Ages 18+.

November New and Noteworthy

Margherita Dolce Vita* by Stefano Benni.
“An elegant little piece of dark comedy” by a prolific Italian author (FFF in translation). Wise and charismatic 15 yr.-old Margherita and her odd-ball family are transformed by their new neighbors from hell.

Harlem Girl Lost* by Treasure E. Blue.
A bright young woman fights her way out of the mean streets of New York, only to be drawn back in to save her man. A lurid, gripping debut and a self-publishing sensation.

Last Seen Leaving* by Kelly Braffet.
New Age spiritualist searches for her estranged daughter who has not been seen after being picked up by a stranger on a deserted highway, while a serial killer is on the loose. Gripping.

Love in a Fallen City* by Eileen Chang (Ailing Zhang).
Six vibrant stories depict life in post WWII China and bristle with equal parts passion and resentment.

Eifelheim* by Michael Flynn.
Young modern historian obsesses with the mysterious disappearance of a German village from all maps during the Black Death. The story intersects with the heartbreaking saga of stranded aliens from a distant star.

Vince and Joy* by Lisa Jewell.
Tired of all the heavy stuff around? Try this deliciously addictive read filled with London oddballs. First loves reunite after 17 years of miscommunication, disappointments and all the things life throw at you. Romantic.

The Sky People* by S.M. Stirling.
First of a new alternate history series with "broad-brush pulp sensibility". Space colonization and a classic love triangle.

The Orphan's Tales : In the night garden* by Catherynne Valente.
“A beautiful relayed, interlinked fairy tales” of magic, adventure, quests and murder, told by a mysterious young woman with tattoos around her eyelids. Think Sheherezade and the Arabian Nights.

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall* by Bill Willingham.
Re-imagined new lives and backstories for fairyland citizens , the likes of Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf, now living as secret refugees in New York - probably the “smartest mainstream comics going”.

*= Starred Review(s)

Conger Fall Home Tour

Want to peek inside some of Ann Arbor's loveliest homes?

On Thursday November 9, 2006 from 10 am to 4 pm you can help a good cause and indulge your interest and curiosity by joining the annual Conger Home Tour from 10 am to 4 pm.

This year the Tour is happening a month earlier than usual to offer participants more time to visit the homes. And the homes will not be decorated for the holidays but have been chosen for their unique artwork and decoration that stand out year round.

The Conger Holiday Market will happen on Tuesday December 5 and your Home Tour ticket will get you in the door.

The proceeds from the Tour support scholarships for women at the University of Michigan through the Lucile B. Conger Alumnae Group.

Tickets are $20 at the door and $15 in advance for this tour of four Ann Arbor Homes. You can also call 734-433-9698 for further information.

From Horror to Heartfelt

In Stephen King's most recent novel, Lisey's Story he continues to assault your emotions by tugging at the heartstrings of his loyal readers. "I wanted to write a story that had the same feeling as one of those good country songs that you hear on the radio...".

As Lisey sorts through the writings of her late husband's work, she confronts all of who he was. Can she cope with his disturbing family past?

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #40

A Corpse in the Koryo* introduces, to global mystery fans a new and exciting series starring Inspector O of the Pyongyang Police Department (North Korea).

This hard-boiled, police procedural begins with a seemingly routine surveillance assignment that turns nasty, pitching a pragmatic and honorable detective against the competing military and intelligence hierarchies.

First-time author James Church (pseudonym) is a former intelligence office with decades of experience in Asia. This outstanding crime novel boasts believable characters and situations, and is "richly layered and visually evocative". A must-read.

All-starred reviews in Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

For his Chinese (Shanghai) counterpart, try the latest in the Inspector Chen series (A Case of Two Cities,* 2006) by Qiu Xiaolong - another honest detective struggling to be true under a repressive regime.

*= Starred review.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (11/5/06)

Just last week I wrote that Michael Connelly was my favorite American mystery writer. When I looked at the List this week I realized I had to qualify that claim. I also rank Elizabeth George at the top but her detectuve is the very British Inspector Lynley. The author may be from Southern California but you would never guess that from reading her critically acclaimed novels. I strongly recommend reading her series in order, beginning with the begiining in A Great Deliverance.

At #2 is The Collectors by David Baldacci: The Camel Club is back to solve a murder in the Library of Congress. Title brings back memories of an earlier book The Collector, which was made into one of the creepiest movies of all time.

