Ages 18+.

E.L. Doctorow wins the 2006 PEN/Faulkner award

E. L. Doctorow has just been named the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel The March.

In his novel, Doctorow brings to savage life General William Tecumseh Sherman's devastating sweep through Georgia and the Carolinas in toward the end of the Civil War.

The PEN/Faulkner, founded in 1980, is the largest peer-juried prize for fiction writers. It has gone to such esteemed authors as Ann Patchett, Ha Jin, John Updike, and Michael Cunningham.

Finalists for the 2006 award are:

Karen Fisher for A Sudden Country
William Henry Lewis for I Got Somebody in Staunton
James Salter for Last Night
Bruce Wagner for The Chrysanthemum Palace

This is Mr. Doctorow's second PEN/Faulkner award. He won in 1990 for Billy Bathgate.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts # 7

Filmmaker-turned-first-time-novelist, Galt Niederhoffer’s A taxonomy of Barnacles is a charming and sly spoof of the concept of the survival of the fittest, and the nature-versus-nurture debate. Starred review in Booklist.

Barry Barnacle announced to his 6 daughters during a Passover Seder that whoever could immortalize the Barnacle name would be the sole beneficiary of his pantyhose fortune. This challenge plunged Bell, Bridget, Beth, Belinda, Beryl and Benita Barnacle, ranging in age from 10 to 29 into merciless fistfights trying to best each other.

Titled after Darwin's monograph on the arthropods, which he studied before he used the Galapagos finch to illustrate his theory of evolution, this zany 1930s-style romantic comedy will certainly bring to mind The Royal Tenenbaums. Pure Fun.

Sugimoto in the News

Hiroshi Sugimoto, the celebrated Japanese-born photographer, designed the installation for his own retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and it is inspired.” wrote The New York Times .

Known for his starkly minimal images of seascapes, movie theaters and architecture as well as his richly detailed photographs of natural history dioramas, wax portraits and Buddhist sculptures, this retrospective brings together 30 years of exemplary works.

And if you could not quite make it to the Hirshhorn, don’t despair, visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art where Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Exposed, 50 of Sugimoto’s elusive seascapes from around the world are on view through April 2, 2006. The Sugimoto images are a component of the current exhibition “Landscapes of Longing: Journeys through Memory and Place”.

Grace Shackman presents Ann Arbor in the 20th Century

Shackman

Grace Shackman, local historian, author, and freelance journalist, whose articles on Ann Arbor history have frequently appeared in The Ann Arbor Observer, can be viewed on Community Access Cable Channel 17 next week, as she presents a slide lecture on her book Ann Arbor in the 20th Century: A Pictorial History. The program can be viewed on Tuesday, February 21 at 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 23 at 1:30 p.m.; Friday, February 24 at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 25 at 1:30 p.m. She is also the author of Ann Arbor in the 19th Century: A Pictorial History. Videos of talks on both books are also available for borrowing at the library.

Celebrating Poetry: Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was named Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1985-86, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for Annie Allen. She wrote over twenty books of poetry and is one of the most celebrated American poets. The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks brings her many works together and provides a complete view of her passion, versatility and genius.

Other works by Brooks include: The Bean Eaters, In Montgomery, and Other Poems, and her two-part autobiography, Report from Part One and Report From Part Two.

Dangerous Mining

Mining and mining accidents have been very much in the news lately, with four separate accidents claiming lives in the past weeks. As NPR’s Morning Edition discussed this morning, some critics of mining industry regulations are beginning to wonder about the industry regulators’ efficacy. The Federal Mining Safety and Health Administration is charged both with ongoing industry regulation and supervision as well as rescue efforts in mine emergencies. However, as the film Salt of the Earth explores, it takes a lot more than a federal agency to make real changes in miners’ lives.

Become a millionaire - at DearReader.com!

David Bach wants to teach readers how to become millionaires, which is why he wrote the 2004 book The Automatic Millionaire: A powerful one-step plan to live and finish rich. If you think you might want to read this book - but you’re not yet sure enough to buy it or check it out from the library - why not sign up for daily, five-minute, e-mail excerpts at DearReader.com. This convenient, new service offers not just business books, but also other nonfiction, fiction, audio books, teen, science fiction, good news, romance, mystery, horror, pre-publication, and classics. For busy readers, DearReader.com is great because who can't find five minutes a day to read an excerpt?

Edna Lewis, Queen of the Southern cooking revival, 1916-2006

Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis, author of four cookbooks that renewed national interest in Southern cuisine, died Monday, February 13, 2006 at the age of 89.

Ms. Lewis's second book, The Taste of Country Cooking (1976) highlights recipes and cooking techniques she learned as a child on the family farm, given to her grandfather, a former slave. It is considered a must-have on the shelf of the best chefs in America.

Her last cookbook, The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great Southern Cooks (2003), was co-written with Scott Peacock, a chef who has taken care of Ms.

Michael Gilbert, creator of Patrick Petrella mysteries, has died

Michael Gilbert

Michael Gilbert, universally regarded as the master of the classic English murder mystery", died Friday, February 8, in England.

A fantastically prolific writer who penned his mysteries on his commute to and from his full-time job as an English solicitor, Gilbert reveled in intricate plots, meticulous detail, and a web of red herrings. His first novel, Close Quarters (1947), launched him firmly into the golden age of the British mystery.

Gilbert's beloved character, Patrick Petrella, was a Sergeant when he first appeared in the 1950s in short stories in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Petrella worked his way through the ranks to Detective Superintendent in a series of titles, including Young Petrella, Petrella at Q, and Roller-Coaster.

Mr. Gilbert, who was 93 when he died, had served at one point as legal adviser to Raymond Chandler.

Salman Rushdie sentenced to death 17 years ago

On this day, in 1989, the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini called on Muslims to execute Salman Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses. The book was banned by many countries at its release because its contents were seen as “blasphemous against Islam”. Upon the issuance of the ‘fatwa’ (an Islamic religious law, in this case calling for the execution of Rushdie), Rushdie went into hiding where he remained until the death sentence was rescinded in 1998 by the Iranian government.

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