Warlord, Barbarian, Empire Builder: Who was Attila the Hun?

He was called the 'Scourge of God' and considered one of the destroyers of the Roman Empire. His own empire stretched from the Rhine to the Black Sea, from the Baltic to the Balkans. He was Attila the Hun, once a byword for mindless barbarism. John Man's fascinating recent book Attila: The Barbarian King Who Challenged Rome revisits the evidence and retraces the career of this shrewd and powerful leader of the feared nomadic horsemen who challenged the Roman Empire for nearly 20 years during the early 5th Century. Man, a travel writer and historian, has traveled extensively in Asia and Mongolia and is also the author of Genghis Khan: Life, Death and Resurrection and Gobi: Tracking the Desert. Another fairly recent look at Attila can be found in Patrick Howarth's Attila, King of the Huns: Man and Myth and in the lushly filmed made-for-TV movie, Attila.

New York Times Podcasts

New York Times Logo

If you don't have the opportunity to read the paper, try downloading a podcast to listen to the New York Times during your daily commute. The New York Times is offering podcasts on all sorts of different sections of the newspaper, including the Sunday Book Review. There are also podcasts summarizing the daily headlines, the science section and even a weekly essay on "matters of the heart". Arrive at your destination more enlightened than when you left home!

Some still like it hot

44 years ago today, we bade farewell to famous actress and notorious temptress Marilyn Monroe who passed away on August 5th, 1962. As one of the most popular stars of the 1950s Marilyn introduced a captivating sex appeal and memorable personality into all of her works. Her movies such as Some Like it Hot and Gentlemen prefer blondes are still hilarious today. And how can anyone forget the famous scene in The Seven Year Itch where a gusty sidewalk grate caused Ms. Monroe's skirts to head skyward? Or how about Marilyn's love life even including playwright Arthur Miller, for whom a theater is currently being built in North Campus at the University? Marilyn remains a fascinating woman for whom even death was a controversy.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #29

You might as well hear about it here, no doubt you will be hearing a lot about this book.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters was THE buzz among librarians and booksellers at the American Library Association annual conference. Some of us stood in line with a coupon in hand, just to pick up a preview copy. The reviews for this debut novel thus far have been mixed but the storyline is intriguingly complex, and the telling mesmerizing.

Miss Celeste Temple travels from her tropical island home to Victorian London in search of her fiance after receiving a cryptic message from him breaking their engagement. This 768-page doorstopper is part adventure, part fantasy, part mystery, part romance, but 100% entertainment. It should appeal to Diana Gabaldon readers.

The author Gordon Dahlquist is an award-wining playwright and a director of experimental films. He lives in New York.

Powerful Immigration Tale

When Sonia Nazario wrote Enrique's heart-wrenching story in the Los Angeles Times, it won two Pulitzer Prizes. Later she expanded his tale into the book Enrique's Journey, which came out earlier this year and is currently the pick of several book groups in Ann Arbor. The emotional story of Enrique travelling from Honduras to look for his mother who was working in the United States is gripping and unforgettable, including his rides - shown on the book cover - on top of freight trains in Mexico.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground

As Jackie Gleason famously said, "You're going to the moon, Alice." Well, you can't go to the moon but you can see it on Friday, August 4th, 9-11 p.m.at the Angell Hall Observatory Open House: U-M Student Astronomical Society. All are invited to peer through the telescope on the Angell Hall roof for celestial visions. Club members are on hand to answer questions. 5th-floor roof top observatory, Angell Hall (from the large State St. entrance, take one of the elevators on the left). Free. 936-3626. When you get home you can even read all about it.

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

A new book by Thomas E. Ricks is generating a lot of interest. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq was featured Aug. 2 on the NPR show On Point, with Tom Ashbrook. Nine copies of the book are currently being ordered for the library system. Ricks is a Pulitzer Prize winner and Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post.

Alice Turns 141 Today

On August 2, 1865, Lewis Carroll published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. AADL owns several versions, as well as sound recordings and film adaptations. The latter include Walt Disney's 1951 animated film, the subversie and haunting 1966 retelling by director Jonathan Miller, starring Michael Redgrave, Peter Sellers and John Gielgud, and Alice in Wonderland in Dance.

Twenty Years of the Friz

September 15 will be the 20th anniversary of Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus series. To celebrate, NASDAQ will open with a dedication to the series and Scholastic will release "The Magic School Bus and the Science Fair Expedition," the 11th picture book in the series and the first in seven years, according to Publishers Weekly. Joanna Cole, the writer of the series, says "We have to make it simple enough for kids to understand, but not so simple that the meaning goes out of it."

Kick Keswick: Three Measures of Elegant Summer Fluff

Kick Keswick did not know who her father was. Her mother lived in a trailer in the Oklahoma oil fields. Kick was a shoplifter of jewelry. After a year in juvenile detention, she goes off to college, takes a trip to London, skips out on the group tour, buys a very short Mary Quant miniskirt and some plastic boots, gets soaked in the rain, and is ushered into the limousine of Sir Cramner Ballantine, owner of the venerable Ballantine & Company Auctioneers. She becomes his mistress and the executive secretary of the auction house. She gradually becomes an elegant and self-possessed woman with a love for food, chocolate, wine, and jewels. She is a master jeweler and a master jewel thief (the Shamrock Burglar, leaving a “lovely crisp bouquet of shamrocks tied with an ivory satin ribbon” in the place of the stolen jewelry).

She wittily narrates three charming adventures (best read in order):

Brilliant 2003
Priceless 2004
Perfect 2005

Syndicate content