Author Birthdays: Leroux, Jarrell, White

May 6th marks the birthday of authors Gaston Leroux, Randall Jarrell, and Theodore White.

Gaston Leroux was a French author most known for his novel The Phantom of the Opera, which has been made into both a musical and a few films.

Leroux also wrote detective novels, two of which have been translated into English: The Mystery of the Yellow Room and The Perfume of the Lady in Black, which are both part of the series on the character Joseph Rouletabille.

Randall Jarrell was an American writer of poetry, children's books, and essays. We have his Complete Poems here at AADL; his collection The Woman at the Washington Zoo won the National Book Award for poetry is within it.

Among Jarrell's works for children, we have The Animal Family, a Newbery Honor Book, and The Bat-Poet, which was illustrated by Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are).

Theodore H. White was an American historian. His book The Making of the President, 1960 won the Pulitzer for General Nonfiction in 1962. It details the election of JFK, and is the first in a "series" of books about elections.

White's other works include Breach of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon, about the Watergate scandal, and his autobiography, In Search of History: A Personal Adventure.

Spielberg to tackle a Team of Rivals

Last year I finally got around to reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2005) by Doris Kearns Goodwin and it was surprisingly thrilling to see how our great president brilliantly juggled arrogant generals, jealous cabinet members, a moody wife and personal tragedy against the backdrop of the Civil War. Yesterday I heard that Steven Spielberg is basing his upcoming film about Lincoln on Goodwin's book, and if Spielberg's pedigree isn't enough to excite you about the prospects of this film, consider that he's cast two-time Oscar winner, Daniel Day Lewis to play the president (yay!) and two-time Oscar winner Sally Field to play Mary Lincoln. Other major talent, such as Kevin Spacey and Sean Penn, are also rumored to have roles. I'm nearly as geeked to find out who ends up playing William Seward and Salmon Chase as I was ten years ago when they were casting Gandalf and Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings.

Author Birthdays: James, ten Boom, Archer

April 15th marks the birthday of authors Henry James, Corrie ten Boom, and Jeffrey Archer.

Henry James was an American writer, probably best known for his novella The Turn of the Screw, often spoken of in terms of its ambiguity; (it is uncertain whether the main character is experiencing ghosts, or psychological repression.)

James has many other stories worth mentioning. The Portrait Of A Lady and The Bostonians are both well-known. Lesser known, James also published travel writings, like Italian Hours.

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch author and Holocaust survivor; her autobiography, The Hiding Place tells the story of how she aided and hid Jews from the Nazis. It was also made into a movie in 1975.

Ten Boom's family was arrested in 1944, and Corrie spent time in a Dutch prison and two concentration camps. The second concentration camp killed its women prisoners only one week after she was released. Her last book, I Stand at the Door and Knock, is full of Christian devotionals.

Jeffrey Archer is an English author and life peer. He has a novel coming out this year, Only Time Will Tell, set in the 1920s-40s, which will be the first book in series. Last year he published a book of short stories, And Thereby Hangs A Tale.

Archer's first novel was the mystery Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less, of which Library Journal said "anyone with any interest in money will find entertaining."

Author Birthdays: Hersh, Kingsolver, Okorafor-Mbachu

April 8th marks the birthday of authors Seymour Hersh, Barbara Kingsolver, and Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu.

Seymour Hersh is an American award-winning journalist and author. Many of his articles were written for The New Yorker. He won a Pulitzer in journalism for his writing on the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War.

Hersh's books include a biography of JFK, called The Dark Side of Camelot, which portrays the late president as reckless, and was very controversial after its publication. He also wrote Chain Of Command: The Road From 9/11 To Abu Ghraib, which discusses topics like the torture and mistreatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

Barbara Kingsolver is a multi-award-winning American author, whose latest novel was the popular The Lacuna, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010.

Kingsolver's best known work might be The Poisonwood Bible, which is about a missionary family who moves to the Belgian Congo in the mid-20th century. Her most interesting book, in my opinion, might be her non-fiction book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year Of Food Life, which outlines Kingsolver and her family as they attempt to eat solely locally-grown food for one year.

Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu is a Nigerian-American fantasy writer. Her newest book, Who Fears Death, was nominated for the Nebula Award in 2010.

Okorafor-Mbachu has written some young adult novels, which may be of interest to many teens in world literature classes who are looking for something a bit more modern than the classics. Her novel The Shadow Speaker is set in a futuristic West Africa and relays the tale of a girl with magical powers who is seeking vengeance.

Triangle Waist Factory Fire of 1911

triangletriangle

Today (March 25) marks the 100-year anniversary of the deadly Triangle Waist Factory Fire in New York City which claimed 146 lives, mostly of young immigrant workers; and to this day, ranks as one of the worst disasters in labor history.

Located in the Asch Building, at northern corner of Washington Square,The Triangle Waist Company was in many ways a typical sweatshop - low wages, excessively long hours, and unsanitary and dangerous working conditions. Check out the story at the Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations archival and research resources that include eyewitness accounts, victim list, and photo images.

Over the years, the fire has been the subject for documentary filmmakers, historians and novelists. Best among them is award-winning author Katharine Weber's Triangle* * (2007).

