Pas de duck

Fairy tales meet ballet in the anime series Princess Tutu. The mysterious Herr Drosselmeyer offers Duck—a sweet but clumsy ballet student—the chance to help one of her classmates. When she accepts, he gives her a pendant that transforms her into the magical Princess Tutu, whose beautiful dancing has the power to heal people’s hearts. There’s just one problem: whenever Duck acts like a duck, she turns into one. Quack! Is she a girl dreaming of being a duck, or a duck dreaming of being a girl?

The library also has lots of books about ballet and sound recordings of the ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, both of which are referenced in the series.

The Play Ground

the play groundthe play ground

The Play Ground read Moss Hart's classic autobiography ACT ONE when we were young and we have been fans of this brilliant man ever since. It details his rags to riches life including his longtime collaboration with the moody George Kaufman. This weekend the UM Department of Theatre & Drama will present YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU which opened in 1937 and was the third hit by the golden playwriting team. The play won the coveted Pulitzer Prize, a rarity for a comedy. Kaufman and Hart wrote an amazing eight plays during their ten-year collaboration, each wildly successful including The Man Who Came to Dinner and I'd Rather Be Right. The Play Ground will happily have an aisle seat at the Power Center this weekend. League Ticket Office 734-764-2538, December 7-10.

Just In Case... Justin Case

Convinced that fate is out to get him, fifteen-year-old David Case assumes a new identity in the hope of avoiding what he believes is certain doom... David takes on the identity of "Justin Case" and then meets an older and unusual female photographer who takes photos of Justin after he revamps his identity. Justin's new look catches the eye of many - that and the fact that he has an imaginary greyhound dog that goes with him everywhere. Just in Case by Meg Rosoff is an interesting, if not entirely believable, tale of fate, identity and death. With a mildly telepathic toddler thrown in the mix this is an unusual read.

Rilke remembered

Today is the birthday of poet, Rainer Maria Rilke who was born on December 4, 1875 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Known as one of the greatest lyrical poets, Rilke spent most of his life traveling and supported himself by getting rich noblewomen to fall in love with him. In one of his most famous works,Letters to a Young Poet,he says:" Search for the reason that bids you to write; find out whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write." Rilke followed his own advice, producing many works, both poetry and prose, including more than 400 poems in French. Rilke was admired by many modern poets including W.H. Auden and James Merrill.

NYTBR's Top 10 Best Books of the Year: the Five Non-fiction Titles

Annotations are from the New York Times.

FALLING THROUGH THE EARTH:A Memoir by Danielle Trussoni
“This intense, at times searing memoir revisits the author's rough-and-tumble Wisconsin girlhood, spent on the wrong side of the tracks in the company of her father, a Vietnam vet who began his tour as "a cocksure country boy" but returned "wild and haunted," unfit for family life and driven to extremes of philandering, alcoholism and violence. Trussoni mixes these memories with spellbinding versions of the war stories her father reluctantly dredged up and with reflections on her own journey to Vietnam, undertaken in an attempt to recapture, and come to terms with, her father's experiences as a "tunnel rat" who volunteered for the harrowing duty of scouring underground labyrinths in search of an elusive and deadly enemy.”

Before J.K. Rowling . . .

Meet Ursula LeGuin, Terry Pratchett, Madleleine L’Engle, Garth Nix, and many other fantasy writers in The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy. Read about their childhoods, who influenced them, how they found their niche in the world of fantasy, and what advise they have for people who want to write.

One interesting aspect of the interviews is to learn the influence of certain life experiences on these people’s writing. When asked if growing up in England during World War II affected her as a writer, Diana Wynne Jones responds: “ . . . the entirety of the world as far as I was concerned was stark-staring crazy in a most menacing way . . . Later, I came to think that if only people then had read a little more fantasy, they would have know Hitler for a dark lord.”

TOP 5 FICTION OF 2006!

The New York Times has just announced its list of the 10 best books of 2006! In fiction, these are the top 5:

Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart, called 'equal parts Gogol and Borat', it's about the son of one of the richest men in Russia, a young man who is obsessed with rap music and all things American;

Collected Stories of Amy Hempel,Hempel's fourth collection of highly-regarded short stories;

The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud,a comedy of manners set in Manhattan in 2001 on the brink of 9/11;

The Lay of the Land, by Richard Ford, the 3rd installment in his serial about Frank Bascombe, set in Florida over Thanksgiving 2000 (the first two were "The Sportswriter" and "Independence Day";

and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl, a murder mystery with each of the chapters titled for a classic in literature.

We hope you'll take a look at these top fiction selections!

Bone (in color!)

If you missed out on the first run of this great comic series (originally released from 1994-2004 by Cartoon Books) you won’t want to miss Scholastic’s re-release. The writer/illustrator, Jeff Smith, is currently working with colorist Steve Hamaker to color all nine volumes, which were previously released in black and white.

The story follows the adventures of three cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone as they are run out of their hometown of Boneville and find themselves in a mysterious valley. There they encounter giant rat creatures, swarms of locusts, dragons, princesses, and racing cows. It’s a fantasy saga that doesn’t take itself too seriously all the time. Take Smith's humor, throw in a little adventure, romance, and suspense, and you have a comic that appeals to all audiences.

Visit Jeff Smith's website to learn more about Bone.

You will find the new Scholastic color versions through volume four in our collection (volume 5 is due out next February):
1.Out from Boneville
2.The Great Cow Race
3.Eyes of the Storm
4.The Dragonslayer

AADL also has some of the black and white Cartoon Books releases:
1.Out from Boneville
3.Eyes of the Storm
4.The Dragonslayer
6.Old Man’s Cave
8.Treasure Hunters

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid"

Jimmy Carter ex president appeared on the Diane Rehm show on 11-28 to discuss his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". Certainly a timely and important read from, I believe, a vastly underrated president. The library has an extensive number of books on the subject Palestine

World AIDS Day 2006

Yesterday, Dec. 1 was Worlds Aids Day, a time to be reminded of the still widespread scourge of this devastating disease. Many remembrances and ceremonies were held to remember those who died and to raise awareness of treatment and prevention.

Two new books in our collection highlight the urgent need for care. Dr. Arthur M. Fournier's book, Zombie Curse: A Doctor's 25-Year Journey Into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti describes the role of poverty in the spread of AIDS in this country and his founding of Project Medishare.

Melissa Fay Greene, the author of Praying for Sheetrock has written a new book, There is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children. Greene tells the story of Haregewoin Teferra, an Ethiopian woman who took in many AIDS orphans. In the process, she uncovers the urgency of the AIDS pandemic in Ethiopia which has the highest concentration of AIDS orphans in the world.

Both of these books can be compared to Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains, the story of Dr. Paul Farmer's work in Haiti and the book chosen for this year's Ann Arbor Reads.

Yesterday is a film originally released in 2004 which tells the story of a South African woman, Yesterday, who learns she is HIV positive, and is shunned by the women in her village. Her one dream is to live long enough to see her child start school. Not a true story but it easily could be.

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