Ages 18+.

Move over, Martha.

Amy Sedaris, everyone’s favorite comic shape-shifter and newly minted solo author, wants you to get drunk. On her witty repartee, that is (and maybe a few well-chosen cocktails). Her new book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence delivers plenty of the expected sardonic humor, and some recipes, too. If you consider yourself a fan of both plastic food and Martha Stewart, this book is for you.

Chicken With Plums

Marjane Satrapi’s newest graphic novel, Chicken With Plums, was released this month. In her earlier Persepolis books, she tells her story of growing up in Iran during (and after) the 1979 revolution. This time it is 1958 and we witness the last eight days in the life of her great-uncle, Nassar Ali Khan, a revered tar player.
Satrapi’s personal and sometimes humorous look into her great-uncle’s life is wonderfully enhanced by her simple black and white drawings. She has a gift for illustrating complex human issues and making them universally understandable.
Be on the lookout for Persepolis in animated movie form, to be released sometime in 2007 by Sony Pictures Classics.

"Revenge of the Book Eaters"

Sunday, October 29, 6:30 pm at EMU's Pease Auditorium is Revenge of the Book Eaters. It's a fall fundraiser for the local 826michigan, a non-profit writing center.
Dave Eggers will be a guest, as well as the reknown Davy Rothbart The emcee for the evening is Martin Bandyke, and performing live are the Cowboy Junkies. So, it's an extra-ordinary mix of music and books. See the full line-up and ticket information at 826michigan

A Tempest in Trinidad

In addition to "The Tempest" brewing at Power Center, there's a storm of wills in Elizabeth Nunez's latest book, Prospero's Daughter. Dr. Peter Gardner has been exiled to Trinidad with his daughter, Virginia, after the discovery of a gruesome experiment he performed on a human subject. In this reworking of Shakespeare's play, Nunez poses questions about race and class. Carlos, a Caliban of sorts, is a mixed race orphan who has been living with the Gardner's. He and Virginia have fallen in love. When Gardner who is depicted as a racist lunatic finds out, he accuses Carlos of attempted rape. At the same time, he sexually abuses his native servant, Ariana. Into this mix comes John Mumsford of the British police who fears an uprising of natives against British rule in Trinidad's quest for independence and uses Carlos as an example of the continued stability of his country's authority.

For other fiction that takes place in Trinidad, try:
A Perfect Pledge by Rabindranath Maharaj and
A Thirst for Rain by Roslyn Carrington.

NaNoWriMo

Have you always wanted to write the Great American Novel but never seem to find the time? Maybe all you need is a push. That's where Chris Baty, the brain behind NaNoWriMo was coming from. NaNo what? National Novel Writing Month. 2006 marks the seventh year of this pencil-pushing frenzy.

The basics: you have the month of November to pen (or word process) a 50,000 word novel. This is an excercise in quantity, not necessarily quality. That's the joy of the process, or the horror, depending on whom you ask. No head starts; that would be cheating. If you push through to the end, when December rolls around, you can say (to people who would be impressed by this sort of thing) that you wrote a novel.

Will we see you in any of our branches writing your novel this November?

When Madeline Was Young

A priests' book group is reading Jane Hamilton's favorably reviewed new book, When Madeline Was Young because it casts a particularly kind eye on human nature. The novel weaves the tale of Madeline Maciver, a beautiful young wife who suffers brain damage in a bike accident early in her marriage to Aaron Maciver. Aaron and his second wife, Julia, care for Madeline, while also raising two children of their own. The book, narrated by their son, Mac, also highlights family rivalries, sibling relationships, and contemporary American history.

Edo-era Japan + Hip-Hop = Samurai Champloo

Samurai ChamplooSamurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo follows the journey of an unlikely trio through Edo-era Japan. After Fuu, a young waitress, saves Jin and Mugen, two wandering swordsmen, from execution at the hands of a corrupt magistrate, she ropes them into becoming her bodyguards during her search for the mysterious samurai who smells of sunflowers.

“Champloo” is an Okinawan word that means to mix or to blend, and that’s exactly what this series does: it combines historical detail and samurai swordplay with music by Japanese and American hip-hop artists. The show’s creative use of anachronism goes well beyond the score, influencing everything from the characters’ attitudes to their wardrobes.

If you’ve already watched the series, you might also be interested in the companion manga.

A Timeless Tale

Don't ask why. Serendipity.
The stories are timeless; the issues perennial; simple parables, and I share them here. A book, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, was written in 1959. It resonates as if written today. A movie, Black and White in Color, was produced in 1976. This story happens, wherever people and power exist.

New York Times Bestseller: Elizabeth Edwards

Coming in at #7 this week on the New York Times hardcover bestsellers list is Elizabeth Edwards' memoir, Saving Graces. Edwards, the wife of former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, has written a fascinating account of her life in law and politics, and an uplifting account of how she has survived both the tragic loss of her son Wade and her recent fight against breast cancer. You might also want to check out John Edwards' account of his legal career and family life in Four Trials, or take a look on-line at the Wade Edwards Foundation, which provides computer labs and other learning resources for schoolchildren.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #38

Edward Glyver - booklover, scholar, and murderer is the narrator in this exemplary blend of intrigue, history and romance, marking a standout literary debut with The Meaning of Night: A confession by Michael Cox. It took the author 30 years to complete, and snagged him the highest advance in publication history. Read more.

Glyver always believes he is destined for greatness, but standing between him and his rightful inheritance is his archnemesis, the poet-criminal Phoebus Rainsford Daunt. Resourceful Eddy will stop at nothing to claim what is his.

Fans of Wilkie Collins, Iain Pears, and David Liss would appreciate the expectedly wicked twists, and the well drawn cast of characters. Anyone interested in scrupulously researched background and details of everyday Victorian life, as in Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White and Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith would find an enthralling and suspenseful read here.

All-starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. Highly recommended.

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