Ages 18+.

Best Books 2006 from Library Journal

Annotations are from Library Journal (January 2007)

Belleville, Bill. Losing It All To Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Environmental writer/filmmaker Belleville poignantly reveals how the words of the old Joni Mitchell song have become a grim reality in central Florida, as his traditional Cracker home and rural neighborhood give way to suburban strip malls. Uncontrolled development is an issue not just for the Sunshine State but for America as a whole. (LJ 3/1/06)

Blastland, Michael. The Only Boy in the World: A Father Explores the Mysteries of Autism
As the parent of a severely autistic son, BBC journalist Blastland knows frustration, but it does not fuel his crystalline contemplation. Neither patronizing nor glib, he instead relies on fascination to unlock Joe's head, reminding us how much we “normal” people take for granted. (LJ 7/06)

Brockmeier, Kevin. The Brief History of the Dead
Home to the dead as long as someone on Earth remembers them, the City starts emptying out fast after an epidemic devastates Earth. Beautifully written and brilliantly realized, Brockmeier's second novel delivers a startling sense of what it really means to be alive. (LJ 2/15/06)

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #47

Inspired by the 1922 sensational case of Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters, the British couple who were executed for the murder of Thompson’s husband, Percy, Leslie Margolin’s fiction debut The adulteress is “unusually sensitive and judicious”.

Young Alma was smitten when the much-older, world renowned architect Francis "Rats" Rattenbury left his wife to marry her. Soon they were forced to leave their comfortable lifestyle in Canada for Bournsmouth, England under a cloud of rumors. After Alma’s senseless automobile wreck that seriously injured their son, Rats hired 17 year-old Percy Stoner who could barely drive, to chauffeur her around. Before long, Alma has taken the good-looking and sulky Percy to bed. Rats, forever condescending, goaded Percy into retaliation and Alma found herself pregnant and at a crossroad.

Margolin, author of a true-crime study of the Snyder-Gray case Murderess! The Chilling True Story of the Most Infamous Woman Ever Electrocuted traces each stage of the adulterous couple's eventual descent into murder with surgical precision and Alma's turbulent emotions with understanding and compassion.

For readers of true crime and psychological thriller.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (January 14, 2007)

Romance is in the air this week. Thrilling and chilling. These two authors started out in paperback romance but crossed over into the mainstream by shifting into romantic suspense. Great success followed their leap.

At #5 is Shadow Dance by Julie Garwood: "Jordan Buchanan, a successful businesswoman, encounters danger and romance when she investigates an ancient Scottish feud involving her family."

At #9 is Stalemate by Iris Johansen: "The forensic sculptor Eve Duncan travels to Colombia to identify a skull for a shady arms dealer who promises to help her discover who abducted her daughter."

At Folsom Prison

On January 13, 1968, Columbia Records released At Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash. The album was recorded live at Folsom State Prison, located in Folsom, California. Cash was joined on stage by June Carter, Carl Perkins, and Cash's band, the Tennessee Three. At Folsom Prison reached #1 on the Billboard Country chart and #13 on the Pop chart. The single Folsom City Blues was a #1 Country hit. Dressed in his signature black, Cash introducted himself to the inmates saying "I'm Johnny Cash."

Ann Arbor is getting krump!

Tommy the Clown and the Hip-Hop Clowns are coming to Ann Arbor as part of the 2007 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium, an annual series of events honoring the life and vision of Dr. King at the University of Michigan. Tommy the Clown invented clown dancing and has since offered membership in his dance team to youth as an alternative to gangs. They will perform a tribute to Dr. King, Wednesday, February 7th at the Michigan League Ballroom at 7:30pm.

If you want to learn more about an incredible new style of dance, check out Rize. This exhilarating movie documents the origins of krumping and clown dancing in South Central Los Angeles.

Tempting fate (or not?)

Is fate a tease, an illusion or a controller of one's life? These are questions David Case who re-names himself Justin Case, ponders. As evidenced by this name change, Justin thinks he needs all the help he can get after the close call when his year old brother Charlie almost flies out the window. Justin doesn't fit in and soon finds some kindred souls in Angela, a photographer who likes to take pictures of disasters, an imaginary greyhound named Dog and Peter, the most normal of the lot, who encourages Justin to take up long distance running.

When Justin and Angela find themselves among the survivors of a catastrophe at the airport, Justin's fears multiply and he can't see his way free from the forces of doom.

Alternately funny, horrifying and always thought provoking, Meg Rosoff's new book, Just in Case has some of the same dark elements as her Printz Award winner, How I Live Now.

Slow Week for New Titles

Only one new title Into White by Carly Simon cracked the top 50 on the Billboard 200 this week. Into White entered at number 15. Moonlight Serenade was her last release in 2005.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (1/7/07)

There are no new titles this week! However, it is also that time of year when newspapers and magazines start making their "Best Fiction of 2006" lists. I want to nominate one of my personal favorites, The Dead Hour by Denise Mina. It may not make an official list but this riveting thriller will delight many readers looking for something different. Featuring Glasgow crime reporter Paddy Meehnan, the most unconventional heroine to come along in a long time, this is the second (after Field of Blood) in a planned series by Mina. And after you have read these books, you can have the pleasure of catching up with her earlier books, including the Garnethill series.

1001 Nights of Snowfall

For those of you already familiar with Bill Willingham’s Fables, you probably don’t need my recommendation to check out this anthology. For those of you not familiar with the Vertigo/ DC Comics series, 1001 Nights of Snowfall is a great introduction to the characters that make up Fabletown.

Snow White is sent as an envoy to solicit the help of King Shahryar, an Arabian Sultan, against the Adversary, enemy to all of Fablekind. She soon finds herself entrapped by the Sultan and must fill the nights with stories to beguile him and save her own life. Backstories of some familiar characters are told, which Willingham approaches with more detail than was given in the original tales. Find out what happened to the witch after Hansel and Gretel pushed her into the oven; the unexpected twist in the tale of Snow White after she marries her prince (she’s more independent than Disney portrayed); and why the Big Bad Wolf is so big, bad, and bitter. This book is also a splendid showcase for the talents of the many artists who contributed.

Please remember, though this book does retell the tales of beloved fairy tale characters, this book is not intended for children.

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