Debut Author Visits the Library

Don't miss a fabulous opportunity to meet Dinaw Mengestu as our Sunday Edition featured speaker on March 11, 2-3:30 p.m. at the Downtown Library.

A nuanced slice of immigrant life, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears* is a beautifully observed debut from Ethiopian émigré Dinaw Mengestu . (Fabulous Fiction Firsts #54).

Sepha Stephanos, fled the Ethiopian Revolution as a teenager, now he owns a neighborhood grocery store in a section of Washington, D.C going through gentrification. Evenings are spent with other African immigrants until he befriends his new neighbors - Judith, a white academic and her 11 year-old biracial daughter, Naomi.

Racial politics, changing demographics in this formerly poor African American neighborhood threatens his barely profitable shop, as well as his tentative romantic aspirations with Judith. This poignant story makes for a “heart-rending and indelible” first novel.

* = Starred Reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

The media is definitely interested in this fiction rising star - just check out Jennifer Reese's article in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly and Bob Thompson's piece in the March 1st edition of the Washington Post

Got tape? Then create!

Don’t miss Duct Tape! Re-Mix at Pittsfield Tuesday, Feb. 27 from 1-3 p.m. We’ll provide the tape - in a bunch of colors from camouflage to pink - and you do the rest. Make what you want and meet other tapeheads. We’ll have duct tape books like Got Tape?: Roll out the fun with duct tape on hand for inspiration.

Thomas Lynch: “I’d rather it be February”

Now that the month is almost over, brace yourself and read (or re-read)
Thomas Lynch’s wonderful essay “Tract,” in which he wishes that February might turn out to be the month of his funeral. “With the cold behind and the cold before you and the darkness stubborn at the edges of the day. . . And a wind to make the cold more bitter. So that ever after it might be said, 'It was a sad old day we did it after all . . . '" This essay is in The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade for which Lynch – Milford’s famous undertaker and writer - won the American Book Award in 1998.

Onlies Write Fascinating Family Stories

As the mother of a solo son, I thoroughly enjoyed Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo edited by (only children) Deborah Siegel and Daphne Uviller. These essays – divided into Childhood, Significant Others and Friends, Parenting, and Tables Turned – are both entertaining and enlightening. Among my favorites was “My Jane,” by U-M’s Peter Ho Davies. At the end of the book I was left wondering, not for the first time, whether solo sons and daughters may be just as psychologically diverse as those who grow up with siblings.

Jackie's Bat by Marybeth Larbiecki

Jackie Robinson is playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers for the very first time. The batboy is told by his papa that “it aint’ right, a white boy serving a black man,” but Jackie goes on to earn the respect of his team, the fans and the batboy. Told from the point of view of Jackie Robinson’s batboy Marybeth Larbiecki scores a big one in Jackie’s Bat.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (2/18/07)

This week there are new contenders vying for the publishing world's equivalent of the golden ring. Can they be the next Da Vinci Code?

At #3 is The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry: "A former Justice Department operative turned bookseller hides a link to the secrets of the vanished library of Alexandria from wealthy international thugs."

At #7 is Deep Storm by Lincoln Child: "A doctor investigates diseases at an ocean-floor research facility that may have discovered the ruins of Atlantis."

At #9 is Hide by Lisa Gardner: "Bobby Dodge, a former sniper with the Massachusetts State Police, now a detective, unravels a mystery that begins with the discovery of six corpses beneath a state mental hospital."

At #10 is Allegiance by Timothy Zahn: "Events that occurred between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” : a “Star Wars” novel."

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #53

Jude Coyne is a jaded rock star. But unlike others who collect vintage cars and McMansions, he is a collector of the bizarre and grotesque: like a stiff and worn hangman’s noose and a snuff movie. He latest prize is a ghost purchased in an auction online and delivered to his doorstep in a black Heart-Shaped Box*. The dogs were the first to go crazy, even before the UPS guy has a chance to unload the box....

Inside, is a man’s suit but before long, its previous owner is everywhere in Joe’s life – swinging a razor blade on a chain.

Joe Hill, the two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award and the Ray Bradbury Fellowship for short fiction will grab you with this terrifying and relentless supernatural thriller. For Edgar Allen Poe fans. Film rights sold to Warner Brothers. Joe Hill is the pen name for Joe King (son of Stephen).

* = Starred Reviews

New Yorker born

Today, February 21 is the anniversary of the first publication of the New Yorker magazine in 1925. Every year, the first cover of a dandy peering at a butterfly through a monocle is reproduced. Known for its incisive reporting by writers like Seymour Hersh and Elizabeth Kolbert, fiction and poetry by John Updike, Alice Munro and Stanley Kunitz, and book, play and movie reviews, the The New Yorker has maintained the highest editorial and literary standards. Of course, when I receive mine, the first thing I look at are the cartoons which if nothing else will, makes me laugh that day, like the one showing a naked king walking away from his throne and one guard saying to another, "There are enormous challenges facing this country." You can access some short articles and excerpts by going to their online edition.

Guinea Bits - Pig Tales

Guinea Pigs! What else to say but cute, cute, cute with personality to boot !! Read some pig tales with Pee Wee and Plush and Lexi's Tale by Johanna Hurwitz; The Tales of Olga DaPolga by Michael Bond; John Willy And Freddy McGee; and Willimena Rules'stressful tale How To Lose Your Class Pet.

Then there are Kate Duke's pair of fables One Guinea Pig is Not Enough and Twenty Is Too Many. Hmmmm ... nuff said !

45th Anniversary of Americans in Orbit!

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Forty-five years ago today, John Glenn successfully completed the first American manned orbital mission aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962.
To celebrate the anniversary of this event, NASA has added some interactive features to their website. Visit nasa.gov to take an inside look at the Friendship 7, explore bios and a photo gallery, and conduct virtual interviews with the surviving Mercury astronauts. You can also watch a 30 minute special online on NASA TV: 45th Anniversary of Americans in Orbit, at 7pm on February 20th.

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