Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #40

A Corpse in the Koryo* introduces, to global mystery fans a new and exciting series starring Inspector O of the Pyongyang Police Department (North Korea).

This hard-boiled, police procedural begins with a seemingly routine surveillance assignment that turns nasty, pitching a pragmatic and honorable detective against the competing military and intelligence hierarchies.

First-time author James Church (pseudonym) is a former intelligence office with decades of experience in Asia. This outstanding crime novel boasts believable characters and situations, and is "richly layered and visually evocative". A must-read.

All-starred reviews in Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

For his Chinese (Shanghai) counterpart, try the latest in the Inspector Chen series (A Case of Two Cities,* 2006) by Qiu Xiaolong - another honest detective struggling to be true under a repressive regime.

*= Starred review.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (11/5/06)

Just last week I wrote that Michael Connelly was my favorite American mystery writer. When I looked at the List this week I realized I had to qualify that claim. I also rank Elizabeth George at the top but her detectuve is the very British Inspector Lynley. The author may be from Southern California but you would never guess that from reading her critically acclaimed novels. I strongly recommend reading her series in order, beginning with the begiining in A Great Deliverance.

At #2 is The Collectors by David Baldacci: The Camel Club is back to solve a murder in the Library of Congress. Title brings back memories of an earlier book The Collector, which was made into one of the creepiest movies of all time.

At #7 is What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George: the prequel to her last mystery With No One As Witness which left many of her fans in tears.

At #10 is The Bancroft Strategy by Robert Ludlum: this franchise continues after the author's death with this thriller involving an intelligence agent and a banker caught up kidnapping, terrorists, conspiracies and the possibly nefarious shenanigans of a family foundation.

Starting a New Business? The MSBTDC may be able to help you

If you're thinking of starting a new business and are looking for information, counseling, resources and other help, the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center may be able to assist you. The organization, part of a national and state network, has offices in Ypsilanti and at Washtenaw Community College. Their knowledgable staff presents regular workshops on starting a business called 'Vision to Reality' at several area locations, as well as other special programs on topics such as marketing, business planning, home-based businesses, business taxes and financing. Some programs are free of charge, for others there is a small fee. Just click on the 'Calendar of Training' button to see details about their upcoming schedule.

Feast of Love and Popularity

Borders has the best bookstores, followed by Nicola’s Books and Shaman Drum. The best local authors are Charles Baxter, Elizabeth Kostova and Steve Amick. Those are among highlights of the third annual Readers’ Choice Awards, published this week by the Ann Arbor News. The whole list - restaurants, stores, etc. - is in an insert to the Nov. 1 paper, available in the periodicals areas of the Downtown Library and at our branches.

The women behind poets dying young

I know Halloween overshadowed (no pun intended) everything on October 31, but we must also remember John Keats who was born on that day, as well as his cronies Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. John Keats was born on October 31, 1795 and died an untimely death from tuberculosis on February 23, 1821. Shelley and Byron also died young, leaving only William Wordsworth, the father of the Romantic poets to live to a ripe old age.

A new novel, Passion by Jude Morgan looks at the lives of their wives and lovers including Mary Shelley and Fanny Brawne.] Morgan's novel gives us a glimpse of early nineteenth century life where these women flouted the more rigid conventions of the time and created their own identities apart from the men they loved.

Michigan Football: Recent Books

Ball State has played two Big Ten teams already this season, losing to Indiana 24-23 (a far better showing than displayed by the team from East Lansing) and to Purdue 38-28. They have played before a total of 74,178 fans in five home games and a total of 104,593 fans in four away games.

Brady Hoke, a Ball State grad and their head coach, was a Michigan assistant coach for eight years. In his remarks about the game Coach Hoke said “Coach Carr is a great man who I admire more than anybody in football. He is an outstanding football coach, but even more important he is a better man.”

He also said “We are playing 11 players and they are playing 11 players.” That sounds like a distinct disadvantage for Ball State. He should have negotiated that they could have at least 12 players.

