Highlights from Fresh Air for the Week of September 18th to 22nd, 2006

On Wednesday, Maureen Corrigan reviewed Nell Freudenberger’s first novel, The Dissident. A September 2006 Book Sense pick, this is “a bold, intricately woven first novel about an enigmatic stranger who disrupts the life of one American family” (publisher synopsis). Also check out her 2003 award-winning short story collection, Lucky Girls. Hear the review on Fresh Air here.

Also Wednesday, New York Times columnist Frank Rich spoke about his new book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina. Rich, a former theatre critic for the Times, now writes about politics and culture. Get in line for this new book now – this title is on its way to our shelves and our Hot Books list. Listen to Rich talk about his new book on Fresh Air.

Friday was a movie kind of day on Fresh Air. Critic Robert Edelstein reviewed a new movie version of Robert Penn Warren’s novel All the King’s Men, starring Sean Penn; featuring Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, and James Gandolfini; and directed by Steven Zaillian, best known for writing the screenplay for Schindler’s List. See the 1949 version of the film, starring Broderick Crawford, who won an Oscar for his work in this film. Listen to Edelstein’s review on Fresh Air.

Also Friday, Fresh Air aired a 1999 interview with actor James Woods. Woods can be seen on TV this fall in the new CBS drama Shark, and you can catch some of his big screen work on our shelves in Once Upon a Time In America and The Virgin Suicides. Listen to the interview here.

What's Michael? Planet of the Cats

Volume 11 in the spot-on tails of cats, Japan and absurdity by Makoto Kobayashi is just as fab as the previous 10 volumes. No one draws cats with as much humor and accuracy as Kobayashi. The stories show how people interact (and often make idiots of themselves) with cats - while letting us look into the lives of cats and the people who love (and hate) them! Whether you are a cat-lady-in-training or an official cat-hater you *will* find something to love in these great stories.

The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey...In the Wild West!

Steve Sheinkin's snappy and concise graphic novel is a unique and hilarious blending of Jewish wit and wisdom warmly set in the Wild West. Sheinkin was inspired by an equal childhood love of an old copy of 101 Jewish Stories and a book on the wild west - while this may seem an unusual pairing it works quite well. As Sheinkin puts it - Harvey is part old world rabbi, part western sheriff.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #35 (What I did this summer)

Nordic mysteries.

If you like Sun Storm and Borkmann’s Point, you might just like these…

Jar City is a thriller by Icelandic author Arnaldur Indriðason, the first to be translated by Bernard Scudder from Icelandic. Set in modern day Reykjavik, this police procedural is as twisted as its city streets and as chilling as the arctic wind. It also introduces Inspector Erlendur, a dogged loner of a policeman with a few secrets of his own. Jar City won the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel 2002. (Reviews).

"Shock"

Shock

On Friday 9-21-06 Diane Rehm hosted the co-authors of "Shock" Kitty Dukakis, Larry Tye, and Michael Dukakis, professor of political science at Northeastern University, former Massachusetts governor, and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee.

Depression affects countless numbers of people in varying degrees. The authors purport that Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) can offer immediate relief to some people suffering from severe depression. In the book, Kitty Dukakis describes her personal experience and co-author Larry Tye details its recent resurgence as a treatment option. Over the years Electroconvulsive Therapy has been depicted in several films, books, and songs, almost always in an extremely negative light. How many remember that Thomas Eagleton lost his Democratic vice-presidential nomination in 1972 when it was discovered he had undergone Electroconvulsive Therapy?

Book Discussion Groups Abound

A book discussion group called McSweeney’s Book Klatch will meet at 4 p.m. Sunday at Shaman Drum Bookshop, to talk about the book "Icelander," by Dustin Long. This group meets monthly to talk about a new title from McSweeney’s, the publishing house founded by Dave Eggers. Authors of the books being discussed weigh in by phone, and members of the klatch get free pizza and book discounts. Other Ann Arbor bookstores - plus schools, churches, and individual readers – organize and host a huge variety of reading groups around our city. Stay tuned. If you haven't read "Icelander," here's what Publishers Weekly had to say: "Nabokov meets Lemony Snicket in this manic Chinese box version of a mystery."

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (9/24/06)

Did you know Brad Meltzer was a graduate of the University of Michigan? He graduated in 1992 with a degree in history. His political thrillers have been selling well but this week he enters the List at #1.

At #1 is The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer: "The apparent murder of a presidential aide reveals Masonic secrets in Washington and a 200-year-old code invented by Thomas Jefferson."

At #3 is Dark Celebration by Christine Feehan: "Carpathians from around the world join together to oppose their enemies' plot to kill all Carpathian women."

At #10 is The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner: "Stories about women and relationships from the author of ''In Her Shoes.''"

At #13 is All Aunt Hagar's Children by Edward P. Jones: "Short stories mostly set in Washington, by the author of "The Known World."

The Play Ground

The Performance Network is celebrating the beginning of its 25th Anniversary Season by featuring The Retreat from Moscow by William Nicholson. This 2004 Tony-award nominated
play deftly navigates comedy, drama and the complexities of a modern marriage. How well do we know the people we marry? Is it wrong to decide it’s time to be honest? This is a powerful story of a husband who decides to be truthful in his marriage, and of the wife and son whose lives will never be the same again. September 14 - October 29, 2006. Ticket info: 663-0681.

Retrieved in Translation

Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner explores the human repercussions of the
bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. Barbara Jefferson is a teacher of English in Japan in 1966. There she becomes close with fellow teacher, Michiko Nakamoto, a Hiroshima survivor. The book opens after Michi's death. She has bequeathed Barbara her treasured tansu chest, filled with bottles of plum wine, each wrapped in rice paper on which are written journal entries Barbara wants to have translated. She meets Seiji, a potter, who knew Michi-San and translates some of the text. Barbara learns of Michi-San's and Seiji's tragic past and engages in a complex love affair with Seiji. Set during the time of the Vietnam war, Davis-Gardner raises questions about the "justice" of war. Thought provoking and suspenseful, Plum Wine is to be savored.

STS-115 Lands!

STS-115

NASA’s shuttle Atlantis landed safely this morning at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The six-member crew, made up of five Americans and one Canadian, successfully completed three spacewalks during their twelve-day journey. This mission added a second set of solar arrays to the International Space Station, which will double the station’s ability to generate power from sunlight and added 17.5 tons to its mass. Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch in December of this year and will continue work on the ISS.

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