Marvin Hamlisch, award-winning composer extraordinaire, has died

Marvin Hamlisch, who gave us so much wonderful, toe-tapping music, died yesterday in Los Angeles.

Hamlisch composed, arranged, and conducted music for some of the most popular movies and plays to hit the silver screen and Broadway respectively. In 1974, he became the first person to win three Oscars in one night -- Best Score for the Robert Redford / Barbra Streisand hit, The Way We Were; Best Song for The Way We Were from that movie; Best Adaptation (of Scott Joplin's rags) in the Robert Redford / Paul Newman hit, The Sting. That year, his winning song, The Way We Were, also won his second of two Golden Globes.

His music for Chorus Line won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976.

He also nabbed four Emmys, four Grammys, and a Tony.

His musical genius was discovered early. He was the youngest student (age seven) to be admitted to the Julliard School of Music.

Mr. Hamlisch, who was 68, died after a brief illness.

Man Booker Prize 2012 fiction longlist announced today

Eleven novels and one collection of short stories are on the Man Booker Prize fiction longlist for 2012. The Booker, the leading literary prize for fiction writers from the UK, the Commonwealth of Nations, and Ireland, comes with a £50,000 purse.

This year's longlist includes the following writers:

Hilary Mantel for Bringing Up the Bodies, which is the sequel to Wolf Hall which won the 1999 Booker. In Bodies, Anne Boleyn is in the fight for her life against Thomas Cromwell.

Michael Frayn is also no stranger to the Booker excitement. His 1999 novel, Headlong was shortlisted. In his newest novel, Skios, science and romantic intrigue play out on a beautiful Greek island.

Malaysian author, Tan Twan Eng, got the nod for The Garden of Evening Mists (on order). In 1951, Malaysian prosecuting attorney, Yun Ling Teoh finds a Japanese garden in Malaysia which provides her with unexpected solace as she tries to heal from her horrific WW II experience in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

The complete list of the longlisted authors can be found here.

The shortlist will be posted on September 11. The winner will be announced on October 16th.

First-ever Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction have been awarded

The American Library Association, long noted for its revered, prestigious awards for children's books (Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Caldecott, Printz, Alex, to name a few), has entered the adult field.

Yesterday, at their annual conference in Anaheim, CA, ALA gave the nod to adult writers in the organization's first AndrewCarnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. This honor is bestowed on the best nonfiction and fiction titles published in the previous year.

Anne Enright received her medal and cash prize for her novel, The Forgotten Waltz, a lyrical novel of adultery between two deeply flawed Irish citizens and the fallout on both of their families. Enright won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for The Gathering.

Robert K. Massie captured the nonfiction category for his riveting biography, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Massie, who is THE preeminent biographer of Russian czars (he won the 1981 Putlizer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for his seminal Peter the Great, His Life and World. In Catherine, Massie's edge-of-the-seat storytelling gifts bring to life this fascinating historical figure, from her roots as a minor German princess to her enormous influence on Russia.

Public lists for the winners and finalists of this award have been created here:

winners

finalists

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #335

STOP!!! If you are an adrenaline junkie, go no further. This WWII espionage by Laurent Binet will leave you wanting. But if you are a patient reader of literary fiction and a student of history, then you would find HHhH * * * quite a little gem. (Also available in the original French in our World Language Collection).

HHhH = Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich ("Himmler's brain is called Heydrich" ) - the most dangerous man in Hitler's cabinet, Reinhard Heydrich : "The Blonde Beast", "The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia", "The Butcher of Prague", "The Man with the Iron Heart" - implacable cruel and seemingly indestructible, until two men, a Slovak and a Czech recruited by the British secret service, tried to kill him in broad daylight on a bustling street in Prague, in a most daring assassination plot, codenamed Operation Anthropoid.

In this debut novel, winner of the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, though we know the outcome of this historic event, we willingly agreed to be led, by the seasoned hand of a master storyteller to follow Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis from their dramatic escape of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to England; from their recruitment to their harrowing parachute drop into a war zone, from their stealth attack on Heydrich's car to their own brutal death in the basement of a Prague church. A parallel storyline is the narrator/author's effort to capture this heroic act on paper. A "zealous amateur historian", disarmingly honest with his mistakes, but relentless and dogged with his subject and materials, attempts to lay the whole affair in geopolitical context.

"A seemingly effortlessly blend of historical truth, personal memory, and remarkable imagination... a work at once thrilling and intellectually engrossing", Paris born Laurent Binet, is the author of La Vie professionnelle de Laurent B., a memoir of his experience teaching in secondary schools in Paris. He is a professor of French Literature at the University of Paris III. The fluid translation by Sam Taylor is a superb choice for lovers of historical literary works and WWII fiction, especially The Girl in the Blue Beret.

Watch-alike: Valkyrie, and Army of Crime.

* * * = starred reviews

Geek Academy: SCRATCH DAY!!! And Contest

Saturday May 19, 2012: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Training Center

It's Scratch Day @ AADL! Ready for some friendly competition? Fine tune your Scratch lab project here at the AADL or get your home-made project working on an official contest computer. Please note that all entries must be turned in and functioning by 3:00 PM for evaluation and judging.

Later in the afternoon, there will be an award ceremony followed by a most elegant pizza dinner where you can dine and talk geek!

This event is for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #329

I have done nothing in the last 2 days except immersing myself in Beatriz Williams's Overseas, a rather puzzling title (the connection will be revealed in due course) for this most appealing romantic fantasy (or is it a paranormal romance?).

