Learning Languages: Teach Yourself

Check out the new language learning sets by one of the premier language resources and best sellers- Teach Yourself. Learn everyday language, grammar and vocabulary that is useful in real-life situations.

A book and audio CDs are included, leaving you one step closer to learning a new language, or improving one you already speak.

Some new languages recently added to AADL's collection are Icelandic, Japanese, Portuguese, Spoken Arabic, Old English, Dutch, Persian, Irish, Mandarin Chinese.

Check out the full list of language learning materials by Teach Yourself.

Literacy Series -- Multicultural Literacy

by neokainpak, Flickr.comby neokainpak, Flickr.com

"Multicultural literacy" means an understanding of the similarities and differences between cultures, along with the understanding that one's values, customs and beliefs are influenced by one's own culture. The U. S. has been a multicultural nation since its birth. With cultural and ethnic diversity projected to rise over the next 50 years, and technology and business increasingly connecting the U. S. to other countries, now is the time for young people to become culturally literate!

Fortunately, reading can be a great way to explore the world through the eyes of people who are very different from you. Here are some suggestions for multicultural reading:

1. Read books in other languages (if you can!) -- check out our World Language collection. Of course, if you don't already speak another language, you can learn one!

2. Read books about other countries.

3. Read folktales from other cultures -- you can learn a lot about another culture from their folklore. And folktales are fun to read!

4. Read about America's immigrants -- Try the World Book of America's Multicultural Heritage to learn the long history and contributions of immigrants in America.

Multicultural books for young readers:
Check out "Books With a View", a list of books for children and young adults featuring characters from around the world.
Across Cultures: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children
Breaking Boundaries With Global Literature
Crossing Boundaries With Children's Books
The New Press Guide to Multicultural Resources for Young Readers
The World Through Children's Books

Multicultural Resources for Parents:
Multicultural Manners
A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism
Raising the Rainbow Generation

DVD Genre Spotlight: Foreign Language Films- Icelandic

You can easily browse AADL’s collection of foreign language films in our World Language collection, either online or on the shelf. We have films in many languages, including Greek, Italian, Persian, Indonesian, and many more. Also included are some Icelandic films. It is SUCH a beautiful language to hear spoken. Here are a few to check out:

White Night Wedding: Set off the coast of Iceland on the island of Flatey, the film centers on Jón, a forty something professor who is set to marry a girl half his age. The film jumps from present day back to when he was with his first wife, and you witness her illness and the toll it takes on their relationship and his life. Jón owes his soon to be mother-in-law money from a golf course he’s invested in with a friend, and his best mate is in town for the wedding and is drunk and has lost one of his shoes. A funny and heartfelt film all around. (For music buffs, amiina has an appearance playing at a gig in the film.)

Astrópía: After losing her home, spouse and source of income when her handsome swindler of a boyfriend is sent to jail, high society girl Hildur must search for a job. She ends up working at a comic book store with an interesting group of guys and ends up learning more than she bargained for. This quirky film is live action, but features some segways that are comic book sequential style, and at times fantasy becomes reality as Hildur gets caught up in Role Playing Games with her new “friends.”

Nói: Seventeen year old Nói lives in the remote west fjords of Iceland. A drop-out and a wanderer, quirky and misunderstood, he longs to break free from the isolation and escape with the cute girl who works at the gas station. Winter on the fjord is a large blanket of snow, darkness, and depression. An eventual disaster strikes and the town is torn apart, which tears Nói apart even further. A melancholy, yet delightful and beautiful film, with a stellar (mainly vocal free) soundtrack by Slowblow.

The Nymphet

On August 18th, 1958, Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita was first published in the U.S. That makes tomorrow its 52nd anniversary.

The book is his best known, and was made into a film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, and again by Adrian Lyne in 1997. Unlike many of his other works, Nabokov actually wrote Lolita in English, and then translated into Russian. It was--and probably still is--controversial; the story is narrated by a man named Humbert Humbert, who has an amorous obsession with his girlfriend's 12-year-old daughter.

Author Erica Jong, in a New York Times Book Review in 1988, said, "'Lolita' teems with loving lexicography, crystalline coinages, lavish list-making - all the symptoms of rapture of the word. 'Nymphet' was a coinage of this novel, as were the more obscure 'libidream,' 'pederosis,' 'nymphage' and 'puppybodies.'"

Here at AADL we have Lolita in not only its original English, but also in Spanish, French, and Russian. We also have an audiobook version read by film great Jeremy Irons, who actually played Humbert in the 1997 film.

AADL Screencast: Browsing World Languages

If you are interested in reading books in languages other than English, check out the Ann Arbor District Library’s World Language collection. There are books for adults and children at all branch locations with a Teen World Language collection available at the Downtown Library. Currently there are 24 languages represented from A to V (Arabic to Vietnamese) with the most recent additions in the Greek, Persian/Farsi, and Polish languages. There are fiction and non-fiction books, and even some graphic novels in various languages. If you are at our Downtown Library, the collection for adults is located on the 3rd floor, with youth and teen on the 1st floor. Below you will find a short video that explains how to locate these books in our catalog.

