September Books to Film

American ClooneyAmerican Clooney

The American is adapted from Martin Booth's A Very Private Gentleman.

As an assassin, Jack (George Clooney) is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends badly, Jack holes up in a small medieval town nestled in the mountains of Abruzzo. While there, Jack takes on an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious buyer, accepts the friendship of a local priest, and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful prostitute, Clara.

Julia Roberts stars in this big-budget, glossy, Hollywood adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's runaway bestseller Eat, Pray, Love : one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia. It traces the author's decision to quit her job and travel the world for a year after suffering a midlife crisis and divorce - a journey that took her to three places in her quest to explore her own nature and learn the art of spiritual balance.

Flipped is the deligthful adaptation of Wendelin Van Draanen's teen romantic comedy of errors, told in alternating chapters by two fresh, funny new voices.

The first time she saw him, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. That was the second grade, but not much has changed by the seventh. She says: “My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss.” He says: “It’s been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort.” But in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down. And just as he’s thinking there’s more to her than meets the eye, she’s thinking that he’s not quite all he seemed.

Happy Birthday to His Holiness the Dalai Lama!

Today, July 6, Tibetans around the world are celebrating the 75th birthday of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet. Born in 1935, he was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama. As the world's foremost Buddhist leader, he is the author of numerous books including The Art of Happiness : A Handbook for Living, Toward a True Kinship of Faiths : How the World's Religions Can Come Together, and An Open Heart : Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life. Those not familiar with this amazing man should check out Freedom In Exile : The Autobiography Of The Dalai Lama or watch Dalai Lama: The Soul Of Tibet. For a look at the culture behind the man, check out Dalai Lama, My Son : A Mother's Story which provides an honest, and often unsettling, look into the life of his late mother, Diki Tsering, and the harsh reality of Tibetan life.

dalai lamadalai lama

Living in the Material World

Living in the Material WorldLiving in the Material World

Who is your favorite Beatle? Mine has always been George. So I have been getting anxious ever since I heard that Martin Scorsese has been steadily at work with an upcoming documentary film titled Living in the Material World: George Harrison, set for release in 2011. Having already directed films such as The Rolling Stones' Shine a Light, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and even The Last Waltz in 1978 – handling a Beatles related film seemed inevitable for a man who sure loves rock and roll.

Scorsese has been collaborating with Harrison’s widow Olivia for archival material and it has been quite an undertaking for the last few years. Having been approached numerous times since his death in 2001 with film proposals, Olivia had held off until she realized it “had to be done.” Lucky for us, Harrison was somewhat of a packrat and the film will include some previously unheard recordings as well as never-before-seen footage. Definitely something to look forward to.

There'll come a time when most of us return here
Brought back by our desire to be
A perfect entity
Living through a million years of crying
Until you've realized the Art of Dying
Do you believe me?

-George Harrison

Your Tudor Tutor

Today would be the 501st anniversary for King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catharine of Aragon. I'm not sure what the correct present is for that specific anniversary, but I don't know that I'd be accepting whatever it would be from Henry.

King Henry VIII has fascinated many people, though, regrettably, mostly because of his six marriages (two of which ended in divorce, and two more in beheading). However, it may interest you that these are not his only...accomplishments.

Some notable books on the Tudor king which do not focus on his matrimonial issues include The Last Divine Office: Henry VIII And The Dissolution Of The Monasteries and Henry VIII: The King And His Court.

However, if you'd like to go the more traditional route, you'll have plenty of choices: The Wives of Henry VIII, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII among them.

Of course, there are also historical fiction books that contain the infamous king. While they are not necessarily as accurate as the non-fiction, they are just as entertaining, if not more so. The oldest of these would be Shakespeare's play, given the regal name Henry VIII. Among the more recent, there is the "autobiography" by Margaret George, as well as the well-known The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Though, my personal favorite is not a book at all, but the Showtime television series The Tudors.

You may even want to take a look at his children. Each one showed off one bit of his overbearing personality. And I can guarantee one of them is probably just as interesting as he was.

Louise Bourgeois, Influential Sculptor, Dies at 98

This week, the art world remembers Louise Bourgeois (see the articles in The San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times ).

"Petite in size, gruff of voice and manner", Louise Bourgeois, a French-born American artist who gained fame only late in a long career, is known for her psychologically charged abstract sculptures, drawings and prints that had a galvanizing effect on the work of younger artists, particularly women.

"Ms. Bourgeois’s sculptures in wood, steel, stone and cast rubber, often organic in form and sexually explicit, emotionally aggressive yet witty, covered many stylistic bases. But from first to last they shared a set of repeated themes centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world."

