Ages 18+.

Patrick O'Keeffe, UM professor, wins prestigious Story Prize

Irish-born Patrick O'Keeffe, professor of English at the University of Michigan, was awarded the 2005 Story Prize for The Hill Road, four novellas about life in a fictional Irish village.

O'Keefe beat out 81 other writers, including the other two authors on the shortlist, Jim Harrison for The Summer He Didn't Die and Maureen F. McHugh for Mothers and Other Monsters, which will be ordered later this month.

O'Keefe, 42, arrived in the U.S. as in illegal immigrant in 1986. He won his green card in a lottery and later graduated from the University of Kentucky. He then earned an MFA from the University of Michigan, where he now teaches.

New from Belle and Sebastian next week

Next week, on February 7, Belle and Sebastian will be releasing their sixth album - The Life Pursuit. “Written almost entirely by frontman Stuart Murdoch, [it] is a magnificently assured and diverse pop record. With nods to such influences as Cornelius, Manfred Mann, and David Bowie, "The Life Pursuit" mingles the folky, be-sweatered pathos of the group's earliest work with joyfully satirical late 60's sunshine pop, and the sophisticated 80's-influenced work reminiscent of their prior album, 2003's "Dear Catastrophe Waitress". –Amazon.com

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #5

Two sisters, two wars, one hot summer, one thoughtless act with devastating consequences, and one achingly beautiful first novel.

Adolescent Kate, watchful and sensitive, her wild and theatrical sister Frankie, (the gwaimui White Ghost Girls, lovingly called by their Chinese nanny) were left navigating an idyllic summer in Hong Kong while their photographer father was on assignment for Time magazine, covering the Vietnam war. It was 1967. The Mao rebellion in China was spilling over the border.

The story was set against the backdrop of the insular colonial American/English society of tea parties, cricket games and private schools and the awakening Chinese nationalism.

Newcomer Alice Greenway gave us one of the most memorable debut novels in a long while. Starred review from Booklist. Don’t miss this one.

Women Writing

Journalistas: 100 Years of the Best Writing and Reporting by Women Journalists, edited by Eleanor Mills and Kira Cochrane. Jill Abramson, in her review in The New York Times Book Review (January 8, 2006), hated the title and was doubtful of the concept but she was won over, “most of the pieces…are so marvelous I quickly cast aside my doubts. Their choice of writers, including Martha Gellhorn, Rebecca West, Susan Sontag and Mary McCarthy, as well as a number of British writers who were less familiar to me, is superb.”

This Day in the Life: Diaries from Women Across America created, compiled, and edited by Joni B. Cole, Rebecca Joffrey, and B. K. Rakhra. On June 29, 2004, a diverse group of women wrote down their thoughts. “The results are fantastically complex: an entertaining, heartwarming, and empathetic glimpse into many lives” (Library Journal, November 2005).

Women’s Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present, edited by Stephen J. Adler. Chronologically arranged letters from the famous and the unknown with biographical information on the writers, contextual information about the letter or topic, and many period illustrations.

The Aunt Lute Anthology of U. S. Women Writers, edited by Lisa Maria Hogeland and Mary Klages. The editors have “gathered a startling variety of female texts, from a report of Anne Hutchinson's 1638 heresy trial to Emily Dickinson's poetry and an anti-lynching essay by Ida B. Wells” (Choice Reviews, June 2005).

Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg

In a story eeriely relevant for our time, Myla Goldberg, acclaimed author of Bee Season, creates in Wickett's Remedy a tale that chronicles the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 through the travails of the main character, Lydia Wickett, who creates a medicinal tasting mixture that her husband tries to market. Lydia loses her husband to influenza and is exploited by a shady businessman who converts the remedy into QD Soda which becomes a nationwide sensation and makes him millions. Returning to South Boston, Lydia begins nursing victims of the disease and then naively volunteers for an unethical research project on Gallups Island using prisoners as subjects to be exposed to the virus. Along with the narrative are bulletins describing the 75th anniversary of QD Soda and articles on the ravages of the influenza. Sidebars in the margins are written from "the other side," i.e. the dead, commenting on the story. Wickett's Remedy is an ambitious undertaking that vividly depicts the tragedy that took so many lives.

2006 Michigan Notable Books, part 1 -- Non-fiction winners

MI notable books 2006

The Library of Michigan announced the winners of the 2006 Michigan Notable Books. These twenty titles, all published last year, highlight “…Michigan people, places and events.” They must be written by a Michigan native or resident and are wide-reaching in coverage.

On the list this year are 14 non-fiction titles, four novels, and two children’s books. The winners in alphabetical order are:

Non-fiction

Beast of Never, Cat of God: The Search for the Eastern Puma by Bob Butz

Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink by David Margolick

Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans by Thomas Lynch

The Dodge Brothers: The Men, the Motor Cars, and the Legacy by Charles K. Hyde

Grit, Noise, and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll by David A. Carson

Legends of Light: A Michigan Lighthouse Portfolio photographs by Ed Wargin

Made in Detroit: A South of 8 Mile Memoir by Paul Clemens

Michigan Agricultural College: The Evolution of a Land-grant Philosophy, 1855-1925 by Keith R. Widder

Michigan Shadow Towns: A Study of Vanishing and Vibrant Villages by Gene Scott

Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Michael Schumacher

Singing in a Strange Land: C.L. Franklin, the Black Church, and the Transformation of America by Nick Salvatore

Soapy: A Biography of G. Mennen Williams by Thomas J. Noer

Under Michigan: The Story of Michigan's Rocks and Fossils by Charles Ferguson Barker

Vintage Views of the Charlevoix-Petoskey Region by M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson

Best Documentaries of 2005

Quick, can you name last year's Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature? (Answer under "read more," below). In the wake of all the media hype over popular feature films, documentaries usually get short shrift. Oh sure, you'll recognize March of the Penguins when this year's nominations are announced Tuesday morning, but that's largely because the sub-zero chick-rearing practices of the Emperor penguin featured prominently in America's perennial culture war last year. But many other excellent documentaries from 2005 (including Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, left, one of the best-reviewed films of the year) won't be among the nominees either, whether due to a lack of interest on the part of an obscure group of Academy voters or equally obscure Academy rules....

Origins of Existence: An Astrophysicist's View

Fred Adams, professor of astrophysics at the University of Michigan and a world-renowned theorist on star and planet foundation, talks about his book Origins of Existence: How Life Emerged in the Universe on Community Access Cable Televison Channel 17 on Tuesday, January 31 at 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 2 at 1:30 p.m.; Friday, February 3 at 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, February 4 at 1:30 p.m. The program was originally recorded in April 2003 as part of the library's 'Booked for Lunch' series, now known as 'Sunday Edition'. Among Dr. Adams' many provocative ideas is that life began inside our planet, not on its surface -- and that the universe exists in a forest of universes in space-time. His talk is also available on VHS Video at the library.

Betty Burzon, longtime gay activist, dies at 78

Betty Berzon

Betty Berzon, influential psychotherapist and author who championed gay rights for more than 30 years, died Tuesday, January 24, 2006.

Born January 28, 1928, Dr. Berzon was a pioneer in providing therapy to gay clients in the early 1970s, just a few years after she came out publicly and more than twenty years after her conflicts with her own sexuality led to a suicide attempt.

Berzon was the author of several important books on homosexuality, including Permanent Partners: Building Gay and Lesbian Relationships that Last (revised edition, 2004). In 1979 she edited Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian Life, which she edited beginning in 1979 and which has remained in print ever since.

Syndicate content