September Books To Films


This month, two former UM professors will see their literary works captured on the silver screen.

The film version of The Feast of Love (2000), an award-winner novel by Charles Baxter is described by critics as ” a kaleidoscopic ode to life and love in all its funny, sad, sexy, crazy, heartbreaking and life sustaining facets”. The book’s original setting in Ann Arbor is regrettably changed to that of a small community in Oregon. (More on the movie).

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (1983) by Ron Hansen is the basis for a film adaptation, starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. The novel, a PEN/Faulkner Award nominee, delves into the private lives of America’s most notorious outlaw and his unlikely assassin to offer a new perspective on a legend and address the question of what really may have transpired in the months before that infamous shooting.

Other September releases:

The adaptation of Silk, by Alessandro Baricco (1997) will be released Sept. 21, starring Keira Knightley, Michael Pitt, and Sei Ashina.
In the mid 19th century, a silkworm merchant travels from France to Japan to locate silkworm eggs that are uncontaminated by an epidemic, and falls in love with the concubine of a Japanese baron.

On the same date, expect a rush at the theaters for the release of Into the Wild , - about a young man who leaves his middle class existence for a life of adventure in the North American wilderness. The film is based on the bestseller (1996) by Jon Krakauer.

(Standing In The Shadows Of) Motown

The Funk Brothers, Motown’s house band, had as much to do with the signature Motown Sound as anybody else at the studio. The group of jazz and blues musicians integrated their non-pop musical background into creating the arrangements and style now associated with Motown. Also, like Booker T. and the MGs—their Stax Records equivalents—they were an integrated band, a rarity in the late 50s, early 60s. Their story is outlined in the insightful, rocking, and occasionally touching documentary Standing In The Shadows of Motown.

Greyfriars Bobby on DVD

Here’s a touching tale that’s great for any age. A tale that's well known in Scotland, Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog is just that. Bobby is a determined and loyal pint-sized terrier living in Scotland in the 1850s. Under the care of the town’s constable he shows his loyalty and intelligence time and time again. After the constable becomes ill Bobby remains loyal to the grave of his former master and then follows the lead of a young boy named Ewan. When Bobby gets into trouble with the city, all of Edinburgh rallies to save their beloved Bobby. Talk about a feel-good and heartwarming story!

There is also a book called The ghost of Greyfriar's Bobby that tells more of the adventures of little Bobby.

Amazon's top sellers

planet earthplanet earth’s top selling DVDs list includes many titles currently available at the library. For a bit of history, a dash of fun, a pinch of science, or a dab of thought provocation why not have a peek at what people are watching: Planet Earth – The Complete BBC Series, Rome – The Complete 2nd Season, Wild Hogs, 300, and The Secret.

Queen Margot

Queen Margot is an amazing historical French film based on the novel, "Marguerite De Valois", written by Alexandre Dumas. This film is set in 1572 Paris. During that medieval period in France, majority Catholics and minority Protestants were at odds. In an arranged marriage set to ease religious tensions, Catholic Queen Margot and Protestant Henri de Bourbon wed. Things do not go exactly as planned and what follows the wedding is a massacre of Protestants that have come to see Henri de Bourbon get married. This day is known in history as the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, in which over six thousand Protestants were killed in the streets of Paris. After the bloody massacre carried out by the Catholics we are drawn in to a plot of allegiances, betrayals, lovers, friends, enemies, greed, and wickedness. You cannot turn away from this intense film. The acting is excellent, and the storyline full of turns. The official FFG rating for this film is 10.

Reliving 1987 (ish)

This week some of my old childhood favorites are being released and re-released on DVD. You're never too old to watch David Bowie in all of his make-up and glam-rock-splendor in Labyrinth. And if puppets are your thing, The Muppet Show Season Two has just been released in addition to Fraggle Rock Season Three. Check out the children’s DVD collection at AADL, and don’t ever apologize for checking out an item labeled “Youth.” Kermit and Gobo are funny no matter what age you are.

"In Bloom" at Toronto Film Festival

It’s a big weekend for Laura Kasischke, the Chelsea author and U-M faculty member whose 2002 novel The Life Before Her Eyes is now a film to be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film, “In Bloom," starring Uma Thurman, may soon be in wide distribution. A Michigan Radio broadcast is here.

He's Not There

Todd Haynes new biopic of Bob Dylan, “I’m Not There”, debuted Tuesday at the Venice Film Festival to general praise, with critics giving some of the most favorable reviews to actress Cate Blanchett who, along with several other stars (including Heath Ledger, Richard Gere), channels the chameleon-like Mr. Zimmerman during one of the many phases of his career. If the idea of multiple actors playing Dylan is a bit too surreal for you, consider that both D. A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back and Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home—both excellent documentaries—also had trouble pinning down the changling Dylan. In his long and brilliant career Dylan created and abandoned musical styles, looks, even his voice, captivating or alienating his audience along the way but always taking us into new territory.

Amazon dvd picks for 2006

Following are a few titles of dvd's on Amazon's Best Dvd's of 2006 list (their choices) that we own at the Library. Check them out.

Little Britain, according to Amazon is "the reigning king of UK comedy." We have the first series and the second is out. Full of quirky, endearing characters like Vicky who is adept at butchering the English language and Andy who sits in a whellchair but can really walk just fine. Amazon says,"Little Britain presents the breathtaking debris of modern life in all its glory."

Thank You for Smoking is an irreverent look at the tobacco industry. Aaron Eckhart stars as the spin doctor for Big Tobacco while also trying to be a role model for his twelve year old son. William H. Macy plays a self-righteous senator bent on destroying the tobacco industry. Hilarious, off-beat and thought provoking, it's one of those movies you'll either love or hate.

Henry and Fay ride again

Fay Grim is Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool ten years later. Here we have Fay Grim, played perfectly by Parker Posey, who is caught up in conspiracy and espionage as she is tracking down the "lost" notebooks of her ex-husband, Henry Fool. CIA agents (led charmingly by Jeff Goldblum) rope Fay into heading off to Paris to retrieve the notebooks that may contain information that compromises national security. It’s an adventurous joyride with mystery, intrigue and wit. Who knew espionage could be so fun.

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