Superhuman Strength

Did you hear the recent story about the mother in Canada who fought off a polar bear to protect her 7-year old son? After reading about this incredible event, I now firmly believe that a mother would actually be able to lift a car to save her child.

The library has many items on the subjects of parenting and motherhood, including:
The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars
Supernanny: How to get the best from your children
Whatever, Mom: Hip mama's guide to raising a teenager
Confessions of Super Mom (Fiction)

The Happiest Toddler on the Block (DVD)
Child Development: The first two years (DVD)
The Baby Whisperer (DVD)

We also have plenty of materials about polar bears!

Webster's dictionary turns 200. What's next?

200 years ago this month Noah Webster published "A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language" to the horror of English language purists who were shocked by the Americanized spellings (such as "honor" instead of "honour"), the inclusion of new words American words, and the elimination of ancient British words such as "fishefy." But Webster's aim--to promote homegrown culture and reflect the language America was actually speaking--proved highly successful and today there are hundreds of dictionaries and books devoted to American English usage such as last year's Right, Wrong and Risky: A Dictionary of Today's American English Usage and Contemporary American Slang. There's also every manner of online dictionary, notably the collaborative wiki dictionary Wiktionary, an offshoot of Wikipedia. And that's just a start, since collabulary--a new word worth looking up, by the way--may alter the digital dictionary in ways Noah Webster could never have imagined.

E.L. Doctorow wins the 2006 PEN/Faulkner award

E. L. Doctorow has just been named the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel The March.

In his novel, Doctorow brings to savage life General William Tecumseh Sherman's devastating sweep through Georgia and the Carolinas in toward the end of the Civil War.

The PEN/Faulkner, founded in 1980, is the largest peer-juried prize for fiction writers. It has gone to such esteemed authors as Ann Patchett, Ha Jin, John Updike, and Michael Cunningham.

Finalists for the 2006 award are:

Karen Fisher for A Sudden Country
William Henry Lewis for I Got Somebody in Staunton
James Salter for Last Night
Bruce Wagner for The Chrysanthemum Palace

This is Mr. Doctorow's second PEN/Faulkner award. He won in 1990 for Billy Bathgate.

Danitra Brown Class Clown by Nikki Grimes

Danitra Brown is back in Nikki Grimes's latest book of verse, Danitra Brown Class Clown. It is a new school year and Zuri Jackson has to face many challenges. With her best friend, Danitra Brown, supporting her every step of the way, Zuri gets through the school year with flying colors.

Andy Goldsworthy's Grand Rapids Arch

Andy

‘Using the often fragile and fleeting objects and elements of the natural world — snow, stones, twigs, streams—sculptor and photographer Andy Goldsworthy has emerged as among the most respected and influential artists working today.“

The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park’s newest treasure - The Grand Rapids Arch, is now permanently in place.

Check out Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time and images of his other installations the world over. Looking for a little outing over spring break? Bring the family.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts # 7

Filmmaker-turned-first-time-novelist, Galt Niederhoffer’s A taxonomy of Barnacles is a charming and sly spoof of the concept of the survival of the fittest, and the nature-versus-nurture debate. Starred review in Booklist.

Barry Barnacle announced to his 6 daughters during a Passover Seder that whoever could immortalize the Barnacle name would be the sole beneficiary of his pantyhose fortune. This challenge plunged Bell, Bridget, Beth, Belinda, Beryl and Benita Barnacle, ranging in age from 10 to 29 into merciless fistfights trying to best each other.

Titled after Darwin's monograph on the arthropods, which he studied before he used the Galapagos finch to illustrate his theory of evolution, this zany 1930s-style romantic comedy will certainly bring to mind The Royal Tenenbaums. Pure Fun.

Sugimoto in the News

Hiroshi Sugimoto, the celebrated Japanese-born photographer, designed the installation for his own retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and it is inspired.” wrote The New York Times .

Known for his starkly minimal images of seascapes, movie theaters and architecture as well as his richly detailed photographs of natural history dioramas, wax portraits and Buddhist sculptures, this retrospective brings together 30 years of exemplary works.

And if you could not quite make it to the Hirshhorn, don’t despair, visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art where Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Exposed, 50 of Sugimoto’s elusive seascapes from around the world are on view through April 2, 2006. The Sugimoto images are a component of the current exhibition “Landscapes of Longing: Journeys through Memory and Place”.

Grace Shackman presents Ann Arbor in the 20th Century

Shackman

Grace Shackman, local historian, author, and freelance journalist, whose articles on Ann Arbor history have frequently appeared in The Ann Arbor Observer, can be viewed on Community Access Cable Channel 17 next week, as she presents a slide lecture on her book Ann Arbor in the 20th Century: A Pictorial History. The program can be viewed on Tuesday, February 21 at 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 23 at 1:30 p.m.; Friday, February 24 at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 25 at 1:30 p.m. She is also the author of Ann Arbor in the 19th Century: A Pictorial History. Videos of talks on both books are also available for borrowing at the library.

The NBA...It's Fantastic!

The NBA's All-Star Weekend is upon us and that means we'll see plenty of incredible dunks, fancy passes, and long-range threes. And let's not forget the sloppy, playground moves and the non-existent defense!

The library has many books and videos related to the NBA, including the following:
Operation Yao Ming: The Chinese Sports Empire, American Big Business, and the Making of an NBA Superstar
Young, Black, Rich, and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion, and the Transformation of American Culture
Basketball's Best Shots: The Greatest NBA Photography of the Century
(continued...)

Friend on Freedom River by Gloria Whelan

Louis hears a voice from the bushes. A runaway slave and her family want to cross the Detroit River to Canada where they will become free. Louis remembers what his father told him before he went up North to work for the winter. “If you don't know what to do, just do what you think I would have done.” Gloria Whelan captures the courage and determination of slaves and those who helped them travel the Underground Railroad in this excellent book for young readers.

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