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

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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.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #167

In Repeat After Me*, (Ann Arbor native) Rachel DeWoskin, author of the laugh-out-loud funny and poignant Foreign Babes in Beijing: behind the scenes of a new China impresses readers and critics alike with her debut novel of modern China and one American girl's struggle to find herself there.

This complex love story of cultural intersection begins with Aysha Silvermintz and recent immigrant Chen Da Ge, a sporadic and moody student assigned to her ESL class. Under the pretense of helping him gain citizenship, they marry.

The story picks up 13 years later with Aysha living in Beijing with her daughter, immersing them both in the daily life of their adopted home, and struggling to make sense of the mystery that was Chen. "A tender story of manic love and loss, this is a heartbreaking and uplifting novel with memorably off-kilter leads".

"DeWoskin demonstrates a smart, sophisticated literary agility", .... (her) firsthand knowledge of China, its language, and its traditions, as well as life in New York City, and her characters live and breathe". * = Starred reviews.

Click here to watch Rachel DeWoskin on her experiences living in China, a presentation at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Up the Rouge!

Author Joel Thurtell and photographer Patricia Beck, veteran Detroit Free Press staff, collaborated to produce this wonderful book about canoeing on the Rouge River—yes, the Rouge River!! The Rouge--not as well-known as the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie catching fire in 1969, but confident in its reputation as a famously polluted body of water.

Found On The Shelf: Requiem For A Paper Bag

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Ann Arbor’s own Davy Rothbart, creator of Found Magazine, presents us with a new collection of “found” items in Requiem for a Paper Bag: Celebrities and Civilians Tell Stories of the Best Lost, Tossed, and Found Items from Around the World. This time around we get to hear the stories behind finding the items! Davy reports, “I asked my favorite writers, musicians, artists & entertainers to tell me about the things they’ve found. These are the stories they’ve shared.” The found items range anywhere from love letters, hate notes and birthday cards, to shoppings lists, dirty laundry and homework assignments. Read in their own words how Seth Rogen, Miranda July, David Simon (creator of The Wire), and Chuck Klosterman came across some interesting items.

For more of Rothbart’s unique and hilarious collection of found items, check out Found and Found II, which are bouth laugh out loud funny and quick reading.

Jerzy Drozd Presents: Why Superheroes Communicate to Us

On Saturday, April 25th at 4pm in the Downtown library, Cartoonist Jerzy Drozd, author of The Front: Rebirth and other graphic novels, will deliver a dynamic presentation aimed at adult audiences on the greater significance that superheroes have in our world.

From the author: Superheroes have been an integral part of American culture since the late 1930s. Almost everyone knows what effect Kryptonite has on Superman, why Batman has a disdain for guns, or how Spider-Man learned "with great power comes great responsibility". But are these cultural icons merely a power fantasy for young people, or do they speak to wider human experiences and struggles? And why have they until only recently been a genre exclusive to comic books?

Join cartoonist and teaching artist Jerzy Drozd for an interactive discussion about the role of superheroes in fiction as well as the parallels that can be found when one compares them to characters found in mythology and fables.

The More We Get Together!

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If you have or know any very young children, come to the Downtown Library on Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. for a family concert and a book signing with Gari Stein.
Ms. Stein is an educator who brings music and movement together for the very young. Her classes for babies and and their grownups are well known around Ann Arbor. Her new book, The More We Get Together: Nurturing Relationships Through Music, Play, Books and Art, was just released in November.
Come and dance and celebrate!

Poet and Novelist Laura Kasischke Named 2008 United States Artist Fellow

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United States Artists (USA) is a grant-making, artist-advocacy organization dedicated to supporting America’s finest artists working across diverse disciplines.

Since its launch in September 2005 with $20 million in seed funding provided by a coalition of leading foundations, the USA Fellows program has been awarding unrestricted $50,000 grants to 50 artists each year.

Kasischke, an assistant professor in the University of Michigan MFA creative writing program, winner of 4 Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts has published books of poetry and novels.

Here is a complete list of the 2008 USA fellows.

What are you reading: Mary Morgan recommends 'Magnetic North' by Linda Gregerson

Mary Morgan: Mary Morgan and her restless housecat, Elle. Morgan recommends "Magnetic North," by Ann Arbor poet Linda Gregerson to AADL readers.Mary Morgan: Mary Morgan and her restless housecat, Elle. Morgan recommends "Magnetic North," by Ann Arbor poet Linda Gregerson to AADL readers.

Mary Morgan's transformation into an entrepreneur probably shouldn't surprise anyone, since she started her journalism career as a business reporter. In August, after 16 years as a newspaper journalist, Morgan gave up editorship of the opinion pages at the Ann Arbor News and became the publisher of an online newspaper. The Ann Arbor Chronicle was born Sept. 2, 2008. It features articles written by Morgan, by her husband Dave Askins (host of another well-known site, Teeter Talk), and by other local writers. The site is supported by local advertising.

We convinced Morgan to take a break from writing, editing and managing the business side of the site, just long enough to recommend a book for library patrons. Here it is.

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