Author Birthdays: Benét, Robbins, Hinton

July 22nd marks the birthday of authors Stephen Vincent Benét, Tom Robbins, and S. E. Hinton.

Stephen Vincent Benét was an American writer probably best known for his short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster." He also won the Pulitzer for his book-length poems John Brown's Body and Western Star.

Benét also wrote an adaptation of the Roman legend of the Rape of the Sabine Women, which he called "The Sobbin' Women." This short story went on to inspire the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Tom Robbins is an American author who has been called a "psychedelic son of Mark Twain" by Booklist. He is known for his novels Even Cowgirls Get The Blues and Villa Incognito.

Robbins also has a collection of short stories and essays called Wild Ducks Flying Backward. Many critics have praised his non-fiction essays in the work for their humor.

S. E. Hinton is an American writer of children's, young adult, and adult fiction. She is best known for her teen novel The Outsiders, about friendship, gangs, and families (featuring a character whose name is worth Summer Game points), which was published when she was only 16 years old.

Hinton's adult fiction includes the novel Hawkes Harbor, which is about an orphan raised by nuns, who later goes out into the world to seek adventure, eventually finding an evil monster in a place called Hawkes Harbor.

July's Books to Film (and a nice way to get out of the heat)

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is based on the novel by Lisa See.
China. Parallel stories, generations apart. Two young girls bound together by circumstances, history, and a secret language written on the folds of a white silk fan.

Sarah's Key is based on the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay.
Paris, July 1942: 10 yr.old Sarah locks her younger brother in a secret hiding place to save him from the Nazi round-up. Sixty-seven years later, Julia Jarmond, an American journalist stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.

The film Cowboys & Aliens is adapted from Scott Mitchell Rosenberg's work of the same title.
1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution, a town that lives in fear. But this stranger the town rejects might just be the only hope from the marauders from the sky.

Based on the real-life experience of Iraqi army lieutenant Latif Yahia as detailed in his book I was Saddam's Son, The Devil's Double recounts how he was ordered to become the body double to Saddam's son- the notorious "Black Prince" Uday Hussein, a reckless, sadistic party-boy with a rabid hunger for sex and brutality.

Good Neighbors is based on Chere Voisine by Chrystine Brouillet.
Neighbors Spencer and Louise have bonded over their fascination with a recent string of murders. When Victor moves in, they hit it off. But as they soon discover, each of them has their own dark secret. What they once thought of as a safe haven is as dangerous as any outside terrors they could imagine.

The First Avenger: Captain America is based on the Marvel Comics series by Ed Brubaker.
Steve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America, joining forces with Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull.

Author Birthdays: Stone, Garfield, Howatch

July 14th marks the birthday of authors Irving Stone, Leon Garfield, and Susan Howatch.

Irving Stone was an American historical fiction author. His most well known novel may be The Agony and the Ecstasy, a book about the Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The book was also made into a movie starring Charlton Heston.

Stone's main works are all fictionalized biographies. In addition to Michelangelo, he also wrote books on artists Vincent Van Gogh and Camille Pissarro. The novel of Van Gogh was also made into a movie.

Leon Garfield was a British children's historical fiction writer. He also adapted many Shakespearean tales for children, which we have in both written and audio formats, as well as the television show Shakespeare: The Animated Tales.

Garfield's original works include Smith, which is about a 18th century London pickpocket, and The Empty Sleeve, a ghost story featuring protagonist twins.

Susan Howatch is a British fiction writer known for her family sagas and religious themes. Her most popular series is probably the Starbridge Series of six books about a fictional Anglican diocese called Starbridge. The first book in the series is Glittering Images.

Howatch also wrote many stand-alone books. These include The Waiting Sands, which Library Journal described as "three tales of romantic suspense," and Penmarric, a novel set in medieval Cornwall.

HP and the Deathly Hallows Part Two!


The time of the last Harry Potter movie is almost upon us! On Friday (or Thursday at midnight for those fans who are really dedicated), the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released.

The release of this last movie gives Harry Potter lovers a whole new event to celebrate (and the last, at least until Pottermore is up and running).

