Kite Runner

Thursday 9-28-2006 on the Diane Rehm show Khaled Hosseini an Afghan-American doctor talked about his first novel Kite Runner which was an international literary sensation. Books like the Kite Runner can help us begin to understand the culture of this and other previously obscure nations which have become pivot points in global politics. Supposedly there's a movie being made of Kite Runner due out in 2007 from Dreamworks and directed by Marc Foster of Finding Neverland fame.

If you like Kite Runner click here for other similar titles. One of my colleagues highly recommends Sewing Circles of Herat from that list.

Expedition 13 Returns to Earth

SoyuzSoyuz

The thirteenth crew of the International Space Station, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams, returned to earth yesterday landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan. They had been at the station since last April performing scientific experiments and station maintenance.
With them was Anousheh Ansari, the first woman space tourist, who paid an estimated $20 million for an ISS trip under an agreement between Russia's Federal Space Agency and the Virginia-based firm Space Adventures. During her eight-day stay on the ISS, Ansari performed a series of experiments on behalf of the European Space Agency. Visit Ansari’s blog to read more about her trip to space.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #36

Alternately called “campy”, “intriguing”, “wry”, “mesmerizing”, “overkill” (500+ pages), this artfully structured debut novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is in the end, a sincere and uniquely twisted look at love, coming of age and identity.

Teen narrator Blue Van Meer is finally staying put her senior year at the St. Gallway School in Stockton, North Carolina, after spending most of her life with her father, an itinerant academic, on a tour of college towns. She is bemused when befriended by a group of eccentric geniuses - “The Bluebloods”. And then, there is a murder. Blue and the "Bluebloods" are deeply enmeshed.

First time novelist Marisha Pessl impresses by modeling this intricately plotted novel after the syllabus of a college literature course, by naming each of the 36 chapters after great works such as Othello and Paradise Lost. Stunning effort – absorbing and great fun. Starred review in Publishers Weekly.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground doesn't know much about African Violets except that we like them and can sometimes get them on sale at Kroger for $1.00 per. Perhaps, after attending the African Violet Fall Display & Sale at Matthaei this weekend, we will become more discerning. Michigan State African Violet Society. September 30 & October 1. UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd. Free admission. 647-7808.

Ann Arbor Police Department Online Exhibit Debuts

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The Ann Arbor District library's web site is now home to an online pictorial exhibit and history of the Ann Arbor Police Department. The exhibit, one of four local history collections on the library's research page, features a large assemblage of images of the police department and its officers, police vehicles, artifacts and documents. The pictorial collection is accompanied by the complete text of Lieutenant Michael Logghe's True Crimes and the History of the Ann Arbor Police Department which traces the history of the department from its beginnings in the 1870s to the late 1990s. The narrative is filled with fascinating accounts of the organization, development, and controversial issues which faced the department, as well as inside information on the large array of major criminal investigations which have been part of that history, such as the 1908 student riot at the Star Theater, the murder and aftermath of Officer Clifford Stang in 1935, the student unrest of the 1960s and and 1970s, the shocking co-ed murders, and numerous others.

Children's Bestseller List

Here are the top ten bestselling children's books as reported in the September 18, 2006 issue of Publisher's Weekly. There's something for everyone here . . . pirates, huge turtles, singing pigs and the importance of punctuation.

1. Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis Illustrated by Laura Cornell.
2. The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket. Illustrated by Brett Helquist.
3. Pirateology edited by Dugald Steer
4. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference! by Lynn Truss. Illustrated by Bonnie Timmons
5. Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
6. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor.Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
7. Owen and Mzee by Craig Hatkoff. Photos by Peter Greste.
8. Pirates by John Matthews
9. Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer
10. Flotsam by David Wiesner

GLBA Awards

GLBA AwardsGLBA Awards

Trying to avoid the football crowd on Oct. 7th?

Head to the 2006 Great Lakes Booksellers Association Trade Show at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn (Directions).

Check out the schedule of events; and author appearances, which include big names such as Chris Bohjalian, Brian Freeman, Kathe Koja, Joyce Maynard, Ridley Pearson, Julia Spencer-Fleming; and many regional/local favorites.

If you happen to be free on Friday, Oct. 6th, it will be worth your while to check in at the luncheon where the 2006 Great Lakes Book Awards will be presented to:

Katrina Kittle, for The Kindness of Strangers, (Fiction)
Paul Clemens, for Made in Detroit, (General Non-Fiction)
Elisha Cooper, for A Good Night Walk, (Children)

Founded in 1995, the awards honor the year’s brightest and most deserving books about America’s heartland; recognize and reward excellence in the writing and publishing of books that capture the spirit and enhance awareness of the Great Lakes region. Past Winners.

Let me tell you a dirty little librarian secret – publishers will be throwing advance readers at you down every isle – you could very well pick up a FREE prepublication Jane Smiley, Jonathan Lethem, Nelson DeMille, Walter Mosley, just to name a few. (There is an admission charge to the Exhibits).

Contemporary Cinderella Fairy Tale


With the help of a glass slipper, magic ring and plenty of courage, Bella battles a furious father and ancient hostilities to save her prince and kingdom. This noble read by Diane Stanley is perfect for the upper elementary fantasy crowd who loved Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre,and Beauty: A Retelling Of The Story Of Beauty & The Beast.

The Baby-Sitters are Back

Any child of the eighties will remember the adventures of Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey. Now you can revisit Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club series thanks to comics artist, Raina Telgemeier (known for her webcomic Smile). She has updated our old friends for a new generation in her graphic novel adaptation of Martin’s series, recently published by Scholastic/Graphix. Telgemeier’s clean and expressive black and white artwork enhance the story by adding comedy, action, and emotion.

Highlights from Fresh Air for the Week of September 18th to 22nd, 2006

On Wednesday, Maureen Corrigan reviewed Nell Freudenberger’s first novel, The Dissident. A September 2006 Book Sense pick, this is “a bold, intricately woven first novel about an enigmatic stranger who disrupts the life of one American family” (publisher synopsis). Also check out her 2003 award-winning short story collection, Lucky Girls. Hear the review on Fresh Air here.

Also Wednesday, New York Times columnist Frank Rich spoke about his new book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina. Rich, a former theatre critic for the Times, now writes about politics and culture. Get in line for this new book now – this title is on its way to our shelves and our Hot Books list. Listen to Rich talk about his new book on Fresh Air.

Friday was a movie kind of day on Fresh Air. Critic Robert Edelstein reviewed a new movie version of Robert Penn Warren’s novel All the King’s Men, starring Sean Penn; featuring Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, and James Gandolfini; and directed by Steven Zaillian, best known for writing the screenplay for Schindler’s List. See the 1949 version of the film, starring Broderick Crawford, who won an Oscar for his work in this film. Listen to Edelstein’s review on Fresh Air.

Also Friday, Fresh Air aired a 1999 interview with actor James Woods. Woods can be seen on TV this fall in the new CBS drama Shark, and you can catch some of his big screen work on our shelves in Once Upon a Time In America and The Virgin Suicides. Listen to the interview here.

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