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Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel, the longtime dissident who later became the leader of the Czech Republic passed away December 18 at the age of 75. Havel was better known as a poet and playwright when he led his nation through the bloodless Velvet Revolution in 1989 that toppled the decades long Soviet regime in Czechoslovakia. Havel later went on to serve as president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. After the federation peacefully split into two states he served as president of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. The other state became Slovakia. Among those expected to be at his Friday funeral are Bill Clinton, U.S.

Let's Explore!

Into the unknown: how great explorers found their way by land, sea, and air by Stewart Ross — Brave explorers have vivid stories to tell and they range from sailing on the oceans to landing on the moon. This book takes a fascinating look at the adventures of many great explorers. Fresh storytelling and unfolding cutaways and cross sections keep the reader engaged.

Pearl Harbor Remembered

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the surprise attack on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The early morning attack on December 7, 1941 on the U.S. fleet stationed in the harbor, and at Hickam Field where 51 airplanes were on the ground, was the catalyst for the United States' entry into World War II. Nine ships were sunk and twenty-one were severely damaged and nearly half of the airplanes were destroyed or severely damaged. The death toll numbered 2,403: 1,177 from the battleship Arizona alone. It is estimated that there are about 8.000 survivors from the attack who are still alive.

Great Michigan Read 2011-2012

If you have read Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, the 2011-2012 Great Michigan Read try David Halberstram or Branch Taylor or one of the many documentaries about Civil Rights in America produced over the years.

Faith in the city: preaching radical social change in Detroit by Angela D. Dillard; with a foreword by Charles G. Adams

Race and remembrance: a memoir by Arthur L. Johnson

Happy Birthday Mark Twain!

Mark Twain, one of America's best-known and well-loved authors, was born on November 30, 1835. His works have been translated into hundreds of languages, and Hollywood continues to produce film adaptations of his books. The first volume of his autobiography was published in 2010 on the centenary of the author's death as he did not want some of his more scalding opinions and observations in print until he had been dead at least a century. The book was published by the staff of the Mark Twain Project — an archive that contains Twain's private papers.

Travels in Siberia

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier — In this dazzling Russian travelogue, many aspects of the storied, often grim region of Siberia, which takes up one-seventh of the land on earth are described. "Travels in Siberia" is also an account of Russia since the end of the Soviet Union and a personal reflection on the all-around greatness of Russia. Frazier takes us on a fascinating journey through Siberia's history, from the 13th-century invading Golden Horde to banished Decembrists of the 19th century, Stalin-era prison camps, and enduring rich mineral resources.

National Book Awards 2011 Announced

Videos and images from the November 15 award ceremony are now available on the National Book Foundation website. John Lithgow, actor, writer, and musician was NBA Dinner and Ceremony host.

Salvage the bones: a novel by Jesmyn Ward

The swerve: how the world became modern by Stephen Greenblatt

Inside out & back again by Thanhha Lai

Diwali Celebration Recap

On November 9, CPL hosted a Diwali Celebration program that featured traditional and contemporary Indian music, dance, food, and more — all centered around the festival of lights. If you couldn't make it that night, check out the video above and pictures below to get up to speed:

National Book Awards 2011

The National Book Awards 2011 will be webcast live from New York City on Wednesday, November 16 at 8:00 PM. Actor, author, and musician John Lithgow will host this year's award ceremony. No registration necessary. Check the National Book Foundation's website for more information.

Great Michigan Read 2011-2012

Michigan Humanities Council, in conjunction with Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion, has selected nine host sites for the Great Michigan Read traveling exhibit: We Don’t Want Them. The exhibit places the events documented in Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice in a broader context of policies and practices that limited where some could live, thus impacting their past and present quality of life. We Don't Want Them opened in Flint and will travel around the state to the following cities:

J. Edgar Hoover

The highly anticipated new film J. Edgar opens this weekend. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench and Armie Hammer, it explores the public and private life of J. Edgar Hoover — one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century. Hoover was considered the face of law enforcement in America for almost fifty years.

Vote for New Seven Wonders of the World

Final day to vote for the New Seven Wonders of the World is Friday, November 11. The choice has been narrowed to 28 places around the world. Three of the nominations are in North America. The Grand Canyon-USA, The Bay of Fundy-Canada, and El Yunque-Puerto Rico. Vote now!

Haunted Michigan: The Hunter and the Skeptic

The hunter (author Sandy Arno Lyons) and the skeptic (Robert Elmouchi) will discuss hauntings in the Great Lakes as well as Lyons' book entitled Michigan's Most Haunted: A Ghostly Guide to the Great Lakes. Lyons wrote her book after traveling our great state and visiting known haunts. Did she have any real encounters? Come hear the spine-tingling tales on November 1 at 7:00 PM in the Community Room.

Knitting Vintage

Knitting vintage : 30 knitting projects inspired by period fashions by Claire Montgomerie — Many of us admire vintage styles, but it can be challenging to find actual vintage knits in good condition in the right size for a reasonable price. This book offers patterns for sweaters, hats, and other accessories in vintage styles inspired by the twenties through the eighties. It may be difficult to think of the 80s as vintage, but the Striped Mohair Sweater is not to be missed.

National Book Festival

If you weren't able to attend the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. on September 24-25, videos of the event including authors' talks are now available. Historian and author David McCullough appeared at the 2011 National Book Festival, as did Sylvia Nasar, Cassandra Clare, Wally Amos, Sara Paretsky, and more.

Michigan's Haunted History

John E.L. Tenney of A&E's Paranormal State presents the top ten most haunted placed in Michigan. Do you live near a known source of "Supernatural Phenomena"? Why do ghost hunters from all over the world come to Michigan? How/why do people become ghost hunters? This program will include a visual presentation that is only appropriate for ages 12 through adult. Join us for this shocking evening on October 26 at 7:00 PM in the Community Room.

Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus first made landfall in the Americas on October 12, 1492 somewhere in the Bahamas, on an island which the natives called Guanahani and which Columbus renamed San Salvador. This date is a observed as public holiday in the United States as well as in many countries in South America. It is known as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, Day of the Americas in Uruguay and Day of the Cultures in Costa Rica. Many historians, however, are still asking the question "Who really discovered America?" Everyone knows that Native Americans were here long before Columbus arrived.