Write Your Memoir with Sally Lawler

If you have been thinking about writing your memoir, and are fifty or above, this is the time! Register now by calling 327-4560 for the free 8-week workshop, Reconstructing Life Stories, starting Jan. 17 at 1:00-3:00 (Group 1) or 3:00-5:00 (Group 2). Past participants praise social work librarian Sally Lawler for creating a comfortable atmosphere, where they feel safe to read their thoughts to the small group and to receive helpful suggestions and encouragement. AADL has several books that can help you start keeping a journal and learn more about how to write your life story.

My Secret Addiction

For several years, I suffered from addiction. My poison came not in a bottle, but in the form of biopics about musicians. The cheesier and made-for-TV-ier, the better, I felt. Sure Walk The Line and Ray honoured Johnny Cash’s and Ray Charles’s musical legacy while making them appear as three dimensional humans, but these movies didn’t do it for me. In fact, the past few years, Hollywood has left my addiction far from sated. But good news for me and everyone else with this disease (that’s right, CDC, addiction is a disease; live with it!) Jake Kasdan, son of U of M alum Larry Kasdan, has teamed up with Judd Apatow and filmed Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance [AUDIOBOOK-CD]

Dreams from My Father by "Barack Obama", is one of the best audiobook memoirs about race and exploration of one's identity and family history I have ever listened to. Obama's father (Barack Obama Sr.) was black from Kenya and his mother (Stanley Ann Dunham) was white from Kansas. His descriptions of the struggle to figure out who he is and who his relatives are, are compelling. The whole scenario regarding racial concerns is very informative; it exposes the world to this reality and at the same time teaches us to be more considerate. I really enjoyed listening to such a wonderful Audio Biography of a smart, well-intentioned and accomplished man; as well as, the interesting Memoirs of his past, present and future life in the great land of freedom and opportunities--USA.

Life of Nathaniel Stacy, first Universalist pastor in Ann Arbor

submitted by Wystan Stevens

The St. Andrew's history committee should check out this book, which I discovered during a Google Books search. Nathaniel Stacy published his memoirs in 1850, and this rare volume is now in the Universalist collection at Harvard University -- and fully readable online. Stacy was invited in 1835 to pastor the Ann Arbor Universalist congregation, and he came and stayed here about five years. He discusses the establishment of the Universalist church in Michigan, his acquaintance with Mssrs. Kellogg and Fuller, businessmen of Lower Town Ann Arbor who were members of his congregation, and his conversion to Universalism of John Williams, an ex-Calvinist (Presbyterian) farmer of Webster Township. The Ann Arbor material in Stacy's book begins on page 383.

Stacy's account has several pages on his own financial troubles, and he relates them in strong terms to the immoral craze of speculation that afflicted Michigan in the 1830s -- the era of Wildcat Banks and worthless paper money. The St. Andrew's history committee should relish the account of his doctrinal dispute with the pastors of the mainline protestant churches of Ann Arbor, which resulted in a public challenge to debate each of them -- either in his pulpit or in their own.

The debate challenge was flung boldly, via a letter printed in the Ann Arbor Argus and the Ann Arbor Journal, and it was ignored by all of the pastors except, finally, Mr. Marks, the Episcopal minister, who published his retort to Stacy (a lengthy letter) in the same newspapers. After that, Marks avoided Stacy on the street. Then he left town . . . .

Portrait of Rev. Nathaniel Stacy, in the fronticepiece of his memoirs:

Around page 450, Stacy writes briefly of his return visit to Ann Arbor years later, by train.

Jonathan Franzen's Non Fiction

Jonathan Franzen is known for his novels, especially “The Corrections” of several years back. But did you know that he is an engaging and intelligent non-fiction writer as well? I enjoyed his book of essays “How to be Alone,” which you will surmise is not a self-help book, but a more serious book about our culture. You might also like “The Discomfort Zone, a Personal History,” a memoir which displays a nice irony. Franzen can laugh at himself. You can find both these books, as well as Franzen’s novels in our collection.

Schulz and Peanuts

Peanuts and mePeanuts and me

Morning Edition on NPR today interviewed David Michaelis, author of the new book Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography.
Michaelis's book states that the Peanuts strip strongly reflected Schulz's own life. I don't find that surprising but Michalis biography is controversial particularly with the Schulz family who feel that the book presents him less positively than they believe correct.
I'm looking forward to reading the book. It seems like Charlie Brown has been around me forever.
Click here for books by Charles Schulz

Alan Greenspan - Economist, Fed Chairman, Blogger?

He's a legend. A veritable deity in the business pantheon. A man whose words were scripture for bankers and the financial warriors of Wall Street. And now, the venerable former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is blogging.

Well, sort of, anyway. Greenspan's only actually made one entry, and it seems to be primarily to promote his new book. But it not unprecedented for economists to turn books into blogs. Or in some cases, even blogs into books.

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.

Imagining a Life

What role does the author’s imagination play in writing a biography? What role should it play?

Author Beverly Lowry discussed this issue and her recent biography, Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show.

If you missed Wednesday’s show, you can listen to the segment online.

Read the book? What did you think of Lowry's approach?

A bittersweet goodbye for Mr. Blair

Tomorrow, an event will occur that hasn't happened in fourteen years: the United Kindgdom will have a new Prime Minister. Tony Blair will relinquish his post to Chancellor Gordon Brown.

As noted in NPR's Morning Edition, Blair's ascension was greeted with the hope of a new era for Britain. But despite his accomplishments, Blair's legacy may be forever marked by his decision to join President Bush in waging the Iraq War.

For a rundown of Blair's premiership, check out the BBC's ongoing coverage of Blair's time in office and Gordon Brown's succession.
Tony BlairTony Blair

Syndicate content