Our copies of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part One are all checked out, but that doesn't mean you're out of Harry Potter options!

The library owns 66 copies of the book Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows and although excitement is at a fever pitch, as of this writing four of those copies are still available. We also have plenty of other Harry-related items: over 200 of them! So get to reading, watching or listening, and enjoy the last movie!

Author Birthdays: Heinlein, Eddings, McCullough

July 7th marks the birthday of authors Robert A. Heinlein, David Eddings, and David McCullough.

Robert A. Heinlein was an American author of science fiction and first winner of the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. He still holds the record for winning the most Hugo Awards for Best Novel, awarded for Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and the Retro winner Farmer in the Sky.

Heinlein also had a few Hugo Best Novel short-listed books: Have Space Suit--Will Travel, Glory Road, Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long, Friday, and Job: A Comedy of Justice.

David Eddings was an American writer mostly known for his fantasy series. Many of these series, including The Dreamers, were co-written with his wife, Leigh.

Eddings also wrote some non-fantasy novels. Regina's Song, also written with his wife, is a fictional work about twins and their relationships. Booklist called it "a story of murder and revenge sporting supernatural overtones."

David McCullough is an American author and historian, and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has also won the Pulitzer twice for his biographies of Harry S. Truman and John Adams. The HBO television series John Adams and the film Truman were both based on his books.

McCullough has also written non-biographies. His The Path Between The Seas : The Creation Of The Panama Canal, 1870-1914 won four awards in 1978. Library Journal noted that in it "McCullough's careful research and genius for narrative come brilliantly through."

What's New: Documentaries on DVD

The browsable New DVD and New Blu-ray lists at AADL grow all the time. Checking to see what films have been added to the collection is on my daily to-do list. Here are a few recently acquired documentaries worth pointing out:

The Parking Lot Movie: A brotherhood of eccentric attendants who man a unique parking lot in Charlottesville, Virginia. From grad students to middle-age slackers, indie-rock musicians to surly philosophers, these overeducated part-timers wax profoundly about car culture and capitalism.

Promised Lands: Famed writer and critic Susan Sontag's sole documentary project, shot in Israel on the fly in the final days and immediate aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Humble Beauty: Skid Row Artists: A story about talented homeless and formerly homeless men and women who, despite a daily struggle for survival, are driven to create art in the worst area of Los Angeles. It's also about the ubiquity of art in human life. People strive to make art, no matter how humble the circumstances.

John Waters: This Filthy World: Philosopher of filth and reigning king of bad taste, John Waters presents an outstanding live one-man show that celebrates his origins of trash with his signature brand of irreverent humor.

The Medieval World

Mandylion of EdessaMandylion of Edessa

Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe is a new British Museum exhibit that runs through Oct. 9th. It is a collection of incredible objects, many rarely on public view, from the Vatican, British Museum, European churches and museums.

The practice of using devotional objects or relics purportedly from saints for worship became popular during the Middle Ages. Fragments of the True Cross, the St Baudime Reliquary and the Mandylion of Edessa are just a few of the opulent treasures that will be on display.

To celebrate the opening a list was created to highlight related items in the library's catalog. Take a look and enjoy this fascinating time: The Medieval World!

Staff Picks: At the Movies

staff picks imagestaff picks image

The Staff Picks shelf is downtown on the first floor. Why not get ready for the long holiday weekend with a few movies?

Here is a sampling of what the Ann Arbor District Library movie loving staff members are currently recommending:

Not Quite Hollywood: “Murder! Mystery! Suspenders! Not Quite Hollywood, by Mark Hartley, has lots of all of them. It's a riot of bad taste and secret histories. A look back at 1970s and early 1980s Ozploitation, films from Down Under that, for a long time, were reviled by the country's movie critics and cultural gatekeepers as literally Down Under: cheap, bawdy, celluloid effluence. Partly, he uses them as a prism for exploring changing social mores in the 1970s, a decade when Australia relaxed its censorship laws and was slowly becoming more liberal.”—Telegraph UK

