Ages 18+.

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.

Trust and Betrayal

Samurai XSamurai X

The Meiji Restoration (1866-1869) marked the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. The two part OVA Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal is a story set during that tumultuous era. In the shadows of Kyoto, Himura Kenshin works for the Choshu revolutionaries as their best assassin. But a chance meeting with a mysterious young woman named Tomoe leads him to reconsider his choices.

Samurai X is gorgeously animated and features some of Japan’s best voice actors, including Mayo Suzukaze and Tomokazu Seki. It’s based on events from volumes 19, 20, and 21 of the manga Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki, but unlike the manga, it’s aimed at adults rather than teens.

If you’re interested in reading more about this historical era, the library also has some great nonfiction books about it, such as Inventing Japan, 1853-1964, The Making of Modern Japan, and The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori.

Guys and Teens - Short Stories

If you're a Teen you may enjoy these books of short stories. If you have already been a Teen, you are sure to enjoy them. How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen, has great read-aloud possibilities for family reunions, or fireplace sit-arounds. If you like to sample multiple authors, try Tomorrowland for glimpses of the future, or Every Man For Himself for slices of contemporary lives.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #41

Giraffe is the debut novel by Economist correspondent J.M.Ledgard that recounts the extermination of the world's largest captive herd of giraffes (49 of them) in a Czechoslovakian zoo in 1975.

The story spans the giraffes' capture in Africa to their deaths behind the Iron Curtain. We see them mainly through the eyes of three individuals whose lives were touched - a haemodynamicist (who studied blood flow in vertical creatures); a factory girl who visited them daily; and the sharpshooter ordered to bring them down one by one.

Ledgard unearthed the truth behind this little-known historic event while researching for the novel. The result is a "magnificent meditation on the quiet ways in which ordinary people become complicit in the crimes committed in their midst; … (and) a fairy tale about the power of other living creatures to enchant us into wakefulness”.

For wildlife enthusiasts, try also The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy. It’s a journey into the minds of African elephants as they struggle to survive years of drought and the deadly ivory trade.

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