Esther Gottesfeld is the last living survivor of the fire where 150 workers died in the sweatshop inferno. Even though she has told her story countless time, her death at the age of 106 leaves unanswered many questions about what happened that fateful day - the day she lost her sister and her fiance, the day her life changed forever.

Esther's granddaughter, Rebecca, and George, her partner, a prizewinning composer, seek to unravel the facts of the matter, while at the same time Ruth Zion, a zealous Triangle fire historian, bores in on them with her own mole-like agenda.

"As in a symphony, the true story of what happened at the Triangle factory is declared in the first notes - yet it is fully revealed only when we've heard it all the way through to its find chords."

* * = Starred reviews

U-M Taubman College Presents "The Future of History"

A conference organized by the U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning is coming up April 1-2 in Rackham Amphitheater, 915 E. Washington St. "The Future of History" will bring together theorists, designers, practitioners and historians to discuss how architecture has played a role in history, and also how history interprets architecture. The gathering begins April 1 at 4:30 pm, with doors open at 4:15 pm. On April 2, doors open at 8 am. Presentations and hosted conversations are free and public.

The Richest Horse Race in the World

dubaiworldcupdubaiworldcup

Bookmakers say no clear favorite has emerged to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup this Saturday allowing it to shape up into a very exciting race filled with equine and human drama. Entries include horses from the United Arab Emirates, United States, Japan, England, Ireland, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the Chechen Republic.

Japan has three horses entered including Buena Vista (Japan’s 2010 Horse of the Year), who arrived in Dubai well before the earthquake and tsunami hit. She is a very popular horse in a country wild about horse racing. Many hope a win by her (the only female in the field) will cheer on the tragedy-struck country.
One of the six horses considered to have a legitimate stake to win the world’s richest purse, South Africa’s Bold Silvano sadly was scratched from the race after pulling up lame in a training run on Monday.
England is expecting big things from Twice Over, back-to-back winner of this year’s Champion Stakes at Newmarket, who was beaten in just over three lengths in last year's Dubai World Cup, as he returns to fill out the exciting field.
American challengers include Gitano Hernando, Fly Down and Kentucky-bred Gio Ponti.

And now for the human race: the Jaguar Style Stakes includes 2011 Dubai World Cup “Best Dressed Lady”, “Best Dressed Couple”, “Best Hat” and for the first time “Best Dressed Man.”

To learn more about the rich and thrilling Sport of Kings try The Blood-Horse Authoritative Guide, History of Thoroughbred Racing in America, and Funny Cide : How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies took on the Sheiks and Blue Bloods--and Won.

Here are some fantastic racing films: Secretariat, Seabiscuit, National Velvet, and The Black Stallion.

Culinary Historian Andrew F. Smith Discusses His New Books: "Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War" and "Potato: A Global History"

A. SmithA. Smith

Sunday March 27, 2011: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Nationally-known culinary historian Andrew F. Smith will make a special appearance to discuss his two new books. Join us to learn about Smith's fascinating gastronomical look at the war and its legacy in "Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War." And hear about the captivating tale of an allegedly lowly vegetable that continues to change the world in "Potato: A Global History."

You may have heard or seen Smith interviewed on radio and television, including National Public Radio, Discovery, the History Channel, and the Food Network. Take advantage of this opportunity to see him live at the library!

This event, which will include a book signing, is cosponsored by the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor. Books will be on sale at the event.

Author Lev Raphael Discusses His Memoir "My Germany"

Lev RLev R

Monday March 28, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Haunted by his parents' suffering and traumatic losses under Nazi rule, Lev Raphael was certain that Germany was one place in the world he would never visit. So, what happened when he was invited to speak there about his books?

In his memoir, "My Germany", Raphael unravels the past of his parents and their families during wartime. By traveling through the emotional and physical landscapes of Germany and his family's past, Raphael experiences forgiveness, self-growth, and a better understanding of his Jewish heritage.

Lev Raphael is a pioneer in writing fiction about America's Second Generation, publishing his first short story about children of survivors in 1978. Join us to listen to his story - and you may find yourself inspired to trace your own family history.

Teen (and Parent) Magazine Update -- Home Schooling, Conspiracy Theorists and Luchador Socks

image by Odin Fotografia, Flickr.comimage by Odin Fotografia, Flickr.com
As winter and spring duke it out for supremacy, a beautiful new collection of magazines has blossomed in our teen room. Check out these lovely flowers:

For Teens:
Audrey -- All about Actress Olivia Munn, plus an article on the presence of Asian-Americans in mainstream TV shows.

ESPN Magazine -- See athletes strut their stuff in this special Style Report, in more ways then one, plus Derrick Rose shows off his luchador socks.

Rolling Stone -- Where else can you see Snooki, rock star Sammy Hagar and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in the same place? Plus, 2011's coolest new faces.

Sorry, parents, I've only got one magazine for you this time, but it's a good one:
Home Education Magazine has ideas on teaching your kids about gardening and food, as well as a list of books for Women's History Month!

Get out your umbrella and come check out these cool magazines!

Syndicate content