Short Short Fiction

Short Fiction, Get It?Short Fiction, Get It?
As Shakespeare famously said, "brevity is the soul of wit." Join local writer Keith Hood this Wednesday, July 21st at Mallett's Creek Branch from 6:30-8:30 PM for a workshop on short short fiction, and learn to tell a compelling story in as few words as possible.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #211

Perhaps this is one of the hardest blogs for me to write. I finished the book some weeks ago and have been thinking about it. I worried that whatever I write here is not going to do the book justice. My expectations were naturally high for Julie Orringer's debut novel The Invisible Bridge, coming 7 years after her prizewinning collection of short stories How to Breathe Underwater, and it did not disappoint.

This stunning and richly detailed WWII saga is not (as a lot of early readers feared) just another Holocaust novel. It opens with 22 year-old Andras Levi, a Hungarian Jew, a highly prized scholarship to study architecture in Paris and an unlikely love affair with the much older Klara, amidst the growing tide of anti-Semitism which eventually forces their return to Hungary. Throughout the hardships and injustices, Andras's love for Klara acts as a beacon. "Orringer's triumphant novel is as much a lucid reminder of a time not so far away as it is a luminous story about the redemptive power of love."

Cinematic in its settings, moving without being sentimental, "Orringer writes without anachronism, and convincingly." Don't just take my word for it, read the New York Times review.

Julie Orringer grew up in New Orleans and Ann Arbor. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Cornell University, and was a Stegner Fellow and Marsh McCall Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University and the Helen Herzog Zell Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. Visit Julie's website.

**= Starred reviews

The Countdown Continues!

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With only two weeks to go, we at AXIS Coffeehouse are doing our best to send you to summer with a bang. Last Friday we got a visit from Detroit rap artist The Chozn Bravesoul, and this Friday we will host another special guest -- Maggie Hanks of Ann Arbor Word Works! Don't miss this chance to get some writing advice from a poet described as "bold and insightful".

Also, our last day at AXIS Coffeehouse, March 26th, will be recorded for for the AADL podcast, so bring that poem you've been working on for a chance at library fame!

As always, AXIS Coffeehouse will offer food, drink, good writing and good company -- as well as $5 fine forgiveness coupons and free books for those who present at the mic. Join us at Mallett's Creek this Friday, from 6:30-8 for a great time!

AXIS Coffeehouse Enters the Countdown

Time BombTime Bomb

AXIS Coffeehouse only has three weeks to go before we break for the summer, so we are going to make the most of it!

This Friday, March 12, local rap artist The Chozn Bravesoul will be visiting to talk a little about rap and poetry. And next Friday, March 19, we will host special guest Maggie Hanks of Ann Arbor Word Works, who will surely have some interesting writing ideas herself.

This free event offers snacks and great conversation as well as $5 library fine forgiveness coupons for those who present at the mic. Don't miss out on these awesome opportunities! Mallett's Creek, 6:30-8:00 pm. Be there!

The Book That Eats People!

Come to the Malletts Creek Branch on Monday, February 22nd at 2:00 p.m. to see The Book That Eats People! Local author John Perry will be on hand to warn you about this carnivorous book. Start off your mid-winter break with this fantastic program . . . . if you dare!

Favorite children’s author to visit Ann Arbor

Michigan native Jon Scieszka will be reading and signing copies of his brand new book Robot Zot, on Tuesday, September 22 at 6pm, at the Borders located at 3140 Lohr Road in Ann Arbor. See here for Borders’ event description.

Robot Zot, illustrated by David Shannon, is in short, “a tale of a quixotic robot determined to conquer the earth.” Tiny Robot Zot battles kitchen appliances galore as he and his sidekick adventure off. Their course takes a shift when they spot the princess (a cell phone) and Robot Zot must prove himself a hero to win her love. Sounds zany!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #178

Ann Arbor author Harry Dolan's sensational debut Bad Things Happen* has garnered rave reviews everywhere.

Patrick Anderson of the The Washington Post thought it "Witty, sophisticated, suspenseful and endless fun -- a novel to be savored by people who know and love good crime fiction, and the best first novel I've read this year."

Marilyn Stasio of The New York Times praised Dolan's gift of storytelling.

Publishers Weekly liked that "Dolan gets everything right in his debut. . . . Pitch-perfect prose and sophisticated characterizations drive the noirish plot, which offers plenty of unexpected twists."

Equally enthusiastic in endorsing this newcomer to crime fiction are Nelson DeMille, Karin Slaughter and James Patterson.

And where would Dolan set this mystery? Where else?

* = Starred reviews

826Michigan books for you

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The library owns a few books put out by 826Michigan (the fabulous local non-profit that offers tutoring and workshops, and supports writing endeavors for kids age 6-18.) They have many books that are samples and collections of students’ work, highlighting the best and brightest of writing talent that will knock your socks off. True Stories and Tall Tales culminates a year’s worth of work at Ypsilanti’s Childs Elementary School and features histories, fantasies, and other such silliness written by the students, while lead by 826Michigan volunteers.

Another book written by 826Michigan students, and other 826 chapters across the country, is Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President Obama. Which is essentially just that: a collection of letters written by kids and addressed to President Obama. Some are funny, some are heartfelt, all are worth reading.

If you’re looking for more works put out by 826, or some McSweeney’s titles, or want to hear more about what they do there, check out the shelves at the Liberty Street Robot Repair and Supply Shop at 115 E. Liberty.

Hidden Gems: Books Unjustly Dusty #3

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Historian Bruce Catton, born in Petoskey, received a Pulitzer and a National Book Award for A Stillness at Appomattox, the third volume in his trilogy about the Civil War. His description of the hours leading up to the end of the war, when Grant and Lee finally meet, deftly captures the humanity and inhumanity of it all.

His excellent narrative style often focused on regimental histories and first person sources instead of only recounting what the generals did. Historians Shelby Foote, Ken Burns and Stephen Ambrose followed in his footsteps popularizing American history.

The first volume of the trilogy, Mr. Lincoln’s Army, includes General George McClellan’s rise and fall and the Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg, the first day of which is the single bloodiest day in American military history with estimated casualties of 23,000.

Bruce Catton wrote many books about the Civil War and Michigan history, browse the available titles at Catton Titles.

Great summer walks with Brenda Bentley

RiverwalksRiverwalks

Don’t miss meeting Brenda Bentley, author of Riverwalks Ann Arbor when she speaks at the downtown library 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, July 10. Her book is gaining plenty of attention, and she recently spoke to city council against removal of Argo dam, according to the Ann Arbor Chronicle. Her library program is called "Walking For Fun, Exercise And Cultural Edification In The Ann Arbor Area." Books will be on sale, and a signing will follow the presentation.

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