Vote for your favorite Michigan author

Nominate your favorite Michigan Author so the Michigan Library Association can reward them! Any author who lives in Michigan or writes about Michigan can win, regardless of the genre they write, as long as they have published at least 3 titles. See the list of authors who have won over the years and access the nomination form here. This year's winner was Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River and several other Michigan based books.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #363

The audio edition of Chuck Greaves' mystery series debut Hush Money * * is not to be missed.

Performed by Dan Butler - actor/director with TV credits for Frasier, Monk, House, and film credits for The Silence of the Lambs and Enemy of the State, it captured perfectly, the wisecracking Jack MacTaggart and the Southern California setting.

When Hush Puppy, Pasadena socialite Sydney Everett's champion show horse, dies under suspicious circumstances, junior lawyer Jack MacTaggart is assigned to handle the insurance claim. But the case soon takes an unexpected turn, thrusting Jack into a spiraling web of blackmail and murder in which he finds himself both the prime suspect and the next likely victim.

Winner of the SouthWest Writers (SWW) grand-prize Storyteller Award for 2010 and the Best Mystery of 2010, former LA trial lawyer Greaves "cleverly intermingles equestrian show jumping, insurance claims, and high-tech science in this sunny California thriller" in Hush Money.

The humor will please fans of Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie series, and Robert B. Parker's Spenser fans will find MacTaggart a new hero to root for.

* * = starred reviews

Hilary Mantel wins her SECOND Man Booker Prize

Last night in England, British author Hilary Mantel broke several literary records when she captured the 2012 Man Booker Prize for her novel, Bring Up the Bodies, the second entry in her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell.

She was the first woman to win the Booker twice. In 2009, she got the nod for the trilogy's first book, Wolf Hall; no other Booker author has won for a sequel. And neither of the other two double-Booker winner -- Peter Carey and J.M. Coetzee -- took home the top honors in such a short amount of time.

In Wolf Hall, Cromwell counsels King Henry VIII on the latter's seven year quest to marry Anne Boleyn. In Bring Up the Bodies, Henry now has buyer's remorse and again, Cromwell steps in to give the Kiing what he wants.

Sir Peter Stothard, chair of the judging panel had this to say about Ms. Mantel's historic accomplishment: "This is a unique accolade. This is something that no other woman has done before. This is an extraordinary book in its own right.It’s about novels, not novelists. It’s about texts, not reputations.This prize was set up for books that will be around for decades to come. They are texts that will live on because each time you read them it’s a different text".

Ms. Mantel's accomplishments are all the more remarkable for the personal struggles she has fought all her life. Plagued by health ailments from a young age which were misdiagnosed and which frequently drained her energy. She wrote of these challenges in her 2003 memoir, Giving Up the Ghost.

The Man Book Prize is given to an author from the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, or Ireland. The winner goes home with a purse of £50,000, instant international recognition and skyrocketing sales.

Ms. Mantel, who is 60, is already hard at work on the conclusion of her massive, compulsively readable trilogy.

Vicki C. Wright Of The Kalamazoo Institute Of Arts Discusses The Art Of The 2012 Ann Arbor Women Artists' Exhibition

Thursday October 18, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

In conjunction with their annual exhibition, Ann Arbor Women Artists join the Library to present this lecture/reception. The lecture will feature the juror for this exhibition, Vicki C. Wright, Director of Collections and Exhibitions for the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. The winners of the Ann Arbor Women Artists Fall 2012 Juried Exhibition will be announced and a reception will follow.

Please join us for this fascinating evening of local art and artists and for the unveiling of the Ann Arbor Women Artists Fall 2012 Juried Exhibition at the Library!

Mo Yan wins the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature

Chinese novelist, Mo Yan, has a huge new addition to his growing collection of impressive awards. The Nobel Foundation announced in Sweden this morning that Mo Yan is the recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature.

