Ages 18+.

Ciara's The Evolution at Number One

Remember Goodies by Ciara in 2004 and how hot that was. Do you think The Evolution will be just as hot as it enters this week at number one on the Billboard 200 Chart?

Did you see Idlewild?

Idlewild - OutKastIdlewild - OutKast

As far as the not-so-new-anymore Outkast movie, Idlewild goes, some loved it... some hated it...

Oh well, at the least both sides seem to agree that the soundtrack is on point... so check it out!

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (12/17/06)

For this season of peace, there is a lot of mayhem entering the List this week. With his latest novel, some critics are also suggesting Crichton himself is running amok.

At #2 is Next by Michael Crichton: "The author of “Jurassic Park” describes a not-too-distant future when genetic engineering runs amok."

At #5 is Treasure of Khan by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler: "In his 19th adventure, Dirk Pitt confronts a murderous Mongolian tycoon who manipulates the oil market and knows the secret of Genghis."

At #6 is Brother Odd by Dean Koontz: "With his ability to see the spirits of the dead, Odd Thomas, a character in two previous novels by Koontz, heads off a catastrophe at a monastery."

Listen Local

It’s important to shop local, but we also can listen local, to holiday CDs including In the Christmas Spirit by the Ann Arbor-based Chenille Sisters, or A Boychoir Christmas: Dancing Day by the Boychoir of Ann Arbor. If you get stuck in holiday traffic, just pop of one of these into your CD player and sing away!

Long Live the French Language

Great news for people who, like myself, studied beaucoup de Francais (lots of French) in high school and college, and perhaps have lived to wish it had all been Spanish. Mais non! French is still the second global language after English, say Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau whose new book The Story of French recently was featured on The Diane Rehm Show. Learn more at the authors' website.

American Born Chinese & The Monkey King

Cleverly interweaving stories tell the tales of Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco's Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Exploring issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a rare treat.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (12/10/06)

The reviews for Pynchon's latest book have been surprisingly mixed. Taking 9 years to write and coming in at over 1000 pages, the novel may end up as a door stopper for some disgruntled readers.

For something entirely different and more entertaining, I recommend the latest mystery by Hillerman. I have never been dissatisfied with any of his magical stories set in the Navajo nation, featuring Leaphorn and/or Chee.

At #4 is The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman: "Lt. Joe Leaphorn, a tribal detective, tracks down an antique Navajo rug with a complicated history."

At #13 is Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon: "From the time of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 to World War 1, a sprawling cast of characters engage in Pychonesque high jinks."

Ever wondered . . .

how a jet's black box works, how a skin graft is grown, or how a pet translator interprets the mood of your dog or cat? Take a look at Cool Stuff and How it Works. This full color picture book uses advanced imaging technology such as X rays, scanning electron micrographs, and infrared thermograms, along with traditional graphics, to reveal the workings of all this and more. A feast for the eye and brain!

Jay-Z knocks us to Kingdom Come

Jay-ZJay-Z

So... Jay-Z is retired... right... just like Jordan was...

Anyway, check out Jay-Z in his seventh solo album, Kingdom Come. It was just released around Thanksgiving and it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200.

Let's see if it even comes close to The Black Album...

December New and Noteworthy

The Book of Lost Things* by John Connolly.
An enchanting novel about a 12-year-old English boy, David, who is thrust into a realm where eternal stories and fairy tales assume an often gruesome reality and learns lessons of bravery and loyalty. Never truly frightening and consistently entertaining.

Billionaires Prefer Blondes* by Suzanne Enoch
Witty romance with sizzling chemistry between an art thief and her billionaire beau.

A Safe Place for Dying* by Jack Fredrickson. (FFF)
Smartly plotted, briskly paced and laced with humor mark this impressive debut of “Dek” Elstrom, an embattled intrepid Chicago PI who became the prime suspect in a series of explosions.

Mad Dogs* by James Grady.
5 CIA operatives, hidden away in a lunatic asylum in Maine, embark on a week-long run for freedom and revenge. “Whipsaw bouts of action, dark humor and poignant glimpses into the characters' broken lives” makes for a page-turner.

Dead and Buried* by Quintin Jardine.
Marvelous British procedural - Edinburgh detective Skinner is tapped by the head of MI5 to investigate security breaches while juggling several other crimes and crises close to home.

The Blonde* by Duane Swierczynski.
Adrenaline-charged thrill ride through the streets of Philadelphia for Jack Eisley and the blonde in question who just infected him with deadly and fast-replicating nanomachines. Fast and funny.

* = Starred Reviews

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