Ages 18+.

Muriel Spark, 1918-2006

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark, wonderfully prolific novelist, essayist, and poet, died April 13, in Italy.

Shaped by her conversion to Catholicism when she was 36, Ms. Spark wrote with an almost reportorial calmness, often spiced with dry wit, about the absurdities and tragedies of everyday life.

One of her most beloved books, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, was made into a play starring Vanessa Redgrave (in London) and Zoe Caldwell (Broadway); the latter won a Tony for her performance in 1968. A year later, Maggie Smith won an Oscar for the same role on the silver screen.

Owen Parry’s Abel Jones (Civil War Historical Mysteries)

Abel Jones, Welsh immigrant, former sergeant with the British army in India, teetotalling Methodist, and bookkeeper for a coal company in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, has sworn off fighting and killing but finds himself compelled to help drill the hapless youths who have gathered to join the Union army. He ends up as their sergeant, is injured at Bull Run, becomes a clerk in the War Department, is recruited by General McClellan to investigate a soldier’s death, and the adventures begin.

His investigations provide wonderful commentary on the political, social, military, ethnic, and ethical background of the Civil War. Exciting, harrowing, humorous, and compulsively readable.

Series in order:
Faded Coat of Blue
Shadows of Glory
Call Each River Jordan
Honor’s Kingdom
Bold Sons of Erin
Rebels of Babylon

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #15

“Unexpected, unrehearsed, unconventional” – that’s how Meg Mullins describes the relationships between the main characters in her sparkling debut novel.

At the center of the story is Iranian Ushman Khan, The Rug Merchant. Middle-aged, and feeling abandoned by a wife who refuses to join him in New York, he runs a small rug store on Madison Avenue by day and endures a solitary existence. A chance meeting with a beautiful Barnard student during his nocturnal wanderings at JFK, blossoms into a serious affair.
Then, there is wealthy and demanding socialite Mrs. Roberts - one of his best customers, who seems to be reaching out to Ushman in the most unexpected way.

A quiet and complex novel of “many extraordinary pleasures”, Mullins's auspiciously wonderful debut is not to be missed. My bet is you will be hand-selling it to your friends. Reviews.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (4/9/06)

It's hard to know what to say when the paperback version of a book is released and the hardcover moves back into the #1 position. And Dan Brown also won his British court case. Now everyone is waiting for the movie of the Da Vinci Code.

At #2 is Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag: another judge in jeopardy, this time in Minneapolis.

At #8 is The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra: another mystery starring Da Vinci, this time involving clues from his "Last Supper"

At #9 is A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore: for fans of Buffy and the supernatural, a San Francisco store owner becomes a Death Merchant who protects the souls of the recently dead.

At #15 is Intuition by Allegra Goodman: a literary novel exploring the work and lives of scientists at a cancer research institute that is rocked by allegations of a possible fraud.

Motivational consultant John Baldoni on Communication

You can view local business consultant and author John Baldoni discuss his book Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders on local Community Televsion Cable Channel 17 on Tuesday, April 18 at 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 20 at 1:30 p.m.; Friday, April 21 at 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, April 22 at 1:30 p.m. He presents an overview of communication styles, techniques and strategies useful for all who need to hone their communication skills. The books also uses illustrative material from notable leaders, both historical and contemporary.

Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., author and peace activist, 1924 - 2006

Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr. one of the most prominent anti-war voices of the last four decades, died April 12 of congestive heart failure.

Coffin, former chaplain at Yale University, gained prominence during the Vietnam War era with his tireless efforts to use the power of civil disobedience to end the war and to advocate for civil rights. He stood trial with Dr. Benjamin Spock and three others on conspiracy charges for their work with draft resisters; their conviction was later overturned on appeal.

Garry Trudeau immortalized Coffin as Rev. Sloan in the Doonesbury cartoon strip, and in 2004, Warren Goldstein captured Coffin's impact on both U.S. religion and politics in his significant biography, William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy Impatience.

An author in his own right (Once to Every Man: An Autobiography (1977); The Heart is a Little to the Left: Essays on Public Morality (1999); and Credo (2003), Coffin was 81.

Judas revisited

Debate is raging over Judas' true role in Christianity. A 1,700 year old mansucript, vetted by scholars as genuine, has recently surfaced and seems to suggest that Jesus asked Judas to betray him, and warned Judas that he would be the ultimate scapegoat.

Tomorrow two ABC programs, Good Morning America and Nightline, will delve into controvery (some scholars feel this document is irrelevant; others claim it could rewrite religious history) by interviewing author James M. Robinson whose new book The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel is sure to be in demand. The Ann Arbor District Library will order this title this month. Once it appears in the Library's catalog, you may place a hold on it.

Retro Octathalon, DDR, and Karaoke: This Weekend!

AADL-GT Pad Logo
AADL-GT: Ann Arbor District Library Game Tournaments

This Friday April 14, AADL-GT is proud to present the first ever Retro Octathalon, an 8-game tour of videogame history with prizes for high scorers of all ages! We'll start off with qualifying rounds for each age bracket, with kids qualifiers from 1-3 PM, Teen qualifiers from 3-6 PM, and Adult qualifiers from 6-8 PM. Players will cycle through all 8 games, and the top 3 scores in each age bracket will win cool Retro Nintendo prizes from Wizzywig.

From 8-9 PM, the top scorers from each age bracket will face off against each other for a shot at a gamestop giftcard: $40 for first place, $30 for second, and $20 for third. Adult qualifiers and the finals will also be broadcast live on Comcast channel 18, so tune in if you can't make it!

We'll also have all-ages DDR on Saturday, 4/15 from Noon - 3 and all-ages Karaoke Revolution on Saturday, 4/15 from 3-5, plus open play on Monday! Come to the downtown library for some great gaming this weekend, and read on for details...

The Silent Spring

On Thursday, April 13, 1962, The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was published. The book sounded an alarm about the use of chemicals, especially pesticides, and the harm they caused to humans and the environment. The book's publication heralded the beginning of the environmental movement. Carson, an ecologist, took great pleasure in her natural surroundings, and in her observations saw disturbing signs of the effects of these pollutants.

Local Documentary about Local Writer in the Works

Thomas Lynch, Milford undertaker and author of the National Book Award finalist The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade, is the subject of a full-length documentary-in-progress by Ann Arbor filmmaker Beth Winsten. Winsten recently won a Silver Telly Award (first place) for a five-minute trailer of "Undertakings" and will be on hand, Saturday, May 13, to discuss her film at the Ann Arbor Book Festival.

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