Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #11

If you are expecting a pleasant little cozy, well, skip this one.

Part police procedural, part psychological thriller, and part courtroom drama, this dark tale of two missing girls in a well-heeled Duluth suburb is a complicated page-turner by a first-time novelist. In Immoral, Detective Jonathan Stride suspects murder and he is sure he has the culprit; but proving it is another story altogether. Adding to the suspense are plenty of red herring, skeletons in the closet, and the fact that the victims may not all be innocent.

Mystery reviewers everywhere agree that Brian Freeman is a talent to watch. No argument here.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (3/19/06)

With a hint of Spring in the air, romance veterans Steel and Graham return with their latest releases. In fact all the new entries are by tried and true favorite authors, offering a little whimsey, a lot of Irish history, and one more mystery soaked in the California sun.

At #1 is The House by Danielle Steel: how a mansion in need of tender loving care changes a lawyer's life.

At #9 is Sour Puss by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown: for cat and cozy mystery lovers everywhere, Mrs. Murphy and her cats solve another case of mysterious death.

At #10 is The Rebels of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd: sweeping family saga covering Irish history from 1597 to 1922.

At #15 is The Island by Heather Graham: a woman stumbles into a mystery on vacation which threatens her life back home in Miami.

At #16 is The Fallen by T. Jefferson Parker: this native Californian delivers another
absorbing tale of corruption and death, following in the footsteps of Chandler, Hammett and Macdonald (Ross!).

95th Anniversary of Triange Shirtwaist Company Fire

On March 25, 1911, 146 women, mostly immigrants, died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. Many of the women were trapped on the ninth floor because the doors were locked. Some fell to their deaths from open windows. The event, though tragic, was a turning point in labor history. New laws were passed requiring reforms in health and safety.

The book, Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch, is written for teens but has universal appeal for lovers of historical fiction. Auch conveys the horror of the fire and all that leads up to it from the perspective of Rose Nolan, a 16 year old Irish immigrant, who lands a job at the factory and is one of the survivors. Auch is good at evoking early twentieth century New York in all its color and squalor.

Remembering the Tuskegee Airmen

This week, in 1941, one of the most renowned and decorated African-American military units of the Second World War came into being as the 99th Pursuit Squadron [later the 332nd Fighter Group]. Better known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the group had 992 black airmen who flew P-39, P-40, P-47 and P-51 fighters in more than 15,000 sorties in North Africa, Sicily and Europe during World War II. A number of books highlight the contributions of these flyers, including Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen by Lynn M. Homan; A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman by Charles W. Dryden; Red Tails, Black Wings by John Holway; Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free by Alexander Jefferson and Flight: The Story of Virgil Richardson. There's also a fascinating documentary, Nightfighters which depicts the exploits of the group. For more information on the group see The Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. web site and the tribute on the National Park Service web site.

Has Title IX been good for sports?

Would Tennessee’s Candace Parker, whose two dunks last weekend were the first ever in NCAA tournament play, and Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris, whose powerful play has coaches comparing her to Shaq, be pushing the basketball envelope if Title IX had never become law?

A new book, A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tragedy of Title IX explores the controversial law. While some say the law has provided girls and women more opportunity to grow and excel in athletics, others would say Title IX’s mandate that women and men athletes be treated equally has come at too great a cost. To comply with Title IX some colleges and universities have shifted money to women’s sports while reducing funds for or even cutting “lesser” men’s sports like wrestling and crew. Is that fair or is it a case of two wrongs don’t make a right?

Children of Paradise

The University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities has a free public screening of the 1945 film Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) on Tuesday, April 4 at 4 pm in Rackham room 0520. Filmed in Vichy-era France with writing by Jacques Prévert, the film follows a group of nineteenth-century pantomime actors centered around the alluring, philosophically light-hearted Garance. Roger Ebert wrote that “few achievements in the world of cinema can rival it." If you can’t make it to the screening, try the beautifully restored DVD of director Marcel Carné’s masterpiece.

Everything bad for you is not so bad

It's okay. Despite everything you've heard, pop culture is not completely rotting your brain.

In Everything Bad Is Good for You, Steven Johnson lays out a theory about how popular media are helping us develop better creative problem solving, social networking, and analysis skills. (That isn't to say that this book is against good old intellectual development through, well, books.) Johnson provides a smart take on neurological development, Dragnet, and The Sims that will just probably convince you that you're smarter than you thought.

So, whether you've been up for twelve hours trying to get the powerup and win the game, or you've been blogging about how guilty you feel when you watch Desperate Housewives, read this book and feel a little better.

Upcoming AADL-GT Events: Retro Octathalon & State of Gaming Panel

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

OK, so the new branch is open and running well, it's time to get back to AADL-GT! We've got some very cool and very different events coming up in April. First, on Friday, April 14th, the first day of Spring Break, we've got the first ever AADL-GT Retro Octathalon, an olympic-style event featuring 8 vintage (pre-1990) games, and some great prizes for the best overall players. Then, on April 23rd, we'll be having a panel discussion on the State of Gaming, where we will engage in a definitely spirited and possibly civil conversation about where games are now, and where they are going, especially as we teeter on the precipice of the next generation. However, we need to flesh out some details for both of these events, so read on and add your comments.

3 Years after the Launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom

March 19, 2006 marks the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the debates surrounding the U.S presence in Iraq are becoming more intense as each day passes. The library has a number of DVDs on this subject.

Gunner Palace provides an intimate look at what life is like for the U.S. soliders in Iraq, while The Soldier's Heart examines problems faced by U.S. soldiers when they return from Iraq.

WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception and Uncovered: the War on Iraq explore questions concerning the case made by the Bush Administration to lead the U.S. into Iraq.

21 Days to Baghdad offers an insightful look at the first three weeks of military action during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Torture Question investigates the topic of prisoner abuse in recent years, focusing on the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The Dreams of Sparrows "follows first-time Iraqi director Hayder Mousa Daffar and his team of contributing directors as they share their vision of life in Baghdad, post-war and pre-reconstruction."

John Reynolds Gardiner, author of Stone Fox, dies at 61

As a child, he hated to read, pretending to sleep when his mother tried to read to him at night. As a college student, he was surpassed in his English class by non-native speakers of English. As an adult, he was an engineer specializing in thermodynamics for aerospace corporations.

And as an author, he only wrote three books, the first of which, Stone Fox, sold more than 3 million copies and rightfully earned him the designation of one of the touchstones of children's publishing, according to HarperCollins Children's book editor, Kate Jackson.

John Reynolds Gardiner originally wrote Stone Fox as a screenplay. It eventually was produced as a TV movie, starring Buddy Ebsen.

Gardiner, who was 61, died March 4th of complications from pancreatis.

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