Ages 18+.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (10/8/06)

If you loved the movie Gladiator and the TV series Rome, you might also enjoy the ancient Roman novels by Robert Harris. His latest enters the List this week. And John le Carre returns with another great book set once again in the killing fields of Africa. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith will also be pleased to learn that he has a new book to savor.

At #3 is The Mission Song by John le Carre: "An English translator, born in Congo, is sent by British intelligence to work for a corporate syndicate that wants to subvert Congolese elections."

At #7 is Imperium by Robert Harris: "A fictional life of Marcus Cicero, the Roman statesman and orator, as told by a household slave."

At #11 is The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith: "The third novel featuring the philosopher Isabel Dalhousie is a mystery about the meaning of happiness."

Yes. Scientists can laugh at themselves.

You've heard of the Nobel Prize awards. In fact, the 2006 awards for chemistry, medicine and physics have already been announced. But this Thursday, October 5th, the Annals of Improbable Research Magazine will present the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize winners at the 16th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard's Sanders Theater. The prizes are awared by Nobel laureates to scientists whose research "makes people laugh." Examples of past winners' papers include: for economics in 2005, the invention of an alarm clock that runs away and hides so that people have to get out of bed. For chemistry, the award was given for research to determine whether people swim faster in syrup or in water. And my favorite for that year, an experiment begun in 1927 in which a glob of black tar has been dripping through a funnel, a drop every nine years.

For two enjoyable if not outrageous books on science, try 101 things you don't know about science and no one else does either by James Trefil or The Pleasure of Finding Things Out by Richard Feynman.

U-M Health System hosts forum on Health Care Access and Insurance

How can health care costs be controlled and access improved? Find out at public forum on improving access to health care and related health care insurance issues that will be held at the Ford Auditorium at the University of Michigan Hospital [1500 E. Medical Center Drive] on Friday, October 6, 2006 from Noon to 2:00 p.m. "Innovations in Health Care Access: What some states are doing; what Michigan can learn" will feature speakers from Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and a panel of experts. The program is one in a series in the University of Michigan Forums on Health Policy.

Register Now at all Library Locations for the Cover to Cover Discussion of ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’

Registration begins Monday, October 2 for the discussion of Kim Edwards’ national bestseller. The story spins on a decision Dr. David Henry makes at the birth of his daughter. The lie he lives to keep his decision secret has very different consequences for two families: one is created by it and the other is devastated. The discussion of Edwards’ enthralling book will be held on Thursday, November 16, 7 – 8:30 pm at the downtown Library multi-purpose room and led by AADL staff. The first 15 cardholders to register may check out a new copy of the book.

Birthdays of two literary giants

Today, October 2, is the birthday of both Wallace Stevens, born in Reading, Pa. in 1879 and of Graham Greene, born in Hertfordshire, England in 1904.

Stevens was one of the few writers who kept his job after becoming a successful writer. He woke early every day and composed his poems in his head while walking to and from work at the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company. Most people he worked with didn't know he was a poet and he preferred his anonymity. His first book, Harmonium, was published when he was 45. It contained some of his most famous poems including "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" whose first stanza contains a striking visual image:

"Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird."

Greene was a shy child who in his teens attempted suicide several times. At the urging of his therapist, he began to write. He spent much of his life in Vietnam where one of his most famous books, The Quiet American takes place. He published more than thirty books.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (10/1/06)

One of the best books I ever read about teenagers in love was That Night. It perfectly evoked a time and place (the 60s in a small town on Long Island). In subsequent novels, Alice McDermott would return again and again to this setting and its resident Irish Catholics, capturing their lives in beautiful, heartbreaking stories.

At #1 is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: "A biographer struggles to discover the truth about an aging writer who has mythologized her past."

At #3 is The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen: " Boston medical examiner and a detective must solve a series of murders involving apocalyptic messages and a sinister cabal."

At #11 is World War Z by Max Brooks: "An "oral history" of an imagined Zombie War that nearly destroys civilization."

At #12 is A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon: "The world of a mild-mannered British family man falls apart; from the author of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.' "

At #13 is Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski: "Two teenagers, forever 16, describe a 100-year road trip; their versions begin at opposite ends of the book, upside down from each other."

At #14 is After This by Alice McDermott: "The life of a Catholic family on Long Island at midcentury."

BNL In town and for Free

This five piece band from Toronto will be in Ann Arbor at Borders downtown on October 4th at noon for a short, but FREE concert. Martin Bandyke, from 107one, will interview the band. BNL's now have their own label, Desperation Records, with Barenaked Ladies Are Me recently released.
http://www.bnlmusic.com/

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #36

Alternately called “campy”, “intriguing”, “wry”, “mesmerizing”, “overkill” (500+ pages), this artfully structured debut novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is in the end, a sincere and uniquely twisted look at love, coming of age and identity.

Teen narrator Blue Van Meer is finally staying put her senior year at the St. Gallway School in Stockton, North Carolina, after spending most of her life with her father, an itinerant academic, on a tour of college towns. She is bemused when befriended by a group of eccentric geniuses - “The Bluebloods”. And then, there is a murder. Blue and the "Bluebloods" are deeply enmeshed.

First time novelist Marisha Pessl impresses by modeling this intricately plotted novel after the syllabus of a college literature course, by naming each of the 36 chapters after great works such as Othello and Paradise Lost. Stunning effort – absorbing and great fun. Starred review in Publishers Weekly.

What Do You Think of Fergie's Solo CD?

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas debuted her solo cd this week.

The Dutchess opened at no. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Other cds by Black Eyed Peas include Elephunk and Monkey Business.
Listen to the group and compare with Fergie's solo.

Ann Arbor Police Department Online Exhibit Debuts

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The Ann Arbor District library's web site is now home to an online pictorial exhibit and history of the Ann Arbor Police Department. The exhibit, one of four local history collections on the library's research page, features a large assemblage of images of the police department and its officers, police vehicles, artifacts and documents. The pictorial collection is accompanied by the complete text of Lieutenant Michael Logghe's True Crimes and the History of the Ann Arbor Police Department which traces the history of the department from its beginnings in the 1870s to the late 1990s. The narrative is filled with fascinating accounts of the organization, development, and controversial issues which faced the department, as well as inside information on the large array of major criminal investigations which have been part of that history, such as the 1908 student riot at the Star Theater, the murder and aftermath of Officer Clifford Stang in 1935, the student unrest of the 1960s and and 1970s, the shocking co-ed murders, and numerous others.

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