"Books Change Lives" at any time of life

The Books Change Lives Program is part of the Ann Arbor Book Festival. BCL encourages readers to tell us about their favorite all-time book and how it changed their lives. Rachel's favorite book is Strider by Beverly Cleary. Here's what she had to say about it: "I don't know how many times I have read Strider, but I know it better than any other book. The situations that Leigh Botts faces make me love it so much. He found his comfort in writing about his anxieties and in running with his dog. The way he wrote about running made me want to run. In high school I started. Running boosted my self-esteem, kept me focused and lively, and helped me push myself. Like Leigh Botts, running helped me deal with my social awkwardness." Do you have a favorite book that influenced your life?

Young Parrotheads' fancies turn to . . . country music?

With the upcoming film release of Carl Hiaasen's Newbery honor book Hoot, there's potential to create a whole new generation of Parrotheads. Everyone's favorite resident of Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett, not only produced and stars in the film, but he also penned much of its original soundtrack.

Of course, Mr. Buffett isn't the only artist who stands to benefit from an influx of new fans. Many country musicians carry on this tradition of carefree beach relaxation, not the least of whom is one of Buffett's most prominent successors: Kenny Chesney. Despite having such distinctly un-parrotlike hits as "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," Chesney has staked his claim in the Parrothead pantheon with such songs as "When the Sun Goes Down" and "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem." Indeed, his 2004 album Be As You Are is a veritable smorgasbord of tropical freewheeling goodness.

Young and old Parrotheads alike may also enjoy the works of some other country greats such as Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, or the legendary Willie Nelson.

Videogame Panel Discussion: This Sunday!

AADL-GT Pad Logo
AADL-GT: Ann Arbor District Library Game Tournaments

The videogame industry is teetering on the precipice of the next console war. With Microsoft's Xbox 360 already established in the market, all eyes are on Sony and Nintendo, and what they'll announce at E3 in just a few short weeks. Sony's PS3 will be powerful and fast, but also embroiled in a disc format war could be disastrous for a product that may launch above $500. Nintendo's console, still codenamed 'revolution', has a radical new controller that offers intuitive play to a larger audience, a possible $199 pricetag, and a downloadable back catalog of 20 years worth of classic games. The all-important holiday season is fast approaching. Who will emerge victorious from the wreckage of the next console war? And, define 'victorious'!

COME SPECULATE WILDLY with a panel of gamers at Malletts Creek Branch on Sunday, from 1-3, featuring AADL-GT Season 1 Champion and Season 2 Runner-up, [gtplayer:143] (Stephen Savage), seasoned GT commentator and Season 2 comeback-story finalist [gtplayer:288] (Daniel Burgener), Lansing-based adult tournament competitor and gaming enthusiast Omokusaki (Zach Lark), and yours truly as your host and resident tattoo-bearing Nintendo Fanboy!

E-greetings to the Queen!

Queen Elizabeth II

Do you know what today is? It's Queen Elizabeth's 80th birthday!

Why don't you send her an e-greeting! (Did you know that Her Majesty sent her first email in 1976?)

Can't make it to the birthday festivities? Check out the BBC News for video footage.

Don't know much about her? Peruse AADL's collection on "Lilibet". She may not be as stuffy as you think...

Music to your ears... Food for your soul...

Join the University Musical Society in welcoming Sweet Honey In The Rock at Hill Auditorium on Saturday, April 22 at 8pm.

For over 30 years, this Grammy-award winning a cappella ensemble of six African American women have combined spirituals, hymns, gospel - as well as jazz and blues to raise awareness about the social injustices in the U.S. and around the world. The words are also beautifully interpreted in American Sign Language.

Can't make it to the concert? Or you've heard them and want more? Check out AADL's selection of their music.

Idol-mania!

So you think you're a true American Idol fan? Sure, you may know everything there is to know about season 5, but what about seasons 1-4? You better brush up kids, for there may be a quiz...

Need some "idol" extra credit? Check these out:

Kelly Clarkson
Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken (Yes folks, he actually has a book out...)
Fantasia Barrino

Caruso and the earthquake

One night Enrico Caruso was serenading San Francisco opera lovers in Bizet’s Carmen, the next night the city was in flames after the massive 1906 earthquake. The earthquake and fire destroyed the opera house and Caruso never sang in San Francisco again. Read more about the earthquake, and see a picture of Caruso in costume for Carmen, at National Public Radio’s website. You can borrow a recording of Caruso singing “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” from Carmen from the library to get a feel for the magic of that night.

Name the genre of music…

...that includes Bebop, Latin, Smooth, Acid, Swing and Fusion?

That’s right, Jazz! April is Jazz Appreciation Month. Designated by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, JAM celebrates the rich tradition of Jazz and its influence on American history and culture. A celebration would not be complete without celebrating some of today’s Jazz artists. If you’re looking for a new sound to discover, here is a list of some of Amazon.com’s Top Sellers:

Michael BubleIt’s Time
Thelonious MonkThelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
Cassandra Wilson – Thunderbird
Madeleine PeyrouxCareless Love
Chris BottiTo Love Again

For more familiar favorites, the library has a host of Jazz greats to choose from like:Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Paul Whiteman

Ever play in a Jazz band? What instrument did you play?

Videos for Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with some of these titles:

The award-winning Microcosmos takes you beneath the grass with time-lapse, slow motion and close-up photography of an insect's world. The Rain Forest provides an overview of where tropical rain forests are found and what kind of life they support. Strange Days on Planet Earth and the PBS documentary Global Warming bring the reality of climate change to life and offer viewers a variety of ways to make a difference in their own communities. Building with Awareness: The Construction of a Hybrid Home is bursting with practical information on sustainable straw bale house design, adobe, cob, and the use of a variety of alternative and green building materials. The family film, Sacred Planet: Discover the Magic of the Planet that Everyone Calls Home, will transport you to exotic and remote sites on Earth to discover the diversity of landscapes, peoples, and animals. And Baraka is poetric tour of earth that depicts the harmony and rhythm between man and nature.

2006 Ann Arbor Book Festival

Bookmark this website and circle May 13, 2006 on your personal events calendar. This year's Ann Arbor Book Festival will be an awesome event.

For those of us interested in children's literature, the Festival will provide the rare opportunity to see the 2005 National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature and the 2006 Newbery Award Winner together on one stage. Jeanne Birdsall, author of The Penderwicks, and Lynne Rae Perkins, author of Criss Cross, will be appearing at noon on Saturday, May 13, 2006.
Their discussion will be moderated by local author Shutta Crum.

There are currently 73 authors scheduled to appear at this year's Festival.

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