Ages 18+.

The Outlander Series continues...

"A Breath of Snow and Ashes isn't great literature. It's way, way too long; full of breathless prose, cornball archaic language, and Gaelic phrases; easy to make fun of or relegate to the status of guilty pleasure."

So why am I telling you about it? Read this review from Kathy Weissman.

And don't worry about jumping into the series at the end - heel her advise and get hold of a copy of the The Outlandish Companion. Before long, you will be handselling Diana Gabaldon and this historical fantasy series to all your friends.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (10/2/05)

The British are coming! Check out these new titles for the latest British Invasion on these shores.

At #4 is Thud! by Terry Pratchett: the anniversary of the disastrous battle of Koom Valley draws nigh in this latest stirring adventure in the Discorld series.

At #7 is On Beauty by Zadie Smith: this splendid postmodern retelling of Howard's End, set in a New England college town, was recently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Israeli author Ronit Matalon

Meet Ronit Matalon, a bestselling writer in Tel Aviv, Israel. She is the author of the novels Bliss and The One Facing Us, and is an influential Israeli journalist. She will read from her work and answer audience questions on Thursday, Oct. 6, 7:00 pm. Ms. Matalon's appearance is in partnership with the UM Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

Smokin' Spoken Word

Check out a poetry slam at the Neutral Zone this year or read Listen Up!:Spoken Word Poetry. Even rockers are getting in on the act. Henry Rollins from Black Flag and The Rollins Band has become a popular spoken word performer who will present his sarcastic socio-political work at the Michigan Theater on October 26th at 7:30 pm.

Baroque folk

Siblings Martha and Rufus Wainwright and their parents Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle all contributed to the McGarrigle Hour, a folk album that guest-stars Emmylou Harris. While the other McGarrigle and Wainwrights tend towards the traditional and folk side of things, Rufus Wainwright is known for his ”baroque pop” songs rich with harmonies and intimate lyrics. He’ll be appearing at the Michigan Theater on October 9th.

"Klaatu barada nikto!"

49 years ago today the earth stood still when this alien command was spoken in theaters across the country on the opening day of the Cold War, sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, directed by recently deceased director Robert Wise. But America was also mesmerized by the new sound of the theremin, which earned its place in the pantheon of good (and bad, see: Ed Wood) movie soundtracks, reaching its quivering peak in 1966 with the Beach Boys' unrivaled "Good Vibrations". For more on this unusual instrument, the Library owns the compelling documentary Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey.

M. Scott Peck, 1936-2005

M. Scott Peck, author of the bestselling The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth (1978), died September 25, 2005.

A Harvard graduate with a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Dr. Peck launched his literary career after ten years as a practicing psychiatrist. His very first sentence in The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult,” is at the heart of his belief that once people accept that fact, they can experience a life of deep rewards and valuable lessons.

Dr. Peck, who was 69, was the author of more than 15 books, including A Bed by the Window: A Novel of Mystery and Redemption (1990), Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey toward Spiritual Growth (1993), and The Road Less Traveled and Beyond: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety (1997)

Not a fan of Fantasy? This is your chance to dip that little toe in the genre...

Gregory Maguire, whose Wicked (1995), is enjoying a second life as a big-budget Broadway Musical will release its much-anticipated sequel Son of a Witch on Sept. 29th.
The story picks up where Dorothy did in Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West and brought about spectacular changes in the Land of Oz – not all of them pleasant. A caravan leader stumbled upon a badly hurt young man, Liir, who might be the dead witch’s rumored secreted son. The ensuing tale is one of great drama, eccentric characters and object lessons.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground can barely catch its breath because of the exciting news that “America’s Beautiful Voice,” premier soprano Renee Fleming is coming to Hill Auditorium on October 13. Renée Fleming will be performing in Richard Strauss’s Daphne with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and Men of the WDR Radio Chorus Cologne. This will be a concert opera — operas performed in a concert setting with limited theatrical stage effects. In addition, Music Specialist Richard LeSueur will discuss the plot and the background of the Strauss' late masterpiece Daphne on Sunday, October 9 at 3pm Downtown at the Ann Arbor District Library.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (9/25/05)

Fantasy and romance enter the list this week.

At #5 is High Druid of Shannara: Straken by Terry Brooks. In the final volume of this trilogy the hero Pen Ohmsford is on a quest for save his aunt from exile.

At #6 is Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell. For fans wishing there were new episodes of "Sex and the City", the show's creator treats us to this story of three women trying to juggle their personal and professional lives.

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