In bestowing the honor on one of China's most prominent authors, the Swedish Academy said this: "...[Mo Yan], with hallucinatory realism, merges folk tales, history and the contemporary".

Born in 1955, Mo Yan (which means 'Don't Speak") has an international reputation for his brilliant provocative writings. His 1987 novel, Red Sorghum: A Novel of China, which was translated into English in 1993, is set in the 1930s when Chinese peasants not only fought the Japanese invaders, but they battled each other as well. His movie treatment of this novel resulted in several impressive international awards.

The Garlic Ballads, written in 1988, translated to English in 1995, resulted in being censured by the People's Republic of China for taking the Communist party to task for its cruel corruption.

The New York Times particularly liked his Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, which appeared in the U.S. in 2006. It called this novel of magic realism "...harsh and gritty, raunchy and funny."

Mo Yan receives £741,000 along with his medal.

2012 National Book Award finalists have been announced

This morning, nineteen writers moved closer to their dream of winning one of the prestigious National Book Awards for 2012 when they were named as finalists.

The National Book Awards were begun in 1936. A break of several years around World War II ended in 1950 when they resumed. These awards are bestowed on U.S. authors who publish in this country.

Below are some of the authors who made it to the finalists' list.

In the Fiction category, Ben Fountain was one of five authors to get the nod. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Fountain's debut novel, takes place over the 2004 Thanksgiving Day weekend, 19-year-old Billy is between tours of duty in Iraq. His unit, Bravo Company, is being feted at the Dallas Cowboys football game with all the attendant hoopla. A searing look at the toll the Iraq war has taken on those who have served.

The late Anthony Shadid is one of the authors named in the Nonfiction category for his moving House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author took a break from journalism to return to his village in Lebanon to restore the Shadid family's ancestral home. Kirkus Reviews wrote of this book, "A complicated, elegiac, beautiful attempt to reconcile the physical bayt (home) and the spiritual." Shadid, who was shot and kidnapped during his long courageous career as a foreign correspondent, died February 16, 2012, of an asthma attack.

Poet Cynthia Huntington is a finalist for Heavenly Bodies, a collection of poetry that stuns and shocks and provokes with her observations about the sexual revolution, the drug culture, and political upheaval that rocked the 1960s.

The critics were unanimous in their praise of Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin who has written a nonfiction thriller for tweens. Divided into three parts, Sheinkin writes of the development of the bomb, the Soviet spy system that tried to steal it, and the Americans' frantic efforts to keep the bomb out of German hands.

For a complete list of the finalists, check out this link.

The winners in the four categories will be announced on Wednesday, November 14, 2012. At that time two additional special awards will be given: Michigan novelist Elmore Leonard will receive the 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. will accept the 2012 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Sulzberger is the Publisher (since 1992) and Chairman of the Board (since 1997) of the New York Times, positions previously held by his father, the late Arthur Ochs Sulzberger who died September 29 of this year.

Brain Quest Challenge

Thursday October 11, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Do you enjoy a good challenge? The staff of Brain Quest pays a special visit to AADL to present this fun and competitive quiz bowl using Brain Quest information decks! Participants will get special Brain Quest swag for participating, and our top finishers will get gift card prizes!

Brain Quest is America's #1 educational bestseller that challenges kids on the stuff they need to know, when they need to know it. Overseen by the Brain Quest Advisory Board, a panel of award-winning educators, Brain Quest is a curriculum-based question-and-answer game whose content reflects national and state standards. Beloved by kids, trusted by parents, and approved and used by teachers, it's the brand that says It's Fun to Be Smart!

This event is for Grades 3-8.

Coming Soon -- New Book Clubs to Go Kits

The AADL's Book Clubs to Go collection continues to grow! Book Clubs To Go (BCTG) is a service of the AADL that provides local book clubs with the convenience of complete kits for book discussions. Included in each BCTG are 10 copies of the featured book for discussion (or 10 each of two related titles), 1 copy of movie DVD if available, a resource folder containing the following: summary information and reviews of the title(s); author biography; a list of suggested discussion questions and read-alikes; tips for book groups; and evaluation forms so you can let us know what you think of the service.

