How To Be

by Lisa Brown.

How to be a snake. How to be a bear. How to be a dog. These are important things, people. When reading this book I could not help thinking to myself, "yes! Oh my goodness! That's exactly how I would be a spider!" This cute book is all about creative pretending (with a little bit about learning about yourself thrown in), and they nail it perfectly...

Golden Age of Magic...

...stage magic, that is. Anyone with even a passing interest in the magicians of the 1920s (or anyone who just wants to read a good historical mystery) should try out Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gold. The action starts when Warren Harding (generally considered to be the worst president in American history) is torn apart (then eaten, by a lion, on stage, in front of a live audience) during a trick called "Carter Beats the Devil", performed by the famous magician Carter the Great. Though it is revealed to be just a another clever illusion (and the President is clearly seen walking off stage after), Harding is found dead a few hours later, and the police would like to have a word or two with Carter...

Death Becomes Them

Dead or Alive

AADL Select Sites : Reference Tools

A macabre site for the morbidly curious, Dead or Alive? features the vital status of “reasonably famous people” from all walks of life: sports stars, scientists, politicians, movie stars and more. A mysterious administrator obsessively updates the site, which to date catalogues 7430 people, more of them listed alive than dead. View site statistics and deaths arranged by cause (more “reasonably famous” people have been killed by volcanic eruption (3) than balloon crash (1), for example), or compare the status of people in different fields. If perusing the lists does not prove addictive enough, the site features quizzes that regenerate every 15 minutes.

Should accuracy concern you, the site claims to have made only one confirmed mistake in the status of a person in three years.

Jesse Owens Remembered

On May 25, 1935, Jesse Owens set three world records and tied a fourth. Representing Ohio State at the Big Ten track and field event at the University of Michigan, despite an ailing back, Owens tied the world record in the 100 yard dash and set the record in the broad jump, the 220 yard dash and 220 yard low hurdles. This was the first time anyone had ever set three world records and broke a fourth Jesse was born in 1913, the son of a sharecropper, and grew up in Cleveland. He began competing in track and field in high school. His second claim to fame was winning four gold metals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany. Owens went on to become an accomplished speaker and supported athletic programs for underprivileged youth.

Michigan Field Guides

With Memorial Day and summer vacations just ahead, these field guides will enrich your hikes, bike rides, and camping trips.

Birds: National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: Michigan
Mammals: Mammals of Michigan Field Guide by Stan Tekiela
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Reptiles and Amphibians of Michigan Field Guide by Stan Tekiela
Michigan Turtles and Lizards by James H. Harding and J. Alan Holman
Michigan Frogs, Toads, and Salamanders by James H. Harding and J. Alan Holman
Michigan Snakes by J. Alan Holman
Insects: Insects of the Great Lakes Region by Gary A. Dunn
Butterflies: Michigan Butterflies and Skippers by Mogens C. Nielsen
Butterflies of Michigan Field Guide by Jaret C. Daniels
Fish: Fishes of the Great Lake Region by Carl L. Hubbs
Trees: Michigan Trees by Burton V. Barnes and Warren H. Wagner
Trees of Michigan by Linda Kershaw
Wild Flowers: Michigan Wildflowers in Color by Harry C. Lund
Wildflowers of Michigan Field Guide by Stan Tekiela
Stars: Michigan Starwatch by Mike Lynch

A Marriage Made in History

Modern marriage may seem to be in flux, but most of what we see today has been seen before, according to Stephanie Coontz whose book Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage is featured this week in five-minute e-mail chunks at DearReader.com. The book came out in hardback a year ago and in paperback in February. Coontz also wrote the popular 1992 book The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.

Jane Kenyon- 1947-1995

Today, May 23, is the birthday of Jane Kenyon. She was born in Ann Arbor in 1947 and attended the University of Michigan. Her first book, Let Evening Come was published in 1990. Kenyon's poetry is known for its quiet yet profound reflections and in her years with her husband, Donald Hall, on her life with him at their farmhouse in Wilmot, New Hampshire.

Her final poems describe her struggle with depression and the leukemia which finally took her life in 1995. Shortly before her death, she and Hall were interviewed by Bill Moyers for a television documentary, A Life Together. Following is a poem that pays tribute to her dog, Biscuit:

Peter Viereck, Pulitzer Prize poet, has died

Peter Viereck

It's been a hard for month for poets. Last week, America lost two noted Pulitzer Prize winners -- Stanley Kunitz died at age 100 on May 14, 2006, and now Peter Viereck has passed away at 89.

Viereck was as passionate about his idea of conservatism as he was about poetry. He won the 1949 Pulitzer for his very first collection of poetry, Terror and Decorum.

As we are seeing by today's headlines, Professor Viereck's strong beliefs that "...conservative is not to be satanic..." could be part of the national dialog.

Professor Viereck died May 20, 2006.

In the Cannes

Pedro Almodóvar's Volver, starring Penélope Cruz, and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are currently the critics' favorites to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this Sunday. But Marie-Antoinette has yet to show (it's scheduled for Thursday) and some are holding out for this highly-anticipated new film by Sofia Coppola, starring Kirsten Dunst. To get a feel for each director's style, try Almodóvar's Bad Education or All About My Mother; Iñárritu's Amores Perros or 21 Grams (he also has a compelling segment in 11'09"01 - September 11); and Coppola's Lost in Translation or The Virgin Suicides.

New CDs to move to!

Looking for some new music to get you ready for the summer? Check out these artists’ albums that have recently been added to the AADL’s collection.

Rihanna’s album A Girl Like Me has been topping the charts for weeks. Her music is upbeat and easy to dance to, which will definitely get you in the summer mood. Her single ‘SOS’ is currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

Gnarls Barkley, a recently formed collaboration between Danger Mouse (a very prominent artist/producer in music these days) and rapper Cee-Lo, has just released their highly anticipated album St. Elsewhere. Their first single ‘Crazy’ has gotten rave reviews.

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