Ages 18+.

ArmChair Travels - Sicily

What a way to travel and never leave the comforts of home! Every chapter in The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily by Theresa Maggio can be read as a short story about a different village on the island of Sicily. The villages are unique from each other and the residents are memorably "alive". My favorite "visit" was to an ancient (and still inhabited) home built into granite walls with stone ledge balconies overlooking the valley below. Of course, the boudoir was in stone. I swear I felt the Medite

ArmChair Travels - Pakistan

Schools for Girls in remote Pakistan and Afghanistan? Built and thriving with the full support of village leaders? For more than the past fifteen years? Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin is the gripping true story of how this project started and continues in spite of wars, illiteracy, devastation and poverty in the region. Read more about Mortenson's efforts at Mortenson's official website. Mortenson was in Pakistan when his driver/bodyguard reported "A village called New York" had just been bombed.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #30

If you are still waiting for Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, rest assured that the wait is well worth it.

In the meantime, there is Renee Dodd's A Cabinet of Wonders. There are many similarities between these two Fabulous Fiction Firsts - they are well researched, engrossing in the storytelling, and chock-full of realistic, behind-the-scenes details of the little known world of circuses and traveling carnival shows.

Set in the Depression, they both paint a vivid portrait, with emotional authenticity, of the lives, dreams and relationships of the performers and personalities, as well as their struggles to stay together for what might very well be, one last season.

Starred Kirkus review praises A Cabinet of Wonders as "...a rare treat: a diverting and insightful piece of quirky fiction".

Henri Cartier-Bresson

bresson

August 22 is the anniversary of the birth of Henri Cartier-Bresson, co-founder of the Magnum Photo Agency, who was born in 1908 in Chanteloup, France. Originally a painter, Bresson fell in love with photography after purchasing his first Leica camera. Known for capturing "the decisive moment," Bresson is well known for his sometimes brutally honest portrayals of lives often lived on the edge.

Many of the current Magnum photographers follow his precedent as evidenced in the moving and powerful travelling exhibit of photos taken of the September 11th tragedy currently on display in the lower level Multi-Purpose Room at the Downtown Library.

Weekend Warrior

Weekend Warriors- There's still time before Summer's gone to get those honey-do lists done.
If you can’t figure out how to actually add that electric circuit, plumb that fixture, build that deck, etc. then check out some of the popular guides that you can get at the Library. I’ve always turned first to the Reader's Digest Do-It Yourself Manual for a good overview on the home. However,I recently discovered Renovation by Michael Litchfield in it’s 3rd edition. I'm very impressed with the accuracy and depth of information presented in this book.

A Popular Summer Novel

The Lake, the River and the Other Lake, a Michigan novel by Steve Amick, is popular in Ann Arbor this summer. The paperback was #3 last week on the local bestsellers list. Amick’s CD There's always pie is attracting some attention, too. It has an intriguing song list: The song of the townies -- Cheese sandwich -- Wasn't I great? --You're the one -- Still so much -- I feel sorry for you (if you don't live here) -- Dum-dum -- I wanna be with you -- The arithmetic of love -- Part of me -- Big fat berries -- Michigan moonlight. Sounds fun.

Maps to Take With on Your Vacation

Mackinac Map

When I go on vacation I need maps, maps of cities I will be visiting and maps of states I will be driving through.

I borrow the maps from the library’s map files on the Second Floor of the Downtown Library. The library has maps for Michigan cities and regions, for states, for most major cities in the United States, and for foreign countries and cities. The maps circulate for four weeks.

During a recent trip up north I found where I was going with the aid of street maps of Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Charlevoix, and Traverse City and a regional Michigan map of the Northern Tip of Michigan.

In the past year the map files helped with maps of San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma counties, Chicago, Boston, Greenville (S.C.), Chapel Hill (N.C.), and Ithaca (N.Y.)

The map files are a great resource. Ease the stress of travel with some good maps.

Wild Man LA Writer Charles Bukowski

Today is the birthday of Charles Bukowski, who lived 1920-1994 and published more than fifteen books of fiction and poetry. Abused as a child, Bukowski grew up to be, at least for a while, literally a starving writer, limiting himself to one candy bar a day, while writing up to five short stories a week, according to The Writer's Almanac, where you can find more information. Bukowski's books include Run With the Hunted.

Countdown to the Man Booker Prize 2006 begins

Countdown to the Man Booker Prize 2006 begins

The longlist for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, one of contemporary fiction's most prestigious international awards, has been announced by the Booker judging panel. The shortlist of six authors will be announced September 14, 2006, and the winner of the £50,000 purse will be named on October 10, 2006.

Some of the authors on the longlist are as follows:

Peter Carey Theft: A Love Story
Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss
Nadine Gordimer Get a Life
Kate Grenville The Secret River
James Lasdun Seven Lies
Mary Lawson The Other Side of the Bridge

For the full list, go to the Man Booker Prize 2006 website.

Not Bitter

Even though Testimony. Vol.1, Life and Relationship by India.Arie is a musical ode to a failed relationship, do not expect negativity on this cd. This cd, which is a follow-up to her 2002 Grammy Award winning Voyage to India is filled with hope and positive messages.

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