college 101

If you're just starting college, thinking about it or looking back, you might find these novels about college life entertaining if not totally realistic.

In Making Stuff Up, by Bill James, passions and rivalries erupt in a creative writing class. The president of the college tries to smooth things over while struggling to keep the college afloat.

Blue Angel by Francine Prose is a hilarious and cynical portrayal of college life, especially writers and English departments. She satirizes the pervasive feminist interpretation of literature by the women's studies teachers and empathizes with the disillusioned creative writing instructors who are resigned to reading some awful student work.

Elinor Lipman has also presented a farcical account of college life in her newest novel, My Latest Grievance, the story of Frederica Hatch, the precocious daughter of two activist professors who are also dorm parents at a small New England women's college.`

Tour-de-Anne

The release of Anne Tyler’s newest book on cd, Digging to America, gives us an opportunity to highlight one of the best American writers and encourage a tour-de-Anne. Accidental Tourist and Saint Maybe are two of her earliest and best. Ladder of Years is a quiet and intimate portrait of family relationships. Her very best work, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, is not to be missed even if it it’s only available in good old-fashioned print.

Jamie Lee Curtis to Kids: Make Good Choices

Jamie Lee Curtis has a rhythmic new children's book out, Is There Really a Human Race?, with illustrations by Laura Cornell. The frenzied race metaphor plays out through this picture book, and at one point a boy tells us that if we don't help each other, we'll all crash. Curtis joins a chorus of other Baby Boomers in hoping that children will one day make our world a better place. Admirable, that hope.

Dawn Farm's 33rd Annual Jamboree

Dawn Farm's 33rd Annual Jamboree will take place Sunday, September 10, from 1-6 p.m. at Dawn Farm, 6633 Stoney Creek Rd, Ypsilanti. This year's events include a midway, pony rides, live music, hayrides, and tours of the 74-acre farm.

Dylan's "Modern Times" is number one

No. 1 on the music charts, (and no, it's not Danity Kane) is Bob Dylan, with his first CD in five years, called Modern Times. My favorite music critic, who played locally with the Ragnar Kvaran Band in the 80's, says, "the cd has a spirited earthy feel, which is often lost in the technology of most modern recordings." It's reminiscent of Howlin' Wolf, with the sounds of rockabilly and country-blues on other tracks.
bobdylan.com
Rolling Stone Rock and Roll Daily

Local author's book featured on PBS today

Local author Nancy Shaw's, Sheep on a Ship will be featured on Between the Lions today at 1:30 p.m. on the Detroit station, WTVS, with a repeat next Tuesday, September 12, at the same time. Click here to find out the PBS schedule for channels 23 and 28.

Presidential Summer Reading

Apparently The Stranger, by Albert Camus was not the only intellectually challenging book on President Bush's reading list this summer. Adam Gopnik, writing in the Aug. 28 New Yorker, names two others on what he describes as "An amazingly strenuous list, actually." The bonus books were American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, by Richard Carwardine. Whether Bush has actually read either of these books is unclear to me. But even if he has, that's only three for the summer - two short of the five books required to finish the AADL Summer Reading Game. Better luck next year, Mr. President.

We're Back!!! Baby and Preschool Series begin this week!

The Baby PlayGroup Series and the Preschool Storytime Series start this week throughout the Library System and you don't want to miss any. Remind Babies to bring a Big Person to Baby PlayGroups. Remind the Little Kids to bring their Big People to Preschool Storytimes. While you are in the building say "Hello" to the puzzles, pick a few Books, choose some CDs to sing along together, then wave Bye-Bye when you are done. You can come back next time, too!

Invasion of the mini-books!

Have you ever wondered what your favorite book would look like in miniature? Well, now's your chance! This Sunday, September 10th, marks the fourth annual Kerrytown BookFest and this year the special guest is the Miniature Book Society (MBS). The festival will be accompanied by lectures, demonstrations and plenty of exhibitors showing and selling books of all kinds. So come to the BookFest and pick up some new, potentially tiny, reading material!

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.

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