Independent, ambitious, smart Kate Wilson, an analyst at Sterling Bates (Bear Stearns, you think?) catches the eyes of British billionaire hedge fund mogel (and a 5-star client) Julian Laurence. The chemistry is undeniable and the flirty emails promise a whole lot more. Then Julian begs off. Kate is crushed. Months later, they finally connect, after a timely rescue at Central Park. (You get the picture, no violins but some nice Chopin, courtesy of Mr. there-is-nothing-he-can't do).

Of course disaster strikes, fast, furious, but not entirely out of the blue, though Julian did! Kate finds out that Julian is actually Julian Laurence Ashford, aristocratic WWI hero/poet, supposedly killed in 1916 in France. Now a mysterious and malevolent force is out to destroy them. It seems like Kate, with her 21st century sensibility and toughness is the only one who could travel back in time, reverse the course of history to save them.

This debut novel which won two Romance Writers of America awards already, is poised to become the sizzling read this summer. Comparison is being made to Diana Gabaldon and Anne Fortier. Fans of the movie Pretty Woman will delight in the frame of the novel - the Cinderella storyline, the Manhattan glitterati (a ruby necklace made an appearance here as well), and sometime, if we are lucky, love could rescue us.

Readers interested in the scenes set in World War I Amiens might check out historical notes at the author's website. The character Julian Laurence Ashford is actually based on biographical details from a number of historical figures. Amiens is also the setting for Sebastian Faulks' "intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic" Birdsong, recently adapted into a PBS Television Masterpiece Classic.

* = starred review

Choosing Award Winning Books

Wednesday, May 9 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Downtown Multipurpose Room

Ever wonder how on earth a book gets chosen as a national award winner? Or what the process is for selecting award books?

Join local librarians who have served on American Library Association book award committees as they discuss the process used to select national award-winning books and authors. Panelists include: Meaghan Battle, 2010 member of the John H. Newbery Medal for youth; Erin Helmrich, 2012 Chair of the Michael L. Printz Award for teens; and Jacqueline Sasaki, 2008-2011 member of The Reading List for adults.

This event is for adults and teens (grade 4 and up).

Today: Kids! Submit Your Art for Jurying for the 2012 Kids Art Fair

Sunday May 6, 2012: 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

The Kids' Art Fair is Back!!

The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original, will be accepting artwork from young artists in 3rd - 8th grade to be juried for the 2012 Kids' Art Fair to be held at the Townie Street Party on the evening of Monday, July 16.

You need to attend only one of these three sessions at Pittsfield Branch: Sunday, April 29 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Wednesday, May 2 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm or Sunday, May 6 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Interested young artists should arrive with samples of their work and be prepared to talk to judges. Please arrive at least an hour before the session closes to make sure you have time to show and discuss your art work with each Juror. Jurors from the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original will score the work. During the jury session the artists should be prepared to show and discuss their artwork to the judges.

The Jury is a great opportunity for young artists to discuss their artistic process, talk about meaning, and hear gentle critiques and suggestions.This is a great chance to see the jurying process at work - and a unique opportunity (if yours is chosen) to be able to actually sell your art! Additional information may be found at artfair.org.

Fabulous Fiction "Firsts" #328

Gillespie and I is British author Jane Harris' second novel (first in our collection), and a follow-up to her award-winning The Observations (2006).

Writing her memoirs in her Bloomsbury flat in 1933, Ms. Harriet Baxter recounts the summer of 1888 when she traveled to Glasgow as a well-heeled, youngish spinster, eager to embrace the excitement of the International Exhibition.

Untethered, self-assured but nevertheless adrift and grieving from the recent death of her kindly aunt, Harriet was immediately drawn to Ned Gillespie, a young, immensely talented painter and his large, eccentric family. "The initially playful narrative tone darkens decidedly as the double mystery of Ned's eventual suicide and Harriet's reliability as a memoirist steadily unpeels."

This "elegant novel of love, loss and redemption among the Victorians and Caledonians", is "irresistible and unforgettable". Already long listed for the Orange Prize, and shortlisted for the Galaxy National Book Awards, it "places (Harris) alongside Michel Faber, D.J. Taylor, and Sarah Waters as a gifted 21st-century conjuror of new 19th-century novels incorporating our own era's sensibilities while deeply honoring the milieu of the characters she creates."

"A rewarding, gripping, and disconcerting novel".

Winners of the 2012 Indies Choice Award for adult fiction and non-fiction

The American Booksellers Association (ABA) has released the titles of the winners of the 2012 Indies Choice Award for the adult fiction and non-fiction categories.

And the winners are... for fiction, The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides, and for non-fiction, Blood, bones, & butter: the inadvertent education of a reluctant chef by Gabrielle Hamilton.

From the ABA website: "The Indies Choice Book Awards reflect the spirit of independent bookstores nationwide and the IndieBound movement. Book of the Year winners and Honor Award recipients are all titles nominated by ABA member booksellers to the Indie Next Lists... [The finalists] were chosen by a jury of seven ABA member booksellers from titles appearing on the Indie Next Lists in 2011."

Last year, the winner of the adult fiction category was Room, by Emma Donoghue and non-fiction went to Unbroken: a World War II airman's story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

ABA also has a category for the Indies Choice Award called the Adult Debut Book of the Year, which for 2012 went to Téa Obreht's The Tiger's Wife. The 26-year-old author's first novel instantly became a huge success, also winning the United Kingdom's most prestigous literary award in 2011, the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Syndicate content