The library will be releasing several new BCTG kits in the coming weeks, including the following:

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai is the story of "Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, who finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home."

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, is a non-fiction book that "intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death."

The Greater Journey by David McCullough, also non-fiction, is "the enthralling, inspiring -- and until now, untold -- story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work"

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet is "the first-ever memoir by an autistic savant, a man who can speak ten languages, who sees numbers with color and texture, who broke a record by memorizing over 22,000 digits of pi --and can write about it all with inspiring and heartbreaking simplicity and clarity."

In Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, "sixteen-year-old Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to the decision of what price she is willing to pay for her choices."

Man Booker Prize 2012 shortlist have been announced

The Man Booker Prize 2012 shortlist was released today in London.

The Man Booker Prize was first begun as the Booker Prize in 1968. It is one of the most prestigious literary awards and is awarded to the best novel of the year written by an author who is a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

Among the authors who got the shortlist nod this year are:

Twan Eng Tan for his novel, The Garden of Evening Mists. 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.

Will Self for his novel, Umbrella. Zachary Busner, a rogue psychiatrist in a mental hospital in 1970s London, tries some out-there therapies in an effort to reach Audrey Dearth, an 80-something patient whose life story unfolds slowly during her treatment.

Hilary Mantel for Bringing Up the Bodies. In this historical novel, Anne Boleyn is in the fight for her life against Thomas Cromwell.

For a complete list of all six authors named today, check out this link.

The winner will be named on Tuesday, October 16th in London at Guildhall.

Musical Memories


There are a plethora of new and highly anticipated biographies coming out this fall. Let's start with those in the music industry...

Waging heavy peace is an autobiography by Neil Young: he discusses his life and career from growing up in Canada to his time with Crosby, Stills, & Nash to his continued success as a solo artist.

Who I am: a memoir: Listed #10 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time, having written over 100 songs and rock operas with the Who and solo, as well as a being a noted literary writer, Pete Townshend gives the autobiography writing a go. With so much hush-hush about the contents prior to its release, it should be a fascinating read!

Cyndi Lauper a Memoir: Singer, songwriter, actress, Grammy award winner, and now book writer, the 80’s phenomenon talks about growing up in Queens and her rise to stardom.

Gershwins and me: A personal history in twelve songs: entertainer, Michael Feinstein renders the life of the legendary musical family the Gershwins here through stories of 12 of their songs. Feinstein was lucky to have mentored with Ira Gershwin, so you can expect some personal touches to the stories. A CD is included with the 12 songs performed by him.

In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, & Duran Duran : If you know the 80s group, Duran Duran, then you know their heartthrob/ bass guitarist, John Taylor (what lovestruck fan doesn’t!) This is his autobiography of the time with the band, the parties, & the lush (and lusty) MTV videos that made them famous (Hungry like the Wolf comes to mind).

John Lennon Letters: Here is a lifetime of letters and other correspondence from the the legendary John Lennon collected here for the first time.

Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll: Sisters, Ann & Nancy Wilson, of the rock band Heart share their story of 3 decades of being on stage together.

Luck or Something Like it: a Memoir: Although most notable for his country songs, Kenny Rogers has more than 120 hit singles across musical genres. Here he relates the story of his poverty stricken childhood to his award winning musical career.

Make up to Breakup:My life in & out of Kiss: founding KISS drummer Peter “Catman” Criss gives the group its dues.

Mick Jagger: another legend of rock gets the bio treatment here by Philip Norman who is known for the definitive rock bio, Shout: the Beatles in their generation. Let’s see what he uncovers with this one.

Streets of Fire Bruce Springsteen in Photographs and Lyrics 1977-1979: A behind the scenes photographic collection of the Boss.

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