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

Beach Reads #5 (admittedly borrowed...)

beachreads6

Billed as the British version of Oprah's Book Club, the vastly popular "Richard (Madeley) & Judy (Finnigan)" talk show has its very own RICHARD & JUDY'S SUMMER READ!.

The 2006 list is selected by Amanda Ross who is the joint managing director of Cactus TV, which produces the show, and was recently named the No. 1 most influential person in British publishing.

Instead of the authors or experts, a panel of celebrities is invited to discuss the books (only paperback titles are considered) on air. Richard & Judy are pleased that "The books are there to be read and enjoyed and talked about sensibly, not in the rarefied ways of a wine buff or a food critic, but in the way the rest of the world does".

Don't be surprised to find U.S. titles and some very familiar names, and what a great way to get to know new ones.

Salaam, A Muslim American Boys Story by Tricia Brown

Imran takes karate, enjoys hanging out with his friends and celebrates special religious holidays with his family. Imran is like any other boy in America except he is a Muslim. His mother receives a threatening phone call because people don't like her faith. Imran is hopeful that once people get to know his faith they will like him the way his friends and neighbors do. Tricia Brown teaches about Islam through Imran's story. From a Muslim perspective the book gives an apologetic view of Islam with an emphasis on fitting in.

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