New Books to Film

How about a trip to Canada, eh?

If you are looking for new places to explore this summer, why not try a trip to Canada? The border is only a short drive away and there are plenty of things to see and do for a weekend. Try visiting Toronto and go to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) or celebrate Summerlicious, prix fixe meals at the city's best restaurants during July. If you have more time, try driving as far as Montreal and visit the Just for Laughs Festival. For more ideas of places to visit and things to do in Canada, be sure to check out our Canada guide books or an adventurer's guide (for the outdoor types).

Ken Lay, ex-CEO of Enron, is dead

Ken Lay

Ken Lay, convicted ex-CEO of Enron, has died.

Lay, 64, was awaiting sentencing on multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy and bank fraud, when he died of a massive coronary in Aspen, Colorado.

In his book, Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story, two-time Pulitzer finalist author Kurt Eichenwald, chronicles the stunning rise and devastating fall of Enron under Ken Lay's leadership.

Last year's documentary, Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room, directed by Alex Gibney, exposes in shocking video and audio tapes, the depth of the greed and corruption that was part of the upper echelon culture. This much-touted documentary, which was nominated for and/or won several awards, spells out in heartbreaking detail, the thousands of lives wrecked by Enron's collapse.

A tortoise's observations of the human species and much more

Verlyn Klinkenborg, author of other books on the natural world and writer on the editorial board of the New York Times, has created a most disarming tortoise in his latest, Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile. In this wondrous tale or meditation, full of luxuriant language, humor and wry observation of the human species, Timothy in her elder years (yes, it's a female) is resident in the garden of pastor and amateur naturalist, Gilbert White, author, in real life, of The Natural History and Antiquities of Selbourne, the village where he lived.

Pirates or Superheroes?

Who said the library isn’t hip and cool? We change with the times and have the perfect books to go along with the popular movies in the box office. Are you interested in getting clued in on insider information on Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean? Check out the Pirates of the Caribbean Visual Guide. If you are more of a superhero fan and camped outside to see the new superman movie, Superman Returns, you should spend time browsing the Superman graphic novels. So the question is: Who would win, Jack Sparrow or Superman, in a fight to the death?

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting

One Green Apple tells the story of a Muslim girl who is a stranger in a strange land. On a school field trip she finds that there are many similarities in her old culture and her new one. Eve Bunting brilliantly captures the feeling of isolation experienced by a Muslim girl as she attends her second day of school.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #27

One of the hottest trends in reading is urban fiction. It’s a sure sign that it is no longer just a fad when The New York Times wrote about it. Alternately called street lit, hip-hop, gangsta lit, or urban fiction, it depicts life on the mean streets, and often prides itself in the authenticity and gritty details of drugs, crimes and violence. Lurid book jackets, profanities, explicit sex, and the lifestyle fueled by easy money add to its appeal.

I met T.J. Williams this week. A Princeton University student, he is not your typical street lit author writing in prison, but maybe that is why his debut novel 5 minutes and 42 seconds was so accessible for my first dip into this genre.

Oh, have no doubt, all the gritty elements are there (the drug-dealing, the illicit sex and the street culture) but it is also a thoughtful and often humorous exploration of the meaning of family and sexuality. Give it a try and check out this reading list for other suggestions.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (7/2/06)

About fifteen years ago I stopped reading Robert B. Parker. After a terrific start with compelling stories and characters, his Spenser series became stale and dull. Several years later, there was a positive review in the New York Times Book Review and I gave him another look. Now a Parker mystery is a treat, pleasing in its predictability and effortless style. Perfect for a summer day.

At #6 is Blue Screen by Robert B. Parker: in this mystery Sunny Randall arrives in Paradise to investigate a mystery and hooks up with the Chief of Police, Jesse Stone; sparks fly, relationships change and a mystery is solved. The only unresolved question is whether we will meet Sunny and Jesse together again.

At #11 is The Wrong Hostage by Elizabeth Lowell: when her teenage son is held hostage by a Mexican drug kingpin, a divorced judge turns to a former lover for help.

At #12 is Baby Proof by Emily Giffin: after leaving her husband because he wants a child, a New York book editor begins to feel she may have made a mistake.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground

Ah, Chelsea in the summer. A perfect place to browse the shops, have a bite and see a wonderful play at the Purple Rose Theatre. Check out the current production: the Midwestern Premiere of Honus and Me, a play, adapted from the Dan Gutman novel by Steven Dietz, about a Little League player who finds the most valuable baseball card in the world while cleaning an elderly neighbor’s attic. Filled with baseball history, time travel and romance, this story goes to the 1909 World Series between Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers and Honus Wagner’s Pittsburgh Pirates and back again. June 22 - August 26, 2006, 734 433-7673

Learn the art of book design

Are you interested in learning a new hobby this summer? Do you love books? If you said "yes!" to both questions then check out our books on the art of book design and bookbinding! Consider taking a book or paper art class at Hollander's School of Book and Paper Arts in historic Kerrytown. Try making your own journal or scrapbook and filling it with summertime observations and thoughts, for a truly handcrafted summer.

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