Poetry: The best medicine

To get your daily dose and to celebrate April as National Poetry Month, check out "Poem-A-Day." When you sign up, you will receive a poem every day in your e-mail beginning April 1 and continuing throughout the month.

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The Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996 as a month long celebration of poetry to bring to the general public greater attention to and appreciation of poets, past and present, their books and the importance of poetry in our culture. Events and resorces that have grown out of National Poetry Month include reading series, curriculum ideas for teachers and tip sheets for booksellers and librarians. Their colorful posters are free Even local businesses have become involved as in one restaurant where poems were printed on placemats.

Iraq blog is shortlisted for writing prize

Baghdad Burning, the riveting blog written by Riverbend, a twenty-something Iraqi woman living in Iraq, has been shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction 2006. Her eyewitness accounts and "on the ground" analysis of what is happening in and to her country have been compiled into a book by the same name and published by Feminist Press.

The Samuel Johnson Prize, Britain's most lucrative award for nonfiction writing (30,000 Pounds), was established in December 1998 by BBC Four. The prize "is awarded to a work in the English language published in the UK and written by an author of any nationality in one of the following areas: current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography, and the arts."

The winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2006, will be announced at an awards dinner in London on Wednesday, June 14.

U.S. Naval Academy's first African American graduate is honored

Wesley Brown

Wesley Brown, the first African American to graduate from the United States Naval Academy, was honored on Saturday, March 25, 2006, in Annapolis.

Brown, the subject of Robert J. Schneller, Jr.'s book, Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy's First Black Midshipman and the Struggle for Racial Equality (2005), attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the Academy for the Wesley Brown Field House, a state-of-the-art gym.

Lt. Cmdr. Brown served in three wars -- World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars -- but he says one of his toughest battles was his four years at the Academy where the well-documented rigors of midshipman life, were compounded by the challenges he faced as he pioneered diversity at Annapolis. Since he graduated in 1949, more than 1600 African Americans have graduated from the Academy.

Science Fiction giant, Stanislaw Lem, is dead

stanislaw lem

Stanislaw Lem, author of such science fiction classics as Solaris and His Master's Voice, died Monday, March 27, 2006, in Krakow, Poland.

Solaris, the first Lem science fiction title to be published in America, was made into a movie in 1972. It won The Grand Prize of the Jury that year at the Cannes Film Festival. Thirty years later, Steven Soderbergh remade Solaris starring George Clooney.

Born in Lvov, Poland (now in Ukraine) on September 12, 1921, Lem studied medicine until he abandoned it during World War II to work as a mechanic.

Following the war, he pursued his writing career with a vengeance, often to the dismay of the Polish Communist regime.

Lem, who won the Kafka award in 1991, was 84 years old.

"American Theocracy"

Kevin Phillips , a former Republican strategist appeared Friday March 24, 2006 on the Diane Rehm show. . In his latest book "American Theocracy" he writes about the intersection of religion, oil, politics and money and what it means for the future of the country. Kevin Phillips has written a number of interesting, insightful books on politics and wealth in the United States. Expect this to be a best seller.

"Philosophy made Simple" an oxymoron?

Robert Hellenga has come out with a new novel, Philosophy Made Simple. If you liked The Sixteen Pleasures, Margot, the book conservator in that story is back but not as the main character. Rudy, her father, a Chicago wholesaler, moves to Texas where he buys an avocado farm. He also reads a book called Philosophy Made Simple and begins to ponder life's big questions. He finds his area of Texas is inhabited by a strange lot of people and other beings including a radio station proclaiming the Second Coming and a painter elephant named Norma Jean.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #11

If you are expecting a pleasant little cozy, well, skip this one.

Part police procedural, part psychological thriller, and part courtroom drama, this dark tale of two missing girls in a well-heeled Duluth suburb is a complicated page-turner by a first-time novelist. In Immoral, Detective Jonathan Stride suspects murder and he is sure he has the culprit; but proving it is another story altogether. Adding to the suspense are plenty of red herring, skeletons in the closet, and the fact that the victims may not all be innocent.

Mystery reviewers everywhere agree that Brian Freeman is a talent to watch. No argument here.

What’s a four-letter word for…?

Do you love crossword puzzles? Well this weekend is the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament – the nation’s oldest and largest crossword competition. Each competitor must solve eight original puzzles, created specifically for this event, and is then scored for accuracy and speed. The contestants all compete for prizes in over 20 categories, the grand prize being $4,000!

While you may not be as good as the masters who enter this tournament, brush up on your skills with the many dictionaries that the library owns that will help you improve.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (3/19/06)

With a hint of Spring in the air, romance veterans Steel and Graham return with their latest releases. In fact all the new entries are by tried and true favorite authors, offering a little whimsey, a lot of Irish history, and one more mystery soaked in the California sun.

At #1 is The House by Danielle Steel: how a mansion in need of tender loving care changes a lawyer's life.

At #9 is Sour Puss by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown: for cat and cozy mystery lovers everywhere, Mrs. Murphy and her cats solve another case of mysterious death.

At #10 is The Rebels of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd: sweeping family saga covering Irish history from 1597 to 1922.

At #15 is The Island by Heather Graham: a woman stumbles into a mystery on vacation which threatens her life back home in Miami.

At #16 is The Fallen by T. Jefferson Parker: this native Californian delivers another
absorbing tale of corruption and death, following in the footsteps of Chandler, Hammett and Macdonald (Ross!).

What Do Your Brackets Look Like?

AND1's, buzzer beaters, and dunks, oh my! How does your bracket look?
If you're following the NCAA and NIT tournaments, we want you to know the library has a lot to offer. Glory Road: My Story of the 1966 NCAA Basketball Championship and How One Team Triumphed Against the Odds and Changed America Forever, and Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four for starters. The season's hoopla wouldn't be complete without hearing from Dick Vitale. Dick Vitale's Living A Dream, or try a few issues of Slam, the magazine, for those endless time-outs.

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