Tana Hoban, 1917-2006

Tana Hoban, a photographer who created many picture books for children, has died. She photographed everyday things and taught children how to look for shapes, colors and sizes.

Colors Everywhere
Is it Red? Is it Yellow? Is it Blue?
Over and Through
26 Letters and 99 Cents

Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as museums in Philadelphia, Paris and Berlin.

Two Great American Women Died Last Week

Last Monday, Coretta Scott King died. The widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a noted civil and human rights advocate in her own right. In 1994, King published a memoir titled My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. On Saturday, feminist author and activist Betty Friedan died. Friedan, founder and first president of the National Organization for Women, helped spark the Women's Movement in the 1960s with the publication of her book The Feminine Mystique in 1963.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (1/29/06)

It was another slow week for newly released books. The Da Vinci Code celebrated its 147th week on the List by moving back into the top spot and only one new title made the cut.

At #3 is The Cat Who Dropped the Bombshell by Lilian Jackson Braun: the cat is back, helping Jim Qwilleran solve yet another mystery.

Edgar nominess for 2006, Part 1

2006 Edgar nominees

The Mystery Writers of America has released the nominees for the 2006 Edgar Awards.
Below are the nominees in the three top categories:

Best Novel Nominees

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook
Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
Drama City by George Pelecanos
Citizen Vance by Jess Walter

Edgar nominess for 2006, part 2

2006 Edgar nominees

Best Paperback Original

Homicide My Own by Anne Argula
The James Deans by Reed F. Coleman
Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford
Kiss Her Goodbye by Allan Guthrie
Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston

The winners in the 16 categories will be announced on April 27, 2006.

Wendy Wassertein, 1950-2006

Wendy Wassertein, 1950-2006

Wendy Wasserstein, the pioneering voice of independent single women who embraced feminism and romance, died January 30, 2006 after fierce battle with cancer.

Ms. Wasserstein, who used humor to put the sadness and loneliness that sometimes pervade the single life into perspective, soared to public awareness with her captivating 1977 play Uncommon Women and Other.

Her signature work, The Heidi Chronicles, often considered the blueprint for HBO's Sex and the City, captivated theater-goers with her piercing insights into the psyche of American career women. The Chronicles garnered Wasserstein with the trifecta of playwright honors -- a Tony, the New York Crama Critics Circle award, and the Pulitzer.

Patrick O'Keeffe, UM professor, wins prestigious Story Prize

Irish-born Patrick O'Keeffe, professor of English at the University of Michigan, was awarded the 2005 Story Prize for The Hill Road, four novellas about life in a fictional Irish village.

O'Keefe beat out 81 other writers, including the other two authors on the shortlist, Jim Harrison for The Summer He Didn't Die and Maureen F. McHugh for Mothers and Other Monsters, which will be ordered later this month.

O'Keefe, 42, arrived in the U.S. as in illegal immigrant in 1986. He won his green card in a lottery and later graduated from the University of Kentucky. He then earned an MFA from the University of Michigan, where he now teaches.

Six More Weeks of Winter

Famous groundhog weather expert, Punxsutawney Phil, has predicted six more weeks of winter in response to seeing his shadow this morning at Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania. Groundhogs, or whistle pigs as they are sometimes called, are traditionally associated with Candlemas, a Christian holiday that has long been paired with prognosticating.

Though Groundhog’s day has nearly passed, why not repeat the day’s festivities tomorrow and rent Groundhog Day (1997) starring Bill Murray? Or stock up on woodchuck fact and fiction to pass the long winter nights to come.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #5

Two sisters, two wars, one hot summer, one thoughtless act with devastating consequences, and one achingly beautiful first novel.

Adolescent Kate, watchful and sensitive, her wild and theatrical sister Frankie, (the gwaimui White Ghost Girls, lovingly called by their Chinese nanny) were left navigating an idyllic summer in Hong Kong while their photographer father was on assignment for Time magazine, covering the Vietnam war. It was 1967. The Mao rebellion in China was spilling over the border.

The story was set against the backdrop of the insular colonial American/English society of tea parties, cricket games and private schools and the awakening Chinese nationalism.

Newcomer Alice Greenway gave us one of the most memorable debut novels in a long while. Starred review from Booklist. Don’t miss this one.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

February 4, 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Though he was an accomplished theologian and writer, Bonhoeffer is best known for his resistance to the Nazi regime and his involvement with plots to assassinate Hitler. On April 5, 1943, Bonhoeffer was arrested for his subversive activities and he spent the rest of his life in prison. He was hanged at Flossenberg on April 8, 1945.

A number of books about or by Bonhoeffer are available at the library, including Letters and Papers from Prison, Christ the Center, The Cost of Moral Leadership: the Spirituality of Bonhoeffer, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Man of Vision, Man of Courage.

The library also has a documentary about Bonhoeffer called Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace. Also, PBS will be showing a more recent documentary called Bonhoeffer. It will be shown on Detroit Public TV on Sunday, February 12 at 3pm.

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