Ages 18+.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (3/18/07)

I have been a fan of Robert Crais and his Elvis Cole series since Elvis first appeared in The Monkey's Raincoat in 1987. I was disappointed that his latest was featuring Cole's silent sidekick Joe Pike. However, from the moment I picked it up, I could not put The Watchman down, reading late into the night. It debuted at #5 on this week's List.

I am not sure I can go along with Pike's situational ethics but oh what a thrilling adventure this was. At the end of the day, Joe Pike made the smart-alecky Elvis seem lightweight and definitely not your first choice in a life or death situation.

Other new titles are Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella (aka Madeleine Wickham), The Taste of Innocence by romance author Stephanie Laurens, and Innocent Traitor by best-selling Tudor historian, Alison Weir.

Toast Spring in Michigan with Wine

Time to get ready for the spring wine season around Ann Arbor. Coming up April 21 and 22, there’s a wine-and-food-pairing weekend planned by the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail. Then on May 5 there is Ann Arbor Art Center’s WineFest, a great chance to taste dozens of wines from around the world and to support the center. If you're just wanting to re-stock your cellar with good wine, check out the new book Andrea Robinson’s 2007 wine buying guide for everyone.

Lulu Blooker Prize Short-List for Non-Fiction

A blook is a blog book, a book that started as a blog and eventually generated a book. And Blooker Prize is obviously a take-off on the Booker Prize. The Sunday (London) Times (3-18, 2007) quotes Peter Freedman of the prize organizer, an online publisher, “It’s clear that grand publishing houses, which perhaps once had little regard for online writing, are now mining blogs and websites for the next big author.”

The Short-List (annotations are from the Lulu Blooker Prize website)

Crashing the Gate by Jerome Armstrong – and Markos Moulitsas –

Spring Arrives Today

Spring: a Spiritual Biography of the Season, edited by Gary Schmidt & Susan M. Felch, groups essays, poems, and Shaker hymns in a five part (Stirrings, Awakenings, Growth, Pilgrimage, and Dance) celebration of Spring.

The editors write: “Spring is the season that simultaneously calls us to celebration and to a sober sense of gratitude for the time that we have been given. The grace of renewal should lead to gratitude for the newness, and it should lead to an acute awareness of our need for renewal.”

The essayists and poets include Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall, Noel Perrin, Annie Dillard, and many others. This book is one of a series of four Spiritual Biographies of the Seasons.

To read Jane Kenyon’s spring poem, Mud Season, click on Read More

Today is the First Day of Spring

Celebrate by reading some spring poems from The Language of Spring: Poems for the Season of Renewal, selected by Robert Atwan, Introduction by Maxine Kumin.

Theodore Roethke Vernal Sentiment

Though the crocuses poke up their heads in the usual places,
The frog scum appear on the pond with the same froth of
And boys moon at girls with last year’s fatuous faces,
I never am bored, however familiar the scene.

When from under the barn the cat brings a similar litter, -
Two yellow and black, and one that looks in between, -
Though it all happened before, I cannot grow bitter:
I rejoice in the spring, as though no spring ever had been.

How I Learned to Cook

In How I Learned to Cook: Culinary Educations from the World’s Greatest Chefs, forty chefs share short sketches of their lives as chefs: what brought them to cooking, working as prep cooks, family backgrounds, kitchen mishaps, influences. And these are big names: Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Marcella Hazan.

I read the entries by chefs whose restaurants I have eaten in: Sara Moulton making beer steamed Det Burgers at the Del Rio, Gary Danko writing about his difficulties getting accepted as a student by Madeleine Kamman, Rick Bayless taping a show with Julia Child for In Julia’s Kitchen with the Master Chefs.

Then I read the rest. I especially liked the ones about getting a start in the kitchen and having to quickly figure things out, with the occasional mess up such as poaching the fish that was to be fried and frying the fish that was to be poached.

Arabic books at Malletts Creek

Several Arabic books were recently transferred to the Malletts Creek branch. Check them out. Some of the books include:

"al-Abnusa al-baida'" by Hanna Mina
"Ana hiya inti riwaayah" by Ilham Mansoor
"ar-Ra'ad" by Zakaria Tamer

Conquering Clutter and Staying Organized

Recently I stumbled upon an appearance by Joyce Anderson, author of Help, I’m knee-deep in clutter! Conquer the chaos and get organized once and for all, as this author was speaking at Nicola’s Books. Although Anderson said that such appearances, along with radio interviews, are definitely not her thing, her talk was nonetheless engaging, and her book sounded intriguing. Anderson told the audience that after writing a book, she finally understood why J.K. Rowling became less than perfectly organized while writing the Harry Potter books: Lots to do, no time, and suddenly, clutter is king.

Foreign language books at the library

Did you know that the Ann Arbor Library has a large collection of books in languages other than English? We have books for both adults and children, including many bilingual books for children. Whether you are a native speaker of these languages or just learning them, we have plenty of international language books to fit your needs.

We have

Spanish books
Chinese books
Korean books
Arabic books
French books
Japanese books
Russian books
Hebrew books
Farsi/Persian books
Polish books
Urdu books
Italian books

2nd Tuesday – Meet Julie Orringer @ Mallets Creek Wed., March 21, 7 pm

Hear Julie Orringer read from her short story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, a New York Times Notable Book and the winner of the Northern California Book Award. Julie is the Helen Herzog Zell Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan.

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