November's New Book Clubs to Go

We have 5 new sets of Book Clubs to Go for your book clubs. Again, we tried to strike a balance between the classics, the literary, the popular, and the award winners - fiction and nonfiction.

A Death in the Family is the 1958 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel by James Agee who reconstructs through the lens of fiction the real-life car accident that claimed his father when James was not yet six years old.

Half Broke Horses, called a true-life novel (read the New York Times review) by Jeannette Walls who brings us the story of her grandmother Lily Casey Smith, a no-nonsense, resourceful, hard working woman who survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy.

Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, a gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when her mother the headliner dies, the family is plunged into chaos and it is left up to Ava to save them all. Karen Russell's Swamplandia is a seriously fun read to share.

The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. It was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how you can be humbled by a thirteen-year-old.

In The Tiger's Wife , Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife. Winner of the 2011 Orange Prize for debut novelist Tea Obreht.

2012 Teen NBA Winner Announced

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Goblin Secrets has received the 2012 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Rownie, the youngest in Graba the witchworker's household of stray children, escapes and goes looking for his missing brother. Along the way he falls in with a troupe of theatrical goblins and learns the secret origins of masks. Now Graba's birds are hunting him in the Southside of Zombay, the Lord Mayor's guards are searching for him in Northside, and the River between them is getting angry. The city needs saving—and only the goblins know how. Don’t miss Goblin Secrets!

Author William Alexander studied theater and folklore at Oberlin College and English at the University of Vermont. He currently lives, writes, and teaches in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His short stories have been published in many magazines and anthologies, including Weird Tales, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Interfictions 2, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2008. Catch an interview with William on The Enchanted Inkpot.

2012 National Book Award winners have been announced

Last night, the The National Book Award winners for 2012 were announced at a gala event at the posh Cipriani on Wall Street.

The big winners were:

Louise Erdrich, 58, received the fiction award for The Round House. An adult Joe Coutts looks back in time when, as a teenager, he went in search of the man who brutalized his mother on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. This winning title is part two of a trilogy. The Coutts family was first introduced in The Plague of Doves (2008). Erdrich's win is especially poignant as, shortly after she started writing The Round House, she was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, which she has beat.Ms. Erdrich, who is part Ojibwe, delighted last night's audience by addressing some of her remarks in her tribal tongue.

Katherine Boo, 48, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the The New Yorker, received the nonfiction award for Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life,Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, a wrenching account of a teenage boy who lives in the slums that are hidden from view by some of India's luxury hotels.

Poet David Ferry, 88, tearfully accepted what he described as "preposterous pre-posthumous award" for his Bewilderment; New Poems and Translations. "We're all in this apart" (From FoundSingle-Line Poems). Ferry has a PhD from Harvard and is the Sophie Chantal Hart Professor Emeritus of English at Wellesley, where he taught for many years.

William Joseph Alexander, 36, is a first-time novelist who captured the Young People's Literature prize for his fantasy, Goblin Secrets. In this steampunk/witch-infested tale, Rownie escapes Graba who 'adopts' orphans to do her bidding, and sets out on a quest to find his missing older brother.

Rounding out the evening, host Faith Salie, a media star on NPR, the BBC and CBS Sunday Morning, bestowed two special awards. Detroit author, Elmore Leonard, 88, accepted the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters prize. New York Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., 61, was honored for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. NPR's Fresh Air host, Terry Gross, introduced Mr. Sulzberger and said the New York Times Book Review was like "...a shopping catalog...[for] authors I've overlooked."

Each winner received $10,000.

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.

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