Frederick Busch, 1941 - 2006

Frederick Busch

Frederick Busch, an elegant, prolific writer of brilliant fiction and non-fiction A Memory of War and Letters to a Fiction Writer, died Thursday, February 23, in Manhattan, a place he loved and immortalized in his books.

A professor of writing and literature at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, for 37 years, Busch shaped and inspired dozens of bright young writers who went on to successful careers of their own.

Busch, who richly deserved the accolades and awards h

A debut novel on South Africa

Lisa Fugard, daughter of acclaimed South African playwright, Athol Fugard, in her debut novel, Skinner's Drift evokes a vivid sense of place as Eva van Rensburg returns to Johannesburg from the U.S.after a ten year absence. Her father Martin is dying and Eva returns to care for him. Interspersed with the present are excerpts from her mother's diaries and flashbacks to Eva's childhood. Her Africaner parents try to maintain the farm. Barricades are erected on the border with Botswana as uprisings grow more frequent.

History Bits - Flint, MI.

LUTHER T. FARRELL has got to get out of Flint, Michigan. He would rather be known as a Philosopher, rather than "The Sarge's Son". Michigan author Christopher Paul Curtis (website) tells another great story in Bucking The Sarge.

History Bits - Willow Run

Learning History through fiction is a great way to learn about Michigan roots, whether reading on your own, or as a family read-aloud activity. Patricia Reilly Giff's new book, Willow Run, follows a young girl's family to the B-24 Bomber Factory as they look for work during World War II at the Willow Run plant.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #8 (of a new series)

If you liked Twilight, I have another one for you.

Down-under novelist Keri Arthur gives us a sexy, supernatural tale in Full Moon Rising in which Riley Jenson, a rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf must find her missing twin brother Rhoan, to prevent some shifty cloning that could spell doom for humans as well as the supernatural races.

Standing in her way is her werewolf vulnerability to the moon heat when her need to mate becomes all-consuming, and the object of her desire who might just be the enemy. Couldn't put this one down either. Reviews.

Octavia E. Butler, 6/22/1947 - 2/25/2006

Author Elizabeth Bear reports in her journal that Octavia Butler passed away this weekend as the result of a stroke.

In 1995, Butler became the first science fiction writer ever to receive a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." Her novel Parable of the Talents won the Nebula Award for best novel in 2000. She also received both a Nebula and a Hugo award for her novelette "Bloodchild," collected in Bloodchild, and Other Stories, and won a Hugo in 1984 for her story "Speech Sounds."

The Play Ground

The Play Ground likes to sample all of Ann Arbor's cultural offerings so
The University of Michigan Museum of Art is one of our favorite haunts.The Museum will be closing in July to get ready for its expansion so hurry over to view the current, fabulous exhibit: Landscapes of Longing: Journeys through Memory and Place. With subjects as disparate as life along the highways of early modern Japan, the great stone temples of Cambodia’s ancient royal city of Angkor, scholars’ retreats among the soaring mountains of China, and a series of meditatively abstract seascapes by one of our great contemporary photographers. Try this good primer before you go: How to look at Japanese art by Stephen Addiss.

Third book in trilogy is a good weekend read

Frank McCourt is the best-selling author and former teacher who skyrocketed to fame with "Angela's Ashes," followed by "'Tis." His third book, Teacher Man, is about his days teaching English in New York City, when he did creative things in the classroom such as urging young people to write down excuses for not having done their homework. The book, which I found witty and entertaining, ends with the author's decision to write "Angela's Ashes."

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (2/19/06)

Four new titles jump on board. And for the first time Jay McInerney becomes a "Best Sellers" author. Hard to believe that Bright Lights, Big City, his debut novel and the one that made him famous, never made it.

At #4 is Gone by Lisa Gardner: an FBI agent searches for his ex-wife's kidnapper.

At #7 is Outbound Flight by Timothy Zahn: a new Star Wars novel.

At #14 is Changing Faces by Kimberla Lawson Roby: the intertwining story of three women who have been friends since high school.

At #16* is The Good Life by Jay McInerney: his characters are older but still glamorous and decadent in this post-9/11 novel.

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!

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