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.

'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.

What New Car?

What New Car

It’s never too late to buy that 1946 Chevy or other car you’ve forever had on your mind. In the meantime, while you’re deciding the Library has several magazines to help you dream and plan your next move. With over 600 pages the monthly Hemmings Motor News a favorite of mine has for years offered classified ads for both collector cars and parts ads in addition to informative articles on how to repair cars, rallys, auctions, and other auto related subjects. Auto Restorer is a How-To Guide for Car & Truck enthusiasts with more emphasis on the” How To”. Another great magazine with a British twist is “Practical Classics” with lots of great color pictures. I especially like the articles with good color photos of parts being repaired. These magazines can all be found at the Downtown Branch.

Idlewild

According to Sunday's Ann Arbor News, Idlewild, the new film opening this week, is named after the famous Lake County Michigan resort, otherwise known as the Black Eden of Michigan in the 1920s and '30s and the Summer Apollo of Michigan in the 1950s and '60s. Idlewild, Michigan, hosted great jazz acts in its day, including Duke Ellington, and was the vacation spot of choice for such black luminaries as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Even W.E.B. Du Bois owned a home there. But the film itself is set in Georgia and its "Idlewild" is a small-town speakeasy. It does take place during the same period and features the music of OutKast (a bit of a historical stretch, but oh well). So far, reviews are mixed but Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-.

You can read more about the real Idlewild in Idlewild: the Black Eden of Michigan by Ronald J. Stephens.

2006 Emmy Awards

Conan O'Brien hosts the Emmy Awards this Sunday, August 27, at 8:00 p.m. Here are a few of this year's contenders:
Made for TV Movies:
Flight 93 (on order, September)
Flight that Fought Back (not yet available)
The Girl in the Cafe
Mrs. Harris (on order, September)
Yesterday (on order, September)
Drama series
Grey's Anatomy
House
Sopranos
24
West Wing

Check out the Emmy Awards website or the Saturday Ann Arbor News for a complete listing.

Great Article on Wikipedia

New Yorker image

The July 31 New Yorker magazine has a fabulous article, "Annals of Information: Know It All: Wikipedia takes on the experts," which begins, "On March 1st, Wikipedia, the on-line interactive encyclopedia, hit the million-articles mark, with an entry on Jordanhill, a railway station in suburban Glasgow." Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff wrote the New Yorker article, which you can access through General Reference Center Gold. Or check out the July 31 New Yorker from the periodicals area of one of our libraries.

Gen Con or Bust!

I went to Gen Con, the Best Four Days in Gaming, this weekend in Indianapolis. It was really awesome. I saw tons of new card games, board games, and role playing games. I also found out some cool stuff like the book Dragonology is now a board game. The new video game based on Eragon was available to play even though it doesn’t come out until November, and there was big talk about the movie coming out in December.

Castro on Film

On Monday, prior to undergoing major surgery, 79-year-old Fidel Castro handed the reins to his brother, Raúl, leading many to wonder if it will soon be Springtime for Cuba? Now seems a good time to look back at the man on film. The Library carries the following DVDs: 2005's Fidel Castro and Fidel Castro: El Comandante. For more flavor, there's 1974's Waiting For Fidel; El Che; and various films detailing the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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.

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