To Akira Kurosawa, who would have turned 100 on March 23

Dear Mr. Kurosawa,

I'm one of those people who can't name their favorite movie--there are too many and they all touch me in a different way. But I can name my favorite director: You.

You would have turned 100 this month. And I can say two of my favorite films are Dersu Uzala and The Seven Samurai. Both films are very different from each other; both represent very different periods of your career; and both are supreme achievements in film as a humanistic artform.

Someone once told me they were surprised I liked Kurosawa because "he's a little cold". You were, by all accounts, a moody and often unhappy man. But if anything, your films reveal that you deeply understood the human heart. One recurring theme in your films is an affection for society's lone oddball or wily bands of misfits; another is that things are not what they appear to be. (Rashoman, Ikiru). And between these two themes lies your humanity.

Often your more intimate moments come wrapped within the formidable mastery of filmmaking--the tense buildup of High and Low, the steady composition of The Seven Samurai's battle sequences, the force of nature in Dersu Uzala, the swirl of pageantry in Ran. Then suddenly we realize we're watching a study of friendship or a man questioning his mortality. And the subtext is about honor, integrity, fate, loss. It's not thrown about as cliches or pathos; it just sits there quietly at the heart of the film. And it's much more powerful since we weren't really expecting it given all the other cinematic tricks you were pulling off at the same time.

Italian Holiday?

Ever dream of going to Italy? Can't afford it? Using the library is a great alternative!

First, you can experience the sights through art books in our collection. The works of greats such as Botticelli, Bernini, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio will transport you into the culture of Italy. However, if you wanted something a little closer to the real experience, you could try this book of paintings within the Uffizi. It's basically a tour in itself!

If you want to feel like you're actually walking the streets of Italy, try a book on the architecture of Brunelleschi, the famous creator of Florence's Il Duomo, or maybe something a little broader.

Perhaps you're anxious to taste some real Italian food? Unfortunately, you'll have to cook it yourself. But books on Italian Cooking will be able to make that a bit easier for you.

In order to hear Italy, you can try your hand at speaking it yourself. With our fantastic Italian language-learning collection, you'll be able to go from a beginner's lesson, to something more advanced. Although, if you tired yourself out with all that cooking, you might just like to listen to some opera.

If you're really into this whole plan, maybe you want to get some more background? There are tons of Italian history books. There are also biographies on key figures, such as Caesar, Lucrezia Borgia, Savonarola, Garibaldi, Mussolini, and the well-known Medici family.

Maybe all of these books are too much for you, and you really need a break? Well, luckily, AADL also carries movies. Something lighthearted, like Roman Holiday might help you through your journey. Or, if you'd like something a little more thrilling, perhaps The Talented Mr. Ripley? We even have films in Italian, like La Dolce Vita!

It may not be exactly the same as climbing the Spanish Steps, but it's as close as you can get without actually going! But, if you ever decide to go, don't forget your travel book.

Eric Rohmer: 1920 - 2010

Eric Rohmer, one of cinema's most urbane masters, died last week. French director, critic, and former editor of Cahiers du Cinema, Rohmer was more interested in human foibles than human misery. The result is a half century of stylized, articulate and subtle character studies about love and desire that was once famously compared to "watching paint dry."

But paint never came in more varied shades or nuances. If you've never seen Rohmer, his Six Moral Tales from the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the justly celebrated My Night at Maud's, are worth a mini film series. If you've seen these, try something a little more offbeat such as Perceval le Gallois.

Golden Door

Golden DoorGolden Door

The Golden Door is a 2006 Italian movie directed by Emanuele Crialese. This film was nominated for, and won, the 2006 Silver Lion Venice Film Festival Award. This movie is a romantic drama about immigration to America at the turn of the 20th century. The main character is Salvatore Mancuso. He is a widowed Sicilian peasant, played by Vincenzo Amato. He begins his journey to America, and bravely leaves everything and everyone behind hoping for a better life. On his journey he finds love with a beautiful Englishwoman named Lucy Reed, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. Upon their arrival to Ellis Island the couple encounter roadlocks to their freedon they were not anticipating.

Clean

CleanClean

This 2004 film written and directed by Olivier Assayas is heart touching. Clean delves into the life of rock star Emily Wang, played by Maggie Cheung. She has become entangled in the fast life of music, drugs, and a never ending search for happiness. She wakes up one day with the painful realization that she must make the most difficult decision of her life. If she continues on the road she is on as a heroin addict, she will never get her son and her life back. Nick Nolte plays Emily's boyfriend, Albrecht Hauser, in the film. After tragedy strikes, Emily abruptly realizes her life has come to a dead end, and she is left without any choice but to change.

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