Happiness In! Demon Out!

We will be tossing beans to keep those demons away and celebrate Setsubun, at our Japanese Family Cultural Celebration this Sunday at 2:00 pm at the Downtown Library. We will begin the festivities with a story and a demon mask craft upstairs, then parade downstairs for music with Miyabi and pocky treats. Families with children of all ages are invited to attend and while you are here, check out Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories and other folktale collections.

A Divided Life

In Secondhand World,the first novel by Katherine Min, first person narrator, Isa Myung Hee looks back at her life as a Korean-American teenager while recovering from burns in a tragic fire that killed her parents. Isa, daughter of successful but aloof first generation Koreans, alienated from her parents and the target of racial prejudice at school, is drawn to an albino outsider named "Hero." It is only when she discovers her mother's affair that she questions her rejection of her heritage.

Publisher's Weekly calls the story "a swirling, textured and beautifully detailed web of perception..."

For teen novels that explore similar themes, try the novels of Marie Lee, and the books, American Eyes, stories edited by Lori Carlson and Girls for Breakfast by David Yoo.

Sidney Sheldon, beloved American storyteller, has died

Sidney Sheldon, beloved American storyteller, has diedSidney Sheldon, beloved American storyteller, has died

Sidney Sheldon, a one-man, award-winning writing machine who had enormous success penning commercially successful novels, died January 30 in California.

In addition to his career as a novelist, Sheldon, an Army Corps pilot during World War II, also wrote for the theater, the movies, and television. He won a Tony for Redhead an Oscar for The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer, 1947, and an Emmy for I Dream of Jeannie.

But it was his string of blockbuster bestsellers featuring strong successful women (Tell Me Your Dreams, 1995, The Stars Shine Down,1992, and Nothing Lasts Forever, 1994), that cemented his place in the hearts of fiction-loving readers.

Sheldon died just short of his 90th birthday (February 17, 2007).

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #49

AT LONG LAST!!! The much anticipated first novel from Peter Ho Davies, named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists 2003 for his two award winning short-story collections The Ugliest House in the World and Equal Love, is finally here.

The Welsh Girl* is an ambitious and moving wartime romance. The story opens with the building of a POW camp for German prisoners in the remote Welsh countryside in 1944. 17 year-old Esther, pregnant after being rape by an English soldier, and Karsten, a German POW haunted by the loss of honor, are thrown together during his escape.

Adding texture and contrast to Esther and Karsten’s story is British army officer Rotheram’s difficult assignment to interrogate captured nazi officer Rudolf Hess, both of them haboring secrets and struggling with matters of honesty and honor.

“What makes this first novel …an intriguing read isn't the plot, …but the beautifully realized characters, who learn that life is a jumble of difficult compromises best confronted with eyes wide open.” (Publishers’s Weekly)

Read an interview with P.H.D. and an interesting piece in Michigan Today by Leslie Stainton.

* = Starred Reviews

2007 Edgar Award Best Young Adult Nominees

On the 198th birth of Edgar Allan Poe the 2007 Edgar® Nominees were announced. The winner will be announced April 26 in NYC. Read the list and tell us which one you think should be named the winner.

The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks

Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready

The Night My Sister Went Missing by Carol Plum-Ucci

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (1/28/07)

While Richard North Patterson has been writing big (!) bestsellers for several years, his first book The Outside Man is still my favorite. The story is compelling, the plotting tight, the prose concise and he delivers all this in only 236 pages.

At #1 is Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich: "A mysterious man in Stephanie Plum’s life helps her track down a matchmaker who skipped bail."

At #6 is Exile by Richard North Patterson: "A San Francisco lawyer defends a Palestinian woman accused of assassinating the Israeli prime minister."

At #15 is Web of Evil by J.A. Jance: "Alison Reynolds, a former Los Angeles news anchor. comes under suspicion when her about-to-be-ex husband is murdered."

Baby Bits - Go, Go, Go

We did "things that go" in Baby PlayGroup this week. You can go home with books like Beep Beep Let's Go; Sail Away Little Boat; Sheep In A Jeep; Jiggle Joggle Jee; Giddy-Up! Let's Ride; or I Love Trucks and GO some more.

Happy Rebuild Day, Library of Congress!

The Library of Congress is marking 192 years since Congress accepted Thomas Jefferson's offer to rebuild the collection after the library was destroyed by the British. TJ offered books from his famously large personal collection, including, apparently, a copy of the Quran recently used in the swearing-in ceremony for Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress. Writers' Almanac has more.

February 2: Imbolc (Imbolog), Candlemas, and Groundhog Day

February 2 is a cross-quarter day, marking the mid-point of Winter, midway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. We have gotten off easy so far this Winter. Let's hope Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow.

Stormfax Weather Almanac has historic data. The odds favor six more weeks of winter. Shadow: 96 years; No Shadow: 14 years.

On Groundhog Day the Pittsfield Branch is hosting Harley, a groundhog from the Howell Conference and Nature Center. We are not sure what weather effect can be expected when the groundhog visits the library on Groundhog Day.

Wikipedia (have you noticed how many recent New York Times articles cite Wikipedia? An article in Monday's New York Times reported on the use of Wikipedia by judges in their opinions) on Imbolc; Candlemas; and Groundhog Day

Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in Groundhog Day

Library books about Groundhog Day

Library picture books and readers about Groundhog Day

Someone has busily been tagging the library's Groundhog Day materials.

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