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Adult Book News

Happy Birthday Edith and Edgar!

edithTwo of America's most famous authors were born in January:poe

Edith Wharton (January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937) and Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849.)

Edith Wharton, novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner, grew up in upper-class pre-World War I society and became one of its most astute critics. In such works as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence she employed both humor and empathy to describe the lives of New York's upper class and the vanishing of their world in the early years of the 20th century. (The American version of Downton Abbey!)

Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. His poetry is also renowned. Who can forget The Raven (nevermore!) or Annabel Lee? Countless readers have thrilled to the beating of The Tell-Tale Heart and the horrors of The Pit and the Pendulum. As befitting a gothic author, Poe died under mysterious circumstances, after having been found in the street by a passer-by. His medical records were lost so the cause of his death has never been determined.


Great Michigan Read: Sweet Trials Reenactment

                                    

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As part of the continuing activities of the Great Michigan Read 2011-2012, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History and the Michigan Humanities Council will present a reenactment of the Ossian Sweet murder trials on Saturday, January 14 at 1pm. The murder trials and ultimate acquittal of Dr. Sweet are the subjects of the  book,  Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle, chosen as this year's Great Michigan Read. This event is FREE and open to the public. The Great Michigan Read is presented by the Michigan Humanities Council with support from Meijer and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Great Michigan Read program, please visit http://michiganhumanities.org/programs/tgmr/

 


 

2012 Michigan Notable Books

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 The Library of Michigan recently announced the list of Michigan Notable Books for 2012. The list includes 20 titles published in the last year that feature people, places, events, or authors related to Michigan. The intent is to celebrate life in Michigan, and the list includes a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children's books. While inclusion in the list does not involve prize money, authors appreciate the prestige and visibility that comes with being named. The books on the list offer fascinating portraits of our Michigan experience: biographies of famous Michiganders, histories of Michigan icons like Jacobson's and the Big Three automakers, murder mysteries, ghost stories, travelogues, and poetry by Jim Harrison. Many of the titles are available at PDL - just ask us!

(2012 Medallion-copyright The Library of Michigan)

 


Reading the Holidays

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     It seems every author has a holiday story to tell. Romances, mysteries, westerns, sweet and inspirational tales - you  can always find a holiday-themed book to suit your fancy, tickle your funny bone, or warm the cockles of your heart!

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Best Books of 2011

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          Tis the season for every newspaper, media outlet, blogger, and pundit to print, publish or post a"Best Books of 2011" list.  There's the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011, Amazon Editors Top 100, Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction, Library Journal's Top Ten, O Magazine's Best Fiction of 2011, Bookpage Best Books of 2001,and the Barnes and Noble Best Books of 2011 - to name a few!  There are lists for genres, catregories and niches - the book critics at the New York Times have even narrowed their big list down to a manageable ten. This should help you find that perfect gift for your crazy sister-in-law or great-uncle Earle.

Happy Birthday, Mark Twain!

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835.  Author of numerous books, newspaper articles, lectures, and essays, he is considered to be the quintessential American author. Twain was a master at mimicking colloquial speech and popularized a distinctive American literature built on American themes and language. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, the Prince and the Pauper, and the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court are among the many unforgettable characters he created.

 


 

Anne McCaffrey 1926-2011

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Prolific science fiction author Anne McCaffrey passed away recently at the age of 85. Best known for her best-selling series Dragonriders of Pern,  she was also the author of over 100 novels, short stories, and novellas. McCaffrey was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2005. She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2006.

The Dragonriders saga, which is notable for combining elements of fantasy with pure science fiction, is set on the planet Pern which is threatened by the Thread, a type of deadly spore that falls from the sky. To combat this peril, the inhabitants have joined forces with a species of intelligent, telepathic dragons.  Christopher John Farley of the Wall Street Journal wrote that McCaffrey "reimagined the ancient mythology of dragons, transforming them from enemies of men into friends, creating a psychological and emotional bond between humans and the fire breathing creatures, and successfully tapping into a deep-seated fantasy most readers didn't even know they had - the desire to ride on the back  of a dragon and fly across the sky."

2011 National Book Awards

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And the Winner Is...bonse

 Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday, November 16, for Salvage the Bones, a haunting tale of the struggles of a 15-year-old pregnant girl in a black community as a hurricane bears down on a fictional Gulf Coast town in Mississippi. Although the novel's characters face down Hurricane Katrina, the story isn’t really about the storm. It’s about people facing challenges, and coming together to overcome adversity. Ward's novel was based partly on first-hand experience. She was with her family in Mississippi when Katrina hit. They fled their house, fearful of drowning in their own attic. "I wanted to write about the experiences of the poor and the black and the rural people of the South," said Ward.

P.D. James and Jane Austen!


deathFans of both Jane Austen and P.D. James will be intrigued to learn that P.D. James, the queen of modern British mystery fiction, has written a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Due to be published in the U.S. in December, Death Comes to Pemberley features Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy as sleuths in a murder investigation. James, better known for her books about Adam Dalgleish and Scotland Yard, says that the new novel allowed her to merge two of her great enthusiasms: the novels of Jane Austen and writing detective stories. As demonstrated by the legions of sequels, spin-offs, mash-ups, TV adaptations and movies, Jane Austen's popularity continues to endure. It is a truth universally acknowledged!

CATCH-22 TURNS 50!

catch22Joseph Heller's Catch-22, the iconic, satirical send-up of war and bureaucracy that created the perfect phrase to describe a hopelessly no-win situation, was published in 1961. Fifty years later it remains a classic of American literature and is one of the funniest books ever written.  Set in Italy during World War II, it introduces Yossarian, a bombardier who is attempting to survive the war despite the U S. Army policy - the Catch-22 - that keeps increasing the number of missions he must fly to complete his service.  The novel has sold more than 10 million copies, and is read by people from all over the political spectrum, from anti-war activists to the cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Anniversary celebrations have included presentations, TV interviews, an animated video, and the publication of a 50th Anniversary edition with an introduction by Christopher Buckley.