"...while Rome burned."

Today, July 18, is believed to be the anniversary of the burning of Rome in 64 A.D. while the emperor Nero supposedly played his fiddle. It turns out that Nero wasn't even in Rome at the time but rushed back when he heard about the fire. The rumors about his fiddle playing probably came from the Roman military who disapproved of Nero's artistic tendancies. He became emperor at the age of 16 and was the youngest ruler in the history of Rome but not the most benevolent. He blamed the fire on the Christians who were then tortured. The adopted son of Claudius, Nero only came to power because of the murder of his brother, Britannicus. For a brilliantly acted portrayal of Claudius' reign, check out the dvd series, I, Claudius.

This week: Pokémon, Super Smash, and Mario Kart Tournaments, plus DDR at the Art Fair!

AADL-GT Pad Logo

It's late July in Ann Arbor, and that means (at least) two things; the Art Fair, and the return of the Super Smash Double Dash Championship Season! It will be a busy week at the library, and it all starts off with Pokémondays, this time at Malletts Creek Branch on Monday, 7/16, from 1-5 PM for players of all ages and Pokémon level 51 & up.

Then, come see us at the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair main stage next to the Belltower for DDR on Wednesday 7/18 and Friday 7/20 from 1-4 PM. There will be some prizes for the very best players, but you can also just come to show off in front of the crowd. You know you want to.

Finally, it's the end of the arduous off-season, as the clans converge on the Downtown Library on Saturday, 7/21, from Noon - 5 PM for the long-awaited Super Smash Double Dash Preseason Event! We'll have single and team kart and smash, and an opportunity to try out some new methods, recruit members for your clan, and size up the competition, and eat pizza. Hope to see you all there!

Why did the chicken REALLY cross the road?

You may not find out if you go to Wayne Chicken Days in Wayne, Nebraska today and Saturday but you'll have your chance to pay tribute to "chickenkind." Events include a parade, a national clucking contest, a hard boiled egg eating contest, music and much more. If you can't make it to Wayne, you can at least honor our feathered friends by reading about chickens or watching the most famous avian liberation film of all time, Chicken Run or the anxiety provoking Chicken Little listed under our subject heading of "chickens-drama."

Saturday Storytime Fun!

Come to the Northeast Branch Library this Saturday at 11:00 a.m for the second in our series of summer Saturday Storytimes. We will be sharing stories about barnyard animals who are looking for a little excitement.
Who knew our farm friends could be so adventurous! A simple craft will follow the stories. Bring the whole family!

The other two Saturday storytimes in this series are Downtown on July 28th at 11:00 a.m and on August 11th at Malletts Creek at 11:00 a.m.

Foreign language books at the library!

If you know another language besides English, you may want to check out the library's large and continuously growing Foreign Language Collection.

We have many different languages including Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Indian languages (including Hindi, Gujarathi, Marathi, Kannada, Panjabi, Malayalam, Bengali, Telegu, Tamil and Urdu) Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, Portuguese, Farsi and Italian.

Road Trip Reads: The Doom Patrol Archives, Vol. 2

A cover to one of the issues in this collection features a French-speaking gorilla who is piloting a giant purple robot that is swinging a submarine at a 50-foot tall woman wearing SCUBA gear. This is the madness that was the Silver Age of comics, and it's never been more fun than in The Doom Patrol. Join Robot Man, Elasti-Girl, Negative Man, and The Chief as they struggle against evil adversaries such as Monsieur Mallah (the aforementioned French-speaking gorilla), The Brain (literally a talking brain in a jar), and Madame Rouge (a woman who can mold her face like putty to look like anyone she wants). Adventure has never been weirder, nor more thrilling. Best of all, it can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Criticism of the 5th Harry Potter Movie (Order of the Phoenix)

The fifth installment of the Harry Potter movie series comes to theaters this week, and is facing harsh criticism from critics. The Associated Press gives it only two and a half stars out of four, while NPR describes it as just another episode that is building towards the final film. The New York Times is slightly kinder with their review. I, for one, still plan on checking it out, no matter what the reviewers say!

Antarctica is more than cool!

In anticipation of the Library's program on Antarctica this Wednesday, July 11, the following three books may be of interest:

Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy by David Crane. A biography of Robert Falcon Scott and his attempts to be the first to reach the South Pole only to be foiled by a Norwegian, Amundsen, who had arrived a month earlier. Scott and his crew perished in a storm. Excerpts from Scott's diaries and photos enrich the text.

Frida Kahlo et al

Friday, July 6 is the 100th birthday of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo who was born Magdelena Carmen Frida Kahlo in Coyoacan, Mexico in 1907. After a bus accident in which she was severely injured, Kahlo turned to art, encouraged by the great muralist, Diego Rivera. Kahlo married Rivera twice, once in 1929 and then in 1941. Kahlo painted lush, surrealistic scenes, many of them self-portraits. She was also known for her leftist politics. She and Rivera gave Soviet revolutionary Leon Trotsky political asylum in their home. Near the end of her life, she was carried on a stretcher to the first exhibit solely of her work.

Also, on this day, are the birthdays of the the Dalai Lama who turns 72 and President George W. Bush who will be 61.

Road Trip Reads: Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 1

20 issues of the series that launched the Silver Age, plus the first annual are collected in this volume. In 1961, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby changed the world's perception of what a super-hero was by creating the Fantastic Four, a family of heroes with real human problems. Meet the monstrous yet lovable Thing, the hot-headed and impetuous Human Torch, the compassionate Invisible Woman, and the dashing scientist known as Mister Fantastic. While their inter-personal conflicts reflect real world problems and concerns, their rouges gallery is a cast of wonderfully overstated characters.

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