Happy Birthday Hillary!

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton

With less than two weeks until Election Day, hopefully Hillary Clinton is taking some time out from supporting the Democrats to celebrate her birthday. Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born in Chicago, October 26, 1947) is the junior United States Senator from New York, and was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in this 2008 presidential election. She is married to Bill Clinton—the 42nd President of the United States—and was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. If you seek more information beyond this common Hillary knowledge, check out her autobiography Living History. (Do I really need to warn you that Hillary fans will find this interesting and Hillary opponents will not find the revelations they seek?) Hillary is also the author of numerous other works including An invitation to the White House : at home with history and It takes a village : and other lessons children teach us.

Virginia Woolf's Upstairs/Downstairs

Mrs. Woolf and the Servants, Alison Light's look into the relationship between Virginia Woolf and her servants, creates a window into life at the Woolf residence. The biographical sketch focuses on two servants in particular, Nellie Boxall and Lottie Hope, who primarily worked in the kitchen. Light's portrait of Virginia Woolf's domestic kingdom highlights the divisions that starkly separated Woolf from those she employed, emphasizing that without domestic servants, Woolf would have been unable to produce her creative works. A Room of One's Own is not enough; one also needs a lot of help to clean the room.

To read Claire Messud's review from the New York Times, click here.

Happy Birthday Arthur Miller!

arthur millerarthur miller

Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005) was an American playwright. A prominent figure in American literature and cinema for over 61 years, he wrote a wide variety of plays, including celebrated works such as The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, and Death of a Salesman, which are still studied and performed worldwide. Miller was often in the public eye, most famously for refusing to give evidence against others to the House Un-American Activities Committee, being the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (among countless other awards), and for his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. Arthur Miller is also one of the University of Michigan's most distinguished alumni and the only theater in the world to bear his name exists here in Ann Arbor, on the U of M campus.

October 14, 1964 - Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Have you ever wondered about the Nobel Prizes? We all know them as a mark of prestige, but where did those world-famous awards come from and who decides the winners? Check out The Nobel Prize : A History of Genius, Controversy, and Prestige and wonder no more. Burton Feldman relates the lively history of the awards, touring their century-long existence forward from the will of dynamite mogul Alfred Nobel. Readers will learn about the quirky preferences of the award committees, winners who really didn't deserve to win, losers that should have been winners, and amusing bits of Nobel trivia (like the awarding of the prize in medicine to the inventor of the lobotomy). For details on Martin Luther King, Jr. and his award, the AADL has a GIANT collection of MLK materials for you to peruse. Enjoy!

Noteworthy October Biopics @ a Theater Near You


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


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


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

truman capotetruman capote

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).

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