Noteworthy October Biopics @ a Theater Near You

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Based on the biography of Georgiana (Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman, The Duchess is the story of an extraordinary woman who rose to fame by staying true to her passion in a world of protocol, gossip, and social rules - and paid the price. (The New York Times review)

Flash of Genius is adapted from a 1993 New Yorker article by John Seabrook, about a lone crusader doing battle with the big bad establishments - in this case, Ford and Chrysler.

In 1967, Dr. Robert W. Kearns, an electrical engineer and college professor invented and patented the intermittent windshield wiper, only to watch Ford steal the idea two year later for its redesigned Mustang. Read an early review from the Traverse City Film Festival's sneak preview of this Oscar-worthy film, starring Greg Kinnear.

Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me

She was a model, she was a muse and she was an icon. But Pattie Boyd is best known as the first wife of The Beatles’ George Harrison, and later, Eric Clapton. I had always heard about the bizarre love triangle between these three – Eric Clapton 'stealing' Pattie from George Harrison…but what really happened? Who was this beautiful woman that inspired songs like “Something,” “Layla,” and of course, “Wonderful Tonight?” In Ms. Boyd’s detailed autobiography, Wonderful Tonight, co-written with Penny Junor, you’ll find out the real story, and more - from her roots growing in up in Africa, her modeling career, and most notably, her marriages to the two legendary rock musicians .

If you have an interest in rock history, Wonderful Tonight would be a great read – especially coming from the point of view of the woman who was so behind the scenes, but such a great influence. Feel like comparing? Take a look at Eric Clapton’s book, Clapton: The Autobiography.

Book Talk at Crazy Wisdom

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Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, on Main St. in Ann Arbor, holds a monthly book discussion on a different book each month. The October 10th discussion starts at 7pm and will feature Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama. If you’re reading the book, or plan to, this event is open to the public and requires no registration.

Get Your Dave Eggers On

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Dave Eggers was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his first book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The book is a memoir with “a few exaggerations.” Being a fan of memoirs with heart and humor, I was instantly sold on this book. It follows the story of Eggers as he is dealing with the death of both parents within the same month, becoming a parent to his younger brother and then moving across country- all at the age of 21. Chicago born Eggers (writer, editor, publisher) is known for being the founder of Might magazine, McSweeney’s and 826 Valencia. (There are now six chapters of 826 National, including a fabulous writing center in Ann Arbor.) He has since written other novels as well, including, What is the What and You Shall Know Our Velocity.

Write Your Life Story

In eight two-hour weekly sessions facilitator Sally Haines will get you started writing about experiences in your life that you’ve wanted to document for yourself or for others. A memoir can come from the most common activities, like raising your children, family meals, running a business, learning a skill, moving to a new town, or taking a trip. Even if you never thought of yourself as a writer, Sally will open doors into the process. The first session of Reconstructing Life Stories is Thursday, Sept. 11, 1-3 pm, so register online, or call 734-327-4560.

Today in History: August 25, 1984 - R.I.P. Truman Capote

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Today marks the anniversary of the death of American icon Truman Capote whose short stories, novels, plays and non-fiction are recognized literary classics. The AADL is bursting at the seams with Capote reading materials including his first novel Summer Crossing (1943), his bestseller/semi-autobiographical novel Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), possibly his best-known novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel". In our DVD department, try Humphrey Bogart in Beat the Devil (1953 screenplay), yummy Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), and In Cold Blood (the original 1967 version, filmed at the actual home of the murdered family).
For those of you not familiar with Capote's jet-set, controversial, and often reckless celebrity lifestyle (think "southern gothic homosexual meets Andy Warhol's Studio 54"), check out George Plimpton's Truman Capote : in which various friends, enemies, acquaintances, and detractors recall his turbulent career or Infamous, the film adaptation of the book. True Capote fans will also appreciate his uncredited cameo in Woody Allen's Annie Hall (listen for Allen's character to say something like "Oh, there goes the winner of the Truman Capote Look-Alike Contest" and watch for Capote himself to walk by).

John Adams: A Life

Been waiting to see the HBO miniseries John Adams? The library has it on order. The series aired in seven parts and is in three discs on DVD. Check out Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3. Paul Giamatti stars as Adams, one of the founding fathers and the second President of the United States, and Laura Linney plays his wife Abigail. The basis for the series is David McCullough's Pulitzer prize winning biography, John Adams.

On this day in history - Anne Frank & her family found in hiding by Nazis

In the vast sea of books about Holocaust victim Anne Frank and her famous diary, there surfaces a new story to shed more light on the 'real' Anne Frank. My name is Anne, she said, Anne Frank was written by Anne's childhood friend Jacqueline van Maarsen. While the Frank family was forced into hiding, Jacqueline escaped deportation just a few months after her best friend 'had gone to Switzerland', as she had been lead to believe. It was only when the war was over that Anne's father, Otto, revealed the truth and Jacqueline finally discovered what had happened.
For years after Anne's diary was published, the identity of her "best friend" she referred to was secret until van Maarsen owned up. Now she has written about the Anne she knew. This book contains approximately 30% more material from Anne's famous diary than the original 1947 edition, revising our understanding of one of the most moving and eloquent documents of the Holocaust. The Anne we meet here is much more sarcastic, rebellious and vulnerable than the sensitive diarist beloved by millions. Expanded entries provide a fuller picture of the tensions and quarrels among the eight people in hiding. Anne candidly discusses her awakening sexuality in entries that were omitted from the 1947 edition by her father. This translation provides an updated, unvarnished picture of life in the "secret annex".

Creativity Camp Theme of the Week: Famous Artists

From Da Vinci to Warhol kids can check out the back of the new materials shelf in the youth department for lots of cool information on master artists and their masterpieces!

Summer Reading for the Food Obsessed

I'm not much of a "foodie" but I do love to travel and was intrigued by the title Around the world in 80 dinners : the ultimate culinary adventure 50,000 Miles, 10 Countries, 800 Dishes, and 1 Rogue Monkey. In 2005 culinary experts Cheryl and Bill Jamison, known for award winning titles like The big book of outdoor cooking and entertaining, used their giant stash of frequent flier miles to head off on a three month vacation around the globe in search of food and adventure. In March they published this book, offering readers the chance to live vicariously through their journeys in Bali, Australia, New Caledonia, Singapore, Thailand, India, China, South Africa, France and Brazil. This is not a cookbook, although they do provide authentic recipes from their destinations, as well as travel information about hotels, restaurants and points of interest (like the National Elephant Institute in Lampang, Thailand). If you're looking for a literary masterpiece, this is not the book for you - due mainly to the quirky flip-flopping between first and third person narrative. However, if you seek some light, insightful and humorous reading, filled with enthusiasm for food and travel, this will make a great choice for summer.

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