Le Fils d'Epicer=The Grocer’s Son "This small gem of a film, a surprise hit in France, is the second feature directed by Éric Guirado, who prepared for it by filming portraits of traveling tradesmen in southern and central France. For 18 months he focused on mobile grocers in Corsica, the Pyrenees and the Alps. As the movie affectionately observes the gruff, self-reliant customers, some of whom hobble to the van on canes, it has a documentarylike realism. You grow to respect these hardy, weather-beaten people who lived their whole lives close to the land.” —New York Times

Ben X “An avid computer gamer who can't grasp what it means to live in the real world finds his plans of seeking vengeance on his true-life tormentors complicated by the appearance of a beautiful girl in first-time feature filmmaker Nic Balthazar's topical psychological thriller.” —Flixster.com

L’Iceberg: “I defy you not to gasp at Gordon’s wordless ballet under a white sheet, legs and limbs shooting every which way until the very image of the iceberg rises up from her bed. Not every sight gag works, and there’s a brief stretch in the middle where the action becomes landlocked. But once we’re out to sea the movie goes swimmingly—its three protagonists fighting, flailing, and often on the verge of drowning as their tiny skiff surges toward the land of the Inuit.” —New York Magazine

Crazed Fruit: “How influential was it? If you charted Crazed Fruit's influence alongside its shock value you'd probably find a pretty strong correlation. And in 1956 it was an eyeful indeed. The film opens on two teenaged brothers, Haruji (Masahiko Tsugawa) and Natsuhisa (Yujiro Ishihara), as they create an ungentlemanly disturbance while racing to catch a train. (They do not buy tickets.)” —Filmcritic.com

Author Birthdays: Haggard, Remarque, Brown

June 22nd marks the birthday of authors H. Rider Haggard, Erich-Maria Remarque, and Dan Brown.

H. Rider Haggard, also known as Sir Henry Rider Haggard, was an English author, mainly known for his works featuring the character Allan Quartermain, most notably the novel King Solomon's Mines.

Haggard's writing and characters have been the basis for many things: Quartermain was the prototype for Indiana Jones; his character Ayesha influenced psychologists and other writers; and his adventurous story lines influenced the "Lost World" genre's later writers.

Erich-Maria Remarque was a German author. His best known work was the WWI novel All Quiet on the Western Front, which was also made into a film.

Remarque's other novels include The Night in Lisbon, which tells the story of German refugees during the beginning of WWII, and Arch of Triumph, which was also made into a movie (starring Ingrid Bergman).

Dan Brown is an American novelist, best known for his book The Da Vinci Code, and the other novels starring the character of Robert Langdon.

Brown's first novel was Digital Fortress, which, like The Da Vinci Code, features code-breaking, though the main character is a mathematician rather than a "symbologist." In 2007, Brown also published a memoir about his work as a New York teacher.

Top of the Park 2011!

Looking for something to do this summer?

Top of the Park kicked off this past Friday June 17th. Bands play every evening and movies show Sunday through Thursdays at dusk (10 pm), with the exception of Mondays. TOP will again be officially closed on Mondays i.e. no events/movies/music will take place on Monday evenings. Some of the movies featured this year include: Top Gun, How to Train Your Dragon, Inception, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Back to the Future, Footloose, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Phantom of the Opera Silent Film with Carillon Accompaniment & Guest Soprano.

Tomorrow's entertainment includes: Rock the Mall, a Teen Music Competition and the film The Social Network. This summer's TOP also includes wacky acrobatic troop Strange Fruit performing The Three Belles.

You can view the entertainment schedule at the Festival Website. For a printable Calendar, click here.

Top of the Park is located at Ingalls Mall, directly in front of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies on Washington Street near the Burton Memorial Tower.

Don't forget to check out the performaces at the Mainstage as well. Artist/Comedians that are performing at the Power Center include: Steve Martin, Los Lonely Boys, k.d. lang, The Capitol Steps, and Tom Tom Crew.

Before you go, make sure to check out Festival Rules and Regulations for helpful tips to make everyone's experience more enjoyable.

Check out the Ann Arbor Summer Festival on facebook!

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival runs till July 10th, so come prepared to dance, sing along and have a good time!AASF2011AASF2011

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