Living in a Virtual Panopticon?

With the recent revelation that three major telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA to collect the phone records of millions of average Americans, the discussion of how to balance civil liberties and national security seems more important now than ever before. Is it safe to say that we are now all living in a virtual panopticon? A surveillance society?

The library has a number of books on this topic for those interested in learning more. Here are some recent titles:
No Place to Hide
Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping
Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints
The End of Privacy: How Total Surveillance is Becoming a Reality
The Naked Employee: How Technology is Compromising Workplace Privacy
The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror
Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson’s 2006 Newbery honor book Show Way traces her maternal family history from slavery, to the Civil Rights movement to the present day in eloquent poetic rhythm. Show Way is the quilt sown by slave women with an encrypted map that showed the way to freedom. The illustrations reveal both the fear and hope of African Americans throughout history.

Calling All Donutheads!

"My name, if you must know, is Franklin Delano Donuthead. Try saying that in a room full of fifth graders if you think names will never hurt you."

So starts the story of Donuthead by Sue Stauffacher. In the opinion of this youth services librarian, it is one of the best children's books currently in publication. Other titles by this author are Harry Sue and Bessie Smith and the Night Riders.

Sue Stauffacher will be in town for the Ann Arbor Book Festival this weekend. Her first appearance will be Friday, May 12, 2006 at the Malletts Creek Branch at 4:00 p.m. She will read from her works and talk about her life and her books.
Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to meet a popular writer.

A Good Book for Graduating Teens

With graduation season upon us, here's a good book to read or recommend: Character is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember, by Sen. John McCain, with Mark Salter. We have this book in the library or you can receive five-minute excerpts in your e-mail through DearReader.com where this book is the current teen pick. The book offers 34 stories about diverse inspirational characters including Thomas More, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, and Dwight Eisenhower.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #20

Poet Elizabeth Rosner gives us in The Speed of Light a powerful debut about three unforgettable souls who overcome tragedies of the past to reconnect with one another and the world around them.

“With a sumptuous voice resonating with wisdom, Rosner's lyrical debut novel is a spellbinding tribute to the revelations that redeem us and the emotions that ennoble us.” (Booklist)

Elizabeth Rosner will join Jacquelyn Mitchard (Cage of Stars); Rebecca Johns(Icebergs); and Lisa Tucker (Once Upon a Day) at this year’s Ann Arbor Book Festival’s panel discussion entitled “The Female Perspective”, (May 13th, 12:00 noon). Rosner will be reading from her new novel Blue Nude, .

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #19

Dean Bakopoulos whose Please Don't Come Back from the Moon is one of only three first novels selected as one of 100 Notable Books of 2005 by The New York Times.

A Michigan native, Dean set the novel in fictitious Maple Rock, based on a stretch of Michigan Avenue between Lonyo and Livernois (in Detroit), where his family went to church, and the Warrendale neighborhood, where his grandparents lived.

This debut novel is ”A beautifully smart, comic, and moving narrative about the fathers who disappear and the sons who take their place”. (Charles Baxter).

Meet Dean on May 13th at the Ann Arbor Book Festival, Young Writers’ panel. In the meantime, here is Dean’s personal list of recommendations.

Three authors were born on this day

birthdays

Three authors were born on May 8.

David Attenborough turns 80 today. He is a naturalist and an astute observer of the world around us. Two of his most popular titles are: The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth and The Trials of Life: A Natural History of Animal Behavior.

The late Peter Benchley, best known for scaring the hooty out of us and keeping us out of the water with Jaws, would have been 66 today. He died February 11, 2006, of pulmonary fibrosis.

Thomas Pynchon, author of several challenging novels, turns 69. Just how many of us have actually finished Gravity's Rainbow or V.?

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

What do comedienne Margaret Cho, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, cabinet member Norman Mineta, golfer Tiger Woods, and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang have in common?

Each of these well-known public figures is part of the vast, diverse group of Americans who claim either full or partial Asian heritage. May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and the library has plenty of materials for those interested in learning more about the history and impact of Asian Americans.

Here are a few highlights from the collection:
Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans
Columbia Guide to Asian American History
Asian American Century
Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire
Q and A: Queer in Asian America
Asian Americans: An Interpretive History

Jeanne Birdsall’s Coming to Town!

The National Book Award winning author of The Penderwicks will be joining many enthusiastic readers at the Ann Arbor Book Festival on Saturday, May 13th at 12:00 pm. This delightful romp for kids is the perfect summer read!

Food: Recent Writings on Food, Eating, and Cooking

Eat This Book: a Year of Gluttony and Glory on the Competitive Eating Circuit by Ryan Nerz
Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess by Gael Greene, the longtime food columnist for New York magazine
The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones, an assemblage of anecdotes arranged by tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami, by Anthony Bourdain
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: a Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
The Reach of a Chef: Beyond the Kitchen by Michael Ruhlman
Sacred Cow, Mad Cow: a History of Food Fears by Madeleine Ferrieres
The Sex Life of Food: When Body and Soul Meet to Eat by Bunny Crumpacker

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