Ages 18+.

A Tempest in Trinidad

In addition to "The Tempest" brewing at Power Center, there's a storm of wills in Elizabeth Nunez's latest book, Prospero's Daughter. Dr. Peter Gardner has been exiled to Trinidad with his daughter, Virginia, after the discovery of a gruesome experiment he performed on a human subject. In this reworking of Shakespeare's play, Nunez poses questions about race and class. Carlos, a Caliban of sorts, is a mixed race orphan who has been living with the Gardner's. He and Virginia have fallen in love. When Gardner who is depicted as a racist lunatic finds out, he accuses Carlos of attempted rape. At the same time, he sexually abuses his native servant, Ariana. Into this mix comes John Mumsford of the British police who fears an uprising of natives against British rule in Trinidad's quest for independence and uses Carlos as an example of the continued stability of his country's authority.

For other fiction that takes place in Trinidad, try:
A Perfect Pledge by Rabindranath Maharaj and
A Thirst for Rain by Roslyn Carrington.

NaNoWriMo

Have you always wanted to write the Great American Novel but never seem to find the time? Maybe all you need is a push. That's where Chris Baty, the brain behind NaNoWriMo was coming from. NaNo what? National Novel Writing Month. 2006 marks the seventh year of this pencil-pushing frenzy.

The basics: you have the month of November to pen (or word process) a 50,000 word novel. This is an excercise in quantity, not necessarily quality. That's the joy of the process, or the horror, depending on whom you ask. No head starts; that would be cheating. If you push through to the end, when December rolls around, you can say (to people who would be impressed by this sort of thing) that you wrote a novel.

Will we see you in any of our branches writing your novel this November?

When Madeline Was Young

A priests' book group is reading Jane Hamilton's favorably reviewed new book, When Madeline Was Young because it casts a particularly kind eye on human nature. The novel weaves the tale of Madeline Maciver, a beautiful young wife who suffers brain damage in a bike accident early in her marriage to Aaron Maciver. Aaron and his second wife, Julia, care for Madeline, while also raising two children of their own. The book, narrated by their son, Mac, also highlights family rivalries, sibling relationships, and contemporary American history.

Edo-era Japan + Hip-Hop = Samurai Champloo

Samurai ChamplooSamurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo follows the journey of an unlikely trio through Edo-era Japan. After Fuu, a young waitress, saves Jin and Mugen, two wandering swordsmen, from execution at the hands of a corrupt magistrate, she ropes them into becoming her bodyguards during her search for the mysterious samurai who smells of sunflowers.

“Champloo” is an Okinawan word that means to mix or to blend, and that’s exactly what this series does: it combines historical detail and samurai swordplay with music by Japanese and American hip-hop artists. The show’s creative use of anachronism goes well beyond the score, influencing everything from the characters’ attitudes to their wardrobes.

If you’ve already watched the series, you might also be interested in the companion manga.

A Timeless Tale

Don't ask why. Serendipity.
The stories are timeless; the issues perennial; simple parables, and I share them here. A book, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, was written in 1959. It resonates as if written today. A movie, Black and White in Color, was produced in 1976. This story happens, wherever people and power exist.

New York Times Bestseller: Elizabeth Edwards

Coming in at #7 this week on the New York Times hardcover bestsellers list is Elizabeth Edwards' memoir, Saving Graces. Edwards, the wife of former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, has written a fascinating account of her life in law and politics, and an uplifting account of how she has survived both the tragic loss of her son Wade and her recent fight against breast cancer. You might also want to check out John Edwards' account of his legal career and family life in Four Trials, or take a look on-line at the Wade Edwards Foundation, which provides computer labs and other learning resources for schoolchildren.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #38

Edward Glyver - booklover, scholar, and murderer is the narrator in this exemplary blend of intrigue, history and romance, marking a standout literary debut with The Meaning of Night: A confession by Michael Cox. It took the author 30 years to complete, and snagged him the highest advance in publication history. Read more.

Glyver always believes he is destined for greatness, but standing between him and his rightful inheritance is his archnemesis, the poet-criminal Phoebus Rainsford Daunt. Resourceful Eddy will stop at nothing to claim what is his.

Fans of Wilkie Collins, Iain Pears, and David Liss would appreciate the expectedly wicked twists, and the well drawn cast of characters. Anyone interested in scrupulously researched background and details of everyday Victorian life, as in Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White and Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith would find an enthralling and suspenseful read here.

All-starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. Highly recommended.

World Series: Detroit vs. St. Louis: 1968 (Part Two)

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Retrosheet has the box score and play-by-play for each game of the series

Some of the key players for the Tigers: Al Kaline (his only World Series appearance), Jim Northrup, Mickey Stanley, Dick McAuliffe, Norm Cash, Bill Freehan (coached the U-M baseball team from 1990-1995), Willie Horton, Don Wert, Mickey Lolich, Denny McLain, Pat Dobson, Earl Wilson, Joe Sparma.

Some of the key players for the Cardinals: Mike Shannon, Lou Brock, Curt Flood (the library has two recent books about his challenge of the reserve clause, leading to free agency), Orlando Cepeda, Julian Javier, Tim McCarver, Dal Maxvill, Roger Maris, Bob Gibson, Nellie Briles, Ray Washburn, Joe Hoerner, Ron Willis, Steve Carlton.

Managers: Mayo Smith (Tigers), Red Schoendienst (Cardinals).

John Fetzer was the Tigers owner.

The Tigers’ home games were played at the old Tigers Stadium:
A Place for Summer: a Narrative History of Tiger Stadium by Richard Bak
Home, Sweet Home: Memories of Tiger Stadium from the archives of the Detroit News
The Corner: a Century of Memories at Michigan and Trumbull by Richard Bak

Announcers: Ernie Harwell and Ray Lane were the radio announcers on WJR for the Tigers; George Kell and Larry Osterman covered the games on TV for WJBK; Harry Caray and Jack Buck announced for the Cardinals.

World Events in 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations; riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; My Lai and the Tet offensive; Prague Spring; student protests in Berkeley, Ann Arbor, and the Sorbonne; Yippies; and Richard Nixon’s election as President.

Nineteen Sixty-Eight: a Personal Report by Hans Koning
1968: the Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky
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Ever wonder what happened to your favorite fairy tale characters?

What if all of your favorite nursery rhyme, storybook and fable characters turned out to be real and were secretly living in present day New York? What happened to Snow White after she married Prince Charming? Did the Big Bad Wolf have any further pursuits after his run in with the Three Pigs? Bill Willingham answers these questions and more in his Eisner award winning comics series, Fables.

Writer Bill Willingham goes back to the original dark and sinister versions of the fairy tales, before they were ‘Disneyfied’. He has also added modern sensibilities to the stories, giving them a soap opera feel. This series is definitely not for children!

Look for other influences throughout the story-line, including Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies and Seven Days in May. Also, be sure to check out the latest in this series, 1001 Nights of Snowfall, (released this week) to explore character backstories as told by Snow White.

The Music of Yoko Kanno

Yoko Kanno 2Yoko Kanno 2

We don’t often think about the composers behind the music of our favorite anime series and films, but many of them just wouldn’t be as wonderful without their memorable scores. Yoko Kanno is one of the most accomplished composers of music for anime tv series and films. She’s perhaps best known for her music for the Cowboy Bebop tv series and film, but she’s worked on many other projects. Some of the other anime in the library's collection that feature her music are:

Escaflowne: The Movie
Macross Plus (film)
The Vision of Escaflowne (tv series)
Wolf’s Rain (tv series)

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