Ages 18+.

New Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (1/22/06)

There were three new titles last week and three this week. Romance and mystery/suspense are still what most people are buying and reading these gray winter days and long cold nights.

At #1 is The Hostage by W.E.B. Griffin: the military investigates the murder of a diplomat and the kidnapping of his wife who has ties to the Iraq oil-for-food scandal.

At #6 is All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Quick, Amanda): the death of a friend leads a journalist back home to Northern California and an old cold case of murder.

Happy Birthday Paul!

Today (January 26) Paul Newman turns 81. He is a very notable contributor to film as both an actor and director and a personal favorite of mine. Here are some of my favorites:

The Sting (1973), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), The Color of Money (1986), and The Hudsucker Proxy (1994). He also directed Rachel, Rachel (1968), The Glass Menagerie (1987), and more.

Did I miss any??

Matisse biography wins the 2005 Whitbread

Whitbread winner

Hilary Spurling, author of Matisse, the Master, captured the 2005 Whitbread Book of the Year after a hotly contested discussion among the judges. Even more surprising is that it was a children's, The New Policeman by Kate Thompson, which nearly took the much-sought-after literary prize.

The Whitbread Book of the Year is selected from the five finalists in the following categories:

Fiction
Ali Smith for The Accidental

29th Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Ark logo

This weekend is the 29th Ann Arbor Folk Festival at Hill Auditorium, an annual benefit for The Ark. This year's lineup includes The Robert Cray band, the Lyle Lovett Trio, Iris Dement, the Holmes Brothers, and Jonatha Brooke. Also included are top-notch regional acts, from Ann Arbor guitarist Bill Kirchen and Ypsilanti's Mady Kouyate, a Senegalese-born player of the kora, a 21-stringed harp, to 97-year-old Wade Mainer, a Flint native who taught Earl Scruggs the banjo.

For more information on performers, showtimes and tickets, check out The Ark's website.

Vive la musique!

Mes petits choux, you must know the divine Edith Piaf--she is very classique. But there is more: pour yourselves a nice cup of coffee, get a slice of gateau or another delight from the creperie, and imagine yourself in a Parisian Cafe with these compilations of French music. If perhaps you are more inclined to the contemporary, preferring the Pompidou to the Louvre, you might try One Step Forward or Princesses Nubiennes from duo Les Nubians. Last but not least, try Air, French Band.

Less freak, more economics?

If you liked Freakonomics, try The Undercover Economist. Subtitled "Exposing why the rich are rich, the poor are poor, and you can never buy a decent used car," this book by Tim Harford seems a bit -- but just a bit -- more hardcore than Levitt's book.

Of course, my metric is how hard one is to read right before I go to sleep compared to the other. It probably wouldn't stand up to the scrutiny of either economist.

In any case, if you'd like to find out how you might avoid self-selecting a higher price for essentially the same items, Harford has the answer: the price of lower prices is eternal vigilance.

Inspiring Stories


On Martin Luther King Day, I had the privilege to hear the two doctors and one dentist who make up The Pact and wrote the book by the same name. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt grew up in Newark, New Jersey and never in their wildest dreams thought they'd be doctors or dentists. But the opportunity came to attend Seton Hall University and then medical and dental school. In their book, they describe the hard times in their childhood and teenage years and the thin line they walked to steer clear of drugs and other temptations. It was only in forming "the pact," a tight bond of friendship and support, that they were able to make it through. All three of them are now practicing medicine and dentistry in the Newark area. They also have formed a foundation to support inner city youth and their families and to provide scholarships for aspiring college students.

Booklist names its Top of the List for 2005

Booklist's 2005 Top of the List

Booklist, one of the most prestigious reviewing sources used by librarians and booksellers in book selection, has announced its 16th annual Top of the List choices for 2005.

The winners and their categories are:

Adult Fiction
The March, by E.L. Doctorow

Adult Nonfiction
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

Borders announces the winners of its 2005 Original Voices Awards

Yesterday Borders Books and Music announced the winners in its 9th annual Original Voices Awards. The mega bookstore chain bestows $5000 on each of the winners in five categories. The members of the selection process are all Borders employees, both store and Corporate. Their mission is to recognize writers and musicians for…”their outstanding achievement in crafting creative original books and music.” (The music category was just added this year.)

The categories and their winners are:

Fiction
Nicole Krauss for The History of Love

Nonfiction
Emma Larkin for Finding George Orwell in Burma

Children’s picture book
Robb Scotton for Russell the Sheep

Young Adult
Gabrielle Zevin for Elsewhere

Music
Madeleine Peyroux for Careless Love

All recipients will be honored at the Book Expo America convention in Washington, D.C. in May.

Dr. W. Scott Westerman Jr. to Speak on No Child Left Behind

Dr. Westerman

Dr. Westerman will speak Tuesday, January 24, at 7:00 p.m. in the Downtown Library Multi-purpose Room. Please come to learn about the No Child Left Behind Act.

For further reflections on this legislation, consult these books:

America’s Failing Schools: How Parents and Educators Can Cope with No Child Left Behind by W. James Popham
Leave No Child Behind: Preparing Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s World by J. P. Comer
Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools edited by Deborah Meier and George Wood
Saving Our Schools: the Case for Public Education: Saying No to “No Child Left Behind” edited by Ken Goodman
What Every Teacher Should Know about No Child Left Behind by Nathan Essex

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