Perhaps the most provocative was “Fillette” (1968), a large, detached latex phallus. Ms. Bourgeois can be seen carrying this object, nonchalantly tucked under one arm, in a portrait by the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe taken for the catalog of her 1982 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (In the catalog, the Mapplethorpe picture is cropped to show only the artist’s smiling face.)

In 1993 she represented the United States in the Venice Biennale. In an art world where women had been treated as second-class citizens and were discouraged from dealing with overtly sexual subject matter, she quickly assumed an emblematic presence.

Her 1994 exhibition entitled “Louise Bourgeois: Locus of Memory, Works 1982-1993,” in which the central image was a spider, is based on a creature she associated with her mother, a woman of ever-changing moods. (More books and videos on Louise Bourgeois in our collection).

Ms. Bourgeois was named Officer of The Order of Arts and Letter by the French minister of culture in 1983. The National Medal of Arts was presented to her by President Bill Clinton in 1997.

Muffins and Mayhem: Recipes for a Happy (if Disorderly) Life

Check out Muffins and Mayhem: Recipes for a Happy (if Disorderly) Life, Suzanne Beecher’s first novel!

For those of you who don’t know, Suzanne Beecher is the creator of the website Dearreader.com, which sends you daily (Monday-Friday) selections of a book from the genre of your choice. In her book Muffins and Mayhem: Recipes for a Happy (if Disorderly) Life, released June 1st, Suzanne shares her love of baking (with recipes) and stories about her life from leaving home at a young age and overcoming substance abuse problems to being a hard-working single parent to her now comfortable life encouraging and inspiring others.

A past blog about Dearreader.com can be found here.

Role Models

You know him, you love him. Or maybe you hate him. Either way, he can't be ignored. John Waters, the Pope of cinematic trash, has written a new book of memoirs. It’s called Role Models, and that’s exactly what it’s about. Each section in the book profiles a different personality – a personality that has affected and inspired Waters. From singer Johnny Mathis, to playwright Tennessee Williams, and even a bartender in his native home of Baltimore – Waters pays homage to them all. I think it is sure to be a fascinating look inside the mind of a filmmaker who has always followed a path so uniquely his own. The autobiographical book also contains bits of trivia that Waters fans will enjoy, such as how he keeps his pencil thin mustache so perfectly groomed. The library has John Waters’ Role Models on order, and is available to place holds.

Happy Birthday Miles Davis!

As I begin this blog, I am faced with the reality that a proper tribute to Miles Davis is quite a daunting task. To say he was a famous jazz musician is a bit of an understatement. "Throughout a professional career lasting 50 years, Miles Davis played the trumpet in a lyrical, introspective, and melodic style, often employing a stemless Harmon mute to make his sound more personal and intimate. But if his approach to his instrument was constant, his approach to jazz was dazzlingly protean. To examine his career is to examine the history of jazz from the mid-'40s to the early '90s, since he was in the thick of almost every important innovation and stylistic development in the music during that period, and he often led the way in those changes, both with his own performances and recordings and by choosing sidemen and collaborators who forged new directions. It can even be argued that jazz stopped evolving when Davis wasn't there to push it forward. - Allmusic.com"
Do yourself a favor and check out some of his incredible music from the AADL or watch one of our DVDs to see him in action. Try Kind of Blue if you need a place to start. We also have many many books about Miles Davis for you to get better acquainted with this icon of music history. miles davismiles davis

Droonkher Tashi Delek, Siddhartha Gautama!

It's birthday time for The Buddha this weekend, and Ann Arbor's Zen Buddhist Temple on Packard is one place to participate in the celebration. The two day event begins on Saturday, May 22 from 2:30pm - 8:30pm with an open poetry reading, vegetarian buffet (for a fee), and storytelling program with music. On Sunday, May 23, from 9:30am - 8:30pm, the Buddha festivities roll out with the story of Buddha's life followed by the Peace and Happiness Street Parade, which youngsters are invited to join in on foot or on bike. The evening keeps going with a meditation, a lighting of the lotus lanterns, and readings from area Buddhist groups.

For AADL materials and information on Buddha and Buddhism, try a subject search for Buddha or for Buddhism, or check out the online database, Biography Resource Center, and their articles on The Buddha.

International Nurses Day

IND 2010IND 2010

May 12th is International Nurses Day. The day was chosen in honor of the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

In celebration of all the wonderful care nurses give, you could watch a DVD, maybe something likeM*A*S*H, which focuses on a medical unit during the conflict in Korea, or you could watch the 1957 film version of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

Or you could read a factual book. There are biographies on women like Florence Nightingale, Mildred MacGregor, and Clara Barton. There are also more general works, such as one on WWII nurses and even one or two on how to become a nurse.

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