Ages 18+.

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

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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)

A Hedonist in the Cellar: Adventures in Wine

Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and other novels, is also the wine columnist for House & Garden. This collection of his columns is reviewed by Michael Steinberger in next Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. Steinberger is gladdened by the emergence of “a more literary style of wine writing” in America. Steinberger finds the book “crisp, stylish and very funny.” He writes that “one of McInerney’s many virtues as a wine writer is that he seems to have no agenda apart from maximizing his pleasure.”

Additional recent wine books to enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine:

Extremely Pale Rose: a Very French Adventure by Jamie Ivey
The Grail: a Year Ambling & Shambling Through an Oregon Vineyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir in the Whole Wild World by Brian Doyle
History in a Glass: Sixty Years of Wine Writing from Gourmet edited and with an introduction by Ruth Reichl
Red, White, and Drunk All Over: a Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass by Natalie MacLean
Wine: a Life Uncorked by Hugh Johnson

Cranes of Waterloo Festival

The weather is turning to Fall and a fun way to enjoy the season change is to go to the Cranes of Waterloo Festival at Waterloo Recreation Area on October 22. The event includes a day of nature activities such as geology walks, fall color and bog hikes, puppet shows and displays of wildlife photography. The event is free and is from 10 am-4 pm at the Eddy Discovery Center, with a vehicle entry fee of $6 unless you own a state motor vehicle permit.

Sweetheart of the Month- Bela Lugosi

Friday, October 20 is the birthday of Bela Lugosi, classic horror hero who stole our hearts in the original film production of Dracula. Lugosi was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, Hungary. Most of his acting career was in Germany before he came to the U.S. in 1921. Best known for his roles in horror movies, Lugosi started out playing more traditional roles, including Shakespeare.

Check out our great horror movie collection at AADL for a truly spooky Halloween night.

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