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.

Celebrating Poetry: Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was named Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1985-86, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for Annie Allen. She wrote over twenty books of poetry and is one of the most celebrated American poets. The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks brings her many works together and provides a complete view of her passion, versatility and genius.

Other works by Brooks include: The Bean Eaters, In Montgomery, and Other Poems, and her two-part autobiography, Report from Part One and Report From Part Two.

The Play Ground

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." So the refrain goes, but it didn't play well when The Play Ground was stranded in Providence, Rhode Island during the blizzard of '06. One definite plus was getting to hear Paul Farmer speak at Brown University on Monday evening. This amazing person has proved that one man can make a difference with his medical work in Haiti, Rwanda and Russia. He is a magnetic speaker who gets things done. A medical rock star for sure. Mountains Beyond Mountains:The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder reads like fiction and will inspire you.

Calling all quadrillion-dollar bills

What if a boy in Flint stumbled on a quadrillion-dollar bill, and the government wanted it back? And what if the face on that hot bill was soul father James Brown? Well, then you would have a rocking fun book for children age 9-12, a book that is so clever that you can read it aloud to the entire family. Christopher Paul Curtis also wrote The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 and Bud, Not Buddy, both award winners, and both great choices for young readers.

Edna Lewis, Queen of the Southern cooking revival, 1916-2006

Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis, author of four cookbooks that renewed national interest in Southern cuisine, died Monday, February 13, 2006 at the age of 89.

Ms. Lewis's second book, The Taste of Country Cooking (1976) highlights recipes and cooking techniques she learned as a child on the family farm, given to her grandfather, a former slave. It is considered a must-have on the shelf of the best chefs in America.

Her last cookbook, The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great Southern Cooks (2003), was co-written with Scott Peacock, a chef who has taken care of Ms.

Michael Gilbert, creator of Patrick Petrella mysteries, has died

Michael Gilbert

Michael Gilbert, universally regarded as the master of the classic English murder mystery", died Friday, February 8, in England.

A fantastically prolific writer who penned his mysteries on his commute to and from his full-time job as an English solicitor, Gilbert reveled in intricate plots, meticulous detail, and a web of red herrings. His first novel, Close Quarters (1947), launched him firmly into the golden age of the British mystery.

Gilbert's beloved character, Patrick Petrella, was a Sergeant when he first appeared in the 1950s in short stories in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Petrella worked his way through the ranks to Detective Superintendent in a series of titles, including Young Petrella, Petrella at Q, and Roller-Coaster.

Mr. Gilbert, who was 93 when he died, had served at one point as legal adviser to Raymond Chandler.

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