Halftime Reading:

A Season in the Big House: an Unscripted Insider Look at the Marvel of Michigan Football by George Cantor
Game Day: Michigan Football: the Greatest Games, Players, Coaches and Teams in the Glorious Tradition of Wolverine Football by Athlon Sports
Tales from Michigan Stadium, Volume 2 by Jim Brandstatter

And No One is Looking Ahead, But:

The Ten Year War: Ten Classic Games Between Bo and Woody by Joel Pennington
Unrivaled: Michigan vs. Ohio State by The Ann Arbor News
The 100-Yard War: Inside the 100-Year-Old Michigan – Ohio State Football Rivalry by Greg Emmanuel

William Styron, Pultizer Prize author, has died

William Styron, Pultizer Prize author, has diedWilliam Styron, Pultizer Prize author, has died

A powerful voice of American letters has been silenced.

William Styron, author of The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s Choice, two important novels that changed the national discussion about slavery and the Holocaust respectively, died November 1, 2006 in Martha’s Vineyard of pneumonia.

Often labeled the ‘new William Faulkner’, a comparison he strongly protested, he published Lie Down in Darkness, his first novel. in 1951. In 1968 he was awarded the Pulitzer for The Confessions of Nat Turner, based on an actual uprising by slaves in 1831. Nat Turner originally was highly praised and then later renounced as a misrepresentation of that chapter in African American history.

Sophie’s Choice, the wrenching story of a Holocaust survivor driven to despair from the impossibly horrific choice she was forced to make at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, won the American Book Award for Fiction in 1980 and was made into a powerful movie starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.

Mr. Styron was 81.

Youmacon is here!

Youmacon, “Metro Detroit's first and only anime con,” is being held this weekend, from November 3-5, 2006 at the Hilton Detroit/Troy. The full programming schedule has now been posted on the con web site. Be sure you don’t miss the featured guests, who include Caitlyn Glass, voice actress for Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist, and Matt Hill, voice actor for Kero in Cardcaptor Sakura.

Don’t worry if you missed pre-registration--on-site registration will be available!

125th Anniversary of the Gunfight at the OK Corral

Last week marked the 125th anniversary of the gunfight at the OK Corral. The shoot-out that pitted the Earps and Doc Holliday against the Clanton and McLaury boys is one of the most famous events in the history of the old west. Scores of books and movies have been created based on the event. About a decade ago, two films about it came out that offer very different interpretations and are definitely worth watching, especially together.

Wyatt Earp was directed by Lawrence Kasdan and was nominated for several awards—although one of these was a Razzie Award for Worst Actor for lead Kevin Costner as Earp.

Tombstone, my favorite, has Kurt Russell as Earp. This one is worth watching just to see Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday sporting an unidentifiable accent that Kilmer seems to have invented just for the part.

Tom Brady Book Due Out Today

Tom BradyTom Brady

Moving the Chains: Tom Brady and the Pursuit of Everything by Charles P. Pierce is scheduled to be released today at bookstores. Why Halloween?

Last night on Monday Night Football Tom Brady picked apart what was thought to be a very good Minnesota defense, throwing four touchdown passes among his 29 completions in 43 attempts for 372 yards. He has three Super Bowl rings and has twice been the Super Bowl MVP.

Brady started every game for the Wolverines in 1998 and 1999. The Wolverines were 20-5 in games that Brady started, with a Big Ten co-championship and an Orange Bowl victory.

From the Publishers Weekly review: “Pierce offers a genial look at the unlikely rise of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from embattled Michigan player through draft afterthought to multiple Super Bowl MVP. But while the book might seem late considering the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years in 2004, it actually benefits from Pierce using the team's trying 2005 season as a backdrop against which to highlight his main argument: that Brady's intangible abilities as a leader under any circumstances are worth far more than what can be measured with a stopwatch. In addition to stories from Brady's coaches and teammates that bear out this assessment, journalist Pierce serves up some entertaining prose.”

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