Ages 18+.

Remember THE SHEIK?

Many of you are too young to remember him, but for young women in the 1920's, Rudolph Valentino was the first major movie sex symbol. On November 20, 1921, one of his most famous films, The Sheik was released. Valentino's steamy, melodramatic portrayal of a desert prince hopelessly in love with an Englishwoman left women fainting in the aisles. A sequel, The Son of the Shiek, was released in 1926, a few weeks after Valentino's tragic death.

The Library has an extensive collection of silent films featuring such greats as Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and the "It Girl, Clara Bow. Check them out!

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (11/19/06)

There's a lot of romance, sweetness and light on the List this week. Is it the time of year? The big book news this week was the announcement of the National Book Award winner. Richard Powers took home the big prize for Echo Maker.

At #1 is Dear John by Nicholas Sparks: "An unlikely romance between a soldier and an idealistic young woman is tested in the aftermath of 9/11."

At #4 is H.R.H by Danielle Steel: "An American-educated European princess faces unexpected challenges when she works at an African Red Cross camp."

At #12 is Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani: "Complications with family, friends and politics in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains."

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #42

Michael Gregorio's fiction debut Critique of Criminal Reason is a compelling, highbrow historical whodunit set in 1804. Hanno Stiffeniis, a rural magistrate, was summoned by the Prussian king to Konigsberg, to aid his mentor and the great thinker Immanuel Kant in a serial murder investigation. Fear gripped the city, and added to the tension was the threat of invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte and a dark secret in Stiffeniis’ past.

With a twisty, fast-moving plot, pitch-perfect period detail and a psychologically complex protagonist, readers "can expect stunning and thought-provoking reversals before the last clue is deciphered". I will be anxiously waiting for the sequel.

Starred reviews in Publishers’ Weekly and Booklist.

Wise Women and the Great Lakes

Some of my favorite pieces in Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes edited by Alison Swan, take place along Lake Michigan in the Chicago area. In particular, “Hunting the Moon,” by Gail Louise Siegel, includes this wonderful description: “At the lake I hit pay dirt. Turning off Sheridan Road, I see her, rising slowly out of the black water like a holy melon – the full moon. And I’m not the only one who’s come to look; cars line the street. I poke along for a parking spot.” Swan visited Crazy Wisdom in Ann Arbor this week, and now must be headed for Chicago, where she is scheduled to appear at Women & Children First on Clark Street at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, along with Chicago area contributors to the book (Donna Seaman, who wrote “Reflections from a Concrete Shore,” and Judith Strasser (“In the Apostle Islands.”) This book offers a wealth of good to great writing about the Great Lakes and will appeal to anyone with a feminine sensibility, a love of the lakes, or just an appreciation of strong storytelling. The Michigan pieces are varied and splendid, especially “Dunetop Dying,” by Gayle Boss, and “The Gray Lady of Lake Huron,” by Laura Kasischke.

NOW 23 Reaches No. 1

In a week heavy with new releases, the 23rd installment of the Now That's What I Call Music series is number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Now 23 is the 10th number one for the series. This volume includes several Hot 100 number one hits including songs by Fergie and Justin Timberlake.

2006 NBA Winner (Young People’s Literature) announced

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson has been announced the 2006 National Book Award winner for Young People’s Literature. Set against the disquiet of Revolutionary Boston, this novel, the first of two parts, re-imagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

This book is not for every teen reader. In fact, some folks aren’t sure just who this book is written for. However, everyone agrees that the writing is brilliant. Try it and see what you think.

Jack Williamson, giant in the Science Fiction world, has died

Jack WilliamsonJack Williamson

In 1915, seven year old Jack Williamson and his family traveled by covered wagon from Arizona to New Mexico. Thirteen years later his short fiction, The Metal Man, was published in Amazing Stories magazine and a monster science fiction writing career was launched.

Best known for his The Humanoids, Williamson won a Hugo and a Nebula for his novella The Ultimate Earth, 2001.

Mr. Williamson, whose last novel was The Stonehenge Gate, 2005, died November 10, 2006, at age 98.

2006 National Book Award winners

2006 National Book Award winners2006 National Book Award winners

The National Book Foundation announced the winners of this years National Book Awards on Wednesday, November 15, 2006.

They are as follows:

Young People’s Literature

M.T. Anderson for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party, published by Candlewick Press

Poetry

Nathaniel Mackey for Splay Anthem, published by New Directions

Nonfiction

Timothy Egan for The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, published by Houghton Mifflin

Fiction

Richard Powers for The Echo Maker, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Google Visits the Library

What's new with Google? What are their plans for the Ann Arbor area? Find out on Thursday, November 30 when Grady Burnett, head of Online Sales and Operations for Google's Ann Arbor office, discusses Google's plans for growth and their decision to open this local office. What will this mean for Ann Arbor? For Google? Join us from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at the Downtown Library and find out!

November Books to Films

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, a bio-pic of the celebrated photographer, is based loosely on Patricia Bosworth's Diane Arbus: a biography. There is plenty of Oscar talk for Nicole Kidman who plays Arbus.

A Good Year with Russell Crowe, Albert Finney and the young beautiful Aussie Abbie Cornish is based on Peter Mayle's novel about a London financial barracuda who inherits a Provençal chateau and vineyard.

Remake of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. Published in 1953, it was his very first James Bond novel. This 2006 film version features a brand new 007.

A young and edgy cast with Greg Kinnear, Avril Lavigne and Ethan Hawke, and directed by Richard Linklater will delight you in an adaptation of Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, a hard hit on the fast-food industry.

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