At #7 is What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George: the prequel to her last mystery With No One As Witness which left many of her fans in tears.

At #10 is The Bancroft Strategy by Robert Ludlum: this franchise continues after the author's death with this thriller involving an intelligence agent and a banker caught up kidnapping, terrorists, conspiracies and the possibly nefarious shenanigans of a family foundation.

Starting a New Business? The MSBTDC may be able to help you

If you're thinking of starting a new business and are looking for information, counseling, resources and other help, the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center may be able to assist you. The organization, part of a national and state network, has offices in Ypsilanti and at Washtenaw Community College. Their knowledgable staff presents regular workshops on starting a business called 'Vision to Reality' at several area locations, as well as other special programs on topics such as marketing, business planning, home-based businesses, business taxes and financing. Some programs are free of charge, for others there is a small fee. Just click on the 'Calendar of Training' button to see details about their upcoming schedule.

Feast of Love and Popularity

Borders has the best bookstores, followed by Nicola’s Books and Shaman Drum. The best local authors are Charles Baxter, Elizabeth Kostova and Steve Amick. Those are among highlights of the third annual Readers’ Choice Awards, published this week by the Ann Arbor News. The whole list - restaurants, stores, etc. - is in an insert to the Nov. 1 paper, available in the periodicals areas of the Downtown Library and at our branches.

The women behind poets dying young

I know Halloween overshadowed (no pun intended) everything on October 31, but we must also remember John Keats who was born on that day, as well as his cronies Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. John Keats was born on October 31, 1795 and died an untimely death from tuberculosis on February 23, 1821. Shelley and Byron also died young, leaving only William Wordsworth, the father of the Romantic poets to live to a ripe old age.

A new novel, Passion by Jude Morgan looks at the lives of their wives and lovers including Mary Shelley and Fanny Brawne.] Morgan's novel gives us a glimpse of early nineteenth century life where these women flouted the more rigid conventions of the time and created their own identities apart from the men they loved.

Michigan Football: Recent Books

Ball State has played two Big Ten teams already this season, losing to Indiana 24-23 (a far better showing than displayed by the team from East Lansing) and to Purdue 38-28. They have played before a total of 74,178 fans in five home games and a total of 104,593 fans in four away games.

Brady Hoke, a Ball State grad and their head coach, was a Michigan assistant coach for eight years. In his remarks about the game Coach Hoke said “Coach Carr is a great man who I admire more than anybody in football. He is an outstanding football coach, but even more important he is a better man.”

He also said “We are playing 11 players and they are playing 11 players.” That sounds like a distinct disadvantage for Ball State. He should have negotiated that they could have at least 12 players.

Halftime Reading:

A Season in the Big House: an Unscripted Insider Look at the Marvel of Michigan Football by George Cantor
Game Day: Michigan Football: the Greatest Games, Players, Coaches and Teams in the Glorious Tradition of Wolverine Football by Athlon Sports
Tales from Michigan Stadium, Volume 2 by Jim Brandstatter

And No One is Looking Ahead, But:

The Ten Year War: Ten Classic Games Between Bo and Woody by Joel Pennington
Unrivaled: Michigan vs. Ohio State by The Ann Arbor News
The 100-Yard War: Inside the 100-Year-Old Michigan – Ohio State Football Rivalry by Greg Emmanuel

William Styron, Pultizer Prize author, has died

William Styron, Pultizer Prize author, has diedWilliam Styron, Pultizer Prize author, has died

A powerful voice of American letters has been silenced.

William Styron, author of The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s Choice, two important novels that changed the national discussion about slavery and the Holocaust respectively, died November 1, 2006 in Martha’s Vineyard of pneumonia.

Often labeled the ‘new William Faulkner’, a comparison he strongly protested, he published Lie Down in Darkness, his first novel. in 1951. In 1968 he was awarded the Pulitzer for The Confessions of Nat Turner, based on an actual uprising by slaves in 1831. Nat Turner originally was highly praised and then later renounced as a misrepresentation of that chapter in African American history.

Sophie’s Choice, the wrenching story of a Holocaust survivor driven to despair from the impossibly horrific choice she was forced to make at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, won the American Book Award for Fiction in 1980 and was made into a powerful movie starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.

Mr. Styron was 81.

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