and deceptions, by friends and lovers and by families. And once again Shreve weaves a spell with seductive characters and a hypnotic mood.

The other new books are Simple Genius by David Baldacci, Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber, and The River Knows by Amanda Quick. None of these authors are strangers to the List.

The Best Of Youth

Best Of YouthBest Of Youth

Best Of Youth is a wonderful Italian film that tells the tale of two Italian brothers' lives. The film setting starts out in the 1960s and follows the brothers through the next 40 years of their lives. This film encompasses every aspect of themselves and the world they live in including; politics, love, passion, family, hope, regret, death, loss, and searching. This movie is particularly wonderful because the characters could be us or anyone we know. The sincerity of this film is brought even more to heart via the wonderful acting performances throughout the movie. This movie begs the question, "Why isn't anyone in America making films like this???"
The official FFG rating for this movie is an 8.

Orchid Lovers to Meet at Matthei Botanical Gardens

Orchid lovers might wish to attend the next meeting of the Ann Arbor Orchid Society at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Road. Eric Christensen, author and expert on vandaceous and Peruvian orchids, orchid taxonomy and orchid culture will speak on South American Slipper orchids and their habitats. Orchid plants will be for sale and there will be a silent auction and raffle. For information call (734)663-0756.

Colby Buzzell wins 2007 Blooker Prize

Colby Buzzell wins 2007 Blooker PrizeColby Buzzell wins 2007 Blooker Prize

Colby Buzzell, author of the stunningly honest and brutally funny My War: Killing Time in Iraq, has won the 2nd annual Blooker Prize, given to honor the wealth of high quality writing originating on the web in blogs and websites, that is then turned into book form. Buzzell went from slacker to solder at age 26, and ended up serving a tour of duty in Iraq as an Army machine gunner.

Buzzell’s award is particularly ironic, given yesterday’s news from the Pentagon. U.S. troops’ access to YouTube and MySpace (among 11 other websites) will be denied, in an effort to control the flow of reporting by active duty troops on the battlefield to the world at large. Not surprisingly, the perspective of the boots on the ground often diverges from the official press releases.

For more information about this year’s Blooker short list, go to this previous blog on the Library’s website.

Genealogy Workshop at Washtenaw Community College

If you're just starting a family history project or if you have already had some experience in conducting genealogy research, a special workshop offered by the Richard W. Bailey Library at Washtenaw Community College should be of interest to you. 'Tracing Your Roots: Do You Really Know Who You Are?' will be held on Friday, June 8 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon at the Towsley Auditorium in the Morris Lawrence Building on the WCC campus.
Featured speakers include Wally & Doris Patrick [LDS Ann Arbor Area Family History Library]; Kris Rzepczynski [Library of Michigan]; and Bobbie Snow
[longtime genealogical researcher]. Topics included are: Genealogy Resources, Census Records, Vital Records, Immigrant Ancestors, African-American Genealogy and Internet Genealogy Resources. The workshop is free of charge. Those interested should register by June 1 by calling (734)973-3379 or by email:

Yes! Building a Just and Sustainable World


Here’s a relatively new magazine at the library that is worth a look: It's called Yes! and the published mission "is to support you and other people worldwide in building a just, sustainable, and compassionate world." Doesn't that sound promising? The spring issue has articles on "Women Take Charge in Oaxaca" and “How to Use Films to Make Change," among many other fascinating topics. If you're intrigued and want to find out more, check out non-current issues of the magazine at the library, or visit the magazine’s website.

Ne-Yo in Top Spot

Songwriter, arranger and vocalist Ne-Yo has the number one spot on this week's Billboard 200 with the cd Because of You. Ne-Yo has grown from his start in the music industry as a songwriter to one of today's young, hot vocal artists. In My Own Words, his first released cd, also hit number one on the Chart when it was released in early 2006.

The Outsider Art of Martin Ramirez

Martin Ramirez: Example of Martin Ramirez's artMartin Ramirez: Example of Martin Ramirez's art

Martin Ramirez may be famous for his art, but he is better known for his history as a catatonic schizophrenic who created most of his artwork during his stay at various hospitals. NPR has a retrospective of the artist's work, including several images. For further reading, the library also has the book "The Artist Outsider" that provides further examples of the artist's work and details of his life.

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