Jamie Lee Curtis to Kids: Make Good Choices

Jamie Lee Curtis has a rhythmic new children's book out, Is There Really a Human Race?, with illustrations by Laura Cornell. The frenzied race metaphor plays out through this picture book, and at one point a boy tells us that if we don't help each other, we'll all crash. Curtis joins a chorus of other Baby Boomers in hoping that children will one day make our world a better place. Admirable, that hope.

Local author's book featured on PBS today

Local author Nancy Shaw's, Sheep on a Ship will be featured on Between the Lions today at 1:30 p.m. on the Detroit station, WTVS, with a repeat next Tuesday, September 12, at the same time. Click here to find out the PBS schedule for channels 23 and 28.

Presidential Summer Reading

Apparently The Stranger, by Albert Camus was not the only intellectually challenging book on President Bush's reading list this summer. Adam Gopnik, writing in the Aug. 28 New Yorker, names two others on what he describes as "An amazingly strenuous list, actually." The bonus books were American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, by Richard Carwardine. Whether Bush has actually read either of these books is unclear to me. But even if he has, that's only three for the summer - two short of the five books required to finish the AADL Summer Reading Game. Better luck next year, Mr. President.

Invasion of the mini-books!

Have you ever wondered what your favorite book would look like in miniature? Well, now's your chance! This Sunday, September 10th, marks the fourth annual Kerrytown BookFest and this year the special guest is the Miniature Book Society (MBS). The festival will be accompanied by lectures, demonstrations and plenty of exhibitors showing and selling books of all kinds. So come to the BookFest and pick up some new, potentially tiny, reading material!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #32

Playwright and actress Pamela Gien was commissioned by Random House to turn her 2001 Obie-Award for Best Play The Syringa Tree into a novel.

Set in her homeland of South Africa during the turbulent 1960s, Gien tells the story of 6 year-old Lizzie, a child of privilege, her Xhosa nanny, Salamina, and their fierce devotion to each other. As the meaning of apartheid unfolds, Lizzie takes her worries to sit in the welcoming arms of the large lilac-blooming syringa tree in her backyard, trying to make sense of the violence, the injustice and racism amidst the intoxicating beauty of the land.

Moving and illuminating, it will interest readers of social issues and modern history.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #31

Theodore "Teddy" Ruzak of Knoxville, TN is the bumbling but determined detective in Richard Yancey's entertaining mystery series debut The Highly Effective Detective.

Overweight and unschooled, Teddy quits his job as a night watchman to set up his own detective agency with a small inheritance. For his first case, Teddy is hired to track down a hit-and-run goose-killer. Before long, however, the case turns decidedly homicidal.

Endearing and colorful characters, suspenseful plots twists and witty dialogues make for a fun read. Highly recommended. Starred review in Publishers' Weekly. Definitely for fans of Monk and Columbo series.

'Crocodile Hunter' killed by stingray

Steve Irwin, the energetic 'Crocodile Hunter' and wildlife warrior, died over the weekend after being stung by a stingray while snorkeling off the Austrailian coast. Irwin was filming pieces for a show called "Ocean's Deadliest" with Phillippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau.

Kenya's Word by Linda Trice

Kenya doesn't listen very well in school. This leads to her making a mess of things during class. She is asked to tell the class of her favorite describing word. After a visit to the market, watching a family friend paint, and listening to her father play jazz, Kenya makes her decision. Linda Trice has written a wonderful picture book that subtly expresses the message that black is beautiful.

Time for a couple short stories before SCHOOL starts

Treat yourself to a couple short stories before the school assigned book list comes your way. Every Man for Himself: Ten Short Stories, with 'Jump Away' by Rene Saldana, Jr. is a good place to start. In this story, a bully rounds up half-a-dozen outsiders, weak targets, whatever you want to call them, to jump off Jenson's Bridge just because Mike, the bully, says so. The hero of the story does some thinking when he's poised ready to jump from the bridge. What he comes up with is brilliant! A few other authors in the collection

Poets, Start Your Engines

Looks like prize-winning poet James Tate is among dozens of poets participating in the Wave Books Poetry Bus Tour set to start rolling Sept. 4 from Seattle. The tour is planning stops in 50 cities in 50 days, carrying poets, musicians, filmmakers and journalists. The still-under-construction web site says the poetry bus "will go more places with more poets reading more poems than was ever previously believed possible." A stop is scheduled in Ann Arbor Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at the U-M Residential College Auditorium.

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