Ages 18+.

Celebrating Fiction Shorts

Short stories are one of the most under-appreciated fiction genres. That’s why it was so satisfying to see The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel picked as one of New York Times’ TOP 5 FICTION OF 2006.

While Amy Hempel is one of a handful of writers who has built a reputation based solely on short fiction, there are many more recent releases that deserve a serious look.

Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories* by Elizabeth Hand.
Lovely and unsettling - these 8 stories give a sensual and apocalyptic perspective on modern society, with art, death and sex all swirled together.

The View from Castle Rock :Stories* by Alice Munro.
12 exquisitely constructed tales from the grand dame of short fiction, centered around the Scottish Laidlaws and their migration to the New World, drawn from letters and family lore.

Lately* by Sara Pritchard.
11 loosely linked stories which "examine the quirkly lives of a handful of people...(who) sparkle with equal part courage and bewilderment". Masterful.

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves*(FFF) by Karen Russell.
This first story collection of 10 upbeat, sentimental fables, narrated by articulate, emotionally precocious children from dysfunctional households is a thing of beauty, not to be missed.

Everybody Loves Somebody : Stories* by Joanna Scott.
From a McArthur Fellowship and Lannan Award winner, a stylish and apt depiction of everyday life, quietly well crafted, that will leave a lasting impression.

*= Starred Review(s) You might ask - "What about the guys?" That's next, I promise. <--!break-->

Anime books and magazines

The library doesn’t just have great anime tv series and films in its dvd collection; it also has books about anime in our nonfiction collection. I especially like Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier and The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation since 1917 by Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy.

And if you want the very latest news on anime, take a look at Newtype USA magazine, which is available at all library branches.

New Adult Documentaries

If you are interested in documentaries there are some new additions to the AADL.
There is a new documentary about two boys growing up in Appalachian, Kentucky over a period of three years. The documentary Country Boys is a portrait of these young boys and the struggle that they go through. For a totally different perspective of America check out Stephen Foster . Stephen Foster was a man who was ahead of his times when it came to music. His music was the rock and roll of its time. If you would like to learn more about the man that created songs such as Oh Susannah!, Camptown Races, Beautiful Dreamer there is a documentary about his life made by PBS. If you are more interested in foreign documentaries there is a new film called Jesus, Du Weisst. This is a documentary by Ulrich Seidl at the opinions of six different people concerning the Catholic Church. Come in and check them out!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #46

Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, “this brilliant debut is a must read”.

Set in Chicago, The Blade Itself opens with a botched pawnshop robbery that would send young Evan to prison while Danny, his partner and childhood friend walks away and builds himself a respectable life. Seven years later, Evan is out and looking for payback. In an attempt to outwit Evan without succumbing to his past life, Danny devises a kidnap/ransom scheme that would bring on escalating collateral damage.

Michigan Notable Books 2007

The Library of Michigan's annual selection (annotations are from the Library of Michigan list):

Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke by Dean Kuipers. Bloomsbury.
This detailed and readable account describes the 2001 tragedy on Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm's farm in Vandalia, a rural Cass County town. Crosslin founded Rainbow Farm in 1993 as a shelter for marijuana smokers, libertarians, disconnected gays and lovers of live music. Local authorities charged Crosslin and Rohm with growing marijuana, used social services to remove Rohm's son from the farm, and began taking the necessary steps to confiscate the property. Kuipers provides an account of the incident and argues that maximum force is not always morally justified when dealing with the emotional issues surrounding the War on Drugs.

Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder by Steve Lehto. Momentum Books.
This book explores the enduring mystery and drama surrounding the 1913 Christmas Eve tragedy at Italian Hall in Calumet. After a still-unidentified man falsely cried, "Fire," more than 70 people, many of them children, were crushed to death in the stairwell amidst the panicked crush to flee the building. The author expertly analyzes the objectivity of the local newspaper coverage, the coroner's inquest, and the mystery surrounding the doors (did they open inward or outward?), and reaches several thought-provoking, startling, and controversial conclusions.

