Ages 18+.

Short Stories to Films

Away from Her, a film by twenty-something, first-time director Sarah Polley is based on the story The Bear Came Over the Mountain in Alice Munro’s Carried Away : A Selection of Stories. Starring Julie Christie as Fiona, a woman whose Alzheimer’s disease devastates a long-standing marriage, it is a film not to be missed.

Jindabyne, starring Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne as a married couple, is based on Raymond Carver’s short story So Much Water So Close to Home, found in his Short Cuts: Selected Stories. This Carver classic opens with the discovery of a dead body on the river by a group of sport fishermen and the effects of one questionable decision made on their families and the Jindabyne community. This Australian import was filmed around New South Wales.

Both films open nationally early May. Check your local listings.

New Lodi Township Historical Group Forming

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A new group is working to preserve the history of Lodi Township. An offshoot of the Saline Area Historical Society, the group has two current projects: Preserving the Old Lodi Township Hall and cleaning up the Lodi Township Cemetery. The old hall, located on Pleasant Lake Road, dates back to 1867 and has been closed for 30 years, according to the spring/summer Lodi Connection newsletter. The cemetery, located at Textile and Ann Arbor-Saline roads, dates back to the late 1820s. A spring clean-up of the cemetery is planned for Saturday May 19 with a rain date of Sunday May 20. Anyone interested in helping with this clean-up should meet at the cemetery at 9 a.m. May 19 with rakes and yard clippers. For more information call Margaret O’Connor, 663-1327, or Peg Canham, 944-2922.

Comics With Curtis

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Curtis Sullivan, owner of the Vault of Midnight will talk about what's new in the world of comics and graphic novels--and rave about his favorites!
It's happening Sunday, May 6 | 4:00-5:30 PM Downtown Library Board Room.
Actually Free Comic Book Day is set to be celebrated around the world on May 5, Saturday, so make your total week-end a comic one.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (4/29/07)

Dorothea Benton Frank continues her string of hits featuring the South Carolina Low Country. Her fans expect a certain dynamic involving family crises and romance laced with humor. In The Land of Mango Sunsets her heroine Mellie has a mid-life meltdown when her husband leaves her and everything else seems out-of-whack, too. A trip to Sullivans Island resolves all issues and results in a very happy ending. Just what Frank promises.

Fans will want to note that Frank is coming to the Ann Arbor Book Festival on Saturday May 19.

The other new books are: Fresh Disasters by Stuart Woods, Sleeping with Strangers by Eric Jerome Dickey and Obsession by Karen Robards. None of these authors are strangers to the List.

He was an advocate for babies and peace

Today, May 2 is the birthday of Dr. Benjamin Spock, pediatrician and crusader in the field of child care, later active in the peace movement during the Vietnam War. Spock was born in 1906, the eldest of six children and so from an early age had taken care of young children. After the publication of the first aedition of what was to become Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, Spock was surprised at its success, being the second largest selling book in the world after the Bible. His philosophy of child care revolutionized the way parents thought about their children, giving them permission to use their instincts, not always adhere to a strict feeding schedule, to comfort crying babies and to actually enjoy parenting. His love and concern for children was also manifested in his work in the peace movement as he watched young men risking their lives in what he considered an unnecessary war. Spock died in 1998 at the age of 94.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #62

In Summer People, Nathan, a midwestern college dropout/aspiring graphic novelist, is hired as a "caretaker" for Ellen Broderick who summers at Brightonfield Cove, an exclusive coastal community in Maine.

Not everyone in town is civil, let alone welcoming to Nathan except for Edwin Lowell, an Episcopalian pastor and his feisty, dark-eyed beauty of a nanny, Leah, who quickly peeks Nathan’s interest.

Apart from the rounds of evening cocktails, tennis matches at the Golf and Tennis Club, and midnight picnics with Leah, Nathan finds his caretaker’s responsibilities increasingly demanding and Ellen’s behavior unnerving. Ellen's colorful past, and the secrets of this insular town might just be more than Nathan could do to keep them both safe.

A promising debut for Brian Groh and a solid good read.

K-12 Educators: Get a classroom ePal

Looking for a safe and educational online environment for kids? Want to introduce your students to other cultures, the fundamentals of letter writing, and the joys of friendship? Why not get a pen pan? Wait, make that an e-Pal. ePals is the largest online classroom community. It provides a safe way for students to email other children around the world. Currently there are 191 countries, 7 million students and 123,851 classrooms trading short stories, practicing language and literacy skills and swapping classroom videos. Classrooms must register as a group. Join in!

If you prefer more traditional modes of correspondence, check out our books on letter writing for kids.

Messages in the Mailbox: How to Write a Letter
Putting it in Writing
Sincerely Yours: How to Write Great Letters
The Young Writer’s Handbook

Charles Baxter's "Soul Thief" Coming Out Next Year

Former Ann Arborite and U-M creative writing teacher Charles Baxter has a short novel coming out next year, “Soul Thief,” about a person who slips into someone else’s personality. And a film based on Baxter’s novel The Feast of Love is due to be released in September, according to StarTribune.com. The article says Baxter, who lives in Minneapolis, is turning 60 next week. Happy birthday!

Disturbing Images of Darfur

The urgent humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s western region of Darfur is the subject of a photo exhibit opening Friday at AADL’s Mallet’s Creek branch. Sponsored by a number of church and temple groups, the exhibit showcases the photographs of native Michigander Ryan Spencer Reed and is called Hands of a Displaced Sudan: The Cost of Silence. The grand opening of the exhibit is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 4, when people will be able to meet the photographer and view the photographs he shot and smuggled out of Darfur. At AADL there are a number of good books about the Darfur crisis, including the new book The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing witness to the genocide in Darfur by Brian Steidle.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #61

Winner of the prestigious Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 1999, Los detectives salvajes is the first of the author's large body of works to be translated into English as the The Savage Detectives*. (Also in our collection, his short stories Last Evenings on Earth).

This major work by Chilan born Roberto Bolano recounts 17 year-old Juan García Madero's initiation into the militant literary movement started by young poets Arturo Belano (Bolaño's alter ego) and Ulises Lima in the 1970s in Mexico City. The three, with a fugitive prostitute in tow, set out in quest of Mexican poet Cesárea Tinajero, who apparently disappeared in the Sonoran Desert in the 1920s. This road trip spanned a decade, took the travelers to Guatemala, Barcelona, Paris, Israel, Congo, Liberia, and the U.S., and in large part, being told through voices of the people they met along the way.

Humorous and tragic, "Bolano fashions an engrossing lost world of youth and utopian ambition, as particular and vivid as it is sad and uncontainable”. ~ Publishers Weekly . Roberto Bolano died of liver failure at the age of 50 in 2003. Obituary

* = Starred Reviews

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