Donutheart by Sue Stauffacher. Alfred A. Knopf.
In this young adult sequel to Donuthead set in fictional central and west Michigan, Franklin is still obsessive but begins to gain a heart for others. His good friend Sarah needs help, but will not tell Franklin what is going on. Will Franklin take action and help Sarah? An enthralling tale of two youngsters who each learn to make their own decisions and deal in very individual ways with a puzzling grownup world. The story is a beautiful mixture of funny and original characters, intermingled with the frustrating issues of growing up.

January New and Noteworthy

The Song is You* by Megan Abbott.
Noir crime fiction by an Edgar Award nominee. "Shiz-bang adventure through Tinseltown's underbelly" when two starlets gone missing. A retro thrill ride.

The Sidewalk Artist (FFF) by Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk.
Alternating between contemporary Paris and Renaissance Italy this debut novel follows two parallel, intertwined romances. Novelist Tulia Rose comes to Europe looking for inspiration but unexpectedly finds romance with a mysterious, talented sidewalk artist while researching the story of Renaissance painter Raphael and his secret lover. A touch of magic and plenty of cappuccino.

Arlington Park* by Rachel Cusk.
Over the course of one rainy day, the Whitbread Award-winner plumbs the extraordinary inner nature of the ordinary suburban English life. “Darkly comic, deeply affecting and wise”.

The Bastard of Istanbul* by Elif Shafak
Turkish author recently cleared by the government of “denigrating Turkishness” because of her frank look at Turkish-Armenian antipathy, gives us this enlightening and entertaining novel of 4 generations of the Kazanci women, set in Istanbul.

The Terror* by Dan Simmons.
Scurvy, frostbite, botulism, and an enomous THING out on the ice plagued Sir John Franklin’s failed 1840 mission to find the Northwest Passage. A spellbinding sea story with grisly details.

Red River* by Lalita Tademy
A follow-up to her 2001 Oprah sensation Cane River – this time the repercussions of the Colfax Riot of 1873 – an engrossing and eye-opening emotional family saga.

* = Starred Review(s)

New Year’s Resolution: Write a Bioblog

Bioblogs: Resumes for the 21st Century by Michael Holley Smith.

From the back cover of the book: "What is a Bioblog? It is a stunning, attention-getting, graphics-based art form that workers of the future will use to get hired by the best employers. A Bioblog will make you, as a knowledge worker, stand out from the pack of job seekers. It will present a unique version of you and tell employers what you can do for them in the future, as opposed to what you have done for different employers in the past. The old standard is no more. Bioblogs are the resumes of the future."

eve Contemporary Cuisine Methode Traditionelle

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eve: Contemporary Cuisine Methode Traditionnelle by Eve Aronoff is a beautiful and daunting cookbook, celebrating the food from the restaurant in Kerrytown.

Be sure you have thoroughly read the recipes before attempting to prepare them. You may need to make a trip to a local Asian or Middle Eastern ethnic food store, order some spices online, run out to Zingerman’s, Durham’s Tracklements, Monahan’s Seafood Market, Sparrow’s Meat Market, Morgan and York, or the Farmer’s Market. You may have to prepare some of the ingredients listed before attempting the main recipe.

For me the recipes are more likely to entice me to eat at eve than to attempt to actually cook the dishes. The chapter on Accompaniments has some recipes that are simpler. Even here the Fingerling Potatoes are best fried in rendered duck fat pulled from Durham Tracklement’s cured duck breast prosciutto.

In addition to the recipes and the lovely photographs there are occasional charming pieces by Eve Aronoff about the restaurant, her culinary background, her family, local food purveyors, and members of the staff.

Great stuff I have been reading...

I read a lot of great graphic novels and manga this past year and some of the titles that really left lasting impressions on me include: Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihrio Tatsumi, the seminal gekiga style mangaka. The manga series One Piece by Eiichiro Oda - wacked out and super fun pirate tales jammed with memorable characters, places and stories. Another is Ellen Forney's I Love Led Zeppelin - yet another wild ride celebrating alternative lifestyles and musings on memories. Rounding out the list are Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: a family Tragicomic - yes, it's as good as they say it is! Be sure to check out her Dykes to Watch Out For collections too...

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